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28Dec2015 Pre-Market Commentary: US Futures Down Fractionally, Chinese Markets Closed Sharply Lower, WTI Remains In The Low 37's

Written by Gary

U.S. stock future indexes are down fractionally in what could be the start of a slow week following the Christmas Holidays. It's also likely to be a quiet next few days for the energy sector in a market heavily plagued by oversupply.

Chinese stocks ended today's session down 2.6%, their biggest loss in a month, as industrial profits declined and a looming revamp of the nation's initial public offering system gave investors little reason for optimism. US markets are expected to open fractionally higher and then slip downwards in a quiet trading session.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are lower today as French and German shares fall. The French CAC 40 is off 0.87% while the German DAX is down 0.63%. The FTSE 100 in London is not trading.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

U.S. holiday retail sales grow a 'solid' 7.9 percent: MasterCard

(Reuters) - Strong online sales and demand for furniture and women's apparel helped U.S. retail sales grow by a "solid" 7.9 percent this holiday season, according to MasterCard Advisors SpendingPulse.

Oil falls to $37, near 11-year low, as excess supply weighs

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil fell close to $37 a barrel on Monday, trading within sight of an 11-year low, pressured by excess supply that has more than halved prices since the downturn began in mid-2014.

Stock futures slip ahead of last trading week of year

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were lower in thin volumes on Monday, ahead of the final trading week of the year.

China central bank says to keep reasonable credit growth, yuan stable

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's central bank said on Monday that it would "flexibly" use various policy tools to maintain appropriate liquidity and reasonable growth in credit and social financing.

Volkswagen's Audi tempers spending plans for 2016

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen's flagship Audi division reined in its spending plans for 2016 and delayed the construction of a new wind tunnel on Monday, after the German carmaking group was hit by a scandal over rigged emissions tests.

All about China and oil again as shares slip

LONDON (Reuters) - Shares in Europe and Asia fell on Monday in trade thinned by holidays in a number of financial centres, hit by slumping oil prices and concerns over Chinese growth and finances - two of the year's major factors.

Russia says Saudi Arabia destabilized oil market: TASS

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has destabilized the global oil market by increasing production, TASS news agency quoted Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak as saying on Monday.

Japan firms cold on Abe's calls for wage hikes in 2016: survey

TOKYO (Reuters) - Major Japanese firms plan to use their excess cash next year on capital investments and M&As rather than higher salaries, according to a Reuters poll, showing few businesses plan to heed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's call for wage hikes.

End of easy money for mini-refiners splitting U.S. shale?

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Energy companies and oil trading firms that teamed up to build several mini-refineries that convert a swelling surplus of ultra-light U.S. crude into fuels for export seemed like a pretty safe investment bet for a while.

WTI Plunges Back Under $37 (Below Brent); Drags Stocks Into Red For 2015

While everything was awesome last week (apart from the last 10 minutes), it appears lower oil prices this week (WTI just crossed back below Brent's price and under $37 once again) is not "unequivocally good" for US equity markets. Following the bloodbath in China's "B" Shares overnight, traders are hoping this pain will stop once the machines "get back to work" at 930ET...

If this holds, S&P 500 will open back in the red for 2015.

As Bloomberg reports,

Oil in New York falls from 3-wk high as Iran repeats goal of boosting supplies after lifting of sanctions.

Iran's priority is to boost oil shipments to pre-sanction levels once restrictions are lifted, IRNA reports, citing Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh

Country plans to add 500k b/d of exports 1 wk after sanctions lifted, says Rokneddin Javadi, deputy oil minister and head of NIOC, accord. to Shana news agency

"If Iran is able to immediately add 500k b/d of exports, then that will become a huge factor which will push down oil prices in the first half of next year," says Hong Sung Ki, senior commodities analyst at Samsung Futures. "That decision together with lower demand for heating oil and steady U.S. supplies are poised to be bearish factors for the mkt"

Which has knock-on effects on commodity currencies with the Ruble near record lows against the USD and NOK/SEK at 23-year low ...

Frontrunning: December 28

The Year Nothing Worked: Stocks, Bonds, Cash Go Nowhere (BBG)

Oil falls toward $37, near 11-year low, as excess supply weighs (Reuters)

End of easy money for mini-refiners splitting U.S. shale? (Reuters)

Shale's Running Out of Survival Tricks as OPEC Ramps Up Pressure (Reuters)

'Safe' Puerto Rican Debt Stirs Worries (WSJ)

These Will Be Wall Street's Most In-Demand Jobs Next Year (BBG)

'Star Wars' Becomes Fastest to Pass $1 Billion at Box Office (WSJ)

The Hustlers at Scores (NYMag)

China's Gold Imports Fall for Second Month Before Rate Increase (BBG)

China Telecom Head Detained by Country's Antigraft Regulator (WSJ)

Goldman, JPMorgan Seen as Fintech Winners While AmEx Suffers (BBG)

At Theranos, Many Strategies and Snags (

Global Stocks, U.S. Futures Slide As Oil Resumes Drop, China Stocks Tumble Most In One Month

The last trading week of 2015 begins on a historic precipice for stocks: as reported over the weekend, the U.S. stock market has not been lower for any year ending in a œ5? since 1875.


That streak however is now in jeopardy, because following Thursday's shortened holiday session which abruptly ended with a mini selloff in the last minutes of trading, the overnight session has seen continued weakness across global assets in everything from Chinese stocks which tumbled the most since November 27 (SHCOMP wipes out down 2.6% as China B Shares plunge 7.9% while USD/CNY climbs 0.16% to 6.4868 after earlier touching 6.4880, matching four year highs) to commodities - after its tremendous surge over the past week, WTI is back down 2.5% and sliding on Gartman's ringing endorsement - including copper and precious metals, to European stocks (Stoxx 600 -0.4%), to US equity futures down 0.3% on what appears to be an overdue dose of Santa Rally buyers' remorse.

Here is where we stand currently:

S&P 500 futures down 0.4% to 2044

Stoxx 600 down 0.4% to 365

FTSE 100 closed

DAX down 0.2% to 10711

German 10Yr yield down 3bps to 0.61%

Italian 10Yr yield down 5bps to 1.63%

MSCI Asia Pacific down less than 0.1% to 131

Nikkei 225 up 0.6% to 18873

Hang Seng down 1% to 21920

Shanghai Composite down 2.6% to 3534

S&P/ASX 200 closed

US 10-yr yield up less than 1bp to 2.24%

Dollar Index up 0.05% to 97.9

WTI Crude futures down 2.5% to $37.11

Brent Futures down 2% to $37.13

Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,072

Silver spot down 2.2% to $14.06 ...

Bankers, Bulls and Activists: Finance Folks to Watch in '16

Business isn't easy, whether it's contending with upstart competitors, uncooperative markets or corporate foes. Here's a look at some of the key figures in finance at critical junctures as the new year unfolds.

Global Stocks Fall

Global stocks fell on Monday along with oil prices, as many markets reopened after the Christmas holiday.

U.S. Stocks Are Ending 2015 With a Whimper

Many of the forces that have weighed on U.S. shares "including low commodity prices, sluggish growth and tepid corporate profits "could persist into next year.

Owner Occupancy Fraud And Mortgage Performance

from the Philadelphia Fed

-- this post authored by Ronel Elul and Sebastian Tilson

We use a matched credit bureau and mortgage data set to identify occupancy fraud in residential mortgage originations, that is, borrowers who misrepresented their occupancy status as owner occupants rather than residential real estate investors. In contrast to previous studies, our data set allows us to show that such fraud was broad based, appearing in the government-sponsored enterprise market and in loans held on bank portfolios as well.

OPEC Tips Crude Oil Markets Over The Cliff

from the Dallas Fed

West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil prices have fallen around 23 percent so far in the fourth quarter. Expectations have shifted toward a weaker price outlook because sanctions against Iran are likely to be lifted in early 2016, the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) has scrapped any pretense of a production ceiling, and U.S. production declines have slowed.

Robert Powell's Retirement Portfolio: 5 biggest financial mistakes Gen X and Gen Y make

Financial advisers talk about the biggest retirement-planning mistakes Gen X and Gen Y are making and what they can do about it.

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