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28Feb2017 Market Close: Wall Street Closed Lower, Crude Prices Gained Along With The US Dollar, Tomorrow Morning's Futures Indexes Will Predict The Upcoming Session

Written by Gary

U.S. stocks slipped this afternoon as a disappointing profit outlook from Target dragged down retailers and as investors braced for President Trump's address to Congress. The U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace and watch the future indexes tomorrow morning.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

Dow snaps 12-day winning streak ahead of Trump's speech to Congress

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Target's profit outlook sinks retail stocks

(Reuters) - Target Corp shares plunged on Tuesday after executives issued a full-year profit forecast that fell well below analyst estimates and said the retailer would lower prices to compete with deep-discounting rivals.

Wall St slips as Trump speech looms; retail a drag

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks slipped Tuesday afternoon as a disappointing profit outlook from Target dragged down retailers and as investors braced for President Donald Trump's address to Congress.

U.S. economy slowed in fourth quarter despite robust consumer spending

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy expanded at a slower pace in the fourth quarter, as previously reported, and appeared to remain on a moderate growth path as President Donald Trump took office with a promise to reinvigorate manufacturing and protect jobs.

GM CEO 'exploring opportunities' for Opel with Peugeot

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - General Motors Chief Executive Mary Barra said on Tuesday the Detroit automaker is exploring opportunities with French automaker PSA Group , but declined to discuss a potential sale of its money-losing European Opel unit.

Buffett's Berkshire rejects fossil fuel proposal, shareholder says

(Reuters) - Warren Buffett's Berkshire Hathaway Inc will urge shareholders to reject a proposal by a Nebraska nonprofit that it sell its investments in oil refiner Phillips 66 and other companies involved in fossil fuels over 12 years, the nonprofit said on Tuesday.

Exclusive: Mexico considered forcing Slim to separate America Movil fixed unit - sources

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico's telecoms regulator has discussed forcing billionaire Carlos Slim to legally separate his fixed-line company Telmex from his wireless business, three people familiar with the matter said.

Apple says it spent $50 billion last year with U.S. suppliers

CUPERTINO, Calif. (Reuters) - Apple spent roughly $50 billion last year at U.S.-based suppliers including 3M and Corning , Chief Executive Tim Cook said on Tuesday, stressing the iPhone-maker's commitment to U.S. manufacturing.

TransCanada's $15 billion U.S. Keystone XL NAFTA suit suspended

CALGARY, Alberta (Reuters) - TransCanada Corp has suspended a $15 billion NAFTA suit filed against the United States over the Keystone XL pipeline, the company said on Tuesday, after U.S. President Donald Trump approved the project last month.

Trump to shift biofuel blending burden off U.S. refiners: sources

(Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump intends to revamp the national biofuel program to ease regulations on oil refiners while providing new incentives for ethanol and biodiesel production, people familiar with the plan told Reuters on Tuesday.

Tax Strike? IRS Has Received 13% Fewer Returns This Year

Submitted by Nicholas Colas of Convergex

The (Tax Refund) Check Is Not In The Mail

No one likes paying taxes, but this year Americans are taking things to extremes. Through last Friday, the IRS had received 13.3% fewer returns than the same period last year. And it seems like we're not even really interested in starting the process: visits to IRS.gov are down 16.2%. All this means tax refunds - an important piece of disposable/savable income for many Americans - are down 14.4% versus last year. What's going on?

A few explanations. First, the IRS has not been able to issue refunds to filers claiming the Earned Income Tax Credit, which last year totaled 27 million returns. That will start to be fixed next week and may encourage more filings. Also at issue: the 100% increase in Obamacare penalties to $695/adult and $348/child, something that concerns many filers.

Lastly, there seems to be some broad confusion about President Trump's campaign promise of lower individual taxes and eliminating Obamacare and its penalties. The upshot: tax refunds add $250 billion to US consumer liquidity from February - May. This year's payment cycle will be harder to predict and likely make an accurate read on the US economy more difficult for the next few months.

* * *

You probably know that Benjamin Franklin said something like "The only sure things in life are death and taxes". That is, however, just the tail end of a sentence written in a letter back in 1789. The whole thing goes like this:

"Our new Constitution is now established, and has an appearance that promises permanency; but in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes."

Now, life expectancy when Franklin wrot ...

BofA's Institutional Clients Are Suddenly Selling Everything

Over the past week we reported on multiple occasions that according to two major banks, Bank of America and JPMorgan, institutional investors and hedge funds have been quietly selling stocks, while the "last man in", mom and pop retail investor, have been waving it in, riding high on the animal spirits and delighted brokers who finally get to collect some retail commissions, and using ETFs for their purchase, whose end of day rebalancing has had the added benefit of sending the market surging in the last 30 minutes of trading as JPM explained.

Fast forward to today when BofA released its latest weekly client flow trends report, and what it found was even more of the same. As Jill Carey Hall writes, Bank of America clients' optimism continued to wane last week as clients sold US equities for the second consecutive week after having been net buyers the prior 14 weeks since the election, with four-week average flows turning negative for the first time since November as well.

Net sales were $988mn, with sales of single stocks eclipsing small purchases of ETFs. For the second week in a row, hedge funds, institutional clients were all net sellers; hedge funds have the longest selling streak at four consecutive weeks. Even private clients, aka rich retail investors, who have been the most aggressive buyers in the past few months, finally joine ...

Putting It All Together...

Via Chris Hamilton of Econimica blog,

Some simple themes today...

Population growth, economic growth, and resultant energy consumption are inexorably slowing. The Federal Reserve knows it can not stop this and is simply slowing the inevitable with interest rate cuts to incent greater consumption via skyrocketing credit/debt (particularly government debt....debt that is undertaken with no intent of ever repaying it and is really just pure monetization).

The chart below highlights that employment among 25-54yr/olds (the foundation of US consumption) ceased growing in '00. Once employment among this group ceased growing, total US energy consumption also ceased growing, and accelerating debt was substituted to maintain growth thanks to nearly 40yrs of interest rate cuts.

YouTube Users Now Watch 1 Billion Hours Per Day, Set To Surpass US TV Viewership

In a dramatic confirmation of the relentless growth of online video, at the expense of the agonizing, slow death of conventional TV, YouTube said that its worldwide viewers are now watching more than 1 billion hours of videos a day, on pace to eclipse total US TV viewership over the next few years, a milestone facilitated by the Google aggressive embrace of artificial intelligence to recommend videos. By comparison, Americans watch 1.25 billion hours of live and recorded TV per day according to Nielsen, a figure that has been steadily dropping in recent years. Facebook and Netflix said in January 2016 that users watch 100 million hours and 116 million hours, respectively, of video daily on their platforms.

According to the WSJ, YouTube surpassed the "psychological" figure, which was far higher than previously reported, late last year. Indicatively, in 2012 when Google started building algorithms that tap user data to give each user personalized video lineups designed to keep them watching longer, users spent 100 million hours on its platform, a ten-fold increase in under five years, growing at a pace of roughly 200 million hours per year. Of course, what makes YouTube so unique, is that a vast majority of the content is crowdsourced: feeding the AI recommendations is an unmatched collection of content: 400 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube each minute, or 65 years of video a day.

What is surprising is that despite YouTube's massive size, it remains unclear if it profitable. Google's parent Alphabet doesn't disclose YouTube's performance, but people familiar with its financials said it took in about $4 billion in revenue in 2014 and roughly broke even. Like most of its social network competitors, YouTube makes most of its money on running ad ...

For Snap, the Truth Will Be in Advertising

Snap calls itself a camera company, but everything beyond the first line of its IPO filing suggests it is an advertising company. And estimating how much ad revenue it can generate is key to determining its value.

The Stock Market's Crowded House

Investors are piling into stocks that do best when growth picks up and inflation runs hotter. What if they are wrong?

J.P. Morgan Hits an Inflection Point

J.P. Morgan Chase was cautious in some respects during an investor update Tuesday, but it strongly hinted at higher capital payouts.

Why 'Rich Dad' author Robert Kiyosaki still thinks the market is about to crash

He predicted an epic market crash last year. It didn't happen. What now?

Target suffers record stock price plunge

Target shares are suffering the biggest-ever one-day price drop since the retailer went public in 1972 in the wake of disappointing results and an investment plan to deal with the "new era" of retail.

Bond Report: Treasury yields notch first monthly drop since July

Treasury yields on Tuesday notched their first monthly decline since July as investors bet that the sweeping economic policies that President Donald Trump campaigned on would likely have only a limited impact in 2017.

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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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