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18Mar2016 Market Close: Markets Close Up, WTI Crude Down, Market Volumes Low, Investors Remained Concerned

Written by Gary

US markets closed in the green with the Spooze closing up for the second day above its support at 2050 or the year for the first time on 2016 today. The DOW closed up 121 points, WTI crude never recovered from this morning fall to the low $40's while the US dollar sea-sawed throughout the session.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall St. rises, pushing S&P 500 positive for 2016

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The S&P 500 closed positive for the year for the first time on 2016 on Friday, as the U.S. Federal Reserve's dovish tone and a strengthening economic outlook compelled investors to take on more risk.

Six months into 'Dieselgate' scandal, gloom deepens in VW's hometown

WOLFSBURG, Germany (Reuters) - When Martin Winterkorn dropped by to order some new glasses in the Volkswagen company town of Wolfsburg, he was "visibly dejected", according to his optician. But the visit wasn't last September, when Winterkorn had just quit as the German carmaker's chief, it was this week.

Eyes on the dollar with stocks out of the hole

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stock market investors will be watching currency markets next week for signs that the recent, related trends of a weakening dollar and a strengthening stock market will continue.

Exclusive: After Motiva split, Saudi Aramco aims to buy more U.S. refineries - sources

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Saudi Arabia's national oil company wants to buy more U.S. refining and chemical plants to expand its footprint in the world's largest energy market once the break-up of its joint venture with Royal Dutch Shell Plc is complete, sources said.

Starwood gets higher $13 billion bid from Anbang, tops Marriott offer

By Michael Erman, Diane Bartz, Arunima Banerjee and Sayantani Ghosh

Crude prices fall from 2016 highs as U.S. oil rig count rises

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Crude prices settled lower on Friday after the U.S oil rig count rose for the first time since December, renewing worries of a supply glut after an output freeze plan helped boost the market to 2016 highs and multi-week gains.

Saudi Arabia leaves shale-favoring plants to Shell in Motiva split

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Royal Dutch Shell Plc plans to maintain control of two refineries that can run more domestic crude, leaving a plant that runs massive volumes of Saudi Arabian oil to Saudi Aramco as the companies end their Motiva Enterprises joint venture.

UK sugary drink tax could be sweet for food ingredient suppliers

LONDON (Reuters) - The British government's planned levy on sugary soft drinks means more business for suppliers of specialty ingredients that boost sweetness without adding calories and can mask aftertastes or add texture.

Bullard says Fed's goals largely met, rates should edge up

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. central bank's inflation and employment goals have essentially been met and it would be "prudent" to edge interest rates higher, St. Louis Fed President James Bullard said on Friday.

Collapsing Contango Means Tankers Full Of Oil Such As This One, Will Soon Have To Unload Their Cargo

One week ago we showed something the oil bulls did not expect: oil producer hedging had started.

As a trader cited by Reuters said "Brent's flattening contango since January comes as many producers want to cash in immediately on recent price rises. They've been heavily selling 2017/2018 and beyond, and it shows that they don't quite trust the higher spot prices yet."

He further explained that "This means that even the producers don't really expecting a strong price rally until well into 2017 or later," and Reuters added that the companies that explore for oil and pump it out of the ground have been locking in price gains by selling off future output as a financial hedge, pulling down prices for those contracts.

We will have more to say on the topic of producer oil hedging, and specifically how they do it, in a subsequent post but for now it is worth noting that since last week the contango has flattened further as the spot price rose while the long end declined, suggesting even more hedging has taken place in recent days.

One analyst who notes this trend, is Saxo Bank's Ole Hansen who observes that the rally in oil prices to 3 month highs ...

Did Jim Bullard Just Signal "Sell"?

Flip-flopping Fed President Jim Bullard has done it again. Having helped spark the recent ramp in mid-Feb with his uber-dovish comments that "tightening was unwise," he now expresses his hawkish opinion - with stocks back nearer record highs - that it would be "prudent policy to edge rates toward normal levels." Is that a "sell'?

Markets don't care for now - whatever he says, it's a buy!

NIRP Has "Spectacularly Back-Fired": One Trader Outlines Japan's Grim Prospects

It's all starting to fall apart for Japan, whose "lost decade" now appears as though it may turn into a "lost forever" and that's if QQE doesn't dead end in "failed state" status in 2018.

A rebound in inflation is nowhere in sight (even when Japan attempts to game the numbers by removing components where prices are declining) and as we saw last month, the "devalue our way to prosperity" idea isn't working out so well as trade is collapsing in the face of the global currency wars. Wage growth is of course a complete joke as we've outlined on too many occasions to count.

The yen is sitting at its strongest levels since QE was expanded two Octobers ago and stocks are down by a fifth from last year's highs. To borrow a phrase from 2 US senators discussing America's train and equip program for Syrian rebels: œLet's not kid ourselves, that's a joke. This is just a total failure.

And so, as Abe and Kuroda fumble blindly into the abyss, we bring you the following commentary from Bloomberg's Mark Cudmore.

From Bloomberg

The long-term outlook for Japan, and the yen, is deteriorating significantly. The relatively rapid recent depreciation of both the dollar and the yuan is a hammer blow to a currency outlook that was already vulnerable.

The yen has been the third-worst performing major currency in the world this month. The trouble for Japan is that the two currencies that have fallen even more are the U.S. and Hong Kong dollars, while the yuan is the fourth worst, roughly on par with the ...

As Markets Convulsed, a Few Brave Bets Sparked a Turnaround

After a sharp selloff in early 2016, markets have rebounded in the past five weeks. The turn in sentiment started with early buying by people like Yacov Arnopolin and his team at Goldman Sachs.

U.S. Stocks Notch Fifth Straight Week of Gains

The S&P 500 erased its losses for the year, joining the Dow industrials in positive territory.

Transport Stocks Signal Markets on Track

After concerns about slowing global growth buffeted transportation stocks earlier this year, Investors are loading up on shares of companies tied to the shipping, rail and trucking networks.

11 March 2016: ECRI's WLI Growth Index Improves But Still Negative

ECRI's WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward - continued in negative territory.This index now spent 32 consecutive weeks in negative territory. ECRI also released their coincident and lagging indices this week and are shown below.

Market Snapshot: Dow books longest winning streak in 5 months

The S&P 500 and the Dow industrials on Friday closed at their highest levels of 2016, buoyed by a rally in health-care and financial stocks.

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