"We Are Taking A Stand For Freedom" - New Yorkers Explain Why They Are Waiting In Line To See "The Interview"

And just like that Americans got punk'd again. From one of the countless New Yorkers waiting in line to see The Interview: "We are taking a stand for freedom. We want to show the world that Americans won't be told what they can and can not see. If we want to see a movie we'll go see a movie and make up our own minds.... I came to express my very strong support for the free expression of ideas."

Europe Considers Wholesale Savings Confiscation, Enforced Redistribution

At first we thought Reuters had been punk'd in its article titled "EU executive sees personal savings used to plug long-term financing gap" which disclosed the latest leaked proposal by the European Commission, but after several hours without a retraction, we realized that the story is sadly true. Sadly, because everything that we warned about in "There May Be Only Painful Ways Out Of The Crisis" back in September of 2011, and everything that the depositors and citizens of Cyprus had to live through, seems on the verge of going continental. In a nutshell, and in Reuters' own words, "the savings of the European Union's 500 million citizens could be used to fund long-term investments to boost the economy and help plug the gap left by banks since the financial crisis, an EU document says." What is left unsaid is that the "usage" will be on a purely involuntary basis, at the discretion of the "union", and can thus best be described as confiscation.

CAT Misses Across The Board, Slashes Sales And Profit Outlook

Caterpillar just can't catch a break. First, in January the firm was punk'd by a Chinese acquisition fraud, forcing the company to write off half of its Q4 earnings. This, of course, in the aftermath of the miss in both Q3 and Q4 earnings. And now we get the latest disappointing news from the firm as Q1 numbers are reported lower across the board.

  • Q1 EPS $1.31, Exp $1.38; this includes a tax benefit of $87 million
  • Q1 revenue: $13.2 billion, Exp. $13.8 billion
  • Guides much lower, with revenue now seen at $57-61 billion, compared to $60-68 billion previously
  • CAT forecasts profit per share of $7.00, compared to $7.00-9.00 previously.
  • Operating cash flow of $900MM, but all of it generated from net working capital, i.e., inventory liquidation
  • And when you can't spend on capex, you spend on buybacks: CAT to extend buyback through 2015

So much for that.

Friday Humor: Nomura's Shareholder Proposals, Or #Winning By Squatting

Perhaps the only thing more spectacular than being punk'd by a rogue shareholder who uses the proxy statement of one of the world's biggest financial firms as a public venue for some quite disturbing humor, is that nobody in the US has decided to do this to the hated US financials firms. Yet.

Crude Sliding As Iran Promises To Halt Nuclear Expansion

Yesterday we had Apple sandbagging expectations with yet another round of low guidance, now it's Iran's turn, which through its Russian Ambassador just said the country will consider halting nuclear expansion to avert the EU oil ban. Needless to say, just as the Apple forward guidance so this "promise" is utterly worthless. But at least it punk'd the algos for the time being sending Brent and WTI down over $1 in a hurry.

EURUSD Tumbles On Rumor Of Papademos Resignation, Eurogroup Meeting Delay

EURUSD longs just got punk'd again, with the EURUSD surging to over 1.32 on the fake BLS number (1.2 million labor force decline, whatever, with ), when it collapsed by 100 pips as the news we tweeted earlier that Greek PM Papademos may resign today throwing the entire Greek bailout out of the window, if his talks for further austerity fail. From Kathimerini: "Papademos is expected to meet PASOK’s George Papandreou, New Democracy’s Antonis Samaras and Giorgos Karatzaferis of the Popular Orthodox Rally (LAOS) on Saturday. The three politicians will have to agree on measures that will satisfy Greece’s lenders and pave the way for a new bailout.  Sources told Kathimerini that the troika is demanding that the minimum wage of 751 euros per month (gross) be reduced and that labor costs in the private sector drop by 25 percent in a bid to help Greece regain competitiveness. Skai TV and radio reported on Friday that should the leaders fail to agree a deal, he will tender his resignation on Monday." And just to make the confusion complete, Jean Claude Juncker just announced there would be no Eurogroup meeting on February 6. So while the market is celebrating the rotation of banker jobs with minimum wage jobs, Greece may be on the verge of blowing up Europe.


Kashkari Punks CNBC And Joseph Cohen: Compares Business TV And Sellsiders To "Jersey Shore" And "Desperate Housewives"

We usually mock Neel "get me a napkin" Kashkari. This is not going to be one of those times, because in one of the better essay written on the topic, the Pimco equity strategist and former Hank Paulson right hand (fall)guy makes a mockery out of anyone and everyone who tries to predict the future, wth an emphasis on CNBC (not surprisingly considering the relentless barrage that the Comcast fin-comedy channel has unleashed toward Bill Gross in the past year) and that seer of seers, prognosticator of prognosticators: A. Joseph Cohen. Kashkari's take home: "In December 2007 sell-side equity strategist Abby Joseph Cohen predicted the S&P 500 would climb from 1,463 to reach 1,675 by the end of 2008. Given the brewing financial crisis, this was a bold call. In fact, the crisis dramatically worsened and the S&P 500 ended 2008 at 903. As the U.S. crisis recedes into memory, people have moved on.... If we’re right – and neither PIMCO, nor anyone else, can accurately predict the level of the stock market at a certain date in one week, one month or one year – why do so many sell-side analysts (and a few investment managers) make such predictions? And why do we pay any attention?  I will answer my question with a question: Why do millions of people watch professional wrestling, “The Real Housewives” or “Jersey Shore?” It makes for entertaining television." And the stab right at CNBC's conflicted little heart: "My hope from this piece is not that you stop watching business television. I certainly watch regularly and I also participate, sharing PIMCO’s views. I think it is a unique medium in which to follow markets and quickly hear a variety of perspectives on important topics. My hope is that it becomes a little easier to distinguish thoughtful commentators discussing knowable economic topics from entertainers throwing darts." Congratulations sell-side Wall Street, and their number one media venue to present senseless permbullish biased forecasts - you have just been Punk'd.

If Gold Is Getting Flushed, Greek Bonds Should Be Getting Killed

If the logic on the gold plunge is that Paulson will be dumping (as we first reported), that means that GGBs, in which Paulson has sizable long cash exposure (with or without the CDS), will be the next to go. And since he can't hedge anymore (remember the whole thing about CDS speculators being branded traitors), he will be forced to sell. Sorry Greece, Goldman just punk'd you once more.