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30Aug2017 Pre-Market Commentary: Wall Street Futures Flat, WTI Crude Slips To The High 45 Handle, Blue-chip Dow Futures Advanced 25 Points, US Dollar Trending Upward

Written by Gary

US stock market index futures were little changed this morning (SPY +0.05%) as investors' jitters over NOKO's missile test eased and focus shifted to a clutch of economic data.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 0.67% while London's FTSE 100 is up 0.49% and France's CAC 40 is up 0.40%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Dollar recovers on measured U.S. response to North Korea missile test

LONDON (Reuters) - The dollar came off a 2-1/2-year low and world stocks rose on Wednesday after the United States' measured response to North Korea's missile test soothed jittery investors who turned their focus to positive economic data.

Uber officially welcomes as CEO Expedia's Dara Khosrowshahi

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc [UBER.UL] officially welcomed its new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi, who has led online travel business Expedia Inc for 12 years, in a note sent to employees of the world's biggest ride-services company late on Tuesday.

U.S. stock futures flat as North Korea concerns ease; data in focus

(Reuters) - U.S. stock index futures were little changed on Wednesday as investors' jitters over North Korea's latest missile test eased and focus shifted to a clutch of economic data.

U.S. private sector adds 237,000 jobs in August: ADP

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. private employers added 237,000 jobs in August for the biggest monthly increase in five months, beating economists' expectations, a report by a payrolls processor showed on Wednesday.

Bain-led consortium in last-minute $18 billion bid for Toshiba chip unit: source

TOKYO (Reuters) - A consortium led by Bain Capital and including Apple Inc has offered a revised last-ditch bid for Toshiba Corp's prized memory chip unit worth about 2 trillion yen ($18.2 billion), a source with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Insurers see more demand from banks for cover against cyber attacks, rogue staff

LONDON (Reuters) - Banks are increasingly turning to insurance to protect their capital from "operational risks" like cyber attacks and rogue traders, and insurers say they can help safeguard lenders by providing an extra layer of expertise.

Under investor pressure, Goldman to explain trading strategy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc will detail plans to turn around performance at its core bond-trading unit next month after unusual pressure from large investors frustrated by vague explanations of its troubles, people familiar with the matter told Reuters.

AT&T to expand 5G U.S. broadband trials

NEW YORK (Reuters) - AT&T Inc said on Wednesday that it is expanding its 5G trials to include three new U.S. cities by the end of the year as part of its push to develop a next-generation network.

Fujifilm says aims to spend $4.5 billion on M&A over three years

TOKYO (Reuters) - Fujifilm Holdings Corp said it aimed to spend 500 billion yen ($4.54 billion) in strategic acquisitions over three years as it seeks growth outside its traditional photographic film business, which has been shrinking.

RBOB Gasoline Spikes To 25-Month Highs As Harvey Curbs Output

Front-month (Sept) RBOB Gasoline futures traded as high as $1.90 this morning - the highest since July 2015 - as more refiners (including America's largest) shutdown output due to Harvey's impact.

As Bloomberg reports, America's largest oil refinery is joining the spate of shut-downs in the face of Tropical Storm Harvey's apocalyptic rains, potentially reducing U.S. fuel-making capacity to the lowest level since 2008.

Motiva Enterprises LLC's Port Arthur facility, the largest in the U.S., is shutting because of severe flooding issues, according to a person with knowledge of the plant's operations who didn't want to be identified because the information isn't public. Motiva, owned by Saudi Arabia's national oil company, said in a statement that the plant was operating at about 40 percent of its 605,000-barrel-a-day capacity.

It joins more than a dozen other plants in Texas with combined capacity of more than 4 million barrels a day that have gone at least partially offline since Harvey approached the coast late last week.

That amount of offline capacity could reduce U.S. fuel production to the lowest since Hurricane Ike shut several refineries after striking the Texas coast in 2008.

The impact of these addition ...

ADP Employment Surges By The Most In 5 Months

ADP reports the US economy added 237,000 jobs in August, notably more than the expected 185k. This is the biggest addition since March, and follows upward revisions for July. While Services dominated (adding 204k), Goods-producing jobs rose 33k (with manufacturing adding 16k).

Medium- and Large-seized firms added the most jobs in August.

Manufacturing added 16,000 jobs in August....

Trade/Transportantion and Leisyure added the most jobs in August...

"In August, the goods-producing sector saw the best performance in months with solid increases in both construction and manufacturing," said Ahu Yildirmaz, vice president and co-head of the ADP Research Institute. "Additionally, the trade industry pulled ahead to lead job gains across all industries, adding the most jobs it has seen since the end of 2016. This could be an industry to watch as consumer spending and wage growth improves."

Mark Zandi, chief economist of Moody's Analytics, said, "The job market continues to power forw ...

Weird Things Are Happening With Gold

Authored by James Rickards via Daily Reckoning blog,

Last week featured two unusual stories on gold - one strange and the other truly weird. These stories explain why gold is not just money but is the most politicized form of money.

They show that while politicians publicly disparage gold, they quietly pay close attention to it.

The first strange gold story involves Germany...

The Deutsche Bundesbank, the central bank of Germany, announced that it had completed the repatriation of gold to Frankfurt from foreign vaults.

The German story is the completion of a process that began in 2013. That's when the Deutsche Bundesbank first requested a return of some of the German gold from vaults in Paris, in London and at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.

Those gold transfers have now been completed.

This is a topic I first raised in the introduction to Currency Wars in 2011. I suggested that in extremis, the U.S. might freeze or confiscate foreign gold stored on U.S. soil using powers under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, the Trading With the Enemy Act or the USA Patriot Act.

This then became a political issue in Europe with agitation for repatriation in the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. Europeans wanted to get gold out of the U.S. and safely back to their own national vaults. The German transfer was completed ahead of schedule; the original completion date was 2020.

But the German central bank does not actually want the gold back because there is no well-developed gold-leasing market in Frankfurt and no experience leasing gold under German law.

German gold in New York or London was available for leasing under New York or U.K. law as part of global pr ...

US Warship Shoots Down Test Ballistic Missile Off Hawaii

One day after the latest North Korean missile launch, which was followed by a warning in the state-owned KCNA that more Pacific launches would follow, the U.S. Missile Defense Agency (MDA) said a U.S. Navy destroyer in the Pacific shot down a medium-range ballistic missile during a test off Hawai on Wednesday.

Destroyer USS John Paul Jones intercepts the target with an SM-6 missile.
(Missile Defense Agency photo)

In the "complex missile defense flight test," the USS John Paul Jones detected and tracked a test ballistic missile that had been launched from Kaui, Hawaii, then fired one of its onboard SM-6 missiles to intercept the target in its terminal phase, the Missile Defense Agency said in a release. It said it marked the second time an SM-6 missile has successfully intercepted a medium-range ballistic missile in a test.

Quoted by USA Today, MDA Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves said the test marked a "key milestone."

"We are working closely with the fleet to develop this important capability, and this was a key milestone in giving our Aegis BMD ships an enhanced capability to defeat ballistic missiles in their terminal phase," said Missile Defense Agency Director Lt. Gen. Sam Greaves. "We will continue developing ballistic missile defense technologies to stay ahead of the threat as it evolves."

Accor ...

Emerging-Market Bonds: The Stars Align

Low inflation is a puzzle in developed markets, but a pleasant and powerful phenomenon for emerging-market bonds

Beijing Shows Its Power With China's Latest Megamerger

The combination of the country's leading coal miner and power producer is the clearest sign yet of Chinese leaders' desire to enhance the role of big state-owned companies.

Apple, Samsung Taking Phone Prices to the Edge

The newest smartphones are taking their screens to the edge. Apple and Samsung Electronics seem to be doing the same with their prices, in what amounts to a gamble to revive growth.

Economic Report: U.S. economic growth hits 3% rate in second quarter

The U.S. grew at a revised 3% annual pace in second quarter, up from the initial estimate of a 2.6% gain, the Commerce Department said Wednesday.

Economic Report: Private-sector job growth surges in August, ADP says

Private employers added more jobs than forecast in August, with a strong showing from the goods-producing sector.

Outside the Box: The simple reason tax reform is doomed to fail this year

Ideological slogans can win elections. But real legislation on complex subjects must come to grips with current laws and real economic interests, writes Henry Aaron.

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