Trump : “Head Of US Intel Called Me To Denounce False, Fictitious, Illegally Circulated Report”

In his first tweet of the day, Donald Trump said at 7:23am on Thursday that Director of National Intelligence James Clapper had called him to effectively apologize and “denounce” the “false and fictitious” report containing numerous unverified allegations about the president-elect and Russia.

“Made up, phony facts.Too bad!” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s victory lap followed a statement issued late on Wednesday night from Clapper, in which the head of the DNI said he had spoken to Trump to express his “profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.” In other words, the US intel agencies, having been slammed by Trump for being “overly politicized”, blinked.

Clapper’s full statement:

This evening, I had the opportunity to speak with President-elect Donald Trump to discuss recent media reports about our briefing last Friday. I expressed my profound dismay at the leaks that have been appearing in the press, and we both agreed that they are extremely corrosive and damaging to our national security.


We also discussed the private security company document, which was widely circulated in recent months among the media, members of Congress and Congressional staff even before the IC became aware of it. I emphasized that this document is not a U.S. Intelligence Community product and that I do not believe the leaks came from within the IC. The IC has not made any judgment that the information in this document is reliable, and we did not rely upon it in any way for our conclusions. However, part of our obligation is to ensure that policymakers are provided with the fullest possible picture of any matters that might affect national security.


President-elect Trump again affirmed his appreciation for all the men and women serving in the Intelligence Community, and I assured him that the IC stands ready to serve his Administration and the American people. 

The detente followed the decision by BuzzFeed to post the controversial document, which was compiled by a former British intelligence officer. It alleges Russia’s government possesses compromising financial and personal information about Trump. It also claims people close to Trump kept in touch with Moscow during the 2016 presidential race. In response, Trump slammed BuzzFeed as a “failing pail of garbage” in his first press conference of the year.

via Tyler Durden

American Troops “Roll Into Poland” In Largest Deployment Since The Cold War

“American soldiers rolled into Poland on Thursday, fulfilling a dream Poles have had since the fall of communism in 1989 to have U.S. troops on their soil as a deterrent against Russia.”

That’s how the AP begins its report on the first deployment of US soldiers into the central European country, previewed here earlier in the week as “One Of Largest Deployments Since The Cold War“, even as Russia warned that the move represented a threat to its national security, and the Kremlin said “Russia regarded the move as an aggressive step along its borders.”

Two convoys of have been photographed heading to Poland from Germany today

40 vehicles across two separate convoys are on their way to Poland

NATO, however, has ignored Russian concerns and threats of retaliation and as a result soldiers in camouflage with tanks and other vehicles crossed into southwestern Poland on Thursday morning from Germany and headed for Zagan, where they will be based.

The largest US military brigade since the end of the Cold War arrived in
Bremerhaven in northern Germany on Saturday

While in the past the US and other Western nations have carried out exercises on NATO’s eastern flank, this deployment, which includes around 3,500 U.S. troops and 2,800 tanks, trucks and other military equipment, marks the first-ever continuous deployment to the region by a NATO ally. It also represents a commitment by outgoing President Obama to “protect” a region that became deeply nervous over Russia’s response to the CIA-orchestrated presidential coup in Ukraine, the annexation of Crimea, and the resulting proxy war in east Ukraine.

Two convoys of 20 vehicles were pictured leaving Brueck near Lehnin in Germany today heading to Poland. They spent the night 80km from Berlin. Troops will also deployed to Romania, Bulgaria and across the Baltics.

The Pentagon now plans to keep the full deployment in Europe and immediately replace those returning after their 9-month stays. The US troops will carry out training exercises with NATO forces once there.

* * *

As AP adds, the arrival of the US troops will be feted on Saturday in official ceremonies attended by Poland’s prime minister and defense minister.

Despite the Polish celebrations, clouds hung over the historic moment. As the AP puts it, “there are anxieties that the enhanced security could eventually be undermined by the pro-Kremlin views of President-elect Donald Trump. Meanwhile, Russia appears provoked by the deployment of American troops on its doorstep.”

“We perceive it as a threat,” President Vladimir Putin’s spokesman Dmitry Peskov said. “These actions threaten our interests, our security. Especially as it concerns a third party building up its military presence near our borders,” Peskov said in a conference call with reporters. “It’s not even a European state.”

Worries about the permanence of the new U.S. security commitments are rooted in a tragic national history in which Poland has often lost out in deals made over its head by the great powers.

via Tyler Durden

Gold Rises To $1,207 As Trump War With Intelligence Agencies Escalates

Gold Rises To $1,207 As Trump War With Intelligence Agencies Escalates

Gold has rallied to $1,207/oz today as stocks globally have weakened after the first press conference of incoming President Trump turned into a bit of a debacle.

Gold prices made further gains today amid reduced focus on the Fed and speculation regarding their potential rate hikes and more focus on the next four years of the Trump Presidency.

The dollar declined alongside US Treasury bond yields, although U.S. stock indices were supported yesterday and remained buoyant. Declines in Asian and European bourses today have seen U.S. futures decline this morning and the dollar has seen further losses pushing gold higher in all currencies.

Gold is likely to be supported and should rise due to the ongoing Trump versus the U.S. intelligence agencies saga which worsened yesterday amid vicious claim and counter claim. These included salacious allegations of lewd sexual acts by Trump while in Moscow and the allegation that the incoming President is being blackmailed and controlled by Russia.

There would appear to be a tussle for power and supremacy between more hawkish elements in the intelligence agencies and the incoming President. The extremely adversarial public disagreement between an incoming President with senior members of the FBI and the CIA is absolutely unprecedented.

As we told Dow Jones Marketwatch yesterday:

“Whether you like Trump or not, whether you are a Republican or a Democrat or neither, one has to acknowledge that the situation is a mess and is impacting America’s standing on the world stage.

It highlights the continuing political uncertainty in the U.S. and does not bode well for the next four years as it will likely contribute to heightened geopolitical uncertainty.”

There are also concerns about the increasing likelihood of trade wars, currency wars and even the potential for “hot” wars. Tensions with Russia and indeed China will not have been calmed by the Trump press conference yesterday.

Trump has angered Beijing since his election by reaching out to Taiwan, appointing China skeptics to his team, accusing China of stealing a drone and threatening punitive tariffs on the country’s exports.

The revelations and tensions between the incoming U.S. President and his intelligence agencies and indeed the media first began to affect markets yesterday and again today. If this continues we may see a more meaningful impact and risk assets such as stocks and bonds will be vulnerable.

The U.S. stock markets in particular look vulnerable, as they are near record highs and looking increasingly overvalued with the Dow near 20,000. As does the dollar which is near multi year highs against many fiat currencies.

A new safe haven bid in the gold market is being seen and looks like it will continue in the coming weeks and in 2017. Indeed, in terms of the gold market, there is a good possibility that the four years of the Trump Presidency may be the “gift that keeps on giving.”

The Trump press conference yesterday and its impact on markets, highlights the importance of real diversification and having an allocation to physical gold in a diversified portfolio. This will be more important than ever in the coming years.


For your perusal, below are in order of downloads our most popular guides in 2016:

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Gold and Silver Bullion – News and Commentary

Trump “situation is a mess and is impacting America’s standing on the world stage…’ said GoldCore (

Gold Futures Edge Higher As Investors Digest Trump’s Speech (

Gold hits 7-week highs on weaker dollar after Trump briefing (

LME Metals Trading Fails to Start on System Issues, Brokers Say (

Dollar, S&P 500 Futures Slip as Trump Bets Unwind (

Euro may not exist in 10 years, France’s Macron says (

Dollar Slumps, Bonds Rally as Trump Bets Unwind: Markets Wrap (

All Roads Lead To Gold – Top Sovereign Wealth Fund Adviser (

Tom DeMark Says Put Your “Dow 20,000” Hats Away (

Fears of a ‘massive’ global property price fall (


Gold Prices (LBMA AM)

12 Jan: USD 1,206.65, GBP 984.39 & EUR 1,135.82 per ounce
11 Jan: USD 1,187.55, GBP 979.25 & EUR 1,128.41 per ounce
10 Jan: USD 1,183.20, GBP 974.60 & EUR 1,118.12 per ounce
09 Jan: USD 1,176.10, GBP 968.75 & EUR 1,118.59 per ounce
06 Jan: USD 1,178.00, GBP 951.35 & EUR 1,112.27 per ounce
05 Jan: USD 1,173.05, GBP 953.55 & EUR 1,116.16 per ounce
04 Jan: USD 1,165.90, GBP 949.98 & EUR 1,117.40 per ounce
03 Jan: USD 1,148.65, GBP 935.12 & EUR 1,103.28 per ounce
30 Dec: USD 1,159.10, GBP 942.58 & EUR 1,098.36 per ounce

Silver Prices (LBMA)

12 Jan: USD 16.91, GBP 13.77 & EUR 15.87 per ounce
11 Jan: USD 16.79, GBP 13.84 & EUR 15.96 per ounce
10 Jan: USD 16.66, GBP 13.73 & EUR 15.76 per ounce
09 Jan: USD 16.52, GBP 13.57 & EUR 15.69 per ounce
06 Jan: USD 16.45, GBP 13.30 & EUR 15.54 per ounce
05 Jan: USD 16.59, GBP 13.47 & EUR 15.80 per ounce
04 Jan: USD 16.42, GBP 13.36 & EUR 15.74 per ounce
03 Jan: USD 15.95, GBP 12.97 & EUR 15.34 per ounce
30 Dec: USD 16.24, GBP 13.20 & EUR 15.38 per ounce

Recent Market Updates

– Prince Owned Land and Gold Bars Worth $800,000
– Gold Price In GBP Up 4% On Brexit and UK Risks
– 2016 Past is 2017 Prologue
– Gold Gains In All Currencies In 2016 – 9% In USD, 13% In EUR and Surges 31.5% In GBP
– Trump’s Twitter “140 Characters” To Push Gold To $1,600/oz in 2017?
– 2017 – The Year of Banana Skin
– US: Five Must Gold See Charts – Gold Miners Are “Running Out” of Gold
– Royal Mint And CME Make A Mint On The Blockchain?
– China Gold and Precious Metals Summit 2016 – GoldCore Presentation
– Trumpenstein ! Who Created Him and Why?
– Bail-Ins Coming? World’s Oldest Bank “Survival Rests On Savers”
– Fed’s “Fool Me…”, Silver Suppression, Euro Contagion In 2017?
– Fed Raised Rates 0.25% – Rising Rates Positive For Gold

via GoldCore

Blame The Press If Trump Didn’t Discuss His Economic Agenda

From Richard Breslow, former FX trader and fund manager who writes for Bloomberg

Everyone Left Presser Saying the Other Guy Lost

There are many ways to look at most issues. What we like to call nuance. In today’s world, sadly, there’s only thumbs-up or thumbs-down. It’s like living in the Roman Colosseum. Yesterday’s press conference was a disaster of arrogance and misdirection, or it was a tour de force where he taught the press a right, good lesson. What we got was what we should have had as the base-case expectation. He actually ran an honest campaign. And that’s what scares a lot of people.

The take-aways from this should be, he is who he claims and it’s unwise to project any other persona on him. And that what Americans are hearing, and in many cases hoping for, is not what people outside of the country can believe is happening

The other lesson not learned is that at a press conference, you can’t hope to get the questions you want to have answered unless you ask them. If investors were left disappointed on details relevant to the economy and policies, it’s because no one raised the issues in any substantive way

Interestingly, whether you agree with anything said or not, it might be useful to note for future day trading that S&P 500 futures sagged on Russia and conflicts of interest and bounced every time he went back to the campaign’s speech points

I wonder what they might have done had someone asked him the same South China Sea question posed to Secretary of State- designate Tillerson at his confirmation hearing. One thing I can tell you is which question and which answer was being discussed in the Chinese press today

I’ve read any number of stories this morning saying Trump trades unwind on disappointment with press conference. Meanwhile, it won’t be lost on the President-elect’s team that after the event, the Dow rallied almost 100 points, the 10-year auction was strong even with big primary issuance and the dollar was off a bit, which they won’t mind at all

There may be many people rating it “dislike”, but all he’s hearing is “great job, boss”. And that’s the rub.

via Tyler Durden

After Internal Investigation, Trump Says He Caught U.S. Intelligence Sources Leaking Info

In Donald Trump’s first press conference since winning the election, the President-elect suggested that by process of elimination, elements within US intelligence – and not a mole amongst his team, had been identified as the source of leaks surrounding his CIA intelligence briefings – implying they may have also leaked the now infamous 35-page #FakeNews dossier on Russian influence.

If you recall, the Washington Post – which was privy to the CIA assessment on Russian hacking for their Trump hit piece on December 9th (10 days before the electoral college vote), also broke the story that the President-elect was skipping his intelligence briefings, according to “U.S. Officials”).

In an effort to try and find the source of the leaks, Trump conducted his own “sting” on intelligence officials by ruling out moles within his own staff – including his personal assistant Rhona Graff, by not telling anyone about an upcoming intelligence briefing. When reports of the meeting later emerged in the press, Trump concluded that the leaks couldn’t have come from anywhere other than the intelligence community:

The meeting was held. They left, and immediately the word got out that I had a meeting. So, I don’t want that. It’s very unfair to the country. It’s very unfair to our country what’s happening…

…I think it’s pretty sad when intelligence reports get leaked out to the press. These are classified meetings and reports.

Trump then finished his point by referring to the 35-page hoax dossier leaked to Buzzfeed:

That report should have never been printed, because it’s not worth the paper it’s written on. Let me tell you, that should never, ever happen.

Prior to this exchange towards the end of the press conference, Trump made clear the “vital” importance of US intelligence – highlighting his recent picks for key positions within intel agencies (Mike Pompeo as director of the CIA and Dan Coats as director of National Intelligence), leaving many to surmise that the President-elect is referring to a specific opposition element within the intelligence community – perhaps tied to the outgoing administration and it’s vast spider web of power.



For those who caught what Dr. Steve Pieczenik said in November (Deputy Assistant Secretary of State under Kissinger and several others, expert in foreign policy, international crisis management and psychological warfare, terrorism expert, and guy who helped negotiate US-Soviet Arms deals under Reagan – AKA high level operator and the inspiration for Jack Ryan), perhaps we are witnessing the last act in the Assange-assisted counter-coup in the form of a desperate and reaching 35 page Hail Mary, which included lascivious and obscene tales woven by what may turn out to be the biggest troll the world has ever known.

Content originally generated at * Follow on Twitter @ZeroPointNow

via ZeroPointNow

Peter Thiel Explains Why Hedge Funds Changed Their Mind About Trump, Says “Age Of Apple Is Over”

Donald Trump’s sole Silicone Valley supporter, Peter Thiel, has been notoriously media shy (recall he personally funded the destruction of Gawker for “outing” him), so when the NYT’s Maureen Dowd posted an extensive interview with the Paypal cofounder and first Facebook investor, many were were curious to get some insight into his thinking. In the interview, Thiel spoke candidly about how he views the world, just a week before Trump’s inauguration, and while he touched on many topics, some that stood out to us were the following.

On why rich people and hedge fund managers changed their opinion of Trump virtually overnight:

“Somehow, I think Silicon Valley got even more spun up than Manhattan. There were hedge fund people I spoke to about a week after the election. They hadn’t supported Trump. But all of a sudden, they sort of changed their minds. The stock market went up, and they were like, ‘Yes, actually, I don’t understand why I was against him all year long.’”

It remains to be seen what “they” think of Trump once the market suffers its next correction.

Theil also discussed Apple, and when asked if the age of Apple is over, he confirmed:

We know what a smartphone looks like and does. It’s not the fault of Tim Cook, but it’s not an area where there will be any more innovation.”

Speaking about the Billy Bush sex tape, Thiel said that Silicon Valley is “hyper-politically correct about sex” simply because “people there just don’t have that much sex.”

“On the one hand, the tape was clearly offensive and inappropriate. At the same time, I worry there’s a part of Silicon Valley that is hyper-politically correct about sex. One of my friends has a theory that the rest of the country tolerates Silicon Valley because people there just don’t have that much sex. They’re not having that much fun.”

Some other key highlights from the interview, courtesy of BI.

On reconciling being gay with the perception that Trump’s administration will pursue an anti-LGBT agenda:

“You know, maybe I should be worried but I’m not that worried about it. I don’t know. People know too many gay people. There are just all these ways I think stuff has just shifted. For speaking at the Republican convention, I got attacked way more by liberal gay people than by conservative Christian people.

On the concerns that Trump might provoke a war with his Twitter account:

“A Twitter war is not a real war.”

On whether Russia is behind the hacks on the Democratic National Committee:

“There’s a strong circumstantial case that Russia did this thing. On the other hand, I was totally convinced that there were W.M.D.s in Iraq in 2002, 2003.”

On Twitter’s role in the election:

“I think the crazy thing is, at a place like Twitter, they were all working for Trump this whole year even though they thought they were working for Sanders.”

On Hillary Clinton’s weakness:

““If you’re too optimistic, it sounds like you’re out of touch. The Republicans needed a far more pessimistic candidate. Somehow, what was unusual about Trump is, he was very pessimistic but it still had an energizing aspect to it.”

On whether or not he’ll regret his role in Trump’s election:

“I always have very low expectations, so I’m rarely disappointed,” he says.

Finally, he confirmed there will be no slot for him in the Trump administration:

 I want to stay involved in Silicon Valley and help Mr. Trump as I can without a full-time position.

Much more in the full interview (and appendix) which can be read at “Peter Thiel, Trump’s Tech Pal, Explains Himself

via Tyler Durden

Is Jeff Sessions Ready to Ban Internet Gambling by DOJ Fiat?

During his confirmation hearing on Tuesday, Jeff Sessions promised that as attorney general he would “revisit” a 2011 Justice Department memo that interpreted the Wire Act of 1961 as applying only to sports betting, opening the door to state-regulated online gambling. The implication was that Sessions might revert to the department’s earlier position on the law, which implausibly read it as banning all forms of internet-assisted betting, even those permitted by state law.

Although Sessions’ comments set off alarm bells among online poker fans and other supporters of legalization, it’s not clear how serious he is about reversing the DOJ’s position. The Alabama senator said he was “shocked” by the 2011 memo and “criticized it.” But it was clear he had not read it, and there seems to be no public record of his opposition to it.

Sessions was responding to a question from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), sponsor of a bill that would amend the Wire Act to ban all online gambling. The bill, which is backed by Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, who is keen to wipe out online competition with his casinos, is called the Restoration of America’s Wire Act. But it does not “restore” anything; it rewrites the 1961 law by excising its reference to sports betting and inserting language about the internet.

To give you an idea of how big a loon Graham is on the subject of online gambling, he tried to justify his bill on national security grounds during the 2015 confirmation hearings for Attorney General Loretta Lynch. “Would you agree with me that one of the best ways for a terrorist organization or criminal enterprise to be able to enrich themselves is to have online gaming?” he asked. Lynch allowed that “those who provide the material support and financing to terrorist organizations…will use any means to finance those organizations.” She declined to offer an opinion on the DOJ memo, saying she was familiar with its conclusion but had not read it.

Although Sessions obviously had not read the memo either, he was eager to appease Graham. “I was shocked at the memorandum…that the Department of Justice issued with regard to the Wire Act and criticized it,” he said. “Apparently there is some justification or argument that can be made to support the Department of Justice’s position, but I did oppose it when it happened.” Apparently there is some justification? Wouldn’t you want to consider the DOJ’s reasoning before criticizing its conclusion? Apparently that’s not necessary when you’re a senator, but Sessions promised to do so after taking charge of the Justice Department. “I would revisit it,” he assured Graham, “and I would make a decision about it based on careful study.”

If Sessions really does study the issue carefully, he will find that the DOJ’s current interpretation of the Wire Act is much more faithful to the text and history of the law than the interpretation the department repudiated. The Wire Act, which was a response to the involvement of organized crime in sports betting, made it a felony to use “a wire communication facility for the transmission in interstate or foreign commerce of bets or wagers or information assisting in the placing of bets or wagers on any sporting event or contest.” Prior to 2011, the DOJ implausibly insisted that the phrase “on any sporting event or contest” does not modify “bets or wagers,” which would restrict the law’s scope to that kind of gambling. But the 2011 memo, a 13-page document prepared by the DOJ’s Office of Legal Counsel (OLC) in response to questions about online sales of state lottery tickets, concluded that “the Wire Act prohibits only the transmission of communications related to bets or wagers on sporting events or contests.”

There is nothing at all “shocking” about that position, which was endorsed by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit in a 2002 ruling that rejected Wire Act charges against the operators of websites offering casino-style games. The 5th Circuit matter-of-factly observed that “the Wire Act does not prohibit non-sports internet gambling.” In a letter responding to Sessions’ comments, the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and six other organizations note that “the OLC memo was not a ‘reinterpretation’ of the Wire Act’s intent; it merely restored the law to its original meaning.”

It is not clear on what grounds Sessions “criticized” and “oppose[d]” the DOJ memo, or even that he did so. A search of his office’s website turns up zero references to the Wire Act, and a Nexis search of news stories and transcripts since December 2011, when the memo was posted, finds no comments about it by Sessions.

Sessions, a social conservative, is no fan of online gambling but has not said much about it since he was elected to the Senate in 1996. “With the exception of his first two years as a United States senator,” the Online Poker Report noted in November, “by and large, Sessions has avoided gambling issues.” In 1997 Sessions announced that he was cosponsoring the Internet Gambling Prohibition Act, saying, “I am troubled by how easy it is for children to pick up their parents’ credit cards and gamble on the Internet.” But he never actually got around to sponsoring the bill that year or in 1999. Nor was he listed as a cosponsor of Graham’s bill in 2013-14 or last session.

Notably, Sessions said the 1997 bill would “update the law by extending existing prohibitions against gambling to the Internet,” which contradicts Graham’s premise that the Wire Act already bans online gambling, so that his bill merely “restores” the law’s original meaning. That premise is pretty hard to swallow, since Congress passed the law decades before the internet existed and expressly limited its scope to sports betting.

Sessions may not approve of online gambling, but his job as attorney general will be to enforce the law as written, regardless of his personal policy preferences. “We appreciate nominee Sessions’ pledge to give the issue ‘careful study,'” says the Poker Players Alliance, “and we also have no doubt that such careful study will reaffirm what OLC, the courts and Congress already agree on: the Wire Act is limited to sports betting and states may regulate other forms of internet gaming.”

Supporters of Graham’s bill claim it would protect the prerogatives of states that refuse to let their residents play online poker, when in fact it would blatantly violate federalist principles by overriding the decisions of states that choose to legalize internet gambling. CEI warns that reading the Wire Act the way Graham prefers “would severely injure one of our nation’s founding principles: the idea that the federal government’s power should be limited and states should be free to regulate intrastate commerce as they see fit.” It urges Sessions to defend the 10th Amendment by “rejecting cronyist calls from casino interests to create a national gambling ban.”

from Hit & Run

Senate Takes First Step To Repeal Obamacare With 51-48 Vote

Early on Thursday morning, in a 51-48 vote, the Senate took the first concrete step toward dismantling Obamacare, when it voted to instruct key committees to draft legislation repealing Barack Obama’s signature health insurance program. Republicans needed a simple majority to clear the repeal rules, instructing committees to begin drafting repeal legislation, through the upper chamber, with the vote falling largely along party lines.

Rand Paul was the lone Republican to vote against the budget resolution because it didn’t balance. Paul said in a statement after the vote that while he supports nixing ObamaCare “putting nearly $10 trillion more in debt on the American people’s backs through a budget that never balances is not the way to get there.”

Meanwhile, no Democrat supported the repeal rules. Instead, Democrats rose one by one from their seats on the Senate floor in protest to state why they were voting against the resolution. In dramatic fashion, Bernie Sanders warned that if the GOP resolution moved forward Americans would die.

“Up to 30 million Americans will lose their health care with many thousands dying as a result,” he said. “Because when you have no health insurance and you can’t go to a doctor or a hospital, you die.”

Sanders also mocked the Republican effort saying the GOP have never united around an alternative to Obamacare. “They want to kill ACA but they have no idea how they are going to bring forth a substitute proposal,” declared Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont.

Dianne Feinstein who had surgery to install a pacemaker, missed the hours-long “vote-a-rama” session that began Wednesday evening. Lawmakers were able to use the hours-long voting block to force a vote on any amendment to the budget resolution. Some 180 amendments were filed.

As the Hill adds, the late-night passage of the budget resolution comes despite deep divisions on when and how to replace ObamaCare, which were on full display. Lawmakers spent more than six hours on the Senate floor and voted on more than 19 amendments, none of which were successfully added to the resolution.

But Republicans managed to avoid what was expected to be the top fight of the night, when a group of five GOP senators dropped their push to delay the ObamaCare repeal legislation. Lawmakers had wanted to push the deadline for committee repeal proposals from Jan. 27 to March, which they argued was needed to give lawmakers extra time to lock down details on a replacement bill and work with the incoming Trump administration about next steps.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), one of the Republicans backing the amendment, said the decision was a result of a “very thoughtful discussions” within Republicans and recognizing that the Jan. 27 date is a “placeholder.”


Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) added that “we have assurances from leadership that this date is not a date that is set in stone.”


But Sen. John Cornyn (R-Texas), McConnell’s deputy, had warned that pushing back the date could create a “jam” on the Senate floor with GOP lawmakers wanting to tackle an ambitious agenda with President-elect Donald Trump’s first 100 days.

The resolution now goes to the House of Representatives, which is expected to vote on it this week. Scrapping Obamacare, albeit without a ready replacement, has become a top priority for most Republican majorities in both chambers and Republican President-elect Donald Trump. Republicans have said that the process of repealing Obamacare could take months, while developing a replacement plan could take far longer, according to Goldman as much as two years. However, they are under pressure from Trump to act fast; he said on Wednesday that the repeal and replacement should happen “essentially simultaneously.” It remains unclear just how that will happen.

Trump said during a press conference on Wednesday that repeal and replace legislation would occur near simultaneously if not at the same time. “It’ll be repeal and replace. It will be essentially, simultaneously. It will be various segments, you understand, but will most likely be on the same day or the same week, but probably, the same day, could be the same hour,” he said.

At the same time, Democrats continued to warn that if Republicans break ObamaCare they will own any political backlash and roil the insurance market. Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) appealed to Republicans earlier Wednesday, urging them to back down from the healthcare fight. “If Republicans go forward with this plan, they may mollify their base, but they will ostracize and hurt the American people, and ultimately lose in the court of public opinion,” he said.

Democrats forced votes on a myriad of amendments aimed at blocking legislation that would  “make America sick again,” a new Democratic slogan on the GOP plan to repeal ObamaCare without a replacement. 

Some 20 million previously uninsured Americans gained health coverage through the Affordable Care Act, as Obamacare is officially called. Coverage was extended by expanding Medicaid and through online exchanges where consumers can receive income-based subsidies. On the other hand, premiums for Obamacare members have exploded in recent year, leading to widespread anger among middle-class Americans.

* * *

The resolution approved Thursday instructs committees of the House and Senate to draft repeal legislation by a target date of January 27. Both chambers will then need to approve the resulting legislation before any repeal goes into effect. Senate Republicans are using special budget procedures that allow them to repeal Obamacare by a simple majority; this way they don’t need Democratic votes. Republicans have a majority of 52 votes in the 100-seat Senate; one Republican, Senator Rand Paul, voted no on Thursday.

Democrats passed the Affordable Care Act in 2010 over united Republican opposition. Democrats say the act is insuring more Americans and helping to slow the growth in healthcare spending. But Republicans say the system is not working. The average Obamacare premium is set to rise 25 percent in 2017.

via Tyler Durden

Dollar, Futures Slump; Gold Spikes Over $1,200 After Trump Disappoints Markets

Risk assets declined across the globe, with European, Asian shares and S&P 500 futures all falling, while the dollar slumped against most currencies after a news conference by President-elect Donald Trump disappointed investors with limited details of his economic-stimulus plans, and the Trumpflation/reflation trade was said to be unwinding.

“The risk was always that a president like Trump would end up upsetting that consensus (of faster U.S. growth, stronger dollar) view by introducing more political uncertainty,” said asset manager GAM’s head of multi-asset portfolios Larry Hatheway.

The biggest mover, and perhaps the key driver of risk since the election, was the dollar which tumbled as much as 0.8%, falling below its 50DMA for the first time since the election, and back to where it was during the December 14 Fed rate hike announcement, while Treasuries gained alongside commodities, as Donald Trump’s press conference sent a wake-up call to the market about exalted expectations for fiscal stimulus in the U.S.

“Overall, investors are wary ahead of Trump’s inauguration – a case of buy the talk (Trumpflation), but sell the news,” analysts at Societe Generale said in a note.

However while negative for the US, that Trump did not mention possible tariffs against Chinese exports, was a relief for Asian share markets that have feared the outbreak of a global trade war.

The lack of detail about a potential stimulus also put safety plays such as bonds and gold back in favor, cooling bets that have built in recent months on significantly higher global inflation and series of U.S. interest rate hikes. It was enough to send the dollar tumbling back below 114 yen for the first time in five weeks and brought some welcome relief to Brexit-bruised sterling and Turkey’s lira, which has been badly beaten up this year. The USD/JPY broke below the prior session low of 114.25 to reach its weakest level in a month as broad assets position adjustments after recent rally continues to lower the pair’s range, said Satoshi Okagawa, senior global market analyst at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. in Singapore. Eventually the pair slid as low as 113.77 shortly after the European open before rebounding to just above 114.

The euro was back at $1.0650 for the first time in a month, shaky sterling climbed above $1.22 and Sweden’s crown hit a four-month high and cracked its 200-day moving average against the euro after pacy inflation data. It was also bliss for bond markets that have been in reverse since Trump’s election fuel led bets on higher U.S. interest rates that tend to set the bar for global borrowing costs.

Gold spiked on the weak dollar, rising above $1,200 since November 23, and at the 38.2% Fibonacci of the Trump-Led slide.

With all eyes on the dollar, the U.S. currency slumped against most major and the 10-year Treasury yield touched the lowest since November as Trump’s first press conference since his election victory gave no details on policy.

European stocks headed for their lowest close since the end of 2016 and drugmakers across the globe sold off. Turkey’s currency climbed for the first time in six days as the nation’s central bank tightened lira liquidity. Gold advanced to a seven-week high and industrial metals rallied.  The Stoxx Europe 600 Index lost 0.5 percent and the FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent, halting a record streak of gains.     Health-care shares headed for their biggest drop since November, deepening losses that began late yesterday.

As Bloomberg, and virtually everyone else has pointed out many times already, Trump’s press conference left investors with few specifics on the timing and scope of planned policies from infrastructure spending to trade pacts. Since his victory, the dollar and global equities have rallied, while bonds sold off, on bets inflation would pick up with growth. Health-care stocks were pressured Thursday as Trump said he’d force the pharmaceutical industry to bid for government business in the world’s largest drug market.

“Markets are disappointed by a lack of detail around the much touted stimulus plans,” said Michael McCarthy, Sydney-based chief market strategist at CMC Markets Plc. “There is a growing fear that recent positive moves are based on bombast, and could unravel very quickly.”

“The news conference was a far cry from the market friendly, pro-growth “presidential” comments that Trump delivered at his acceptance speech,” wrote analysts at Westpac, adding it left a “veritable laundry list” of questions unanswered.

Futures on the S&P 500 Index fell 0.3 percent. The underlying gauge increased 0.3 percent on Wednesday, staging an afternoon rally and recouping losses of as much as 0.4 percent. 

In rates, the benchmark 10-year Treasury yield fell five basis points to 2.32 percent, touching the lowest level since Nov. 30. German 10-year yields dropped three basis points to 0.29 percent, while those in the U.K. slid five basis points to 1.29 percent.

Bulletin Headline Summary from RanSquawk

  • European equities trade in the red, albeit modestly so as Europe continues to digest the fallout from Trump’s press conference
  • Some sweeping moves in the USD this morning, and all spurred by the lack of substance in yesterday’s press conference by president elect Trump
  • Looking ahead, highlights include ECB meeting minutes, US import and export prices, Fed’s Yellen, Bullard and Kaplan

Market Snapshot

  • S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 2264
  • Stoxx 600 down 0.2% to 364
  • FTSE 100 down 0.2% to 7273
  • DAX down 0.5% to 11582
  • German 10Yr yield down 1bp to 0.32%
  • Italian 10Yr yield up 1bp to 1.88%
  • Spanish 10Yr yield up less than 1bp to 1.42%
  • S&P GSCI Index up 0.8% to 398
  • Nikkei 225 down 1.2% to 19135
  • Hang Seng down 0.5% to 22829
  • Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3119
  • S&P/ASX 200 down less than 0.1% to 5767
  • US 10-yr yield down 5bps to 2.32%
  • Dollar Index down 0.62% to 101.15
  • WTI Crude futures up 0.6% to $52.55
  • Brent Futures up 0.9% to $55.58
  • Gold spot up 1% to $1,204
  • Silver spot up 1.2% to $16.93

Top News

  • Obamacare Repeal Effort Clears First Big Hurdle in U.S. Senate: the U.S. Senate took the first step toward repealing Obamacare in a razor-thin vote early Thursday
  • U.S. Said to Prepare WTO Complaint Against China on Aluminum: case focusing on loans said to be unveiled as soon as Thursday; global glut of aluminum threatening remaining U.S. capacity
  • Alphabet Says It Shut Down Titan Drone Internet Project: similar project pursued by Facebook has also faced setback
  • Blackstone Said to Vie With Warburg, Chinese Group for GLP: Blackstone considering offer for GLP, potentially pitting it against Warburg Pincus and a separate Chinese group
  • J&J, Actelion Said to Reach Tentative Agreement on Price: discussions now said to focus on valuing separated R&D unit; companies could reach a final deal as soon as this month
  • VW Officials Destroyed Files, E-Mails as Diesel Scheme Unraveled: co. pleads guilty, 5 more charged in emissions cheat
  • Tillerson Says China Can’t Have Access to South China Sea Isles: U.S. Secretary of State nominee says China must be denied access to artificial islands built in disputed water
  • U.S. Intelligence Chief Tells Trump He’s Dismayed by Leaks: Clapper said leak likely didn’t originate from spy agencies
  • HSBC to Pay $45 Million to Settle Euribor Price-Fixing Case
  • Floor & Decor Said to Revive IPO With >$1b Valuation: Reuters
  • Jawbone Said to Be Looking for Funds After Fitbit Approach: FT
  • CVC Capital Said in Advanced Talks to Buy MSC Software: Reuters
  • Apax Partners Sells 48% Stake in GlobalLogic For $1.5b: ET

Looking at regional markets, we start in Asia where stock markets traded lower across the board to shrug off the positive lead from Wall Street as Trump’s press conference led USD lower and as the surge in oil markets lifted the energy names. Nikkei 225 (-1.2%) underperformed on a firmer JPY as USD/JPY broke below 115.00, while comments in the US session from Trump criticising the healthcare sector led the pharmaceutical sector lower by around 3%. ASX 200 (-0.1%) pared early gains despite higher commodity prices, as a second day of double digit loss for Bellamy’s and near 2% declined in the health care sector weighed the index. In China, Shanghai Comp (-0.6%) and Hang Seng (-0.4%) were lower amid a lack of news-flow and yet another reserved liquidity operation by the PBoC. 10yr JGBs traded marginally higher amid the risk averse tone in the region, while the curve flattened amid outperformance in the long end.

Top Asian NEws

  • China Credit Growth Exceeds Estimates as Lending Remains Robust: aggregate financing was 1.63 trillion yuan in December; Broad M2 money supply increased by 11.3% percent, PBOC says
  • Macau Casinos Lead Declines in Hong Kong Amid Revenue Concerns: Casino stocks dragged Hong Kong’s benchmark equity index lower by the most in three weeks
  • Pimco Says China’s Next Big Shock May Be a Yuan Free Float: It would lead to a knee-jerk tumble, exacerbating capital outflows and sending shockwaves through global markets

All of the major European bourses trade in the red this morning with many analysts stating that President elect Trumps failure to mention any fiscal spending plans could be the main reason for the subdued sentiment. In company specific news, Tesco (-2.3%) shares are trading soft after broad sector strength earlier in the week. Elsewhere, Healthcare shares have been hit this morning after Trump stated that healthcare companies should be allowed to get away with charging extortionate prices. Luxury names have been trading well with Burberry (+1.3%) trading higher in sympathy with Richemont (7.6%) who reported a strong set of earnings pre-market. In Fixed income markets, Bunds opened higher in tandem with their US counterparts performance overnight, although prices have pulled away from best levels as markets take the opportunity to book profits. Elsewhere, supply from Europe has come in the form of Italian BTPs and a UK 2025 Gilt auction with UK paper relatively unfazed by a firm b/c of 2.52 and small yield tail.

Top European News

  • German Economic Growth Accelerated in 2016 on Domestic Spending: German economic growth accelerated more than analysts forecast in 2016 to its fastest pace in 5 years
  • Richemont Reports Unexpected Sales Gain as Watches Improve: 3Q sales +5% after falling 12% in 1H; better own-store watch sales good sign for wholesale: analysts
  • Swatch Gains; Positive Read-Across from Richemont, Short Squeeze
  • European Broadcasters Hook Up in Web Push as Viewers Move Online: Mediaset, TF1 invest in ProSiebenSat.1’s Studio71 unit
  • UBI Climbs After Offering 1 Euro to Buy 3 Rescued Small Banks; UBI plans to raise as much as EU400m through a rights offer to purchase three “good banks” at a symbolic price
  • Tesco Falls as Sales Growth Fails to Satisfy Investors; investor hopes had been raised by Wm Morrison Supermarkets’ results earlier in week

In currencies, there have been some sweeping moves in the USD this morning, and all spurred by the lack of substance in yesterday’s press conference by president elect Trump. This is all the talk at the moment, so there is everything to suggest that this may continue to a modest degree, with USD dip buyers likely to limit and significant moves from current pullback levels. USD/JPY has taken out 114.00, but still looks vulnerable to a deeper correction which sees the potential for 113.00 base on the charts. Support from here stretches down to 111.45-50 before we can start talking of a reversal. This is very much the case in EUR/USD, where sellers have come in around 1.0650-60, but the risk for a move to 1.0700-1.0800 remains as rising EU inflation raises the prospect on greater consideration of (ECB) tapering. GBP has also benefitted from the turn in the USD as we have seen 1.2300 tipped in Cable this morning. Brexit related fears will keep a lid on any major recoveries — especially against the USD — as yield differentials also dictate. EUR/GBP price action will also reflect a clearer picture, but sentiment USD based for now. USD/CAD is now threatening a move on 1.3000 on the downside, with Oil prices having held up well over the last 24 hours. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index, a gauge of the greenback against 10 major peers, fell 0.8 percent at 10:01 a.m. London time. It’s flat since the Fed’s rate decision on Dec. 14. 

In commodities, the big mover in the commodity complex is Gold, taking out USD 1,200 as the USD was hit hard during president elect Trump’s ineffective press conference yesterday. Resistance levels here into the mid USD1200’s worth noting as USD dip buyers likely. Oil prices have performed well in the last 24 hours, and indeed over last night’s key events. WTI above USD50.00 looks comfortable for now. Base metals mixed, but stable despite the lack of focus on infrastructure spending in the US. Anticipated China demand supports Copper which added 2.2% to $5,842 a metric ton, the highest in a month after Indonesia confirmed a halt to concentrate exports. Zinc rose 2.1 percent and nickel gained 1.5 percent.  U.S. natural gas rose 3% to $3.32 per million British thermal units as a Bloomberg survey showed inventories probably fell by 141 billion cubic feet last week. U.K. natural gas rose 1.3 percent to 56.70 pence a therm, a fourth day of gains amid forecasts for cold weather.

Looking at today’s calendar, in the US the data docket contains the import price index reading for last month, last week’s initial jobless claims and the December monthly budget statement. Away from the data we’ll get the latest ECB minutes from last month’s policy meeting as well as a number of Fed speakers including Harker, Evans and Lockhart at 8.30am GMT, Bullard at 1.15pm and Kaplan at 1.45pm.

* * *

US Event Calendar

  • 8:30am: Import Price Index MoM, Dec., est. 0.7% (prior -0.3%)
  • 8:30am: Initial Jobless Claims, Jan. 7, est. 255k (prior 235k)
  • 8:30am: Fed’s Harker Speaks in Malvern, Pennsylvania
  • 8:30am: Fed’s Evans and Lockhart Take Part in Panel in Naples, Florida
  • 9:45am: Bloomberg Consumer Comfort, Jan. 8 (prior 45.5)
  • 10am: Freddie Mac mortgage rates
  • 10:30am: EIA natural-gas storage change
  • 12pm: Monthly World Agriculture Supply and Demand Estimates
  • 1:15pm: Fed’s Bullard Speaks in New York on U.S. Outlook
  • 1:45pm: Fed’s Kaplan Speaks at Dallas Regional Chamber Event
  • 2pm: Monthly Budget Statement, Dec., est. -$26.0b (prior – $136.7b)

Government Calendar

  • 9:30am: Senate Armed Services Cmte hearing on nomination of retired Gen. James Mattis for defense secretary
  • 10am: Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Cmte hearing on nomination of Ben Carson for HUD secretary
  • 10am: Senate Foreign Relations Cmte second hearing on nomination of former Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson for sec. of state
  • 10am: Senate Intelligence Cmte hearing nomination of Mike Pompeo for CIA director
  • 2pm: House Armed Services Cmte holds mark up of waiver measure

DB’s Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap

Morning from Zurich. I listened to President-elect Trump’s press conference on Bloomberg radio yesterday while on the tarmac waiting to take off from Oslo to Copenhagen. I must admit that whilst there was nothing much of substance for financial markets to take from it there’s no doubting it was compelling stuff and it was one of the rare times I really didn’t want a flight to take off and lose signal. I’ve never known anything like it from an incoming or sitting leader anywhere in the world. For a start you don’t often have cheering and clapping at a press conference which came from a contingent of Mr Trump’s  supporters at the event. We also had a fierce exchange between the future President and a CNN reporter who was refused a question due to his organisation’s reporting of Trump’s alleged relationship with Russia.

We also learnt that Mr Trump turned down $2 billion last week from a Dubai developer and also a discussion over his trip to Russia to work on Miss Universe. Not the everyday stuff of governmental press conferences but when you see some of the bland stage managed versions around the world who is to say it’s the wrong approach.

There was also a very brief mention of a “major border tax on companies leaving the US” and that Obamacare will be repealed and replaced “almost simultaneously” but overall markets were disappointed at the lack of substance around policy in particular. This was most apparent in FX where the US Dollar index finished the day -0.23% (and is down another -0.22% this morning) but was actually down as much as -1.62% from the intraday high at one stage. Over in rates 10y Treasury yields were down close to 5bps at one point, touching an intraday low in yield of 2.327%, before paring that move late into the close to finish more or less unchanged around 2.373%. Meanwhile equity markets posted modest gains but in reality were propped up by the +2.81% rebound for WTI Oil – despite some bearish inventory data – which helped the energy sector to outperform. Indeed the S&P 500 closed +0.28% and the Dow +0.50% but healthcare names took a bit of hit with Trump critical of drug pricing and saying that the industry needs “more competitive drug bidding” and that its currently “getting away with murder”. The Nasdaq Biotech index tumbled -2.96% as a result and had its worst day since October 11th.

Elsewhere Gold (+0.31%) notched up yet another gain however base metals generally eased off following the recent strong run. The European session had been a bit of a sideshow prior to Trump but markets still generally closed a touch firmer with the Stoxx 600 finishing +0.23%. The FTSE 100 (+0.21%) also notched up another gain and in doing so marked the first time the index has ever closed higher for 12 days in a row. That also coincided with Sterling at one stage touching a new 3-month low of $1.2039, before bouncing back into the close. The latest leg lower came as Governor Carney spoke and warned that Brexit could “amplify” four other dangers to the UK economy including the current account deficit, further weakness in Sterling, mounting consumer credit and a weaker commercial property market. On a related note, Scotland’s Nicola Sturgeon was dealt a bit of a blow yesterday after senior Norwegian politicians argued that it would be impossible for Scotland to move to a ‘Norway-style’ model for staying in the single market while also remaining part of the UK.

This morning in Asia it’s been another mixed start for markets. Most notable has been the decline for Japanese equities with the Nikkei (-1.26%) and Topix (-1.22%) tumbling with the healthcare sector and particularly those names with revenue exposure in the US notably underperforming following Trump’s comments about the sector. The Yen has also rallied about 2% since Trump spoke, which is also weighing. Meanwhile the Hang Seng (-0.33%) is also weaker, while the Shanghai Comp (+0.20%) and Kospi (+0.12%) are posting modest gains. The ASX is little changed.

Moving on. Yesterday we published our first Euro HY strategy monthly of the year. Since we published our 2017 Credit Outlook in late November we have seen some fairly impressive moves for EUR HY credit  spreads. At this time we have no intention of changing our FY spread forecasts but given the strength of these moves we assess the implications for potential returns in 2017. At the time of the outlook our spread and default rate forecasts indicated that, whilst low, both excess and total returns should still be positive for 2017. Unsurprisingly given the positive performance in December and at the start of January we are now at a starting point where returns are likely to be negative for the coming year. Around -0.4% in terms of excess returns and -1.3% in total returns. We continue to think the intra-year range could be large for spreads and think there will be a better entry point into EUR HY than current levels even if this is not immediate. Please email if you haven’t received it.

Also yesterday we published a Credit Bite “Moody’s Default Rates Tracker” ( detailing the agencies’ latest 12-month-trailing high-yield default rates and their forecasts for the next 12 months. The default rate was 2.08% in Europe, 5.65% in the US and 4.41% globally. The baseline forecast for the next 12 months is 2.1% for Europe, 3.8% for the US and 3% globally

In our 2017 Outlook, we forecast 2.5% for Europe ( and our US colleagues predict 5% for the US having revised down their earlier 7.25% forecast ( This is broadly in line with Moody’s view of a continued benign default environment in Europe and peaking of US defaults in the course of the year, although our US colleagues remain more cautious. Before we wrap up, in terms of the economic data yesterday the only releases of note came from the UK. Both industrial production (+2.1% mom vs. +1.0% expected) and manufacturing production (+1.3% mom vs. +0.5% expected) surprised to the upside, while the November trade deficit was reported as widening a little bit more than expected (to £12.2bn vs. £11.1bn expected). Carney also acknowledged yesterday that “the recent data would be consistent with a further upgrade of the forecasts” of the Bank.

Meanwhile over in Italy the Italian Constitutional Court rejected a request by the largest Italian union to force a referendum to overturn the core of the labour reform introduced by Renzi’s government in 2015, including the rejecting of the easing of redundancy rules for new hires. The ruling should come as some relief to new PM Gentiloni.

Looking at today’s calendar the only notable data due out in Europe this morning is the final revision to the December CPI report in France, Euro area industrial production in November and Germany’s first  estimate of calendar year 2016 GDP growth. Over in the US the data docket contains the import price index reading for last month, last week’s initial jobless claims and the December monthly budget statement. Away from the data we’ll get the latest ECB minutes from last month’s policy meeting as well as a number of Fed speakers including Harker, Evans and Lockhart at 1.30pm GMT, Bullard at 6.15pm GMT and Kaplan at 6.45pm GMT.


via Tyler Durden