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14Sep2016 Market Close: Wall Street Closed Down And Flat, Crude Prices Slipped Further Into The 43's, Gold And The US Dollar Off Highs, But Stable

Written by Gary

Major US stock indexes closed down fractionally (SPY - 0.05%) after spending the morning in the green. Volume picked up moderately towards the session end as the BTFDers moved in for basement bargains. Indicators are neutral to bullish.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Bayer's Monsanto acquisition to face politically charged scrutiny

WASHINGTON D.C./NEW YORK (Reuters) - As the global agricultural sector races to consolidate, Bayer AG's $66 billion all-cash deal to acquire Monsanto Co will test growing political and consumer unease in the United States and abroad over the future of food production.

U.S. import prices post first drop in six months, but trend improving

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. import prices fell for the first time in six months in August on weak petroleum and food costs, but the declining trend is slowing as oil prices stabilize and the dollar's rally fades.

Fed jitters and oil pressure Wall Street; Apple rallies

(Reuters) - Wall Street edged lower on Wednesday as investors focused on future interest rate hikes and as cheaper oil dragged down energy shares, although Apple surged to its highest level this year.

iPhone optimism blasts Apple stock to 2016 high

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Apple's stock hit a 2016 high on Wednesday, with its market value peaking above $600 billion for the first time since April as Wall Street bet the technology company's newest iPhone would help shore up falling sales.

Volkswagen says it might not resume U.S. sales of diesel vehicles

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG said on Wednesday it has not decided if it will resume selling diesel vehicles in the United States, even if it were allowed to, in the wake of the automaker's emissions cheating scandal.

Tesla says it is investigating cause of fatal China crash

(Reuters) - Tesla Motors Inc is investigating the cause of a fatal crash in China involving one of its vehicles, but has "no way of knowing" if its semi-automated Autopilot system was engaged at the time of the accident, the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

Activist says Wells Fargo to face critical shareholder resolutions

BOSTON (Reuters) - An activist investor said on Wednesday it is "inevitable" that Wells Fargo & Co will face critical shareholder resolutions after the giant bank agreed to a $190 million settlement with regulators over fake consumer accounts.

Ford says 2017 performance will fall from 2016 levels as costs rise

(Reuters) - Ford Motor Co's 2017 financial performance will decline from this year as it increases spending on "emerging opportunities" like self-driving cars and other costs rise, the No. 2 U.S.-based automaker said on Wednesday.

Pimco says Bill Gross leaked bonus data, shows bad faith

(Reuters) - Pacific Investment Management Co accused former star bond fund manager Bill Gross of leaking confidential bonus data to an outside columnist, and exercising "bad faith" by withholding materials it is entitled to see as it defends against his $200 million lawsuit.

Wells Fargo Probed By Feds Over Sales Tactics

As a result of the ongoing "massive" customer fraud scandal at Wells Fargo, which culminated not with prison time for anyone but with a $125 million bonus for the executive who oversaw the criminal practice, life for CEO John Stumpf, who as reported yesterday lost the top market cap spot for a US bank to JPM, just got more complicated, because not only is he set to testify in Congress in a few days, but as Dow Jones reports the Feds are now involved.

From the WSJ:

Federal prosecutors are in the early stages of an investigation into sales practices at Wells Fargo & Co. that led to the bank being hit last week with a $185 million fine, according to people familiar with the matter.

The investigation is being conducted by the U.S. Attorney's Offices for the Southern District of New York and the Northern District of California, these people said. Prosecutors have yet to decide if any case, should they decide to pursue one, would be along civil or criminal lines, the people said. Prosecutors have issued a subpoena to the bank for documents and materials, the people added.

While in early stages, the investigation is focusing on whether someone senior within the bank directed employees to falsify documents in conjunction with the opening of accounts and products without consumers' knowledge or authorization.

Prosecutors are also focusing on whether there was willful blindness to sales practices on the part of executives at the bank, these people said. Wells Fargo has acknowledged that it fired 5,300 employees over a five-year period related to improper sales practices. Chie ...

Greenspan: "Crazies May Undermine The Country"

Alan Greenspan just can't stay away from the spotlight these days.

The 90-year-old, former Fed chairman, who in recent years has sounded surprisingly similar to Trump (or perhaps it's the other way around), most notably in late June when he warned that "A Crisis Is Imminent" and urged a return to the gold standard - similar to what Trump has warned only to get bashed as a delusional, Putin-loving, conspiracy theorist - made more provocative statements today when during a conference in Washington on Tuesday evening, he said that the U.S. economic and political system could be undermined by what he called "crazies."

Perhaps he was referring to central bankers? Alas no, instead he peddled some fiction, guaranteeing that he won't get any holiday cards from the Obama administration:

"It is the worst economic and political environment that I've ever been remotely related to."

That said, his concerns which were similar to ones he has voiced before, were valid. He said that on the economic front, the U.S. is headed toward stagflation, adding that "politically, I haven't a clue how this comes out."

"We're not in a stable equilibrium," he said. "I hope we can all find a way out because this is too great a country to be undermined, by how should I say it, crazies."

So who was he referring to? It was unclear: Greenspan, who served from 1974-1977 in the Republican presidential administration of the late Gerald Ford, declined to comment on Wednesday when asked whom he was referring to. We are confident every readers can come up with their own answer.

In his comments on Tuesday, Greenspan traced the rise of populism in the U.S. all the way back to 1896, when William Jennings Bryan gave his "Cross of ...

Ford Warns That EBIT Will "Decline In 2017" As Sales Have "Reached A Plateau"

As Ford prepares for it's annual investor day, the company announced expectations this morning that operating income will decline in 2017 as the automaker increases investment in electric and autonomous vehicles, before rising again in 2018. This news comes after Ford just lowered it's expectations for FY 2016 EBIT to $10.2BN from $10.8BN due to increasing costs associated with an expanded recall related to faulty door latches. This latest profit warning from Ford also comes just weeks after executives, on their August sales call, provided sobering commentary on future auto sales saying they believe sales have "reached a plateau" and will be "at a lower level" in 2017. Below are some of the other key comments made on the August sales call:

"For the remainder of the year, we continue to see retail in the industry provide incentives still running at historically high levels, but down versus the record that we experienced in 2015. Looking ahead to 2017, we continue to see industry sales are strong, but at a lower level than this year."

"Sales have reached a plateau."

"It's just that we're no longer in a period where we have a lot of pent-up demand coming out of the financial crisis. So that's why, I think we use the term plateau"

"Comparisons for the rest of the year are going to be really tough."

Ford will also spend a lot of time at their investor day talking about their transition to focus on "mobility" and autonomous vehicles...something we warned would likely result in some financial growing pains over the long run (see "

Guess Who Colin Powell Is Talking About: He's "Still Dicking Bimbos At Home"

Having exposed the apparent strong mutual dislike between The Obamas and The Clintons, the leaked Colin Powell emails had another gem of an admission about just what other 'elites' think of The Clintons... in particular Bill...

Just two years ago, Powell told billionaire megadonor Jeffrey Leeds just how he feels about Hillary "I would rather not vote for her," and Bill "still dicking bimbos at home."

Source: @WillRahn

Would love to be a fly on the wall when they next meet.

Paradise Lost: Why the Good Times Are Over for Global Bonds

Government bond investors have had everything going right for them. That could never last forever.

Monsanto Deal Offers Cheap Crop Insurance

Skepticism abounds over Bayer's acquisition of seed giant Monsanto. But Monsanto is a risk worth taking, despite antitrust concerns.

Why the Bank of Japan May Raise Rates Even as It Cuts Them

The Bank of Japan may push long-term rates up while keeping short-term rates negative. Markets will see this as tinkering rather than a big-bang move.

The New York Post: Trump reveals results of physical on 'Dr. Oz'

Donald Trump surprised his campaign by releasing the findings of a physical exam he took last week on Dr. Oz — the TV doctor who now claims to have taken "Mr. Trump through a full review of systems," according to a press release from the TV show.

Ford to shift U.S. small-car production to Mexico

CEO Fields says production will move to Mexico to help boost profitability.

Futures Movers: Oil futures end near 2-week low as traders focus on rising output

Oil futures turn higher then drop back to settle near a two-week low after U.S. government data show an unexpected weekly decline in crude stockpiles, along with a climb in production.

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