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03Apr2017 Market Close: DOW Closed Down, But Significantly Off Session Lows, Analysts Say Fundamentals Are Strong, Hard To Take Out Markets Says Art Hogan

Written by Gary

Wall Street fell today, but major indexes closed well off their lows (SPY -0.2%), while investors digested key economic and auto sales data. The DOW closed about 13 points lower, with DuPont and Goldman Sachs contributing the most losses.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

Stocks close well off session lows, but still fall, after economic and auto sales data

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street slips as investors struggle with policy uncertainty

(Reuters) - Wall Street fell on Monday as investor worries intensified about the Trump administration's struggles to deliver on its pro-business policies a few weeks before the first-quarter earnings season.

Elon Musk mocks short sellers after Tesla stock surge

(Reuters) - As Tesla Inc's strong quarterly vehicle deliveries sent its stock to a record high on Monday, Chief Executive Elon Musk took a swipe at traders betting the luxury electric car company is on a road to ruin.

U.S. factory activity cools slightly; trend remains bullish

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A measure of U.S. manufacturing activity retreated from a 2-1/2-year high in March amid a decline in production and an inventory drawdown, but a surge in factory jobs indicated that the sector's energy-led recovery was gaining momentum.

Government orders Wells Fargo to reinstate whistleblower

(Reuters) - The federal government has ordered Wells Fargo to reinstate a former bank manager who lost his job after reporting suspected fraudulent behavior at the bank.

Akzo Nobel CEO says PPG proposal is insufficient

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Akzo Nobel CEO Ton Buechner repeated on Monday his opposition to a March 20 takeover proposal from U.S. rival PPG Industries , saying he sees no merit in negotiating with PPG.

Architect of modern VW cuts ties with share sale

BERLIN (Reuters) - Former Volkswagen Chairman Ferdinand Piech has agreed to sell a major part of his stake in the firm that controls Europe's biggest carmaker, reducing his links with Volkswagen after more than two decades of undisputed rule.

FCC limits order on Charter extending broadband service

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Federal Communications Commission is reversing a requirement imposed under the Obama administration that Charter Communications Inc extend broadband service to 1 million households already served by a competitor, under an order to be made public on Monday.

AIG taps into consumer fears with new cybersecurity product

NEW YORK(Reuters) - American International Group Inc is joining insurers offering products that offer consumers safeguards against hackers and cyber criminals who might steal personal data.

Panera Bread exploring sale: Bloomberg

(Reuters) - Panera Bread Co is considering strategic options, including a sale, after receiving takeover interest, Bloomberg reported on Monday.

Beginning Of The End? Auto OEMs Miss March Sales 'Bigly' As Stocks Tumble

Despite continued heavy incentive spending, every auto OEM, with the exception of Nissan, missed their sales forecasts for the month of March. The "D3" were the biggest losers of the month with GM sales up 1.6% YoY vs. estimates of +7.0% while Ford sales dropped -7.2% and Fiat Chrysler declined -5.0%. Car sales were even worse with industry volumes down 10.6% overall versus light truck sales that were up 5.2% according to Autodata.

As Bloomberg points out, the massive sales misses come even though there "were a lot of incentives during the month" which will almost certainly result in further production cuts.

The results cast doubt on expectations that industrywide U.S. auto sales would bounce back following declines in the first two months of the year. Carmakers are using heavy discounts to try to trim inventory that's swelled to the highest level in more than a decade. GM has dialed back output of cars such as the Chevrolet Cruze, while Fiat Chrysler is eliminating models including the Dodge Dart compact.

"Sales are under forecast, and there were a lot of incentives during the month," Michelle Krebs, an analyst with Autotrader.com, said by phone. "Before long, we will see more production cuts."

GM sees the the industry's annualized sales pace, adjusted for seasonal trends, accelerating to 17 million for the month, trailing analysts' estimates for a rate of 17.2 million. The selling pace was 16.7 million a year earlier.

Here's how each of the large OEMs fared during the month:

Insider Selling Hit Six-Year Highs As Retail Investors Rushed Into Stocks

Earlier we showed that when looking at asset returns in the first quarter, there were hardly any underperformers while positive returns were generous across virtuall all asset classes. What drove this outsized performance, which once again left most hedge funds and asset managers seeking to generate alpha in the dust? The answer: a continuation of the capital reallocation euphoria launched with the Trump election in November, which continued for the second consecutive quarter. And while stocks were by far the biggest beneficiaries of the fund flows, with US equity ETFs alone taking in $62 billion in Q1, as TrimTabs' David Santschi points out, the bond inflow was perhaps the most noteworthy, which saw $34 billion in inflows even as Bond ETFs rose just 1.0% last quarter, yet money kept pouring in all quarter.

Here is the summary of how retail investors allocated funds to the market, courtesy of the TrimTabs:

All Stock and Bond Funds Get $162 Billion in Q1 2017, Biggest Quarterly Inflow in Four Years. Insider Selling Hits Six- Year High in February and March. Real Wages and Salaries Keep Rising at Brisk Pace, although TrimTabs Macroeconomic Index Levels Off, and Credit Indicators Not Signaling Big Pickup in Growth

And the Demand (Fund Flows) details

Fund investors went on a buying spree last quarter, snapping up $162 billion worth of stock and bond funds, the most since the inflow of $193 billion in Q1 2013. U.S. equity ETFs alone took in $62 billion in Q1 2017 following the record inflow of $109 billion in Q4 2016.

Our U.S. demand indicators generally improved last week, turning mildly bullish for the short term (one to two weeks) and more firmly bullish for the intermediate term (one to t ...

JPMorgan: "This Market Is Supported By The Trump And Fed Puts: Buy The Dip"

With the S&P having traded as high as 2,400 last month, which is also JPM's year end price target, and having dipped a modest 3% since then peak to trought, some traders were worried if this is finally the start of the inevitable correction that has evaded stocks for so long. Not according to JPM, though. Recall that several weeks ago, JPM's Marko Kolanovic called for an imminent bounce in volatility following the March quad-witching. In retrospect, it appears that this was it, and in a note released overnight, JPM's chief equity stratetgist Dubravko Lakos-Bujas has a new recommendation to clients: "buy the dip" because "the market is likely to remain resilient and supported by the Trump and Fed "puts" as well as the continued improvement in the fundamental backdrop both domestically and abroad. On balance, we continue to maintain a broadly constructive view. If anything, we see a confluence of conditions potentially coming together in the months ahead and setting the stage for the market to reach new highs."

Here are the details from JPM

After S&P 500 touched our price target of 2,400 in March, we argued that the market could face higher volatility and some weakness in the short-term at a time when both fundamental and systematic investor positioning was stretched. While the broader market fell by ~3% from the peak, there has been more pronounced weakness in trades tied to reflation and Trump's agenda (see Figure 1).

Uncertainty around the upcoming French election and lack of clarity on timing of the US tax reform could continue to weigh on the market in the near term. However, we see limited risk of a larger pullback and recommend buying the dip ...

Trump Admin Cracks Down On Visas For Coders

As Nasdaq reaches ever record-er, record highs, it seems the ability to create a "Hello World" app is no longer enough to warrant an H1-B visa according to new guidelines from the Trump administration.

As The Hill reports, the new policy guidance that would make it harder for companies to use the H-1B visa program to bring foreign computer programmers into the U.S. A policy memo from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services changes the way the agency will process visa applications for computer programming positions, making companies jump through extra hoops to fill those jobs with foreign workers...

The memorandum also does not properly explain or distinguish an entry-level position from one that is, for example, more senior, complex, specialized, or unique.

Furthermore, the memorandum also did not accurately portray essential information from the Handbook that recognized that some computer programmers qualify for these jobs with only "2-year degrees." While the memorandum did mention beneficiaries with "2-year" degrees, it incorrectly described them as "strictly involving the entering or review of code for an employer whose business is not computer related.

Based on the current version of the Handbook, the fact ...

Don't Write Off Pharma's Nightmare Scenario

Drug-price rhetoric translating into law is nearly unthinkable for investors, but the risk still shouldn't be ignored.

French's Mustard and Heinz Ketchup: Not the Perfect Mix

French's Foods is up for sale, and Kraft Heinz is on the hunt for acquisitions. But the respective U.S. mustard and ketchup leaders aren't the perfect match they might sound.

Trouble Bubbling Under at Chinese Banks

Good results last year mask some worrying underlying trends for Chinese lenders.

Deep Dive: 19 high-yield dividend stocks that pass a five-point investing screen

These companies have enough cash flow to support even higher dividends, says Phil van Doorn.

Market Extra: Play (stock-picking) ball! Here's your 'all-star lineup' of the best stocks in each sector

Here's the best picks from each S&P 500 sector from Jonathan Krinsky, chief market technician at MKM Partners.

Economic Report: Vehicle sales in March drop to two-year low

Vehicle sales in March fell to the lowest level in more than years, hit by factors including the widening gap between new and used autos as well as rising interest rates and a slowing of the replacement cycle.

Summary of Economic Releases this Week

Real Time Economic Calendar provided by Investing.com.

Earnings Summary for Today

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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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