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21Apr2016 Pre-Market Commentary: Futures Flat, Crude Steady, Investors Expecting A Quiet Trading Session

Written by Gary

US stock future indexes are flat to fractionally higher and we may see a quiet day of consolidation. WTI crude trading sideways in a tight zone ~44.17. Markets are expected to open flat and make the morning dip with higher afternoon prices.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are lower today with shares in London off the most. The FTSE 100 is down 0.58% while France's CAC 40 is off 0.51% and Germany's DAX is lower by 0.16%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Jobless claims drop to 42-1/2 year low as labor market firms

WASHINGTON, April 21 (Reuters) - - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits unexpectedly fell last week, hitting its lowest level since 1973, suggesting the labor market continued to gain momentum despite weak economic growth.

GM earnings beat estimates on strength in North America

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Thursday reported higher-than-expected quarterly earnings, citing strong results in North America and an improved performance in Europe.

Blackstone earnings miss forecast in choppy markets

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP , the world's largest alternative asset manager, reported lower-than-expected economic net income of 31 cents per share for the first quarter as choppy financial markets dragged on investment returns.

Verizon revenue falls short, says strike to hit profit

(Reuters) - Verizon Communication Inc reported a smaller-than-expected rise in quarterly revenue as it discounted heavily to win customers and said it expected the ongoing strike by its wireline workers to hit earnings in the current quarter.

Draghi keeps rates at rock bottom in face of German backlash

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - ECB President Mario Draghi kept borrowing costs at rock bottom levels on Thursday, sticking to his course of ultra-loose monetary policy in spite of a barrage of German criticism of his recipe for tackling the euro zone's economic malaise.

Volkswagen shares surge as U.S. Dieselgate deal looms

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen shares jumped more than 6 percent early on Thursday on expectations that the carmaker was close to reaching a deal to buy back 500,000 diesel cars in the United States in a step toward resolving an emissions rigging scandal.

Oil higher as IEA expects biggest non-OPEC output fall in 25 years

LONDON (Reuters) - Crude prices firmed on Thursday after the International Energy Agency (IEA) said non-OPEC production would fall this year by the most in a generation and help rebalance a market dogged by oversupply.

Dish, Viacom deadline passes with no programming deal announced

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A midnight deadline has passed without the announcement of a programming deal between Viacom Inc and Dish Network Corp .

Mitsubishi Motors shares dive, Japan officials raid facility

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese officials raided a facility belonging to Mitsubishi Motors Corp on Thursday after the carmaker admitted to overstating the fuel efficiency of 625,000 cars, a revelation that has sent its shares into a tailspin.

Philly Fed Dead-Cat-Bounce Dies, Plunges Back Into Contraction

Remember March and all those hopefull regional fed survey bounces? They are over! Philly Fed just printed -1.6, back into contraction for the 8th month of last 9, missing expectations of a +9.0 print. Every subcomponent weakened (aside from prices paid and received) but what saved the headline from further collapse was an unexpected surge in optimism for six-months ahead (right after the election?).

Spot the odd data point out...

The full breakdown shows everything weaker (except for prices paid)

The diffusion index for current activity decreased from 12.4 in March to -1.6 this month.

The index had turned positive last month following six consecutive negative readings. The current new orders and shipments indexes also fell this month. The percentage of firms (23 percent) reporting a rise in new orders was exactly offset by the percentage reporting a decline. The current new orders index decreased from 15.7 to zero this month, while the current shipments index fell precipitously, from 22.1 to -10.8. The unfilled orders and delivery time indexes suggested weakness, as both indexes were in negative territory this month. Firms continued to report overall declines in inventories.

The survey&rsqu ...

Initial Jobless Claims Crashes To Lowest Since 1973

Dear Janet - it doesn't get any better than this...

At 247k, initial jobless claims are the lowest since November 1973 - how does that compute given the "fear and anger" among America's electorate?

We assume Intel's layoffs will be seasonally-adjusted out of this time series?

Gold & Silver Are Soaring (again)

Gold has topped $1270 this morning as faith in Draghi falters, pushing back to one-month highs but once again it is silver that is grabbing the headlines, soaring above $17.50 and pushing to 11-month highs (now up 9 of the last 11 days). The buying started in China once again as hording continues but other catalysts include solar demand, central bank fragility, and gold-silver technicals.

Gold tops $1270 - one month highs...

But Silver is soaring...

Pushing silver to 11-month highs...

Mario Draghi Explains Why QE 'Will' Work This Time - ECB Press Conference Live Feed

As expected today's ECB statements were a snoozer, and likely Mario Draghi's official statement will be too - "more of the same." However, the real fun and games will come as he combats questions on 1) the lack of effectiveness of QE so far (just wait, any day now it will work), and 2) helicopter money ("whatever it takes"). He better offer some hope for moar as EUR is surging into the meeting...

We're gonna need a bigger jawbone...

Live Feed...

Negative Rates and Patches of Trouble for Japanese Insurers

Insurers' menacing realities began bubbling below the surface before negative rates came to be.

Zeroing In on the Allure of a $1 Billion Sales Target

When a big round sales number beckons, companies go overboard to meet it. What happens next is a concern for investors.

Oil Shocker: Bulging Inventory Beats Scary Headlines

Oil price shocks need to be huge to have similar price impact to those of yesteryear given a big rise in global crude inventory.

March 2016 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Returns To Contraction

Written by Steven Hansen

The Philly Fed Business Outlook Survey returned to contraction. Key elements declined. The only other manufacturing survey released so far for this month is in expansion.

16 April 2016 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Improves. The Longest Streak Of Claims Under 300,000 Since 1973.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market expectations (from Bloomberg) were 261,000 to 280,000 (consensus 265,000), and the Department of Labor reported 247,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 265,000 (reported last week as 265,000) to 260,500. The rolling averages generally have been equal to or under 300,000 since August 2014.

Australia's Great Barrier Reef threatened by coral bleaching

One of the greatest natural wonders of the world is at risk from rising water temperatures.

Currencies: Euro spikes, holding on to gains as ECB news conference begins

The euro spiked against the dollar Thursday after the European Central Bank opted to leave interest rates unchanged, holding on to those gains as President Mario Draghi started his news conference.

Economic Report: Philly Fed factory index plunges to -1.6 in April

The manufacturing index from the regional bank is back in negative territory in April.

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