U.S. equities were choppy in pre-open trade
U.S. equities were choppy in pre-open trade following the relatively tame CPI report and news that Rex Tillerson was pushed out of his post as Secretary of State and replaced by CIA Director Pompeo. On net stocks are still poised to open higher after this cross-chop. The Dow is up 95-points, S&P gained 12-points and NASDAQ is up 32-points ahead of the opening bell. CPI gained less than 0.2% on a headline and core basis, while on a core y/y reading it remained at 1.8%. That will do little to alter the stakes ahead of next Wednesday's FOMC meeting, which should hike rates another quarter point and lift confidence in reaching its economic and inflation mandates in the statement. Europe is mixed with light gains or declines, while the UK FTSE 100 slumped 0.4%. Asia was mixed as well after Japan's Nikkei rose 0.66% and China's CSI 300 sank 0.88%. Broadcom's bid for Qualcomm was blocked by the government on national security grounds, knocking its shares over 5% lower, while boosting those of Broadcom by 1.5%. VIX equity vol is 2% lower near 15.48 after topping 16.35 yesterday, the dollar index is off 0.23% near 89.68 and crude is 0.6% lower -- under $61 bbl.