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Morning Comment

Irma certainly packed a wallop. As many as 8 million people lost power. Storm damage costs to private insurers will range into the tens of billions of dollars. 

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Stocks fell over 1% in the first trading session of the fourth quarter. While the headline story was elevated tensions vis a vis North Korea after a successful hydrogen bomb test, there were other factors that added to the selling pressure. 

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I noted on Wednesday that I was impressed with the leadership in Tuesday’s rebound. After sharp morning losses related to a North Korea missile launch and the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, stocks staged an impressive rebound led by the risk-on NASDAQ names.

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Stocks fell on Friday but the negative reaction was much more muted than in was on Thursday when the Dow fell 274 points amid rising chaos in the White House.

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For the second time in recent months, stocks fell sharply based on fear related to remarks from President Trump. Weak earnings from key retailers added to the mix.

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Stocks fell yesterday led by the energy sector. For months it has been presumed that the best drillers in the U.S. could make good money even with the oil price averaging about $45 per barrel.

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Despite all the turmoil in Washington, the bull market continues to chug along. Higher earnings, low inflation and a weaker dollar offset the concerns out of Washington.

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One of the confusing aspects of this economic recovery has been the absence of inflation, particularly as the labor force approaches full employment. 

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Stocks dips slightly on Friday in quiet mid-summer trading. Last week, the White House undertook a big shakeup in its communications team bringing on long time Donald Trump friend and hedge fund veteran Anthony Scaramucci to replace Sean Spicer. 

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Stocks advanced yesterday after a series of strong earnings reports. While only a small fraction of companies have reported Q2 earnings so far, almost 75% have beaten expectations on both the top and bottom lines.

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