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31Mar2017 Pre-Market Commentary: US Stock Futures Look To A Flat Opening, A Deluge Of Financial Data To Be Reported This Morning, Crude Prices Are Volatile, US Dollar Steady At The 100 Mark

Written by Gary

Wall Street stock future indexes pointed to a lower open this morning (SPY -0.1%) in the last day of trade for the first quarter. Investors looked ahead to a slew of data and more appearances from members of the Fed. Crude prices have continued their decline.


Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed. The DAX is higher by 0.07%, while the FTSE 100 is leading the CAC 40 lower. They are down 0.41% and 0.05% respectively.

Futures point to lower open but Wall Street on course for strong quarter

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Global shares lock in bumper first quarter, dollar eyes best week of year

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks dipped on Friday as investors locked in some of the more than 6 percent gain that has given them their best start to year since 2012, while the dollar inched toward what could be its strongest week of 2017 so far.

EU offers Brexit trade talks, sets tough transition terms

VALLETTA/BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union offered Britain talks this year on a future free trade pact but made clear in negotiating guidelines issued on Friday that London must first agree to EU demands on the terms of Brexit.

J&J declares Actelion tender offer a success, sees closing in second quarter

ZURICH (Reuters) - Johnson & Johnson declared its $30 billion tender offer for Swiss biotechnology company Actelion successful on Friday, reporting it controlled 77.2 percent of the voting rights after the main offer period.

Germany urges EU to file WTO complaint against U.S. in steel row

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany urged the European Union on Friday to consider filing a complaint with the World Trade Organization (WTO) against the United States over its plan to impose duties on imports of steel plate from five EU member states.

VW has fixed fewer than half of UK cars hit by diesel scandal

LONDON (Reuters) - Volkswagen said it has so far fixed fewer than half of the 1.2 million cars affected by the diesel emissions scandal in Britain, 18 months after the revelations first came to light.

FCC to vote to reform $45 billion business data market

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Republican head of the Federal Communications Commission on Thursday proposed easing regulatory requirements in the $45 billion business data services market, a win for companies like AT&T Inc, CenturyLink Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and others.

Mind the gap: high banker pay no guarantee of success

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Some of Europe's most profitable lenders pay their chief executives the least, data from shareholder advisory group ISS shows, while loss-making banks reward their bosses more lavishly.

Big in Japan? Hope at home for Toshiba's nuclear arm after U.S. debacle

TOKYO (Reuters) - The bankruptcy of Westinghouse Electric Co may be a blow to Toshiba Corp's international nuclear ambitions, but the Japanese conglomerate still has a profitable business at home.

Dutch-led tax probes anger Swiss, Credit Suisse says cooperating

AMSTERDAM/ZURICH (Reuters) - Credit Suisse has been dragged into yet another investigation into whether clients used the Swiss bank to evade taxes, after a tip-off to Dutch prosecutors about tens of thousands of suspect accounts triggered an international probe.

WikiLeaks Reveals "Marble": Proof CIA Disguises Their Hacks As Russian, Chinese, Arabic...

WikiLeaks' latest Vault 7 release contains a batch of documents, named 'Marble', which detail CIA hacking tactics and how they can misdirect forensic investigators from attributing viruses, trojans and hacking attacks to their agency by inserted code fragments in foreign languages. The tool was in use as recently as 2016. Per the WikiLeaks release:

"The source code shows that Marble has test examples not just in English but also in Chinese, Russian, Korean, Arabic and Farsi. This would permit a forensic attribution double game, for example by pretending that the spoken language of the malware creator was not American English, but Chinese, but then showing attempts to conceal the use of Chinese, drawing forensic investigators even more strongly to the wrong conclusion, --- but there are other possibilities, such as hiding fake error messages."

RELEASE: CIA Vault 7 part 3 "Marble" https://t.co/M5NBFlXRu4 #Vault7 pic.twitter.com/HFyEf26FHK

— WikiLeaks (@wikileaks) March 31, 2017

Per RT, this latest release could potentially allow for 'thousands' of cyber attacks to be attributed to the CIA which were originally blamed on foreign governments.

WikiLeaks said Marble hides fragments ...

The Last Two Times After The Government Reported Data Like This, Stocks Crashed

Authored by Wolf Richter via WolfStreet.com,

Wall Street claims surge in stocks is based on rising corporate earnings.

So, let's see. The Commerce Department's Bureau of Economic Analysis released its third estimate of fourth quarter 2016 GDP and corporate profits today. This second revision of its first estimate of January 27 contains more data and is considered a more accurate approximation of what happened in the vast, devilishly hard-to-quantify US economy.

In terms of GDP, the fourth quarter was revised up slightly, but there were adjustments for prior quarters, and overall GDP growth for the year 2016 remained at a miserably low 1.6%. We've come to call this the "stall speed." It's difficult for the US economy to stay aloft at this slow speed. As Q4 gutted any hopes for a strong finish, GDP growth in 2016 matched the worst year since the Great Recession.

And corporate profits, despite a stock market that has been surging for years, are even worse. A lot worse. They've declined for years. In fact, they declined for years during the prior two stock market bubbles, the dotcom bubble and the pre-Financial-Crisis bubble. Both ended in crashes.

However, Wall Street remains assiduously silent on this.

The BEA offers various measures of corporate profits, slicing and dicing them in different ways. One of them is its headline number: "Corporate profits with inventory valuation and capital consumption adjustments.&rdqu ...

Trump Defends Flynn: "He Should Ask For Immunity In This Media Witch Hunt"

When commenting on the statement issued by Mike Flynn's lawyer Robert Kellner on Thursday night after the blockbuster WSJ report that Flynn was willing to testify "in exchange for immunity", an allegation that was not explicitly confirmed in the lawyer letter, we said "judging by Kelner's language, Flynn's offer is not so much to "turn" on Trump, as to set the record straight, while putting an end to the ongoing "media witch hunt."

Fast forward to Friday morning, when President Trump appeared to agree with this interpretation and defended his former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn's offer to be interviewed by the House and Senate intelligence committees.

"Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!" Trump tweeted.

Mike Flynn should ask for immunity in that this is a witch hunt (excuse for big election loss), by media & Dems, of historic proportion!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 31, 2017

What is most notable from Trump's tweet is that by not attacking Flynn, it would suggest anything the former Nat Sec advisor has to reveal would likely not be destructive to Trump, who at least initially appears to be on Flynn's side.

Following the WSJ story, Flynn's lawyer said Thursday that the retired lieutenant general is willing to talk to the intelligence panels as part of their probes into Russian election meddling and Trump and his aides' alleged ties to Moscow. The full < ...

Frontrunning: March 31



GOP disarray deepens (Reuters)

Zuma's Night of Long Knives Risks ANC Split, Credit Rating (BBG)

China downplays tensions with U.S. ahead of summit (Reuters)

Wall Street's New Favorite Way to Swap Secrets Is Against the Rules (BBG)

EU offers Brexit trade talks, sets tough transition terms (Reuters)

Bearish Hedge Funds Stand to Gain as Trump Rally Fizzles (WSJ)

U.S. diplomatic delays, Trump agenda snarl Italy's G7 agenda (Reuters)

Trump to order trade abuses study (Reuters)

U.K. Outsider Farage Finds a Home in Trump's Orbit (WSJ)

North Korean murder suspects go home with victim's body as Malaysia forced to swap (Reuters)

Airlines Make More Money Selling Miles Than Seats (BBG)

Jeep Missing Its Compass Leaves Brand Adrift as Rival SUVs Surge (

Westinghouse Bankruptcy Doesn't End Toshiba's Woes

Shares of Japan's venerable Toshiba have been rallying, but there are plenty of uncertainties ahead.

South Africa: Big Political Challenge Could Present Opportunity

Investors have seen South African finance ministers come and go before. But their recent bullishness on emerging markets makes the firing of Pravin Gordhan a bigger challenge.

Fed Sees Car Trouble Down South

Delinquencies on auto loans are rising to worrying levels in some southern cities.

The Wall Street Journal: Apple fixes 911 cyberattack flaw in latest iOS update

Among the changes in an iPhone software update Apple Inc. released this week: a fix aimed at preventing cyberattacks on 911 centers in the U.S.

Economic Report: Inflation accelerates again in February to fastest pace since early 2012

The rate of inflation in consumer goods and services topped 2% in February for the first time since 2012, a trend that could lead to higher borrowing costs for households and business unless it abates soon.

Currencies: Dollar slips against euro, yen, but on pace for 1st weekly rise in March

A broad measure of the dollar firmed modestly Friday, even as the greenback dipped against chief rivals, the Japanese yen and the euro, in consolidation ahead of spending data.

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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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