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21Aug2017 Pre-Market Commentary: First Full Solar Eclipse Since 1918, SP 500 Futures Flat, US Dollar Index Remains Weak, WTI Crude Slipping Off The Mid 48 Handle

Written by Gary

US stock market index futures are flat this morning (SPY +0.03%), as investors watch the Trump's next administration moves and that crazy man in NOKO.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are mixed to lower. Shares in France are off as the CAC 40 drops 0.38%. The DAX is down 0.35% while the FTSE 100 in London is unchanged.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Metals shine but world stocks stuck near 5-1/2-week low

LONDON (Reuters) - World stocks struggled at a 5-1/2-week low on Monday, though metals dazzled with zinc at its highest in a decade, copper hitting a nearly three-year high and iron ore's gains in the last two sessions stretching to 5 percent.

Sempra Energy to buy Oncor for $9.45 billion in blow for Berkshire

(Reuters) - Sempra Energy said it will buy Oncor for $9.45 billion in cash after Energy Future Holdings Corp, which indirectly owns Oncor, abandoned a deal to sell the power transmission company to Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc.

China's Great Wall confirms interest in Fiat Chrysler

SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China's Great Wall Motor Co Ltd is interested in bidding for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), a company official said on Monday, confirming reports it is pursuing all or part of the owner of the Jeep and Ram truck brands.

Futures flat; White House turmoil, North Korea in focus

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were flat on Monday, with investors keeping an eye on the White House as well as the tension between the United States and North Korea - themes that have affected the market the most in the past two weeks.

Taiwan's Foxconn to build three ancillary facilities as part of Wisconsin LCD campus

TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwanese electronics manufacturer Foxconn on Monday said it plans to build three facilities in the U.S. state of Wisconsin for operation as early as next year, as part of a campus housing a $10 billion liquid crystal display (LCD) factory due for 2020.

Special Report: Refiner Valero's secret campaign against U.S. biofuels mandates

(Reuters) - U.S. biofuels regulations, which mandate mixing corn-based ethanol into gasoline, have lately drawn together a diverse cast of political opponents.

Uber raises Hong Kong fares amid legal tangles

HONG KONG (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc said it raised its Hong Kong minimum fares on Monday by as much as 80 percent following a review.

Deutsche Bank eyes wealth management expansion in London

ZURICH (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank wants to significantly grow the number of private bankers it employs in London, its head of wealth management for Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) said, a sharp contrast to plans to scale back its UK investment bank.

Total boosts North Sea business with $7.5 billion Maersk Oil deal

PARIS/COPENHAGEN (Reuters) - Total is buying Maersk's oil and gas business in a $7.45 billion deal which the French energy major said would strengthen its operations in the North Sea and boost earnings and cash flow.

Frontrunning: August 21

Trump to present vision for U.S. strategy in Afghanistan war (Reuters)

Trump Struggles to Move Past Bannon, Starting With Afghanistan (BBG)

Final Plans Under Way as Solar Eclipse Nears (WSJ)

Yellen, Draghi Head to Jackson Hole Amid Inflation Unease (BBG)

Moscow calls U.S. visa move attempt to stir up unrest in Russia (Reuters)

Cohn Solidifies Lead in Race to Replace Yellen, Economists Say (BBG)

Britain confident of moving onto second phase of Brexit talks (Reuters)

First Round of Talks to Revamp Nafta Reveals Friction (WSJ)

Ten Sailors Missing After U.S. Warship Crash Near Singapore (BBG)

ADP Rejects Board Nominees From Ackman's Pershing Square (WSJ)

Marchionne's Fiat Review Spurs Great Wall Interest in Jeep (

First Images, Videos Show Extensive Damage To USS John McCain

Photos and videos have emerged from the early Monday collision involving the guided-missile destroyer USS John McCain and an oil/chemical tanker called the Alnic MC. As reported late on Sunday, five sailors were injured in the collision, which occurred east of the Strait of Malacca, and a search is underway for 10 more who remain missing.

The collision is an unsettling repeat of the June collision between the USS Fitzgerald and container ship the ACX Crystal, the worst naval accident in decades. Ultimately, the crash left seven sailors dead and resulted in career-ending penalties against the ship's captain and other top officials.

The following YouTube videos show the gaping hole on the side of the ship where the collision occurred.

According to the 7th Fleet Commander, the collision was reported at 6:24 Japan Time. The crash occurred while the USS John McCain was on its way to a routine port call in Singapore. Photographic evidence confirms that the warship sustained damage to its port side aft. Search and rescue efforts are under way in coordination with local authorities, the Navy said, although there is still no word on any casualties. The ship arrived safely in Singapore according to the 7th Fleet, which has released more photos of the USS John McCain on its twitter feed:

Additional photo content of

SocGen: "It's All About A Total Eclipse Of The Currency Sun Today..."

According to SocGen's currency strategist Kit Juckes one main reason why Bitcoin and cryptos in general are doing so well today is because "it's a feature of the low-inflation era that very few governments or central bankers want a strong currency." As has been extensively observed over the past decade, "strong currencies depress inflation, at least temporarily, and if their impact on competitiveness is exaggerated, it's still enough to make them take the blame for jobs being lost to other cheaper-currency producers."

As Juckes then poetically summarizes, "once upon a time all this was offset by a sense that a strong currency was a sign of national virility, but such superstition is passé. It's all about a total eclipse of the sun, today."

Of course, the problem with no-one wanting a strong currency, "is that someone has to lose out. This year, the winner in the FX stakes, (or loser, in a topsy-turvy world where a strong currency is no kind of blessing) is the Mexican peso, reflecting two of the main underlying themes in markets: Trump deflation and the strong current of cash flowing towards emerging markets." Meanwhile, the strength of the Zloty and Koruna "reflects the fact that the real winners from the European economic recovery aren't in the euro area but are countries held back by European policies. SEK and NOK both still look like winners."

So with the general U.S. population fascinated with the first full solar eclipse in 99 years...

... on Friday central bankers will be doing their best to "eclipse" their own national currencies for just a little longer, even while pretending to al ...

Eclipse Day Begins With S&P Futures Flat While Industrial Metals Soar

As the US awaits its first full solar eclipse since 1918, S&P500 futures, together with Asian and European stocks started off the week off fractionally in the red after the cash index fell to its lowest level in five weeks on Friday, with the "Bannon rally" fading on growing concerns about the US political situation, while tensions ratcheted up again as the US and South Korea began massive military drills and North Korea responded, threatening a "merciless strike" on the US. Markets are looking ahead to this week's Jackson Hole symposium where Mario Draghi may or may not pre-announce the start of ECB balance sheet tapering.

With overnight markets doing little of note, a quick preview of today's main event: the full solar eclipse which is the first such event to cross the contiguous United States since 1918. Of the main financial centres there will be a partial eclipse in New York (c70%), Boston (c63%), Chicago (c86%) and LA (c61%). To celebrate, Royal Caribbean's week long "total-eclipse" cruise offers passengers get the best opportunity to see the event at sea, while Bonnie Tyler has been hired to perform her 1983 classic "Total Eclipse of the Heart" while the skies darken.

Meanwhile, as the US waits to fade to darkness, world stocks struggled at a five and a half week low on Monday, though metals surged in Chinese trading with zinc at its highest in a decade, copper hitting a nearly three-year high and iron ore's gains in the last two sessions stretching to 5 percent.

The dollar was little changed after rising from a four-month low against the yen Friday, as speculation the currency will get a boost from the Steve Bannon's exit from the White House was offset by concern about the joint military drill in South Korea. The USD/JPY dipped in European trade, holding above a four- month low reached on Friday. Trading was muted and bids for the dollar were limited amid concerns about a new North Korean escalation/provoc ...

Low Price Is the Only Winner in Retail

It might seem like the most basic retail maxim, but the second-quarter drilled it home for investors: low prices matter. The only winners in an otherwise bleak retail landscape were the ones offering the lowest ones.

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.

Why It is Time to Own France's Biggest Bank

BNP Paribas is exploiting rivals' weaknesses while keeping a tight rein on costs

The Wall Street Journal: How United Airlines plans to handle overbookings

After a series of customer-service fiascoes, the airline is looking to big data for answers

The Wall Street Journal: What to do if you work with a jerk

Do you work with a rude or abusive colleague or boss? Here's how to make it a little easier.

This city has the best quality of life in the world (hint: it's not in the U.S.)

Civil unrest and terrorism over the last year have hurt the score of many cities.

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