Copper's China-credit-contraction-driven crash continues as the metal drops to fresh 5-year lows today (on par with Lehman and the US downgrade collapses). Japanese stocks are down over 1000 points from their post-Putin highs. Russian stocks are plunging, Germany's (and Swiss) bonds are surging (as is gold) and European equity and credit markets are in free-fall. But apart from that... Finally we saw the world's angst spill into Yen-carry trades (USDJPY was spanked today - almost biggest drop in 6 months). US equities plunged tick-for-tick with USDJPY (S&P's biggest drop in 6 weeks and red for 2014); Treasury yields were crushed 9-10bps from intraday highs (biggest drop in 2 months); credit spreads banged wider; gold jumped to six-month highs; and EUR weakness (post-Draghi) ramped the USD back near unchanged on the week. VIX was a one-way street higher all day (biggest low-to-high run in 6 weeks) to 6-week highs.
Merkel Warns Putin Of "Massive Damage", Russia Continues Piling Troops, Pro-Russia Oligarch Arrested, Gazprom SpeaksSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/13/2014 09:05 -0500
It's crunch time for Ukraine.
Simply ending the corporate lives of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac as the Johnson-Crapo proposal envisions is not sufficient
The profane alliance between big banks, big corporations, and big government has created the Big Brother surveillance society we are living under today. And 95% of the populace is either willfully ignorant or perfectly happy with a boot stomping on their face forever. We have willingly become hopelessly enslaved while believing we are free. A population unable or unwilling to think critically doesn’t comprehend the extreme danger to our civil liberties from the unwarranted intrusion into our private lives by a surveillance police state bent on bribing, coercing and silencing dissent, truth and First Amendment rights.
"In the future, no matter how the situation is resolved in Crimea, we need a much stronger Ukraine," warned Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament, adding that "If you have nuclear weapons people don't invade you." It would seem tough for the West (and their START Treaty) to get behind a nation that, as USA Today reports, believes it may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons to enforce a security pact to reverse the Moscow-based takeover of Crimea. "We gave up nuclear weapons," (inherited from the Soviet Union) because of the 1991 agreement that The United States, Great Britain and Russia would "assure Ukraine's territorial integrity" but Rizanenko told his government today, "now there's a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake."
Seth Klarman's comments on "The Truman Show" market and "born bulls" appeared to upset the status quo today on CNBC leaving none other than Joe Kernan and then later, Jim Cramer questioning Klarman's credentials with a passive-aggressive "when did Klarman turn negative? We should look into that..." question. We found it intriguing and wondered how much the investing public weights the differing views of these veritable titans of stock market wisdom. The answer - a market-based answer - lie in the purest measure of all... the cost of acquiring their knowledge...
How much faith can we put in our ability to decipher all the numbers out there telling us the US is closing in on its cornering of the global oil market? There’s another side to the story of the relentless US shale boom, one that says that some of the numbers are misunderstood, while others are simply preposterous. The truth of the matter is that the industry has to make such a big deal out of shale because it’s all that’s left. There are some good things happening behind the fairy tale numbers, though—it’s just a matter of deciphering them from a sober perspective.
The Whole World Has Gone Into Debt
People apparently don't eat pizza when it is snowing... Or during an economic recovery... And certainly not when celebrating the market's all time high 5 year bull "market" anniversary. That is the conclusion one can derive from the just filed Sbarro Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, which just happens to be the company's second in three years after it did the same in April 2011. The filing itself, which lists assets and liabilities between $100 and $500 million, is not surprising following on the heels of the announcement last month, when Sbarro said it would close 155 of 400 North American restaurants to cut costs. The reason for the Chapter 22 as it is known in restructuring circles: too much debt (so... debt isn't wealth?) and declining customer traffic, which like in the McDonalds' case has nothing to do with a cash strapped US consumer, but the nagging fear, which came true in January, that it would snow during the winter. Oh, and there is also no inflation, even though as Moody's warned in January, Sbarros was striggling with "high food, labor and occupancy costs."
That Ukraine "drill" may be coming at just the right time. Just out from Reuters:
- RUSSIAN TROOPS OPENED FIRE DURING TAKEOVER OF UKRAINIAN MILITARY POST IN CRIMEA, NO ONE WOUNDED -INTERFAX QUOTES UKRAINIAN BASE COMMANDER
And at the same time:
- RUSSIA'S PUTIN SAYS TOLD FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV TO INVITE U.S. COUNTERPART KERRY FOR MORE CONSULTATIONS ON UKRAINE
- RUSSIAN FOREIGN MINISTER LAVROV SAYS HAD INVITED KERRY TO RUSSIA TODAY, BUT KERRY SAID ON SATURDAY HE WOULD LIKE TO POSTPONE VISIT
No de-escalation yet. Any minute now though. The market said so.
I clearly have a very hard time reconciling a U.S. stock market making new all-time-highs almost daily, especially in the face of what most economists consider to be a weak domestic economy with negligible growth prospects. Moreover, when you layover the thoroughly stalled and certainly weaker overall global economic picture, it’s even harder to rationalize. Finally, throw into the mix the gravity of threatening geopolitical tensions between the U.S. and Russia, the two nations with the largest stockpiles of tactical nuclear weapons on earth, and the market actually welcomes it. Something majorly does not add up, well, to this Idiot anyways.
When one studies history, all events seem to revolve around the applications and degenerations of war. Great feats of human understanding, realization and enlightenment barely register in the mental footnotes of the average person. War is what we remember, idealize and aggrandize, which is why war is the tool most often exploited by oligarchy to distract the masses while it centralizes power. With the exception of a few revolutions, most wars are instigated and controlled by financial elites, manipulating governments on both sides of the game to produce a preconceived result. Every major international crisis for the past century or more has ended with an even greater consolidation of world power into the hands of the few, and this is no accident.
A near-term outlook for the dollar against the major foreign currencies.
We have long been pounding the table (certainly since mid-2012) that the US labor market has become a place where mostly older workers - those 55 and over - are hirable - something which has nothing to do with demographics, and everything to do with excess worker slack, and an employer's market to pick and chose those workers that are most qualified for a job since older workers have the same wage leverage as younger ones: none. February was merely the latest confirmation of just this.