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12Jan2018 Market Close: Wall Street Soars To Record Highs On Earnings Optimism, WTI Crude Trends Back Up To The Mid 64 Handle, US Dollar Index Slips Into The 90's

Written by Gary

All three major benchmarks achieved record closing highs today (SPY +0.7%), as fourth-quarter earnings season kicked off with solid results from banks and robust retail sales drove gains for consumer stocks.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall St. scales record highs on earnings optimism, data

(Reuters) - Wall Street continued its rally on Friday as fourth-quarter earnings season kicked off with solid results from banks and robust retail sales drove gains for consumer stocks.

Rising rents, healthcare costs boost underlying U.S. inflation

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Underlying U.S. consumer prices recorded their largest increase in 11 months in December on strong gains in the cost of rental accommodation and healthcare, bolstering expectations that inflation will accelerate this year.

Goldman thwarts fraud class action tied to Abacus CDO: U.S. appeals court

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. appeals court said a shareholder lawsuit accusing Goldman Sachs Group Inc of fraudulently claiming to put client interests before its own when creating risky subprime securities before the financial crisis, including a collateralized debt obligation known as Abacus, cannot proceed as a class action.

D.E. Shaw takes stake in Lowe's: CNBC

(Reuters) - Hedge fund D.E. Shaw & Co has built an active stake in home improvement chain Lowe's Cos Inc , CNBC reported on Friday, citing sources.

BlackRock CEO Fink shows no signs of entering bitcoin ETF race

NEW YORK (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc has profited by being beating its competitors in exchange-traded funds to the punch, but Chief Executive Officer Larry Fink seems happy to be out of step with at least one trend - the race to build a bitcoin fund.

Fiat Chrysler recalls 162,000 minivans over glitch that may cause stall

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV said on Friday it was recalling more than 162,000 2017 Chrysler Pacifica minivans because a software glitch may cause the vehicles to stall.

Spark's price for Luxturna blindness gene therapy too high: ICER

(Reuters) - The proposed price for Spark Therapeutics Inc's groundbreaking one-time gene therapy for a rare form of blindness is far too high, an independent U.S. nonprofit organization that evaluates clinical and cost effectiveness of new medicines said on Friday.

Drugmakers see a pricing blueprint in an $850,000 gene therapy

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Global drugmakers are looking to a tiny biotech's $850,000 therapy for a rare type of blindness as a model for getting paid for highly expensive - and effective - new medicines.

Volkswagen's Canadian unit agrees to settle class action lawsuit

(Reuters) - Volkswagen AG's Canadian unit said on Friday it had agreed to settle a class action lawsuit by compensating users of some Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche diesel vehicles over emission issues.

Stocks Surge To Best Start In 30 Years; Bitcoin, Bonds & Dollar Battered

Just "buy" - everyone else is... what could go wrong?

It's been an interesting year so far... equities are unstoppable, the dollar is tanking, gold is soaring, and bonds are tumbling...

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180112_eod1.png

This is easy... US Equities have 'suffered' only one down day in 2018 so far (in fact Trannies haven't seen one down day)...

https://www.zerohedge.com/sites/default/files/inline-images/20180112_eod24.png

BTFD!!

Trump Lawyer Reportedly Paid $130,000 To Keep Porn Star Silent

As if the weekend news cycle wasn't crowded enough already.

With "shithole-gate" still dominating the headlines, possibly steering the federal government toward its first shutdown in five years, the Wall Street Journal has picked this weekend to revive a rumor that it first published shortly after the election, and which President Trump's lawyers have previously denied.

The paper described a plot by the Trump campaign to pay off an adult film actress who had been negotiating with Good Morning America for an exclusive interview about her brief affair with the president in 2006, just one year after he married Melania Trump.

According to the WSJ, Trump lawyer Michael Cohen arranged a $130,000 payment to the Stephanie Clifford, who 10 years ago was one of the biggest adult film stars in the US, working as "Stormy Daniels." In exchange, she had to sign an NDA barring her from discussing her experiences with Trump.

While the WSJ had previously reported the rumor about the GMA negotiations, the paper's latest report goes much further. It describes how Cohen arranged for the payment to be made through Clifford's lawyer, and how Clifford signed an NDA explaining she couldn't talk about it... which she apparently is doing now.

David Rosenberg Wonders If Fed "Will Remain A Serial Bubble Blower"

In his forecasts for 2018, David Rosenberg, chief economist and strategist at Gluskin Sheff warned his clients - and our readers - that they should "enjoy the next 12 months" because contemporary market conditions, characterized by investor complacency, volatility, high valuations and a tight labor market, are eerily similar to 1988, 1999 and 2006 - years that immediately preceded major market reversals.

Given these similarities, Rosenberg concluded that "we are 90% through the current cycle" and advised that clients should focus on counter-cyclical companies with strong balance sheets...or consider deploying their money outside the US.

However, in a note to clients published Thursday, Rosenberg added that the Jerome Powell Fed could make a policy error that inadvertently sets the market up for a painful drop.

In his note, Rosenberg wondered whether the Fed will "remain a serial bubble blower."

"The elephant in the living room remains the central banks," Rosenberg wrote. "The prevailing view is that balance sheet tapering will be mild and that Jerome Powell will prove to be a dove. This may well be the most important psychological driver for the market — that a new and inexperienced Fed will not take the punchbowl away in the coming year."

The Fed has been misguided, Rosenberg says, by its inflation target of 2% growth, which it has failed to reach despite a decade of historically accommodative policy. And investors have entered the year believing that the Fed will more or less stick to its projections (something that, in the past, it has proven unwilling to do).

Fed Paid $29.3 Billion To Banks 'Not' To Lend In 2017; Gave $80 Billion To Treasury

Authored by Anthony Sanders via SnakeHoleLounge.com,

Yesterday, The New York Federal Reserve announced that it actually increased their $4.2 trillion balance sheet by $1 million rather than shrinking it.

This comes on the heels of The Federal Reserve announcing that it provided $80.2 billion in payments to the US Treasury in 2017. This is the lowest remittance to Treasury since 2015, but still positive.

A Place Where Stocks Still Have Reason to Rally

The breadth of the global economic growth pickup is lifting even longstanding laggards. European stocks are a case in point—but the potential for catch-up remains appealing.

Why Nvidia Shares Can't Rise Forever

Chipmaker's business should keep growing strong, but its expensive stock may be in for a breather.

Why Gucci Owner Wants to Kick Off Its Pumas

Luxury group Kering is seizing the chance to offload Puma at a price that just about covers its purchase cost 11 years ago.

Kohl's upgraded as investments show signs of long-term growth potential

Kohl's was upgraded at RBC Capital Markets and J.P. Morgan after holiday season results that signal the company's initiatives are working

Market Extra: Investors quit playing defense as stock market sets string of records

The going has been good in the U.S. stock market, and investors, perhaps to their eventual regret, don't seem to expect that to end soon.

In One Chart: Here's a breakdown of the Medicaid recipients who aren't working

Most Medicaid recipients do work. The Trump administration will allow states to impose a work requirement to get the benefit.

Summary of Economic Releases this Week

Real Time Economic Calendar provided by Investing.com.

Earnings Summary for Today

Earnings Calendar provided by Investing.com.

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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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