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29Mar2017 Market Close: DOW Closes Down 42 Points, SP 500 Up At Close, Nasdaq Clearly The Winner Closing Up 0.4 Percent, Wall Street Investors Happy

Written by Gary

Wall Street's benchmark, the S&P 500, edged up fractionally today (SPX +0.1%) as the stronger energy sector and soaring shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals offset declines in financial shares and investors began looking ahead to first-quarter earnings season.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

S&P edges up as energy gains, Vertex soars

(Reuters) - The benchmark S&P 500 edged up on Wednesday as the stronger energy sector and soaring shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals offset declines in financial shares and investors began looking ahead to first-quarter earnings season.

Samsung launches Galaxy S8 and dreams of recovery from Note 7

SEOUL/NEW YORK - (Reuters) - Samsung Electronics Co Ltd unveiled its Galaxy S8 flagship smartphone as it battles to regain the market leadership it lost to Apple Inc after the embarrassing withdrawal of the fire-prone Note 7s.

Banks to London staff: no panic as Britain launches EU divorce process

LONDON (Reuters) - Banks in Britain have tried to reassure their London staff over possible Brexit disruption, including a shift in jobs to continental Europe, as Prime Minister Theresa May triggered formal EU divorce proceedings on Wednesday.

U.S. pending home sales surge to ten-month high ahead of spring

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Contracts to buy previously owned U.S. homes jumped to a 10-month high in February, pointing to robust demand for housing ahead of the busy spring selling season.

Huge nuclear cost overruns push Toshiba's Westinghouse into bankruptcy

WILMINGTON, DEL./TOKYO (Reuters) - Westinghouse Electric Co, a unit of Japanese conglomerate Toshiba Corp , filed for bankruptcy on Wednesday, hit by billions of dollars of cost overruns at four nuclear reactors under construction in the U.S. Southeast.

BlackBerry, freed of handsets, looks to software for return to glory

TORONTO (Reuters) - Although BlackBerry Ltd has extricated itself from the smartphone handsets that weighed on its recent fortunes, the Canadian firm faces a tough slog to convince skeptics it can return to its glory days through an enlarged software business.

OPEC compliance with oil curbs rises in March as UAE joins cut: survey

LONDON/DUBAI (Reuters) - OPEC oil output is likely to fall for a third straight month in March, a Reuters survey found on Wednesday, as the United Arab Emirates made progress in trimming supplies while maintenance and unrest cut production in exempt nations Nigeria and Libya.

Ford says it will spend $295 million on two new recalls

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co , the second largest U.S. automaker, on Wednesday announced two new recalls affecting 440,000 vehicles and expects to spend about $295 million to fix the issues.

Other Akzo shareholders also want talks with PPG: Elliott Advisors

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Elliott Advisors, the activist investor with a 3.25 percent stake in Akzo Nobel , said on Wednesday other shareholders owning almost a quarter of the Dutch paints and chemicals group want it to enter into talks with spurned U.S. suitor PPG Industries .

Republicans To Try Another Obamacare Vote Next Week

In an otherwise quiet day on the political front, moments ago Bloomberg dropped the surprising news of the day with a report that House Republicans are considering another try next week at passing the health-care bill they abruptly pulled last Friday in an embarrassing setback to their efforts to repeal Obamacare.

Speaking to Bloomberg, two Republicans said that leaders are discussing holding a vote, even staying into the weekend if necessary, although it was unclear what changes would be made to the GOP's health bill. The ray of hope for Trump and Ryan is that members of the Freedom Caucus, which was instrumental in derailing the bill, have been talking with some Republican moderate holdouts in an effort to identify changes that could bring them on board with the measure.

A renewed attempt to pass Obamacare repeal would come after President Trump and Republican leaders in Congress said they would move on to issues like a tax overhaul in the wake of last week's drama, when the long-awaited bill was pulled 30 minutes ahead of a scheduled floor vote. Asked if the GOP health bill will come up again, House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy said, "Yes. As soon as we figure it out and get the votes."

Quoted by Bloomberg, Kevin McCarthy said nothing is currently scheduled and didn't indicate how leadership would resolve divisions between the Freedom Caucus and moderates in the so-called Tuesday Group. "Lot of people are talking," he said. "Lot of people are working."

Meanwhile, Paul Ryan is encouraging members to continue talking to each other about health care to "get to a place of yes" on a plan to repeal and replace Obamacare, according to his spokeswoman AshLee Strong. She didn't have any updates on the timing on a future vote. House Freedom Caucus Chairman ...

Two Fed Presidents Warn Markets Getting "Frothy", Valuations "May Come Down"

In what was the clearest sign to date that the Fed is targeting the stock market bubble with its rate hikes (recall two weeks ago Goldman caused a stir when it suggested that the Fed had made a policy error by being overly dovish with its rate hike, which instead of tightening financial conditions, had the effect of a 25bps rate cut), today not one but two Fed presidents warned that the market is getting "a little rich", that "valuations may be a little frothy", and that the record "wealth to income ratio is a reason to keep raising rates."

First, it was Boston Fed president Eric Rosengren who during an interview with Bloomberg, said some asset markets are "a little rich", with an emphasis on commercial real-estate valuations, which he said are "pretty ebullient." And while the Boston Fed president repeated what Neel Kashkari told Zero Hedge last week, when he said that "stock market values aren't a driving force for monetary policy", he made it quite clear that one of the reasons why the Fed is pushing with as many as 4 rate hikes in 2017 is precisely to push stocks lower, saying that "rich asset prices are another reason for the central bank to tighten faster."

Achieving the gradual deflating of asset prices would likely require more rate hikes than the market is currently pricing in, and Rosengren hinted as much when he said that four hikes in 2017 may be needed to guard against economic overheating,

Then, it was San Fran Fed President John Williams's turn, double down on the caution saying stock market valuations "may be a little frothy in that way, and come down" on fiscal policy disappointmen ...

Something's Broken In The VIX-Stocks Relationship

The S&P 500 Index and CBOE Volatility Index have historically moved in opposite directions about 80 percent of the time, but that's changed recently...

As Bloomberg reports, both gauges are heading for declines this month, after the two rose in tandem in February.

That's weakened their inverse correlation, sending it to levels not seen since April 2005...

After March/April 2005, the S&P 500 dropped around 8% (breaking down as the correlation reverted to norm)

In May 2012, the S&P 500 dropped 11% after VIX and Stocks' decoupled and correlation surged.

The smaller spikes in VIX-Stock correlation also saw notable equity market drawdowns (Feb/March 07 down 6.6%, Oct 09 down 6.5%, Dec 2012 down 3.5%)

So what will happen this time?

After Brexit, 9 Reasons To Be Bullish On Great Britain

Authored by Daniel Stelter via Think-BeyondTheObvious.com,

Today Mrs. May finally officially announced Brexit and kicked-off the process of divorce from the EU. A disaster for Britain, according to officials in Brussels, Berlin and Paris. Really?

Rarely there is such broad consensus: The British voters made a huge mistake in voting for Brexit. The country will suffer for decades to come and deeply regret the decision while the EU and the Eurozone will continue to generate prosperity and peace for the continent. This view is predominant in the media of continental Europe and it is the key massage of its politicians, who fear nothing more than that other countries might follow the British example. Therefore the costs for Brexit have to be high and punishing.

Whenever there is broad consensus it is worthwhile to challenge it. Could it be, that the British end up much better off, than we think? Here are ten reasons why:

1. No recession: According to experts from IMF to Bank of England Great Britain should already be in a deep recession. In case of a Brexit vote they projected a crash in the real estate market, a drop in consumer spending and a collaps of economic activity. In reality the economy grew faster then before. If the experts cannot predict the short term consequences correctly, how should they be right in the medium- to long-term?

2. Good shock: The steep fall in the pound contributed to this positive outcome. This has the welcome effect of supporting exports and hindering imports, therefore kicking-off a rebalancing of the British economy, which ...

Smartphones: The High Price of a Screen Grab

Upsizing screens has worked for Samsung and Apple before, but the cost of staying competitive keeps going up.

RH's Hard-to-Believe Restoration

Shares of the home-furnishings company formerly named Restoration Hardware surged after its earnings report, but evidence of a turnaround is still in short supply.

Investors Don't Have Too Much of a Good Thing

There are plenty of warning signs in today's market, but earnings growth isn't one of them.

Trump Today: Trump Today: President taps Christie to lead commission to fight opioid abuse

President Donald Trump again criticized media coverage of his administration, named ex-rival Chris Christie to a commission on combatting opioid abuse and sat in on a women's empowerment panel meeting.

The Ratings Game: Vertex Pharma shares soar 21% as company ups its cystic fibrosis offerings

Wall Street analysts were unusually impressed by the Tuesday results from a trial of a cystic fibrosis treatment.

The Moneyologist: The Moneyologist: One of our kids wants $75,000 in loans paid off — my wife says no

This husband and wife are at odds over helping their son get out of debt.

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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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