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Frontrunning: August 20





  • Ferguson at Turning Point After Night of Relative Calm (BBG)
  • Gaza war rages on, Hamas says Israel tried to kill its military chief (Reuters)
  • Surge in Putin Patriotism Masks Pain of Sanctions (BBG)
  • Bank of England splits over rate hike for first time in 3 years (Reuters)
  • Putin Meeting Leaves Kiev With Tough Choices (WSJ)
  • European Gas Reverses Biggest Drop Since 2009 on Ukraine (BBG)
  • "Isolation"  Mongolia Seeks Economic Lifeline With Pivot to China, Russia (BBG)
  • Uber Picks David Plouffe to Wage Regulatory Fight (NYT)
  • China Levies Record Antitrust Fine on Japanese Firms (BBG)
 
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For Argentina, Default Is Minor; The Real Problem Is Much Worse





By now it is well known that Argentina has been declared in default by the major credit rating agencies. However, the default is really a sideshow to Argentina's real problem, which is a profligate government financing its spending increasingly via the printing press, while publishing severely falsified “inflation” data in order to mask this fact. Inflationary policy is and always will be extremely destructive. In the developed world, a situation like that observed in Argentina has so far been avoided, but that doesn't exactly mean that central banks in the industrialized nations are slouches in the money printing department. Their actions buy us what appear to be “good times” by diverting scarce resources into various bubble activities, but in reality they impoverish us.

 
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Barclays Wants Dark Pool Complaint Against It Dismissed, Says "Nobody Was Harmed"; NY Attorney General Disagrees





File this one for the bizarro files. After Barclays was caught lying to its "sophisticated" clients about how it handles their order following the lawsuit by NY AG Schneiderman, the bank, having suffered an epic 75% collapse of trading volume in its dark pool, has decided to fight back and earlier today filed a motion to dismiss the dark pool complaint against it. Its main argument, as reported by the WSJ, is that the attorney general's complaint "fails to identify any fraud, establishing no material misstatements, no identified victims and no actual harm." In other words, Barclays alleges the dark pool participants were smart enough to figure out Barclays was lying to them when it promised their order flow wouldn't be offered up to predatory algos.

 
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"Buying The Car Was The Worst Decision I Ever Made" - The Subprime Auto Loan Bubble Bursts





It has been over six months since we first highlighted the growing deterioration in the quality of auto loans and mentioned the 's' word (subprime) as indicative that we learned nothing from the financial crisis. Since then, auto loans (and especially subprime in the last few months) have surged to record highs; and most concerning, recently has seen delinquencies and late payments spike. The reason we provide this background is that, thanks to The NY Times, this story is now hitting the mainstream media as subprime-quality car buyers (new and used) realize the burden they have placed on themselves thanks to exorbitantly high interest rates (and a rapidly depreciating 'asset'). As one car 'owner' exclaimed, "buying the car was the worst decision I have ever made."

 
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Second Chinese Bond Default On Deck





It seems like it was only yesterday when the first official Chinese corporate default in history (there have been many other ones in the past but all were quickly masked by the government to avoid a panic), Chaori Solar, entered the history books. Now it's time for default number in the country's onshore bond market as Huatong Road & Bridge Group, a company whose businesses includ bridge and highway construction, real estate, coal, eco-friendly construction materials and agriculture-related projects, based in the northern province of Shanxi, said it may miss a 400 million yuan ($64.5 million) note payment due July 23, according to a statement to the Shanghai Clearing House yesterday.

 
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The (Other) Truth About The Financial Crisis: 10 "Geithner-Sized" Myths Exposed





After the crisis, many expected that the blameworthy would be punished or at the least be required to return their ill-gotten gains—but they weren’t, and they didn’t. Many thought that those who were injured would be made whole, but most weren’t. And many hoped that there would be a restoration of the financial safety rules to ensure that industry leaders could no longer gamble the equity of their firms to the point of ruin. This didn’t happen, but it’s not too late. It is useful, then, to identify the persistent myths about the causes of the financial crisis and the resulting Dodd-Frank reform legislation and related implementation...."Plenty of people saw it coming, and said so. The problem wasn’t seeing, it was listening."

 
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Edge of a knife! Eurozone: Countdown to Crisis? Yes or No?









TedBits - Newsletter

 
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Mega Merger Monday Bonanza Postponed Indefinitely As USDJPY Slides Under 200 DMA





It was supposed to be a blistering Mega Merger Monday following the news of both AT&T'a purchase of DirecTV and Pfizer's 15% boosted "final" offer for AstraZeneca. Instead it is shaping up to be not only a dud but maybe a drubbing, with AstraZeneca plunging after its board rejected the latest, greatest and last offer, European peripheral bond spreads resume blowing out again, whether on concerns about the massive Deutsche Bank capital raise or further fears that "radical parties" are gaining strength in Greece ahead of local elections. But the worst news for BTFDers is that not only did the USDJPY break its long-term support line as we showed on Friday, but this morning it is taking even more technician scalps after it dropped below its 200 DMA (101.23) which means that a retest of double digit support is now just a matter of time, as is a retest of how strong Abe's diapers are now that the Nikkei has slid to just above 14,000, while China, following its own weak housing sales data, saw the Shanghai Composite briefly dip under 2000 before closing just above it. Overall, it is shaping up to be a less than stellar day with zero econ news (hence no bullish flashing red headlines of horrible data) for the algos who bought Friday's late afternoon VIX slam-driven risk blast off.

 
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This Is Exactly How You Destroy A Banking System





You might not realize it, but yesterday was a very important date. Yes, of course, it was Cinco de Mayo. But possibly more important, it’s also the deadline for banks around the world to sign up for information-sharing agreements with the IRS.

 
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Frontrunning: April 24





  • Ukraine forces kill up to five rebels, Putin warns of consequences (Reuters)
  • Obama to Russia: More sanctions are 'teed up' (AP)
  • Vienna Banks Bemoan Russia Sanctions Testing Cold War Neutrality (BBG)
  • GE’s $57 Billion Cash Overseas Said to Fuel Alstom Deal (BBG)
  • GM posts lower first-quarter profit after recall costs (Reuters)
  • Apple Stock Split Removes Obstacle to Inclusion in Dow (BBG)
  • U.S. regulators to propose new net neutrality rules in May (Reuters)
 
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The Great Stock Buyback Craze Is Finally Ending





As we reported last night, whether as a result of Snowden revelations and NSA blowback by BRIC nations, or simply because the global economy is contracting far faster than rigged and manipulated markets worldwide will admit, IBM's Q1 revenues not only missed consensus earnings, but dropped to their lowest level since 2009. And yet, IBM stock is just shy off its all time highs and earnings per share have been flat if not rising during this period, leading even such acclaimed investors who never invest in tech companies as Warren Buffett to give IBM the seal of approval. How is that possible? Simple: all that investment grade companies like IBM have done in the New Normal in order to preserve the illusion of growth, is to use cash from operations, or incremental zero-cost leverage, to fund stock buybacks. In essence a balance sheet for income statement tradeoff. However, that "great stock buyback gimmick" as we call it, is finally coming to an end.

 
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The Chinese Ponzi Continues: Property Developers Buy (Piggy) Banks





"Whatever it takes," appears to have become the new mantra across global financial systems and with Chinese shadow banks under increasing pressure (as cash-for-commodity deal financing dries up and "hedge" losses mount on 'surprise' Yuan weakness), property developers are increasingly desperate for liquidity. The solution, as The FT reports, Chinese property companies are buying stakes in banks and raising fears that the country’s already stretched developers are trying to cosy up to their lenders. 10 Chinese developers, who have been active in recent bank IPOs, have invested an 'unprecedented' $3bn in their potential lifeline lenders.

 
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Sanctioned Russian Bank Shuts US Accounts To "Protect" Russian Clients





The sanctioned Russian bank - Bank Rossiya - is "taking measures to protect its Russian clients" from potentially unfair actions by US banks by shutting correspondence accounts in the US. Furthermore, the bank, which is oh so grateful for the support of Vladimir Putin (who opened a personal account with the bank soon after the sanctions), added it will meet all obligations and will not need additional support as will concentrate only on its Russian clients and work only in Rubles.

 
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