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29Aug2016 Pre-Market Commentary: US Futures Point To A Fractionally Higher Opening (For Now), Gold And Crude Prices Fall On Stronger US Dollar, Rate Increase Now At 65% In December

Written by Gary

U.S. stock index futures pointed to a fractionally higher (SPY +0.09%) open on this morning, as investors looked ahead to U.S. economic data for fresh hints on the timing of the next U.S. rate hike. December odds were at around 65%, compared to 50% Friday morning. The U.S. dollar climbed to a two-week high and gold and crude prices fell sharply.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are higher today as French and German shares show gains. The CAC 40 is up 0.01% while the DAX is up 0.06%. The British FTSE 100 is closed. European markets are mixed today. The German DAX is higher by 0.06% while the CAC 40 is even. The London markets are closed.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Stock futures flat as investors fathom Fed comments on rates

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Monday as investors tried to decipher comments from top Federal Reserve officials on the timing of the next interest rate hike.

BlackRock withheld support from two key Exxon directors: filings

BOSTON (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc withheld support from two high-profile directors at Exxon Mobil Corp, securities filings show, a rare spat apparently driven by a board communications policy at the world's largest energy company.

European Commission says 'ball still rolling' on trade deal with U.S. after German comments

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's executive said on Monday it had a unanimous mandate from the bloc's 28 members to finalize negotiations on a free trade deal with the United States, a day after Germany's economy minister said the talks had "de facto failed".

Oil falls towards $49 on high output, strong dollar

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil fell towards $49 a barrel on Monday, pressured by high output from Middle East OPEC members and as a stronger U.S. dollar weighed on commodities.

Truck carrying Takata air bag inflators causes blast in U.S., one killed

TOKYO (Reuters) - A truck transporting Takata Corp air bag inflators and propellants that are at the center of a global recall exploded in Texas earlier this month, resulting in one death and four injuries, the embattled auto parts supplier said on Monday.

Cyber threat grows for bitcoin exchanges

NEW YORK (Reuters) - When hackers penetrated a secure authentication system at a bitcoin exchange called Bitfinex earlier this month, they stole about $70 million worth of the virtual currency.

Australia's Woolworths says hardware JV partner Lowe's takes it to court

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Woolworths Ltd said on Monday the U.S. company with which it had a hardware retail joint venture had started legal proceedings, five days after Australia's No.1 grocery chain said it was exiting the business.

Herbalife may have misled investors, SEC on impact of FTC deal, one short-seller says

BOSTON (Reuters) - After U.S. multi-level marketing company Herbalife settled a probe of its sales practices with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission last month, top executives assured investors that the company would be able to thrive under the new rules.

Sharp wants to team up with Japan Display in OLED: Nikkei

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japan's Sharp Corp is hoping to team up with its domestic rival Japan Display Inc in organic light-emitting diode (OLED) displays to catch up with South Korean manufacturers, the Nikkei business daily reported on Monday.

Mylan Launches Generic, Half-Priced EpiPen To Silence Outcry

Just days after embattled drugmaker Mylan, which over the past two weeks has come under fire for pricing its EpiPen emergency allergy shots at $600, announced it would cut costs of its infamous anti-allergy treatment, when on Monday it announced it would launch the first generic to its allergy auto-injector EpiPen at a discount of more than 50% to the branded product's list price.

The generic EpiPen will be identical to the branded product and cost $300 per two-pack carton, Mylan said in a statement on Monday. The company also plans to continue to sell the branded version.

Last week the company reduced the out-of-pocket costs of EpiPen for some patients last week amid a wave of criticism from lawmakers and the public over the rapid escalation in the product's price in the past few years. However, as many politicians chimed in, it still wasn't enough, demanding more concessions from the senator daughter CEO. As a result, Mylan said it expected to launch the generic product "in several weeks" at a list price of $300. The branded product costs about $600. EpiPen cost about $100 in 2008.

"Ensuring access to medicine is absolutely the core of Mylan's mission," Chief Executive Officer Heather Bresch said in the statement accompanying the announcement. "We understand the deep frustration and concerns associated with the cost of EpiPen to the patient, and have always shared the public's desire to ensure that this important product be accessible to anyone who needs it."

The EpiPen price increases drew particular attention in Washington because Bresch had successfully pushed legislation to encourage use of the EpiPen in schools nationwide. Mylan spent about $4 million in 2012 and 2013 on lobbyin ...

Trump "Unfit To Be Human": Commentators Unleash Personal Attacks On "Mothaf---a", "Psychopath"

This weekend the ad hominem attacks against Donald Trump took a sharp escalation when first a former Obama advisor, then a republican commentator, following by entertainment stars took sharp shots at the republican candidate.

It started with David Plouffe, Obama's former campaign manager, who during NBC's "Meet the Press" show, called Donald Trump "a psychopath." Plouffe told Chuck Todd that "we have a psychopath running for president. I mean, he meets the clinical definition, OK?"

After Todd pushed back that Plouffe isn't a psychologist and that such claims frustrate voters, Plouffe elaborated, "The grandiose notion of self-worth, pathological lying, lack of empathy and remorse. So I think he does; right, I don't have a degree in psychology."

Plouffe opined that the race is already unwinnable for Trump because, he said, Hillary Clinton is guaranteed 269 electoral votes, including those from Virginia and Colorado. "There's maybe a 20 percent chance it's close — 2 or 3 points; I think it's likely going to be a landslide," he said. While attacking Trump Plouffe naturally defended Clinton, saying there are "legitimate questions" about conflicts of interest at the Clinton Foundation. But he said the charity shouldn't shut down, because it does great work.

* * *

Then it was the turn of republican commentator, and former supporter of Jeb Bush, Ana Navarro who also on Sunday said Trump is worse than just unfit to be president. "Forget being unfit to be president. He's unfit to be human," Navarro said on ABC, when talking about the controversy regarding the GOP nominee's tweet about the death of Dwyane Wade's cousin.

Obama Will Leave $20 Trillion Debt Crisis For Clinton Or Trump

President Obama is set to leave a massive near $20 trillion debt crisis for his successor - be that Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump.

The U.S. national debt reached $19.5 trillion last week and has been increasing by roughly $1 trillion a year during his Presidency and during the so called "recovery" as the U.S. government continues to spend money like a drunken sailor.

obamaPresident Obama gestures while speaking at Concord Community High School in Elkhart, Ind., on June 1, 2016. (Associated Press)

During Obama's presidency, the total national debt has risen from $10.6 trillion to nearly $20 trillion - see Debt Clock here. There is also the not insignificant matter of the between $100 trillion and $150 trillion in unfunded liabilities - for medicare, medicaid and social security.

The U.S., like the EU and m ...

Why China Hasn't Cut Rates in What Feels Like Forever

Growth isn't budging and economic data continues to underwhelm. But China hasn't eased monetary policy in over six months. Or so it seems.

The Price of the Calm After the Storm

Markets are calm this August. Policy makers have ensured that, but distortions are rife.

Vivendi: Why Empire Building Is No Strategy

French media group Vivendi is benefiting from the growth of music streaming, but investments in struggling Italian companies are puzzling.

July 2016 Personal Consumption and Income Growth At Expectations.

Written by Steven Hansen

The headline data this month continues to show consumer expenditure growth. This is postive for 3Q2016 GDP if one considers GDP as a good measure of the economy. The negative of the headlines are that income is still growing slower than expenditures.

Economic Report: Auto sales help boost consumer spending by 0.3% in July

Americans increased spending by 0.3% in July, buying more new cars and trucks and devoting more money to energy such as cooling their homes.

Metals Stocks: Gold pulls back as fear of Fed rate hike intensifies

Gold futures slip Monday while the dollar stabilized, as Friday's jobs report now reigns as the next major factor in the market's effort to pin down the timing and scope of Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes.

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