Reuters

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Second Half Kicks Off With Futures At Record High On Lethargic Yen Carry Levitation





BTFATH! That was the motto overnight, when despite a plethora of mixed final manufacturing data across the globe (weaker Japan, Europe; stronger China, UK) the USDJPY carry-trade has been a one-way street up and to the right, and saw its first overnight buying scramble in weeks (as opposed to the US daytime trading session, when the JPY is sold off to push carry-driven stocks higher). Low volumes have only facilitated the now usual buying at the all time highs: The last trading day of 1H14 failed to bring with it any volatility associated with month-end and half-end portfolio rebalancing - yesterday’s S&P 500 volumes were about half that compared to the last trading day of 1H13.

 
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Japanese Man Self-Immolates Over Abe's Increasingly Militarist Shift





Under Article 9 of its post-war pacifist constitution, Japan is blocked from the use of force to resolve conflicts except in the case of self-defense; but, as The BBC reports, Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says he wants a new interpretation of the constitution to be agreed on. This has brought major protests in Japan, climaxing this weekend when a man set himself on fire in central Tokyo in protest at a proposed law which could allow Japan to deploy its military overseas. With stocks falling, JPY strengthening, an economy collapsing, and a surging disapproval rating, it seems Abe needs a 4th arrow - war?

 
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Obama Lied: US Sending 300 Additional Troops Into Iraq, Including Detachment Of Helicopters And Drone Aircraft





The lukewarm war waged by the Nobel peace prize winner is getting warmer by the day. Just out from Reuters:

  • UNITED STATES SENDS UP TO AN ADDITIONAL 300 TROOPS INTO IRAQ, DETACHMENT OF HELICOPTERS AND DRONE AIRCRAFT - PENTAGON

Note that "this time" it is not just "military advisors" but outright troops: According to the Pentagon, the deployment is “separate and apart” from military advisers deployed to Iraq.  This force is deploying for the purpose of protecting U.S. citizens and property, if necessary, and is equipped for combat. This force will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that it is no longer needed,” Obama says in letter to Congress.

 
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Europe Gives Bulgaria A Bank System Lifeline As Battle Over "South Stream" Pipeline Heats Up





Earlier today Reuters reported that the European Commission said on Monday it had approved a Bulgarian request to extend a credit line of 3.3 billion levs ($2.30 billion) in support of banks that have come under speculative attack. “The Commission concluded that the state aid implied by the provision of the credit line is proportionate and commensurate with the need to ensure sufficient liquidity in the banking system in the particular circumstances,” the EU executive said in a statement. The statement said Bulgaria’s banking system was “well capitalised and has high levels of liquidity compared to its peers in other member states. For precautionary reasons, Bulgaria has taken this measure to further increase the liquidity and safeguard its financial system”. The move follows runs by jittery depositors on two major Bulgarian commercial banks in the space of a week. And while this latest backstop of the Bulgarian bank system should provide a respite from bank insolvency fears (if only for the time being), one wonders about Europe's true intentions.

 
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Supreme Court Gives Obamacare Opponents Biggest Legal Victory Yet





Moments ago the US Supreme Court - the same Supreme Court which two years ago upheld Obamacare but as a tax, something the administration has since sternly denied - dealt Obamacare its biggest legal blow to date, and alternatively handing Obamacare opponents their largest court victory yet, when in a 5-4 vote SCOTUS ruled that business owners can object on religious grounds to a provision of President Barack Obama's healthcare law that requires closely held private companies to provide health insurance that covers birth control. 

 
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Frontrunning: June 30





  • Facebook Researchers Manipulated News Feeds in 2012 Study (BBG)
  • Argentina at Brink of Default as $539 Million Payment Due (BBG)
  • Hedge fund correlation risk alarms investors (FT)
  • As China Flexes Muscle, Obama Frets Over Rival’s Weakness (BBG)
  • As caliphate declared, Iraqi troops battle for Tikrit (Reuters)
  • Dubai Caps Worst Month Since 2008 as Real Estate Stocks Tumble (BBG)
  • Russian Advisers Ready Iraq to Use New Combat Aircraft (BBG)
  • Blackstone Readies Big-Bet Hedge Fund (WSJ) - so what was GSO?
  • Pope says communists are closet Christians (Reuters)
  • Thomson Reuters revising FX trading standards (Reuters)
 
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At The Halfway Point Of 2014, Futures Are Treading Water





It is the last day of not only the month but also the quarter, not to mention the halfway point of 2014, which means that window dressing by hedge funds will be rampant, as they scramble to catch up some of the ground lost to the S&P 500 so far in 2014. Most likely this means that once again the most shorted names will ramp in everyone's face and the short side of the hedgie book will soar, further pushing hedged P&L into the red, because remember: in a market in which all the risk is borne by the Fed there is no need to hedge.

 
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Where Should Gold Be Priced Relative to the Fed's Balance Sheet?





Indeed, for Gold to even realign based on the Fed’s actions, it would need to be north of $1,900. That’s a full 35% higher than where it trades today.

 
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ISIS Declares A Caliphate; Crucifies 9 Syrian Rebels For Being "Too Moderate"





Erstwhile leader of ISIS, Sheikh Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi has declared himself Caliphate, Amir Al-Mu'minin - Leader of Believers, as militants bear down on Baghdad. This comes as the extremist group demands that all Al-Qaeda and Jihadi branches must now pledge allegiance to ISIS.. if not there are consequences as nine rebels have been crucified for being too 'moderate' or accused of receiving support from Western powers. We suspect this may slow 'demand' for Obama's latest cunning plan to offer 'aid' to only "moderate" terrorists.

 
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Pentagon Admits Armed Drones Flying Over Baghdad; Top Shiite Cleric Joins US Calling For Maliki Ouster





With Iraq closing a last minute deal with Russia to reinforce its depleted airforce by purchasing second-hand Su fighter jets, suddenly the US found itself scrambling: the last thing it wants is to hand over control of Iraq's skies to foreign-made warplanes. Which is perhaps why as CBS just reported, a Pentagon official has officially confirmed that the US is now flying armed drones over Baghdad. "The flights, which are not round the clock, are for the protection of the embassy and are not the precursor to air strikes" according to the same source.

 
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European Euphoric Expansion Caption Contest





Ukraine's President Petro Poroshenko (C) poses with European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso (L) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy (R) at the EU Council in Brussels June 27, 2014 following the singing of Ukraine's trade agreement with EU. Euphoria ensues.

 
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Frontrunning: June 27





  • Yellen Spending Recipe Lacking Key Ingredient: Bigger Wage Gains (BBG)
  • Ukraine signs trade agreement with EU, draws Russian threat (Reuters)
  • GM Documents Show Senior Executive Had Role in Switch (WSJ)
  • Australian Report Postulates Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 Lost Oxygen (WSJ)
  • World’s Biggest Debt Load Lures Distressed Funds to China  (BBG)
  • GPIF Rushing Into Riskier Assets Before Ready, Okina Says (BBG)
  • Japan Prices Rise Most Since ’82 on Tax, Utility Fees (BBG)
  • Italian Debt Swells to Rival Germany as Bond Yields Slide (BBG)
  • China’s Manhattan Project Marred by Ghost Buildings (BBG)
  • BOE's Carney Says Rates Won't Rise to Levels Previously Considered Normal (WSJ)
 
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Obama Asks For $500 Million To Equip Syrian Rebels As The ISIS Juggernaut In Iraq Spreads





As the war in Iraq goes from bad to worse, and as the Obama administration is tired of being humiliated by a bunch of extremist Al Qaeda tribesman, the president is once again pivoting to the place where it all started. It is here where he intends on arming the local Al Qaeda jihadists once again, and will request half a billion dollars from Congress to achieve just that. The good news: Obama will only arm just the "moderate" al Qaeda forces. So there is nothing to fear.

 
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Obama "Deeply Disappointed" By Supreme Court Decision To Limit His Power





"Today's SCOTUS decision is encouraging for all who believe in the checks and balances enshrined in our nation's constitution," is Darrell Issa's message following the Supreme Court's unanimous (9-0) decision cutting back the power of the White House to temporarily fill senior government posts when facing partisan opposition in Congress. The White House spokesman said President Obama was "deeply disappointed" and is 'reviewing' the decision. Simply put, President Obama used the recess appointment power to make an end run around a Senate that refused to confirm controversial nominees - thanks to this unanimous SCOTUS decision, that use of the power is all but dead.

 
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