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The Power Brief

A Home Depot employee, helps a shopper at the store in Miami.
Getty Images
A Home Depot employee, helps a shopper at the store in Miami.

A daily morning look at the financial stories you need to know to start the day

STOCKS/ECONOMY

-Stock futures are flat after yesterday's big rally.

-In a possible good sign for the housing economy, Home Depot just reported good earnings and raised its forward guidance.

-Speaking of real estate, the Chinese have bought $300 million worth of US real estate since 2010.

-The US has a growing surplus of cheese and meat.

OIL/ENERGY

-Crude is flat and holding at the $47/barrel level.

-Gasoline prices are up fractionally but still at $2.22/gallon, national average.

ELECTION

-Donald Trump trails Hillary Clinton in the latest NBC News/Survey Monkey poll, 48%-45%. That 3 point lead for Clinton is down from 5 points last week.

-Today we have the Kentucky and Oregon primaries, where Clinton is hoping to stop Bernie Sanders' winning streak.

-In an almost comedic twist of economic fate, the socialist Sanders is under new scrutiny because the college his wife Jane led years ago has just had to shut down because of loans Mrs. Sanders authorized that the school cannot pay back.

TAXES

-A new study shows that only about a quarter of people who make profits on stocks pay taxes on those profits. That's because so many stocks are in tax free IRA's, owned by charitable foundations, or owned by foreigners. The report casts serious doubt on whether raising capital gains taxes will provide much new revenue.

-Billionaire Tom Steyer and organized labor have teamed up in California to get a ballot measure before the voters this November that would raise the state's tax on cigarettes by $2 a pack.

DEFENSE

-Defense Secretary Ash Carter may ask President Obama to veto the defense spending bill unless it re-purposes more money for wars pending.

-The Senate Arms Services Committee is moving ahead with a bill that will change the way defense contracts are made and paid for. A big part of the bill makes it easier for "non-traditional" companies to enter the bidding process.This is seen as a special boon to Silicon Alley.

TECH WARS

-Apple suppliers in Taiwan are ramping up hiring to make the iPhone 7.

MOVING AMERICA

-The NTSB will hold a hearing today on the Amtrak crash last year outside of Philadelphia that killed 8 people. Investigators will reportedly say the crash was caused by an engineer who was distracted by radio messages from another train operator. That would be in contrast to the earliest reaction from politicians and others who blamed the crash on "crumbling infrastructure."

LOAN SCANDAL

-Now Lending Club says the Justice Dept is looking into its sale of bad loans to an institutional investor.

TEXAS GOLD

-Texas is one of the hottest markets in the world for physical gold, so the plans are moving ahead for a huge privately funded gold depository on Texas soil.