Following up on the latest stunning revelations released yesterday by German Spiegel which exposed the spy agency's 50 page catalog of "backdoor penetration techniques", today during a speech given by Jacob Applebaum (@ioerror) at the 30th Chaos Communication Congress, a new bombshell emerged: specifically the complete and detailed description of how the NSA bugs, remotely, your iPhone. The way the NSA accomplishes this is using software known as Dropout Jeep, which it describes as follows: "DROPOUT JEEP is a software implant for the Apple iPhone that utilizes modular mission applications to provide specific SIGINT functionality. This functionality includes the ability to remotely push/pull files from the device. SMS retrieval, contact list retrieval, voicemail, geolocation, hot mic, camera capture, cell tower location, etc. Command, control and data exfiltration can occur over SMS messaging or a GPRS data connection. All communications with the implant will be covert and encrypted."
- Americans on Wrong Side of Income Gap Run Out of Means to Cope (BBG)
- Michael Schumacher battles for life after ski fall (Reuters)
- Professors for hire: Academics Who Defend Wall St. Reap Reward (NYT)
- Chinese police kill eight in Xinjiang 'terrorist attack' (Reuters)
- How to Prevent a War Between China and Japan (BBG)
- Unemployment Benefits Lapse Severs Lifeline for Longtime Jobless (BBG)
- Japan's homeless recruited for murky Fukushima clean-up (Reuters)
- China Local-Government Debt Surges to $3 Trillion (WSJ)
- How unexpected: Britons less inclined to pay down mortgage debt (Reuters)
In its preliminary proxy statement, Apple has responded publicly to Carl Icahn's proposal that it commit not less than a $50 billion share buy back program. Their response... an unequivocal, no! and here's why...
"The Board believes that the Company’s management team and Board are in the best position to determine what is in the best long-term interest of the Company’s business and recommends a vote AGAINST this proposal."
As they go on to explain - from already having the biggest dividend and buyback program to domestic cash use and knowing what best for their business, uncle Carl will not be happy.
Momentum stocks are the absolute best stocks to invest in from a risk and return standpoint, and there are 5 drivers for GM being a momentum stock 2014.
While some would argue (as they always do) that there are good reasons to be bullish going into 2014 (central bank liquidity provision being an obvious one); there are ample reasons to remain vigilant with respect to your investments. The stagnation of wage growth combined with higher costs leaves an already cash strapped consumer with few options. It is likely that we will see a push by consumers to re-leverage their household balance sheet which will be hailed by the media as a return of consumer confidence. However, one should not forget the last time a highly levered consumer ran into problems. Furthermore, there are three potential headwinds that are likely to weigh on the economy and the markets which are potentially being overlooked.
We all know Apple’s greatest hits, but which products and services would Apple’s leaders rather forget?
- Apple, China Mobile sign long-awaited deal to sell iPhones (Reuters)
- U.S. growth hopes help shares shrug off China money market jitters (Reuters)
- Rule Change on Health Insurance Rattles Industry (WSJ), Obamacare's signup deadline on Monday has its exceptions (Reuters)
- Tale of Two Polish Mines Shows Biggest EU Producer’s Woes (BBG)
- Probes See U.K. Market Manipulation Reports Rise 43% (BBG)
- Shoppers Grab Sweeter Deals in Last-Minute Holiday Dash (BBG)
- Banks Mostly Avoid Providing Bitcoin Services (WSJ)
- Secret Handshakes Greet Frat Brothers on Wall Street (BBG)
Another day, another low volume overnight meltup to record highs in equity futures. Stocks traded higher in Europe this morning, with tech stocks outperforming following reports that Apple has finally secured a deal to bring the iPhone to China Mobile, which has more than 750 million subscribers. As a result, the likes of ARM Holdings and STMicro traded with gains of over 2% and Apple's German listing traded up around 2.5%. At the same time, French CAC index under performed its peers, with Technip among the worst performing stocks after being removed from Goldman's Sustained Focus List. Addtionally, over the weekend, the ECB's Praet said that the ECB is ready to intervene if credit contracts - and since Euro credit is contracting at a record pace, we wonder what he is waiting for. This happened as Fitch affirmed France at AA+, outlook stable. Looking elsewhere, thin trading conditions resulted in an aggressive spike higher in CME US 30y futures this morning after a large clip was traded, which consequently saw the exchange adjust prices lower, but did not bust any trades.
After 22 years of reviewing tech products for the Wall Street Journal, Walt Mossberg is leaving; but before he does, he unveils what he believes are the 12 products that were the most-influential during his tenure at the "paper" (remember that: paper?). Remember the Apple Newton? How about Netscape? Mossberg believes even if these products did not last until the present, they left their mark in the evolution of personal technology. Do readers agree or disagree? And if not, which product that did not make the list should be on it?
Big Dog, Wild Cat, Cheetah... all names one wouldn't associate with Google (if anything perhaps feline-named Apple operating systems). And yet, the company that is best know for its internet prowess and having more data about the search habits and private interests of each and every computer user than the NSA could ever dream of, is ever more aggressively moving into the animal kingdom. The robotic one that is.
- Presidential Task Force Recommends Overhaul of NSA Surveillance Tactics (WSJ)
- Monte Paschi's Largest Shareholder Says It Will Vote Against $4.1 Billion Capital Increase (WSJ)
- SAC Reconsiders Industry Relationships—and Its Name (WSJ)
- Icahn’s Apple Push Criticized by Calpers as ‘Johnny Come Lately’ (BBG)
- In Yemen, al Qaeda gains sympathy amid U.S. drone strikes (Reuters)
- Missing American in Iran was on unapproved mission (AP)
- In China, Western Companies Cut Jobs as Growth Ebbs (WSJ)
- U.S. lays out steps to smooth Obamacare coverage for January (Reuters)
- Las Vegas Sands Said to Drop $35 Billion Spanish Casino Proposal (BBG)
- Twitter Reverts Changes To Blocking Functionality After Strong Negative User Feedback (TechCrunch)
Haters gonna hate, but the “Bitcoin bubble” meme has become the financial equivalent of a viral online cat video – wildly popular but pretty vacuous. In an effort to separate fact from fiction, ConvergEx's Nick Colas reviews 11 bitcoin myths (and dispels them). Still, there’s no doubt that the public is entranced: there are now 3x more Google searches for “bitcoin” than “Western Union”, and 33x more than for “Gold coins”. We started writing about bitcoin back in February because it was – and still is – a fascinating invention (for better or worse). How it plays out, we will just have to wait and see.
- Apple, China Mobile Sign Deal to Offer iPhone (WSJ)
- Japan approves $182 billion economic package, doubts remain (Reuters)
- Volcker Rule Won't Allow Banks to Use 'Portfolio Hedging' (WSJ)
- He went, he saw, he achieved nothing: Biden's Trip to Beijing Leaves China Air-Zone Rift Open (WSJ)
- Britain announces sharp upward revision to growth forecasts (Reuters)
- U.S. Airlines to Mortgage-Backed Debt Top List of Best ’14 Bets (BBG)
- Thaksin's homecoming hopes dashed as Thai crisis reignites (Reuters)
- Age of Austerity Nearing End May Boost Global Economy (BBG) - or it may expose that it was just corruption and incompetence at fault all along
- China aims to establish network of high-level FTAs (China Daily)
It has been a relatively quiet overnight session, if with a downward bias in the EURJPY which means futures are just modestly in the red. The action however is merely deferred, with a slew of macroeconomic reports on the horizon, chief of which is the ECB rate decision, which consensus has as unchanged at 0.25%, although Draghi's subsequent conference is expected to lead to EUR weakness, even if briefly, since the central bank is widely expected to downgrade both growth and inflation forecasts. DB adds that the recent rise in eonia — which may reflect concerns about the treatment of LTROs in the end-December AQR and be encouraging the accelerated 3Y LTRO repayments — may warrant a temporary liquidity easing: a special short-term tender; temporarily easing minimum reserve requirements; or — technically possible, if politically controversial — temporarily suspending the SMP sterilization process. Concurrent with the draghi conference, we also get the second revision of Q3 GDP, which consensus now expects to rise to 3.1%, as well as this week's initial jobless claims random number generator. Later in the day the Factory Orders update is expected to show a -1.0% decline, while Fed speakers Lockhart and Fisher round off the day.
- With website improved, Obama to pitch health plan (Reuters)
- Joe Biden condemns China over air defence zone (FT)
- Tally of U.S. Banks Sinks to Record Low (WSJ)
- Black Friday Weekend Spending Drop Pressures U.S. Stores (BBG)
- Cyber Monday Sales Hit Record as Amazon to EBay Win Shoppers (BBG)
- Ukraine's Pivot to Moscow Leaves West Out in the Cold (WSJ)
- Investment banks set to cut pay again despite rise in profits (FT)
- Worst Raw-Material Slump Since ’08 Seen Deepening (BBG)
- Democrats Face Battles in South to Hold the Senate (WSJ)
- Hong Kong reports 1st case of H7N9 bird flu (AP)
- In Fracking, Sand Is the New Gold (WSJ)