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MARKET-ALERT – Rumblings Up, Down, and Around Wall Street – Issue #423 dated March 5, 2017 – with Ray Dirks of RAYDIRKS Research and his team of securities analysts and money managers, along with the internationally-followed Web sites, and, where Fashion meets Finance, and where Stocks meet Blonds.

Well, well, well…it was another exciting week in the U.S. stock market as the major stock indexes climbed again to new all-time highs, and Rumblings’ Favorite Stocks for 2017 performed well, led again by two of the best companies in the world – Apple, Inc. (AAPL), the California-based high-tech corporation, which closed at $139.78, up over 3 points, quite a bit higher than the market did, percentage-wise, and Aflac (AFL), the Georgia-based health and life insurance company, which also received some favorable news and closed near its high at $72.27.

Let’s take a look at “The Trader” column in tomorrow’s Barron’s, the Dow Jones Business and Financial Weekly, where the headline reads : “Another Week, Another Dow Milestone” and the article starts off : “Like an English major wading through James Joyce’s Ulysses, the market last week was trying to make sense of overlapping narratives. That didn’t stop it from extending its weekly winning streak.

The Dow Jones Industrial Average breached the 21,000 mark for the first time, gaining 184 points, or 0.9%, to close the week at 21,006 – its fourth straight weekly gain. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index rose 0.7%, to 2,383, and the Nasdaq Composite advanced 0.4%, to 5,871; both have been up for six straight weeks.

Much of the action was compressed into one day. After barely moving last Monday and Tuesday, the Dow surged more than 300 points on Wednesday, its largest one-day point gain since November 7, just before the election that swept Donald Trump into office. That the big gain followed Trump’s speech to Congress Tuesday night wasn’t lost on many observers, who noted its conciliatory tone. “Trump became presidential,” Strategas Research Partners Dan Clifton wrote in a note to clients last week. The market appeared to agree, even if some of the enthusiasm was tamped down by the need for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself over his unacknowledged contact with Russia’s ambassador during the presidential campaign.

But it was more than just a speech that got the market’s juices flowing. Barclays strategist Keith Parker points to the slew of economic data that was released in the hours following the address. A survey of Chinese manufacturing activity rose for the eighth month, while a similar measure in the U.S. hit its highest reading in nearly three years. “You have synchronized developed-market and emerging-market growth,” Parker says. “That’s a big driver pf the rally.”

A slew of Federal Reserve governors spoke this week, all of them with the same message. The time has come for a rate hike. Janet Yellen, in a Friday speech, drove that message home, signaling the Fed would probably raise interest rates at its two-day meeting that ends on March 15. Some worry the Fed could risk undermining the recovery, but not Brian Nick, chief investment strategist at TIAA Investments. “It’s seeing what we’re seeing,” he says. “The Fed can tighten policy without disrupting the economy.”

Is sentiment getting too frothy? The big gains have prompted strategists to lift their S&P 500 projections, with Bank of America Merrill Lynch taking its target to 2,450 from 2,350, and Stifel taking its to 2,500, from 2,400. And then there’s Snap (SNAP). Its initial public offering went off without a hitch after all, as the stock soared 44% on its first day of trading from the offering price of $17.00 to a closing price of $24.48. The move meant that Snap left $1.5 billion on the table, the fourth largest amount ever, according to data from University of Florida. finance professor Jay Ritter.

Yet Snap, at this point, remains something of a one-off, as others remain reluctant to go public. And Merrill Lynch’s Sell Side Indicator, a measure of Wall Street’s bullishness, still sits in neutral territory despite hitting its highest level in 16 months, a level that in the past has preceded an average gain of 17% over the following 12 months.

Yes, the market narrative has many strands. But for now, they’re pointing to a happy ending.”

Rumblings agrees that there’s a happy ending coming for our readers/investors, to the extent that they keep their money in stocks rather than in bonds.

Rumblings suggests that readers/investors do their due diligence, consult with their investment advisers, and purchase shares of Apple, Aflac, and the other companies on Rumblings’ Favorite Stocks for 2017 list. We think these stocks will go up by 25% to 50% or more within the next 12 months.

Rumblings also suggests that readers/investors place no more than 1% of the funds devoted to common stocks in any one security. It’s best to diversify….!

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