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25Mar2015 Pre-Market Commentary: Futures Flat, Oil Flat, U.S. Dollar Still Trending Down, Markets Expected To Open Flat

Written by Gary

U.S. stock index futures were little changed in light volume on Wednesday ahead of industrial orders data, with deals indicating investors still see value in the market despite indexes trading near all time highs. Also the consequences of a soaring U.S. dollar are rippling across Africa, from empty store shelves to a closed oil refiner to delayed infrastructure improvements.

Premarkets are flat and the markets are expected to open the same way.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are lower today with shares in France off the most. The CAC 40 is down 0.79% while Germany's DAX is off 0.70% and London's FTSE 100 is lower by 0.14%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Small Business: Tono Studios Helps Marketers Reach Hispanics With Culturally Authentic Ads

A commercial audio company is making a name for itself by focusing on cultural nuances to create messages that resonate with the Hispanics.

Kraft and Heinz to form North America's No.3 food company

(Reuters) - Kraft Foods Group Inc, the maker of Velveeta cheese, will merge with ketchup maker H.J. Heinz Co, owned by 3G Capital and Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc, to form North America's third-largest food and beverage company.

Australia ready to join China-led bank, seeks clarity on governance

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Australia is "well and truly" disposed to join the China-led Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Wednesday, but wants to know how much power Beijing would hold in the institution before a formal decision.

Stock futures little changed ahead of data, deals support

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed in light volume on Wednesday ahead of industrial orders data, with deals indicating investors still see value in the market despite indexes trading near all time highs.

Kraft and Heinz to Merge in Deal Backed by Buffett and 3G Capital

The merger will create the fifth-largest food and beverage company globally, with Heinz controlling 51 percent and Kraft shareholders owning the rest.

Brent oil rises as euro zone morale boost offsets oversupply concern

LONDON (Reuters) - Brent oil prices firmed on Wednesday as business morale in the euro zone's top two economies improved, offsetting concerns about oversupply that has filled fuel storage tanks around the world.

U.S. mortgage applications rise in latest week: MBA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Applications for U.S. home mortgages rose last week as interest rates dropped to their lowest level since February, an industry group said on Wednesday.

European shares dip but hold near highs after Ifo

LONDON (Reuters) - European shares dipped on Wednesday but held near multi-year highs and the euro rose against the dollar after a survey showed the German business climate improving.

A Ukraine Factory That Can't Close, and Workers Who Won't Quit

Thousands of workers at a plant in Avdiivka that serves as a vital cog in Ukraine's steel industry stubbornly return to work every day despite repeated rocket and artillery strikes.

Why It Will Be Difficult For Costco To Improve Its Gross Margins

We believe that given its business model, it will be extremely difficult for Costco to increase its product markups. In fact, rising competition from the second largest warehouse chain Sam's Club, which has a cheaper membership fee, wider reach and similar level of customer service, can push Costco to go further easy on prices of certain categories. Moreover, the gradual increase in share of groceries in overall revenues, will put a downward pressure on net gross margins, thanks to the nature of the business.

How Are News Corp's Book Publishing Operations Trending?

We believe that the company will continue to see steady revenue growth in book publishing, primarily led by a growth in e-books sales. With the growth in e-book sales, which have lower production and distribution costs, News Corp can look forward to better margins in the coming years. While the growth rate of e-book sales has slowed in the recent years, there is a healthy market for both print as well as digital editions of books.

Heinz And Kraft To Merge

H.J. Heinz Company and Kraft Foods Group have agreed to merge, in a deal that makes it the fifth largest food and beverage company in the world.

Sirius XM: Why A Rise In Revenue Share And Royalties Will Be Slow

Revenue share and royalties as a percentage of subscription revenues has increased gradually over the past few years, amounting to 22.8% in 2014. This increase was primarily driven by growing royalty rates as the company kept its subscription pricing constant. Going forward, we expect these costs to increase, but at a slower pace as the company looks to propel its topline growth with a push into the used car market and retain control over the royalties it pays.

Hyatt Will Benefit From The Rise In Hotel Demand In Europe

We estimate management and franchise fees as a percentage of room revenues in the region. The room revenues in the region were around $707 million in 2007 and declined to an estimated $575 million in 2009. The global hospitality industry was severely hit during the recession period and it has been recovering since then. Likewise, Hyatt has seen recovery in EAMS operations and the room revenues grew to $1 billion in 2014. Going forward, we expect this uptrend to continue, driven by a combination of growth in European economies and Hyatt's strong set of brands.

What Will Drive Growth For Disney's U.S. Resort Operations?

Disney has seen a steady growth in room spending over the past few years led by a better macro-economic environment and development of new rides at its theme parks. However, the occupancy rates have declined since the recessionary period. While we expect the occupancy levels to stabilize around the current levels, room spending will continue to grow at a steady pace in the coming years.

Networking Notes: Cisco, VMware, Juniper And The SDN Market

Networking giant Cisco recently reported a 55% sequential rise in the number of customers for Nexus 9000 in its Q2 FY 2015, highlighting a continued period of strong customer adoption for its software-defined networking product. Virtualization and cloud computing provider VMware reported more than 400 paying customers for VMware NSX, its own version of network virtualization and software-defined networking, in its Q4 earnings report at the end of January. Juniper Networks had announced the release of its virtualized MX router (or vMX 3D Universal Edge Router) back in November.

Cashing In On The Right College

Some 40 million Americans have gone into debt to finance a college education for the right reason: They wanted to improve their economic prospects and learn something new.

EU to impose anti-dumping duties on China, Taiwan stainless steel

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union will impose punitive anti-dumping duties from Thursday on imports of stainless steel cold-rolled sheet from China and Taiwan, according to a notice on Wednesday in the EU's Official Journal.

Airbus sells further 15 percent stake in Dassault Aviation

PARIS (Reuters) - Airbus Group said it is selling a further 15 percent stake in business and fighter jet maker Dassault Aviation as it continues to unwind its 16-year-old link to its defense market rival.

Top U.S. CEOs reaped billions from stock gains in recent years, Reuters analysis shows

BOSTON (Reuters) - CEOs at large U.S. companies collectively realized at least $6 billion more in compensation than initially estimated in annual disclosures in the five years after the financial crisis first hit, according to a Reuters analysis. The reason for the windfall: the soaring value of their stock awards.

Sisi vs. ISIS: Dictatorship vs. Mob Rule

Written by Frank Li

Sisi vs. ISIS - are they just reversed in spelling? No! They are also reversed in content! Sisi is a dictator, who has been very good for Egypt over the past two years. ISIS, on the other hand, is mob rule, which has been devastating the region over the past two years, at least.

Read more ...

Japan, NZ agree U.S. fast-track bill vital for TPP talks: Amari

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan and New Zealand share the view that a fast-track trade bill in the United States is extremely important for the conclusion of a 12-nation Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) deal, the Japanese economy minister said on Wednesday.

Bits Blog: Car Crash Videos Highlight Risk of Multitasking With Phones

A study from AAA that entailed putting video cameras in the cars of teenage drivers allowed researchers to watch the excruciating moments before nearly 1,700 crashes.

Property Investors' Latest Horror: Zombie REITs

There are a record 41 so-called zombie REITs that can't sell shares to raise more money for growth and are having trouble liquidating their assets to return shareholders' capital.

Silicon Valley gender trial enters final stages

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Dollar signs rather than discrimination drove a former partner at venture-capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers to file her gender discrimination suit, a lawyer for the firm told jurors Tuesday in the high-profile trial.

Dollar's Rise Stings Africa

The consequences of a soaring U.S. dollar are rippling across Africa, from empty store shelves to a closed oil refiner to delayed infrastructure improvements.

"All the Eurozone Is Capable of Is â€'Stealing' Growth from Others"

Wolf Richter

The Eurozone's recovery is now blazing forward into practically uncharted territory. Just today we learned that Eurozone business activity in March, as measured by the Composite PMI, which includes manufacturing and services, showed moderate growth that hit a 46-month high. It was fueled by new orders. Even the French PMI showed signs of expansion!

The report clarified the timing, though: "the ECB's quantitative easing has been started at a time when the Eurozone's economic upturn is already starting to gain traction."

There were other signs of traction. The Eurozone trade surplus with the rest of the world has been setting new records, powered by strong exports, particularly from Germany. This trend kicked off before the euro started tanking a year ago.

So on Monday, ECB President Mario Draghi took the opportunity to slap himself and his colleagues on the back for their heroic and bold action, as these things are called, and offered an upbeat assessment of the Eurozone economy. He proclaimed "that growth is gaining momentum." And he totally nailed it with three out of the four reasons he gave for that growth:

This is due to in particular the fall in oil pric ...

Did De-Dollarization Just Reach Escape Velocity? China's New Silk Road & Putin's Eurasian Trade Network

Authored by Pepe Escobar, originally posted at Asia Times,

Westward Ho On China's Eurasia BRIC Road

" is imperative that no Eurasian challenger (to the U.S.)

emerges capable of dominating Eurasia

and thus also of challenging America"

Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Grand Chessboard, 1997

What's in a name, rather an ideogram? Everything. A single Chinese character - jie (for "between") - graphically illustrates the key foreign policy initiative of the new Chinese dream.

In the upper part of the four-stroke character - which, symbolically, should be read as the roof of a house - the stroke on the left means the Silk Road Economic Belt, and the stroke on the right means the 21st century Maritime Silk Road. In the lower part, the stroke on the left means the China-Pakistan corridor, via Xinjiang province, and the stroke on the right, the China-Myanmar-Bangladesh-India corridor via Yunnan province.

Chinese culture feasts on myriad formulas, mottoes - and symbols. If many a Chinese scholar worries about how the Middle Kingdom's new intimation of soft power may be lost in translation, the character jie - ...

Financial Feudalism

Submitted by Dmirty Orlov via Club Orlov blog,

Once upon a time—and a fairly long time it was—most of the thickly settled parts of the world had something called feudalism. It was a way of organizing society hierarchically. Typically, at the very top there was a sovereign (king, prince, emperor, pharaoh, along with some high priests). Below the sovereign were several ranks of noblemen, with hereditary titles. Below the noblemen were commoners, who likewise inherited their stations in life, be it by being bound to a piece of land upon which they toiled, or by being granted the right to engage in a certain type of production or trade, in case of craftsmen and merchants. Everybody was locked into position through permanent relationships of allegiance, tribute and customary duties: tribute and customary duties flowed up through the ranks, while favors, privileges and protection flowed down.

It was a remarkably resilient, self-perpetuating system, based largely on the use of land and other renewable resources, all ultimately powered by sunlight. Wealth was primarily derived from land and the various uses of land. Here is a simplified org chart showing the pecking order of a medieval society.


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