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03Jan2017 Pre-Market Commentary: DOW To Open 100 Points Higher, WTI Crude Prices Higher At 55 Handle, US Dollar Stronger And Bitcoin Above 1,000

Written by Gary

U.S. stock market indexes pointed to a higher open on 2017's first trading day (SPY +0.8%). The Dow futures index has climbing more than 130 points, as traders eyed key data releases. Crude prices have risen sharply and the U.S. dollar resumed its rally climbing back toward its 14-year-high.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are higher today with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 0.54% while London's FTSE 100 is up 0.50% and Germany's DAX is up 0.06%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

U.S. stock futures kick off new year on a high as oil surges

(Reuters) - A jump in oil prices and upbeat data from China lifted U.S. stock index futures on the first trading day of the new year, with Dow futures advancing by triple-digit points.After coming within a hair's breadth of the historical 20,000 mark in December as part of a post-election rally, the Dow is likely to make a fresh attempt at breaching the milestone on Tuesday.

Trump threatens 'big border tax' on GM over Chevy Cruze production

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted U.S. carmaker General Motors and threatened to impose a "big border tax" for making its Chevy Cruze model in Mexico.

Oil business seen in strong position as Trump tackles tax reform

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Big Oil could be in a unique position to protect its interests against a Republican proposal to tax imports, given that President-elect Donald Trump's cabinet is studded with oil champions sensitive to the risk of higher gasoline prices.

Trump names Lighthizer as U.S. trade representative pick: statement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday named veteran steel industry trade lawyer Robert Lighthizer, a harsh critic of China's trade practices, to be his chief trade negotiator, responsible for better deals aimed at reducing U.S. trade deficits.

Intel seeking indirect stake in mapping firm HERE: German cartel office

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Chip maker Intel has sought approval to buy a stake in HERE, a digital mapping firm controlled by Germany's carmakers Daimler , BMW and Volkswagen , a filing to the German cartel office showed.

Oil hits 18-month highs as markets eye output cuts

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices hit 18-month highs on Tuesday, the first trading day of 2017, buoyed by hopes that a deal between OPEC and other big oil exporters to cut production, which kicked in on Sunday, will drain a global supply glut.

Credit Suisse, AstraZeneca among top BofA-ML's top European picks for first quarter

LONDON (Reuters) - Credit Suisse and AstraZeneca are among Bank of America-Merrill Lynch's top picks for the first quarter of 2017, as the market is overly pessimistic on both stocks, according to analysts at the bank.

Fincantieri's bid for STX France approved by South Korean court

SEOUL/MILAN (Reuters) - A South Korean court approved on Tuesday Italy's Fincantieri as the preferred bidder to buy shipbuilder STX France, helping Fincantieri move closer to a deal that could boost its position in the cruise shipbuilding market.

Indonesia penalizes JPMorgan for 'underweight' call: officials

JAKARTA (Reuters) - Indonesia will drop JPMorgan Chase & Co from providing some services to the government after the bank's research arm said investors should reduce their exposure to the country, senior finance ministry officials said on Tuesday.

Trump Takes Aim At GM, Says Should "Make Car In The US Or Pay Big Border Tax"

Having previously spooked shareholders of Boeing and Lockheed, moments ago Trump started off his week by taking aim at none other than the company bailed out by Barack Obama in one of the most controversial bankruptcies in recent history, General Motors.

In a tweet, the President-elect said "General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!", a warning which could be read as an effective ultimatum to move production back to the US or risk tariffs on foreign-made products.

General Motors is sending Mexican made model of Chevy Cruze to U.S. car dealers-tax free across border. Make in U.S.A.or pay big border tax!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 3, 2017

Another potential problem for GM, as shown in the chart below, is that while GM has posted a substantial recovery since its bankruptcy following the financial crisis, the firm's number of jobs has barely budged, even as its biggest "Detroit" competitor has been on a hiring spree.

What makes Trump's criticism surprising, however, is that one month ago, Trump appointed GM CEO Mary Barro to his Strategic and Policy Forum, which as a reminder "is composed of some of America's most highly respected and successful business leaders, will be called upon to meet with the Pr ...

Frontrunning: January 3

Stocks Gain With Commodities Amid China Optimism (BBG); Dollar, global stocks firm as 2017 trading starts in earnest (Reuters)

Oil hits 18-month highs as markets eye output cuts (Reuters)

Earnings Recovery Set to Propel Stocks Higher in 2017 (WSJ)

Republican-led Congress lays groundwork for Trump (Reuters)

Battles Await Ambitious GOP Agenda, Including Repeal of ACA (WSJ)

2017 Will Be the Riskiest Year for Geopolitics Since WWII, Eurasia Group Says (BBG)

Trump team seeks agency records on border barriers, surveillance (Reuters)

Paris Wants to Lure 20,000 Bankers From London (BBG)

Champions of 401(k) Lament the Revolution They Started (WSJ)

Oil business seen in strong position as Trump tackles tax reform (Reuters)

Shipping Alliances Shore Up Industry, Worry Customers (

Trump Picks China Critic Robert Lighthizer As US Trade Representative

The Trump transition team announced that President-elect Donald Trump has named Robert Lighthizer as his U.S. Trade Representative. Lighthizer served as the deputy USTR under former President Ronald Reagan, playing a major role in developing trade policy and negotiating two dozen bilateral international agreements on topics from steel to grain, the transition team said in its statement.

"He has extensive experience striking agreements that protect some of the most important sectors of our economy, and has repeatedly fought in the private sector to prevent bad deals from hurting Americans," Trump said in an e-mailed statement. "He will do an amazing job helping turn around the failed trade policies which have robbed so many Americans of prosperity."

The appointment is a further sign the incoming administration will take a tougher line on China, according to Bloomberg.

Lighthizer has previously accused China of unfair trade practices, in line with views held by Peter Navarro, a China critic who Trump last month named to head a newly formed White House National Trade Council. In a 2011 article published in the Washington Times, Lighthizer said that using tariffs to promote American industry was a Republican tenet harking back to pro-business politicians who established the party.

"The icon of modern conservatism, Ronald Reagan, imposed quotas on imported steel, protected Harley-Davidson from Japanese competition, restrained import of semiconductors and automobiles, and took myriad similar steps to keep American industry strong," Lighthizer wrote. "How does allowing China to constantly rig trade in its favor advance the core conservative goal of making markets more efficient? Markets do not run better when manufacturing shifts to China largely because of the actions of its governmen ...

House Republicans Vote To Strip Ethics Office Of Independence, Limiting Its Power

House Republicans abruptly voted on Monday night to eliminate the independence of the Office of Congressional Ethics, the chamber's nonpartisan ethics board which investigates lawmakers' alleged misconduct, largely stripping it of its power, leading to pushback from Democrats and government watchdog groups. House Republicans, meeting as a group Monday night, approved an amendment from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte that would place the office under the oversight of the lawmaker-run House Ethics Committee.

Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) pushed the ethics change, which would put the nonpartisan
Office of Government Ethics under the control of the House Ethics Committee

According to the WSJ, the Office of Congressional Ethics is an independent entity that serves as the chamber's independent ethics watchdog by reviewing allegations against House members and staff. It is currently governed by an eight-person board of private citizens who don't work for the government. Goodlatte's measure is now part of the package of new House rules set to come up for a vote on the House floor Tuesday, when the new session of Congress convenes.

Why the unexpected move to curb insight into alleged congressional ethics violations? After all, insider trading for members of congress is still largely permitted: according to Goodlatte his proposal would ensure due process rights for lawmakers - the proposal bars the ethics office from considering anonymous tips about potential ethics violations and prevents disclosures about investigations. Lawmakers who found themselves under review by the Office of Congressional Ethics criticized the office for being too aggressive. Those who were cleared said it was unfair that the existence of investigations became public and that reputat ...

Trump Rally Darkens Skies for All-Weather Portfolio

All-weather and risk-parity portfolios designed to produce smooth returns have hit a rough patch since the U.S. election.

Peak Auto Sales Make 2017 a Waiting Game for Investors

U.S. car sales have stalled, leaving the automotive industry

China and the Debt-Refinancing Game in 2017

Higher borrowing costs and weaker profits could be a combustible mix.

November 2016 CoreLogic Home Prices Year-over-Year Growth Rate Now Improved to 7.1%.

CoreLogic's Home Price Index (HPI) shows that home prices in the USA are up 7.1 % year-over-year year-over-year (reported up 1.1 % month-over-month). Last month's 6.7 % year-over-year gain was revised downward to 6.1 %. CoreLogic HPI is used in the Federal Reserves's Flow of Funds to calculate the values of residential real estate.

Loans Originated In The Third Quarter Were Higher In Credit Quality Than One Year Ago

from CoreLogic

-- this post authored by Archana Pradhan

Loans originated in Q3 2016 are among the highest-quality home loans originated since the year 2001, according to the latest CoreLogic Housing Credit Index (HCI) Report.[1] Figure 1 shows the overall Housing Credit Index from Q1 2001 through the end of Q3 2016.

Outside the Box: Stock market's real driver is not what you think

Companies are giving workers less of their profits and more to stockholders, pushing share prices higher, writes Daniel Greenwald.

Outside the Box: Russia isn't as strong as Putin would have you believe

Overreacting to Russia's actions is as dangerous as being complacent, writes George Friedman.

Capitol Report: Trump's New Year's Eve speech cited Dubai business partner | Pelosi may see more defectors than Ryan in speaker vote

President-elect Trump's New Year's Eve speech cited a Dubai business partner; Nancy Pelosi may see more defectors than Paul Ryan in speaker vote; Mike Pence, House Republicans to huddle on Obamacare; and more.

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