National Weather Service

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Risk Off





With so much of the recent bad news roundly ignored or simply "priced in" and blamed on the snow, it is unknown just what it is that catalyzed the overnight round of risk-offness, but whatever the ultimate factor, it first dragged the Nikkei lower by 1.8%, as we noted previously, then sent the SHCOMP down by 0.55%, then ultimately dragged the USDJPY below the key 102 support area which in turn pulled US equity futures to set the scene for a red open (with no POMO and no Yellen testimony today which also was canceled due to snow), and, putting it all together, suddenly Europe too is back on the scene, with a blow out in Italian yields driven by the realization that the Letta government is on the edge of collapse, in a deja vu moment to those hot summers of 2011 and 2012.

 


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"Historic", "Catastrophic" Winter Storm Paralyzes Atlanta As Pax Creeps Up East Coast





Here comes the latest one - Pax. Weather.com's description of what is about to be unleashed on Atlanta and the entire Eastern Seaboard is nothing short of a review of the movie The Day After Tomorrow: "Potentially "catastrophic" Winter Storm Pax began unfolding before dawn Wednesday in the Atlanta area as temperatures dropped below freezing and sleet and freezing rain began to fall." The National Weather Service's warning was not exactly cheery: "Let’s just start by saying this winter storm may be of historic proportions for the area,” the agency said in a forecast analysis. “We’re looking at significant snowfall totals north and significant, crippling ice totals, especially along the Interstate 20 corridor.” Eli Jacks, a meteorologist with National Weather Service, said forecasters use words such as "catastrophic" sparingly. Not in this case. "Sometimes we want to tell them, 'Hey, listen, this warning is different. This is really extremely dangerous, and it doesn't happen very often,'" Jacks said. The service's memo early Wednesday called the storm "an event of historical proportions." It continues: "Catastrophic ... crippling ... paralyzing ... choose your adjective."

 


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Markets On Edge, Follow Every USDJPY Tick





It is still all about the Yen carry which overnight tumbled to the lowest level since November, dragging the Nikkei down by 4.8% which halted its plunge at just overf 14,000, only to stage a modest rebound and carry US equity futures with it, even if it hasn't helped the Dax much which moments ago dropped to session lows and broke its 100 DMA, where carmakers are being especially punished following a downgrade by HSBC of the entire sector.  Also overnight the Hang Seng entered an official correction phase (following on from the Nikkei 225 doing the same yesterday) amid global growth concerns and has filtered through to European trade with equities mostly red across the board. Markets have shrugged off news that ECB's Draghi is seeking German support in the bond sterilization debate, something which we forecast would happen a few weeks ago when we pointed out the relentless pace of SMP sterilization failures, with analysts playing down the news as the move would only add a nominal amount of almost EUR 180bln to the Euro-Area financial system. Elsewhere, disappointing earnings from KPN (-4.3%) and ARM holdings (-2.5%) are assisting the downward momentum for their respective sectors.

 


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New Winter Storm Provides February's First Weak Economic Data Excuse





Winter storm warnings and advisories stretched from Utah to Pennsylvania this morning. As Bloomberg reports, hundreds of flights across the US are being canceled as the threat of snow, ice, and sleet (and up to 8 inches of snow in New York City) "impact the morning commute." The storm will move across the central U.S., bringing showers and thunderstorms to the Central Gulf Coast tomorrow morning and expanding northward into the Tennessee Valley by Tuesday evening, the weather service said. In other words, we have our first good excuse for a crimped consumer not spending once again in February - the weather.

 


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Japanese Tapering Whispers Define Overnight Session: Yen Soars, Dollar Slides, Futures Droop





Following last night's surprise event, which was China's HSBC PMI dropping into contraction territory for the first time since July, which in turn sent Asian market into a tailspin, the most relevant underreported news was a speech by International Monetary Fund Deputy Managing Director Naoyuki Shinohara who said that "As long as steady progress is being made toward the 2% target, we do not see a need for additional monetary accommodation in Japan." He added that while exit from unconventional monetary policy "is still very likely some way off for the euro area and Japan, I believe that the moment to start planning is now." This warning - an echo of prcisely what we said yesterday - promptly roiled the Yen, sending it far higher and sending the EMini futures sliding by over 10 tick in no time: a drop from which they have not recovered yet.

 


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Polar Vortex 2.0?





With California experiencing emergency drought conditions and sun-glass-clad bronzed beauties driving their convertibles around in Lake Tahoe amid not an inch of real snow, the East Coast - just emerging from the cocoon following Polar Vortex 1.0 - is, as we warned, about to be confronted with another chilly blast of "Arctic Cold" weather with temperatures up to 25 degress below average and 8 inches of snow due for New York City tomorrow, and wind chills up to 40 below for the Upper Midwest On the bright side, it will be a BTFD opportunity for all those missed earnings expectations for Q1 retailers.

 


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Four Photos From A Frozen America





The St. Joseph Lighthouse on North Pier, Lake Michigan, on Jan. 6, 2014; Photographer: HotSpot/Landov

 


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JFK Shuts Down After Plane Skids Off "Ice Skating Rink" Runway: Entire Nation Blanketed In Subzero Deep Freeze





It's cold out there. Cold enough that JFK's runways are so frozen, airplanes literally are skidding off runways, which is what happened seconds ago to a Delta airplane landing at JFK.The result: JFK is now closed until further notice.  But that's just New York: elsewhere America is gripped in a cold spell which may beat all records, as 140 million Americans are expected to see subzero temperatures in the coming days, including the deep south. As CNN reports, "The deep freeze gripping much of the country is about to send temperatures plummeting to unbelievable lows. Parts of the Midwest and Great Plains will plunge as low as 30 degrees below zero on Sunday. That's where the Green Bay Packers will host the San Francisco 49ers in what could be the coldest football game in NFL history. By Wednesday, nearly half the nation -- 140 million people -- will shudder in temperatures of zero or lower, forecasters said. Even the Deep South will endure single-digit or sub-zero temperatures."

 


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Snow Day Market Summary





In a day that will be remembered for the first major snowstorm to hit New York in 2014 and test the clean up capabilities and resolve of the city's new populist mayor (not starting on a good note following reports that JFK airport will be closed at least until 8:30 am Eastern), it was only fitting that there was virtually no overnight news aside for the Chinese non-manufacturing PMI which dropped from 56.0 to 54.6, a new 4 month low. Still, following yesterday's ugly start to the new year, stocks in Europe traded higher this morning, in part driven by value related flows following the sell-off yesterday. Retailers led the move higher, with Next shares in London up as much as 11% which is the most since January 2009 and to its highest level since 1988 after the company lifted profit forecast after strong Christmas trading performance. Other UK based retailers with likes of AB Foods and M&S also advanced around 2%.

 


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Government Shutdown? 36 Facts Which Prove That Almost Everything Is Still Running





There really is very little reason why this "government shutdown" cannot continue indefinitely because almost everything is still running.  63 percent of all federal workers are still working, and 85 percent of all government activities are still being funded during this "shutdown". It turns out that the definition of "essential personnel" has expanded so much over the years that almost everyone is considered "essential" at this point.  In fact, this shutdown is such a non-event that even referring to it as a "partial government shutdown" would really be overstating what is actually happening. In the end, this shutdown could turn out to be very good for America.  We have a government that is wildly out of control and that desperately needs to be reigned in.

 


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Oklahoma Tornado Live Feed - "This Is About The Worst Damage I Have Ever Seen"





The devastation from what is being described as a mile-wide tornado is horrifying according to local news. The live feed and raw footage of the aftermath suggests casualty rates will be significantly higher as the evening progresses... "The tornado on the ground right now is huge and has hit through populated areas,"

 


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Scapegoating Nemo: Meet The "Culprit" For The Upcoming Q1 GDP Miss





Just as it was all tropical storm Sandy's fault for somehow impacting the national economy from California, to Florida, to Oregon and all the way to Vermont, but more importantly - giving economists a scapegoat on which to blame the acute weakness in economic data in the November timeframe, so tomorrow's "historic" blizzard will be the inevitable reason for which the economy will once again perform "below expectations." It will have nothing to do with the ongoing reign of authoritarian terror conducted by the residents of the Marriner Eccles building, which has made a baseline growth rate of 1% in the artificial economy an optimistic outcome. Because, as everyone knows, in a centrally-planned, priced to absolute perfection economy, no exogenous variables, such as snow storms in the middle of winter, can possibly be allowed or certainly factored for. Which is why expect to hear a whole lot more in the next 24 hours about Blizzard Nemo: after all propaganda patterning demands that everyone has a clear image of the perpetrator when the time comes to cast all blame on one single event and to distract from the real cause of now structural underlying economic weakness.

 


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Overnight Sentiment: Looking Forward To Today's Big Event





Today it is all about the elections. It is not about last night's relatively surprising RBA decision to not cut rates (on an attempt to create a reflexive feedback loop when it said that China has bottomed; it hasn't, and the RBA will be forced into another "surprising" rate cut as it did previously). It is also not about Europe missing its Service PMI estimate (just like the US), with the composite printing at 45.7 on expectations of a 45.8 print (with both core countries - Germany and France - missing badly, at 48.4 and 44.6 on expectations of 49.3 and 46.2, respectively).  It is not about reports that the EU believes Spain's GDP will again contract more than expected (it will, and certainly without any reports or beliefs). It is not about Greece selling €1.3 billion in 26-week bills even as, according to ANA, its striking power workers have taken 5 power plants online just as winter approaches. It is not about Jean-Claude Juncker telling the truth for once, and saying that Europe is still in crisis, and is facing the viability of the Euro (after saying weeks ago that the Euro is unshakable) and that some countries aren't facing up to their responsibilities. It most certainly isn't about German factory orders finally collapsing as the country is no longer able to delay its slide into full-blown recession, with a September decline of 3.3% on expectations of a modest drop of -0.5%, from the previous decline of 0.8% (the German ministry said that a weak Eurozone and lack of global growth are taking its toll; they will continue taking its toll for years and decades longer). No. It is all about the US elections, with the peak frenzy starting as soon as polls officially close at 8 pm. Everything else is noise.

 


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After The Flood Comes The Freeze: "Tens Of Thousands Need Housing" Says Cuomo, As Nor'Easter Approaches





First the flood, now the freeze (and the lack of fuel and gas and heating just making it much worse). And for tens of thousands of residents of New York and New Jersey this means that as many as 40,000 will need to find alternative housing, especially ahead of Wednesday when a Nor'easter formation is expected to hit the Tristate area and bring even more freezing rain and cold to the region. From Reuters: "Tens of thousands of people affected by superstorm Sandy could soon need housing as cold weather descends on the state of New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo said on Sunday. Cuomo, in a televised press conference nearly a week after the storm hit the U.S. East Coast, said the fuel shortages are improving but problems will persist for "a number of days."" Elsewhere, and also from Reuters: "Victims of superstorm Sandy on the U.S. East Coast struggled against the cold early on Sunday amid fuel shortages and power outages even as officials fretted about getting voters displaced by the storm to polling stations for Tuesday's presidential election. Overnight, near-freezing temperatures gripped the U.S. northeast. At least two more victims were found in New Jersey, one dead of hypothermia, as the overall death toll from one of worst storms in U.S. history climbed to at least 112. Fuel supplies continued to rumble toward disaster zones and electricity was slowly returning to darkened neighborhoods after a storm that hit the coast last Monday. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said it would be days before power is fully restored and fuel shortages end."

 


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New York City Peak Threat Hours: 7-10 PM When The Flooding Begins





As meteorologists have been repeating all day, the biggest threat for NYC is not so much the rain, or even the wind, dangling cranes hundreds of feet above ground notwithstanding, but the storm surge. The threat here is that Hurricane Sandy will hit land just as the tide comes in, resulting in a double whammy which Wunderground has called a "gigantic bulge of water that will raise waters levels to the highest storm tides ever seen in over a century of record keeping." Add to this the impact of the full moon, which means that high tide will be 5% higher than average for the month, and Wunderground's conclusion is inevitable: "This is a higher destructive potential than any hurricane observed since 1969, including Category 5 storms like Katrina, Rita, Wilma, Camille, and Andrew." How high are we talking: Sandy's storm surge will be capable of overtopping the flood walls in Manhattan, which are only five feet above mean sea level... According to the latest storm surge forecast for NYC from NHC, Sandy's storm surge is expected to be 10 - 12' above MLLW. Since a storm tide of 10.5' is needed to flood the subway system, it appears likely that portions of the NYC subway system will flood." Luckily for all, the NY Fed's tungsten gold, which is 50 feet below sea level (and 80 feet below the surface) and is in the Zone C flood evacuation area, will be perfectly "safe." And after all tungsten gold will never just float away.

 


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