Europe shares up, Nasdaq hits record high; U.S. yields up

A trader looks at computer screens during a Spanish bond auction in MadridBy Gertrude Chavez-Dreyfuss NEW YORK (Reuters) – European stocks advanced on Friday, while the S&P 500 and Nasdaq rose in line with gains in U.S. Treasury yields, as investors were encouraged by upbeat bank earnings and positive U.S. economic data. Investors largely shrugged off the biggest fall in Chinese exports since 2009 to focus on U.S. data that suggested stronger growth.

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U.S. banks to stay in fashion as earnings kick off

Traders work on the floor of the NYSE in New YorkBy Sinead Carew and Lewis Krauskopf NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. bank stocks will stay in favour with investors as long as earnings reports in the coming week show an improving profit outlook while investors wait to see if U.S. President-elect Donald Trump lives up to his campaign promises. Wells Fargo & Co. , JPMorgan Chase & Co and Bank of America kicked off the earnings season on a positive note on Friday, sending the S&P 500's banking sub-sector up as much as 2.3 percent to its highest since February 2008 before paring gains. It closed trading up 0.8 percent compared with a 0.2 percent gain for the broader S&P 500 .

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STOCKS TICK UP: Here’s what you need to know


Stocks ticked up on Friday after a slew of economic data.

The Nasdaq and the S&P 500 closed up, while the Dow finished slightly negative.

First up, here’s the scoreboard:

  • Dow: 19,885.73, –5.27, (-0.03%)
  • S&P 500: 2,274.64, +4.20, (0.18%)
  • Nasdaq: 5,574.12, +26.63, (+0.48%)
  • US 10-year yield: 2.398%, +0.037
  • WTI Crude: $52.51, -0.50, (-0.9%)

1. Americans have never been this conflicted about the economy’s directionVarious surveys of consumer and business confidence have shown decisive improvement in sentiment since the election. But Republicans are a lot more excited than Democrats, according to the University of Michigan.

2. Retail sales jumped in December on strong car sales and online shoppingRetail sales increased by 0.6% in December from a revised 0.2% pace in November. “Consumers are actually in pretty good shape,” said Scott Anderson, chief economist at Bank of the West, a subsidiary of BNP Paribas.

3. Wells Fargo missed on earnings in its first full quarter since its accounts scandal. The bank reported earnings per share of $0.96 on revenue of $21.58 billion on Friday. Those numbers were lower than the $1.00 and $22.45 billion that analysts were expecting.

4. JPMorgan beat on earnings, and had a record-breaking quarter. Meanwhile, Bank of America beats on the bottom line, but missed on the top line.

5. The oil rig count fell for the first time in nearly 3 monthsThe number of active oil rigs fell by seven to a total of 522. One gas rig was added, taking that total to 136.

6. Trump’s tweets are driving millennials to make a rookie investing mistake. In a survey of 904 people, E-Trade found that 60% of those ages 25 to 34 had traded off a Trump tweet. “Older investors have lived through many more market environments, and they are cognizant of the fact that what the president-elect says is much less meaningful in the longer term,” said Mike Loewengart, E-Trade’s vice president of investment strategy.


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SpaceX 2015 accident cost it hundreds of millions: Wall St. Journal

An unmanned SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket explodes after lift-off from Cape CanaveralCAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (Reuters) – – Elon Musk’s SpaceX lost more than a quarter of a billion dollars in 2015 after a botched cargo run to the International Space Station and the subsequent grounding of its Falcon 9 rocket fleet, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. The accident derailed SpaceX’s expectations of $1.8 billion in launch revenue in 2016, an analysis of the privately held firm’s financial documents showed, according to the Journal, which said it had obtained the documents. SpaceX declined to comment on the Journal’s report.

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The House just took another major step toward repealing Obamacare

paul ryan smile

The US House of Representatives on Friday struck the second blow against the Affordable Care Act, better known as Obamacare.

The House passed a resolution Friday that directs committees in the Senate to draft legislation that would repeal the ACA.

The resolution’s passage followed a morning of spirited debate, including a colorful goat analogy from one Republican lawmaker. But both parties largely stuck to their talking points: Republicans highlighted increasing premiums and costs, while Democrats focused on expanded coverage to more than 20 million Americans.

In the end, the resolution passed 227 to 198, with nine Republicans and no Democrats crossing party lines.

“By taking this first step toward repealing Obamacare, we are closer to giving Americans relief from the problems this law has caused,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in a statement. “Too many families have seen costs soar, quality drop, and choices reduced to one — which just isn’t a choice at all. This resolution gives us the tools we need for a step-by-step approach to fix these problems and put Americans back in control of their health care.”

There was a sliver of doubt about the resolution’s passage when Sen. Rand Paul tried to bring together Republicans to reject the bill over concerns that repealing the law without a replacement would increase the federal deficit. Paul was the only Republican to vote against the resolution in the Senate.

Despite Paul’s attempted wrangling, the march toward the repeal of Obamacare continues.

The process of repealing is a bit complicated, so let’s break it down

Obamacare Repeal Checklist_v02

Republicans are using what is called budget reconciliation to repeal a large part of Obamacare.

Budget reconciliation allows lawmakers to pass legislation that affects the federal budget with a simple majority. In this case, outlays for things in the ACA such as Medicaid expansion and funding for the exchanges on which people can sign up for insurance fit the bill.

Trying to pass a bill outside budget reconciliation would allow Democrats to filibuster any legislation. A filibuster can be quashed only with a cloture vote, which needs to be approved by 60 senators to pass. (The Senate has 52 Republicans.)

So where does the resolution passed by the House on Friday go next?

Relevant committees will convene over the next few weeks to begin the process of drafting a repeal bill. The resolution has a provision that directs these committees to come up with a draft of the repeal bill by January 27.

From there, the draft will act like any other bill — it’ll go to a vote on it in the House, where it would need a simple majority to pass, and then to a vote the Senate, where it can be amended. If it is amended, then it goes to a conference committee.

If the Senate adds amendments, the conference committee, made up of both House and Senate members responsible for drafting the bill, would come together and create a compromise bill. That bill would then go through votes in both bodies and, if passed, go to President-elect Donald Trump’s desk for a signature or veto.

Though the repeal is at the top of the legislative agenda, Trump is unlikely to put his pen into action on it anytime soon.

GOP leaders’ comments that they want to replace the bill at the same time they repeal it suggest that a seamless transition may take time. Ryan has said the law’s replacement and repeal would happen “concurrently,” and Trump has said it will happen “simultaneously.”

SEE ALSO: Man who says he ‘would be dead’ without Obamacare confronts Paul Ryan on the law’s repeal

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