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5 Things To Ponder: Spring Break Reading List

On a daily basis individuals jump into the financial markets with their "savings" in the hope of a thrilling ride. However, very much like skiing, inevitably you are going to take a tumble. Importantly, that "tumble" generally occurs when one becomes overly confident in their abilities and pushes the "risk" just beyond their inherent capabilities to react quickly enough. The result has tended to not be a pretty one. As we discussed earlier this week, there are many signs that suggest the current market environment has begun to push the outer boundaries of the "risk" curve. While this doesn't mean that the markets are about to "crash," it does suggest that individuals with a lesser skill set may want to be a bit more cautious.

Greece Proposes To Become A Tax-Collecting Police State: Will "Wire" Tourists And Unleash Them As "Tax Inspectors"

"We propose the following: that large numbers of non-professional inspectors are hired on a strictly short-term, casual basis (no longer than two months, and without any prospect of being rehired) to pose, after some basic The very 'news' that thousands of casual "onlookers" are everywhere, bearing audio and video recording equipment on behalf of the tax authorities, has the capacity to shift attitudes very quickly, spreading a sense of justice across society and engendering a new tax compliance culture - especially if combined with the appropriate communication of the simple message that the time has come for everyone to share the burden of public services and goods."

- Yanis Varoufakis

Overnight Wrap: Euro Plummets As Q€ "Priced In", Futures "Coiled" Ahead Of Payrolls

The question stands: how much longer will the Fed allow the ECB to export its recession to the US on the back of the soaring dollar, and how much longer will the market be deluded that "decoupling" is still possible despite a dramatic bout of weakness in recent US data. Look for the answer in today's BLS report, which - if the Fed is getting secound thoughts about its rate hike strategy in just 3 months - has to print well below 200,000 to send a very important message to the market about just how much weaker the US economy is than generally perceived. For now, however, the ECB is getting its way, and the question of just how much European QE is priced in, remains open, with peripheral bond yields dropping to new all time lows for yet another day, while the EURUSD has plunged to fresh 11 year lows, sliding below 1.094, and making every US corporation with European operations scream in terror.  Looking at markets, US equities are just barely in the red, coiled to move either way when the seasonally-adjusted jobs data hits.

Unraveling The Mystery Of Oil And The Swiss Franc

Has the DNA of the global economy been gradually altered by endless injections of quantitative easing, morphing it into a freakish mutant? Are things that are not supposed to happen for centuries on end going to become common occurrences? The collapse of oil prices and jump in the Swiss franc have forced us to puzzle over these weighty questions. In isolation, these events and the direction of their moves did not worry us, but their magnitude, velocity and proximity to each other sent me on an intellectual quest.

Fed 2015 "Stress Test" Results: 31 Out Of 31 Pass, Mission Accomplished

Four months ago, in another failed attempt to boost confidence in the Eurozone and stimulate lending (failed because three months later the ECB finally launched its own QE), the ECB conducted its latest stress test, which as we explicitly pointed out was an utter joke as even its "worst-case" scenario did not simulate a deflationary scenario. Two months later Europe was in outright deflation.  It was initially unclear just how comparably laughable the Fed's own stress test assumptions were, but refuting rumors that Deutsche and Santander would fail the Fed's stress test (perhaps because former FDIC head and current Santander head Sheila Bair wasn't too happy about her bank being one of the failed ones), moments ago the Fed released the results of the 2015 Fed stress test, and.... it seems there was no need to provide a sacrificial lamb as with stocks at record highs. In fact everything is awesome! FED STRESS TEST SHOWS ALL 31 BANKS EXCEED MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS

Shale Company Defaults On $175 MM In Bonds Without Making A Single Interest Payment

Update: And just to prove that people are indeed, idiots, moments ago this hits:

ENERGY XXI GULF COAST, INC. PRICES UPSIZED PRIVATE OFFERING OF $1.45 BILLION OF 11.000% SENIOR SECURED SECOND LIEN NOTES DUE 2020

Back in August 2014, yield-starved bondholders were delighted to give American Eagle Energy $175 million in cash, and why not: the company promised them an 11% annual cash coupon.  Seven months later the company is in default, and the same bondholders are looking at an 80% loss, without receiving even one coupon payment.  Movie Gallery anyone?

Thanks For The Corporate Bond Bubble, Fed

Once upon a time businesses borrowed long term money - if they borrowed at all - in order to fund plant, equipment and other long-lived productive assets. Today American businesses are borrowing like never before - to fund financial engineering maneuvers such as stock buybacks, M&A and LBOs, not the acquisition of productive assets that can actually fuel future output and productivity. 

Let’s see. The Eccles Building has grown its balance sheet by 9X since the turn of the century, but real net investment in the business sector has plunged by 33%!

The Global Problem: Monetary Policy Can't Fix An Economy's Structural Problems

What with all the praise being heaped on central banks for "saving" the world from economic doomsday in 2008, it's only natural to ask which structural problems their unprecedented policies solved in the past 6 years. After all, "saving" the world from financial collapse was relatively quick work; so what problems beyond imminent implosion did the central banks policies solve in the past 6 years? Answer: none. zip, zero, nada. The truth is central bank policies of zero-interest rates and free money for financiers have made many structural problems worse.

Mark Cuban Warns: This Bubble Is Far Worse Than The Tech Bubble Of 2000

Just over a year ago, we warned that while the world of speculative capital is focused intently on the Twitter and Facebook #Ref/0 fundamental valuations in the publicly-traded equity markets, the real dot-com 2.0 bubble is occurring in the private markets. Few paid attention, prefering the head in the sand "well the music is still playing" meme; but one (or two) billionaires noticed, and with all eyes intently focused on Nasdaq 5,000 (as some indicator that we made it back to Nirvana), Mark Cuban unleashes uncontestible exposition why is this bubble far worse than the tech bubble of 2000.

Great Big Fat Greek Expectations

It is becoming clear that a pretty wide divide seems to appear between what many people think the Syriza government in Athens should do, and what they actually can do at this point in time. It should be useful to clarify what this divide consists of, and how it can be breached, if that is at all possible.

This Is Why Obama Missed Netanyahu's Speech Today

By far the most important geopolitical event of the day, as straight-to-C Span-poluist-pandering as it may have been, was Israel Prime Minister's address to congress, in which for nearly one hour the Israeli leader bashed Iran, stopping just shy of fabricating even more evidence about how close Iran is to developing a nuclear weapon. Yet one person missed everything including the standing ovation at the end: president Barack Obama. As it turns out he had more important things to do...

As 1000s Mourn At Nemtsov's Funeral, Seven Main Conspiracy Theories Emerge

Tens of thousands marched Sunday through Central Moscow to honor Boris Nemtsov, outspoken opposition critic of Vladimir Putin who was murdered Friday night and thousands more mourned today at his funeral (though notably not Putin himself) and more pointedly, The BBC reports, several EU politicians and Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny were barred from attending the funeral. Hours later, Mr Navalny accused the Russian authorities of responsibility for the murder, adding to slew of competing theories involving everything from the CIA to Islamic militants and Ukrainian nationalists.