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24Dec2015 Pre-Market Commentary: Futures Mixed On This Christmas Eve Session

Written by Gary

US stock future indexes mixed before the opening bell, jobless claims fall 5,000. WTI oil remains in the high 37's and today's session is going to be like watching paint dry.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets finished mixed as of the most recent closing prices. The DAX gained 2.28% and the FTSE 100 rose 0.22%. The CAC 40 lost 0.24%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Oil above $37 as U.S. supply tightens, still near 11-year low

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil edged further above $37 a barrel on Thursday but remained within sight of an 11-year low reached this week, as signs of a tighter U.S. market raised hopes a supply glut will ease.

Stock futures little changed on Christmas eve

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks index futures were little changed on Thursday, ahead of a shortened trading session on Christmas eve.

Pep Boys says Icahn could further sweeten offer

(Reuters) - Pep Boys - Manny Moe & Jack said investor Carl Icahn was willing to pay as much as $1 billion for the U.S. auto parts retailer to keep rival bidder Japanese tire maker Bridgestone Corp at bay.

Recovering oil prices lift European shares

LONDON (Reuters) - A fourth consecutive day of gains in oil prices helped lift European shares on Thursday, while an almost 1 percent fall against the euro this week took the shine off a strong 2015 for the dollar.

Mitsubishi Aircraft delays jet delivery by around one year

TOKYO (Reuters) - Mitsubishi Aircraft Corp, a unit of Mitsubishi Heavy Industries Ltd , said on Thursday it would delay the first delivery of its regional jet by around one year from the original plan.

Unconverted: Contrarian economist unswayed by Fed's liftoff

NEW YORK (Reuters) - In the spring of 2014, Mizuho Securities USA's chief economist Steven Ricchiuto planted his flag for the projected date of the Federal Reserve's first post-crisis rate hike in mid-2016, further into the future than any of his peers.

U.S. says eighth U.S. death linked to Takata airbag rupture

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said Wednesday that an eighth U.S. death is linked to a faulty Takata airbag inflator, marking the first reported death since April and the ninth worldwide.

Wall St. extends pre-holiday rally as battered oil climbs

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street rallied in pre-holiday trading on Wednesday, helped by surging energy shares as an unexpected drop in crude oil inventories lifted beaten-down oil prices.

Hidden in plain sight: Big risks at failed Third Avenue fund were clear to some

BOSTON (Reuters) - In the months before the blowup of Third Avenue's junk bond fund in early December, investors and financial advisors called the New York-based investment company to voice their concerns about the growing percentage of hard-to-trade, illiquid assets in the fund's portfolio.

As Good As It Gets? Initial Jobless Claims At Lowest In 43 Years For Christmas Week

It's Chrismas time. Only the scroogiest of scrooges would be laying people off this time of year and in fact this week's 267k print in initial jobless claims is back near cycle lows. The last time there were initial jobless claim in a holiday week was 1972, which raises the question - so what happens next?

Will it be different this time?

Well, no - Yellen is already raising rates.

US Had "Secret" Discussions With Assad "Regime", Tried To Start Military Coup

Earlier this week, we recounted Seymour Hersh's latest investigative report in which we learn that apparently, the Joint Chiefs of Staff worked to undermine the efforts of the White House and the CIA in Syria.

According to Hersh, the Joint Chiefs passed intelligence to Bashar al-Assad through a network of intermediaries starting in 2013 in an effort to assist the Syrian leader in the fight against extremists backed by Washington's regional allies in Riyadh, Ankara, and Doha. Hersh even goes so far as to contend that the CIA was tricked into providing inferior weapons to jihadists after the Joints Chiefs suggested that shipping arms from Turkey would be cheaper than going through Libya.

If Hersh's story is even partially accurate, it suggests that not everyone in Washington was (or is) on board with a œstrategy that involves isolating the Assad regime and implicitly (or, in a worst case scenario, œexplicitly ) supporting terrorists.

Hersh's report came on the heels of a story from Bild which claims that German intelligence has begun networking with Assad in an effort to open lines of communication ahead of the deployment of Tornado surveillance aircraft.

Taken together, all of this means the simple narrative which suggests the West is staunchly opposed to working with the Assad government in any capacity is patently false. In fact, what Hersh's story suggests is that there are many officials in the US who think the idea of arming terrorists in an effort to bring about regime change in the Mid-East is ludicrous. They're apparently so convinced of this that they're willing to resort to outright treason to subve ...

"Unstoppable" California Gas Leak Now Being Called Worst Catastrophe Since BP Spill

Since initially reporting on California's Alison Canyon gas leak, more details have emerged on the scale (and potential for no solution) of the problem as the infamous Erin Brockovich writes, "the enormity of the Aliso Canyon gas leak cannot be overstated. Gas is escaping through a ruptured pipe more than 8,000 feet underground, and it shows no signs of stopping," as according to the California Air Resources Board, methane - a greenhouse gas 72 times more impactful in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide - has been escaping from the Aliso Canyon site with force equivalent "to a volcanic eruption" for about two months now.

New infrared footage exposes the massive leak..

Infographic of leak (and potential solution)

As's Claire Bernish details, methane gas continues spewing, unchecked, into the air over southern California from a fractured well to an underground storage site — at such an alarming rate that low-flying planes have necessarily been diverted by the FAA, lest internal combustion engines meet highly volatile gas and, well, blow the entire area to hell.

< ...

Full Early Market Closure Timetable

For those stuck watching algos frontrun today's market paint drying, here is the full calendar of today's early market closures.

Floor Trade:

  1. CME/CBOT " Equities - Early Close (1215CST), Interest Rates, FX, and Commodities - Early Close (1200CST)

    NYMEX " Early close (1230CST)

    COMEX " Early close (1130CST)

    NYSE " Early Close (1300EST)

Electronic Trade:

  1. CME Globex " Equities, Interest Rates, FX (Early close 1815GMT/1215CST)

    NYMEX " Early close (1845GMT/1245CST)

    NYSE LIFFE " Early close (1215GMT/0600CST)

    Eurex - Closed for trading in all derivatives.

    EURONEXT " Early close (1305GMT/0605CST)

Cash Index:

  1. FTSE " Close 1315GMT/0715CST

    IBEX 35 " Close 1300GMT/0700CST

    Amsterdam Exchange, CAC40, PSI 20, BEL 20 - 1300GMT/0700CST

h/t RanSquawk

How the Third Avenue Fund Melted Down

In his final hours at Third Avenue Management, the fund company that became the symbol of junk-bond turmoil, CEO David Barse made a last-ditch effort to sell the firm's assets. The move was rejected, and he was escorted out of the building.

Big Winners as Fed Raises Rates: Foreign Banks

Units of foreign banks collect a large share of interest that the Federal Reserve pays on reserves "payouts that are set to double under the central bank's recent rate increase.

Global Stocks Take Breather After Oil-Fueled Rally

Global shares were little changed as investors paused following a sharp rally in energy stocks fueled by a bounce in oil prices on Wednesday.

December 2015 Chemical Activity Barometer Improves

from the American Chemistry Council

The Chemical Activity Barometer (CAB) strengthened slightly in December, rising 0.2 percent following a similar gain in November.

Market Extra: 3 reasons U.S. oil is trading at premium to global benchmark

West Texas Intermediate futures settled at a premium to Brent crude, the global benchmark, for the first time in more than five years. Here's what's behind the move.

The Tell: When do markets close for Christmas?

U.S. markets will close early on Christmas Eve, and some European markets will close.

Economic Report: Jobless claims fall again, near lowest level in decades

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in the week before Christmas fell slightly to keep initial claims near the lowest level in decades. Initial claims dropped by 5,000 to a seasonally adjusted 267,000.

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