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12Apr2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Pointing To A Fractionally Lower Opening, Geopolitical Issues Continue To Dominate Headlines, WTI Crude Creeps Higher, US Dollar Volatile

Written by Gary

US stock future indexes pointed to a fractionally lower open (SPY -0.1%)in cautious trade after yesterday's slight pullback. Market focus remained centered on developments in geopolitical issues as Rex Tillerson visits Moscow today. US crude is continuing to trade higher.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed today. The CAC 40 is up 0.09% while the DAX gains 0.08%. The FTSE 100 is off 0.09%.

Wall Street set to open cautiously lower ahead of Tillerson's meeting with Russia

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Futures flat as geopolitical risks weigh; earnings eyed

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as rising geopolitical tensions and the approaching earnings season weighed on investors' risk appetite.

Trump's message to bankers: Wall Street reform rules may be eliminated

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump told a group of chief executives on Tuesday that his administration was revamping the Wall Street reform law known as Dodd-Frank and might eliminate the rules and replace them with "something else."

Exclusive: Inside edge - Trump advisor Icahn's big bet against biofuels credits

(Reuters) - Billionaire investor Carl Icahn's oil refining company, CVR Energy, made a massive bet in 2016 that prices for U.S. government biofuels credits would fall - just before Icahn started advising President Donald Trump on regulations driving that market.

United Airlines faces mounting pressure over hospitalized passenger

(Reuters) - United Airlines and its chief executive faced mounting pressure on Tuesday from a worldwide backlash over its treatment of a passenger who was dragged from his seat on a plane on Sunday to make room for four employees on the overbooked flight.

Airbnb signs dozens more tax agreements in the U.S., France

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Airbnb has reached new deals with dozens of jurisdictions in the United States and France to collect and pay taxes, doubling down on its effort to improve its image with local policymakers even as it face regulatory challenges around the world.

Wal-Mart offers discounts for online orders picked up in store

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc will offer 'pickup discounts' to U.S. shoppers on items they order online and pick up in-store, as it revamps its e-commerce offerings at a faster pace to close the gap with larger rival Inc.

World trade seen growing 2.4 percent in 2017, uncertainty weighs: WTO

GENEVA (Reuters) - World trade is on track to expand by 2.4 percent this year, though there is "deep uncertainty" about economic and policy developments, particularly in the United States, the World Trade Organization (WTO) said on Wednesday.

Post-Brexit customs checks a 'catastrophe' for UK shipping: trade body

LONDON (Reuters) - The introduction of physical customs checks following Brexit would be a catastrophe for British ports and shipping and would likely reduce the volume of trade, the head of the sector's UK industry body said on Wednesday.

Rebel shareholders seek dismissal of AkzoNobel chairman in PPG takeover fight

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Rebel shareholders in Dutch paint maker Akzo Nobel want to oust the company chairman after Akzo refused to engage in takeover talks with U.S. rival PPG Industries .

Russia Slams "Absurb" Trump Demands, Warns Tillerson "Don't Strike Syria Again"

Amid attempts to "clarify areas of sharp difference," Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov blasted the Trump administration's "ambiguous and contradictory" foreign policy at the start of talks with Tillerson in Moscow Wednesday calling the demand for the Kremlin to abandon Assad "absurd." Furthermore, he warned Tillerson that Russia "believes it's fundamentally important not to let these actions happen again."

Russia pushed back against demands that it abandon Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad over a chemical-weapons attack as Bloomberg reports that the Kremlin said President Vladimir Putin is likely to meet with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

Putin complained that relations with the U.S. are worse than under President Barack Obama, while Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov criticized the Trump administration's "ambiguous and contradictory" foreign policy at the start of talks with Tillerson in Moscow Wednesday.

Trust between Russia and the U.S. under Trump "at the working level, especially at the military level, hasn't improved; rather it's deteriorated," Putin said, according to a Kremlin transcript published Wednesday of an interview with the Mir TV channel.

There's a "probability" that Putin and Tillerson will meet if the talks between the two top diplomats show a need to "report to the head of state," Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. It's "quite absurd" to demand that Russia abandon Assad as this ...

Gold Surges Above Key 200 Day Moving Average $1270 Level

Gold Surges Above Key 200 Day Moving Average $1270 Level

- Gold price breaks above key 200-day moving average
- Gold hits 5-month high on back of investor nervousness
- Safe haven has 10% gains in 2017 after 9% gains in 2016
- Gold options signal more gains as ETF buying increases
- Geopolitical uncertainty over North Korea & Middle East

"The Fed Is Once Again Making A Policy Error"

Authored by Kevin Muir via The Macro Tourist blog,

Remember a few years back, in the midst of the U.S. QE programs, all the negative talk about how "the Fed would never be able to taper their bond buying?" When Yellen & Co. successfully navigated that hurdle, the doomsayers moved over to, "raising rates will be a disaster for the U.S. economy." Well, a year and a half later (and after two hikes), the world has not ended. Faced with these two defeats, the chicken little crowd has adopted a new motto. "The Federal Reserve will never be able to reduce their balance sheet," has now become the war cry for those of bearish persuasion.

At times during Yellen's tenure, I have become concerned when the Federal Reserve tightened too quickly. When the Fed's rhetoric pushed the U.S. dollar higher at a destabilizing rate, or when the tighter American policy caused oil to crash, I warned the Federal Reserve did not seem to realize their policies' effect on the rest of the global financial system. I know the U.S. dollar is the world's reserve currency, and yet the Federal Reserve tunes monetary policy for American economic conditions, but there can be no denying the Fed's relatively hawkish path (especially when compared to other Central Banks), has caused a great degree of stress throughout the world.

But here we are; two hikes under the Fed's belt, the front end of the yield curve pricing in another two for the remainder of the year, and FOMC members introducing plans for a balance sheet wind down. Who'd thunk the S&P 500 would be within spitting distance of all time highs after all of that?

Secondary OPEC Sources Show Saudi Oil Production Rose For Second Month

For the second month in a row, Saudi oil production both declined or rose, depending on which sources one believes, OPEC's latest market report showed.

Saudi's self-reported production declined by 111Kbbl/d from 10,011 to 9,900kbpd the lowest since January...

... even as secondary sources showed a second consecutive increase in production, from 9,809 in January to just why of 10mmpd in March.

And while Saudi production may be rising according to secondary sources, overall OPEC production declined driven by a steep drop in Libyan output where geopolitical developments have prevented the nation's oil fields from producing at capacity. Total OPEC output was said to have declined by -153k b/d (-0.5%) m/m in March to 31.928m b/d, as 9 out of 13 members reduced output. In addition to Libya, Venezuela crude production also extended its decline in March.

Curiously, OPEC said that while oil inventories shrank in developed nations as its production cuts took effect, it forecast that rivals in the U.S. shale industry are growing stronger. The cartel boosted estimates for U.S. production growth by 200,000 barrels a day, to 540,000 a day as a recovery in investment helps the nation's shale-oil explorers resume drilling. The number of rigs in operatio ...

Microsoft: Mining More Out of Minecraft

With Minecraft, Microsoft is learning that popularity doesn't always pay. The videogame has grown its user base since Microsoft's acquisition, but sales need a boost.

BMW Takes the Slow Lane to Success in China

Not everyone is having a rough ride as the world's largest car market slows down.

United's Investors Face Different Risks Than Its Passengers

United Continental's flight-removal uproar isn't the main concern investors face.

Import and Export Price Year-over-Year Inflation Mixed

Written by Steven Hansen

Import and export price growth continues although the year-over-year rate of increase slowed for imports.

Here's why people are anxious about retirement

Health-care costs, everyday bills and tax rates, oh my.

Economic Report: U.S. import prices fall for first time in four months on lower fuel costs

The price of U.S. imports fell in March for the first time in four months owing to lower costs for oil, but prices of many other goods continued to rise.

Need to Know: This blithe market is showing no fear — and that's a worry, says Doug Kass

The overall lack of fear in the stock market is itself troubling, says bearish hedge fund manager Doug Kass. Out of line or not, the S&P 500 just keeps showing spirit, as our chart of the day reveals.

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