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21Jul2016 Market Close: US Markets Close Fractionally Down, WTI Crude Testing Support And US Dollar Unchanged As Investors Sit On Hands

Written by Gary

US markets 'cooled' off somewhat today as disappointing quarterly reports from tech stalwart Intel and from transportation companies stalled momentum in a U.S. corporate earnings season that has been better than feared. The DOW closed down 78 points after posting a triple digit fall at 3 pm only to be saved by the BTFD'ers. The short-term and intermediate indicators bearish and moderately bearish respectively.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall St. falls as Intel, transport earnings weigh

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street cooled off on Thursday as disappointing quarterly reports from tech stalwart Intel and from transportation companies stalled momentum in a U.S. corporate earnings season that has been better than feared.

GM says it may recall 4.3 million vehicles over Takata air bags

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Motors Co said on Thursday it may be forced by U.S. regulators to recall another 4.3 million vehicles for potentially defective Takata air bag inflators, a call-back that would cost it $550 million.

Strong U.S. home sales, low layoffs highlight economy's strength

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. home resales hit their highest level in nearly 9-1/2 years in June as low interest rates lured first-time buyers into the market and the number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell last week, underscoring the economy's strength.

GM raises full-year forecast after strong second-quarter profit

DETROIT (Reuters) - General Motors Co on Thursday raised its forecast for full-year profits after reporting a record second-quarter profit as it continued to capitalize on strong sales of pickup trucks and sport utility vehicles in the United States.

U.S. moves to block massive health insurer deals led by Anthem, Aetna

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. antitrust officials on Thursday moved to block an unprecedented consolidation of the national health insurance market, filing suit against Anthem Inc's proposed purchase of Cigna Corp and Aetna Inc's planned acquisition of Humana Inc .

JPMorgan to pay about $200 million to settle Asia hiring probes: WSJ

(Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase and Co is expected to pay about $200 million to settle criminal and civil probes over its Asia hiring practices, the Wall Street Journal reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

ECB keeps door open to easing after holding rates steady

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - The European Central Bank kept interest rates unchanged on Thursday but left the door open to more policy stimulus, highlighting "great" uncertainty and abundant risks to the economic outlook.

HSBC reviewing 2013 forex probe after trader's arrest: source

LONDON (Reuters) - HSBC is reviewing a past investigation of forex trades after the arrest on Tuesday night of a senior manager in New York for alleged fraud, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Exxon snaps up InterOil in LNG push as Oil Search bows out

(Reuters) - ExxonMobil Corp said on Thursday it would buy InterOil Corp for more than $2.5 billion in stock, adding a gas field to expand exports from Papua New Guinea and better positioning it to meet Asian demand for liquified natural gas.

State Department Warns Americans Of "Potential, Imminent Threat" In Saudi Arabia

Back in April, the US quietly warned citizens of "credible threats" to tourist areas in Turkey, particularly in Istanbul and the southern resort city of Antalya. In retrospect, one historic suicide bombing at the local airport, and one failed and/or staged coup later, the warning had been spot on. Which is why while traditionally official warnings of upcoming threats to US citizens around the globe have been generally ignored, this time it may be prudent to pay attention.

Moments ago, the US State Department warned Americans in Saudi Arabia about a "potential, imminent threat against U.S. citizens" Wednesday and urged to travel with caution. The agency tweeted out a brief statement titled "Reports of a potential imminent threat" in Jeddah.

US citizens in #SaudiArabia: Reports of a potential imminent threat against US citizens in Jeddah. Exercise caution.

— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) July 21, 2016

The U.S. Embassy in Saudi Arabia was aware of threats to areas frequented by Westerners, such as "markets, restaurants and shopping malls," among others, the alert said. Those in the kingdom should "take extra precautions," the warning noted.

Americans who planned to head to Saudi Arabia should limit "non-essential travel" and carefully weigh the risks, the State Department added. The agency also restricted U.S. government personnel in the country from traveling within 50 miles of the border with Yemen.

They were also prohibited from visiting larger cities in regions recently hit by violence. "Kee ...

Complacency Is Creeping Back Into The Stock Market

Via Dana Lyons' Tumblr,

With stocks' steady drift through all-time high territory, investors' relative near-term volatility expectations have plummeted to near record lows.

One of the hallmarks of the post-February rally in stocks has been a healthy dose of investor skepticism and anxiety. But for brief periods, e.g., towards the end of April, investors have been slow to embrace the move. Such disbelief is one trait that has helped prolong the intermediate-term rally, now more than 5 months old. In recent weeks, we have mentioned in posts and interviews that perhaps the one thing that will usher in greater enthusiasm on the part of investors is a new high in the major averages. Perversely, that was one potential development, we surmised, that may shift sentiment far enough to the bullish side that it could finally place the intermediate-term rally in jeopardy. That scenario appears to be possibly playing out.

Why do we say that? Well, one piece of evidence suggesting a new-found elevated level of investor complacency comes from the volatility market. One way to judge investor comfort or anxiety is to look at the level of expected stock market volatility via instruments such as the S&P 500 Volatility Index, or VIX. Presently, the VIX is plumbing one of its lowest levels since 2007, so investors are displaying very low expectations for stock market volatility at the moment.

Another way of using volatility to measure the extent of investor nervousness is by comparing near-term volatility expectations versus those farther out. For example, the VIX is actually the 1-month volatility index. Meanwhile, the VXV is the 3-month volatility index. Typically, the VIX will be lower than the VXV as there is less time i ...

Boehner On Ted Cruz: "Lucifer Is Back"

Back on April 28, we learned in rather comical terms that John Boehner is not a fan of Ted Cruz. At all. So much so that according to NBC the former Republican House Speaker told an audience at Stanford University that the Texas senator is "Lucifer in the flesh" and a "miserable son of a bitch."

Overnight, the former House Speaker, a stalwart of the old GOP establishment, chimed in again in the aftermath of the Cruz fiasco and summed up his reaction to Cruz's controversial RNC speech in three words, according to a former aide: "Lucifer is back."

@JakeSherman @SpeakerBoehner's remark last night after Cruz speech: "Lucifer is back."

— David Schnittger (@OhSchnitt) July 21, 2016

David Schnittger, a longtime Boehner aide, tweeted the former Speaker's response after Cruz infamously declined to endorse Trump on Wednesday night.

Cruz on Thursday defended his refusal to endorse Trump, pointing out the businessman's personal attacks on Cruz's father and wife.

"I am not in the habit of supporting people who attack my wife and attack my father," Cruz said Thursday morning. "Neither he nor his campaign has taken back a word of what was said about my family."

Boehner earlier this year called Cruz "Lucifer in the flesh" at a speaking event at Stanford University. "I have Democrat friends and I have Republican friends. But I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch my ent ...

The Real Reason Pharma Companies Hate Medical Marijuana (Spoiler Alert: It Works)

Submitted by Mike Krieger via Liberty Blitzkrieg blog,

Former Federal Judge Nancy Gertner was appointed to the federal bench by Bill Clinton in 1994. She presided over trials for 17 years. And Sunday, she stood before a crowd at The Aspen Ideas Festival to denounce most punishments that she imposed.

Among 500 sanctions that she handed down, "80 percent I believe were unfair and disproportionate," she said. "I left the bench in 2011 to join the Harvard faculty to write about those stories--to write about how it came to pass that I was obliged to sentence people to terms that, frankly, made no sense under any philosophy."

She went on to savage the War on Drugs at greater length. "This is a war that I saw destroy lives," she said. "It eliminated a generation of African American men, covered our racism in ostensibly neutral guidelines and mandatory minimums... and created an intergenerational problem--although I wasn't on the bench long enough to see this, we know that the sons and daughters of the people we sentenced are in trouble, and are in trouble with the criminal justice system."

- From the post: Federal Judge of 17 Years Repents - Compares Damage Done by "War on Drugs" to Destruction of World War II

Whenever an irrational and inhumane law remains on the books far longer than ...

Housing's Comeback Gains Steam

With the housing market shifting into higher gear, the economy could pick up the pace.

GE Shares Shine Too Brightly

Trading at an eight-year high, GE's energetic shares might be due for a rest.

How Intel's Cloud Business Could Lose Its Silver Lining

Intel's data-center business is key to growth, but won't remain unchallenged.

Market Extra: Dow, S&P 500 are overheating—and Wall Street is freaking out

A number of analysts and strategists over the past few days caution that worrisome trends are starting to crop up as equities take the elevator higher, pointing to a market that is getting overheated.

Apple Watch sales plunge ahead of expected second-generation offering

Apple Inc. is losing share to rival Samsung Electronics in the smartwatch market, IDC reported Thursday, but the release of Apple Watch 2 later this year may attract a flurry of first-time buyers.

The Ratings Game: Qualcomm snaps nine-quarter streak of disappointing results

Qualcomm's stock soars toward its best one-day gain in nearly five years, as a host of analysts raised their price targets in the wake of the mobile-chip maker's better-than-expected quarterly results.

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