New Normal

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The Wolf Is Guarding The Hen House: The Government's War On Cyberterrorism

“The game is rigged, the network is bugged, the government talks double-speak, the courts are complicit and there’s nothing you can do about it.

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Who's Hurting From Slumping Commodities

With a rebound in commodities a long way out, here's which countries may be hit the hardest.

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The Militarization Of France Is Not Temporary: "10,000 Troops To Remain On The Streets"

Who could have seen this coming? The French government, having deployed military to its streets during the attacks by Islamic extremists last month, has  - just as every other government in the world in the new normal - decided that this temporary militarization of French streets is now permanent. As RT reports, President Hollande has decided to "maintain the level of the army on the national territory at 10,000 troops," with a total of 7,000 troops monitoring (and protecting) religious buildings.

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Caught On Tape: South African Reporter Mugged Live On Air

It appears the new normal has reached peak 'consequence-free'-ness. As South African reporter Vuyo Mvoko prepared for his live TV report - standing in front of a camera, bright lights, and various cameramen and crew - two armed men decided it was an opportune time for a mugging... and the whole farcical and dangerous scene was caught on tape...

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Do Not Show Mario Draghi This Chart

This was not supposed to happen... Once again it appears that front-running the central banks hints and selling the actions is the new normal as (just as occurred in the period around the Q€ announcement), despite pushging higher last week, inflation expectations have tumbled lower since Draghi unleashed the trillion-euro bazooka...

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Central Banks Are Crack Dealers & Faith Healers

The entire formerly rich world is addicted to debt, and it is not capable of shaking that addiction. Not until the whole facade that was built to hide this addiction must and will come crashing down along with the corpus itself. Central banks are a huge part of keeping the disease going, instead of helping the patient quit and regain health, which arguably should be their function. In other words, central banks are not doctors, they’re crack dealers and faith healers. Why anyone would ever agree to that role for some of the world’s economically most powerful entities is a question that surely deserves and demands an answer.

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The New Normal Of "Anything Goes" And "Nothing Matters" Is Turning Lethal

The consequence will not be eternal virtual prosperity, but rather a wrecked accounting system for the operations of civilized human life. We’ve stepped across the event horizon of that consequence, but we just don’t know it yet. Our bet is that we start feeling the effects sooner rather than later; and when it is finally felt, all the Kardashian videos in this universe and a trillion universes like it will not avail to distract us...

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Frontrunning: March 5

  • China Lowers Growth Target to About 7% (WSJ)
  • Obesity Is Hurting the U.S. Economy in Surprising Ways (BBG)
  • Embattled Hillary Clinton urges State Department to release emails (Reuters)
  • Washington Strips New York Fed’s Power (WSJ)
  • U.S. Supreme Court split over Obamacare challenge (Reuters)
  • Citigroup Loses $800 Million as It Exits Turkey’s Akbank (BBG)
  • Justice Who Once Tried to Kill Obamacare Now Potential Savior (BBG)
  • Buyers of Espírito Santo Debt Face Financial Uncertainty (WSJ)
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Frontrunning: March 3

  • 3 days after Zero Hedge, here's Bloomberg: Company Cash Bathes Stocks as Monthly Buybacks Set Record (BBG)
  • Israel's Netanyahu to address Congress in speech that has strained ties with Obama (Reuters), Risks Diplomatic, Political Pain If Speech Falls Flat (BBG)
  • Before Key Speech, Netanyahu Hails U.S. Ties (WSJ)
  • $1.92 bilion FX rigging charge: Barclays Posts Loss as Foreign-Exchange Provisions Rise (WSJ)
  • Barclays Awards Jenkins First Bonus as CEO, Cuts Pay Pool (BBG)
  • Exxon’s Russia Exposure Surges as Long View Outweighs Sanctions (BBG)
  • Obama says Iran must halt key nuclear work for at least a decade (Reuters)
  • Yellen Turning from Friend to Foe for Dollar Bulls (BBG)
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China Cuts Interest Rates, Takes Number Of Central Banks Easing In 2015 To 21

And then there were 21. Hours ago on Saturday, the country whose currency is largely pegged to the dollar which itself is now anticipating a rate hike in the coming months, surprised the world by confirming its economic slowdown yet again following a recent rate cut just this past November when it lowered its benchmark rate by 40 bps, after it again cut benchmark lending and deposit rates by 25 bps starting on March 1. Specifically, the PBOC will lower the one-year lending rate to 5.35% from 5.6% and its one-year deposit rate to 2.5% from 2.75%. It also said it would raise the maximum interest rate on bank deposits to 130% of the benchmark rate from 120%.

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Self-Aware? World's Largest Hedge Fund Shifts Strategy To Artificial Intelligence

Despite warnings from the likes of Elon Musk and Stephen Hawking (and of course, Sarah Connor), Ray Dalio's $165 billion AUM hedge fund Bridgewater will start a new, artificial-intelligence unit next month. Despite the "new normal"'s total reversal of any and every historical rational trading pattern, the unit will attempt to create trading algorithms that make predictions based on historical data and statistical probabilities, as "machine learning is the new wave of investing for the next 20 years and the smart players are focusing on it." Does this mean the talking heads of CNBC, with their 'memes', 'myths', and 'mumbling' rationales for it always being a good time to buy are now obsolete? Or did the market just become self-aware?

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Frontrunning: February 27

  • Central Banks With Negative Rates Spur Question of How Low to Go (BBG)
  • DHS to keep running: Congress edges toward domestic security funding patch (Reuters)
  • Setbacks for Tsipras Stir Discord in Greek Ruling Party (BBG)
  • Greece’s Challenge: Appeasing Its Creditors and Its Population (WSJ)
  • Buffett, a cheerleader for America, takes his checkbook abroad (Reuters)
  • Oil’s Big Swings Are the New Normal: Market has rarely been more volatile (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched (BBG)
  • Brent rises to $61, set for first monthly gain since July (Reuters)
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Market Wrap: Futures Fractionally Red Ahead Of Pre-Weekend "Nasdaq 5000" Push

If there isone thing that is virtually certain about today's trading (aside from the post Rig Count surge in oil because if there is one thing algos are, it is predictable) is that despite S&P futures being a touch red right now, everything will be forgotten in a few minutes and yet another uSDJPY momentum ignition ramp will proceed, which will push the S&P forward multiple to 18.0x on two things i) it's Friday, and an implicit rule of thumb of central planning is the market can't close in confidenece-sapping red territory ahead of spending heavy weekends and ii) the Nasdaq will finally recapture 5000 following a final push from Apple's bondholders whose recent use of stock buyback proceeds will be converted into recorder highs for the stock, and thus the Nasdaq's crossing into 5,000 territory because in the New Normal, the more expensive something is, the more people, or rather algos, want to buy it.

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HSBC CEO, Chairman Testify Over Tax Evasion, Facilitating Global Money Laundering - Live Webcast

It is time for another song and dance to appease the angry mob, if only for the next week or so until the popular attention span shifts over to the next scandal du jour. Which for today means that two top HSBC execs will appear briefly in UK parliament to testify before the Treasury committee, in a televized webcast set to start momentarily.

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The Last 3 Times This Happened, Stocks Rolled Over

Before the world morphed into what it has become, the relationship between stock prices and intraday ranges was somewhat positively correlated (as one would imagine) - higher prices and a steady vol means absolute ranges will trend higher. However, the last few years - and most especially the last few months - as equity index prices soared, so intraday ranges collapsed. In fact, the last 3 times a new low range was made, that marked a local high in stock prices. Along with the fact that the VIX term structure is the steepest since the pre-Bullard collapse,  hedging - as opposed to BTFTAH - seems more appropriate in the short-term at least.

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