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17Jan2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street To Open Flat On The Red Side, Crude Prices Climb, US Dollar Falls Sharply

Written by Gary

U.S. stock market futures pointed to a lower open (SPY -0.2), the U.S. dollar collapsed toward a one-month low and Gold prices extended its recent rally to a seventh day.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets finished broadly higher on Friday with shares in France leading the region. The CAC 40 is up 1.20% while Germany's DAX is up 0.94% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.62%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wal-Mart to create 10,000 U.S. jobs in 2017

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said it would create about 10,000 jobs in the United States this year, adding to its near 1.5 million workforce in the country, by opening or remodeling stores and investing in its e-commerce business.

Futures fall on Brexit worries, Trump's dollar comments

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures fell the most this year as investors sought safe-haven assets following President-elect Donald Trump's comments on the dollar and British Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit speech.

Wilbur Ross, Trump's Commerce pick, offshored 2,700 jobs since 2004

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Billionaire Wilbur Ross, chosen by Donald Trump to help implement the president-elect's trade agenda, earned his fortune in part by running businesses that have offshored thousands of U.S. jobs, according to Labor Department data attained by Reuters.

Morgan Stanley's profit doubles on bond-trading surge

(Reuters) - Wall Street bank Morgan Stanley's profit doubled in the last quarter of the year, far exceeding expectations, as trading activity surged following the U.S. presidential election.

BAT agrees to buy Reynolds for $49 billion

LONDON (Reuters) - British American Tobacco has agreed a $49.4 billion takeover of U.S. rival Reynolds American Inc , creating the world's biggest listed tobacco company after it increased an earlier offer by more than $2 billion.

Chinese leader pushes back against Trump on free trade

DAVOS, Switzerland (Reuters) - Chinese President Xi Jinping offered a vigorous defense of globalization and free trade in a speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos on Tuesday, which underscored Beijing's desire to play a greater global role as the United States turns inward.

Blockchain could save investment banks up to $12 billion a year: Accenture

NEW YORK/LONDON (Reuters) - Blockchain technology could help the world's largest investment banks cut their infrastructure costs by between $8 to $12 billion a year by 2025, according to a report by Accenture.

Despite Dimon's criticism, JPMorgan funds closely track ISS on executive pay

BOSTON (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co Chief Executive Jamie Dimon has been no fan of Institutional Shareholder Services and once called investors "lazy" if they cast votes in corporate elections based on recommendations from the leading proxy adviser or its rival.

Trump threatens German carmakers with 35 percent U.S. import tariff

FRANKFURT/BERLIN (Reuters) - U.S President-elect Donald Trump warned German car companies he would impose a border tax of 35 percent on vehicles imported to the U.S. market, a plan that drew sharp rebukes from Berlin and hit the automakers' shares.

The World's Most - And Least - Miserable Countries in 2016

In what follows, I update my annual Misery Index calculations. A Misery Index was first constructed by economist Art Okun as a way to provide President Lyndon Johnson with a snapshot of the economy.

The original Misery Index was just a simple sum of a nation's annual inflation rate and its unemployment rate. The Misery Index has been modified several times, first by Robert Barro of Harvard and then by myself. My modified Misery Index is the sum of the unemployment, inflation, and bank lending rates, minus the percentage change in real GDP per capita. A higher Misery Index score reflects higher levels of "misery," and it's a simple enough metric that a busy president without time for extensive economic briefings can understand at a glance.

Below is the 2016 Misery Index table. For consistency and comparability, all data come from the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Venezuela holds the inglorious spot of most miserable country for 2016, as it did in 2015. The failures of the socialist, corrupt petroleum state have been well documented over the past year, including when Venezuela became the 57th instance of hyperinflation in the world.

Argentina holds down the second most miserable rank, and the reasons aren't too hard to uncover. After the socialist Kirchner years, Argentina is transitioning away from the economy-wracking Kirchner policies, but many problematic residues can still be found in Argentina's underlying economic framework.

Brazil, at number 3, is a hotbed of corruption and incompetence, as the recent impeachment of Bra ...

Hyundai To Boost Investment In The US To $3.1 Billion Over 5 Years

Having been unleashed with a series of angry Trump tweets, the outpouring of carmarker investments in the US has turned into a veritable torrent, and just hours after GM announced it would invest $1 billion in new US factories, adding 1,000 jobs, Korea's Hyundai Motor Group said it also plans to lift U.S. investment by 50% to $3.1 billion over five years and may build a new plant there. It has become the latest auto firm to announce fresh spending following Ford, Fiat, Toyota and GM, after President-elect Donald Trump threatened to tax imports.

As a reminder, Trump has repeatedly warned of a 35% tax on vehicles imported from Mexico, where many automakers have taken advantage of the country's lower labor costs. Toyota Motor, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler have all recently unveiled new U.S. investment plans, while over the weekend German automakers were the latest to come under fire from Trump, provoking a blistering response from Angela Merkel.

According to Reuters, Hyundai Motor and Kia Motors which make up the Hyundai Motor Group have not been directly criticized by Trump but they may have felt vulnerable because among major brands, they have one of the lowest ratios of cars built in the United States to cars sold.

To be sure, just like all other carmakers who reacted to pressure by Trump, only to deny they did so, Chung Jin-haeng, president of the group, denied the plan was due to, drumroll, pressure from Trump, adding that a new U.S. factory would depend on whether demand improved under the next U.S. administration.

"We have to be committed to the U.S. market - a strategically important market which can make or break our global success," he told reporters in Seoul on Tuesday.

Hyundai plans to spend the $3.1 billion to retool exist ...

Pound Soars Most Since 2008 After UK's May Calls For Parliamentary Vote On Brexit

Having plunged to flash-crash lows on Sunday night following leaks of UK PM Theresa May's Brexit speech, cable is soaring this morning as she delivered the speech confirming that both houses of Parliament will vote on the final Brexit deal.

We warned the "surprise" was priced in...

Surprise taken out of tomorrow's speech. GBPUSD squeeze next?

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) January 16, 2017

And as Bloomberg notes, U.K. PM May's announcement that both houses of Parliament will vote on the final Brexit deal is positive for the pound as the process should ensure that extreme outcomes are avoided, analysts say. The FT notes that the votes is expected in early 2019 and it is unclear what would happen if either house were to reject the deal.

"The deal has to be good" to be approved, BofAML strategist Athanasios Vamvakidis says in e-mailed comments

"Final take on this speech is that May has come across very well. This, in addition to the economic fundamentals, are good arguments for not being aggressively short GBP/USD below 1.20. The way she has come across today almost puts the EU in an out-of-touch position," Stephen Gallo, analyst at BMO Capital Markets, says in e-mailed comments

The announcement on the Parliament vote fueled the initial extension of the GBP rally, partly because it raises expectations that MPs less in favor of Brexit could have more influence, according to Josh O'Byrne, strategist at Citigroup; still, big picture hasn't changed much after this speech

May didn't add to &ld ...

RBC: "Commence Pain Trade"

Having warned last week that the market is close to a violent unwind of the Trumpflation momentum trade, today RCB's head of cross-asset strat, Charlie McElliggott, takes a victory lap following Trump's overnight comments that the dollar is "too strong", while slamming the Border-Adjustment Tax - a key catalyst for a dollar stronger as much as 15% in the future - and warned that the start of the "pain trade" has arrived.

The full note from RBC's Charlie McElligott


Commence "pain trade."

Let us begin today by taking it back to last Wednesday's now-prophetic "RBC Big Picture" note:

"Fundamentally with the USD bull-case, this is a large part of why there is SO much focus on key items like the border-adjusted tax element of the Trump policy push. A large part of the Dollar's strength (beyond 'just' the data) post- the election has been based upon this, where if the corporate tax rate were cut to say 20%, the Dollar would by economic theory have to then appreciate 20% (and of course too, an additional 'tax factor' driving the USD bull-thesis is that a meaningful chunk of $2.5T of profits held overseas by US corporates would be repatriated following a 'business friendly' incentive package / one-time cut to the repatriation tax to say 8-10%).

There is a view though within some verticals of the business community is that the border-adjusted system represents a very significant risk (consumer retail most ...

The Structural Benefits of Samsung's Scandal

Though the world's biggest smartphone maker is caught in a political firestorm, investors are right not to run for shelter.

The New Conventional Wisdom on Emerging-Market Bonds

Most emerging-market bonds have recovered quickly from their Trump-trade beating, but swaths of debt are expected to mature this year.

Amped Up Politics and the Future of Central Banking

Investors should watch for any further deterioration in relations between politicians and central bankers; monetary policy is at a critical juncture.

January 2017 Empire State Manufacturing Index Declined But Remains In Expansion.

Written by Steven Hansen

The Empire State Manufacturing Survey declined but remains in expansion. Important internals are mixed.

Economic Report: Empire State index edges back from eight-month high in January

Activity in factories in the New York area softened a bit in January after a strong performance in December, the New York Fed said Tuesday.

The Tell: Trump comments on 'too strong' dollar send shivers through stock market

The buck stops with Donald J. Trump. The President-elect said that the U.S. dollar is "too strong," highlighting a stratospheric ride for the greenback in the wake of the real estate billionaire's Nov. 8 election victory over Hillary Clinton.

The New York Post: Deutsche Bank is reportedly holding back on bonuses this year

Deutsche Bank, the former Wall Street powerhouse, may hold back on giving out bonuses to as many as 90 percent of bankers and traders, the New York Post reports.

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