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10Feb2017 Pre-Market Commentary: DOW Headed Towards New Historic Highs Today, Crude Prices Up One Percentage Point, US Dollar Trending Upwards For Best Week Since Mid-December

Written by Gary

Wall Street futures pointed to a slightly higher open this morning (SPY +0.1%), as markets wait for the consumer confidence report and looked ahead to President Trump's plans for trade deals as he meets up Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Crude prices moved 1% higher and the dollar hit its highest level in 10 days.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed today. The FTSE 100 is up 0.30% while the DAX gains 0.19%. The CAC 40 is off 0.06%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Stock futures edge up after Wall St. hits record high

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were slightly higher on Friday, a day after Wall Street hit record high on President Donald Trump's promise to unveil a tax reform plan in the coming weeks.

Reckitt finalizes deal to buy Mead Johnson for $16.6 billion

LONDON (Reuters) - Reckitt Benckiser has agreed to buy U.S. baby formula maker Mead Johnson Nutrition for $16.6 billion, giving the British consumer goods company a new product line and expanding its presence in developing markets.

Energy products boost U.S. import prices in January

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. import prices rose more than expected in January amid further gains in the cost of energy products, but a strong dollar continued to dampen underlying imported inflation.

Aon to sell benefits outsourcing to Blackstone for up to $4.8 billion

(Reuters) - Insurance broker Aon Plc said on Friday it agreed to sell its employee benefits outsourcing business to private equity firm Blackstone Group LP for up to $4.8 billion.

Euro zone, IMF agree on a common stance on Greece: official

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Euro zone lenders and the International Monetary Fund have reached agreed between themselves to present a common stance to Greece later on Friday in talks on reforms and the fiscal path Athens must take, euro zone officials said.

Exclusive: OPEC figures show over 90 percent compliance with supply cut -sources

LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC has delivered more than 90 percent of pledged oil output curbs in January, according to figures the exporter group uses to monitor its supply, making a strong start to implementation of its first production cut in eight years.

Oil overhang points to need for extended OPEC output cuts

LONDON (Reuters) - An OPEC-led production cut may well be accelerating a drawdown in global oil stocks that began last year, but implementing the reduction for just six months means the producer group will fall short of achieving its objective of rebalancing the market.

Oil rises on signs of record compliance with OPEC output deal

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose more than 1 percent on Friday after news that OPEC members' initial compliance with last year's landmark production cut deal reached a record high.

Deutsche Boerse warns against hasty changes to U.S. banking rules

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - German exchange operator Deutsche Boerse warned on Friday the United States should be cautious in any revamp of banking regulations to ensure the lessons of the financial crisis are not forgotten.

Sears Soars On New $1 Billion Restructuring Plan, Despite Abysmal Earnings

Just days after troubled retailer Sears Holdings was put on (yet another) deathwatch after its stock crashed to all time lows while it CDS hit a record high, earlier this week, the short squeeze is back, with the stock surging 20% pre market, after the company announced it is planning steps to improve liquidity and financial flexibility, launching a strategic restructuring program intended to streamline operations and improve its dreadful operating performance, targeting cost cuts of at least $1 billion while repaying over a billion in outstanding pension obligations.

The announcement comes as Sears announced another brutal quarter, in which revenue crashed 16% to $6.1 billion and net losses rose to $635 million from $580 million in the period last year according to preliminary results. For the full year, Sears expects revenues to fall 12% from last year to $22.1 billion.

The company, controlled by its billionaire chief executive, Edward Lampert who over a decade ago took Kmart out of bankruptcy, announced his new plan to cut costs by at least $1 billion in 2017 by reducing overhead, improving merchandise at its stores and through better inventory management.

Company CEO and Chairman said "to build on our positive momentum, today we are initiating a fundamental restructuring of our operations that targets at least $1.0 billion in cost savings on annualized basis, as well as improves our operating performance. To capture these savings, we plan to reduce our corporate overhead, more closely integrate our Sears and Kmart operations and improve our merchandising, supply chain and inventory management.

While it reported a 10.3% plunge in comp sales, of which domestics same store sales tumbled 12.3%, and Kmart dropped 8%, Sears said it would cut debt and pension obligations by at least $1.5 billion this year. Sears also said it sold five ...

Chinese Bitcoin Exchanges Suspend Client Withdrawals. I Warned You About Heteronomous Wallets! reports "Chinese Exchanges Suspend Withdrawals for One Month": The two largest Chinese Bitcoin exchanges have suspended Bitcoin and Litecoin withdrawals for one month. The news follows China's central bank inspections at nine smaller Bitcoin exchanges this week.

In an effort to stem the flow againt China's capital controls, the PBOC is inspecting various onshore bitcoin exchanges - 11 all told, including the largest - OkCoin and Huobi (the smaller exchanges include Chbtc, Haobtc, Btctrade, Yunbi, BTC100, Dahonghuo, Jubi, Bitbay, and Yuanbao). While this caused some fluctuation in BTCUSD prices, it regained its ~$1,070 price farily quickly. This morning, EST, it quickly dropped $100 (~10%) as news came out that "exchanges Okcoin and Huobi announced they would suspend BTC and LTC withdrawals for one month"

Trump Reportedly Redrafting Immigration Ban After "Disgraceful" Court Decision

After losing last night in a not so shocking 3-0 decision, courtesy of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the White House is rumored to be redrafting its travel ban executive order this morning with more specific language to address concerns raised by the court. The report of a redraft comes from Joe Scarborough of MSNBC, who cited unnamed sources, so, as always, the information must be taken with a grain of salt. Here is what Scarborough told viewers earlier this morning:

"I've heard from several sources that the White House is right now working on redrafting an executive order but want to make sure that it is tight enough to pass."

Meanwhile, Trump once again blasted the 9th Circuit's "disgraceful decision" over Twitter early this morning:

LAWFARE: "Remarkably, in the entire opinion, the panel did not bother even to cite this (the) statute." A disgraceful decision!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 10, 2017

Scarborough's reporting this morning came after he released a tweet storm last night calling for a redraft of the controversial executive order while also blasting the 9th Circuit's decision.

This immigration EO was a disaster from the start. The president should start over, have agencies draft it more narrowly, and sign it.

— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) February 9, 2017

Air-Force Test-Launches Minuteman ICBM From California

The rattling of sabres grows ever louder. reports that the Air Force says an unarmed Minuteman 3 missile has been launched from California's central coast in the latest test of the intercontinental system.

The missile blasted off at 11:39 p.m. PDT Wednesday from Vandenberg Air Force Base northwest of Los Angeles.

The Air Force says the missile carried test re-entry vehicles that headed for a target area 4,200 miles away to the Kwajalein Atoll in the Marshall Islands in the Pacific Ocean.

The Air Force routinely uses Vandenberg to test Minuteman missiles from bases around the country.

This test involved personnel from Vandenberg's 576th Flight Test Squadron and the 91st Missile Wing, Minot Air Force Base, North Dakota.

In this photo provided by U.S. Air Force, an unarmed Minuteman III intercontinental ballistic missile launches during an operational test on Saturday, Feb. 20, 2016 at Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.

China's Inconveniently Expanding Exports to the U.S.

News that Donald Trump has dialed back rhetoric on Taiwan may simply be a prelude to renewed tensions on China's swelling exports to the U.S.

How Intel Is Playing Its Chips

The chip maker can afford to spend big to stay on top.

Luxury Companies, Cash Rich, Ready to Splurge

Whatever happens to demand for luxury goods this year, one thing is sure: Corporate cash will pile up.

Import and Export Price Year-over-Year Inflation Significantly Grows in January 2017

Written by Steven Hansen

Import and export price growth continues after years of deflation.

Rail Week Ending 4 February 2017: Shows Little Real Economic Growth

Week 5 of 2017 shows same week total rail traffic (from same week one year ago) improved according to the Association of American Railroads (AAR) traffic data.

Metals Stocks: Gold sputters in back-to-back sessions as dollar, stocks push higher

Gold futures fall for back-to-back sessions Friday, leaving the contract on pace to wrap the week little changed, as the dollar and stocks pushed higher.

Economic Report: U.S. import prices surge again in January

The cost of imported goods surged in January for the third time in four months, mostly because of rising oil prices that are nudging U.S. inflation higher.

Outside the Box: The bigger banks get, the harder we will fall

Financial industry deregulation could trigger another global banking crisis, writes Satyajit Das.

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