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29Dec2016 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Quiet, Crude Prices Fractionally Lower, The US Dollar Soft And Weekly Jobs Claims Came In Lower

Written by Gary

U.S. stock markets pointed to a flat to slightly lower open today (SPY -0.01), amid fading hopes that the Dow will reach 20K. U.S. oil prices edged slightly lower and the U.S. dollar slumped in light pre-New Year holiday trade. Weekly jobless claims fell by 10,000 to 265,000 last week, slightly higher than the 264,000 estimate.


Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are lower today with shares in Germany off the most. The DAX is down 0.26% while France's CAC 40 is off 0.15% and London's FTSE 100 is lower by 0.08%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Jobless claims fall in sign labor market is near full strength

WASHINGTON, Dec. 29 (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, holding well below a level associated with labor market strength.

Futures flat after Wall Street suffers worst day in two months

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Thursday, a day after the S&P 500 index turned in its biggest fall in two months, putting a damper on a post-election rally.

Trump tax reforms could depend on little-known 'scoring' panel

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President-elect Donald Trump's goal of overhauling the U.S. tax code in 2017 will depend partly on the work of an obscure congressional committee tasked with estimating how much future economic growth will result from tax cuts.

Dollar slips to two-week low vs. yen as Treasury yields fall

LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar slipped to a two-week low against the yen on Thursday, mirroring a fall in U.S. bond yields as weaker-than-expected economic data weighed on the greenback and waning risk appetite boosted Japan's safe-haven currency.

Sprint, OneWeb say 8,000 jobs announced by Trump are part of SoftBank pledge

PALM BEACH, Fla. (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Wednesday said telecommunications group Sprint Corp and a U.S. satellite company OneWeb will bring 8,000 jobs to the United States, and the companies said the positions were part of a previously disclosed pledge by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp.

Japan's Nomura sees opportunities from Trump's pro-business agenda

TOKYO (Reuters) - Nomura Holdings Inc sees opportunities in the pro-business stance of U.S. president-elect Donald Trump, though his protectionist tilt brings uncertainty to the global economy, said the chief of Japan's biggest brokerage and investment bank.

U.S. refiners face severe labor shortage for deferred maintenance

(Reuters) - After years of running flat out, U.S. Gulf Coast refiners are lining up repairs to plants in 2017 - but facing a severe labor shortage that could delay work, drive up costs and raise accident risks.

Battered Toshiba out of easy options to plug nuclear hole

TOKYO (Reuters) - Faced with the prospect of a multi-billion-dollar writedown that could wipe out its shareholders' equity, Japan's Toshiba is running out of fixes: it is burning cash, cannot issue shares and has few easy assets left to sell.

Takata could settle U.S. criminal probe next month: source

(Reuters) - Japan's Takata Corp , maker of defective air bags that have been linked to 11 U.S. deaths, could settle criminal charges with the U.S. Department of Justice before the Obama administration leaves office next month, a source briefed on the ongoing talks told Reuters on Wednesday.

Obama Under "Intense Pressure" To Release Evidence Proving Russians Hacked The Election

As noted previously, at some point today the White House is set to unveil new sanction, and other retaliatory "measures" against Russia and specifically the Kremlin, in retaliation for what according to a constantly repetitive narrative has been Russian hacking of the US election. Obama will do so by using a 2015 executive order that would allow the president to freeze the US assets of Russians overseas who have engaged in cyber acts, even though such order only applies to actions that have threatened U.S. national security or financial stability, neither of which have yet been invoked in the current "hacking" scandal. Further, per a "senior administration official," use of the existing law would require (1) actual election infrastructure to be designated as 'critical infrastructure' and (2) the administration to prove that such infrastructure was actually "harmed," conditions which the National Security Council say have not been met.

The problem is that if the administration relies on the 2015 Executive Order to launch this latest round of diplomatic "retaliation", it will also have to demonstrate some proof that the individuals or entities it names were involved in the scheme, and until now, the White House has provided no documentation to back up its official October assessment that the Russian government was attempting to "interfere" in the U.S. election besides just repeating the allegation over and over and over, as if that somehow makes it true.

Which perhaps is why this morning The Hill writes that the Obama administration is "under intense pressure to release evidence confirming Russian interference in the presidential election before leaving office."

As the website correctly n ...

Montreal Moves To Limit New Restaurants To Protect Existing Restaurants

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Here's your "it's hard to believe, but true" article of the day.

Reason reports:

Lawmakers in Montreal have moved to crack down on new restaurants, in an odious attempt to protect existing ones.

"Montreal has one of the highest restaurant per-capita ratios in North America and the amount of places to eat is worrying local politicians," reads a Canadian Press piece from earlier this week.

If that sounds awful and weird, that's because it is. Studies of the best places to eat often conclude that the more restaurants a city has per-capita, the better its restaurant scene. It's no surprise that the more choices a consumer has, the better off that consumer is.

Montreal does have an impressive number of restaurants. Data shows Montreal trails only New York City in terms of restaurants per capita in North America. As in Ne ...

Trump On Russian Sanctions: "We Ought To Get On With Our Lives"

With the Obama administration set to unveil a fresh round of sanctions against Russia as soon as today, allegedly in retaliation for the Kremlin's "hacking" of the US elections, President-elect Trump had a few words of his own what he thinks the best steps for the US are: move on.

"I think we ought to get on with our lives," Trump told reporters Wednesday night outside of Mar-A-Lago, his Florida resort, also casting doubt on the government's assessment that Russia hacked U.S. political organizations.

As has been extensively reported over the past 6 weeks, U.S. intelligence agencies have "concluded", without providing one piece of evidence, that the Russian government orchestrated cyber attacks against the Democratic National Committee and other American political groups and then leaked information to interfere in the Nov. 8 elections. Russia has denied the accusations. Trump has said he wants to improve relations with Russia and has praised its president, Vladimir Putin.

"I think we ought to get on with our lives," Trump told reporters in Florida, with boxing promoter Don King standing by his side. "I think that computers have complicated lives very greatly. The whole age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what is going on." Hillary Clinton would certainly agree with that.

Before leaving for his last Hawaiian vacation, Obama said on Dec. 16 that the U.S. will retaliate against Russia a ...

Frontrunning: December 29



Russia's Putin says Syrian government, opposition sign ceasefire deal (Reuters)

Snap's IPO Pitch to Tout Service as 'the Next Facebook' (WSJ)

What History Has to Say About the Economy Trump Will Inherit (BBG) - zero mentions of the word "debt"

Trump tax reforms could depend on little-known 'scoring' panel (Reuters)

Debbie Reynolds Dies a Day After Daughter Carrie Fisher (BBG)

Inside the 37-Year Standoff Over Iran's Frozen U.S. Dollars (WSJ)

China Would Outlast U.S. in Trade War, Billion-Dollar Fund Says (BBG)

U.S. appeals court rejects SEC's use of administrative law judges (Reuters)

U.S. set to announce response to Russian election hacking: sources (Reuters)

GOP Readies Swift Obamacare Repeal With No Replacement in Place (BBG)

China warns U.S. against allowing stopover for Taiwan's Tsai (

The Best and Worst U.S. Calls of 2016

From central banks to accounting scandals, from mergers to shadow financing, Heard on the Street columnists aim to provide useful advice for readers. Here's where we got it right—and wrong.

The Best and Worst Europe Calls of 2016

From central banks to accounting scandals, from mergers to shadow financing, Heard on the Street columnists aim to provide useful advice for readers. Here's where we got it right—and wrong.

The Best and Worst Asia Calls of 2016

From central banks to accounting scandals, from mergers to shadow financing, Heard on the Street columnists aim to provide useful advice for readers. Here's where we got it right—and wrong.

24 December 2016 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Marginally Improves

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Bloomberg / Econoday) were 250 K to 265 K (consensus 262,000), and the Department of Labor reported 265,000 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 263,750 (reported last week as 263,750) to 263,000. The rolling averages generally have been equal to or under 300,000 since August 2014.

November 2016 Leading Index Review: Most Indicators Marginally Improving

Written by Steven Hansen

This post is a review of all major leading indicators follows - and for once all seem to be improving.

Economic Report: U.S. trade gap rises 5.5% in November

Imports were slightly stronger during the month than were exports.

Economic Report: Jobless claims tumble 10,000 to 265,000

The number of Americans who applied for unemployment benefits in the week before Christmas fell by 10,000 to 265,000, returning initial claims to the extremely low levels that have been the norm since last summer.

Currencies: Dollar pulls back after recent rally, but remains near multiyear highs

The U.S. dollar slipped against its major rivals on Thursday, retreating in a thinly traded session as investors took profits following a rally that has taken the currency to multiyear highs.

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To contact me with questions, comments or constructive criticism is always encouraged and appreciated:

gary@econintersect.com

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