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01May2017 Market Close: Wall Street Closes Mixed With DOW Down Fractionally, Crude Prices Settle At A Nearly Five Week Low, US Factories Are Slowing

Written by Gary

US stock markets closed mixed with the DOW down 26 points after Trump said he is considering big bank breakups and the SP 500 up +0.2%. Oil prices fell Monday to finish at their lowest level in almost five weeks. US factory activity slowed in April and a key inflation measure recorded its first monthly drop since 2001.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

Fed Rate Monitor Tool

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Apple leads Wall Street higher despite weak economic data

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Shares on Wall Street mostly climbed on Monday, boosted by gains in Apple and other big tech stocks that more than offset a spate of weak economic data and pushed the Nasdaq Composite to another record high.

U.S. factory activity slows; inflation pressures subside

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. factory activity slowed in April while consumer spending was unchanged in March and a key inflation measure recorded its first monthly drop since 2001, but economists still expect an interest rate increase in June as the labor market tightens.

Trump says actively considering breaking up big banks: Bloomberg TV

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said he was actively considering breaking up big banks, Bloomberg Television reported on Monday.

Airbnb, San Francisco settle lawsuit over short-term rental law

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Airbnb Inc and the city of San Francisco have settled a year-long lawsuit over a local ordinance forbidding the home-rental company from taking bookings from hosts who have not properly registered their homes.

Fox News co-president Bill Shine resigns, Scott promoted

(Reuters) - Bill Shine, co-president of Fox News Channel, has become the latest executive to resign from the cable channel in the wake of a sexual misconduct scandal, and will be partly replaced by Fox's highest-ranking female executive.

Oil slips 1 percent as rising output faces weak demand worries

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil slipped 1 percent on Monday as rising crude output on Libya and the United States countered OPEC-led production cuts aimed at clearing a supply glut.

Citadel's Griffin says he fantasizes about bank breakups

BEVERLY HILLS (Reuters) - Billionaire hedge fund manager Ken Griffin said he is encouraged by recent comments from U.S. officials that the government could move to break up the country's biggest banks.

Dish revenue misses estimates, loses more subscribers than expected

(Reuters) - Dish Network Corp would consider various options for its wireless airwaves, its chief executive said on Monday, after the U.S. satellite TV provider reported quarterly revenue that missed analysts' estimates as it lost more subscribers than expected.

Wells Fargo CEO sees benefits to putting employees before shareholders

BEVERLY HILLS (Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co Chief Executive Officer Tim Sloan said recruiting and retention have improved dramatically in the wake of a sales scandal, as the third-largest U.S. bank has made big changes to how it pays and evaluates employees in its branches.

Fox News Exodus Continues: Co-President Bill Shine Is Out

The exodus at Fox News continued on Monday, when less than two weeks after Bill O'Reilly's termination, co-president Bill Shine was also shown the door as New York Mag's Gabriel Sherman first reported and was subsequently confirmed in a memo to network employees from Fox News Executive Chairman Rupert Murdoch. The move came as Shine was due back on Monday after two days out of the office for a pre-planned long weekend.

"Sadly, Bill Shine resigned today. I know Bill was liked and respected by everybody at Fox News," writes Murdoch. Suzanne Scott will become president of programming, while Jay Wallace is president of news.

According to Hollywood Reporter, the Murdochs had recently quietly put out external feelers for a new head of Fox News and were known to be looking for a woman, which would send a clear message given the cloud of sexism the network has been under since last summer when Gretchen Carlson's lawsuit opened the floodgates of similar accusations against Ailes as well as network star Bill O'Reilly.

In the press release announcing the executive shuffle, Rupert Murdoch said: "This is a significant day for all at FOX News. Bill has played a huge role in building FOX News to its present position as the nation's biggest and most important cable channel in the history of the industry. His contribution to our channel and our country will resonate for many years."

"Fox News continues to break both viewing and revenue records, for which I thank you all for. I am sure we can do even better," Murdoch's memo concludes.

New York Magazine's Gabriel Sherman had first tweeted that Shine, who has been with the network since its inception, was no longer with the network "as of this morning."

BREAKING: Two sources inside Fox News ...

Are Tax Cuts The Economic Growth 'Cure-All'?

Authored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

Last week President Trump announced his "tax plan" which discussed lowering the corporate tax rate, closing tax loopholes, reducing individual income tax brackets and increasing standard deductions. That table below, via Goldman Sachs, shows the comparison between current law and the various proposals.

President Trump campaigned on lowering taxes as a means by which economic growth could be jump started, and with Q1's economic growth coming in at a meager 0.7% annualized, it would certainly seem to be needed.

The issue of tax reform is not going to be an easy one. With such a deeply partisan government the probability of passing tax reform as currently proposed is extremely slim. Furthermore, while I do expect that some version of tax reform will eventually get passed, it will likely take much longer than most expect. The chart below shows the current chasm leading to the difficulty of getting anything accomplished in Washington.

With Apple Raking In $3.6 Million In Cash Every Hour, Traders Ask When Will It Start Spending

Both AAPL and the broader Nasdaq index are trading at new all time high ahead of Apple's earnings on Tuesday, where in addition to the company's operating results and iPhone sales, investors will pay close attention to Apple's record cash hoard - expected to rise well above a quarter trillion dollars - and especially to hints Tim Cook may reveal about the company's cash usage plans. In addition to the traditional speculation about potential AAPL M&A, the WSJ points out that the money, more than 90% of which is stockpiled outside of the U.S., has drawn fresh attention as President Donald Trump has proposed slashing business taxes and granting a one-time tax holiday on corporate cash brought home. Those policies could ratchet up pressure on the tech giant to dole out more money to shareholders or make splashy acquisitions.

Here are some striking facts about Apple's cash cushion from the WSJ:

As of December, the company had $246.09 billion total cash, cash equivalents, and securities. Apple, like most multinational American companies, parks most of that cash offshore rather than paying U.S. taxes on its overseas profits.

Apple's results will show the company doubled its cash in just over 4½ years. In the last three months of 2016, it racked up cash at a rate of about $3.6 million an hour.

With the exception of financial companies, Apple's stash exceeds that of any other U.S. company in recent history, said Jennifer Blouin, an accounting professor at University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School. "I have never seen a company in this kind of extreme position, barring a winding-down," she said. "Apple's a cash box right now."

Apple cash and cash equivalents are spread across short- and long-term securities, including corporate securities, ...

'Fragile' US Economy Hammered In Q1 By Election-Spending Hangover

Growth in U.S. personal consumption expenditures in the first quarter of 2017 was slowest since 2009, according to data released Friday by the Commerce Department.

A big reason for that was the second-largest contraction in spending by non-profits (i.e. election-related lobbying/spending) in 57 years of data.

As Bloomberg details, according to monthly consumption data through February, the drag seems to owe to a sharp decline in spending by professional advocacy groups, which always surges during U.S. presidential elections, and hit a record high in November.

And what that means for GDP is clear - the post-Clinton-Loss collapse in spending by 'professional advocacy' groups has erased 0.3 percentage points from GDP growth in Q1 (after boosting it by 0.25 points in Q3)

Two things spring to mind:

1) How fragile is the US economy that election-related spending can have such a huge impact on relative growth? And/or the flipside of that...

2) How massive is election-related spending that it now makes a significant cyclica ...

Will Trump's Tax Plan Succeed?Ask Yahoo

Yahoo shares have become a barometer for investor expectations about tax cuts.

An Awkward Embrace for AXA and AllianceBernstein

A management shake-up at AllianceBernstein brings it closer to majority shareholder AXA, but it is unclear why.

Coach Browses the Sale Rack

As Coach's turnaround takes shape, a buying spree might be next.

The Tell: Man who predicted Dow 20,000 says this is the 'ultimate hedge' against a stock-market crash

Prominent market bull and economist Jeremy Siegel says the safest bet against a market downturn is holding 30-year U.S. government paper.

The Wall Street Journal: What April sitting reveals about Gorsuch's future role on Supreme Court

Early patterns have emerged from Gorsuch's participation in the court's April sitting, which comprised the final 13 oral arguments scheduled until the court's next term begins in October.

Trump Today: Trump Today: Dodd-Frank 'out of control,' president tells community bankers

President Donald Trump told community bankers the Dodd-Frank law is "out of control," said in an interview he is open to raising the federal gasoline tax under one condition and wondered aloud why the Civil War wasn't "worked out."

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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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