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Equity Futures At Session Highs Following Chinese QE Hints; Europe Lags On Greek Jitters





It has been a story of two markets so far, with China's Shanghai Composite up another 3% in today's continuation of the most ridiculous, banana-stand driven move of the New Normal (and there have been many ridiculous moves in the past 6 years) on the previously reported hints that the PBOC is gearing up to start its own QE, while Europe and the Eurostoxx are lagging, if only for the time being until Citadel and Virtu engage in today's preapproved risk-on momentum ignition, on Greek jitters, the same jitters that last week were "fixed"and sent Greek stocks and bonds soaring. Needless to say, neither Greek bonds nor stocks aren't soaring following what has been the worst week for Greece in months.

 
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5 Things To Ponder: Market Soup





Operating and reported earnings have turned sharply lower over recent quarters which has historically been associated with major market peaks. As shown below, it is also important to notice that revenue has tended to lag these downturns in earnings previously. This is because the measures used to substantially boost profitability from each dollar of revenue generated through accounting gimmickry, share repurchases, and cost cutting are finite in nature. When the effect of those manipulations fade, so does the inflated profitability generated from each dollar of revenue. This will be something worth watching closely over the next few quarters particular as the commentary of a "continued secular bull market" continues to hit the headlines.

 
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Futures Fizzle After Greece "Hammered" In Riga, Varoufakis Accused Of Being "A Time-Waster, Gambler, Amateur"





Even though no rational person expected that the Greek situation would be resolved at today's talks in Riga, Latvia, apparently the algos were so caught up in spoofing each other to new record highs that futures, after surging once more overnight following the latest Google miss which sent the company and the Nasdaq soaring, actually dipped modestly into the red following headlines that the latest Greek talks have broken down after a "hostile" Troika "hammered" the Greek finmin, who was accused by European finmins of "being a time-waster, a gambler and an amateur."

 
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Futures Unexpectedly Red Despite Disappointing Economic Data From Around The Globe





Today is shaping up to be a rerun of yesterday where another frenzied Asian session that has seen both the Shanghai Composite and the Nikkei close higher yet again (following the weakest Chinese HSBC mfg PMI in one year which in an upside down world means more easing and thus higher stocks) has for now led to lower US equity futures with the driver, at least in the early session, being a statement by the BOJ's Kuroda that there’s a "possibility" the Bank of Japan’s 2% inflation target will be delayed and may occur in April 2016.

 
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Turkish Student Sentenced To Prison For Retweeting Satirical Article





With Turkish enforcement now granted a green light to detain anyone, for any reason, the next inevitable crackdown was only a matter of time - that on free speech. Overnight we got a vivid example of just that when a university student in southern Turkey has been handed a one-year suspended sentence for retweeting a satirical article about a governor from Zaytung, a mock news portal in Turkey, daily Cumhuriyet has reported.

 
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Asian Euphoria Sends Nikkei Above 20,000, Fizzles In Europe On More Greek Fears; US Futures Down





Whether it is in sympathy with the now relentless surge in the Shanghai Composite which tacked on another 2.44% overnight to close at a fresh multi-year high just shy of 4400, well more than double from a year ago, or because Mrs Watanabe was unable to read the latest Japan trade data whose first trade surplus in 3 years hinted that there will be no new easing by the BOJ any time soon, but overnight the Nikkei closed above 20,000 for the first time in 15 years, with "makers of chocolate, mayonnaise, potato chips and household appliances" helping lift the Tokyo market according to the WSJ. The now daily Asian euphoria however did not last long in the European session, and after opening higher, the Stoxx Europe 600 slipped into negative territory just an hour into trading, and was down 0.4% by midmorning, lead by a near 1% decline on Athens' mains stock index, which has since recouped losses stemming from the overnight report that the ECB is considering an up to 50% haircut on Greek bank collateral, a move that would wipe out the Greek financial sector with ease.

 
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The Mystery Of China's Gold Holdings Is Coming To An End





While the reality is that nobody has a clue what China's actual gold holdings are, the good news is that the answer is coming. As noted above, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang has asked the head of the International Monetary Fund to include China's yuan currency in its special drawing rights (SDR) basket.  If indeed China is serious about CNY inclusion in the SDR, it will finally have to reveal its cards, which would mean it finally will provide an update, with a 6 year delay, of just what its latest gold holdings are. As such, don't be surprised to wake up one morning to headlines blasting that Chinese gold holdings have gone up by 2x, 3x, 5x or (more x) since 2009, a long-overdue update which will catalyze the next major leg higher in the precious metal. 

 
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Sabre-Rattling Soars: Poland Buys US Patriot Air Defense System, Gold Pops





Just days after Russia lifts sanctions on Iran and prepares to send its S-300 missile defense system, it appears Washington has retaliated. As TASS reports, Poland - on Russia's doorstep - has decided to buy the US Patriot air-defense system (made by Raytheon) for a total cost of around $9bn: "The US proposal has been found to be more profitable from the viewpoint of Poland’s security and implementation of commitments within NATO framework." Washington, keen to ensure Warsaw signed up with Raytheon, has decided to loan Poland a battery of Patriots until the deal is signed.

 
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Chinese Economic Outlook "Skewed Heavily To The Downside," BNP Says





"The outlook for Chinese demand, in contrast to optimistic forecasts of producers, is skewed heavily to the downside," BNP says, in a new note warning of further deflationary pressures and protracted weakness in iron ore prices. For those who still think a "hard landing" can still be avoided, look no further for evidence to the contrary.

 
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China To The Rescue: Global Equity Market Rebound After Latest Chinese Easing





It is only fitting that the next business day following a headline that "Global Futures Slide China Tumbles On Short Selling Boost" we would see China, in an apparent panic, not only cut its RRR by 100 bps to 18.5% - far more than expected and the most since 2008 - but, more importantly, hinted that the Friday regulatory decision to encourage short sales and tighter margin rules on "umbrella trusts" was in no way meant to pop that the Chinese stock bubble, ridiculous as it may be. End result: after Chinese futures crashed by up to 6% on Friday after the Shanghai close, overnight the SHCOMP was down just 1.64%, erasing the bulk of the futures loss. More importantly, US equity futures have seen a strong bid this morning in yet another attempt to defend not only the Apple Sachs Industrial Average from going red on the year but the all important 100 DMA technical levels.

 
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Central Bankers Next Test Of Omnipotence May Be Coming





Here we are, just barely into our first earnings season without the incessantly added fuel provided by QE and the markets are stumbling. At times on Friday the indexes were hovering near the possibility of posting 2% losses going into the weekend. In today’s media mindset of “everything is awesome.” That’s near – unthinkable. No Fed speaker saved the day; no HFT-induced ramp came to the rescue... Maybe it’s because all ammo (and there has been no silver bullet more powerful of late than a Central Banker press conference) is being reserved for a much larger crisis looming on the horizon (i.e. Greece and all its tenuous implications calling for an “All hands on printing presses deck, battle stations” response).

 
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What Bernanke's New Employer Had To Say About Him Just 2 Years Ago





Having previously explained the 175,846,629,768 reasons why former Fed Chair Ben Bernanke would join Citadel - the most-levered hedge fund in the world and alleged conduit of fed put protection; we thought it intriguing to note what billionaire Citadel Ken Griffin had to say about Bernanke and his policies just 2 years ago...

 
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