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24Mar2016 Market Close: U.S. Markets Close Flat For Day, Down For Week; Dollar Is Strengthening And Commodities Feel Pressure

Written by Gary

U.S. stocks broke a five-week winning streak on Thursday as a strengthening dollar weighed on commodity-related shares. Stock prices rose late in the day, erasing earlier losses.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Dow Jones industrial average closed up 13.69 points, or 0.08%, to 17,516.28, the S&P 500 lost 0.71 points, or 0.03%, to 2,036 and the Nasdaq Composite added 4.64 points, or 0.1%, to 4,773.51.

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Indexes end down for week, break winning streak

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks broke a five-week winning streak on Thursday as a strengthening dollar weighed on commodity-related shares.

Playboy magazine publisher exploring sale: source

(Reuters) - Playboy Enterprises [ICONAP.UL], the owner of Playboy magazine, is exploring a sale, a source familiar with the matter told Reuters, in a move that comes after the storied magazine stopped publishing nude photos of women and put up the iconic Playboy Mansion up for sale.

Starboard launches proxy fight to remove entire Yahoo board

(Reuters) - Activist hedge fund Starboard Value LP moved on Thursday to overthrow the entire board of Yahoo Inc , including Chief Executive Marissa Mayer, who has struggled to turn around the company in her nearly four years at the helm.

France fines Google over 'right to be forgotten'

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The French data protection authority said it has fined Google 100,000 euros ($111,720) for not scrubbing web search results widely enough in response to a European privacy ruling.

Blackrock trials new financial messaging system

LONDON (Reuters) - Blackrock said on Thursday it was testing new financial messaging app Symphony, the first big global asset manager to confirm it is moving ahead with the system designed to address concerns over security and costs of monitoring staff online.

Exclusive: Honda and Takata's stealth airbag fix

DETROIT (Reuters) - In August of 2009, after ruptured airbag inflators in Honda vehicles were linked to least four injuries and a death, the automaker quietly requested a design change and did not notify U.S. regulators, Honda confirmed in response to inquiries from Reuters.

Apple shares are one reason hedge funds lag mutual funds in 2016

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Hedge funds may have taken too big a bite of Apple Inc .

More frequent attacks on Western countries lifts demand for specialist insurance

LONDON (Reuters) - Rising risks in developed countries after a string of deadly attacks are driving up demand for specialist insurance to cover losses stemming from such events, putting upward pressure on premiums, underwriters and brokers say.

Volkswagen, Porsche recall about 800,000 SUVs to check pedals

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Volkswagen and its Porsche unit on Thursday said they were recalling more than 800,000 VW Touareg and Porsche Cayenne sports utility vehicles as a precautionary measure, to fix a potentially faulty component on the pedal mechanism.

Emory Students "Scared, In Pain" After Safe-Space Violated By Word "Trump" Written In Chalk

Seriously!!

The Daily Mail reports, the president of Emory University has spoken to demonstrators who said they were frightened after someone wrote 'Trump 2016' in chalk around campus.

Students at the Atlanta school, which has an enrollment of more than 14,000 claim their 'safe space' was violated when the messages appeared on sidewalks and buildings.

Jim Wagner, president of the Atlanta university, wrote Tuesday that the students viewed the messages as intimidation, and they voiced 'genuine concern and pain' as a result.

He acted after student government wrote to him and slammed the university's response, prompting a meeting that led to protests.

Now administrators want to track down those responsible for the controversial markings.

Be warned the following "controversial markings" may offend...

Had enough... there is more!!

Is This The Most Intricate Oil Theft Operation Yet?

Via Eurasianet,

While Georgia has been caught up recently in a major pipeline competition, with Russia, Azerbaijan and Iran all making a play for the action in this small, strategically located energy-transit hub, some men in the central Georgian village of Ruisi have been busy with a pipeline project of their own.

They lay a kilometer-long, underground pipeline to leach into the British Petroleum-operated, more than 800-kilometer-long Western Route Export Pipeline, which carries 100,000 barrels of oil daily from Azerbaijan's Caspian Sea coast to Georgia's Black Sea coast. Known as the Baku-Supsa pipeline for the terminals at both ends, the conduit was the first link in the country's energy-export network.

The suspects built their own terminal in Ruisi, about a 20-minute drive west of Joseph Stalin's birthplace, Gori, and created a parallel world of shipping, processing and retailing the Caspian Sea oil. A police video showed rows of large tanks used to collect the stolen oil. A makeshift tap was installed on the body of the Baku-Supsa pipeline to turn off and on the flow into its new, mini- branch.

From Ruisi, the oil was loaded onto trucks and camouflaged as vegetables - cabbage, to be exact, police said - and driven about 90 minutes east to the capital, Tbilisi. A makeshift refinery there then turned the cab ...

When Does The U.S. Stock Bubble Burst: The Best Hedge Fund Of 2016 Has A Surprising Answer

The name of Russell Clark and his Horseman Global hedge fund are well-known to regular readers: Clark is perhaps best known not only for having run a net short book since early 2012...

... but for being consistently profitable and successful during this period, a time when most of his "pedigree" peers have been underperforming the market and losing money hand over fist.

In fact, based on its size, one can probably argue that Horseman Global is the most successful hedge fund of 2016, if not of the entire decade.

His latest letter to clients can be found here.

The reason we bring Horseman Global up is not because his latest letter is out - we will share that once we have it - but because Russell Clark has released a fascinating white paper which seeks to answer the most important question of all: not if there is a bubble - by now everyone, even the central bankers, knows we are currently living inside the biggest asset bubble in history, but when does it burst.

This is what he says in a letter that looks at the curious relationship between peaks in the Nikkei ant the S&P500:

œOne of ...

What Killed The Middle Class?

Submitted by Charles Hugh-Smith of OfTwoMinds blog,

If the four structural trends highlighted below don't reverse, the middle class is heading for extinction.

Everyone knows the middle class is fading fast. I've covered this issue in depth for years, for example: Honey, I Shrunk the Middle Class: Perhaps 1/3 of Households Qualify (December 28, 2015) and What Does It Take To Be Middle Class? (December 5, 2013)

This raises an obvious question: what killed the middle class? While many commentators try to identify one killer cause (for example, the U.S. going off the gold standard in 1971), the die-off of the middle class is more akin to the die-off in honey bees, which is the result of the interaction of multiple causes (factors that increase the toxic load dumped on bees and other pollinators by modern agriculture).

Longtime collaborator Gordon T. Long and I discuss the decline of the middle class and other key topics in a new 29-minute video How did that work out for you?

So where do we begin this detective story? With the engine of all real prosperity, productivity. This chart reveals that wages stopped rising with productivity around 1980.

Here's another look at the same phenomenon:

Productivity has been slipping since around 2003:

5-Week Streak of Gains Snapped for U.S. Stocks

U.S. stocks were on track to end five consecutive weeks of gains Thursday, as a rally that carried shares to their highest levels of the year petered out during a holiday-shortened week.

Leader of Valeant Investor Sequoia Resigns

The leader of a giant mutual fund that suffered large losses from its position in Valeant Pharmaceuticals has stepped down.

Wall Street Faces New Rules on Pay

Wall Street executives face new rules on their compensation as regulators prepare to release in April a tougher version of a proposal to rein in executive pay.

Kansas City Fed Manufacturing Contraction Lessens in March 2016

Of the four regional manufacturing surveys released to date for March, three are in expansion and one is in contraction.

19 March 2016 Initial Unemployment Claims Rolling Average Insignificantly Worsens. Longest Streak Of Claims Under 300,000 Since 1973 Continues.

Weekly Initial Unemployment Claims

The market expectations (from Bloomberg) were 260,000 to 272,000 (consensus 268,000), and the Department of Labor reported 265,000 new claims. The more important (because of the volatility in the weekly reported claims and seasonality errors in adjusting the data) 4 week moving average moved from 259,500 (reported last week as 268,000) to 259,750. The rolling averages generally have been equal to or under 300,000 since August 2014.

Merger talk sends Pandora, TiVo stocks soaring

Merger speculation sent the shares of both Pandora Media and TiVo soaring in active trade Thursday.

Metals Stocks: Gold futures log worst weekly loss of 2016

Gold prices hold ground near a one-month low to suffer a weekly loss "the third in a row.

Capitol Report: Ted Cruz calls Donald Trump a 'sniveling coward' as tempers flare

If Twitter were around in 1960, perhaps John F. Kennedy would have tweeted something about how much hotter his wife was than Pat Nixon. We'll never know for sure. Trump, however, would "and did.

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To contact me with questions, comments or constructive criticism is always encouraged and appreciated:

gary@econintersect.com

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