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21Dec2017 Market Close: Stocks Modestly Higher On Tax Hopium; Oil Closes Higher, But Gold Is Flat

Written by Gary

Wall Street closed higher on Thursday led by energy and financials amid investor expectations the two sectors would thrive in a lower corporate tax environment. Brent crude closed at its highest in more than two years as shrinking U.S. stockpiles allay concerns over a global glut, while a key North Sea oil pipeline remains shut.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

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The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Energy and financials power Wall Street's rise

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The three main U.S. stock indexes rose on Thursday, boosted by bank and energy stocks as investors bet on more economically sensitive sectors.

Judge in AT&T, Time Warner merger trial to deny data protection order

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The judge overseeing the Justice Department's bid to stop AT&T from buying Time Warner said Thursday that he would deny a request to tighten protections on confidential data.

Exclusive: Bank of America Merrill Lynch to pay $26 million for allegedly failing to report suspicious transactions

NEW YORK (TR Regulatory Intelligence) - Wall Street regulators later Thursday or early next week are expected to fine Bank of America Merrill Lynch a total of $26 million over alleged failures to report suspicious transactions, two sources familiar with the matter said.

Boeing in talks with Embraer; Brazil backs jetliner alliance

SAO PAULO/RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - Planemakers Boeing Co and Embraer SA are discussing a "potential combination," they said on Thursday, in a move that could consolidate a global passenger jet duopoly provided Brazil's government gives its blessing.

Facebook, Universal Music strike multi-year licensing deal

(Reuters) - Facebook Inc and Universal Music Group on Thursday announced a global agreement that will enable users to upload videos featuring music from Universal's library across the social media network as well as Instagram and Oculus.

Nike's profit tops estimates but margins dip on weak North America demand

(Reuters) - Nike Inc's growth in international markets helped the company's quarterly profit and sales beat Wall Street estimates on Thursday, but a drop in gross margins indicated severe price competition in North America, its largest market.

Goldman Sachs to set up cryptocurrency trading desk: Bloomberg

(Reuters) - Goldman Sachs Group Inc is setting up a trading desk to make markets in digital currencies like bitcoin, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the matter.

SEC charges bankrupt Woodbridge Group over $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme

(Reuters) - The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has charged Woodbridge Group of Companies and its owner, luxury real estate developer Robert Shapiro, for allegedly operating a $1.2 billion Ponzi scheme that targeted thousands of investors, the agency said on Thursday.

Toys 'R' Us plans new playdate with U.S. shoppers

WALLKILL, NEW YORK (Reuters) - Joshua and Amy Hightower drive 40 minutes to a Toys 'R' Us Inc store in a blue collar neighborhood in Wallkill, one of the farthest reaches of the New York City suburbs, so their children can try toys at an amusement area dubbed the "play lab."

Watch Live: House Votes On Spending Stopgap To Avert A Christmas Shutdown

A day after Republicans celebrated their biggest legislative accomplishment to date when the House passed the White House's tax-reform package in a nearly party-line vote, Republicans are scrambling to pass a continuing resolution that will avert a Christmas shutdown.

Readers can watch the vote below:

Per ABC, House Republicans unveiled a new, stripped-down spending bill early Thursday that would punt acting some of the most controversial legislative priorities until early next year, virtually guaranteeing unanimous opposition from Democrats, who are demanding that Congress enshrine protections for so-called "dreamers" - undocumented immigrants who were brought to the US as children. Earlier this year, President Trump eliminated protections put in place by his predecessor, but promised Democrats that Congress would act to preserve those protections in legislation.

The House may also vote on an $81 billion disaster aid package that was initially going to be included as part of the continuing resolution, but has since been separated into its own piece of legislation by the leadership.

Another bipartisan priority, resources to combat the opioid crisis, is also notably absent from the "clean" spending bill.

The bill would keep the government operating through Jan. 19 and permit lawmakers — Republicans and Democrats — to head home for the holidays. It would delay battles over the budget, health care and immigration into January, denying Democrats wins that they had hoped to score this year.

< ...

Credit, Crypto, & The Yield Curve Crumble As Stocks See Longest 'Dipless' Streak In 58 Years

As the yield curve rolls over again and credit crumbles, stocks just wanna go higher because... well that's what stocks do...

Small Caps were squeezed higher once again led by Financials and Energy stocks (Utes weakest) - stocks were weak again into the close... (Trannies ramped to unch at the close) - weakness started around the Catalonia vote...

Futures show the open was dumped again... and bid again...but weak into the close...

NOTE -Small Cap ramp today was all about getting green for the month...

Another short squeeze at the open BUT is it now out of ammo?

There h ...

Goldman Is Preparing To Launch A Cryptocurrency Trading Desk

In light of the recent "blockchain" naming craze, this morning we said that the inevitable next round of corporate name changes would involve "JP Blockchain" and "Blockchain Sachs".

Round 2: JP Blockchain vs Blockchain Sachs

— zerohedge (@zerohedge) December 21, 2017

While this was supposed to be a joke, as so often happens, it ended up predicting the shape of things to come because as Bloomberg reports, Goldman Sachs - using its pre-blockchain name for the time being - is in the process of setting up a trading desk to make markets in digital currencies such as bitcoin. The bank aims to get the business running by the end of June, if not earlier, two sources said. A third said Goldman is still trying to work out security issues as well as how it would hold, or custody, the assets.

Why the rush to have the world's first dedicated institutional desk?

For the same reason that while Jamie Dimon was mocking bitcoin, Lloyd Blankfein saw an opportunity: unlike equities which retail investors have largely given up on realizing that equity capital markets are rigged and manipulated by central banks, retail investors are ever more fascinated with crypto - the price trends don't hurt - so much so that Coinbase now has more users than Charles Schwab. To Lloyd and Goldman this spells one thing: opportunity.

As Bloomberg notes, the move positions Goldman Sachs to become the first large Wall Street firm to make markets in cryptocurrencies, "whose wild price swings and surging values have captured the public's imagination but given pause to established institutions."

Is A Major Winter Blast Coming To The East Coast This Christmas?

According to Michael Clark, a private weather forecaster, his latest report indicates a major winter storm is headed for the East Coast between Dec 20, 2017 through Jan 04, 2018...

As notes, the pattern is about to change in a huge way and it may begin on #Christmas eve! Accumulating snow is on the table between Dec 24th-Jan 5th in a big way.

Of course, if a storm erupts, it is the perfect excuse for lagging spending... despite the tax cut windfalls...

Tax Bill Makes 2018 the Year of the Deal

With tax uncertainty in the rear-view mirror, pressure on companies to combine will keep growing.

Alzheimer's Setback Is Warning to Biogen Investors

Biogen's stumble in Alzheimer's disease should remind investors of bigger risks in the future.

Time for Swiss Watchmakers to Take Apple Seriously

Apple Watch sales will probably exceed all Swiss electronic-watch exports this year.

Why Are Modern Macroeconomic Devotees Consistently Wrong?

from William K. Black, New Economic Perspectives

DSGE Dilettantes v. ADM God Devotees

The truly exceptional thing about 'modern macroeconomics' devotees is not that they are so consistently and horrifically wrong or that they persist in their errors - but their exceptional combination of arrogance and disdain for those who have dramatically better records and broader and more relevant expertise.


21Dec2017 Market Update: Wall Street Fractionally Higher As Investors Await Tax-cut Benefits, Major Indexes Trading Near Record Levels, WTI Trading In The Low 58 Handle

Written by Gary

All three benchmarks indexes rose this morning (SPY +0.4%) as investors expected lower corporate tax rates to encourage companies to spend their additional capital on dividends, new projects and wage hikes.

NewsWatch: Here's what the companies that make up the Dow industrials think about the tax bill

The large multinational companies in the Dow Jones Industrial Average applaud the tax bill, but only one of the 30 companies has announced any specific actions it would take as a result.

Earnings Results: Nike shares seek direction as results top Street estimates but North America sales don't

Nike Inc. shares trade between slight gains and losses in the extended session Thursday, following a gain in the regular session, after the athletic gear company topped Wall Street estimates for the quarter but North America sales fell below consensus estimates.

Bond Report: Treasury yield curve reverts to flattening as investors hunt for bargains

Long-dated yields fell while short-term yields rose on Thursday after investors waiting on the sidelines plowed into long-end of the bond market.

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