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Frontrunning: December 23





  • Christmas rally enters sixth day in Europe (Reuters)
  • Downing North Korea's Internet not much of a scalp (Reuters)
  • North Korean Internet Access Restored After Hours-Long Outage (BBG)
  • At U.N. council, U.S. calls life in North Korea 'living nightmare' (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Cuts Gold Reserve to Nine-Year Low as Russia Buys (BBG)
  • De Blasio Seeks to Heal Rifts With Police After Officers Slain (BBG)
  • Oil steady around $60 on hopes of strong U.S. data (Reuters) - so it fell below $60 because...
  • Australian Dollar Hits Four and a Half Year Low on Chine Growth Worries (Reuters)
 
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2014 Year In Review (Part 1): The Final Throes Of A Geopolitical Game Of Tetris





Every year, David Collum writes a detailed "Year in Review" synopsis full of keen perspective and plenty of wit. This year's is no exception. "I have not seen a year in which so many risks - some truly existential - piled up so quickly. Each risk has its own, often unknown, probability of morphing into a destructive force. It feels like we’re in the final throes of a geopolitical Game of Tetris as financial and political authorities race to place the pieces correctly. But the acceleration is palpable. The proximate trigger for pain and ultimately a collapse can be small, as anyone who’s ever stepped barefoot on a Lego knows..."

 
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Frontrunning: December 19





  • Icahn, Paulson Suffer Large Losses as Energy-Related Bets Sour (WSJ)
  • Oil Investors Keep Betting Wrong on When Market Will Bottom (BBG)
  • U.S. to sell final $1.25 billion shares of Ally Financial from bailout (Reuters)
  • Ally Financial Gets Subpoena Related to Subprime Automotive Finance (WSJ)
  • Russia's parliament rushes through bill boosting banking capital (Reuters)
  • How a Memo Cost Big Banks $37 Billion (WSJ)
  • ECB considers making weaker euro zone states bear more quantitative easing risk (Reuters)
  • How the U.S. Could Retaliate Against North Korea (BBG)
 
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China Prepares To Bailout Russia





Earlier this evening China's State Administration of Foreign Exchange's (SAFE) Wang Yungui noted "the impact of the Russian Ruble depreciation was unclear yet, and, as Bloomberg reported, "SAFE is closely watching Ruble's depreciation and encouraging companies to hedge Ruble risks." His comments also echoed the ongoing FX reform agenda aimed at increasing Yuan flexibility which The South China Morning Post then hinted in a story entitled "Russia may seek China help to deal with crisis," which which noted that Russia could fall back on its 150 billion yuan ($24 billion) currency swap agreement with China if the ruble continues to plunge, that was signed in October. Furthermore, two bankers close to the PBOC reportedly said the swap-line was meant to reduce the role of the US dollar if China and Russia need to help each other overcome a liquidity squeeze. Is 'isolated' Russia about to be bailed out by the world's largest economy China?

 
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Frontrunning: December 17





  • Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
  • Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
  • 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
  • Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
  • Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
  • Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
  • Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
  • China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: December 15





  • Sydney Siege Sparks Muslim Call for Calm Amid Backlash Fear (BBG)
  • Oil Spilling Over Into Central Bank Policy as Fed Enters Fray (BBG)
  • Biggest LBO of 2014: BC Partners to acquire PetSmart for $8.7 billion (Reuters)
  • Tremble algos: the SEC has hired... "QUANTS" (WSJ)
  • When the bubble just isn't bubbly enough: There’s $1.7 Trillion Locked Out of China’s Stock Rally (BBG)
  • Oil price slide roils emerging markets, yen rises (Reuters) - may want to hit F5 on that
  • Libya Imposes Force Majeure on 2 Oil Ports After Clashes (BBG) ... and will resume production in days
  • Amid Crisis, Pimco Steadies Itself (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: December 9





  • China’s Stocks Sink Most Since 2009 as Turnover Jumps to Record (BBG)
  • Greek Stocks, Bonds Tumble (WSJ)
  • China tightens LGFV funding screws (BBG)
  • Crude Rebounds From Five-Year Low Amid Shale-Oil Spending Curbs (BBG)
  • Sexual threats, other CIA methods detailed in Senate report (Reuters)
  • U.S. Takes Security Precautions Overseas Ahead of CIA Report (WSJ)
  • Light-Speed Treasury Trading Governed by Rules Dating to 1998 (BBG)
  • Delhi to ban all internet taxi firms after Uber rape claim (Reuters)
  • Supreme Group Fined $389 Million for Overcharging Pentagon (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: December 8





  • Welcome to the recovery:
    • Euro zone warning hits stocks, currency as oil plumbs depths (Reuters)
    • Japan GDP Worse Than Initially Reported (WSJ)
    • China trade data well below expectations (BBC)
    • German industrial production frustrates forecasts (FT)
  • Oil Extends Retreat With European Stocks as Dollar Gains (BBG)
  • California police, protesters clash again after 'chokehold' death (Reuters)
  • Ruble’s Rout Is Tale of Failed Threats, Missteps (BBG), not to be confused with "Yen's Rout Is Tale Of Keynesian Success, Prosperity"
  • Uber banned from operating in Indian capital after driver rape (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: December 5





  • Marchers again swarm New York to protest death at hands of police (Reuters)
  • N.Y. Police Chokehold Evidence to Stay Secret as Protests Spread (BBG)
  • Obama to announce choice of Ash Carter for defense chief Friday: White House (Reuters)
  • Boehner vows to avoid government shutdown with help from Democrats (Reuters)
  • Brent Heads for 5-Year Low as Saudi Discounts Spur Competition (BBG)
  • Will Cheap Oil Lead to Big Mergers? (WSJ)
  • Bank of Russia Ramps Up Ruble Support (WSJ)
  • China Bad-Loan Level Seen Understated After Economy Slows (BBG)
  • Uber Snags $41 Billion Valuation (WSJ)
 
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How The Ukrainian Government Is Giving Away Citizenships So Foreigners Can Run The Country





Claims that the new government in Ukraine is nothing more than a Western puppet Parliament have been swirling around consistently since February. Nevertheless, we think it’s very significant that the takeover is now overt, undeniable and completely out in the open

Meet American, Natalie Jaresko, who runs private equity fund Horizon Capital, and just became Ukraine’s Finance Minister.

 
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Government's Small Business Administration Exposed As Corporate Welfare For Big Business





Many people have noted that the more insidious or corrupt a law or agency, the more positive sounding its name. The most egregious example during my lifetime, was naming legislation that stripped Americans of most of their civil liberties the “Patriot” Act. In a similar vein, which red-blooded American could ever be opposed to something called the Small Business Administration (SBA). As such, the SBA is the perfect vehicle for cronyism, corruption and corporate welfare, which indeed appears to be its primary reason for existence.

 
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Pension Funds Propose Hedge Funds Should Meet Benchmarks Before Charging Fees





With the average hedge fund down 1% year-to-date, it is perhaps no surprise that investors are pushing back against the fee structure... Pension funds and other investors called for changes Tuesday in the way hedge funds charge fees. The proposed changes were outlined in a statement by the Alignment of Interests Association (AOI), a hedge fund investor group to which many pension funds belong. The group said that hedge funds should only charge performance fees when returns beat benchmarks, and that fee structures should better link fees to long-term performance.

 
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Frontrunning: December 3





  • Fall of the Bond King: How Gross Lost Empire as Pimco Cracked (BBG)
  • Hong Kong 'Occupy' leaders surrender as pro-democracy protests appear to wither (Reuters)
  • Ashton Carter, Ex-Pentagon No. 2, Emerges as Obama Favorite for Defense Secretary (WSJ)
  • Oil, the Ruble and Putin Are All Headed for 63. A Russian Joke -- for the Moment (BBG)
  • New U.S. oil and gas well November permits tumble nearly 40 percent (Reuters)
  • Swedish government on brink of collapse (AJ)
  • China says Britain has no moral responsibility for Hong Kong (Reuters)
  • Indian Labs Deleted Test Results for U.S. Drugs, Documents Show (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: December 1





  • Moody’s Downgrades Japan’s Credit Rating (WSJ)
  • China Factory Gauge Drops as Shutdowns Add to Slowdown (BBG)
  • Euro zone factory growth stalls in November as new orders sink (Reuters)
  • Espírito Santo Faces Money-Laundering Investigations (WSJ)
  • Oil at $40 Possible as Market Transforms Caracas to Iran (BBG)
  • Hong Kong warns protesters not to return after clashes close government HQ (Reuters)
  • Bond Secrets Decoded 9,539 Miles From Wall Street in Lot (BBG)
  • Ruble Rally Turns to Rout as Fortunes Tied to Sinking Oil (BBG)
  • Loans Made in Blink as Banks, Funds Vie for LendingClub Clients (BBG)
 
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The Price Of Oil Exposes The True State Of The Economy





We should be glad the price of oil has fallen the way it has (losing another 6% today as we write this). Not because it makes the gas in our cars a bit cheaper, that’s nothing compared to the other service the price slump provides. That is, it allows us to see how the economy is really doing, without the multilayered veil of propaganda, spin, fixed data and bailouts and handouts for the banking system.

 
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