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Close But No Cookies

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DOW + 100 = 21,613
SPX + 7 = 2477 (record)
NAS + 1 = 6412 (record)
RUT + 12 = 1450 (record)
10 Y + .07 = 2.33%
OIL + .61 = 48.50
GOLD – 5.40 = 1250.60
BITCOIN – 1.70% = 2547.12 USD
ETHEREUM – 2.57% = 201.76

The S&P 500 index, the Nasdaq Composite and the Russell 2000 all closed at record highs. The Dow is close but no cookies.

It is earnings season and there were plenty of good earnings and a few bad. 3M (MMM) marked its sharpest-ever drop on a dollar-basis, off $11.43, or down 5.4%, cutting about 80 points from the price-weighted Dow. 3M’s share slide came after disappointing earnings.

The Post-it Notes-and-Scotch tape maker’s share decline, however, was more than offset by a tandem of firm rallies in McDonald’s (MCD) and Caterpillar (CAT) which reported second-quarter results that outstripped Street estimates. A drop in Google parent, Alphabet (GOOGL), weighed on the Nasdaq Composite, but the Nasdaq still managed to eke out a record high.

Before we dig into earnings news, there was a lot going on today. The Senate voted on healthcare legislation, in a way. Senate Republicans narrowly agreed to open debate on a bill to end Obamacare, but efforts to repeal or repeal and replace the law still face significant hurdles. Senator John McCain, who was diagnosed this month with brain cancer and has been recovering from surgery at home in Arizona, made a dramatic return to the Capitol to cast a crucial vote in favor of proceeding.

McCain received a standing ovation as he entered the chamber. The Senate vote was deadlocked at 50-50 and Vice President Mike Pence cast the deciding vote. Despite the successful procedural vote, there is no obvious path for any of the GOP’s various proposals to pass out of the Senate in the coming days.

Republicans who voted yes to begin debate warned that they still planned to oppose final passage if the amended legislation was not to their liking. The Senate will now move to an amendment process, but if none of the ensuing proposals can get 50 Republican votes, the party will be stuck again. The Better Care Reconciliation Act has already drawn public opposition from at least four Republicans.

In a speech on the Senate floor, McCain criticized both the underlying proposal and the secretive, partisan process Majority leader Mitch McConnell used to write it. McCain said he would not vote for the bill as it is today. He said the proposal must include changes demanded by Arizona’s governor, Doug Ducey, to win his vote.

The Senate’s next step is to vote on a full repeal of Obamacare – which will probably fail without a proposed bill to replace it. Then it will try an amended version of the Better Care Reconciliation Act, the latest Senate proposal; this will also likely fail since it hasn’t yet been scored by the Congressional Budget Office and thus needs 60 votes to pass rather than just...


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