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22May2017 Market Close: US Stock Markets Closed Higher, WTI Crude Trended Back Up To The 51 Handle, The US Dollar Settled Lower At 96.86

Written by Gary

Wall Street gained modestly (SPY +0.5%), boosted by technology shares and by defense companies.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street gains as defense, tech stocks rise

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Monday, boosted by technology shares and by defense companies, which rose after the United States and Saudi Arabia signed a multi-billion dollar arms deal.

Ford names Hackett as CEO to tackle car rivals, Silicon Valley

WASHINGTON/DEARBORN, Mich. (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co abruptly named James Hackett as chief executive on Monday, responding to investors' growing unease about the U.S. automaker's slumping stock price and its ability to counter threats from longtime rivals and Silicon Valley.

In Bombardier fight, Boeing sees ghost of Airbus ascent

PARIS/SEATTLE (Reuters) - Two words underpin Boeing's decision to launch a U.S. trade complaint against Bombardier , which plunged it into a row with Canada last week: "Never again".

China slaps import duties on sugar; experts question impact

BEIJING (Reuters) - China said on Monday it will impose hefty penalties on sugar imports after lobbying by domestic mills, but experts said the ruling may not go far enough to stem the flow of lower-priced sweetener into the world's top importer.

Shareholders go to court seeking to oust Akzo chairman

AMSTERDAM (Reuters) - Akzo Nobel shareholders angered by the Dulux paint maker's rejection of a 26.3 billion euro ($29.5 billion) takeover proposal from U.S. rival PPG Industries took their fight to an Amsterdam court on Monday.

German government at odds with itself over Greek debt relief

BERLIN (Reuters) - Germany's coalition government split along party lines on Monday over the question of debt relief for Greece ahead of a crunch meeting in Brussels to tackle the thorny issue.

Supreme Court rejects challenge to state retroactive tax changes

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday declined to hear a challenge by several major corporations to a Michigan law that retroactively changed the way businesses are taxed in the state, leading to $1 billion extra for government coffers.

GE faces EU probe related to LM Wind Power deal

(Reuters) - General Electric Co said on Monday that the European Union's competition watchdog is investigating whether the industrial conglomerate provided misleading information during a merger review.

U.S. Justice Dept., Citigroup settle probe into Banamex USA

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Department of Justice and Citigroup Inc said on Monday that they have settled a criminal investigation into violations of anti-money laundering rules and the Bank Secrecy Act at the bank's Banamex USA unit.

Stocks Jump As Dollar Dumps And Bitcoin Explodes To Record Highs

Just because it made us laugh...

As Bloomberg notes, the S&P 500 climbed for the third consecutive session as President Donald Trump's trip to Saudi Arabia netted deals that lifted defense shares. The euro remains firm having pared gains from Chancellor Angela Merkel's comment referring to the single currency as "too weak." The 10-year Treasury yield climbed above 2.25% while gold rose and crude climbed to the highest in a month as Saudi Arabia said all producers agree on extending output cuts. Brazil's real trimmed losses after the top court suspended its ruling on President Temer, while Mexico's peso gained as interest rate differentials temporarily overshadow NAFTA concerns.

NO VOLUME!!

While stocks are up 3 days in a row, they remain below the Trump-Dump levels... NOTE - each of the daily bounces have been opening gaps with little follow-through...

And "Most Shorted" stocks are now back unchanged from the Trump Dump...

Manafort, Stone Give Russia Docs To Senate Intel Committee

While Michael Flynn may refusing to comply with the Senate Intel Committee's probe of Russian interference, two other former associates of Donald Trump complied on Monday afternoon, and according to NBC, Paul Manafort and Roger Stone have turned over documents to the Senate Intelligence Committee in its Russia investigation, providing "all documents consistent with their specific request." As reported previously, the committee sent document requests to Manafort and Stone, as well as Carter Page and Mike Flynn, seeking information related to dealings with Russia. So far Page has not yet complied, while Flynn it was confirmed today, planned to plead the Fifth as a reason not to comply with a committee subpoena, citing "escalating public frenzy" as part of the ongoing probe.

According to NBC, the committee's letter to Page asked him "to list any Russian official or business executive he met with between June 16, 2015 and Jan. 20, 2017. It also asked him to provide information about Russia-related real estate transactions during that period. And it seeks all his email or other communications during that period with Russians, or with the Trump campaign about Russia or Russians."

While the precise contents is unknown, similar letters were sent to Manafort and Stone, who then sent the requested information to investigators by last Friday's deadline.

"I gave them all documents that were consistent with their specific request," Stone said in an email to NBC News.

A spokesman for Manafort, Jason Maloni, confirmed that Manafort turned over documents, adding that Manafort remains interested in cooperating with the Senate investigation.

NBC adds that it was too early to tell whether the documen ...

Scott Adams Asks "Is It Time To End Presidential Press Briefings?"

Authored by Dilbert Creator Scott Adams,

Personally, I enjoy watching Sean Spicer spar with the press. It's good entertainment. But press briefings don't make sense in 2017. And they certainly don't make sense for a Trump presidency. I'll tell you why.

The role of press briefings is to create two complementary illusions.

The first illusion is that the administration is providing new and useful information. That rarely happens. And when it does, it could have been done more easily in the form of a press release in response to a written inquiry. A written response can be faster than a press briefing because it doesn't depend on a scheduled meeting time in the future.

The second illusion created by the press briefings is that "news" is being manufactured in that room. The reality is that artisanal "gotcha" moments are lovingly crafted by the press. That means the so-called news from press briefings is generally fake news, and that would be true no matter the administration in power.

It can be super-expensive for a news organization to do investigative journalism. It might take months to do the research and it can result in no story at all. But the gotcha questions at a press briefing are cheap, and they are the incubators of fake news that feed the media machine. That's good for the press, but the public doesn't need any of that, except for entert ...

"Sell In May"... And Buy Bonds?

That SocGen's Andrew Lapthorne has long held a cynical view of the stock market's relentless grind higher, similar to that of his colleague Albert Edwards, is not a secret: he made as much clear in the first sentence of his latest note to client "time to sell equities to buy bonds?" in which he said that "to the apparent surprise of many, last week the S&P 500 actually fell, losing 1.82% on Wednesday alone, the worst daily return since September last year. That such a song and dance was made about it was probably more a function of the subdued nature of equity markets recently than the actual performance impact itself - after all the S&P 500 ended the week only down 0.4%."

Still, with Lapthorne, and SocGen's clients forced to trade the market in front of them, and not the market they wish they had, the strategist went on to propose a pair trade, which in a market engulfed by passive investing money-flow "noise", actually makes sense - a derivative of the familiar "sell in May" trader mantra, which while applicable to stocks, is just the opposite of what one finds when looking at seasonal patterns involving Treasuries.

According to Lapthorne, "with summer fast approaching in the UK (we know this as our office air conditioning has broken down), we discussed seasonality last week with an ex-colleague and now client. There is a wealth of interesting research out there discussing and documenting seasonal trends and market moods. Sandrine Ungari on the SG Cross Asset Quant team pointed us to a paper inferring that SAD financial analysts could be at fault, and of course as is commonplace these days you can even buy a whole host of ETF's based around seasonal trading."

Indeed, "the evidence from the US bonds and equity markets ...

Ford's New Boss Won't Bring Quick Fixes

Ford's new boss comes from the future side of the business. That implies more long-term investment, not a quick profit fix for suffering shareholders.

Another Gloomy Day for Amgen

Nothing is going right for Amgen these days. It now says its experimental osteoporosis treatment, Evenity, is unlikely to win approval from the Food and Drug Administration this year.

Huntsman-Clariant: A Chemical Experiment Worth Pursuing

Huntsman and Clariant think they offer the perfect mix: a $14 billion merger of equals without overlapping businesses or rivalries but with hugely valuable cost savings.

Six energy companies profiting from Trump's mega-deals with Saudi Arabia

Not all of them, however, are investment worthy, writes Nigam Arora.

Market Extra: How to make money as a 'disenchanted' middle class shifts the political landscape

Populism is reshaping politics — here's how Credit Suisse says you can make money from that and four other "supertrends" expected to emerge within the next decade.

Key Words: Nassim 'Black Swan' Taleb says the future will be 'a libertarian's dream'

He may be pessimistic when it comes to the perilous state of financial markets, but Nassim Taleb, hedge-fund adviser and noted author of "The Black Swan," says he's quite optimistic about the future overall.

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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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