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Stocks In Holding Pattern With All Eyes On Draghi And Whether ECB Will Pull Greek Liquidity





There was much confusion yesterday when algos went into a buying frenzy on news that Greece would submit a request for a 6 month loan extension, believing this means Greece has caved and will agree to a bailout programme extension as well. Nothing could have been further from the truth as we explained first moments after the headline struck, and also as Reuters validated moments ago when it said that "Greece will submit a request to the euro zone on Wednesday to extend a "loan agreement" for up to six months but EU paymaster Germany says no such deal is on offer and Athens must stick to the terms of its existing international bailout." But since the political nuances of diplomacy are lost on the math Ph.Ds who program the market-moving algos, the S&P did manage to roar above 2100 on what was another headfake and then forgot to sell off on the reality.

 
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Is Japan Preparing For War?





Back in 1940, the US plan was to "entrap" Japan to declare war on the US - a declaration which the US would have long anticipated - which would then allow America to engage Europe and Hitler as part of its broader entry into World War II from which it had been previously separated. The plan worked out when just over a year later, Japan bombed Pearl Harbor. Today, some 75 years later, is that same plan being redrawn?

 
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Futures Rebound On Collapse In Greek Negotiations, After Europe's Largest Derivatives Exchange Breaks





There was a brief period this morning when market prices were almost determined by non-central banks. Almost. Because shortly before the European market open, a technical failure on the Eurex exchange prevented trading in euro-area bond futures the day after Greek debt talks collapsed. And sure enough, after initially seeing significant downward pressure, which nobody could capitalize on of course courtesy of the broken Eurex, risk both in Europe and the US has since rebounded courtesy of the ECB, SNB and BIS, led by the EURUSD (because a Grexit threat which according to Commerzbank has been raised from 25% to 50% is bullish for the artificial currency), which is now at the level last seen just before yesterday's negotiations broke down, and US futures are about to go green.

 
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Markets Quiet Ahead Of Eurogroup Summit; US On Holiday





It has been a quiet start to the week, with US equity futures and European stocks mostly unchanged with all eyes on what progress (if any) will be made between Greece and the Eurogroup, where the press conference is scheduled for 7:00 pm GMT (expect significant delays) in what is otherwise expected to be a relatively subdued day with the US away from market and a light macroeconomic calendar.

 
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Frontrunning: February 13





  • Greece will do 'whatever it can' to reach deal with EU (Reuters)
  • ECB Urges Greek Political Deal as Emergency Cash Is Tight (BBG)
  • Fighting rages in run-up to Ukraine ceasefire (Reuters)
  • Eurozone GDP Picks Up, Thanks to Germany (WSJ)
  • Two J. P. Morgan Executives Connected to Asia Hiring Probe Pushed Out (WSJ)
  • Putin's High Tolerance for Pain and Europe's Reluctance to Inflict It (BBG)
  • Indigestion Hits Top U.S. Food Firms (WSJ)
  • Alibaba's Jack Ma seeks to reassure employees over U.S. lawsuits (Reuters)
 
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German DAX Rises Above 11,000 For First Time After European GDP Surprises To Upside





Who would have thought all it takes for Eurozone Q4 GDP to print above expectations, even if by the smallest of possible margins - one which even the Chinese goalseek-o-tron bows its head down to in respect - which at 0.3% Q/Q was above the 0.2% expected and above Q3's 0.2%, was for Europe to admit it has finally succumbed to deflation. Oh, and for the ECB to admit the situation has never been more serious by launching Q€. Oh, and add the "estimated contribution" to GDP from hookers and drugs. Put all that together and on an annualized basis, the European economy grew by 1.4%. Whatever the reason, Q4 GDP was the best print since Q1, even as Germany blew not only consensus of 0.3%, but the highest GDP estimate of 0.6% out of the water when it reported that courtesy of a spike in spending, its economy grew by 0.7% in the fourth quarter, up from the near-recessionary 0.1% in Q3. That, together with QE and ZIRP now raging across the continent, was enough to push the DAX above 11,000 for the first time ever.

 
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Market Wrap: Whirlwind Manic-Depressive Session Sees Futures Slide Then Surge





So far it has been an overnight session which clearly forgot to take its lithium, with futures first tumbling after CNBC's "leak" that a Greek deal had been reached was refuted, only to surge subsequently on both the Riskbank's foray into NIRP and QE which crushed the Swedish currency and sent its stocks to recorder highs, and more importantly, on the latest ceasefire out of Minsk which has pushed Russian and European assets substantially higher. While only the most naive believe that any palpable end to Ukraine hostilities will emerge as a result of today's delay, expect for Greek headlines to return with a vengeance as today it is Tsipras' turn to speak at a summit of the 28 European Union leaders set to begin momentarily.

 
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Market Wrap: Stocks Drift, Dollar Stronger, Oil Snaps Rally, Treasurys Slide On Microsoft Deal





So far it has been largely a repeat of the previous overnight session, where absent significant macro drivers, the attention again remains focused both on China, which reported some truly ugly inflation (with 0.8% Y/Y CPI the lowest since Lehman, just call it deflation net of the "goalseeking") data (which as usually is "good for stocks" pushing the SHCOMP 1.5% higher as it means even more easing), and on Greece, which has not made any major headlines in the past 24 hours as patience on both sides is growing thin ahead of the final "bluff" showdown between Greece and the Eurozone is imminent. The question as usual is who will have just a fraction more leverage in the final assessment - Greece has made its ask known, and it comes in the form of 10 billion euros in short-term "bridge" financing consisting of €8 billion increase in Bills issuance and €1.9 billion in ECB profits, as it tries to stave off a funding crunch, a proposal which will be presented on the Wednesday meeting of euro area finance ministers in Brussels. The question remains what Europe's countrbid, if any, will be. For the answer: stay tuned in 24 hours.

 
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UBS Says "A Market Dislocation Is Necessary To Focus Minds" And Stop "Underestimating Grexit Risks"





  • The terms of a compromise are easier to see than the willingness to compromise. At the time of writing, Greece is deadlocked in its bilateral discussions, as well as with the troika members.
  • Breaking the deadlock voluntarily may not be easy. Political realities in the rest of Europe argue against granting the Syriza-led government concessions on debt or fiscal relief. Yet the Greek government feels it has a mandate to demand such relief.
  • Hence, outside pressure—in the form of financial and market dislocations—seems necessary to focus minds.
 
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Europe, US Risk Off After Greece Rejects European Ultimatum, Ukraine Peace Talks Falter





In the absence of any notable developments overnight, the market remains focused on the rapidly moving situation in Greece, which as detailed over the weekend, responded to Europe's Friday ultimatum very vocally and belligerently, crushing any speculation that Syriza would back down or compromise, and with just days left until the emergency Eurogroup meeting in three days, whispers that a Grexit is imminent grow louder. The only outstanding item is what happens to the EUR and to risk assets: do they rise when the Eurozone kicks out its weakest member, or will they tumble as UBS suggested this morning when it said that "the escalation of tensions between the Greek government and its creditors is so far being shrugged off by investors, an attitude which is overly simplistic and ignores the risk of market dislocations" while Morgan Stanley adds that a Grexit would likely lead to the EURUSD sliding near its all time lows of about 0.90.

 
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Futures Unchanged Ahead Of Payrolls





It has been a quiet overnight session, following yesterday's epic short-squeeze driven - the biggest since 2011 - breakout in the S&P500 back to green for the year, with European trading particularly subdued as the final session of the week awaits US nonfarm payroll data, expected at 230K, Goldman cutting its estimate from 250K to 210K three days ago, and with January NFPs having a particular tendency to disappoint Wall Street estimates on 9 of the past 10. Furthermore, none of those prior 10 occasions had a massive oil-patch CapEx crunch and  mass termination event: something which even the BLS will have to notice eventually. But more than the NFP number of the meaningless unemployment rate (as some 93 million Americans languish outside of the labor force), everyone will be watching the average hourly earnings, which last month tumbled -0.2% and are expected to rebound 0.3% in January.

 
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These Are The "Highest Conviction" Hedge Fund Strategies And Most Crowded Trades





What are the other "highest conviction trades", i.e., most crowded trades, for the hedge fund community? SocGen has the answer.

 
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Market Wrap: Equity Futures Subdued On Oil, Energy Profit Taking Following Latest Crude Inventory Surge





Following the torrid surge in crude in the past 4 days, overnight oil price have taken a step back - if only until the "newer normal" 2:30pm ramp into the Nymex close -  with both Brent and WTI down nearly 3%, with yesterday's latest API inventory data showing another massive crude build when it was released after the close, which in turn is pressuing futures modestly if decidedly, and not even the surprise PBOC RRR-cut (which many had seen as likely if only in advance of the liquidity sapping Chinese New Year) which hit the tape an hour ago managed to push ES into the green, at least for now. Curiously, not even the now standard low volume levitation in the USDJPY in recent trading has had any impact on US futures, which appear to have found a new correlation regime for the time being, one which tracks what oil does more than any other asset class.

 
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