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16Feb2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Opens Up Fractionally, Crude Prices Climbing, US Dollar Loosing Ground, The Economy Brightening

Written by Gary

US stock market indexes opened to a flat start this morning (SPY _0.01%), with the markets pausing after fresh record high closes yesterday. Crude prices are trending up while the US dollar is slipping.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are lower today with shares in France off the most. The CAC 40 is down 0.37% while London's FTSE 100 is off 0.27% and Germany's DAX is lower by 0.23%.

US stock futures hold lower after economic data releases

Looking at the last three columns, the first one (Actual), is what was reported this morning. The second column (Forecast) is what analysts had forecast and the third column is the previous report. Full calendar HERE.

Fed fund futures priced in around a 27% chance of a rate hike in March, according to's Fed Rate Monitor Tool, up from less than 10% at the start of the week. Odds of a June increase was seen at around 74%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street to open lower as it navigates unchartered territory

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks were set to dip slightly at the open on Thursday as investors looked for fresh catalysts to keep up Wall Street's record-setting run as the outlook for the economy brightened.

Snap seeks valuation of up to $18.5 billion in highly awaited IPO

(Reuters) - Snap Inc, owner of the popular messaging app Snapchat, is seeking a valuation of between $16.20 billion and $18.52 billion in its highly awaited initial public offering.

U.S. housing starts drop; permits rise to one-year high

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. homebuilding fell in January as the construction of multi-family housing projects dropped, but upward revisions to the prior month's data and a jump in permits to a one-year high suggested the housing recovery remained on track.

U.S. weekly jobless claims rise less than expected

WASHINGTON - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits increased less than expected last week, a sign that the labor market was continuing to tighten.

Exclusive: Big U.S. banks to push for easing of money laundering rules

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - America's largest banks are to propose a complete overhaul of how financial institutions investigate and report potential criminal activity, arguing that rules imposed in the years after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and strengthened during the Obama administration are onerous and ineffective, sources said. The Clearing House, a trade association representing the largest U.S. banks including Goldman Sachs , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of Am

After day in South Korea court, Samsung chief awaits arrest decision

SEOUL (Reuters) - Samsung Group leader Jay Y. Lee left a Seoul court after more than eight hours on Thursday to await a decision on whether he will be arrested over his alleged role in a corruption scandal that has engulfed President Park Geun-hye.

Newspapers aim to ride 'Trump Bump' to reach readers, advertisers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Trump administration's combative view of traditional news media as the "opposition party" and "fake news" is turning out to be the best hope in 2017 for newspapers struggling to attract more digital readers and advertisers.

Deutsche Boerse CEO denies insider trading allegations

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Boerse's chief executive said insider trading allegations against him would prove unfounded, pointing out that he did not determine the timing of his share purchases ahead of the announcement of merger plans with the London Stock Exchange .

Chinese firm files complaints with Chinese government over McDonald's China sale

HONG KONG (Reuters) - A Chinese consultancy that has previously helped to win antitrust battles against Coca-Cola and Apple has taken aim at McDonald's Corp, arguing in a complaint to regulators that the American fast food giant's China sale may hurt workers and consumers.

Key Events In Washington Today

While less exciting than yesterday, when Trump again praised his stupendous, "imminent" tax plan while meeting with retail CEOs complaining about border adjustment, before telling Netanyahu he is ok with either a one or "two-state" solution, all eyes will again remain focused on DC, and - of course - the biggest wildcard, Donald Trump. Here's a look at scheduled events of interest today in Washington, courtesy of Bloomber; all times Eastern

Senate vote on nomination of Rep. Mick Mulvaney to lead Office of Management and Budget

Senate cmte hearings to consider nominations of David Friedman to be U.S. ambassador to Israel and Seema Verma to lead Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services


10:30am: President Trump participates in Congressional listening session

1:25pm: Trump speaks with President Beji Caid Essebsi of Tunisia in phone call

3:15pm: Trump signs H.J. Res. 38, repealing coal mining waste rule

1:30pm: Briefing with Press Sec. Sean Spicer


House meets at 10am; plans to consider two resolutions to overturn Obama administration rules under the Congressional Review Act

Senate meets at 10am

10:30am: Senate to hold vote on Mulvaney to lead the OMB; then cloture vote on Scott Pruitt to lead EPA

10am: Senate Rules and Administration Cmte meets to "organize the 115th Congress and to consider the omnibus budget resolution" for committees; 301 Russell

Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Cmte had scheduled a hearing for Andrew Puzder to be U.S. Labor sec.; however, the CKE Restaurants CEO withdrew from consideration Wednesday afternoon


9am: Brookings Institution holds discussion on "Pursuing Regulatory Excellence: Brexit, Trump and Beyond"; 1775 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Saul/Zikha room

"Wake Up America" Dennis Kucinich Defends Trump, Issues Dire Warning About "Deep State"

Submitted by Michael Shedlock via,

Dennis Kucinich, Former U.S. Rep. and Democratic presidential candidate, defended Donald Trump on "Mornings with Maria" on Tuesday.

In regards to Michael Flynn's resignation, Kucinich defended Trump and told America to "Wake Up"

Anti-Russia Game

In the interview, Kucinich blamed factions of the US intelligence community for wanting to end any positive relationship between Russia and the US, hoping for a return of the cold war.

"...the American people have to know that there's a game going on inside the intelligence community... at the bottom of all this is the fact that there are those that seek to separate US from Russia to reignite the cold war... wake up America!!"

Kucinich did not see this as an anti-Trump game, but rather an anti-Russia game:

"It's not just this administration. I want to remind the views and all those who are on the panel that in the closing months of the Obama administration, they put together a deal with Russia to create peace in Syria. A few days later, a military strike in Syria killed a hundred Syrian soldiers and that ended the agreement. What happened is inside the intelligence and the Pentagon there was a deliberate eff ...

Philly Fed Explodes To 33-Year Highs - A 10-Standard-Deviation Beat

Against expectations of a 18.0 print, February's Philly Fed exploded higher to 43.3 - the highest since January 1984. This is a 10-standard-deviation beat, led by a surge in new orders and the workweek, despite a decline in 'hope' and the number of employees.

Everything is Awesome America... especially in Philapdelphia?

The index for current manufacturing activity in the region increased from a reading of 23.6 in January to 43.3 this month and has remained positive for seven consecutive months.

The share of firms reporting growth continues to increase: More than 48 percent of the firms reported increases in activity this month compared with 40 percent last month. The index for current new orders increased 12 points this month (with 44 percent of the firms reporting increases and just 6 percent reporting decreases).

For context, that is a 10-sigma event...

But 'hope' declined...

And as the full breakdown shows, the number of employees declined, as did inven ...

If Car Industry Retools, Parts Makers Will Reel

Barriers to trade are bearing down on the auto industry. Parts makers have the most to lose.

Cisco's License to Buy

The latest results at Cisco Systems are a good indicator of why investors seem eager to give the tech giant some room to roll the dice.

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.

February 2017 Philly Fed Manufacturing Survey Significantly Improves

Written by Steven Hansen

The Philly Fed Business Outlook Survey significantly improved and remains expansion. Key elements were strong.

11 February 2017 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Insignificantly Worsens

The market expectations for weekly initial unemployment claims (from Bloomberg / Econoday) were 242 K to 250 K (consensus 246,000), and the Department of Labor reported 239,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 244,750 (reported last week as 244,250) to 245,250. The rolling averages generally have been equal to or under 300,000 since August 2014.

From a risk-of-bankruptcy standpoint, the retail business is the new oil and gas

With retailers facing a slew of issues, including the shift to online and the need for investment, experts are expecting an increase in bankruptcies and restructurings.

Metals Stocks: Gold tries for repeat gains as dollar wobbles

Gold futures tried for back-to-back gains Thursday as the dollar wavered. Gold's gain Wednesday snapped what had been a four-session, more than 1%, fall, stoked by expectations for dollar-boosting higher U.S. interest rates.

NewsWatch: Gold investors smell a rat in this 'animal spirits' market — this is why

The up and up of the stock market is something few want to make a bet on right now. But one asset appears to clearly be finding something dubious there.

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