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01Feb2018 Market Close: Wall Street Closes Lower In Choppy Session As Higher Rates Snuff Out Rally, SP 500's January Gain Suggests Momentum For A Strong 2018, DOW Closes Up 37 Points, WTI Crude Eases Up Into The 66 Handle

Written by Gary

US stock market major index's closed mixed, but mostly down (SPY -0.1%) as bond yields rise and technology stocks retreated ahead of a host of high-profile earnings.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

S&P 500's January gain suggests momentum for a strong 2018

(Reuters) - One of the oldest Wall Street adages dictates: "So goes January, goes the year." After the S&P 500's gain of almost 6 percent in the first month of 2018, that should mean the rest of the year will follow suit.

Bitcoin slides as Facebook ad ban, India clampdown unnerve investors

LONDON (Reuters) - Bitcoin, the world's largest cryptocurrency, skidded 11 percent on Thursday to its lowest since November, as a Facebook ban on cryptocurrency adverts and a growing regulatory backlash against the nascent market frightened investors.

Wall St. pulls back from earlier gains as bond yields rise

(Reuters) - U.S. stocks pulled back from earlier gains on Thursday as bond yields rose and technology stocks retreated ahead of a host of high-profile earnings.

Wells Fargo loses big client after dialing up risk in retirement funds

BOSTON (Reuters) - After Wells Fargo & Co decided to ramp up risk in its flagship age-based retirement funds last year, one of its largest customers decided to call it quits, unhappy with the new investment strategy and how the bank handled the transition.

Guess shares slump after model Kate Upton tweets about executive

(Reuters) - Guess Inc shares fell more than 14 percent on Thursday following a tweet by model and actress Kate Upton about the company's co-founder using the #MeToo hashtag designed to highlight sexual harassment.

CBS board meets, set to discuss Viacom merger: sources

(Reuters) - CBS Corp's board is set to discuss a merger with Viacom Inc on Thursday, sources have told Reuters, possibly starting the process of reuniting the two media companies split by mogul Sumner Redstone more than a decade ago.

Airbnb says no IPO in 2018, names first COO

SAN FRANCISCO (Reuters) - Short-term home rental service Airbnb Inc will not go public this year, the company said on Thursday, and it appointed its first chief operating officer as it pursues global growth and tighter management of its finances as a more mature company.

Blackstone sees data, not desktop products, as future of Thomson Reuters unit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blackstone Group LP President Tony James said on Thursday the future of the Thomson Reuters Financial and Risk business is in data, not in selling terminal desktop products to traders, bankers and investors.

Exxon Mobil names MetLife CEO Kandarian to its board

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Exxon Mobil Corp , the world's largest publicly-traded oil producer, named MetLife Inc Chief Executive Steven Kandarian to its board of directors on Thursday.

Gold Jumps; Bonds, Stocks, & Dollar Slump; Cryptos Crushed

Everything (except gold) was hammered today from the end of Asian trading... (even if the machines did try their best to rally stocks)...

But, as Bob Pisani explained, the most important thing is... "Nothing to see here... move along..."

China ugly overnight...

European stocks are suffering (DAX below key support)...

And while futures were weaker heading into the open, a sudden panic-buying ramp happened at the bell... but it did not last... Totally chaotic trading then ensued...

Too Much Bubble-Love... Likely To Bring Regret

Authored by Pater Tenebrarum via Acting-Man.com,

Unprecedented Extremes in Overbought Readings

Readers may recall our recent articles on the blow-off move in the stock market, entitled Punch-Drunk Investors and Extinct Bears (see Part 1 & Part 2 for the details). Bears remained firmly extinct as of last week - in fact, some of the sentiment indicators we are keeping tabs on have become even more stretched, as incredible as that may sound. For instance, assets in bullish Rydex funds exceeded bear assets by a factor of more than 37 at one point last week.

Bullish investors had every reason to feel smug in recent months. And while there are a number of bears of varying degrees of prominence who have become cautious much too early (many of whom have fallen silent over the past year or so, but that is how it always works...), there are very few traders who are actively betting on a downturn. And yet, we know that the main bubble fuel - namely, broad true money supply growth - is faltering.

Last Friday, after discussing with friends of ours what the best way to play tail risk currently probably is, we updated a few of the charts we showed in those articles. More on the former topic ...

FBI Agents Issue Statement In Support Of FBI Director

With just hours to go until the allegedly public release of the FISA memo - unless either the White House or Congress gets cold and decide to halt the public distribution of the memo - on Thuesday afternoon, the FBI Agents Association joined the fray, when it issued a statement of support for FBI Director Christopher Wray, who according to CNN has hinted he may resign if the memo is released.

This is what the 3-tweet statement said:

"The FBI Agents Association appreciates FBI Director Chris Wray standing shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of the FBI as we work together to protect our country from criminal and national security threats.

As Director Wray noted, FBI Special Agents have remained steadfast in their dedication to professionalism, and we remain focused on our important work to protect the country from terrorists and criminals—both domestic and international.

Special Agents take a solemn oath to our country and to the Constitution, and the American public continues to be well-served by the world's preeminent law enforcement agency."

It was not immediately clear how releasing a memo which allegedly reveals how the FBI "was weaponized by the Obama officials/DNC/HRC to target political adversaries" prevents the FBI from continuing to serve the American public.

1/3 Statement from FBIAA President Tom O'Connor (@tfoconnor83): "The FBI Agents Association appreciates FBI Director Chris Wray standing shoulder to shoulder with the men and women of the FBI as we work together to protect our country from criminal and national security threats."

— FBI Agents Assoc. (@FBIAgentsAssoc)

WTF Chart Of The Day: VIX-Selling Frenzy Erupts As Stocks Sink

There's "buying-the-dip"... and then there's this!!!

After a couple of days of volatility in stocks, prices falling and VIX rising, 'investors' - if that's what one calls them - have decided to pile back into one ETF in a size that is utterly unprecedented.

They've poured a record $520 million into an exchange-traded note that gains when VIX drops...

With the number of shares outstanding jumping to levels not seen since September.

Additionally, bullish equity ETFs saw close to $4 billion a day in inflows even on the stock market's down days, according to Eric Balchunas, a Bloomberg Intelligence senior ETF analyst, who cited the example of the index-tracking SPDR S&P 500 ETF Trust (SPY).

"This is unusual, especially for the highly liquid ETFs such as SPY, where flows usually correlate to the market," Balchunas said.

He identified two reasons for the divergence:

"First, the low ETF volume during the selloff foreshadowed that it wasn't that much of a panic situation and would be a 'buy the dip ...

No Bill Yet for Facebook's Fixes

The social network's changes slow user growth but financials stay strong.

5G Coming Sooner, But Who Will Reap Benefits?

Silicon Valley companies have reaped most of the benefits of the smartphone revolution, leaving network builders and operators running to stand still. It seems unfair, but the 5G era might not be any different.

How Alibaba Built Its Way to Record Sales

China's e-commerce giant Alibaba delivered another record quarter, though investors should worry about how it got there.

February 2018 Economic Forecast: Relapse This Month

Written by Steven Hansen

Econintersect's Economic Index (EEI) declined and returned to territory associated with modest economic growth.

The Fed: Fed says it's stress-testing banks using deeper recession

The Federal Reserve on Thursday released the scenario that they'll use for stress-testing the nation's biggest banks — a deep recession that would crush the stock and housing markets and throw millions out of work.

numberFire: This one Patriots weakness may cost them the Super Bowl

A New England Patriots weakness could provide a glimmer of hope for the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LII.

Rex Nutting: Cutting red tape isn't the panacea Trump thinks it is — nor is it as easy

Donald Trump claims that he's cut a lot of red tape and unleashed the economy, but Rex Nutting says he hasn't.

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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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