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13Feb2018 Market Close: Wall Street Ends Higher Ahead Of Key Inflation Report, Amazon Sends Medical Stocks Plummeting On Report Of New Health Care Effort, DOW Closes 39 Points Higher

Written by Gary

US stock market major index's climbed today for a third straight session (SPY +0.3%), buoyed by Amazon.com and Apple. Investors are focused on inflation data that could upset the market's fragile recovery.

Todays S&P 500 Chart

If this market correction follows history, we are not out of the woods yet

JC Penney to close Wisconsin facility, eliminating 670 jobs

Wild market swings said to draw regulator scrutiny amid warnings of manipulation

This is how Wall Street's 'fear gauge' is being rigged, says one whistleblower

Stock market ends higher ahead of key inflation report

Amazon sends medical stocks plummeting on report of new health care effort

The Market in Perspective

Here are the headlines moving the markets.

Wall Street ends up for third straight session; inflation data ahead

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Wall Street climbed on Tuesday for a third straight session, buoyed by Amazon.com and Apple , while investors focused on inflation data on Wednesday that could upset the market's fragile recovery - or clear the way for more gains.

'Whistleblower' alleges manipulation of Cboe volatility index

NEW YORK/BENGALURU (Reuters) - Wall Street's most widely followed gauge of future stock market volatility is being manipulated, causing billions of dollars in losses a year to unwary investors, a law firm representing an "anonymous whistleblower" alleged in a letter to U.S. financial regulators and released on Monday.

Blue Apron puts EBITDA breakeven on table for late 2018, shares rise

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Blue Apron Holdings Inc said on Tuesday it could break even on a key measure of profitability earlier than Wall Street analysts had expected, fueling a brief surge in the meal-kit maker's shares.

Broadcom reduces Qualcomm board nominees before March 6 showdown

(Reuters) - Broadcom Ltd on Tuesday cut the number of board seats it was trying to win at Qualcomm Inc to six from 11, and reiterated that its offer for the company was only good until the conclusion of a March 6 shareholder meeting at the chipmaker.

Apple CEO downplays special dividend at shareholder meeting

(Reuters) - Apple Inc Chief Executive Tim Cook downplayed a suggestion that the company might issue a special dividend to shareholders with some of the $285 billion in cash that the company is now able to bring back from overseas.

Time Warner a good investment despite merger uncertainty: investor

(Reuters) - Time Warner Inc stock is an attractive investment despite uncertainty surrounding its pending deal with AT&T Inc , according to a prominent investor.

Wall Street regulator looking into VIX manipulation: WSJ

(Reuters) - A Wall Street regulator is probing into whether prices linked to the Cboe Volatility Index have been manipulated, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday, citing people with knowledge of the matter.

Sky pays 3.6 billion pounds to win bulk of new Premier League rights

LONDON (Reuters) - Rupert Murdoch's Sky will pay 3.58 billion pounds to show 128 Premier League matches for three seasons from 2019/20, in a deal that brings to an end rampant inflation in the value of the domestic rights for English top-flight soccer.

Delta interested in new mid-size Boeing jet, despite trade spat

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Delta Air Lines Inc said on Tuesday that Boeing Co's anticipated new mid-market jet is an "interesting concept," in an early indication the carrier is not harboring ill will over a recent trade row with the planemaker.

White House Insists FBI Director Didn't Contradict Kelly's 'Porter Abuse' Alibi

Speculation that Chief of Staff John Kelly is not long for the West Wing has metastasized to such a degree that the White House could no longer afford to address it - especially since somebody (presumably Kelly or one of his allies) has leaked to CNN that Jared and Ivanka also supported Rob Porter's rise.

And so it was that, during Tuesday's press briefing, Spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders offered a creative interpretation of FBI Director Christopher Wray's comments that explained away an apparent contradiction between the story Kelly told the media...by essentially denying there was any discrepancy at all.

What amounted to a media stiff-arm, Huckabee explained that there was an intermediary, the White House Personnel Security Office, which "had not finished their process" by January.

Sanders

Wray implied during his testimony that the FBI first raised questions about Porter's history of domestic violence before it had completed its initial investigation as early as March 2017. Wray implied that the FBI repeatedly informed the West Wing of Porter's red flags and seemed to suggest that it's difficult to imagine Kelly, who is technically in charge of the personnel office, wasn't aware.

According to Axios, San ...

Powell Saves Stocks But Crude, Cryptos, & Yield Curve Sink

As if last week never happened - sell as much vol as you can because Jay Powell can turn back time...

It appears the stagnation of the rebound overnight was enough to bring out the committee to save the world as Jay Powell uttered some words this morning on financial stability... and the world was saved again...

Dow futures tested up to the 50% retracement once again today... and failed...

On the day we opened weak before Powell saved us all, but there was another weaker close...

James Montier: This Is A "Greater Fool Bubble" And I'm Getting Out

Last August, we were delighted to point out the latest quirk of this incredibly manipulated and centrally-planned "market": in "Record Number Of Fund Managers Say "Stocks Are Overvalued" As They Rush To Buy Nasdaq", we noted a paradox whereby on one hand a record number, or 46%, of Wall Street fund manager respondents to the BofA monthly survey said stocks are "overvalued"...

... even as virtually all remained fully invested in equities.

Today, half a year later, the same paradoxical observation forms the basis for the latest note by Jeremy Grantham's colleague, GMO's James Montier, titled "The advent of a cynical bubble", in which he uses the exact same survey and makes the exact same observations to reach our conclusion:

A recent Bank of America ML survey showed the highest level of those citing "excessive valuation" ever. Yet despite this, the same survey showed fund managers to still be overweight in equities.

To Montier this combination was not paradoxical per se,as much as exposin ...

Wells Fargo Sends 38,000 Apology Letters In Error

Wells Fargo accidentally sent apology letters to 38,000 people in error after the bank was caught foisting auto insurance on more than 800,000 customers who only wanted to take out auto loans.

Tacking insurance onto the loans were part of the bank's "cross-selling" practice of offering products across different segments - which also included opening millions of credit card and bank accounts for people who never asked for them.

It gets better: the expense of the unneeded auto insurance (which covered collision damage) pushed some 274,000 Wells Fargo customers into delinquency and resulted in almost 25,000 wrongful vehicle repossessions. And the cherry on top: "among the Wells Fargo customers hurt by the practice were military service members on active duty."

The mechanics of the fraud, via the New York Times:

Here is how the process worked: When customers financed cars with Wells Fargo, the buyers' information would go to National General, which was supposed to check a database to see if the owner had insurance coverage. If not, the insurer would automatically impose coverage on the customers' accounts, adding an extra layer of premiums and interest to their loans.

The Next Big Number Keeping Markets on Edge

Throughout last year, investors worried about a phantom menace that could upset markets: higher U.S. inflation. They were wrong, to their own pleasant surprise. Now they could be right, which creates its own complications.

Time to Put Alibaba's Ant Under the Microscope

Ant Financial has a big share of China's huge mobile payments market. That doesn't mean investors should swallow talk of a lofty valuation as it gears up for a possible IPO.

The Wayfair Riddle

The furniture retailer's business has serious flaws. But the stock keeps soaring.

Key Words: Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: Don't kid yourself, 'we live in a racist country'

A reporter last night asked San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich why it's important for the NBA to celebrate Black History Month. Popovich isn't one to pull any punches:

Trump Today: Trump Today: President says he's weighing tariffs on steel and aluminum imports

President Donald Trump on Tuesday said he's considering slapping tariffs on steel and aluminum imports, as he met with a group of lawmakers on trade and also prodded Democrats to make a deal on immigration.

The Tell: Meet cryptocurrency guru George Weiksner—he's 11

At 11 years old he might seem out of place at upscale New York City restaurant Bagatelle, which hosts Crypto Mondays, a meet-up group where crypto and blockchain enthusiasts gather to meet, greet, and share ideas in the world of digital currencies.

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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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