North Korea

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Frontrunning: December 22

  • Police officers' slaying raises pressure on New York mayor (Reuters)
  • People Call for Cooling of Racial Tensions After Murder of NYPD Officers (BBG)
  • The $6.3 Trillion Frenzy That Vanquished Treasury Bears (BBG)
  • China Investigates Possible Stock-Price Manipulation (WSJ)
  • Citigroup Was Wary of Metals-Backed Loans (WSJ)
  • UPS Turns Parking Lots Into Sorting Centers to Add Speed (BBG)
  • U.S. Move to Normalize Cuba Ties Boosts Firms’ Asset Claims (WSJ)
  • Meredith Whitney’s Fund Said to Drop 11% as Office Put on Market (BBG)
  • Railcar Bottleneck Looms for Oil (WSJ)
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Hacking Collective Anonymous Says FBI Is Lying, "North Korea Is Not Source Of Hack"

Having confirmed unequivocally, in a statement by the FBI and reiterated by President Obama, that "the North Korean government is responsible" for hacking Sony, it appears the YouTube-less 'evidence' the FBI provided is being questioned by the hacking-collective 'Anonymous' and former Lulzsec hacker Sabu. As The Daily Beast reports, the hackers blasted, the North Koreans "don’t have the technical capabilities," and added "we all know the hacks didn't come from North Korea, and "all of the evidence FBI cites would be trivial things to do if a hacker was trying to misdirect attention to DPRK." Meanwhile, on Saturday afternoon, Guardians of Peace, the hacking group that’s so far claimed responsibility for wreaking havoc on Sony, posted a message online mocking the FBI’s investigation - a series of gyrating animated bodies shrieking, "You are an idiot!"

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Defiant North Korea Says Can Prove It Is Not Behind Hack "Without Resorting To Torture Like The CIA"

Surely, the punchline is that even a tiny backwater, dictatorship can now make fun of US "moral high ground" courtesy of the recent CIA torture disclosure. “We have a way to prove that we have nothing to do with the case without resorting to torture, as what the C.I.A. does,the North Korea statement said. Oops.

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The "North Korea Hacking" Scandal As Explained By The Taiwanese Animators

Nothing more to add to this: "Wouldn't it be funny if it was all just a set up?"

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The "FBI Has Concluded That The North Korean Government Is Responsible", Will "Impose Costs"

"As a result of our investigation, and in close collaboration with other U.S. Government departments and agencies, the FBI now has enough information to conclude that the North Korean government is responsible for these actions. While the need to protect sensitive sources and methods precludes us from sharing all of this information, our conclusion is based, in part, on the following... the FBI will identify, pursue, and impose costs and consequences on individuals, groups, or nation states who use cyber means to threaten the United States or U.S. interests."

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The Interview Is "Desperately Unfunny", "Will Flop" If Not Cancelled According To Leaked Sony Emails

The conspiracy theories surrounding the story of The Interview's cancelation in the aftermath of the North Korean "hacking" just keep getting stranger by the day (and will, in 6-9, months lead to the blockbuster drama: "How 'The Interview' Got Cancelled"). Because where it gets downright bizarre, however, is that as Reuters also reported earlier citing leaked emails of international Sony Pictures executive, the infamous movie in question "is "desperately unfunny" and would have flopped overseas if it had not been canceled." Wait a minute, it sounds almost as if the evil North Korean "hackers" did Sony... a favor?

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The bubble continuing to blow itself up?

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Frontrunning: December 19

  • Icahn, Paulson Suffer Large Losses as Energy-Related Bets Sour (WSJ)
  • Oil Investors Keep Betting Wrong on When Market Will Bottom (BBG)
  • U.S. to sell final $1.25 billion shares of Ally Financial from bailout (Reuters)
  • Ally Financial Gets Subpoena Related to Subprime Automotive Finance (WSJ)
  • Russia's parliament rushes through bill boosting banking capital (Reuters)
  • How a Memo Cost Big Banks $37 Billion (WSJ)
  • ECB considers making weaker euro zone states bear more quantitative easing risk (Reuters)
  • How the U.S. Could Retaliate Against North Korea (BBG)
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White House Confirms Sony Hack Is "National Security" Matter, Merits "Approporiate Response"

Absent YouTube clips of young North Korean hackers actually attacking Sony, the Obama administration appears to have made up its unequivocal mind that they are responsible... (even as they say the Sony hack origin is still under investigation) and now...


The White House spokesman added that daily meetings are being held on the attack. We wonder just how soon it will be before the Nobel Peace Prize winner decides it's time to take 'action'.

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Someone Is Lying

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Frontrunning: December 18

  • Swiss National Bank Starts Negative Interest Rate of 0.25% to Stave Off Inflows (BBG)
  • Putin Strikes Uncompromising Stance Over Crisis Gripping Russia (BBG)
  • Sony cancels North Korea movie in apparent win for Pyongyang hackers (Reuters)
  • U.S. Said Set to Blame North Korea for Sony Cyber Attack (BBG)
  • China’s Short-Term Borrowing Costs Surge as Demand for Money Grows (WSJ)
  • Russia Currency Market Bends But Doesn’t Break (BBG)
  • Jeb Bush Puts Pressure on Chris Christie for 2016 (WSJ)
  • From joy to outrage, Florida's Cuban-Americans greet new U.S. policy (Reuters)
  • Russians Quit London Luxury Homes as Only Super-Rich Stay (BBG)
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Futures Soar On Swiss NIRP Stunner, "Considerably Patient" Fed

After drifting unchanged for much of the overnight session, US futures exploded higher shortly after the previously noted SNB's NIRP announcement, which took place at 2 am eastern, which made it explicit that yet another banks will herd the bouncing dead cats right into new all time stock market highs, and following the European open, were carried even higher as the global "risk-on" momentum ignition algos woke up, spiking all recently depressed assets higher, including energy as Brent rose almost 3% despite Saudi Arabia’s oil minister Ali al-Naimi once again saying "it is difficult if not impossible" for OPEC and his kingdom to reduce output.

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Frontrunning: December 17

  • Citigroup is pleased: Obama signs $1.1 trillion government spending bill (Reuters)
  • Oil holds below $60 as OPEC, Russia keep pumping (Reuters)
  • 5 Things to watch at the December Fed Meeting (WSJ)
  • Russia Tries Emergency Steps for 2nd Day to Stem Ruble Rout (BBG)
  • Ruble crisis could shake Putin's grip on power (Reuters)
  • Apple Curbs Russia Sales as McDonald’s Lifts Prices (BBG)
  • Traders Betting Russia’s Next Move Will Be to Sell Gold (BBG)
  • China Warms to a More Flexible Yuan (WSJ)
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The Dummy's Guide To Tomorrow's Japanese Elections

The Japanese economy may well be getting crushed under the weight of Abenomics (courtesy of an unprecedented in history quadruple-dip recession and a record number of Japanese corporate bankruptcies due to the plunging Yen), but as we wrote previously, Abe has effectively hijacked the nation to his (and Paul Krugman's) stock-market levitating policies and has given Japan a simple choice: either you let us see this disastrous experiment in trickle-down monetarism to its tragic end, or all your pensions are toast.  Not much of a choice for a population which has more retirees than any developed nation. And it's not like Japan has much a chance anyway. Which is why the outcome of tomorrow's vote for Abenomics is completely irrelevant, and which the local press says will "unquestionably" be won by Abe in an absolute majority.

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Frontrunning: December 8

  • Welcome to the recovery:
    • Euro zone warning hits stocks, currency as oil plumbs depths (Reuters)
    • Japan GDP Worse Than Initially Reported (WSJ)
    • China trade data well below expectations (BBC)
    • German industrial production frustrates forecasts (FT)
  • Oil Extends Retreat With European Stocks as Dollar Gains (BBG)
  • California police, protesters clash again after 'chokehold' death (Reuters)
  • Ruble’s Rout Is Tale of Failed Threats, Missteps (BBG), not to be confused with "Yen's Rout Is Tale Of Keynesian Success, Prosperity"
  • Uber banned from operating in Indian capital after driver rape (Reuters)
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