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29Apr2015 Pre-Market Commentary: U.S. GDP Falls, U.S. Futures Falls, U.S. Dollar Falls Markets Expected To Open Lower

Written by Gary

U.S. Futures were down this morning and fell further after the 'not-so-good' GDP report came in lower than estimate. The U.S. Dollar also fell and gold rose.

The markets are expected to open lower.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Goodyear Tire swings to profit

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. swung to a first-quarter profit that beat analyst expectations, as strength in North America, China and Latin America offset weak European results caused by currency fluctuations.

The largest U.S. tire maker earned $224 million, or 82 cents a share, compared with a loss of $58 million, or 23 cents a share, a year earlier. Excluding certain items, Goodyear reported a profit of 54 cents a share, exceeding analyst estimates by a dime.

Revenue fell to $4.02 billion for the three-month period from $4.47 billion a year earlier. Currency fluctuations, especially in Europe and Brazil, reduced revenue by $393 million, the company said. reported this morning financial's. The first column is what was reported this morning. The second is what was expected and the third column is the last report.

U.S. Economy Grew at 0.2% Rate in First Quarter

Confirming months of data that suggested a slowdown, the government said Wednesday that the American economy barely grew in the first quarter of 2015.

MasterCard profit rises 17 percent

(Reuters) - MasterCard Inc , the world's No. 2 debit and credit card company, reported a 17 percent rise in quarterly profit as more people used its cards worldwide.

Turner, HBO drive Time Warner revenue beat

(Reuters) - Time Warner Inc reported a better-than-expected 4.8 percent rise in first-quarter revenue, boosted by its Turner division and Home Box Office network.

German Bond Prices Slip

German government bonds are behaving unusually: They're falling.

"Dear Fed, It's Time To Lean, Or Leave"

From Bloomberg's Richard Breslow whose recent pieces have been spot on.

Dear Fed, It's Time to Lean, or Leave

At long last we've reached April's FOMC day.

Interesting that while almost everyone agrees on what the statement will/should say, there is no clarity on what the members, especially the core members, are really thinking.

Communication policy -- the professed desire for "transparency" - and the crutch of "data dependency" crutch have turned market participants into great Fed staffer clones but not the Board Governors.

I for one think this is a golden opportunity for policy makers to lean the right way.

Not that I am unsympathetic to concerns about weaker than forecast 1Q economic numbers, or the the tenuous global situation. But given the Fed has QE everywhere (just today the Riksbank extended their QE), it really must consider that today represents a chance to move toward normalcy without anyone thinking they are going to get (overly or even mildly) aggressive.

Just today BlackRock was quoted as predicting an emerging market "taper tantrum" whenever the Fed begins to tighten. They are probably right but only as a knee-kerk reaction. Any "severe tension" or "major shock", to quote BLK's Amer Bisat, is likely to be followed by tactical and then strategic investors realizing what a great opportunity to get in at better levels just presented itself.

This is not 1994 because Yellen and Fischer remember that episode well. The Fed is not about to enter a sustained campaign of tightening. And everyone knows it. The rest of the world has had plenty of notice to get their ducks in a row.

Reserves held by emerging countries are at vastly different levels than they were 18 years ago. The expected ...

Russian Assets Regain Appeal After Sharp Fall

For investors seeking higher-yielding investments, Russia has become a prime destination. The ruble, stocks and sovereign bonds are all up this year after falling in 2014.

Frontrunning: April 29

Police enforce curfew in Baltimore, disperse protesters (Reuters)

Saudi king resets succession to cope with turbulent times (Reuters)

Euro-Area Bank Lending Increases for First Time Since 2012 (BBG)

Riksbank Increases Bond Purchases as Key Rate Left Unchanged (BBG)

Greek Banks Get More Funds as ECB Weighs Collateral Discount (BBG)

Greek bank deposits drop 1.36 pct in March for sixth month in a row (Reuters)

Sarao Remains in Jail After Failing to Pay Bail at Hearing (BBG)

Barclays Boosts Expected Bill for Foreign-Exchange Fines to More Than $3 Billion (WSJ)

Thailand Unexpectedly Cuts Rate After Growth Forecast Cut (

Health insurer Anthem's profit beats as Medicaid enrollments rise

(Reuters) - Anthem Inc , the second-largest U.S. health insurer, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by rise in memberships for government plans, particularly Medicaid.

Currency Trader Arrested, Accused Of Running "Global" Ponzi Scheme

Thanks to a dangerous combination of willful ignorance and sheer incompetence, regulators are (and will continue to be) years behind when it comes to cracking down on an HFT industry that has corrupted the "market" beyond all recognition and we all know that when it comes to things like leveraging a systemically important financial institution 40-1 or colluding to rig the world's benchmark rates on which trillions in debt is based, no one ever goes to jail. And of course no central planners in Japan or the US will ever be brought up on charges of running the largest ponzi schemes the world has ever seen.

Having said all of that â€" and as the CFTC proved with flash crashing "mastermind" Navinder Sarao â€" every so often individuals have to take one for the global ponzi perpetuating white collar crime team just to prove the authorities are not entirely asleep at the wheel and today's example is apparently a 57-year old former currency trader from London who, according to police, was running a £30 million ponzi scheme. Here's more via CityWire:

The City of London Police has arrested a currency trader who was linked in a global Ponzi scheme worth in excess of £30 million.

A 59 year old was arrested in East Yorkshire by detectives on suspicion of fraud by false representation and money laundering.

The investment scheme attracted 375 complaints across the world from investors. One consortium of investors put £4 million into the scheme.

The investigation into the fraud began in December 2014. The National Fraud Intelligence Bureau linked 70 Action Fraud ...

U.S. Seeks Criminal Charges Against Lumber Liquidators

Lumber Liquidators said in a regulatory filing that the Justice Department was seeking criminal charges against the company in an investigation over imported products.

Barclays Hit by Extra Foreign-Exchange Provision

Barclays boosted its expected bill for foreign-exchange fines to more than $3 billion.

U.S. economy poised to thaw after winter chill

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. economic growth likely braked sharply in the first quarter as harsh weather dampened consumer spending and energy companies struggling with low prices cut spending, but there are signs activity is picking up.

Universities Look to Yale for Investment Managers

When hiring an investment chief, wealthy universities prefer to hire someone with experience working with Yale's successful money manager, David Swensen.

Volkswagen's Net Profit Rises 19% Amid Recovery in Western Europe's Car Market

Earnings at the second-largest automaker in the world after Toyota remained dependent on the high-end Audi and Porsche brands.

Barclays takes extra $1.2 billion hit for potential forex settlements

LONDON (Reuters) - Barclays set aside another 800 million pounds ($1.2 billion) on Wednesday to cover potential settlements for alleged foreign exchange manipulation, hitting profits and reflecting its struggle to put past problems behind it.

UK 'flash crash' trader fails to raise bail, stays behind bars

LONDON (Reuters) - The British trader fighting extradition to the United States on charges that he illegally contributed to the 2010 Wall Street "flash crash", appeared in court on Wednesday and was ordered to be kept in custody after failing to meet his bail conditions.

Alibaba's Ma says freezing hiring after growing 'too quickly': report

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd is freezing hiring for the rest of the year because it has grown "too quickly", Executive Chairman Jack Ma told staff.

Profit beat wins VW respite after boardroom clash

BERLIN (Reuters) - Cost cutting and an improving European car market helped Volkswagen beat first-quarter profit forecasts, easing the pressure on management following the shock ouster of long-standing chairman Ferdinand Piech.

Greek Finance Minister Attacked By Anarchists, Shielded By Wife

When it comes to the Eurogroup's sentiment for the still relatively new Greek FinMin, it is no secret how Europe's financiers feel toward the self-described Marxist academic: earlier today European commissioner Pierre Moscovici made it quite clear when he said that the Varoufakis "job change" is a "good signal" for Greece adding that the Greek negotiating team is now more coherent. And sadly for Varoufakis, who is becoming increasingly estranged from European negotiations, there is nobody to "have his back" as even Tsipras appears resigned that Yanis' days are numbered.

However, when it comes to far more personal and direct attacks, Varoufakis can at least rely on his wife. As AP reports, last night while dining with his wife in the bohemian Exarchia district of Athens, "a neighborhood popular with extreme leftists and anarchists" a group of "young anarchists" barged into the restaurant telling them to leave "their area" at which point they "threw glass objects at Greek Finance Minister Yanis Varoufakis and his wife" according to a finance ministry statement.

According to Reuters, Varoufakis said his wife hugged him to shield him from the attack, the finance ministry said. They tried "for a few seconds to reach me without hitting her," he said in the ministry statement.

New York Pension Fund to Invest Billions in Africa

New York State Common Retirement Fund plans to invest up to 3% of its assets in Africa in the next five years, or roughly $5 billion.

Barclays Profit, Weighed Down by Legal Costs, Fell 52% in First Quarter

The British bank said it took additional legal provisions of about $1.22 billion in the period for potential fines and litigation costs related to a currency market investigation.

European shares follow Asia lower, dollar weak before Fed

LONDON (Reuters) - Stocks fell in Europe on Wednesday, following Asian stocks lower, while the dollar held near two-month lows before a Federal Reserve policy statement expected to show the U.S. central bank in no hurry to raise interest rates.

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