MARKETS: Report: Dow fails to break the elusive 20,000 barrier on Wednesday and stocks fall as trading volumes will drop as as the holidays approach #oil prices rose after #OPEC deal but due to oversupply prior to this a remaining glut remains forcing prices to remain just over $50.00 a barrel – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceReport – Dec.22: The only major economic data released Wednesday were existing home sales for November, which hit 5.61 million units, and weekly mortgage applications, which rose 2.5 percent.

http://cnb.cx/2hcHm8 As the holidays approach, investors expect trading volumes to drop significantly, which may lead to volatile swings within the market. “The trains to Manhattan have started to thin out as some market participants have already commenced their holiday vacation plans,” said Jeremy Klein, chief market strategist at FBN Securities, in a note to clients.

Overseas, however, European equities traded mostly lower amid concerns over the stability of the region’s banks. Earlier, Monte dei Paschi di Siena — Italy’s third-largest lender — said it could run out of cash in four months, much faster than the originally forecast 11 months.

Meanwhile, Spanish banks must repay customers more than $4.2 billion after Europe’s top court unexpectedly overturned a Spanish ruling that capped liabilities relating to a disputed mortgage clause, posing a new challenge to some lenders.

Banco Popular, the sector’s weak link and seen as a potential takeover target, faces about $343 million in new charges. Its shares led losses among Spanish banks and fell 5.82 percent.

“Spanish banks have made provisions for what they would have to pay in the event of a negative outcome but with the stocks lower anyway, apparently by not enough. Spanish banks tried to protect themselves from [negative interest rate policy] and now will get penalized for it,” said Peter Boockvar, chief market analyst at The Lindsey Group.

In corporate news, Twitter‘s CTO Adam Messinger announced is leaving the company after five years. Meanwhile, Amazon was hit by a strike at its German warehouses in a dispute over pay and working conditions. The strike is scheduled to run until Dec. 24.

U.S. Treasurys rose on Wednesday, with the short-term two-year note yielding near 1.2 percent and the benchmark 10-year note yield around 2.55 percent.

Meanwhile #oil and #gas markets http://on.mktw.net/2hWbjaU

In oil markets, U.S. crude settled 1.5 percent lower at $52.49 per barrel after the Energy Information Administration said crude stockpiles rose by 2.3 million barrels last week.

The U.S. dollar fell 0.29 percent against a basket of currencies, with the euro near $1.043 and the yen around 117.5

Oil prices finished sharply lower Wednesday after the U.S. Energy Information Administration reported a larger-than-expected climb in crude stockpiles.

Late Wednesday morning, EIA indicated that domestic crude supplies grew by 2.26 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 16. Stockpiles had been expected to fall by 2.3 million barrels, according to a survey of 13 analysts and traders by The Wall Street Journal.

The unexpected rise and a conflicting report late Tuesday that showed a large decline, resulted in prices for crude-oil futures sinking after trading in positive territory earlier.

On the New York Mercantile Exchange, West Texas Intermediate crude-oil futures for delivery in February CLG7, -1.41% fell 81 cents, or 1.5%, at $52.49 a barrel, breaking a string of three straight positive sessions.

Meanwhile, February Brent crude LCOG7, -1.46% on London’s ICE Futures exchange declined 89 cents, or 1.6%, to $54.46 a barrel.

Late Tuesday, the American Petroleum Institute reported that U.S. crude inventories showed a drawdown of 4.1 million barrels in the week ended Dec. 16, while gasoline stocks fell by 2 million barrels and distillates dropped by 1.5 million barrels. The EIA and API reports, the latter representing producers’ voluntary account of weekly stockpiles, have often shown big discrepancies in weekly stocks.

Wednesday’s decline for crude-oil prices threatens to snap a three-day win streak for WTI oil.

“Today’s EIA report should provide some headwinds to the week’s crude rally as a build of 2.3 million barrels stands in stark contrast to analyst expectations and yesterday’s API expectation of a more than 4 million barrel draw,” said ClipperData oil analyst Troy Vincent.

A climb in crude stocks unnerves market participants on the heels of a sweeping agreement by members of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and other major oil producers to restrain unchecked production that has resulted in a global glut of oil and a precipitous price drop since a 2014 peak.

However, some investors found cause for optimism. The EIA report also indicated that gasoline inventories declined by 1.3 million barrels and distillate inventories, which include heating #oil and diesel fuels, dropped by 2.42 million barrels on the week. The WSJ poll showed analysts estimating gasoline stockpiles to have grown by 1.1 million barrels and stockpiles of distillates to have fallen by 900,000 barrels. The decline in those inventories suggests that overall supplies may be shrinking rather than ratcheting higher, which may prove supportive for crude prices over the longer term.

Phil Flynn, senior market analyst at Price Futures Group, said the headline number for EIA might be sending crude prices lower, but was heartened by the greater-than-expected declines in distillates and gasoline.

“I would say that the headline crude number was less supportive but I wouldn’t necessarily call it a bearish report. Demand is still strong and the drawdown in distillates was larger than anticipated. Everything was bullish except for the headline crude build,” Flynn said.

The inventory data interrupted trading activity that has remained muted ahead of the December holidays. Crude prices have been bolstered by expectations that OPEC will stick to a deal to reduce the global oil supply by almost 2%.

However, the market can’ t shake doubts about producers’ commitments to production caps.

Russia is among 11 non-OPEC producers that agreed to cuts along with the #OPEC cartel and yet Moscow aggressively increased its output in November, calling into question the country’s commitment to the deal. Russia is the world’s top crude producer, and has pledged to cut 300,000 barrels a day.

While Russia is expected to substantially raise its mineral-extraction tax for next year, the crude export duty is set to decrease, “making crude exports in January more attractive vs. this month,” said JBC Energy in a research note.

Looking ahead, #oil investors will be watching China’s final November oil data. The report was scheduled to be released Wednesday but the government said in an email it had postponed the publication, without elaborating.

In its preliminary report, China said crude imports last month rose 18% from the previous year to 32.35 million metric tons, or roughly 7.9 million barrels a day.

In other trading, Nymex reformulated gasoline blendstock for January RBF7, +0.60% —the benchmark gasoline contract—rose about a 1.2 cents, or 0.8%, to end at $1.6055 a gallon, while January heating oil HOF7, -1.45% lost 2.87 cents, or 1.7%, at $1.6401 a gallon.

Natural gas surges

Meanwhile, natural-gas futures for January NGF17, +9.87% surged 27.9 cents, or 8.6%, to close at $3.5420 per million British thermal units, marking the highest daily gain for natural-gas futures since Dec. 28, 2015, according to Dow Jones data.

Natural-gas futures have benefited from a recent cold snap in the U.S. that is expected to shrink existing natural-gas supplies.

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DOHA: Three Qatari banks announced Tuesday that they are in merger talks to create a financial institution with assets of more than $44 billion to create the third largest Sharia-compliant bank in the Middle East, in a statement released to the Qatar Stock Exchange said – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.20: Three Qatari banks start talks to create an institution with $44 bn of assets Reuters Biz reported …

Masraf Al Rayan, Barwa Bank and International Bank of Qatar said the potential merger would create the third largest Sharia-compliant bank in the Middle East, in a statement released to the Qatar Stock Exchange.

The banks had entered “initial negotiations”, they said, without giving a timeframe for a merger.

“The merger is… expected to contribute positively to the economic development in the State of Qatar by supporting business and small and medium sized entities, and would also create a strategic partner for the government and the public sector,” they said.

The planned consolidation comes at a time when Qatar has been hit by low energy prices and the soaring costs of hosting the 2022 football World Cup.

Last week, the gas and #oil-rich emirate approved a 2017 budget with a deficit of more than $7 billion.

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MARKET REPORT: Shares react over killings in Germany and Turkey, the Yen eases as BOJ keeps policy steady after Yellen’s comments but people can only be fooled for so long as predicting the market forces will become even more impossible in the years to come – @AceNewsServices

#AceFinanceReport – Dec.20: The news across the world for years had made a difference to the share markets, but not more so than now as terrorist attacks ring out this festive season as the yen edged down on Tuesday after the Bank of Japan held policy steady, shedding some gains made following killings in Germany and Turkey, while regional stocks were mixed after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s upbeat comments…..

Asian markets mixed despite positive economic news from US, Japan; Nikkei up 0.16%, South Korea’s KOSPI up 0.21%, Hong Kong’s Hang Seng 0.29% lower – MarketWatch http://on.mktw.net/2hOOU1K
?m=02&d=20161220&t=2&i=1166071395&w=&fh=545px&fw=&ll=&pl=&sq=&r=LYNXMPECBJ010

http://reut.rs/2hOVenD European stocks were also poised to open mixed, with financial spreadbetter CMC Markets predicting Britain’s FTSE 100 .FTSE and Germany’s DAX .GDAXI will open little changed, and France’s CAC 40 .FCHI will start the day about 0.2 percent lower.

The BOJ maintained its pledge to guide short-term rates at minus 0.1 percent and the 10-year government bond yield around zero percent, while offering a more upbeat view of the economy than in its Nov. 1 assessment.

Stating that the economy continues to recover moderately as a trend, the central bank signaled its conviction that a generally weak yen and a rebound in overseas demand will lift prospects for a solid recovery.

The U.S. dollar advanced 0.6 percent to 117.89 yen, after closing 0.7 percent lower on Monday.

The greenback has risen 12 percent versus the yen since Donald Trump’s surprise election victory, on his promises of increased fiscal stimulus.

Trump formally won the U.S. presidency on Monday after receiving more than the 270 Electoral College votes required to be elected.

MSCI’s broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan .MIAPJ0000PUS shed earlier gains to trade down 0.2 percent. Volumes were low in some markets ahead of year-end holidays.

Japan’s Nikkei .N225, flat before the BOJ decision, ended the day up 0.5 percent.

“There was no particular surprise from the policy meeting, but investors are happy that the economy’s fundamentals are finally rising after the BOJ expressed an upbeat view of the economy,” said Takuya Takahashi, a strategist at Daiwa Securities.

China’s CSI 300 index .CSI300 slid 0.6 percent, as Beijing’s move to tighten supervision of shadow banking activities and persistent liquidity concerns restrained risk appetite. Hong Kong .HSI stocks dropped 0.5 percent.

Wall Street ended higher on Monday, albeit below the session’s highs, as optimism over Yellen’s comments about the U.S. labor market offset some of the risk aversion following the deaths in Germany and Turkey, and a shooting attack in a mosque in Switzerland.

“Yellen painted a very positive picture in her commentary overnight,” said James Woods, global investment strategist at Rivkin Securities in Sydney.

“The (Federal Open Market Committee) has done a fantastic job preparing the market for this second and subsequent hikes. Importantly they have continued to stress that the FOMC remains data dependent, only hiking when the underlying fundamentals of the economy support this.”

Still, markets were rattled after a truck plowed into a crowded Christmas market in central Berlin Monday evening, killing 12 people and injuring 48 others.

Berlin police said on Twitter on Tuesday that investigators assume the truck was driven into the crowd intentionally in a suspected terrorist attack, and that a Polish man found dead in the truck was not controlling it.

The euro EUR=EBS, which slid 0.5 percent to $1.0401 on Monday, extended losses to trade 0.15 percent lower at $1.03855 on Tuesday.

Pressure also came on the euro after the Russian ambassador to Turkey, Andrei Karlov, was shot and killed at an art gallery in Ankara, the capital.

The Turkish lira recovered 0.3 percent to 3.5196 per dollar on Tuesday after falling 0.7 percent on Monday. The rouble was steady at 61.8926 per dollar. It slumped to as low as 62.0907 per dollar on Monday but recovered to end the day up 0.3 percent at 61.8475.

In Switzerland, a man stormed into a Zurich mosque on Monday evening and opened fire on people praying, injuring three, Swiss police said.

The safe haven Swiss franc remained resilient, holding steady at 1.068 per euro, following a 0.4 percent gain on Monday.

The dollar index .DXY, which tracks the greenback against a basket of six global peers, climbed 0.2 percent to 103.37 on Tuesday, extending Monday’s 0.2 percent gain after Yellen’s upbeat labor market assessment.

Gold XAU, which rose 0.4 percent on Monday, pulled back 0.3 percent to $1,135.06 an ounce, as the prospect of further U.S. rate hikes outweighed geopolitical concerns.

Oil prices also eased as traders began to unwind positions in the run-up to the holiday season.

U.S. crude CLc1 slid 0.4 percent to $51.91 per barrel.

Global benchmark Brent LCOc1 slipped 0.2 percent to $54.81.

(Reporting by Nichola Saminather; additional reporting by Ayai Tomisawa in Tokyo; Editing by Eric Meijer and Richard Borsuk)

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MARKETS: FTSE 100 ends trading 0.1% higher for day despite market losses to the British pound as European stocks end trading mixed; Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.12%, DAX 30 index up 0.2%, France’s CAC 40 index drops 0.3% – Marketwatch – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.19: FTSE 100 ends trading 0.1% higher for day despite market losses to the British pound – Marketwatch
http://on.mktw.net/2h2IxXm

European stocks end trading mixed; Stoxx Europe 600 down 0.12%, DAX 30 index up 0.2%, France’s CAC 40 index drops 0.3% – Marketwatch
http://on.mktw.net/2h2XhFN

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MARKETS: Report: Russia keeps base rates unchanged at 10% but eyes a rate cut in 2017 as European stock close higher on Friday after decision by OPEC and non OPEC nations with #oil at over $50 by end of trading – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceReport – Dec.17: Russia announced Friday it was keeping its key rate at 10 percent but opened the door to a rate cut in the first half of 2017.

http://cnb.cx/2hEbtDW

The German Ifo Institute raised its economic forecast for 2018 growth in the country to 1.7 percent, from a previous estimate of 1.6 percent.

#Oil and #gas stocks closed more than 1.5 percent higher Friday after producers in the Middle East started informing clients of planned output cuts, indicating that they are willing to implement the OPEC and non-OPEC deal to stabilize oil prices. Goldman Sachs said Friday that it expects an 84 percent compliance to the planned output cuts.

Brent crude traded at around $55.14 a barrel as the European market closed on Friday, up 1.15 percent, while U.S. WTI crude was around $51.93 a barrel, up 1.05 percent

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#Breaking144 – European stocks close higher in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s rate hike and new economic data; Stoxx 600 gains 0.34% – CNBC – @AceBreakingNews

#AceBreakingNews – Dec.16: European stocks close higher in the wake of the Federal Reserve’s rate hike and new economic data; Stoxx 600 gains 0.34% – CNBC

http://cnb.cx/2hCwOjF

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#AceBrexitNews LONDON: Lidl set to create 5,000 jobs and a massive new headquarters and invest £70 mill ion in a new UK headquarters in a bid to reaffirm its commitment to Britain following #Brexit – @AceFinanceN ews

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.16: Lidl set to create 5,000 jobs and a massive new headquarters in London

Lidl is to create 5,000 jobs in London and invest £70 million in a new UK headquarters in a bid to reaffirm its commitment to Britain following #Brexit.

The retailer said the jobs are part of plans to open nearly 250 new stores in London as it pushes ahead with a three-year £1.5 billion UK investment plan.

Lidl has also received planning permission for a new 240,000 square feet head office in Tolworth, Kingston, where it will move 450 staff from Wimbledon.

Ingo Fischer, Lidl UK’s board director, said: ‘Our new headquarters not only signify an investment in our own infrastructure and workforce, but also highlight our wider investment ambitions within London as Lidl UK continues to experience incredible growth.’

The group currently employs 19,000 in the UK and has been stepping up the expansion of its UK operations of late.

It plans to more than double the number of British stores to 1,500, recently opened a distribution centre in Southampton and has committed to open warehouses in Wednesbury, Exeter and Doncaster.

Lidl and its fellow German discount chain Aldi have shaken up the UK grocery sector by stealing market share from Tesco, Asda, Sainsbury’s and Morrisons.

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ISLAMABAD: Report: The country’s leading businessmen and exporters Thursday lauded the business-friendly policies of Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif saying the country had gained significant economic stability in three years – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceReport – Dec.15: The businessmen representing several organizations including Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FPCCI), and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry expressed satisfaction over the economic growth rate, during interviews with APP held here at FPCCI’s 40th Award Ceremony.

Chairman Standing Committee Export of Manpower and Overseas Pakistanis (FPCCI) Ishtiaq Qureshi said Pakistan’s economy and law and order had significantly improved in last three years since Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif assumed office in 2013.

He said the government’s step of ending power loadshedding for industries was welcoming and would contribute to enhancement of trade activities in the country.

Vice President SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry Iftikhar Ali Malik said industrialists were supporting the prime minister for his business-friendly policies and considered him a “ray of hope for strong economy“.

He proposed setting up the country’s export houses abroad and also stressed strong public-private partnership.

Dr Mirza Ikhtiar Baig mentioned increase in the country’s exports by 6 percent in one year and said it was reflective of the confidence of international business community on Pakistan’s economic policies.

He hoped that growth of exports would help encourage economic activity.

Honorary Consul General of Morocco and exporter Ishtiaq Baig said being a businessmen hailing from Karachi, he was satisfied with the improved law and order.

He said China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) and Gwadar port would bring an unprecedented economic activity in the country.

Ruqaiya Hemani of Hemani Herbal Products, also the winner of Best Lady Exporter award at the 40th the FPCCI awards ceremony said the present government was a source of encouragement for businessmen and traders to pursue their activities in a business-friendly environment.

President Handicraft Association of Pakistan Khurshid Barlas also lauded the government for supporting traders in their business initiatives.

Chairman Pakistan Ready-made Garments Association Ijaz Khokhar said the government should particularly focus on textile industry to benefit maximum from the GSP Plus and stressed the need for developing strong liaison with stakeholders.

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ISLAMABAD: Ambassador-designate of Colombia to Pakistan Juan Alfredo Pinto Saavedra Thursday said Colombia was interested to enhance trade relations with Pakistan and the best way to achieve this goal was to develop business linkages between the private sectors of both countries – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceReport – Dec.15: Juan Alfredo said this while exchanging views with business community here at Islamabad Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ICCI), a statement issued here said.

He said bilateral trade between Pakistan and Colombia was nominal and its main reason was lack of information on both sides about potential areas of mutual cooperation.

Envoy said chamber of commerce and industry of both countries should sign Memoradum of Understanding (MoU) to enhance B2B linkages that would help in exploring possibilities of enhancing bilateral cooperation in trade and economic fields.

He offered his cooperation to facilitate signing of the MoU between trade bodies of both countries.

He said as a first step, both countries should identify top 20 products for bilateral trade and then gradually expand the range of products to enhance two-way trade volume.

He said Colombia enjoyed a strategic location in North America and had signed 94 Free Tread Agreements (FTAs) with regional countries, thus enhancing close cooperation with it would help Pakistan in getting better market access to North American region.

Speaking on the occasion, President ICCI Khalid Iqbal Malik said the best option for Pakistan and Colombia to enhance bilateral trade was to encourage the frequent exchange of trade delegations to explore all areas of potential cooperation.

He said both countries should focus on organizing single country exhibitions and participate in each other’s trade fairs, which would help in promoting trade relations.

Khalid Malik said Colombia was producing more than 66 percent of its energy through hydropower and it should share its technology and expertise with Pakistan in this field.

He said Colombia was major exporter of oil, coal, coffee, flowers and both countries had the potential to cooperate in many areas including agriculture, textiles, chemicals, minerals, gems and jewelry, technology transfer and infrastructure development.

He said Pakistani textile products were known in the international market for quality and Colombia should import textile products from Pakistan.

He assured that the ICCI would consider signing the MoU with Colombian chamber of commerce to explore new avenues of business collaboration between the two countries.

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NYC: Even though the Nasdaq is at an all-time high, many big tech stocks have slumped since Donald Trump won the election last month. But there has been one notable exception — Microsoft here is the reason wh y ? – @AceFinanceNews

#AceFinanceNews – Dec.13: Shares of Microsoft are up 5% since Trump defeated Hillary Clinton to become the next president of the United States.

Microsoft’s stock is even at an all-time high. The company’s market value is approaching half a trillion dollars.

But Facebook’s stock has fallen 4% since the election. Google owner Alphabet is up less than 1%. Amazon is down more than 1%. Netflix is relatively flat.

Yes, all of these stocks were down more in the first few days after Trump’s victory and have bounced back since. But Microsoft is still the best performer since the election.

One possible reason? The likelihood of lower taxes thanks to a Trump administration and Republican-controlled Congress.

Trump’s proposal to allow companies to bring back, or repatriate, cash currently sitting overseas at a much lower tax rate would benefit Microsoft. He has called for a one-time tax rate of 10% — down from 35% — to return foreign-held cash back to the U.S.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella is one of several tech leaders that is set to meet Trump on Wednesday to discuss job creation and other topics. But the issue of corporate taxes could come up as well.

Microsoft, according to its most recent quarterly filing with the SEC, had $111.1 billion of its total cash hoard of $136.9 billion held overseas.

Other older tech companies like Apple and Oracle also hold a big chunk of cash in foreign accounts. And those two have outperformed the likes of Facebook and Amazon since the election too.

If Microsoft and other tech giants were able to bring back their cash to the U.S., the hope is that they can use some of it to do things that would help the economy.

They could hire more workers, invest more in research and development, and purchase start-ups, for example.

Along those lines, one fund manager noted that investors have become more enamored with Microsoft lately because of its increased exposure to the rapidly growing cloud computing market, where it competes with Amazon and Salesforce.

Investors crave any information that shows the company is successfully transitioning from a mature growth desktop software company to a full fledged cloud play,” said Daniel Morgan, senior portfolio manager with Synovus Trust Company.

But Microsoft and other older tech giants would probably push to satisfy their shareholders, too, though. They could use cash that’s brought back home to boost stock buybacks and increase dividends.

Larger technology sector companies would benefit significantly from Trump’s proposed tax policies,” said CFRA Research analyst Scott Kessler in a report about the tech sector shortly after the election.

Hank Smith, chief investment officer at Haverford Trust, agreed.

Smith even used some of Trump’s lingo, saying in a note after the election that “the ability to repatriate foreign earnings will hugely benefit old technology companies” like Microsoft, Apple and Cisco.

Another possible reason why Microsoft could be holding up better than other tech stocks?

While several tech executives haven’t been shy of voicing their displeasure with Trump. particularly due to concerns about immigration and what Trump might do to the H1-B visa program, Microsoft has been a bit more cordial.

Microsoft president and chief legal officer Brad Smith said in a blog post that boosting job growth and increased investments in infrastructure were two key areas Microsoft felt were among the most important issues for Trump and other leaders to address.

And in a LinkedIn post after the election, Nadella congratulated Trump and said he looked forward towards working with him and other leaders in Washington.

Interestingly, Microsoft now owns LinkedIn — and Nadella has been far more conciliatory than LinkedIn co-founder Reid Hoffman, who bashed Trump repeatedly on the campaign, even creating a card game that made fun of him.

Trump also hasn’t publicly bashed Microsoft the way he has other big tech companies, most notably Amazon.

Although Trump might want to talk to Nadella about the bio Microsoft has of him on its online store.

He’s listed as an “actor” with a “no-nonsense glare and distinctive comb-over” who “began seeking publicity through stunts like affiliating himself with the conspiracy-theorist ‘birther’ movement, and dropping the f-bomb in public statements about gas prices.”

The bio concludes by noting that Trump won the Republican nomination for president — but hasn’t yet been updated with the news of his victory in the general election.

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