Just Bloomberg headlines for now which don't mesh well with the whole "detente" narrative, supposedly unleashed by Putin's conference yesterday in which he was said to "blink", which he didn't but algo-driven stocks are convinced he did and algos are always right: UN ENVOY KIDNAPPED IN SIMFEROPOL, IFX CITES UKRAINE FOREIGN MIN - It is certainly not clear who the kidnappers were. So just another provocation, simple lie, or for once, the truth? We hope to find out soon. Update: and now we know the answer - lie and borderline provocation, once again by the Ukraine foreign ministry: DEPUTY U.N. SECRETARY-GENERAL ELIASSON DENIES REPORTS U.N. REPRESENTATIVE SERRY WAS KIDNAPPED, SAYS SERRY WAS THREATENED.
481 Barclays Employees Paid Over 1 Million Pounds In 2013, Increase Of 53 From 2012 Despite Losses, Mass LayoffsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/05/2014 12:40 -0400
It was less than a month ago when Barclays announced it would fire 12,000 workers after posting abysmal earnings with Q4 banking income crashing 37% and overall income sliding 9%. So, one would think, its employees would be punished with lower pay - those that are lucky enough to keep their jobs of course. One would be wrong. Reuters just reported that 481 of Barclays employees were paid 1 million pounds ($1.7 million) or more last year, 53 more than in the year before, and most of them were based in the United States. Barcalys' immutable rationale - fear of losing the traders to a better-paying competitor. Like who - is the Fed hiring again?
Minutes ago, the chief of police of the Donetsk regional state administration (in Eastern Ukraine and the home region of Yanukovych) explained how the situation was "stable" and "everything is under control"... So perhaps he better look out the window:
*RUSSIAN-FLAG WAVING CROWD SAID TO STORM DONETSK BUILDING: AP
*PRO-RUSSIAN PROTESTERS ON WAY TO STORM DONETSK TREASURY: TV5
So, apart from the protesters storming buildings and breaking into the Treasury, things are "under control."
Retweets are not endorsements... but they really usually are. Which is the reason some are wondering just why did the FTC show a specific appreciation of this particular tweet sent out yesterday by a user who appears to have a bone to pick with Herbalife, Nu Skin and other alleged pyramid schemes.
#NCPW2014 Why have you not shut down pyramid schemes like Herbalife, Nu Skin and others? What is the FTC waiting for?
— AS (@ArbitrageIt) March 4, 2014
Today's economic data has been absolutely abysmal. We know, we know, snow. However, first the atrocious ADP number, and then the abysmal Services ISM employment index plunging at an unseen pace, should give some pause for thought. It appears to have done so with Goldman's chief economist, the same guy who a month ago was expecting 3.0% GDP growth in Q1, and who just cut his February NFP forecast for this Friday from 145K to 125K. To wit: "As a result of the sharp decline in the employment component of the nonmanufacturing index, we have reduced our payrolls forecast to 125k and our private payrolls forecast to 130k"
More snow. That is the assessment of Mark Zandi and the ADP Private Payrolls, which just printed at 139K on expectations of a 155K print. But don't worry: the number was pre-spun for idiot consumption, as the 139K was actually an increase from the January 127K. What was not said is that the January number was a massive revision lower from the previously announced 175K. What will also not be said is that the December ADP print was revised lower from 227K to 191K and the November 289K was chopped off and revised to only 245K. Of course, both of those numbers were massive beats at the time, and have now become misses, but who cares: they have served their algo kneejerk reaction purposes. And while the data is complete garbage, and is obviously manipulated and goalseeked (as we have shown before), it should be welcome to the US to know that in February it generated a whopping 1,000 manufacturing jobs. But the punchline, certainly, is this from Mark Zandi: "February was another soft month for the job market. Employment was weak across a number of industries. Bad winter weather, especially in mid-month, weighed on payrolls. Job growth is expected to improve with warmer temperatures.”
Following warnings from US and European nations over economic (and travel) sanctions against Russia, the upper house of Russia's parliament has struck back. As RIA reports, Russia is mulling measures allowing property and assets of European and US companies to be confiscated in the event of sanctions being adopted. Layers are studying the costitutionality of the 'confiscation' but cite Europe's standards (i.e. Cyprus) as precedent. This is further to the threat to "dump US goverment bonds" issued earlier in the week.
ISM Services headline index collapsed to 51.6 (missing expectations of 53.5) to its lowest since February of 2010. We are sure many will proclaim this as "weather-related" but remember the strong performance of the Manufacturing print. Respondents worried about weather, Obamacare, and oil prices... as the employment sub-index crashed from 56.4 (highest since Nov 2010) to 47.5 (lowest since Mar 2010) - the biggest drop since Lehman!
On the heels of yesterday's confessions (as we detailed here), ex-Fed chair Ben Bernanke continues his contrition:
- *BERNANKE SAYS HE UNDERESTIMATED IMPACT OF SUBPRIME PROBLEM
- *BERNANKE SAYS HE THOUGHT SLOWDOWN WOULD BE 'MODERATE'
But apart from that, "nailed it." What a great way to earn $250,000 per appearance (a year's Fed salary): by admitting your mistakes destroyed the middle class.
"This extensive review of documents, e-mails and other records has to date found no evidence that Bank of England staff colluded in any way in manipulating the foreign exchange market or in sharing confidential client information,” the Bank of England said today in a statement. Yet, as Bloomberg reports, a staff member was suspended amid the probe of a widening rigging scandal though "no decision has been taken on disciplinary action." As far back as 2006, they show concerns over the FX "fixings" that are at the core of this collusion but are careful not to condone any form of market manipulation. Well that's that then - until the next whistleblower exposes them.
Ukraine Won't Pay Russia For Gas, Has Billions In Obligations Due; Europe Promises Aid Money It Doesn't HaveSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/05/2014 09:03 -0400
About an hour ago, the head of Russia's top natural gas producer Gazprom said on Wednesday that Ukraine had informed the company it could not pay for February gas deliveries in full, further adding to tensions between Moscow and Kiev. Alexei Miller said Ukraine's total debt to Gazprom for gas deliveries was nearing $2 billion. "Our Ukrainian colleagues informed us that they would not be able to pay in full for February gas deliveries," he told Russian President Vladimir Putin.
- High Stakes Limit Bid to Cow Putin (WSJ)
- Russia says can't control Crimea troops ahead of U.S. talks (Reuters)
- Crimea Crisis Haunted by Ghosts of Bungled World War I Diplomacy (BBG)
- Putin’s Ukraine Gambit Hurts Economy as Allies Lose Billions (BBG)
- Germany Says It Provided Equipment and Training to Ukraine's Riot Police (WSJ)
- China signals focus on reforms and leaner, cleaner growth (Reuters)
- China Shares in Hong Kong Decline Amid Default Concern (BBG)
- Beijing Signals New Worry on Growth (WSJ)
Now that Ben Bernanke is no longer the head of the Fed, he can finally tell the truth about what caused the financial crash. At least that's what a packed auditorium of over 1000 people as part of the financial conference staged by National Bank of Abu Dhabi, the UAE's largest bank, was hoping for earlier today when they paid an exorbitant amount of money to hear the former chairman talk. Bernanke confirmed as much when he said he could now speak more freely about the crisis than he could while at the Fed - "I can say whatever I want."
So what was the reason, according to the man who was easily the most powerful person in the world for nearly a decade?