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21Mar2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Global Markets Remain On Flatline

Written by Gary

Reading through the headlines this morning, one gets the feeling there are as many forces at work that creates uncertainty as forces that create hope. The result is the markets are treading water and likely will flatline today. Gold is off marginally whilst oil is up marginally.


Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed. The CAC 40 is higher by 0.24%, while London's FTSE 100 is off 0.17%. Shares in Germany are unchanged with the DAX at 12,054.03.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

French presidential debate lifts euro to six-week highs

LONDON (Reuters) - The euro climbed to six-week highs and French bonds and stocks rallied on Tuesday after centrist Emmanuel Macron's performance in a television debate raised expectations he would win France's presidential election over the far-right's Marine Le Pen.

Google to revamp policies, hire staff after UK ad scandal

LONDON (Reuters) - Google vowed on Tuesday to police its websites better by ramping up staff numbers and overhauling its policies after several companies deserted the internet giant for failing to keep their adverts off hate-filled videos.

Cheerios maker General Mills' sales miss estimates

(Reuters) - Food maker General Mills Inc reported a bigger-than-expected 5.2 percent fall in quarterly sales on Tuesday, hurt by weak sales of yogurt and baking products in the United States, its biggest market.

Wal-Mart to launch investment arm in e-commerce push

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc, the world's largest retailer, will launch its first investment arm to expand its e-commerce business in partnership with retail start-ups, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, the company said on Monday.

Apple CEO visits China bike-sharing start-up ofo

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Apple Inc chief executive Tim Cook paid a visit to Chinese bike-sharing company ofo on Tuesday, as the country's ride-sharing start-ups fight aggressively for investor dollars and market share.

Hyundai Motor shares rally on restructuring speculation

SEOUL (Reuters) - Hyundai Motor Co shares gained the most in over five-and-a-half years on Tuesday on speculation that its parent group, controlled by Chairman Chung Mong-koo, will reorganize its ownership structure.

Snap snaps back after analyst assigns first 'buy' rating

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Snap Inc stock rose on Monday after the Snapchat owner received its first "buy" rating from a Wall Street analyst following a $3.4 billion public listing this month that raised the eyebrows of many on Wall Street.

Oil prices climb on talk that OPEC could extend supply cut

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil prices climbed on Tuesday, helped by expectations that an OPEC-led output cut would be extended beyond June but gains were pegged back by concerns about persistently high crude inventories.

Exclusive: Toshiba's Westinghouse seeks U.S. bankruptcy financing - sources

(Reuters) - Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, the nuclear power plant developer owned by Japanese electronics company Toshiba Corp , is taking offers for a financing package to help it go through U.S. bankruptcy, people familiar with the matter said on Monday.

Global Stocks Rise; Euro Surges To 6 Week High After French Presidential Debate

European stocks are modestly in the green as gains in banks and oil companies offset declines in miners. Asian stocks and S&P futures rise with Emerging-market stocks extending their longest winning streak since August on the back of the 5th consecutive daily drop in the USD.

The euro rose to the strongest in six weeks after a French presidential debate eased market concerns about a possible Le Pen win: the first French debate was reportedly won by centrist Emmanuel Macron. For those who missed it, last night saw the first televised debate between the candidates. Those who tuned in may be feeling a little jaded as the debate ended up lasting a whopping three and a half hours. There were plenty of head to head moments between Macron and Le Pen in particular which included much finger pointing and also amusing bouts of sarcasm. Immigration was unsurprisingly a hot topic while the exchanges also moved over to the economy and various policy measures. The general feeling was certainly one of it being lively however. Markets were largely waiting for some sort of conclusion about who came out on top though and following the debate an Elabe poll (covering 1157 respondents) found that Macron was seen as the winner of the debate at 29% with Melenchon second with 20%. Fillon and Le Pen came in joint third at 19% and Hamon came in fifth at 11%. An Opinionway poll showed 25% for Macron; in both polls Fillon and Le Pen were tied at 19%.

"This Is Going To Blow Sky High" - Observations On Canada's Housing Market

For months we've been warning about real estate bubbles re-emerging in various markets around the world from Canada to Australia (see "There Are 66,719 Empty Mansions In Vancouver" and "Vancouver Home Sales Crash 40%, As Toronto Home Prices Soar 22%"). And while facts and figures clearly indicate that certain markets are bubbling over courtesy of all the same mistakes that caused the 'great recession' in 2008, nothing helps to confirm the truly obscene nature of a real estate bubble quite like attending a good ole-fashioned, get-rich-quick real estate expo. As such, below are the musings of one financial market observer who recently attended the Canadian Real Estate Wealth Expo as a joke but walked away convinced the system is about "to blow sky high."

* * *

Originally Authored By Tim Bergin of On Beyond Investing

Originally, I thought this would be a bit of a joke. There were billboards in all the Toronto subway cars advertising the Canadian Real Estate Wealth Expo - learn how to become a millionaire. I thought this was so ridiculous, it may be fun. What better way to experience the top of the housing market than watching Tony Robbins and Pitbull along with a bunch of US real estate professionals explain how Toronto real estate is the path to riches.

Prices were originally $150 per ticket, but I was able to buy for $50. While it deeply bothers me that I paid $50 to these shameless (amoral) self-promoters, I thought it would be worth it to witness, in person, the top of the housing market.

French Presidential Race: Marine LePen Far Ahead Of Rivals In Secret Polling

An editor at French daily, Le Figaro, has alluded to secret polling data which show the Front National's Marine Le Pen polling close to 34% among those with intentions to vote in the first round of the French presidential election.

Authored by Damien Cowley,

Surveys in the public domain consistently have populist LePen ahead of her rivals in the first round, at 26-28% of intentions to vote but losing to whichever rival she faces in the second.

A score of above 30% in the first round, however, would significantly boost her chances of continuing to victory on May 7th.

Comey: "The Russians Concluded Trump Was Hopeless Last August"

It appears that Russia fell for the same ruse that much of America, not to mention its press and punditry, was taken by, at least according to the FBI director: believing US polls.

During his hearing before the House Intel Panel, FBI Director James Comey said that the Russians expected Hillary Clinton to win the presidency over Donald Trump as of August and September.

"Late in the summer they concluded based on the polling that a lot of people were reading that Mr. Trump didn't stand a chance," said Comey, although it was not clear just how the FBI knew what the Russians "concluded" as of last summer.

The FBI director's extrapolations then continued: "let's just focus on undermining her," Comey says of Russian thinking at the time, which however was also confusing as earlier in his testimony Comey said "we saw no efforts aimed at the vote itself."

Comey then disputed the content of a tweet from President Trump regarding Russia influencing the 2016 presidential race. At the same time that Comey and National Security Agency Director Michael Rogers testified to the House Intelligence Committee about Russian interference in the U.S. presidential election, the president tweeted a video from his @POTUS account, saying "the NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process."

The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process. pic.twitter.com/d9HqkxYBt5

— President Trump (@POTUS) March 20, 2017

Responding to a question from Rep. Jim Himes about the president's Twitter post that "The NSA and FBI tell Congress that Russia did not influence electoral process,"

Nike Faces a Tougher Bracket

Nike's dominant yet reduced exposure at the NCAA Tournament represents the quandary it faces on a global scale. The sportswear company and its affiliated Jordan Brand outfit 40 of the 68 teams in this year's NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament, making them by far the most visible logos on shoes and jerseys. But that number is down from 41 last year and 48 in 2015.

What Makes the French Elections Different---and More Dangerous---for Markets

The sky didn't fall for markets after U.S. and U.K. political shocks in 2016, but the French elections present a more serious challenge.

Used-Car Prices Put Auto Finance in a Pickle

Car lease volumes in the U.S. have risen rapidly over the past two years for Japan's big three car makers. That could spell danger.

In India, A State Election Shapes The Future Of A Nation

from STRATFOR

-- this post authored by Mark Fleming-Williams

Sometimes an election resonates far beyond the place it directly concerns. Voters in one nation can create problems for foreigners, or voters in one region can shape the fate of an entire country. This is what the citizens of Uttar Pradesh have just done for India for the second time in three years. By delivering a resounding victory for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in elections held between Feb. 11 and March 8, the country's largest state has not only set the ruling party on the path toward another victory in general elections set for 2019. It has also upheld a multidecade pattern that will define the shape of the country for many years to come.

Market Extra: A popular stock-market 'black swan' gauge is at a record

A popular options-market gauge is drawing the attention of some bears on Wall Street, as it has traded around a record since Friday.

Market Extra: BOE rate hike in May? Pressure mounts after U.K. inflation jumps to 3-year high

It has happened — for the first time in more than three years, U.K. inflation has broken above the Bank of England's 2% target, adding pressure on the central bank to raise interest rates to curb the rapid jump in consumer prices.

London Markets: FTSE 100 swings lower as jump in British inflation drives pound higher

U.K. stocks flip into the red Tuesday, pulled down as the pound climbed after data showed British inflation rising by the fastest pace in more than three years.

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To contact me with questions, comments or constructive criticism is always encouraged and appreciated:

gary@econintersect.com

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