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Unexpected Rate Hike in China

Blizzar-caine NYC! (CNBC via AP) New York City gets over a foot of snow and 50 mph winds. The three major New York airports are still closed. Light trading volume is anticipated at market open. (Also, anecdotally, I've never seen lightning in a snowstorm before: At first, I thought a building was on fire in Harlem as the light flashed through my window.) "A treacherous commute of lashing winds, slick streets and low visibility buffeted workers returning Monday to their post-Christmas routines as a winter storm that dumped about a foot of snow on southern New England continued crawling up the East Coast, stranding thousands of airline, bus and rail passengers." Photo roundup — from the NY Post."

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Khodorkovsky Found Guilty in Russian Court, Again (Financial Times) Mikhail Khodorkovsky, once the richest man in Russia, was found guilty in a Russian court of embezzling funds from the now-defunct Yukos, and of money laundering charges. He has just been sentenced to six more years in prison. This was his second trial. Khodorkovsky has been in prison since 2003. "Reading the verdict in the politically charged trial of a chief Kremlin foe, judge Viktor Danilkin said the court had established that Khodorkovsky and Lebedev 'carried out the embezzlement of property entrusted to the defendants.' Enclosed in a glass-and-steel courtroom cage, Khodorkovsky and Lebedev pointed ignored the judge as he read out the widely expect guilty verdict, whispering to one another and reading books and documents. A crowd of a few hundred supporters outside the courthouse chanted 'Freedom!'."

Unexpected Rate Hike in China (Financial Times) "Asian equity markets showed a mixed reaction to the Christmas-day interest rate increase in China. The People’s Bank of China raised its one-year base lending rate by 25 basis points to 5.81 per cent—the central bank’s second move in just over two months—as it strives to tame inflation. Although the move had been anticipated for weeks, it provided a catalyst for some investors to take profits after a strong December. After initial gains, the Shanghai Composite index tumbled 1.9 per cent."

U.S. Treasuries Generate Eisenhower Era Return (Bloomberg) "Wall Street’s biggest bond-trading firms say investors in U.S. government debt will barely break even next year as yields climb from the lowest levels since the 1950s and the Federal Reserve boosts economic growth. Investors buying benchmark 10-year notes will gain about 1 percent in 2011 once interest payments are re-invested, as the yield rises to 3.65 percent after averaging 3.2 percent in 2010, according to a Bloomberg News survey of the Fed’s 18 primary dealers. Bank of America Merrill Lynch’s U.S. Treasury Master index returned 8.15 percent annually since its start in 1978."

Indian Communications Satellite Destroyed during Rocket Explosion (Yahoo via AP) "A rocket carrying an Indian communication satellite exploded just after liftoff Saturday in the second launch failure for India's space agency this year. Television images showed the rocket exploding in smoke and fire just after it launched from the Sriharikota space center in Andhra Pradesh state. It was carrying a GSAT-5P communication satellite into orbit. The vehicle developed an error 47 seconds after liftoff and lost command, leading to a higher angle in the flight, said K. Radhakrishnan, chairman of the Indian Space Research Organization." (Hat tip ZeroHedge)

The Blizzard a Comprehensive—And Poetic — Account (New York Times) "The Northeast awoke Monday morning under a heavy blanket of snow from a monster blizzard that barreled up the coast on Sunday. Even as the storm moved on from the area, its barrages of wind-driven snow left airports closed, rail and highway travel in disarray and a dozen states transformed into enchanted and borderless white dreamscapes."