Barclays

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Corruption Crackdown Costs - Macau Casino Revenues Collapse "Shockingly Bad" 53%





Despite a 7% rise in actual tourist arrivals to Macau from China during this Lunar New Year's holiday, 'The Year of The Goat' is off to an extremely inauspicious start. As Bloomberg reports, even with expectations of a 40% drop, Macau casino revenues is now projected to crash a stunning 53.5% from last year. While a decline in VIP gambling was expected (due to, among other things, Xi's extreme crackdown on corruption - and the Macau money laundering schemes), JPMorgan notes, this was still "shockingly bad," as "even premium mass demand remained very muted," and marks the ninth straight month of decline, the longest losing streak since monthly records started in 2005.

 
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Fed Independence Is A Joke, So Why Not Audit?





Nothing says limited government and separation of powers like a bureaucracy unaccountable to the voice of the people! Then again, Yellen doesn’t care much for democratic oversight. She’s a caricature of Randian libertarianism: someone who wants to do whatever, whenever, without rulers. The problem is Yellen isn’t operating a private railroad company. She’s the figurehead for a government institution created by Congress. If democracy means anything, it’s that voters have some measure of control over political bureaucracies.

 
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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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Market Wrap: Futures Fractionally Red Ahead Of Pre-Weekend "Nasdaq 5000" Push





If there isone thing that is virtually certain about today's trading (aside from the post Rig Count surge in oil because if there is one thing algos are, it is predictable) is that despite S&P futures being a touch red right now, everything will be forgotten in a few minutes and yet another uSDJPY momentum ignition ramp will proceed, which will push the S&P forward multiple to 18.0x on two things i) it's Friday, and an implicit rule of thumb of central planning is the market can't close in confidenece-sapping red territory ahead of spending heavy weekends and ii) the Nasdaq will finally recapture 5000 following a final push from Apple's bondholders whose recent use of stock buyback proceeds will be converted into recorder highs for the stock, and thus the Nasdaq's crossing into 5,000 territory because in the New Normal, the more expensive something is, the more people, or rather algos, want to buy it.

 
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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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Frontrunning: February 25





  • Invade Syria already, we know you will: Islamic State in Syria abducts at least 150 Christians (Reuters)
  • Greece Struggles to Get Citizens to Pay Their Taxes (WSJ)
  • Doubts Shadow Deal to Extend Greek Bailout (WSJ)
  • In surprise result, Chicago's Mayor Emanuel faces election run-off (Reuters)
  • Obama vetoes Keystone pipeline bill (Reuters)
  • Another sign of the top: Cushman & Wakefield Going Up for Sale (WSJ)
  • Lure of Wall Street Cash Said to Skew Credit Ratings (BBG) ... and threat of DOJ lawsuits also
  • Oil rises to $59 as Saudis say demand growing (Reuters)
 
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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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Ten Banks, Including JPM, Goldman, Deutsche, Barclays, SocGen And UBS, Probed For Gold Rigging





According to the WSJ, "prosecutors in the Justice Department’s antitrust division are scrutinizing the price-setting process for gold, silver, platinum and palladium in London, while the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has opened a civil investigation, these people said. The agencies have made initial requests for information, including a subpoena from the CFTC to HSBC Holdings PLC related to precious-metals trading, the bank said in its annual report Monday. Who is involved in this latest gold-rigging scandal? Why everyone! ... which makes it immediately obvious why the European regulator had to promptly cover up the whole affair. Under scrutiny are Bank of Nova Scotia , Barclays PLC, Credit Suisse Group AG , Deutsche Bank AG , Goldman Sachs Group Inc., J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., Société Générale SA, Standard Bank Group Ltd. and UBS AG , according to one of the people close to the investigation.

 
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"You Don't Buy Home Insurance After The Roof Catches Fire"





US stock markets reached record highs last week. Question: does that make them riskier, or less risky? We think the former.

 
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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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The 330 Billion Reasons Why The Grexit "Can" Was Kicked Down The Road





Perhaps this explained why Greece and The Eurogroup have (reportedly) come to an agreement to avoid an actual Grexit for 4 months. As Die Welt explains that Euro-area nations will face losses of up to EUR330bn as Greek outright government debt, ECB capital needs, and TARGET2 liabilities have soared in the last 2 years since the crisis last erupted...

 
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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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Guardian Slams Telegraph Suggesting HSBC Coverage Was Biased Due To Owners' £250 MM Loan From Bank





The past 48 hours have become a free-for-all flame war involving the titans of British media, including the BBC, the Guardian, the Times and, the paper that started it all, the Telegraph. Several hours ago, the first (of meny) skeletons in the closet busted loose and is suddenly threatening to expose some of the dirtiest laundry of UK high society.

 
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