Morning Reads


Todays Open Interest Change




U.S. officials are scrambling to track the source of a major leak of classified documents, which included details on Ukraine's defense plans and intelligence on diplomatic allies, and are reviewing how they share secrets internally. These documents appeared on social media sites in recent weeks, some of which were meant to be seen only by those with the highest security clearance levels. The leak, said to be one of the largest in the U.S. military's history and the most damaging since WikiLeaks in 2013, is currently being investigated by the Department of Defense.

Dig deeper: U.S. officials said the documents originated in the government, but some may have been altered. The documents were reportedly changed to understate estimates of Russian casualties and overstate those of Ukrainian forces. The documents also showed that the Biden administration is of the view that Ukraine could run out of ammunition for its air defenses by May. The government also appears to be pessimistic about Ukraine's prospects in retaking territories captured by Russian forces. Officials and national security experts suspect the leak may have been caused by an American, although pro-Russian actors have not been ruled out.

Bigger picture: While foreign allies of the U.S. are largely silent on the matter, the leak has ruffled feathers and is being closely watched. South Korea has spoken to U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about the incident, and Australia has sought further information. The U.S. definitely has some work to do to rebuild the trust of its allies. However, some experts believe the impact from the leak will be short term, while long-term shared interests will remain strong.

SA commentary: Seeking Alpha contributor Mike Lipper said the Ukraine war and growing tensions with China have pushed the U.S. to review where they will get their critical products and services. "I believe we will be involved with Ukraine for many years, possibly generations. The unhappy reason for such a fearful statement comes to us from logistics management." (13 comments)

$30,000 breached

Bitcoin (BTC-USDhas crossed $30,000 for the first time in 10 months today, as investors are increasingly betting on the Federal Reserve ending its monetary tightening policy ahead of the release of key inflation data tomorrow. The top cryptocurrency jumped to $30.3K, its highest level since June 2022. Ethereum (ETH-USD) rose 2%, inching closer to $2K. "Overall, the trend is up, indicating a bullish market for cryptocurrencies," Matrixport tweeted. "Crypto has been driven by alpha factors, which is positive." More than 87% of all BTC future trades liquidated in the past 24 hours were short, or bets against a rise in prices, CoinDesk reported. Losses from these trades amounted to some $145 million in the process. Knox Ridley, Investing Groups leader of 'Tech Insider Network', said now that bitcoin (BTC-USD) has risen nearly 90% from its November low, "we must conclude that this appears to be more than just a bear market bounce." (14 comments)

More vaccines?

The U.S. government is launching a $5B-plus program to accelerate the development of new COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, officials from the Biden administration and the Department of Health and Human Services confirmed yesterday. An HHS official said “Project Next Gen” will encourage public-private collaborations, similar to the “Operation Warp Speed” program that helped develop and distribute COVID vaccines under former President Donald Trump in 2020. “We’ve begun surveying the landscape out there - assessing what vaccine candidates are available, [and] moving through what exciting technologies are there,” said Dawn O’Connell, assistant secretary for preparedness and response at the HHS. O’Connell said the government has started efforts to search for private sector partners. Leading COVID vaccine developers in the U.S. include Pfizer (PFE)/BioNTech (BNTX) and Moderna (MRNA). Last week, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, said the global body could announce an end to the emergency status of COVID this year. The U.S. is expected to lift the public health emergency in May, which will likely result in vaccine sales declining by $10B between 2021 and 2028. (62 comments)

Fees for returns

Amazon (AMZN) has instituted a new fee for some returns at UPS stores in order to compensate for return costs. The e-commerce giant introduced a charge if return options at Whole Foods, Kohl’s or Amazon Fresh locations are closer or just as far than a UPS Store return location. The new fee for returns at UPS stores supplements existing charges for delivery driver pick up of returns. An Amazon spokesperson confirmed the changes in an email to Seeking Alpha. The representative characterized the fee as small, noting that Amazon continues to "offer convenient, easy returns to customers, with one or more options for label-free, box-free returns at no cost." The company has been on a cost-cutting spree, announcing layoffs of close to 30,000 employees and halting construction of its second headquarters in Virginia. SA contributor Tradevestor noted that the recent moves towards efficiency are more than welcome. "Before we give Amazon way too much credit, let's remember that it is merely undoing some of its recent self-inflicted and collateral damages," they cautioned. (96 comments)

Today's Markets

In Asia, Japan +1.1%. Hong Kong +0.8%. China -0.1%. India +0.5%.
In Europe, at midday, London +0.3%. Paris +0.8%. Frankfurt +0.4%.
Futures at 6:30, Dow +0.1%. S&P +0.2%. Nasdaq +0.2%. Crude -0.1% to $79.64. Gold +0.8% to $2020.10. Bitcoin +6.2% to $30,128.
Ten-year Treasury Yield -2 bps to 3.40%

Today's Economic Calendar

6:00 NFIB Small Business Optimism Index
1:00 PM Results of $40B, 3-Year Note Auction

Companies reporting earnings today »

What else is happening...

Tesla (TSLA) could continue cutting prices, analysts advise.

Google (GOOG) (GOOGL) fined $32M for blocking rival's video games.

Global PC shipments fall 29% in first quarter, growth expected after 2023.

Alibaba (BABA) unveils ChatGPT-like service to be integrated across all products.

Petrobras (PBR) plans to honor signed contracts, while stopping pending asset sales.

Newmont (NEM) sweetens bid for Newcrest (OTCPK:NCMGF), valuing it at ~$19.5B.

FTC seeks court order to block ICE's (ICE) acquisition of Black Knight (BKIfor $11.7B.

Hexo (HEXO) sinks as Tilray Brands (TLRY) confirms acquisition at a 24% discount.

Syneos Health (SYNH) stock gains on report of interest from private equity companies.

Cineworld (OTCPK:CNNWQ) finalizes reorganization plan to emerge from bankruptcy.

Known to most as Uranium Pinto Beans, Jason has more than 15 years under his belt of trading stocks, options and currencies. His expertise primarily lies in chart analysis, and he has a strong eye for undervalued stock. Because he’s got the ability to identify great risk/reward trades he usually enjoys taking the path less traveled and reaping the benefits from the adventure.

He is a co-founder of Option Millionaires, and he is best known for his weekly webinars with Scott, as well as his high level training webinars and charts found in the forums.

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