The Russell 2000 is -7.5% from July highs, -3% in 2014, unchanged since last October and year-over-year small-cap performance is the worst since July 2012. Despite four valiant momo-pump efforts to rally stocks to VWAP (to cover institutional sellers), they just kept falling back to bond-market-reality as US equities decoupled lower from JPY after Europe closed. The USD closed unch (after major swings intraday around Europe's close) with GBP strength and AUD/CAD weakness leading it lower on the week. Treasury yields dropped 2-3bps across the curve (down 3-5bps on the week) and all below FOMC levels (30Y -11bps). Gold is now up 0.6% on the week with oil and silver rising modestly. Copper found no bid. Financials slipped once again (catching down closer to credit). On the day, the European close signaled risk-off and the ubiquitous Tuesday panic buying in the last hour lifted the S&P to VWAP before a very weak close "not off the lows." Dow down 100+ pts 2 days in row for first time since June. VIX closed just shy of 15 at 7-week highs.
First, led by a "British-speaking" murderer, ISIS released beheading videos of US journalists. Then ISIS releases video of a British journalist hostage 'news' report to expose "the truth," and now, Australian police have raided hundreds of homes foiling a direct ISIS provocation to publicly behead a random citizen in Sydney. As Reuters reports, more than 800 police were involved in the pre-dawn security operation in Sydney and Brisbane, which was described as the largest in Australian history. A 22-year-old Sydney man was arrest, after links were found to top ISIS recruiter Mohammad Baryalei that PM Abbot stated were "clearly designed to shock and horrify, perhaps terrify" the community.
Plus: Exclusive Interview with FBI Whistleblower
Forty years ago many Americans celebrated the demise of the imperial presidency with the resignation of Richard Nixon. Today it is clear they celebrated too soon. Nixon’s view of presidential powers, summed up in his infamous statement that, “when the president does it that means it is not illegal,” is embraced by the majority of the political class. In fact, the last two presidents have abused their power in ways that would have made Nixon blush.
When Lee Goldsmith drives by one of the many fake cellphone towers being discovered throughout the U.S., his $3,500 CryptoPhone 500 will immediately display the warning message in the thumbnail image to the left. When you drive by the same fake towers, known as “interceptors,” your run of the mill iPhone or Samsung Galaxy won’t alert you to any potential security breach. And that’s exactly how those people who installed these interceptors, whoever they are, like it. What Lee Goldsmith and other users of the CryptoPhone 500 have discovered while driving across part of America will shock and disturb you.
Summer is over and many Europeans may have to keep warm this coming winter by thinking about their summer holidays while wrapped in blankets, praying for a short winter or for the world to come to its senses. It both cases, they may well be disappointed. The never-ending conflicts in the Middle East, mayhem in Libya, uncertainty in the Gulf and a war in Ukraine are all going to take a toll on the energy supplies this winter. Result? Many cold Europeans, many angry Europeans and many very pissed off Europeans. And what does history tell us about cold, angry, pissed-off Europeans?
Icahn, Soros, Druckenmiller, And Now Zell: The Billionaires Are All Quietly Preparing For The PlungeSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 09/03/2014 22:03 -0500
"The stock market is at an all-time, but economic activity is not at an all-time," explains billionaire investor Sam Zell adding that "I don't remember any time in my career where there have been as many wildcards floating out there that have the potential to be very significant and alter people's thinking." Zell concludes that "this is the first time I ever remember where having cash isn't such a terrible thing." Zell's calls should not be shocking following Soros. Druckenmiller, and Icahn's warnings that there is trouble ahead.
As Iran continues to negotiate with world powers over its controversial (but purely for peaceful purposes, of course) nuclear program - with hard-liners demanding more concessions from the West - The Telegraph reports that a brief video, which aired on the Arabic-language Al-Alam TV, shows what the channel says are parts of an Israeli drone, scattered in an unidentified desert area. Text accompanying the footage says the drone was downed on Saturday and identifies it as a Hermes 450, a known Israeli model. The Iranian TV station also says the model is dubbed "Spy Goddess." However, as The Telegraph adds, there were no visible Israeli markings in the footage and Israel's military has declined comment on the matter... and Iran will sue Israel legally over its alleged violation of Iran's air space.
This one is almost too sensational to be real. Almost. Jon Corzine (of MF Global) walks the streets a free man. Yet FinCEN is wasting taxpayer resources sending undercover agents to entrap some offshore casino, and they act as if they’ve infiltrated a major terrorist organization. Amid all the debt, graft, and incompetence that’s so prevalent today in government, this is another sad testament to the direction that things are headed.
India, Pakistan Intensify Shooting Across Border; Iran Downs Israel Drone; ISIS Seizes Military AirportSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 08/24/2014 11:07 -0500
Since in the New Normal no geopolitical events appear to have any adverse impact on risk and asset prices (because the central banks are always there to protect investors should the market "plunge" by say 5%) with general newsflow completely irrelevant on what has been a straight line up in the S&P since the announcement of QE4 in December 2012, one might as well see how much further geopolitical events can be pushed further before it all crashes. In other words, time for this weekend's geopolitical update which covers everything from India, Pakistan, Iran, Israel, Iraq, Syria and Qatar.
Communist China. Nazi Germany. Cambodia. Guatemala. Uganda. The list goes on and on. Pacification of the citizens is almost always a prerequisite to totalitarianism. There have been a lot of attempts to disarm, or at least partially disarm, people in the US throughout history as well. Each time there’s a major shooting somewhere, the chant to ban firearms grows louder. But the latest proposal is especially telling. H.R. 5344 is a bill currently going through Congress that would ban the purchase of body armor.
Pakistan Opposition Leader Slams US: "You Like Only Those Governments In Muslim Countries That Are Your Slaves"Submitted by Tyler Durden on 08/21/2014 20:50 -0500
It is no secret that of all geopolitical crises in the past 5 years, the US has been the instrumental puppetmaster in virtually all of them: from Libya, to Egypt, to Syria, to Ukraine ("US Revealed As Alleged Mastermind Behind Ukraine Unrest"), even the ISIS insurrection in Iraq whose success would have been impossible without prior US weaponizing of al-Qaeda splinter groups in neighboring Syria. And now it appears the US has found yet another country for its "intelligence services" to alienate. According to go the WSJ, the leader of protests against Pakistan's Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif lashed out at the U.S. Thursday, accusing Washington of interfering in the country's political crisis. "You like only those governments in Muslim countries that are your slaves," Mr. Khan said in remarks directed at the U.S. "Is there another democracy for you, and another for us?"
About a year after it was first revealed that the US had spied not only on Angela Merkel but on virtually every German citizen, in a remarkable NSA-CIA tag-team joint venture, many were wondering why Germany is taking things so calmly (aside, of course, for the whole "Fed may need to bail out Deutsche Bank at any moment" bit). Turns out the answer is that Germany was doing the same all along and as the German press reveals today, the German Federal Intelligence Service (BND) has tapped at least one phone call of then Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton.
Back in February we observed, with some surprise, when Soros Fund Management, the investment vehicle of the famous Hungarian billionaire investor revealed in its Q4 13F that the firm had taken its bearish S&P 500 ETF - aka SPY - put exposure to a then record $1.3 billion notional, prompting us and many others to ask if Soros was preparing for a market crash. Fast forward to today when following the latest 13F disclosure from the same fund, we note, with double the surprise that a quarter after the same ETF put was lowered to "only" $299 million notional, Soros has once again increased his total SPY Put to a new record high of $2.2 billion, or nearly double the previous all time high, and a whopping 17% of his total AUM.