• Pivotfarm
    04/20/2014 - 17:08
    As the audience went from laughter to applause, Vladimir Putin responded to the question that he had just read out on a televised debate in Russia. What was the question?

Ohio

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These Are America's Most And Least "Taxing" States (And Everything Inbetween)





One of the most consistent debates emanating out of Washington in the past 6 years has been that dealing with income tax. Whether high, low, "fair" or "unfair", said discussions, however, focus solely on tax paid at the Federal level, and largely ignore that "other" key tax: state. Which is surprising, considering some states such as California demand a total contribution amounting to a third of the highest marginal Federal tax bracket, which could make some wonder if those bracing sea breezes are really worth it. But what about the other states? Here is the full breakdown of the states with the top income tax rates, those with the lowest, and all the states inbetween.

 


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All This And World War, Too?





Ukraine is quickly turning into a Vietnam moment for the US political scene. When will parties in the USA (including Obama camp “progressives”) stop cheerleading for a showdown over this hapless doormat of a faraway nation whose destiny is not entwined with the people of Ohio, Nebraska, Rhode Island, or any of the other fifty states? We have enough to do in our own country to adjust to the new realities of the unraveling turbo-industrial global economy — and, by the way, we are not doing a damn thing to address any of it. Our domestic political conversation at all levels is juvenile and idiotic.

 


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HFT Trader Busted For Spoofing Nearly Cheated His Way To The Top Of CNBC's Million-Dollar Challenge





Dondero had quite a "track record" of illegal trading activity before he was finally busted for one last time engaging in HFT spoofing. However, it is not his FINRA brokercheck record that is of interest, but the fact that back in 2007, in the first ever CNBC Million-Dollar challenge, it was none other than Dondero who almost won. And yes, he nearly manipulated his way to the $1 million prize money then too. Only, the way he did fudged his winning percentage was not as most other competition participants had, by abusing the widely known system glitch that allowed contestants to see which stocks were rising in after-hours trading and then to buy those stocks at the lower, 4 p.m. EST closing price, but using a far more devious scheme. One which is reminiscent of the crime that last week just ended his trading career in the real world as well.

 


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Frontrunning: April 7





  • The counter-HFT-attack begins with first target - dark pools: Dark markets may be more harmful than high-frequency trading (Reuters)
  • Malaysia Jet Team Hears Pings Consistent With Black Box (BBG)
  • At Toyota as Humans Steal Jobs From Robots (BBG)
  • ‘Reverse Auctions’ Draw Scrutiny (NYT)
  • Death knell sounds for Brazil’s economic strategy (FT)
  • Technology Traders Head for the Exit as Put Trades Surge (BBG)
  • NSA Uses Corporate News to Spread Propaganda and Silence Dissent (TruthDig)
  • Holcim, Lafarge agree to merger to create cement giant (Reuters)
  • Any minute now: Investment Jump Seen From Macy’s to Berkshire After 2013 Fizzle (BBG)
  • India kicks off world's biggest election in remote northeast (Reuters)
 


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Frontrunning: April 4





  • Nato chief defends eastern advance (FT)
  • Russia looks east as it seeks to rebalance trade interests (FT)
  • Plane from Guinea briefly quarantined in Paris after Ebola scare (AFP)
  • US attacks Japan’s stance on Trans-Pacific Partnership (FT)
  • Thank you IMF: Ukraine PM says will stick to austerity despite Moscow pressure (Reuters)
  • U.S. Army seeks motive for Fort Hood shooting rampage (Reuters)
  • China Slowdown Adds to Emerging-Market Growth Hurdles, IMF Says (BBG)
  • Top investors press Allianz to step up oversight of Pimco (Reuters)
  • U.S. to Evaluate Role in Mideast Peace Process, John Kerry Says (WSJ)
  • Scientists dismiss claims that Yellowstone volcano about to erupt (Reuters)
  • Ukraine detains 12 riot police on suspicion of 'mass murder' (Reuters) - on CIA orders?
 


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Frontrunning: March 28





  • Crimea Resolution Backed by U.S. Barely Gets UN Majority (BBG)
  • Russian Buildup Stokes Worries (WSJ)
  • As reported here first: China’s Developers Face Shakeout as Easy Money Ends (BBG)
  • U.S. House Poised to Clear Sanctions Called Putin Warning (BBG)
  • Bitcoin Prices Plunge on Report PBOC Orders Accounts Shut (BBG)
  • Search for lost Malaysian jet shifts significantly after new lead (Reuters)
  • Russian fund taps China and Middle East (FT)
  • Long battle looms between U.S. college, athletes seeking to unionize (Reuters)
  • Official warns EU-US trade deal at risk over investor cases (FT)
  • New iPhone likely out in September, Nikkei daily says (AFP)
 


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Anthony "@Hedgieguy" Davian Pleads Guilty To Fraud





Last August we presented the story of a very sad and misguided individual, one Athony Davian, who was then the first person charged with running a ponzi scheme off twitter. Today, the sad story of Anthony "@Hedgieguy" Davian comes to an end with his guilty plea to charges of fraud.

 


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Stick A Fork In The "Housing Recovery" (Spoiler Alert: Blame Record Student Debt)





The chart below from Bank of America - showing the progression of first-time US homebuyers in recent months - should scare everyone who still believes that there is some sort of "housing recovery" in the US.

 


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Existing Home Sales Lowest In 19 Months, Cheapest Home Sales Tumble 18%; Weather, Student Loans Blamed





Another month, another confirmation that the so-called housing recovery is sputtering on its last breath and is being held up entirely by the higher end segment, which however is also coming to an end now that wealthy Chinese have started liquidating their ultra luxury housing. In February, according to the NAR, some 4.6 million annualized existing homes were record, in line with expectations, and a 0.4% decline from the 4.62 million print in January. This was the 19th monthly drop in a row, and the lowest since July 2012, and a 7.1% drop year over year. But the worst news is that housing is increasingly unaffordable to the poorer Americans, with houses costing in the $0-$100 bucket down 18% from a year ago. Since nobody is applying for a mortgage any more this is hardly surprising. Finally, in addition to the usual weather excuse for weak housing sales, a new scapegoat has appeared: soaring student loans: "20 percent of buyers under the age of 33, the prime group of first-time buyers, delayed their purchase because of outstanding debt. 56 percent of younger buyers who took longer to save for a downpayment identified student debt as the biggest obstacle." Oops.

 


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Frontrunning: March 18





  • Lost Jet’s Path Seen as Altered via Computer (NYT)
  • Fed Links Low Rates to “Persistent Headwinds” in Economy (Hilsenrath)
  • Top German Court Clears Euro-Zone Bailout Fund (WSJ)
  • U.S., EU set sanctions as Putin recognizes Crimea "sovereignty" (Reuters)
  • Indian wealth effect: Sensex, Nifty hit life highs as domestic-focused firms rally (Reuters)
  • China bond default has positive effect on local government groups (FT) - unless it's negative
  • Russia tensions  risk higher gas prices (FT)
  • China Home-Price Growth Slows in Big Cities on Tight Credit (BBG)
  • ECB's Weidmann says German surpluses "here to stay" (Reuters)
  • Microsoft Office for iPad (AAPL) to be introduced this month (The Verge)
 


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The Vacant Dead: One In Five Foreclosed Homes Is A Vacant Zombie





The latest foreclosure news out of RealtyTrac is out, and provides the latest proof that if there is a housing recovery somewhere, it sure isn't in the US, where the dislocations in the supply/demand for real estate are so profound that one in five homes in the foreclosure process has been vacated by the distressed homeowner. To wit: "As of the first quarter of 2014, a total of 152,033 U.S. properties in the foreclosure process (excluding bank-owned properties) had been vacated by the distressed homeowner, representing 21 percent of all properties in the foreclosure process." This means that neither the distressed homeowner or the foreclosing lender taking responsibility for maintenance and upkeep of the home, leading to a veritable army of Vacant Dead housing units that are spreading like zombies across the nation in the most improbable housing "recovery" of all time.

 


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Frontrunning: March 7





  • Putin rebuffs Obama as Ukraine crisis escalates (Reuters)
  • Behind the $100 Billion Commodity Empire That Few Know (BBG)
  • Initial Public Offerings Hit Pace Not Seen in Years (WSJ)
  • Russian Parliament Will Back Crimea Split From Ukraine (WSJ)
  • Nakamoto Named as Bitcoin Father Denies Involvement, Flees Press (BBG)
  • Chaori Can’t Make Payment in China’s First Onshore Default (BBG)
  • Zombies Spreading Shows Chaori Default Just Start (BBG)
  • Pimco's Gross declares El-Erian is 'trying to undermine me' (Reuters)
  • U.S. Fighters Circle Baltics as Putin Fans Fear of Russia (BBG)
 


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Stock Futures Drift Into Record Territory As Chinese Fears Ease





For the second night in a row, China, and specifically its currency rate which saw the Yuan weaken once more, preoccupied investors - and certainly those who had bet on endless strenghtening of the Chinese currency - however this time it appeared more "priced in, and after trading as low as 2000, the SHCOMP managed to close modestly green, which however is more than can be said about the Nikkei which ended the session down 0.5%. Still, the USDJPY was firmly supported by the 102.00 "fundamental" fair value barrier and as a result equity futures, which had to reallign from tracking the AUDUSD to the old faithful Yen carry, have been propped up once more and are set to open at all time highs. If equities fail to breach the record barrier for the third time in a row and a selloff ensues after the open in deja vu trading, it will be time to watch out below if only purely for technical reasons.

 


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Non-Existing Home Sales Miss Expectations, Plunge 14% From Highs, Drop To 18 Month Low





Existing home sales plunged 5.1% (considerably worse than the 4.1% drop expected) to its lowest level in 18 months. This extends the string of missed expectations to 5 months as even the ever-credible NAR chief economist said it was not the weather but "we can’t ignore the ongoing headwinds of tight credit, limited inventory, higher prices and higher mortgage interest rates." First-time homebuyers plunged to a mere 26% of the total - the lowest share on record as all-cash (and spec) investors rose to a record 53% share of sales.

 


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Frontrunning: February 20





  • Facebook CEO Raises Dealmaker Profile With $19 Billion Takeover (BBG)
  • WhatsApp’s Founder Goes From Food Stamps to Billionaire (BBG)
  • U.S. Feels Putin's Sharp Elbows in Ukraine (WSJ)
  • PBOC Drains Cash as Overnight Rate Slides to Lowest in 10 Months (BBG)
  • Fed Puts Rate Increase on the Radar (Hilsenrath)
  • Banks Flouting Bonus Rules in Denmark Set to Be Named by FSA (BBG)
  • Work Set to Resume on Upgrading Panama Canal (WSJ)
  • Euro-Area Recovery Loses Pace as Manufacturing Weakens (BBG) - uh, what recovery?
  • Ukraine Exposes EU Policy Disarray (WSJ)
 


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