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27Feb2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street To Open Down And Flat, Crude Prices Climb, US Dollar Steady, Trump's Speech Tomorrow Could End Market Rally

Written by Gary

U.S. stock market futures pointed to a flat open (SPY -0.2%) this morning, as concerned investors wait for President Trump's speech to Congress tomorrow. Trump's talk Tuesday could end this 'suckers' rally in stocks say analysts.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed today. The DAX is up 0.04% while the FTSE 100 gains 0.03%. The CAC 40 is off 0.10%.

US futures point to flat open as stock try to extend record run

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Exclusive: Wal-Mart launches new front in U.S. price war, targets Aldi in grocery aisle

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc is running a new price-comparison test in at least 1,200 U.S. stores and squeezing packaged goods suppliers in a bid to close a pricing gap with German-based discount grocery chain Aldi and other U.S. rivals like Kroger Co , according to four sources familiar with the moves.

Buffett tells CNBC Berkshire bought 120 million Apple shares in 2017

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway Inc , told CNBC on Monday that his conglomerate had purchased about 120 million shares of Apple Inc. in 2017 and that U.S. stocks were not in "bubble territory."

World stocks dip on M&A falling through, Buffett caution

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks fell on Monday, after two huge European merger and acquisition deals fell through and billionaire U.S. investor Warren Buffett warned that while stocks are cheap, they are currently unpredictable and prone to a sudden, steep correction.

Oil gains as bullish bets on rising prices hit record high

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices rose on Monday as investors showed record confidence in prices rising further, though gains were capped by the prospect of faster growth in U.S. oil production.

Anthem and Blue Crosses loom large in Obamacare talks

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Anthem Inc. and other U.S. health insurers complained to the White House for more than a year that they were losing money on people who waited to sign up for Obamacare coverage until they were sick.

Upstart analysts show banks the way in new era for research

LONDON (Reuters) - From a non-descript office in south London, Mark Hiley may be showing the way for Wall Street giants such as JPMorgan and Merrill Lynch to adapt to new European rules requiring them to charge an explicit fee for investment research.

No cuts to U.S. entitlement programs in Trump budget: Mnuchin

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's first budget proposal will spare big social welfare programs such as Social Security and Medicare from any cuts, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in an interview broadcast on Sunday.

LSE scuppers Deutsche Boerse merger hopes by rejecting EU demand

LONDON/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The London Stock Exchange has all but ended a planned merger with Deutsche Boerse to create Europe's biggest stock exchange by ruling out a European antitrust demand, saying it has strong prospects alone.

Alibaba says poor laws, enforcement behind spread of fakes

BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Alibaba Group Holding Ltd on Monday blamed ambiguous laws and lax penalties at the root of its difficulties in enforcing laws against counterfeiting, as the firm lobbies to be taken off a U.S. blacklist of marketplaces notorious for fakes.

PwC Apologizes For "Historic, Colossal, Ludicrous" Oscar Screw-up

For those who missed last night's ritual of Hollywood self-congratulation, it ended in perhaps the greatest humiliation in Oscars' history, when the spectacle that relentlessly mocked and ridiculed Donald Trump, both directly and indirectly, concluded by handing the Best Picture award to the wrong movie.

The award was given to Moonlight after presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway initially announced that La La Land had won best picture. As the film's producers were making their acceptance speeches, producer Jordan Horowitz informed viewers that the category's winner was actually Moonlight, and showed the card announcing the winner to the camera. Beatty then informed the stunned audience of the mix-up, as he and Dunaway had mistakenly been given, and read, the card for best actress, which was presented to La La Land's Emma Stone just minutes before.

As the WSJ's Jason Gay summarized hours after the show, "Well, that was nuts, even for Hollywood."

Let's be clear: the Oscars were already a fairly ridiculous exercise. A cathedral of glamour and ego, the movie industry's annual awards conclave is a bloated exercise of hype and self-satisfaction that takes as long to complete as the second year of medical school. This is, of course, why we watch it. An Oscars ceremony that isn't too long, inane and occasionally infuriating—that's not a proper Oscars, buddy!

And yet, what happened late Sunday in Los Angeles redefined the already high standard for absurdity at the Academy Awards. An event that once gave us a Rob Lowe duet with Snow White, as well as Telly Savalas,Pat Morita and Dom De ...

Frontrunning: February 27

Epic Oscars Mistake: Faye Dunaway, Warren Beatty Announce Wrong Best Picture Winner (Variety)

'Moonlight' upsets 'La La Land' for top Oscar after major gaffe (Reuters)

Oscar host Jimmy Kimmel turns Trump into recurrent punch line (Reuters)

After Mix-Up, Hollywood Searches for an Explanation (WSJ)

Trillions at Risk When Trump Speaks to Congress (BBG)

Bond Market Is Flashing Warning Signal on Trump Reflation Trade (WSJ)

Mexico Warns U.S. It'll Cut Off Nafta Talks If Tariffs Proposed (BBG)

Trump to Ask for Sharp Increases in Military Spending, Officials Say (NYT)

GOP Leaders Bet on Cooperation in Push Against Obamacare (WSJ)

Euro-Area Economic Confidence Climbs to Highest Since 2011 (BBG)

Billionaire Warren Buffett more than doubled his holdings in Apple in 2017 ...

Trump Seeks Sharp Increases In Military Spending, "Drastic Cuts" To State Department, EPA

As part of his proposed budget, President Trump will instruct federal agencies on Monday to assemble a spending plan for the coming fiscal year that includes sharp increases in Defense Department spending and "drastic cuts" to domestic agencies such as the State Department, the EPA and other non-defense programs, so that he can keep his promise to leave Social Security and Medicare alone, according to four senior administration officials cited by the NYT. The budget outline will be the first move in a campaign this week to reset the narrative of Mr. Trump's turmoil-tossed White House.

Coming one day before delivering his high-stakes "State of the Union" address on Tuesday to a joint session of Congress, Trump will demand a budget with tens of billions of dollars in reductions to the Environmental Protection Agency and State Department, administration officials reported. The NYT adds that social safety net programs, aside from the big entitlement programs for retirees, would also be hit hard. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, speaking on Fox News earlier on Sunday, said Trump's budget would not seek cuts in federal social programs such as Social Security and Medicare.

While preliminary budget outlines tend to be little-noticed administrative exercises, the first step in negotiations between the White House and federal agencies that usually shave the sharpest edges off the initial request, this plan, a product of a collaboration between the Office of Management and Budget director, Mick Mulvaney; the National Economic Council director, Gary Cohn; and the White House chief strategist, Stephen Bannon, is intended to make a big splash for a president eager to show that he is a man of action.

Resistance from federal agencies could ease some of the deepest cuts in the initial plan before a final budget request is even sent to Congress. And Capitol Hill will have t ...

Buffett Boosts Apple Holdings To 133 Million Shares In 2017, Becomes Top 5 Holder

Traders, analysts and Buffett-watchers were amazed two weeks ago when in its 13F filing, Berkshire Hathaway reported that it had nearly quadrupled its Apple stake from 15.2 million shares as of Sept 30 to 57.4 million shares on December, making it a Top 10 holder in the tech company. Then, moments ago, the surprises continued when speaking to CNBC's Becky Quick, the Berkshire Hathaway Chairman said that he more than doubled his holdings in Apple yet again between the start of 2017 and the tech company's most recent earnings report.

At this point, Buffett owns $17 billion worth of the tech giant's stock he told CNBC making him a Top 5 holders of the stock, sandwiched between CapRe in 6th spot and Fidelity in 4th.

The purchases that Buffett revealed on Monday give Berkshire Hathaway about 2.5% of the outstanding Apple shares. It also made Apple one of Buffett's company's largest holdings, second only to Coca-Cola.

The investor said that he upped his stake because of the consumer-retaining power of Apple. "Apple strikes me as having quite a sticky product, and an enormously useful product to people that use it," Buffett told CNBC.

The Berkshire Hathaway CEO said that a book by famed investor Philip Fisher called "Common Stocks and Uncommon Profits" inspired him to research how consumers feel about Apple products. "He talks about something called the 'scuttlebutt method,' which made a big impression on me at the time, and I used it a lot," Buffett said. "[It's] essentially going out and finding out as much as you can about how ...

'Bad Banks' Spread Across China

More than three dozen asset-management companies are vacuuming up bad debts from Chinese banks. But it's more like sweeping the problems under the rug.

Bank Lending Signals Caution

President Donald Trump's erratic style could be to blame for the recent slowdown in lending growth.

Defending the Euro Starts With Cleaning Up the Banks

Bad loans aren't just an economic burden; they also undermine the eurozone itself

Jeff Reeves's Strength in Numbers: Here's how inflation will impact your portfolio in 2017

5 investments to watch, from TIPS to housing to gold

: The U.S. dollar is going to get much stronger

Ivan Martchev says the 10-year Treasury yield could fall below 1% or lower and the U.S. Dollar Index rise to 120 by the time President Trump's first term is complete — even though that may seem outlandish today.

Economic Report: Business investment off to poor start in 2017, durable goods report show

Business investment got off to a poor start in 2017 aside from the aerospace industry, perhaps a sign businesses are awaiting new policies by the Trump administration before acting.

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