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Greek Stocks Crash, Bonds Plummet, Banks Have Worst Day Ever

In the two days after Syriza's dramatic victory in the local Greek election, global investors assumed this loud cry against European policies would mean... more of the same, and as a result not much changed in the risk assessment of Greek assets. Then, overnight, following the previous report that not only does Syriza mean business but it is actively pivoting away from Europe (and toward Russia?), and everyone started paying attention, with a waterfall of selling engulfing not only the Greek stock market but also its bonds, which are crashing in the process sending the 3 Year yield to 16.4%, the highest since the restructuring, and the 10 Year either below or above 10%, depending on which data source is used (Bloomberg has them slightly below, others reporting 10-year bond yields up 50 basis points at 10.30%).



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Greece Begins The Great Pivot Toward Russia

"Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias is due in Brussels on Thursday to discuss possible additional sanctions on Russia over the conflict in Ukraine. Before the cabinet even meets for the first time tomorrow, the Greek government said that it disagreed with an EU statement in which President Donald Tusk raised the prospect of “further restrictive measures” on Russia." The punchline: In recent months, Kotzias wrote on Twitter that sanctions against Russia weren’t in Greece’s interests. He said in a blog that a new foreign policy for Greece should be focused on stopping the ongoing transformation of the EU “into an idiosyncratic empire, under the rule of Germany.” And when it comes to the natural adversary of any German imperial ambitions in recent history, Europe has been able to produce only one answer...



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Failing Stimulus And The IMF's New 'Multilateral' World Order

2015 will be a year of shattered illusions; social, political, as well as economic. The common claim today is that the QE of Japan and now the ECB are meant to take up the slack left behind in the manipulation of markets by the Fed. I disagree. As I have been saying since the announcement of the taper, stimulus measures have a shelf life, and central banks are not capable of propping up markets for much longer, even if that is their intention (which it is not). Why? Because even though market fundamentals have been obscured by a fog of manipulation, they unquestionably still apply. Real supply and demand will ALWAYS matter – they are like gravity, and we are forced to deal with them eventually. The elites hope that this will be enough to condition the public to support centralized financial control as the only option for survival... It is hard to say what kind of Black Swans and false flags will be conjured in the meantime, but I highly doubt the shift away from the US Dollar will take place without considerable geopolitical turmoil.



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"New Normal" Fundamentals Hit Chinese Stocks

Fun-durr-mentals...



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Is China Starting To Crackdown On Alibaba's "Illegal Operations"?

It appears the Chinese government has decided it is time to remind the nation's richest man (and millions of retail investors in America) who is in charge. According to a report released by the Chinese government - citing closed-door meetings in July 2014 that were kept quiet so as not to affect the September IPO - there are at least 19 problems with Alibaba's various platforms. As Bloomberg reports, Alibaba failed to properly oversee merchants and allowed the sale of counterfeit products on its e-commerce platforms, according to a Chinese government report. The report concludes, rather ominously, "Alibaba not only faces the biggest credibility crisis since its establishment, it also casts a bad influence for other Internet operators trying to operate legally." While Alibaba has tried to clean-up its image, the report cites issues with counterfeit goods, merchant screening, false advertising, and lax controls.



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"Equities Will Be Devastated" Crispin Odey Warns, Looming Recession Will Be "Remembered For 100 Years"

"I think equity markets will get devastated," warns famed $12bn AUM hedge fund manager Crispin Odey in his latest letter to investors. Having been one of the biggest bulls of this particular central bank artificial-bull cycle, his dramatic bearish tilt (as we discussed what he thinks are the biggest risks underpriced by the market previously), is notable. Finally, Odey fears major economies are entering a recession that will be "remembered in a hundred years," adding that the "bearish opportunity" to short stocks looks as great as it was in 2007-2009.



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Fear And Dread Of Deflation - The Keynesian Big Lie At Work

The fear of deflation has become the cornerstone of Keynesian economic thought. However, it is the height of hypocrisy that Keynesians use the specter of deflation to frighten us into believing we need to endlessly dilute the value of our currencies and take the rate on our savings to zero percent; but then, at the same time, take every data point that points to falling prices as another reason to be bullish on markets and the economy. Their mantras are: Lower commodity prices–a boost to the consumer, plunging interest rates–an increase in mortgage refinancing. How can Keynesians celebrate deflation, while at the same time use it to scare us into accepting ZIRP forever? The easy answer would be, they are, by definition, cheerleaders for the stock market...



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How Much More GDP "Growth" Will Be Due To Obamacare?

Now that the soaring dollar and plunging crude are sure to punish the Q4 2014 and Q1 2015 GDP growth rate by more than half, with estimate now sliding to the mid to low-2% area, what "benefits" to the US economy can one expect from the tax that is Obamacare? As the following chart courtesy of Goldman shows, thanks to contributions from Medicaid and Medicare and, drumroll, Exchange subsidies, the "benefits" from Obamacare will be with us, well, maybe not "us", but certainly with the way GDP is calculate for a long, long time, as the recent health spending ramp is only just getting started.



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Caption Contest: When Barry Met Sally

Having cut his visit short with his other best friend - India's Narendra Modi - President Barack Obama (escorted by his wife Michelle) hopped Air Force One over to Saudi Arabia to pay respects to the dead King and meet-and-greet the new King Salman. The meeting full of pomp and circumstance was, however, not without controversy - with videos circling social media showing Michelle Obama's image blurred out and claims that she was snubbed by King Salman - all apparently untrue.



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New Gold Rush? 10 Ounces Of "Historic Nuggets" Stolen From San Francisco Museum

Three masked men smashed an SUV into the front-windows of The Wells Fargo Museum in San Francisco's financial district at around 230am Tuesday, making off with 10 ounces of "historic gold nuggets." As AP reports, robbers in Northern California have targeted precious metals in museum displays before and the tactics of the heist have marked other recent robberies in the area. The men escaped in a second vehicle, according to KGO, and the vehicle reportedly headed east across the Bay Bridge. Local coin dealers said the robbers may have difficulty selling the nuggets unless they melt them down. No dollar bills, Euros, or Japanese Yen notes were stolen during the robbery.



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Singapore Enters The Currency Wars: Weakens SGD By Most In 3 Years

Today's rambunctiousness in US equity markets as every company (even AAPL admitted this quarter would be more problematic from an FX perspective) rotates from 'weather' excuses to 'currency' excuses is not going to get any better as tonight, yet another world nation entered the 'devalue-or-die' brigade. Singapore's MAS announced a surprise shift in the slope of their policy band - implicitly loosening policy and so the Singapore Dollar dumped over 160 pips against the USD, the biggest drop in almost 3 years, tumbling to its weakest since Mid 2010. Interestingly, against the Japanese Yen this move merely roundtrips SGD strength from yesterday as one wonders who the real enemy in the competitive devaluation game is...



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The New Venezuelan Entrepreneur: Making A living Lining-Up For Toilet Paper

In socialist utopia, Venezuela, not everyone can afford to wait in line half the day just to get a few supplies. Friends and neighbors had started coming to Krisbell, asking her if she could help them get things from the grocery store (they all have to work just to be able to afford the food in the first place, and they can’t spare the time to stand in line). So Krisbell started taking on clients - and now she has enough that she’s earning her entire living from waiting in line. Imagine - an entire cottage industry (absurd as it may be) now exists in Venezuela because of destructive government polices.



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Bonds & Bullion Best Since The Fed 'Spice' Stopped Flowing

Since the end of The Federal Reserve's money-printing machinations (otherwise known as QE3), something odd has happened to global asset markets. US equity markets have suddenly stopped going up, bonds have soared, and physical demand for precious metals is bleeding back into the paper-pricing markets. Furthermore, the ubiquitously suppressed volatility across every asset class has slowly but surely started to decompress.



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Is The BLS Overstating Jobs?

Is the BLS overstating employment growth? I guess it depends on whose data set you choose to believe. However, there is little denying the fact that with over 60% of the population living paycheck-to-paycheck, stagnant wage growth and declining net worth over the last five years, there is something that simply does not add up. If employment growth were indeed growing as strongly as in the late 90's, it would seem logical to expect that many of the disparities in the economic landscape should be starting to equalize somewhat. Unfortunately, that has yet to be the case.



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