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08Feb2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street To Open Flat To Fractionally Lower, Crude Prices Have Gained Some After Sharp Drop, US Dollar Also Showing Weakness

Written by Gary

U.S. stock market futures pointed to a slightly lower open on Wall Street (SPY -0.1%), as investors awaited fourth quarter earnings results from HBO parent company Time Warner Inc (NYSE:TWX) and Allergan (NYSE:AGN) ahead of the opening bell. Crude prices have fallen to three-week lows . . .

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed. The CAC 40 is higher by 0.24%, while the DAX is leading the FTSE 100 lower. They are down 0.19% and 0.17% respectively.

. . . extending falls from the previous session after an industry report showing an unexpectedly large U.S. inventory build last week underlined concerns over a global supply glut.

U.S. stock futures on Wednesday were losing steam ahead of Wall Street's open, with energy stocks poised to fall as a surprise inventory jump pressured oil futures.

API's figures showed "a huge build...putting pressure on U.S. and Brent crude prices overnight, with a knock-on to global risk sentiment," said Accendo Markets analysts Mike van Dulken and Henry Croft in a note Wednesday. "Another big build would add to last week's disappointment and an uptrend since Christmas, reinforcing concerns about rising U.S. shale production overpowering OPEC cuts."

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Stock futures little changed amid earnings rush

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors focused on quarterly earnings, a day after the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the Nasdaq hit record highs.

Controversial Dakota pipeline to go ahead after Army approval

WASHINGTON/HOUSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Army will grant the final permit for the controversial Dakota Access oil pipeline after an order from President Donald Trump to expedite the project despite opposition from Native American tribes and climate activists.

Exclusive: White House eying executive order targeting 'conflict minerals' rule - sources

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump is planning to issue an executive order targeting a controversial Dodd-Frank rule that requires companies to disclose whether their products contain "conflict minerals" from a war-torn part of Africa, according to sources familiar with the administration's thinking.

Time Warner reports 11.47 percent rise in revenue

(Reuters) - Time Warner Inc , which is in the process of being bought by AT&T Inc , reported an 11.47 rise in quarterly revenue, helped by the success of the "Harry Potter" spinoff "Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them."

Tesla may launch in India this summer: Musk

(Reuters) - Electric car maker Tesla Inc may enter the Indian market this summer, Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted on Tuesday.

Japan's Sharp may break ground on $7 billion U.S. plant in first half: source

TOKYO (Reuters) - Japanese display maker Sharp Corp may start building a $7 billion plant in the United States in the first half of 2017, taking the lead on a project initially outlined by its Taiwanese parent Foxconn, a person with knowledge of the plan said.

Hyundai may source car batteries from China amid political tension

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor said on Wednesday it may procure electric vehicle batteries from Chinese companies for a planned China model after South Korean battery makers failed to make a list of approved vendors last year.

Allergan beats profit estimates, forecasts upbeat 2017

(Reuters) - Allergan Plc reported quarterly earnings and revenue that topped Wall Street estimates, as higher demand for Botox and eye treatment Restasis helped offset declines in its older drugs, and the company forecast 2017 revenue above expectations.

Channeling Steve Jobs, Apple seeks design perfection at new 'spaceship' campus

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Inside the original Macintosh computer, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs inscribed the signatures of his team, revealing his deep concern for even the hidden features of his products.

Bitcoin Slides After China's Central Bank Holds "Closed-Door" Meeting With Exchanges

The Chinese were bust over the Golden Week holiday... buying Bitcoin (up from 6350 to 7550 in Yuan). But now that the vacation is over, China's central bank is back to its crackdown and following reports of "closed-door" meetings with various Bitcoin exchanges, the virtual currency was sent tumbling this morning.

As Bloomberg reports, officials from the People's Bank of China are meeting Wednesday afternoon with representatives from a number of the nation's trading venues, the people said, asking not to be named because the meeting is private. Money laundering is among the topics on the agenda, said one person without elaborating.

The cryptocurrency has reacted sharply to reports in the past that China may tighten rules on the digital currency to curb capital outflows. The Wednesday pow-wow follows a regulatory inspection of exchanges including OkCoin, Huobi and BTCC in January. Bitcoin had risen by 120 percent over the past year as investors made purchases to hedge against yuan depreciation. The central bank didn't respond to a faxed request for comment.

"There are a lot of people shorting bitcoin now, one because of the regulatory environment, another because the price is relatively high," said Tian Jia, a Beijing-based trader of bitcoin. "The fact that PBOC continues to look into this issue might make people ...

With Latest Angry Tweet, Trumps Sets Off On Violent "Collision Course" With Supreme Court

With Trump's first angry tweet of the day, it is becoming very clear that the president's diplomatic approach vis-a-vis the judicial system can be described quite simply as "scorched earth." Following last night's Appeals Court hearing, Trump had the following response: "If the U.S. does not win this case as it so obviously should, we can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled. Politics!"

If the U.S. does not win this case as it so obviously should, we can never have the security and safety to which we are entitled. Politics!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 8, 2017

This, as The Hill puts it this morning, assures that Trump and the Supreme Court are now on a collision course: "the collision appears inevitable, with Trump's executive order halting travel to the United States by people from seven majority-Muslim countries — a ban a federal judge blocked last week — already moving quickly through the judicial system."

The clash is coming because Trump's travel order could be on the Supreme Court docket soon: a federal appeals court heard arguments on Tuesday, and after the adverse ruling - which may come as soon as today - the next stop will almost certainly be the high court. The problem, for Trump, is that any decision will be interpreted through the prism of Trump's comments on the judiciary, which critics say threaten the separation of powers.

At issue is Trump's ongoing feud on Twitter, and elsewhere, with judges.

The Hill cites legal scholars who say Trump's attacks on judges are unlikely to have any effect on a high court ruling. But it will be impossible for the justices to ...

Senate Votes To Gag Elizabeth Warren After Anti-Sessions Outburst

Not The Onion. Following a scathing speech against Trump's nominee for Attorney General, Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell said Senator Elizabeth Warren had "impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama," violating the so-called 'Rule 19'. By a vote of 49-43, Senator Warren was then barred from speaking on the floor until Senator Sessions nomination debate is complete (likely tomorrow evening).

Sen. Steve Daines (R-Mont.), who was presiding over the the Senate during the Massachusetts Democrat's speech - who at times was repeating words being said to him by GOP Senate floor staff - initially interrupted Warren to warn her that she was on the brink of violating the rule.

As The Hill reports, the drama on the Senate floor comes after McConnell interrupted Warren's speech accusing her of breaking the upper chamber's guidelines.

"The senator has impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama," McConnell said from the Senate floor.

"I call the senator to order under the provisions of Rule 19."

Under the Senate's "Rule 19," senators are not allowed to "directly or indirectly, by ...

Frontrunning: February 8

Stock futures little changed amid earnings rush (Reuters)

Workers Set to Strike at World's Largest Copper Mine (WSJ)

For Trump Travel Ban, Hard Questions From U.S. Appeals Court (BBG)

Melania Trump Sues Mail Online for $150 Million (BBG)

Ivanka Trump oversaw Murdoch daughters' trust (FT)

Trump Gains Ally on Plan to Tap Offshore Profit for Infrastructure (BBG)

China says United States should 'brush up on' South China Sea history (Reuters)

Russia Shows Why China Should Just Stop Burning Up Its Reserves (BBG)

Trump questions lawmakers' efforts to curb asset seizures by police (Reuters)

Companies Plow Ahead With Moves to Mexico, Despite Trump's Pressure (WSJ)

Concerns Loom Over a U.S. Pact to Protect Privacy of Europeans (

Rio Tinto Shows Prudence Pays Off

Rio Tinto has benefited from the upturn in iron-ore prices, but future gains depend on a host of big global trends.

Trump Can Only Do So Much for European Banks

President Donald Trump's regulatory rollback promises to help banks' money making inside the U.S., but for European banks this won't spell a letup in the pressure to reform.

The Disappearing Billionaire and the Hong Kong Property Market

The mysterious disappearance of a mainland Chinese-born billionaire in Hong Kong could give the city's skyrocketing property market a slight push toward the edge.

Metals Stocks: Latest gold rally stretches to fifth day

Gold futures gain for a fifth-straight session on Wednesday as geopolitical uncertainty kept prices near their highest settlement level in about three months.

Market Extra: Is the U.S. turning into OPEC's nightmare? What analysts are watching for in EIA report

Oil analysts are preparing for the worst in Wednesday's EIA report after the API data on Tuesday showed a huge jump in U.S. inventories.

Key Words: Super Bowl ads with political themes are defensible even from a business perspective

Progressive undertones and even overtones in advertising aren't as risky for brands as you might think.

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