Reuters

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Gold Breaks Out As Tensions In Middle East, With Russia Intensify - Technicals and Fundamentals Positive





Gold is nearly 2% higher this week and its technical position has further improved (see key charts). On Wednesday, gold broke out of bullish descending wedge chart pattern that has formed in recent months. Another buy signal for gold came when gold rose above the 20 EMA and 50 EMA (exponential moving averages). Also positive is the fact that the price momentum oscillator (PMO) has turned up, indicating that a positive momentum shift has occurred.

 
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Nigeria Declares "State Of Emergency" As Study Finds West African Ebola Virus Is Previously Undetected "New Strain"





Following the WHO's warnings, (the ironically named) Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan has declared a "state of emergency" over the Ebola outbreak that is rapidly escalating in his nation. This comes on the heels of a US medical journal study that finds, as Reuters reports, the Ebola virus that is ravagaing West Africa was not imported from Central Africa but caused by a "new strain" of the disease - raising the specter of further regional epidemics.

 
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Iraq Airstrikes Begin Despite Warning ISIS Retaliation Could Put Baghdad Underwater





Pentagon Press Secretary Admiral John Kirby confirms:

US military aircraft conduct strike on ISIL artillery. Artillery was used against Kurdish forces defending Erbil, near US personnel.

2 F-18A Aircraft dropped 500lb bombs. We anxiously await ISIS' response which - as the State Department warns "could leave Mosul under 100 feet of water."

 
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WHO Declares "Health Emergency", Admits "Stretched To Limit" On "Out Of Control" Ebola Outbreak As Nigeria Cases Soar





CDC Director Frieden's worst nightmare is coming true - Nigeria, of which he was "deeply concerned" due to the population density in Lagos for instance, has admitted 139 patients are now being monitored for Ebola (up from 8 mere days ago). This, along with "the outbreak moving faster than we can control it," drive the World Health Organization (WHO) to declare West Africa's Ebola epidemic, an "extraordinary event" and now constitutes an international health risk. As Reuters reports, the agency said that, all states with Ebola transmission - so far Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria and Sierra Leone - should declare a national emergency, as former WHO official warned "governments appear to not have been engaged as necessary."

 
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Frontrunning: August 8





  • Pope Francis calls for action as Iraqi Christians forced to flee (Reuters)
  • Richest Russians Deprived of Luxury Foods by Putin’s Ban (BBG)
  • Exxon Drilling Russian Arctic Shows Sanction Lack Bite (BBG)
  • Israeli Jets Strike Gaza Targets After Rockets Shatter Truce (BBG)
  • U.S. starts aid airdrops in Iraq but no strikes yet (Reuters)
  • Banks Said to Be Arranging Argentine Debt Buyer Group (BBG)
  • Siberia Flight-Ban Threat Forces Airlines to Mull Options (BBG)
  • Malaysia Airlines to Be Delisted in $429 Million Buyout (BBG)
  • Erdogan poised to win Turkey's first popular presidential vote (Reuters)
  • African Bank Fights Collapse in Espirito Santo-Like Drama (BBG)
  • China to build lighthouses on five isles in defiance of U.S. call (Reuters)
 
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70% Of Americans Believe Illegal Immigrants Threaten Way Of Life





In recent weeks, Bloomberg Businessweek reports, President Obama and congressional Republicans have begun to offer the same simple-sounding solution for dealing with the flood of children crossing the U.S. border alone: Send the kids home. But with tens of thousands of them churning through the system, some just toddlers, the logistics are overwhelming. Since October, more than 57,000 children have arrived by themselves, most from Central America (as we show below), and 22,000 more have been detained with their parents (mostly children under 12). The American people appears considerably more concerned than the politicians - a Reuters/Ipsos poll shows 70% of Americans - including 86% of Republicans - believe undocumented immigrants threaten traditional U.S. beliefs and customs.

 
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Separatist Donetsk People's Republic Gets A New Leader "To Beef Up The Military Wing"





A few hours ago, the existing head of the breakaway Donetsk People's Republic in East Ukraine, Aleksander Borodai, current head of the self-proclaimed "Donetsk People's Republic" (DNR), and one of the Russian nationals that have taken top roles among the pro-Russia rebels, was said to be quitting his post. Moments ago RIA confirmed that Borodai is indeed out and would be replaced with Alexander Zakharchenko, a native of Donetsk, who heads a heavily armed rebel unit called Oplot. Contrary to some early erroneous speculation that this replacement is a sign of moderation of hostilities, Reuters reports, citing a source, that "He is being named to beef up the military wing."

 
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Unintentional Headline Humor Du Jour





Presented without comment.

 
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Frontrunning: August 7





  • Russia bans all U.S. food, EU fruit and vegetables in sanctions response (Reuters)
  • Snowden receives three-year Russian residence permit (Reuters)
  • Headline of the day: Europe's Recovery Menaced by Putin as Ukraine Crisis Bites (BBG)
  • Americans worry that illegal migrants threaten way of life, economy (Reuters)
  • Almost 90% of Uninsured Won't Pay Penalty Under the Affordable Care Act in 2016 (WSJ)
  • Germany’s Bond Advance Sends 2-Year Note Yield Below Zero (BBG)
  • Gaza War’s Critics in Crosshairs as Israelis Back Offensive (BBG)
  • The 1% May Be Richer Than You Think, Research Shows (BBG)
  • Bank of America Near $16 Billion to $17 Billion Settlement (WSJ)
  • Deep Water Fracking Next Frontier for Offshore Drilling (BBG)
 
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China's "Prelude To A Storm" As Record Private Bonds Mature





With Shanghai having limited retail exposure to high-yield bonds, and the Chinese corporate bond market has overtaken the United States as the world's biggest and is set to soak up a third of global company debt needs over the next five years, it is no wonder that, as Bloomberg reports, analysts fear "a prelude to a storm." Privately issued notes totaling 6.2 billion yuan ($1 billion) come due next quarter, the most since authorities first allowed such offerings from small- to medium-sized borrowers in 2012. This week a 4th issuer has faced a "payment crisis" and while officials are trying to expand financing for small companies (which account for 70% of China's economy, with debt-to-equity ratios exceeding 200%, this is nothing but more ponzi. As Goldman warns, it appears China's Minsky Moment is drawing near (as the hangover from Q1's credit impulse kicks in).

 
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Inflation Watch: The Incredible Shrinking Coke Can





U.S. soft drink companies are increasingly shifting to "mini-cans" in an apparent strategy to help the poor obese people of the world manage caloric intake better. Mini-can sales are up 3% as the rest of the industry is in demise. All sounds great... However, as Reuters notes, the reality of the shift toward smaller cans "is almost the industry admitting that volume is not going to be growing very much." Simply put, it is one way that companies can drive higher prices and larger margins: Consumers may feel as though they’re buying a cheaper, smaller soda, but they are often paying more per fluid ounce. But do not fear, inflation is contained.

 
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Capital Controls & Confiscation - The Most Important Strategy Investors Ignore





“If I scare you this morning, and as a result you take action, then I will have accomplished my goal," is how Casey Research's Jeff Clark began a recent conference speech. But the reality is that he didn’t need to try to scare anyone. Sadly, the evidence is overwhelming and has already alarmed most investors; our greatest risk is not a bad investment but our political exposure. And yet most of these same investors do not see any need to stash bullion outside their home countries. They view international diversification as an extreme move. Many don’t even care if capital controls are instituted. We're convinced that this is the most common - and important - strategic investment error made today...

 
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ISIS Marches On (And The Saudis Are Getting Nervous)





The fundamentalist retro-gang that has conquered Northern Iraq has decided it needs to go Taliban on cultural monuments it disapproves of. In short, the group is not only killing people that don't conform to its harsh version of Islam, it is also trying to erase all traces of their history and culture - "The demolition of structures erected above graves is a matter of great religious clarity." It is quite ironic that Saudi Arabia, allegedly one of the main financial backers of ISIS, is finally getting worried a bit in light of all these events. Luckily, there is absolutely nothing to worry about. Not only do the Saudis believe that “ISIS will run out of steam” just before it gets to Mecca (see above), but more importantly, “the US State Department also issued a statement that it was “actively monitoring” the Iraqi situation” (apparently it neglected to “actively monitor” the Lebanese situation though). What could possibly go wrong?

 
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Frontrunning: August 6





  • So that's what Obama meant by "costs" - Italy Recession, German Orders Signal Euro-Area Struggle (BBG)
  • Russia worries, weak German data weigh on Europe (Reuters)
  • Hedge Funds Betting Against Banco Espírito Santo in Line for Big Gains (WSJ)
  • Bankers Called Up for Ukraine War as Rolls-Royce for Sale (BBG)
  • Double Punch for 'Inversion' Deals (WSJ)
  • Statist Strongmen Putin-Xi See History’s Capitalism Clash (BBG)
  • China bans beards, veils from Xinjiang city's buses (Reuters)
  • BATS to Settle High-Speed Trading Case (WSJ)
  • Second Ebola patient wheeled into Atlanta hospital for treatment (Reuters)
 
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Futures Tumble On Abysmal European Data, Euro Stocks Turn Red For 2014; German 2Y Bunds Negative





With everyone focused on China as the source of next systemic risk, most forgot or simply chose to ignore Europe, which through Draghi's verbal  magic was said to be "fixed." Or at least everyone hoped that the rigged European bond market would preserve the "recovery" illusion a little longer giving the world some more time to reform pretend it is doing something to fix it. Turns out that was a mistake, confirmed earlier not only by the plunge in German Factory Orders which cratered -4.3%, down from 7.7% and below the 1.1% revised, and UK Industrial production which missed expectations of a 0.6% boost, rising only 0.3%, but most importantly Italy's Q2 GDP shocker, which as we reported earlier, dropped for the second consecutive quarter sending the country officially into recession. As a result, European stock markets, Stoxx600, has joined the DJIA in the red for the year while Germany's 2 Year Bund just went negative on aggressive risk aversion, the first time since 2012.

 
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