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23Mar2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Major Global Markets Are In The Green

Written by Gary

No news seems to me moving the markets in any direction - even the London terrorist attack. Gold was marginally down overnight, so was oil. The dollar rollercoastered in a 1 cent range.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed. The DAX is higher by 0.32%, while the FTSE 100 is leading the CAC 40 lower. They are down 0.07% and 0.07% respectively.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Global stocks, sterling hold steady after London attack

LONDON (Reuters) - Stocks and sterling held their ground on Thursday as markets took the latest European terror attack, this time in London, one of the world's financial capitals, largely in their stride.

Trump Tantrum looms on Wall Street if healthcare effort stalls

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Trump Trade could start looking more like a Trump Tantrum if the new U.S. administration's healthcare bill stalls in Congress, prompting worries on Wall Street about tax cuts and other measures aimed at promoting economic growth.

PPG's McGarry in Amsterdam to promote 'compelling' Akzo offer

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Paint maker PPG has made a "very compelling" offer for Akzo Nobel and was shocked when its Dutch rival turned it down, PPG's chief executive Michael McGarry said on Thursday on a visit to Amsterdam to drum up support for a proposed tie-up.

Diamond group De Beers buys out retail partner LVMH

PARIS (Reuters) - Anglo American's diamond specialist De Beers has bought the 50 percent stake held by French luxury goods group LVMH in De Beers Diamond Jewellers for an undisclosed amount, taking full ownership of the retail operation.

Exclusive: Westinghouse's clients gear up for bankruptcy fight - sources

(Reuters) - The U.S. utilities that are clients of Toshiba Corp's nuclear power plant construction subsidiary, Westinghouse Electric Co LLC, have hired advisers to prepare for its potential bankruptcy, according to people familiar with the matter.

Slide in U.S. infrastructure stocks sign of 'Trump trade' weakness

NEW YORK (Reuters) - If the swoon this week in financials was one sign of the Trump trade running out of fuel, recent weakness in transportation and infrastructure shares is another.

Verizon, AT&T suspend ads from Google over offensive videos

(Reuters) - U.S. wireless carriers Verizon Communications Inc and AT&T Inc said on Wednesday they have suspended digital advertising on Google's YouTube and other advertising platforms not related to search over concerns that their ads may have run next to extremist videos.

With Sears' future in doubt, vendors begin pulling back

(Reuters) - Suppliers to Sears Holdings Corp told Reuters they are doubling down on defensive measures, such as reducing shipments and asking for better payment terms, to protect against the risk of nonpayment as the company warned about its finances.

China's ZTE posts fourth-quarter net loss after U.S. sanction case fine

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Chinese telecommunications equipment maker ZTE Corp on Thursday reported a net loss of 5.22 billion yuan ($760 million) in fourth-quarter profit, as it booked a $892 million charge to settle a U.S. sanctions case.

Bill Blain: "It Feels Like The Markets Are In A Limbo Phase"

From the March 23 edition of Bill Blain's Morning Porridge

"Offer him full and unfettered cooperation, no.. full and willing cooperation.. Then I will tell you which papers to burn."

There is plenty written elsewhere about yesterday's Lone Wolf terror attack in London. Hardening electoral sentiment is one danger - that's their aim. Populism fuels Islamophobia which is the perverse goal of the Jihadis. Many analysts are terrified of the potential effects of attacks in France before the final ballot: how much will outrage benefit Le Pen? Be vigilant.

Back to markets, and it feels like we are in a limbo phase. Something is happening, but we don't know what it is. The biggest game in town remains the dollar and the outlook for the US... but for how long?

Trump's set-piece reform and replacement of Obamacare is proving a nightmare to move through Congress. Its become his touchstone - and if he fails expect ructions. There are signs and signals a compromise is on the cards: getting rise of affordable care (leaving millions of American's uninsured). The Donald is discovering Government of the people by the people is not an easy thing.

The debate has revealed the complexity and cost of health insurance while exposing fault lines in Republican politics - appeasing the Freedom Caucus isn't easy! Some kind of compromise involving State budget reconciliation rules will be worked up.. not that I understand exactly how. I'm sure barrels of pork will be involved somehow. All of which stinks of Beltway politics... which I thought we were going to avoid. Ach well.

So where does that leave the rest of the Trump Jump policies? Do they fall by the wayside because they are difficult? Do we still get the spending and overarching tax-reform we have been promised? Er.. increasingl ...

Is This The Sound Of The Bottom Falling Out Of The Auto Industry?

Authored by Wolf Richter via,

Not quite, not yet, but it's not good either.

Let's hope that the problems piling up in the used vehicle market - and their impact on new vehicle sales, automakers, $1.1 trillion in auto loans, and auto lenders - is just a blip, something caused by what has been getting blamed by just about everyone now: the delayed tax refunds.

In its March report, the National Association of Auto Dealers (NADA) reported an anomaly: dropping used vehicle prices in February, which occurred only for the second time in the past 20 years. It was a big one: Its Used Car Guide's seasonally adjusted used vehicle price index plunged 3.8% from January, "by far the worst recorded for any month since November 2008 as the result of a recession-related 5.6% tumble."

The index has now dropped eight months in a row and hit the lowest level since September 2010. The index is down 8% year over year, and down 13% from its peak in 2014.

The price decline spanned all segments, but it hit the two ends of the spectrum — subcompact cars and the luxury end — particularly hard. The list shows the change in wholesale prices from January to February in vehicles up to eight years old:

Nunes Confirms There Was "Incidental Surveillance" Of Trump During Obama Administration, "Seems To Be Inappropriate"

Update: House Intel Chairman Nunes spoke to reporters when he left the briefing at The White House and had some more stunning things to say:






And the punchline: there are "multiple FISA warrants outstanding against Trump" Nunes also told reporters:

Wow - Nunes just said there are "multiple FISA warrants out there" involving Trump.

— Tom Watson (@tomwatson) March 22, 2017

* * *

As we detailed earlier, it appears Trump may have been right, again.

Two days after FBI director Comey shot down Trump's allegation that Trump was being wiretapped by president Obama before the election, it appears that president Trump may have been on to something because moments ago, the House Intelligence Chairman, Devin Nunes, told reporters that the U.S. intelligence community incidentally collected information on members of President Trump's transition team, possibly including Trump himself, and the information was "widely disseminated" in intelligence reports.

Italy Falls Out Of Love With The Euro: Beppe Grillo Resurgent In The Polls

Authored by Mike Shedlock via,

Recent polls for Italian politicians supporting the eurozone and EU have collapsed.

Pro-Europe polls are highly likely to get worse as a further splintering of Matteo Renzi's PD party takes place.

It is not out of question for Beppe Grillo's eurosceptic Five Star Movement (M5S) party to achieve an absolute majority in the next election. However, please note that 40% is the threshold for a "majority".

The Financial Times reports Italy is Falling Out of Love with Europe.

Foreigners often underestimate Italy's ability to sidestep calamity. That said, the stakes are higher now than in 1992. Solutions may prove harder to find. The reason lies in the radically different EU and Mediterranean contexts in which Italy finds itself.

Some of contemporary Italy's challenges appear similar to those of the early 1990s. The party system is once again in fragments. The ruling centre-left Democratic party (PD) split last month. The right is divided. The most popular opposition party is the anti-establishment Five Star Movement. Since November 2011 four prime ministers have taken office not because voters chose them, but because of a financial emergency, factional squabble, party coup and failed constitutional reform.

Nike's Best Defense Is a Good Offense

Nike's scale gives it a long-term competitive advantage, which should help it win back market share.

U.S. Stocks Overvalued? Time to Look at Europe

The U.S. now needs to live up to investor expectations, while Europe needs to avoid political pitfalls.

Rare Discovery: A Value in the Biotech World

Falling hepatitis C revenue has dented giants such as AbbVie and Gilead but created a rare bargain in biotech Enanta

What Prompted The Electronic Devices Ban


-- this post authored by Scott Stewart

On the afternoon of March 20, Royal Jordanian Airlines announced on Twitter that effective March 21, it would ban all electronic items from passenger cabins of its aircraft traveling directly to and from the United States with the exception of cellphones and medical devices. The announcement, which was later deleted from the airline's Twitter account, noted that the security measures were being instituted at the request of "concerned U.S. Departments." The U.S. government soon confirmed the ban and added that, in addition to Royal Jordanian, it applied to flights from eight other airlines originating from 10 airports in eight Middle Eastern countries.

Infographic Of The Day: The History Of Money Explained In One Infographic

Today's infographic highlights the history of money, including the many monetary experiments that have taken place since ancient times.

Caroline Baum: Why the Fed paid banks not to lend

It's time to stop paying banks for holding reserves at the Federal Reserve, and time to shrink the Fed's balance sheet, writes Caroline Baum.

Eight arrested in six raids as police probe London terror attack

Eight people have been arrested as police continue to investigate the deadly terrorist attack in London on Wednesday that left three victims and the attacker dead and more than two dozen others injured.

Europe Markets: European stocks hover at week lows as investors eye U.S. health care vote

European stocks are fighting for direction on Thursday, with investors cautious of making any big moves amid growing concerns the new U.S. administration will struggle to push through promised pro-business reforms.

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