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How Walgreen EPS Just Beat Consensus Even As Its Revenues Missed

So how did Walgreen succeed in boosting its aftertax EPS to beat expectations even as revenues missed expectations, especially with operating income in the quarter virtually unchanged from a year ago? The answer, as shown in the chart below is simple: WAG used the oldest trick in the book, and stretched its effective tax rate for GAAP purposes in the quarter to the lowest it could go.



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Frontrunning: December 23

  • Christmas rally enters sixth day in Europe (Reuters)
  • Downing North Korea's Internet not much of a scalp (Reuters)
  • North Korean Internet Access Restored After Hours-Long Outage (BBG)
  • At U.N. council, U.S. calls life in North Korea 'living nightmare' (Reuters)
  • Ukraine Cuts Gold Reserve to Nine-Year Low as Russia Buys (BBG)
  • De Blasio Seeks to Heal Rifts With Police After Officers Slain (BBG)
  • Oil steady around $60 on hopes of strong U.S. data (Reuters) - so it fell below $60 because...
  • Australian Dollar Hits Four and a Half Year Low on Chine Growth Worries (Reuters)


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Greece On The Edge After Second Failed Presidential Vote

A week after the Greek Prime Minister, Antonis Samaras, was unable to push through his nominee for president, Stavros Dimas, in a vote in parliament that needed 200 votes to pass, hours ago the second presidential vote took place and just like last week it again failed to secured the needed 200 votes, with just 168 lawmakers voting for the designated appointee. This means that in the third and final voting round next week, on December 29 - a trading day where bad news will propagate like wildfire in the absence of any market liquidity and means Kevin Henry will have to work overtime buying ETFs - New Democracy's Samaras has to find (or bribe) another 12 votes or else Greece is facing a snap election where the anti-bailout/anti-austerity leftist Syriza party is expected to win, and set off a chain of events that may result in Greece being kicked out of the Eurozone at least if the jitters seen during the summer of 2012 are any indication.



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Economic Data Bonanza Set To Send Algos Spasming To Recorder Highs

With the wind down of the record 2014 trading slump now in its final days (although judging by volumes throughout the year one may have a difficult time noticing just when the holidays began and ended), the already entertaining zero-liquidity market moves are sure to provide further amusement today in the context of the US economic data bonanza on deck, which includes Durable Goods, GDP, Personal Income and Spending, Richmond Fed, UMich, and New Home Sales. Beat or miss, all of the above are guaranteed to send the S&P to higher recorder highs because in the multiple-expansion euphoria blow-off top phase nobody cares about such trivia as fundamentals or the economy, especially when Japan and Germany are about to monetize all of their gross issuance. Just remember to occasionally keep an eye on the preferred rigging correlation pairs: the USDJPY and the VIX, whose every illiquid jerk will be followed by Citadel & NYFed's algos tic for tic.



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Former Airline CEO Claims US Military Shot Down MH370 Near Diego Garcia

A second senior airline industry source has revealed his belief that there is some sort of conspiracy behind the disappearance of Malaysia Airlines flight MH370. As The Herald Sun reports, Emirates president and CEO Sir Tim Clark made world headlines in October when he revealed his doubts about the fate of the missing plane, which disappeared early in the morning of March 8 this year. Now a second senior airline industry source has voiced his doubts about the fate of the plane, with the even wilder claim that the Boeing 777 may have been shot down by US military personnel who were fearing a September 11-style attack on the US Navy base on Diego Garcia.



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Ukraine Central Bank Conned Into Swapping Its Gold For Lead Bricks

The story of Ukraine's corzined gold just got far better, and far, far more bizarre and surreal. As Bloomberg reports, Ukraine opened a criminal probe after several gold bars at the central bank’s storage in the southern city of Odessa turned to be painted lead.  The latest gold fraud involved a central bank employee passing lead bars covered with golden paint to the storage unit, registering them as gold, the Vesti newspaper reported today, citing an unidentified person with knowledge of the matter in Odessa’s police department.  In other words, the central bank was actually conned into buying the gold-plated lead.



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The Doom Boom: US Families Increasingly Prepared For "Modern Day Apocalypse"

From the outside America may seem to be a land of endless optimism and confidence. But, as Sky News reports, an increasing number of Americans seem to think it is danger of falling apart, and they're preparing for the end. "We're not talking about folks walking around wearing tin foil on their heads,; we're not talking about conspiracy theorists. I'm talking about professionals: doctors and lawyers and law enforcement and military. Normal, everyday people. They can't necessarily put their finger on it. But there's something about the uncertainty of our times. They know something isn't quite right."



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Explaining "Real" Money To Your Children

Central banks and fascist governments control humanity through a virtual monopoly on money issuance and distribution, which is why I am doing my best as a father to make it clear that money can be anything. No one truly gets any added value from holding a stack of paper. It’s our time that is of value, and the things we own that make our lives better. But money itself is just a means to an end.



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The Many Phases Of Silver (Part 1)

Since the early days of civilization, the ancients connected the brilliance of silver to the moon. Artemis, the Greek goddess of the moon, wore silver sandals and shot from a silver bow and arrow. This lunar comparison might be fitting because like the moon, silver also has many phases. The properties of silver make it the most dynamic of precious metals.



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Welcome To The Recovery: US Box Office Spend Plunges To Lowest Since 2000

While the cancellation of 'The Interview' wiped billions off the US Box Office take in 2014 (</sarc>), ticket sales in North America will total roughly $10.5 billion, according to The NY Times, the lowest since 2000 (after inflation). Regal Cinemas and AMX Theatres have seen profits collapse and Carmike Cinemas has plunged to a loss as major movie delays (from Pixar and Universal), "pirating" of several movies (The Expendables 3 and Annie) before their release, and studios suffering one dud after another (Warner Bros.) the 4% YoY decline - for what is ultimately an affordable luxury - suggests the gas-price-savings are going anywhere but discretionary spending (just as we noted previously).



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The Austrian Case Against Economic Intervention

Be on your guard for those who claim to be able to improve our satisfaction and protect us from harm through expansion of government coercion in the market.



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Meet The Future Of Trading: A 25-Year-Old... Math PhD

Forget the middle-aged belt-and braces stockbroker who 'knows' a good stock. Ignore the 5-star tech analysts who never saw a startup he didn't like (with your money). Meet 25-year-old math PhD Sam Barnett, CEO of SBB Research - a quant hedge fund - who, instead of wild extrapolations and Keynesian hockey-sticks, trades the market by "using data to mine information before it is encoded into the markets." While several of the CNBC team flounders to show why their commissions are worth it, and why a 25-year-old could not possibly 'know' anything, we for once agree with their premise - this IS the future of trading - 25-year-old math PhDs mining data faster than a fat finger can press buy.



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Name The Exponential Chart

It's not just the exponential rise in US debt that threatens the future 'freedom' of Americans...



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How Japan Bankrupted Itself - Lessons For Europe

Following the start of Abenomics in 2012, Japan moved back to the center of attention of global financial markets. After two and a half decades of economic stagnation, hopes were high that Japan would escape its long stagnation and deflation. Plenty of economists around the globe hoped that, in so doing, Japan would show the western world, mainly the Eurozone, the way to do the same and avoid a similar long period of low growth and stagnating incomes. Conversely, the failure of Abe’s plan for Japan’s recovery would not only be a disaster for the country of the rising sun. It would also be very bad news for central bankers and politicians in the west as well. It would prove that Keynesian policies don’t work in a world of too much debt and shrinking populations.



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Monday Humor: Now Available With A 30 Year Fixed-Rate FHA Loan

"Because moar is always betterer..."



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