Daily Scan: US stocks post best weekly returns since Feb; House approves oil exports

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    Updated throughout the day.

    October 9

    U.S. stocks ended modestly higher Friday, posting the biggest weekly gains since February. European markets also notched their longest string of gains since July, with the Stoxx Europe 600 gaining 4.3% higher for the week after rallying for six straight sessions. Risk traders are counting on lower rates to power stocks higher. The S&P 500 looks headed to close about 3.5% higher this week after finally closing above its 50-day moving average on Thursday. The Hang Seng gained 4.54% and the Shanghai Composite rallied 4.3%. The Nikkei 225 rose 3.87%. European markets, however, were hanging on to gains of about 1% as the dovish Fed outlook launched a commodities rally. On the calendar Friday:  Chicago’s Charles Evans.

    Here’s what else you need to know:

    House okays bill to export oil but White House veto possible. The measure passed 261 to 159 on largely partisan lines. Obama had threatened to quash the bill, saying the U.S. should focus on clean energy. Reuters

    Atlanta Fed President Dennis Lockhart sees rate liftoff soon. In a speech to the Society of American Business Editors and Writers, Lockhart said: “I see a liftoff decision later this year at the October or December FOMC meetings.” He also said consumer data hold the key to giving the Fed confidence to move forward with higher rates. Atlanta Fed

    Oil crosses $50, dollar slips on dovish FOMC meeting notes. The Fed’s policy-making body showed concerns about weak global growth and low inflation. Gold posted its highest settlement in seven weeks. Forecaster PIRA Energy sees oil headed to $70/barrel by the end of 2016. WBP Online

    Sharpen your crochet needles. Amazon is launching a competitor to Etsy. Handmade at Amazon launched with 80,000 crafted item from 5,000 sellers in 60 countries. New York Times (paywall)

    Alcoa earnings disappoint; outlook for China car production slashed. The aluminum giant posted third quarter earnings after the close of trading on Thursday of 7 cents/share — well below the estimates of 13 cents. Sales dropped 11% as Alcoa battled softer prices. Alcoa sees China car production dropping to 1%-2% from earlier expectation sof 5% to 8%. The stock is set to open 4% lower. CNBC, MarketWatch

    Glencore slices zinc production. The company said in a statement that it would reduce output by one-third — 4% of the total world output. Zinc prices, at a five-year low, promptly rallied 6%. Glencore is struggling to prove that it can handle its hefty $30 billion debt load. It’s shares are up 11% in response to the latest move. BBC

    Dell would need $40 billion in debt to complete EMC merger. The $50 billion+ merger with the storage company would be the biggest tech deal ever and create a corporate one-stop-shopping behemoth. Partner Silver Lake is working with Dell to secure funding. Dell took on $11.7 billion in debt after it went private two years ago. Wall Street Journal (paywall)

    Kevin McCarthy didn’t want to face bruising fight. The Californian faced an uphill battle with the Republican’s conservative wing to win the House speaker race. An exclusive interview. Wall Street Journal (paywall)

    Wall Street is okay with Hillary’s regulatory proposals. They aren’t nearly as radical as ones proposed by Massachusetts senator and nemesis Elizabeth Warren or her opponent Bernie Sanders. They would break up big banks. Clinton would tweak the rules in place and go after more bad buys. CNN Money

    Nobel Peace Prize goes to Tunisia’s National Dialogue Quartet. The group was cited  “for its decisive contribution to the building of a pluralistic democracy in Tunisia in the wake of the Jasmine Revolution of 2011.” USA Today

    Lagarde: China isn’t all “gloom and doom.” Speaking to the BBC, IMF chief Christine Lagarde said China’s economy should reverse its current deceleration and regain its momentum sometime next year. BBC

    Alibaba shares climb. Jack Ma made his shareholders happy today after his recent letter to shareholders caused Alibaba’s ailing stock price to climb over 1.3%. He apparently reiterated his stance that the world is just overreacting to China’s downturn. SCMP (paywall)

    North Korea’s leaders are going broke.  China’s economic slowdown and a plunge in coal prices are depriving North Korea of critical foreign currency, threatening to stir discontent among the small, elite class that the nation’s mercurial dictator relies on for support. The drain on income comes as North Korea continues to plow its limited resources into its armed forces. Wall Street Journal

    You won’t believe this…

    These Romanian priests must have missed class on the ninth commandment. The trio tried to swipe the hand of a Saint Haralambie, a relic housed in Kalavryta, Greece. Apparently they aren’t the first to make an attempt: The un-holy fathers tripped an alarm during the heist. Vice

    Photo: Artotem