Morning Call For Aug. 21, 2014

OVERNIGHT MARKETS AND NEWS

September E-mini S&Ps (ESU14 +0.15%) this morning are up +0.18% at a record high and European stocks are up +0.72% at a 2-1/2 week high on economic optimism along with signs of increased M&A activity. AstraZeneca Plc, the UK's second-largest drug maker, rose over 2% after people familiar with the matter said Pfizer executives would prefer to buy AstraZeneca rather than a different pharmaceutical company. Manufacturing activity in the Eurozone and China grew at a slower pace than expected as rising political tensions threaten global economic growth. The Eurozone Aug Markit manufacturing PMI fell -1.0 to a 13-month low of 50.8 and bolstered the outlook for the ECB to expand stimulus. Asian stocks closed mixed: Japan +0.85%, Hong Kong -0.66%, China -0.50%, Taiwan -0.37%, Australia +0.08%, Singapore +0.01%, South Korea -1.60%, India +0.17%. Japan's Nikkei Stock Index rose to a 2-1/2 week high as exporters rallied on improved earnings prospects after the yen fell to a 4-1/2 month low against the dollar. Commodity prices are mixed. Oct crude oil (CLV14 -0.75%) is down -0.68% at a fresh 7-1/4 month low on demand concerns after Chinese and Eurozone manufacturing activity slowed more than expected. Oct gasoline (RBV14 -0.45%) is down -0.33%. Dec gold (GCZ14 -1.07%) is down -0.99%at a 2-month low as the dollar index surged to an 11-1/2 month high after the minutes of the Jul 29-30 FOMC meeting raised the possibility the Fed may hike interest rates sooner than anticipated. Sep copper (HGU14 -0.68%) is down -0.79%. Agriculture and livestock prices are mixed with Oct hogs down -1.19% at a fresh 6-1/4 month low. The dollar index (DXY00 +0.02%) is up +0.02% at an 11-1/2 month high on the heels of the hawkish minutes of the Jul 29-30 FOMC meeting. EUR/USD (^EURUSD) is up +0.05% as it recovers from an 11-1/4 month low. USD/JPY (^USDJPY) is up +0.05% at a 4-1/2 month high as the rally in stocks undercuts the safe-haven demand for the yen. Sep T-note prices (ZNU14 -0.07%) are down -2 ticks at a 1-week low.

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