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17Mar2017 Market Close: DOW Closed Down 20 Points, Volume Low, Investors Concerned With The Lack Of A Trump Financial Plan And The Fed's Maybe We Will And Maybe We Won't Stance

Written by Gary

US stocks were little changed today as bank shares fell on lingering effects of the Fed's less aggressive stance on future rate hikes, while a jump in Adobe lifted the technology sector. US markets closed mostly down (SPY -0.2%).

Todays S&P 500 Chart

Stocks close narrowly mixed; Dow clings to weekly gains

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street flat as tech gains offset weakness in banks

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks were little changed on Friday as bank shares fell on lingering effects of the Federal Reserve's less aggressive stance on future rate hikes, while a jump in Adobe lifted the technology sector.

Missing from Trump's grand Navy plan: skilled workers to build the fleet

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump says he wants to build dozens of new warships in one of the biggest peace-time expansions of the U.S. Navy. But interviews with ship-builders, unions and a review of public and internal documents show major obstacles to that plan.

Wall Street bonuses may show first uptick since 2009, firm says

(Reuters) - Wall Street bonuses may climb as much as 15 percent this year in their first meaningful uptick since 2009, compensation firm Johnson Associates Inc said on Friday.

Goldman Sachs CEO Blankfein sees slight pay cut in 2016

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc Chief Executive Lloyd Blankfein saw his overall compensation fall slightly, reflecting lower revenues at the bank in the first half of 2016.

House Democrat seeks interviews with Wells Fargo executives

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The top Democrat on a key House of Representatives committee has demanded a chance to interview executives of Wells Fargo & Co , which has been embroiled in a scandal over fake accounts, because she said Republicans already had that opportunity in December.

Investment banks ditch the diet and look to expand: study

LONDON (Reuters) - After several years of restructuring and regulatory pressure, investment banks have reached a turning point after Donald Trump became American president and can look to grow again, according to a study published on Friday.

Wal-Mart asks Brazil suppliers to clarify alleged bribes to officials

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc has asked suppliers in Brazil to clarify alleged cases of meatpackers bribing health officials to subvert inspections, the retailer said on Friday.

Porsche invests in tech services to offset possible sales decline

STUTTGART, Germany (Reuters) - Porsche will invest hundreds of millions of euros in digital services to generate the revenue needed to offset an expected decline in car sales in the coming years, its finance chief said on Friday.

Bombardier executive says canceling rail deal would cause 'irreparable harm'

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Bombardier Inc would suffer "irreparable harm" to its global reputation if it loses a light train contract from a Toronto transportation agency, a senior company official said in recent court filings.

Why Is Goldman On A Buying Spree For Delinquent Mortgages

Last year Goldman Sachs entered into a settlement with federal and state governments over its role in packaging and selling toxic mortgage-backed securities in the housing meltdown to unsuspecting buyers while subsequently turning around and shorting those very same securities. As part of the settlement, Goldman agreed to provide $1.8 billion in homeowner debt relief to delinquent U.S. borrowers.

The only problem with the settlement is that Goldman doesn't actually own any mortgage debt, they prefer to package it up into pretty little bundles, slap a AAA rating on it and sell it to pension funds for a fee instead.

Of course, that's not a problem for Wall Street's vampire squid because they've found a whole other way to satisfy the entire $1.8 billion settlement without funding a single penny of that obligation in cash, in fact, they're making money on the scheme.

So, how does it work? Well, the first step is to buy up billions of dollars worth of non-performing loans (NPLs) at massive discounts of up to 50 cents on the dollar. Then, you negotiate mortgage modifications with borrowers that reduces their principle balance, of course by less than Goldman's initial discount on the original purchase, and allows them to start making payments again. That principle foregiveness then gets counted towards Goldman's $1.8 billion mortgage relief obligation even though it actually cost them absolutely nothing because they acquired the debt at an even larger discount. Finally, and this is the real beauty of the scheme, when the loans are performing again they can be packaged up and resold as AAA paper once again...

Here's a quick example of how it might work on an individual mortgage:

Lets assume a b ...

A Bad Week (And Getting Badder Bigly Fast)

Authored by Howard Kunstler via,

Well, of course they bugged Trump Tower. Why wouldn't they? Trump's big blunder du jour is that he tweeted "wiretapped," like some hapless sap out of a 1950s I Was a Spy for the FBI movie. (I know people who still say "ice box," too.) So he left himself - or rather poor Sean Spicer - open for a week of legalistic pettifogging by reporters acting as litigators for the Deep State's intel corps.

Anyway, Wikileaks "Vault 7" document release earlier in the month made it clear that US intel has the ability to cover and confuse the tracks of any entity —including especially US intel itself — that ventures to penetrate any supposedly private or secure realm. And, by the way, that probably settles the matter of who "they" are. Whatever statutory restraints once existed against CIA spying on American citizens is long gone by the boards.

You might suppose, too, that the combined forces of Hillary and Obama, along with the still-entrenched Democratic establishment, would have tried through late 2016 to stop The Menace of Trump at all costs. Somebody had done them dirty in funneling the DNC and Podesta emails to Wikileaks, and it was imperative to fight back — especially with FBI director James Comey (a Republican, after all), going all rogue on Mrs. Clinton. Hence, the manufactured Russia-did-it story that has gotten more mileage than any political hallucination since Senator Joe McCarthy, at his height of influence, played the newspapers like a whole orchestra of flugelhorns.

It's hard to see how Trump might ever establish the truth of this matter. One of the strange features of these inte ...

California Chief Justice Demands ICE Stop "Stalking Courthouses And Arresting Undocumented Immigrants"

California's Chief Supreme Court Justice, Tani G. Cantil-Sakauye, is apparently annoyed that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) officials are "stalking courthouses" in California to arrest illegal immigrants. Of course, only a California judge would ignore the inherent irony of this situation as ICE officials are only forced to "stalk courthouses" because Tani's court refuses to enforce federal laws.

Here are some excerpts from the letter addressed to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and DHS Secretary Mike Kelly:

As Chief Justice of California responsible for the safe and fair delivery of justice in our state, I am deeply concerned about reports from some of our trial courts that immigration agents appear to be stalking undocumented immigrants in our courthouses to make arrests.

Our courthouses serve as a vital forum for ensuring access to justice and protecting public safety. Courthouses should not be used as bait in the necessary enforcement of our country's immigration laws.

But enforcement policies that include stalking courthouses and arresting undocumented immigrants, the vast majority of whom pose no risk to public safety, are neither safe nor fair. They not only compromise our core value of fairness but they undermine the judiciary's ability to provide equal access to justice. I respectfully request that you refrain from this sort of enforcement in California's courthouses.

Trump Responds To Obama Wiretap Question: "At Least Merkel And I Have Something In Common"

Following today's latest developments over Trump's allegations that the UK's GCHQ may or may not have helped Obama to wiretap the Trump Tower, an allegation which the infuriated British Spy Agency called "utterly ridiculous" and prompted it to demand an apology from the White House, a German reporter asked Trump for his current opinion on whether Obama had indeed wiretapped Trump. The president's response: he gestured to Angela Merkel and said "on wiretapping by this past administration, at least we have something in common."

Trump doubles down on unsubstantiated wiretapping claims, says he & Merkel 'have something in common, perhaps'

— CNBC Now (@CNBCnow) March 17, 2017

Merkel's reaction was similarly amusing: almost as if she had heard for the first time that in 2010, and for years onward, Barack Obama had been wiretapping her and countless other heads of state.

For those unsure what the exchange was about, we sugge ...

Amgen's Money-Back Guarantee

Amgen has to win over insurers after results of tests on the biotech giant's expensive heart drug Repatha disappoint.

Tech IPOs: The Price of a Good Kick

Snap, MuleSoft debuts signal a thaw for tech listings, but high pre-IPO valuations will remain an issue longer term.

Toshiba Needs to Contain Its Nuclear Problems

The Japanese conglomerate's options for its troubled Westinghouse subsidiary are unappealing.

10 March 2017: ECRI's WLI Growth Index Shows Continued Moderate Slowing Of Rate of Growth

ECRI's WLI Growth Index which forecasts economic growth six months forward remains in positive territory for the 51st week - after spending the previous 35 consecutive weeks in negative territory. This is compared to RecessionAlerts similar weekly leading index. ECRI also released their coincident index.

February 2017 Leading Economic Index at Highest Level in Over a Decade

Written by Steven Hansen

The Conference Board Leading Economic Index (LEI) for the U.S again improved this month - and the authors state "widespread gains across a majority of the leading indicators points to an improving economic outlook for 2017, although GDP growth is likely to remain moderate".

Top Ten: Weekend roundup: Avoid bottled water | Recession warning | Investments for income

Here are MarketWatch articles to read this weekend

Personal Finance Daily: A $3,600 bag for men and life lessons you wish you'd learned in college

Friday's top personal finance stories

Deep Dive: The technology sector, this year's hottest, still has plenty of cheap stocks

These 35 companies are boosting sales and profit margins, while their shares are trading below average valuations.

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