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2600 Years Of Financial Innovation

In a world in which "can kicking" has become the only way out, it appears that the only thing that can prevent systemic collapse due to is even more financial innovation. And while we have no idea what is the next milestone in financial ingenuity, we present the key milestones over the past 2600 years that defined modern finance as we know it.

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[Turkish Army|Syrian Rebels] Said To Down Syrian [Jet|Helicopter] By Turkey-Syria Border

A flurry of headlines suggesting the Syrian situation may not be contained, after Turkish media report a Syrian jet crashed 400 meters away from the Syrian-Turkey border.


It also appears the crash was not self-inflicted. Moments ago, Turkey's Today's Zaman adds that "Turkish army has downed a Syrian fighter jet in Hatay on the Syrian border." Has Turkey, which has been spoiling for regime change in Syria (just think of all the fringe benefits if and when the Qatari pipeline finally crosses Syria and enters Turkey), grown tired of waiting for a decisive false flag, and decided to take matters into its own hands?

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The "European New Normal" Quote Of The Day

Greek PM Antonis Samaras: "You have to tell people the truth but you have to give them hope as well." i.e., lie

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Presenting The Best Trading Strategy Over The Past Year: Why Buying The Most Hated Names Continues To Generate "Alpha"

Just over a year ago, in "Presenting the most shorted stocks" we showed a simple chart highlighting the most hated/shorted Russell 2000 names with an even simpler expectation: in a market in which all the risk is being onboarded by the Federal Reserve, there is simply no more idiosyncratic risk, and as a result for those so inclined, and preferably running other people's money, a clear "alpha-generation" strategy in which hedging risk is no longer a concern, was to go long the most hated named. Since then the most shorted names have massively outperformed the broader stock market as day after day, week after week, those "hedging" long positions with hedge fund hotel shorts, got blown out of the water and were forced to cover shorts leading to the only significant "alpha" generating strategy available in this broken, centrall-planned market.

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AAPL Plunges To 5 Week Low (Sub-Icahn) As Chinese Telcos Slash Subsidies

It is tough to see the exact catalyst for the collapse in AAPL's share price in recent days (though it is clear that no China Mobile news is not good news) - but then aside from Carl Icahn's tweets it was hard to see what the exuberance in August was. Now a month later, AAPL has retraced all Icahn's gains and then some and is trading at 5 week lows. Today's weakness - in the face of a surging broad market - is being pinned on talk of Chinese telecoms firms cutting subsidies - not exactly strategically in line with AAPL's growth goals. Add toi that Wal_mart is already slashing prices on the iPhone 5C - considerably earlier than normal - and it suggest more of the same from AAPL is not beingmet by exuberant demand.

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White House Statement On Navy Shootings: "Listen To Authorities"

The White House has issued a statement regarding the dismal situation in Washington:

The President has been briefed several times about the unfolding situation at the Washington Navy Yard by Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Lisa Monaco and Deputy Chief of Staff Alyssa Mastromanaco. The President directed his team to stay in touch with our federal partners, including the Navy and FBI, as well as the local officials.  We urge citizens to listen to the authorities and follow directions from the first responders on site.

The latest news is that:

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Yellen Storms Back To Top Of Fed Chairman Bookmaker Odds

When the tracking of potential Ben replacement candidates for Fed Chairman by Irish bookmaker Paddy Power, and InTrade prop bet replacement, started it had Janet Yellen as a solid favorite. Shortly thereafter, as news leaked that Obama's favorite was Larry Summers, and as the president made it quite clear Yellen's candidacy was certainly not on the front Burner with the "Mr. Yellen" Freudian slip, Summer's odds soared and hit a contract high of 85% last week. Over the weekend, anyone who had put money on Summers, was Harvarded and lost all capital at risk, and now, it is Yellen who is once again firmly in the lead with her odds soaring right back to just why of 90%, and well-ahead of second placed Don Kohn at 17%. Ironically, while the market never actually corrected for the "market negative" that Larry Summers' candidacy is now spun to be, it is surely uncorrecting now that he is out.

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Gone Fisch(er)-ing; And The 'Summers' Of Our Discontent

It had become clear that the President's own political base in the Senate were not going to support Mr. Summer's ascendancy. The eye of the Press will now turn to Mr. Kohn, Ms. Yellen, who does not seem to have the support of Mr. Obama, and the long, though interesting shot, of Stanley Fischer. Mr. Obama appears to be easing into a lame duck presidency far earlier than once thought and the reality of Obamacare will hit Main Street on October 1 which may tip the scales further out of his control. It may not be either the best of times or the worst of times but very volatile times that mark this week.

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Industrial Production Misses For 5th Month In A Row

While headlines, we are sure, will crow of industrial production's best gain in six months, the sad fact is that the market was expecting more. At +0.4% - against an expectation of +0.5% - this is the 5th month in a row of missed expectations for this significant indicator of economic health. Capacity utilization rose but also missed expectations. It seems manufacturing and mining got a modest boost (the former bounced more than expected but only thanks to a notable prior revision downward) and Utilities dragged the headline index down - so we await the "it's the weather's fault" remarks.

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The Sub-2% Tipping Point Economy

With so many candidates dropping out of the race, one has to wonder why the attraction of the 'most-powerful' job in the world is fading. Perhaps it is not wanting to stuck between the rock of the 'broken-market-diminishing-returns' of moar QE and the hard place of an economy/market that is sputtering and needs moar. As Bloomberg's Rich Yamarone notes, There’s a little known rule of thumb in the economics world: when the annual growth rate of key U.S. indicators falls below 2 percent, the economy slides into recession in the next 12 months... and more than one of them is flashing red.

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(Ir)Rational Overnight Exuberance On Summers Withdrawal Sends Futures To All Time Highs

While the only market moving event of note had nothing to do with the economy (as usual), and everything to do with the Fed's potential propensity to print even more dollars and inject even more reserves into the stock market (now that Summers the wrongly perceived "hawk" is out) some other notable events did take place in the Monday trading session. Of note: while India's August inflation soared far higher than the expected 5.7%, rising to 6.1% from 5.79% (making life for the RBI even more miserable, as it is fighting inflation on one hand, and a lack of liquidity on the other), in Europe inflation decelerated to 1.3% from 1.6% in July driven by a drop in energy prices, while core inflation was a tiny 1.1%. In a continent with record negative loan growth this is to be expected. Additionally, as also reported, Merkel appears to be positioned stronger ahead of this weekend's Federal election following stronger results for her CDU/CSU, if weaker for her broader coalition. In Libya, oil protesters said they would continue stoppages at oil terminals until their demands are met in yet another startling outcome for US foreign intervention. Finally, some headline on Syria noted a Kerry statement "will not tolerate avoidance of a Syria deal", while Lavrov observed that it may be time to "force Syria opposition to peace talks." And one quote of the day so far: "Don't want market to become excessively exuberant" from the ECB's Mersch- just modestly so?

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Empire Fed Misses; Falls To 4-Month Low As Employment Drops

For the second month in a row, the Empire Fed has fallen and missed expectations. At 6.29 (vs 9.1 exp), this is the lowest since May as the average workweek (down from 4.81 to 1.08) and number of employees (down from 10.84 to 7.53)  subindices fall notably. In general the index was not worse because of the effect of the six-months-outlook views (which soared 3pts to 40.6 - its highest since early 2012) when, as usual, current conditions deteriorate but offset by hopium that eventually things will get better, but even there employment (number of employees outlook down from 8.43 to 4.30) was seen as weaker.

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Key Events In The Coming Week

The most important event of the "coming" week was unexpected, and did not even take place during the week, but the weekend. So with Summers unexpectedly, and uncharacteristically out, here is what else is in store.

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Frontrunning: September 16

  • Summers Quit Fed Quest After Democrats Spurned Obama Favorite (BBG)
  • Geithner Still Not Interested in Fed Chair Slot (WSJ)
  • Gross’s Trade Sours as Bonds Lose Faith in Fed Guidance (BBG)
  • Bob Diamond calls for bank rules shake-up (FT)
  • Russia says may be time to force Assad's foes to talk peace (Reuters)
  • Iran Dials Up Syria Presence (WSJ)
  • Kerry Seeks to Sell Syria Deal (WSJ)
  • Shutdown of Japan’s Last Nuclear Reactor Raises Power Concerns (BBG)
  • Emerging Stocks Rise to 3-Month High as Bonds Gain on Fed (BBG)
  • Bernanke’s Maradona swerve hits bonds (FT)
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Summers' Season Is Over: The Morning After

Now that the market has had a day to digest the Summers news, its conclusion is still the same: the man who deregulated and was on Wall Street's payroll for years (when he was not busy micromismanaging Harvard's endowment) and yet was somehow supposed to be Wall Street negative by bearing "hawkish", would have been bad for stocks. And while there was not a correction per se associated with the Summers' appointment or rumor thereof, the fact that he is now out, is even more bullish for stocks, and the correction that never was, can be uncorrected, sending stocks to new record highs, and all EM trades which had unwound modestly on fears of an end of the Fed carry trade, are getting rewound, even as gold has retraced all gains since the Friday fixing because while Yellen is pro-printish, she too is expected to be able to unwind any resurgent inflation in precisely "15 minutes." Here is what else is being said.

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