Wall Street is mixed (SPY +0.03% & DJI -0.2%) and trading in a narrow range on modest volume. Short-term indicators are fractionally bearish (what's new), crude prices continue to trade at the 51 handle and the US dollar is weak, but trending upward.
Here is the current market situation from CNN Money
North and South American markets are mixed today. The IPC is up 0.35% while the Bovespa gains 0.25%. The S&P 500 is off 0.05%.
(Reuters) - The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq were little changed in choppy trading on Wednesday as gains in tech stocks offset a weakness in retail sector, while the Dow was pulled lower by healthcare shares.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Credit Suisse formally agreed to pay $5.3 billion to settle with U.S. authorities over claims it misled investors in residential mortgage-backed securities it sold in the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis, the U.S. Department of Justice said on Wednesday.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - JPMorgan Chase & Co has agreed to pay $55 million to settle a U.S. Justice Department lawsuit accusing it of discriminating against minority borrowers by allowing mortgage brokers to charge them more for home loans, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Nearly 80 rights groups on Wednesday accused Facebook of "racially biased censorship" and failing to be more transparent about its removal policies and cooperation with law enforcement, adding to criticism the company has faced in recent months over its management of content on its network of 1.8 billion users.
LONDON (Reuters) - OPEC signaled a falling oil supply surplus in 2017 on Wednesday as the exporter group's output slips from a record high ahead of a deal to cut supply and outside producers show positive initial signs of complying with the accord.
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer prices rose in December as households paid more for gasoline and rental accommodation, leading to the largest year-on-year increase in 2-1/2 years and signaling that inflation pressures could be building.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - General Motors Co has agreed to pay $1 million to resolve a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission accounting case related to a faulty ignition switch linked to 124 deaths and 275 injuries, the regulator said on Wednesday.
(Reuters) - The foundation created by billionaire Bill Gates and his wife Melinda plans to sell 60 million Class B shares of Berkshire Hathaway Inc donated by Warren Buffett, reflecting the fellow billionaire' s desire that proceeds be spent on charitable works.
A central theme for the Davos World Economic Forum is a push to ban cash.
Yesterday we outlined how Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz was urging the US to do away with physical cash.
Today, Paypal CEO Dan Schulman is doing much the same thing although in this case he claims that getting rid of cash will end "leakage" (Stiglitz and most elites usually suggest a cash ban will end money laundering or crime).
The digital revolution is making transactions cheaper and easier for millions of people worldwide and will eventually push out traditional forms of payment, like cash, PayPal's Dan Schulman told CNBC on Wednesday...
"I think what we came to the realization of is that the war is really against cash and against waste," Schulman said, speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. "There's tremendous leakage in the system."
These arguments are getting tiresome. If you want to see the real reason everyone at the top of the economic food chain wants to ban cash, take a look at what the Godfather of cash bans, former Chief Economist for the IMF, Ken Rogoff, stated in his research on the subject in 2014:
Having listened stoically for the past two months to accusations without evidence that Moscow "hacked the US election", and that Hillary's loss was indirectly due to Putin's alleged meddling, which resulted in Obama's expulsion of 35 Russian diplomats, on Wednesday Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov finally snapped, and lashed out at the ongoing US election scapegoating fiasco, saying that leaders and top officials from the UK, Germany, and France have "grossly interfered" in US internal affairs, "campaigned" for Hillary Clinton, and openly "demonized" Donald Trump.
Unlike US accusations of Russian interference, at least Lavrov's claim can be substantiated with a simple google search of news event in mid to late 2016.
Speaking during a press conference following a meeting with his Austrian counterpart Sebastian Kurz, Lavrov said his angry outburst was because Moscow "is tired" of accusations it meddled in the US election. In fact, Lavrov said, it is time to "acknowledge the fact" that it was the other way around.
"US allies have grossly interfered in America's internal affairs, in the election campaign," Lavrov said, quoted by RT.
"We noticed that Angela Merkel, Francois Hollande, Theresa May, and other European leaders" did so. He added that official representatives of some of the European countries did not mince words, and essentially "demonized" Donald Trump during the election campaign.
Among the more vivid examples, last August German Foreign Minister Frank Walther Steinmeier called Trump a "hate preacher." Reactin ...
With Trump's Commerce Secretary, Wilber Ross, currently speaking in his confirmation hearing, it is convenient that overnight Barclays released a report looking at steel demand in the US as a result of Trump's proposed stimulus projects, an area that will be of substantial focus by Ross as he seeks to revitalize the moribund US steel sector.
That said, Barclays notes that while the potential demand from US infrastructure is there, it notes that it is skeptical on implementation for two main reasons. One is the rising risk of protectionism:
we think that hopes for a large infrastructure boost are premature, and the risks from potentially increased US protectionism are a significant headwind to higher global consumption. The potential for a large rise in commodity demand is certainly there, but we think that the market is "trumping up" the likely effects of Trump's policies, as additional infrastructure spending requires rapid execution to yield the full metals' demand boost.
Second is the still overarching lack of clarity about Trump's plan:
Given the unknowns about Trump's infrastructure plan - lack of clarity on total spend, past ineffectiveness of stimulus efforts, timing of implementation, pushback from Congress - we currently model no additional metals demand from supplemental infrastructure investment during 2017-18 into our baseline forecast. As greater visibility becomes available, we will adjust our consumption forecasts to take into account the latest spending plans. The key issue we think is facing the metals sector is that even if infrastructure spending is approved at the headline level ($1trn over 10 years, or $100bn a year) and implementation is effective, the project schedule does not allow for an ...
Treasury prices edge lower on Wednesday, pushing yields higher, a day ahead of a meeting by the European Central Bank, which could shed some light on what monetary policy will look like in what could be another politically tumultuous year across Europe.
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