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23Dec2016 Market Close: Wall Street Closes In The Green, WTI Rises To The 53 Handle, Gold And The US Dollar Trade Sideways, Short-term Indicators Neutral

Written by Gary

Wall Street closed flat (SPY +0.1%), but mostly in the green. New U.S. single-family home sales rose more than expected and consumer sentiment hovered near a 13-year high, strengthening the view that the economy will gain further momentum next year.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

U.S. housing, consumer confidence data bolster economic outlook

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - New U.S. single-family home sales rose more than expected in November and consumer sentiment hovered near a 13-year high this month, strengthening the view that the economy will gain further momentum next year.

How Deutsche's big bet on Wall Street turned toxic

FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Deutsche Bank's pursuit of success on Wall Street has come at a high price, a $7 billion plus penalty illustrating the extent of its decline since 2008 when its then chief executive claimed it was one of the "strongest banks in the world".

Icahn regulatory role gives activist investors strong Washington voice

NEW YORK/WASHINGTON/BOSTON (Reuters) - U.S. chief executives, already wrestling with a steady flow of activist investors in their board rooms, face a newly challenging landscape now that the loudest voice of the bunch will have the ear of the next president and his securities' rule makers.

U.S. Justice Dept. orders whistleblower to testify in Wells Fargo probe

(Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice has subpoenaed a high-profile whistleblower in its criminal investigation into Wells Fargo & Co's opening of accounts without customer permission.

Wall Street gains, lifted by healthcare shares

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street rose on Friday, boosted by gains in healthcare stocks, as investors extended a rally fueled by optimism that U.S. President-elect Donald Trump's policies will boost economic growth.

Peabody Energy reorganization plan lacks mine cleanup coverage details

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Peabody Energy Corp failed to explain how it will cover future mine cleanup costs in a reorganization plan filed late Thursday, triggering concerns over the company's use of "self-bonds."

Caesars unit's creditors agree new recovery terms: court filing

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Creditors of Caesars Entertainment Corp's bankrupt operating unit have reached an agreement to revise the terms of their recoveries, according to a filing with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Chicago on Friday.

U.S. hits Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank with toxic debt penalties

ZURICH/FRANKFURT (Reuters) - Credit Suisse and Deutsche Bank have been hit with a combined penalty of more than $12 billion over the sale of U.S. toxic debt, further hampering two of Europe's leading investment banks as they struggle with weak earnings.

Amazon starts flexing muscle in new space: air cargo

ALLENTOWN, Pa. (Reuters) - A cargo plane emblazoned with "Prime Air" descended from an empty sky at Lehigh Valley International Airport on Tuesday, ninety minutes from the bustle of New York City, loaded with crates of goods during the peak holiday shopping season.

ETFs versus Active Investing Debate (Video)

By EconMatters

We delve into the debate with our take on the downside of passive investing in ETFs, this exacerbates volatility in markets. The main difference is that we had mutual funds and then stock picking, now we have mutual funds, and ETFs, with very little stock picking in financial asset evaluation.

This in and of itself is a very bad practice for many reasons that I will avoid discussing here, but mainly every asset should be independently analyzed thoroughly. This basically means that financial markets have been reduced to fund flow investing, the degree to which this is Ponzi scheme musical chair gambling seems less destructive as long as assets are moving up, but when the worm turns which this very style of investing makes an absolute certainty, it not only destroys capital forever, it destabilizes financial markets in the process, and in essence breaks financial markets.

When the ZIRP Central Bank inspired Stock Market Bubble bursts ETFs will get their fair share of the blame for capital destroying practices, and bad investment decisions made on the behalf of market participants. Investment Capital is going to be destroyed like never before in the history of financial markets when the bubble bursts, and those in ETFs on average will lose far more than active managers, or even average sto ...

Rockette's Rant Says She's "Embarrassed And Disappointed" To Perform At Trump Inauguration

Just yesterday the Madison Square Garden Company, owner of Radio City Music Hall, announced that the Rockettes had been chosen to perform at Trump's inauguration ceremony on January 20th. In a press release, CEO Jimmy Dolan announced the Rockettes were "honored" to have been chosen by the President-elect.

"The Radio City Rockettes, an original American brand, have performed at Radio City Music Hall since 1932 and, as treasured American icons, have taken part in some of the nation's most illustrious events such as Super Bowl halftime shows, Macy's Thanksgiving Day parades and presidential inaugurations, including in 2001 and 2005. We are honored that the Rockettes have again been asked to perform in the upcoming inauguration festivities."

That said, at least one Rockette, Phoebe Pearl, seemingly disagreed with Dolan on the "honored" part of the announcement as she posted a rant to instagram saying that she's "embarrassed and disappointed" by the upcoming performance.

"I usually don't use social media to make a political stand but I feel overwhelmed with emotion. Finding out that it has been decided for us that Rockettes will be performing at the Presidential inauguration makes me feel embarrassed and disappointed."

"The women I work with are intelligent and are full of love and the decision of performing for a man that stands for everything we're against is appalling."

"I am speaking for just myself but please know that after we found out this news, we have been performing with tears in our eyes and heavy hearts #notmypresident"

Europe's Future - Merkel Or Le Pen?

Submitted by Patrick Buchanan via Buchanan.org,

The terrorist who hijacked a truck in Berlin and ran over and killed 12 people, maiming and wounding 48 more, in that massacre in the Christmas market, has done more damage than he could imagine.

If the perpetrator is the jihadist from Tunisia who had no right to be in Germany, and had been under surveillance, the bell could begin to toll not only for Angela Merkel but for the European Union.

That German lassitude, and the naivete behind it, allowed this outrage validates the grim verdict of geostrategist James Burnham in "Suicide of the West": "Liberalism is the ideology of Western suicide."

Both the transnational elite and populist right sense the stakes involved here. As news of the barbarous atrocity spread across Europe, the reactions were instantaneous and predictable.

Marine Le Pen of France's National Front, leading candidate for the presidency in 2017, declaimed: "How many more people must die at the hands of Islamic extremists before our governments close our porous borders and stop taking in thousands of illegal immigrants?"

Geert Wilders, the Party for Freedom front-runner for prime minister of Holland, echoed Le Pen: "They hate and kill us. And nobody protects us. Our leaders betray us. We need a political revolution.

"Islamic immigration/Is an invasion," he went on, "An existential problem/That will replace our people/Erase our culture."

"These are Merkel's dead,"

Top Ex-White House Economist Admits 94% Of All New Jobs Under Obama Were Part-Time

Just over six years ago, in December of 2010, we wrote "Charting America's Transformation To A Part-Time Worker Society", in which we predicted - and showed - that in light of the underlying changes resulting from the second great depression, whose full impacts remain masked by trillions in monetary stimulus and soon, perhaps fiscal, America is shifting from a traditional work force, one where the majority of new employment is retained on a full-time basis, to a "gig" economy, where workers are severely disenfranchised, and enjoy far less employment leverage, job stability and perks than their pre-crash peers. It also explains why despite the 4.5% unemployment rate, which the Fed has erroneously assumed is indicative of job market at "capacity", wage growth not only refuses to materialize, but as we showed yesterday, the growth in real disposable personal income was the lowest since 2014.

When we first penned our article, it was dubbed "fringe" tinfoil hattery, or in the latest vernacular, "fake news."

Fast forward 6 years, when a report by Harvard and Princeton economists Lawrence Katz and Alan Krueger, confirms exactly what we warned. In their study, the duo show that from 2005 to 2015, the proportion of Americans workers engaged in what they refer to as "alternative w ...

What Trump's Cabinet Picks Mean for Markets

The people in President-elect Donald Trump's administration are extremely shareholder friendly, but investors need to keep their enthusiasm in check.

Retailers Lose Willpower as Christmas Approaches

Even the full-price stalwarts cave in to discounts the week before Christmas, and those that have been cutting prices slash even more.

Euro-Dollar Parity: It's All About the Greenback

The euro parity party plans are being dusted off. But the rising dollar needs watching closely.

In a digital age, upscale pens keep selling in big numbers

Users might employ a pen less often, but more are saying that when they write, they want to write with a quality, even luxury, tool. And the good news for the pen industry is that collectors seldom stop with just one.

Market Extra: Why Dow 20,000 isn't a foregone conclusion in 2016

With all the breathless chatter about the Dow Jones Industrial Average's random walk to 20,000—a milestone only significant for its impact on the Wall Street's psyche—investors would think hitting the level this year was assured.

The Ratings Game: This is how one analyst tries to cheer up the worst performing sector since the election

Wells Fargo analyst Bonnie Herzog and her team, who cover the underperforming consumer staples sector, sent some holiday cheer to their clients, with their version of "Let is Snow."

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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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