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28Mar2017 Market Close: US Stocks Posted Gains, DOW Closed Up 150 Points, Crude And US Dollar Steady

Written by Gary

Wall Street posted sharp gains today, with bank and energy stocks surging, as data showed U.S. consumer confidence soaring to a more than 16-year high, indicating the economy was regaining momentum after faltering at the start of the year.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street jumps, fueled by strong consumer data

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks posted sharp gains on Tuesday, with bank and energy stocks surging, as data showed U.S. consumer confidence soaring to a more than 16-year high.

Tesla deal boosts Chinese presence in U.S. auto tech

DETROIT (Reuters) - China's Tencent Holdings Ltd has bought a 5 percent stake in U.S. electric car maker Tesla Inc for $1.78 billion, the latest investment by a Chinese internet company in the potentially lucrative market for self-driving vehicles and related services.

GM rebuffs two-class share plan from Einhorn's Greenlight Capital

(Reuters) - General Motors Co on Tuesday rejected a proposal by billionaire investor David Einhorn to split its common stock into two classes to help boost its share price.

Trump applauds Ford's previous planned investment in Michigan plants

DETROIT/WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co on Tuesday said it would invest $1.2 billion in three Michigan facilities and create 130 jobs in projects largely in line with a previous agreement with the United Auto Workers union, hours after U.S. President Donald Trump touted a "major investment" by the automaker on Twitter.

Uber diversity report shows shortage of women, minorities

(Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc released its first diversity report on Tuesday, showing that women and non-white employees are underrepresented at the ride-services company - just as they are at many other technology firms.

Consumer confidence hits 16-year high in boost to economy

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. consumer confidence surged to a more than 16-year high in March amid growing labor market optimism while the goods trade deficit narrowed sharply in February, indicating the economy was regaining momentum after faltering at the start of the year.

ZTE removed from U.S. trade blacklist

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Commerce Department will remove Chinese telecom equipment maker ZTE Corp from a trade blacklist after the company admitted to violating sanctions on Iran, the Commerce Department said in a notice made public on Tuesday,

Trump to offer federal coal to industry awash in reserves

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has billed his move to re-open federal lands to new coal leases as a win for miners seeking to expand production. But a review of company filings shows that coal miners with the most to gain already have enough leases in hand to last well over a decade.

U.S. House committee approves bill to increase scrutiny of Fed

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A Republican-controlled committee of lawmakers approved a bill on Tuesday to allow a congressional audit of Federal Reserve monetary policy, a proposal Fed policymakers have opposed and which faces an uncertain path to final approval.

House Committee Passes Bill To "Audit The Fed"

The Republican-controlled Committee on Oversight and Government Reform approved a bill earlier today to allow for a congressional audit of the Federal Reserve's monetary policy, a proposal Fed policymakers have opposed and likely faces a difficult path to final approval in the Senate. Under the bill, the Fed's monetary policy deliberations could be subject
to outside review by the Government Accountability Office.

While similar bills have garnered some support from Democrats in the past, they uniformly spoke against the current proposal during a meeting of the House of Representatives suggesting the current iteration would face stronger resistance from an increasingly polarized environment in Washington D.C..

The House previously passed similar versions of this legislation twice before in 2012 and 2014, with dozens of Democrats joining nearly unanimous Republican support. That said, those bills both died in the Senate and likely would have faced a Presidential veto from Obama had they survived anyway.

That said, Trump expressed interest in passing such legislation multiple times during the 2016 campaign cycle which means the 3rd time might just be the charm for Republicans.

It is so important to audit The Federal Reserve, and yet Ted Cruz missed the vote on the bill that would allow this to be done.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 22, 2016

President-elect @realDonaldTrump has stated his support for #AuditTheFed. Let's send him the bill this Congress. https://t.co/1twVBMv37u

4 Factors Driving Oil Prices This Summer

Authored by Osama Rizvia via OilPrice.com,

Uncertainty is dominating today's oil markets, with production cuts, ballooning inventories and a rising rig count all adding to oil price volatility. And as the summer driving season approaches and oil companies return to their projects here are four key factors to watch closely.

Inventory, Rig counts - An significant inventory build on the 7th of March sent oil prices tumbling, ending a period of relative stability for oil markets. The build-up of 8.2 million barrels at Cushing, Oklahoma sent prices below the psychological level of $50. The next week saw a draw of 237,000 barrels, providing the investors and market with some much needed breathing space. The most recent inventory report saw a 5-million-barrel build, adding yet more downward pressure to oil prices. The inventory level now rests at 533 million barrels, the highest in history. At the same time, we have seen a rapid increase in the number of active oil rigs in U.S. The total number now stands at 652 after an increase of 21 rigs last week according to Baker Hughes. This is the highest level since September 2015. Given the remarkable adaptability of shale producers to low prices, these trends are likely to continue, adding yet more downward pressure to oil prices.

(Click to enlarge)

The OPEC deal-Extension or no Extension: Questions surrounding the possibility of an extension to the current OPEC deal can ...

Trump Signs Executive Order Rolling Back Obama's Climate Policies: Who Benefits The Most?

As discussed earlier, on Tuesday afternoon Donald Trump signed an executive order undoing most of Obama-era climate change regulations that his administration says is hobbling oil drillers and coal miners, a move environmental groups have vowed to take to court. The decree's main target is former President Barack Obama's Clean Power Plan that required states to slash carbon emissions from power plants - a critical element in helping the United States meet its commitments to a global climate change accord reached by nearly 200 countries in Paris in 2015.

The so-called "Energy Independence" order also reverses a ban on coal leasing on federal lands, undoes rules to curb methane emissions from oil and gas production, and reduces the weight of climate change and carbon emissions in policy and infrastructure permitting decisions.

Trump signed the order in a ceremony at the headquarters of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the agency responsible for many of the major policies being targeted. He was flanked by coal miners — whom EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt joked "might never have been to the EPA before" — as well as cabinet officials and Vice President Mike Pence, who celebrated the executive order as a repudiation of the Obama administration's climate agenda.

"My administration is putting an end to the war on coal," Trump said, using a term coined by the industry and its supporters to describe government regulations. "I am taking an historic step to lift the restrictions on American energy, to reverse government intrusion and to cancel job-killing regulations."

Trump is pitching the order primarily as a move to increase the nation's energy independence, with the a ...

The Last Time Americans Felt This Good About Stocks, The Dot Com Bubble Burst 2 Months Later

Earlier today we noted that overall US Consumer Confidence, at least according to the Conference Board, smashed expectations and rose to the highest level since 2000.

The recent euphoria about the US economy is likely a continuation of the record partisan split, in which republicans love the current state of the economy, while democrats are convinced the US is facing an imminent collapse. Recall what UMich said just a few days earlier, when it took reported a near record confidence print:

The Current Economic Conditions component reached its highest level since 2000, largely due to improved personal finances. While current economic conditions were not affected by partisanship, this was not true for the component about future economic prospects: among Democrats, the Expectations Index at 55.3 signaled that a deep recession was imminent, while among Republicans the Index at 122.4 indicated a new era of robust economic growth was ahead.

But while overall economic confidence can be attributed to a variety of factors, things are far clearer when it comes to how Americans feel about the stock market, because as also disclosed by the Conference Board, Americans haven't been this optimistic about US stocks since the start of 2000.

According to today's report, more than 47% of respondents said ...

Snap Investors Don't Like Facebook's Latest Move

Facebook's ability to encroach on Snap's turf raises questions about the depth of Snap's competitive moat.

Tencent Makes It Harder to Bet Against Tesla

Tencent's purchase of a 5% stake in Tesla makes skeptics' case against the electric-car pioneer tougher.

Time to Redo the Math on Tax Reform Prospects

Any investors who think the failure of health-care reform was somehow a positive because it cleared the way for tax reform may be about to be rapidly disabused of that notion.

The Tell: Stock-picking fund managers double down on economic growth

Active fund managers are doubling-down on bets that the business cycle will continue in an upswing as the preference for cyclical stocks over defensive ones reaches their highest disparity in nearly 10 years.

Currencies: Dollar turns higher as consumer-confidence reading boosts stocks

The dollar strengthened against its main rivals on Tuesday after consumer confidence in March soared to its highest level in more than 16 years, sending Treasury yields and stocks higher.

The Margin: Qualifications: Fluent in English, excellent writing skills, ability to wallow in luxury

If you're OK with getting paid $10,000 a month to travel the world and stay at "some of the most desired resorts and homes across the globe," then there just might be an opening that suits your quirky tastes.

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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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