Moments ago during a campaign event in Pawleys Island, South Carolina, Trump had an epiphany: "It just occurred to me." His solution: a boycott of Apple Inc products until the tech giant agrees to U.S. government demands that it unlock the cellphone of the San Bernardino killer. "Boycott Apple until such time as they give that information," Trump said.
- Stocks knocked back as oil rally falters (Reuters)
- Still no deal for Britain on EU reforms after all-night talks (Reuters)
- Oil Falls Near $30 as Rising U.S. Crude Stockpiles Expand Glut (BBG)
- PBOC to Raise Reserve Ratios for Banks That Don't Meet Criteria (BBG)
- China’s Top Securities Regulator to Step Down (WSJ)
Seemingly angered at the temerity of Apple's Tim Cook's defense of individual's privacy and security, Congress has escalated the 'crypto-wars' that are dividing Washington and Silcon Valley. In its most directly totalitarian move yet, WSJ reports that Senate Intelligence Committee Chairman Richard Burr (R., N.C.) is working on a proposal that would create criminal penalties for companies that don’t comply with court orders to decipher encrypted communications. It seems Edward Snowden was right, The FBI is creating a world where citizens rely on Apple to defend their right, rather than the other way around.
"Apple’s stance in the San Bernardino case may not be quite the principled defense that Cook claims it is... it may have as much to do with public relations as it does with warding off what Cook called “an unprecedented step which threatens the security of our customers.""
- Oil extends rally towards $35 after Iran welcomes output freeze (Reuters)
- Overproduction Swamps Smaller Chinese Cities, Revealing Depth of Crisis (WSJ)
- House Flipping Is Making a Comeback in Las Vegas (BBG)
- Trump leads Republican field nationally by more than 20 points (Reuters)
- Turkey blames Kurdish militants for Ankara bomb, vows response in Syria and Iraq (Reuters)
Biggest Short Squeeze In 7 Years Continues After Bullard Hints At More QE, OECD Cuts Global ForecastsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 02/18/2016 08:00 -0400
Just when traders thought that the biggest and most violent 3-day short squeeze in 7 years was about to end a squeeze that has resulted in 3 consecutve 1%+ sessions for the S&P for the first time since October 2011, overnight we got one of the Fed's biggest faux-hakws, St. Louis Fed's Jim Bullard, who said that it would be "unwise" to continue hiking rates at this moment, and hinted that "if needed", the most natural option for the Fed going forward would be to do further Q.E.
The untimely death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia has predictably created a political firestorm. Republicans and Democrats, eager to take advantage of an opening on the Supreme Court, have been quick to advance their ideas about Scalia’s replacement. This is yet another spectacle, not unlike the carnival-like antics of the presidential candidates, to create division, dissension and discord and distract the populace from the nation’s steady march towards totalitarianism.
"To think that Apple won't allow us to get into her cell phone," Trump said on Fox and Friends Wednesday morning. “Who do they think they are? No, we have to open it up." As the Hill reports, Trump argued vehemently that Apple should help investigators crack the phone’s encryption system. "Apple, this is one case, this is a case that certainly we should be able to get into the phone."
While we applaud Cook's rebeliousness, we wonder just how much of it is only for show. After all as Snowden previously revealed, the NSA already has full access to all the iPhone data it needs.
- Futures rise as oil gains hold steady (Reuters)
- China promises economic stability as G20, parliament loom (Reuters)
- Obama scolds Senate Republicans for Supreme Court threat (Reuters)
- China Deploys Missiles on Disputed South China Sea Island (WSJ)
- China Ramps Up Rhetoric, Plans New Steps to Juice Up Economy (BBG)
- China Loses Control of the Economic Story Line (WSJ)
It has been a morning session of two halves. In Asia, the mood was somber, and stocks fell with the Shanghai Composite (+1.1%) outperforming on another late session binge-fest by the National Team. The European session on the other hand surged higher and did not look back when the USDJPY proceeded to soar 100 pips from overnight lows, and push the Stoxx 600 +1.7% and US equity futures up with it, with the ES trading above 1900 as of this posting, adding to the best 2-day rally in the S&P in five months.
Having opened his position in AAPL in Q3 2013, Carl Icahn's projections, prognostications, and positioning have all lent credence (for CNBC watchers) to buying into the "no brainer" stock. However, it appears the plunge in the stock of the last few months has taken the shine of Icahn's glee as, according to his fund's latest 13F, he dumped 7 million shares (or aound 14% of his position) in Q4 2015. In addition, Greenlight's David Einhorn dumped 44% of his holding in Tim Cook's releveraging firm.
"If putting risk back into risk management were the only challenge for policy normalization it would be hard enough. It takes only days or weeks to form a habit: they’ve had us hooked on the juice for seven years. But there is a much more systemic problem our leaders have created."
If we collectively choose wishful thinking, catastrophic consequences are guaranteed.
With investment grade credit risk soaring, it's now or never for many firms to lever up at "relatively" low costs and two of the biggest buyback-ers are stepping up to the debt issuance window this week. Perhaps helping to explain the carnage in Treasuries at the end of last week (as rate-locks are set), Apple has unveiled a 10-part deal which could price today and IBM a 7 part deal. No size is indicated yet but Apple's previous two issuances were $8bn and $6.5bn.