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26Apr2017 Market Close: Wall Street Closes In The Red After What First Appeared To Be Another Green Session, WTI Crude Slips Down Into The Low 49 Handle, While Gold Trends Sharply Higher

Written by Gary

The US stock markets enjoyed a good day in the sun (SPY -0.03%), climbing to new highs not seen since record breaking highs in early March. The investor euphoria wore off towards the session end, closing like it opened, flat and in the red.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Trump plan to slash business taxes to test Congress on deficit

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday proposed slashing tax rates for businesses and on overseas corporate profits returned to the country in a plan greeted as an opening gambit by his fellow Republicans in Congress.

U.S. Congress may seek one-week funding extension to avert shutdown

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Congress inched toward a deal to fund the government through September but was preparing to possibly extend a midnight Friday deadline in order to wrap up negotiations and avoid an imminent government shutdown.

Wall Street pares gains after tax reform plan unveiled

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks pared gains in midday trading on Wednesday after the Trump administration outlined its tax reform plan.

Twitter posts strong user growth, shares soar

(Reuters) - Shares of Twitter Inc jumped on Wednesday after the microblogging service reported better-than-expected user growth in the first quarter, although its revenue fell for the first time.

Exclusive: ADM names new global trade desk chief as part of wider shakeup - memo

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Archer Daniels Midland Co has replaced the leader of its global trading desk, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Wednesday, as the company sheds traders around the world while grappling with huge grain supplies that have weakened margins.

Automakers want California to revise Volkswagen charging station plan

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Major automakers and other groups are raising objections to the way Volkswagen AG wants to spend $2 billion on electric vehicle infrastructure and projects, as part of the German automaker's atonement for diesel emissions cheating.

P&G profit falls on strong dollar, slow consumer spending

(Reuters) - Procter & Gamble Co , maker of Tide detergent and Gillette razors, reported an 8.3 percent fall in third-quarter profit hurt by a strong dollar and slowing economic growth that dampened consumer spending in several countries.

Former Jefferies Group trader sentenced to two years for fraud

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (Reuters) - A federal judge in Connecticut on Wednesday sentenced a former Jefferies Group bond trader to two years in prison and to pay a $2 million fine after he was found guilty earlier this year of defrauding customers on bond prices.

Fiat Chrysler may add more self-driving supplier partners: CEO

MILAN/DETROIT (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles may seek more supplier partners to help it develop and build self-driving vehicles, Chief Executive Officer Sergio Marchionne said on Wednesday.

Flipper-In-Chief: Trump Caves On Obamacare Subsidies To Avoid Government Shutdown

After already flipping on funding for the border wall to help avert a government shutdown, The Hill is now reporting that Trump is also willing to cave on Obamacare subsidies.

#BREAKING: WH tells Dems it will keep paying ObamaCare subsidies

— The Hill (@thehill) April 26, 2017

As we reported earlier this morning, this latest flip-flop comes just hours after Budget Director Mick Mulvaney appeared on CNN and confirmed, among other things, that Obamacare subsidies would be stripped out any spending bill put before a vote.

That rather firm assertion, however, only lasted a couple of hours. Per The Hill:

The Trump administration will continue paying controversial ObamaCare
subsidies to help low-income patients, officials have told Capitol Hill Democrats.

The move marks something of a shift for President Trump, who had threatened earlier this month to withhold the subsidies -- known as cost-sharing reductions -- as a way move Democrats to negotiate on a healthcare overhaul.

The perpetual flipping has to make you wonder whether there are any sacred cows the Trump administration is unwilling to sacrifice in order to appease Democrats.

* * *

Here is our note from this morning after Mulvaney appeared on CNN.

Earlier this week, courtesy of Trump's ...

"Cowboy Of Wall Street" Gets Two Years In Prison For Bond Price-Rigging After All

Remember Jesse Litvak?

He was the Jefferies MBS bond trader who was the first to get busted in January 2013 for rampant skimming off the bid and ask when trading with clients. We first profiled him over four years ago, and in that period he has repeatedly made headline news, most recently in January when Litvak was initially found guilty at a trial although on just one of 10 counts, after his first conviction was reversed on appeal. Well, moments ago Litvak made headlines again when learned his new punishment, and as Bloomberg reports he was disappointed: it two years behind bars and a $2 million fine for lying to a customer about bond prices. His main transgression: fabricating bid/ask prices when talking to clients seeking to trade mortgage-backed bonds with him, in addition to "bending the truth or even falsifying chat transcripts in order to maximize his earnings."

As Bloomberg writes, "Litvak's arrest in January 2013 marked the onset of a crackdown on shady sales practices in the opaque world of securities backed by assets such as home loans. The probe has led to charges against at least seven other traders and the departure of nearly two dozen. Three former traders at Nomura Securities go on trial next week."

"These were the cowboys of Wall Street," said Peter Henning, a law professor at Wayne State University in Detroit. "If you were a bond trader, you could almost do anything you wanted, and not anymore."

Indeed: this is in line with what we predicted back in January 2013 when we said that "the days of rampant skimming on top of the bid/ask spread, and with them record bonuses for bond traders and salesmen, may just ended with a whimper not a bang ...

Dilbert Creator Reflects On President Trump's First 100 Days

Authored by Scott Adams via,

Everyone observing politics seems to agree on two things about a president's first 100 days in office:

1. 100 days is a meaningless, arbitrary marker for a president's performance that is likely to be more misleading than useful.


2. Let's treat it like it is important! Reeeeeeee!

The thing that fascinates me the most about this situation is that the so-called "pro-science" people are giving Trump low grades for his first 100 days.

Allow me to connect some dots.

In science, you don't have much of an experiment unless you have a control case for comparison. For example, you can't know if a drug helped with a particular disease unless you study the people who didn't take the drug at the same time as those who did.

But the pro-science people forget this concept when thinking about politics. Where is the control case for Trump's first 100 days?

Is it George Washington's first 100 days?

Is it Jimmy Carter's first 100 days?

And which prior president came to office in 2017 with identical problems and the most polarized political environment in history?

And just how long is it supposed to take to revise Obamacare? Do we compare it to the time Abe Lincoln repealed and replaced Obamacare? Or how about the time those other presidents repealed and replaced Obamacare in the year 2017?

I saw an article in Politico that is too dumb to link to, saying it is objectively true that Trump has had a bad first 100 days. This ...

0.2% Of Nasdaq Companies Accounted For 45% Of Its Recent Gains

Just five of the more than 2,500 companies in the Nasdaq Composite Index are largely responsible for Tuesday's first-ever close above 6,000.

The big five are Apple Inc., Inc., Facebook Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc., Google's owner.

Together they accounted for about 45 percent of the Nasdaq's rise from 5,500, reached on Jan. 6, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

As a reminder, the Big 5 account for over 10% of total US stock market capitalization now... a record high...

The question is, of course, what happens next?

There's Trouble in Capital One's Wallet

Worries over credit-card indebtedness rise as Capital One Financial raises its estimate for loan losses this year.

Credit Suisse's Smarter Plan to Raise Capital

Credit Suisse capital raise is a better alternative to its now abandoned spinoff plan. But claims that the bank has money to invest in growth and to pay better cash dividends from this year onward should be taken with a pinch of salt.

Google's Costs Don't Always Click

How Google generates advertising revenue that now totals nearly $80 billion a year is no easy feat—especially at the double-digit rates the company has been reliably pulling off for years.

Is the free food offer at Walt Disney World really worth it?

Visitors to the Florida theme park should read the fine print.

United Airlines had the most animal deaths on flights last year

The airline is currently investigating the death of a giant rabbit.

These are the 5 U.S. companies with the biggest overseas cash piles

President Donald Trump's tax reform proposal has not yet determined a rate for repatriation, but promises a one-time break that will bring trillions of dollars back home.

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