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10Jan2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Futures Flat And Directionless, Trump Effect Waning, Markets Expected To Open Lower, WTI Crude In The Low 52 Handle

Written by Gary

U.S. stock market futures are struggling for direction this morning (SPY -0.04%), as traders geared up for the start of earnings season. The US dollar slipped lower against its major rivals and crude prices edged slightly higher, after suffering their biggest one-day loss in six weeks yesterday.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are higher today with shares in London leading the region. The FTSE 100 is up 0.20% while Germany's DAX is up 0.09% and France's CAC 40 is up 0.06%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

EU clears French capital injection for Areva

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union antitrust regulators approved on Tuesday French plans to grant a capital injection of 4.5 billion euros (3.91 billion pounds) to nuclear group Areva and said Areva's restructuring plan would not unduly distort competition.

Futures flat as investors await earnings reports

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Tuesday as investors wait for the quarterly corporate earnings season, with Wall Street at record levels.

Yahoo to be named Altaba, Mayer to leave board after Verizon deal

(Reuters) - Yahoo Inc said Monday that it would rename itself Altaba Inc and Chief Executive Officer Marissa Mayer would step down from the board after the closing of its deal with Verizon Communications Inc.

Canadian apparel maker Gildan wins auction to buy American Apparel

(Reuters) - Canadian apparel maker Gildan Activewear Inc said it had won a bankruptcy auction to buy U.S. fashion retailer American Apparel for about $88 million in cash.

WhatsApp, Gmail roped into tougher EU privacy proposal

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Online messaging and email services such as WhatsApp , iMessage and Gmail will face tough new rules on how they can track users under a proposal presented by the European Union executive on Tuesday.

Valeant to sell assets for $2.12 billion to ease debt load

(Reuters) - Valeant Pharmaceuticals International is selling its Dendreon cancer business and three skincare brands for about $2.12 billion as the troubled Canadian drugmaker looks to pay down its more than $30 billion debt.

China vows to contain corporate debt levels as inflation heats up

BEIJING (Reuters) - China vowed on Tuesday to contain high company debt levels and further cut excess coal and steel capacity, as Beijing attempts to maintain solid and more balanced economic growth while avoiding destabilizing asset bubbles.

Citigroup may benefit less from tax cuts than other U.S. banks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Citigroup Inc stands to get less of a profit boost than other big U.S. banks from lower corporate tax rates expected from the new government in Washington.

VW group sales hit 2016 record 10.3 million cars despite dieselgate

BERLIN (Reuters) - Volkswagen group sales jumped 12 percent in December to take the annual figure to a record 10.3 million vehicles, the carmaker said on Tuesday, even as it grappled with its emissions scandal.

Dear Self-Proclaimed "Progressives"... You're As Evil As The Neocon-Neoliberal Empire You've Enabled

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Sorry, pal, you're evil. Self-righteous indignation counts for nothing in the strict accounting of real progressivism.

Dear Self-Proclaimed "Progressive": I love you, man, but it has become necessary to intervene in your self-destruction. Your ideological blinders and apologies for the Establishment's Neocon-Neoliberal Empire are not just destroying your credibility, they're destroying the nation and everywhere the Empire intervenes.

While you squandered your political capital defending zero-cost causes like "safe spaces on college campuses," the Empire was busy killing, maiming and making refugees of women and children in Syria. President Obama and his Neocon crew (former Secretary Hillary Clinton included) aren't fools; they rely on drones and proxy armies to do their dirty work.

Neoliberalism is the Establishment's core ideology, and by supporting Bill Clinton and Barack Obama, you furthered, defended and rationalized the Empire's neoliberal expansion and exploitation. Neoliberalism's Big Lie is transforming everything into a market makes everyone richer.

The dirty little secret of Neoliberalism is that the markets it creates are rigged in favor of Elitist cronies. If you can set aside your "progressive" blinders for a moment (Bill and Barack could do no wrong for 16 long years of neoliberal exploitation), you might learn that the Presidents and party you supported ushered in the era of neoliberal pillage as public-private partnerships, Philanthro-Capitalism, and rigged markets that enriched the elitist Establishment you defend at the expense of the bottom 95% non-elites.

You defended " ...

Valeant Sells Assets For $2.1 Billion To Reduce Massive Debt Load

While there was some hope in late 2016 that embattled specialty pharma rollup (which has since become a rolldown) Valeant would sell its Salix stomach-drug business to Takeda, that speculation first fizzled in late November, and then was summarily eliminated when Taked announced yesterday it would buy Ariad for $5.2 billion, instead. So grappling with a massive debt load, Valeant had no choice but to seek the disposition of other "non-core" assets.

Overnight it did just that when Valeant agreed to sell $2.1 billion in assets to get cash to reduce its staggering debt burden, and earlier today the Canadian drugmaker revealed L'Oreal SA will pay Valeant $1.3 billion for three skin-care brands. Earlier in the day, Valeant said it would sell its Dendreon Pharmaceuticals unit to closely held Chinese conglomerate Sanpower Group Co. for about $820 million.

"With this sale, we are better aligning our product portfolio with Valeant's new operating strategy by exiting the urological oncology business, which is one of our non-core assets," Valeant Chief Executive Joseph Papa said in a statement on Monday. The deals could be the first of a series of divestitures for Valeant, whose growth was fueled by an acquisition spree that left it saddled with a huge pile of debt.

L'Oreal said the three brands would stand alongside the likes of Vichy and La Roche-Posay in its Active Cosmetics division, which is among its strongest in terms of growth and resilience to slowdowns in consumer spending in the past three to four years. L'Oreal paid nearly eight times the brand's combined annual revenue of $168 million as it expands into one of the fastest growing areas of the beauty industry.

As Bloomberg adds, the agreements mark a start to Valeant's efforts to pay down about $30 billion in debt, even if doing so means als ...

Gold Price In GBP Up 4% On Brexit and UK Risks

Gold Price In GBP Rises 4% On Brexit and UK Economy Risks

- Pound fell 2% against gold yesterday after Theresa May created Brexit concerns

- May's 'Hard Brexit' denial does not calm markets growing fears

- Investors concerned about lack of government strategy and uncertainty

- UK Prime Minister bizarrely blames media and "those who print things" for sterling depreciation

- GBP gold builds on 31% gain in 2016 with 4% gain so far in 2017

Alibaba Is Better at Selling Than Buying

Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba says it will pay up to $2.6 billion, a 42% premium, to raise its stake in department-store operator Intime Retail. It's no bargain.

U.S. Car Industry Has Unlikely Patriots

Tesla and the German luxury car makers can better afford U.S. manufacturing than the Detroit Three.

A Dark Day for Chinese Inflation

Producer prices in China took their biggest jump in more than five years in December, but it was mostly about that black, oily stuff.

December 2016 CBO Monthly Budget Review: Total Receipts Down by 3 Percent in the First Quarter of Fiscal Year 2017

from the Congressional Budget Office

The federal budget deficit was $207 billion for the first three months of fiscal year 2017, CBO estimates - $8 billion less than the shortfall recorded during the same period last year.

December 2016 Small Business Optimism Skyrockets To Highest Level Since 2004

from the National Federation of Independent Business

Small business optimism rocketed to its highest level since 2004, with a stratospheric 38-point jump in the number of owners who expect better business conditions.

Market Extra: Why Goldman sees only 90 good days for U.S. stocks in 2017

U.S. stocks have had an incredibly run over the last two months and even at these record-breaking levels there are still profits to make — at least until March, when it will be time to run for the hills, says Goldman Sachs strategist David Kostin

Currencies: Dollar looks for clarity from Trump press conference

The U.S. dollar was little changed against its major rivals on Tuesday, as investors held off on drastically changing their positions ahead of Donald Trump's scheduled news conference, which could provide some clarity into the president-elect's legislative priorities.

Market Extra: The Nasdaq just had its best start to a year in more than a decade

It's been a happy new year so far for the stock market's tech-laden index.

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