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15Feb2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Mixed, Flat And May Still Set New Records Again To Day, US Dollar Gaps Up And Investors Hang On To The Trump Train

Written by Gary

US futures pointed to a pause, mixed opening, after hitting new record highs again yesterday (SPY -0.1%). Even a small move higher at the open would mean more records. Oil prices are lower, after data overnight showed a massive build-up in US crude supplies.

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 0.56% while London's FTSE 100 is up 0.52% and Germany's DAX is up 0.14%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Consumer prices post largest gain in nearly four years

WASHINGTON, Feb 15 (Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices recorded their biggest increase in nearly four years in January as

Stock futures flat, digesting record run and before data blast

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday, ahead of a blast of economic data and a day after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen painted a largely upbeat picture of the economy.

Berkshire takes huge bite of Apple, boosts airline stakes

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc was an aggressive buyer of stocks in last year's fourth quarter, nearly quadrupling its stake in Apple Inc and increasing its stake sevenfold in the four biggest U.S. airlines.

Anthem sues Cigna to block deal termination

(Reuters) - Anthem Inc said on Wednesday it filed a lawsuit seeking to block smaller rival Cigna Corp from terminating their proposed $54 billion deal, which would have created the largest U.S. health insurer by membership.

PepsiCo profit beats on demand for healthy snacks, drinks

(Reuters) - PepsiCo Inc reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as the company benefited from its cost-cutting programs and higher demand for its healthier beverages and snacks in North America.

GM, PSA bosses try to sell Europe deal amid German, UK worries

FRANKFURT/PARIS (Reuters) - The bosses of General Motors and Peugeot maker PSA were racing on Wednesday to contain anger in Germany over their plans for PSA to buy GM's European business Opel.

Toshiba shares tumble as bigger stake in chip unit likely up for sale

TOKYO (Reuters) - Shares in Toshiba Corp skidded on Wednesday after the conglomerate said it would book a $6.3 billion hit to its U.S. nuclear unit and may sell a majority stake in its prized flash-memory chip unit as it scrambles for cash to stay in business.

Pharma industry shuns Trump push for radical shift at FDA

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's vow to roll back government regulations at least 75 percent is causing anxiety for some pharmaceutical executives that a less robust Food and Drug Administration would make it harder to secure insurance coverage for pricey new medicines.

Big banks avoid hiring spree despite trading boom

LONDON (Reuters) - Market trading is booming at U.S. and European banks thanks to Donald Trump and Brexit, and yet the glory days of dealing rooms the size of football pitches remain as distant as ever.

"It Is A Conspiracy To Have Trump Impeached": Russia Denies Trump Officials Contacted Russian Spies

The latest Trump foreign policy keeps getting stranger by the minute. Overnight, as the three liberal-leaning US newspaper launched another attack on Trump, alleging that officials linked to the president, most notably Tim Manafort, engaged Russian intel officials in the not too distant past, the Russian government dismissed allegations that the country's intelligence officials were in repeated contact with Donald Trump's team ahead of the US election.

"Let's not believe anonymous information," Vladimir Putin's spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters. "It's a newspaper report which is not based on any facts."

A Russian senator, Vladimir Jabbarov, cited by the Independent went so far as to tell state media the latest claims "were part of an intelligence community conspiracy to have the President impeached."

"This is a common tactic to try to discredit a particular person," he added.

Meanwhile, following Sean Spicer's statement during his Tuesday press conference that Trump wants Crimea "returned" to Ukraine, Russian officials struck a combative stance with the US on issues including the Ukrainian conflict, after the White House said Mr Trump "expects the Russian government to de-escalate violence in Ukraine and return Crimea".

Maria Zakharova, a spokesperson for the Russian foreign ministry, told a press briefing the occupied territory would not be relinquished. "We don't give back our own territory," she told a news briefing. "Crimea is territory belonging to the Russian Federation."

Tweeting on the topic of Ukraine, moments ago Trump said that "Crimea was TAKEN by Russia during the Obama Administration. Was Obama too soft on Russia?"

Frontrunning: February 15

World stocks at 21-month highs on Yellen, U.S. outlook (Reuters); Dollar notches longest run of gains in five years before CPI data (Reuters)

Nervous About the ACA, GOP Divisions Emerge Over Repeal Effort (BBG)

Flynn Probed by FBI Over Calls With Russian Official (WSJ)

Russia Questions Mount for Trump White House Reeling From Flynn Fallout (BBG)

Trump knew for weeks aide was misleading over Russia (Reuters)

U.S. Drops Insistence on Two-State Solution in Mideast (WSJ)

Trump to welcome Netanyahu as Palestinians fear U.S. shift (Reuters)

Yellen Sets High Hurdle for Reducing Fed's Massive Bond Holdings (BBG)

Why the Trump Organization Was Cited in a Brazil Corruption Probe (BBG)

Bank of America Misses a Big Options Payday, Goldman Cashes In (

Silver Price To Surge As "Investors and Users Fighting Over Available Physical Supplies"

Silver Price To Surge As "Investors and Users Fighting Over Available Physical Supplies"

One of the world's foremost silver analysts Theodore Butler has elaborated on another "powerful" bullish factor which "screams at us to buy silver".

Mr. Butler is one of the leading experts on the silver market and he elaborates on his very positive outlook for silver prices in an article entitled 'Another Unique Blow-Off Factor' published on Silver Seek yesterday:

The reason that this knowledge is so important is because the COMEX is the primary place where silver prices are set.

Forget about China, the dollar, the economy or whatever reason the media reports. Billion dollar banks, hedg ...

Poison Assassination Of Kim Jong Un's Brother "Lasted About 15 Seconds"

Following yesterday's shocking news that the half-brother of North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un was assassinated, Malaysian authorities said on Wednesday that they detained a suspect in the apparent murder and are looking for a "few" other foreign suspects, as they zeroed in on the two women who police said fatally attacked him.

The detained woman was carrying a passport from Vietnam and was alone at the time of the arrest at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, the local police said as they pieced together a timelime of the assault. "We believe she has a strong connection with the murder," said Malaysia Deputy Inspector General of Police, Noor Rashid Ibrahim. "We are still looking for a few suspects, they are all still in Malaysia."

Lawmakers in South Korea had earlier cited their spy agency as saying it suspected two female North Korean agents had murdered Kim Jong Nam, and U.S. government sources also told Reuters they believed North Korean assassins were responsible.

According to the WSJ, Kim Jong Nam, the brother, arrived early for a 10:50 a.m. AirAsia flight to Macau on Monday after more than a week in Malaysia, police said. He was in a well-lit, spacious departures hall lined with cafes like Starbucks, near a popular photo spot of a Chinese New Year exhibit featuring a giant, yellow chick. There, Mr. Kim was approached from opposite sides by two fair-skinned women who didn't appear to be Malaysian, said police who viewed CCTV footage. One of the women touched Mr. Kim's face with a cloth that contained an unidentified liquid before both departed in separate directions, police said.

Retail Zombies Haunt Industry

The lengthy list of retailers teetering on the edge of bankruptcy but not being allowed to die is holding the rest of the industry back.

Time to Log Out of Bank of the Internet

BofI Holding has fought a mostly successful battle with short sellers, but risks loom.

SoftBank Builds Fortress for the Future

SoftBank's $3.3 billion purchase of Fortress Investment gives the company's new venture fund an instant platform for investing.

Economic Report: U.S. retail sales sizzle in January

Most U.S. retailers posted strong sales in January, even beleaguered department stores, perhaps a sign that higher consumer confidence since the election has encouraged Americans to spend more, at last temporarily. Retail sales rose 0.4% last month.

Economic Report: Empire State index jumps to 18.7 in February

The Empire State index of manufacturing conditions in the New York area jumped to 18.7 in February, it's highest level in more than two years.

Etsy launches new marketplace for craft-supplies sellers

Etsy is going after a wider base of sellers with the launch of an online craft supplies marketplace.

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