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30Mar2015 Pre-Market Commentary: Market Futures Up As Investors Prepare For A Gap Up At The Opening, Oil Is Falling U.S. Dollar Is Rising

Written by Gary

U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday, pointing to a second straight session gain as a trio of M&A deals lifted sentiment after a recent bout of weakness.

Oil prices should also stabilize in the second half of this year and rise in 2016 and 2017 as consumers respond to a period of much cheaper fuel, a Reuters poll of analysts showed today.

Asian stocks also rose earlier today buoyed by hopes for stimulus to boost China's economy, but the euro has slipped on more concern about Greece's finances which remain an investor concern.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are broadly higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 1.30% while France's CAC 40 is up 0.89% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.36%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

US Savings Rate Jumps To Highest Since 2012 As Spending Continues To Miss Expectations

For the 4th month in a row, personal spending growth missed expectations. With a 0.1% gain in February (against expectations of a 0.2% rise), this growth rate remains below all of 2014's growth. Income rose slightly more than expected at 0.4% (against +0.3% exp) but this is the same growth as January's upwardly reviused +0.4%. That leaves the powers that be very disappointed as the savings rate jumps to the highest since 2012, not exactly the Keynesian pump-primed, low gas prices tax cut spendfest all the smartest people in the room promised.

Spending misses for 4th month in a row.

Leaving the savings rate surging toi the highest since 2012. What is ironic is that since this is a goalseeked data point, and one which was massively revised lower in the end of 2014 since the BEA was unable to account for Obamacare spending, expect this to eventually be revised far lower once again.

For now, however, the divergence grows.

Teva to Buy Auspex, an American Drug Developer, for $3.2 Billion

Teva will pay $101 a share for Auspex, which makes drugs that treat people with movement disorders.

A Rare Goldman "Sell" Recommendation Leads To Even More Muppet Slaughter

In addition to Janet Yellen's confused ramblings at 3:45 pm on Friday, which did all they could to push the S&P to close green for the year, the other catalyst that sent stocks higher on Friday afternoon was the unconfirmed rumor reported by the WSJ that Intel would purchase Altera, the news of which briefly sent INTC stock higher than the entire market cap of Altera on what can only be described as the latest short squeeze. Yet one entity that appears unhappy with this news is none other than Goldman Sachs which likely was snubbed as an advisor or an underwriter by Intel in recent months, and which all else equal, once again slaughtered the muppets who listened to its recommendation to Sell Intel stock (just days after another comparable slaughter by Goldman on SanDisk longs this time on the Conviction Buy side).

Here is the Goldman bottom line to Kermit:

On Friday afternoon, the Wall Street Journal reported Intel may be considering the acquisition of Altera but provided no additional information. Recall that Altera is a provider of programmable logic chips into the communications infrastructure, networking, and industrial end markets. For context, the median semi deal has been done at a 35% equity premium and 22X NTM EPS (vs. ALTR trading at 22X 2015E as of 3/26 close) and 10X NTM EBITDA (vs. ALTR at 16X 2015E).

Our 12-month price target is $23, based on 10X normalized EPS of $2.30.

The good news that fading Goldman is becoming rapidly the most profitable trade since we discovered the gem that is MacNeil Curry. Expect a posting by an anonymous and overly defensive Vampire Squid defending Goldman's sellside practices in the Brookings Institution blog in th ...

Final March 2015 Michigan Consumer Sentiment - A Slight Improvement Over the Preliminary Data

by Doug Short, Advisor Perspectives/

The University of Michigan final Consumer Sentiment for March came in at 93.0, up from the 91.2 March preliminary reading but down from the final reading of 95.4 in February and the 98.1 level in had forecast 92.0 for the March final.

Frontrunning: March 30

Setbacks and progress as Iran, six powers meet to end nuclear impasse (Reuters)

Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to Leave Iran Nuclear Talks (WSJ)

Obama Ramps Up Lobbying on Iran as Deadline Looms (WSJ)

Greek yields edge up as lenders scrutinise reform pledge (Reuters)

Oil prices drop on possible Iran deal, dollar (Reuters)

Yemen's Houthis Battle for Aden as Saudi Strikes Hit Rebels (BBG)

Iran nuclear deal to see $20 oil if Tehran floods crude market (Telegraph)

China's Zhou Says PBOC Has Room to Act on Growth Slowdown (BBG)

Just what autism nation needs: It's Really Here: TV for Babies (WSJ)

Stock futures higher, but crude oil weakens

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures rose on Monday, pointing to a second straight daily gain as a trio of M&A deals lifted sentiment after a recent bout of weakness.

Ben Bernanke Pens First Blog Post, Defends Fed, Says He "Was Concerned About Seniors"

It would appear the $250,000/hour speaking opportunities for Ben Bernanke have ground to a halt, and as such, the former Chairsatan has decided to dispense his wisdom for free to anyone who cares, by becoming a blogger at Brookings. And, not surprisingly, in his first post, the person who less than a decade ago said the following, in exactly those words...

Well, I guess I don't buy your premise. It's a pretty unlikely possibility. We've never had a decline in house prices on a nationwide basis. So, what I think what is more likely is that house prices will slow, maybe stabilize, might slow consumption spending a bit. I don't think it's gonna drive the economy too far from its full employment path, though.

... is out and about defending the Fed and central banks from pushing rates so low, in Europe you are now paid to borrow money, and are charged to save.

So, to those who are too lazy to click on the following link to the Brookings blog where Bernanke is now blogger emeritus, here is the punchline.

In what can only be described as a litany of defensive insecurity, Bernanke launches a full-on assault on all those who accuse the Fed of crushing the economy, which now includes not only tin-foil fringe blogs of the Austrian economics persuasion, but such "very serious people" as Guggenheim's CIO Scott Minerd who over the weekend said "The long-term consequences of global QE are likely to permanently impair living standards for generations to come while creating a false illusion of reviving prosperity" and rhetorically asks "Why are interest rates so low? Will they remain low? What are the implications for ...

Exclusive: Fidelity moves to end DuPont proxy battle-sources

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fidelity Investments, a major investor in DuPont , has put pressure on activist fund Trian Fund Management LP and the chemical conglomerate to reach a settlement in what it sees as a detrimental proxy fight, according to people close to the matter.

Bank of England Outlines Parameters of 2015 Stress Test

The test is intended to measure the soundness of banks against severe economic and financial market upheavals, as occurred in 2008.

UnitedHealth Group to buy Catamaran for about $12.8 billion

(Reuters) - Health insurer UnitedHealth Group unit OptumRx Corp agreed to buy pharmacy benefit manager Catamaran Corp in a deal worth about $12.8 billion.

Reuters Poll: Oil prices to stabilize as demand rises

(Reuters) - Oil prices should stabilise in the second half of this year and rise in 2016 and 2017 as consumers respond to a period of much cheaper fuel, a Reuters poll of analysts showed on Monday.

Risk Factor: Income Inequality: It's Also Bad for Your Health

A study found that in places with more unevenness of income, life spans were shorter.

Futures Jump On Chinese Easinng Speculation, False Rumor Of PBOC Rate Cut

With the rest of the developed world's central banks waiting for the Fed to admit defeat for one more year and delay its proposed rate hike (or launch NIRP/QE4 outright) it was all about China (the same China which a month ago we said would launch QE sooner or later) and hope that its central bank would boost asset prices, when over the weekend the PBoC governor hinted that more easing is imminent to offset the accelerating drag after he admitted that the nation's growth rate has tumbled "a bit" too much and that policy makers have scope to respond. How much scope it really has now that its bad debt is rising exponentially is a different question. It got so bad, Shanghai Securities News leaked a false rumor earlier forcing many to believe China would announce an unexpected rate cut as soon as today, in the process sending the Shanghai Composite soaring by 2.6%.




... But the momentum for the dumb money (and we mean dumb money: remember that 30% Of New Equity Investors In China Have Elementary Education Or Less, Bloomberg Says) was already in place, and the already unprecedented Chinese stock bubble just got that much bigger and that much closer to popping.

UnitedHealth Group to Buy Catamaran in $12.8 Billion Deal

The combined company will face off against other big pharmacy benefits managers, including Express Scripts and CVS Caremark.

Oil prices drop on possible Iran deal, dollar

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday as officials from Iran and six world powers discussed a possible deal over Tehran's nuclear programme that could bring an end to sanctions and allow an increase in Iranian oil exports.

Dufry details $4 billion fundraising plan for WDF buy

ZURICH (Reuters) - Dufry AG has fleshed out plans for its takeover of Italy's World Duty Free SpA (WDF) , as the Swiss company seeks to consolidate its position as the biggest player in the fast-growing airport retail sector.

European, Asian shares rise, helped by Chinese stimulus

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares rose on Monday with Asian stocks buoyed by hopes for stimulus to boost China's economy, but the euro slipped on more concern about Greece's finances.

Soros says ready to invest $1 billion in Ukraine if West helps

VIENNA (Reuters) - Billionaire financier George Soros is ready to invest $1 billion in Ukraine, if Western countries help private investment there. He also put the odds of Greece leaving the euro at a third, in an interview with Austrian newspaper Der Standard.

Denmark applies to join China-backed AIIB investment bank

BEIJING (Reuters) - (This March 29, 2015 story was refiled to add a dropped word in first paragraph)

What's REALLY Going On In Yemen

Confused about the war in Yemen?

Here's what's really going on ...

Yemen - previously called "Aden" - has one of the oldest civilizations in the Middle East. But it has been racked with violence for a long time.

In the 1960s, a pro-Arab nationalist faction clashed with the British - who wanted Yemen to become a Western-controlled natural resource hub - and devolved into brutal fighting, with both sides using terrorism.

Yemen's first president - Saleh - was in power from 1990 to 2012. The U.S supported Saleh, but Saleh was a double-dealing scoundrel.

The Arab Spring protests ousted Saleh, and America helped broker immunity for prosecution in return for his leaving office.

Saleh was corrupt and tyrannical. As the Telegraph reports:

For years, the Americans saw President Ali Abdullah Saleh as a key ally in the fight against al-Qaeda. He allowed his air bases to be used by US drones to strike at the movement's operatives, and gladly received Western aid in development cash and arms supplies.

Yet according to claims in a United Nations report last month, one of the first thi ...

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