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05Jan2018 Pre-Market Commentary: Stock Futures Climb In Strong Week For Wall Street, Signs Of Robust Growth Across Major Economies Pushes Markets To New Highs

Written by Gary

US stock market index futures are pointing to a higher open this morning (SPY +0.4%) as U.S. stocks looked set to extend a new year rally. US economy adds 148,000 jobs in December: unemployment rate flat at 4.1%

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

European markets are broadly higher today with shares in Germany leading the region. The DAX is up 1.07% while France's CAC 40 is up 0.76% and London's FTSE 100 is up 0.25%.

Looking at the last three columns (below), the first one (Actual), is what was reported this morning. The second column (Forecast) is what analysts had forecast and the third column is the previous report. Full calendar HERE.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Stock futures climb in strong week for Wall Street

(Reuters) - Futures pointed to a higher open on Wall Street on Friday as U.S. stocks looked set to extend a new year rally that has pushed indexes to record levels on signs of robust growth across major economies.

Apple, researchers eye patches to solve Intel chip flaws

FRANKFURT/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Security issues with Intel Corp microchips are only slowing computers slightly, technology companies said, as researchers played down the need for mass hardware replacements to protect millions of devices from hackers.

Uber ex-CEO Kalanick selling nearly a third of stake for $1.4 billion: source

(Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc co-founder Travis Kalanick, who was ousted as chief executive in June, is selling nearly a third of his 10 percent stake in the ride-services company for about $1.4 billion, a person familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

Morgan Stanley to take $1.25 billion hit in the fourth quarter from the tax bill

(Reuters) - Morgan Stanley said on Friday it would take a $1.25 billion hit in its fourth-quarter earnings due to a cut in corporate tax rate as part of the U.S. tax code overhaul.

Saudi Arabia converts Aramco into joint-stock company ahead of historic IPO

DUBAI (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia has changed the status of its national oil giant Aramco to a joint-stock company as of Jan. 1, in a key step for an initial public offering (IPO) planned for later this year.

Constellation misses on sales, wine and spirits disappoint

(Reuters) - Corona maker Constellation Brands Inc missed Wall Street estimates for third quarter sales on Friday and said wine and spirit volumes for the full-year would be at the low end of its prior forecast.

Apple to issue fix for iPhones, Macs at risk from 'Spectre' chip flaw

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple Inc will release a patch for the Safari web browser on its iPhones, iPads and Macs within days, it said on Thursday, after major chipmakers disclosed flaws that leave nearly every modern computing device vulnerable to hackers.

Solid U.S. job growth expected in December; wages seen rising

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. employers likely maintained a brisk pace of hiring in December while increasing wages for workers amid growing confidence in the economy, which could pave the way for the Federal Reserve to increase interest rates in March.

Exclusive: Renault-Nissan sets up $200 million fund to tap startups: sources

PARIS (Reuters) - The Renault-Nissan-Mitsubishi alliance is pooling $200 million in a new mobility tech fund, three sources said, in the latest move by major carmakers to adapt to rapid industry change by investing in startups through their own venture capital arms.

Ethereum Hits Record High Above $1,000 As Ripple Sinks On Coinbase Denial

Whether it is Coinbase's denial of plans to include Ripple on its network or simply a broader understanding of the asset, 2018's high-flyer is lagging today as investors regain their appetite for Ethereum (record highs over $1000) and Bitcoin (over $16k) overnight.

Ripple began its decline yesterday, but extended losses today as CoinTelegraph reports that the popular exchange and wallet platform Coinbase has refuted recent rumors that Ripple (XRP) or other cryptocurrencies will soon be integrated into GDAX, its flagship digital currency exchange.

CEO Brian Armstrong firmly stated that neither Coinbase and GDAX have made a decision to integrate any cryptocurrency or digital asset in the short-term. The company said in a blog post:

"A committee of internal experts is responsible for determining whether and when new assets will be added to the platform in accordance with our framework. These individuals — and all employees at Coinbase — are subject to confidentiality and trading restrictions.

As of the date of this statement, we have made no decision to add additional assets to either GDAX or Coinbase. Any statement to the contrary is untrue and not authorized by the company."

Coinbase's statement was released following a spate of unverified rumors that claimed GDAX is planning to integrate XRP. The scale of the rumors, which largely circulated on Reddit and Twitter, increased to the point where the company felt the need to refute them, as the price of XRP surged.

The reaction is clear, as Crypto traders rotate back to ETH and BTC...

Apple Says All iPhones, Macs Exposed To "Meltdown", "Spectre" Flaws

All Mac iOS devices and systems are exposed and vulnerable to the recently discovered chip bugs known as Spectre and Meltdown, Apple confirmed on Thursday. The flaws, which as we discussed before, allow hackers unauthorized access to a computer's memory and sensitive data, were discovered by security researchers at Google Project Zero on Wednesday. Security vulnerabilities called Meltdown and Spectre affect almost all modern CPUs, including those produced by Intel, AMD and ARM Holdings.

"All Mac systems and iOS devices are affected," Apple acknowledged in a statement on Thursday, adding that no cases had yet been reported of customers being affected by the security flaws.

To address these security vulnerabilities, Apple users may have noticed a suspiciously timed software update released earlier this week for their iPads, MacBooks and iPhones - an update that appeared to precede news about the latest controversy involving makers of microprocessors. Intel, one of the world's largest chipmakers, admitted that its chips contain a flaw making it easier for hackers to hoover up sensitive information like the owner's passwords. It was later revealed that this flaw wasn't exclusive to Intel's chips: Indeed, it reportedly affects nearly all microprocessors in circulation, according to the New York Times.

Here's a succinct explanation of the problems that we published earlier this week:

4. We're dealing with two serious threats. The first is isolated to #IntelChips, has been dubbed Meltdown, and affects virtually all Intel microprocessors. The patch, called KAISER, will slow performance speeds of processors by as much as 30 percent.

5. The second issue is a fundamental flaw in processor design approach, dubbed Spect ...

Donald Trump Blasts "Sloppy Steve" Bannon As Feud Escalates

Just before midnight on Thursday, as residents of the battered eastern US were heading to bad after a long day of coping with the bomb cyclone, President Donald Trump was awake and apparently still fuming over the excerpts from Michael Wolff's "Fire And Fury: Inside Trump's White House".

And as Trump often does when he's frustrated, he decided to coin a new nickname for his erstwhile adviser and political ally, Steve Bannon - the source of many of the book's most jaw-dropping claims. Playing on Bannon's famously unkempt appearance, Trump labeled the Breitbart News chief "Sloppy Steve."

I authorized Zero access to White House (actually turned him down many times) for author of phony book! I never spoke to him for book. Full of lies, misrepresentations and sources that don't exist. Look at this guy's past and watch what happens to him and Sloppy Steve!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2018

Trump's lawyers slapped Bannon with a cease & desist letter on Wednesday. Shortly afterward, Trump pointed out Bannon's declaration on Breitbart radio the night before, where the anti-establishment Republican called the president "a great man" and said he still supported him.

China Admits 2016 GDP Was "Miscalculated" After "Routine Vertification"

Some readers may be shocked to learn that China, that paragon of central-planning credibility and virtuous data reporting, was cooking its books. Again.

According to SCMP, China's economic figures for 2016 were revised lower by 54.2 billion yuan (US$8.34 billion) to 74.36 trillion yuan following a "miscalculation" revealed after a routine verification of the numbers, the National Statistics Bureau said on Friday.

While the amendment was not large enough to affect the earlier reported year-on-year growth rate of 6.7% for the world's second-largest economy, the bureau said in a statement, the truth is that nobody knows - and certainly nobody can verify - any numbers coming out of China where there already are glaring discrepancies between GDP data reported at the province and national levels.

The revision was necessary because of earlier miscalculations across various sectors, the NSB added. More from SCMP:

In the financial sector, for instance, output had been overestimated by 101.1 billion yuan, while in the telecoms and software industry, the figures were 92.9 billion yuan higher then they should have been, the statement said.

At the same time, performance was underestimated in other sectors, including construction, retail and entertainment, with the combined total for "other services" adding 139.4 billion yuan to the bottom line.

A similar revision took place one year earlier, when China's final figure for its 2015 GDP, released in early 2017, was 354.6 billion yuan higher than its initial estimate, while 12 months earlier the final figure for 2014 was revised down 22.9 billion yuan.

Don't worry though, China is "on it": Beij ...

The Dow Has What Investors Want

The Dow Jones Industrial Average has done very well lately, with a total return of 27% since the end of 2016, versus 24% for the S&P 500. And that has less to do with the quirk of how the Dow is constructed than what is in it.

Drug Industry Is Ripe for a Wave of Deals

Big pharma and biotech aren't benefiting as much from higher drug prices. That raises the possibility of large deals.

Now Italy Is Growing, Can It Lighten Its Huge Debt Load?

Italy, Europe's most indebted large economy, is at the crossroads again. Growth has picked up finally, and the country's bank cleanup is in progress. But the national election due in early March puts the country's debt back in focus.

Key Words: Head of largest hedge fund says economic downturn could leave U.S. 'at each other's throats'

Ray Dalio worries that an economic recession could foment unrest in a polarized America, resulting in segments of the population feeling marginalized in the face of stagnant wages and tax cuts for the wealthy.

Economic Report: U.S. adds 148,000 jobs in December

The U.S. economy added 148,000 jobs in December, the Labor Department said Friday.

Key Words: Why 'godfather' of chart analysis says it's hard to curb his stock-market enthusiasm

Ralph Acampora, director of technical research for Altaira Capital Partners, on Thursday in an interview with CNBC said he sometimes finds it hard to contain his enthusiasm about the market.

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