As "isolated" Russia signs a military deal with Cyprus, agrees bilateral trade with Greece, ratifies the $100 billion BRICS Bank, and offers to trade advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, it seems threats of more sanctions against Putin and his nation are finding resistance from an unexpected place. With British PM David Cameron re-demanding that Russia be excluded from the SWIFT global financial payments system, none other than ECB Governing Council member Ewald Nowotny has exclaimed, "one has to be very careful here, exclusion of Russia from Swift would be very problematic because it could potentially undermine confidence in this system as a whole."
Warren Buffett once famously chided that all the gold in the world would form a cube of 67 feet (20 meters) on each side. In doing so, he was attempting to argue that there was no point in owning gold since all the gold in the world would be an unproductive, useless hunk of metal. What’s ironic (and completely lost on the venerable Mr. Buffett) is that you could make the same argument about the paper-based financial system.
On the day when the MSCI World Stock Index hits a fresh record high - enthused by the exuberance of the US markets - we thought it more than a little ironic that Global GDP growth expectations for 2015 just hit a fresh record low...
As soon as tomorrow, the one part of the US government which to many is a manifestation of all that is broken with the current US "big brother" state of pervasive, ubiquitous surveillance and broken immigration policies, the Department of Homeland Security which was created in response to September 11, and which houses the agencies with jurisdiction over immigration law, the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) may be shut down. Here is what happens next.
Ponzi schemes, alleged or otherwise, can only exist as long as they generate more cash than they burn. Sadly for Herbalife, the tipping point beyond which every pyramid sheme implodes, has almost arrived. Just ask Bernie Madoff. Presenting cash from operations.
Despite some compression today in anticipation of ECB QE (as if that was not anticipated enough in the idioctically marginal yields across European peripheral bonds), it appears Europe is 'not' fixed. With Brexit odds around 1 in 6 and Podemos' lead in Spain extending, it appears redenomination risk (as we discussed, clearly lacking in many spreads) is re-emerging. Since the Greek election, Spanish credit risk is up 30%... more than Greece!
While the economy is showing some signs of impact from falling oil prices, a port strike in California, weak global demand for exports and an exceptionally cold winter; the markets are pushing all-time highs. There is much hype being placed on the ECB's plans for launching QE in March, however, much remains to be seen as to just how effective it will be in a negative interest rate/deflationary enviroment. But then again...there is always "hope."
One bank which dared to go dramatically against the grain is Germany's Berenberg Bank, which earlier today forecast that AAPL's price will crash to $60, a plunge of more than 50%, due to two things: the law of large numbers, and over-reliance on one single product as the iPhone accounts for 85% of AAPL's operating profit. Putting this in perspective, the vast majority of sellside analysts have a price target well over $100, even the bears. .
What in god’s name does Janet Yellen think she is doing? Just a few weeks ago she established the ridiculous Fedspeak convention that “patient” means money market rates will not rise from the zero bound for at least two meetings. Now she has modified that message into “not exactly”.
It's fact-checking time once again. Having questioned the credibility of Dallas Fed's Richard Fisher previously, we thought this morning's comments by St.Louis Fed's Jim Bullard were worth investigating:
*DOLLAR EFFECTS ARE MARGINAL ON U.S. ECONOMY, SHOULDN'T INHIBIT GROWTH, FED'S BULLARD SAYS
Which just seems odd given the rest of the world's competitive devaluation efforts to 'improve' their economies. What we found will not surprise... but do not show this chart to Bullard.
"An open Internet is essential to the American economy, and increasingly to our very way of life," according to President Obama and it appears his perspective on the heavy hand of government regulation inserting itself into the last bastion of freedom and dynamism in the US economy, is how best to achieve "openness." Having pressured FCC's Tom Wheeler, the vote just came down: U.S. FCC APPROVES NET NEUTRALITY INTERNET RULES IN 3-2 VOTE. While potentially good for a consumer's pocketbook, the handing over of "fair-use" decision to the government, as we previously noted, could be the first step on a slippery slope to increased censorship. Welcome to "internet of political things."
The first anti-government rally in Athens turned ugly as anti-authoritarian protesters started to smash the windows of a pastry shop and two jewelry shops and put two vehicles and several garbage bins on fire. According to latest information, there was no intervention by riot police although squads were standing near by.
While economic indicators make "very poor bedfellows" for managing portfolios, they do provide some indication as to the relative risk of owning assets that are ultimately tied to economic cycles. Despite commentary to the contrary as of late, economic cycles have not been repealed, and the current economy is likely running on borrowed time. It is important to notice, that despite the "hype" of the mainstream media about the economic recovery, activity never rose past previous peaks in this cycle.
Yesterday we provided the initial template for how to trade oil if you are an HFT idiot. Today we move to the next step in the evolution... In a perfect mirror of last week's trading, Oil dumped on API inventories this week, pumped on DOE inventories (both massively more than expected builds) and then dumped it all back the next day on absolutely no news whatsoever - back to a $48 handle. Tomorrow we have 'rig count' data - which by now we know is entirely irrelevent for now to any changes in supply - but last week created a manic meltup into the NYMEX close... trade accordingly.