Friday, June 9, 2017

Higher Dow but Apple leads tech sellof off on Nasdaq

Dow gained 87, advancers over decliners about 3-2 but NAZ tumbled 113, finishing the lows.  The MLP index rose 1+ to the 295s & the REIT index added 1+ to the 349s.  Junk bond funds advanced & Treasuries were slightly lower.  Oil went up & gold pulled back (more on both below).

Dow Jones Industrials

Live 24 hours gold chart [Kitco Inc.]

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Senate Reps are mulling over the idea of combining health care reform & tax cuts into one bill, in an effort to expedite the process for passing Trump's legislative agenda, sources inside the White House said.  Trump's promise for economic reform, which would bring down the corp tax rate from 35% to 15%, & overhauling ObamaCare has been pushed to the sideline, as the ongoing investigation into possible ties between the administration & Russia continues to dominate the news cycle.  In an effort to expedite what has been an uphill battle in passing Trump's key legislative promises, the talks underway in the House & the Senate aim to get it all done at once, health care & tax cuts all in one bill.  With 2018 an election year, the clock is ticking for Congress to come together & pass tax reform before their time is spent out on the campaign trail.

Senate Republicans, House in talks to combine health care and tax cuts into one bill, White House sources say

Pres Trump pledged new efforts to speed approvals for highways & other projects as part of his proposal for a $1T boost to fix aging US infrastructure.  At the Transportation Dept, Trump said his goal was to solve "one of the biggest obstacles to creating this new and desperately-needed infrastructure – and that is the painfully slow, costly and time-consuming process for getting permits and approvals to build."  Trump is moving ahead with "massive permit reform" & setting up a new council to help project managers navigate bureaucratic hurdles.  "This Council will also improve transparency by creating a new online dashboard allowing everyone to easily track major projects through every stage of the approval process," Trump said.  He said the council will make sure that any federal agency that "consistently delays projects by missing deadlines will face tough, new penalties. We will hold the bureaucracy accountable."  The White House is also creating a new office in the Council of Environmental Quality "to root out inefficiency, clarify lines of authority, and streamline federal, state and local procedures so that communities can modernize their aging infrastructure without fear of outdated federal rules getting in the way."  Transportation Sec Elaine Chao said the dept is asking for public input on other changes it can make to speed approvals.  Trump said it took "four years to build the Golden Gate Bridge and five years to build the Hoover Dam – but today it can take 10 years just to get the approvals and permits needed to build a major infrastructure project."  The pres, who was a New York-based real state developer before taking office, has repeatedly decried the process of winning approval for highway permitting.  "It includes 16 different approvals involving 10 different federal agencies being governed by 26 different statutes," Trump added.  He spoke in front of 2 huge charts detailing the hurdles to build highways & held up a massive report that he said was needed before a Maryland highway was built.  "How can a country prosper under such restraints?" Trump asked. "Why should we continue to accept what is s o clearly unacceptable? I was not elected to continue a failed system – I was elected to change it." The administration proposes $200B in gov funding over 10 years as part of a goal of getting $1T in public & private infrastructure spending.

Trump announces push to speed up 'desperately-needed infrastructure'

Gold prices settled lower to a tally a loss of 0.7% for the week.  Gold fell as the $ strengthened against the £ & the €, in particular, in the wake of the UK general election, which saw the Conservative Party lose its parliamentary majority.  The precious metal marked the first weekly loss in 5 weeks. Aug gold fell $8.10 (0.6%) to settle at $1271 an ounce, the lowest finish since Jun 1

Gold Marks First Weekly Loss In 5 Weeks

Oil prices rose about 1%, bouncing a bit from steep falls earlier in the week as a declaration of force majeure in Nigeria prompted some buying in a market still worried about the global crude glut.  US crude was 39¢ higher at $46.04 a barrel.  US crude's weekly declines of more than 3%, pressured by big US inventories & heavy worldwide flows.  Rebel activity & gov mismanagement have frequently interrupted crude production in Nigeria, generally Africa's largest oil exporter.  Prior to that incident, oil markets had been under pressure in part because of evidence showing Nigeria & Libya, the 2 OPEC producers exempt from output cuts, were boosting production.  Libya's 270K-bpd Sharara oilfield has reopened after a workers' protest & should return to normal production within 3 days, the National Oil Corp said.  US data this week showed a surprise 3.3M-barrel build in commercial crude oil stocks to 513M barrels.  Inventories of refined products were also up, despite the start of the peak-demand summer season. Asian markets are also oversupplied, with traders putting excess crude into floating storage, an indicator of a glut.  Thomson Reuters Eikon shipping figures show at least 25 supertankers sitting in the Strait of Malacca & the Singapore Strait, holding unsold fuel.  Those are similar amounts to May & Apr, indicating that even in Asia, with its strong demand growth, traders are struggling to clear inventories.

Oil rises as Nigerian pipeline leak overshadows supply worries

Baker Hughes reported that the number of active US rigs drilling for oil climbed 8 to 741 this week.  That marked a 21st weekly rise in a row.  The total active US rig count, which includes oil & natural-gas rigs, increased 11 to 927.  Traders showed little reaction to the data, with Jul West Texas Intermediate crude up 31¢ (0.7%) at $45.95 a barrel.

U.S. Oil-rig Count Posts Another Weekly Climb, Up 21 Weeks In a Row

Sec of State Rex Tillerson called on Saudi Arabia and other countries to end their "blockade" of Qatar, after they accused the country of backing terrorist activities.  But Tillerson also said the emir of Qatar must do more, & quickly, to fight extremism.  Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates & Egypt broke ties with Qatar earlier this week.

Tillerson Calls On Saudis, Others To Ease Blockade On Qatar

Stocks were generally higher, but Apple (AAPL), a Dow & NAZ stock, tanked, leading NAZ much lower.  Stock markets are vastly overbought with minimal corrections during this long run rally.  Selling has to be expected.  However, Trump s pressing forward with his economic agenda & that behavior has brought optimism to stock traders.

Dow Jones Industrials

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