Citigroup

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Frontrunning: February 27





  • Central Banks With Negative Rates Spur Question of How Low to Go (BBG)
  • DHS to keep running: Congress edges toward domestic security funding patch (Reuters)
  • Setbacks for Tsipras Stir Discord in Greek Ruling Party (BBG)
  • Greece’s Challenge: Appeasing Its Creditors and Its Population (WSJ)
  • Buffett, a cheerleader for America, takes his checkbook abroad (Reuters)
  • Oil’s Big Swings Are the New Normal: Market has rarely been more volatile (WSJ)
  • Ukraine Left Behind as Russian Stock Gains Are Unmatched (BBG)
  • Brent rises to $61, set for first monthly gain since July (Reuters)
 
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Frontrunning: February 26





  • Goldman Employees Reaped $2 Billion From 2008 Options Last Year (BBG)
  • On Bush turf, Obama blames immigration woes on Republicans (Reuters)
  • Tougher Internet rules to hit cable, telecoms companies (Reuters)
  • Russia's Gazprom says can exempt rebel-held areas from Ukraine gas contract (Reuters)
  • Allianz Says Pimco Seeing ‘Substantially’ Lower Outflows (BBG)
  • Merkel Faces Stepped-Up Dissent on Greek Bailout in Party (BBG)
  • SEC Probes Companies’ Treatment of Whistleblowers (WSJ)
  • 2-Year Trek From Turf to Table Delays Cheaper U.S. Beef (BBG)
  • Turkish jets violate Greek air space (Kathimerini)
 
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Janet Yellen Is Freaking Out About "Audit The Fed" – Here Are 100 Reasons Why She Should Be





Janet Yellen is very alarmed that some members of Congress want to conduct a comprehensive audit of the Federal Reserve for the first time since it was created. During testimony this week, she made “central bank independence” sound like it was the holy grail. Even though every other government function is debated politically in this country, Janet Yellen insists that what the Federal Reserve does is “too important” to be influenced by the American people. Does any other government agency ever dare to make that claim? If the Fed is doing everything correctly, why should Yellen be alarmed? What does she have to hide?

 
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Stocks In Holding Pattern Following Blow-Off Top, Oblivious Of Fed's Warning Of "Stretched" Valuations





Following the first of two Janet Yellen testimonies to Congress, the market read between the lines of what the Fed Chairman said when she hinted that "the Fed needs confidence on recovery and inflation before beginning to raise rates" and realized that the case of a June rate hike is suddenly far less realistic than previously expected, as a result not only did we see another blowoff top in stocks to fresh all time highs, a move which sent the USD lower, has pushed the median EV/EBITDA multiple to the mid 11x (!) range and the forward PE to just shy of 18x ironically coming on a day when the Fed itself warned about "stretched" equity valuations, and led to brisk buying of global Treasurys across the board, pushing the 10 Year in the US back under 2%, and due to the global convergence trade (because if the Fed returns to QE, it will be forced to buy up Treasuries not just in the US but around the globe, since net issuance including CBs globally is now negative) and leading to today's German 5 Year bond auction pricing at a negative yield for the first time ever.

 
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NIRP Officially Arrives In The US As JPM Starts Charging Fees On Deposits





The nebulous threat of NIRP in the US "some time in the future" became tangible after J.P. Morgan Chase, the largest US bank by assets (and second largest in the US by total derivative notional) is preparing to charge large institutional customers for some deposits. WSJ adds that JPM "is aiming to reduce the affected deposits by billions of dollars, with a focus on bringing the number down this year. "The moves have thrown into question a cornerstone of banking, in which deposits have been seen as one of the industry’s most attractive forms of funding."

 
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Frontrunning: February 24





  • Yellen faces Senate grilling on Fed rate policy, transparency (Reuters)
  • Big Banks Face Scrutiny Over Pricing of Metals (WSJ)
  • Greece makes more concessions to euro zone, Germany sets vote (Reuters)
  • Time for another executive order: Longer Lives Hit Companies With Pension Plans Hard (WSJ)
  • The Syria invasion "false flag" approaches: Islamic State in Syria abducts at least 90 from Christian villages (Reuters)
  • Why Lenders Love the $2.5 Million Home Loan (BBG)
  • Reuters journalist Maria Golovnina dies in Pakistan aged 34 (Reuters)
  • Qatar’s Ties to Militants Strain Alliance (WSJ)
 
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Frontrunning: February 23





  • Tsipras Tamed as Economists Declare Greece Loses Austerity Fight (BBG)
  • Greece readies reform plans to first sign of leftist unrest (Reuters)
  • Yellen Faces Congress Amid Direst Threat to Fed Since Dodd-Frank (BBG)
  • The war must go on: Kiev says cannot withdraw heavy weapons as attacks persist (Reuters)
  • Ukraine fears spread of war after blast in eastern city (Reuters)
  • Denmark Dismisses Report It Could Consider Capital Controls (BBG)
  • Deadline Nears on Homeland Security Funding Impasse (WSJ)
  • Gross Fund Hurt by Oil’s Plunge Amid Bets on Energy Bonds (BBG)
 
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Citi Warns Of "Dancing", "Music" And "Complicated Things" For The Second Time





When the music stops, in terms of liquidity, things will be complicated. But as long as the music is playing, you’ve got to get up and dance. We’re still dancing.”  
- Citigroup CEO Chuck Prince July 9, 2007

"Depressingly, our instinct is that those new forecasts are more likely too conservative than too aggressive. Longer-term, sweet dreams really aren't made of this."
- Citigroup Strategist Hans Lorenzen February 20, 2015

 
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Citigroup: "We Almost Hope Those Forecasts Are Proven Wrong"





"... we almost hope those forecasts are proven wrong. They imply a widening gap between valuations and traditional fundamental relationships. They imply a dearth of yields and spreads that will almost invariably push more and more investors into positions they would ultimately rather not take. But if the old adage that markets move in the direction that causes the most pain to the largest number of people is anything to go by, then we suspect that this is what will happen. Depressingly, our instinct is that those new forecasts are more likely too conservative than too aggressive. Longer-term, sweet dreams really aren't made of this."

 
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Frontrunning: February 20





  • Greece Should Not Give In to Germany’s Bullying (FP)
  • Greece Can Pay Its Debts in Full, but It Won’t (WSJ)
  • Early Friday humor: Euro Region Economy Strengthens Amid Wrangling on Greece  (BBG)
  • Euro zone may need extra summit to clinch Greek deal (Reuters)
  • Oil-Drop Pain Spreads to Saudi Arabia’s Energy Behemoth (WSJ)
  • Yellen Confronts Economists’ Ignorance (BBG) - where does one even start with this one
  • ECB Plans to Push Greek Banks to Shed State Debt If Talks Fail (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: February 19





  • Greece requests euro zone loan extension, offers big concessions (Reuters)
  • Germany Rejects Loan Request Saying Greece Must Meet Conditions (BBG)
  • Did the Fed Just Enter the Currency Wars (BBG)
  • French consumer prices fall for first time since 2009 (Reuters)
  • Oil falls sharply after U.S. crude inventories rise (Reuters)
  • High-Speed Firm Virtu Revives IPO Plans (WSJ)
  • Fed Tiptoes Into Rate-Hike Debate (Hilsenrath)
  • Rajoy’s Nemesis Is Back: Anti-Graft Editor Targets Vote (BBG)
 
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Frontrunning: February 18





  • Greece to submit loan request to euro zone, Germany resists (Reuters)
  • Ukrainian forces start to quit besieged town (Reuters)
  • Bank of Japan maintains policy, no surprises (FT)
  • China Considering Mergers Among Its Big State Oil Companies (WSJ)
  • Soros Shifts to Europe, Asia as Investors Cut U.S. Equities (BBG)
  • Putin tells Kiev to let troops surrender as Ukraine ceasefire unravels (Reuters)
  • Venezuela Squanders Its Oil Wealth (BBG)
  • Swiss prosecutor raids HSBC office, opens criminal inquiry (Reuters)
 
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David Tepper Dumps 40% Of US Equity Exposure Despite Claiming "Stocks Inexpensive"





At the start of Q4 2014, Appaloosa's David Tepper made a series of statements - dismissing Bill Gross as irrelevant (nope - turmoil caused by PIMCO unwinds roiled credit markets), calling the end of the bond bull market (nope - yields went on make lower and lower lows), and finally proclaiming that stocks were inexpensive and multiples not high. So, one wonders, if stocks were inexpensive and multiples not high, why did Appaloosa dump 40% of its US equity exposure in that quarter (only to end the quarter with even more exuberance proclaiming that stocks could rise another 10% in 2015)? It appears that when David Tepper says "buy", he means "buy... from me."

 
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Frontrunning: February 17





  • Markets From Stocks to Debt to Euro Show Little No Panic (BBG)
  • Greek Euro Exit Risk Increases as EU Delivers Ultimatum (BBG)
  • Oil rises to $62, near 2015 high as Mideast risks support (Reuters)
  • Texas judge blocks Obama plan to protect undocumented immigrants (Reuters)
  • Oil Train Derails and Ignites Forcing West Virginia Evacuations (BBG)
  • Battle rages for town where Ukraine rebels reject ceasefire (BBG)
  • Chinese Firms Tiptoe Back Into Europe’s Battered Financial Sector (WSJ)
  • Putin’s Paradise Becomes Economic No-Go Zone Where Cash Is King (BBG)
  • Emerging fund managers stuck in buy-and-hold as trading shrivels (Reuters)
 
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