On the heels of the Russian navy intentionally sinking a vessel blocking the Ukrainian navy from entering The Black Sea, Ukraine Pravda reports that it is "most probable that Russian troops will assault units in Ukrainian Crimea overnight continuing to the weekend." Citing a source in the uniformed services, Ukraine Pravda warns that "despite reports that Russian troops ended in learning, active phase lasts. They did not return to the barracks," and maintain "peak readiness."
Off the top, Universa's Mark Spitznagel explains that "high-frequency traders are making markets more jumpy" and the idea of HFT as a liquidity provider is a fallacy since as he notes "that liquidity won't be there when they most need it," especially when there is one-way order flow such as in the flash crash. Spitznagel then crushes the 'cash on the sidelines' meme but explaining that while corporate cash balances have soared, net debt has actually gone up beyond the highs of 2008. As we have previously discussed, "the idea that corporate balance sheets are so strong right now is entirely wrong," as investors are conveniently focusing in one piece of the balance sheet (assets not liabilities). Maria B just can't fathom it but Spitznagel's words are clear - scale the cash on the balance sheet against debt and we are as bad as we were in 2008.
Yesterday we reported that with the US aircraft carrier, CVN-77 George H.W. Bush, anchoring in Piraeus, Greece, an unnamed US warship had been granted permission by Turkey to cross the Bosphorus and enter the Black Sea. There was speculation it may be the carrier itself, even though such a crossing would be forbidden by the Montreaux Convention. Today we have the answer: it is not CVN-77, but one of the ships from its aircraft carrier strike group - the guided-missile destroyer USS Truxton, which as the clip below shows, just departed the Greek port of Souda Bay earlier today.
The oligarchs have taken over the asylum:
- *UKRAINE $1 BLN LOAN-GUARANTEE BILL PASSED BY U.S. HOUSE
- *HOUSE VOTES 385-23 TO PASS $1 BLN UKRAINE LOAN GUARANTEE
We are sure the auditors will be aggressively checking that this money does not flow directly from the US to Ukraine to Gazprom. But notably, we suspect, Jordan and Tunisia might be pissed as they just lst their funding. Not so much for Detroit or Puerto Rico also...
5 years ago today, the S&P 500 made its post-crisis low at the oddly demonic 666 level. What many may not remember is... the last so-called-at-the-time "secular" bull market lasts exactly 5 years and 1 day (from October 10th 2002 to October 11th 2007)... it's different this time though.
While the world is convinced that Putin's Tuesday press conference was an admission of blinking to the west, the reality is anything but that, and hours ago Crimea's parliament voted to join Russia on Thursday and its Moscow-backed government set a referendum within 10 days on the decision in what Reuters said is a "a dramatic escalation of the crisis over the Ukrainian Black Sea peninsula." To be sure, the Crimea - which has an ethnic Russian majority - affiliation to Moscow as opposed to Kiev is well-known, yet still the sudden acceleration of moves to bring Crimea formally under Moscow's rule came as European Union leaders gathered for an emergency summit to seek ways to pressure Russia to back down and accept mediation. And now all Putin has to do is sit back and say the people have spoken and without spilling a drop of blood has effectively split the country in two parts, with the entire east of Ukraine, where pro-Russian sentiment also runs high - sure to follow Crimea. Just as we said from the very beginning.
It would appear the Norwegian Nobel Institute is starting to lose it. Just a few years after President Obama won the Peace Prize (while mired in overseas wars), the director of the prestigious entity announced today that Russian President Vladimir Putin, accused of invading Ukraine - suspiciously un-peaceful action - has been nominated for the Peace Prize. Putin joins NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden and Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai as a nominee for the award to be announced in October.
Another quarter down, and another $3 trillion in net worth added. On the surface, the increase in household net worth to a record $80.7 trillion is good news. The problem is that with $2.5 trillion of thie $3 trillion purely thanks to an increase in financial assets, which as has been made quite clear over the past several years, benefit only the 1%, what the lede should say is "another quarter down, another $3 trillion added to the net worth of America's richest." Put another way: of the $94.4 trillion in total assets (gross, not excluding $13.8 trillion in household liabilities), a record 71% or $66.9 trillion, is in financial products. And now you know why the Fed can not possibly allow any hiccups on the road to trickle down Fed balance sheet nirvana. If only for the 1%.
With Western condemnations rife, bailouts ready to flow, US F-16s on the ground in Poland, Crimea voting to join Russia, and allies pulling back from sanctions, we anxiously await President Obama to explain his next steps and just what will trigger them...