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10Apr2017 Market Close: Wall Street Closed Mostly Flat, DOW Up 2 Points, Geopolitical Tensions Remain

Written by Gary

U.S. stocks were higher in choppy trading today (SPY +0.06%) as gains in energy shares (WTI 53.08) offset losses in financials ahead of quarterly earnings later this week. Today's session marks the third session of sideways trading as investors are obviously sitting on their collective hands.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street edges higher late; helped by energy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks were higher in choppy trading Monday as gains in energy shares offset losses in financials ahead of quarterly earnings later this week.

'Best banker in America' blamed for Wells Fargo sales scandal

(Reuters) - An investigation by Wells Fargo & Co's board laid blame for the company's unauthorized accounts scandal on a high-pressure sales culture and a retail executive obsessed with stamping out negative views about her division.

Tesla becomes most valuable U.S. car maker, edges out GM

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Tesla Inc on Monday briefly became the most valuable U.S. car maker, reaching a market capitalization of as much as $51.105 billion, higher than General Motors's .

AT&T bets on 5G with Straight Path Communications buy for $1.25 billion

(Reuters) - AT&T Inc said on Monday it would buy Straight Path Communications Inc , a holder of licenses to wireless spectrum, for $1.25 billion in an all-stock deal as it aims to accumulate the airwaves it needs for a next generation network.

3-D printed titanium to shave millions in Boeing Dreamliner costs

SEATTLE (Reuters) - Boeing Co hired Norsk Titanium AS to print the first structural titanium parts for its 787 Dreamliner, the Norwegian 3-D printing company said on Monday, paving the way to cost savings of $2 million to $3 million for each plane.

Facebook's Sandberg says number of monthly advertisers tops 5 million

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Facebook Inc plans to announce on Monday that more than 5 million businesses are advertising on the social network each month and that it is updating its suite of ad services to try to draw more small businesses onto its mobile platform.

SEC targets fake stock news on financial websites

(Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday announced a crackdown on alleged stock promotion schemes in which writers were secretly paid to post hundreds of bullish articles about public companies on financial websites.

Trump to meet U.S. business leaders on infrastructure, tax reform

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump will meet with about 20 chief executives on Tuesday as he works to gain support for a $1 trillion infrastructure program, tax reform and other administration priorities, said White House spokesman Sean Spicer.

Partial owner of Kushner's New York flagship property willing to sell

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Efforts to breathe new life into an ageing Manhattan office building that is the flagship property of the family of President Donald Trump's son-in-law has gained a green light after a partial owner of the building indicated a willingness to sell.

200 Lines Of Code Will Disrupt This Multi-Trillion Dollar Industry

Authored by Simon Black via SovereignMan.com,

To paraphrase that great scene from Airplane, it looks like I picked the wrong week to unplug from the Internet. Aside from a few hours when we docked in Honduras last week, I was on a self-imposed Internet exile and went several days devoid of any communication with the outside world. I missed a major scandal at the Fed, another terror attack in Europe, the start of a US military campaign in Syria, political chaos in South Africa, and more.

But it was totally worth it. I was on a cruise ship for most of the week speaking at a high-end investment conference, and it was as fantastic experience. Most conferences are pathetic money grabs and giant wastes of time, so I turn down just about every request that my office receives to speak at other people's events. But this one was organized by my friends Robert Helms and Russell Gray, two very classy and knowledgeable investors who always put on great events. What I enjoyed the most is that, in addition to speaking and having the opportunity to teach hundreds of people, I also had the opportunity to learn.

Learning is our great gift as a species... one of the things that separates us from animals.

Humanity rose from nothing because of our ability to learn, and our ability to pass on what we learned to the next generation.

As the infinitely quotable historian Will Durant wrote,

"Civilization is not inherited; it has to be learned and earned by each generation anew; if the transmission should be interrupted for one century, civilization would die, and we s ...

North Korea Says "Loud-Mouthed" Trump's "Reckless" Syria Bombings Justify Their Nuclear Program

If a secondary goal of the Trump administration's recent bombing of a Syrian airfield was to send a strong a message to North Korea that their missile launch provocations will not be tolerated, it didn't work.

According to the Associated Press, a North Korean Foreign Ministry official recently spoke on the state-run Korean Central News Agency and described U.S. airstrikes in Syria as "absolutely unpardonable" and said they simply served to prove that its nuclear weapons are justified to protect the country against Washington's "evermore reckless moves for a war."

"Some forces are loud-mouthed that the recent U.S. military attack on Syria is an action of warning us but we are not frightened by it," the report said, adding that the North's "tremendous military muscle with a nuclear force as its pivot" will foil any aggression by the U.S.

"We will bolster up in every way our capability for self-defense to cope with the U.S. evermore reckless moves for a war and defend ourselves with our own force," it said.

For its part, as we noted last week, North Korea test-launched a ballistic missile just ahead of the Trump-Xi meeting and has been rumored to be preparing for a possible nuclear test. This latest provocation prompted the following terse response from Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, suggesting that the Trump administration's next move will involve military force rather than diplomacy.

"North Korea launc ...

Whole Foods Surges After Jana Goes Activist

Who says activist investors are dead, swallowed whole by the relentless passive, ETF wave?

Moments ago Whole Foods, which has seen its stock suffer a painful decline for the past two years, spiked on a WSJ report that Barry Rosenstein's Jana Partners has amassed a 9% stake in WFM and is pushing the organic grocer to speed up its turnaround efforts while also exploring a possible sale.

According to the WSJ, Jana, which is Whole Foods' second-largest shareholder, plans to press the chain "to improve its technology and operations" to better compete with larger rivals, shake up its board and find out how much a potential bidder might be willing to pay, according to people familiar with the matter."

Because, the thinking goes, management never thought of that before.

And while Jana's campaign is simply the result of the stock sliding (leading to unhappy LPs), forcing the activist investor to scramble and boost the flailing share price, the truth is that Whole Foods has struggled to make the transition from high-flying upstart with a loyal following into a large, national chain with the kind of back-office systems tracking customers and inventory that rivals use to keep costs down and sales up.

Whole Foods' stock has risen 4% over the past 12 months, compared with a 15% gain in the S&P 500, and has lost more than half its value since peaking in 2013. Sales have fallen over the past 18 months. Same-store sales fell 2.5% during its fiscal year that ended in September 2016. The company's market value currently stands at around $10 billio ...

Welcome To Wonderland

Authored by Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

There are times in the course of events when a society cannot tell what the fuck is going on, or what to do about it, and this is one of those moments in history here in the USA. The quandaries of life on the home front — how to make a living, how to care for ourselves and loved ones — get shoved aside by misadventures in foreign lands with their own quandaries. One delusion leads to another until you enter a zero gravity of the mind. Case in point du jour: Syria.

The persistent hyperRussomania of the US Dem-Prog alliance and its sob-sisters in the media seeks to make a bad situation worse in Syria and probably for the worst reasons. How many Americans have even the dimmest idea what's going on in Syria, who the cast of characters there represent, and where the USA fits into all of it?

There is the head of government, one Bashar al Assad (son of the previous president, Hafez al Assad). The Assads had run Syria as a mostly secular Arab state until the civil war within Islam, Sunni against Shia, spilled out of Iraq. The Assads belonged to the tiny Alawite sect of the Shia. They comprise only 13 percent of the Syrian population, which has a Sunni majority. Under the Assads, Syria has tilted toward Iran, the Shia home state, and away from the Sunni Arabs elsewhere in the neighborhood. Russia has cultivated Iran and support its "friends," the Assads.

A mash-up of Sunni jihad armies fights the Assad government in Syria's civil war. These are Isis, al Qaeda, and Jabhat al Nusra. The US government had made official noise about supporting the more "moderate rebels" in the Syrian conflict. Who are they exactly? Do you have a clue? Which army among those three rebel groups are "moderates?&rdq ...

Amazon at $1,000, Wall Street's Not-So-Bold Call

Ten analysts now predict Amazon's shares will eclipse the $1,000 mark in the next year, and 13 others have price targets within 5% of that goal.

A Coal Revival but Not Because of Trump

America's coal industry has been ravaged by cheap gas and environmental concerns, but it is stabilizing and that has little to do with President Trump.

BHP Needs to Prove Oil and Iron Are Better Together

BHP shares have lagged behind mining peers like Rio Tinto since the height of the commodities boom in 2011, despite a more diversified product portfolio. Hedge fund Elliott's plan to change that appears somewhat optimistic.

Trump Today: Trump Today: President sees 'a new optimism' as Gorsuch is sworn in

President Donald Trump on Monday was in an upbeat mood after attending the swearing-in of the new associate justice to the U.S. Supreme Court.

What has changed since 'Rich Dad Poor Dad' came out 20 years ago

Have a question for author Robert Kiyosaki? Ask it now

Earnings Outlook: J.P. Morgan earnings: Expect strong trading results, talk of regulations and tax reform

The biggest U.S. bank by assets will kick off the first-quarter earnings season on Thursday before the market opens.

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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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