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10Dec2015 Pre-Market Commentary: US Futures Mostly Flat, Unemployment Up, WTI Oil Slipping, US Dollar Remains Steady

Written by Gary

Euroasian markets are down and the U.S. stock future indexes are pointing for a flat to mixed opening. First-time unemployment benefits rose last week and the Labor Department reports import prices declined less than expected and export prices fell 0.6%, more than the 0.3% forecast.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed. The CAC 40 is higher by 0.09%, while the FTSE 100 is leading the DAX lower. They are down 0.43% and 0.03% respectively.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

U.S. jobless claims rise to five-month high, trend still favorable

WASHINGTON, Dec 10 (Reuters) - - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits rose to a five-month high last week, but likely does not signal a deterioration in the labor market as the underlying trend remained consistent with tightening conditions.

Chipotle CEO apologizes over illnesses, pledges to be 'safest place to eat'

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Chipotle founder and co-Chief Executive Officer Steve Ells on Thursday apologized to patrons who fell ill after eating at the company's restaurants, pledging that sweeping new food safety practices will prevent such outbreaks in the future.

VW says only small group to blame for emissions scandal

WOLFSBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Volkswagen said on Thursday that only a small group of employees were responsible for cheating U.S. diesel emissions tests and there was no indication that board members were involved in the biggest business crisis in the firm's history.

Wal-Mart enters mobile payment with launch of Walmart Pay

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it would launch 'Walmart Pay,' to become the first U.S. retailer to offer its own payment feature to expand consumer payment options and increase the speed of checkouts.

Global stocks slip towards two-month lows, dollar steadies

LONDON (Reuters) - A fourth straight day of falls nudged stocks towards two-month lows on Thursday, as ricocheting commodity prices, a limp dollar and emerging market uncertainty added to a jittery global mood.

As Fed tightening looms, big share repurchasers could be pressured

NEW YORK (Reuters) - For the last several years, big U.S. companies have lived by an unswerving rule: buy back shares to increase returns to shareholders.

Japanese and German automakers dominate safest car list in U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. safety group said Japanese and German automakers dominated the list of the safest vehicles on American roads, in part by adding advanced technology to prevent frontal collisions.

Winter holiday travel to be busier this year: U.S. airlines group

(Reuters) - Winter holiday travel on U.S. airlines will be even busier this year than last, an airlines association said Thursday.

OPEC Production Hits Three-Year High As Oil Price Continues Slump

The latest confirmation that the oil cartel formerly known as OPEC is effectively non-existent, came a little over an hour ago when in its latest November monthly report, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries reported that total monthly crude output for the member nations rose to 31.695 million barrels per day, the highest amount produced in three and a half years.

The production boost was driven not so much by the wildcard Iran (whose own supply will hit the global market in the near future) but by Iraq, as the second biggest oil producer in OPEC Pumped 4.3 million bpd, an increase of 247,500 barrels from the previous month, offsetting a modest 25,200 barrel decline from Saudi Arabia.

Bloomberg reports that Iraq has pushed output to record levels this year as international companies develop fields in the south, while the semi-autonomous Kurdish region increases independent sales in the north, according to the International Energy Agency. Production had dipped in October as storms delayed southern loadings and as flows through the northern pipeline were disrupted, according to Iraq's Oil Ministry.

This was the highest monthly production since April 2012, and shows that even OPEC's recently announced production ceiling of 31.5 million barrels was already breached even before it was introduced.

Some other highlights from the report (

Frontrunning: December 10

Win or Lose, Trump Has Already Left His Mark on Republican Primary (BBG)

S&P 500 Futures Rise With Miners; Oil Erases Gains, Euro Drops (BBG)

U.S. top court divided over affirmative action in college admissions (Reuters)

San Bernardino Shooter Said to Have Planned an Attack in 2012 (WSJ)

Gun buyer and gunman linked through marriage, previous plot (AP)

The neighbor at the center of a federal terror investigation (Reuters)

US keeps wraps on new commando force for Iraq (AP)

Billions of Barrels of Oil Vanish in a Puff of Accounting Smoke (BBG)

Zuma Takes S. Africa Economy to Brink as Credit Risks Rise (BBG)

North Korean leader Kim's H-bomb claim draws scepticism (

Higher Interest Rates and Debt Reduction in 2016? Maybe...

Below is our latest macro note which looks at the conflicted policies being followed by the major central banks. Saying that Chair Yellen & Co are fighting the last war would be polite. But a key point we need to talk about more in our next macro missive is this: How can a central banker reasonably set a 2% inflation target when the policies being followed are causing a debt-deflation? The whole concept of a 2% inflation target just illustrates that central bankers have no idea how their actions are affecting the financial markets. The boom and subsequent collapse of commodity markets was driven by a debt fueled bubble caused by the Fed and our friends in the Chinese Communist Party. How is this helpful?

A safe & happy holiday to all. We'll be celebrating with the people of Paris -- Chris

Review & Outlook: Higher Interest Rates and Debt Reduction in 2016?
Kroll Bond Rating Agency
December 9, 2015

When the European Central Bank (ECB) œonly pushed interest rates down to negative 0.3%, financial markets reacted negatively. Kroll Bond Rating Agency (KBRA) believes that the decision by the ECB not to wade even further into the swamp of negative interest rates was in fact good news for investors and markets. KBRA believes that investors and elected officials alike need to ask whether a continuation of the current economic policy mix is actually supporting the common objectives of job growth and rising incomes.

As 2015 comes to an end, investors are faced with greater uncertainty than at any time since the 2008 financial crisis, especially when it comes to the impact of monetary policy on global markets and economies. The Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC) has maintained extremely low interest rates for more than a decade. The ECB, after first experimenting with punitive higher interest rates, ha ...

Banks Soften Expectations of Euro-Dollar Parity

Investment banks are abandoning predictions that the euro is on a speedy decline to parity with the dollar, softening their views after the ECB failed to deliver the sort of stimulus that was expected to push the currency lower.

OPEC Sees Fall in Non-OPEC Oil Supplies

OPEC trimmed its estimates for supplies from outside the group in 2016 on Thursday as it expects the plunge in prices to takes its toll on the U.S. oil industry and other rival producers in the coming months.

Need to Know: Jeremy Grantham says America's economy stinks, and soon its stock market will too

Jeremy Grantham and his friends at GMO are sounding really down on the U.S. They not only reiterate their unenthusiastic views on U.S. stocks, but also diss America for things like our education system and wage growth.

U.S. import prices fall 0.4%

Prices of imported goods fell again in November, led by energy

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