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Obama's Latest Russian Sanctions Send Global Stocks Reeling





Slowly but surely, all those cans that many hoped were kicked indefinitely into the future, are coming back home to roost. The biggest impact on global risk overnight have been undoubtedly the expanded Russian sanctions announced by Obama yesterday, which have sent the Russian Micex index reeling to six week lows (as it does initially after every sanction announcement, only for the BTFDers to appear promptly thereafter), with the biggest hits saved for the named companies such as Rosneft -5.6%, Novatek -5.1%, and others Alrosa -5.7%, VTB Bank -4.3%, Sberbank -3.4% and so on. Then promptly risk off mood spilled over into broader Europe and at last check the Stoxx600 was down 0.8%, with Bund futures soaring to record highs especially following news (from the Ukraine side) that a Russian warplane attacked a Ukrainian fighter jet. Not helping matters is the end of the dead cat bounce in Portugal where after soaring by 20% yesterday on hopes of a fresh capital infusion, Espirito Santo has once again crashed, dropping as much as 11%, driven lower following downgrades by both S&P and Moodys, as well as the realization that someone was pulling everyone's legs with the rumor of an equity stake sale.

 
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Frontrunning: July 16





  • BRICS set up bank to counter Western hold on global finances (Reuters)
  • Fed's Yellen Hedges Her View on Rates (Hilsenrath)
  • China GDP Grows 7.5% in Second Quarter (WSJ)
  • Get More Acquainted With Your Knees as Boeing Reworks 737 (BBG)
  • Israel Warns Gazans of New Attack After Hamas Rejects Truce (WSJ)
  • Israel poised for Gaza incursions after truce collapses (Reuters)
  • China Housing Sales Fall in First Half of 2014 (WSJ)
  • IBM to offer iPads and iPhones for business users (Reuters)
  • Fed's George says strengthening economy warrants quick rate rise (Reuters)
 
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Fukushima "Cleanup" Has Contaminated Rice Crops 20 Kilometers Away





Remember when Japan and Tepco lied it was in control of the Fukushima disaster recovery, when it lied radiation exposure was manageable (when concerned about radiation exposure, just raise the minimum safe dosage), or when it lied that it had any clue what it was doing when it proposed building an "ice wall" to freeze the radioactive ground water below the damanged plant? Turns out it also lied about the impact of Fukushima's radiation not only on locally produced food (which was served to a government official to "prove" its safety), but also on food as far as 20 kilometers away. According to Japan's Asahi, cleanup work at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in summer last year "may have" contaminated rice harvested from 14 locations in Minamisoma city, more than 20km north of the reactors.

 
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Nomura Threatens Espirito Santo Cross Defaults, Said To Demand Immediate Repayment Of €100MM Loan





Nomura has threatened to seek the immediate repayment of at least €100 million of loans to Espirito Santo Financial Group, prompting today’s sale by the Portuguese co. of a stake in Banco Espirito Santo, according to people with knowledge of the talks who asked not to be identified. Failure to repay the loan could have triggered multiple defaults across cos. within Espirito Santo group.

 
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Russia Furious With UK Air Show Visa Refusal, Vows Reponse Before Ukraine Plane Allegedly Shot Down By Russia





Clashes between Ukraine’s government forces and pro-Russia rebels in the east of the country have intensified since President Petro Poroshenko called off a cease-fire July 1. Putin and Merkel met as Russia warned of “irreversible consequences” after the Foreign Ministry said a Ukrainian army shell killed one person in the southern region of Rostov. Ukraine said its military didn’t fire on Russian territory and is ready to help investigate the incident. “Both leaders agreed that, unfortunately, the situation in Ukraine is degrading,” Peskov told reporters after Putin and Merkel met. The Russian leader expressed his “extreme concern” about Ukraine’s continuing offensive operations and today’s “tragedy,” Peskov said. Market shrugs.

 
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Germany Instructs Its Companies To Limit Cooperation, Procurement Orders With The US





Congratulations America: after severing ties with Russia, crushing cordial relations with China (leading to this stunning announcement by China's president), alienating France (which is now openly calling for an end to the petrodollar), the Obama administration - following not one, not two, but three spying scandals in just the past year - has managed to sour relations with Germany to a point where one wonders just who is a remaining US ally in Europe these days. According to Bloomberg, the German chancellor’s office has issued instructions to national intelligence services to limit cooperation with U.S. following alleged U.S. spying case, Bild reports without saying where it got information.

 
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Frontrunning: July 11





  • Carl Icahn says 'time to be cautious' on U.S. stocks (Reuters)
  • Banco Espirito Santo Lifts Lid on Exposure to Group (BBG)
  • Slowing Customer Traffic Worries U.S. Retailers (WSJ)
  • Insurgents enter military base northeast of Baghdad (Reuters)
  • Obama tells Israel U.S. ready to help end hostilities (Reuters)
  • Japan economics minister warns of premature QE exit, sees room for more easing (Reuters)
  • Greek Banks See Quadrupling of Housing Loans by Next Year (BBG) ... to fund buybacks like in the US?
  • Piggy Banks Being Raided Signal Swedish Housing Dilemma (BBG)
  • London Seeks New Spenders as Russians Skip $719 Champagne (BBG)
 
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Portugal's Largest Bank Misses Bond Payment; Bonds Collapse





Brussels, we have a problem. As we warned 6 weeks ago, Espirito Santo International SA - is in a "serious financial condition" according to a central bank driven external audit by KPMG identified "irregularities in its accounts." Sure enough, the 'ponzi-like' maneuvers have left the bank unable to pay its bonds as Bloomberg reports bonds plunged to record lows after a parent company delayed payments on short-term notes. More importantly, given the divisively dependent nature of the domestic sovereign bond market (and hence the health of the EU) and its banking system, it is noteworthy that Portuguese bond risk has surged to 4 month highs with the biggest 2-day spike in a year. As one analyst noted, “The bigger question is whether the government will have to get involved,” leaving the EU taxpayer on the hook once again (for fear of M.A.D. threats) as most critically, it "will have to step in to prevent systemic repercussions?"

 
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Futures Flat Following Turbulent Asian Session, FOMC Minutes Loom





While the situation between Israel and Gaza continues to escalate, pulling the markets' attention away from the recent developments in Iraq (as for the Ukraine civil war, forget it), the big news overnight came out of Chine which reported another contraction in consumer prices, which both declined to 2.3% and missed expectations of a 2.4% print (down from 2.5%). Producer Prices had another negative print, the 28th in a row, and have remained negative since 2012. This led to the Hang Seng Index falling at the fastest rate since late June to erase all YTD gains. However, as has now become the norm, macro news hardly impacted US equity futures, which are driven exclusively by the Yen carry trade, which unlike yesterday's pounding, has traded rangebound between 101.6-101.7 keeping US equity futures just barely in the green. We expect the momentum ignition algo to kick in at some point, for absolute no fundamental reason beside the NY Fed trading desk issuing a green light, sending the USDJPY surging, taking the Spoos with them, and helping stocks forget all about the weak Asian session.

 
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Frontrunning: July 7





  • Bond Anxiety in $1.6 Trillion Repo Market as Failures Soar (BBG), as reported first by Zero Hedge
  • As Food Prices Rise, Fed Keeps a Watchful Eye (WSJ)
  • Yellen’s Economy Echoes Arthur Burns More Than Greenspan (BBG)
  • Draghi’s $1.4 Trillion Shot: Silver Bullet or Misfire? (BBG)
  • Israel's Netanyahu phones father of murdered Palestinian teen (Reuters)
  • Ukraine says forces will press forward after taking rebel stronghold (Reuters)
  • Goldman Sachs Brings Forward Rate Forecast as Treasuries Drop (BBG)... you mean rise?
  • Super typhoon takes aim at Japan (Reuters)
  • Kidnapped Nigerian girls 'escape from Boko Haram abductors' (Independent)
  • Merkel says U.S. spying allegations are serious (Reuters)
 
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Are You Targeted By The NSA?





Meet XKeyscore - "a computer network exploitation system", as described in an NSA presentation, devoted to gathering "nearly everything a user does on the internet." The German site Das Erste has exposed the shocking truth about the rules used by the NSA to decide who is a "target" for surveillance. While the NSA claims to only "target" a small fraction of internet users, the perhaps unsurprising truth is very different. As Boing Boing concludes, one expert suggested that the NSA's intention here was to separate the sheep from the goats -- to split the entire population of the Internet into "people who have the technical know-how to be private" and "people who don't" and then capture all the communications from the first group.

 
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Frontrunning: July 2





  • France's Sarkozy faces corruption probe in blow to comeback hopes (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Says Military Offensive Against Rebels Yielding Results (WSJ)
  • JPMorgan Investors Show Support for Dimon in Cancer Fight (BBG)
  • World’s ATM Moves to Frankfurt as Yellen’s Fed Slows Cash (BBG)
  • Argentina Seen Backtracking on Fernandez Vows as Legacy at Risk (BBG)
  • Palestinian teen killed in possible revenge attack (Reuters)
  • The Bill and Hillary Clinton Money Machine Taps Corporate Cash (WSJ)
  • London House Prices Surge the Most Since 1987, Nationwide Says (BBG)
  • Last Jew in Afghanistan faces ruin as kebabs fail to sell (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: July 1





  • Ceasefire over, Ukraine forces attack rebel positions (Reuters)
  • No Good Iraq Options for Obama as Russia, Iran Jump In (BBG)
  • Japan’s Cabinet Agrees to Allow Military to Help Defend Allies (BBG)
  • Obama says to reform immigration on his own, bypassing Congress (Reuters)
  • South Stream Pipeline Project in Bulgaria Is Delayed (NYT)
  • Foreign Banks Still in the Dark About Missing Metals in China (WSJ)
  • Quelle indignity: several bankers at French bank BNP Paribas will face demotions and cuts to their pay and bonuses (FT)
  • Symantec Warns of Hacker Threat Against Energy Companies (BBG)
  • Shrinking Office Spaces Slow Recovery (WSJ)
  • Rand Paul Slams ‘Fat Cats’ With Hedge Fund in Top Donors (BBG)
 
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How Blackwater Survived Iraq Probes Of Being "Above The Law" - By Threatening To Kill Investigators





Just weeks before Blackwater guards fatally shot 17 civilians at Baghdad’s Nisour Square in 2007, The NY Times reports that the State Department began investigating the security contractor’s operations in Iraq. However, as James Risen (who himself faces jail time thanks to the White House) reports, a senior official of the notorious private security firm allegedly threatened to kill a government investigator leading the probe into the firm’s Iraqi operation. Stunningly (or not), the US embassy sided with him and forced the inspector to cut the visit short. “Blackwater contractors saw themselves as above the law,” Richter added; now we wonder what gave them that idea?

 
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