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Takeaway: Here's our take on some of today's top financial stories.

The BS Filter: Socialism, Big Bank Bailouts, & Super Abe To The Rescue - Italian bank cartoon

Socialism, Pension Funds & Italian Bank BAILOUTs

According to Reuters, Italian pension funds have agreed to invest in the country's bad bank loans at the insistence of the government. The combined bailout program will be called Atlante 2, a follow up to a previous bailout fund that has already "used more than half of its initial 4.25 billion euro endowment to take over two failing regional banks." Sources familiar with the matter say the government asked for €500 million, as investors have become increasingly concerned about troubled loans totalling €360 billion.

OUR TAKE: "Socializing market risk continues," Hedgeye CEO Keith McCullough wrote earlier today. Italy's stock market crash accelerated this morning, at one point the FTSE MIB was down as much as -1.8% today before ending the day at essentially flat. Still the MIB is down -32% from 2015 top, as the ongoing big bank "rescue" freaks people out.

In other pension fund news...

"Long-term returns for U.S. public pensions are expected to drop to the lowest levels ever recorded, portending deeper pain for states and cities as a $1 trillion funding gap widens," the Wall Street Journal writes. Pension funds are expected to put up twenty-year annualized returns of 7.47%, raising concerns about whether states and cities can continue to afford pension obligations.

OUR TAKE: We've long been concerned about future pension fund returns and the possibility of a coming retirement crisis. Required reading on the subject include Hedgeye Financials analyst Josh Steiner's Early Look, "The Retirement Reality Check," and "Are 10 Million Americans About To Be Screwed Out Of Their Pensions?" by Hedgeye Restaurants analyst Howard Penney.

Freak out & Fire Up The Printing Presses!

"Bank of England policy maker Martin Weale said he’s begun to favor immediate stimulus for the U.K. economy... chang[ing] his mind on the timing of stimulus after purchasing managers’ indexes released July 22 were a lot worse than he had thought," Bloomberg writes.

OUR TAKE: Central Planning Orthodoxy = Print, Print, Print.

Super Abe To the rescue?

"Japan looks to inject 6 trillion yen ($56.7 billion) in direct fiscal outlays into the economy over the next few years, double the amount initially planned," the Nikkei newspaper reports. Meanwhile, the Wall Street Journal writes that Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is increasingly pressuring BOJ head Haruhiko Kuroda to "coordinate efforts by expanding the central bank’s monetary easing."

OUR TAKE: Even Abe's doubling of fiscal outlays can't stop the economic bleeding in Japan. Investors don't think so either. The Yen strengthened 1.2% today and Nikkei tumbled -1.4%.

Other stories worth mentioning:

  • FT - "Anheuser-Busch InBev has unilaterally raised its offer for rival SABMiller to £79bn to quash an investor rebellion that threatened to disrupt the third-biggest deal in corporate history."
  • Nasdaq - "BP posted its third straight quarterly loss as the British oil giant reels from a two-year crude-price slump and remains haunted by the 2010 Gulf of Mexico spill."
  • MarketWatch - "Royal Bank of Scotland and Natwest could become the first U.K. banks to charge customers to hold their cash if the Bank of England yanks benchmark interest rates below zero in wake of the Brexit vote."