Nothing to see here, move along. While it appears the Russians are willing to pay the price of modest sanctions from the west to 'liberate' their fellow countrymen, the fallout from further tension with Ukraine could "boomerang" once again on the divided nation. As RBC Ukraine reports, the Minister of Energy and Coal Industry Yuriy Prodan said at a press conference today that "oil reserves will last for 28-29 days" in Ukraine. After that, the negotiation begins as Ukraine already owes billions for previously delivered gas - as Ukraine's natgas storage levels more than halved in the last 3 months.
The dismal list of financial executive deaths has recently increased to 11 in the last few months. Speculation has surrounded many of these deaths (and suicides) as to the reasoning; none more than the first - William Broeksmit, an executive who worked in Deutsche Bank's risk function and advised senior leadership who hanged himself in his South Kensington home in late January. However, as the WSJ reports, we now know why this poor man felt compelled to take his own life: he was "anxious about various authorities investigating areas of the bank where he worked" (and yes, we are well aware of the grammatical and temporal impossibilities suggested by this article's title).
Last August we presented the story of a very sad and misguided individual, one Athony Davian, who was then the first person charged with running a ponzi scheme off twitter. Today, the sad story of Anthony "@Hedgieguy" Davian comes to an end with his guilty plea to charges of fraud.
Thirsty Californians are pinning their hopes that worried farmers in Australia are right. After months of the Polar Vortex dumping snow on the US east coast and drought on the west coast (and crushing the American Dream of an 'escape velocity' economy), The US Climate Prediction Center issued an El Nino watch bring hope of a big rain year for California, floods in South America, and dismal droughts in Southeast Asia. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said an El Nino could occur during the southern hemisphere winter from May-July. Increased sea surface temperatures suggest an increasing chance of the global weather phenomenon and the great rotation from a Polar Vortex to a Solar Vortex.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that an unsustainable debt burden soundly tolls the death knell of a nation’s economy, and its government. Unfortunately, it can sometimes take a rocket scientist to figure out what the real numbers are; governments have a vested interest in not being transparent about their debts and interest payments. Obligations are obligations, no matter who they’re owed to. Taking this into account, total US interest payments in Fiscal Year 2013 were a whopping $415 billion... This means they actually spent approximately 26% of their available tax revenue just to pay interest last year.. much higher than the 1868 Ottoman Empire at the end of its reign...
Presented with little comment aside to ask... if 'weather' can do this much damage to the US economy and 'faith' in the wealth effect-building benefits of the US equity market are this weak, then there are a few uncomfortable truths about to punch some talking heads in the mouth...
In the WSJ’s February 24th exposé of the turmoil at the helm of Pimco, we saw a curious bit about tension at “the Beach” increasing in the summer of 2013. During this period, according to the Journal, conflict between then co-CIOs Bill Gross and Mohamed E-Erian became apparent to staff, and Gross restricted trading at the firm. We wanted to see what insights a quantitative analysis of Pimco Total Return Fund (PTTRX) could offer about the summer and Total Return’s recent performance, a topic of increasing scrutiny amongst the investment community.
The last few days has seen a sudden jump in the news headlines about one of the deadliest viruses known to man. Ebola haemorrhagic fever has prung up in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone but now, as BBC reports, a man is in hospital in Canada with symptoms of a haemorrhagic fever resembling the Ebola virus, a health official has said.
A little skit ran through my head the other day… The house lights dimmed and the bright American flag glistened in the background. The crowd hushed as a tall man in a strange costume strode confidently onto the stage. Curly turned to Larry and Moe and exclaimed, "Oh my, that's our favorite - Uncle Sam, our boyhood hero." Moe put his finger to his lips as if to say "Shhh!" ... Uncle Sam begins... "Today I want to announce the deal of a lifetime. We all know that IRAs and 401(k)s are tools greedy rich people use to save for retirement. I'm here to announce a new retirement program for everyday, ordinary people. Everyone should have the right to retire safely and with dignity, and that is what we are going to do for you."
Pre-open gold dump, USDJPY pump, check. Opening dump in USDJPY and stocks led by Momos and Biotechs, check. European close marks the bottom, check. EURJPY takes over and ramps stocks back up to highs, check. Fade into close, check. Today was an almost perfect echo of yesterday's market action with blue-chips benefitting from the weakness in Nasdaq and Russell high-beta honeys. Bonds were quite with very modest steepening. Gold and silver bounced off earlier lows but their losses mirror Copper's 1.7% rise on the week. The USD lost ground as Draghi's failed jawboning sparked EUR strength. VIX fell 1 vol to its lowest close in 2 weeks as a late-day VIX -slam failed to get SPX green post-FOMC.
The Russian foreign ministry proclaimed the recent robbing of passengers traveling from Russia to Moldova (via Ukraine), by an ultra-nationalist Insurgent Army, is a manifestation of "anarchy" and was "bewildered" by the refusal of the Ukrainian police to take any action (against the groups that are largely responsible for the overturn of Yanukoych's government just a few weeks ago). However, as RT reports, that changed this morning as the notorious Ukrainian ultra-nationalist known as Sashko Bilyi was shot dead during a police raid against his gang. The story just gets worse though as now the activist 'right sector' has stated it will seek revenge for the killing of their leader.
Speaking in Holland, after asking for the world's trust back after being caught red-handed lying about the NSA's spying, President Obama calmly explained to the open-mouthed press conference that he continues to be "more concerned about a nuclear weapon going off in Manhattan that Russia." Sleep well New York...
A day after Venezuela formally devalued its currency by way of the new and improved FX central planning system SICAD II, which sent the official value of the Bolivar 89% lower, the government desperately needed a distraction. It got just that when earlier today Socialist par excellence Nicolas Maduro announed that he had narrowly avoided a coup after he arrested three air force generals suspected of plotting an uprising against the leftist government.
As Fortune's Stephen Gandel begins, "if you hate the Fed, you have a new hero." He is referring to none other than GMO's Jeremy Grantham who aggressively takes on the status-quo-hugging faith in the omnipotence in Central banking prowess with fact and anecdote in this brief interview..."Higher interest rates would have increased the wealth of savers. Instead, they became collateral damage of Bernanke's policies. The theory is that lower interest rates are supposed to spur capital spending, right? Then why is capital spending so weak at this stage of the cycle. There is no evidence at all that quantitative easing has boosted capital spending. We have always come roaring back from recessions, even after the mismanaged Great Depression. This time we are not..we have never had such a limited recovery."
A funny thing happened during Michelle Obama's public relations tour of China (where taxpayers are privileged to pay $8,400 for each night of her lodgings): T-shirts, coin purses and posters that show President Barack Obama portrayed as Chairman Mao are normally available for sale at the Great Wall. But on Sunday, when First Lady Michelle Obama visited the Chinese tourist spot with her daughters, the so-called “Obamao” souvenirs were no where to be found. "We don’t have them anymore," said one peddler, a woman who declined to give her name. "But if you come back next time, you might find them. You could come tomorrow," the woman said.