Zerohedge Headlines, February 23, 2015 . . . ‘grim’ seems to be the operative word, so why am I smiling? . . . ~J

No matter what we’re being told, no matter how fearful the events they are firing at us right now, it’s really time to ‘follow the money’, and according to the money, I think we’re winning. ~J

This Is The Biggest Problem Facing The World Today: 9 Countries Have Debt-To-GDP Over 300%

This is the biggest problem facing the world today, namely that at least 9 countries have debt/GDP above 300%, and that a whopping 39% countries have debt-to-GDP of over 100%!

BofA’s Stolpered Out Of Its Long WTI Reco In Under One Week

Three weeks we were delighted to crown BofA’s chief technician MacNeil Curry as the new honorary “Tom Stolper” – the person whose trade recos are to be faded with impunity. Today, we got the latest confirmation that Stolper, if only in spirit, is alive and well, and still providing countless fading opportunities.

Dallas Fed Manufacturing Outlook Crashes To April 2013 Lows

The Dallas Fed manufacturing outlook plunged in January – despite Richard Fisher’s claims that “everything is awesome” and low oil prices are a net positive for Texas – so it is perhaps not surprising that – with a backdrop of rig count collapses and oil price lows – February’s data (delivered late)plunged-er to -11.2 (against expectations of -4 – 3rd miss in a row – well below every economist’s estimates). This is the lowest since April 2013. This is the fastest 3-month decline since April 2013.

Existing Home Sales Plunge (and Don’t Blame The Weather)

With homebuilder sentiment slipping,blamed on the weather (despite improvement in the Northeast), Architecture billings down, and lumber prices down, it should not be totally surprising that existing home sales collapsed in January (-4.9% against expectations of -1.8% to a worse than expected 4.82 million SAAR). This is the lowest existing home sales since April. Oh – and before the talking heads blame the weather – the biggest drop in home sales was in The West (with its warm, dry, sunny home-buying climate). Considering that existing home sales most recent peak in 2014 failed to take out the previous government-sponsored peak in 2013 and remains 30% or more below the 2005 peak, and claims that the housing recovery is in tact are greatly exaggerated.

“You Don’t Buy Home Insurance After The Roof Catches Fire”

US stock markets reached record highs last week. Question: does that make them riskier, or less risky?We think the former.

20 Central Banks Have Cut Rates In 2015 After “Surprise” Rate Cut By Israel To Record Low 0.1%

Last week it was 19 central banks (including the ECB which accounts for 19 nations) which had cut rates in 2015, mostly in “surprise”, unexpected easing decisions. Moments ago the number became 20 when the Israel central bank just cut its interest rate by 0.15% to 0.1%, the lowest on record, a move which once again caught the market by surprise as only 3 of 23 analysts had predicted it.

Record Low Baltic Dry Casualties Emerge: Third Dry-Bulk Shipper Files For Bankruptcy In Past 3 Weeks

The unintended consequences of a money-printed, credit-fueled, mal-investment-boom in commodities (prices – as opposed to physical demand per se) and the downstream signals that sent to any and all industries are starting to bite. The Baltic Dry Index has plunged once again to new record lows and the collapse of the non-financialized ‘clean’ indicator of the imbalances between global trade demand and freight transport supply has the real-world effects are starting to be felt, asReuters reports the third dry-bulk shipper this month has filed for bankruptcy… in what shippers call “the worst market conditions since the ’80s.”

Commodities Crushed: WTI Plunges To $48 Handle, Copper Breaks Key Support

Perhaps the world is beginning to realize that“it’s the demand, stupid”as crude oil prices are collapsing this morning (not helped by “all out production” news from Oman). While ‘markets’ rallied peculiarly after last week’s epic surge in inventories and production data, that has all been given back as one trader noted “the market got ahead of itself, even though the rig count has been falling it is not until mid-yr that we are going to see some impact on supply.” WTI is back under $49.  To complete the gloom, Copper is probing lower, breaking key support with projections to 222.50 if this move takes shape.

Key Events In The Coming Week: All Eye On Yellen’s Testimony To Congress

With Greece moving to the, ahem, periphery if only for a few days/hours, this week the US calendar returns to the forefront with Fed Chair Yellen’s semi-annual monetary policy testimony before the Senate Banking Committee tomorrow night and the House Financial Services Committee on Wednesday, which the market will be paying very close attention to for the reconciliation of how the Fed plans to continue on its rate-hiking path despite rapidly deteriorating US macro data that has started 2015 at the worst pace (in terms of downside surprises) since Lehman.

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