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01Nov2017 Market Update: Wall Street Having Trouble Keeping New Highs, DOW Up 30 Points, Nasdaq Down 0.3 Percent, WTI Crude Falls From 55 Handle To 54, Gold And US Dollar Index Steady

Written by Gary

The three major indexes set new historical highs upon the opening bell and then trended down fractionally (SPY +0.1%) finally moving the small caps moderately into the red.

Here is the current market situation from CNN Money

North and South American markets are mixed. The S&P 500 is higher by 0.11%, while the Bovespa is leading the IPC lower. They are down 0.38% and 0.12% respectively.

Traders Corner - Health of the Market

Looking at the last three columns (below), the first one (Actual), is what was reported this morning. The second column (Forecast) is what analysts had forecast and the third column is the previous report. Full calendar HERE.

What Is Moving the Markets

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

U.S. factory activity index eases off 13-1/2-year high

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A measure of U.S. factory activity retreated from a 13-1/2-year high in October as some of the boost from hurricane-related supply disruptions faded, but continued to point to strengthening manufacturing conditions.

S&P, Dow higher as oil prices rise; Apple weighs on Nasdaq

(Reuters) - The S&P and the Dow were higher on Wednesday, as energy stocks gained from a jump in oil prices and strong private jobs data pointed to the strength in the labor market, while Apple's 1 percent drop limited gains on the Nasdaq.

Siemens Gamesa needs more wind in its sails as Vestas stretches U.S. lead

FRANKFURT/MADRID (Reuters) - Siemens Gamesa has fallen behind biggest rival Vestas in the race for orders in the United States, hurt by a perceived lack of technology investment and a less centralized supply chain in the world's second-biggest wind turbine market.

OPEC likely to keep oil supply curbs for whole of 2018: sources

DUBAI (Reuters) - OPEC is likely to stay the course by keeping its current curb on oil production in place for the whole of 2018 despite potential output disruptions next year, Gulf OPEC sources said.

Ackman exits years-long Herbalife short bet, turns to options

(Reuters) - Activist investor William Ackman, who placed a $1 billion bet in 2012 that Herbalife Ltd's stock price would tumble to zero, said on Wednesday his firm has capped losses by recently closing out its short position in the nutrition and supplements company.

U.S. October sales of trucks, SUVs soar, car slump continues

DETROIT (Reuters) - Major automakers posted mixed U.S. new vehicle sales in October on Wednesday, though America's love affair with high-margin pickup trucks and SUVs remained in full bloom as larger, pricier vehicles fared better than passenger cars.

Record Thanksgiving air travel could boost U.S. airlines

NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. airline profits in the first nine months of 2017 fell 20 percent year over year, but the busiest Thanksgiving travel period in more than a decade could give carriers a boost, according to an industry trade group on Wednesday.

Exclusive: Shareholder in Brazil's Oi leans on distressed debt funds for support

SAO PAULO (Reuters) - An influential shareholder in Brazil's Oi SA is working with U.S. and UK distressed debt hedge funds to maintain his central role at the telecoms provider as it struggles to emerge from bankruptcy protection, four sources said.

Lockheed F-35 deliveries were halted for 30 days: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon halted shipments of Lockheed Martin Corp's F-35 fighter jets for 30 days this fall after it discovered corrosion around fasteners and a fix was devised, the Pentagon and Lockheed said on Wednesday.

"It's Been Dismal" - Gold Coin Sales Slump As 'Bugs' Bounce To Bitcoin

Gold prices are rallying, but retail gold dealers and shops are struggling to survive.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, businesses that sell gold coins and other products made from the precious metal usually thrive during years like 2017.

Gold futures have gained more than 10%, boosted by a weaker dollar and by big investors looking for a haven during recent geopolitical tensions surrounding North Korea and Iran.

But despite higher bullion prices and solid demand from not-American-central banks, American Eagle Coin sales by the US Mint in October 2017 are down 87% YoY for gold and down 73% YoY for silver...

h/t @Gloeschi

The weak demand is taking a toll on gold dealers, some of whose sales have dropped as much as 70% compared with last year, according to Jeffrey Christian, managing partner at market-research firm CPM Group.

"It's been absolutely dismal," said Peter Thomas, senior vice president of metals at Zaner Precious Metals, a Chicago precious-metals dealer.

"A lot of guys have been really hurting."

And as WSJ notes, one reason for the declining business: A number of retail buyers are turning to cryptocurrencies like bitcoi ...

Meet Monsanto's Other Herbicide Problem...

Earlier this year we wrote about a series of court documents that were unsealed and seemingly revealed a startling effort on the part of both Monsanto and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to work in concert to kill and/or discredit independent, albeit inconvenient, cancer research conducted by the World Health Organization's International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) related to their key herbicidal product, RoundUp. The efforts to kill the research came even as Monsanto's own lead toxicologist, Donna Farmer, admitted that she "cannot say that Roundup does not cause cancer" because "[w]e [Monsanto] have not done the carcinogenicity studies with Roundup" (see: Monsanto Colluded With EPA, Was Unable To Prove Roundup Does Not Cause Cancer, Unsealed Court Docs Reveal).

But, as Reuters points out today, RoundUp isn't the only Monsanto herbicide causing outrage in the ag community these days as state regulators all across the country say they're being flooded with reports from farmers that Dicamba, Monsanto's other herbicide, is increasingly becoming airborne and killing crops far away from the fields where they were actually applied.

U.S. farmers have overwhelmed state governments with thousands of complaints about crop damage linked to new versions of weed killers, threatening future sales by manufacturers Monsanto Co (MON.N) and BASF SE (BASFn.DE).

Monsanto is ...

Dear Janet - About That Balance Sheet Normalization?

At the last FOMC meeting - on September 20th - Janet Yellen and her merry band of failed forecasters proclaimed that the Federal Reserve Balance Sheet would be allowed to normalize with reinvestments slowed or stopped in October.

There's just one thing...

The Federal Reserve balance sheet has risen by over $5 billion in October - the biggest monthly rise since February.

Now, we are well aware of the lags in reporting data from SOMA but this is as of last Wednesday and so unless The Fed suddenly dumped over $5 billion in its balance sheet on Thursday and Friday, we suspect 'normalization' means something different to the PhDs at The Fed than it does to the avereage joe.

What The Kennedy Assassination Records Reveal: Uncontrollable Incompetence

Authored by Charles Hugh Smith via OfTwoMinds blog,

Imagine Harvey Weinstein wielding a "top secret" stamp to block any exposure of the uncomfortable truth and you have the FBI, CIA and NSA.

One way to interpret the intelligence community's reluctance to let all the Kennedy assassination archives become public is that the archives contain evidence of a "smoking gun": that is, evidence that the intelligence agencies of the United States of America were complicit in the assassination of the President.

I think the agencies fear something larger: exposure of their gross incompetence, their "cowboy" recklessness and their disavowal of elected-civilian control. Their fear of this exposure is based on one simple fact: nothing's changed since 1963. They were unaccountable and incompetent then, and they remain unaccountable and incompetent now. The only difference is their funding has greatly increased.

We rarely get an insider's glimpse of the intelligence community's pettiness, hubris and incompetence. The Ministry of Propaganda is tasked with showing the NSA, CIA, FBI, et al. as super-competent, super-dedicated, and focused on defeating evil (which is always presented as unambiguously evil, i.e. anti-American.)

Although it's 30 years old, I still recommend this account of a top MI5 (U.K.) officer, SpyCatcher: The Candid Autobiography of a Senior Intelligence Officer.

I've read many books on the intelligence communit ...

What to Do if You Inherit $140 Million in Bitcoin?

SoftBank has stumbled into a bitcoin treasure in buying Fortress Investment. With the CME launching bitcoin futures, SoftBank may hang on to its digital ducats.

Startups That Never Grow Up

The flood of cash into startups has allowed companies to stay private for far longer than in the past, raising the question of whether many companies are worth the $1 billion-plus values private investors have attached to them.

Razer's IPO Looks an Expensive Game

Will people buy new keyboards and mice the way they buy iPhones? That's the question investors should ask before they jump into Razer's initial public offering.

September 2017 Headline Construction Spending Growth Slows

Written by Steven Hansen

The headlines say construction spending was up and near expectations. Our view is that this does not consider inflation, and the trend lines clearly show a slowing sector.

Hedge Funds: Can a focus on the environment help hedge funds? Morgan Stanley think so

Morgan Stanley wants hedge funds to go green.

Market Extra: Why the stock-market rally may be entering the FOMO stage

With stocks slipping through the dreaded month of October unscathed, the biggest risk is missing out on the rally, an economist says.

London Markets: FTSE 100 finishes in the red, yanked lower by Next, StanChart gloom

U.K. stocks end a volatile session slightly lower on Wednesday, yanked into the red by Next PLC and Standard Chartered shares tumbling after earnings reports.

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