It has all been about the Federal Reserve this week. The Fed led by Chairman Powell ended up standing firm against the President and the markets and raising rates. We wrote earlier in the week that they were damned if they did, damned if they did not raise rate, with the perception of the Fed on the line. As expected the markets puked on the news that the accommodative run by the Fed seem to be coming to an end, and that there will be further rate increases in 2019.  If that was not enough, appears there might be a government shutdown due to issues with border wall funding. In Europe, the Swedish Riksbank raised it rates for the first time in 7 Years. The Italian government were able to an agreement with the EU and struck a budget deal. This deal should keep things calm there for now, but question is how long? In Asia, you know things are getting bad when China announces just at the end of week for more stimulus for 2019 and the markets don’t really buy it. On the geopolitical front, General Mattis resigned secretary of defense post President Trump’s withdrawal from Syria. Also, U.S. charged several Chinese hackers with theft of intellectual property sending a clear signal to China. Question is if this will affect the trade-talks. In the Middle East, President Trump decided to pull out U.S. troops out of Syria, declaring the fight against ISIS completed. On the corporate front, Fedex lowered its 2019 forecasts due to global economic uncertainty. Oil prices continued their decline as expectations of both continued high supply and lower demand for the coming year. The markets are now starting to look ahead into 2019 with initial focus on earnings.  Are more and more companies seeing the effects of the global turmoil or is the economy still holding good. This first earning season will give indication of where things stand starting the New Year.

Economy, Trade & Fed, Macro

Fed Raises Rates, but Signals Slightly Milder Path of Future Increases via WSJ

U.S. weekly jobless claims up; mid-Atlantic factory activity slows from Reuters

Global debt reaches record high of $184 trillion, IMF says by

U.S. Housing Starts Grew in November via WSJFed Rate Hike Decision: Damned if they Do, Damned if they Don’t – Independence Threatened? By AskBrokers

Powell’s Bet: The Data Is Right, the Market Is Wrong via WSJ

FedEx just slashed its 2019 forecast because of ‘global economic uncertainty’ by Business Insider

A government shutdown is looming, but you may hardly notice from McClatchy

Trump tariff war with China sends U.S. retailers on buying binge by Reuters

Xi says no one can ‘dictate to the Chinese people’ from FT

China Pledges More Stimulus in 2019 as Economy Seeks Floor via Bloomberg

Xi Jinping: China to stick to Communist rule and its own path to cope with ‘unimaginable’ perils via SCMP

China Mutual Fund Closures Hit Record on Shadow Banking Purge from Bloomberg

U.S. to Unseal Criminal Charges Against Chinese Intelligence Officers via WSJ

US warns of Chinese influence at multilateral lenders from FT

Brexit: no lessons learned by

BoE says Brexit jitters worsen, sees inflation below target via ReutersNo-deal Brexit will raise food prices, says Michael Gove from The Guardian

Credit Suisse advises clients to consider moving assets out of UK via FT

Swedish Riksbank Surprises With First Rate Hike in Seven Years via from Bloomberg

Italy budget deal struck with Europe after months-long row from BBC

Qui n’avance pas, recule by AskBrokers

India’s Assault on Central Bank Autonomy Is Just Starting from Bloomberg

Erdogan says Trump responded ‘positively’ to Turkey’s threats on Syria via Al-Monitor

Erdogan sees China as a partner for the future from Asia Times

Saudi Arabia: Country Releases Budget for 2019 – Living in Fantasy Land? Via AskBrokers

Trump shocks allies and advisers with plan to pull US troops out of Syria from The Guardian

Markets / Companies

Sharp stock market sell-off on Fed rate rise via FT

Keep It Simple by AskBrokers

Cash is King from Pension Partners

Peak “Everything Bubble?” The data is piling up. By Wolf Street

Gold – Shines and Protects via AskBrokers

No One Wants to Buy Europe Stocks Anymore. Will They Ever? By Bloomberg

Crash Déjà vu or Contrarian Bounce? By Ask Brokers

Cash or Bonds at Low Yields and a Flat Yield Curve? Via EconompicData

Is All Lost? Record Share Buybacks But Stocks Get Crushed from Wolf Street

Volatility and the Alchemy of Risk By AskBrokers

Well, that could have gone better… by Reformed Broker

Lex in-depth: SoftBank’s credibility problem by FT


European Retailers Crash as ASOS Collapses from AskBrokers

Deutsche Bank Death Spiral Hits Historic Low. European Banks Follow by Wolf Street

Emerging Markets – King! From AskBrokers

Google Plans to Spend Over $1 Billion on New York City Campus via Variety

Amazon Targets Unprofitable Items, With a Sharper Focus on the Bottom Line via WSJ

GlaxoSmithKline to break up after striking Pfizer consumer joint venture by FT

Williams-Sonoma Accuses Amazon of Copying West Elm Furniture via Seattle Times

Facebook doesn’t need to sell your data. It has been giving it away free for years. From Recode

How much is social media worth? Estimating the value of Facebook by paying users to stop using it by Plos One

Turning Off Facebook Location Tracking Doesn’t Stop It From Tracking Your Location by Gizmondo

Instagram Was Bigger Russian Election Tool Than Facebook, Senate Report Says from Bloomberg


Tencent shares rally as China restarts gaming approvals via FT

Malaysia files charges against Goldman Sachs and 2 bankers via FT

Goldman Sachs Ignored 1MDB Warning Signs in Pursuit of Asian Business By WSJ

Marlboro maker stake values vaping group Juul at $38bn from FT

Airbus shares fall after report of U.S. joining corruption probe via Reuters

New questions over Elon Musk’s use of SpaceX resources for Boring Co. tunnels via MarketWatch

Atlas Copco looks to battery spark in changing car industry from Reuters

Pinterest Readies Itself for Early 2019 IPO via WSJ

BlackRock, Microsoft to Build Retirement-Planning Platform from Bloomberg

China’s tech giants want to go global. Just one thing might stand in their way. By MIT Technology Review

China’s Ctrip says US trade war discouraging tourism via FT

The Revenge of the Chart Watchers by Institutional Investor

Robinhood Update: Pulls Back Savings Offer after Regulator Concerns – Was it all a Marketing Stunt? Continued Deception? By AskBrokers

Chick-fil-A on track to become No. 3 fast-food chain in US from NYPost

Fine Wine Outperformed Global Equities in 2018 via Barrons

In Paris, ‘Yellow Vest’ Protests Cut Sharply Into City’s Luxury Trade from NYTimes

Vanguard’s asset machine wobbles under Abby Johnson’s withering pricing assault, but Fidelity’s new cost-cutting front aimed at advisors is proving more lethal for BlackRock by RIABiz

Sad Santas Confront Empty Malls: ‘Do I Have Something in My Beard? By WSJ

Five Things to Watch in European Tech, Media and Telecom in 2019 by Bloomberg

Prediction vs. Preparation from A Wealth of Common Sense

M&A activity dives in fourth quarter as corporate confidence ebbs via FT


You know things are bad when Tether is in the crypto top 5 by Ft Alphaville

My Predictions for Crypto in 2019 from The Information

Bitmain’s landmark plan to list on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in doubt via The Block

Crypto-Mystery Clues Suggest Tether Has the Billions It Promised by Bloomberg

Blythe Masters steps down as Digital Asset chief executive via FT

First Futures Contract to Pay Out in Bitcoin Poised for Green Light from WSJ

Research / Interesting Reads

Derivatives, options and hedges by AskBrokers

Netflix’s Movie Blitz Takes Aim at Hollywood’s Heart by NYTimes

Prime and Punishment from The Verge

3D-printed heads let hackers – and cops – unlock your phone via Techcrunch

Brexit Could Drastically Change English Soccer by FiveThirtyEight

What’s So Funny About $1 Trillion? The Norwegians Who Manage It from Bloomberg

The best things on the internet in 2018 via AVClub

Ebola outbreak reaches city of 1 million residents from Ars Technica

Paul Ryan’s long con by VOX

Wealthy in the Hamptons Set Their Sights on Do-It-Yourself Deals by Bloomberg

The economic impacts of climate change could limit climate change by Ars Technica

Parrot uses owner’s Amazon Alexa to order shopping, play music via FoxNews

Meet Coyote Peterson, YouTube’s King Of Stings. Is He Animal Planet’s Next Big Dog? From BuzzFeed News


Saturn is losing its iconic planetary rings via Quartz

The World’s Most Successful Caviar Entrepreneur Is A Scrapyard Operator In Wisconsin from Forbes

Longreads Best of 2018: Profiles via Longreads

How Britain stole $45 trillion from India by Al Jazeera


Deal-Master Debbane: Meet The Secretive Lebanese Immigrant Behind Oprah’s Weight Watchers Windfall by Forbes