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11Aug2016 Pre-Market Commentary: US Futures Have Edged Fractionally Higher, Crude Testing Support, US Dollar Moderately Higher, Another Day At The Brown Bag Factory

Written by Gary

Wall Street future indexes pointed to a fractionally higher open today (SPY +0.2%) as investors kept an eye on a fresh batch of corporate earnings and crude prices (WTI 41.43). The IEA slashed its forecast for global oil demand growth next year amid a dimmer economic outlook. Short-term outlook is neutral to bearish.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed today. The CAC 40 is up 0.62% while the DAX gains 0.27%. The FTSE 100 is off 0.35%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Futures rise ahead of weekly jobs data

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were higher on Thursday as oil prices steadied and investors awaited the weekly jobless claims data for hints of a strengthening labor market.

Kohl's quarterly profit beats estimates; shares rise

(Reuters) - Kohl's Corp reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit, helped by better inventory management and warm weather that boosted sales of summer clothes and accessories.

Oil steadies as IEA sees balanced market ahead

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices steadied on Thursday after the International Energy Agency forecast crude markets would rebalance in the next few months following several years of heavy overproduction.

Valeant under criminal investigation over Philidor ties: WSJ

NEW YORK/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - U.S. prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc over whether it hid from insurers its relationship with a specialty pharmacy that helped boost its drug sales, the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday.

Alibaba's revenue beats estimates; mobile revenue soars

(Reuters) - Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group Holding Ltd reported a better-than-expected 59 percent jump in quarterly revenue on Thursday, defying a slowdown in the Chinese economy.

IBM's Watson won Jeopardy, but can it win business from banks?

NEW YORK (Reuters) - International Business Machines Corp is in an unusual fix in telling big U.S. banks they can use its Watson software of Jeopardy-winning fame as a cost-saving solution: bankers say they like it, but cannot afford it.

U.S. mutual funds boost own performance with unicorn mark-ups

BOSTON/SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Some U.S. mutual funds are boosting their performance with relatively big bets on private companies such as Uber and Pinterest, which they have been marking up at a rate far greater than the broad stock market.

Google Ventures CEO Bill Maris quits: Recode

(Reuters) - Bill Maris, the chief executive and founder of Alphabet Inc's venture capital arm GV, is leaving the company, Recode reported, citing sources.

VW's Audi posts 2.3 percent rise in July sales

BERLIN (Reuters) - Audi sold 2.3 percent more cars in July on growing demand for the redesigned top-selling A4 saloon, though kept trailing behind German luxury rivals BMW and Mercedes-Benz .

Ukraine Puts Troops Near Russia Border On Combat Alert As Tension With Moscow Spikes

It has been over a year since the market cared about potential military developments and escalation in the ongoing proxy war between Russia and Ukraine in the Donbass region, however as reported overnight, tensions are again rising rapidly. Two members of Russian government forces were killed last weekend in what President Vladimir Putin said were "stupid" and "criminal" incursions by Ukraine into the territory annexed by Moscow two years ago. Additionally, Putin on Wednesday accused the Ukrainian military of launching the incursions into Crimea as part of repeated efforts to reclaim the land.

As the FT noted yesterday, Russia's secret service, the Federal Security Service, said on Wednesday that it had foiled "terrorist acts" prepared by Ukrainian military intelligence against infrastructure in the territory, with the aim of disrupting Russia's parliamentary elections due on 18 September. Kiev has denied the allegations. In response to the alleged operation, Putin said he was pulling out of international peace talks on the conflict in eastern Ukraine. He said he was no longer ready to meet his Ukrainian counterpart, Petro Poroshenko, and German and French leaders in the so-called Normandy format, which has been used for negotiations. Mr Putin hinted at a possible meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in China early next month.

"Under these conditions, meeting in the Normandy format, especially in China, is meaningless," Mr Putin said at a press conference. "Apparently, the people who seized power in Kiev and continue to hold on to it, instead of seeking compromise, instead of searching ways of a peaceful settlement, have moved on to the practice of terror."

The FSB, the successor organisation to t ...

Frontrunning: August 11

Stocks choppy, Kiwi soars after rate cut (Reuters)

Putin discusses Crimea security after alleged Ukrainian incursions (Reuters)

IEA Sees Oil Glut Easing (BBG)

Meanwhile: more oil - Iraq, oil companies agree to restart investment, boost output (Reuters)

U.S. Drillers Need $60 Oil to Stage Real Comeback, IEA Say (BBG)

Lopsided Housing Rebound Leaves Millions of People Out in the Cold (WSJ)

Clinton to Criticize Trump's Economic Plan as Self-Serving (WSJ)

U.S. mutual funds boost own performance with unicorn mark-ups (Reuters)

Clinton's Fiscal Prudence Runs Counter to Krugman's Call to Borrow (BBG)

ECB negative rates at limit, should focus on asset buys, IMF economists say (Reuters)

German economy lost growth momentum in Q2: economy ministry (Reuters)

Alphabet Unit Google's VC Chief Bill Maris to ...

Gold Investment Demand Reaches Record In First Half 2016 On "Perfect Storm"

Gold investment demand surged to a record in the first half of 2016 and overtook the previous high seen during the 2009 financial crisis on a "perfect storm" for gold according to the 'Gold Demand Trends Q2 2016' report which was released by the World Gold Council today.

Gold Investment_2016

Western investors especially in Europe saw the greatest increase in gold investment demand and Europe was the "largest market for gold bars and coins in Q2."

Gold investment in Germany remained very robust and UK demand rise significantly from low levels as smart money diversified into gold ahead of the Brexit referendum. Japan also saw continuing robust demand due to concerns about the outlook for the Japanese economy, the debasement of the yen and negative interest rates in Japan.

U.S. gold investment demand ...

Why China's Bond Market Rally Is Risky Business

The rally of recent weeks in China's bond market marks a reversal from what seemed like a moment of clarity in which investors were demanding more yield for more risk.

Bond Markets: Ever More Bizarre

The latest example of how long-term low rates are turning markets upside-down: German bonds that guarantee the investor will lose money—unless they can find someone else willing to pay more.

How Yelp Keeps Making Its Voice Heard

Increasing local ad sales are offsetting a slowing user base.

Human Capital And Education In Puerto Rico - Part 4 Of 5

from Liberty Street Economics

-- this post authored by Rajashri Chakrabarti, Giacomo De Giorgi, and Rachel Schuh

Educational attainment is an important element of human capital; however a series of recent papers highlights the crucial role of the quality of education - which determines the skills actually learned, rather than the number of years spent in a classroom - as a main driver of growth. In fact, Hanushek and Woessmann argue that the importance of more appropriately measuring skills is seen in the very tight relationship between quality of skills, or knowledge capital, and growth. Moreover, the researchers state, "The knowledge capital - growth relationship suggests little mystery for East Asia, Latin America, or other regions: Growth rates are accounted for by cognitive skills." Similarly, "Considering knowledge capital dramatically increases our ability to account for differences in growth."

Market Extra: IMF analysts urge ECB to focus on QE rather than negative rates

Economists at the International Monetary Fund are urging the European Central Bank to stop yanking interest rates further into negative territory, warning it will take a toll on the region's already struggling banks and reduce lending to businesses and households.

Outside the Box: On Second Amendment and Clinton, Trump is playing with fire

Donald Trump's remarks about the Second Amendment and Hillary Clinton are disturbing and dangerous, writes Chris Edelson.

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