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12May2017 Market Close: Wall Street Ended Week In A Sideways Session, DOW Down 23 Points, US Dollar Settles In The Low 99's, Investors Concerned Over Retail Sales

Written by Gary

Wall Street slipped today (SPY -0.2%) in a boring sideways session, ending the week lower as poor economic data weighed on banks. The only thing more boring than this market over the past few weeks has been the volatility index which recently hit lows not seen in over a decade.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

U.S., China agree to first trade steps under 100-day plan

WASHINGTON/BEIJING (Reuters) - The United States and China have agreed to take action by mid-July to increase access for U.S. financial firms and expand trade in beef and chicken among other steps as part of Washington's drive to cut its trade deficit with Beijing.

Wall Street falls, department stores take a drubbing

(Reuters) - Wall Street slipped on Friday, ending the week lower as tepid economic data weighed on banks and worries deepened over Nordstrom and other department stores.

Wells Fargo may have created 3.5 million unauthorized accounts: lawyers

(Reuters) - Wells Fargo & Co may have opened as many as 3.5 million unauthorized customer accounts, far more than previously estimated, according to lawyers seeking approval of a $142 million settlement over the practice.

In blow to Trump, GE backs NAFTA and plans growth in Mexico

MONTERREY, MEXICO (Reuters) - General Electric Co's chief executive on Friday praised Mexico as a big part of its future growth and said the company is "very supportive" of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) that U.S President Donald Trump has threatened to ditch.

Behind Kushner Companies, a Chinese agency skirts visa-for-investment rules

SHANGHAI (Reuters) - While Jared Kushner's family company apologized this week for mentioning the White House adviser's name when wooing Chinese investors to fund a New Jersey real estate project, one Chinese immigration agency was touting its role in the deal.

U.S. retail sales rise broadly; consumer prices rebound

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. retail sales increased broadly in April while consumer prices rebounded, pointing to a pickup in economic growth and a gradual rise in inflation that could keep the Federal Reserve on track to raise interest rates next month.

GE's Immelt bets big on digital factories, shareholders are wary

GROVE CITY, Penn. (Reuters) - At a General Electric Co factory in this rural town, Keith Spahn, 60, used to take measurements of parts from railroad locomotives that are in for repair by hand.

Spotify, valued at $13 billion, to launch direct listing on NYSE: sources

(Reuters) - Music streaming service Spotify, most recently valued at $13 billion, will be the first major company to carry out a direct listing on the New York Stock Exchange when it goes public later this year or early next year, two sources familiar with the situation said on Friday.

U.S. court puts hold on 'too big to fail' case involving MetLife

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court on Friday granted a 60-day abeyance in a case in which the country's largest life insurer, MetLife Inc, is challenging the federal government's labeling of it as "too big to fail."

Weekend Reading: The Drudging Report

Auth9ored by Lance Roberts via RealInvestmentAdvice.com,

This...has...to...be...the...most...boring...market...ever.

For almost a month now, the market has gone literally nowhere. Despite news of the passing of the American Health Care Act, the Continuing Resolution, or "stellar" earnings reports...nothing seems able to excite either the bulls or the bears.

Boring.

The only thing more boring than the market over the past few weeks has been the volatility index which recently hit lows not seen in over a decade.

As was noted last week by John Mauldin:

"There have been only 11 days out of some 6900, going back almost 28 years, when we've had a sub-10 VIX. When I look carefully at those dates, the word complacency leaps to mind."

He is right. And the problem with complacency, like everything else in the world, is that it comes and goes in cycles. The chart below is the MONTHLY read on the volatility index as compared to the S&P 500 index. I have marked the previous low leve ...

Trump Threatens Bi-Weekly Press Briefings: "I'll Have One Every Two Weeks And I'll Do It Myself"

Following the chaotic fallout over the firing of FBI Director James Comey, Fox News has just wrapped an interview with POTUS conducted by Judge Jeanine Pirro. And, just moments ago, we got our first sneak peak at the contents of that upcoming interview when Fox News released a teaser clip of Trump once again threatening to cancel the White House's daily press briefings.

Pirro: "Are you moving so quickly that your communications department cannot keep up with you?"

Trump: "Yes. That's true."

Pirro: "So what do we do about that?"

Trump: "We don't have press conferences. We just don't have them. Or unless I have one every two weeks and I do it myself. We don't have them. I think it's a good idea."

First of all, you have a level of hostility that is incredible. And it's very unfair."

SATURDAY: @JudgeJeanine goes one-on-one with @POTUS - Tune in at 9p ET on Fox News Channel! https://t.co/RCo53lPjT9 pic.twitter.com/UJUWsSC3J6

— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 12, 2017

Of course, this follows similar comm ...

Stocks Sink Despite VIX Records As Economic Data Collapse Continues

Overheard in China this week...

"I was inverted..."

US Macro Data has collapsed for 8 straight weeks to its weakest and most negative in 12 months...

The last time US Macro and stocks decoupled like this was in mid 2015 and did not end well for stocks...

Finally to put a nail in this utter idiocy - here is 'soft' and 'hard' data... equities have even decoupled from the hype in 'soft' data...

So after all that stocks actually ended the week red (aside from Nasdaq of course which is awesome)...

Trump Threatens Comey Not To Leak To The Press: "Better Hope There Are No Tapes"

Update: according to CNN, James Comey is "not worried" about President Trump's suggestion that conversations between the two of them could have been taped. "If there is a tape, there's nothing he is worried about," a source familiar told CNN, although when it comes to CNN and anonymous sources, one probably should apply a healthy truth discount.

Meanwhile, NBC News said on Friday that the ousted FBI chief "hopes there are tapes" citing another anonymous source: "That would be perfect."

* * *

In the most Nixonian-sounding comment yet during this week's craziness, President Trump, clearly angry about the leaking sieves that are the White House and the US Intel Community, just issued a cryptic threat to former FBI Director Comey, warning in no uncertain terms about retaliation should the leaks continue and saying the fired FBI director should hope there are no recordings of their conversations.

James Comey better hope that there are no "tapes" of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 12, 2017

Several overnight reports from FBI "sources" emerged which contradicted former Trump's account of a meeting he had with Comey earlier this year, a development which has clearly pushed Trump close to the edge. Recall that during his NBC interview on Thursday, Trump said that Comey had requested a dinner with him during which he asked to stay on as the FBI head. Trump also said Comey told him three times — twice over the phone and once at their dinner meeting — that he was not the subject of any FBI investigations. FBI officials however denied Trum ...

China Trade Plan Is Big Deal for Natural Gas

Trump's 10-point China trade plan contains a plug for U.S. natural gas exports. Such an alignment of interests could have collateral impacts on other gas producers especially Australia and Russia.

Why Consumers Won't Consume

Retails sales were so-so in April, and there are good reasons why people won't spend. But that may be changing.

OPEC Should Give Up on Production Cuts

Saudi Arabia has led oil-production cuts that have helped U.S. shale to rebound far more quickly than expected.

Market Extra: Bridgewater's Dalio has some bad news for stock-market investors

Bridgewater Associates' Ray Dalio has some good news for Wall Street investors, and some bad news.

The Tell: Lower asset correlations are to blame for record-low volatility, says strategist

A shift from buying large U.S. stocks indiscriminately to favoring those with the best earnings prospects is the reason volatility is so tame, but don't expect it to last, said Nick Colas, chief market strategist at Convergex, a global brokerage company based in New York.

NewsWatch: Is Donald Trump boosting the economy? Goldman finds mixed signals

Ever since President Donald Trump took office, the main question on the mind of U.S. stock market investors has been, "will the market optimism his election inspired prove justified by economic activity, or did the rally simply set stocks up for a bigger fall?" According to a Goldman Sachs analysis of corporate commentary, it's looking more like the latter.

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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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