Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Markets fluctuate, waiting for Yellen to speak

Dow gained 9, advancers slightly ahead of decliners & NAZ climbed 6.  The MLP index slid back 1+ to the 301s & the REIT index was off a fraction to the 349s.  Junk bond funds were a little higher & Treasuries rose.  Oil went up (see below) & gold was flattish.

AMJ (Alerian MLP Index tracking fund)

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Crude Oil Nov 16

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

Oil prices recovered from 6-week lows, with US crude rising as much as 1%, as the market weighed up OPEC comments that a possible production freeze agreement could last longer than expected.  West Texas Intermediate crude futures rose 45¢ (1%), to $43.75.  The session bottom of $42.55 was also the lowest in nearly 6 weeks.  Oil prices initially fell on pessimism that OPEC & other major crude producers will reach an output freeze deal at Sep 26-28 informal talks in Algeria.  Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Nigeria & Libya, 5 of OPEC's largest oil exporters, have all raised or been trying to hike output in recent months even while talking of a freeze.  But as noon approached, short-covering & fresh buying emerged from those fearing of a rally should OPEC announce a deal in Algeria.  OPEC Secretary-General Mohammed Barkindo said he expected the potential freeze deal between OPEC & other producers to freeze output to last one year, longer than previously thought.  Worries that US oil stockpiles may have risen last week, however, limited gains in crude futures.  US crude stockpiles likely rose 2.3M barrels last week, based on the current forecast.  The American Petroleum Institute (API) will release its weekly crude inventory report after today's market close, prior to official stockpiles data on tomorrow from the Energy Information Administration (EIA).

Oil Rebounds from 6-Week Low on OPEC Speculation; Gas Tumbles

The SEC is investigating Exxon Mobil, a Dow stock & DIvidend Aristocrat, on climate change & accounting practices.  The regulator is also exploring how the company valued its assets in the wake of the oil price crash.  A more than 60% drop in oil prices has forced many integrated oil producers around the world to write down the value of their assets.  XOM is the only major exception.  The news follows reports last week that the NY Attorney General Eric Schneiderman was investigating the company's accounting practices & why the oil major hasn't written down the value of its assets despite a slump in oil prices.  The stock fell 1.29.  If you would like like to learn more about XOM, click on this link:

Reports: SEC Investigating Exxon Over Accounting Practices

Exxon Mobil (XOM)

Microsoft, another Dow stock, unveiled the new Nokia 216, a low-end feature phone with a 2.4-inch QVGA display & 0.3 megapixel cameras (front & rear).  The device will run the Series 30 operating system & can download apps & games from the Opera Mobile Store.  It will have expandable memory & a replaceable battery, & the Nokia 216 will be priced at approximately $37 to target emerging markets.  The stock was off pennies.  If you would like like to learn more about MSFT, click on this link:

Microsoft Unveils Low-End Nokia 216

Microsoft (MSFT)

Stocks did little, not knowing where to go before Janet gives her speech tomorrow.  There was a tiny bit of selling into the close, whatever that means.  Meanwhile oil is sloshing around the mid 40s as traders guess what will happen next week at the meeting in Algeria.  Not much else to report.

Dow Jones Industrials


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