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30Aug2017 Market Close: Wall Street Closed Higher, DOW Up 27 Points, WTI Settles Lower In The High 45 Handle, Nations Largest Oil Refinery, Port Arthur, Forced To Shut Down

Written by Gary

US stocks rose today (SPY +0.5%) after stronger-than-expected US economic growth outweighed concerns about escalating tensions between NOKO and Hurricane Harvey.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street rises with focus on strong economy

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. stocks rose on Wednesday after stronger-than-expected U.S. economic growth outweighed concerns about escalating tensions between the United States and North Korea and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey.

U.S. second-quarter GDP growth revised up, fastest in over two years

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. economy grew faster than initially thought in the second quarter, notching its quickest pace in more than two years, and there are signs that the momentum was sustained at the start of the third quarter.

New Uber CEO promises change, sees IPO in 18-36 months

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Uber Technologies Inc's [UBER.UL] new Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi told employees on Wednesday the ride-services company would change its culture and could go public in 18 to 36 months.

After the flood, Fed likely to see little change in economy, policy course

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The economic fallout from Hurricane Harvey will make the Federal Reserve's job more difficult when it meets in three weeks, but U.S. central bankers have looked past major storms before with little change in monetary policy and are likely to do the same this time.

Fed's Powell says new rules for bank directors don't lower the bar

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Federal Reserve Governor Jerome Powell on Wednesday delivered a robust defense of new regulations for bank directors, saying they would streamline the role directors play in the day-to-day oversight of their institutions, but don't weaken their hand.

Home Capital's Buffett plan opposed by shareholder proxy ISS

TORONTO (Reuters) - Home Capital Group Inc could face a revolt over U.S. billionaire Warren Buffett's plan to increase his stake in the business after proxy advisory firm Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended shareholders vote against it.

Bain adds Apple for last-minute $18 billion Toshiba chip unit bid: sources

TOKYO (Reuters) - A consortium led by Bain Capital has made a revised last-ditch offer for Toshiba Corp's chip unit worth about $18 billion, bringing in Apple Inc to help bolster its bid, sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.

Ford looks at self-driving systems for commercial trucks: executive

DETROIT (Reuters) - Ford Motor Co is considering deploying self-driving vehicle technology in larger commercial vehicles and is working with multiple partners to put its autonomous vehicles on the road, a senior Ford executive told Reuters on Tuesday.

Alexa allies with Cortana to take on Google Assistant, Siri

(Reuters) - Amazon.com Inc and Microsoft Corp have joined forces to let their voice-controlled virtual assistants talk to each other, offering users the ability to seamlessly tap into work, their homes and shop online.

Korean Missiles, Killer Storm, & Kuroda Spark Biggest Buying-Panic In Tech Stocks Since Election

For today's stock market recap, see yesterday!

In a comedic case of deja vu, somebody flicked the "DUMP VIX, BUY NASDAQ" swicth at exactly the moment US equity markets opened...

The Dow fell back into the red into the close and there was some selling pressure ahead of tomorrow's month-end, but still, everything but The Dow just went straight up...

On a bed of momentum ignited by Kuroda and his magical USDJPY levitation...

With FANG stocks and Biotechs...

Pushing Nasdaq up almost 3% from yesterday's lows - the biggest swing higher since the election last year (Nov 10th)

When Systemic Uncertainty Meets Fragility - "Then The Whole Contraption Collapses In A Heap..."

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

That's the problem with fragility: everything looks fine on the surface until a crisis applies pressure. Then the whole rickety contraption collapses in a heap..

Life is inherently uncertain, but systems that were once considered certainties have increasingly become uncertain. Social Security is one example; recent polls reflect widespread doubts among Millennials and Gen-Xers that there will be any Social Security benefits left for them by the time they reach retirement age.

This doubt is fact-based; as the number of retirees swells, as Medicare costs soar ever higher and the number of full-time jobs paying into Social Security/ Medicare stagnates, these pay-as-you-go programs break down; Social Security is already paying out billions more than it collects from employers and employees.

Uncertainty is one thing, fragility is another. The socio-economic systems we rely on are also becoming increasingly fragile and prone to failure, for an entirely different set of reasons than those driving uncertainty.

Changing fundamentals drive uncertainty. The nation's demographics and stagnant wages for the bottom 95% are extremely unfavorable for pay-as-you-go programs like Social Security and Medicare; their future is uncertain because the inputs and outputs are changing.

Fragility is a function of systems being thinned by cronyism, self-serving insiders, fraud, lack of transparency, lack of competition, monopolies, profiteering and a decline of quality. Systems that become too costly due to the above dynamics are hollowed out as everyone seeks some way to reduce the costs. Redundancies are stripped out, staff is slashed to the bone, senior managers with the most experience ...

Global Outrage After Japan Finance Minister Said "Hitler Had Right Motives"

While Donald Trump is not exactly known for his oratorial and diplomatic skills, either during live speeches or within the confines of his trademark outbursts in 140 characters or less on Twitter, he is positively Machiavellian compared to Japan's 76-year-old deputy prime minister and finance minister in Abe's cabinet, Taro Aso, whose entire career appears to be a series of diplomatic blunders and verbal gaffes.


Taro Aso, Japan Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance

It started in 2013 when the Japanese minister had a modest proposal to fix Japan's demographic time bomb, urging the country's elderly to "hurry up and die"; then three years, in 2016, making a stark Freudian slip and admitting alongside Paul Krugman that the only solution to the global "liquidity trap" created by central banks is "war", a resolution to which the world appears to be inching ever closer with each passing day. Then a few months, Aso reverted back to the 76-year-old's favorite topic, old people who refuse to die:

Gaffe-prone Finance Minister Taro Aso was again caught taking a swipe at the elderly, saying last week that he wondered how much longer a 90-year-old pers ...

El-Erian: Why Gold Is Less Of A Haven These Days

Authored by Mohamed El-Erian via Bloomberg.com,

Its status has been eroded by unconventional monetary policy and cryptocurrencies.

Having waited patiently for the "any-minute-now" moment, gold investors are taking comfort from the recent rise in price in response to geopolitical tensions. Yet the responsiveness of gold, as well as the overall price, appears weaker than would have been expected from historically based models -- and for understandable reasons. The precious metal's status as a haven has been eroded by the influence of unconventional monetary policy and the growth of markets for cryptocurrencies.

Gold prices rose almost 1 percent on Tuesday morning as part of the risk aversion triggered by yet another brazen North Korean missile launch over Japan, together with uncertainty as to how the U.S. may respond. But trading below $1,330, the overall response of gold prices to the last few months of heightened geopolitical risks has been relatively muted, particularly as the 10-year Treasury bond, another traditional haven, saw its yield trade down to below 2.10 percent that same morning.

Two immedia ...

Costco Stock at a Discount

One of the few ways for retailers to compete against the growing might of Amazon.com is to offer something different. Costco Wholesale does that, but the market has been unwilling of late to give it credit for its uniqueness.

Emerging-Market Bonds: The Stars Align

Low inflation is a puzzle in developed markets, but a pleasant and powerful phenomenon for emerging-market bonds

Beijing Shows Its Power With China's Latest Megamerger

The combination of the country's leading coal miner and power producer is the clearest sign yet of Chinese leaders' desire to enhance the role of big state-owned companies.

September 2017 Economic Forecast: Is Personal Income to Spending Ratio A Headwind To Better Economic Growth?

Written by Steven Hansen

Econintersect's Economic Index continues to remain in a tight range indicating static economic growth fundamentals for the fifth month in a row. However, this tight range remains in territory associated with normal growth. Six-month employment growth forecast is now indicating little change in the rate of employment growth.

Commodities Corner: Why September's gasoline futures contract has left October's in the dust

The soon to expire September gasoline futures contract has rallied to levels not seen in more than two years, but the October contract hasn't—thanks to a "summer grade" advantage and Hurricane Harvey.

Market Extra: Labor Day: Which markets will be closed?

U.S. financial markets will be closed on Monday, Sept. 4 in observance of Labor Day Holiday.

Amazon is actually the weakest of the big U.S. retailers, Moody's says

Amazon.com Inc. is far from dominating the retail sector, and is actually weaker than rivals including Wal-Mart, Costco and Best Buy, according to a new Moody's report.

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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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