Here's What Traders Are Reading On This Very Busy Weekend

TradersREUTERS/Brendan McDermidTraders work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange February 4, 2014.

Dave Lutz of Stifel, Nicolaus passes along some of the stories traders are reading on this very busy weekend.

Here’s a sampling.

Russian troops took over Crimea as the parliament in Moscow gave President Vladimir Putin a green light Saturday to use the military to protect Russian interests in Ukraine – Putin sought and quickly got his parliament’s approval to use its military to protect Russia’s interests across Ukraine – Ignoring President Barack Obama’s warning Friday that “there will be costs” if Russia intervenes militarily, Putin sharply raised the stakes in the conflict over Ukraine’s future evoking memories of Cold War brinkmanship. (AP)

Gazprom has hinted that it may raise gas prices for Ukraine if the country fails to pay off its debts, in the clearest sign yet of Russia’s willingness to use economic levers to put pressure on the new government in Kiev. (FT)

A Chinese manufacturing gauge fell to an eight-month low in February, adding to headwinds for growth as Premier Li Keqiang prepares to map out the government’s economic strategy to the nation’s legislature – The Purchasing Managers’ Index was at 50.2, the National Bureau of Statistics and China Federation of Logistics and Purchasing said today in Beijing. That compared with January’s 50.5 reading and the 50.1 median analyst estimate. (Bloomberg)

George Soros and John Paulson are taking major stakes in the flotation of a Spanish property group, reflecting an increasing confidence among investors in the eurozone periphery’s economic recovery – The two hedge fund managers — who were ranked first and fourth in the world for their total earnings in 2013 — have both taken €92m stakes in Hispania Activos Inmobiliarios, said people with knowledge of the deal (FT)

Apple’s television division, long dubbed a “hobby” by its executives, is now a billion-dollar business, Tim Cook told investors at an annual meeting on Friday. – In mid-2013, Mr Cook said the existing Apple TV box — which has sold for the same price since it was introduced in 2010 — had sold more than 13m units to date. Horace Dediu, technology commentator with Asymco, estimates that the company has sold a total of 28m TV boxes since 2007, generating cumulative hardware revenues of about $US3.5bn. An implied growth rate of 80 per cent would make it Apple’s fastest-growing device (FT)

Speculators’ net bearish bets on U.S. 10-year Treasury note futures fell for a second straight week (Reuters)

Hedge funds cut their net long position in arabica coffee this week by 16% to profit from the biggest monthly gain in 20 years and raised their bullish exposure to natural gas just before prices for the heating fuel fell (Reuters)

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