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Nasdaq Re-Loses 4,000

Just a few short hours ago we were treated to a plethora of talking-heads proclaiming "see, this is it... the dip to be bought." But now, led by Biotechs as well as more 'growth' weakness, the Nasdaq has piled back below the critical 4000 level and broken to new cycle lows... we anxiously await the 330 Ramp to see just how much damage they can do (though stocks did catch perfectly down to USDJPY's early weakness)



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"Priceless"

We joked about it as I pulled out a wad of cash I had recently procured from a street broker:

  • Cocktails: 175 pesos
  • Appetizers: 210 pesos
  • Capital controls: Priceless

It turns out there really are some things money can’t buy. Especially in worthless currency.



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Russian Fighter Jet Flies Repeatedly Within 1000 Yards Of US Warship In The Black Sea

As we reported last Friday, a second US warship, the destroyer Donald Cook, crossed the Bosphorus last week and entered the Black Sea at precisely the time when NATO was arguing that its encroaching presence around Russia should not spook anyone. Apparently it spooked someone, namely Russia, which over the weekend decided to give the Americans a warm welcome. As AP reports, "A U.S. military official says a Russian fighter jet made multiple, close-range passes near an American warship in the Black Sea for more than 90 minutes Saturday amid escalating tensions in the region."



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White House Admits CIA Director Brennan Was "Secretly" In Kiev

Late last night we asked if, as the Russian media had reported and only the Russian media, CIA director John Brennan had secretly visited Kiev over the weekend: "Brennan landed in Ukraine on Saturday under an assumed name and held a "series of secret meetings" with the country's "power bloc" Interfax reported, citing an unidentified official in the Ukrainian parliament.  The person who said this to Interfax in a phone talk added that John Brennan came to Ukraine not under his real name.  According to some yet unconfirmed information, the decision to suppress protesters in Slavyansk, a city in Ukraine's east, with force was advised to Ukraine's authorities by Brennan."  One can further admit the meeting was "secret" - if only in intent - not only because of Brennan's assumed fake name (why the secrecy? but because until Russian Interfax- of all places - had reported about what is certainly a key meeting in a nation in which disinformation and counterpropganda is rife - Brennan's meeting was completely unmentioned by the US press. Until today, when moments ago White House speaker Jay Carner confirmed that indeed the CIA director was in Kiev last weekend.



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Guest Post: How To Get A Job Despite The Economy

To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, we work in the economy we have, not the economy we might want or wish to have at a later time. And what characterizes the economy we have? It's bewildering because nothing works like it's supposed to. For example, getting a college degree was supposed to guarantee a good job and an 80% lifetime wage premium over people without college degrees. But in the economy we have, getting a college degree no longer guarantees a good job, or indeed, a job of any kind: 53% of recent college graduates under the age of 25 are unemployed or doing work they could have done without going to college. The payoff for getting a college degree is declining while the risks of becoming a debt-serf due to crushing student loans is rising.



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Morning Euphoria Fizzles As Biotechs Turn Red Again

So much hope, so much faith, so much euphoria that the early bounce in high beta crap, which sent biotechs by more than 3%, would finally stick... All for nothing.



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San Fran Fed Asks How Important Are Hedge Funds In A Crisis

Finds the answer is: "very"



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When The Fed’s Refi Madness Ended, Bank Mortgage Profits Evaporated

During the course of its massive money printing campaign after the financial crisis of 2008, the Fed drove the 30-year mortgage financing rate down from 6.5% to 3.3% at its mid-2012 low. The ostensible purpose was revive the shattered housing market which had resulted from the crash of its previous exercise in bubble finance. But what it really did was touch off another of those pointless “refi” booms which enable homeowners to swap an existing mortgage for a new one carrying a significantly lower interest rate and monthly service cost. Such debt churning exercises have been sponsored repeatedly by the Fed since the S&L debacle of the late 1980s.



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As MOMO Fever Fades, These Are The Stocks Goldman Is Rolling Into

As we reported over the weekend, a rather concerned Goldman proclaimed the great momo rally - that one that led to so much gains in 2013 and to many losses so far in 2014 - dead, and in a sign that far less euphoria is coming over the horizon, said that while momentum stocks will hardly recover their panic buying highs, suggested that the best the S&P 500 can hope for - if history is any guide - is for a 5% rise in the broader market over the next 6 months (what it didn't add is that hardly any algos, and certainly no self-respecting TBTF banker, get out of bed for a measly 1% return per month). Perhaps more imprortantly, what Goldman also remarked on was what it thought would be the stocks that should benefit from the rotation out of momo names and into slower growth, low valuation, low momentum names.



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Do You Belong In The Stock Market?

Within the last fourteen years, there have been two major market corrections, both of which saw drops of 55% from their highs. That, or more, is the potential for what lies ahead. For those who went through these markets, it was not enjoyable... and those who 'stayed long' have been lucky. To put into perspective how lucky he was, it took 25 years for the Dow Jones to recover to its pre-crash highs after the Great Depression. Likewise, the Dow hit an intraday high of 1,000 in 1962 but never closed above 1,000 until about twenty years later. Whether recent market behavior proves to be merely a dip in the chart is almost irrelevant. The country and financial markets are nearing what could very well be an existential event. Do not be investing like your father or grandfather. Markets today are more like casinos than a way to invest in American growth. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve has made it impossible to go elsewhere other than your mattress.



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Mohamed El-Erian Quits Pimco, Becomes A Blogger

We realize the future for blogging was bright, but this bright? Moments ago, Bloomberg View, Bloomberg's in house blogging operation, announced that El-Erian had joined it as a columnist. And just like that Mohamed has his own unedited venue in which to spill all the dirt on his former employer.



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US Pays Half Of Gazprom's Overdue Invoice With $1 Billion Ukraine Loan Guarantee

With Ukraine no longer paying for Russian gaz, and with Gazprom making it clear Kiev has to a) first pay the overdue $2+ billion in invoice and then b) prepay some $5 billion in gas until the end of the year of Europe gets it, it was only a matter of time before the US Treasury stepped in and paid off part or all of Gazprom's demands. That time is now, when moments ago Jack Lew announced a $1 billion loan guarantee for Ukraine - very much the same way that the US provided billions in loan guarnatees for the now long overthrown Mursi regime in Egypt. And in other news, many more "costly" and "damaging" US sanctions are surely headed Russia's way any second now.



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Flashing Red Warning: Q1 Earnings Growth Plunges To Lowest Since 2012

While the so-called "experts" were adamant in repeating that one must ignore all Q1 economic data (because of harsh weather you know), one thing the same "experts" pounded the table on was the earnings growth in 2014 which confirmed that the Fed was correct in tapering and that the corporate sector was well on its way to achieving "escape velocity" and a stable recovery. And then this happened...



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East Ukraine Braces For Military Operation As Ultimatum Passes: Full Ukraine Event Recap

As was expected, so called Russian separatists completely ignored Ukraine's 0600 GMT ultimatum to hand over their weapons and give up, which means Ukraine now is in the clear, according to its leaders, to engage in the previously warned military "anti-terrorist" operation. As a result, as Reuters updates,  "towns in eastern Ukraine on Monday braced for military action. As the 9 a.m. (07.00 a.m. BST) deadline issued by authorities in Kiev expired, a Reuters reporter in the flashpoint city of Slaviansk, where armed men had seized two government buildings, said there was no outward sign the rebels were complying with the ultimatum." Subsequent reports indicated that since the deadline passed, at least 4 people have been killed however since virtually no "factual" propaganda news out of Ukraine is to be believed, we would heavily discount this update.



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Citi Mortgage Originations Drop To Record Low

What was worst, and naturally will not be discussed at all by the peanut gallery, about Citi's just announced results is that the amount of Citigroup mortgage originations - that key aspect of the trumpeted "housing market recovery" - did what it has done at every other bank. It plunged. Only at Citigroup, it plunged so badly, it just reached a new record low which at $5.2 billion is a 71% drop from a year ago! Long live the housing recovery... in which nobody seems to be participating.



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