Argentine President Arrest Warrant Discovered At Dead Prosecutor's Home

“It would have provoked a crisis without precedents in Argentina," exclaims a political analyst after, as The NYTimes reports, a draft of a warrant for the arrest of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner - accusing her of trying to shield Iranian officials from responsibility in the 1994 bombing of a Jewish center - was found at dead prosecutor Alberto Nisman's home. The new revelation has further inflamed theories regarding the heightened tensions between him and the government before he was found dead, as "it would have been a scandal on a level previously unseen."

What The Rig Plunge Really Means For The Price Of Oil

The devil is in the details: The market is likely too excited about falling rig counts. Even after the natural gas experience, the market fails to appreciate that the relationship between rig count and production can be deceptive. Headline rig count declines may look impressive, but as we look at the data, much of the drop in oil rig count has come in low yielding vertical/directional rigs – i.e. the low-hanging fruit. Even within horizontal rigs, much of the decline has come in lower performing plays or lower tier counties within high quality plays. In some cases, we’ve seen a reallocation of rigs between counties within plays. This was particularly prominent in Midland last week. The most productive rigs will likely remain as long as possible, esp where hedges are in place, until redeterminations or cash flow issues force additional cuts.

Rates Don't Matter - Liquidity Matters

If the U.S. economy is now dependent on marginal lenders and borrowers, then it is exceedingly fragile. The cure for systemic fragility is not low interest rates forever--it's a market that transparently prices credit and risk for lenders and borrowers, qualified and marginal alike.

We Officially Declare The End Of RadioShack LBO Rumors

For anyone who has traded RadioShack's bonds or stocks over the last decade or so, the constant threat of an LBO has been the bane of any fundamental analysis as one Credit Suisse memorably described it as "a company in a virtual state of constant collapse." It appears, with multiple default notices this week and the news that NYSE will suspend/delist trading in the ever-on-the-block company, that the 'LBO rumor' threat is over. With several firms (Sprint, Sanpower, and Amazon) mulling post-bankruptcy purchases, the concept of a pre-petition savior appears dead in the water...

Commodity Currencies Are Soaring

As Crude's bounce gathers pace so the world's beaten-down commodity-currencies are exploding higher. Aussie Dollar has given back all its RBA rate curt losses, The Russian Ruble is soaring, and the Canadian Dollar isd back under 1.24 against the USDollar... The USD Index is now down 1.3% since Friday.

ISIS Burns Alive Jordanian Hostage Pilot; Offers Gold Reward For Death Of More Coalition Pilots

Moments ago ISIS released a video showing a Jordanian pilot captured by the Islamic State extremist group being burned to death.  According to AP, which could not confirm tha authenticity of the video, the clip was released on militant websites and bore the logo of the extremist group's al-Furqan media service. The 20-minute-long video "featured the slick production and graphics used in previous videos released by the group."

S&P Downgrades Numerous European Banks, Warns Deutsche Bank May Be Next

Just hours after apparently settling its suit with the USA (not at all retaliation for downgrading them), S&P has taken the big red marker out on a slew of European banks:

  • Downgrades: Credit Suisse, Barclays, Lloyds, Bank of Scotland, RBS, HSBC, and Ulster Bank
  • On Watch Negative: Raiffeisen Zentralbank, MBank, Unicredit, Commerzbank, and Deutsche Bank

The driver of the shift in perspective is the apparent removal of the 'bailout put', as the prospect of "extraordinary government support" appeared less likely under recently passed bail-in legislation.

Is The "Other" Most Crowded Trade Of 2015 Starting To Crack?

With the recent collapse of Treasury yields, the massive short position in bonds has been dramatically unwound (though there is still plenty left). However, there is the other "most crowded" trade in the world - Long The USDollar - that remains... but is starting to show some cracks in the armor. Despite the highest levels of Short EUR, Long USD since the very peak of the EU Crisis in 2012 and still massively long net dollar positions across sell-side OTC indications and CFTC exchange-traded positions, the last 2 days have seen the biggest drop in the USD Index since September 2013... is the world's most crowded trade about to unwind?

The Best And Worst Hedge Funds Of January 2015

It is no secret that January was a bad month for bulls: it was in fact the worst start to the year in years, especially following that surprising last day selloff, which took the YTD drop as of January 30 to an unheard of, at least under global central-planning, -3.1%. It wasn't just the broader market: some of the more marquee hedge funds names also found it a tough time to navigate the transition of global easing away from the Fed to the ECB even as other central banks like the SNB lost all credibility, such as Fortress, Third Point, Perry, Maverick, Brevan Howard and various others, all of which had negative returns for the majority of the month based on HSBC data. But it wasn't all bad news: in fact, as the table below shows, the January outperformers generated higher relative returns than the worst funds of the month,

"It's A Man-Made Tragedy; And The Men Who Made It Won't Fix It"

"It's a man-made tragedy, and the men who made it won’t fix it." So it turns out Lenin wasn’t just right that the best way to destroy the capitalist system is to debauch the currency. It’s also the best way, as Venezuela can tell you, to destroy the socialist one.

Do Not Show Jim Bullard This Chart!!

In the realms of fantasy narrative, The Fed's Jim Bullard remains near the top, but this morning's statement that "there is a lot of momentum in the US economy" is simply remarkable in its total falsehooded-ness. As the following chart shows, we suspect when Bullard says "economy" he means "market" but even that is hardly showing momentum!!

Factory Orders Plunge 5th Month In A Row As ISM New York Crashes Most Since 2007

On the heels of the biggest crash in ISM New York since May 2007 (swinging from 9 year highs at 70.8 to 6 year lows at 44.5 in one month), Factory Orders plunged 3.4% in December (against an expectation of a 2.4% drop) - the biggest drop since Mar 2013 (ex last year's Boeing swing). Factory Orders 3.6% YoY drop is the largest since Nov09. Which explains why stocks are soaring... (despite Fed's Bullard saying "there is a lot of momentum in the US economy.")

German Bund Yields Below Japanese Bonds For First Time Ever As BoJ Loses Control

Well that escalated quickly... while the trend of Bund yield collapse continues, the biggest driver of this unprecedented shift. For the first time ever, German 10Y bund yields are trading below (3bps below) Japanese 10Y bond yields as since Q€ the spread has collapsed 35bps. A very weak JGB auction overnight suggests the BoJ is losing control of the world's biggest bond market...

Oil's Biggest Bounce Since OPEC "But Economy Is Not Strong & Stocks Too High"

The bottom-callers are out en masse as crude oil prices head for the 3rd up-day in a row and the biigest bounce since OPEC's last meeting. Overnight comments from the BP CEO on OPEC "wanting to test the market" and OPEC delegates warnings that this rebound may not be long-lasting,"prices are stabilizing around $40 to $45, but the world economy is not very strong and stocks are too high.'' Other OPEC delegates suggested prices will drop to $30-35 before this is over (in the first or second quarter)...

Back To Square One: Germany Throws Up All Over Varoufakis Proposal, Calls Greek Plan "Half-Baked"

If there was any confusion how Germany would react to the latest Greek plan, even though as we explicitly stated yesterday, the "new" Greek plan is really the "old" Greek plan but repackaged semantically for appeal to German taxpayers, even as the proposal to involve Europe's public entities in a distressed debt restructuring is a non-starter, all confusion can be now abandoned following remarks by Merkel's ally Kauder in which he not only called the Greek debt plan "half-baked" saying he will no longer respond to new proposals from Athens "every day", but making it clear that there will be no renegotiation of the existing bailout proposal saying "we have agreements with Greece and not with a government - and these agreements have to be adhered to."

These Were The Best Performing Assets In Volatile January

Much was said about the outperformance of the Nikkei relative to other asset classes in various months in 2014. Outperformance in Yen terms that is: for 2014 the Nikkei was actually down in USD terms. However, somehow we doubt if as much will be said about January's best performing asset - again, in local currency terms - which was the Russian stock market. Actually, come to think of it, we doubt anything will be said in the mainstream media about January's two best performing assets in USD terms either: silver and gold.