TODAY has turned out to be a rather ugly day for global markets: a risk-off day, as they say, as traders move to relatively safe vehicles. The biggest moves have come in commodity markets. Oil prices are off nearly 10%, agricultural products are down between 2% and 5%, and metals are sinking, too. There's nothing like a risk-off day for the dollar's fortunes; the greenback is up over 2% against the euro. Treasury yields are tumbling. Long-term Treasuries yields hit their lowest level of 2011, and yields on 3-month and 6-month bills are basically sitting at zero.
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump said Saturday that anyone who criticizes the warm compliments he has swapped with Russian President Vladimir Putin is simply “jealous as hell.” Although Putin has been accused of a lengthy list of human rights violations, Trump has maintained that Russia could be a powerful partner for the United States — and one that could help the country save some money.
AP Photo/Charlie NeibergallReal-estate mogul Donald Trump repeatedly joked during a pre-Christmas rally that he would "never kill" reporters, even though he detests them.
"I would never kill them but I do hate them. And some of them are such lying, disgusting people. It's true," Trump said Monday night.
Amid the recent emerging-market turmoil, Russia's economy is under scrutiny once again. The ruble is down 5.5% year-to-date against the greenback. Experts warn the economy is too reliant on its natural resource exports (i.e. oil and natural gas) and that it is showing symptoms of the Dutch disease.
More than a decade after Charles Darwin gave the world “The Origin of Species,” he published a lesser-known tome that connected the world of homo sapiens and lesser species inhabiting Planet Earth: “The Expression of Emotions in Man and Animals.” Therein, amid long discussions of sneering, blushing and smiling, Darwin tackled a gesture as well known to mobsters in Martin Scorsese movies as it is to parents of teenagers: the shrug.
We recently noted the rise of counterparty risks in the financial system due to oil prices dropping (and leveraged derivative exposures) but as the Russia situation has deteriorated so dramatically this week, a renewed focus on bank exposures has sent stocks reeling (and credit risk soaring) among many European (and US) banks.
On Sunday, Crimea will hold a referendum on whether or not to split from Ukraine and join Russia. Experts agree that the referendum will pass. "This is independent from the question of whether the international community — or Ukraine — will accept the result," said Citi's Tina Fordham.