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25Feb2016 Market Update: Slight Market Changes Near Unchanged Line, Volatile Trading Remains A Possibility, Crude Trends Down, Investors Unsure Of Market Direction

Written by Gary

US averages mixed as they trade sideways around the unchanged line in volatile trading. Morning as data showed an uptick in U.S. manufacturing activity, but gains were limited by a slight drop in oil prices. Trading action appears to be spent for this session, but sudden reversals are ever present.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

North and South American markets are mixed. The S&P 500 is higher by 0.05%, while the Bovespa is leading the IPC lower. They are down 0.93% and 0.28% respectively.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street gains as factory data shines amid oil gloom

(Reuters) - Wall Street was little changed in choppy trading on Thursday, breaking away from sliding oil prices, as strong U.S. durable goods data pointed to a recovery in the struggling manufacturing sector.

VW advancing in settlement talks with U.S. Justice Department: lawyer

(Reuters) - A lawyer for Volkswagen AG told a federal judge on Thursday the German automaker is making progress in senior level settlement talks with the U.S. Justice Department, Environmental Protection Agency and California to reach a resolution over excess emissions in nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles.

Apple unlocking case not 'trailblazer' for precedent: FBI chief

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The case involving a court order demanding Apple help the FBI unlock the iPhone linked to one of the San Bernardino shooters is "unlikely to be a trailblazer" for setting a precedent for other cases, FBI Director James Comey told a congressional panel Thursday.

Kohl's warns 2016 sales may fall

(Reuters) - U.S. department store operator Kohl's Corp warned that sales could fall this year and said it was unlikely to meet its 2017 target of $21 billion in sales because of a weak economy and a pullback in consumer spending on its core categories such as apparel.

Foxconn deal for Japan's Sharp in doubt after last-minute hitch

TOKYO/TAIPEI (Reuters) - Taiwan's Foxconn put its takeover of electronics maker Sharp Corp on hold on Thursday after discovering previously undisclosed liabilities, sources said, throwing into doubt what was set to be the biggest takeover by a foreign firm in Japan's technology sector.
< ...

MetLife in talks to sell U.S. retail adviser group to MassMutual

(Reuters) - MetLife Inc , which is in the process of trimming down its businesses, said it was in talks with MassMutual Financial Group regarding a possible sale of MetLife Premier Client Group, its U.S. retail adviser group.

Strong U.S. durable goods orders offer hope for manufacturing

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods in January rose by the most in 10 months as demand picked up across the board, offering a ray of hope for the downtrodden manufacturing sector.

Business Is "Worst Since The 80s Recession" - Kansas City Fed Survey Crashes To 7-Year Lows

The Kansas City Fed Composite Index has not been positive for 13 months and February's below expectations print of -12 is the worst since April 2009.

The Fed unleashed QE3 the last time KC Fed dipped... and this time is dramatically worse...

Both MoM and YoY, every single component of the KC Fed survey is down, and down hard with employment-related indicators collapsing.

Source: KC Fed

Finally we let the respondents speak for themselves...

œBusiness is off at levels not seen since the recession of the early 1980's.

œWe are starting off to a very slow year. Shipments are down 22% compared to last year. Margins are decreasing. We don't know how our competitors keep lowering prices, as this is not good for the long haul.

But still we hear day after day that there is no recession in sight?

Is A Stronger Euro And A Stronger Yen In Play?

Submitted by Eric Bush via Gavekal Capital blog,

The nominal trade-weighted dollar index, against major currencies, is now just 4% higher year-over-year as the index has recently fallen from an approximately 13-year high of 95.6 to 92.4. The slow down in the rate of change is important since at one point in 2015 the nominal trade-weighted dollar index was increasing at a 22% year-over-year pace. While we still think its early to call the end of the dollar bull market that has been in place since July 2011, its apparent that the world is currently not in as broad of a dollar bull market as we were in last year.

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Looking at the latest commitment of traders data (2/19/16), it seems that we may be about to enter a period where the euro and the yen both strengthen, perhaps significantly, against the dollar.

While the net commercial position is still net long the USD/Euro exchange rate, its currently at its least bullish configuration since June 2014. This implies that that we may see a much stronger euro, possibly to the tune of 10-20% higher, in the relatively near future. The net commercial position was net long the most contracts ever, going back to 2000, in April 2015 which was just two weeks after the euro reached its lowest level against the dollar in over a decade. We have since seen the net commercial position reduce its bullish stance and the euro strengthen by about 6%.

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Is The Selling Over? An Answer In 4 Charts

Some people have opined that it is all over and the next new recovery is here. If that is the case, then please explain the following...

Is it over?

Capital Structure says "No" US FINL vs Credit...

Carry Trade says "No" - US Stocks vs Yuan...

Inflation Expectations says "No" - EU Stoxx vs Inflation...

Bonds say no "No" - US Stocks vs TSY Curve...

Trade accordingly.

U.S. Stocks Little Changed; Energy Shares Slide

U.S. stocks bounced between slight gains and losses Thursday, while energy shares and oil prices fell.

In End of an Era, MetLife Looks To Part With Insurance Agents

MetLife is preparing to part ways with a central force in the company's history: its life-insurance agents.

A Big Bet on Gold Is Getting Crowded

From Mark Cuban to day traders, investors are piling into derivatives on a popular exchange-traded fund that stand to win big if the metal keeps climbing.

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