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09Oct2017 Market Close: Wall Street Closes Lower As Quarterly Earnings Loom, Oil Prices Inch Higher After OPEC Signals Possible Deal Extension

Written by Gary

US markets declined today as gains in Microsoft and other technology stocks failed to offset a dip in Medtronic and other healthcare stocks. Macquarie: "Investors Are Mentally Exhausted Because They Understand There Is Nothing Normal In This Market"

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street moves lower as quarterly earnings loom

(Reuters) - Wall Street declined on Monday as gains in Microsoft and other technology stocks failed to offset a dip in Medtronic and other healthcare stocks.

Google uncovered Russia-backed ads on YouTube, Gmail, source says

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Google has discovered Russian operatives spent tens of thousands of dollars on ads on its YouTube, Gmail and Google Search products in an effort to meddle in the 2016 U.S. presidential election, a person briefed on the company's probe told Reuters on Monday.

GE names hedge fund Trian executive Ed Garden to board

(Reuters) - U.S. industrial conglomerate General Electric Co, which major shareholder Trian Fund Management has been pressuring to conduct a more thorough restructuring, appointed the hedge fund's chief investment officer to its board on Monday.

Qualcomm offers EU concessions over $38 billion NXP takeover bid

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - U.S. smartphone chipmaker Qualcomm has offered concessions in an attempt to allay EU antitrust concerns over its $38-billion bid for NXP Semiconductors, the largest ever in the semiconductor industry.

Oil prices climb after OPEC signals possible deal extension

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Oil prices inched higher on Monday after one of the most bearish weeks in months, propped up by OPEC comments signaling the possibility of continued action to restore market balance in the long term.

Wal-Mart speeds up in-store returns of online purchases

(Reuters) - Wal-Mart Stores Inc said on Monday it would speed up the process for in-store returns of items bought on its website, just ahead of the busy holiday season, as it looks to steal a march on e-commerce giant Amazon.com.

Apple praises French iPhone work before talking tax with Macron

PARIS (Reuters) - Apple boss Tim Cook went out of his way on Monday to single out a small French firm involved with innovative features in the latest iPhones ahead of meeting with President Emmanuel Macron, who has called for a tougher line on technology company taxes.

Weinstein Co board ousts Harvey Weinstein after harassment allegations

(Reuters) - The Weinstein Co has fired co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, effective immediately, following reports of sexual harassment allegations against the executive, who was one of Hollywood's biggest power brokers, the film production company said on Sunday.

Auf Wiedersehen Air Berlin: flights to cease this month

BERLIN (Reuters) - Flights operated by insolvent German carrier Air Berlin will end by Oct. 28 at the latest, it said on Monday, urging staff to seek jobs elsewhere while it works toward a carve-up of its assets.

"All-In" Hedge-Funds Turn Cautious Ahead Of OPEC As Oil Prices Stumble

With WTI back below the Maginot Line of $50, speculative investors are growing increasingly anxious about their record extreme bullish positioning across the energy complex.

As Reuters' John Kemp reports, hedge fund bullishness towards crude oil and refined products including gasoline and diesel appears to have peaked for now, according to an analysis of regulatory and exchange records.

Speculative traders' positioning across crude and especially refined fuels had looked increasingly lopsided in recent weeks as fund managers turned from very bearish in June to super-bullish by the end of September.

But as Kemp notes, hedge funds cut their combined net long position in the three major crude oil futures and options contracts linked to Brent and WTI by 1 million barrels to 793 million.

And,

Mr. Kunstler Comes To Trumpville: "To Me, It Was A Very Ominous Sight"

Authored by James Howard Kunstler via Kunstler.com,

I took advantage of the calm before the storm, to pay a visit on Saturday to my hometown, Trumpville, a.k.a. Manhattan. My college buddy had a son who was acting in an off-Broadway play (closing night, so don't bother asking). The city I knew as a kid — which, frankly, I never liked very much — seemed as lost and far away as Peter Stuyvesant's quaint Dutch colonial outpost did to me in 1962.

That lost city of my childhood was one in which a boy could breeze right into the Metropolitan Museum of Art on a weekday afternoon - my school was one block away from it - without the least hindrance.

The place was free. There was no "donation" shakedown at the entrance. And hardly anyone was there. Do you know why? Answer: because most of the adults on the island were at work. It was a mostly middle-class city back then.

I know. It's hard to believe, given the more recent developments in American life - the salient one being the extreme and perverse financialization of the economy. That is actually what you see manifested on-the-ground (and up-in-the-air) when you visit New York these days. To be specific, what I saw sitting on a bench along the High Line - a walking trail built on an old railroad trestle through the former Meatpacking District into Chelsea - was all the wealth of the flyover states funneled into a few square miles of land on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

As I watched the endless stream of tourists and hipsters stride by in their selfie raptures, I pictured the various downtowns of the Midwest I've visited over the years - St Louis, Kansas City, Minneapolis, Detroit, Akron, Dayton, Cleveland, Louisville, Tulsa, and many more - and remembered the incredible desolat ...

Wildfires Engulf Napa, Sonoma And 6 Other California Counties; More Than 20,000 Forced To Flee

Wine country is burning.

Thousands of residents of Napa Valley, Sonoma and six other counties have been forced from their homes - and thousands more are preparing to flee - as 14 wildfires tear through Northern California, resisting fire fighters' efforts to contain them.

California's fire chief says at least 1,500 homes and commercial buildings have been destroyed - and officials said that estimate was probably conservative. While no deaths have been confirmed, fire officials say numerous residents have been injured and a number of people are also missing. California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection Director Ken Pimlott say an estimated 20,000 people have been evacuated.

Gov. Jerry Brown has declared a state of emergency for Sonoma, Napa and Yuba counties, revealing that FEMA had approved emergency grants to help the state combat the fires. More than 20,000 people have been forced to evacuate, state officials said.

#BREAKING: Gov. Jerry Brown announces State of Emergency for Napa, Sonoma and Yuba Counties. due to fires pic.twitter.com/Yvd75jt4IZ

— KPIX 5 (@CBSSF) October 9, 2017

As the LA Times reported, fire-friendly weather conditions converged prior to the outbreak of fires, which originated primarily in Sonoma and Napa.

The Santa Ana winds - strong, extremely dry down-slope winds that occur mainly in the fall and originate inland in deser ...

Macquarie: "Investors Are Mentally Exhausted Because They Understand There Is Nothing Normal In This Market"

In a note released this morning by Macquarie's Viktor Shvetz, the bank's stunned head of global equity strategy looks at what has become a "world without risk" and makes several observations, the key of which is absolutely spot on: "Investors are probably suffering extreme mental exhaustion. Historically low volatilities and risks, coinciding with high valuations, would make anyone nervous." The reason for this underlying dysphoria, is that "investors understand that there is nothing normal in the current environment of unprecedented financialization and economic disruption. The deadweight of US$400 trillion 'cloud' of financial instruments (backing into assets that are either worthless or are declining in value) must be supported by ongoing financialization.

This implies that liquidity must continue to grow, volatilities must be controlled and neither demand nor supply can yield higher cost of capital. Thus, risks facing investors are that either CBs and/or China misjudge extent to which reflation is dependent on inflating asset values and China's fixed investment.

Indeed, one look at risk assets shows that spreads are at all time tights, a market that is more complacent than it was in the summer of 2007.

And yet, therein lies the rub, because in the near-term, liquidity ...

Why Deutsche Bank Should Keep John Cryan

Deutsche Bank still has a long journey to good returns and it won't get there quicker by changing its chief executive.

A High-Quality Problem for Videogame Makers

Videogame publishers have been on a strong run this year. The transition of the business to digital distribution has boosted profit margins and allowed game makers to generate multi-year returns from games that once measured their shelf life in months.

Why Investors Should Care About Trump Tax Cuts' Fairness

Whether the rich would be the biggest beneficiaries of tax-reform efforts is a matter of fierce political debate. But they would likely be among its first beneficiaries, and for investors that alone would matter.

Key Words: Nonsensical Rifle Addiction? This Dutch TV show is laughing at America's love of guns

Satirical news show took a dig at the NRA and tells us how we can help solve the 'epidemic.'

Key Words: Pence 'stunt' at Indianapolis Colts game was 'worse than Bridgegate': Scarborough

Though that traffic-disrupting political stunt arguably became Chris Christie's political Waterloo (and sent aides to prison), Vice President Mike Pence's brief visit to Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis was, argued MSNBC's Joe Scarborough, "so much worse."

GE's stock falls to 2-year low as leadership changes seen as a 'clear negative'

GE's stock tumbled to a 2-year low as the recent abrupt changes in leadership fueled concerns that the industrial conglomerate's earnings report will disappoint, again.

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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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