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18Aug2017 Market Update: Wall Street Trading In Narrow Band, DOW Down 5 Points, WTI Crude Shoots Higher To The Low 48 Handle As US Oil Rig Count Falls Down 5 To 763, WH Chief Strategist Steve Bannon Fired

Written by Gary

US stock markets have remained relatively flat during morning trading and then went green in early afternoon trading (SPY +0.1%), but is not expected to stay positive.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

North and South American markets are broadly higher today with shares in Brazil leading the region. The Bovespa is up 1.12% while U.S.'s S&P 500 is up 0.11% and Mexico's IPC is up 0.11%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street recoups losses after report of Bannon's exit

(Reuters) - Wall Street recouped losses in early afternoon trading on Friday following a New York Times report that President Donald Trump has decided to remove chief strategist Steve Bannon.

NAFTA negotiators hone in on origin rules, dispute settlement

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S., Canadian and Mexican negotiators on Friday began digging into some of the thorniest issues in modernizing the North American Free Trade Agreement, including rules of origin for goods produced in the region, services trade and a controversial dispute settlement system.

Stability concerns focus at Fed ahead of Yellen speech

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The stock market's steady rise, still low long-term bond yields and a sagging dollar are girding the Fed's intent to raise interest rates again this year despite concerns about weak inflation, according to comments this week from Fed officials and analysts anticipating remarks next week by Chair Janet Yellen.

U.S. dollar stores stand their ground in escalating retail price war

U.S. dollar stores have not become collateral damage, as feared, in a price war among big retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc and Kroger Co , which has pushed down prices of key items such as eggs and laundry detergent.

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.

Future of Air Berlin's Niki uncertain as Lufthansa begins talks

VIENNA (Reuters) - Austrian holiday airline Niki's 850 employees braced for a bumpy ride as insolvent parent Air Berlin began talks on Friday to sell its assets before it runs out of cash.

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.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg to take two months of paternity leave

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc founder Mark Zuckerberg said on Friday he would be taking two months of paternity leave after the birth of his second daughter.

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.

Rig Count Drops Most In 7 Months As 'Traders' Panic-Buy Crude Futures

The US oil rig count dropped 5 to 763 last week, the biggest drop in 7 months. However, crude production from the Lower 48 has surged (rising the most since June last week) to the highest since July 2015. Even with today's sheer farce panic-buying squeze higher in WTI crude, oil looks set for its 3rd weekly close lower as BNP notes the "whole supply surplus story is not likely to go away anytime soon."



As we have noted previously, this inflection point in the rig count fits with the rolover in crude prices...

While the rig count growth has stabilized, crude production continues to rise in the Lower 48 (though had dropped in Alaska for 3 straight weeks) but both saw a rise this week (total production up 79k) as Lower 48 production hit its highest since July 2015...

Bloomberg notes that U.S. oil production from major shale plays is set to hit another record at 6.15 million barrels a day next month, according to the EIA. It's not just the Permian that's growing, as the agency sees higher output across the board.

WTI Crude remains lower on the week despite the panic-buying... with no catalyst at all e ...

"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 ...

Bannon Fired From The White House


As the Post writes, while Bannon had been on the outs with Trump before, the president suspected Bannon was one of the main leakers in the administration, trashing his colleagues in the press.

The notoriously thin-skinned president also resented the publicity Bannon had been getting as the supposed mastermind of Trump's campaign and upset victory. One White House source told Axios, "His departure may seem turbulent in the media, but inside it will be very smooth. He has no projects or responsibilities to hand off."

Bannon in recent days gave interviews to publications including the New York Times in which he defended Trump's controversial comments in the wake of the racial violence in Charlottesville, Va., last weekend.

Speaking to the Post, a source close to Bannon added: "This week is a good window into what Bannon outside the [White House] would look like: A strong defense of POTUS and 'fire and fury' for enemies of the Trump agenda. Get ready for Bannon the barbarian."

* * *

The final nails were just hammered into the coffin of Steve Bannon's White House stay.

After earlier headlines that a decision is imminent, none other than Matt Drudge has taken to his personal Twitter account - a very unusual act - to seemingly bid Bannon farewell...

One Person Killed In Stabbing Attack In Germany, Manhunt Underway

One person was killed and one person was injured in a stabbing attack in the German city of Wuppertal-Elberfeld today, according to police. As ABC reports, a manhunt has been launced by the Wuppertal police who are searching for one or more suspects in the stabbings. The person who was killed in the attack was reportedly a 31-year-old man. The injured person is 25 years old.

"There has been a homicide in Elbelfeld [part of Wuppertal]. One man is dead, one injured. Perpetrators are on the run," police said in a statement. No information has been released about the possible motive of the attack.

#Wuppertal: Großeinsatz nach Messerstecherei in der Nähe der City-Arkaden. Polizei: Täter hat sich vermutlich in einem Gebäude verschanzt.

— WDR Aktuelle Stunde (@aktuelle_stunde) August 18, 2017

According to the Westdeutsche Zeitung, the attack took place at a hair salon, and Der Westen adds that the police are not sure whether there were several perpetrators or just one. Police are conducting searches in nearby buildings, according to a special forces commander cited by Express.

This marks the second reported stabbing attack in Europe today, as two people died and eight were stabbed in an attack in the Finnish city of Turku on Friday, police said. Police said that there was just a single suspect in the stabbing case at the moment, adding that it was unclear if the Turku incident was related to terror ...

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.

Biogen Treads Tricky Path Between Politicians, Investors

Biogen is taking a political risk with aggressive multiple sclerosis drug pricing, but the company is under pressure to boost its share price.

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.

Is MealPal worth it? What I learned after 30 days chasing my subscription lunch

'The subscription meal service left me sprinting around Manhattan in search of good food.'

DeVos throws lifeline to 800 college programs Obama found questionable

The Department of Education is listening to the industry more than they are students, critics say.

Beat the System: Bitcoin $25,000? This is more proof of the cybercurrency bubble

Brett Arends asks if this is more than just clever marketing by FundStrat Global Advisors.

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