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18Aug2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Expected To Open Higher, Crude Prices Steady, US Dollar Continues To Show Weakness, Many Investors Heading For Safe Haven Investments

Written by Gary

US stock market index futures are pointing towards a higher opening (SPY +0.2%), but the markets are expected to slide. Dennis Gartman's latest forecast, stated one week ago that the "bull market has come to an end".


Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Investors flee stocks for bonds, gold as U.S. tax cut hopes fade

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks were set for a second day of losses on Friday after an exodus of U.S. executives from presidential business councils dealt a fresh blow to hopes of tax reform, hammering Wall Street and filtering through to Asia and Europe.

Former Uber CEO says investor lawsuit a 'public and personal attack'

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - The ousted chief executive of Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] rejected a lawsuit filed against him by one of the company's top investors as a "public and personal attack" without merit, according to court documents filed late on Thursday.

Exclusive: India threatens Philip Morris with 'punitive action' over alleged violations

NEW DELHI (Reuters) - The Indian government has threatened Philip Morris International Inc with "punitive action" over the tobacco giant's alleged violation of the country's anti-smoking laws, according to a letter sent to the company by the federal health ministry.

Ukraine central bank warns of new cyber-attack risk

KIEV (Reuters) - The Ukrainian central bank said on Friday it had warned state-owned and private lenders of the appearance of new malware as security services said Ukraine faced cyber attacks like those that knocked out global systems in June.

Top fund investors pumped brakes on fast-rising Tesla: filings

BOSTON (Reuters) - Top Tesla Inc investors Fidelity Investments and T. Rowe Price cut their holdings in the second quarter and indicated they were taking profits from the electric car maker stock, which is up 65 percent this year.

Futures flat amid growing concerns over Trump agenda

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Friday, a day after the S&P posted its biggest daily percentage loss in about three months, on mounting worries about President Donald Trump's ability to legislate his pro-growth agenda.

Wisconsin bill giving $3 billion incentives to Foxconn advances

(Reuters) - Wisconsin's Republican-controlled state Assembly voted 59-30 on Thursday to approve a bill that paves the way for a $3 billion incentives package for a proposed liquid-crystal display plant by Taiwan's Foxconn.

Australia puts multinationals on notice after Chevron drops tax appeal

MELBOURNE (Reuters) - Chevron Corp has withdrawn an appeal to Australia's High Court over a disputed A$340 million ($268 million) tax bill, leaving in place a landmark court ruling on related-party loans that could affect other multinational companies.

Swiss road agency bans new Porsche Cayenne registrations

ZURICH (Reuters) - Switzerland's road agency on Friday imposed a preliminary ban on new registrations of Porsche Cayenne cars equipped with manipulated diesel engine management software.

"Armageddon Risk" Returns: North Korea Predicts "Catastrophe" As Massive U.S. War Games Begin Monday

Traders barely had time to enjoy the lull from the "Armageddon trade" - the rising possibility of a nuclear exchange between the US and North Korea, which peaked over the weekend when various US officials said a nuclear war is not imminent, echoed by a statement by N. Korea's state-run news agency KCNA, before a new set of worries promptly took over, chief among them the ongoing slow motion train wreck in Donald Trump's administration coupled with yesterday's double terrorist attacks in Spain. Alas, "nuclear war" risk is about to come back with a vengeance because on Monday US and South Korea are scheduled to begin joint military exercises, a massive show of force which every time in the past has infuriated North Korea, sometimes triggering a show of force.

Held every fall in South Korea, the Ulchi-Freedom Guardian war games are the world's largest computerized command and control exercise. Some 30,000 U.S. soldiers and more than 50,000 South Korean troops usually take part, along with hundreds of thousands of first responders and civilians, some practicing for a potential chemical weapons attack.

Scheduled long before the recent diplomatic fallout between Washington and Pyongyang, the U.S. and South Korean militaries will simulate warfare with North Korea from Aug. 21 to 31, well aware that North Korea could respond with another missile test, according to McClatchy.

In light of this perceived provocation by North Korea, which will almost certainly prompt some reaction, Scott A. Snyder, a Korea specialist with the Council on Foreign Relations said "Over the course of the next two weeks I expect tensions to escalate. This is always a sensitive issue, but it is more hair-trigger as the North Koreans are very sensitive to the likely additional nuclear-capable aircraft flyovers."

While the P ...

"This Is Dangerous": Digital Activists Slam Tech Firms For Banning Neo-Nazi Websites

As social media and internet companies scramble to ban or otherwise cut ties with extremist and far right-wing websites like the Daily Stormer, which were unceremoniously dropped by the likes of GoDaddy, Google and security firm Cloudflare earlier this week after helping to organize last weekend's deadly "Unite the Right" rally in Charlottesville, a prominent nonprofit has come forward to defend them.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, or EFF, best known for its activism surrounding net neutrality has a simple message: even though you don't agree with their message, banning people from the internet is a slippery slope. Which is why it called on domain-name companies like Google and GoDaddy to "draw a hard line" and not remove or suspend websites based solely on their content.

Quoted by Reuters: Cindy Cohn, EFF CEO wrote in a blog post that "We strongly believe that what GoDaddy, Google, and Cloudflare did here was dangerous."

In a blog post, the EEF argued that the power to decide what is and isn't appropriate for the internet is too important to entrust to any company or government.

The blog post reflected years-long tension in Silicon Valley, where many company executives want to distance themselves from extremists but are concerned that picking and choosing what is acceptable on their platforms could invite more regulation from governments.

"Protecting free speech is not something ...

Gartman: "This May Be One Of The Most Important Days In The Future Of Equity Markets"

Having staked his reputation one week ago that the "bull market has come to an end", the jury is still out on Dennis Gartman's latest forecast, although one thing is becoming clear - the period of record low volatility has come to an abrupt end and the question is whether it now reverts (much) higher, or resumes its drift lower on more vol-selling and expectations that central banks will keep it all under control. And while we wait and see which way risk inflects, in his latest overnight note, the "world-renowned commodity guru" is out with an even more bombastic prognostication: "this may well be one of the most important
days in the future of the equity markets for a very long while" as it will either confirm or deny a rather unique technical pattern.

Below is the key excerpt from his latest, overnight note, with whose contents - we must admit - we largely agree:

STOCKS HAVE AGAIN FALLEN UNANIMOUSLY...AND MATERIALLY in global terms and what had heretofore been a rare circumstance when all ten markets incumbent in our International Index have fallen has now become commonplace for this happened one week ago today and it has happened yet again. Indeed, in the course of the past week, we've now seen three such "unanimous" days, for on Tuesday stocks "unanimously" rose. Such "unanimous" days had, until this week, been a truly rare event and had in the past marked major turning points in the market, marking final periods of exhaustion to the upside or to the down. It is interesting that with all of these violent price movements, stocks in global terms as measured by our Index have move barely at all, for last week our Index was 11,168 and this morning it is 11,226, or 0.5% higher.

...

"From Nukes To Terrorism": Battered Investors Flee Risk For Safety Of Bonds And Gold

The global risk-off mood accelerated overnight on Trump "stability concerns", coupled with fallout from the Spain terrorist attack and lingering North Korea tensions, even if the VIX is off its latest highs, trading just above 15. Investors fled into German and U.S. Treasury bonds and bought gold for the third day in a row, as the appeal of such top-notch assets grew further due to a deadly attack that killed at least 13 people in Barcelona.

"In a week where we started by worrying about nuclear war, markets have quickly moved on from this, with yesterday's weak session more of a response to fears that Mr Trump's strategy for the economy and business is falling apart and later the terrible terrorist attack in Barcelona," is how DB's Jim Reid summarized the week's psychedelic events.

Concerns that Trump's stimulus is in peril spiked following speculation that his top economic advisor, former Goldman COO Gary Cohn, was set to resign roiled markets on Thursday until reports that he'd opted to stay on board steadied the ship, however heightened terror fears added to the risk off sentiment after at least 13 people died when a van plowed into pedestrians in Barcelona. The terror attack was a reminder of lingering geopolitical risks, with nerves still raw after last week's escalation of tensions on the Korean peninsula.

USD/JPY dropped below 109.00 and EUR/JPY 128.00; EUR/USD and GBP/USD both run upside stops as USD weakens across the board. Core fixed income markets rally, curves bull flatten with 10Y bund yield falling below 40bps. Spot gold hits YTD high just below $1300/oz, while a strong close for Dalian iron ore futures once again lifts China industrial met ...

Jack Ma Works His Magic With MassMutual Bid

For Alibaba's Jack Ma, joining in a $1.7 billion bid for the Hong Kong and Macau businesses of MassMutual looks like a slick way to get into the insurance line.

A Pillar of Chinese Growth Starts to Show Cracks

Housing prices rose more slowly in China's interior for the second time in two months—a potentially worrying sign for growth following a raft of weak data in July.

Direxion Launches Emerging-Markets Bond ETF to Growing Demand

Direxion, the firm behind popular funds that bet on gold mining companies, oil prices and Chinese stocks, launches an ETF that aims to triple the returns of emerging-market bonds.

National parks brace for eclipse crowds

Expect company if you're going to any of these national parks to see the eclipse.

Called to Account: Where was Wells Fargo's auditor, KPMG, while the funny business was going on?

External auditors are supposed to serve as a last line of defense if misbehavior is going on at a company, but KPMG said nothing through years of misdeeds at Wells Fargo.

Outside the Box: 10 ways to get more happiness out of your money

Could you squeeze more happiness from your dollars?

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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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