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02Feb2017 Market Close: US Stock Markets Put In Another Session Of Choppy, Volatile Trading Trending Sideways, WTI Crude Looses Ground And The US Dollar Rebounds Modestly

Written by Gary

Wall Street closed mostly down and flat (SPY +0.03%) and were little changed as investors turned wary following President Trump's latest comments on trade and the policies he will pursue.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall St. stalls as market, Trump priorities diverge

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Thursday as investors turned wary following President Donald Trump's latest comments on trade and the policies he will pursue.

U.S. labor market tightening, productivity still weak

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The number of Americans filing for unemployment benefits fell more than expected last week, pointing to tightening labor market conditions that should support the economy this year.

Exclusive: Snap's secrecy frustrates banks' pursuit of IPO glory

(Reuters) - Some investment banks seeking to be added as underwriters to Snapchat owner Snap Inc's initial public offering registration document have been denied access to review it before it is made public this week, according to people familiar with the matter.

Microsoft asks Trump administration for exception program on immigration orders

(Reuters) - Microsoft Corp on Thursday said it had sent a proposal to U.S. President Donald Trump's administration to create a program to let people from seven predominantly Muslim nations enter and leave the United States on business or family emergency travel if they hold a valid work or student visa and have not committed any crimes.

McDonald's CEO sounds positive note on Trump's Labor nominee

BOSTON (Reuters) - McDonald's Corp Chief Executive Steve Easterbrook said on Thursday that President Donald Trump's pick to head the U.S. Labor Department has a good understanding of entry-level jobs and how big changes in labor costs can affect small businesses.

Starbucks responds to criticism over refugee hiring blowback

(Reuters) - Starbucks Corp , facing backlash from some customers over its plans to hire refugees, said it would speed up its previously stated goal of hiring 10,000 veterans and military spouses by 2018.

U.S. airline CEOs ask to meet with Tillerson on Gulf carriers

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The CEOs of the three largest U.S. airlines have asked to meet with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to discuss allegations that Gulf states are unfairly subsidizing state-owned carriers, driving down prices and crowding out competition on key routes, accusations those carriers deny.

New York court approves Verizon settlement over 'merger tax' objections

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A New York state appeals court on Thursday said its door remains open for settlements of merger litigation where shareholders receive no money, approving an accord tied to Verizon Communications Inc's $130 billion buyout of Vodafone Group Plc's stake in their Verizon Wireless venture.

Dan Loeb: Trump will make hedge funds great again

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. hedge fund manager Dan Loeb is betting President Donald Trump will be good for investments thanks to his planned mix of tax cuts, reduced regulation and infrastructure spending.

JPM's Kolanovic Warns Complacency Has Set In, Expects A Market Pullback As Volatility Returns

After a phenomenal 2015, in which JPM's head quant Marko Kolanovic as if by magic managed to correctly call every major market inflection point ahead of time, he found 2016 far more challenging, although toward the end of the year, he did get a second wind, and his key predictions since the Trump election have panned out, as he himself note in his latest note:

One day after the US election, we set a January 2017 S&P 500 price target of 2300. Now that this target was achieved a week ago, we want to assess the prospects for stocks and market volatility. We maintain that in 2017 we will likely see further equity gains (our 2017 YE target is 2400).

Of course, there are 11 months until the end of the year, and what happens inbetween could have a major impact on the final December 31 S&P500 print. So what does Kolanovic think will happen next? As he says, "we believe the market will be more volatile and note that two-thirds of our projected target have already realized. This means that the market risk-reward has deteriorated." And, in taking the opposite view of Goldman which predicts markets will keep rising until the end of the first half only to turn lower into the second half, Kolanovic expects the most likely downside scenario "would be a short lived ~5% pullback on the back of a hawkish Fed and deleveraging of systematic investors during the first half of this year."

So only a 5% move?

Considering the market hasn't had a 1% down day since October 11, a 5 % drop may end up as a shock to the latest generation of hedge fund managers and robots, who increasingly are exposed to a market that no longer has any drawdowns or down days.

Kolanovic continues why a market drop is overdue: "Following the recent rally, a level of risk complacency has started to set in ...

Kellyanne Conway Dispenses Parental Advice to Rioting Antifa Snowflakes

Today on Fox & Friends, Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway, mother of four, had some harsh words for tantruming liberal snowflakes across the country:

I don't even know if they know what they're protesting. What's got you so in a lather? Really? Is it free speech? Having somebody maybe on your campus who has a dissenting point of view?

Kellyanne goes on to remind them that when they eventually grow up, they will face divergent opinions!

In the real world, when these kids grow up and try to find jobs, which they will in the Trump economy - life doesn't work that way, folks. You're going to work with people who disagree with you, you're going to encounter people who aren't just cosseting you in this protective environment.

Watch here:


Reality Vs. The "Recovery" Narrative

Submitted by C.Jay Engel via The Mises Institute,

As Jeffrey Lacker leads the pack on the Fed's "concern of overheating" front, last Friday's 2016 fourth quarter GDP numbers completely contradict the narrative. Coming in at a paltry 1.85% growth rate, the Fed was handed yet another excuse to push off the so-called "normalization of interest rates" further into the future. The Fed's FOMC again confirmed as much at its February meeting.

The Fed has stated for years — since 2008 — that it needed to keep interest rates low in order to support a sustainable recovery. The Fed was allegedly paying close attention to it's Congressionally-sourced dual mandate to determine when it could start allowing rates to rise.

But now it is 2017 and the Fed's bureaucratic statistics relating to unemployment and price inflation say things are just dandy. But the GDP numbers, which purport to measure growth, scream the opposite.

This is the Fed's predicament. They've held that the dual mandate was their only ...

US Plans To Impose Additional Iran Sanctions As Early As Friday; Would Not Violate Nuclear Deal

According to Reuters, the United States is expected to impose sanctions on multiple Iranian entities as early as Friday following Tehran's recent ballistic missile test, but in a way that will not violate the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday.

One source, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said about eight Iranian entities were to be sanctioned, or "designated" in U.S. legal jargon, for terrorism-related activities and about 17 for ballistic missile-related activities under separate existing U.S. executive orders. The source declined to name the entities.

While we await more details, the fact that the Trump administration is in no hurry to scrap Obama's Nuclear Deal is likely a suggestion that this particular draconian step will not be taken in the near future, if at all, and thus a potential major risk factor for higher oil prices can be eliminated for the time being.

Ralph Lauren's Problem With Ralph Lauren

The departure of Stefan Larsson from Ralph Lauren leaves investors worrying that the company's founder has become a burden.

A Simple Reason to Hold Complicated MetLife

Rising rates are a long-term positive for MetLife despite near-term uncertainty.

The Economy's People Problem

Productivity data are weak again, showing the challenges faced by President Trump to boost growth, especially if he cuts immigration.

February 2017 Economic Forecast: Outlook Again Improves, Trend Line Up

Written by Steven Hansen

Econintersect's Economic Index again improved but the value remains in the territory of weak growth. The index remains well below the median levels seen since the end of the Great Recession. But there are several indications in the data we view of better dynamics in the future. Six-month employment growth forecast indicates little change in the rate of growth.

December 2016 Median Household Income Declines

from Sentier Research

According to new data derived from the monthly Current Population Survey (CPS), median annual household income in December 2016 was $57,827, $558 (or 1.0 percent) lower than the November 2016 median of $58,385.

Currencies: Dollar turns higher in rebound off 11-week low

A key dollar index on Thursday touched an 11-week low after the Federal Reserve disappointed the hawks and hinted there won't be a rate increase in March.

The Margin: Weird routines of 6 famous billionaires — including Richard Branson's 5 a.m. workout

Visual Capitalist compiled a list of the daily habits of a handful of highly successful entrepreneurs including Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk, Warren Buffett and Richard Branson.

Investors are dumping hedge funds just when they're needed most

It's true that hedge funds have underperformed in this eight-year bull market, but that might be about to change, writes Greg Blotnick.

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