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Ackman Folds





29 months after ramping his initial stake to over 39 million shares (and witnessing a collapse of the stock from Over $40 to under $13), Ackman has decided that enough is enough. Through a just filed Citi-sole managed prospectus, Pershing Square is set to sell his entire 39,075,771 share stake in the beleaguered firm. The stock price's initial plunge on the news was immediately met by an avalanche of algo-driven buying to enable those that can to escape quick but as we post, JCP is heading back to its lows. With an overall cost-basis in the mid $20s, this one will sting a bit.

 

 

 
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Market Close: The War Rotation





All was well in the world early on. Dismal durable goods orders were terrible enough to provide the index-watching-muppets with the bad-news-that-is-good-news to pump stocks higher. Other markets reacted in a pro-Taper-off mode (aside from Gold and silver which were man-handled back down from the $1,400 level). Volume is/was terrible in stocks but they clung to earlier highs as homebuilders surged (seeming to ignore Friday's data entirely). Then Kerry spoke... first WTI broke higher (catching up Brent), then gold (and silver), the USD sold off (as JPY strengthened as a million carry traders were suddenly silenced), and US equity markets fell out of bed with a thump. The dow lost 15,000; S&P futures tested down to their 50DMA; gold traded up to $1,403; silver well over $24; VIX snapped 1 vol higher to 15.0%; and AAPL tumbled from early highs (holding above $500 though). An ugly close at the lows of the day for stocks...

 
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"Military Intervention In Syria", US Training "Rebels" Since 2011 And The Complete Grand Plan - The March 2012 Leak





INSIGHT - military intervention in Syria, post withdrawal status of forces

Released on 2012-03-06 07:00 GMT

 
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A "Clear, Staggering And Compelling Attack" - Full Kerry Transcript





"Anyone who could claim that an attack of this staggering scale could be contrived or fabricated needs to check their conscience and their own moral compass. What is before us today is real, and it is compelling."

 
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Secretary Kerry "Syria / Taper" Briefing - Live Webcast (Delayed To 1430ET)





UPDATE 3: He speaks... and it's over

UPDATE 2: KERRY STILL MIA (NO PUN INTENDED)

UPDATE: KERRY COMMENTS ON SYRIA DELAYED UNTIL 2:30, STATE DEPT SAYS

Following the weekend's escalations (and today's intelligence intercepts, inspections, and attacks), US Secretary of State John Kerry is back from vacation and takes to the teleprompter (and hopefuly some Q&A) to brief us on which red line is next and when the US goes back to war (removing the Taper fears)...

*RUSSIAN, TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTERS DISCUSSED SYRIA BY PHONE
*PUTIN, CAMERON DISCUSSED SYRIA IN PHONE CALL, KREMLIN SAYS
*CAMERON, PUTIN SAY CHEMICAL WEAPON USE MERITS SERIOUS RESPONSE
‘IDF intercepted Syrian regime chatter on chemical attack’ - Times of Israel

Pre-Kerry: S&P 500 (Fut) 1663.25, 10Y 2.8055%, USD 81.45, WTI $106.15, Gold $1393.55

 
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Guest Post: Detroitification - It’s The Government, Stupid





No matter how hard the Washington crowd tries to sell an economic recovery, inconvenient and contrary facts keep rearing up to shatter their mythmaking. Few people any longer believe the claims of declining unemployment or low inflation at least based on purchases they make. The fable of a housing recovery is now crumbling. The recession, declared over in June 2009, never ended. Some wonder how bad the recession/depression might have been had government not acted. Others worry that we will find out when the Fed tapers. For lack of a better term, the process the entire country is headed for is “Detroitification.” At this stage, the damage is done and cannot be undone quickly enough to avoid this crisis. Even if there were time, there is no way that politicians would willingly address the problem.

 
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What Keeps America Up At Night





Pervasive, unchecked spying on millions of Americans and NSA agents eavesdropping on exes? A war with Syria? Fed tapering? A US that has been at its debt ceiling for months? A looming spending fight? Markets halting for hours due to "glitches"? Even Donald Trump? Naaaaah. According to Google Trends, this is what keeps America "up" at night.

 
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Israel Claims To Have Intercepted "Syrian Regime Chatter" Confirming Assad Behind Attack





The planting and harvesting of false flags in Syria will need a crop rotation following the latest "revelation" by Germany's Focus magazine (on Saturday), subsequently reported by the Times of Israel, that Israeli Defense Forces had listened in on senior Syrian officials discussing a chemical attack last Wednesday. TOI reports that "according to the report Saturday in Focus magazine, a squad specializing in wire-tapping within the IDF’s prestigious 8200 intelligence unit intercepted a conversation between high-ranking regime officials regarding the use of chemical agents at the time of the attack. The report, which cited an ex-Mossad official who insisted on remaining anonymous, said the intercepted conversation proved that Bashar Assad’s regime was responsible for the use of nonconventional weapons."

 
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Obama Declares War On Climate Change





[Summer|Winter]: watch out.

  • OBAMA TO USE ADMINISTRATIVE AUTHORITY TO FIGHT CLIMATE CHANGE
  • OBAMA TO INVEST IN TECHNOLOGY TO MAKE FOSSIL FUELS CLEANER
  • OBAMA CLIMATE PLAN IS NOT A WAR ON COAL, MONIZ SAYS

We have no idea what any of that means or what administrative authority Obama has to unilaterally declare war on, well, climate. But if Obama is taking on the unprecedented Arctic heat cold and is about to usher in centrally-planned weather, we would be nervous if we were Syria. Very nervous.

 
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Soybean, Corn, And Wheat Prices Are Surging





Just two weeks ago, agriculture commodity-watchers were celebrating: “we are in for an exceptionally good year, perhaps one of the best in the last four or five years in terms of crop production,” as prices for corn, wheat and soybeans were falling amid global relief of the escalating inflation of food prices. So much for that... as SocGen notes, prices will be at or above current levels as hot, dry weather threatens U.S. Midwest crops. In addition, a shift in Chinese policy (following corruption concerns) is having a positive impact on price. Sure enough, Corn, Wheat (impacted by Brazil's frosts cutting forecast by 26%), and Soybean prices are screaming higher today as crops appear to be "decidely not in good shape." Corn is having its biggest gain since July 2012, Soybeans up most since 2010 and limit-up, and Wheat up its most since June 2012.

 
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Guest Post: The Recession That Never Ended: 2008 -2013 (And Counting)





The reality is that the recession never ended for 95% of U.S. households, and by many metrics the recession has deepened. The trick is to not measure those metrics; what isn't measured doesn't exist, especially recession.

 
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UN Vehicle Immobilized By Snipers As Inspectors Gather 'Samples'





As Syria 'welcomed' the UN team of scientists to dispel the myth that al-Assad had used chimcal weapons, one of the team's two vehicles came under sniper fire and was rendered 'unserviceable'. The team "collected some samples" and interviewed survivors, witnesses and doctors on its first day on inspection but the attack on the UN team prompted secretary-general Ban to file a "strong complaint" with Syrian officials. We await John Kerry's pending statement at 2pmET for clarification of whether the Fed can Taper or not Taper...

 
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Italian Bonds Plunge To Worst Day In 9 Weeks





With the UK on holiday (vacation), European markets were relatively quiet - apart from Italy... The Berlusconi debacle rolls on and sparked the worst sell-off in Italian sovereign bonds in 9 weeks and pushed the spread on BTPs over Bunds to its highest in 3 weeks. Most European equity markets closed mildly lower (with Germany's DAX unch - recovering from its EUREX-halting drop earlier in the day. Italian stocks were the big underperformer (down 2.2%). For the 3rd day in a row, Europe's VIX was smashed lower from an opening high print to close at its lows. The UK and its 'credit police' will be back tomorrow.

 
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Hugh Hendry Latest Thoughts, Portfolio And Holdings Update





2013 has not been kind to Hugh Hendry, whose Eclectica Absolute Macro fund has posted an unchanged performance year to date, broadly underperforming (alongside the bulk of the hedge fund community) the market. Below are his most recent macro thoughts, his holdings (few changes most notable of which is the closure of the Yen short), and his take on how Bernanke "infamously marched his troops to the top of the hill only to march them down again, one moment promising tapering, the next, unlimited accommodation."

 
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Julian Assange Reveals "Google's Covert Role In Foaming Uprisings"





It has been revealed, thanks to Edward Snowden, that Google and other US tech companies received millions of dollars from the NSA for their compliance with the PRISM mass surveillance system. So just how close is Google to the US securitocracy?

"Google is getting WH [White House] and State Dept support and air cover. In reality they are doing things the CIA cannot do"

That Google was taking NSA money in exchange for handing over people’s data comes as no surprise. When Google encountered the big bad world, Google itself got big and bad.

 
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