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Wednesday, October 07, 2015

S&P Closes At Highest Level In 3 Weeks, Oil Jumps

Financial Review

Close Calls

DOW + 122 = 16,912
SPX + 15 = 1995
NAS + 42 = 4791
10 YR YLD + .03 = 2.06%
OIL – .47 = 48.06
GOLD – 1.80 = 1146.80
SILV + .17 = 16.15

The S&P 500 closed at its highest level in three weeks. The S&P 500 has been up for 6 out of the past 7 sessions.  The S&P is down 3.09 percent for the year and the Dow is off by 5.11 percent ytd.

Yesterday, oil prices jumped nearly 5% as the American Petroleum Institute reported a 1.2 million barrel decrease in crude stocks last week. The International Energy Agency has said it expects world oil demand to increase by around 1.7 million barrels per day this year, one of the fastest rates for years as consumers respond to much lower fuel prices. The tightening market balance comes as U.S. production starts to decline. This morning, the Energy Information Administration reports global oil demand should increase by its fastest rate in six years in 2016, suggesting a surplus of crude is easing more quickly than expected. The EIA forecasts U.S. oil output will fall to 8.8 million barrels per day from an average of 9.25 million in 2015. But the EIA report also showed U.S. crude inventories rose by 3.1 million barrels in the last week, compared with analysts’ expectations for an increase of 2.2 million barrels.

The Bank of Japan has held off on expanding its record stimulus, signaling a belief that inflation will hit a 2% target despite troubling signs in the economy. Although the central bank left its annual asset purchases at ¥80-trillion-yen, they could still announce additional easing at a policy meeting on October 30, when the Bank of Japan is expected to cut its long-term economic and price forecasts.

China’s foreign exchange reserves posted their largest quarterly decline on record in July-September, as the central bank intervened to stabilize the yuan after its unexpected devaluation jolted global markets. The country’s foreign reserves, the world’s largest, dropped $43 billion to $3.5 trillion last month (the lowest since July 2013), and were down by about $180 billion for the third quarter.

The International Monetary Fund has published its Global Financial Stability Report and they are warning emerging market economies to protect their financial systems from possible instability as the U.S. Federal Reserve prepares to raise interest rates, saying shocks or policy missteps risk derailing the global economy and triggering equity market sell-offs. Meanwhile, problems lingering from the financial crisis still pose risks to advanced nations, including elevated public and private debt, and the risk of insufficient liquidity in the bond market when interest rates rise.

Tomorrow afternoon the Fed will release the minutes of their September FOMC meeting where the Fed did not raise interest rates. That decision has been described as a close call. Tomorrow we’ll get a better idea just how close.

One more day until Alcoa’s third-quarter results; marking the unofficial start of earnings reporting season. They could kick off the weakest set of earnings reports in six years. S&P 500 companies are now expected to report a 4.4 percent fall in third-quarter profit, according to Thomson Reuters data. The index is trading around 15.5 times expected earnings.

The world’s biggest smartphone maker by shipments, Samsung, handed out some positive guidance, suggesting its earnings may have bottomed out. While the mobile phone business isn’t likely to see a significant rebound as growth in global demand for smartphones cool amid saturated markets, Samsung’s earnings are being powered by strong growth in its chip business due to tight supply and firm pricing.

Monsanto, one of the world’s largest seed and agrichemical companies, said it will cut 2,600 jobs and restructure operations to cut costs in a slumping commodity market that it expects to squeeze results well into 2016. At the same time the company announced a $3 billion accelerated share repurchase program.

Volkswagen’s supervisory board held crisis talks today, facing deadlines from German regulators to explain its rigging of diesel emissions tests and what it is doing to tackle the scandal. The U.S. congress has launched its own investigation. The company has said it may have to refit up to 11 million cars and vans worldwide. Recalls are expected to start in January and would be completed by the end of 2016.

United Auto Workers members are planning a strike at U.S. manufacturing plants of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles ahead of the current four-year contract extension expiration at midnight.

Anheuser-Busch InBev  is raising its bid for SABMiller to $104 billion. This marks the third takeover proposal to combine the two biggest beer brewers in the world. And it looks like SABMiller will reject this latest offer.

Ahead of its annual Adobe MAX conference yesterday, Adobe issued an outlook for its coming fiscal year that was way lower than Wall Street expected.

Twitter and Alphabet have launched an open source code that allows faster loading of content-heavy Web pages on smartphones and tablets. The code, called accelerated mobile pages, or AMP, will help load content with heavy content such as video, animations and graphics faster.

Pure Storage made its trading debut today on Wall Street. Ticker symbol is PSTG. The flash storage company’s initial public offering price was $17 a share, but it actually opened around $16.74 then slipped lower throughout the session.

American Apparel is planning to revamp its struggling fashion business under a restructuring plan that would give ownership to Standard General, the same hedge fund involved in the RadioShack bankruptcy earlier this year. Shares in American Apparel, the country’s largest “Made in the U.S.A” brand, were suspended from trading on Tuesday ahead of their delisting from the NYSE.

Deutsche Bank expects to report a third-quarter net loss of $7 billion and may eliminate its dividend for the year after writing down the value of its two biggest divisions and boosting its reserve for legal costs. The German bank reports earnings October 29.

Pharmacy benefits manager Express Scripts has settled an investor debate about which pricey cholesterol drug it will cover – by saying it will cover both of them. Regeneron and Sanofi’s Praluent and Amgen’s Repatha will now both be included on Express Scripts’ formulary. Each of the PCSK9 inhibitors is at least $14,000/year, significantly higher than the cost of generic statins.

In theory, 3D printing offers a future where you could easily print just about anything you want. In reality, we’re not there yet. Eric Sprunk, Nike’s COO, recently attended a summit held by tech news site GeekWire, and based on what Nike is already doing Sprunk says the ability for consumers to 3D print a pair of sneakers is close at hand. The way it might work goes something like this: You could head to Nike’s website, customize a sneaker to your specifications, and buy a file containing the instructions for the 3D printer. If you have a printer at home, you could print it yourself and have a new pair of sneakers in a matter of hours. If you don’t, you could take the file to a Nike store and have them print it for you.

Airbus has called off talks with Bombardier over supporting the troubled CSeries jet, leaving the Canadian plane maker with few options to break into the 100-160 seat airplane market. Under a proposed tie-up, Airbus would have helped Bombardier complete development of the troubled CSeries in exchange for a controlling stake in the program. Bombardier, which has so far received a total of 243 firm orders for the jet, was unable to win a single order for the plane at the Paris airshow in June.

American Airlines Group is joining the Dow Jones Transportation Average effective October 15. The Dow Transports will then include 6 airline companies: United, Southwest, Delta, JetBlue, and Alaska Air. American Airlines replaces Con-way, the trucking firm being acquired by XPO Logistics.

Headed out of town for the holidays? Better book now. Whether you’re taking to the skies for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Year’s, one week is better than any other to purchase your airfares – and according to – this is the week. The online airfare booking site suggests that flights booked this week are 5 percent cheaper than regular fares. Using data from past holidays, the report also projects that Christmas fares should be purchased on Oct. 9 for the best price and flights for a New Year’s holiday are cheapest on Oct. 10.

DuPont was found liable for a woman’s kidney cancer in the first of 3,500 lawsuits over a toxic Teflon ingredient found in Ohio and West Virginia water. A federal jury in Ohio found that DuPont was liable for negligence and infliction of emotional distress and should pay $1.6 million in damages. The jury found the company didn’t act with actual malice in the way it handled C-8, the toxic chemical used to make Teflon at the company’s plant in West Virginia, which eventually was dumped into the Ohio River. Dupont won’t actually pay damages; they spun off the Teflon business and associated liabilities, to a company they call Chemours.

Last week we learned T-Mobile had been hacked and 15 million customers’ data had been breached. Cue the lawyers; at least five lawsuits are under way against T-Mobile and Experian, all seeking class-action status to represent everyone affected by the breach. A sixth lawsuit named only Experian. Experian Information Solutions held the data on its servers to perform credit checks on current and potential T-Mobile customers. The hackers stole names, addresses and Social Security numbers. People who submitted credit applications from Sept. 1, 2013, to Sept. 16, 2015, were affected. The great irony here is that Experian holds itself out as an expert in the field of data protection; they took in $4 billion in revenue last year to protect customers’ data.

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