Saturday, September 30, 2017

Today's Headlines

  • Spain Tries to Stop Catalonia's Weekend Vote on Independence. Catalonia heads into a watershed moment in its modern history this weekend, and no one really knows how it’s going to play out. Spanish government spokesman Inigo Mendez de Vigo said Friday that there’s no way the regional administration will pull off its plan to hold an illegal referendum on independence on Sunday. Jordi Turull, the Catalan executive’s spokesman, said Friday in Barcelona that almost 7,000 volunteers are ready to open 2,315 polling stations across the region of 7.5 million people.
  • Saudi GDP Shrinks for Second Quarter in a Row Amid OPEC Cuts. Saudi Arabia’s economy contracted for the second quarter in a row as the kingdom grapples with low oil prices and its businesses struggle to cope with economic reforms. The kingdom’s gross domestic product shrank 1 percent compared with the same period a year earlier, when it expanded 0.9 percent, according to official data released on Saturday. The economy had contracted 0.5 percent in the first three months of 2017.
  • Trump Ramps Up Fed Chair Search With Decision Due Within Weeks. Donald Trump in the next few weeks will make one of the most consequential decisions of his presidency with the choice of a nominee to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve, and the selection process is accelerating as he meets with top contenders. The president and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin sat down Thursday with former Fed governor Kevin Warsh and interviewed Fed Governor Jerome Powell Wednesday, three administration officials said. He’s also met with current Fed Chair Janet Yellen and White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, who are both in the running for the post, the officials said.
  • The Kindest Quarter Arrives for a Stock Market That Nothing Can Rattle. (video) Theories abound as to why the fourth quarter is so often the best one for equity bulls. Fund managers need to catch up, holiday spending spreads cheer, investors celebrate the January effect in December. Or maybe it’s just dumb luck. Whatever the case, the S&P 500 Index has risen seven times in the last eight years between October and December. And while calendar effects just took a beating with a volatility-free September, betting against any form of momentum remains a losing trade until proven otherwise.
  • FEMA Rethinking Policy That Bans Churches From Disaster Aid. Federal disaster-relief officials say they’re “considering making changes” to a policy banning churches, synagogues and mosques from receiving rebuilding aid that’s routinely given to other non-profits, such as zoos and museums.
Wall Street Journal:
  • Had bullish commentary on (FSLR), (TSM), (GD), (TXT), (ERJ) and (AMAT)
Zero Hedge:
Business Insider:
  • A $732 billion investor says Wall Street is seriously underestimating Trump's tax plan. Even after some renewed enthusiasm in the last two weeks for lower corporate taxes, UBS Asset Management says Wall Street is placing too little odds on the prospects of tax reform. "There's no way that the markets would be trading this way if they were pricing in a greater than 50% probability of successful tax legislation," said Evan Brown, the director of asset allocation at UBS Asset Management, which oversees more than $732 billion in holdings. "It's starting to get priced in, but there's plenty of room," he told Business Insider on Thursday. 

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