- DAX’s ‘Brilliant’ Run Sends Red Flag as German Index Tops Record (BBG)
- U.S. military warned of possible Islamic State attacks at home: report (Reuters)
- Russia Faces First Recession Since 2009 as Banks Add to Oil Pain (BBG)
- Dodgy Home Appraisals Are Making a Comeback (WSJ)
- U.S. Corporate Bond Sales Pass $1.5 Trillion for Annual Record (BBG)
- Basic Costs Squeeze Families (WSJ)
- China Orders Stricter Checks on Local Debt as Sales Surge (BBG)
- Draghi Powerless on ECB Path Toward QE Without Reforms (BBG)
Earlier today, in a stunning announcement, Putin revealed that the South Stream project is now finished. As the WSJ reports, "Putin said Moscow will stop pursuing Gazprom’s South Stream pipeline project that would supply natural gas to Europe with an underwater link to Bulgaria, blaming the European Union for scuttling the project." Putin is right: Europe - Austria excluded - had seen rising resistance to the South Stream in recent months. The EU is concerned that the project would cement Russia’s position as Europe’s dominant supplier of natural gas. Russia already meets around 30% of Europe’s annual needs. So what does Putin do? He signs a strategic alliance with NATO member Turkey, the only country in Europe that is anything but European and which lately has been increasingly anti-Western, to build a new mega-pipeline to Turkey instead. And the exclamation point:
TURKEY, RUSSIA AGREE TO USE LOCAL CURRENCIES IN TRADE: TRT
Or, as Obama would put it, Russia just got even more "isolated."
With the apparent goal of 'protecting civilians' from ISIS and Syria's al-Assad, the US and Turkey appear to be close to agreeing on the creation of a no-fly-zone along a portion of the Syrian border. As WSJ reports, U.S. and Turkish officials have narrowed their differences over a joint military mission in Syria that would give the U.S. and its coalition partners permission to use Turkish air bases to launch strike operations against Islamic State targets across northern Syria. The no-fly-zone would provide sanctuary to Western-backed opposition forces and refugees. As Bloomberg notes, this is a significant reversal of Obama's earlier policy (fearing it would be a significant strain on the U.S. Air Force and put fliers in mortal danger) pushing US closer to outright proxy war with Russia via direct confrontation with al-Assad's airforce.
Following last week's holiday-shortened week, which was supposed to be quiet and peaceful and was anything but thanks to OPEC's shocking announcement and a historic plunge in crude prices, we have yet another busy week of macroeconomic reports to look forward to.
The precipitous decline in the price of oil is perhaps one of the most bearish macro developments this year. We believe we are entering a “new oil normal,” where oil prices stay lower for longer. While we highlighted the risk of a near-term decline in the oil price in our July newsletter, we failed to adjust our portfolio sufficiently to reflect such a scenario. This month we identify the major implications of our revised energy thesis. The reason oil prices started sliding in June can be explained by record growth in US production, sputtering demand from Europe and China, and an unwind of the Middle East geopolitical risk premium. The world oil market, which consumes 92 million barrels a day, currently has one million barrels more than it needs.... Large energy companies are sitting on a great deal of cash which cushions the blow from a weak pricing environment in the short-term. It is still important to keep in mind, however, that most big oil projects have been planned around the notion that oil would stay above $100, which no longer seems likely.
Despite all efforts by the US-led coalition, the Islamic state is still going strong. That is the awkward message US propagandists face from no lessor boots on the ground witness than Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem. "All the indications say that (Islamic State) today, after two months of coalition air strikes, is not weaker," Walid al-Moualem emphasized, contrasting the US 'coalition' military efforts with a Russian call for restarting the political process between Damascus and 'the constructive Syrian opposition'. Now that certainly is not a message the west wants the world to hear...
When Americans celebrate Thanksgiving, they don’t know what they are celebrating.
As we prepare for the annual food fest, and post-Thanksgiving tryptophan-induced food coma; we thought this weekend's reading list should be a bit of a smorgasbord of interesting topics to stimulate your brain cells between naps and football.
While not hyperinflating, the slow and insidious diminishment of the fiat US Dollar's purchasing power (and thus the living standards of lower- and middle-class Americans - who are not balls deep invested in the US stock 'market') is nowhere more evident than in the soaring costs of Thanksgiving Day dinner during the Fed's 100 year reign...
Are you in better shape financially than you were last Thanksgiving? If so, you should consider yourself to be very fortunate because most Americans are not. As you chow down on turkey, stuffing and cranberry sauce this Thursday, please remember that there are millions of Americans that simply cannot afford to eat such a meal. According to a shocking new report that was just released by the National Center on Family Homelessness, the number of homeless children in the U.S. has reached a new all-time high of 2.5 million. And right now one out of every seven Americans rely on food banks to put food on the table. Yes, life is very good at the moment for Americans at the top end of the income spectrum. The stock market has been soaring and sales of homes worth at last a million dollars are up 16 percent so far this year. But most Americans live in a very different world.
The S&P 500 closed at new record-er-est highs (a record 29th day above the 5DMA) providing just the right amount of confidence-inspiring 'wealth creation' to ensure you spend, spend, spend this weekend all those gas price savings (despite 9 of 9 macro data misses today). Dow and Trannies underperformed today as Nasdaq surged on AAPL strength. The USDollar fell for the 3rd day (first time in a month) and Treasury yields tumbled (down 5-8bps on the week) near 18 month closing lows. VIX traded briefly with an 11 handle and lost its inversion (1st day in 6). Gold prices flatlined for the 3rd day (as EURCHF fell) ahead of the Swiss gold referendum this weekend. Oil tumbled to fresh 4-year lows as OPEC hinted at no cuts and copper slipped to fresh 4 year closing lows. Late-day shenanigans sent stocks ripping higher... in a totally rational manner. Turkey prices are at $1.67/lb and have been remarkably stable over the past few years.
Some folks are not going to be beheaded today...
- Top Trade #1: EUR/$ downside via a one-year EUR/$ put spread.
- Top Trade #2: 10-year US Treasuries above 3% but not below 2% in mid-2015, through cap and floor spreads at zero cost.
- Top Trade #3: Long a Dec-2015 Eurostoxx 50 ‘bull’ call spread.
- Top Trade #4: Long US High Yield credit risk via 5-year CDX HY junior mezzanine tranches.
- Top Trade #5: Long an equity basket of EM crude oil importers (Taiwan, Turkey and India).
- Top Trade #6: Short CHF/SEK.
- Top Trade #7: Bearish Copper relative to Nickel, on supply divergence.
- Top Trade #8: Long US Dollar against a basket of ZAR and HUF.
Despite the apparent economic and profit news improvements recently, JPMorgan CIO Michael Cembalest notes there are a few instances where people are still flipping out. It’s worth reviewing them, he suggests, as they're indicative of risks and opportunities in financial markets heading into 2015, and of the continued presence of central banks affecting asset prices.
ISIS Beheads Another American After Report "Jihadi John" Injured In Air Strike; Gen. Dempsey Arrives In IraqSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 11/16/2014 11:05 -0400
Perhaps in prompt and direct refutation that the infamous executioner "Jihadi John" had been injured, a few hours ago, ISIS release its latest execution video. Yet, oddly, as in several previous instances, the 15-minute video released Sunday doesn’t show the beheading according to the WSJ, but closes with a masked man clad in black standing above what he claims is Mr. Kassig’s severed head. The extremist spoke with a British accent, and appeared to be the same man who appeared in four videos released over the past few months showing the killing of British and American hostages, i.e., the same Jihadi John who was said to have been injured.