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10Mar2015 Pre-Market Commentary: QE Starts In The EU U.S. Dollar Makes New Highs, Oil Becoming Soft

Written by Gary

QE starts in the EU and the already fragile markets have started to fall while the U.S. Dollar has made new highs. The U.S. Futures have tumbled because of China and Greece according to Reuters, also reporting emerging markets are spooked.

Brent has fallen to 57.63 this morning, but neither WTI or Brent have even tested their supports and remain trading sideways.

Here is the European Market Open from CNN Money

European markets are sharply lower today with shares in London off the most. The FTSE 100 is down 1.54% while Germany's DAX is off 1.33% and France's CAC 40 is lower by 1.25%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines I think are moving the markets.

Off-Balance Volume

"Buying" versus "selling" volume has diverged dramatically in the last few weeks as AAPL-buyback-driven exuberance has lifted US stocks to record-er highs (amid record selling from insiders). We've seen this pattern before but that time The Fed was neck deep in QE3 and Janet was proclaiming everything was awesome (with a dovish reassurance that they'd keep pumping)...

Volume divergence suggests the S&P could drop below 2,000... perhaps that is what The Fed needs as an excuse top prolong their decision. Equity bulls are caught between a BTFD rock (where rates will rise and lead to equity weakness) and a FOMO hardplace (where they sell now and hope that 'stimulates' The Fed to keep lower longer).

h/t @Not_Jim_Cramer

Fidelity tech fund trounces all rivals without holding Apple

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The best performing technology fund since the peak of the dot com boom did it all without owning Apple Inc , whose soaring stock price has pushed the Nasdaq near a new record high.

Futures weaken on Greece concerns, China data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Tuesday, pressured by weaker-than-expected data out of China as well as ongoing concerns about debt talks in Greece.

Venezuela's Maduro Mocks Obama, Grants Himself "Special Powers" To Defend Against "Imperialist Aggression"

Maybe it is because the soap-opera factor of the puppet proxy civil war in east Ukraine is dying down, it is time for another major geopolitical diversion, and it appears that the administration's attention this time has fallen on Venezuela.

Perhaps he was tired of being accused for being too soft and engaging in a detente with not only Iran but Cuba, and so he decided to turn his attention on the one country he knew had absolutely no way of retaliating especially now that Venezuela's only asset, has become a liability and all production at current prices is a loss maker for Caracas.

Whatever the reason, as Reuters reported yesterday, the United States on Monday yesterday declared Venezuela a national security threat and ordered sanctions against seven officials from the oil-rich country in the worst bilateral
diplomatic dispute since socialist President Nicolas Maduro took office in 2013.

U.S. President Barack Obama issued and signed the executive order, which senior administration officials said did not target Venezuela's energy sector or broader economy. But the move stokes tensions between Washington and Caracas just as U.S. relations with Cuba, a longtime U.S. foe in Latin America and key ally to Venezuela, are set to be normalized. Declaring any country a threat to national security is the first step in starting a U.S. sanctions program. The same process has been followed with countries such as Iran and Syria, U.S. officials said.

The presented reason for the latest escalation was that, according to the White House, there are people whose actions undermined democratic processes or institutions, and who had committed acts of violence or abuse of human rights, and were involved in prohibiting or penalizing freedom of expression, or were government officials involved in public corruption. So just your ...

Frontrunning: March 10

Dollar at 12-year peak versus euro, emerging markets spooked (Reuters)

CIA sought to hack Apple iPhones from earliest days (Reuters)

Draghi Urged Greece to Allow Troika Back Before It's Late (BBG)

Brent crude dips below $58 on strong dollar and supply (Reuters)

Credit Suisse replaces CEO Dougan with Prudential's Thiam (Reuters)

More "distressed" energy M&A: Verisk buys Wood Mackenzie for £1.85bn (FT)

Prepare for a surge in defaults: Investors Are Buying Stocks and Bonds From Energy Producers Amid Oil Price Drop (WSJ)

Private equity executive ordered to pay £72m to ex-wife (FT)

Democratic donors unfazed by Hillary Clinton's use of private email (

February 2015 Small Business Optimism Insignificantly Improves but Still at Third Highest Reading Since 2007

Econintersect: The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB)'s optimism index improved insignificantly from 97.9 to 98.0. The market was expecting the index between 96.5 to 100.0 with consensus at 99.0. Small business optimism held on to January's reading in spite of rather slow economic activity and really bad weather in half the countr

EU nears deal on $338 billion plan to tackle drop in investment

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - EU finance ministers agreed the details of a 315 billion euro ($338 billion) investment plan on Tuesday to help revive the European economy without piling up more debt, and now aim to get the first projects going by the end of the year.

Futures tumble on Greece concerns, China data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell on Tuesday, pressured by weaker-than-expected data out of China as well as ongoing concerns about debt talks in Greece.

Your Passwords Revealed

Our readers respond to 'The Secret Life of Passwords'.

Futures Sell Off As Soaring Dollar Weighs On Risk, European Yields Slide To Fresh Record Lows

As noted earlier, starting early with the overnight session there was already some serious fireworks in Asia, when first the USDJPY soared then tumbled, pushing the Nikkei lower some 0.7% with it, driven entirely by the surge in Dollar which rose to a fresh 12 year high overnight after gaining as much as 0.59%, in an extension of Friday's post-NFP gains. Additionally, the EUR/USD slipped below 1.0800 to touch its lowest level since Sept'03 while USD/JPY rose above 122.00 for the first time since Jul'07, after breaching long-term resistance at 121.85. However, in recent trade the USDJPY has seen a straight line sell-off which in turn has sent US equity futures sliding, and the ES down about 14 points as of this moment. Meanwhile, the frontrunning of the ECB continues, with German 10 Year yields sliding -3bps to 0.281%, the lowest in series history. Also touching fresh record lows were Austrian, Belgian, Dutch, Finnish, Irish, Italian, Spanish 10 Year rates.

The problem for Europe everyone is that most are focusing primarily on the German curve, where the 7 Year just went negative as well. SocGen believes that with German bonds up to Oct. 2018 maturity already trading below the ECB's deposit rate, making them ineligible for purchases under QE, Bundesbank may struggle to meet its quotas under the scheme. It adds that the outstanding sizes are large in shorter maturity bonds so not being able to buy these makes it difficult to see how Germany's central bank is going to get its share of the program done. SocGen's conclusion is that the ECB program will fall short of its €1.14 trillion purchase objective, or in other words Q€ will be a failure.

And while markets stage a mini turmoil session, in the background Greece has almost entered the endgame following yesterday's European finance ministers' announcement that aid time a ...

Dollar at 12-year peak versus euro, emerging markets spooked

LONDON (Reuters) - The U.S. dollar hit multi-year highs against the euro and yen on Tuesday on the growing chance of the Federal Reserve hiking interest rates by mid-year, the prospect of which also hurt stocks and currencies from emerging markets.

Credit Suisse replaces CEO Dougan with Prudential's Thiam

ZURICH/LONDON/HONG KONG (Reuters) - Credit Suisse is bringing in Tidjane Thiam, the head of British insurer Prudential , as its new chief executive to help drive the Swiss bank's push into wealth management in emerging markets.

Aldermore Is Valued at $982 Million in London I.P.O.

The so-called challenger bank to Britain's traditional financial powers sold about 35 percent of its capital in the offering of 117.9 million shares.

Currency Wars Continue As IMF Concedes End To Dollar Hegemony

Currency Wars Continue As IMF Concedes End To Dollar Hegemony

- Dollar has declined as reserve currency over past decade from 70% of global reserves to 61%

- Chinese yuan is growing in stature as international currency

- IMF deputy director calls for de-dollarization in emerging markets

- Many countries have begun de-dollarizing

- BRICS development bank â€" rivaling the IMF and World Bank â€" is now operational

Currency wars and the growing trend away from dollar dominance in international finance, particularly in emerging markets, was highlighted in an interesting CNBC article this morning entitled "Is the Dollar Losing its Clout Among EMs?"


It refers to the deliberate and stated policy of "de-dollarisation" around the world, the decline in the use of the dollar in international trade and as a reserve currency and the emergence of the new BRICS bank.

The article quotes best-selling author and Pentagon insider, Jim Rickards. Rickards says that the status of the dollar as a reserve currency is still solid despite its decline over the past decade and despite the rise of other currencies in international transactions.

"T ...

Debt-Free Money: NOT a Solution

..........Jeff Nielson for Sprott Money

Most Canadian readers (in particular) will be aware by now of an extremely important trial currently taking place, a lawsuit by a citizens' action group against the Bank of Canada: COMER vs Bank of Canada. It is extremely important, both in specific and symbolic terms, which is precisely why the Corporate media has totally censored any/all coverage of this legal challenge, which goes to the very heart of the corruption of our current monetary system.

For those readers not aware of this current court challenge (because of the censorship by our "free press"), the gist of this trial can be summarized in easy terms. This organization (Committee On Monetary/Economic Reform) is demanding that our corrupt government and the nefarious central bank which rules above it return Canada's monetary system to the issuance of debt-free money. In turn, the phrase "debt-free money" is relatively easy to define: issuing currency from our central bank, into the economy, without (literally) "borrowing it" into existence â€" i.e. attaching debt to every unit of currency.

Again, some readers not familiar with our current monetary system may require some additional clarification (as they discover the horror/insanity of our present system). Back when we had legitimate governments and legitimate economies, we also had (surprise! surprise!) a legitimate monetary system: a "gold standard" where every unit of currency was (at least partially) backed by gold, and wa ...

Airbus sales chief says well placed for further output hikes

PHOENIX (Reuters) - Airbus, which recently announced an output increase for its A320 jet family, has amassed enough excess orders through overboooking to justify further production increases at some point in the future, its sales chief said on Monday.

Brent slips toward $58 on firm dollar; China data checks losses

SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Brent crude fell towards $58 a barrel on Tuesday as the dollar scaled multi-year highs, but data showing a recovery in China's annual consumer inflation checked losses.

China February consumer inflation rebounds

BEIJING (Reuters) - The pace of Chinese inflation unexpectedly picked up in February, but producer prices continued to slide, underscoring the intense pressure on profit margins at Chinese companies and adding urgency to policymakers' efforts to find new ways to support growth.

Some Markets Are Turmoiling In Asia

No catalyzing event - China CPI modestly hotter than expected and Aussie confidence weak - but FX markets are fast in the Asia session with USDJPY surging above 122.00 for the first time since July 2007 and EURUSD dropping below 1.08 as USD strength dominates (up 1.65% from payrolls). Japanese stocks have decoupled from USDJPY's rally and are down notably and despite the USD strength, WTI crude has jumped (perhaps on news of Iraqi forces taking back an oil field near Tikrit). Gold is falling as Offshore Renminbi weakens. All in all - markets are turmoiling for no good reason...

The USD Index continues to surge (up 1.65% from the jobs print) with a jerk higher at 2300ET...

Which rippled through every market...

and decoupled JPY and NKY...

Of course -what really matters is S&P Futures... which have barely budged - drifting 3 poiunts lower from the cash close...

9 March 2015 Weather and Climate Outlook - El Nino Watch for Spring, Summer and Next Year

Written by Sig Silber

NOAA according to some in the Media has declared a weak El Nino just after NOAA on February 19 declared it is not yet an El Nino but I believe the media got confused over the statements "This is an El Nino" versus we have had at times "El Nino Conditions" versus "We have updated ENSO status to the Advisory Level" or as said by Australia "We have (re)upgraded ENSO Status to El Nino WATCH". Media who have run with a story that an El Nino has been declared are premature. This warm event may yet be declared to be an El Nino and impact next winter. But right now Spring is here and conditions in the Pacific near the Equator have not yet met the criteria for being declared to be an El Nino. We will discuss what if any the impacts would be this Spring and Summer if this near El Nino fully evolves into an El Nino.

The 17 Elements Of Martial Law

Submitted by Dave Hodges via The Common Sense Show blog,

The term "Martial Law" is thrown around with reckless disregard. "Is America under martial law?" is a question that is often discussed in the Independent Media.

Martial law occurs when the prevailing regime feels threatened by the message being offered by the loyal opposition. When normal means of censorship and marginalization fail, despotic regimes resort to martial law with all intended brutality of a violent crackdown on all of those being perceived as the "enemy".

Seventeen Martial Law Characteristics

Most experts agree that hard core martial contains the following 17 essential elements:

1-Mass roundup and/or execution of political dissidents

2-Dusk to dawn curfews

3-Rationing of essential resources

4-The seizing of personal assets such as food and water

5-Control over all food and water

6-The prohibition of weapons of any kind including guns, knives or chemicals which can be turned into explosives

7-The confiscation of property, homes and businesses

8-Arrests without due process

9-Massive "papers please" checkpoints with intrusive searches

10-Forced relocation

11-Forced conscription into various labor camps and even into the military

12-Outlawing of free speech

13-The installation of massive surveillance programs and the establishment of snitch programs

14-The total control or el ...

China Completes SWIFT Alternative, May Launch "De-Dollarization Axis" As Soon As September

One of the recurring threats used by the western nations in their cold (and increasingly more hot) war with Russia, is that Putin's regime may be locked out of all international monetary transactions when Moscow is disconnected from the EU-based global currency messaging and interchange service known as SWIFT (a move, incidentally, which SWIFT lamented as was revealed in October when we reported that it announces it "regrets the pressure" to disconnect Russia).

Of course, in the aftermath of revelations that back in 2013, none other than the NSA was exposed for secretly 'monitoring' the SWIFT payments flows, one could wonder if being kicked out of SWIFT is a curse or a blessing, however Russia did not need any further warnings and as we reported less than a month ago, Russia launched its own 'SWIFT'-alternative, linking 91 credit institutions initially. This in turn suggested that de-dollarization is considerably further along than many had expected, which coupled with Russia's record dumping of TSYs, demonstrated just how seriously Putin is taking the threat to be isolated from the western payment system. It was only logical that he would come up with his own.

There were two clear implications from this use of money as a means of waging covert war: i) unless someone else followed Russia out of SWIFT, its actio ...

Venezuela To Start Fingerprinting Supermarket Shoppers

Back in August, when we wrote about the latest instance of trouble in Maduro's socialist paradise, we cautioned that as a result of the economic collapse in the Latin American nation (and this was even before the plunge in crude made the "paradise" into the 9th circle of hell), Venezuelans soon may need to have their fingerprints scanned before they can buy bread and other staples. This unprecedented step was proposed after Maduro had the brilliant idea of proposing mandatory grocery fingerprinting system to combat food shortages. He said then that "the program will stop people from buying too much of a single item", but did not say when it would take effect.

Privacy concerns aside (clearly Venezuelans have bigger, well, smaller fish to fry) there was hope that this plunge into insanity would be delayed indefinitely, as the last thing Venezuela's strained economy would be able to handle is smuggling of the most basic of necessities: something such a dramatic rationing step would surely lead to.

Unfortunately for the struggling Venezuelan population, the time has arrived and as AP reported over the weekend, Venezuela "will begin installing 20,000 fingerprint scanners at supermarkets nationwide in a bid to stamp out hoarding and panic buying" as of this moment.

The government has been selectively rolling out the rationing system for months at state-run su ...

Is the Cost of a University Education Today Worth It?

Albert Einstein once described education in this manner: "It is not so very important for a person to learn facts. For that he does not really need a college. He can learn them from books. The value of an education in a liberal arts college is not the learning of many facts, but the training of the mind to think something that cannot be learned from textbooks" (Einstein, His Life and Times, by Philipp Frank). Unfortunately, industrialists and bankers who reshaped schooling to serve their needs during the Industrial Revolution have transformed institutional academia into the rote memorization of many facts and have rotated it away from real learning that trains the mind to think. In fact, just as the penal system "institutionalizes" young men that spend the majority of their youth incarcerated, the institutional academic system "institutionalizes" children that spend the majority of their youth being reprogrammed by the behavioral modification, Pavlovian conditioning, and Skinnerian operant conditioning objectives that industrialists and bankers have imbedded into the global academic system. In SmartKnowledgeU Podcast #3, we discuss the downfall and degradation of schooling from institutions of learning into institutions of behavioral modification that turn young children into people that "yield themselves with perfect docility to [the General Education Board's] molding hands." As the head of John D. Rockefeller's General Education Board stated, bankers and industrialists desired to transform the purpose of schooling into one that revolved around "teach[ing] [children] to do in a perfect way the things their fathers and mothers are doing in an imperfect way" and to prevent children from evolving into learned men and women that may grow up to challenge their authority and that possess the desire to right the wrongs they see in society.

How Christy Turlington Cost Apple $17 Billion: The Annotated Apple Watch Event

Well that escalated quickly.

AAPL stock surged exuberantly on news of a gold Macbook - ran Friday's high stops... then started to tumble on the Apple Watch release, but things got really bad once the Christy Turlington cheesey infomercial kicked in:

The commentary in The Verge was harsh:

And Christy Turlington Burns is here!

"She is incredibly impressive. She is Christy Turlington Burns."

I can't even with this video. It's about maternal health in Africa, with Apple Watch product placement.

Christy Turlington Burns sadly does not ride a giraffe onto the stage.

This is so embarassing I want to die.

"This is my fashion favorite I have to say." "Yes, oh yes."

Christy wants to beat her marathon record, and the Apple Watch is going to help her get there. Because it injects dopamine directly into your bloodstream.

Christy is going to do a blog on about running omg.

And the punchline:

Apple has reached the "forced fake Q&A with celebrities" portion of its keynote lifecycle.

End result not good, now that even the fanboys appear to be turning off:

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