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Ahead of Wall Street

Friday, March 17, 2017

Pre-markets are wearing’ o’ the green today: S&P 500 +1, Dow +33 and Nasdaq +3.5 points a half hour before the opening bell. But with Q4 earnings season over, the Fed interest rate raise already having happened and priced into the market, and another massive day of NCAA Basketball Tournament games collide with St. Patrick’s Day on this Friday, we’re not sure what to expect as far as overall productivity on a day like today.

Members of the G-20 meet in the European spa town of Baden-Baden, Germany today, with plenty of big issues to tackle beyond its normal objectives of ensuring stable international financial activity. While the host country is interested in devoting a section of discussion today on protecting the global climate, four countries — the United States, China, India and Saudi Arabia, perhaps the top four polluting countries in the world today — are rejecting this proposal. Meaning that while other policy measures on a global financial level are being hashed out, there may be a great big, dirty elephant in the room today.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Mnuchin also has the difficult task of addressing the league of 20 countries with agreeing to abstain using their currencies as a direct economic advantage over the strengthening dollar. Now that the Fed has brought interest rates up another quarter percent this week — as other countries are either continuing to soften their currencies or standing pat — the U.S. dollar is at a clear competitive disadvantage, and Mnuchin has a strong interest in addressing this issue.

President Trump meets German Chancellor Angela Merkel today, as well, and each will speak to the public bilaterally. There will also be a round-table discussion among business leaders in one of the biggest global market nations (Germany) with Trump’s America First nationalist biases. Trump himself, while offering praise for Merkel’s strength of leadership has been outspoken about Germany’s trade surplus. Should be an interesting exchange, even without including the G-20 discussions.

Mark Vickery
Senior Editor

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