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03Mar2017 Market Update: Wall Street Marches Sideways, Investors May Be At A Tipping Point, Crude Prices Show Some Strength And The US Dollar Weakens

Written by Gary

US stocks were little changed today (SPY +0.01) after Fed Janet Yellen said an interest rate hike would be appropriate this month if economic data holds up. Investors now mulling over an overbought market and conflicting data points.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

North and South American markets are mixed today. The Bovespa is up 0.90% while the IPC gains 0.33%. The S&P 500 is off 0.06%.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Fed's Yellen: March rate hike 'appropriate' if data holds up

CHICAGO (Reuters) - The Federal Reserve is set to raise its benchmark interest rate later this month as long as economic data on jobs and inflation holds up, Fed Chair Janet Yellen said on Friday, in comments that likely cement a rate hike at its next meeting.

NBCUniversal invests $500 million in Snap's IPO

(Reuters) - Comcast Corp's NBCUniversal has invested $500 million in Snapchat owner Snap Inc , according to a memo on Friday, its latest move aimed at driving digital growth as more viewers go online for their favorite content.

Winton CEO defends firm from Buffett criticism of fees, returns

LONDON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - David Harding, founder of one of the world's biggest hedge funds, on Friday defended his firm against Warren Buffett's criticism of hedge fund fees last week.

PSA strikes deal to buy Opel from GM, wins board approval: sources

PARIS/LONDON (Reuters) - France's PSA Group struck a deal with General Motors to buy the U.S. carmaker's loss-making Opel division, two sources with knowledge of the matter said.

Wall Street flat after Yellen signals rate hike this month

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday after Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen said an interest rate hike would be appropriate this month if economic data holds up.

Caterpillar shares rise as import practices scrutinized

(Reuters) - Caterpillar Inc's shares gained on Friday, the day after U.S. law enforcement officials raided three of the company's Illinois facilities, as the Trump administration promised stricter scrutiny of multinationals' import and export practices.

UK government likely to refer Fox's Sky deal to regulator

LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch's planned takeover of European pay-TV group Sky is likely to be investigated to see whether it is in the public interest, the British government warned on Friday.

U.S. finds China steel plate imports injure U.S. industry

WASHINGTON, March 3 (Reuters) - The U.S. International Trade Commission said on Friday it had made a final finding that the U.S. industry was being harmed by the dumping and subsidization of imports of carbon and alloy steel cut-to-length plate from China.

Exclusive: Neiman Marcus hires debt restructuring adviser - sources

(Reuters) - U.S. high-end department store chain Neiman Marcus has hired investment bank Lazard Ltd to explore ways to bolster its balance sheet as it seeks relief from a $4.9 billion debt pile, people familiar with the matter said on Friday.

"The System Is Rigged" Axel Merk Debunks The Market's Fake Risk & Fake Return

Via Axel Merk of,

With seemingly everyone from the blogosphere to the Tweeter-in-chief chiming in on fake news, have investors considered their risk/return profile may also be "fake"? When it comes to investing, who or what can we trust, is the market rigged, and why does it matter?

For eight years in a row now, an investment in the S&P 500 has yielded positive returns. In recent years, expressions like "investors buy the dips" and "low volatility" have become associated with this rally.

In the "old days", investors used to construct portfolios that, at least in theory, provided a risk/return profile that they were comfortable with. For better or worse, I allege those "old days" are over. To be prepared for what's ahead, let's debunk some myths.

The system is rigged
For those that say the system is rigged, I concur. In my assessment, central banks are largely responsible for a compression of "risk premia." All else equal, quantitative easing and its variants around the globe have made assets from equities to bonds appear less risky than they are. This is at the very core of central banks efforts to entice investors to take risks, as risk taking is key to making an economy grow. In practice, central banks have foremost pushed up financial assets, but have largely disappointed in ...

Silver Once Again Gets Tossed in the Meat Grinder, Billions of Dollars Wiped Out

Interested in precious metals investing or storage? Contact us HERE

Production, Rig Count Surge As Exxon Bets Big On U.S. Shale

US oil rig counts rose for the7th straight week (up 7 to 609) to the highest level since October 2015.

With production surging back above 9mm b/d - the highest in a year - the trend in the rig count implies considerably more production to come...

And it's all in the Permian...

And with rig counts rising (in the Permian), production shows no signs of slowing, as's Nick Cunningham notes, ExxonMobil's new CEO Darren Woods announced a dramatic shift towards shale drilling this week, a new strategy that will prioritize drilling thousands of smaller wells while reducing spending on the massive projects that the oil major has long been accustomed to pursuing.

Mr. Woods gave a presentation to investors on March 1, selling his vision after recently taking over from Rex Tillerson, who left to become U.S. Secretary of State. Exxon will now ramp up spending on shale drilling, after watching dozens of smaller companies profit from the surge in production in Texas, North Dakota and elsewhere over the past decade.

Exxon will dedicate a quarter of its 2017 spending budget on shale, put ...

Yellen: March Hike Appropriate If Economy Evolves As Expected - Live Feed

Yellen live feed, courtesy of the WSJ:

Yellen did not rock the hawkish boat as some were worried, and instead signaled the central bank is likely to raise short-term interest rates at its March meeting, and suggested more increases are likely this year if the economy performs as expected. She also indicated the Fed expects to raise rates again this year, saying it likely will move more than it did over the past two years, when it raised rates once in 2015 and 2016 each.

The key passage in her speech: "it will be appropriate to gradually increase the federal funds rate if the economic data continue to come in about as we expect... Indeed, at our meeting later this month, the [Federal Open Market] Committee will evaluate whether employment and inflation are continuing to evolve in line with our expectations, in which case a further adjustment of the federal funds rate would likely be appropriate."

In other words, next week's payrolls report is suddenly very, very important, although even that may not be too critical since "the economy has essentially met the employment portion of our mandate and inflation is moving closer to our 2% objective," Yellen said.

Here is the key segment from Yellen's speech (link):

Our individual projections for the appropriate path for the federal funds rate reflect economic forecasts that generally envision that economic activity will expand at a moderate pace ...

Macau Casinos Face Impending Shuffling of Decks

Casino operators in the world's biggest gambling hub will have to renew their concessions in the next few years.

Big Losers From Investment Banking's Shrinking Pie

The banks still reshaping their books and strategies are falling behind.

Will the Switch Turn on Nvidia?

The chip maker's gaming business has surged, but could be too leveraged to Nintendo's risky new console.

Key Words: Russian Embassy buys its vodka like a suburban dad — at Costco

Politico reports that a recent event at the Washington fortress poured vodka from the warehouse club.

The Fed: Yellen says a March interest-rate hike is 'likely appropriate'

Fed Chairwoman Janet Yellen signaled Friday that the U.S. central bank will raise rates at its policy meeting on March 14-15.

Europe Markets: European stocks end lower as investors step cautiously ahead of Yellen

European stocks close in the red on Friday, with caution setting in as investors were reluctant to make big bets ahead of comments from prominent officials from the U.S. central bank, which could influence monetary policy.

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