The Santa Claus Rally started early this year and as we enter that looks like a three week holiday trading season because of the way the dates fall, traders already appear to be pausing for a rest with exhausted traders looking forward to the end of 2016 and ahead to the challenges and opportunities of 2017. There are still a few significant events this week with more the first week of January but overall, trading appears to be lighter already. 

Major indices in the US and Europe are pretty much flat this morning. The Dow remains short of the 20,000 level that it approached last week, trading closer to 19,800. Italy’s FTSEMIB is up 0.4% with some traders hoping and Banca Monte Paschi di Siena’s latest attempt at raising capital may be successful.  Commodities are mixed with crude oil up 0.3% and copper down 1.5%.

There are two events in the US today that could have some influence on trading. 

First up is the Electoral College voting which takes place in state houses across America over the course of the morning. This is normally and should be a formality, the last phase of the US election process and setting the stage for the January inauguration. There has been a huge campaign this time, however, from individual Democrats and celebrities that has sent thousands of emails and letters  to electors asking them to deny Donald Trump the White House by  breaking their oaths, rejecting democracy and ignoring the will of the people. Apparently there are a couple of what they call faithless electors each time around but it’s highly unlikely they will find the 30 or so electors needed to betray their duty to overturn the election. Still, apparently a lot of protests are planned that could attract attention in the media. If Donald Trump is confirmed as the next President we could see a small relief rally, if there is an incredibly surprising turn of events and the electors reject American Democracy, it could upset the apple cart in a major way. Normally this event would not merit this much commentary but it’s been a big year for surprises and it’s important for traders to be prepared for anything.  

Second, Fed Chair Janet Yellen is scheduled to speak today. Considering she just had a big press conference last week it’s unlikely we’ll see anything new but any dovish shift in tone could have an impact on US Dollar trading. As it is, with so much hawkish news already in the market some traders appear to be starting to take profits. Overall, US Dollar trading against other majors has been mixed overnight. Two of the most depressed currencies of late, gold and JPY, are on the rebound indicating some USD profit taking may be underway easing some of the pressure. The Yen may remain active through this week’s Bank of Japan meeting. 


  
Corporate News

Lennar                $1.34 vs street $1.28

Economic News

Germany IFO current conditions        116.6 vs street 115.9
Germany IFO Business sentiment    111.0 vs street 110.7
Germany IFO expectations        105.6 as expected

Upcoming significant economic announcements include:

9:45 am EST        US flash service PMI        previous 54.9

1:30 pm EST        Janet Yellen speaks on the US job market


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