In a rather concerning (though not entirely surprising) turn of events, the United Nations (which may well need to be renamed after this) is making headlines:
- *RUSSIA REJECTS U.S. DRAFT RESOLUTION ON UKRAINE, CHURKING SAYS
- *U.S. DRAFT DOES NOT DIRECTLY BLAME RUSSIA FOR CRISIS IN UKRAINE
- *RUSSIA VETOES UN SECURITY COUNCIL RESOLUTION ON UKRAINE CRISIS
- *CHINA ABSTAINS ON UN RESOLUTION ON UKRAINE
And then the US comes over the top:
- *POWER SAYS UN VOTE SHOWS RUSSIA 'ISOLATED, ALONE, WRONG'
Well "isolated and alone" with China?
With Interfax reporting that Belarus has begun full-scale military drills in a "readiness check", and despite Lavrov's comments that:
RUSSIA HAS HAD AND CAN HAVE NO PLANS TO INVADE SOUTHEAST OF UKRAINE - LAVROV
Images from Russia and Ukraine suggest anything but with reports are pouring in from across Russia of even more firepower on the move.
The Fed and the other major central banks have been planting time bombs all over the global financial system for years, but especially since their post-crisis money printing spree incepted in the fall of 2008. Now comes a new leader to the Eccles Building who is not only bubble-blind like her two predecessors, but is also apparently bubble-mute. Janet Yellen is pleased to speak of financial bubbles as a “misalignment of asset prices,” and professes not to espy any on the horizon. Actually, the Fed’s bubble blindness stems from even worse than servility. The problem is an irredeemably flawed monetary doctrine that tracks, targets and aims to goose Keynesian GDP flows using the crude tools of central banking. Not surprisingly, therefore, our monetary central planners are always, well, surprised, when financial fire storms break-out. Even now, after more than a half-dozen collapses since the Greenspan era of Bubble Finance incepted in 1987, they don’t recognize that it is they who are carrying what amounts to monetary gas cans.
HERBALIFE RECEIVED TODAY A CIVIL INVESTIGATIVE DEMAND FROM FTC
HERBALIFE SAYS IT'S CONFIDENT IT'S IN COMPLIANCE
HERBALIFE COMMENTS ON FTC PROBE, WELCOME INQUIRY
HERBALIFE WON'T FURTHER COMMENT UNTIL MATERIAL DEVELOPMENTS
Emergency crews are reportedly on the scene of a possible building explosion in East Harlem. Details are limited but the incident reportedly happened this morning in the area of East 116th Street and Park Avenue. NY1 has a crew heading to the scene and will have more information as it becomes available.
With Venezuela declaring war on the black-market dollar (and any and all capitalist free-market activity that produces margins above government mandates) the stories of empty shelves of toilet paper and food continue - as do the bloody protests (despite President Maduro's proclamation that the 'terrorists' have been beaten). But to truly get a sense of life in Venezuela, the following image may bring back ugly memories for some...
Diplomacy Fails In Ukraine: Putin Slams Kerry Plan, Kiev Issues Ultimatum, Crimea Suspends All Non-Moscow FlightsSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 03/11/2014 08:01 -0400
While it may have been pushed back from the front pages to keep confidence high, things in the Crimea, and in Ukraine in general (which may or may not waved goodbye to its gold reserves) are going from bad to worse with every passing day, with the near term catalyst of course being this Sunday Crimean referendum vote, which seems like a done deal, and which will give Russia a carte blanche to annex the territory over the howls of protest from Ukraine's coup government, and the west of course.
- Index of largest Chinese stocks drops to lowest since February 2009 (BBG)
- Plane-Debris Hunters Seek Suspected Aircraft Window Part (BBG)
- New-Home Building Is Shifting to Apartments (WSJ)
- Forward Guidance Risks Stoking Instability, BIS Says (BBG)
- Alleged Bitcoin Millionaire Nakamoto Gets $28,000 Donations (BBG)
- Mexico kills drug kingpin reported dead years ago (Reuters)
- Tencent to Buy 15% Stake in JD.com to Boost E-Commerce (BBG)
- Bitcoin exchange MtGox 'faced 150,000 hack attacks every second’ (Telegraph)
- Noyer Says Stronger Euro Creates Unwarranted Pressure on Economy (BBG)
- Russian Forces Gain in Ukraine as Separatist Vote Looms (BBG)
Remember: in every socialist utopia, at the end of the day, everyone is equal... while waiting in line for "whatever they have."
With 40% of the portfolio in cash and having returned $4 billion to clients at year-end, Seth Klarman's Baupost Group has "drawn the line in the sand" as they reflect on the diminished opportunities in the so-called "Truman Show" market we see today. In the face of mixed economic data and at a critical inflection point in Federal Reserve policy, Klarman notes, the stock market, heading into 2014, resembles a Rorschach test - "what investors see in the inkblots says considerably more about them than it does about the market." From "born bulls" to "worry genes" and from Bitcoin to flash-mob-speculation, "there is a growing gap between the financial markets and the real economy...and the overall picture is one of growing risk and inadequate potential return almost everywhere one looks... as every 'Truman' under Bernanke’s dome knows the environment is phony."
We noted last night that Iron Ore futures prices were in free-fall as the vicious circle of China's commodity-collateral-backed shadow banking system unwind hits home amid fears of contagion from the Chaori Solar default. The first domestic Chinese corporate bond default has retail investors running scared as surprise spreads that the local government did not come to the rescue. The deleveraging is now spreading to copper prices (remember the massive cash-for-copper schemes of last year) as borrowers are forced to sell to meet cash calls which in turn drops copper prices, reducing collateral values and tightening credit conditions even more. This is the biggest copper price drop since Dec 2011...
...haven't traveled to NASCO facility but this operation is legit and the technology is outrageously valuable
- Putin rebuffs Obama as Ukraine crisis escalates (Reuters)
- Behind the $100 Billion Commodity Empire That Few Know (BBG)
- Initial Public Offerings Hit Pace Not Seen in Years (WSJ)
- Russian Parliament Will Back Crimea Split From Ukraine (WSJ)
- Nakamoto Named as Bitcoin Father Denies Involvement, Flees Press (BBG)
- Chaori Can’t Make Payment in China’s First Onshore Default (BBG)
- Zombies Spreading Shows Chaori Default Just Start (BBG)
- Pimco's Gross declares El-Erian is 'trying to undermine me' (Reuters)
- U.S. Fighters Circle Baltics as Putin Fans Fear of Russia (BBG)
Today's nonfarm payroll number is set to be a virtual non-event: with consensus expecting an abysmal print, it is almost assured that the real seasonally adjusted number (and keep in mind that the average February seasonal adjustment to the actual number is 1.5 million "jobs" higher) will be a major beat to expectations, which will crash the "harsh weather" narrative but who cares. Alternatively, if the number is truly horrendous, no problem there either: just blame it on the cold February... because after all what are seasonal adjustments for? Either way, whatever the number, the algos will send stocks higher - that much is given in a blow off top bubble market in which any news is an excuse to buy more. So while everyone is focused on the NFP placeholder, the real key event that nobody is paying attention to took place in China, where overnight China’s Shanghai Chaori Solar defaulted on bond interest payments, failing to repay CNY 89.9mln (USD 14.7mln), as had been reported here extensively previously. This marked the first domestic corporate bond default in the country's history - indicating a further shift toward responsibility and focus on moral hazard in China.
Prepare for more...