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28Aug2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street To Open Fractionally Higher, WTI Crude At The Mid 47 Handle, US Dollar Continues Weakness

Written by Gary

US stock market index futures were little changed this morning (SPY +0.2%) as Harvey barreled into the Texas coast. Energy markets were roiled overnight after Harvey wreaked havoc.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are lower today as French and German shares fall. The French CAC 40 is off 0.44% while the German DAX is down 0.07%. The FTSE 100 in London is not trading.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Oil markets roiled as Harvey hits U.S. petroleum industry

LONDON (Reuters) - Oil markets were roiled on Monday after Tropical Storm Harvey wreaked havoc along the U.S. Gulf Coast over the weekend, crippling Houston and its port, and knocking out several refineries as well as some crude production.

Uber picks Expedia's Dara Khosrowshahi as new CEO: sources

(Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] chose Dara Khosrowshahi, the chief executive of travel company Expedia Inc, as its chief executive on Sunday, according to two sources with knowledge of the matter, handing him the challenge of leading the ride-services company out of a nearly year-long crisis.

GE shifts strategy, financial targets for digital business after missteps

NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Electric Co wants its industrial software business to cut costs and lift profits next year under new chief executive John Flannery, and is considering expanded partnerships and the possible sale of some equity in the unit, according to people familiar with the business.

Gasoline soars, dollar weakens as Tropical Storm Harvey rages

LONDON (Reuters) - U.S. gasoline futures jumped to two-year highs while an already weak dollar hit 16-month lows against a basket of currencies on Monday as Tropical Storm Harvey pummelled the heart of the U.S. energy sector and raised concerns about the economy.

Futures flat as Hurricane Harvey weighs on oil, dollar

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Monday as Tropical Storm Harvey barreled into the Texas coast, the heart of the U.S. energy sector, raising concerns about the impact of the storm on the economy and piling more pressure on the dollar, which hit 16-month lows against a basket of currencies.

Western Digital group finalizing $17 billion deal for Toshiba chip unit: source

TOKYO (Reuters) - A consortium led by Western Digital Corp is close to an agreement to buy Toshiba Corp's $17.4 billion chip business, with the U.S. firm's CEO in Tokyo to finalize the long and contentious talks, a person familiar with the matter said.

CBS agrees to buy embattled Australian customer Ten Network

SYDNEY (Reuters) - CBS Corp , the United States' most-watched television network, on Monday said it plans to buy its biggest customer in Australia, Ten Network Holdings Ltd , and launch its streaming service in the country.

Glencore puts second coal mine on block amid corporate rethink

SYDNEY (Reuters) - Glencore on Monday said it was looking to sell a second Australian coal mine, part of the Swiss-based resource giant's rethink on how it deploys capital as its reins in debt and commodities prices rise.

Thousands of rail workers back at Buffett's BNSF as volumes rise

SEATTLE (Reuters) - BNSF Railway Co has called back roughly 4,000 of the 5,000 workers who were furloughed across its system last year, reflecting stronger volumes of coal, grain and intermodal containers and trailers, a spokesman said.

Shocking Drone Footage Shows Harvey's "Unprecedented" Devastation, "No Parallel To Any Rainstorm In US History"

Based on the number of people affected, amount of water involved, and other factors, meteorologists have warned, there may be no parallel available to any other rainstorm in U.S. history as Mashable's Andrew Freeman reports Tropical Storm Harvey has dropped more than 11 trillion gallons of water on Texas, triggering catastrophic, unprecedented flooding in the Houston area.

The rains have broken all-time records, exceeding the rainfall totals seen during Tropical Storm Allison in 2001... and it could be about to get a lot worse as forecasters are expecting the storm to turn back and drench what is left of Houston once again midweek.

According to Ryan Maue, a meteorologist at WeatherBell, a private forecasting firm, there is still up to 16 trillion gallons more rain likely to fall in the state, based on forecasts from the National Weather Service (NWS).

The Weather Service office in Houston reported just over 2 feet of rain in 24 hours between 7 a.m. Saturday and 7 a.m. Sunday morning, causing August to become the wettest month on record there. Forecast totals call for isolated rainfall amounts of up to 50 inches before Harvey finally releases its grip on the Lone Star state late this week. If this comes to fruition, it would be the greatest rainfall totals from a tropical storm or hurricane in U.S. history.

Maue estimates that a t ...

Amazon Slashes Whole Foods Prices As Much As 43%, Channel Checks Reveal

Following up on last week's story that sent grocer - and Wal-mart - stocks tumbling, when Amazon annonced it would cut Whole Foods prices as soon as Monday, Bloomberg reports that according to channel checks, "Amazon spent its first day as the owner of a brick-and-mortar grocery chain cutting prices at Whole Foods Market" by as much as 43%.

Some early examples observed at the Whole Foods store on 57th Street in Manhattan:

organic fuji apples were marked down to $1.99 a pound from $3.49 a pound;

organic avocados went to $1.99 each from $2.79;

organic rotisserie chicken fell to $9.99 each from $13.99;

banana prices were slashed to 49 cents per pound from 79 cents.

Following the news, European grocer stocks ticked lower again, while Kroger was down 2%, as apparently the size of the markdowns came as a surprise to the market and as Whole Foods peers will now struggle to catch down to its heavily subsidized competitor, watching their margins and profitability erode in the process.

Journalist Interrogated, Fired For Story Linking CIA And Syria Weapons Flights

A months-long investigation which tracked and exposed a massive covert weapons shipment network to terror groups in Syria via diplomatic flights originating in the Caucuses and Eastern Europe under the watch of the CIA and other intelligence agencies has resulted in the interrogation and firing of the Bulgarian journalist who first broke the story. This comes as the original report is finally breaking into mainstream international coverage.

Investigative reporter Dilyana Gaytandzhieva authored a bombshell report for Trud Newspaper, based in Sofia, Bulgaria, which found that an Azerbaijan state airline company was regularly transporting tons of weaponry to Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), and Turkey under diplomatic cover as part of the CIA covert program to supply anti-Assad fighters in Syria. Those weapons, Gaytandzhieva found, ended up in the hands of ISIS and al-Qaeda terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

While it's long been understood that the US-Gulf-NATO coalition arming rebels inside Syria facilitated the rapid rise of the Islamic State as the group had steady access to a "jihadi Wal-Mart" of weapons (in the words of one former spy and British diplomat), the Trud Newspaper report is the first to provide exhaustive documentation detailing the precise logistical chain of the weapons as they flowed from their country of origin to the battlefield in Syria and Iraq. Gaytandzhieva even traveled to Aleppo where she filmed and examined labeled weapons shipping containers held in underground jihadist storehouses.

The Bulgaria-based journalist obtained and published dozens of secret internal memos which were l ...

Buy Gold As Washington "Stumbles" Advise Blackrock

Buy Gold As Washington "Stumbles" Advise Blackrock

- Gold set to shine as Washington stumbles
- "Bet on gold's diversifying properties rather than political stability"
- World's largest asset manager believes Trump and political drama in the U.S. means gold likely to rise
- Real rates flattening out and rising political instability - Blackrock's Koesterich
- "For now my bias would be to stick with gold" - Blackrock
- U.S. debt ceiling issue to be fractious as bankrupt U.S. hits $20 trillion debt
- Investors will again turn to gold in coming political strife

"For now I would prefer to bet on gold's diversifying properties rather than politic ...

A Surprise Lift From China for U.S. Steel

Signs of incremental progress on steel overcapacity are pushing Chinese steel margins higher for the first time in nearly a decade. U.S. Steel and other western steel firms could benefit.

Banks Send Warning Signs for Economy

Data out of the banking sector is consistent with an aging economic expansion.

Trump Gets Yellow Light From Yellen on Bank Deregulation

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen defended strict bank regulation at Jackson Hole, but she opened the door to some changes

Sizing Up Systemic Risk

from the Cleveland Fed

Regulators now use a framework for identifying systemically important banking institutions that is based on five broad measures of bank structure. Though size is only one of these equally weighted measures, it seems to be the focus of most attention. This Commentary explores whether the other measures contribute unique information or whether size is all one needs to identify all the institutions whose failure could bring down the financial system.

Getting A Jump On Inflation

from the Dallas Fed

-- this post authored by Alan Armen and Evan F. Koenig

Obtaining timely and accurate inflation readings is of great importance to Federal Reserve policymakers, who are charged with maintaining long-run price stability and who often cite inflation developments in explanations of their actions. Unfortunately, timeliness and accuracy often conflict.

Economic Report: U.S. trade deficit widens in July, advance report shows

The U.S. goods trade deficit widened $1.1 billion to $65.1 billion in July, the Commerce Department said Monday.

Trump wants to lift ban on giving military equipment to police: report

The Trump administration is reportedly preparing to lift a controversial ban on the transfer of surplus battlefield military equipment to U.S. police departments.

This is Hollywood's worst summer box office in more than a decade

With about a week left in the summer movie season, the box office has garnered $3.7 billion and is down 13.4% compared with last year and down 13.8% compared with 2015.

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