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09Jan2017 Market Close: Wall Street Closes Mixed, But Mostly Down, Crude Prices Sharply Down, US Dollar Moderately Weaker, DOW Down 76 Points

Written by Gary

US stock markets closed lower with the Tech heavy Nasdaq remaining in the green. Dow falls 76 points. Nasdaq rises 0.2%, while S&P 500 slips 0.4%. Oil fell 4% to $52 a gallon. Stocks and commodities could see a 10 % melt-up in the first half of the year, followed by a "meltdown" closer to 2018, according to BofA strategists.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Oil drop stymies Dow's march to 20,000; Nasdaq boosted by health stocks

(Reuters) - Declines in energy and financial stocks weighed on the S&P 500 on Monday and stalled the Dow's pursuit of the 20,000 milestone ahead of earnings season, while the Nasdaq hit a record intraday high.

Alibaba tells Trump about U.S. store plan for China e-shoppers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Alibaba Executive Chairman Jack Ma met U.S. President-elect Donald Trump on Monday and laid out the Chinese e-commerce company's new plan to bring a million small U.S. businesses onto its platform to sell to Chinese consumers over the next five year, an Alibaba spokesman said.

Auto executives, with eye on Trump, highlight U.S. investments

DETROIT (Reuters) - Global auto executives at the Detroit auto show are highlighting their investments in the United States, mindful of President-elect Donald Trump's attacks on automakers for building vehicles in Mexico.

Supreme Court rejects Dow over $1 billion tax deduction claim

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear Dow Chemical Co's bid to revive its claim to more than $1 billion in tax deductions based on partnerships the company entered into that lower courts said were created primarily to avoid tax liability and had no legitimate business purpose.

Mars to buy pet healthcare provider VCA for $7.7 billion

(Reuters) - Candy and pet food conglomerate Mars Inc is buying veterinary hospital operator VCA Inc for $7.7 billion in a deal that will give the maker of Pedigree pet food an even bigger share of the $4 billion global pet healthcare market.

Exclusive: Next Level Apparel challenges Gildan with bid for bankrupt American Apparel - source

NEW YORK (Reuters) - California-based apparel maker Next Level Apparel has submitted an offer to challenge a $66 million bid from Canadian apparel manufacturer Gildan Activewear Inc for bankrupt American Apparel LLC, a person familiar with the matter said Monday.

U.S. charges Volkswagen executive with fraud over emissions scandal

MIAMI/DETROIT (Reuters) - Volkswagen AG suffered a new setback on Monday when an executive was charged with conspiracy to defraud the United States over the company's diesel emissions cheating and the automaker was accused of concealing the cheating from regulators.

St. Jude releases cyber updates for heart devices after U.S. probe

(Reuters) - Abbott Laboratories is releasing cyber security updates for its St. Jude heart devices, it said on Monday, some five months after the U.S. government launched a probe into claims they were vulnerable to potentially life-threatening hacks.

Mercedes-Benz overtakes BMW to become largest premium carmaker

STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - Mercedes-Benz sales overtook BMW last year for the first time in more than a decade, a feat achieved, ironically, only after parent company Daimler stopped chasing market share and focused on making stylish high-tech cars.

Social Security Taxes Set To Soar For Top Earners In 2017

Many Americans looking forward to Trump's promise of tax cuts from his administration are going to get a rude awakening when they get their first paychecks of 2017. While Trump has vowed to cut marginal income tax rates for individuals and corporations, the social security tax levied on the nation's top earners is set to soar in 2017 for top earners.

For the 2015 and 2016 tax years, only the first $118,500 of earnings was subject to the 6.2% social security payroll tax. That said, that "taxable minimum" is set to soar to $127,200 for the 2017 tax year, a 7.3% increase that will cost America's top earners an additional $539 this year.

As Bloomberg points out, the steep increase in 2017 is the result of the federal government making up for lost time as the "taxable minimum" is not allowed to increase in tax years during which benefit recipients don't get a cost-of-living increase.

A 7.3 percent hike is way above inflation: The main U.S. c ...

Here's A Unique Sign Of Inflation

Submitted by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

I remember the first time I ever saw a $100 bill.

It was back in the early 80s, I must have only been 5 or 6 years old. My parents took my sister and I to a fancy restaurant, and I distinctly remember a man dressed in a dark business suit a few tables over paying his bill with a crisp $100 note. He pulled it out of his wallet, slid it onto the table, and walked away.

I was dumbfounded. It was more money than I had ever seen in my young life.

None of my friends had ever seen a $100 bill, and I was the big news at school the next day, regaling the whole class with stories of my proximity to such vast wealth. Of course, back then, a $100 bill truly was a rare sighting because prices were so much lower. A can of Campbell's soup was 25 cents. Today it costs 4x as much. A movie ticket ran about $3.50, according to the National Association of Theater Owners. Today it's almost to $9. Gasoline was 86 cents per gallon. Now it's $2.20, and that's after a major price collapse. $100 could practically pay the rent in a lot of places back in the 80s.

That's obviously no longer the case. Even a mundane trip to the grocery store can easily blow through $100 without feeling unusual. $100 simply isn't the awe-inspiring symbol of wealth that it used to be. And that's because of inflation. One measure of this trend is the average lifespan of the $100 bill.

As money changes hands during routine transactions, the constant wear and tear eventually starts to break down the paper. You probably have a few bills in your wallet that look like they're about to disintegrate. The more frequently a bill is used, the faster that breakdown occurs. According to the Federal Reserve, for example, a typical $1 bill lasts for about 5.8 years before becoming s ...

Consumer Credit Soars, Driven By Near Record Credit Card-Fueled Spending

After several months of tepid growth in the revolving consumer credit, i.e., credit card, space, the latest monthly report from the Fed revealed that Americans went on a credit card-funded shopping spree in November, when total revolving credit exploded higher by a massive $11 billion, the highest November increase on record, and the second highest of the post crash period.

The credit card spending spike may explain why November, i.e., early holiday sales, were strong only to tumble in the second half of the holiday spending season as various retailers have already complained.

The spike in revolving credit was more than matched by non-revolving credit, which as usual bounced by a solid $13.5 billion, bringing the total monthly increase in consumer credit to $24.5 billion, far above the revised October print of $16.2 billion and also well above the consensus estimate of $18.4 billion.

As noted above, the biggest contributor of November credit was credit card debt, which surged by $11 billion, to a grand total of just under $1 trillion, or $992.4 billion.

At the same time non-revolving credit, or car and student loans, rose to $2.758 trillion, a $13.5 billion jump in the month.

How the Auto Makers Can Survive the Self-Driving Car

The auto industry is on the cusp of two great changes. Electric vehicles are a technological and financial challenge that will roil the industry's established order. Self-driving cars may blow it up.

McDonald's Shakes Up Its China Approach

The fast-food giant's sale of its China business to a state-owned company could be more profitable in the long run.

Regeneron Is Down, Not Out

Biotech stock Regeneron should recover from a surprise injunction over a new cholesterol drug.

November 2016 Consumer Credit Headlines Say Year-Over-Year Growth Rate Accelerated

Written by Steven Hansen

The headlines say consumer credit rate of annual growth increased from last month. Our analysis agrees.

December 2016 Conference Board Employment Index Declines

Written by Steven Hansen

The Conference Board's Employment Trends Index - which forecasts employment for the next 6 months declined, but its authors say "ETI's trend suggests that job growth will remain solid in early 2017".

Prince, lover of purple, also had a thing for gold

Court documents show the musician had 67 10-ounce gold bars and plenty of cash at the time of his death, but zero investments in stocks and bonds.

How Amazon's aggressive strategy for shipping and warehouses is paying off

Amazon is pulling further ahead of traditional retailers as it builds out a network of fulfillment centers across the U.S.

Market Extra: Why politics may not be done shaking up global markets

For a second straight year, the biggest driver of world-wide stock prices may not come from the bottom line, but from the ballot box.

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