Saturday, March 19, 2016

Today's Headlines

  • France and Belgium Warn of Further Terror Attacks. France and Belgium warned citizens they risk further terrorist atrocities even after a four-month manhunt ended in the dramatic capture of suspected Paris attacker Salah Abdeslam. Belgium kept its terror threat unchanged at Level 3, the second-highest level, as Prime Minister Charles Michel vowed on Saturday to keep up the fight against Islamist terrorism. Abdeslam, believed to be the sole surviving participant of the November massacre that left 130 people dead, was dubbed Europe’s most wanted man after going to ground in the days after the Paris assault. Three teams of men linked to the Islamic State blew themselves up outside a stadium, fired at restaurant and cafe patrons, and shot members of the audience at the Bataclan concert hall on Nov. 13.
  • Signs Are Flashing That Dollar Plunge Has Gone Too Far, Too Fast. The dollar’s third straight weekly decline is triggering signals that U.S. currency weakness may be overdone. The greenback has gone from beating its major peers last year to losses against every one of those currencies this month. That’s pushed one measure of dollar momentum, the relative strength index, to its most extreme in almost four years as the Federal Reserve signaled a slower pace for raising interest rates. The dollar outperformed most developed and emerging-market currencies the past two years as the promise of superior economic growth and rising interest rates contrasted with sluggish economic activity elsewhere. Investors are questioning whether the U.S. can escape headwinds from a slowing global economy. 
  • Traders Get New Gauge of `Brexit' Risk With Vote 3 Months Away. (graph) Next Wednesday marks exactly three months until Britain’s referendum on its European Union membership. That gives another opportunity for an insight into how concerned pound traders are about the outcome. The benchmark three-month gauge of volatility in sterling versus the dollar will cover the June 23 vote for the first time next week, giving traders another instrument to protect themselves against price swings. With surveys still pointing to the ‘remain’ and ‘leave’ camps running neck and neck, a six-month measure is about 1 percentage point from a five-year high reached last month.
  • The Fed Keeps Talking, and Bond Traders Just Get More Confused. Treasury-market traders say the Federal Reserve has a communication problem. Two-year notes rallied the most since October 2014 this week after central-bank policy makers cut their median projection for 2016 interest rates in half. The statement left traders seeking clarity about why, exactly, Fed officials lowered their estimates, after U.S. economic data strengthened in February even amid global market volatility. "We want to believe what we’re being told, in terms of the Fed’s data-dependent role,” said Guy Haselmann, head of capital-markets strategy in New York at Bank of Nova Scotia, one of 22 primary dealers that trade with the Fed. “We’re getting absolutely bamboozled because it’s as if the rules are changing."
  • Romney Urges Republicans to Back Cruz Against Trump. (video) About two weeks after issuing a passionate call to Republicans to oppose Donald Trump by voting for any of his opponents, Mitt Romney has chosen one: U.S. Senator Ted Cruz. "I will vote for Senator Cruz and I encourage others to do so as well, so that we can have an open convention and nominate a Republican," Romney wrote on Facebook on Friday afternoon. The 2012 Republican nominee for president announced the decision as the billionaire front-runner faces two remaining foes: Cruz, who trails Trump by 265 delegates, and Ohio Governor John Kasich, who won his home state on Tuesday but only has 143 delegates so far. If Trump, who has 678 delegates to date, doesn't gather at least 1,237 by the Republican convention in July, it would be possible for delegates to hand the nomination to someone else through a series of votes. 
  • Trump Questions Romney's Faith Near Seat of Mormonism. Donald Trump  lashed out at Mitt Romney, questioning the former Republican candidate’s faith while speaking at a rally in the heart of Mormonism. "I love the Mormons," the Republican presidential candidate told supporters late Friday at Salt Lake City’s Infinity Event Center, less than two miles from the world headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints. "I have many friends that live in Salt Lake," Trump said, adding: "By the way, Mitt Romney is not one of them." "Are you sure he’s a Mormon?" Trump asked the crowd. "Are we sure?" Questioning Romney’s religion echoed efforts by Trump to suggest that Cruz, who was born in Canada to an American mother, is ineligible for the White House. In February, Trump said on Twitter that he may sue Cruz “for not being a natural born citizen.” The real estate magnate also challenged Barack Obama’s citizenship in 2011, fueling the “birther” movement against the U.S. president.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Paris Attacks Suspect Allegedly Backed Out of Bombing Plan. Prosecutor François Molins says Salah Abdeslam is talking to authorities about role, intentions on night of Nov. 13. Salah Abdeslam, the main surviving suspect in the Paris attacks, is talking to authorities about his role and intentions, Paris prosecutor François Molins said Saturday, possibly providing fresh insights into the bloody onslaught that left 130 dead on the night of Nov. 13.
  • Machines That Will Think and Feel. Artificial intelligence is still in its infancy—and that should scare us. Artificial intelligence is breathing down our necks: Software built by Google startled the field last week by easily defeating the world’s best player of the Asian board game Go in a five-game match. Go resembles chess in the deep, complex problems it poses but is even harder to play and has resisted AI researchers longer. It requires mastery of strategy and tactics while you conceal your own plans and try to read your opponent’s. Mastering Go fits well into the ambitious goals of AI research. It shows us how m...
  • Flydubai Flight 981 crashes on landing at Rostov-on-Don, Russia. A passenger jet run by Flydubai under the code FZ981 has crash-landed at Rostov-on-Don airport in southern Russia, killing all 55 passengers and seven crew members on board. The Investigative Committee of Russia said in a statement on its website that all 62 people on board the plane died when it "hit the ground and broke into pieces." The reason for the crash was as yet unclear.
Zero Hedge:
Business Insider:
  • Fox News responds to Donald Trump’s “extreme, sick obsession” with Megyn Kelly. Fox News has accused Donald Trump of making “sexist verbal assaults” against Megyn Kelly, issuing its most aggressive response yet to the Republican frontrunner’s repeated attacks on its star anchor. The sharply worded response came Friday evening after Trump took his attacks against Kelly to a new level, referring to her as “sick” and “overrated.” Trump also called for his supporters to boycott her Fox News show. “Donald Trump’s vitriolic attacks against Megyn Kelly and his extreme, sick obsession with her is beneath the dignity of a presidential candidate who wants to occupy the highest office in the land,” the network said in its statement. “Megyn is an exemplary journalist and one of the leading anchors in America — we’re extremely proud of her phenomenal work and continue to fully support her throughout every day of Trump’s endless barrage of crude and sexist verbal assaults,” the statement continued. “As the mother of three young children, with a successful law career and the second highest rated show in cable news, it’s especially deplorable for her to be repeatedly abused just for doing her job.” Trump and Kelly were reunited at the third Fox News debate, on March 3, where Trump struck a much more convivial tone. Kelly once again proved to be Trump’s toughest adversary, asking tough and well-researched questions that won her the praise of journalists and observers on both sides of the aisle. It’s not exactly clear what precipitated Trump’s latest round of name-calling, nor his call for a boycott. Throughout the week, Trump has been trying to brand Kelly as “crazy” and obsessed with criticizing him. In the eyes of many Trump critics, it is he who appears to be obsessed with Kelly.
  • Exclusive: EU fears new surge of migrants from Libya, plans mission - letter. Nearly half a million people displaced in Libya could travel to Europe, the EU's foreign policy chief has told the bloc's foreign ministers in a letter, urging action to prevent another escalation in the region's migration crisis. In the message seen by Reuters, Federica Mogherini warned that people traffickers were operating freely in Libya and said the EU was working on sending a civilian security mission to boost the country's police, border forces and counter-terrorism operations. The letter, sent on March 12, came in the build-up to a series of top-level meetings on the migration crisis, including one hosted by Britain in Brussels on Friday with Mogherini and leaders of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Malta.
  • Suicide bomber kills four, wounds 36 in Istanbul shopping district. (video) A suicide bomber killed two Israelis and two other people on Saturday in a busy shopping district in the heart of Istanbul, the fourth such attack in Turkey so far this year. Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said the blast was "inhumane" and would not stop Turkey, which has been targeted by Kurdish militants and Islamic State in recent months, from fighting "centers of terrorism". The blast, which wounded at least 36 people, was a few hundred meters from an area where police buses are often stationed and sent panicked shoppers scurrying into side alleys off Istiklal Street, a pedestrian avenue lined with international stores and foreign consulates.
The Telegraph:
  • World is 'overloaded on monetary policy', says OECD. Central banks cannot haul economies out of stagnation on their own, the OECD has warned. Catherine Mann, chief economist at the Paris-based think-tank, said countries were now “overloaded on monetary policy” as she described the use of negative interest rates as “a reaction of central banks trying to meet the objective of raising inflation and fostering growth alone”.Ms Mann said banks faced being “squeezed” by the unintended consequences of sub-zero rates in an environment where demand remained subdued.
  • Central banks are already doing the unthinkable - you just don't know it

No comments: