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24Oct2016 Market Close: Wall Street Closes Higher, Quietly On Low Volume, Crude Back Up, US Dollar Trading At Resistance, Investors Remain Skeptical On Continuing Bullish Market

Written by Gary

US Markets closed up modestly (SPY +0.4%), crude recovered to the mid 50 handle, US dollar back testing resistance and gold fractionally lower than Friday's close. Strong earnings push markets up, BUT investors remain unsure to Wall Street's bullish future and a possible rescission.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Time Warner, AT&T shares fall amid concerns over deal clearance

(Reuters) - Wall Street signaled skepticism on Monday that AT&T Inc would secure the government approvals needed to carry out its planned $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner Inc, with shares of both companies falling as analysts scrutinized the deal.

Earnings lift S&P to two-week high; M&A supports

NEW YORK - (Reuters) - The S&P 500 hit a two-week high on Monday on the back of strong earnings, while a flurry of acquisitions indicated corporate America continues to see untapped value in the market.

China's HNA to buy 25 percent stake in Hilton for $6.5 billion

(Reuters) - Chinese aviation and shipping conglomerate HNA Group said on Monday it would buy about 25 percent of hotel operator and manager Hilton Worldwide Holdings Inc from biggest shareholder Blackstone Group LP for $6.5 billion.

Oil down as Iraq says no cuts; Wall Street, Cushing draw limit loss

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices fell on Monday after Iraq said it wanted to be exempt from an OPEC production cut, though prices drew some support from a rally in Wall Street shares and a draw in crude inventories at the U.S. storage hub of Cushing, Oklahoma.

Toyota again leads U.S. auto reliability survey, Buick surprises

DETROIT (Reuters) - Two Toyota Motor Corp brands again led the annual reliability survey from Consumer Reports magazine, and General Motors Co's Buick was the first American brand in at least 35 years to crack the top three, the consumer magazine said on Monday.

TD Ameritrade faces scrutiny over Scottrade purchase

(Reuters) - TD Ameritrade has agreed to buy Scottrade for $2.7 billion in a deal that would bring together two of the biggest U.S. discount brokerages, but is expected to face scrutiny from regulators.

Fed needs to get to inflation goal sooner: Evans

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve may need to keep interest rates lower for longer to convince investors and the public that the central bank is serious about reaching its 2-percent inflation target, Chicago Federal Reserve Bank President Charles Evans suggested on Monday.

White pushes bigger SEC role in regulating U.S. Treasuries

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The Securities and Exchange Commission should play a bigger role in regulating the market for U.S. Treasuries, the head of the SEC said on Monday in what appeared to be a push for a bigger role for her agency in a market largely overseen by the Federal Reserve and Treasury Department.

EU, Canada still hope to sign trade deal after Belgian 'Non'

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - Belgium declared on Monday that it could not formally back a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada because of an internal dispute, but the two sides still appeared to be holding out hopes of a summit to sign off on the deal.

5 Negative Factors For Oil Prices

Submitted by Salman Ghouri & Andreas de Vries via,

It has been a rough 2 years for forecasters of crude oil prices. Essentially no one saw the 2014 crash coming, and everyone looked on in surprise as a barrel of crude oil tanked, from over $100 to less than $30. After the crash, many forecasters expected a speedy recovery driven by bankruptcies in U.S. Shale, only to be left surprised again by the slow pace of the structural adjustment of supply to demand, causing the crude oil price to remain in the $30 to $50 per barrel range much longer than anticipated. And now, just as everyone has begun forecasting "lower for longer", crude oil seems to be breaking through the $50 per barrel range in response to the announcement that OPEC and Russia intend to cut production.

All these surprises did not happen because crude oil price forecasters are "quacks" and "charlatans" who don't really know what they are doing. Rather, the issue is the large number of real world factors that impact the crude oil price - economic growth; interest and exchange rates; demographics; global, regional and local politics;

Did Russia Hack the DNC ... Really?

Obama, Clinton and the mainstream media all say that Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee and released emails to throw the election to Trump.

But former CIA, State Department, and House Intelligence Committee security expert Fred Fleitz notes:

Only two intelligence entities - the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) - have weighed in on this issue, not 17 intelligence agencies [as Hillary Clinton had claimed]. And what they said was ambiguous about Russian involvement. An unclassified October 7, 2016 joint DNI-DHS statement on this issue said the hacks

". . . are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts. These thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process. Such activity is not new to Moscow — the Russians have used similar tactics and techniques across Europa and Eurasia, for example, to influence public opinion there. We believe, based on the scope and sensitivity of these efforts, that only Russia's senior-most officials could have authorized these activities."

Saying we think the hacks "are consistent with the methods and motivations of Russian-directed efforts" is far short of saying we have evidence that Russia has been responsible for the hacks. Maybe high-level officials would have authorized them if Russian hackers were responsible, but the DNI and DHS statement did NOT say there was evidence Russia was responsible.

Indeed, the NSA executive who created the agency's mass surveillance program for digital information, who served as the senior technica ...

AT&T Purchase Of Time Warner Greeted By Skepticism On Wall Street, Scrutiny In Congress

Yesterday we asked if, coming at a time when AT&T's organic results posted a mild disappointment, the latest megamerger involving Time Warner is a sign of the top.

As Dow Jones remarked in similar fashion today, "more than 15 years after it was part of one historic merger, Time Warner is getting bought again, and while AT&T Inc.'s $85 billion bid for the media company is not quite on a par with AOL's historic $164 billion acquisition of Time Warner in 2000 (later revealed to be a historic blunder), it's still a big enough deal that it's drawing attention on the campaign trail from both candidates."

To be sure, the deal - if it passes - will be the latest case study on how to merge content and distibution at a time when a fresh wave of new technologies is putting pressure on old-line businesses.

On the media side, consumers have more options than ever. Outfits like Amazon and Netflix are producing their own original programming, and doing it well. Hey, even Yahoo was making shows for a while. On the distribution side, AT&T gets "content" for new mobile platforms, which it will need to capitalize on, because the wireless business is cutthroat, capital intensive, and saturated already.

But while 16 years ago analysts were blindly optimistic, that is no longer the case. As summarized by the WSJ, here is Wall Street's less than upbeat take on the biggest media merger in years:

Anthony DiClemente, Nomura: We are as yet unclear on the strategic value AT&T sees in TWX; content/distribution marriages have been inconclusive. We are ...

Online Brokers Can't Catch Up by Teaming Up

By acquiring rival Scottrade, TD Ameritrade can achieve needed economies of scale. But its fundamental challenges remain.

Apple Gets Polished Ahead of Results

Investor sentiment toward Apple has improved ahead of Tuesday's earnings report even as a key streak is poised to snap.

NetSuite Could Sour If Oracle Bid Is Lost

The cloud software company's results make it difficult to argue for a higher offer.

Teacher pensions under fire: 5 tips to prepare for retirement

If you're a teacher, the promise of a good retirement pension may have been a selling point when you took the job.

Do yourself — and everyone around you — a favor and get a flu shot

The ideal time to get vaccinated for the flu is a couple of weeks before it starts circulating. And that's the problem.

Here are all of the sports arenas that changed names because of M&A

TD Ameritrade's planned purchase of Scottrade means more than consolidation in the online brokerage space — it also spells yet another name change to a major sports arena.

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