Dow Heading for 20,000, Stocks Rise, Gold Falls Ahead of Fed Rate Hike

Blue-chip index nears milestone as tech joins the Trump rally--Traders assign 100% odds to a Fed rate hike on Wednesday:
DJIA 3-month chart (source: google.com)
S&P500 Index (source: google.com)

Fed Interest Rate Hike Bad News For China? At the Federal Reserve Open Market Committee (FOMC) meeting on Wednesday, an interest rate hike of 0.25% is expected. This rate hike will be only the second increase by the Federal Reserve in 10 years (the first increase took place December 2015). This may have ramifications on emerging markets in general and China in particular which faces an economic slowdown. A U.S. interest rate increase will likely increase capital outflows and generate additional growth headwinds for China. 

Headlines Tuesday leading up to the expected Fed Rate Hike:

Dow Heads for 20,000 as Stocks Rise, Gold Falls"Global stocks advanced, sending the Dow Jones Industrial Average within 50 points of 20,000 on speculation that the Federal Reserve’s expected rate increase is a signal of confidence that the economy is strengthening. The dollar and Treasuries were little changed. IBM Corp. and Intel Corp. led gains in the blue-chip index as it heads for a fresh record and the round-number milestone ... Its relative-strength index stood at the highest level in two decades ..."--Bloomberg.com

IBM Lays Out Plans to Hire 25,000 in U.S. Ahead of Trump Meeting"IBM Chief Executive Officer Ginni Rometty said she plans to hire about 25,000 people in the U.S. and invest $1 billion over the next four years, laying out her vision for filling technology jobs in America on the eve of a meeting of industry leaders with President-elect Donald Trump. Rometty, who is on Trump’s advisory panel of business leaders, will join Facebook Inc.’s Sheryl Sandberg, Amazon.com Inc.’s Jeff Bezos and Alphabet Inc.’s Larry Page and Eric Schmidt at a summit with Trump Wednesday in New York that is said to focus on jobs."--Bloomberg.com

Small Business Owners' Optimism Skyrockets Following Trump Victory"The November reading of the National Federation of Independent Businesses' small business optimism index jumped to 98.4 from 94.9 — its sharpest surge since 2009 — with all of the increase in sentiment coming after the U.S. elections held on Nov. 8."--Bloomberg.com

After talking with Trump, Bill Gates likens president-elect to JFK"... in the same way President Kennedy talked about the space mission and got the country behind that, I think whether it's education or stopping epidemics ... [or] in this energy space, there can be a very upbeat message that [Trump's] administration [is] going to organize things, get rid of regulatory barriers, and have American leadership through innovation ... Of course, my whole career has been along those lines. And he was interested in listening to that. And I'm sure there will be further conversation."--Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates after recently speaking with Trump--CNBC.com.

"Allegations of Hacking Election Are Baseless" Say High-Level American Intelligence Officials: "The various ways in which usually anonymous spokespeople for U.S. intelligence agencies are equivocating – saying things like “our best guess” or “our opinion” or “our estimate” etc. – shows that the emails alleged to have been “hacked” cannot be traced across the network. Given NSA’s extensive trace capability, we conclude that DNC and HRC servers alleged to have been hacked were, in fact, not hacked."--WashingtonsBlog.com

Obama Says No Evidence that Russia Tampered with Votes in Election: During an interview with the Daily Show’s Trevor Noah, Obama downplayed the hack of a private email account of Clinton campaign chief John Podesta. "We were frankly more concerned in the run up to the election to the possibilities of vote tampering, which we did not see evidence of, and we’re confident that we can guard against ... None of this should be a big surprise,” Obama said, “Russia trying to influence our elections dates back to the Soviet Union.” Obama dismissed the hack and the leaked emails as “not very interesting” and lacking “explosive” revelations. He puzzled as to why it was an “obsession” by the news media despite the knowledge that the Russians were responsible.--Breitbart.com.

Trump's selection of  Tillerson lifts hope of US rapprochement in Moscow"Sergei Karaganov, one of Russia's most senior foreign policy hands, says the difference is that Tillerson is a hard-nosed pragmatist who [as Secretary of State] will focus on getting things done, and leave aside the many political and philosophical issues where Russia and the US will never agree. Like many in Moscow's upper circles, Mr. Karaganov has met Tillerson and says that his ratification would be a signal that genuine and lasting detente between the two powers is a real possibility."--CSMonitor.com

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