Monday, March 16, 2015

Today's Headlines

  • Putin Puts Troops on Full Alert in Western Russia Drills. Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered troops placed on full combat readiness in snap drills in western Russia, as Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu warned the country was facing new threats to its security. Some 38,000 troops, 41 warships, 15 submarines and 110 aircraft are involved in the exercises, Shoigu said on Monday, according to a Russian Defense Ministry statement. “New challenges and threats to military security demand a further increase in the military capabilities of the armed forces,” Shoigu said, the Interfax news service reported. Russia is “deeply concerned about the increase in exercises of NATO countries close to our borders,” Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Aleksey Meshkov said on Monday, according to Tass news service. 
  • Merkel Says More EU Russia Sanctions If Truce Violated. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the European Union would consider imposing further sanctions on Russia at a summit this week if there’s a major violation of the cease-fire in eastern Ukraine. Merkel, speaking at a news conference with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko in Berlin on Monday, said a truce agreed Feb. 12 in Minsk between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian government forces still isn’t being adhered to even if the situation on the ground has become quieter.
  • European Stocks Extend Seven-Year High as German DAX Tops 12,000. European stocks extended their gains, with German equities reaching a fresh record. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index advanced 0.9 percent to 400.18 at the close of trading in London, with automakers leading the gain.
  • Biggest Long-Term Treasury ETF Hit by Fastest Outflows on Record. The biggest exchange-traded fund investing in long-term Treasuries is losing investors at the fastest rate ever on concern the Federal Reserve is moving closer to interest-rate increases. The iShares 20+ Year Treasury Bond ETF posted its biggest three-week outflow since its inception in 2002, according to Bloomberg data. The sales came even after Treasuries rallied last week as weaker domestic growth damped the outlook for inflation and combined with the start of additional monetary stimulus in Europe to boost the allure of U.S. government debt.
  • There’s Not Much Yellen Can Do to Stop Dollar Rally, SocGen Says. Kit Juckes, a global strategist at Societe Generale SA in London, says there’s not much that can halt the U.S. dollar’s ascent. The greenback is rallying because the rest of the world is doing poorly in comparison. Yet any sign of U.S. weakness would only prompt international investors to pour more money into the nation -- not less -- since a slowdown in America would drag down other, less-stable countries, too, according to Juckes.  
  • Funds Run by Robots Now Account for $400 Billion.
Wall Street Journal: 
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