Advertisements



A $3,755 gold golf club gifted to Trump by the Prime Minister of Japan is one of several foreign gifts missing, House Democrats say

President Trump was legally required to declare gifts from foreign governments worth more than $415, but dozens are unaccounted for, a report said. Former President Donald Trump speaks at a campaign event at the South Carolina State House in Columbia, South Carolina, on January 28, 2023.AP Photo/Alex Brandon A report from House Democrats said President Trump failed to declare more than 100 foreign gifts.  The gifts were worth more than $250,000 in total, according to the report.  Some are missing, including a $3,755 gold club Japan's prime minister gave to Trump. A new report from House Democrats found that former President Donald Trump failed to declare more than 100 expensive foreign gifts, as law requires. The gifts Trump and his family received were worth more than $250,000 in total, according to the report. The Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act requires that the president and federal officials declare any gifts from foreign governments that are worth more than the "minimal value" of $415.Gifts Trump received include a $12,000 silk Uzbek carpet from the President of Uzbekistan and a dagger from the Emir of Qatar that's worth $35,000. Preliminary findings of an investigation the Committee on Oversight and Accountability launched into former President Trump's failure to disclose gifts from foreign-government officials while in office.House of RepresentativesMembers of Trump's family also received gifts. According to the report, Melania Trump received a number of these undeclared gifts, including a Saudi winter coat worth $3,000 from the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Jared Kushner also received highly valued gifts including a $24,000 dagger and a $5,450 sword from bin Salman.Some of those gifts are missingFormer President Donald Trump plays in the pro-am round of the Bedminster Invitational LIV Golf tournament in Bedminster, New Jersey, on July 28, 2022.AP Photo/Seth WenigSome of the gifts have disappeared, the report said. They include golf clubs from the prime minister of Japan valued at more than $7,200 — a single gold golf driver was valued at $3,755 — and a "larger-than-life-sized" painting the president of El Salvador presented to Trump."The discovery of these unreported foreign gifts raises significant questions about why former President Trump failed to disclose these gifts to the public, as required by law," the report said. It states that "the Trump Administration's failure to disclose more than one hundred foreign gifts President Trump and his family received raises new questions about whether these and other gifts may have been used by foreign governments to influence U.S. policy under President Trump."The report concluded with the announcement that authorities will launch an investigation to discover any effects these gifts may have had on the Trump administration's decision-making.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 18th, 2023

Futures, Yields Rise On Ceasefire Hopes As Ukraine-Russia Talks Resume

Futures, Yields Rise On Ceasefire Hopes As Ukraine-Russia Talks Resume Following yesterday's surge in stocks following an FT report that Russia has eased on its Ukraine demands and the Russian ceasefire document no longer contains any discussion of three of Russia’s initial core demands - “denazification”, “demilitarisation”, and legal protection for the Russian language in Ukraine - overnight futures have extended their "feel good" rise as peace negotiations which resumed on Tuesday in Turkey between Russia and Ukraine stoked a rally in global equities, and hit session highs after Ukrainian negotiator Podoliak noted that a ceasefire is being discussed with Russia adding a press conference is to be expected later. Ukraine is striving for a cease-fire agreement in talks with Russian negotiators that started Tuesday in Turkey, setting a “minimum” goal of an improvement in the humanitarian situation. Nasdaq 100 futures were up 0.6% while S&P 500 futures gained 0.5% and Dow futures 0.4%. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index also advanced, with auto and consumer stocks outperforming. Oil fluctuated as investors weighed the impact of China’s mobility curbs against a Covid resurgence on demand; the dollar dropped. Treasuries bear flattened, outperforming bunds and gilts as haven demand continues to be unwound; the 10Y TSY yield rose to 2.50%. Apple headed higher in premarket trading and was set for its longest winning streak since 2003, in which the iPhone maker has added about $407 billion in market capitalization. A revival in the so-called meme stock rally also set GameStop on course for its 11th straight day of gains as retail traders bid up OTM calls sparking yet another gamma squeeze and proving that the market remains hopelessly broken. Here are some other notable premarket mvoers: Dave & Buster’s (PLAY) shares drop 7.2% after the dining and entertainment venue operator reported earnings per share for the fourth quarter that missed the average analyst estimate. While analysts pointed to the impact of the Omicron variant of the Covid-19 virus on the company’s fourth-quarter, they saw reassuring signs in the firm’s margins and recent improvements. Progenity (PROG US) falls 20% in U.S. premarket trading after the firm late on Monday reported a wider annual loss for 2021 than expected. Small biotech and pharma companies rally in U.S. premarket trading, rebounding from this year’s declines, as investor appetite for riskier assets and so-called meme stocks grows. Brooklyn Immunotherapeutics (BTX US) +8.7%, Alaunos Therapeutics (TCRT US) +6.5%. CVS Health (CVS US) shares drop 1.7% in U.S. premarket trading after Deutsche Bank downgrades the pharmacy health care provider to hold from buy amid rising risks. U.S. stocks have rebounded in March as the Federal Reserve issued an upbeat outlook on economic growth, with investors also looking past surging inflation and a historic rout in Treasuries. Paradoxically, technology-heavy stocks, which tend to sell off when interest rates are rising, have in fact outperformed the benchmark S&P 500 as traders focused instead on differentiating between profitable and unprofitable firms.  Even more paradoxically as a new cold war rages, the Nasdaq 100 is on track for its biggest monthly gain since October 2021. "The resilience of global stocks given the cocktail of risks facing the global economy is truly impressive, but this stoicism is likely to face continuing tests as the impact of mounting prices and the actions of central banks continue to feed through, not to mention the ongoing geopolitical concerns,” Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell Ltd., said in emailed comments. Meanwhile, government bond yields rose, with bets on aggressive U.S. monetary tightening hurting shorter maturity Treasuries. Inversions along the curve, where some short-term rates exceed longer tenor yields, point to concerns about a looming economic downturn as the Federal Reserve hikes interest rates to quell high inflation. Hopes of a cease-fire in Ukraine-Russia talks also bolstered European equities. The Stoxx 600 jumped 1.3%, with automakers, consumer products and services and technology shares leading gains. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Carlsberg shares advance as much as 4.5% as analysts welcomed the brewer’s decision to exit Russia, with Credit Suisse seeing potential for a re-rating for a stock battered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Adyen shares gain as much as 6% after JPMorgan said the company could boost its outlook for long-term margin to more than 70% from 65%, placing the firm on “positive catalyst watch.” Currys Plc shares rise as much as 12% following a so-called uncooked mention in a Betaville blog post regarding potential takeover interest in the electrical goods retailer. Euromoney shares climb as much as 4.9% after Investec raises its recommendation to buy from hold, citing a disconnect between the share price and the media firm’s operational performance. Schibsted shares rise as much as 6.6%, the most since March 16, after its largest shareholder, Blommenholm Industrier, buys 1 million Class A shares at NOK222.5 each. Nordex shares rise as much as 8.3% after the wind-turbine maker’s new FY22 guidance is ahead of expectations, Jefferies says; wind power peers Vestas and Orsted gain, too. Barclays falls as much as 5.7% in London following news that an unnamed investor sold about 575m shares at a discount. Stock is also downgraded to neutral from overweight at JPMorgan. Maersk, Kuehne + Nagel and Hapag-Lloyd all drop after Deutsche Bank downgrades several logistics and container stocks due to the indirect consequences of the war in Ukraine. Sanofi shares fall as much as 2.5% after the firm provided a new sales forecast for its drug Dupixent, with both Morgan Stanley and Citi noting guidance is slightly behind expectations. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks advanced after a three-day loss, as a decline in oil prices eased concerns over corporate earnings and Chinese tech stocks extended gains into a second day. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.7% with Tencent, Toyota Motor, and Alibaba among the biggest contributors to the advance. Apart from Hong Kong, where gains in tech and health names drove gauges higher, equities in Japan and Australia outperformed, with the former benefiting from a weaker yen and the latter rising ahead of a budget release after markets closed. Investors are waiting to see how the cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine proceed, while assessing the repercussions to businesses from the lockdown in Shanghai. The risk of Chinese firms, especially those in the property sector, facing trading halts is weighing on sentiment as a key earnings deadline looms.  Oil Extends Losses on China Demand Concerns Ahead of OPEC+ Meet “A V-shaped recovery in stock markets looks difficult,” said Kim Kyung Hwan, a strategist at Hana Financial Investment in Seoul.  “The worst is behind in terms of investor sentiment, but issues like Covid lockdowns and the war in Ukraine aren’t resolved, traders are just getting used to them.” Despite Tuesday’s gain, the benchmark Asian measure is poised for a third straight monthly loss. It’s also lagging behind the S&P 500 index in recent performance Japanese equities rose, powered by exporters after the yen plunged by the most since March 2020 against the U.S. dollar on the Bank of Japan’s easing measures. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which rose 0.9%. Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.1% gain in the Nikkei 225. The yen was slightly higher after weakening 1.5% against the greenback on Monday. “Makers of export-related products like automobiles should rise with the BOJ’s continuous bond-purchase operations expected to continue weakening the yen,” said Hideyuki Ishiguro, a strategist at Nomura Asset Management. The drop in oil prices is a “relief” for Japan as an importer, and growth stocks should benefit from the slowing rise in long-term U.S. interest rates, he added Indian stocks rose as a drop in crude prices along with prospects of more cease-fire talks between Russia and Ukraine supported buying sentiment. The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.6% to 57,943.65, in Mumbai, a second day of gains, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced by a similar magnitude. Housing Development Finance Corp. advanced 3.1% and was the biggest boost to the Sensex, which had 20 of the 30 shares trading higher.   Fifteen of 19 sectoral indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rose, led by a gauge of healthcare stocks. Price of Brent crude, a major import for India, hovered around $113 a barrel, down about 6% this week.  Lower oil is supporting gains across economies as a lockdown in parts of China after a resurgence in Covid cases raised possibilities of lower demand, Mitul Shah, head of research at Reliance Securities, wrote in a note. “The Russia-Ukraine conflict and inflationary pressures continue to keep the market wavered,” he said.    In rates, Treasuries extended bear-flattening move with yields cheaper by ~5bp across front-end of the curve, following wider losses for bunds and gilts in early European session. U.S. 10-year yields around 2.49%, higher by ~3bp on the day with bunds and gilts trading cheaper by 6bp and 4bp in the sector; Treasury curve-flattening persists with 2s10s spread tighter by 4.5bp as front-end continues to underperform. The week's auction cycle concludes with $47b 7-year note sale at 1pm ET, following Monday double supply of 2- and 5-year notes; WI 7-year around 2.60% is above auction stops since 2019 and ~69.5bp cheaper than February’s stop-out. IG dollar issuance slate includes two 3Y SOFR deals; two deals priced $4b Monday, and early calls for April are for around $100b of issuance. In Europe, fixed income trades heavy in the risk-on environment. Bund and Treasury curves bear-flatten with U.S. 5s30s remaining inverted and 2s10s flattening a further ~5bps near 7bps. Germany’s 2y yield trades ~3bps shy of a 0% yield. Gilts bear-steepen, cheapening 7-8bps across the back end. Peripheral spreads tighten modestly. In FX, Bloomberg dollar spot drops 0.3%, CHF is the weakest in G-10 sending EUR/CHF 0.6% higher on to a 1.03-handle. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index hovered as the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers; Scandinavian currencies were the best performers while the Swiss franc and the pound were the worst. The yen inched up after posting is biggest drop in over a year Monday; the currency may be heading for its worst monthly performance versus the dollar since November 2016, yet trading in the options space is much more balanced. Super-long Japanese government bonds dropped while benchmark 10-year notes were supported by the central bank’s purchase operations; The Bank of Japan offered to buy an unlimited amount of 5- to 10-year government notes for a second time on Tuesday Cable gave up an early advance to fall to an almost two-week low; gilts fell. London’s Metropolitan Police are set to issue at least 20 fines to government officials close to the prime minister who broke U.K. lockdown rules, although this tranche of fines is unlikely to touch Prime Minister Boris Johnson Australia’s three-year bonds dropped after retail sales beat economists’ estimates, with the gap over 10-year notes narrowing to the least since March 2020 In commodities, crude futures hold in the green, recouping Asia’s weakness. WTI regains a $106-handle, Brent trades near $113. Spot gold extends losses, dropping ~$13 before stalling near $1,910/oz. Base metals trade poorly with LME nickel underperforming Looking at the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the FHFA house price index for January, the Case-Shiller home price index for January, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence indicator for March, and the JOLTS job openings for February. Over in Europe there’s also French consumer confidence for March, Germany’s GfK consumer confidence reading for April and UK mortgage approvals for February. Lastly, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Harker. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.5% to 4,590.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.1% to 459.14 MXAP up 0.7% to 179.73 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 586.67 Nikkei up 1.1% to 28,252.42 Topix up 0.9% to 1,991.66 Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 21,927.63 Shanghai Composite down 0.3% to 3,203.94 Sensex up 0.2% to 57,724.92 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.7% to 7,464.26 Kospi up 0.4% to 2,741.07 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.63% Euro little changed at $1.0995 Brent Futures up 1.3% to $113.95/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,916.02 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 99.04 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Deputy Treasury Secretary Wally Adeyemo said the U.S. and its allies will tighten the sanction screws on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine, singling out industries integral to Moscow’s war effort As NATO allies discuss the terms of any potential peace deal to be struck between Russia and Ukraine, signs of strategic splits are emerging from within their ranks Policymakers in Japan on Tuesday sought to balance a commitment to ultra-loose monetary policy in a world of rising interest rates without letting the yen tumble further toward a 20-year low Japan’s Finance Minister Shunichi Suzuki highlighted the need to check if a weaker yen is harming the economy, as he indicated heightened government concern over the currency’s recent slide The additional increase in energy prices resulting from the war in Ukraine pushed inflation significantly higher in March, European Central Bank Governing Council member Pablo Hernandez De Cos says Key OPEC members said oil prices would be even more volatile if not for the group’s strategy and that the U.S. must trust what it’s doing, as calls from major importers for higher production grow Russia has made a $102 million interest payment as the world’s biggest energy exporter continues to service its foreign bonds despite financial isolation after the invasion of Ukraine North Korea looks set to detonate its first nuclear bomb in more than four years, as the U.S.’s sanctions disputes with Russia and China make further United Nations penalties against the country unlikely More detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia Pac stocks traded mostly higher following the gains in the US where growth stocks spearheaded a recovery and with a decline in oil prices conducive for risk. ASX 200 was led by strength in tech and consumer stocks heading into the Budget announcement. Nikkei 225 gained with Japan to compile economic measures by the end of next month. Hang Seng and traded mixed with the mainland index faltering amid the ongoing lockdown inShanghai Comp. Shanghai and despite the announcement of supportive measures by the local government. Top Asian News Australia’s Budget Pitches Cash to Key Voters Ahead of Election Samsung to Offer More Credit in India to Boost Smartphone Sales Modern Land Joins List of Earnings Delays: Evergrande Update Iron Ore Edges Lower in China as Virus Controls Dent Demand European bourses, Euro Stoxx 50 +2.2%, are firmer across the board in a continuation of the APAC/US handover as Russian-Ukraine talks begin. Upside that has been exacerbated by remarks from both Ukraine and Russian officials. US futures are firmer across the board, ES +0.4%, though magnitudes more contained with Fed speak and supply ahead Top European News U.K. Consumer Credit Surges at Strongest Pace in Five Years U.K. Faces Crypto Exodus as Firms Sound Off Before FCA Deadline European Banks Could Earn $6.6 Billion a Year Greening Economy Inflation Rose Sharply in March on Energy Shock: ECB’s de Cos Commodities: Crude benchmarks have experienced an erosion of earlier upside amid multiple, but generally constructive, updates from Ukraine and Russia. Specifically, Ukrainian negotiator Podoliak noted that a ceasefire is being discussed with Russia adding a press conference is to be expected later. Albeit, the morning's action has not been sufficient to spark a test of the overnight parameters for WTI and Brent. Spot are pressured once more, generally speaking in-fitting with other havens, exacerbated by thegold/silver aforementioned risk-on move. In FX, Euro elevated as EGB yields ramp up again and hopes rise regarding a Russia-Ukraine peace resolution, EUR /USD above 1.1000 and a series of decent option expiries stretching between 1.0950 and the round number. Buck caught amidst buoyant risk sentiment and hawkish Fed vibe, DXY sub-99.000 after narrowly missing test of 2022 peak on Monday. Yen maintains recovery momentum amidst more MoF verbal intervention and demand for month/fy end, USD /JPY under 124.00 vs 125.00+ peak yesterday. Franc flounders as SNB ponders direct repo indexing to main policy rate, USD/CHF around 0.9360 and EUR /CHF over 1.0300. US Event Calendar 09:00: Jan. S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. 1.50%, prior 1.46% 09:00: Jan. FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.2% 10:00: March Conf. Board Present Situation, prior 145.1 10:00: March Conf. Board Expectations, prior 87.5 10:00: Feb. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 11m, prior 11.3m 10:00: March Conf. Board Consumer Confidenc, est. 107.0, prior 110.5 Central Bank Speakers 09:00: Fed’s Williams Makes Opening Remarks at Bank Culture... 10:45: Fed’s Harker Discusses Economic Outlook 21:30: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Economic Leadership DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A mixed medical report from the Reid family today. I have a nerve root block injection and a diagnostic test on my back tomorrow to battle my sciatica. I managed to stretch for an hour before attempting to play golf on Saturday thinking there was no hope. Miraculously it must have helped me get round but I then suffered for the rest of the weekend as I seized up as soon as I stopped. I told my wife I should have just carried on playing. She despaired at me. On the more positive side my 6-yr old Maisie had her latest 3-4 month scan yesterday. Regular readers will remember she's been in a wheelchair since November after an operation to help her battle a rare hip disorder called Perthes. There are no guarantees as to the long-term outcome with Perthes but the latest scan was encouraging and suggested that while her hip ball is fragmenting (disintegrating), it's not collapsing and getting out of shape largely due to no weight bearing. That suggests a decent chance that when it regrows (assuming it does) it will regrow relatively normally. The nightmare is if the hip ball gets squashed as it disintegrates. She'll still need to keep the weight off for most of the rest of the year but there's hope that by the end of it she can come out of her wheelchair and start the rehab towards a manageable hip. There are some horror stories with this disease in terms of pain and constant discomfort through the entirety of childhood so fingers crossed it's going in the right direction due to her discipline in spite of missing out on all the running about that she's desperate to do. Also helping is that she continues to swim 3-4 times a week and is remarkably good now. This has been the one blessing that's come out of a year and a half where we tried to get her problem diagnosed and then treated. Fingers crossed that the next scan in July will continue to move her in the right direction. Bond markets continued to be as volatile as my back yesterday with big swings in yields but with the front end sell-off being durable. This helped push a number of yield curves ever closer to inversion, meaning we have multiple recessionary signals starting or continuing to flash. The one we always look most closely at is the 2s10s curve, which has inverted prior to every one of the last 10 US recessions. Yesterday this flattened by -7.3bps to 12.5bps and this morning it’s currently just above 6bps with more flattening plus a new on the run 2yr note to blame. Could we invert today? Regardless it's likely to happen soon. A key factor behind this curve flattening has been monetary policy expectations, and over the last 24 hours we’ve seen investors continue to ratchet up their bets on how much tightening we’re likely to see this year. By the close yesterday, Fed Funds futures were pricing in a further 211bps of tightening by the end of 2022, on top of the 25bps a couple of weeks back, which if realised would be the largest move tighter in a calendar year since 1994, back when the Fed raised the target range for the Federal Funds by 250bps. On top of that, it’s clear that investors are also reappraising what the terminal rate is likely to be, and at one point yesterday investors were pricing in a move above 3% by the second half of 2023. We’re not talking much about the terminal rate at the moment, but as we move deeper into the hiking cycle, that’s likely to grab increasing attention, since the destination will have big implications for a wide variety of financial assets. Whilst the all-important 2s10s curve is still (just about) in positive territory, increasing numbers of curves have been inverting across different maturities, with the 3s30s curve becoming the latest to do so around the time we went to press yesterday, eventually closing down -10.4bps at -2.9bps. Similarly, the 3s10s that had already inverted went even deeper into inversion territory to close at -11.5bps, which is the most inverted it's been since 2006. The 5s30s was another to invert yesterday, falling as low as -7.1bps at one point before it steepened to close at -0.9bps. Clearly they are all a bit flatter this morning. If you’re interested in reading more on the yield curve, DB’s US economics team put out a piece last Friday (link here) looking at the value of these various measures for predicting recessions. The Fed have played down the usefulness of the 2s10s curve, and have argued that the Fed forward spread (18-month forward, 3-month yield minus the spot 3-month yield) is more valuable when it comes to explaining recessions risks over the next 12 months. But our economists find that traditional curve slope metrics like the 2s10s provide useful information over a longer horizon, like the next 2 years, and they point out that the 2s10s slope is consistent with a probability greater than 60% of a recession at some point over the next 2 years. Even with the latest round of flattening though, the truth is that the trend has been nearly all one-way for basically a year now. In fact, it was a year ago tomorrow that the slope of the 2s10s curve saw its intraday peak for this cycle, when it hit 162bps. Yesterday’s flattening also coincided with a healthy dose of Treasury volatility. 2yr yields ultimately wound up +5.8bps higher at 2.33%, after trading as much as +13.8bps higher during London trading. 10yr yields fell -1.5bps to 2.46%, but were as much as +8.0bps higher during London trading, and -6.1bps lower during the New York morning. This pushed the MOVE index of Treasury volatility +4.0pts higher to 129.3, just below levels realised in early March. In spite of all the volatility, equities were mostly positive yesterday, with the S&P 500 (+0.71%) staging a steady second half rally to start another week off in the green. The decline in longer-dated yields from their early London peak helped spur tech outperformance, with the NASDAQ gaining +1.31%. Europe also started the week on the front foot, with the STOXX 600 (+0.14%) advancing, alongside the DAX (+0.78%) and the CAC 40 (+0.54%). There were pockets of relative weakness however, with the small-cap Russell 2000 in the US closing flat. Energy stocks were left behind in the otherwise broad rally on both sides of the Atlantic given the large decline in oil discussed below, with the S&P 500 energy sector down -2.56% and the STOXX 600 energy sector down -2.10%. Indeed, Oil prices did fall back yesterday, with Brent crude down -6.77% to $112.48/bbl, but that reflected the lockdown in Shanghai and the prospect of a further release from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve rather than more positive developments out of Ukraine. It's down another -0.8% this morning. On the other hand European natural gas (+1.26%) rose to €102.55/MWh, which occurred as German Economy minister Habeck said that the G7 had rejected the proposal from President Putin that natural gas contracts be paid in Rubles, with Habeck saying it was a “one-sided and clear breach of contracts”. Back to sovereign bonds, and there were some major moves in European sovereign bonds as well as the US yesterday, with yields on 10yr bunds moving to a fresh high above 0.6% after the open before modestly retreating -0.6bps to 0.58%. That pattern was common across core European sovereigns, with yields on 10yr gilts (-7.9bps) and OATs (-1.2bps) eventually also moving lower following their increases that morning. Similarly to the US, this has come as investor conviction has grown about the chances of tighter ECB policy in the coming months, with 48bps of hikes priced by year-end. Nevertheless, there’s still a wide policy divergence between the Fed’s and the ECB’s trajectory, and we saw this in the widening spread between 2yr US and Germany yields, which closed at 246.1bps yesterday, the most since September 2019. Asian equity markets are trading higher outside of China this morning with the Nikkei (+0.60%), Hang Seng (+0.40%) and Kospi (+0.31%) up. Stocks in mainland China are wavering with the Shanghai Composite (-0.44%) and CSI (-0.11%) both trading in negative territory as I type. Meanwhile, contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.04%) are fractionally higher while Nasdaq futures are down -0.11%. Early morning data showed that Japan’s industrial output rebounded +0.5% m/m in February after January’s contraction of -0.8%. Separately, Japan’s jobless rate inched down to 2.7% in February from 2.8% in January while the jobs-to-applicants ratio improved to 1.21 in February from 1.20 in the prior month. Elsewhere, Australia reported retail sales for February, advancing +1.8% m/m and beating market expectations for a +0.9% gain. It followed a downwardly revised +1.6% m/m increase in January. The Japanese Yen weakened to its lowest level against the US Dollar since 2015, depreciating -1.48% to 123.86 per dollar, and at one point surpassing 125 per dollar. It's moved nearly 8% in four weeks - a substantial move historically. The latest move came as the Bank of Japan announced they would purchase 10yr JGBs in unlimited quantities over three sessions today, tomorrow and the day after, which followed their move above 0.25% at one point, which we haven’t seen since 2016. The Yen is trading at 123.31 as we go to press so a continued reversal from the close and the lows yesterday morning. Elsewhere today, there’s set to be another round of in-person talks taking place in Turkey between Russia and Ukraine as the war continues into its second month. Investors have grasped at positive headlines in recent weeks and more sensitive assets such as energy prices have reacted accordingly, but the reality has been few signs of concrete progress towards any ceasefire, even if there has been a moderation in some of the demands from either side as to any potential settlement. Finally on Europe, we’re now just 12 days away from the first round of the French presidential election, and there are signs the race is tightening up slightly as the official campaign period began yesterday. Politico’s polling average puts President Macron in the lead still, but his 1st round polling has dipped to 28%, having been at 30% a couple of weeks earlier following the bounce he saw after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Behind him is Marine Le Pen on 19%, who he also faced in the second round back in 2017, and her average is up from 18% a couple of weeks earlier. The far-left Jean-Luc Mélenchon is also gaining, now in 3rd place with 14% (up from 12% a couple of weeks ago), but he’s still 5 points behind Le Pen, and only the top 2 candidates go through to the run-off two weeks later. Behind them are also the far-right Eric Zemmour (11%), as well as the conservative Valérie Pécresse (11%). To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the FHFA house price index for January, the Case-Shiller home price index for January, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence indicator for March, and the JOLTS job openings for February. Over in Europe there’s also French consumer confidence for March, Germany’s GfK consumer confidence reading for April and UK mortgage approvals for February. Lastly, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Harker. Tyler Durden Tue, 03/29/2022 - 07:51.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 29th, 2022

An 8-foot-tall portrait of Trump was among the foreign gifts that went missing when he left office. A reporter found it in a Trump hotel, collecting dust, next to a pile of yoga mats.

After a reader tip, a New York Times reporter found the painting, gifted by El Salvador's president, in an obscure room at a Trump Hotel in Miami. President Donald Trump speaks during a Latinos for Trump event at Trump National Doral Miami resort, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020, in Doral, Fla.Evan Vucci/Associated Press House Democrats this month said Trump failed to report over 100 gifts from foreign leaders. Listed among the gifts that were missing was a large portrait of Trump from El Salvador's president. After a reader tip, a New York Times reporter found it in an obscure room at a Trump Hotel in Miami. A "larger-than-life sized" painting of former President Donald Trump, gifted to him by the president of El Salvador, was among the list of foreign gifts he received that congressional Democrats said were missing — but it appears to have finally turned up at one of his hotels.House Democrats released a report earlier this month declaring Trump had failed to report more than 100 expensive foreign gifts that he received while in office, some of which were still missing. The report said El Salvador's president, Nayib Bukele, presented Trump with the large portrait towards the end of his presidency, ahead of the 2020 elections.An El Salvador official notified the White House and the State Department that the portrait was being sent, but the National Archives, which tracks foreign gifts to presidents, had no record of it. The painting was missing — but the report said "certain records suggest the portrait may have been moved to Florida as 'property of the former President' in July 2021."It turns out someone had recently spotted it.When The New York Times profiled the Salvadoran artist behind the painting, a reader reached out to the paper with a tip. He said he had seen the painting in October while attending a golf tournament at the Trump National Doral hotel in Miami, Florida.The man, who was unnamed, said he and his son were exploring the glamorous property when they opened up a random door with a gold handle and found the 8-foot-tall portrait that featured a smiling Trump standing in the Oval Office.The Times sent a reporter to the hotel this week to confirm the painting's location: and there it was next to a pile of old yoga maps, collecting dust, with its ornate gold frame resting on a crumbling, purple foam pad. It was being stored in a small area that led to electrical rooms, with doors that read: "ELECTRICAL ROOM No Storage."In this Nov. 20, 2019, file photo, palm trees line the entrance to Trump National Doral resort in Doral, Fla.Wilfredo Lee, File/Associated PressThe artist, Francisco Antonio López Benavides, told the Times he was excited to hear Trump had brought the painting with him when he left office, adding: "I am happy that the painting is intact, it is beautiful, precious."The Trump National Doral hotel and Trump's post-presidency office did not immediately respond to Insider's requests for comment.Under US law, any gifts a president or federal official receives from foreign governments that are valued at more than $415 must be reported to the State Department. If an official would like to keep one of the gifts when leaving office, they are required to pay for it.The report from House Democrats said, "the Trump Administration's failure to disclose more than one hundred foreign gifts President Trump and his family received raises new questions about whether these and other gifts may have been used by foreign governments to influence US policy under President Trump."It also said an investigation would be launched to determine if any of the gifts influenced decisions made by the Trump administration.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 24th, 2023

Sam Bankman-Fried’s Island Haven Is Drawing Scrutiny After FTX Demise

For the Bahamas, the collapse of one of its most visible companies is a blow to a years-long effort to build a digital-currency hub. Sam Bankman-Fried loved living in the Bahamas. Shacked up in his luxury penthouse with nine FTX colleagues, he could wander Nassau without being hassled. And the Bahamas loved Bankman-Fried, the prestige of his crypto empire and the potential fortunes that it would bring. Their relationship, which had seemed innocuous, is now under the spotlight after FTX’s rapid demise, with lawyers for the crypto exchange accusing Bankman-Fried of undermining reorganization efforts with “incessant and disruptive tweeting.” They also raised the suggestion that some FTX assets were ordered to be transferred to the Bahamian government after the bankruptcy filing. For the island nation, the collapse of one of its most visible companies is a blow to a years-long effort to build a digital-currency hub. Interviews with local residents show FTX’s presence was quickly felt in the little over a year since it moved to Nassau. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “FTX had been the emblem of what many saw as an emerging crypto boom in the Bahamas,” said Amauri Frantz, a trader who resides on New Providence, the island home to Nassau. “None of the investment community here on the ground would have had a reason to doubt FTX’s ability to realize the dream of the Bahamas becoming a crypto hub.” That much was clear seven months ago, when Bankman-Fried and Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis broke ground on a site that was meant to be a sprawling compound for 1,000 FTX workers, complete with a hotel and school. It symbolized the island’s growing stature in the crypto world, coming the same week digital-coin enthusiasts, celebrities and politicians descended on Nassau for a glitzy summit. The scene on the ground looks much different these days. The site sits largely empty. The early outlines of a building foundation have been poured. A few cabins are sprinkled about for the construction crew, though no one was there on an afternoon this week. Read More: Crypto Is Crashing. This Time, Blame FTX and Sam Bankman-Fried The Bahamian government has said the turmoil wasn’t preventable under its regulations. Its securities commission on Thursday said it took control of digital assets of FTX Digital Markets—which it said isn’t part of the US bankruptcy—for safekeeping. The regulator on Nov. 12 denied directing the entity to prioritize withdrawals for Bahamian clients. In a statement to Bloomberg News on Friday, Davis said that his government had taken “swift and immediate action” on FTX, and that the nation would continue to court the digital-asset industry. “It was because the Bahamas had in place a robust regulatory framework for digital assets and digital asset businesses, that the regulator was able to take immediate steps in order to protect the interests of clients, creditors, and other stakeholders globally, and particularly those of FTX Digital Markets Ltd.,” the prime minister said. ‘Big Splash’ The Bahamas, home to about 400,000 people, has played a pioneering role in experimenting with e-money—in 2020, it launched the sand dollar, one of the world’s first central bank digital currencies, beating China’s digital renminbi to the market by six months. But FTX’s decision to move its headquarters there in September 2021 was a coup. Bankman-Fried told the crypto publication Blockworks that he was attracted to the country’s friendlier regulation and less-stringent Covid restrictions than Hong Kong, where it had been located. FTX made it clear it planned to be there for the long haul as it started buying up real estate throughout western Nassau. As the company made aggressive claims to office space at Veridian Corporate Centre, locals started getting a sense they were seeing something unusual. “You can bet your bottom dollar everybody sat up and paid attention,” said Nikki Boeuf, president of the Bahamas Real Estate Association and a broker at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bahamas. The company started buying luxury residential properties, too, making “a big splash in a small pond” of the island market, said Boeuf, who wasn’t involved in any of the transactions but has spoken to agents who were. Only some of the property purchases have surfaced publicly, including at least $74.2 million on condos, houses, office space and land in 2022, according to a document reported by The Block. Real estate purchases were called out in a bankruptcy-court filing Thursday by FTX Group’s new chief executive officer, John J. Ray III, who blasted the company’s faulty oversight and misuse of corporate funds. Some of the real estate was recorded in the personal names of employees and FTX advisers, he wrote. Many of the homes were within the confines of the Albany Bahamas club, owned by billionaire British businessman Joe Lewis, singer Justin Timberlake and golfers Tiger Woods and Ernie Els. One of the world’s four casts of Arturo di Modica’s Charging Bull sculpture—made famous from its perch in Lower Manhattan—sits near the resort’s marina and its golf course was designed by Els. Bankman-Fried’s five-bedroom penthouse, which has its own swimming pool, was listed for nearly $40 million prior to FTX’s arrival. In an August interview on Bloomberg’s “The David Rubenstein Show: Peer-to-Peer Conversations,” Bankman-Fried described the Bahamas as “pretty easy to live in,” noting that he’s recognizable in Nassau but also is able to walk down the street and has privacy there. Asked about the “dorm situation” in his penthouse, he said it’s a useful way to socialize and unwind in the evening. “I don’t have enough sort of free time to, like, really put a lot of thought into engineering a social life,” he said. “So it’s—it’s useful if it’s just sort of there passively.” FTX also made efforts to build local roots. The company, in partnership with a local nonprofit, had committed to expanding and revitalizing a community center in Nassau’s Bain & Grants Town, a landlocked district that’s poorer than some of the waterfront areas. The project called for new space for educational programs and food-distribution services, with work expected to be completed by the fall. But little was done besides paying for landscaping on the grounds, a person with knowledge of the matter said. Residents say the government heralded FTX’s arrival. It promoted “the fast-paced expansion and presence of FTX HQ in Nassau as an opportunity for Bahamians,” said Charles Johnson, 44, who owns one of the island’s CrossFit gyms, Da Box. “But many Bahamians couldn’t honestly say that they engaged with the platform in a substantive way,” he said. “It was still mostly a platform for foreign investors.” Groundbreaking, Celebrities Perhaps the peak of excitement came in late April, with the celebrity-packed Crypto Bahamas summit and the ceremony for the new FTX headquarters. At the groundbreaking, Bankman-Fried tweeted a picture of the view of turquoise water and Davis touted the “positive footprints” the company has made throughout the country. Since moving to our shores, @FTX_Official has left positive footprints throughout The Bahamas. Today, they continue to make positive impressions with the groundbreaking of their new headquarters. I look forward to attending the grand opening of the FTX Bahamas headquarters. pic.twitter.com/vWxzMoN9jm — Philip Brave Davis (@HonPhilipEDavis) April 25, 2022 Davis kicked off the Crypto Bahamas conference days later, saying the country is “not only open and ready for business, but moving to the forefront of this most exciting era of digital asset innovation,” according to a news story in the Nassau Guardian. The event, sponsored by FTX and SALT, attracted the likes of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, Tom Brady and Katy Perry. Tickets reportedly started at $3,000 a head. Franklyn Lightbourne, 52, who operates a tour company and taxi-cab service in Nassau, said within 24 hours after the news of FTX troubles circulated in the local press, he began to book passengers who made their first question to him: “Do you or anyone you’re picking up have an FTX account?” The driver went on to explain that some of the visitors were trying to find ways to get money off the platform through locals who might be able to help or held assets of their own. “It was as if pirates had landed on our shores in hopes to find gold,” he said. —With assistance from Steven Church......»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 21st, 2022

Futures Trade In Narrow Range Ahead Of Tech Giant Earnings

Futures Trade In Narrow Range Ahead Of Tech Giant Earnings US equity futures erased modest earlier gains and traded modestly in the red, after rebounding from session lows as they struggled for direction while investors awaited major earnings reports and weighed last week's conflicting comments from central bankers who are now in a blackout period. As of 7:30am, contracts on the S&P 500 dropped 0.1% to 3,803 after positive corporate results boosted the underlying index on Monday; on Tuesday, Coca-Cola, General Motors and United Parcel Service all beat analysts’ earnings estimates, while 3M and General Electric fell short.  Alphabet Inc. and Microsoft Corp. are among major companies still reporting after the close. Nasdaq 100 futures were flat, with traders awaiting earnings after market hours from tech giants including Microsoft, Texas Instruments and Alphabet. Treasury yields tumbled for a second day and the dollar was steady even as the Yuan plunged to the lowest on record after the weakest PBOC fix since 2008. “While the earnings season could still produce many surprises, the outcome so far is consistent with our advice to favor more defensive parts of the market, such as healthcare and consumer staples,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. In pre-market trading, US-listed Chinese stocks staged a limited rebound after losing almost $80 billion of market value in a record selloff that pushed the shares to their lowest level in over nine years. Major internet companies including Alibaba, JD.com and Pinduoduo gained at least 2% each. Facebook Meta Platforms was slightly weak after a global outage on its WhatsApp messaging service, while broker KeyBanc cut price targets on the stock, as well as on Alphabet, citing skepticism of revenue growth amid mounting concerns of a downturn in 2023. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Weber stock surged 22% in US premarket trading as BDT Capital Partners has proposed to buy the shares it doesn’t already own for $6.25 per share in cash. Mullen Automotive rose as much as 20% in US premarket trading, set to extend its four-day rising streak. Shares closed up by about a third on Monday after the firm secured exclusive sales rights for the I-GO electric vehicle, in select European markets. Taysha Gene Therapies shares surge as much as 60% in US premarket trading, putting the stock on track for a record gain, after Japanese pharmaceutical company Astellas Pharma said it will take a 15% stake in the US gene therapy developer for $50m. US-listed Chinese stocks rose in US premarket trading on Tuesday, following a rebound across Hong Kong peers which bounced back from Monday’s historic selloff. Alibaba (BABA US) +2.5%, Baidu (BIDU US) +2.9%, JD.com (JD US) +3.3%, Nio (NIO US) +2%, Li Auto (LI US) +3%, XPeng (XPEV US) +2.7% Linde shares dropped 1.9% in US premarket trading after the company said holders will vote on delisting shares from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. The move would force Europe-only investors to sell their stakes, according to analysts. Packaging Corp shares fell 1.7% in US postmarket trading on Tuesday as the company’s 4Q guidance was lighter than expected, analysts said, pointing to weaker demand as the containerboard maker grapples with the impact of cost inflation, overshadowing a beat in 3Q adjusted earnings per share. Crown Holdings shares fell 9.4% in US after-hours trading on Monday with analysts pointing to a slowdown in demand as the main reason for the packaging products maker’s lowered guidance for both the 4Q and year, alongside a strong US dollar, higher European energy costs and increased interest expense. Keep an eye on Alphabet and Meta (META US) as their price targets were cut at KeyBanc, with the brokerage noting that investors are increasingly skeptical of revenue growth amid mounting concerns of a downturn in 2023. Watch Arista Networks stock as it was cut to neutral from outperform and PT slashed to a street-low $110 from $185 at Credit Suisse, with the broker seeing more challenging dynamics for the cloud networking group into 2023. According to Bloomberg data, about a fifth of S&P 500 companies had posted third-quarter earnings before today, with more than half outperforming estimates. Still, investors are concerned the effects of a slowing economy will be felt further down the line, with the Fed set to raise interest rates next week even as the economy shows signs of flagging. “What we’ve seen throughout the year is that equity risk premia have really compressed,” Christian Mueller-Glissmann, Goldman Sachs managing director for portfolio strategy, said on Bloomberg TV. “That makes you more vulnerable if you disappoint on growth, cash flows, et cetera. For now that hasn’t happened really, but all the lead indicators are pointing to risks in this direction.” Manufacturing and services data for the US underwhelmed on Monday, indicating Federal Reserve rate hikes are beginning to slow activity. Fed officials have entered a blackout period ahead of the central bank’s meeting next week, where it’s expected to raise rates 75 basis points. Investors are starting to speculate that the central bank may be approaching the end of its aggressive tightening campaign. “Investors are getting more confident that inflation will soften as the consumer rethinks massive purchases,” said Edward Moya, a senior markets analyst at OANDA Corp. “Fed rate-hike expectations will remain volatile, but expectations are growing that a weaker economy will let the Fed pause their tightening after the February policy meeting.” “Even if optimism remains alive, investors are likely to need concrete evidence of monetary and economic improvements before driving stock indexes higher,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades. “Until then, it’s only investors buying rumours.” In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index erased an early advance, with chemicals the worst-performing sector as Linde Plc dropped after proposing to de-list from the Frankfurt exchange. Spain's IBEX outperforms peers, adding 0.5%, FTSE 100 lags, dropping 0.4%. Banks underperformed as the ECB considers curbing windfall profits from rising interest rates, while HSBC Holdings Plc plunged more than 7% after reporting higher-than-expected charges for possible loan losses. The most notable mover was Adidas, which slumps as much as 3.9%, sinking to lowest since March 2016 after the German sportswear company announced plans to end a partnership with Kanye West, while the firm also received a downgrade from Morgan Stanley. On the plus side, UBS Group AG buoyed financial services after it exceeded earnings estimates, while technology stocks climbed after software developer SAP SE’s third-quarter revenue beat. Here are all the notable European movers: SAP shares gained as much as 4.7% after the software firm reported 3Q revenue and operating profit ahead of estimates, helped by strong growth in its cloud business, with gross margin and backlog strong despite macro uncertainties. Air Liquide climbs as much as 4.7%, the most since March, after company delivered “strong set of results,” Stifel says in note as 3Q revenue beat estimates. UBS Group shares extend gains to as much as 6.0%, the most since June, after it reported net income for the third quarter that beat the average analyst estimate, driven by the investment bank and global wealth management divisions, which benefited from higher rates. Universal Music Group rises as much as 9.8%, the most since IPO in 2021, after Citi wrote that Apple’s price increase would “give comfort to UMG bulls.” Novartis shares shake off early losses to trade steady after the company released 3Q results that were broadly in line with expectations, with a small increase to the outlook for generics unit Sandoz a positive surprise, analysts say. Linde shares drop as much as 7.9%, the most intraday since February, after saying holders will vote on delisting shares from the Frankfurt Stock Exchange. HSBC shares drop as much as 8.2% in London, the most in six months, after the lender announced a change of chief financial officer and reported higher-than- expected loan loss charges in its third-quarter results. Alfa Laval drops as much as 11.3%, the most since May, as 3Q showed a “big margin miss,” impacted by weak trading in the Marine and Food & Water divisions, Citi writes. Viaplay shares drop as much as 31%, the most on record, after Nordic streaming company cut its guidance on slower growth in its Nordic business. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks climbed, helped by a rebound in Chinese technology shares that followed Monday’s steep losses in the wake of the Communist Party congress. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.9% before paring the advance to 0.3%, boosted by gains in internet giants Alibaba and JD.com. A gauge of Chinese tech stocks erased an early loss of almost 3% to jump by a similar magnitude, as Alibaba Health and JD Health climbed. Tech and materials shares in the broader region fell. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and on the mainland whipsawed in volatile trading, closing marginally lower. Sentiment remains fragile after the dramatic selloff Monday following Xi Jinping’s move to secure his grip on power and amid ongoing concern over the nation’s Covid-zero policy.  “Without reopening, visibility on China’s economy and corporate earnings will remain very low, and risk-off trade in the stock market may continue,” BofA Securities strategists, including Winnie Wu, wrote in a note. Value stocks will likely outperform growth stocks, and the onshore market may outperform offshore, they added. China Budget Gap Widens to 7.16t Yuan as Covid, Property Weigh Vietnamese equities fell before reversing losses after the central bank unexpectedly raised interest rates by another one percentage point. Shares in Japan climbed for a second day amid optimism over corporate earnings and hopes for an eventual slowdown in Federal Reserve interest rate hikes. “We’re certainly staying away from the Chinese market right now because the political scene is not favorable,” Laila Pence, president of Pence Wealth Management, said in an interview on Bloomberg TV. “There’s a lot less risk in the US and just as much upside.” Japanese stocks climbed, following an extended rally in US peers, as investors assessed the potential for good corporate earnings amid continued monetary tightening by the Fed.  The Topix rose 1.1% to close at 1,907.14, while the Nikkei advanced 1% to 27,250.28. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index gain, rising 2.9%. Out of 2,166 stocks in the index, 1,584 rose and 477 fell, while 105 were unchanged. Stocks are getting a boost from the potential slowdown of Fed interest rate hikes, and US earnings “are not that bad,” said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. “Japanese earnings are not that bad as well, with the weak yen, and price pass-throughs have shown up this quarter so domestic-oriented companies are expected to perform better.” Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 6,798.60, extending gains for a second day, as property and financial sectors supported the benchmark. Traders are also awaiting the unveiling of Australia’s budget later on Tuesday. The nation’s budget deficit in fiscal 2023 is forecast to be less than half the level anticipated by the previous administration in March, bolstered by windfall revenue from surging commodity prices. Read: Australia Budget Expected to Rock Stocks From Housing to Mining In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 1.1% to 10,902.31. In rates, treasuries traded at the best levels of the day into early US session, following wider gains across bunds where long-end of the curve is richer by up to 10bp. Treasuries rally led by intermediates, stretching 5s30s spread past 4bp and onto steepest levels since Sept. 13. Focal points of US session include start of auction cycle with 2-year at 1pm New York time. US yields richer by as much as 7bp across 5- to 7-year sector with 2s5s30s fly dropping 5bp as belly outperforms; 10-year yields around 4.1585% with bunds outperforming by 2.5bp and gilts underperforming by 2.5bp anticipating new Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s fiscal plans over the coming days. German bonds rally ahead of the ECB rate decision this week, led by the long-end. Bunds 10-year yield down ~6.5bps to 2.26%. Peripheral spreads tighten to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund narrowing 5.2bps to 219.8bps.  The US auction cycle includes $42b 2-year note followed by $43b 5-year Wednesday and $35b 7- year Thursday. WI 2-year around 4.455% is above auction stops since 2007 and ~16.5bp cheaper than last month’s, which tailed by 1.6bp. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index steadied and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers. Here's how all other majors did: The pound led gains and UK government bonds advanced, led by the long end, as investors awaited more details on economic and fiscal policy from the incoming prime minister, who takes office later in the day. The euro erased gains, after rising toward $0.99 in Asian trading. Bunds extended yesterday’s advance, while Italian bonds stretched gains to a fourth session, the longest run since November 2021, as money markets pared ECB tightening bets ahead of Thursday’s policy outcome. Germany Oct. IFO business confidence index came in at 84.3 versus estimate 83.5. The yen was little changed as traders remained wary of further intervention by authorities, while a drop in US yields weighed on the greenback. Super-long government bonds rallied. Front-end volatility in dollar-yen retreats sharply as the latest round of Japanese intervention makes the case for tighter ranges. The Australian dollar inched up. Gains were tempered by elevated Covid case numbers in China and iron ore falling to its lowest level since November. The New Zealand dollar swung to a loss in European trading; the government said it’s made no decision yet on raising the minimum wage for the next year. The onshore yuan fell by the most among Asian peers to its lowest level since 2007 after the PBOC’s weaker fixing was interpreted by traders as a sign for a weaker currency. One-month implied volatility of USD/CNH rose to 10.46%, the highest on record in data back to 2011. China’s foreign exchange regulator is consulting some banks on positioning in the currency market as the yuan declines to the lowest levels since 2008, Reuters reports, citing unidentified people familiar with the matter. PBOC adjusted rules to allow companies to borrow more from overseas, enabling more foreign capital inflows at a time when the currency is plunging to fresh 2008 lows against the dollar. In commodities, WTI trades within Monday’s range, falling 0.6% to near $84 with crude benchmarks pressured amid the general risk tone with sentiment slipping throughout the morning amid a resilient USD and Ifo pointing to a German recession. Currently, WTI and Brent Dec contracts are lower by just over 1% or USD 1/bbl and reside at session lows of USD 83.50/bbl and USD 92/bbl respectively. IEA's Birol said the OPEC+ decision to cut output by 2mln BPD is a risky one especially as several economies are on the brink of recession; the Global LNG market to tighten further next year as European imports increase and China's appetite may rebound, via Reuters. Bitcoin is pressured but within a narrow USD 200 range that is itself a similar magnitude above the USD 19k mark. Looking to the day ahead now and economic indicators in store will feature the Conference Board consumer confidence index for October, Richmond Fed manufacturing index and August FHFA house price index for the US. In Europe, we will get October Ifo survey for Germany and the Eurozone bank lending survey will also be published. The earnings line-up for today will be key, featuring most prominently Microsoft and Alphabet after the US market close. Earlier in the day, we will hear from Coca-Cola, General Electric, General Motors and UPS. Other notable names reporting will feature Visa, Novartis, Texas Instruments, Raytheon Technologies, HSBC, SAP, 3M, UBS, ADM, Valero Energy, Chipotle, Biogen, Halliburton, Spotify and Norsk Hydro. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% at 3,800.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 402.68 MXAP up 0.4% to 134.79 MXAPJ little changed at 430.13 Nikkei up 1.0% to 27,250.28 Topix up 1.1% to 1,907.14 Hang Seng Index little changed at 15,165.59 Shanghai Composite little changed at 2,976.28 Sensex down 0.1% to 59,750.45 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 6,798.62 Kospi little changed at 2,235.07 German 10Y yield down 2.6% at 2.27% Euro down 0.1% at $0.9863 Brent Futures down 1.2% to $92.13/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,642.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 112.031 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Two younger officials promoted to the Communist Party’s ranks are standing out as the most likely candidates to be tasked with steering the People’s Bank of China through challenging economic times The era of negative-yielding global bonds looks tantalizingly close to an end, with Japan’s two-year yield on the cusp of breaking above zero for the first time since 2015 New Zealand’s central bank is “hopeful” that inflation has peaked, even though it was higher than anyone expected in the third quarter, Chief Economist Paul Conway said China’s central bank adjusted rules to allow companies to borrow more from overseas, enabling more foreign capital inflows at a time when the currency is plunging to fresh 2008 lows against the dollar The offshore yuan fell to a fresh record low after the People’s Bank of China loosened its grip on the tightly controlled fixing by setting the rate at the weakest level in 14 years New Zealand’s central bank is “hopeful” that inflation has peaked, even though it was higher than anyone expected in the third quarter, chief economist Paul Conway said Australia’s budget deficit in fiscal 2023 is set to be less than half the level anticipated by the previous administration in March, bolstered by windfall revenue from surging commodity prices Oil steadied as traders assessed near-term supply tightness in the crude market and broad appetite for risk assets including commodities WhatsApp Appears to Have Outage, With Thousands Reporting Issues US Stays China Course, Works on Biden Meeting as Xi Cements Grip Carney Addresses ‘Tension’ After Bankers Balked at CO2 Proposal Oil Steadies as Market Tightness Vies With Slowdown Concerns Fed Is Losing Billions, Wiping Out Profits That Funded Spending China Rout Puts Focus on Stocks With Foreign Holdings, BofA Says Carnival Unit Halts Asia Cruises as China Covid Zero Bites Xi Rewards Combat-Ready China Generals Amid Taiwan Tensions Warner Bros. Discovery Expects Billions in Restructuring Charges Barrack Testifies Trump Presidency Was ‘Disastrous’ for Him Sunak Expected to Keep Hunt as He Readies New UK Cabinet Tesla Options Hint at Trouble Ahead With Bets Around $200 State Street’s CEO Says Private Credit Can Lower Risk for Banks VIX’s Tandem Swings With S&P 500 Show Options Obsession Persists What the Alzheimer’s Drug Breakthrough Means for Other Diseases A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks eventually traded higher following a firm lead from Wall Street, with the Chinese market experiencing a choppy session overnight. ASX 200 held onto gains as the clock ticks down for the unveiling of the Australian Federal Budget, with gains in the index led by financials, telecoms and healthcare. Nikkei 225 remained above the 27,000 mark as its manufacturing stocks kept the index buoyed. KOSPI was supported by the chip sector but gains were capped as South Korean President Yoon said North Korea has completed preparations for a seventh nuclear test, whilst South Korean consumer inflation expectations also ticked up from the prior month. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were volatile throughout the session and both indices swung between gains and losses with the former dipping under the 15,000 mark at one point - desks pointed to continued angst following the CCP National Congress. The indices later surged whilst there were unconfirmed reports of Chinese intervention in the stock market. Top Asian News US Treasury Secretary Yellen is unaware of Japan's FX intervention and Tokyo hasn't informed them. PBoC relaxed cross-border funding by raising the macroprudential parameter to 1.25 from 1. PBoC injected CNY 230bln via 7-day reverse repos at a maintained rate of 2.00% for a daily injection of CNY 228bln China State Planner said China is to promote the expansion of foreign investments focusing on the manufacturing industry. Japan kept its overall economic view unchanged that the economy is picking up moderately, and added that "full attention" must be paid to market volatility. Govt raised Capex view for the first time in eight months; downgrades view on imports. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki does not comment on daily forex moves, ready to take appropriate action on FX movements if necessary; watching FX with a high sense of urgency. Suzuki said they are in constant communication with US authorities and he is aware of US Treasury Secretary Yellen's comments that she did not know about Japan's intervention. Japanese government official citing BoJ Governor Kuroda said sharp one-sided JPY weakening is not desirable for the economy; BoJ will work closely with govt to monitor financial and currency market moves and their impact on Japan's economy and prices Japanese PM Kishida is to appoint former Health Minister Goto as the new economy minister to replace Yamagiwa, via NHK. Japan FX intervention on October 24th has been estimated at JPY 700-900bln, according to calculation provided by a market source to Reuters. South Korean Oct 12-month consumer median inflation expectation 4.3% (prev. 4.2% in Sep), according to the BoK. RBNZ Chief Economist said the RBNZ anticipates that inflationary pressures will ease and notes that falling house prices are expected to slow consumption. Australian Federal Budget: 2022/23 budget deficit seen at 1.5% of GDP, 2023/24 seen at 1.8% of GDP, 2024/25 seen at 2.0% of GDP. Click here for full details. European bourses are on the backfoot despite a firmer open as participants digest numerous heavyweight earnings and the latest Ifo ahead of key US prints; Euro Stoxx 50 -0.3%. Sectors post outperformance in Media and Tech following Apple's pricing update and SAP +4.0%, respectively, while Chemicals are pressured as heavyweight Linde considers a Frankfurt delisting. Stateside, futures are pressured and having been moving in-tandem with European bourses as we look to heavyweight US names; ES -0.4%. United Parcel Service Inc (UPS) Q3 2022 (USD): EPS 2.96 (exp. 2.84), Revenue 24.2bln (exp. 24.32bln). Top European News Sky News sources suggest Jeremy Hunt is to remain UK Chancellor, while Penny Mordaunt wants the Foreign Secretary job. BoE Chief Economist Pill says might have benefitted if "other institutions" had respected UK institutional framework in recent weeks. EU has warned that a price cap on natural gas will need the involvement of the UK and Switzerland for it to be effective, according to Bloomberg citing sources. German gov't increases tax revenue forecast for 2022-2026 by EUR 110bln, via Handelsblatt. FX DXY rangy around the 112.000 handle and Dollar mixed against major peers, Pound reclaims 1.1300+ status as new PM Sunak prepares to take the reins from Truss. Loonie lagging ahead of BoC policy meeting on Wednesday as WTI retreats further. Aussie hovers above 0.6300 vs the Buck post-as anticipated Budget. Euro remains confined between tight 0.9899-52 lines against the Greenback with little reaction to mixed Ifo and ECB lending surveys. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1668 vs exp. 7.1348 (prev. 7.1230); weakest since 2008 China's FX regulator surveyed banks regarding Yuan positioning as the currency tumbles, via Reuters citing sources. Turkish Finance Minister held a meeting with the bank association and senior executives on Monday, via Reuters citing sources; subsequently confirmed. Fixed Income Bonds resume recovery rally as Bunds breach 137.00 and Bobls scale 119.00 irrespective of a weak 5 year auction. Gilts establish firmer foothold above 100.00 as new UK PM takes over the helm and US Treasuries flip from bear-steepening to bull-flattening ahead of 2 year note supply. German Finance Agency Diemer says volatility is making it harder for primary dealers to take risk in bidding within German auctions, via Reuters. Commodities Crude benchmarks are pressured amid the general risk tone with sentiment slipping throughout the morning amid a resilient USD and Ifo pointing to a German recession. Currently, WTI and Brent Dec contracts are lower by just over 1% or USD 1/bbl and reside at session lows of USD 83.50/bbl and USD 92/bbl respectively. IEA's Birol said the OPEC+ decision to cut output by 2mln BPD is a risky one especially as several economies are on the brink of recession; the Global LNG market to tighten further next year as European imports increase and China's appetite may rebound, via Reuters. The European Commission is to discuss a proposal today for a permanent fix to decouple gas from electricity prices, according to Politico. Spot gold is tarnished by ongoing USD strength with the DXY remaining resilient around the 112.00 mark after a brief move below. As such, the yellow metal remains below the 10-DMA. Aluminium is faring better than the likes of copper at present and perhaps deriving some support from Norsk Hydro announcing it is to commence a partial curtailment of its Norwegian aluminium smelters Geopolitical Russia will regard the use of a "dirty bomb" by Kyiv as an act of nuclear terrorism; Russia said it has not intended nor intends to use nuclear weapons in Ukraine, according to a letter cited by Reuters. US DoJ said four Chinese nationals, including three intelligence officials, have been charged in a spy recruitment campaign, according to Reuters. South Korean President Yoon said North Korea has completed preparations for a seventh nuclear test, via Yonhap. US Event Calendar 09:00: Aug. S&P CS Composite-20 YoY, est. 14.05%, prior 16.06% S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. -0.80%, prior -0.44% FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. -0.6%, prior -0.6% 10:00: Oct. Conf. Board Expectations, prior 80.3 Conf. Board Present Situation, prior 149.6 Conf. Board Consumer Confidenc, est. 106.0, prior 108.0 10:00: Oct. Richmond Fed Index, est. -5, prior 0 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’m off to New York this morning as soon as I press send on this. I've been told that the kids are queueing up to replace me and sleep on my side of the bed when I'm gone. So much so that I'm not sure I'll get my old slot back! It’ll be my first visit to NY since just prior to the pandemic. That's a lot of missing products from the Apple store to make up for. However Sterling's fall, and inflation since then will likely temper my enthusiasm for the new iPad out on Thursday! Talking of inflation, this morning we've just put out a note looking at what normally happens next when inflation hits 8% through history using 50 DM and EM countries, around 320 unique observations and covering up to a 100 years of data. With consensus being so bad at predicting inflation in this cycle we thought we'd look at what history says. Without too many spoilers, it would be unusual to see inflation now fall back as quickly as consensus believes over the next 2 years. In fact using data from the last 50 years (the fiat money era) current consensus forecasts would be in the most optimistic decile of observations over this period. Whether consensus or the median observation through history is correct will have profound implications for assets over the next few months and years. See the short report here for more. On a related subject, we wondered in yesterday's EMR whether the WSJ article on Friday would mark the 6th attempt this year to try to pre-empt a Fed pivot after Friday's reaction to the story. The reality is though that there hasn't been enough follow-through in US rates pricing yesterday for this to yet qualify as a 6th attempt. In fact, we saw a part reversal of Friday’s move yesterday. Indeed, even with a monster rally in UK bonds, US rates edged back up with 2 and 10yr yields +4.5bps and +3.2bps, respectively. Implied rates from the December 2022 - July 2023 Fed contracts increased c.+2-6bps. In Asia, 2yr and 10yr UST are back -1.2bps and -4bps lower, respectively, though. Gilts have been the standout rates mover over the last 24 hours though with 2yr and 10yrs around -37bps and -31bps lower yesterday as Rishi Sunak's path to PM was cleared by all others dropping out. 2yr notes had their largest gain in nearly 30 years. Sunak will be formally appointed today. The rates repricing has also tempered expectations of BoE hikes beyond the next couple of meetings, amid hopes for greater fiscal discipline, with the June 23 contract falling 21bps. For further reference, from morning trading just before the mini-budget on September 23rd, 2yr, 10yr and 30yr gilts are now -15.1bps, +24.8bps and -1.5bps, respectively, with GBP c.1% higher. A massive round trip. Interestingly, 10yr UST and 10yr Bunds are +51bps and +40bps over the exact same period, so Gilts have outperformed. Although US rates haven't followed through on Friday's price action, European equivalents followed Gilts and perhaps reacted to weak PMIs (more below) and the UK move more. 10yr Bunds (-8.4bps), OATs (-11.0bps) and BTPs -16.4bps rallied hard. 2yr yields also declined (-4.2bps in Germany, -4.3bps in France and -12.2 in Italy) ahead of the ECB’s meeting on Thursday. US stocks carried on their recent bounce, shrugging off weak PMIs there too, with the S&P 500 (+1.19%) and Dow Jones (+1.34%) finishing in the green for the day amid gains in health care (+1.91%), IT (+1.38%) and staples (+1.79%). Only two sectors ended up with losses on the day – real estate (-0.1%) and materials (-0.62%) – and 82% of S&P 500 members were in the green. News of Tesla (-1.49%) lowering prices on its cars sold in China amid competitive pressures weighed on the Nasdaq (+0.86%) as well. Watch out for an upcoming 48-hour blitz of tech earnings with 20% of the S&P 500 market cap reporting across 5 names. We have Microsoft, Alphabet (after hours today), Meta (tomorrow) and Apple and Amazon (Thursday). European equities also rallied amid a -15% fall in European natural gas prices to a below the 100 euro mark for the first time since June amid milder weather (not on my weekend break away!!) and good storage metrics. Indeed, "next hour" delivery TTF gas contracts briefly traded in negative territory yesterday having been over €300 in late August. With storage nearly full and the weather warm, there is very limited immediate delivery demand. This doesn't change the medium-term problems but for now there's a glut of near-term gas. The Stoxx 600 rallied +1.40%, led by utilities (+2.68%) and IT (+2.20%), with no sector in the red on the day. Bourses of Spain (IBEX +1.79%) and Italy (FTSE MIB +1.93%) were the relative outperformance but the DAX (+1.58%) and CAC 40 (+1.59%) also posted solid gains. That's it for the good news as the global flash PMIs painted a rather bleak picture on both sides of the Atlantic. Perhaps the most glaring miss was that for the US, with the manufacturing gauge (49.9) sliding into contractionary territory for the first time since June 2020 from September’s 52.0 reading and way off the 51.0 median estimate on Bloomberg. The services PMI reading disappointed even more, falling to 46.6 from 49.3 and defying expectations of a mild rebound to 49.5. Adding to the gloom, the employment component of the index fell to 49.4 from 52.2 and business expectations contracted to 57.4 (vs 66.7), the lowest since June and September of 2020, respectively. A silver lining came from a fall in input prices in the manufacturing PMI (63.9 vs 65.2), the lowest level since November 2020, although the measure crept higher for services (68.5 vs 67.7). Overall, this meant a fourth month in a row of being in contractionary theory for the composite. Manufacturing PMIs disappointed to the downside in Europe as well, falling to 46.6 from 48.4 (vs 47.9 expected) for the Eurozone aggregate and to 45.7 in Germany (vs 47.0 expected). Over in the UK, the services gauge also had a solid miss, falling from 50.0 to 47.5 (vs 49.0 expected), in addition to the manufacturing index (45.8 vs 48.0 expected). Amid these results, France stood out by having a “breakeven” composite of 50.0 on the back of an upward beat on manufacturing (47.4 vs 47.0 expected) and a miss on services (51.3 vs 51.5). Overnight in Asia, major bourses are catching up to yesterday’s price action in the US, with the Nikkei (+1.25%) and the Kospi (+0.29%) in the green and Chinese assets recording a volatile session after yesterday’s rout that saw the Hang Seng falling by -6.36%, the most in a day since the financial crisis. As of this morning, the index is notching a rebound of +0.87% on hopes of prior overselling and further parsing of the Communist Party Congress while the Shanghai composite is also higher (+0.74%). Dip buying is especially strong in the Hang Seng Tech index (+3.95%) which declined by nearly -10% yesterday and today’s volatility was boosted by news of PBOC’s multi-year-low fixing which sent the onshore yuan below the 7.30 level, the weakest since the financial crisis. Little of this is currently spilling over into US assets, with S&P 500 futures broadly flat. To the day ahead now and economic indicators in store will feature the Conference Board consumer confidence index for October, Richmond Fed manufacturing index and August FHFA house price index for the US. In Europe, we will get October Ifo survey for Germany and the Eurozone bank lending survey will also be published. The earnings line-up for today will be key, featuring most prominently Microsoft and Alphabet after the US market close. Earlier in the day, we will hear from Coca-Cola, General Electric, General Motors and UPS. Other notable names reporting will feature Visa, Novartis, Texas Instruments, Raytheon Technologies, HSBC, SAP, 3M, UBS, ADM, Valero Energy, Chipotle, Biogen, Halliburton, Spotify and Norsk Hydro. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/25/2022 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 25th, 2022

"Global Gloom": World Markets Plunge To Start The Week As Global Currency Crash Hits Max Pain And Beyond

"Global Gloom": World Markets Plunge To Start The Week As Global Currency Crash Hits Max Pain And Beyond The rout which hammered stocks on Friday, nearly pushing them to close at a new 2022 low, resumed overnight when the global FX crisis returned with a bang, and a flash crash in the British pound which as noted late last night, plummeted 500pips in thin trading, to fresh record lows following Friday's shocking mini-budget announcement which confirmed the UK has no idea what it is doing and will cut rates and issue more debt just as the BOE is desperately trying to tighten financial conditions. The plunge in cable was however just one symptom of a bigger malaise, namely the relentless surge in the dollar which overnight hit fresh record highs as the BBDXY rose as high as 1,355 before briefly fading the surge... ... as every dollar-denominated debt issuer in the world is suffering crippling pain and begging Powell to do something to ease the unprecedented shock of the strongest dollar in history just as the world slumps into a global depression. Alas, so far there is nothing but silence from the Fed - which will likely have to make some announcement on central bank currency swaps at some point before the open today to avoid an even more epic FX rout - and as traders await something to break big time across global markets... This is the week of the barbell trade: deep OTM calls and puts as things either break or CBs panic. — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 26, 2022 ... this morning futures have tumbled another 0.7%, as eminis drop to 3,683 while Nasdaq futures are down 0.8% to 11,290 on fears that Federal Reserve rate hikes to combat persistently elevated inflation will crush the economy into a full-blown recession, or depression, and the VIX soared above 32. It wasn't just FX and stocks crashing: British bonds also cratered as yields surged to the highest in more than a decade, sparking talk of emergency action by the Bank of England. For one example of the total chaos look no further than 5Y UK Gilts which have exploded 51bps higher and last traded around 4.58% as the market now prices in Similar implosions were observed in US TSYs, where the 10Y traded just shy of Friday's mini blowout, and was last seen at 3.7828% as bond traders are hit by VaR shocks at the same time in every possible market. Turning back to stocks, the rout wasn't isolated to just one market and an index of global stocks traded to the lowest since 2020. European equities extended declines after sliding into a bear market on Friday, with mining and energy stocks underperforming as metals and oil fell. “We’re in a period of global gloom, with pessimism blanketing different countries for different reasons,” said Ed Yardeni, president of his eponymous research firm, who warned of growing storm clouds for the US economy. “The latest data jibe with our growth recession scenario, but the risks of a full-blown recession are obviously increasing,” he wrote in a note Monday. In premarket trading, major US tech and internet stocks including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft tumbled. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Farfetch (FTCH US) shares fall as much as 4.43% in US premarket trading, after Citi begins coverage of the luxury online retailer with a sell rating, with broker flagging “weak” underlying profitability. Shares of US-listed Macau casinos jump in premarket trading, after Macau government said tour groups from mainland China could resume as early as November. Wynn Resorts (WYNN US) jumps 5.4%; Las Vegas Sands (LVS US) +6.9%, Melco (MLCO US) +9.6% and MGM resorts (MGM US) +1.6% Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks edged higher in premarket trading on Monday as Bitcoin rose above $19,000. Marathon Digital (MARA US) +1.9%, Coinbase (COIN US) +0.4% Keep an eye on Diana Shipping (DSX US) and Safe Bulkers (SB US) as Jefferies downgraded them to hold from buy and lowered dry bulk estimates to reflect the decline in dry bulk charter rates. European shares extended their fall to Dec. 2020 lows; sliding 1% and extending losses as investors priced a major economic shock and recession. The Stoxx 600 Index was down 1% by 10:50am in London, touching its lowest since December 2020, with real estate and banks among the worst performing sectors, while technology shares outperformed. Italy’s FTSE MIB bucked broader European declines to trade little changed, after Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Sunday’s election, in line with expectations. Banks and real estate stocks were the worst-performing sectors in Europe on Monday, with declines led by UK stocks as the pound and UK bonds slump. The Stoxx 600 Banks Index and the Stoxx 600 Real Estate are both down at least 2.5% while the benchmark gauge is 1.1% lower. The bank index decline is led by UK names including Virgin Money (-10%), Lloyds (-4.6%) and NatWest (-4.5%). Virgin Money was today resumed with a hold rating at Berenberg; broker said that the lender is expected to see revenue declines and a sector- lagging return on tangible equity which will affect ability to re-rate. Among real estate stocks, the UK’s Safestore Holdings (-4.2%), Assura (-3.9%) and Derwent London (-3.8%) are among the worst performers; non-index member housebuilders, including Persimmon, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey, are also plunging as the pound’s slump prompts talk of emergency action by the Bank of England. Here are the most notable movers today: The Stoxx 600 Tech Index rises as much as 2.4%, set for its biggest one-day outperformance against the broader Stoxx 600 since early-August, with semiconductor stocks leading gains. Among chip stocks, ASML rose as much as +3.7% after Santander upgraded the stock to neutral from underperform Italy’s FTSE MIB index gains, bucking weaker markets in Europe, after Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Sunday’s election. While the outcome was in line with expectations, the fact that the coalition didn’t obtain a super majority needed to change the constitution reassures investors. Telecom Italia rose as much +7.4%, FinecoBank +5.1%, Moncler +4.4% Unilever shares rise as much as 3.7% after it announced that CEO Alan Jope will retire from the company at the end of 2023, in a move that Jefferies analyst Martin Deboo (buy) sees as a positive development. RPS Group shares rise as much as 13% after Tetra Tech’s agreed deal to buy the company at 222p/share in cash, representing a 7.8% premium to an offer WSP made in August. Liberum does not rule out a counterbid. Belimo shares rise as much as 8.5% since the market isn’t fully pricing in its growth outlook, Berenberg says in a note, moving to buy and establishing a Street-high CHF440 target. The stock gains as much as 8.1%, the most since March 2021. Zalando shares rise as much as 4.8% after Citi analyst says they like the long-term investment story, short-term earnings risks are still high. UK Domestics: the most remarkable reaction to Friday’s not-so-mini budget, however, might be in lenders’ shares. The decline in banking stocks reflects investors’ pessimistic view on Britain’s economy. HSBC fell as much as 2.9%; Lloyds -4.3%, NatWest -4.7% and Barclays -3.0%. Virgin Money UK shares drop as much as 10% after Berenberg resumed a hold rating in note, stating that in many ways the UK small banks are “more different than they are alike.” Utilities are the day’s worst-performing European sector. Citi analyst Piotr Dzieciolowski says the EU’s funding for its policy response has so far been insufficient and also expects uncertainty to persist for UK names. United Utilities fell as much as -3.4%, Drax -3.8% Geopolitical risks from the war in Ukraine to escalating tensions over Taiwan and unrest in Iran also weighed on sentiment. Meanwhile, the OECD cut almost all growth forecasts for the Group of 20 next year while anticipating further interest-rate hikes, and a gauge of German business confidence deteriorated. Earlier in the session, a rout in Asian stocks extended into Monday as rising concerns about a global recession and weak demand hit the region’s exporters and materials producers. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 2.3% to the lowest since April 2020, dragged lower by TSMC, BHP and Toyota Motor. All but one sector traded lower with materials leading the slump.  South Korean stocks fell the most in the region, with the benchmark tumbling 3% to more than a two-year low. The Korean market’s heavy tech exposure has proven costly amid rising rates and a stronger dollar, with fears that a looming recession may wreak havoc on global demand. Gauges in Hong Kong and China reversed earlier gains as the region’s selloff intensified.   Korea Assets Are Asia’s Biggest Losers on Global Recession Angst “Investor sentiment is again at the stage of extreme fear,” said Lee Kyoung-Min, an analyst at Daishin Investment. “It is becoming solid and clear that Kospi and other global stock markets are on a mid-to-long term downward trend.” Asian stock benchmarks are being buffeted by global headwinds as well as risks of their own. The Federal Reserve’s relentless rate hike campaign is pushing Asian currencies lower and raising the risk of capital outflows, while China’s adherence to Covid Zero is hurting growth in the region’s economic giant.  If Monday’s losses are extended through the week, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index will see its longest run of declines since 2015. Japan stocks declined more than 2% as the nation resumed trading after a holiday on Friday. The Philippine stock market was closed Monday as Super Typhoon Noru barreled into the main Luzon island.  Among the key issues investors are watching this week are speeches by central bank officials in US and Europe, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday. Japanese equities tumbled as the market reopened following a three-day weekend, tracking US peers lower after the Fed’s hawkish comments last week deepened fears of a global downturn. The Topix fell 2.7% to close at 1,864.28, while the Nikkei declined 2.7% to 26,431.55. Toyota Motor contributed the most to the Topix decline, decreasing 3.2% after its monthly production update lagged expectations. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 145 rose and 1,985 fell, while 39 were unchanged. “There is a possibility that inflation will not subside and interest rates will rise further, which the markets will not like,” said Shoji Hirakawa, a chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.6% to close at 6,469.40, as energy and mining shares plummeted. An energy gauge including oil and coal linked securities declined by the most since March 2020.  The New Zealand market was closed for a holiday In India, key stocks gauges plunged to their lowest closing levels in almost two months as the global equity rout continues. The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 1.6% to 57,145.22 in Mumbai to its lowest since July 28. The NSE Nifty 50 Index fell 1.8%, its biggest single-day plunge since Sept. 16. Both the indexes, down in four of the past five weeks, have lost almost 6% since this month’s peak. Volatility in domestic equities is likely to remain elevated this week, pending monthly derivatives expiry on Thursday. Of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 24 fell and 6 advanced. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by utilities and power companies.  The Indian rupee weakened to a new record against the dollar amid surging US Treasury yields. The Reserve Bank of India’s rate-setting panel will announce monetary policy later this week. As noted above, while stocks are ugly, rates are a horrorshow as Treasuries extended their worst bond slide in decades as a dollar gauge rose to yet another record. Treasuries extended losses in a bear flattening move with yields cheaper by up to 10bp across the belly of the curve. US 10-year yields around 3.78%, cheaper by 6bp on the day with 5s30s spread flatter by 5bp, dropping as low as -45.4bp in European session; UK yields cheaper by 60bp to 25bp from front- end out to long-end of the curve. The Move comes as market participants brace for accelerated policy tightening from global central banks and headlines such as this: *TRADERS PRICE IN UP TO 200BPS OF BOE RATE HIKES BY NOVEMBER Yields on 2-year gilts are 60bp cheaper heading into early US session, while the pound recovers slightly after reaching a fresh all-time low. US session focus on 2-year auction, while a barrage of Fed speakers are expected for the week. Peripheral spreads widen to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund widening 7bps to 238bps. FX, of course, is a disaster, with the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rising a fifth consecutive day as the greenback advanced versus most of its Group-of-10 peers. The pound plunged almost 5% to $1.0350 in Asian trading, the lowest recorded in Bloomberg data going back to 1971, while gilts crashed after the UK government vowed to press ahead with more tax cuts, stoking fears that new fiscal policies will send inflation and debt soaring, triggering emergency rate hikes. The options market signals no respite even as the pound rebounded from a record low hit during the Asia session. The yield on two- year bonds surged more than 55 basis points to 4.51%, while the 10-year yield rose 37 basis points to 4.19%. Money markets price in more than 150 basis points of rate increases by the BoE’s next policy meeting in November The euro steadied after earlier dropping to $0.9554; European bond yields rose; Italian bonds underperformed German peers. Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Sunday’s Italian election, setting herself up to become the country’s first female prime minister at the head of the most right-wing government since World War II. Germany’s IFO business expectations slid to 75.2 in September from 80.3 in August. That’s the lowest since April 2020. Analysts had predicted a drop to 79. An index of current conditions also fell. The Australian and New Zealand dollars pared some losses after earlier touching fresh 2-year lows. Aussie bond yields rose by up to 13bps, led by the front end The yen weakened amid a broadly stronger dollar. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the government’s intervention in the foreign exchange market last week was appropriate given the recent volatility in the yen The currency’s rally is “untenable” for risk assets, according to a note by Morgan Stanley strategists led by Michael Wilson, while Sian Fenner, senior Asia economist for Oxford Economics, said that “It’s a king US dollar...“It’s adding to inflationary pressures and more central banks raising rates more than we have historically seen.” In commodities, WTI slides almost 1% to trade near $78/bbl. Spot gold mostly unchanged near $1,643/oz. Bitcoin climbs above $19,000. Trading this week will be punctuated by a number of economic reports including US initial jobless claims and gross-domestic-product data, along with PMI figures from China. Choppiness in price moves is likely with a steady stream of Federal Reserve officials speaking through the week. Looking at today's calendar, we get the September Dallas Fed manufacturing activity index, and the August Chicago Fed national activity index. Central bank speakers include the Fed's Bostic, Collins, Logan and Mester; ECB's Lagarde also speaks as does Nagel, Guindos, Centeno and Panetta speak, BoE's Tenreyro speaks. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,706.25 MXAP down 2.0% to 142.24 MXAPJ down 1.4% to 463.08 Nikkei down 2.7% to 26,431.55 Topix down 2.7% to 1,864.28 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 17,855.14 Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,051.23 Sensex down 1.2% to 57,378.30 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.6% to 6,469.41 Kospi down 3.0% to 2,220.94 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 389.70 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.08% Euro little changed at $0.9683 Brent Futures down 0.7% to $85.59/bbl Brent Futures down 0.7% to $85.59/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,645.98 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 113.22 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng must do more to reassure the markets about his plans for the economy after a selloff sent the pound crashing to an all-time low against the dollar, said Gerard Lyons, an external adviser to Prime Minister Liz Truss The UK’s foreign currency holdings are a fraction of the huge stockpiles built up by some of its peers, making unilateral intervention in the market to prop up the plunging pound a tall order for UK policymakers. The UK had $108 billion in foreign currency reserves at the end of August, according to data from the IMF Hedge funds ramped up bullish bets on the pound just days before the UK government’s unexpectedly large tax cuts sent the currency tumbling The ECB’s newest policy maker, Boris Vujcic, says “it’s clear that this is the right way to go,” backing this month’s 75-basis point interest-rate hike ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said the biggest problem facing the continent’s economy is record inflation, which is becoming more broad-based, threatening investment and consumer spending ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras says the central bank must maintain the main principles of gradualism and flexibility, since the problem it faces is different from the one that the US Fed faces China made it more expensive to bet against the yuan in the derivatives market, ramping up support for the currency as it slides toward the weakest level since the 2008 financial crisis A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly negative in a resumption of last week's global stock rout amid the continued surge in the dollar and higher yields, while there was also FX volatility which saw a flash crash in GBP/USD to a record low. ASX 200 was dragged lower amid losses in the commodity-related sectors and with sentiment dampened by the collapse of potential M&A deals involving Ramsay Health-KKR and Link Administration-Dye & Durham. Nikkei 225 underperformed with Mazda Motors among the worst hit as it considers exiting Russian operations. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp retraced most of their initial losses with Hong Kong underpinned following the scrapping of hotel quarantine policy and with casinos boosted as Macau is to resume tour groups from China, while the property industry benefits after China Construction Bank formed a CNY 30bln housing rental fund and some Twitter sources also circulated that some China state banks were reportedly ordered to buy stocks to contain selling. Top Asian News PBoC injected CNY 42bln via 7-day reverse repos with the rate kept at 2.00% and CNY 93bln via 14-day reverse repos with the rate kept at 2.15% for a net CNY 133bln injection. There were rumours circulating on social media of a coup against Chinese President Xi, although experts and journalists in Beijing dismissed the rumours and said there was no evidence to support them, according to The Print. Philippines Stock Exchange announced a trading suspension for Monday amid a typhoon in the capital, according to Reuters. European bourses are softer after a mixed cash open and despite a brief foray higher, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%, as sentiment remains subdued amid recession/inflation concerns. The breakdown features modest outperformance in the FTSE MIB as Italian election results are in-line with expectations. Stateside, futures are lower across the board in-fitting with peers going into a week of Fed speak and inflation data. Top European News UK PM Truss said she is determined to make the special relationship with the US even more special and said she agreed with US President Biden that it is vital to protect the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement, while she wants to find a way forward with a negotiated solution with the EU, according to Reuters and a CNN interview. UK PM Truss is to review visa schemes in an attempt to ease UK labour shortages, according to FT. UK Chancellor Kwarteng hinted that more tax cuts are on the way and claimed his tax cuts “favour people right across the income scale” amid accusations they mainly help the rich, according to Evening Standard. UK Chancellor Kwarteng said he is focused on growing the economy and the longer term when asked about the market reaction to his statement on Friday. Kwarteng added that he shares ideas with BoE Governor Bailey but added that Bailey is completely independent and Kwarteng is confident the BoE is dealing with inflation, according to Reuters. UK opposition Labour Party leader Starmer said they would reintroduce the top rate of income tax at 45% which the government announced to scrap last week, while he added that they will support the government plan to lower the basic rate of income tax to 19%, according to Reuters. Italy's right-wing bloc is seen winning the national election with 43.3% and centre-left bloc is seen winning 25.4%, according to the first projection by LA7 TV based on the actual vote count.. Click here for newsquawk snap analysis. Italy's Meloni said Italians gave clear backing to a centre-right government led by the Brothers of Italy and said the situation is difficult and needs contribution from everyone. It was separately reported that Italy's Democratic Party conceded in the election and said it will be the main opposition force, while Italy's Meloni claimed leadership of the next Italian government, according to Reuters and AFP. FX DXY climbed to a fresh YTD high of 114.58 before paring modestly, but remaining firmer, as GBP in particular lifts off worst levels. Cable succumbed to a flash crash overnight, with GBP/USD hitting an all-time-low around 1.0350 as participants confidence in the economy slips. EUR suffers amid the mentioned USD move but derives relative benefit from GBP, while ECB speakers thus far have added little. Antipodeans and CAD weighed on by broader risk and commodity pressure. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki said the government and BoJ share views on concerns about a weak JPY, while he added that FX intervention had a certain effect and there is no change to the stance that they will respond to market moves as needed, according to Reuters. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.0298 vs exp. 7.0019 (prev. 6.9920) PBoC imposed a 20% risk reserve requirement for FX forward sales from September 28th to rein in yuan weakness. Fixed Income Gilts have retained some composure after slumping over 200ticks at the commencement of trade and have settled around halfway between intraday extremes. EGBs downbeat in sympathy while BTPs marginally lag core-EGB peers as Italian as-expected election results are digested with BTP-Bund only modestly wider as such. Stateside, USTs are pressured in-fitting with peers and also conscious of the week's supply docket getting underway via a 43bln 2yr. Central Banks Fed’s Bostic (2024 voter) said inflation is too high and that they need to do all they can to bring it down and said demand is beginning to shrink which will ultimately pay dividends in inflation levels. Bostic also stated that there are scenarios where they can avoid deep pain but there will likely be some job losses, according to Reuters. BoJ's Kuroda says the BoJ will maintain accommodative monetary conditions to support companies, hopes to support a positive economic cycle, long-term inflation expectations have begun to heighten, via Reuters. Intervention from the MoF is an "appropriate" move, does not think gov't intervention and BoJ policy are contradictory. Amamiya says the domestic economy is picking up, must carefully watch how FX moves affect the economy and prices. BoJ Governor Kuroda says when he stated that BoJ forward guidance will not change for 2-3yrs, did not refer to guidance on keeping short and long-term rates at present of lower levels via Reuters. ECB's de Guindos says Q3 and Q4 point towards growth rates being close to zero within the EZ, the scenario is market by high uncertainty, lower growth and higher inflation. ECB's Panetta says ECB is assessing the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and "the extent to which it could improve our services.". Capital Economics calls for the BoE to "get on the front foot with a big rate hike". Allianz's El-Erian says, on GBP, the fall is about extra tax cuts and Chancellor Kwarteng could recalibrate this. Alternative, would be for the BoE to hike at an emergency meeting. Adding, he would hike by 100bp. BoE publishes key elements of the 2022 annual cyclical scenario stress test; includes a scenario where the Bank Rate is assumed to rise rapidly to a peak of 6% in early 2023 before gradually reduced to sub-3.5%. Commodities WTI and Brent November futures remain subdued in early European trade following last week’s recession-induced losses. Spot gold trades in tandem with the Buck and sees resistance at around USD 1,650/oz after falling to USD 1,627/oz as a casualty of the Sterling flash crash overnight. LME metals are softer across the board with 3M copper futures having a hard time reclaiming USD +7,500/t status with upside capped by the Buck. Iraq began trial operations at the Karabala oil refinery which has a production capacity of 140k bpd, according to a statement from the Oil Ministry. German Chancellor Scholz signed a strategic agreement with UAE’s President on accelerating energy security and industrial growth, while UAE’s ADNOC signed an agreement with Germany’s RWE which includes ADNOC exporting its first LNG cargo to RWE and will conduct trial shipments of low-carbon ammonia to Germany. Furthermore, Chancellor Scholz said while visiting Doha that he talked with the Emir about LNG deliveries and that they want to achieve further progress, according to Reuters. Germany is preparing a national electricity price cap to be implemented this fall in the scenario the EU falls to agree on a similar move for the entirety of the bloc, via WSJ citing officials. Vitol's CEO said at the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference that Russian gas supply cuts put enormous strain on supply-demand in Europe and that high gas prices are to impact 60%-80% of demand, while Ecopetrol's CEO said they are increasing crude exports to Europe this year to replace Russian supplies and are drilling 600 oil wells this year. Anglo American (AAL LN) tightens copper production guidance for Chile to 560k-580k tonnes of copper (prev. 560k-600k tonnes) due to lower throughput at Los Bronces caused by a combination of water restrictions and a change in ore characteristics, via Reuters. US Event Calendar 08:30: Aug. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.23, prior 0.27 10:30: Sept. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. -10.0, prior -12.9 Central Banks 10:00: Boston Fed’s Susan Collins Speaks to Boston Chamber of... 12:00: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Income Inequality 12:30: Fed’s Logan Speaks at Banking Conference 16:00: Fed’s Mester Discusses Economic Outlook DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I wonder whether any research report has ever been written whilst watching synchronised swimming? Well if not, then you’re reading the first ever as I’m getting a head start on the early morning news by starting this on Sunday evening watching my daughter Maisie do her second session after getting into the local club. Watching this sport is going to take some getting used to after years of watching football, cricket, golf, F1, athletics, rugby... actually.... virtually every sport bar synchronised swimming. I think everyone felt they were swimming in a tsunami of newsflow last week after one of the most incredible macro weeks in recent memory in terms of breadth of events. Yes there have been more extreme weeks in crises but last week had a bit more variety and was outside of a crisis period. If over 500bps of global rate hikes wasn’t enough, you also had 2yr US yields moving higher for the 12th successive day on Friday (the longest steak since data begins in 1976), the BoJ intervening in FX markets for the first time since 1998, and what can only be termed as one of the darker days for sterling assets on record on Friday after a mammoth tax giveaway in what was a mini-budget in name and not by nature. Henry and I put a note out on Friday night (link here) showing that it was the third worst day for Sterling (-3.57%) since Black Wednesday in 1992, with the worst two since being the day after the Brexit vote (-8.1%) and after the initial covid shock in 2020 (-3.71%) when there was a global flight to dollars. We also show a graph of daily Sterling moves back to 1862 and on that it was the 41st worst day in history spanning 47,000 trading days. Obviously in the long era of fixed FX rates there were the occasional big devaluations which were much bigger than Friday. This morning is Asia it fell around -4.5% at one point (1.0392) which was a record low against the Dollar. It's around -2.78% as I type. This follows a weekend interview where Chancellor Kwarteng suggested that more tax cuts were to come so that certainly was a red rag to markets. Will we hear from the upper echelons of the BoE today? Watch out for any comments, especially at the market open. DB's George Saravelos suggested on Friday that the Bank of England need to do an inter meeting hike to restore policy credibility. There’s also a graph in our note mentioned above showing that Friday was the worst day for 5yr gilts (+50.3bps) since a +200bps hike in 1985 when sterling was also slumping. So maybe omens here. I suppose the only slight mystery is the timing of the sell-off as the mini-budget in magnitude was broadly in-line with the recent elevated fiscal expectations that had been building. However perhaps it was the unabashed revival of trickle-down economics that had markets a little aghast. It goes against the current economic orthodoxy and the overall zeitgeist of our immediate times. As such there is likely to be concerns of a credibility issue. We are publishing our long-term study today with the title “How we got here, and where we’re going?”. In it we try to put the current macro woes into historical context in an attempt to work out where we’re going. There are quite a few people who have proof-read it on my team and they were all thoroughly depressed at the end. I didn't feel that way writing it but maybe it's a case of starting point perceptions. Anyway, look out for it around the European lunchtime. Overnight in Italy, the right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party was on course to become the nation’s first woman prime minister after exit polls gave it a clear majority. With the full results due later today, she is predicted to win up to 26% of the vote ahead of her closest rival Enrico Letta from the centre left. The right wing alliance is slated to be on course for around 43% of the vote, enough for a majority if correct. As I type, the euro is extending its losses against the dollar for the fifth day, its longest streak since April 28, falling as much as -0.5% to 0.9638, albeit being overshadowed by Sterling. For this week we have an array of consumer-driven economic data in the US and some important European inflation prints. We will also get a number of consumer sentiment indicators across the key economies and PMIs from Asia. Away from the data, there are more than 30 central banker appearances across the Fed and the ECB to keep markets busy. Tomorrow also sees referendums in the Russia-annexed Ukrainian territories as the conflict goes into its eight month. Going through the data in more details now. Starting with the US, the PCE and personal income and spending data will be front and centre for markets next week as they gauge the extent of inflationary pressures and the strength of the consumer. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the PCE, due Friday, will be watched for signs of price pressures we saw in last week's CPI report. Our US economists expect core PCE to edge higher by +0.5% MoM (vs +0.1% in July) which won’t allow the Fed to take the foot off the tightening pedal. For the other two data points, our team forecasts a +0.1% MoM increase for both income and consumption. Final US Q2 GDP will also be released on Thursday and although DB expect no change to the -0.6% second reading, watch out for the annual benchmark revisions back to Q1 2017. History could be re-written that could have some implications for how we all think about the economy. In other US data, we will also get the consumer confidence index on Tuesday, along with durable goods orders, and inventories data on Wednesday, with the Chicago PMI on Friday. Over in Europe, all eyes will be on September's inflation data, including the Euro Area flash CPI release on Friday. Our economists are expecting the measure to hit a record +9.5%, up from the previous record of +9.1% in August. Other data in the region will include consumer and economic sentiment from Germany, France, Italy and the Eurozone throughout the week. Meanwhile, EU energy ministers will meet again on Friday regarding the emergency intervention amid elevated energy prices. Finally, next week's earnings line up will feature a number of retail bellwethers on Thursday. Among them will be Nike, H&M and Next. Micron will report that day as well. See our usual day by day guide to the week at the end which contains many of the key Fed and ECB speakers including Powell and Lagarde. Stock markets across Asia are mostly lower this morning. The Kospi (-2.40%), Nikkei (-2.30%) and the S&P/ASX 200 (-1.40%) are leading the declines. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng (+0.11%) is swinging between gains and losses after rising by +2.45% initially with Chinese shares mixed as the Shanghai Composite (-0.10%) is trading lower while the CSI (+0.46%) is up as we go to press. Stock futures in DMs are pointing to further losses with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.49%), NASDAQ 100 (-0.46%) and DAX (-0.33%) all moving lower. Early morning data showed that Japan’s manufacturing sector continued to expand albeit at a slower pace as the latest au Jibun Bank manufacturing PMI slipped to a 20-month low of 51.0 in September from 51.5 in August, pulled lower by high energy and raw material prices that was exacerbated by a weak yen. At the same time, the au Jibun Bank services PMI returned to expansion, recording a level of 51.9 in September from August's 49.5 final reading. Moving on to China, in order to stabilise expectations in the FX market, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) today raised the risk reserve requirement on foreign exchange forward sales to 20% from 0% beginning September 28 as the yuan faces increasing depreciation pressure, in line with most major currencies amid broad dollar strength. Looking back now on a week that will not be forgotten anytime soon. While there were historic central bank hikes all week, the biggest news came from the fiscal authorities, following the UK’s budget Friday, which had the largest tax cut package since the 1970s. Gilt yields had their largest one-day increase in decades with 2yrs +44.7bps, 5yrs +50.3bps, and 10yrs +33.3bps. As we mentioned at the top, 5yrs yields saw their largest move since 1985 after a +200bps hike aimed at helping a plunging currency. The pound fell -3.57% against the US dollar to within a percentage point of the weakest in the post-Bretton Woods 51yr free float era. It was already a busy macro week before the blockbuster budget, where we got more than 500bps of global central bank hikes and a currency intervention from Japan. In terms of the biggest players, the Fed delivered its third consecutive 75bp hike while the BoE delivered its second 50bp hike in a row, with both banks guiding toward yet more tightening, while the BoJ remained the outlier by keeping its accommodative policy in place, which isn’t going to help the yen turnaround even with intervention. When all was said and done, sovereign bonds and equities sold off in size, while yield curves flattened. 2yr Treasuries (+33.4bps, +7.9bps Friday), 2yr Bunds (+38.5bps, +7.2bps Friday), 2yr Gilts (+82.1bps, +44.7bps Friday) reached their highest levels since 2007, 2008, and 2008, respectively, as markets priced in more tightening to overcome inflationary pressures (and in the case of the UK, fiscal expansion). 10yr Treasuries (+23.5bps, -2.9bps Friday) ended the week a touch lower on the day but hit their highest levels since 2011 during the week, while 10yr Bunds (+26.8bps, +5.9bps Friday), and 10yr Gilts (+69.1bps, +33.3bps Friday) hit their highest levels since 2013 and 2011, respectively. The mixture unsurprisingly proved unpalatable to risk assets, driving the STOXX 600 and S&P 500 back to their lows for the year. The STOXX 600 retreated -4.37% on the week and -2.34% on Friday, the worst weekly and daily return since mid-June. The S&P 500 fell -4.65% (-1.75% Friday), returning to bear market territory. The FTSE managed to stay above its YTD lows, but still fell -3.01% on the week, its worst weekly return since mid-June as well, and retreated -1.97% on Friday, the worst daily return since early July. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 08:08.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 26th, 2022

“Global Gloom": World Markets Plunge To Start The Week As Global Currency Crash Hits Max Pain And Beyond

“Global Gloom": World Markets Plunge To Start The Week As Global Currency Crash Hits Max Pain And Beyond The rout which hammered stocks on Friday, nearly pushing them to close at a new 2022 low, resumed overnight when the global FX crisis returned with a bang, and a flash crash in the British pound which as noted late last night, plummeted 500pips in thin trading, to fresh record lows following Friday's shocking mini-budget announcement which confirmed the UK has no idea what it is doing and will cut rates and issue more debt just as the BOE is desperately trying to tighten financial conditions. The plunge in cable was however just one symptom of a bigger malaise, namely the relentless surge in the dollar which overnight hit fresh record highs as the BBDXY rose as high as 1,355 before briefly fading the surge... ... as every dollar-denominated debt issuer in the world is suffering crippling pain and begging Powell to do something to ease the unprecedented shock of the strongest dollar in history just as the world slumps into a global depression. Alas, so far there is nothing but silence from the Fed - which will likely have to make some announcement on central bank currency swaps at some point before the open today to avoid an even more epic FX rout - and as traders await something to break big time across global markets... This is the week of the barbell trade: deep OTM calls and puts as things either break or CBs panic. — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 26, 2022 ... this morning futures have tumbled another 0.7%, as eminis drop to 3,683 while Nasdaq futures are down 0.8% to 11,290 on fears that Federal Reserve rate hikes to combat persistently elevated inflation will crush the economy into a full-blown recession, or depression, and the VIX soared above 32. It wasn't just FX and stocks crashing: British bonds also cratered as yields surged to the highest in more than a decade, sparking talk of emergency action by the Bank of England. For one example of the total chaos look no further than 5Y UK Gilts which have exploded 51bps higher and last traded around 4.58% as the market now prices in Similar implosions were observed in US TSYs, where the 10Y traded just shy of Friday's mini blowout, and was last seen at 3.7828% as bond traders are hit by VaR shocks at the same time in every possible market. Turning back to stocks, the rout wasn't isolated to just one market and an index of global stocks traded to the lowest since 2020. European equities extended declines after sliding into a bear market on Friday, with mining and energy stocks underperforming as metals and oil fell. “We’re in a period of global gloom, with pessimism blanketing different countries for different reasons,” said Ed Yardeni, president of his eponymous research firm, who warned of growing storm clouds for the US economy. “The latest data jibe with our growth recession scenario, but the risks of a full-blown recession are obviously increasing,” he wrote in a note Monday. In premarket trading, major US tech and internet stocks including Apple, Amazon and Microsoft tumbled. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Farfetch (FTCH US) shares fall as much as 4.43% in US premarket trading, after Citi begins coverage of the luxury online retailer with a sell rating, with broker flagging “weak” underlying profitability. Shares of US-listed Macau casinos jump in premarket trading, after Macau government said tour groups from mainland China could resume as early as November. Wynn Resorts (WYNN US) jumps 5.4%; Las Vegas Sands (LVS US) +6.9%, Melco (MLCO US) +9.6% and MGM resorts (MGM US) +1.6% Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks edged higher in premarket trading on Monday as Bitcoin rose above $19,000. Marathon Digital (MARA US) +1.9%, Coinbase (COIN US) +0.4% Keep an eye on Diana Shipping (DSX US) and Safe Bulkers (SB US) as Jefferies downgraded them to hold from buy and lowered dry bulk estimates to reflect the decline in dry bulk charter rates. European shares extended their fall to Dec. 2020 lows; sliding 1% and extending losses as investors priced a major economic shock and recession. The Stoxx 600 Index was down 1% by 10:50am in London, touching its lowest since December 2020, with real estate and banks among the worst performing sectors, while technology shares outperformed. Italy’s FTSE MIB bucked broader European declines to trade little changed, after Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Sunday’s election, in line with expectations. Banks and real estate stocks were the worst-performing sectors in Europe on Monday, with declines led by UK stocks as the pound and UK bonds slump. The Stoxx 600 Banks Index and the Stoxx 600 Real Estate are both down at least 2.5% while the benchmark gauge is 1.1% lower. The bank index decline is led by UK names including Virgin Money (-10%), Lloyds (-4.6%) and NatWest (-4.5%). Virgin Money was today resumed with a hold rating at Berenberg; broker said that the lender is expected to see revenue declines and a sector- lagging return on tangible equity which will affect ability to re-rate. Among real estate stocks, the UK’s Safestore Holdings (-4.2%), Assura (-3.9%) and Derwent London (-3.8%) are among the worst performers; non-index member housebuilders, including Persimmon, Bellway and Taylor Wimpey, are also plunging as the pound’s slump prompts talk of emergency action by the Bank of England. Here are the most notable movers today: The Stoxx 600 Tech Index rises as much as 2.4%, set for its biggest one-day outperformance against the broader Stoxx 600 since early-August, with semiconductor stocks leading gains. Among chip stocks, ASML rose as much as +3.7% after Santander upgraded the stock to neutral from underperform Italy’s FTSE MIB index gains, bucking weaker markets in Europe, after Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Sunday’s election. While the outcome was in line with expectations, the fact that the coalition didn’t obtain a super majority needed to change the constitution reassures investors. Telecom Italia rose as much +7.4%, FinecoBank +5.1%, Moncler +4.4% Unilever shares rise as much as 3.7% after it announced that CEO Alan Jope will retire from the company at the end of 2023, in a move that Jefferies analyst Martin Deboo (buy) sees as a positive development. RPS Group shares rise as much as 13% after Tetra Tech’s agreed deal to buy the company at 222p/share in cash, representing a 7.8% premium to an offer WSP made in August. Liberum does not rule out a counterbid. Belimo shares rise as much as 8.5% since the market isn’t fully pricing in its growth outlook, Berenberg says in a note, moving to buy and establishing a Street-high CHF440 target. The stock gains as much as 8.1%, the most since March 2021. Zalando shares rise as much as 4.8% after Citi analyst says they like the long-term investment story, short-term earnings risks are still high. UK Domestics: the most remarkable reaction to Friday’s not-so-mini budget, however, might be in lenders’ shares. The decline in banking stocks reflects investors’ pessimistic view on Britain’s economy. HSBC fell as much as 2.9%; Lloyds -4.3%, NatWest -4.7% and Barclays -3.0%. Virgin Money UK shares drop as much as 10% after Berenberg resumed a hold rating in note, stating that in many ways the UK small banks are “more different than they are alike.” Utilities are the day’s worst-performing European sector. Citi analyst Piotr Dzieciolowski says the EU’s funding for its policy response has so far been insufficient and also expects uncertainty to persist for UK names. United Utilities fell as much as -3.4%, Drax -3.8% Geopolitical risks from the war in Ukraine to escalating tensions over Taiwan and unrest in Iran also weighed on sentiment. Meanwhile, the OECD cut almost all growth forecasts for the Group of 20 next year while anticipating further interest-rate hikes, and a gauge of German business confidence deteriorated. Earlier in the session, a rout in Asian stocks extended into Monday as rising concerns about a global recession and weak demand hit the region’s exporters and materials producers. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 2.3% to the lowest since April 2020, dragged lower by TSMC, BHP and Toyota Motor. All but one sector traded lower with materials leading the slump.  South Korean stocks fell the most in the region, with the benchmark tumbling 3% to more than a two-year low. The Korean market’s heavy tech exposure has proven costly amid rising rates and a stronger dollar, with fears that a looming recession may wreak havoc on global demand. Gauges in Hong Kong and China reversed earlier gains as the region’s selloff intensified.   Korea Assets Are Asia’s Biggest Losers on Global Recession Angst “Investor sentiment is again at the stage of extreme fear,” said Lee Kyoung-Min, an analyst at Daishin Investment. “It is becoming solid and clear that Kospi and other global stock markets are on a mid-to-long term downward trend.” Asian stock benchmarks are being buffeted by global headwinds as well as risks of their own. The Federal Reserve’s relentless rate hike campaign is pushing Asian currencies lower and raising the risk of capital outflows, while China’s adherence to Covid Zero is hurting growth in the region’s economic giant.  If Monday’s losses are extended through the week, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index will see its longest run of declines since 2015. Japan stocks declined more than 2% as the nation resumed trading after a holiday on Friday. The Philippine stock market was closed Monday as Super Typhoon Noru barreled into the main Luzon island.  Among the key issues investors are watching this week are speeches by central bank officials in US and Europe, including Fed Chair Jerome Powell on Tuesday. Japanese equities tumbled as the market reopened following a three-day weekend, tracking US peers lower after the Fed’s hawkish comments last week deepened fears of a global downturn. The Topix fell 2.7% to close at 1,864.28, while the Nikkei declined 2.7% to 26,431.55. Toyota Motor contributed the most to the Topix decline, decreasing 3.2% after its monthly production update lagged expectations. Out of 2,169 stocks in the index, 145 rose and 1,985 fell, while 39 were unchanged. “There is a possibility that inflation will not subside and interest rates will rise further, which the markets will not like,” said Shoji Hirakawa, a chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.6% to close at 6,469.40, as energy and mining shares plummeted. An energy gauge including oil and coal linked securities declined by the most since March 2020.  The New Zealand market was closed for a holiday In India, key stocks gauges plunged to their lowest closing levels in almost two months as the global equity rout continues. The S&P BSE Sensex dropped 1.6% to 57,145.22 in Mumbai to its lowest since July 28. The NSE Nifty 50 Index fell 1.8%, its biggest single-day plunge since Sept. 16. Both the indexes, down in four of the past five weeks, have lost almost 6% since this month’s peak. Volatility in domestic equities is likely to remain elevated this week, pending monthly derivatives expiry on Thursday. Of 30 shares in the Sensex index, 24 fell and 6 advanced. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by utilities and power companies.  The Indian rupee weakened to a new record against the dollar amid surging US Treasury yields. The Reserve Bank of India’s rate-setting panel will announce monetary policy later this week. As noted above, while stocks are ugly, rates are a horrorshow as Treasuries extended their worst bond slide in decades as a dollar gauge rose to yet another record. Treasuries extended losses in a bear flattening move with yields cheaper by up to 10bp across the belly of the curve. US 10-year yields around 3.78%, cheaper by 6bp on the day with 5s30s spread flatter by 5bp, dropping as low as -45.4bp in European session; UK yields cheaper by 60bp to 25bp from front- end out to long-end of the curve. The Move comes as market participants brace for accelerated policy tightening from global central banks and headlines such as this: *TRADERS PRICE IN UP TO 200BPS OF BOE RATE HIKES BY NOVEMBER Yields on 2-year gilts are 60bp cheaper heading into early US session, while the pound recovers slightly after reaching a fresh all-time low. US session focus on 2-year auction, while a barrage of Fed speakers are expected for the week. Peripheral spreads widen to Germany with 10y BTP/Bund widening 7bps to 238bps. FX, of course, is a disaster, with the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rising a fifth consecutive day as the greenback advanced versus most of its Group-of-10 peers. The pound plunged almost 5% to $1.0350 in Asian trading, the lowest recorded in Bloomberg data going back to 1971, while gilts crashed after the UK government vowed to press ahead with more tax cuts, stoking fears that new fiscal policies will send inflation and debt soaring, triggering emergency rate hikes. The options market signals no respite even as the pound rebounded from a record low hit during the Asia session. The yield on two- year bonds surged more than 55 basis points to 4.51%, while the 10-year yield rose 37 basis points to 4.19%. Money markets price in more than 150 basis points of rate increases by the BoE’s next policy meeting in November The euro steadied after earlier dropping to $0.9554; European bond yields rose; Italian bonds underperformed German peers. Giorgia Meloni won a clear majority in Sunday’s Italian election, setting herself up to become the country’s first female prime minister at the head of the most right-wing government since World War II. Germany’s IFO business expectations slid to 75.2 in September from 80.3 in August. That’s the lowest since April 2020. Analysts had predicted a drop to 79. An index of current conditions also fell. The Australian and New Zealand dollars pared some losses after earlier touching fresh 2-year lows. Aussie bond yields rose by up to 13bps, led by the front end The yen weakened amid a broadly stronger dollar. Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said the government’s intervention in the foreign exchange market last week was appropriate given the recent volatility in the yen The currency’s rally is “untenable” for risk assets, according to a note by Morgan Stanley strategists led by Michael Wilson, while Sian Fenner, senior Asia economist for Oxford Economics, said that “It’s a king US dollar...“It’s adding to inflationary pressures and more central banks raising rates more than we have historically seen.” In commodities, WTI slides almost 1% to trade near $78/bbl. Spot gold mostly unchanged near $1,643/oz. Bitcoin climbs above $19,000. Trading this week will be punctuated by a number of economic reports including US initial jobless claims and gross-domestic-product data, along with PMI figures from China. Choppiness in price moves is likely with a steady stream of Federal Reserve officials speaking through the week. Looking at today's calendar, we get the September Dallas Fed manufacturing activity index, and the August Chicago Fed national activity index. Central bank speakers include the Fed's Bostic, Collins, Logan and Mester; ECB's Lagarde also speaks as does Nagel, Guindos, Centeno and Panetta speak, BoE's Tenreyro speaks. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 3,706.25 MXAP down 2.0% to 142.24 MXAPJ down 1.4% to 463.08 Nikkei down 2.7% to 26,431.55 Topix down 2.7% to 1,864.28 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 17,855.14 Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,051.23 Sensex down 1.2% to 57,378.30 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.6% to 6,469.41 Kospi down 3.0% to 2,220.94 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 389.70 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.08% Euro little changed at $0.9683 Brent Futures down 0.7% to $85.59/bbl Brent Futures down 0.7% to $85.59/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,645.98 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 113.22 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Chancellor of the Exchequer Kwasi Kwarteng must do more to reassure the markets about his plans for the economy after a selloff sent the pound crashing to an all-time low against the dollar, said Gerard Lyons, an external adviser to Prime Minister Liz Truss The UK’s foreign currency holdings are a fraction of the huge stockpiles built up by some of its peers, making unilateral intervention in the market to prop up the plunging pound a tall order for UK policymakers. The UK had $108 billion in foreign currency reserves at the end of August, according to data from the IMF Hedge funds ramped up bullish bets on the pound just days before the UK government’s unexpectedly large tax cuts sent the currency tumbling The ECB’s newest policy maker, Boris Vujcic, says “it’s clear that this is the right way to go,” backing this month’s 75-basis point interest-rate hike ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos said the biggest problem facing the continent’s economy is record inflation, which is becoming more broad-based, threatening investment and consumer spending ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras says the central bank must maintain the main principles of gradualism and flexibility, since the problem it faces is different from the one that the US Fed faces China made it more expensive to bet against the yuan in the derivatives market, ramping up support for the currency as it slides toward the weakest level since the 2008 financial crisis A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly negative in a resumption of last week's global stock rout amid the continued surge in the dollar and higher yields, while there was also FX volatility which saw a flash crash in GBP/USD to a record low. ASX 200 was dragged lower amid losses in the commodity-related sectors and with sentiment dampened by the collapse of potential M&A deals involving Ramsay Health-KKR and Link Administration-Dye & Durham. Nikkei 225 underperformed with Mazda Motors among the worst hit as it considers exiting Russian operations. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp retraced most of their initial losses with Hong Kong underpinned following the scrapping of hotel quarantine policy and with casinos boosted as Macau is to resume tour groups from China, while the property industry benefits after China Construction Bank formed a CNY 30bln housing rental fund and some Twitter sources also circulated that some China state banks were reportedly ordered to buy stocks to contain selling. Top Asian News PBoC injected CNY 42bln via 7-day reverse repos with the rate kept at 2.00% and CNY 93bln via 14-day reverse repos with the rate kept at 2.15% for a net CNY 133bln injection. There were rumours circulating on social media of a coup against Chinese President Xi, although experts and journalists in Beijing dismissed the rumours and said there was no evidence to support them, according to The Print. Philippines Stock Exchange announced a trading suspension for Monday amid a typhoon in the capital, according to Reuters. European bourses are softer after a mixed cash open and despite a brief foray higher, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%, as sentiment remains subdued amid recession/inflation concerns. The breakdown features modest outperformance in the FTSE MIB as Italian election results are in-line with expectations. Stateside, futures are lower across the board in-fitting with peers going into a week of Fed speak and inflation data. Top European News UK PM Truss said she is determined to make the special relationship with the US even more special and said she agreed with US President Biden that it is vital to protect the Northern Ireland Good Friday Agreement, while she wants to find a way forward with a negotiated solution with the EU, according to Reuters and a CNN interview. UK PM Truss is to review visa schemes in an attempt to ease UK labour shortages, according to FT. UK Chancellor Kwarteng hinted that more tax cuts are on the way and claimed his tax cuts “favour people right across the income scale” amid accusations they mainly help the rich, according to Evening Standard. UK Chancellor Kwarteng said he is focused on growing the economy and the longer term when asked about the market reaction to his statement on Friday. Kwarteng added that he shares ideas with BoE Governor Bailey but added that Bailey is completely independent and Kwarteng is confident the BoE is dealing with inflation, according to Reuters. UK opposition Labour Party leader Starmer said they would reintroduce the top rate of income tax at 45% which the government announced to scrap last week, while he added that they will support the government plan to lower the basic rate of income tax to 19%, according to Reuters. Italy's right-wing bloc is seen winning the national election with 43.3% and centre-left bloc is seen winning 25.4%, according to the first projection by LA7 TV based on the actual vote count.. Click here for newsquawk snap analysis. Italy's Meloni said Italians gave clear backing to a centre-right government led by the Brothers of Italy and said the situation is difficult and needs contribution from everyone. It was separately reported that Italy's Democratic Party conceded in the election and said it will be the main opposition force, while Italy's Meloni claimed leadership of the next Italian government, according to Reuters and AFP. FX DXY climbed to a fresh YTD high of 114.58 before paring modestly, but remaining firmer, as GBP in particular lifts off worst levels. Cable succumbed to a flash crash overnight, with GBP/USD hitting an all-time-low around 1.0350 as participants confidence in the economy slips. EUR suffers amid the mentioned USD move but derives relative benefit from GBP, while ECB speakers thus far have added little. Antipodeans and CAD weighed on by broader risk and commodity pressure. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki said the government and BoJ share views on concerns about a weak JPY, while he added that FX intervention had a certain effect and there is no change to the stance that they will respond to market moves as needed, according to Reuters. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.0298 vs exp. 7.0019 (prev. 6.9920) PBoC imposed a 20% risk reserve requirement for FX forward sales from September 28th to rein in yuan weakness. Fixed Income Gilts have retained some composure after slumping over 200ticks at the commencement of trade and have settled around halfway between intraday extremes. EGBs downbeat in sympathy while BTPs marginally lag core-EGB peers as Italian as-expected election results are digested with BTP-Bund only modestly wider as such. Stateside, USTs are pressured in-fitting with peers and also conscious of the week's supply docket getting underway via a 43bln 2yr. Central Banks Fed’s Bostic (2024 voter) said inflation is too high and that they need to do all they can to bring it down and said demand is beginning to shrink which will ultimately pay dividends in inflation levels. Bostic also stated that there are scenarios where they can avoid deep pain but there will likely be some job losses, according to Reuters. BoJ's Kuroda says the BoJ will maintain accommodative monetary conditions to support companies, hopes to support a positive economic cycle, long-term inflation expectations have begun to heighten, via Reuters. Intervention from the MoF is an "appropriate" move, does not think gov't intervention and BoJ policy are contradictory. Amamiya says the domestic economy is picking up, must carefully watch how FX moves affect the economy and prices. BoJ Governor Kuroda says when he stated that BoJ forward guidance will not change for 2-3yrs, did not refer to guidance on keeping short and long-term rates at present of lower levels via Reuters. ECB's de Guindos says Q3 and Q4 point towards growth rates being close to zero within the EZ, the scenario is market by high uncertainty, lower growth and higher inflation. ECB's Panetta says ECB is assessing the potential of distributed ledger technology (DLT) and "the extent to which it could improve our services.". Capital Economics calls for the BoE to "get on the front foot with a big rate hike". Allianz's El-Erian says, on GBP, the fall is about extra tax cuts and Chancellor Kwarteng could recalibrate this. Alternative, would be for the BoE to hike at an emergency meeting. Adding, he would hike by 100bp. BoE publishes key elements of the 2022 annual cyclical scenario stress test; includes a scenario where the Bank Rate is assumed to rise rapidly to a peak of 6% in early 2023 before gradually reduced to sub-3.5%. Commodities WTI and Brent November futures remain subdued in early European trade following last week’s recession-induced losses. Spot gold trades in tandem with the Buck and sees resistance at around USD 1,650/oz after falling to USD 1,627/oz as a casualty of the Sterling flash crash overnight. LME metals are softer across the board with 3M copper futures having a hard time reclaiming USD +7,500/t status with upside capped by the Buck. Iraq began trial operations at the Karabala oil refinery which has a production capacity of 140k bpd, according to a statement from the Oil Ministry. German Chancellor Scholz signed a strategic agreement with UAE’s President on accelerating energy security and industrial growth, while UAE’s ADNOC signed an agreement with Germany’s RWE which includes ADNOC exporting its first LNG cargo to RWE and will conduct trial shipments of low-carbon ammonia to Germany. Furthermore, Chancellor Scholz said while visiting Doha that he talked with the Emir about LNG deliveries and that they want to achieve further progress, according to Reuters. Germany is preparing a national electricity price cap to be implemented this fall in the scenario the EU falls to agree on a similar move for the entirety of the bloc, via WSJ citing officials. Vitol's CEO said at the Asia Pacific Petroleum Conference that Russian gas supply cuts put enormous strain on supply-demand in Europe and that high gas prices are to impact 60%-80% of demand, while Ecopetrol's CEO said they are increasing crude exports to Europe this year to replace Russian supplies and are drilling 600 oil wells this year. Anglo American (AAL LN) tightens copper production guidance for Chile to 560k-580k tonnes of copper (prev. 560k-600k tonnes) due to lower throughput at Los Bronces caused by a combination of water restrictions and a change in ore characteristics, via Reuters. US Event Calendar 08:30: Aug. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.23, prior 0.27 10:30: Sept. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. -10.0, prior -12.9 Central Banks 10:00: Boston Fed’s Susan Collins Speaks to Boston Chamber of... 12:00: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Income Inequality 12:30: Fed’s Logan Speaks at Banking Conference 16:00: Fed’s Mester Discusses Economic Outlook DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I wonder whether any research report has ever been written whilst watching synchronised swimming? Well if not, then you’re reading the first ever as I’m getting a head start on the early morning news by starting this on Sunday evening watching my daughter Maisie do her second session after getting into the local club. Watching this sport is going to take some getting used to after years of watching football, cricket, golf, F1, athletics, rugby... actually.... virtually every sport bar synchronised swimming. I think everyone felt they were swimming in a tsunami of newsflow last week after one of the most incredible macro weeks in recent memory in terms of breadth of events. Yes there have been more extreme weeks in crises but last week had a bit more variety and was outside of a crisis period. If over 500bps of global rate hikes wasn’t enough, you also had 2yr US yields moving higher for the 12th successive day on Friday (the longest steak since data begins in 1976), the BoJ intervening in FX markets for the first time since 1998, and what can only be termed as one of the darker days for sterling assets on record on Friday after a mammoth tax giveaway in what was a mini-budget in name and not by nature. Henry and I put a note out on Friday night (link here) showing that it was the third worst day for Sterling (-3.57%) since Black Wednesday in 1992, with the worst two since being the day after the Brexit vote (-8.1%) and after the initial covid shock in 2020 (-3.71%) when there was a global flight to dollars. We also show a graph of daily Sterling moves back to 1862 and on that it was the 41st worst day in history spanning 47,000 trading days. Obviously in the long era of fixed FX rates there were the occasional big devaluations which were much bigger than Friday. This morning is Asia it fell around -4.5% at one point (1.0392) which was a record low against the Dollar. It's around -2.78% as I type. This follows a weekend interview where Chancellor Kwarteng suggested that more tax cuts were to come so that certainly was a red rag to markets. Will we hear from the upper echelons of the BoE today? Watch out for any comments, especially at the market open. DB's George Saravelos suggested on Friday that the Bank of England need to do an inter meeting hike to restore policy credibility. There’s also a graph in our note mentioned above showing that Friday was the worst day for 5yr gilts (+50.3bps) since a +200bps hike in 1985 when sterling was also slumping. So maybe omens here. I suppose the only slight mystery is the timing of the sell-off as the mini-budget in magnitude was broadly in-line with the recent elevated fiscal expectations that had been building. However perhaps it was the unabashed revival of trickle-down economics that had markets a little aghast. It goes against the current economic orthodoxy and the overall zeitgeist of our immediate times. As such there is likely to be concerns of a credibility issue. We are publishing our long-term study today with the title “How we got here, and where we’re going?”. In it we try to put the current macro woes into historical context in an attempt to work out where we’re going. There are quite a few people who have proof-read it on my team and they were all thoroughly depressed at the end. I didn't feel that way writing it but maybe it's a case of starting point perceptions. Anyway, look out for it around the European lunchtime. Overnight in Italy, the right-wing alliance led by Giorgia Meloni's Brothers of Italy party was on course to become the nation’s first woman prime minister after exit polls gave it a clear majority. With the full results due later today, she is predicted to win up to 26% of the vote ahead of her closest rival Enrico Letta from the centre left. The right wing alliance is slated to be on course for around 43% of the vote, enough for a majority if correct. As I type, the euro is extending its losses against the dollar for the fifth day, its longest streak since April 28, falling as much as -0.5% to 0.9638, albeit being overshadowed by Sterling. For this week we have an array of consumer-driven economic data in the US and some important European inflation prints. We will also get a number of consumer sentiment indicators across the key economies and PMIs from Asia. Away from the data, there are more than 30 central banker appearances across the Fed and the ECB to keep markets busy. Tomorrow also sees referendums in the Russia-annexed Ukrainian territories as the conflict goes into its eight month. Going through the data in more details now. Starting with the US, the PCE and personal income and spending data will be front and centre for markets next week as they gauge the extent of inflationary pressures and the strength of the consumer. The Fed’s preferred inflation gauge, the PCE, due Friday, will be watched for signs of price pressures we saw in last week's CPI report. Our US economists expect core PCE to edge higher by +0.5% MoM (vs +0.1% in July) which won’t allow the Fed to take the foot off the tightening pedal. For the other two data points, our team forecasts a +0.1% MoM increase for both income and consumption. Final US Q2 GDP will also be released on Thursday and although DB expect no change to the -0.6% second reading, watch out for the annual benchmark revisions back to Q1 2017. History could be re-written that could have some implications for how we all think about the economy. In other US data, we will also get the consumer confidence index on Tuesday, along with durable goods orders, and inventories data on Wednesday, with the Chicago PMI on Friday. Over in Europe, all eyes will be on September's inflation data, including the Euro Area flash CPI release on Friday. Our economists are expecting the measure to hit a record +9.5%, up from the previous record of +9.1% in August. Other data in the region will include consumer and economic sentiment from Germany, France, Italy and the Eurozone throughout the week. Meanwhile, EU energy ministers will meet again on Friday regarding the emergency intervention amid elevated energy prices. Finally, next week's earnings line up will feature a number of retail bellwethers on Thursday. Among them will be Nike, H&M and Next. Micron will report that day as well. See our usual day by day guide to the week at the end which contains many of the key Fed and ECB speakers including Powell and Lagarde. Stock markets across Asia are mostly lower this morning. The Kospi (-2.40%), Nikkei (-2.30%) and the S&P/ASX 200 (-1.40%) are leading the declines. Meanwhile, the Hang Seng (+0.11%) is swinging between gains and losses after rising by +2.45% initially with Chinese shares mixed as the Shanghai Composite (-0.10%) is trading lower while the CSI (+0.46%) is up as we go to press. Stock futures in DMs are pointing to further losses with contracts on the S&P 500 (-0.49%), NASDAQ 100 (-0.46%) and DAX (-0.33%) all moving lower. Early morning data showed that Japan’s manufacturing sector continued to expand albeit at a slower pace as the latest au Jibun Bank manufacturing PMI slipped to a 20-month low of 51.0 in September from 51.5 in August, pulled lower by high energy and raw material prices that was exacerbated by a weak yen. At the same time, the au Jibun Bank services PMI returned to expansion, recording a level of 51.9 in September from August's 49.5 final reading. Moving on to China, in order to stabilise expectations in the FX market, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) today raised the risk reserve requirement on foreign exchange forward sales to 20% from 0% beginning September 28 as the yuan faces increasing depreciation pressure, in line with most major currencies amid broad dollar strength. Looking back now on a week that will not be forgotten anytime soon. While there were historic central bank hikes all week, the biggest news came from the fiscal authorities, following the UK’s budget Friday, which had the largest tax cut package since the 1970s. Gilt yields had their largest one-day increase in decades with 2yrs +44.7bps, 5yrs +50.3bps, and 10yrs +33.3bps. As we mentioned at the top, 5yrs yields saw their largest move since 1985 after a +200bps hike aimed at helping a plunging currency. The pound fell -3.57% against the US dollar to within a percentage point of the weakest in the post-Bretton Woods 51yr free float era. It was already a busy macro week before the blockbuster budget, where we got more than 500bps of global central bank hikes and a currency intervention from Japan. In terms of the biggest players, the Fed delivered its third consecutive 75bp hike while the BoE delivered its second 50bp hike in a row, with both banks guiding toward yet more tightening, while the BoJ remained the outlier by keeping its accommodative policy in place, which isn’t going to help the yen turnaround even with intervention. When all was said and done, sovereign bonds and equities sold off in size, while yield curves flattened. 2yr Treasuries (+33.4bps, +7.9bps Friday), 2yr Bunds (+38.5bps, +7.2bps Friday), 2yr Gilts (+82.1bps, +44.7bps Friday) reached their highest levels since 2007, 2008, and 2008, respectively, as markets priced in more tightening to overcome inflationary pressures (and in the case of the UK, fiscal expansion). 10yr Treasuries (+23.5bps, -2.9bps Friday) ended the week a touch lower on the day but hit their highest levels since 2011 during the week, while 10yr Bunds (+26.8bps, +5.9bps Friday), and 10yr Gilts (+69.1bps, +33.3bps Friday) hit their highest levels since 2013 and 2011, respectively. The mixture unsurprisingly proved unpalatable to risk assets, driving the STOXX 600 and S&P 500 back to their lows for the year. The STOXX 600 retreated -4.37% on the week and -2.34% on Friday, the worst weekly and daily return since mid-June. The S&P 500 fell -4.65% (-1.75% Friday), returning to bear market territory. The FTSE managed to stay above its YTD lows, but still fell -3.01% on the week, its worst weekly return since mid-June as well, and retreated -1.97% on Friday, the worst daily return since early July. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/26/2022 - 08:08.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 26th, 2022

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Authored by Charlotte Cuthbertson via The Epoch Times, Jeffrey Epstein molested her and she didn’t tell a soul for 17 years. Teresa Helm was 22, and she had already patched her life back together after being sexually abused by a close family member, starting at age 8. “I really suffered in silence,” Helm told The Epoch Times’ “Insight” magazine. As a child, she had told her mother about the abuse in the hope that she’d make it stop. Instead, her mother told her not to tell anyone, and it continued for 3 1/2 years. “I just didn’t get help, even though I kept asking for it. And so after what happened with Jeffrey, I suffered in silence, just like I had always kind of done,” she said. In 2002, Helm had moved to California from Ohio and was attending a massage therapy school, positive of a bright future. It became even more exciting when a fellow student, a year ahead of her, approached her about an opportunity for a traveling massage therapist job. Helm was interested and was connected with another young woman, whom she subsequently met at Santa Monica to discuss the potential job. “We looked similar, we were at a similar age, so I connected with her,” Helm said. “I never felt like anything she was saying to me wasn’t legitimate, or I never felt fearful.” Teresa Helm at age 21. (Courtesy of Teresa Helm) Helm said the woman painted a phenomenal picture of what life would be like as “Miss Maxwell’s” personal traveling massage therapist—private jets, top chefs, access to the best education all over the world. “So I’d say that she did her job very well. Because in an hour or so of walking around the boardwalk, I was like, ‘Wow. This is really great. I’m so lucky, this is meant to be.'” Wanting to grasp the incredible opportunity, Helm told the woman she was interested, and was informed that she’d need to fly to New York City and meet Maxwell for the final interview. Two weeks later, Helm’s travel to New York City had been arranged—flights, driver, an Upper East Side apartment to stay in, a gift basket waiting. “I go meet with Miss Maxwell. I was expecting to give a massage because that’s what the interview was pertaining to. And everything with Ghislaine Maxwell was legitimate and pleasant, and she was very polite. Her home was stunning,” Helm said. “I was super impressed with her because she’s this very well-spoken woman, and she’s clearly successful because of her beautiful home, and she has photos on the wall of ex-president Bill Clinton. And I’m thinking: ‘Wow, she’s really something special, she’s worked hard. She’s accomplished a lot in her life.'” Helm spent a couple of hours in the home before Maxwell told her she was next going to meet up with Maxwell’s partner, Jeffrey. It was the first time Helm had heard of a partner, but nothing had indicated she should feel alarmed or that she was in any kind of danger. Any red flags, she realized in hindsight, had been easily normalized and explained away. Even when Maxwell told her to “give Jeffrey whatever he wants” during his massage because he “always gets what he wants,” Helm thought Maxwell clearly must mean, “Do a good job, because he’s had a lot of professional massages.” “Because of my trust with [Maxwell]—she was able to create that trusting bond within me in a matter of hours—I literally walked myself to the man of the house who was going to assault me,” Helm said. “I took myself there, because those three women did their job perfectly well and I didn’t suspect a darn thing. When I look back at the fact that three women set me up to be assaulted, it’s just disgusting. It’s a different level of betrayal.” Helm said Epstein sexually assaulted her in his office during the interview and threatened her as she ran out of the house, her world shaking and head spinning. Shocked to the core and full of shame, Helm returned to California the following day. (Photo and illustration by The Epoch Times) “The shame was overwhelming, it was paralyzing,” she recalled. “I was just so ashamed to say anything.” Her life spiraled down, and three months later she broke her lease, dropped out of school, and returned to Ohio. For the next five years, Helm fell into a destructive pattern. But just weeks before her 28th birthday, she found out she was pregnant, and life shifted again—this time toward the positive. “That’s what really saved my life and turned my life around,” she said. “It was the first time I really valued myself. It was like that sense of purpose. And knowing that I was going to protect my child the way that I was never protected. “Then after having him, I was so honored to be his mom. And then it really actually dug up, it was like, almost hatred toward my mom and Jeffrey. That first year of my son’s life was a lot of emotional processing for me. And I just wanted to kind of remove myself from the world and just be a mom. And that’s what I did.” Helm’s son has just turned 14, and she also has a daughter who is 7. She is the full-time caregiver for both. ‘The World Shifted’ Helm, who had moved to Florida, was folding laundry one Thursday evening in July 2019 when she went online and saw a headline about Epstein after he’d been arrested for sex trafficking. She clicked the link to open the article and came face-to-face with her abuser. In that instant, she realized “Jeffrey” was Epstein. Stunned, she sat down and googled Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. “It was life changing, just in that moment. It was like retraumatization, No. 1. No. 2, it was like the world shifted and changed all over again. It’s been different ever since that moment, like the world changed yet again, in that moment and it has not gone back. Nor will it,” Helm said. “Because I didn’t know there were others. I didn’t know that this was this huge thing with these people.” The following day, after a regular yoga class, Helm sat in her car and sobbed as the emotions swirled. She decided it was time to break her silence. The opportunity to speak out presented itself quickly. Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, 2019, one month after his arrest. A medical examiner ruled it a suicide by hanging nine days later. The New York judge, Richard Berman, would be forced to dismiss the charges against Epstein—which included the sex trafficking of dozens of minors from as early as 1995—but not before he allowed survivors to speak. Twenty-three women spoke in the courthouse on Aug. 27 about being sexually abused by Epstein, either in person or through a lawyer. “I’m coming forward because it is time to bring light to that darkness, and it’s time to replace that darkness with light,” Helm said that day. She had only decided that morning to speak out and use her name publicly. Another survivor, “Jane Doe 9,” said she was 15 when she met Epstein, in 2004. “I flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane to Zorro Ranch, where I was sexually molested by him for many hours.” she said through a lawyer. “What I remember most vividly was him explaining to me how beneficial the experience was for me and how much he was helping me to grow. Yikes.” Epstein’s Zorro Ranch is in New Mexico. He also owned multimillion dollar properties in New York, Florida, and France, and his own islands in the Caribbean, Little St. James Island and Great St. James Island. Epstein has been linked with a veritable who’s who of the fashion and political worlds. Attorney Gloria Allred (R) and her client Teala Davies, who claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein when she was a minor, at a press conference to announce a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, in New York on Nov. 21, 2019. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) Chauntae Davies also spoke in the courtroom. She said she was recruited by Maxwell while doing a massage apprenticeship. “Upon my first meeting her, I wouldn’t know I had been recruited until many years later, when I would read it in a headline,” Davies said. She said Maxwell and Epstein took her in, sent her to school, and gave her a job. “They flew me around the world, introduced me to a world I had only dreamt of and made me feel as though I had become a part of their family—another thing I was desperately searching for,” Davies said. “But on my third or fourth time meeting them, they brought me to Jeffrey’s island for the first time.” Davies said a knock on her door late at night indicated that Epstein was ready for another massage, so she hesitantly went to his villa. As Epstein began his assault on her, Davies said she told him, “No, please stop.” “But that just seemed to excite him more. He continued to rape me, and when he was finished, he hopped off and went to the shower.” Davies said she ran out of the villa, cried herself to sleep, and then spent two weeks in a Los Angeles hospital throwing up from a neurological disorder that manifests into violent vomiting attacks, largely triggered by stress. “Jeffrey’s abuse would continue for the next three years, and I allowed it to continue because I had been taken advantage of my entire life and had been conditioned to just accept it.” A protestor holds up a sign of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the federal courthouse in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) Maxwell on Trial Helm had finally broken her silence, and it was a watershed moment. She didn’t get to see Epstein face his charges, but she’s eager to be in court to see Maxwell face hers. FBI agents arrested Maxwell at her New Hampshire estate on July 2, 2020. She has been in a Brooklyn jail since. Bail has been denied several times, with Judge Alison Nathan ruling that she is a flight risk. The trial was originally set for July, but was delayed until Nov. 29 and is expected to last six weeks. Jury selection began on Nov. 16. Maxwell is charged with sex trafficking children, perjury, and the enticement of minors while she was a close associate of Epstein, according to a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York on March 29. “In particular, from at least in or about 1994, up to and including at least in or about 2004, Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” the indictment alleges. “Moreover, in an effort to conceal her crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minor victims described herein, when providing testimony under oath in 2016.” Virginia Giuffre (formerly Virginia Roberts), one of Epstein’s most well-known accusers, claimed in a 2016 deposition that she was directed by Maxwell to have sex with a number of rich and powerful men, including “foreign presidents,” a “well-known” prime minister, and “other world leaders.” None of the men Giuffre named in the documents have been charged, and all have denied the claims. A court officer stands outside a Manhattan courthouse where media have gathered for the arraignment hearing of Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Maxwell, often described as a British socialite, maintains her innocence on all charges and in a 2016 deposition claimed she had no idea Epstein abused young girls. During the deposition, Maxwell was asked: “Did Jeffrey Epstein have a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages? If you know.” She replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” according to the transcript. “I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever.” Maxwell acknowledged that former President Bill Clinton traveled on Epstein’s plane, but denied introducing Britain’s Prince Andrew to underage sex partners. “I’m ready for this trial to start,” Helm said. “I really aim to be there and look at her right in her face, and equally as important is for her to see me.” Helm isn’t named in the indictment and won’t be testifying, but that doesn’t matter. “I’m hopeful that there will be justice in this, that she will finally be held accountable and finally be sentenced for crimes that she has committed and for the lives that she has just willingly stepped in and ruined. This is a woman that changed the entire trajectory of my life and not for the better.” Helm said she hopes Maxwell is found guilty on all charges and receives the maximum penalties. “I don’t think for a moment that she deserves to be on the outside of a jail cell,” she said. “I and other girls, we’re on the outside of these bars, and yet we haven’t fully regained our freedom back. So I hope she gets the maximum sentence. She doesn’t deserve any less than that.” Helm said she often gets asked if she thinks Epstein’s death means Maxwell is now a scapegoat and is being punished for his crimes. “No, I do not. She knew what she was doing. She didn’t think twice about doing it. She did it countless times. She did it … very masterfully, very successfully,” she said. “You don’t help facilitate and run and orchestrate one of the largest sex trafficking rings on this globe, on this earth, without knowing what you’re doing and intentionally doing it.” An exterior view of the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) The indictment alleges that Maxwell befriended some of Epstein’s minor victims prior to their abuse, including by asking the victims about their lives, their schools, and their families. Other times, Maxwell and Epstein would take the victim shopping or to the movies, or pay travel or education expenses. “Having developed a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein,” the court document states. The indictment goes on to say that in order to “maintain and increase his supply of victims,” Epstein, Maxwell, and other Epstein employees also paid certain victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused by Epstein. Helm said she has tried to understand what would cause a woman such as Ghislaine to intentionally set girls up to be forever traumatized. She said she has read how Ghislaine lost her father, whom she was very close to, and met Epstein not long afterwards. Helm said she lost her own father unexpectedly almost seven years ago. “I still to this very day miss him incredibly, and I am not out there hurting people,” she said. “There’s no grievance, or there’s no tragedy that justifies you turning around becoming literally a monster.” Maxwell’s lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment by Insight. Epstein avoided criminal charges for years, raising questions about being protected by the rich and powerful. In September 2007, he entered into a nonprosecution agreement that gave him immunity against prosecution for numerous federal sex crimes in the Southern District of Florida. As part of the deal, in 2008, Epstein ultimately pled guilty to state charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and was registered as a sex offender. He spent 13 months in jail but was granted work release for 12 hours a day, six days a week. The Grooming Process Grooming and recruitment are critical steps in the sex trafficking industry. “If you don’t have a successful grooming process, you don’t have the abuse, because it just doesn’t make it that far,” Helm said. Jennifer Hill, assistant executive director of the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston, said her organization sees 5,000 children a year who’ve been sexually abused, both by family members or through trafficking. And that’s just the children who have spoken up. “I think most people never, ever tell. And that’s what’s tragic,” she said. Hill said it’s hard to discern how many children don’t report abuse, but statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they’re 18. Common events—the divorce of parents, a breakup, bullying, or the death of a family member—can all make a child vulnerable. Many trafficked children come from the foster care system. But sexual abuse is the most common source of vulnerability for sex-trafficked children—70 to 90 percent of these children have a history of sexual abuse, according to anti-trafficking organization Path2Freedom. Hill said the grooming and recruitment process takes different forms, but involves getting access to the intended victim and gaining their trust so that eventually they’ll be willing to listen to that person, and that person has some control over their behavior. For children, it can include buying gifts, listening to their problems, or helping them in some way. These days, a lot of grooming occurs online through messaging apps or social media and gaming platforms. Post-abuse, children can be threatened to stay silent. Hill said she hopes the Maxwell trial will spur other victims of trafficking and sexual abuse to come forward. As a former prosecutor of child sex abuse cases, she said a lot of abusers are teachers or trusted adults in the community, which can be intimidating for victims. Her organization conducts awareness trainings for law enforcement, medical professionals, mental health professionals, teachers, and the community on recognizing and reporting trafficking. Helm said so many lessons can be taken from the Maxwell case, “like the fact that it can be a woman.” “That woman groomed me precisely well, beautifully. And that grooming process is so crucial for parents to identify that this is what’s happening to their children. Or for a child to think I think this might be happening to me. Because that grooming process is such a transfer of power [and] a gatekeeper to the abuse.” During 2019, the National Human Trafficking hotline received reports of 11,500 human trafficking cases, representing more than 22,000 victims. California, Texas, and Florida are identified as the worst three states for human trafficking. In Texas alone, more than 79,000 children are being trafficked for sex, according to a study by the University of Texas at Austin. “There’s not one single zip code in this nation, not one that is exempt from trafficking,” Helm said. “It happens in the wealthiest of the wealthiest, to the most impoverished, and everything in between. It has exploded online.” A residence belonging to Jeffrey Epstein on East 71st St. on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images) The Threat Online Fifty-five percent of domestic sex-trafficking survivors who entered the life in 2015 or later met their trafficker for the first time using a mobile app, website, or text, said Tammy Toney-Butler, an anti-human trafficking consultant for Path2Freedom. Predators ramped up their sexual enticement of minors and the posting of child sexual abuse material as schools closed and kids worked online from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The number of reports of online child sexual abuse materials reported to the NCMEC during the first six months of 2020 surged 90 percent to more than 12 million, the center reported. Reports of predators enticing minors went up 93 percent to more than 13,200. Facebook was used for most (59 percent) of the online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases in 2020, according to the Human Trafficking Institute’s annual trafficking report. That makes Facebook “by far the most frequently referenced website or app in public sources connected with these prosecutions, which was also true in 2019,” the report found. In June, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Facebook could be held liable if sex traffickers use the platform to prey on children, arguing the social media website isn’t a “lawless no-man’s-land.” The ruling was made following three Houston-area lawsuits involving teenage trafficking victims who alleged that they met their abusers through Facebook’s messaging service. Prosecutors also said that Facebook was negligent by not doing more to block sex traffickers from using the site. The court said the victims can move forward with their lawsuits against Facebook. They claimed that the company violated the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which was approved in 2009. Toney-Butler said the income traffickers can make from one victim can be close to $400,000 a year, and survivors have reported being forced to have sex more than 20 times a day while being six to seven months pregnant. And once a woman is over 18, she’s often seen by society as “a drug-addicted prostitute” rather than a victim of sex trafficking, she said. A child, after being pulled into sex trafficking, “only lives for seven years before they succumb to the environment,” Toney-Butler said. Suicide, drug overdose, and violence are often the killers. Teresa Helm (R) with three other sex-trafficking survivors, (L–R) Cathy Hoffman, Sabrina Lopez, and Nissi Hamilton, in Houston on April 24. (Kathleen O. Ryan) The Future Now 41, Helm is hopeful. Aside from looking after her children, she’s a fierce advocate and mentor to other survivors and a consultant to organizations and politicians to ensure laws and programs are victim-centered. “Helping others is the ultimate payback. That I didn’t completely break forever. I’ve been broken and I have repaired myself stronger,” she said. She referred to the old Japanese art form called kintsukuroi, or “to repair with gold,” which is the practice of repairing broken ceramics with gold, making them stronger and more beautiful than before. “And I definitely kind of view myself as that, in the fact that I can turn around and leverage this pain into purpose and help others—that’s the ultimate thing for me, to be able to be strong enough to go out and help others, help them change their lives, help them recover their lives and recover their power.” For Help The National Human Trafficking Hotline is confidential, toll-free, and available 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Call: 1-888-373-7888 Text: “Help” or “Info” to 233733 Chat: humantraffickinghotline.org Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

A $12,000 writing set from Putin, a photo of Queen Elizabeth, and 5 other unusual presents Biden got from world leaders in 2021

The State Department released its annual accounting of gifts in 2021, offering insight into the politics of presents at the highest levels of power. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, arrive to meet at the 'Villa la Grange', June 16, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File World leaders bestow lavish gifts upon their foreign counterparts each year. The State Department this week released its audit on gifts US officials received in 2021. Here are seven of the most unusual, unique, or noteworthy presents President Joe Biden got that year. From designer watches to symbolic artwork, world leaders showered President Joe Biden and members of his administration with tens of thousands of dollars worth of unique and culturally significant gifts in 2021.Presidents, prime ministers, and even the pope himself bestow gifts galore upon federal employees each year, partaking in the long-held foreign diplomacy practice.The State Department on Thursday released its annual accounting of gifts for the year 2021, posting the unpublished audit on the website of the Federal Register this week. The 70-page document offers rare insight into the politics of present-giving at the highest levels of governance, capturing the mores and moments among several since-soured relationships between big-wig world leaders.While most premiers opt to gift standard souvenirs, such as glassware, jewelry, or literature, others may choose to share more memorable mementos. These are seven of the most unusual presents gifted to President Joe Biden in 2021.Putin gave Biden a $12,000 desk setLess than a year before Vladimir Putin launched his unprompted war in Ukraine, the Russian president gifted Biden a Kholuy Lacquer miniature workshop desk writing set and pen valued at $12,000, according to the State Department.The present came as the two leaders met in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, 2021, for the 2021 Russia-United States Summit, in what was to be the last public-facing meeting between the two before relations between the two countries soured.The expensive desk set has since been transferred to the National Archives after Biden accepted the gift on the grounds that failing to do so would be an embarrassment to both Russia and the US. Australia's then-prime minister gifted Biden a pair of leather bootsScott Morrison, who served as prime minister of Australia from 2018 to 2022 gave Biden a pair of RM Williams of Australia leather boots in June 2021 during the G7 Summit. The $500 boots, however, did not win Morrison a one-on-one with Biden during the trip, where then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the duo for a trilateral meeting.Despite passing on a private meeting with Morrison, Biden did accept the Australian leader's footwear present, and the boots have since been transferred to the National Archives. Queen Elizabeth gave the president a photo of herselfThe late Queen Elizabeth gave the gift of herself during the 2021 G7 summit in England. The monarch, who died in September 2022, presented Biden with a photo of herself in a silver frame valued at $2,200, according to the State Department. The then-95-year-old leader prompted laughs among world leaders during a pre-summit reception when she quipped: "Are you supposed to be looking as if you're enjoying yourselves?"The framed photo is currently on official display, according to the State Department. Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. President Joe Biden attend the president's ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2021 in Windsor, England.Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty ImagesAfghanistan's since-deposed president gifted nearly $30,000 worth of silk carpetsIn late June 2021, weeks before Biden ordered all US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, then-Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani and his wife gifted Biden and first lady Jill Biden silk rugs worth $28,800, according to the State Department.While Biden's rug from Ghani clocked in at $9,600, the Afghanistan leader's wife, Rula Ghani, went all out for the $19,200 silk carpet she gifted Jill Biden. Less than two months after that June meeting, Ghani fled Afghanistan, taking refuge in the United Arab Emirates, after the Taliban quickly reclaimed control of the country in August following the withdrawal of US troops.Boris Johnson gave Biden a hodgepodge of unusual itemsBoris Johnson, then prime minister of the United Kingdom, appeared to prioritize the sheer number of presents he brought for Biden during the June 2021 G7 summit over price.Among the miscellaneous items were two dog bowls, two Atlantic wool blankets, a ceramic cup and mug set, a fountain pen accompanied by a bottle of ink, a photograph of a Frederick Douglass mural in Edinburgh, and a G7UK2021 printed face mask. The total estimated value of Johnson's gifts totaled $536.20, according to the State Department.A little more than a year later, Johnson resigned from his position in July 2022 following a series of scandals and calls for his departure. His gifts to Biden have since been transferred to the National Archives. Angela Merkel invoked Biden's childhood home in her presentIn September 2021, Biden received a set of gifts from the then-German chancellor Angela Merkel, including a Meissen tea set and a pen drawing of the president's childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, according to the audit.The gifts were valued at $780. The tea set was transferred to the National Archives while the pen drawing remains on official display. Merkel left office in December 2021 after 16 years.President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 1, 2021, in Washington.AP Photo/Evan Vucci, FileUkraine's Zelenskyy gave Biden a meaningful US flag during a 2021 visitLess than a year before his country would be thrust into war with Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the White House in September 2021, bringing along a 56" x 93" US flag as a gift for Biden. During the 2021 visit, Biden assured Zelenskyy of his administration's ongoing support for Ukraine's sovereignty — a pledge that has been tested in the 12 months since Russia invaded the country last February. The US has since given Ukraine billions of dollars of aid and weaponry in the country's fight. The flag gifted by Zelenskyy has since been transferred to the National Archives.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytFeb 26th, 2023

Putin gave Biden a $12,000 writing set in 2021. It was among the unusual presents world leaders offered the US president that year.

The State Department released its annual accounting of gifts in 2021, offering insight into the politics of presents at the highest levels of power. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin, arrive to meet at the 'Villa la Grange', June 16, 2021, in Geneva, Switzerland.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky, File World leaders bestow lavish gifts upon their foreign counterparts each year. The State Department this week released its 2021 audit on gifts received by US officials in 2021. These are 7 of the most unusual, unique, or noteworthy presents gifted to President Joe Biden that year. From designer watches to symbolic artwork, world leaders showered President Joe Biden and members of his administration with tens of thousands of dollars worth of unique and culturally significant gifts in 2021.Presidents, prime ministers, and even the pope himself bestow gifts galore upon federal employees each year, partaking in the long-held foreign diplomacy practice.The State Department on Thursday released its annual accounting of gifts for the year 2021, posting the unpublished audit on the website of the Federal Register this week. The 70-page document offers rare insight into the politics of present-giving at the highest levels of governance, capturing the mores and moments among several since-soured relationships between big-wig world leaders. While most premiers opt to gift standard souvenirs, such as glassware, jewelry, or literature, others may choose to share more memorable mementos. These are 7 of the most unusual presents gifted to President Joe Biden in 2021.Putin gave Biden a $12,000 desk setLess than a year before Vladimir Putin launched his unprompted war in Ukraine, the Russian president gifted Biden a Kholuy Lacquer miniature workshop desk writing set and pen valued at $12,000, according to the State Department.The present came as the two leaders met in Geneva, Switzerland on June 16, 2021, for the 2021 Russia-United States Summit, in what was to be the last public-facing meeting between the two before relations between the two countries soured.The expensive desk set has since been transferred to the National Archives after Biden accepted the gift on the grounds that failing to do so would be an embarrassment to both Russia and the US. Australia's then-prime minister gifted Biden a pair of leather bootsScott Morrison, who served as prime minister of Australia from 2018 to 2022 gave Biden a pair of RM Williams of Australia leather boots in June 2021 during the G7 Summit. The $500 boots, however, did not win Morrison a one-on-one with Biden during the trip, where then-British Prime Minister Boris Johnson joined the duo for a trilateral meeting.Despite passing on a private meeting with Morrison, Biden did accept the Australian leader's footwear present, and the boots have since been transferred to the National Archives. Queen Elizabeth gave the president a photo of herselfThe late Queen Elizabeth gave the gift of herself during the 2021 G7 summit in England. The monarch, who died in September of 2022, presented Biden with a photo of herself in a silver frame valued at $2,200, according to the State Department. The then-95-year-old leader prompted laughs among world leaders during a pre-summit reception when she quipped: "Are you supposed to be looking as if you're enjoying yourselves?"The framed photo is currently on official display, according to the State Department. Queen Elizabeth II and U.S. President Joe Biden attend the president's ceremonial welcome at Windsor Castle on June 13, 2021 in Windsor, England.Photo by Pool/Max Mumby/Getty ImagesAfghanistan's since-deposed president gifted nearly $30,000 worth of silk carpetsIn late June 2021, weeks before Biden ordered all US troops to withdraw from Afghanistan, then-Afghan President Mohammed Ashraf Ghani and his wife gifted Biden and first lady Jill Biden silk rugs worth $28,800, according to the State Department.While Biden's rug from Ghani clocked in at $9,600, the Afghanistan leader's wife, Rula Ghani, went all out for the $19,200 silk carpet she gifted Jill Biden. Less than two months after that June meeting, Ghani fled Afghanistan, taking refuge in the United Arab Emirates, after the Taliban quickly reclaimed control of the country in August following the withdrawal of US troops.Boris Johnson gave Biden a hodgepodge of unusual itemsBoris Johnson, then prime minister of the United Kingdom, appeared to prioritize the sheer number of presents he brought for Biden during the June 2021 G7 summit over price.Among the miscellaneous items were two dog bowls, two Atlantic wool blankets, a ceramic cup and mug set, a fountain pen accompanied by a bottle of ink, a photograph of a Frederick Douglass mural in Edinburgh, and a G7UK2021 printed face mask. The total estimated value of Johnson's gifts totaled $536.20, according to the State Department.A little more than a year later, Johnson resigned from his position in July 2022 following a series of scandals and calls for his departure. His gifts to Biden have since been transferred to the National Archives. Angela Merkel invoked Biden's childhood home in her presentIn September 2021, Biden received a set of gifts from the then-German chancellor Angela Merkel, including a Meissen tea set and a pen drawing of the president's childhood home in Scranton, Pennsylvania, according to the audit.The gifts were valued at $780. The tea set was transferred to the National Archives while the pen drawing remains on official display. Merkel left office in December 2021 after 16 years.President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy in the Oval Office of the White House, Sept. 1, 2021, in Washington.AP Photo/Evan Vucci, FileUkraine's Zelenskyy gave Biden a US flag during a 2021 visitLess than a year before his country would be thrust into war with Russia, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy visited the White House in September 2021, bringing along a 56" x 93" US flag as a gift for Biden. During the 2021 visit, Biden assured Zelenskyy of his administration's ongoing support for Ukraine's sovereignty — a pledge that has been tested in the 12 months since Russia invaded the country last February. The US has since given Ukraine billions of dollars of aid and weaponry in the country's fight. The flag gifted by Zelenskyy has since been transferred to the National Archives.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderFeb 23rd, 2023

Futures Slide, Yields Jump On Higher For Longer Concerns

Futures Slide, Yields Jump On Higher For Longer Concerns US stock futures fell for the second day amid deepening geopolitical tensions, and as investors awaited data this week that may show stickier core inflation, prompting expectations for more rate hikes by the Federal Reserve. Futures contracts on the S&P 500 dropped 0.7%, while those on the Nasdaq 100 were down 0.9% as of 7:45 a.m. in New York, after the cash market was closed on Monday for a public holiday. Treasury yields jumped, with the 10Y rising as high as 3.89%, while the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index retreated from the day’s highs, and the pound led gains among Group-of-10 currencies after UK companies reported surprise growth in output. In premarket trading, Manchester United shares rose as bid interest in the English Premier League club intensified over the weekend. Sigma Lithium jumped after Bloomberg News reported that Tesla has been weighing a takeover of the battery-metals miner. Walmart tumbled after the retailing giant's profit forecast for this year fell short of analyst estimates, signaling a cautious outlook for the world’s largest retailer after a 2022 performance that was marred by an inventory surge. Bank stocks are lower in premarket trading Tuesday as the US market is set to reopen following a holiday. Here are some other notable premarket movers: JD.com leads a decline in Chinese internet stocks in US premarket trading, after a South China Morning Post report that the e-commerce firm is launching a subsidy campaign to compete with PDD Holdings in a low-price product offering. Sigma Lithium (SGML US) rises as much as 27% after Bloomberg News reported that Tesla (TSLA US) has been weighing a takeover of the battery-metals miner. Tesla declines 0.9%. Manchester United (MANU US) shares jump 8.2% before paring gains as bid interest in the English Premier League club intensified over the weekend, with British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe submitting a bid, while Elliott Investment Management offered a proposal to provide financing. MarineMax (HZO US) shares rise 1.9% after B. Riley upgrades the boat retailer to buy from neutral, with the broker highlighting the company’s diversification push and opportunities arising from its real estate portfolio. Keep an eye on Generac Holdings (GNRC US) stock as its rating was cut to hold from buy at Truist Securities, which says high interest rates and product prices will pose a “meaningful risk” to the generator maker’s 2023 financials. Watch Caleres (CAL US) stock as it was raised to overweight from neutral at Piper Sandler after the footwear company’s preliminary 2022 results indicated structural earnings gains. BioMarin Pharmaceutical (BMRN US) is started with a neutral recommendation at Citi, which in a note says that recent developments and expected progress for 2023 are already priced into the stock. After the underlying S&P benchmark fell last week, US stocks are likely to remain under pressure amid concerns that the Fed could keep rates higher for longer. Investors will be closely watching the US purchasing managers index, due on Tuesday, and Friday’s personal consumption expenditures data for an indication of the likely path of monetary policy. A start-of-the-year rally in global stocks has fizzled, and the dollar resumed gains, after central bankers reaffirmed their will to combat inflation. That, and a stubborn trend in prices, have pushed traders to factor in another 75 basis points of rate hikes by the Federal Reserve by July. They also pruned their bets for the first US rate cut: swaps now expect a 20 basis-point reduction by year-end, compared with a 50 basis-point move seen earlier this month. "The tone after the long weekend is more biased to the downside as investors adjust to a more hawkish path from central banks that’s coming into play,” said Karim Chedid, head of investment strategy for iShares EMEA at BlackRock Inc. “In the past week we started to see equity sentiment respond to that, and we expect that to continue this week.” Expensive US equities are flashing a warning sign that could see the S&P 500 sliding as much as 26% in the first half of this year, according to the latest weekly doom and gloom sermon by Morgan Stanley's Mike Wilson. The year-to-date rally in equities is “pure FOMO” — fear of missing out — at best, and the excitement is misplaced, they said. “The Fed are not signaling they will do anything different from what they have always said — but earlier, markets did not believe them,” said Fahad Kamal, chief investors officer at SG Kleinwort Hambros Bank. “The market was far too complacent at start of the year thinking there’ll be a pivot. Now the data has come in stronger, and the Fed hasn’t changed what they said. So we got a big rally earlier and then a bit of reversal.” European stocks drifted lower as Bank of America to JPMorgan predicted an end to their 2023 rally. European stocks were in the red although off their worst levels with the Stoxx 600 down 0.3% in wake of the morning's strong EZ PMI metrics which potentially give the ECB cover to tighten more aggressively. Euro Area Composite PMI (Feb, Flash): 52.3, consensus 50.7, last 50.3. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (Feb, Flash): 48.5, consensus 49.3, last 48.8. Euro Area Services PMI (Feb, Flash): 53.0, consensus 51.0, last 50.8. France Composite PMI (Feb, Flash): 51.6, consensus 49.8, last 49.1. Germany Composite PMI (Feb, Flash): 51.1, consensus 50.3, last 49.9. UK Composite PMI (Feb, Flash): 53.0, consensus 49.0, last 48.5. And some Goldman commentary on the PMIs: The Euro area composite flash PMI increased by 2.0pt to 52.3 in February, well above consensus expectations. The increase in the composite index was broad-based across sectors, with manufacturing output surpassing the 50 threshold for the first time since May last year. Across countries, the improvement was led by France and the periphery, followed by Germany. In the UK, the composite flash PMI improved by 4.6pt to 53.0, also well above consensus expectations. We see three main takeaways from today’s data. First, even though the composite manufacturing index weakened, this decline was driven by an improvement in supply constraints as suppliers’ delivery times—which are included in the composite calculation with an inverse sign—recorded the largest monthly improvement outside the pandemic period and inventory stocks declined. Resilient demand in the services sector and easing supply constraints point to positive growth momentum in both the services and manufacturing sector, consistent with our above-consensus view on the Euro area growth outlook. Second, price pressures are moderating but services inflation remains sticky. Third, today’s notable upside surprise in the UK points to upside risk to our Q1 growth forecast but increases the likelihood of another 25bp hike at the upcoming MPC meeting, as we continue to expect. Tech, autos and miners are the worst performing sectors. Credit Suisse shares tumbled as much as 6.4% after Reuters reported that Switzerland’s financial regulator is reviewing comments from Chairman Axel Lehmann on outlows from the company having stabilized. Here are some of the notable European movers: SIG Group shares fall as much as 5%, the most since November, as Kepler Cheuvreux cuts the packaging firm to hold from buy, saying the stock now looks fairly valued ALSO shares fall as much as 6%, the most since August 2022, as analysts said the Swiss computer hardware and software wholesaler’s 2023 guidance is cautious and below expectations GB Group plunges as much as 13% after after projecting full-year profit that misses estimates with the fraud prevention company seeing longer sales cycles and challenging conditions InterContinental Hotels shares drop as much as 2.9% in London after the hotel operator’s full-year results, with Citi seeing the performance as slightly negative overall Worldline shares slip as much as 4.5%, erasing earlier gains, as Citi notes that the payment firm’s FY23 profitability was slightly weaker than consensus forecasts Straumann falls as much as 3.3%, erasing earlier gains, after its latest earnings slightly beat estimates, with analysts calling 2023 guidance from the dental implants-maker encouraging HSBC shares erase early losses, rising as much as 2.6%, after fourth-quarter results that showed profit that beat expectations but higher-than-expected costs ElringKlinger gains as much as 3.3% after the German car- parts maker posted what Warburg calls strong preliminary results Rovi gains as much as 7.4%, the most since Sept. 2021, after the specialty pharmaceuticals company released results which beat on strong contract manufacturing organization revenue The Stoxx 600 will end the year 2% lower than Friday’s close, according to the average target in a Bloomberg survey of forecasters. Bank of America strategist Milla Savova said a temporary boost to the region’s economy will fade as the full impact of monetary tightening materializes, while earnings forecasts will get downgraded. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also fell as investors awaited earnings from China’s major tech companies and minutes from the US Federal Reserve later this week.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.9%, with China’s tech shares among the biggest laggards. JD.com led declines following a report that the e-commerce firm is planning a subsidy campaign as it ratchets up a price war against rivals. While China’s benchmark recovered from intraday losses, the Hang Seng Index continued its slide toward a technical correction, down more than 9% since peaking late last month. Investors are looking ahead to reports from tech behemoths Alibaba and Baidu later this week. MSCI’s Asia index has broken below its 50-day moving average for the first time since August amid concerns the Federal Reserve will keep raising rates to quell inflation. Fed minutes are scheduled to be released Wednesday. “If we’re seeing higher implied volatility in interest rates – as options trader’s price higher degrees of movement -then that should spill over into higher volatility in the USD and equity markets too,” Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Group, wrote in a note. “This is the biggest risk to the markets we’re facing now.” Japanese stocks ended lower as investors await for clues on the next moves by the Bank of Japan and Federal Reserve. The Topix Index fell 0.1% to 1,997.46 as of market close Tokyo time, while the Nikkei declined 0.2% to 27,473.10. Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group Inc. contributed the most to the Topix Index decline, decreasing 1.5%. Out of 2,163 stocks in the index, 1,185 rose and 867 fell, while 111 were unchanged. “It’s difficult for domestic investors to move, ahead of the hearing of Mr. Ueda, who was nominated as the BOJ governor,” said Ryuta Otsuka, a strategist at Toyo Securities. Australian stocks also declined: the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.2% to close at 7,336.30, dragged by losses in banks and real estate names.  Stocks around Asia declined as investors mulled the prospect of central banks tightening policy more than previously expected to tame inflation. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 11,801.49 In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose as much as 0.4% before paring, though it remained within recent days’ ranges. The greenback traded higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the pound and the Swedish krona. The pound rallied after data showed UK private-sector business activity expanded in February, defying forecasts for another month of contraction. Here are some notable moves: The euro fell a second day to a low of 1.0643, before paring. The currency shrugged off German ZEW expectations, which rose to 28.1 in February, versus estimate 23.0. Other data showed euro-area business activity rose at the fastest rate in nine months in February. The euro’s volatility term structure versus the dollar has been inverted since January 2022 and hedge funds are betting that normalization is due for a return The pound flipped to gains against the dollar and gilt yields surged as markets added to pricing of future BOE hikes after British companies unexpectedly reported the first growth in seven months in PMI data. Earlier, public finance figures showed borrowing since the fiscal year that began in April is running £22 billion below the level forecast by the Office for Budget Responsibility The Swedish krona rose versus the euro and the dollar, outperforming Group-of-10 peers, after Riksbank Deputy Governor Martin Floden described underlying inflation in January as worrying. Separately, Swedish long-term inflation expectations fell in the latest Prospera survey, signaling that money market participants are strengthening in their belief that the Riksbank will succeed in bringing soaring price increases down closer to its target Japan’s benchmark yield briefly rose above the central bank’s ceiling for the first time since its January meeting as traders continued to bet on further policy tweaks. The Australian dollar gave up an advance and sovereign bonds pared declines. Bonds earlier fell after the Reserve Bank’s meeting minutes showed that the central bank also considered a 50 basis-point hike to the 25 basis-point one it delivered In rates, Treasuries slid across the curve and were under pressure as US trading resumes after long weekend, trailing steeper declines for gilts sparked by stronger-than-forecast UK PMI gauges for February. Treasury yields are higher by 4bp-7bp across the curve, still inside Friday’s ranges which included YTD highs for all tenors except 20Y.  Treasury auction cycle begins with $42b 2-year note sale at 1pm that’s poised to draw the highest yield since 2007. WI 2-year yield 4.64%; current issue traded as high as 4.713% Friday, within 9bp of last year’s multiyear high, as traders fully priced in a Fed rate hike in May to follow expected increase in March In commodities, oil futures witnessed a choppy session as investors weighed the possibility of further monetary tightening against signs of improving demand from China. A gain in West Texas Intermediate futures reflected catch-up trades as there had been no settlement on Monday. WTI rose 0.9% to trade near $77.10 while Brent drops 0.3% to trade around $83.80. Spot gold falls roughly 0.4% to $1,833. In crypto, bitcoin held around the $25k handle within fairly narrow parameters awaiting the re-entry of US participants after Monday's market holiday. Looking to the day ahead, we have a number of data releases today, but the main highlight will be the global flash PMIs for February. In other data releases, we will have the US February Philadelphia Fed non-manufacturing activity release, January existing house sales, UK January public finances, the Germany and Eurozone February ZEW survey, France January retail sales, EU27 January new car registrations and in Canada, the January CPI and December retail sales. Finally, earnings releases include Walmart, Home Depot, Medtronic and Palo Alto Networks. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.7% to 4,058.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 463.44 MXAP down 0.8% to 162.43 MXAPJ down 0.9% to 528.89 Nikkei down 0.2% to 27,473.10 Topix down 0.1% to 1,997.46 Hang Seng Index down 1.7% to 20,529.49 Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3,306.52 Sensex little changed at 60,678.01 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,336.30 Kospi up 0.2% to 2,458.96 German 10Y yield little changed at 2.47% Euro down 0.2% to $1.0664 Brent Futures down 1.2% to $83.02/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,834.74 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 104.02 Top Overnight News President Vladimir Putin issued a defiant message on his war in Ukraine, vowing to continue the faltering invasion until Russia has achieved its goals: BBG “Frustrating,” “very annoying” and “left in the dark.” These and similar expressions have been used to describe the near month-long blackout on key global investor positioning reports that cover bets on everything from Treasuries to soybean futures — the casualty of a ransomware attack on financial firm ION Trading UK: BBG China tech leaders from firms such as Tencent, NetEast, Bidu, Didi, and others, met with senior officials from China’s Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) to discuss ways to advance the interests of the tech industry. SCMP China is no longer viable as the world’s factory according to the head of Kyocera, a critical Japanese tech firm, due to Western restrictions on Beijing’s access to advanced technology (“the business model of producing in China and exporting abroad is no longer viable”). FT China is increasingly concerned that Russia, which it considers a key partner in Beijing’s quest to contain and counter the US, is being permanently weakened by Putin’s misguided war in Ukraine, and so is pushing for a ceasefire in the conflict. WSJ Europe’s flash PMIs for February were net positive, with encouraging growth details (especially in services) and an inflation slowdown (inflation notably cooled in manufacturing); UK flash PMIs for Feb were bullish, with solid upside on growth (the composite reading came in at 52, up from 48.5 in Jan and above the St’s 49 consensus) and cooling inflation (“Feb data pointed to the slowest overall increase in average cost burdens since April 2021”). S&P Iran – UN nuclear inspectors have detected uranium in Iran enriched to near weapons-grade (84% purity vs. the 90% required for weapons), a potential major escalatory step in the country’s nuclear program. WSJ Credit Suisse shares slump in Europe on reports that Swiss financial regulators are looking into reassuring remarks made by chairman Axel Lehmann about outflows at the company stabilizing. RTRS US fiscal stimulus to fade further – one of the last fiscal stimulus programs related to COVID, enhanced food stamps, is about to come to an end, creating headwinds for Walmart, Kroger, Dollar General, Dollar Tree, etc. (and the expiration of this program could have a dampening effect on food inflation too). WSJ Google's $168 billion online ad business will be in focus when arguments are heard today on whether internet companies are liable for the content their algos recommend to users. The Supreme Court case may affect automated ads that hand Facebook and Google the bulk of their revenue. BBG Home Depot's US comp sales fell less than expected but overall like-for-likes missed. It forecast profit will fall in the mid-single digits as it spends $1 billion to increase wages for sales staff. Shares slipped. Coming up, Walmart's same-store sales growth may exceed its 3% guidance after a strong holiday season and a rise in cost-conscious shopping. Inventory-clearing markdowns and higher input costs may weigh on margin recovery. BBG A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk APAC stocks were subdued with trade mostly kept rangebound in the absence of a lead from Wall Street.  ASX 200 traded lower amid a deluge of earnings releases including a decline in BHP's profits. Nikkei 225 was contained after mixed PMI data in which Manufacturing PMI declined by the fastest pace in two and a half years although Services PMI showed a firmer expansion. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were mixed with Hong Kong dragged lower by tech losses, while the mainland was just kept afloat amid strength in developers after China launched an investment pilot for the property sector. Top Asian News UK Foreign Secretary Cleverly said he spoke with Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang and raised human rights abuses in Xinjiang and the need for peace in the Taiwan Strait during the call, according to Reuters. RBA Minutes from the February meeting noted that the board considered a hike of 25bps or 50bps and that a pause was not an option. RBA said there were arguments in favour of both options but it concluded that the case to increase the Cash Rate by 25bps was the stronger one and the Board also agreed further increases would be needed over the months ahead. Furthermore, the RBA noted that monthly meetings allowed for frequent adjustments and that rates have already risen substantially, while it stated the Board will do what is needed to return inflation to the target and that data suggested more breadth and persistence in inflation than expected. China's Politburo discussed reforms to party and state organisations, according to state media. Iron Ore Piles Up at South African Mines on Rail Bottlenecks Gold Declines as Traders Await Fed Minutes for Rate Clues China Leaders Pledge Stronger Growth as Recovery Takes Hold European bourses, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%, & US futures, ES -0.7%, remain negative but have lifted from the sessions' trough that printed in wake of the morning's EZ PMI metrics which potentially give the ECB cover to tighten more aggressively. The FTSE 100 was dragged lower in tandem though remained somewhat resilient to the strong UK PMIs, which sparked a hawkish re-pricing for 25bp in March from the BoE, with a yield-induced turnaround in HSBC (+2.0%) now proving supportive after initial post-guidance pressure. Stateside, futures are lower with the above drivers factoring after Monday's holiday and ahead of the week's key events via FOMC Minutes and PCE; modest further pressure seen post-HD earnings, though futures remain off earlier lows. Home Depot Inc (HD) Q4 2022 (USD): EPS 3.21 (exp. 3.28), Revenue 35.719bln (exp. 35.97bln); boosts dividend 10%. -2.8% in pre-market trade Top European News BoE Deputy Governor Woods said he will consult on changes to UK insurance capital rules in June and September, while he added that insurers will have a very good sense of what the changes to capital rules will be by year-end, according to Reuters. UK PM Sunak was warned not to undermine Northern Ireland and that an N.I. deal could trigger resignations, according to The Times. Germany's tax revenues rose 0.8% Y/Y, which was driven by higher sales taxes and wages taxes, according to the Finance Ministry. Hungary's EU funds negotiator said access to the grants and cheap loans could be delayed until the summer (vs prior April guidance) to resolve remaining issues with Brussels over democratic reforms. Enagas Sees 2023 Net Income EU310M to EU320M UK Companies Unexpectedly Show First Output Growth in Six Months; UK Feb. Flash Services PMI 53.3; Est 49.2 Iron Ore Piles Up at South African Mines on Rail Bottlenecks Manchester United Shares Advance as Bid Interest Intensifies Putin Defiant as Struggling Ukraine Invasion Nears Second Year FX DXY has derived support from upside in US yields, risk aversion and a loss of momentum in some FX peers, with the index holding around 104.00 despite being pressured to a 103.86 trough post UK PMI data. A release which sent GBP/USD to a 1.2113 peak from circa. 1.2000 before hand in a marked hawkish move which also allowed peers, ex-EUR, to trim some downside vs the USD, though this dynamic has since eased. For the EUR, despite hitting a 1.0688 peak following the French PMIs the single currency has failed to hold onto this upside with EUR/GBP action weighing. JPY is the incremental laggard given unfavourable yield dynamics for JGBs vs USTs/EGBS while antipodeans have faded amid domestic data for the NZD and despite hawkish RBA minutes for the AUD; currently, around 134.65, 0.623 & 0.688 respectively. SEK continues to lift amid further hawkish rhetoric and continuing emphasis on the currency from officials, with EUR/SEK briefly moving below 11.00. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 6.8557 vs exp. 6.8550 (prev. 6.8643) Fixed Income Core benchmarks are ultimately pressured despite initial gyrations around geopolitics and PMIs; Bunds at 134.60 within 134,32-134.97 boundaries. Gilts are the stand-out laggard following UK Flash PMIs which saw a hawkish re-pricing of market expectations for a 25bp BoE hike in March increase to over 95% from the low-80s before hand; UK supply due. Stateside, USTs are softer in tandem with the above narrative with yields elevated and the move fairly broad-based across the curve ahead of Biden and supply. Commodities WTI and Brent April futures have experienced a choppy Tuesday session thus far and are currently modestly firmer as broader sentiment eases and Putin concludes his speech, despite being initially pressured below USD 76.00/bbl and USD 83/bbl respectively. Iran set March Iranian light crude price to Asia at Oman/Dubai +USD 2.00/bbl, according to a Reuters source. Russian Deputy PM Novak says oil output reductions in March will be from January levels, according to Interfax; Oil output reduction decision was only made for March. Expects discount on Urals to decrease. Novak has previously said that Russian crude production for January was between 9.8-9.9mln BPD. Caspian pipeline consortium is reportedly to suspend crude shipments due to poor weather, via Reuters citing sources. Iraq's oil minister says new licensing deals will produce 250k BPD of crude, according to the State News Agency. NatGas benchmarks are softer on both sides of the pond, though the magnitude of downside is fairly modest, with broader sentiment dictating price action. Spot gold is weighed on by the USD, though the downside is minimal in nature given its traditional haven allure while base metals are mixed overall. Geopolitics Russian President Putin says we will decide on the tasks of the special military operation step-by-step, the West is seeking to change local conflict into a global one. The next steps to strengthen the army and navy should take into account the experience of the special military operation. Expects to enhance cooperation with India, Iran and Pakistan. Adds, if the US conducts nuclear tests then Russia will do the same. Ukrainian President Zelensky said he sees resolve from the US and President Biden to end Russian aggression this year and also stated that a world order based on rules, humanity and predictability depends on what happens now in Ukraine, according to Reuters. EU's Borrell said he is confident EU members will approve the next Russian sanctions package within the next hours or days and said the sanctions agreement should be reached before the end of the week. US Deputy Treasury Secretary Adeyemo says the US and allies are planning new sanctions this week to continue to isolate Russia over the war in Ukraine; additionally, 12 EU nations say Russia is transitioning into a full-on military economy, with a view to sustaining its war efforts, via Reuters citing a document. Belarus sees direct threats to its military security, according to Tass citing the Defence Ministry; adds, a significant grouping of the Ukrainian army is massed near its border. Will take adequate measures to respond to military provocations, intends to hold over 150 joint exercises with Russia in 2023. Ukrainian Presidential Aide says Ukrainian forces have the situation along the northern border under "special control". Japanese PM Kishida said they plan to pledge another USD 5.5bln in aid to Ukraine and announced that they will host a G7 summit meeting this Friday in which Ukrainian President Zelensky will be invited to join. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki separately announced to hold the G7 financial leaders meeting on February 23rd and will reaffirm a stern stance against Russia at the G7 meeting, while he added they will continue to closely coordinate with other countries on sanctions to achieve the ultimate goal of Russia's withdrawal from Ukraine, as well as noted that measures against Russia and support for Ukraine will be the main topics on the G7 agenda. China seeks to broker Russia-Ukraine peace and urged the world to stop saying Taiwan is next after Ukraine, according to Bloomberg. Senior aides of Israeli PM Netanyahu and Palestinian President Abbas have been conducting secret talks for almost two months in an effort to de-escalate rising tensions in the occupied West Bank, according to Axios sources. US Event Calendar 08:30: Feb. Philadelphia Fed Non-Manufactu, prior -6.5 09:45: Feb. S&P Global US Manufacturing PM, est. 47.4, prior 46.9 09:45: Feb. S&P Global US Services PMI, est. 47.3, prior 46.8 09:45: Feb. S&P Global US Composite PMI, est. 47.5, prior 46.8 10:00: Jan. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. 2.0%, prior -1.5% Central Bank Speakers Nothing on the calendar DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap If you interacted with me yesterday please disregard it (unless the advice proves correct) as I was a total zombie all day having been up all night the previous one with a sick dog (Brontë). My wife was up the previous night. Thankfully Brontë seems better and I slept from 830pm-445am last night. So I feel as fresh as a daisy this morning... albeit one that managed to dodge the lawn mower all summer and has just felt the first frost of the year at the end of September. Thankfully for me, markets had a quiet start to the week yesterday, with US markets closed, whilst in Europe, markets fluctuated between gains and losses over the day, with the STOXX 600 (-0.04%) modestly retreating, and 10yr bund yields (+1.9bps) advancing at the close after being lower most of the day. The quiet start to the week will break with the Eurozone, UK, Germany, France and US publishing their flash February PMIs over the course of today. The data momentum has been positive of late but it’s going to be hard for the next few months to assess where we should be at this stage of the cycle. There has no doubt been big improvements from gas price falls and loosening of financial conditions but we’re yet to see anything close to the full lag of monetary policy filter through to the US and Europe. If the war in Ukraine hadn’t happened and if financial conditions hadn’t collapsed for the first 9 months of last year due to the rates shock, then growth may still be quite strong at this point before the lag of a huge and rapid hiking cycle could kick in. So we have to be careful not to over interpret an improvement back to where we might normally be at this stage of a cycle and not confuse it with a sustainable soft landing. Japan has kicked off the PMI round with mixed readings. The nation’s manufacturing activity shrank for the fourth consecutive month, falling to a level of 47.4 from last month’s 48.9 – its largest decline since August 2020. On the otherside, the au Jibun Bank flash services PMI rose to an eight-month-high of 53.6 from 52.3 last month. Asian equity markets are mostly trading lower this morning as the prospect of the US Fed staying hawkish over policy tightening continues to weight on sentiment. As I type, the Hang Seng (-0.99%) is leading losses, dragged lower mostly by tech stocks with the Nikkei (-0.12%) also losing ground while the Chinese stocks are mixed with the CSI (-0.02%) trading just below flat and the Shanghai Composite (+0.10%) eking out minor gains in early trade. Meanwhile, the KOSPI (+0.22%) is bucking the trend. Outside of Asia, US stock futures are indicating a negative start with contracts tied to the S&P 500 (-0.44%) and NASDAQ 100 (-0.37%) edging lower. Meanwhile, yields on 10yr USTs (+3.5bps) have moved higher, trading at 3.85% after resuming trading following the President’s Day holiday. Meanwhile, the terminal rate (July) and Dec 23 are being priced at around 5.30% and 5.09%, as we go to print, just a little higher than Friday's close. Elsewhere, minutes from the RBA’s latest meeting indicated that additional rate hikes are likely needed over the months ahead to bring down inflation from overheated levels. The minutes further highlighted that currently a pause in its hikes - as was the case in December is not an option mainly because of “incoming prices and wages data exceeding expectations” Yesterday, with US markets closed, the main news story was President Biden’s unannounced visit to Kyiv to meet with President Zelensky. Bloomberg reported that the US intends to support the Ukraine with new military aid package worth $500 million, the full details of which are to be clarified today. Biden also announced that the package will include ammunition for HIMARS rocket launchers, a weapon previously proven highly effective against Russian forces. In Europe, markets struggled for direction after fluctuating between gains and losses before finishing in the red. Yesterday, we heard from ECB’s Rehn in an interview with Börsen-Zeitung. Although historically dovish, Rehn instead added to the hawkish drumbeat coming from the central bank stating that rates must be raised further after the March meeting and that they should stay restrictive as long as core inflation is still rising. Rehn also highlighted that the ECB will likely arrive at its terminal rate over the course of the coming summer. Off the back of this, Eurozone overnight index swaps moved to price in 121bps of rate hikes by the September meeting, up +1.2bps yesterday. Against this backdrop, the STOXX 600 was mildly positive during intraday trading, before posting a small loss at the close, down -0.04%. A strong outperforming was the materials sector which gained +1.27%, with utilities (+0.19%) and health care (+0.13%) also posting modest gains. On the other end, information technology relatively underperformed, down -0.65%. In fixed income markets, 10yr bund yields posted a modest rise, up +1.9bps to 2.45%, while the interest-rate sensitive 2yr bund yield closed up +2.5bps to 2.88%. 10yr gilts outperformed yesterday, with yields falling back -4.2bps to 3.47%. In other news, we had a material upside surprise in Swedish CPI yesterday. Core was significantly higher than expected by both the market and the Riksbank, up +0.4% month-on-month (vs -0.2%), bringing core inflation to 8.7% year-on-year (vs 8.2% expected). The minutes from the meeting were released soon after the print and demonstrated a strong hawkish consensus that speaks to further rate hikes before the summer. Following the print, Swedish 10yr government yields hit their highest level since September 2013, closing up +12.8bps. Finally, ahead of today’s PMI releases, we had the Eurozone’s February consumer confidence index, which printed at -19.0 as expected, an improvement from -20.9 in January. We also had the print for Eurozone construction output for December, with the month-on-month printing at -2.5%, and the year-on-year down to -1.3%. To the day ahead, we have a number of data releases today, but the main highlight will be the global flash PMIs for February. In other data releases, we will have the US February Philadelphia Fed non-manufacturing activity release, January existing house sales, UK January public finances, the Germany and Eurozone February ZEW survey, France January retail sales, EU27 January new car registrations and in Canada, the January CPI and December retail sales. Finally, earnings releases include Walmart, Home Depot, Medtronic and Palo Alto Networks. Tyler Durden Tue, 02/21/2023 - 08:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeFeb 21st, 2023

Exclusive: Inside the extramarital affair and cash-fueled double life of Charles McGonigal, the FBI spy hunter charged with taking Russian money

"Charlie McGonigal knew everybody in the national security and law enforcement world," his ex-lover told Insider. "He fooled them all." Charles F. McGonigal, who held one of the FBI's most sensitive positions, now faces criminal charges for his alleged ties to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch.Michael M. Santiago, Frédéric Soltan, Kirill Kudryavtsev/GettyImages; Arif Qazi/Insider;One morning in October 2017, Allison Guerriero noticed something unusual on the floor of her boyfriend's Park Slope, Brooklyn, apartment: a bag full of cash. There it was, lying next to his shoes, near the futon, the kind of bag that liquor stores give out. Inside were bundles of bills, big denominations bound up with rubber bands. It didn't seem like something he should be carrying around. After all, her boyfriend, Charles F. McGonigal, held one of the most senior and sensitive positions in the FBI."Where the fuck is this from?" she asked."Oh, you remember that baseball game?" McGonigal replied, according to Guerriero's recollection. "I made a bet and won."McGonigal had two high-school-age children and a wife — or "ex-wife" as he sometimes referred to her — back at home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He would return there once or twice a month. But McGonigal had led Guerriero to believe that he was either divorced or soon would be. She didn't question his story, nor did she question the story about the bag full of cash.A few days before, Guerriero had sat on the couch with McGonigal in the one-room garden sublet to watch McGonigal's Cleveland Indians beat the Yankees. Much later — after Guerriero's cancer diagnosis, their breakup, and McGonigal's retirement from the FBI — McGonigal would be indicted on suspicion of, among other things, accepting $225,000 in cash from a former employee of Albania's intelligence agency. That total includes one $80,000 chunk that was allegedly handed over in a parked car, outside a restaurant, on October 5, 2017. October 5 and 6 also happened to be the days when the Indians beat the Yankees in the first two games of the American League Division Series. Today, Guerriero no longer believes the bag of cash contained winnings from a sports bet.One of McGonigal's attorneys, Seth DuCharme, declined to comment.Guerriero was 44 when they met, a former substitute kindergarten teacher who volunteered for law-enforcement causes and was working as a contractor for a security company while living at home with her father. McGonigal, then 49 years old, had just started his new job at the FBI's New York office.Guerriero says their affair lasted for a little more than a year. McGonigal's Brooklyn sublet may have been modest, but he lived large. He courted Guerriero at high-end restaurants. He would give her gifts of cash — $500 or $1,000 — for her birthday and for Christmas. He once joked about framing his divorce papers for her, as a Christmas gift, but those papers never materialized. He took her to watch New Jersey Devils hockey games in a private box. She recalls that McGonigal once gave a hundred-dollar bill to a panhandler on the street. "I'm a little better off than him. I can spare a hundred dollars," Guerriero remembers McGonigal saying, after she expressed astonishment.That day in October wasn't the only time that Guerriero remembers McGonigal carrying large amounts of cash. After he brushed her curiosity aside, she tempered her suspicions. She told herself it was probably "buy money" for a sting operation, or a payoff for one of McGonigal's informants. She had dated federal law-enforcement officials before. She knew not to ask too many questions about work."Charlie McGonigal knew everybody in the national security and law-enforcement world," Guerriero said, in an interview with Insider. "He fooled them all. So why should I feel bad that he was able to deceive me?"The dual indictments lodged against McGonigal earlier this week in New York and Washington, DC, are the culmination of a grand-jury investigation that Insider exclusively reported on last year, and they lay out breathtaking allegations of subterfuge and corruption. But Guerriero says that McGonigal's deceptions extended beyond his duties as a counterintelligence chief and into their personal life. Two sources who knew both McGonigal and Guerriero in New York told Insider that they believed Guerriero's account of the relationship, including her claim that McGonigal had led Guerriero to believe that he was effectively single. And Guerriero's father told Insider that McGonigal would regularly drive to his house, where Guerriero lived, to pick her up."I was deceived about it," Guerriero's father said. "He seemed to be a straight shooter. If I'd had known he was married, I would have said something."Federal prosecutors charged McGonigal with money laundering and making false statements in his mandatory employee disclosures to the FBI. He was also charged with taking money from a representative of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who McGonigal had once himself investigated, in violation of US economic sanctions against Russia; the indictment alleges that Deripaska paid him to investigate a rival oligarch. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.McGonigal was not an ordinary FBI agent. He led the WikiLeaks investigation into Chelsea Manning as well as a search for a Chinese mole inside the CIA. While working at FBI headquarters in Washington, he played a role in opening the investigation into the Trump campaign's Russia contacts that was later dubbed Operation Crossfire Hurricane.But it was McGonigal's final FBI job, special agent in charge of the counterintelligence division at the FBI's New York field office, that was his most important assignment at the bureau. It was his job to find enemy spies and recruit his own."New York City is a global center for espionage and counterespionage," says one senior law-enforcement insider who was closely familiar with the specifics of McGonigal's role. "You have visits from foreign business elites and politicians. You have the United Nations. You have ethnic populations. Who runs the pitches to recruit spies from all those other countries? The FBI. So the access you get in that job is extraordinary. It's almost bottomless. So if you're running FBI counterintelligence in New York, you can get your hands on almost anything you want, and you don't always have to make excuses for why you're asking for it."The impact of the McGonigal indictments is still rippling out through the law-enforcement world. The charges accuse an official at the heart of the Trump-Russia investigation of secretly selling his own access, accepting bundles of cash in surreptitious meetings with someone who had ties to Albanian intelligence. McGonigal, a top-tier member of the city's law-enforcement community, a man who had fully integrated himself into a powerful circle of trust where favors get swapped and sensitive intelligence gets circulated, is accused of himself being on the take. If the indictments are correct, McGonigal was leading a dangerous double life, right under the noses of some of the sharpest cops in America.But what might be most striking about the case against McGonigal is how cheaply he is alleged to have rented out his law-enforcement powers. One indictment suggests that for $225,000, McGonigal's associates got him to lobby the Albanian prime minister about the awarding of oil-field drilling licenses and then open an FBI investigation connected to a US citizen who had lobbied for one of the prime minister's political opponents. Arranging a meeting for an executive from a Bosnian pharmaceutical company with a US official at the United Nations was said to be a pricier item — $500,000, one indictment claims. It is unclear whether that money ever materialized.In September 2018, McGonigal left the FBI to work as a vice president at Brookfield Properties, a multibillion-dollar real-estate company. His salary there was most likely higher than what he made inside the government, but it wasn't anywhere near the C-suite or oligarch-scale money that courses through New York's penthouse condos and boardrooms. One law-enforcement source estimated that McGonigal stood to make roughly $300,000 to $350,000 a year, including annual bonuses. "He said he needed to make more money," said Guerriero, who was still in the relationship with McGonigal when he left the FBI. "He had two kids to put through college."The value that McGonigal is accused of providing — his access and his pull — are clear from the indictments. One of them alleges that he arranged for the daughter of a foreign contact, a college student, to get a VIP tour from the New York City Police Department. The indictment identifies that foreign contact as "Agent-1," an agent of the Russian oligarch Deripaska, former Russian diplomat, and rumored Russian intelligence officer. That description matches Evgeny Fokin, who works for En+, a Deripaska-owned energy company, and was already linked to McGonigal and an associate in a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing from November 2021.Agent-1's identity remains unconfirmed. Neither Fokin nor En+ responded to requests for comment. A person familiar with the NYPD's arrangement said the daughter was a guest, not an intern. She didn't have independent access to police facilities, they said, and was given no work to do.Guerriero recalls McGonigal using the FBI's resources for their relationship. Once, they had sex in an SUV that she understood to be federal government property. After she was found to have breast cancer, Guerriero recalls, McGonigal would occasionally send a junior agent in an FBI sedan to give her rides from New Jersey to her cousin's apartment in New York. Despite the ongoing deception about his marital status, McGonigal was "caring, loving, and concerned" during the period of her illness, she says.In late 2018, McGonigal and Guerriero broke up. She remembers receiving an anonymous and hostile note in the mail. Soon after, McGonigal told her he was still married and had no plans to divorce his wife. "I was shocked," she said. "I was very much in love with him, and I was so hurt." She started drinking heavily to cope. A few months later, Guerriero, after a bout of drinking, dashed off an angry email to William Sweeney, who was in charge of the FBI's New York City bureau, and who, she recalls, had first introduced her to McGonigal. She remembers telling Sweeney in the email that he should look into their extramarital affair, and also McGonigal's dealings in Albania. McGonigal had already befriended Albania's prime minister and traveled to the country extensively, dealings that would appear later in one of his indictments. Guerriero told Insider that she had deleted the email.Sweeney didn't reply to a request for comment made through Sweeney's current employer, Citigroup. Insider couldn't confirm that Guerriero had sent the email or that Sweeney had received it. Regardless, by November 2021, the FBI was looking into McGonigal. Two agents showed up at Guerriero's door, she says, showed her a picture of McGonigal with the Albanian prime minister, and interviewed her about their interactions. She also received a grand-jury subpoena requesting all of her communications with McGonigal as well as information about any "payments or gifts" he may have given her.Guerriero acknowledges that the combination of her alcohol abuse and her health problems led to some extreme behavior, including her sending hostile emails to McGonigal's family, the contents of which she says she cannot recall. "I really did go overboard," she said. "I harassed them. I'm not going to deny that. I was horrible to them."By her own account, Guerriero contacted one of McGonigal's children despite being prohibited from doing so by a court order, an incident that led to her spending the night in a New Jersey jail. The court order stemmed from a 2019 police report, obtained by Insider, that McGonigal's wife, Pamela, filed with the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland. The report states that McGonigal and Guerriero "had a relationship" and that Guerriero had repeatedly harassed her with unwelcome emails and phone calls — including 20 calls in one day — despite her asking Guerriero to stop.Guerriero confirmed that her contact with the McGonigal family led to a separate restraining order issued in New Jersey. "I am ashamed and embarrassed and sorry for my actions during the time that I was drinking," she said.Allison Guerriero knew Rudy Giuliani from law-enforcement circles. Giuliani let her stay in a guest room at his residence after Guerriero's father's house caught fire in 2021.Allison GuerrieroGuerriero's troubles worsened in early 2021, when she was badly burned during a fire at her father's house. She asked friends for help through a GoFundMe. Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani of New York City, whom she knew from law-enforcement circles, let her stay in a guest bedroom. Since then, Guerriero has been a frequent on-air caller for Giuliani's radio shows. She maintains that the 2020 election was marred by widespread voter fraud, a belief pushed by Giuliani that has been repeatedly debunked. "Whatever Giuliani says about the 2020 election is what I believe," she said. During her relationship with McGonigal, Guerriero says, they never talked about politics. "I thought he was apolitical," he said, "which is something I continue to believe."The FBI declined to address the specifics of Guerriero's story. Instead, it sent a statement from Director Christopher Wray, who said the FBI holds employees to "the highest standard" and treats everyone equally, "even when it is one of our own." Insider spoke with three of McGonigal's former law-enforcement colleagues who expressed shock about the indictments. "It's heartbreaking," said one, who had worked alongside McGonigal at the FBI. "This is an incredible organization filled with truly dedicated men and women. This sets our image and reputation back."Guerriero's father said his view of the FBI had already been tarnished by the way that McGonigal treated his daughter. "I've always had huge admiration for the FBI," he said. "I idealized the agents that I saw in the movies. I thought these people were gods, that they never did anything wrong. It was so disappointing." He did say, however, that McGonigal had called him after the relationship ended to apologize for his behavior, and that he had accepted McGonigal's apology.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 27th, 2023

Exclusive: Inside the extramarital affair and cash-fueled double life of Charles McGonigal, the FBI spy-hunter indicted for allegedly taking Russian money

"Charlie McGonigal knew everybody in the national security and law enforcement world," his ex-lover told Insider. "He fooled them all." Charles F. McGonigal, who held one of the FBI's most sensitive positions, now faces criminal charges for his alleged ties to Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch.Michael M. Santiago, Frédéric Soltan, Kirill Kudryavtsev/GettyImages; Arif Qazi/Insider;One morning in October 2017, Allison Guerriero noticed something unusual on the floor of her boyfriend's Park Slope, Brooklyn apartment — a bag full of cash. There it was, lying next to his shoes, near the futon, the kind of bag that liquor stores give out. Inside were bundles of bills, big denominations bound up with rubber bands. It didn't seem like something he should be carrying around. After all, her boyfriend, Charles F. McGonigal, held one of the most senior and sensitive positions in the FBI."Where the fuck is this from?" she asked."Oh, you remember that baseball game?" McGonigal replied, according to Guerriero's recollection. "I made a bet and won."McGonigal had two high-school-aged children and a wife — or "ex-wife" as he sometimes referred to her — back at home in Chevy Chase, Maryland. He would return there once or twice a month. But McGonigal had led Guerriero to believe that he was either divorced or soon would be. She didn't question his story, nor did she question the story about the bag full of cash.A few days before, Guerriero had sat on the couch with McGonigal in the one-room garden sublet to watch McGonigal's Cleveland Indians beat the Yankees. Much later — after Guerriero's cancer diagnosis, their breakup, and McGonigal's retirement from the FBI — McGonigal would be indicted for, among other things, allegedly accepting $225,000 in cash from a former employee of Albania's intelligence agency. That total includes one $80,000 chunk that was allegedly handed over in a parked car, outside a restaurant, on October 5, 2017. October 5 and 6 also happened to be the days when the Indians beat the Yankees in the first two games of the American League Division Series. Today, Guerriero no longer believes the bag of cash contained winnings from a sports bet.One of McGonigal's attorneys, Seth DuCharme, declined to comment.Guerriero was 44 when they met, a former substitute kindergarten teacher who volunteered for law enforcement causes and was working as a contractor for a security company while living at home with her father. McGonigal, then 49 years old, had just started his new job at the FBI's New York office.Guerriero says their affair lasted for a little more than a year. McGonigal's Brooklyn sublet may have been modest, but he lived large. He courted Guerriero at high-end restaurants. He would give her gifts of cash — $500 or $1,000 — for her birthday and for Christmas. He once joked about framing his divorce papers for her, as a Christmas gift, but those papers never materialized. He took her to watch New Jersey Devils hockey games in a private box. She recalls that McGonigal once gave a hundred-dollar bill to a panhandler on the street. "I'm a little better off than him. I can spare a hundred dollars," Guerriero remembers McGonigal saying, after she expressed astonishment.That day in October wasn't the only time that Guerriero remembers McGonigal carrying large amounts of cash. After he brushed her curiosity aside, she tempered her suspicions. She told herself it was probably "buy money" for a sting operation, or a payoff for one of McGonigal's informants. She had dated federal law enforcement officials before. She knew not to ask too many questions about work."Charlie McGonigal knew everybody in the national security and law enforcement world," Guerriero said, in an exclusive interview with Insider. "He fooled them all. So why should I feel bad that he was able to deceive me?"The dual indictments lodged against McGonigal earlier this week in both New York and Washington, DC, are the culmination of a grand jury investigation that Insider exclusively reported on last year, and they lay out breathtaking allegations of subterfuge and corruption. But Guerriero says that McGonigal's deceptions extended beyond his duties as a counter-intelligence chief and into their personal life. Two sources who knew both McGonigal and Guerriero in New York told Insider that they believed Guerriero's account of the relationship, including her claim that McGonigal had led Guerriero to believe that he was effectively single. And Guerriero's father told Insider that McGonigal would regularly drive to his house, where Guerriero lived, to pick her up."I was deceived about it," Guerriero's father said. "He seemed to be a straight shooter. If I'd had known he was married, I would have said something."McGonigal was charged by federal prosecutors with money laundering and making false statements in his mandatory employee disclosures to the FBI. He was also charged with taking money from a representative of Oleg Deripaska, a Russian oligarch who McGonigal had once himself investigated, in violation of US economic sanctions against Russia; the indictment alleges that Derispaska paid him to investigate a rival oligarch. He has pleaded not guilty to all charges.McGonigal was not an ordinary FBI agent. He led the WikiLeaks investigation into Chelsea Manning as well as a search for a Chinese mole inside the CIA. While working at FBI headquarters in Washington, he played a role in opening the investigation into the Trump campaign's Russia contacts that was later dubbed Operation Crossfire Hurricane.But it was McGonigal's final FBI job, special agent in charge of the counterintelligence division at the FBI's New York field office, that was his most important assignment at the bureau. It was his job to find enemy spies and recruit his own."New York City is a global center for espionage and counter-espionage," says one senior law-enforcement insider who was closely familiar with the specifics of McGonigal's role. "You have visits from foreign business elites and politicians. You have the United Nations. You have ethnic populations. Who runs the pitches to recruit spies from all those other countries? The FBI. So the access you get in that job is extraordinary. It's almost bottomless. So if you're running FBI counterintelligence in New York, you can get your hands on almost anything you want, and you don't always have to make excuses for why you're asking for it."The impact of the McGonigal indictments is still rippling out through the law enforcement world. According to the charges, one of the officials at the heart of the Trump-Russia investigation was secretly selling his own access, accepting bundles of cash in surreptitious meetings with someone who had ties to Albanian intelligence. McGonigal, a top-tier member of the city's law enforcement community, a man who had fully integrated himself into a powerful circle of trust where favors get swapped and sensitive intelligence gets circulated, was allegedly himself on the take. If the indictments are correct, McGonigal was leading a dangerous double life, right under the noses of some of the sharpest cops in America.But what might be most striking about the case against McGonigal is how cheaply he is alleged to have rented out his law enforcement powers. One indictment suggests that for $225,000, McGonigal's associates got him to lobby the Albanian prime minister about the awarding of oil field drilling licenses and then open an FBI investigation connected to a US citizen who had lobbied for one of the prime minister's political opponents. Arranging a meeting for an executive from a Bosnian pharmaceutical company with a U.S. official at the United Nations was allegedly a pricier item — $500,000, according to one indictment. It is unclear whether that money ever materialized.In September 2018, McGonigal left the FBI to work as a vice president at Brookfield Properties, a multibillion-dollar real estate company. His salary there was likely higher than what he made inside the government, but it wasn't anywhere near the C-suite or oligarch-scale money that courses through New York's penthouse condos and boardrooms. One law enforcement source estimated that McGonigal stood to make roughly $300,000 to $350,000 a year, including annual bonuses. "He said he needed to make more money," said Guerriero, who was still in the relationship with McGonigal when he left the FBI. "He had two kids to put through college."The value that McGonigal allegedly provided — his access and his pull — are clear from the indictments. One of them alleges that he arranged for the daughter of a foreign contact, a college student, to get a VIP tour from the New York City Police Department. The indictment identifies that foreign contact as "Agent-1," an agent of the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, former Russian diplomat, and rumored Russian intelligence officer. That description matches Evgeny Fokin, who works for En+, a Deripaska-owned energy company, and was already linked to McGonigal and an associate in a Foreign Agents Registration Act filing from November 2021.  Agent-1's identity remains unconfirmed. Neither Fokin nor En+ responded to requests for comment. A person familiar with the NYPD's arrangement said that the daughter was a guest, not an intern. She did not have independent access to police facilities they said, and she was given no work to do. Guerriero recalls McGonigal using the FBI's resources for their relationship. Once, they had sex in an SUV that she understood to be federal government property. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer, Guerriero recalls that McGonigal would occasionally send a junior agent in an FBI sedan to give her rides from New Jersey to her cousin's apartment in New York. Despite the ongoing deception about his marital status, McGonigal was "caring, loving, and concerned," during the period of her illness, she says.In late 2018, McGonigal and Guerriero broke up. She remembers receiving an anonymous and hostile note in the mail. Soon after, McGonigal told her that he was still married and had no plans to divorce his wife. "I was shocked," she said. "I was very much in love with him, and I was so hurt." She started drinking heavily to cope. A few months later, Guerriero, after a bout of drinking, dashed off an angry email to William Sweeney, who was in charge of the FBI's New York City bureau, and who, she recalls, had first introduced her to McGonigal. She remembers telling Sweeney in the email that he should look into their extramarital affair, and also McGonigal's dealings in Albania. McGonigal had already befriended Albania's prime minister and traveled to the country extensively, dealings that would appear later in one of his indictments. Guerriero told Insider that she had deleted the email.Sweeney did not reply to a request for comment made through Sweeney's current employer, Citigroup. Insider could not confirm that Guerriero had sent the email or that Sweeney had received it. Regardless, by November 2021, the FBI was looking into McGonigal. Two agents showed up at Guerriero's door, she says, showed her a picture of McGonigal with the Albanian prime minister, and interviewed her about their interactions. She also received a grand jury subpoena requesting all of her communications with McGonigal as well as information about any "payments or gifts" that he may have given to her.Guerriero acknowledges that the combination of her alcohol abuse and her health problems led to some extreme behavior, including her sending hostile emails to McGonigal's family, the contents of which she says she cannot recall. "I really did go overboard," she said. "I harassed them. I'm not going to deny that. I was horrible to them."By her own account, Guerriero contacted one of McGonigal's children despite being prohibited from doing so by a court order, an incident that led to her spending the night in a New Jersey jail. The court order stemmed from a 2019 police report, obtained by Insider, that McGonigal's wife Pamela filed with the Montgomery County Police Department in Maryland. The report states that McGonigal and Guerriero "had a relationship," and that Guerriero had repeatedly harassed her with unwelcome emails and phone calls — including 20 calls in one day — despite her asking Guerriero to stop.Guerriero confirmed that her contact with the McGonigal family led to a separate restraining order issued in New Jersey. "I am ashamed and embarrassed and sorry for my actions during the time that I was drinking," she said.Allison Guerriero knew Rudy Giuliani from law enforcement circles. Giuliani let her stay in a guest room at his residence after Guerriero's father's house caught fire in 2021.Allison GuerrieroGuerriero's troubles worsened in early 2021, when she was badly burned during a fire at her father's house. She asked friends for help through a GoFundMe. Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, whom she knew from law enforcement circles, let her stay in a guest bedroom. Since then, Guerriero has been a frequent on-air caller for Giuliani's radio shows. She maintains that the 2020 election was marred by widespread voter fraud, a belief pushed by Giuliani that has been repeatedly debunked. "Whatever Giuliani says about the 2020 election is what I believe," she said. During her relationship with McGonigal, Guerriero says, they never talked about politics. "I thought he was apolitical," he said, "which is something I continue to believe." The FBI declined to address the specifics of Guerriero's story. Instead, they sent a statement from Director Christopher Wray, who said that the FBI holds employees to "the highest standard" and treats everyone equally, "even when it is one of our own." Insider spoke with three of McGonigal's former law-enforcement colleagues who expressed shock about the indictments. "It's heartbreaking," said one, who had worked alongside McGonigal at the FBI. "This is an incredible organization filled with truly dedicated men and women. This sets our image and reputation back."Guerriero's father said that his view of the FBI had already been tarnished by the way that McGonigal treated his daughter. "I've always had huge admiration for the FBI," he said. "I idealized the agents that I saw in the movies. I thought these people were gods, that they never did anything wrong. It was so disappointing." He did note, however, that McGonigal had called him after the relationship ended to apologize for his behavior, and that he had accepted McGonigal's apology.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 27th, 2023

38 romantic Valentine"s Day gifts for long-distance relationships, from touch lamps to the best virtual date nights

If you're in a long-distance relationship, a gift can remind your other half how much you miss them. Here are the best items to show you care. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.EtsyLong-distance relationships can come with their challenges. When you live far away from each other, simple things like date nights, daily catch-ups, or even touches require more effort to coordinate. At the same time, getting creative with showing how much you care can make for some unique and highly cherished memories. Whether you want to do something special for Valentine's Day or want to cheer your partner up, there are plenty of sweet ways to show your love.To help, we compiled over 40 gift ideas for long-distance relationships, from romantic reminders of your loved one to activities you can do together.A bar necklace that nods to your LDRsomethings2share/EtsySomethings2Share Long Distance Relationship Bar Pendant NecklaceBar necklaces are all the rage right now, but you can get extra creative with this one by adding your respective states or countries and a cute arrow in between. It's a lovely way to celebrate what is sometimes a pain: how truly different your locations are.A modern day mixtapeEtsyTheBlankRecordStore 4GB USB MixtapeRemember when "I made you a mixtape" was the most romantic thing in the world? This retro-style USB port will take them back to the good ol' days. Even with a more modern-day, practical twist, you can load this bad boy up with all the songs you need to prove your devotion.A set of aesthetically-pleasing touch lampsEtsySet of Two Friendship LampsEven though you miss them constantly, sometimes a text message here and there doesn't feel like it gets your emotions across. When you touch your lamp, theirs lights up no matter where or how far away they are — a soothing and subtle reminder of your affection that can be placed on their nightstand or desk.A love letter immortalized in a blanketUncommon GoodsPersonalized Hand-Written Letter BlanketIf love letters feel too fragile, you can gift a more permanent reminder of your love with this personalized blanket. All you have to do is submit your text and choose a font to create a one-of-a-kind, utterly heartfelt present they'll wrap themselves up in all the time.A video message from their favorite celebrityCameoCameo MessageWhether you love watching Bravo shows together or they'd be tickled to hear a "happy birthday" from a "Sopranos" actor, Cameo lets you pay talent to record special messages. Prices can really range depending on who you pick, so this can also be a great gift to split amongst friends or family.A creative virtual class you can take togetherUncommon GoodsShades of Love: Paint Your PersonUncommon Goods features a host of unique online classes and workshops, which can be a fantastic date night or Valentine's Day option if you're far apart. This one has you paint your person from a photo in your camera roll, but there are plenty of options from making a map of your relationship to crafting Parisian cocktails. You can find all the course offerings here.A custom light box with a sweet messageMagicWoOod/EtsyMagicWoOod LDR Gift Custom Magic BoxThis little wooden box casts a message on a wall when lit up. You can customize it with a comforting reminder, inside joke, or anything else that they can look at whenever they need a pick-me-up.A stationary kit for writing old-school love lettersUncommon GoodsA Year Of ConnectionTake a step back from FaceTime and DMs with this mindful stationary kit that brings thoughtfulness back into how we communicate. Send one card to your special someone with romantic envelopes, meaningful prompts, and reflection space.An adorable 3D pop-up cardLovepopI Lava You Pop-Up CardIf you want to send them a card that won't just live in a drawer, look no further. Lovepop makes 3D cards and paper bouquets you can leave out on full display, so they can get the most out of your message. You can browse Lovepop's Valentine's Day offerings here.A stylish personalized printUncommon GoodsPersonalized Movie Marquee Photo PrintThis artsy print can be customized to include a movie title that represents your love story, along with your names and your anniversary date. Beyond being a cute nod to your relationship, it's a nice way to look forward to the next time you can catch a movie together.A Scandinavian-inspired conversation gameAmazonThe Hygge Conversation GameWhile you may not be able to physically spend lazy Sunday mornings and casual nights together at the moment, this light-hearted game can easily be transferred to FaceTime. This pack perfectly captures the feeling of well-being and togetherness that defines the Danish values of hygge and invites you into 330 cozy conversation starters with your favorite person.A sweet love letter necklaceCatbirdThe Smallest Love Letter CharmIf your relationship is defined by sweet letters to each other, get them this adorable and chic love letter necklace, which you can personalize with their name, address, your initials, or even a short message. You can get the charm by itself or pay extra to add a gold chain.A gourmet meal from homeGoldbellyGoldbelly Restaurant Meal KitsIf they're missing home, chances are it's about more than just you. Surprise them with their favorite restaurant or hometown meal from Goldbelly, our favorite service for gourmet meals delivered nationwide. A custom anniversary star mapThe Night SkyThe Night Sky Custom Star MapRecapture the moment your hearts skipped a beat with this stunning creation of the night sky, complete with geographically accurate star formations. Every time they see it hanging on their wall, it'll remind them of where it all began.A bracelet that vibrates when your partner is thinking of youUncommon GoodsLong Distance Touch Bracelet SetThis bracelet set helps show your love from afar: Simply touch your bracelet and the other half on your partner's wrist will light up and vibrate to show you're thinking of them.A pair of matching undiesMeUndiesMeUndies Matching PairsA pair (or two) of fun, PJ-worthy MeUndies makes it so easy to match your bottom half to your better half. Choose from countless colors and designs, including Pride and fandom-inspired wear.A digital picture frame to display your best memories togetherAuraCarver Digital FramePhotos are the best way to keep the memories alive, but moving them off your phones and onto a countertop is a real gesture. The Carver frame shuffles through countless digital photos as it holds unlimited storage space.A comedic tea spoonAmazonStir Your Tea and Think of Me SpoonThis quirky tea spoon not only induces smiles — it also makes sure that every time they give their morning beverage a stir, you'll be on their mind. Sounds like a win-win!Fresh flowers delivered to their doorUrbanStemsUrban Stems Flower DeliveryNothing brightens up a lonely room or says, "Wish I could be there" for special occasions you're missing quite like a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Urban Stems is the best flower delivery service we've tested with so many different arrangements, perfect for any partner.A scrapbook like the one in "Up"AmazonOur Adventure Book ScrapbookIf one or both of you happens to be a Disney fan, you can't pass on this replica of the scrapbook used in "Up." You can use it to store notes, photos, ticket stubs, and anything else you want to cherish in your relationship.An art piece with a custom Spotify playlistAmazonVeelu Custom Spotify Glass ArtThis Spotify glass art lets your partner scan a custom song code to pull up a playlist you've created of all the tunes that remind you of each other. The art piece comes on a wooden stand, so it doubles as something nice to look at on the nightstand.Matching bracelets of your names in Morse codeWishANDdesign/EtsyWishANDdesign Couple Name Morse Code BraceletsIf you prefer more subtle displays of your love, you can get these simple bracelets of each other's names in Morse code. You can pick your cord colors and beads for extra customization as well.A cute book you can fill inAmazonKnock Knock "What I Love About You" BookThis sweet, simple book is full of prompts you can fill out to show much you really care. It's a great low-budget gift idea that they'll hold on to for years to come (and can flip to anytime they need some extra reassurance).A weighted blanket to bring physical comfortGravityGravity Weighted BlanketA weighted blanket can help ease the loneliness of missing that body next to you at night. It's certainly not the same, but that warmth still brings comfort — especially if it was gifted by you. This blanket from Carver is our top pick for an extra-heavy weighted blanket among those we tested.An instant love letterUncommon GoodsLovebox Spinning Heart MessengerLove letters in the mailbox are great, but this unique gift lets you deliver them instantly. After sending them the physical box, you can send your partner special messages via the app and a large red heart spins on their box to inform them their digital love letter inside is ready to read.A gift card for a trip or experience togetherAirbnbAirbnb Gift CardMake the next time you two are together a special adventure. Whether it's a destination or a virtual experience, an Airbnb gift card never expires and is an easy way to start new memories.Paired mugs to remind them of your love every dayKate SpadeKate Spade Daisy Place Love You More Mug SetIf words aren't enough, show your partner how much you love them with these matching mugs.GrafomapGrafomapGrafomap Custom MapWhether it's of the special place you two met or got engaged, this custom map poster keeps that memory alive. It doubles as a great interior piece and a cherished memento to store at home.A Disney+ subscription for date nightsDisney PlusDisney+ Gift SubscriptionNetflix — erm, Disney+ — and chill from across the country with a subscription that lets you both access movies from nostalgic Disney classics to Marvel hits. The streaming service contains a variety of old and new content that's available to watch in multiple countries.A delicious box of chocolatesBon Bon Bon/InsiderBon Bon Bon Medium Mystery Mix BonsChocolates are the sweetest just-because gift to brighten their day. This tasty gift set includes a mix of 15 chocolates that are all individually and beautifully wrapped.A book subscription to pass the timeBook of the MonthBook of the Month Book Subscription (3-months)Start a book club with your significant other as a fun activity to pass the time. A Book of the Month subscription offers quality bonding time at the start and finish of each book. A romantic candleAmazonHomesick Love Letters CandleThe heart grows fonder with this candle's romantic scent inspiration. Fill your partner's space with soft notes of lemon, sandalwood, and rose that are just as passionate as love letters.A scratch-off poster of bucket list movies to watch togetherUncommon GoodsUncommon Goods 100 Movies Scratch Off PosterThe next virtual watch party just became easier with this scratch-off movie poster. Explore 100 iconic films to scratch off your movie night bucket list.A jar of pre-written love messagesAmazonMessage Pill Co. Long Distance Messages in a Bottle"I miss you" text messages are too predictable. Instead, send these pre-written love messages tucked away in capsules for your partner to open once a day.A MasterClass subscription for twoMasterClassMasterClass Duo SubscriptionMasterClass is one of our favorite online learning platforms because of its high-quality, entertaining, and diverse offerings. If you both love learning for fun, you can get a Duo subscription for two devices. It's a fun way to watch classes together (or watch on your own to discuss on the phone later).A neck massager when you can't be there to work out the kinksAmazonNekteck Shiatsu Neck and Back MassagerWhen they're having a stressful day, this neck and back massager is a soothing companion when your hands are too far for a massage. The heated massage device has eight kneading massage nodes and three speeds level to alleviate muscle soreness and stiffness.Conversation prompts to spice up your phone callsAmazonCrated With Love 141 Outrageous Conversation StartersRather than recapping each other's day, get to know each other more with this couples game. Switch out normal conversations with this card game's ridiculous prompts that guarantee a fun phone call.A weekender bag to make travel easierDagne DoverDagne Dover Landon Carryall BagAn extra-long weekender is exactly what they need when they come visit you. This Dagne Dover bag prepares for any type of weekend trip as it contains a shoe bag, water bottle holder, and a laptop sleeve on the inside.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 17th, 2023

Rally Pauses After Frenzied Meltup Sends S&P Above 200DMA For First Time Since April

Rally Pauses After Frenzied Meltup Sends S&P Above 200DMA For First Time Since April Global stocks climbed and the dollar slipped to a three-month low this morning amid early signs of a softer stance on Covid restrictions from China and after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell confirmed that the pace of interest rate hikes was set to slow. S&P futures were little changed, pausing a rally that added $1.1 trillion to the market value of S&P 500 companies. Nasdaq contracts dropped 0.2% following sharp gains in the previous session.  Markets elsewhere continued to ride high, with Europe’s Stoxx 600 benchmark up more than 0.5% and a range of regional indexes on the cusp of bull-market territory, having gained almost 20% from lows hit in September. A gauge of global shares touched a three-month high. Sentiment got an extra boost after China’s top official in charge of the fight against the coronavirus, Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, said the response was entering a new phase, with the omicron variant weakening and more Chinese getting vaccinated. Beijing also indicated some Covid patients could isolate at home. The benchmark US index surged to its highest in more than 11 weeks Wednesday, while the Dow confirmed a technical bull market, as Fed Chair Jerome Powell signaled the central bank will slow the pace of interest-rate increases this month. His comments likely cement expectations for the Fed to raise interest rates by 50 basis points when they meet Dec. 13-14, following four straight 75 basis-point moves. The S&P 500 closed above its 200-day moving average for the first time since April on Wednesday. Still, Powell also stressed that borrowing costs will need to keep rising and remain restrictive for some time to beat inflation, and market strategists warned that uncertainty remains high about the impact of a dovish tilt in policy on inflation and economic growth. “Stepping back, Powell again reiterated that inflation is too high, flagged the likelihood of higher-for-longer funds rate and warned again against risk of prematurely loosening policy,” said Mark Taylor, a sales trader at Mirabaud Securities. “Slowdown = further tightening, but that isn’t the seasonal concern heading into the final three trading weeks of the year.” In premarket trading, Salesforce Inc. dropped, after the software company gave an outlook that analysts say reflects a weaker economic environment. Snowflake Inc. also slid on weaker-than-expected revenue outlook. Meanwhile, US-listed Chinese stocks pulled back after their record monthly rally in November. Here are some of the biggest premarket movers this morning: US-listed Chinese stocks decline in premarket trading Thursday, after the Nasdaq Golden Dragon China Index gained 42% in November, its best month on record. Alibaba -2.6%, Baidu -0.5%. Splunk shares jumped as much as 9.4% in US premarket trading after the software company boosted its revenue guidance for the full year, with analysts positive that demand is holding up despite the macroeconomic backdrop. Brokers did note that Splunk tempered its outlook for cloud revenue, showing that customers could be delaying cloud migration Salesforce Inc. shares are down 6.4% in premarket trading, after the software company gave an outlook that analysts say reflects a weaker economic environment. Analysts were also surprised by the exit of co-CEO Bret Taylor, as he became the latest potential successor to leave the company. G-III Apparel shares sank as much as 27% in US premarket trading, with the DKNY brand owner set for its worst day since March 2020 after cutting guidance for the full year and saying that its licensing agreements with Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger brands, owned by PVH, will expire in the next five years. . Okta shares jump 15% in premarket trading, after the software company gave a fourth- quarter forecast that was stronger than expected. Analysts noted that the results were much better than feared with the company executing sales more effectively, even against a tougher macro backdrop. Snowflake slides 6.2% in premarket trading after the software company gave an outlook for product revenue that was weaker than expected. Economic headwinds are pressuring the 4Q outlook, according to analysts, who remain bullish on the company’s longer-term prospects. Elastic shares fell 17% in US postmarket trading after the company lowered its revenue forecast for the current fiscal year. The guidance cut and the lack of visibility into FY24 are likely to weigh on investor confidence, analysts said. PVH Corp. gained 9.4% in extended trading after the parent company of Calvin Klein and Tommy Hilfiger increased its adjusted earnings per share view for the year. It also expects annual revenue to come in at the top end of its previous guidance range. Victoria’s Secret fell in extended trading after issuing an earnings-per-share forecast for the fourth quarter that trailed the average analyst estimate at the midpoint of the range. The retailer also reported a steeper-than-expected decline in third- quarter comparable sales. Confirming that he has the absolutely worst market timing, literally minutes before one of the biggest market meltups in weeks, JPM's Marko Kolanovic warned turned even more bearish after being ultra bullish all year, and said that the S&P 500 will likely re-test this year’s lows in the first half of 2023, implying a decline of about 12% from current levels against the backdrop of a mild recession and Federal Reserve rate hikes. Finally catching up with most strategists, JPMorgan also now expects a pivot in the Fed’s hawkish policy to fuel a stock recovery in the second half of next year. The bank's target of 4,200 for end-2023 leaves an upside of about 3% from here on; it also means that the S&P will likely close far higher in keeping with JPM's historical error. The founder of bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange FTX Sam Bankman-Fried denied trying a perpetrate a fraud, while mystery still surrounds missing billions at the firm. More key economic indicators are expected today, with data on consumer spending, unemployment and manufacturing all due this morning. The buoyant mood knocked the dollar lower against its Group-of-10 counterparts for the third straight day, while Treasury 10-year yields stayed just off two-month lows hit in the wake of Powell’s comments. The yen advanced more than 1% and the euro touched a five-month peak. “There is no one-way bet any more on dollar strength,” said Sarah Hewin, senior economist at Standard Chartered in London. “We had a good signal about a pivot from Powell, so the market has dialed back its expectations on peak rates.” Focus will now shift to how economic growth will fare in coming quarters. US activity gauges have painted a mixed third-quarter picture, with Wednesday’s daa showing job openings down in October, while Friday’s jobs report is currently forecast to show employers added 200,000 workers to payrolls in November. Later in the day, investors will get to parse the latest US core PCE print -- one of the Fed’s favored inflation gauges. “The market’s wanting to see whether PCE inflation for November aligns with the soft CPI numbers,” analysts at Mizuho wrote, referring to below-forecast inflation data that kicked off the equity rally in November. There are signs that cooling growth is affecting corporate earnings, especially in the tech sector. Tech shares led losses in US premarket trading, with software maker Salesforce down sharply after an earnings outlook that appeared to reflect a weaker economic environment. In Europe, the Stoxx 50 rose 0.3% as the  prospect of a smaller Fed hike boosts risk appetite. IBEX outperforms, adding 0.8%, CAC 40 is flat but underperforms peers. Real estate, tech and financial services are the strongest-performing sectors. European tech stocks leap in early Thursday trading, following rallies in US peers on Wednesday after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled a slowdown in the pace of interest-rate hikes. Chip stocks surge, with ASML climbing as much as +4.3%, and ASM International +6.5%. Shares in the Swiss lender decline for a 13th straight session, marking their longest run of losses since at least 1989, after JPMorgan cuts earnings estimates and its price target for the Swiss bank following a decline in the wealth unit’s assets under management, and with a material loss expected for 4Q.  Here are some other notable European movers: Shop Apotheke and Zur Rose gain after Germany’s health minister was reported to have said the country’s digital e-prescriptions program, identified as a major trigger for both firms, should be in place by mid-2023. Shop Apotheke climbs as much as 11% and Zur Rose rises as much as 11% Heineken shares rise as much as 3% after confirming its outlook and highlighting higher cost-savings for next year. UBS says Heineken reiterated its commitment to deliver superior growth, well balanced between volume and price mix. International Distributions Services gains as much as 5.6% after Exane starts coverage at outperform, writing in note that the Royal Mail owner has levers available to ease concerns over the long term. Credit Suisse shares drop as much as 5.5% after JPMorgan cuts earnings estimates and its price target for the Swiss lender following a decline in the wealth unit’s assets under management, and with a material loss expected for 4Q. Shares in the Swiss lender decline for a 13th straight session, marking their longest run of losses since at least 1989. RBC says it would take an “incrementally cautious” view on mining stocks heading into 2023, in a note downgrading its rating on Anglo American and Boliden to sector perform. Anglo falls as much as 2.8%, Boliden as much as 2.2%. Also, Glencore falls as much 1.5% Pearson, Thomson Reuters and Wolters Kluwer are cut at Exane as the broker says the elevated valuation multiples don’t reflect the expectations of increasing cost inflation and operating margin pressure in 2023. Pearson falls as much as 4%. Earlier in the session, equities in Asia extended gains after their best monthly rally in 24 years, as concerns eased over China’s Covid measures and the Federal Reserve’s tightening. After capping a 15% gain November, the MSCI Asia Pacific Index jumped as much as 2.5% Thursday, inching closer toward a bull market. Gauges in China, Japan and Taiwan led gains --although Hong Kong’s measures pared -- as a top Chinese official said efforts to combat the virus are entering a new phase with the omicron variant weakening and vaccination rates rising. Investors may look past China’s near-term economic slump “as long as there are positive signs of China’s reopening,” David Chao, global market strategist for Asia Pacific ex-Japan at Invesco, wrote in a note. Traders will watch whether China’s central bank will ease further in December, he added. Regional equities also got a boost from a weaker dollar, after Fed Chair Jerome Powell said that the pace of rate increases may moderate in December. The comments came as ADP Research Institute data showed hiring at US firms cooled last month and wage gains moderated.  Asian stocks have battled back as the shift in the Fed’s policy stance and China’s reopening appeared to materialize and foreign funds piled into emerging markets. The exuberance may be on shaky ground, however, as the outlook for global growth dims into next year Japanese equities rose, following US peers higher after Fed chair Jerome Powell signaled a slower pace of interest rate hikes. Gains were limited by the yen’s surge against the dollar. The Topix rose by less than a point to close at 1,986.46, while the Nikkei advanced 0.9% to 28,226.08. The Japanese currency advanced more than 1% against the greenback. Out of 2,165 stocks in the index, 714 rose and 1,348 fell, while 103 were unchanged. “Fed Chairman Powell’s remarks were within the market’s expectations, which provided a sense of security,” said Hitoshi Asaoka, strategist at Asset Management One Australia's he S&P/ASX 200 index rose 1% to close at 7,354.40, the highest since May 5, after China appeared to soften its Covid stance and Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell signaled a slowdown in the pace of interest-rate hikes. Nine of the 11 sector gauges advanced, with mining and real estate shares rallying most.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.9% to close at 11,654.56, extending gains for a third day In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot index falls 0.5%. CAD and CHF are the weakest performers in G-10 FX, JPY and NZD outperform. BRL (1.8%), KRW (1.5%) lead gains in EMFX. The Dollar Spot Index fell for a third day as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Canadian dollar.  The euro rose to trade at around $1.0450 after briefly giving up gains in early European session. Money managers are amping up bets the dollar will continue to fall. Investors scurried to European and UK debt, following a similar rush for US Treasuries after Federal Reserve Jerome Powell signaled the pace of monetary policy tightening may slow as soon as this month The Swiss franc underperformed most Group- of-10 peers. Switzerland’s consumer prices rose 3% from a year earlier Japan’s yen and Korea’s won spearheaded a surge in Asian currencies. The Japanese currency rose by as much as 1.3% to 135.84 per dollar; demand at a 10-year bond auction jumped to the highest since 2005 Australian and New Zealand dollars extended Powell-driven gains, boosted by the signs that China is moving further away from its Covid-Zero mandate. Bonds rose In rates, Treasuries twist-flattened modestly, as the 2-year yield rose by 2bps and the 30-year yield well by a similar amount. After plunging on Wednesday, the 10Y TSY yield dipped further, and was last trading just below 3.60%. Peripheral spreads are mixed to Germany; Italy tightens, Spain tightens and Portugal widens. In commodities, oil rose on Thursday supported by investor wariness that OPEC+ may cut supply further at its meeting on Sunday and as easing COVID curbs in China raised hopes about higher demand in the world's top crude importer. Crude gained further support, and the U.S. dollar weakened, after the Federal Reserve Chair opened the door to a slowdown in the pace of rate hikes. Dollar weakness makes oil cheaper for other currency holders and tends to support risk assets.  "Oil is finding support on investor optimism that OPEC+ will deliver further cuts in production when they meet," said Ehsan Khoman, analyst at MUFG Bank, in a report. Brent crude was up 44 cents, or 0.5%, to $87.41 a barrel by 0918 GMT, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate crude futures added 55 cents, or 0.7%, to $81.10. "Barring any negative surprise during Sunday's virtual OPEC+ talks and assuming a healthy compromise on the Russian oil price cap before the EU sanctions kick in on Monday it is tempting to audaciously conclude that the bottom has been found," said Tamas Varga of oil broker PVM. "Inflation has not been defeated but its negative economic impact has probably been mitigated." Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 1%, outperforming peers. LME lead lags, dropping 0.8%. Spot gold rises roughly $11 to trade near $1,780/oz. Base metals are firmer across the board following the recent China optimism and Dollar-induced boost, with 3M LME copper briefly topping the USD 8,300/t mark. Sam Bankman-Fried said the FTX US platform is fully funded and he believes withdrawals could be opened, while he denied committing fraud and said that FTX had huge management failures. To the day ahead now, and data releases include the global manufacturing PMIs for November, German retail sales for October, the Euro Area unemployment rate for October, the US weekly initial jobless claims, personal income and personal spending for October, and the ISM manufacturing for November. Otherwise, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Logan, Bowman and Barr, as well as the ECB’s Lane. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,076.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 442.83 MXAP up 1.6% to 158.96 MXAPJ up 1.3% to 515.72 Nikkei up 0.9% to 28,226.08 Topix little changed at 1,986.46 Hang Seng Index up 0.7% to 18,736.44 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,165.47 Sensex up 0.3% to 63,296.21 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.0% to 7,354.42 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,479.84 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.86% Euro up 0.3% to $1.0435 Brent Futures up 0.5% to $87.42/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,777.38 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.36% to 105.57 Central bank speakers 09:15: NY Fed’s Dianne Dobbeck Speaks at FT Banking Summit 09:20: Fed’s Logan Speaks at Dallas Breakfast Event 09:30: Fed’s Bowman Speaks at Strategy Forum 15:00: Fed’s Barr Discusses Bank Capital Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A rush by Japan’s life insurers to protect themselves against a stronger yen may have the paradoxical effect of accelerating gains in the currency The yuan is closing in on a key milestone as hints of a China reopening fuel a burst of buying, but some analysts say the rally may soon pause ECB Governing Council member Yannis Stournaras said further hikes in borrowing costs should be gradual, following the most aggressive bout of monetary tightening since the euro was introduced UK house prices are falling more sharply than expected after a jump in borrowing costs quelled demand, Nationwide Building Society said. The mortgage lender said home prices fell 1.4% in November. That was the second decline in as many months and the fastest drop since June 2020 Even one of the strongest easing advocates on the BOJ’s board said that a shift in Japan’s long-held deflationary price norms is beginning to materialize, although he didn’t hint at any policy change soon BOJ Board Member Asahi Noguchi says that monetary easing needs to be continued persistently to help improve a labor market that remains below its pre-pandemic level Wednesday’s Treasury rally may have been more about month- end positioning, according to market participants A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks took impetus from the strong rally on Wall Street after Fed Chair Powell’s speech which signalled the Fed is ready to slow the pace of rate increases as soon as the December meeting, with sentiment in the region also helped by China reopening optimism and with Chinese Caixin PMI data not as bad as feared. ASX 200 was firmer with outperformance in the mining industry amid the heightened global risk appetite and as participants shrugged off the mixed-to-softer domestic data releases. Nikkei 225 was boosted at the open after Japanese firms' recurring profits hit a record for Q3 although the index moved off its highs after hitting resistance just shy of the 28,500 level. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp advanced after several large Chinese cities relaxed some COVID controls and Vice Premier Sun Chunlan noted that the country’s fight against the virus is entering a new phase, while the latest Caixin Manufacturing PMI data topped forecasts although remained in contraction territory. Top Asian News Beijing is to allow some low-risk COVID patients to home isolate which represents a major COVID policy shift, while COVID protests and stretched infrastructure were said to have led to the change, according to Bloomberg. China is to release supplementary COVID-19 measures in the coming days, via Reuters citing sources; to allow positive cases to quarantine at home with conditions, to allow close contacts of positive cases to quarantine at home with conditions. Step up antigen testing for COVID, reduce the frequency of mass testing and regular PCR tests. Chinese Vice Premier says weakening pathogenicity of Omicron has created conditions to improve COVID prevention measures, via State Media. Beijing City reports 2,126 new local COVID cases (prev. 2,378) during 15 hours to 3pm on Thursday. BoJ Board Member Noguchi said the BoJ must maintain monetary easing and keep interest rates at low levels now as achievement of the 2% inflation target remains uncertain. Noguchi noted that they cannot say that Japan has stably and sustainably achieved the BoJ's 2% inflation target, while he added that consumer inflation is likely to fall back below 2% once cost-push factors dissipate. European equities benefited at the cash-open from the post-Powell surge in US stocks. Fresh macro drivers for Europe have been lacking thus far and therefore some of the enthusiasm at the cash open has scaled back somewhat. Sectors in Europe are mostly firmer with Tech stocks following suit to the strong showing during US hours yesterday, whilst Real Estate names are also posting solid gains. To the downside, Autos, Consumer Products and Energy names are the only sectors in the red. US futures are flat/softer as markets pause for breath following yesterday’s impressive rally which took the ES to just shy of the 4.1k mark. JPMorgan lowers its 2023 S&P 500 EPS forecast to USD 205 (prev. 225); sees the index at 4,200 by end-2023; expects the S&P 500 to re-test its 2022 lows (at around 3,577) in H1 2023 Top European News German Ifo says companies are hiring despite the upcoming winter recession, employment barometer increased to 99.6 for November (prev. 97.8). First increase after five consecutive declines. Germany's VDMA says Engineering Orders in Oct -12% Y/Y (Domestic -13%; Foreign -11%); Aug-Oct Orders -4% Y/Y (Domestic -8%; Foreign -2%). ECB's Stournaras says inflationary pressures will ease, as such advocates the ECB takes greater account of the risk of an economic crisis in monetary policy, via Handelsblatt. ECB's Enria says the new risk environment warrants some adjustments to supervisory approach; supervisors will closely scrutinise capital planning and challenge management actions to ensure an appropriate level of conservatism. FX The Dollar index remains suppressed in the post-Powell aftermath of dovishly-received remarks from the Fed Chair, with today's base at 105.30 matching the lows set on the 15th and 28th of November. Most G10s are firmer against the USD but to varying degrees. The JPY has been the greatest beneficiary of the Powell-induced narrowing in the Fed-BoJ differential and as US yields sold off yesterday. The Loonie stands as the underperformer with no clear reason aside from a breather from the Dollar and crude-induced gains yesterday and in the run-up to the Canadian jobs report tomorrow. South Africa President Ramaphosa is reportedly considering resigning over the farm scandal, according to Bloomberg. PBoC set USD/CNY mid-point at 7.1225 vs exp. 7.1231 (prev. 7.1769) Fixed Income EGBs are bid across the board as participants react to the commentary from Chair Powell on Wednesday; as such, ECB pricing has tilted towards 50bp, Chief Economist Lane speaks later. USTs have continued to climb with yields lower across the curve and particularly at the long-end given Powell stressing they do not want to overtighten and ahead of key data including October’s PCE. The European morning has digested a substantial amount of supply with over EUR 11bln taken down between France, Spain and the UK; overall, the issuance was well received and marks the last outings for France and Spain this year Commodities WTI Jan and Brent Feb futures are somewhat choppy with the initial upside paring back in recent trade despite a distinct lack of news flow and a steady Dollar at the time. Spot gold benefits from the decline in the Dollar as the yellow metal extends on gains above USD 1,775/oz as it sets its sight on the 200 DMA at USD 1,796.07/oz ahead of USD 1,800/oz. Base metals are firmer across the board following the recent China optimism and Dollar-induced boost, with 3M LME copper briefly topping the USD 8,300/t mark. OPEC November oil output fell 710k BPD from October to 29.10mln BPD after the OPEC+ production cut decision, while quota-bound members complied with 163% of pledged cuts in November, according to a Reuters OPEC survey. Crypto Sam Bankman-Fried said the FTX US platform is fully funded and he believes withdrawals could be opened, while he denied committing fraud and said that FTX had huge management failures. Geopolitics US is considering a dramatic expansion in the training the US military provides to Ukraine including instructing as many as 2,500 Ukrainian soldiers a month in a US base in Germany, according to CNN citing sources. Chinese President Xi told European Council President Michel that China will continue to strengthen strategic coordination with the EU and hopes EU will establish an objective and correct perception of China. Xi added that China and EU should strengthen macroeconomic policy coordination and complementary advantages and jointly create new growth engines, and should jointly ensure the safety, stability, and reliability of industrial supply chains. Xi said China will remain open to European companies and hope EU can provide a fair and transparent business environment for Chinese firms, according to Bloomberg. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says a channel for negotiations has been established between the Russian and US special forces, via Reuters. US Defence Secretary Austin informed his Turkish counterpart of his strong opposition to a new Turkish military operation in Syria, according to Reuters. US lawmakers are poised to back as much as USD 10bln to bolster Taiwan's defences against growing tensions and threats from China as part of a compromise annual defence authorisation bill, according to Bloomberg. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Matsuno said they informed China and Russia through diplomatic channels of severe concerns regarding frequent joint air force activities around Japan, while they are closely monitoring increasing military cooperation between China and Russia with concern, according to Reuters. US Event Calendar 07:30: Nov. Challenger Job Cuts YoY, prior 48.3% 08:30: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 235,000, prior 240,000 Nov. Continuing Claims, est. 1.57m, prior 1.55m 08:30: Oct. Personal Spending, est. 0.8%, prior 0.6% Real Personal Spending, est. 0.5%, prior 0.3% Personal Income, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4% PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.3%; PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.5% PCE Deflator YoY, est. 6.0%, prior 6.2%; PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 5.0%, prior 5.1% 09:45: Nov. S&P Global US Manufacturing PM, est. 47.6, prior 47.6 10:00: Oct. Construction Spending MoM, est. -0.2%, prior 0.2% 10:00: Nov. ISM New Orders, est. 48.5, prior 49.2 ISM Employment, est. 50.0, prior 50.0 ISM Prices Paid, est. 45.9, prior 46.6 ISM Manufacturing, est. 49.7, prior 50.2 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Welcome to December. Since it’s the start of a new month, our usual performance review of financial assets over the last month will be out shortly. November was a very strong month for markets across several asset classes, which makes a change from what we’ve been used to this year. Indeed, the Hang Seng index has just seen its strongest monthly performance since October 1998. However, at the other end of the leaderboard the US dollar has just put in its worst monthly performance in over a decade. Full report in your inboxes soon. That general optimism through November carried into the final day of the month yesterday, with markets surging thanks to a speech from Fed Chair Powell. He confirmed that “the time for moderating the pace of rate increases may come as soon as the December meeting”, which cemented expectations that the Fed will move away from the 75bp hikes they’ve pursued at the last four meetings in favour of a slower 50bp pace. Furthermore, he said in the Q&A after the speech that “my colleagues and I do not want to overtighten”, which acknowledged some of the concerns that the Fed may end up going too far, particularly given monetary policy operates with time lags. In turn, risk assets surged on the back of Powell’s remarks, with the S&P 500 moving out of negative territory beforehand to end the day up +3.09%. To be fair, Powell did make some more hawkish points during his speech, but when he did it was generally in line with comments we’d already heard before. For instance, he said that the “ultimate level of rates will need to be somewhat higher than thought at the time of the September meeting”, but this was in line with his language from the November FOMC press conference. Separately, he said that restoring price stability would likely “require holding policy at a restrictive level for some time”, but again this mirrored his remarks at the Jackson Hole speech back in August. So the incremental news was in a slightly more dovish direction. As a result of the speech, investors moderated their views on the likely pace of rate hikes over the months ahead, with terminal rate pricing down from 5.01% the previous day to 4.92% by the close yesterday. In the meantime, the rate priced for end-2023 came down by an even larger -21.3bps on the day to 4.43%. That prompted a substantial fall in Treasury yields across the curve, with the 10yr yield down -13.9bps on the day to 3.61%, whilst the more policy-sensitive 2yr yield was down -16.3bps to 4.31%. For equities the reaction was buoyant as well, with the S&P 500 up +3.09% on the day to its highest level since mid-September. The advance was incredibly broad-based, but was led by the more cyclical sectors, with the NASDAQ (+4.41%) and the FANG+ Index (+7.33%) seeing even larger gains. Ahead of Powell’s speech, the latest US data releases painted a mixed picture on the state of the economy. First, the number of job openings in October fell to 10.334m (vs. 10.25m expected), a sign that labour demand was continuing to decline. That meant that the number of job openings per unemployment fell to 1.71 in October, which is the lowest since November 2021. Furthermore, the quits rate of those voluntarily leaving their job (which is correlated with wage growth) fell back to 2.6% in October, and that’s the lowest it’s been since May 2021. From the Fed’s perspective it’s a positive sign in that inflationary pressures from the labour market might be abating, but this is still a very tight labour market compared to the pre-pandemic world of 2019. Earlier in the day, we also had some more negative data on the growth side, since the MNI Chicago PMI for November fell back to just 37.2 (vs. 47.0 expected). Apart from the pandemic months of April and May 2020, that’s the worst reading for that measure since early 2009, back when the economy was just beginning to emerge from the global financial crisis. In addition, we got the ADP’s report of private payrolls ahead of tomorrow’s jobs report, which showed the slowest monthly growth since January 2021, at just +127k in November (vs. +200k expected). So that echoes the more negative readings we’ve already had from the flash PMIs for November last week. One small piece of good news came from the more backward-looking data for Q3, with the second estimate of GDP revised upwards to show growth at an annualised +2.9% (vs. 2.6% previous estimate). Over in Europe, we had some better news on the data side, since the flash estimate for Euro Area CPI fell to +10.0% in November, which was beneath the +10.4% reading expected, and down from a record +10.6% in October. It was also the first time in over a year that Euro Area inflation had slowed relative to the previous months, and the downside surprise will offer some support to the more dovish voices at the ECB ahead of their meeting in just a couple of weeks’ time. Nevertheless, our European economists still expect inflation to remain elevated through next year, and their forecasts show it remaining at more than double the ECB’s 2% target throughout 2023, only falling to 4.8% by December 2023. Some of the details from yesterday’s release were also a bit less promising than the headline, with core CPI holding steady at a record +5.0%. Investor expectations for the ECB were little changed in response to the release, having already reacted to the downside surprises in the country-specific releases on Tuesday. In fact sovereign bond yields actually moved higher across the continent, as they had in the US prior to Fed Chair Powell’s speech, and yields on 10yr bunds (+0.9bps), OATs (+1.3bps) and BTPs (+5.3bps) all moved higher on the day. Equities also put in a pretty strong performance, although they closed ahead of the subsequent bounce in the US, leaving the STOXX up +0.63%. Overnight in Asia, the optimism from the US has continued and equity markets are rallying across the region. Chinese equities are leading the outperformance, with the Hang Seng (+1.36%), the CSI 300 (+1.31%) and the Shanghai Composite (+0.66%) all seeing solid gains. Those moves have also been supported by comments from China’s Vice Premier Sun Chunlan, who said that “As the omicron variant becomes less pathogenic, more people get vaccinated and our experience in Covid prevention accumulates, our fight against the pandemic is at a new stage and it comes with new tasks”. That was seen by investors as another signal that China could be inching away from the zero Covid strategy. Elsewhere in the region, equities are also trading in positive territory, with the Nikkei (+1.13%) and the KOSPI (+0.28) advancing. In addition, US and European equity futures are pointing to further gains ahead, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.20% this morning. In terms of yesterday’s other data, German unemployment rose by +17k in November (vs. +13.5k expected), which took the unemployment rate up to 5.6%. Over in the US, the latest data on pending home sales showed a 5th consecutive monthly decline in October, which takes them to their lowest level in over a decade if you exclude the pandemic month of April 2020. To the day ahead now, and data releases include the global manufacturing PMIs for November, German retail sales for October, the Euro Area unemployment rate for October, the US weekly initial jobless claims, personal income and personal spending for October, and the ISM manufacturing for November. Otherwise, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Logan, Bowman and Barr, as well as the ECB’s Lane. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/01/2022 - 07:12.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 1st, 2022

Futures Flat As China Injects Fresh Monetary Stimulus

Futures Flat As China Injects Fresh Monetary Stimulus US equities were set to end the Thanksgiving week higher, propelled by expectations that the Fed will ease off on its pace of monetary tightening following Wednesday's dovish minutes while an 25bps RRR cut out of China sparked hope that Beijing will stimulate the world's 2nd largest economy. S&P 500 were higher by 0.1%, trading at 4038 after rising just shy of 4,050 overnight after the underlying gauge gained 1.6% this week. Nasdaq 100 futures dipped 0.1%, amid much lighter than usual trading volumes in a week shortened by the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday. The US stock market will close early today. As noted earlier, China’s central bank on Friday cut the amount of cash lenders must hold in reserve for the second time this year, an escalation of support for an economy racked by surging Covid cases and a continued property downturn. “How effective that will prove to be when cities are seeing restrictions and effective lockdowns reimposed is hard to say,” said Craig Erlam, senior market analyst at Oanda. “But combined with other measures to boost the property market and ease Covid curbs, the cut could be supportive over the medium term when growth remains highly uncertain.” In premarket trading, Activision Blizzard fell after a report that the US Federal Trade Commission is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s deal to buy the video-game maker. Apple shares dipped after a report that production of iPhones in November could fall by at least 30% at Foxconn Technology Group’s Zhengzhou plant amid worker protests. Energy companies gained with the price of Brent crude rising as the European Union considers a higher-than-expected price cap on Russian crude. Brent trades above $86/barrel, though is on track for a slight loss this week amid worries over its demand outlook as Covid infections rise in China. Exxon +0.9%, Petroleo Brasileiro ADRs +2.7%, Schlumberger +1.2% in US premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Coupa Software shares are up 3.2% in premarket trading on Friday, as analysts digested a Bloomberg News report that Vista Equity Partners is exploring an acquisition of the expense management software company. Firms wrote that the report points to greater private equity appetite for deals. Manchester United shares jump 7.9% in premarket trading after Saudi Arabia’s sports minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Turki Al-Faisal told BBC Sport that its government would support private sector bids for the team, as well as Liverpool football club. Activision Blizzard shares fall 3.4% in US premarket trading on a media report that the US Federal Trade Commission is likely to file an antitrust lawsuit to block Microsoft’s $69b deal to buy the video-game maker. Apple shares fall 0.8% in US premarket trading on a report that production of iPhones could fall by at least 30% in November at Foxconn’s Zhengzhou plant where worker protests have disrupted operations. US-listed Chinese stocks fall in premarket trading and are set for their first weekly decline in four weeks, with surging Covid cases and increasing curbs across the country hurting optimism that the country will reopen soon Fed minutes published on Wednesday showed that officials concluded the central bank should soon moderate the pace of interest-rate hikes to mitigate overtightening risks. That pushed the VIX Index to its lowest close in more than three months that day, and was last seen about to drop below 20 - the last time VIX was a teenager was during the bear market rally in August. Investors will now closely monitor economic data ahead of the final Fed decision of 2022 to assess the impact of previous rate hikes, and for clues whether the Fed will hike 50 or 75 in December. “The Fed needs to continue to hike rates reasonably to the 5% to 5.25% levels, so there are still some rate hikes to come, so markets are a little bit optimistic right now," said Stephane Monier, chief investment officer at Banque Lombard Odier & Cie SA. He expects to see a small US recession in 2023, but it will be “nothing to compare to the crisis of 2008 and 2009.” Meanwhile, Barclays Plc strategists led by Emmanuel Cau said the rally in equities is mainly due to short covering by macro hedge funds and CTAs, warning against extrapolating the move into the new year. European energy stocks were higher too, helping to keep the Stoxx 600 Index on course for a sixth week of gains, the longest winning streak in a year. Credit Suisse Group AG fell to a fresh record low in the wake of massive outflows the bank reported this week. The Stoxx 50 was little changed after China’s latest effort to stimulate its economy, while volume on the Stoxx 600 was 38% below 100-day average. FTSE 100 outperforms peers, adding 0.3%, CAC 40 is flat but underperforms peers. Besides energy, health care and construction were the strongest performing sectors. Here are the biggest European movers: Truecaller rose as much as 8.4% after Citi upgraded its rating on the caller ID software maker to buy from neutral, citing “significant upside” after recent declines and noting good 3Q results. Elia Group shares jumped as much as 4.8% after the transmission system operator boosted its financial outlook for 2022. Rockwool gained as much as 4.4%. 3Q results should mark a trough for margins for the Danish insulation supplier, Handelsbanken wrote while upgrading its short-term rating to hold from sell. Intrum fell as much as 18% after the Swedish debt collection group said it needs to make negative adjustments of SEK4.3 billion in its jointly-owned Italian SPV, according to a statement. Fielmann shares fell as much as 6.3% after Berenberg said margin recovery is still not in sight for the eyewear retailer. Man Group fell as much as 5.7%, before paring the decline, after UBS cut its rating to neutral from buy. The market is underestimating the effect of an upcoming pension fund de-risking process on the firm’s liquid total and absolute return products, the bank says. Credit Suisse shares dropped as much as 2.3%, to a new record low, after Vontobel cut its price target, saying the Swiss lender “urgently” needs to halt net outflows in its core wealth management business JPMorgan quantitative strategist Khuram Chaudhry said the recent rebound in European equities driven by expectations of peaking inflation and bond yields is nothing but a bear market rally and that investors are “jumping the gun.” He forecasts euro-area equities will eventually recover “later in 2023.” Asian stocks declined, with Chinese technology shares retreating amid concerns about growing mainland Covid cases.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost as much as 0.5%, on course to snap a three-day advance, with Tencent and Alibaba the biggest drivers of losses. The measure was still poised for its fourth weekly gain, the longest such streak since August. Trading volumes were thinner than usual in some markets following the US Thanksgiving holiday. Benchmarks in Hong Kong were among the biggest decliners, with the Hang Seng Tech Index closing down more than 2% before Meituan’s earnings release. Virus cases surged in Chinese cities including the capital Beijing, testing authorities’ resolve to ease their strict Covid Zero policy. Hopes for reopening had fueled a recent equity rally after a four-month selloff. “We think the Chinese markets are going through a volatile bottoming process,” Eli Lee, chief investment strategist at Bank of Singapore, said in an interview with Bloomberg TV. “The capitulation that we saw in late October likely is the worst we’ll see. So I think investors should be gradually adding exposure to Hong Kong and China.” Malaysia’s benchmark dropped, paring Thursday’s surge after Anwar Ibrahim was appointed prime minister. Stocks also fell Friday in Singapore, Thailand and Indonesia, while Vietnam’s key share gauge rose more than 2%.   Australian stocks gained for a fourth day to close the week at May-highs: The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 7,259.50, its highest since May 30, boosted by banks and consumer discretionary stocks. The benchmark gained 1.5% for the week.  Nanosonics, which rallied after an upgrade at JPMorgan, was the top performer. Meanwhile, shares of lithium-related companies were the worst performers on the benchmark after news that battery electric vehicle registrations in China fell 20.9% in October from a month earlier.   In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.5% to 11,382.56 In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose for the first day in four as the greenback advanced against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Treasuries were steady to a tad lower. Antipodean currencies and the yen were the worst performers. New Zealand’s consumer confidence index fell to 80.7 in November from 85.4 in October, according to ANZ Bank The yen dropped alongside Japanese bonds after data show faster-than-expected inflation in Tokyo. Tokyo consumer prices excluding fresh food rose 3.6% y/y this month, the most since 1982 and faster than the 3.5% increase estimated by economists in a Bloomberg survey. The yen heads for a weekly gain The euro pared a decline to trade around $1.04. Bunds and Italian bonds fell, led by the belly, and paring some of the recent gains. Money markets added slightly to ECB tightening wagers ECB’s Chief Economist Philip Lane said long-term inflation expectations appear well anchored The pound retreated, but was still near a three-month high against the dollar. Gilt outperformed bunds In rates, Treasuries were modestly weaker Friday, led by the belly where rates are near their cheapest levels of the day into early US session. The 10-year rate is up around 4bp at ~3.73%. Bunds and gilts yields trade heavier and the selloff in European debt helped reverse early gains in Treasuries during the London session. US trading session is expected to be quiet after Thanksgiving holiday with an early close recommended for Friday at 2pm ET. The move in Treasury 10-year yields lags increase in comparable bund yields, which are more than 9bp higher on the day. Front-end of the Treasuries curve is steady, steepening 2s10s spread by ~2.4bp on the day. Peripheral spreads are mixed to Germany. In commodities, oil rebounded throughout the European morning, with WTI crude close to $80 a barrel as the European Union weighed a higher-than-expected price cap on flows of Russian crude and slowdown concerns threaten the outlook for energy demand. The rise occurred despite a modest revival in the DXY’s fortunes to back above 106.00 and further China COVID woes. EU talks on the oil price cap look like they will resume later today, via WSJ's Norman. Spot gold and silver have succumbed to the mentioned USD upside, with the yellow metal probing USD 1750/oz to the downside while metals are incrementally firmer given China stimulus. Looking to the day ahead now, and data releases include the GfK consumer confidence reading from Germany, as well as consumer confidence releases from France and Italy. Otherwise, we’ll hear from the ECB’s Muller and Visco. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,040.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.1% to 440.36 MXAP down 0.4% to 154.28 MXAPJ down 0.2% to 494.58 Nikkei down 0.4% to 28,283.03 Topix little changed at 2,018.00 Hang Seng Index down 0.5% to 17,573.58 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,101.69 Sensex little changed at 62,287.70 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,259.48 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,437.86 German 10Y yield up 3.7% to 1.92% Euro down 0.2% at $1.0387 Brent Futures up 1.5% to $86.64/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,749.68 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.19% to 105.88 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg ECB Governing Council member Madis Muller warned that the main risk in the battle with record inflation is halting increases in interest rates too early Beijing’s streets are deserted and grocery delivery services are running out of capacity as rising Covid cases trigger lockdown-like restrictions across swathes of the Chinese capital German Chancellor Olaf Scholz doesn’t want to start a new transatlantic trade war and he’s worried France’s Emmanuel Macron may be stoking one Germany’s economy proved more resilient in the third quarter than initially reported, growing 0.4% on strong consumer spending. An initial reading of 0.3% already had been a positive surprise, defying the country’s struggles with surging energy costs and uncertainty stoked by Russia’s war in Ukraine Sweden’s household lending grew last month at the slowest pace in a decade as interest rates are soaring and the Nordic nation’s home prices are in their worst slump since the 1990s A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed with price action mostly rangebound amid the lack of any significant news catalysts to spur markets and the absence of a lead from Wall St due to the Thanksgiving holiday. ASX 200 gained with the index lifted by strength in the consumer-related and defensive sectors but with upside limited by losses in the commodity-related industries. Nikkei 225 was lacklustre amid pressure in bonds and as participants digested firmer-than-expected Tokyo inflation data in which Core CPI rose to its highest in four decades. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were mixed with underperformance in Hong Kong after the  government extended social distancing measures through to December 14th, while the mainland bourse was kept afloat despite the deteriorating COVID situation with sentiment helped by ongoing hopes of monetary policy easing. Top Asian News China RRR cut for all banks is seen as likely, according to China Securities Journal. Subsequently, PBoC cuts banks Reserve Requirement Ratio (RRR) by 25bp, to keep liquidity ample. Effective from December 5th. Will strengthen the implementation of prudent policy. Focus on supporting the real economy and preventing flood-like stimulus. To release circa. CNY 500bln in long-term liquidity. UK Cabinet Office instructed central government departments to stop installing Chinese-made surveillance systems in sensitive sites due to security risks, according to FT. Beijing City reports 1,119 (prev. 863) COVID infections on November 24th as of 3pm, according to a health official; Guangzhou, China will not be put into lockdown, according to an official; the coming week will be key for COVID control; Nanjing City, China is to conduct mass COVID testing for five days from November 26th European bourses are little changed but experienced a very modest negative bias initially, Euro Stoxx 50 Unch, in limited holiday-sapped trade. Stateside, futures are similar to European peers in terms of both the direction and magnitude of trade thus far, ES +0.2. UK Black Friday volume of payment transactions have thus far been consistent with 2021, via Barclaycard Payments. Top European News Spanish windfall tax on banks and large energy companies cleared the first hurdle, according to Reuters. ECB's Lane says following a meeting-by-meeting approach to setting monetary policy will help ensure that our decisions are responsive to the evolving forward-looking assessments of the medium-term inflation outlook ECB insider says they see no realistic scenario where we reduce the balance sheet by much next year, via Econostream. FX DXY lifted to a 106.20 peak at best, with much of the action occurring prior to the PBoC RRR cut. A cut which has applied further modest pressure to the Yuan, though it was already sensitive to the latest COVID controls/cases. Antipodeans are towards the bottom of the pile despite domestic data in a paring of the week's RBNZ induced upside. At the other end of the spectrum, the EUR is the incremental outperformer though has made little ground above Unch. and is currently pivoting 1.04 Fixed Income Core benchmarks have slipped throughout the morning, with Bunds moving below yesterday's trough though retain the 141.00 handle. EGBs were seemingly unaffected by ECB's Lane who reaffirmed a meeting-by-meeting approach to policy. USTs in-fitting directionally but with magnitudes less pronounced given the shortened session for Thanksgiving. Commodities WTI and Brent Jan’23 have exhibited grinding upside throughout the European morning, upside that has occurred despite a modest revival in the DXY’s fortunes to back above 106.00 and further China COVID woes. Saudi and Iraqi Energy Ministers stressed the importance of working within the OPEC+ framework and reiterated further measures to ensure stability of the oil market if necessary, according to a statement. EU talks on the oil price cap look like they will resume later today, via WSJ's Norman. German Energy Regulator says he will consider gas storage levels to be critical if they are sub-40% on February 1st, currently all indicators are stable re. gas supply. Spot and have succumbed to the mentioned USD upside, with the yellow metal probing USD 1750/oz gold silver to the downside while metals are incrementally firmer given China stimulus US Event Calendar Nothing scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap The day after Thanksgiving always seems to mark the start of the home stretch towards Xmas in markets and even more today given it's now only exactly a month away. If you can make it through today without getting a single Black Friday never-to-be-repeated sales offer then congratulations. Already this morning I've been offered on email a new bargain TV, cheap golf balls, knockdown outdoor winter clothing, 50% off panto tickets (I wouldn't go if you paid me), and a big discount off an indoor golf simulator. I must admit the last of these held my interest for a bit longer than the others! On a more serious note, watch out for the usual Black Friday estimated US retail sales figures that will come out over the weekend. S&P have predicted that this year will see the first real adjusted fall in sales since 2009. Unsurprisingly, it’s been a pretty subdued 24 hours for markets, with much lower volumes than usual due to the US holiday. Nevertheless, there were fresh signs elsewhere that risk appetite was continuing to grow among investors, aided by some positive data releases and further signals that central banks might not end up hiking as aggressively as feared. That was evident across multiple asset classes, and yesterday saw the STOXX 600 (+0.46%) advance to a 3-month high, yields on 10yr bunds (-7.9bps) fall to a 2-month low, whilst the dollar index (-0.23%) weakened to a 3-month low this morning as the risk premium buoying the greenback unwound yet further. This more constructive tone was supported by more positive data releases from Europe that built on the upside data surprises of late. In particular, the release of the Ifo’s business climate indicator from Germany surprised on the upside with an 86.3 reading (vs. 85.0 expected), as did the expectations component at 80.0 (vs. 77.0 expected). That marks the second consecutive monthly improvement for both measures, and comes on the heels of the better-than-expected numbers from the flash PMIs and consumer confidence in recent days. Admittedly, none of these numbers are great in absolute terms, but given some of the fears for the European economy this winter after the Russian gas cut-off, they’re a lot better than many had expected until fairly recently. Yesterday also saw the release of the latest ECB account from their October meeting. In their recap (link here), our European economists write that the accounts push back on an overly dovish interpretation to the October meeting, which is also supported by recent data outturns, along with public comments from Governing Council members. The minutes did say that “a few members expressed a preference for increasing the key ECB interest rates by 50 basis points” at the last meeting, but ultimately “a 75 basis points increase was judged to be an appropriate response in view of the protracted period of excessively high inflation and the risk that this might add to medium-term price pressures”. As a reminder, our economists expect the ECB to slow the pace of hikes to 50bps in December, following the 75bps pace in September and October, but it’s a close call. European sovereign bonds rallied strongly against this backdrop, having also got a lift from the release of the Fed minutes the previous evening as well. Yields on 10yr bunds came down by -7.9bps to 1.84%, marking their lowest level in 2 months, just as yields on 10yr OATs (-9.4bps) and BTPs (-13.9bps) also fell. Those moves occurred in spite of remarks from ECB Executive Board member Schnabel, who said that “incoming data so far suggest that the room for slowing down the pace of interest rate adjustments remains limited”. Indeed the front end in Europe didn't rally as much meaning a deeper inversion for the German curve. Given the debate between 50bps and 75bps, the flash CPI reading for November out on Wednesday will be particularly important. Equities rallied alongside bonds yesterday, and the STOXX 600 (+0.46%) hit a 3-month high after every sector group except tech moved higher on the day. The DAX (+0.78%) was a particular outperformer, hitting a 5-month high, and the CAC 40 (+0.42%) hit a 7-month high. Meanwhile in the US, markets were closed given the Thanksgiving holiday, but futures were open and remained in positive territory throughout the day, pointing to further gains for the S&P 500 from its 2-month high in the previous session. As we type this morning, contracts tied to the S&P 500 and the NASDAQ 100 are +0.25% and +0.44% higher, respectively. Meanwhile, yields on the 10yr UST (-3.69 bps) have dipped to 3.66% in Asia trading after resuming trading with the 2yr yield slipping (-5.15 bps) to a one week low of 4.43%. A rare recent (albeit small) steepening. Asian equity markets are struggling to end the week on a positive note as ongoing concerns over China’s daily Covid cases is hurting. They reported a record number of 31,987 new infections for Thursday surpassing Wednesday’s record of 29,754 cases thus increasing pressure on Beijing’s zero-tolerance approach to the virus as the outbreak worsens. The country is persistently registering high caseloads despite authorities implementing several restrictions across its major cities. As I type, the Hang Seng (-0.86%) is leading losses with the Nikkei (-0.30%) and the KOSPI (-0.12%) also trading in negative territory. Bucking the trend this morning are ironically Chinese stocks with the Shanghai Composite (+0.39%) and the CSI (+0.45%) trading up. Elsewhere in Asia, early morning data showed that core consumer prices in Japan’s capital rose +3.6% y/y in November (v/s +3.5% expected & October’s +3.4%), its fastest annual pace in 40 years driven mostly by electricity bills and food prices with a weak yen pushing the cost of imports higher. Overall Tokyo CPI inflation rose +3.8% y/y in November, up from last month's +3.5% and also at its fastest pace in 40 years. With the city’s inflation staying above the BOJ’s 2% target for the 6th straight month, the data is signalling broadening inflationary pressure. Back to yesterday and here in the UK, gilts noticeably underperformed after a couple of BoE officials made some hawkish remarks on policy, with the 10yr yield up by +2.3bps on the day. First, Deputy Governor Ramsden said that he was “materially less confident” that unemployment would rise as fast as the Monetary Policy Report forecasts by end-2023, which would suggest that inflationary pressures would therefore be stronger. Furthermore, he pointed out that most of the fiscal tightening measures in last week’s Autumn Statement didn’t come into effect until April 2025, so would have little effect on inflation over the MPC’s three-year forecast horizon. Then we heard from Catherine Mann, who’s also one of the more hawkish MPC members, who said that “it is more costly to get inflation down once medium-term inflation expectations have become out of control”. Sterling continued to advance against that backdrop, surpassing the $1.21 mark in trading yesterday for the first time since August. Staying on central banks, Sweden’s Riksbank delivered a 75bps hike as expected, taking the policy rate up to a post-2008 high of 2.5%. In their forecast, they showed further rises in the policy rate at the start of 2023 that took it to just beneath 3%, and their statement said that the risk that “current high inflation will become entrenched is still substantial”. The Swedish Krona ended the day up +0.4% against the US Dollar, although this was aided in part by dollar weakness. To the day ahead now, and data releases include the GfK consumer confidence reading from Germany, as well as consumer confidence releases from France and Italy. Otherwise, we’ll hear from the ECB’s Muller and Visco. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/25/2022 - 08:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2022

Putin"s power doesn"t exist in a vacuum: Here are 14 of his biggest enablers, from billionaire oligarchs to world leaders

Putin relies on a vast network of elites he can co-opt or dupe into supporting his corrupt and authoritarian regime waging a brutal war in Ukraine. Nikolai Patrushev; Roman Abramovich; Vladimir Putin; Xi Jinping; Elon MuskLintao Zhang, Pool/Associated Press; Sang Tan/Associated Press; Kay Nietfeld/picture alliance/Getty Images; Alex Brandon/Associated Press; Evan Agostini/Invision/Associated Press Vladimir Putin maintains a cadre of supporters despite his growing global isolation. Russian oligarchs, world leaders, and American pundits have all enabled Putin's war in Ukraine. Here are some of the key figures that have helped empower Putin. Russian President Vladimir Putin launched an unprovoked attack on Ukraine in February, but the invasion was the culmination of two decades in power that have been enabled by world leaders, billionaire oligarchs, and other powerful figures.Putin, a Soviet KGB officer-turned-politician, has effectively stayed in power for over two decades. He served his first two terms as Russia's president from 2000-2008, and was elected president again in 2012. He also served as the Russian prime minister from 1999-2000 and 2008-2012.In his latest term as president, Putin drastically escalated conflict with Ukraine, including with the 2014 annexation of Crimea by force, a move deemed by most of the world to be illegal and illegitimate. His time in power has also been marred by reports of murdered dissidents, a steady rotting of democracy in Russia, and interference in foreign elections, including in the US.Still, influential figures have continued to support Putin, either through direct support, like partnerships or reliance on Russian energy products, or indirectly, by uncritically echoing his talking points or allowing him to proceed relatively unchecked. Here are some of the key figures who have enabled Putin's power.Dmitry MedvedevRussian President Vladimir Putin and then-Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev attend a wreath-laying ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Moscow, Russia, Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017.Ivan Sekretarev/Associated PressFormer Russian President Dmitry Medvedev has been in lockstep with Putin — his presidential predecessor and successor — over the country's war efforts since the February invasion.Medvedev, a close Putin ally who's leveled genocidal threats against Ukraine, was elected president in 2008, following the latter's first two terms. Russia's constitution at the time limited Putin to two consecutive terms, but he managed to maintain power in Medvedev's administration, serving as prime minister from 2008 to 2012.When Putin reclaimed the presidency in 2012 in an election marred by allegations of fraud, Medvedev took his place as prime minister, a position he held until 2020 when he stepped down to ease Putin's efforts to overhaul Russia's constitution.Putin also appointed him deputy chair of the Security Council of Russia, a position he still holds today.Medvedev has provided increasingly aggressive support for Putin's Ukraine invasion, issuing several bellicose statements about the conflict, as well as Russia's nuclear arsenal. In June, Medvedev threatened to strike "targets in the West" after the US agreed to provide Ukraine with advanced rocket systems and later expressed a desire to "disappear" all of Moscow's enemies.In September, he reiterated Putin's thinly veiled nuclear threats, emphasizing that Putin's warning was "definitely not a bluff, and earlier this month, framed Russia's ongoing, unprovoked war as a sacred conflict with "Satan."Sergei ShoiguRussian President Vladimir Putin (L) accompanied by Sergei Shoigu gestures as he fishes in the remote Tuva region in southern Siberia, on August 3, 2017.Alexey Nikolsky/SPutnik/AFP via Getty ImagesA loyal and longtime friend to Putin, Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu was once considered a possible successor to the Russian presidency. But as the official responsible for Russia's war in Ukraine, Shoigu has become a lightning rod for criticism amid the oft-failing war effort. Shoigu has marked a steady ascent through Russia's elite, utilizing his close relationships with powerful people, including Russia's first president, Boris Yeltsin, and then Putin himself. Shoigu and Putin's friendship appeared to go beyond politics: The two often vacationed together in the Siberian woods where they would go fishing and hikingDespite having never actually served in the military, Shoigu has executed Putin's defense aspirations for years, spearheading the invasion and annexation of Crimea in 2014 and contributing to Russia's intervention in Syria the following year. The West sanctioned Shoigu just one day after Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. But months of mounting Russian military failures have sparked rumors of a rift between Putin and Shoigu. Even so, Shoigu has remained silent, despite his apparent role as Putin's scapegoat. "Shoigu is willing to basically be Putin's bulletproof vest," Mark Galeotti, who heads the Russia-focused consultancy Mayak Intelligence, told Insider's Sophia Ankel.Nikolai PatrushevRussian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev and Russia's President Vladimir Putin during a meeting with the Secretary-General of the Japanese National Security Council.Mikhail MetzelbackslashTASS via Getty ImagesNikolai Patrushev, who serves as secretary of Russia's Security Council, is another longtime Putin ally and one of the exceedingly few people in power known to have the president's trust. Patrushev and Putin are old KGB comrades whose relationship dates back to 1998, and is regarded as one of the most powerful siloviki, as the close aides who advocate force are known. Galeotti told The Washington Post in July that Patrushev has long been the "devil on Putin's shoulder whispering poison into his ear." Since the war began, Patrushev has undertaken several foreign trips on behalf of Russia's war effort, speaking for Putin on a variety of topics as the 70-year-old president grew increasingly reclusive. "His ideas form the foundations of decisions taken by Putin," Tatiana Stanovaya, the founder of the Russian political consultancy R.Politik, told The Post of Patrushev. "He is one of the few figures Putin listens to." Since the invasion, Patrushev has emerged as a dependable frontman and frequent public promoter of Russia's war. His prominence on the global stage has prompted questions about his personal aims and whether or not he may be seeking Putin's power for himself.The Kremlin has brushed off suggestions that the security secretary has amassed new powers, but some intelligence experts see Patrushev as Putin's likely replacement should the president fall ill. The Russian OligarchsIn this Nov. 10, 2017, file photo, Russia's President Vladimir Putin, left, and Oleg Deripaska, right, attend the APEC Business Advisory Council dialogue in Danang, Vietnam.Mikhail Klimentyev, Sputnik, Kremlin Pool Photo via AP, FileDozens of Russian oligarchs were among the first to be hit with Western sanctions in the immediate aftermath of the invasion over their close ties to President Putin.Many of these ultra-rich, Russian businessmen helped fuel Putin's meteoric rise to power and helped keep him there.Several of the "original" oligarchs amassed their power during the "perestroika" reforms to Russia's economy and political system in the late 1980s. After the fall of the Soviet Union, these men bought up industrial companies being sold off by the state, padding their pockets and increasing their influence.When Putin took the presidency in 2000, he vowed to crack down on corruption in the government, exiling certain oligarchs. But men who remained friendly to Putin — and who vowed to stay out of politics — were able to grow even richer, leaving Putin to his political machinations without much of a check. A new wave of Russian security elites emerged in the 1990s. These quasi-military elites would come to be known as silovarchs — a combination of the word oligarch and siloviki, a reference to the Russian military. Hugo Crosthwaite, a lead analyst at security intelligence firm Dragonfly, told Insider's Sam Tabahriti that the siloviki are much more a part of Putin's close circle and partial to his regime."Siloviki are ultimately closer to the president than oligarchs are," he said. But some of these siloviki and Oligarchs wield more "Putin power" than others. Roman AbramovichRoman Abramovich no longer owns Chelsea FC.Clive Mason/Getty ImagesRoman Abramovich has emerged as one of Russia's most recognizable oligarchs thanks to his previous ownership of Chelsea Football Club, a top-flight London soccer team which he oversaw for nearly two decades.In recent months, Abramovich has found himself in the spotlight after he was sanctioned by the European Union and the UK following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. As Western officials were seizing his many assets, including his massive yacht, Abramovich was acting as an unofficial envoy in peace talks between Russia and Ukraine in the spring. Though not an official member of the negotiations team, Abramovich's access to such conversations offer insight into what is believed to be his close relationship with Putin. European officials say Abramovich has "privileged access" to the Russian president and has maintained close ties with Putin for decades, Insider's Grace Dean and James Dean reported in April.Abramovich himself has repeatedly denied any financial links to Putin or a close relationship with the president. But Western officials say the oligarch and his businesses have received "preferential treatment and concessions" from Putin, including tax breaks and grants.The Times of London reported that Abramovich met with Putin in March and handed the president a handwritten note from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy seeking peace, which Putin promptly dismissed.Gennady TimchenkoRussian tycoon Gennady Timchenko, left, attends a meeting of Russian President Vladimir Putin, right, with French businessmen in the Kremlin in Moscow, Russia, Wednesday, May 25, 2016.Sergei Karpukhin/Pool Photo via APTimchenko, a billionaire trader and businessman who faced US sanctions ahead of Russia's invasion, is another notable oligarch with close ties to Putin. The sixth richest man in Russia, Timchenko was the wealthiest oligarch to face US sanctions earlier this year. The two men have been friends since the early 1990s, according to The Guardian, when Putin, a rising political star at the time, gifted Timchenko an oil export license to aid the St. Petersburg oil trader. Timchenko emerged as a co-founder of Gunvor Group, a Swiss-based trading house that exports billions of dollars of Russian oil. Both the company and Putin have rejected allegations that the Russian president was a "sleeper" beneficiary of Gunvor's activities, profiting off oil exports, The Guardian reported. But the US in 2014 sanctioned Timchenko along with other members of the "Russian leadership's inner circle," alleging that Timchenko's energy sector activities had direct links to Putin. Timchenko said he had sold his stake in Gunvor the day before he was sanctioned by the US in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea. Timchenko remains the founder and owner of the private investment firm Volga Group which is a major shareholder in Russia's massive natural gas producer Novatek.Chinese leader Xi JinpingRussian President Vladimir Putin (L) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping pose for a photograph during their meeting in Beijing, on February 4, 2022.Photo by ALEXEI DRUZHININ/Sputnik/AFP via Getty ImagesChina and Russia are not formal allies, but ties between the two countries, particularly related to trade and defense, have expanded over the past decade. The two countries consider each other strategic partners, and said in February their relationship has "no limits."In early February, as concern mounted over the possibility of Russia invading Ukraine, Chinese officials asked Russian officials to wait until after the end of the Winter Olympics in Beijing, according to Western intelligence officials.The intelligence report indicated that Chinese officials had some level of prior knowledge about the planned invasion, although it wasn't clear if Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Putin had communicated directly. But the request to delay may have emboldened Putin to actually go through with it, Simon Miles, an assistant professor at Duke University's Sanford School of Public Policy and a historian of the Soviet Union and US-Soviet relations, told Insider.Following the invasion, as Western countries issued crippling sanctions against Russia, China continued to purchase Russian oil and gas, serving as a lifeline for the Kremlin to continue with the war efforts. China, which is the largest purchaser of Russian oil, has even quietly increased its purchases since the war began.Xi has also refrained from condemning the invasion, though in September Putin acknowledged the Chinese leader had concerns about the war. But when the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territories as illegal, China abstained.Indian Prime Minister Narendra ModiIndian Prime Minister Narendra Modi meeting Russian President Vladimir Putin in May, 2018.Getty ImagesLike China, India has also maintained its relationship with Russia throughout the war, continuing to buy energy products. India also drastically increased its purchases of Russian oil in the spring at highly discounted rates, essentially helping to fund the war efforts in Ukraine.India has refrained from condemning Russia's invasion, and the two countries have referred to their relationship as a "special and privileged strategic partnership."Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi did criticize the war in September during a face-to-face meeting with Putin. "Today's era is not an era of war, and I have spoken to you on the phone about this," Modi said. Putin acknowledged Modi's concerns and said he too wanted the war to end as soon as possible.However, fear of losing the support of China and India may have actually encouraged Putin to escalate the war, in hopes of ending it sooner. And when the United Nations Security Council voted to condemn Russia's annexation of Ukrainian territories, India also abstained.Belarusian President Alexander LukashenkoRussian President Vladimir Putin (R) greets Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (L) during the welcoming ceremony in Saint Petersburg, Russia, December,20,2019.Photo by Mikhail Svetlov/Getty ImagesBelarus, along with its authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been Putin's most important ally on the world stage. The country, located north of Ukraine, is Russia's only ally in Europe.Belarus has deep ties to Russia and the two remained close even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. The countries are connected by a number of political, economic, and defense deals, including the Union State, the Eurasian Economic Union, and the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a military alliance of post-Soviet states that Putin has propped up as NATO's counterpart.Lukashenko, who has been referred to as Europe's last dictator, and Putin have a close relationship, with Belarus supporting Russia in the war effort. Belarus served as a staging ground for Russian troops prior to the invasion and has since been used by Russia to launch ballistic missiles into Ukraine. Hospitals in Belarus near the Ukrainian border have also taken in wounded Russian soldiers.Lukashenko, who's known for outlandish claims including that vodka protects against COVID-19, at one point even seemed to spill Russia's war plans for Ukraine.Gerhard SchröderGerman Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder, right, Russian President Vladimir Putin, center, and French President Jacques Chirac at a joint press conference in Svetlogorsk, Kaliningrad, July 3, 2005.JOHANNES EISELE/AFP via Getty ImagesFormer German Chancellor Gerhard Schröder has forged deep ties with Russia and Putin.While in office, Schröder, who served as chancellor from 1998 to 2005, supported building the first undersea gas pipeline that would directly deliver Russian natural gas to Germany. Three weeks after leaving office, Schröder became head of the board of shareholders for Nord Stream, the company behind the pipeline, despite concerns about a conflict of interest or wrongdoing.He has since made nearly $1 million a year from energy companies controlled by the Kremlin, The New York Times reported. Schröder has been one of Germany's most prominent proponents of importing Russian energy to fuel the country's industrial economy.As Germany was forced to confront it's reliance on Russia's oil and gas in the wake of the Ukraine invasion, some placed blame on Schröder, who critics say has promoted Russian energy at the expense of Germany's long-term interests.Schröder was also criticized in August after having a private meeting with Putin during a trip to Moscow. He told German media he had nothing to apologize for and said the West should properly acknowledge Russia's "real fears of being hemmed in" by antagonistic countries, The Guardian reported. He also recommended Ukraine remain neutral and that both sides needed to compromise. Schröder is now being investigated by Germany's Social Democrats, the party he has been a part of since 1963, over his ties to Russia and Putin.Olga SkabeyevaRussia-1 host Olga Skabeyeva has played a key role in the Kremlin's propaganda strategy amid the war in Ukraine.YouTube/UATV EnglishOlga Skabeyeva has emerged as perhaps the most passionate and prominent Russian TV propagandist among a sea of TV propagandists who have been pushing the Kremlin's talking points since the war began.Nicknamed the "propagandist-in-chief" and the "iron doll of Putin TV," Skabeyeva has been a dependable, frequent face in Putin's war effort, delivering intense, often-fabricated rants on the government-owned TV channel Russia-1 about Russia's military struggles, Western leaders, and the Ukrainian army.Skabeyeva has built her career over the last 15 years of the Putin regime serving as a mouthpiece for the administration, experts told Insider's Michelle Mark earlier this year. She hosts the political talk show "60 Minutes" on Russia-1 alongside her husband Yevgeny Popov, offering polarizing and divisive — though almost certainly Putin-approved — analysis and propaganda. In April she sparked international outcry after she said on television that Russia was in the middle of World War III, marking a notable shift in the Kremlin's acceptable rhetoric regarding Ukraine.Sarah Oates, a professor and senior scholar at the University of Maryland's Philip Merrill College of Journalism previously told Insider that Skabeyeva's inflammatory words were no accident, as Russian TV presenters often receive their talking points directly from the government.Vasily Gatov, a Russian media researcher and visiting fellow at the USC Annenberg Center on Communication Leadership and Policy, compared her to Fox News host Tucker Carlson, and called her a "monster" in an April interview.Elon MuskElon Musk.Michael Gonzalez/Getty ImagesTesla and SpaceX billionaire Elon Musk in recent months has pushed Kremlin talking points to his 118 million followers on Twitter, the site he now owns.On October 3, Musk tweeted a poll suggesting a Ukraine-Russia peace plan that included holding elections in four Ukrainian territories Russia claimed to have annexed in a move that was widely decried as illegitimate and illegal. The plan also suggested Crimea, which Russia has illegally occupied since 2014, be acknowledged as part of Russia, that Ukraine remain neutral, and a water supply to Crimea be guaranteed.Musk's peace plan was so favorable to Russia and specific to water rights in southern Ukraine that one leading Russia analyst, Fiona Hill, said it had the Kremlin's fingerprints on it, though Musk has denied speaking to Putin.Musk's tweet sparked harsh criticism from Ukrainian officials, including President Volodymyr Zelensky, who suggested the billionaire was supporting Putin. But Musk has continued to chime in about the war, including in a tweet emphasizing the importance of Crimea to Russian national security, another point pushed by the Kremlin.Donald TrumpUS President Donald Trump (L) and Russia's President Vladimir Putin shake hands before attending a joint press conference after a meeting at the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, on July 16, 2018.YURI KADOBNOV/AFP via Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump has often bragged about his close relationship with Putin and frequently downplayed the national security threat posted by Russia, ignoring warnings from US intelligence agencies.In 2014, after Putin invaded Crimea, Trump praised the Russian president in a speech at the Conservative Political Action Conference and said the rest of Ukraine would fall "fairly quickly." He later claimed the people of Crimea would rather be with Russia.When US intelligence agencies concluded Russia had interfered in the 2016 election through an online disinformation and propaganda campaign intended to help Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, Trump doubted them, accepting Putin's denials. He later acknowledged the meddling, but has frequently dismissed it or contradicted US intel.In 2019, Trump's first impeachment was over an accusation that he withheld aid to Ukraine, which was still in ongoing conflict with Russia, in order to find dirt on Biden, his political opponent.And since the war began, Trump has continued to push Kremlin talking points and praise Putin. When Russia invaded in February, Trump lauded Putin's justification for invading as "genius" and "savvy." In October, Trump appeared to take blame for the invasion away from Putin and place it on US leadership — exactly where the Russian president says it belongs. "They actually taunted him, if you really look at it, our country and our so-called leadership taunted Putin," Trump told right-wing network Real America's Voice. "I would listen, I would say, you know, they're almost forcing him to go in with what they're saying. The rhetoric was so dumb."Trump also pushed a Ukraine-Russia peace deal after Putin threatened the use of nuclear weapons, playing into Putin's plans in a way that some experts described as "dangerous."Tucker CarlsonThe Fox News host Tucker Carlson on December 7, 2021.Fox NewsFox News host Tucker Carlson has frequently repeated Putin's talking points by sharing them on "Tucker Carlson Tonight," one of cable news' most-watched shows. Just before Russia invaded Ukraine, Carlson devoted a 15-minute segment to talking about how the US should not care about the looming conflict between the two countries.He claimed concern over the conflict was not about protecting Ukraine but because Democrats "want you to hate Putin" and that NATO doesn't want Russia to exist. He also said NATO's "one and only goal is to hold back the development of Russia," echoing claims made by Putin.He's also repeatedly attacked the country of Ukraine, whose citizens have mounted a society-wide response and begun to regain territory seized by the Russian invaders who have left mass graves in their wake.Following the invasion, Carlson acknowledged Putin and Russia were to blame but continued to spread their messages to his massive audience. In March a leaked memo showed the Kremlin even instructing Russian state media to play clips from Carlson's show "as much as possible," Mother Jones reported.At various points Carlson has defended Putin, downplayed the threat posed by Russia, repeated unsubstantiated and unlikely claims pushed by the Kremlin that the US was behind the Nord Stream pipelines sabotage, and falsely said the US is only providing aid to Ukraine as "payback for the 2016 election."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 24th, 2022

74 thoughtful gifts for every kind of friend, all under $100

Buying gifts for friends is a thoughtful way to show them you care. Here are 74 gift ideas for a friend, whether they're a new bud or a longtime BFF. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Uncommon Goods; EtsyFriends play such an important role in our lives, so it's always nice to show your appreciation with a gift, big or small. Whether it's your friend's birthday or you just want to say thank you, you want to find the perfect present that not only makes them smile but encapsulates who they are.We rounded up over 70 unique and one-of-a-kind gifts that any of your friends would love to receive and — drumroll — they're all under $100.A scented candle catered to their birthdayBirthdate CoBirthdate Candles, available at Amazon and Birthdate Co., $49.99Avid astrologist friends will love this birthdate candle. Birthdate Co. manufactures 366 candles, each with a specific scent and meaning based on the recipient's birthday. If you want to go the extra mile, you can pair this with an astrology book.A cute, personalized gift explaining why you appreciate themUncommon GoodsFriendship Messages, available at Uncommon Goods, $40Tell your best friend 12 reasons why you love them so much with a beautiful handmade gift. This box of messages allows the gift giver to choose a dozen meaningful, heart-shaped reasons for their friendship that all fit in a beautiful birch container.A personalized letter charmMejuriCursive Letter Charm, available at Mejuri, $98Spoil your friends with a personalized letter charm that makes a gorgeous addition to a chain necklace or bracelet. Made with 14k solid gold, it's built to last a lifetime.A blanket that turns them into a burritoAmazonCASOFU Tortilla Blanket, available at Amazon, $20.99This tortilla blanket is sure to elicit a few laughs while also serving as a super cozy nap companion. It also comes in other varieties like a waffle and pepperoni pizza for all your food-loving friends.A Turkish cotton robe for everyday luxuryBrooklinenSuper-Plush Robe, available at Brooklinen, $89.10This cozy robe will make every day feel like a spa day. Made with 100% Turkish cotton, it comes in a variety of neutral and bold colors.A pair of disposable camerasTargetFujifilm Quicksnap Camera 2 Pack, available at Target, $24.99Create lasting memories with this pair of disposable cameras that'll definitely make you and your bestie a little nostalgic in the best way.A custom note with a surprise insideGreetablGreetabl Gift Box, available at Greetabl, from $15Greetabl is one of the Insider Reviews team's favorite modes of checking in on those we love. The customizable box includes a fun print, a spot for a personal message, and a selection of a small gift like Sugarfina treats or quirky pins. A bird-themed mug that celebrates curse wordsUncommon GoodsFowl Language Bird Mug, available at Uncommon Goods, $15 If you have a friend with a notoriously bad mouth (or who just really, really likes birds), this fowl language mug is a must-have. With beautiful illustrations paying homage to Blue-footed Boobies, Rough-faced Shags, and other feathered friends, they won't even be able to open it with a straight face.A portable book nookUncommon GoodsBook Nook Reading Valet, available at Uncommon Goods, $48Does your friend always have their nose in a book? This portable reading shrine adds a bit of luxury to their time spent in the pages, equipped with dedicated spots for their reading glasses, phone, a toasty beverage, and, of course, the book itself.A hilarious party game that'll bring you closerAmazonThe Voting Game, available at Target and Amazon, $17.99The Voting Game is where secrets come out and friendships are put to the test…figuratively, of course. This adult party game poses life's real questions, like "Who would survive the longest in a zombie apocalypse?", and then it's off to the polls! Laughter is guaranteed but be warned: Being a good sport is definitely required.An adorable Hogwarts alumni capBoxLunchHarry Potter Alumni Cap, available at BoxLunch, $15.12For friends who are still waiting on their Hogwarts letters, this house-specific ballcap will get them by. Whether they were sorted into Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, this hat is functional and fashionable with a custom pigment dye treatment. Off to platform 9¾! You can find more "Harry Potter"-themed gift ideas here.A set of friendship lightsUncommon GoodsLong Distance Friendship Lamp, available at Uncommon Goods, from $99If your close friend lives far away, let them know you're always thinking of them with this friendship light. When you tap your light, your friend's twin version will instantly activate so they know you haven't forgotten them. A timeless cast iron skilletCrate & BarrelLodge 10.25-in. Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, available at Williams Sonoma, Target, and Amazon, from $19.95 If there's something a chef friend always needs, it's a sturdy cast iron skillet. This bad boy is 100% toxin-free with a naturally nonstick surface, heavyweight composition, heat retention, and a pre-seasoned smooth finish that resists sticking and rust. Need we say more? (We recommend conveniently stopping by for dinner the first time they try it out!)A book for any diehard fan of "The Office"Amazon"The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There" by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart, from $18.18Is your best friend an obsessive fan of "The Office"? If so, look no further than "The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There," the book written by "The Office" costars and real-life best friends Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey.A portable Bluetooth record playerAmazonVictrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot, from $49.98If they love vintage goods, this record player is the perfect gift to add to their collection. The record player features built-in Bluetooth compatibility and a portable design that offers a modern twist on this retro staple.A gold bracelet with their favorite football teamBaublebarNFL x Baublebar Gold Pisa Bracelet, available at Baublebar, $30Even if you don't share in your friend's enthusiasm for sports, this sports team bracelet shows you get them. Match the bracelet with their favorite team to help them upgrade their next game-day outfit.A luxurious lavender perfumeNordstromYves Saint Laurent Libre Fragrance, available at Sephora, Ulta, and Macy's, from $85A designer perfume like this Saint Laurent fragrance is a fitting gift for a friend who enjoys luxurious items. The floral fragrance's bold lavender scent appeals to the confident friend who's daring and always lives true to themself.A relaxing weighted blanketAmazonLuna Weighted Blanket, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, from $69.99For a friend who is constantly working or just needs a chance to unwind, a weighted blanket can make all the difference. We love this one because it's wallet-friendly but still made from quality materials like Oeko-Tex-certified cotton and natural glass beads. A mini set of fancy olive oils and vinegarBrightlandMini Essentials Set, available at Brightland, $70If your friend loves to cook, bring a touch of luxury to their kitchen with the Brightland Mini Essentials Set. They'll think of you every time they reach for these little olive oil and vinegar bottles, which happen to be some of our favorites.A book of witty, quirky postcardsAmazon"Friendship Maintenance: 30 Postcards to Say How Much You Freaking Care," available at Amazon and Walmart, $11.69"Friendship Maintenance" adds a more personal touch to the frequent check-ins you're probably already having with one another. The witty postcards weave in themes of friendship in a hilariously relatable way.A neoprene makeup bag from a cool startupDagne DoverHunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $45Dagne Dover is one of our all-time favorite handbag companies, and that's because of the brand's quality, style, and unmatched attention to detail. The Hunter bag comes in six colors of water-resistant neoprene. It has helpful features like elastic lip gloss loops, slip pockets and a removable zipper pouch for compacts and shadows, and a smooth lining that's easily cleaned. Zipper tabs can be unsnapped to adjust the shape, too. A box of sweets they can curate themselvesSugarwishSugarwish Treats, available at Sugarwish, from $23If your friend prefers sweet over salty, you can't go wrong with a candy box from Sugarwish. The candy package comes jampacked with a wide array of throwback confectionaries that can satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooths. You can also pick from cookies, gourmet popcorn, and even dog treats.A playful earbud pouch for the forgetful friendBagguPuffy Earbuds Case, available at Baggu, $14If you have a friend who loses their AirPods or earbuds all too often, this unique case attaches straight to their keyring. Plus, it's quilted, padded, and machine washable. The pouch fastens with Velcro and comes in fun colors and patterns like leopard print and stripes.An upgrade to the average picture frameArtifact UprisingBrass & Wood Display Box, available at Artifact Uprising, from $48.45Artifact Uprising's brass and hardwood Display Box is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional picture frame. They can showcase their favorite picture by sliding it into the front of the box, and the box itself can hold up to 50 five-inch by five-inch Square Prints inside.If you're just looking for prints, you can find those starting at $9 here.An all-in-one phone case and walletNomadNomad Rugged Folio, available at Nomad and Walmart, from $39.95You might have a friend who doesn't like carrying around bulky wallets and would rather keep things simple and sleek. This leather folio case sports three card slots and one cash slot, and also has a new internal shock absorption bumper that protects against 10-foot drops. Best of all, it's made of Horween leather, which ages and appears more rugged as time passes. A gimmicky nail polish holder that they'll actually wind up usingAmazonTweexy Wearable Nail Polish Holder, available at Amazon and Walmart, $9.99Finding a convenient spot to place an open bottle of sticky, vibrant, and fast-drying liquid while you paint your nails is not easy. This $10 nail polish holder looks gimmicky, but it's actually pretty useful. A Fitbit for the activity tracker newcomerFitbitFitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart, from $57.95If they're contemplating joining the Fitbit bandwagon, they'll appreciate this uncomplicated activity tracker that monitors their exercise, sleep, and heart rate. It's slimmer than the other options but still lasts for 10 days, has 20+ different exercise modes, and receives basic smartphone notifications.A mug with a tarot-inspired themeSociety6Coffee Reading Mug, available at Society6, $13.30Perfect for the avid coffee drinker or casual fan of the occult, this ceramic mug made by the independent artists of Society6 is a fun — and useful — gift. They've also got pretty much every mug pattern you could want.A high-tech towel that's good for their hairAQUISAquis Rapid Dry Lisse Hair Towel, available at Amazon, Anthropologie, and Bergdorf Goodman, from $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of reviewers.The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that's composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction the hair experiences while in its weakest state. It also prevents hygral fatigue — the stretching and swelling of wet hair that makes it vulnerable to frizz and damage — by cutting the hair's drying time by 50%.Their favorite specialty food right from the sourceGoldbelly/InstagramRestaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $39.95Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — whether it's a cheesecake from Junior's or a deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration. A nostalgic, state-scented candleHomesickHomesick Location Scented Candle, available at Amazon, Homesick, and Uncommon Goods, from $14If you have a friend from your hometown you haven't seen in a while, you can make it up to them with one of these state-scented candles. Ranging from Alaska to Hawaii, these ethically made candles capture the essence of fond memories and will bring joy to their home.A renewing honey maskSephoraFarmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask, available at Sephora and Farmacy, $41This intensely hydrating mask from beauty brand Farmacy is infused with antioxidants to leave the skin looking glowy and plump. It also physically warms up while on the face, so the self-care feels a bit more tangible. A set of the best socks they'll ever wearBombasWomen's and Men's Ankle Sock (4-Pack), available at Bombas, $49.40Bombas' ankle socks have extra blister tabs to prevent chafing, a honeycomb arch-support system to cradle the foot's arch, and a seamless toe that gets rid of the annoying bump that runs across the toes of most socks.A gift card to a popular wine clubWincGift Card, available at Winc, from $39Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think the best one you can belong to. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and the website makes it easy to discover similar bottles. A Tiktok-famous lampUncommon GoodsBrilliant Ideas Sunset Lamp, available at Urban Outfitters and Bed Bath & Beyond, from $27If your friendship consists of sending home-improvement TikToks back and forth, your friend will definitely appreciate this sunset lamp that frequents the for you page. The lamp's projector will cast your space in a calming orangey glow reminiscent of the setting sun. A set of subtle friendship braceletsKendra ScottMother of Pearl Friendship Bracelet, available at Kendra Scott, $40Nothing says friendship like matching jewelry, so treat both you and your best friend to a set of Kendra Scott friendship bracelets in one of the nine stunning variations. A stunning embroidered journal that'll encourage them to writeRifle Paper CoEmbroidered Journal, available at Rifle Paper Co. and Paper Source, from $38For the best friend who expresses themselves best through pen and paper, this unique, embroidered journal is the perfect place to store their thoughts. An upgrade to the classic travel pillowAmazonTrtl Neck Support Travel Pillow, available at Amazon and Trltl, $49.99One of the best gifts for frequent travelers is a genuinely supportive neck pillow. The super-soft fleece of the Trtl holds the neck and head in an ergonomic position during flight, and it's lightweight — weighing only about half a pound — so it won't weigh them down.Read our full review of the pillow here. There's also a newer, slightly more expensive version that we like just as much. A three-month hardcover book subscriptionBook of the MonthThree Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99This subscription gift was handcrafted for bookworms. Book of the Month has been around since 1926, and it's credited with the discovery of titles like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye." A team of experts and celebrity guest judges curate must-read books — usually new releases, hot topics, and debut authors — and send them to the subscriber's doorstep.If they're more into audiobooks or e-reading, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).A tiny waffle makerAmazonDash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, Amazon, and Bed Bath & Beyond, from $12.99This mini waffle maker may seem more gimmick than substance, but we found that it actually made evenly and consistently browned waffles. It's compact for small kitchens and people who only want to make three waffles rather than buffet quantities, and it's really easy to clean.A non-skid yoga mat towelAmazonManduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, available at Amazon, Manduka, and Dick's Sporting Goods, from $60Manduka consistently makes some of the best yoga gear on the market, and the cult-favorite Yogitoes mat towels aren't an exception — they'd probably be the main response if you asked around yoga studios for a mat towel recommendation. They have patented skid-less technology that uses 100% silicone nubs, and it makes a big difference. Each Yogitoes towel is also made from at least eight recycled plastic water bottles, and the dyes used to make it are free of azo, lead, or heavy metal.A cult-favorite lip maskSephoraLaneige Lip Sleeping Mask, available at Sephora, Laneige, and Amazon, $24Laneige's hyper-popular overnight lip mask smooths and moisturizes with vitamin C and antioxidants. Crystal coasters to complement their homeWest ElmClouded Agate Coasters, available at West Elm, $36Crystal-loving friends will appreciate these Clouded Agate Coasters. They come in a set of four and are a complement to any table or home bar. A ClassPass gift cardClass PassGift Card, available at ClassPass, choose your amountStart heading to more boutique fitness classes with your friend by making them easier and cheaper to attend. ClassPass lets you drop in at different specialized studios for $15 or less per class.A sdurable pair of slippers they'll want to live inNordstromUGG Ansley Water Resistant Slipper, available at Nordstrom, UGG, and Zappos, from $99.95They're not a new name, but UGG slippers have stuck around for a very good reason: they're incredibly soft, durable, and made really well. The sole is sturdy enough to withstand walks to the mailbox, and the water-resistant material can take a little gross winter slush on the way there.If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out Minnetonka — we're big fans of their mix of price and quality, too.A cute plant delivered to their doorThe SillPlants and accessories, available at The Sill, from $34A plant from The Sill will come in a small ceramic pot with a drainage hole and its own saucer. It comes potted in the company's potting mix and will be delivered to their doorstep. A silk pillowcase for smoother hairAmazonCelestial Silk 100% Silk Pillowcase, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $42.99This is one of the internet's hidden gems. It's nearly $40 on Amazon, but it gives you more silk per square inch than options twice the price at Sephora. It's made out of 100% Mulberry silk — one of the highest quality silks you can buy — and comes in more than 25 colors and three sizes: standard, queen, and king. It's the one I personally own, and it makes a big difference for frizzy hair. A jigsaw puzzle that's also a murder mystery gameUncommon GoodsMurder Mystery Jigsaw Puzzle, available at Uncommon Goods, $19This murder mystery jigsaw puzzle is the ideal gift for friends who enjoy a challenge as the mystery unfolds with the placement of each piece. Not to mention, puzzles are a great activity to do together. An insulated water bottle they'll use all the timeAmazonHydro Flask 40 oz. Wide Mouth Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, REI, and Amazon, from $49.95This double-wall and vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottle is especially perfect for commuters who would rather drink hot coffee than room-temperature for 45 minutes on the subway — or any other time. We're big fans, and it does a pretty incredible job of keeping cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to six hours. A vitamin C serum that keeps selling outMaeloveGlow Maker, available at Maelove, $29.95Maelove is a skincare company founded by a team of MIT grads (skincare obsessives, brain and cancer researchers, and chemical engineers) to make affordable, high-quality skincare accessible. The entire under-$30 line is supposedly great, but this $28 vitamin C serum (which people have likened to the multi-award-winning $169 C E Ferulic Serum) is the real showstopper — and it keeps selling out. I've tried it, and it does a great job of reducing hyperpigmentation, hydrating, and adding a "glow" to the skin.Read our full Maelove review here. Popular leggings they can wear anywhereOutdoor VoicesTechSweat Core 3/4 Leggings, available at Outdoor Voices, $34It seems like everyone and their best friend is talking about Outdoor Voices leggings, and these are the company's most sweat-friendly option. A box of gourmet milk and dark chocolateAmazonChuao Chocolatier Share the Love 36-Piece Gift Set, available at Amazon, $52.99A box stuffed full of chocolate needs no introduction, but this one is a pretty good deal. The box comes with 36 mini bars of gourmet artisan milk and dark chocolate, all made in small batches and free of artificial flavors. The 14 flavors range from sweet to savory, and each bar is only 60 calories. A monogrammed leather passport caseLeatherologyStandard Passport Cover, available at Leatherology, $50For the world traveler, adventure companion, or person who has a lot of places left to see before they're satisfied, this leather passport cover is one of the best quality for the price you're bound to find. You can also personalize your gift further with a monogram (starting at an extra $10). Every time they use it, they'll think of you. A super soft cashmere sweater from a sustainable startupNaadamThe Essential Cashmere Sweater, available at Naadam, $75This $75 cashmere sweater is one of the best I've worn, and it took me by surprise. You can get it in either crew-neck or V-neck styles, unisex sizing, and 20 colors. The cashmere is one of the softest I've felt.Plus, Naadam is a sustainable startup. They avoid toxic chemicals, invest in sustainable grazing practices, fund better vaccination programs for healthier goats, and use 100% clean energy to power production facilities. By cutting out middlemen, they pay nomadic herders about 50% more and charge about 50% less to customers without changing quality.An award-winning at-home facialSephoraDrunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, Ulta, and Amazon, from $69.95This now-legendary AHA and BHA at-home "facial" gently resurfaces the skin to remove built-up dead skin cells and reveal brighter, more even skin underneath. It's also won multiple notable beauty awards, including a Best of Beauty from Allure and Reader's Choice from InStyle in 2017. For more skincare products, check out the best luxury skincare on Amazon and best gifts from Sephora here.A cocktail recipe book that pairs music with good drinksAmazon"Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks" by André Darlington, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $15.99Have a friend that loves music and a nice cocktail? This pairs both for a perfect combination every time. The guide includes music from 70 albums, ranging from the '50s to the '00s, with an accompanying A-side and B-side cocktail for each — all organized by mood. A customized phone caseBaubleBarCustom iPhone Case, available at Bauble Bar, $68For something a bit more customized, consider treating your friend to a custom iPhone Case. Adorn the case with their name for a one-of-a-kind gift they'll use daily.A beautiful candle that smells amazingOtherlandManor House Weekend Candle, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Ralph Lauren's former art buyer, Abigail Cook Stone. If you want to give your friend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from an up-and-coming startup that they've probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option.Read our full Otherland review here.A class or experience for you to take togetherAirbnbCheck out local Airbnb ExperiencesCheck out local GrouponsThrough Airbnb Experiences, you can book an experience like a pasta-making class, brewery tour, or local tour that the two of you can enjoy together. Plus, you can buy this gift as last-minute as you like.A subscription to K-beauty sheet masksFacetory/FacebookGift Subscription, available at Facetory, from $19.90Facetory is an affordable monthly subscription to various K-beauty sheet masks. You can opt to pay for one, three, six, nine, or 12 months at a time. An unobtrusive diffuser that smells greatKenedee Fowler/InsiderAsakuki 500 mL Premium Essential Oil Diffuser, Amazon, $22.09Add atmosphere to their space with our favorite essential oil diffuser, the Asakuki. This diffuser has a 16-hour run time, seven LED light options, and a mist setting. All the features can be controlled with the remote, so they don't even have to get up to change the mood. A Tile to help them find missing keys and walletsAmazonTile Pro, available at Target and Walmart, $34.99Few gifts are going to be as useful as a Tile Pro with a replaceable battery. It'll help them find missing items like keys and wallets. An app on their phone can trigger the Tile to ring out so they can locate where they accidentally left their belongings. A classic, quirky plant holderAnthropologieGrecian Bust Pot, available at Anthropologie, from $28This beautiful and functional Grecian bust pot is the perfect gift for your plant-loving bestie. Plus, at only $24, it's a budget-friendly find. A guard to keep away hot, messy splatterFrywallFrywall 10 Splatter Guard, available at Sur La Table, Amazon, and Walmart, from $13.99For your friend who loves to cook but hates the mess, a splatter guard gives them the benefit of an uncovered pan, minus the countertop cleaning and dodging of hot, popping oil.A cozy hammockREIENO DoubleNest Hammock, available at Amazon, REI, and Dick's Sporting Goods, from $51.49Friends who like to get outside will especially appreciate the ENO Doublenest Hammock. It's perfect for lounging on lazy summer days or sleeping under the stars. A pretty tiled mug that'll become their new favoriteAnthropologieTiled Margot Monogram Mug, available at Anthropologie, $14Get them something they'll use every morning, like this beautiful, tiled monogram mug. Luxurious body care productsNecessarieNécessaire The Body Wash, available at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Amazon, $25Nécessaire is a line of body care products that use vitamins and plant-based oils. It was founded by Randi Christiansen, a former Estée Lauder vice president, and Nick Axelrod, a co-founder of Into the Gloss, the editorial site that preceded Glossier. Read our full Nécessaire review here.A leather wrap for taking chargers and cables on the goMark & GrahamLeather Charger Roll Up, available at Mark & Graham, $49Mark & Graham's Leather Charger Roll Up is made from soft, supple leather and has three separate pockets to stash cables and chargers on the go. Get it monogrammed for an extra $12.50.An air fryer they'll thank you for endlesslyAmazonInstant Pot Mini Air Fryer, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $49.99If your friend is late to the air fryer trend, get them up to speed with this affordable Instant Pot model. They'll understand the hype in no time. A set of high-quality soaps from Courteney Cox's brandHomecourtKitchen Trio, available at Homecourt, $70For friends who like to keep things clean, help them step up their cleaning game with this Kitchen Trio from Homecourt, actress Courteney Cox's home brand. This set includes a surface cleaner, hand wash, and dish soap and comes in four decadent fragrances. A poster of 100 must-see moviesUncommon GoodsAt Home Movie Critic's Chart, available at Uncommon Goods, $20Film buffs and casual moviegoers alike will love the At Home Movie Critic's Chart. This interactive poster features IMDB's top 100 movies and is the perfect addition to a movie night with friends. A kitchen gadget they probably don't haveWilliams SonomaWatermelon Wedger, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Any summer party with friends wouldn't be complete without fresh fruit, hence the Watermelon Wedger. This ingenious gadget simultaneously slices and cores any watermelon and is sure to become a BBQ essential. A skincare gift set with everything they needKiehl'sKiehl's Skincare Discovery Gift Set, available at Kiehl's, $58Everyone seems to have an elaborate skincare routine these days, so if your best friend doesn't yet, give them a jumpstart with The Ultimate Kiehl's Skincare Gift Set. It's got everything a skincare newbie needs to improve their complexion.A pair of the coziest socksBloomingdale'sUGG Leda Cozy Crew Socks, available at Amazon and UGG, from $18Treat your bestie to a sock experience like no other with the UGG Leda Cozy Sock. These plush crew socks come in different shades and are sure to impress. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 15th, 2022

Investigators are looking for dozens of expensive gifts foreign governments gave Trump and his family: report

The missing gifts Trump received include diamond earrings, golf clubs, and a soccer ball from Vladimir Putin, The Washington Post reported. Then-President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican Congressional leaders and members of his Cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House on July 20, 2020.Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images Congressional investigators are looking for gifts foreign governments gave Trump and his family. They include diamond earrings and a soccer ball from Putin, The Washington Post reported. The House Oversight Committee has asked whether the gifts were transferred to the National Archives. Congressional investigators are trying to locate dozens of expensive gifts foreign governments have given to former President Donald Trump and his family, The Washington Post reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter.The House Oversight Committee has asked the National Archives to check whether the gifts had been transferred to them from the White House after Trump left office, as the law requires, the paper reported.The gifts include diamond earrings, golf clubs, a large painting of Trump, a gold-plated collar of the Egyptian god Horus, a 2018 World Cup soccer ball from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a $6,400 collar of King Abdulaziz al Saud from Saudi Arabia, a person familiar with the request told the paper.The items are worth an estimated $50,000 in total, sources told The Post.It is unclear why the committee requested to locate these specific items and how far it is in the process of trying to find them, the paper said.A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment to The Post except to say that the investigation is ongoing.The Oversight committee launched a probe this summer into whether Trump properly followed the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, which prevents government officials from keeping gifts from foreign governments with a value of over $415, unless they personally pay for them.Though there is no specific criminal penalty for improperly retaining the gifts, ethics experts said that it could be warranted depending on the circumstances, per The Post."If you have a very valuable item that you are obligated by law to turn over to the federal government and you fail to do that, I don't know that would preclude a criminal action — we've just never seen it done," Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel at CREW, an ethics watchdog organization, told the paper.Officials are also required to report any gifts from foreign dignitaries valued over $415.The New York Times previously reported that the Trump administration did not provide information about gifts from foreign governments in 2020, and the State Department said it was unable to compile an accurate list of gifts for that year.The Trump administration was known to have a history of poor record-keeping practices. The committee has also requested records from Trump's team about its record-keeping, a Trump advisor told the paper.This probe comes amid a separate FBI investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents, which culminated in the search of his Mar-a-Lago property that uncovered troves of sensitive and classified documents.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 6th, 2022

Investigators are looking for dozens of expensive gifts given to Trump and his family by foreign governments, report says

The missing Trump gifts include diamond earrings, golf clubs, and a soccer ball from Vladimir Putin, The Washington Post reported. Then-President Donald Trump talks to reporters while hosting Republican Congressional leaders and members of his Cabinet in the Oval Office at the White House on July 20, 2020.Doug Mills-Pool/Getty Images Congressional investigators are looking for gifts given to Trump and his family by foreign governments. The gifts include diamond earrings, golf clubs, and a soccer ball from Putin, The Washington Post reported. The House Oversight Committee has asked whether the gifts were transferred to the National Archives. Congressional investigators are trying to locate dozens of expensive gifts given to former President Donald Trump and his family by foreign governments, The Washington Post reported, citing three sources familiar with the matter.The House Oversight Committee has asked the National Archives to check whether the gifts were transferred to them from the White House after Trump left office, as the law required, the paper reported.The gifts include diamond earrings, golf clubs, a large painting of Trump, a gold-plated collar of the ancient Egyptian god Horus, a 2018 World Cup soccer ball from Russian President Vladimir Putin, and a $6,400 collar of King Abdulaziz al Saud from Saudi Arabia, a person familiar with the request told the paper.The items are worth an estimated $50,000 in total, sources told The Post.It is unclear why the committee requested to locate those specific items and how far in the process of trying to find them, the paper said.A spokesperson for the committee declined to comment to The Post except to say that the investigation is ongoing.The Oversight committee launched a probe this summer into whether Trump properly followed the Foreign Gifts and Decorations Act, which prevents government officials from keeping gifts from foreign governments with a value of over $415, unless they personally pay for them.Although there is no specific criminal penalty for improperly retaining the gifts, ethics experts say that it could be warranted depending on the circumstances, per The Post."If you have a very valuable item that you are obligated by law to turn over to the federal government and you fail to do that, I don't know that would preclude a criminal action — we've just never seen it done," Virginia Canter, the chief ethics counsel at CREW, an ethics watchdog organization, told the paper.Officials are also required to report any gifts from foreigners valued over $415.The New York Times previously reported that the Trump administration did not provide information about gifts from foreign governments in 2020, and the State Department said it was unable to compile an accurate list of gifts for that year.The Trump administration was known to have a history of poor record-keeping practices. The committee has also requested records from Trump's team about its record-keeping, a Trump adviser told the paper.This probe comes amid a separate FBI investigation into Trump's handling of classified documents, which culminated in the search of his Mar-a-Lago property that uncovered troves of sensitive and classified documents.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 6th, 2022

79 thoughtful gifts for best pals, from a portable book nook to a card game more contested than Monopoly

Buying gifts for friends is a thoughtful way to show them you care. Here are 79 gift ideas for a friend, whether they're a new bud or longtime BFF. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Uncommon Goods; EtsyWhether it's your friend's birthday or you just want to say thank you, you're not alone in thinking they deserve only the very best. Because our friends play such a beloved role in our lives, it can be difficult to find a gift that really encapsulates how thankful we are for them sticking around. We rounded up over 70 unique and one-of-a-kind gifts that any of your friends would love to receive and — drumroll — they're all under $100.The 79 best gifts for friends in 2022:A bird-themed mug that celebrates curse wordsUncommon GoodsFowl Language Bird Mug, available at Uncommon Goods, $15 If you have a friend with a notoriously bad mouth (or who just really, really likes birds), this fowl language mug is a must-have. With beautiful illustrations paying homage to Blue-footed Boobies, Rough-faced Shags and other feathered friends, they won't even be able to open it with a straight face.A custom silhouette sticker of you and your bestieEtsyCustom Silhouette Sticker, available at Etsy, from $6.50Give your bestie the best gift of all: You two together forever — in print! This custom-made, artsy sticker recreates your favorite pictures, poses, and memories mean to be stuck on their water bottle or laptop.A portable book nookUncommon GoodsBook Nook Reading Valet, available at Uncommon Goods, $48Does your friend always have their nose in a book? This portable reading shrine adds a bit of luxury to their time spent in the pages, equipped with dedicated spots for their reading glasses, phone, toasty beverage, and, of course, the book itself.A hilarious party game that'll bring you closerAmazonThe Voting Game, available at Target and Amazon, $19.99The Voting Game is where secrets come out and friendships are put to the test…figuratively, of course. This adult party game poses life's real questions, like "Who would survive the longest in a zombie apocalypse?", and then it's off to the polls! Laughter is guaranteed, but be warned: Being a good sport is definitely required.A nostalgic, state-scented candleHomesickHomesick Location Scented Candle, available at Amazon, Homesick, and Uncommon Goods, from $27.20If you have a friend from your hometown you haven't seen in a while, you can make it up to them with one of these state-scented candles. Ranging from Alaska to Hawaii, these ethically made candles capture the essence of fond memories and will bring joy to their home.An adorable Hogwarts alumni capBoxLunchHarry Potter Alumni Cap, available at BoxLunch, $18.90For friends who are still waiting on their Hogwarts letters, this house-specific ballcap will get them by. Whether they were sorted into Gryffindor, Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw, or Slytherin, this hat is functional and fashionable with a custom pigment dye treatment. Off to platform 9¾!A timeless cast iron skilletCrate & BarrelLodge 10.25-in. Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet, available at Williams Sonoma, Target, and Amazon, from $20.99 If there's something a chef friend always needs, it's a sturdy cast iron skillet. This bad boy is 100% toxin-free with a naturally nonstick surface, heavyweight composition, even heat retention, and it comes pre-seasoned for a smooth finish that resists sticking and rust. Need we say more? (We recommend conveniently stopping by for dinner the first time they try it out!)A gift that even the most diehard fan of "The Office" probably doesn't haveAmazon"The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There" by Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart, from $12.99Is your best friend an obsessive fan of "The Office"? If so, look no further than "The Office BFFs: Tales of The Office from Two Best Friends Who Were There," the book written by "The Office" costars and real-life best friends Jenna Fischer and Angela Kinsey.A portable, Bluetooth record playerAmazonVictrola Vintage 3-Speed Bluetooth Portable Suitcase Record Player, available at Amazon, Walmart, and Home Depot, from $47.10If they love vintage goods, this record player is the perfect gift to add to their collection. The record player features built-in Bluetooth compatibility and a portable design that offers a modern twist on this retro staple.A set of friendship lightsUncommon GoodsLong Distance Friendship Lamp, available at Uncommon Goods, from $99If your close friend lives far away, let them know you're always thinking of them with this friendship light. When you tap your light, your friend's twin version will instantly activate so they know you haven't forgotten them. A luxurious lavender perfumeNordstromYves Saint Laurent Libre Fragrance, available at Sephora, Ulta, and Macy's, from $85A designer perfume like this Saint Laurent fragrance is a fitting gift for a friend who enjoys luxurious items. The floral fragrance's bold lavender scent appeals to the confident friend who's daring and always lives true to themself.A gold bracelet with their favorite football teamBaublebarNFL x Baublebar Gold Pisa Bracelet, available at Baublebar, $30Even if you don't share in your friend's enthusiasm for sports, this sports team bracelet shows you get them. Match the bracelet with their favorite team to help them upgrade their next game-day outfit.A relaxing weighted blanketAmazonLuna Weight Blanket, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, from $69.99For a friend who is constantly working or just needs a chance to unwind, a weighted blanket can make all the difference. We love this one because it's wallet-friendly but still made from quality materials like Oeko-Tex-certified cotton and natural glass beads. A planner to help them stay organizedRifle Paper Co.Rifle Paper Co. 2023 17-Month Large Planner, available at Rifle Paper Co., Amazon, and Walmart, from $27.96Your Type A friend will thank you for this planner and its neat, detailed layout. The 17-month design means they can finish out this year and be set for the new year. Plus, two pages of colorful stickers can help liven up the notes, weekly, and monthly planning pages.A neoprene makeup bag from a cool startupDagne DoverHunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $45Dagne Dover is one of our all-time favorite handbag companies, and that's because of the brand's quality, style, and unmatched attention to detail. The Hunter bag comes in six colors of water-resistant neoprene. It has helpful features like elastic lip gloss loops, slip pockets and a removable zipper pouch for compacts and shadows, and a smooth lining that's easily cleaned. Zipper tabs can be unsnapped to adjust the shape, too. A playful earbud pouch for the forgetful friendBagguPuffy Earbuds Case, available at Baggu, $14If you have a friend who tends to lose their AirPods or earbuds all too often, this unique case attaches straight onto their keyring. Plus, it's quilted, padded, and machine washable. The pouch fastens with Velcro and comes in fun colors and patterns like leopard print and stripes.A phone case and wallet all-in-oneNomadNomad Rugged Folio, available at Nomad, Amazon, and Walmart, from $39.95You might have a friend who doesn't like carrying around bulky wallets and would rather keep things simple and sleek. This leather folio case sports three card slots and one cash slot, and also has a new internal shock absorption bumper that protects against 10-foot drops. Best of all, it's made of Horween leather, which ages and appears more rugged as time passes. A Fitbit for the activity tracker newcomerFitbitFitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, Amazon, and Walmart, from $62.25If they're contemplating joining the Fitbit bandwagon, they'll appreciate this uncomplicated activity tracker that monitors their exercise, sleep, and heart rate. It's slimmer than the other options, but still lasts for 10 days, has 20+ different exercise modes, and receives basic smartphone notifications.A high-tech towel that's better for their hairAQUISAquis Rapid Dry Lisse Hair Towel, available at Amazon, Anthropologie, and Bergdorf Goodman, from $29.99Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels have inspired a slew of rave reviews online, including one from our own team of reviewers.The towels are made from a proprietary fabric called Aquitex that's composed of ultra-fine fibers (finer than silk) that work to reduce the amount of friction the hair experiences while in its weakest state. It also prevents hygral fatigue — the stretching and swelling of wet hair that makes it vulnerable to frizz and damage — by cutting the hair's drying time by 50%.Their favorite specialty food straight from the sourceGoldbelly/InstagramRestaurant Meal Kits, available at Goldbelly, from $27Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — whether it's a cheesecake from Junior's or deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration. A book of witty, quirky postcardsAmazon"Friendship Maintenance: 30 Postcards to Say How Much You Freaking Care," available at Amazon and Walmart, $11.13"Friendship Maintenance" adds a more personal touch to the frequent check-ins you're probably already having with one another. The witty postcards weave in themes of friendship in a hilariously relatable way.A tie-dye kitAmazonJust My Style Tie-Dye Kit, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $7.99Tie-dye has made a resurgence. They'll appreciate this affordable tie-dye kit that will provide them with enough dye for up to 12 projects.A gift card to a popular wine clubWincGift Card, available at Winc, from $60Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think the best one you can belong to. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and the website makes it easy to discover similar bottles. The complete series of "Friends"Amazon"Friends: The Complete Series" on Blu-Ray, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, from $62.95Get into the spirit of friendship with this iconic '90s lineup. Between Ross and Rachel's timeless romance, the rise of Monica's dream career, and Joey's every-episode antics, you'll both be laughing, crying, and grateful for each other through each season.A custom note with a surprise insideGreetablGreetabl Gift Box, available at Greetabl, from $13.50Greetabl is one of the Insider Reviews team's favorite modes of checking in on those we love. The customizable box includes a fun print, a spot for a personal message, and a selection of a small gift like Sugarfina treats or quirky pins. An upgrade to the classic travel pillowAmazonTrtl Neck Support Travel Pillow, available at Amazon and Trltl, $44.99One of the best gifts for frequent travelers is a genuinely supportive neck pillow. The super-soft fleece of the Trtl holds the neck and head in an ergonomic position during flight, and it's lightweight — weighing only about half a pound — so it won't weigh them down.Read our full review of the pillow here. There's also a newer, slightly more expensive version that we like just as much. A set of the best socks they'll ever wearBombasWomen's and Men's Ankle Sock (4-Pack), available at Bombas, $49.40Bombas' ankle socks have extra blister tabs to prevent chafing, a honeycomb arch-support system to cradle the foot's arch, and a seamless toe that gets rid of the annoying bump that runs across the toes of most socks. Currently, you can save 20% off your first order with code COMFORT20.A three-month subscription to the book club that put "Gone with the Wind" on the mapBook of the MonthThree Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99This subscription gift was handcrafted for bookworms. Book of the Month has been around since 1926, and it's credited with the discovery of titles like "Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye." A team of experts and celebrity guest judges curate must-read books — usually new releases, hot topics, and debut authors — and send them to the subscriber's doorstep.If they're more into audiobooks or e-reading, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).A makeup and skincare subscriptionBirchboxOne Month Subscription, available at Birchbox, $15Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends samples of new and cult-favorite products so subscribers can find products they love without committing to buying a full size. It's also a monthly excuse for them to pamper themselves.An insulated water bottle that keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to 6 hoursAmazonHydro Flask 40 oz. Wide Mouth Water Bottle, available at Hydro Flask, REI, and Amazon, from $49.95This double-wall and vacuum-insulated stainless steel bottle is especially perfect for commuters who would rather drink hot coffee than room-temperature for 45 minutes on the subway — or any other time. We're big fans, and it does a pretty incredible job of keeping cold drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot for up to six hours. A gimmicky nail polish holder that they'll actually wind up usingAmazonTweexy Wearable Nail Polish Holder, available at Amazon and Walmart, $9.99Finding a convenient spot to place an open bottle of sticky, vibrant, and fast-drying liquid while you paint your nails is not easy. This $10 nail polish holder looks gimmicky, but it's actually pretty useful. A funny adult coloring bookAmazonWine Life: A Snarky Adult Coloring Book, available at Amazon, $5.99Adult coloring has had a comeback in recent years as a great de-stressor (even Kate Middleton is a fan). It turns out, though, that adult coloring is even more fun with adult beverages. Here's a book that combines both. A brass and wood display box that's cooler than the average picture frameArtifact UprisingBrass & Wood Display Box, available at Artifact Uprising, from $57Artifact Uprising's brass and hardwood Display Box is a bit more aesthetically pleasing than the traditional picture frame. They can showcase their favorite picture by sliding it into the front of the box, and the box itself can hold up to 50 five-inch by five-inch Square Prints inside.If you're just looking for prints, you can find those starting at $9 here.A renewing honey mask that warms up while it's on their faceSephoraFarmacy Honey Potion Renewing Antioxidant Hydration Mask, available at Amazon, Sephora, and Farmacy, $41This intensely hydrating mask from beauty brand Farmacy is infused with antioxidants to leave the skin looking glowy and plump. It also physically warms up while on the face, so the self-care feels a bit more tangible. A silk pillowcase for smoother hair and less breakageAmazonCelestial Silk 100% Silk Pillowcase, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $42.99This is one of the internet's hidden gems. It's nearly $40 on Amazon, but it gives you more silk per square inch than options twice the price at Sephora. It's made out of 100% Mulberry silk — one of the highest quality silks you can buy — and comes in more than 25 colors and three sizes: standard, queen, and king. It's the one I personally own, and it makes a big difference for frizzy hair. A non-skid yoga mat towel made by a trusted companyAmazonManduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, available at Amazon, Manduka, and Dick's Sporting Goods, from $48.84Manduka consistently makes some of the best yoga gear on the market, and the cult-favorite Yogitoes mat towels aren't an exception — they'd probably be the main response if you asked around yoga studios for a mat towel recommendation. They have patented skid-less technology that uses 100% silicone nubs, and it makes a big difference. Each Yogitoes towel is also made from at least eight recycled plastic water bottles, and the dyes used to make it are free of azo, lead, or heavy metal.A vitamin C serum developed by MIT scientists that keeps selling outMaeloveGlow Maker, available at Maelove, $29.95Maelove is a skincare company founded by a team of MIT grads (skincare obsessives, brain and cancer researchers, and chemical engineers) to make affordable, high-quality skincare accessible. The entire under-$30 line is supposedly great, but this $28 vitamin C serum (which people have likened to the multi-award-winning $166 C E Ferulic Serum) is the real showstopper — and it keeps selling out. I've tried it, and it does a great job of reducing hyperpigmentation, hydrating, and adding a "glow" to the skin.Read our full Maelove review here. A monogrammed leather passport caseLeatherologyStandard Passport Cover, available at Leatherology, $50For the world traveler, adventure companion, or person who has a lot of places left to see before they're satisfied, this leather passport cover is one of the best quality for the price you're bound to find. You can also personalize your gift further with a monogram (starting at an extra $10). Every time they use it, they'll think of you. A super soft $75 cashmere sweater from a sustainable startupNaadamThe Essential Cashmere Sweater, available at Naadam, $75This $75 cashmere sweater is one of the best I've worn, and it took me by surprise. You can get it in either crew-neck or V-neck styles, unisex sizing, and 20 colors. The cashmere is one of the softest I've felt.Plus, Naadam is a sustainable startup. They avoid toxic chemicals, invest in sustainable grazing practices, fund better vaccination programs for healthier goats, and use 100% clean energy to power production facilities. By cutting out middlemen, they pay nomadic herders about 50% more and charge about 50% less to customers without changing quality.A soft, durable pair of slippers they'll want to live inNordstromUGG Ansley Water Resistant Slipper, available at Nordstrom, UGG, and Zappos, from $99.95They're not a new name, but UGG slippers have stuck around for a very good reason: they're incredibly soft, durable, and made really well. The sole is sturdy enough to withstand walks to the mailbox, and the water-resistant material can take a little gross winter slush on the way there.If you're looking for a cheaper alternative, check out Minnetonka — we're big fans of their mix of price and quality, too.An award-winning at-home facialSephoraDrunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, Ulta, and Amazon, from $64.94This now-legendary AHA and BHA at-home "facial" gently resurfaces the skin to remove built-up dead skin cells and reveal brighter, more even skin underneath. It's also won multiple notable beauty awards, including a Best of Beauty from Allure and Reader's Choice from InStyle in 2017. For more skincare products, check out the best luxury skincare on Amazon and best gifts from Sephora here.Popular leggings they can wear anywhereOutdoor VoicesTechSweat Core 3/4 Leggings, available at Outdoor Voices, $34It seems like everyone and their best friend is talking about Outdoor Voices leggings, and these are the company's most sweat-friendly option. A mug with a "coffee reading" tarot-inspired themeSociety6Coffee Reading Mug, available at Society6, $16.15Perfect for the avid coffee drinker or casual fan of the occult, this ceramic mug made by the independent artists of Society6 is a fun — and useful — gift. They've also got pretty much every mug pattern you could want.A cult-favorite sleeping lip maskSephoraLaneige Lip Sleeping Mask, available at Sephora, Laneige, and Amazon, $24Laneige's hyper-popular overnight lip mask smooths and moisturizes with vitamin C and antioxidants. Currently, it has over 14,000 reviews and a rating of 4.4-stars on Sephora. A cocktail recipe book that pairs music with good drinksAmazon"Booze & Vinyl: A Spirited Guide to Great Music and Mixed Drinks" by André Darlington, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $15.99Have a friend that loves music and a nice cocktail? This pairs both for a perfect combination every time. The guide includes music from 70 albums, ranging from the '50s to the '00s, with an accompanying A-side and B-side cocktail for each — all organized by mood. A tiny waffle makerAmazonDash Mini Waffle Maker, available at Target, Amazon, and Bed Bath & Beyond, from $12.49This mini waffle maker may seem more gimmick than substance, but we found that it actually made evenly and consistently browned waffles. It's compact for small kitchens and people who only want to make three waffles rather than buffet quantities, and it's really easy to clean.A screw-on top that turns a wine bottle into a glassAmazonGuzzle Buddy Wine Bottle Glass, available on Amazon, $17.99If they're more of a "one bottle per person" vino drinker, why not cut out the middleman with this twist-on bottle-to-glass helper? The personal diary of Frida KahloAmazon"The Diary of Friday Kahlo: An Intimate Self-Portrait" by Carlos Fuentes, available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble, from $20.99In the last 10 years of her life, Friday Kahlo kept a journal full of thoughts, poems, illustrations, and dreams. This is it, and it's a particularly perfect gift for an artistic or feminist friend. A guard to keep away hot, messy splatterFrywallFrywall 10 Splatter Guard, available at Sur La Table, Amazon, and Walmart, from $13.99A splatter guard gives you the benefit of an uncovered pan, minus the countertop cleaning and dodging of hot, popping oil.An unobtrusive diffuser that smells greatKenedee Fowler/InsiderAsakuki 500 mL Premium Essential Oil Diffuser, Amazon, $25.99Add atmosphere to their space with our favorite essential oil diffuser, the Asakuki. This diffuser has a 16-hour run time, seven LED light options, and a mist setting. All the features can be controlled with the remote, so they don't even have to get up to change the mood. A beautiful candle that smells amazingOtherlandManor House Weekend Candle, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Ralph Lauren's former art buyer, Abigail Cook Stone. If you want to give your friend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from an up-and-coming startup that they've probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option.Read our full Otherland review here.A Tile with a replaceable battery to help them find missing keys and walletsAmazonTile Pro, available at Amazon, Target, and Walmart, $34.99Few gifts are going to be as useful as a Tile Pro with a replaceable battery. It'll help them find missing items like keys and wallets. An app on their phone can trigger the Tile to ring out so they can locate where they accidentally left their belongings. Luxurious bodycare productsNecessarieNécessaire The Body Wash, available at Sephora, Nordstrom, and Amazon, from $25Nécessaire is a line of body care products that uses vitamins and plant-based oils. It was founded by Randi Christiansen, a former Estée Lauder vice president, and Nick Axelrod, a co-founder of Into the Gloss, the editorial site that preceded Glossier. Read our full Nécessaire review here.A cute plant in a ceramic pot delivered to their doorThe SillPlants and accessories, available at The Sill, from $10A plant from The Sill will come in a small ceramic pot with a drainage hole and its own saucer. It comes potted in the company's potting mix and will be delivered to their doorstep. A rechargeable batteryAmazonAnker PowerCore 10000, available at Amazon, Anker, and Walmart, from $25.99If your friend is glued to their phone (like all of us), they need a lot of power. Anker's PowerCore is a powerful, compact external battery that can provide multiple iPhone or Galaxy charges. A subscription to K-beauty sheet masksFacetory/FacebookGift Subscription, available at Facetory, from $19.90Facetory is an affordable monthly subscription to various K-beauty sheet masks. You can opt to pay for one, three, six, nine, or 12 months at a time. A leather wrap for taking chargers and cables on the goMark & GrahamLeather Charger Roll Up, available at Mark & Graham, $39Mark & Graham's Leather Charger Roll Up is made from soft, supple leather and has three separate pockets to stash cables and chargers on the go. Get it monogrammed for an extra $12.50.A box of gourmet milk and dark chocolateAmazonChuao Chocolatier Share the Love 36-Piece Gift Set, available at Amazon, $52.99A box stuffed full of chocolate needs no introduction, but this one is a pretty good deal. The box comes with 36 mini bars of gourmet artisan milk and dark chocolate, all made in small batches and free of artificial flavors. The 14 flavors range from sweet to savory, and each bar is only 60 calories. An air fryer they'll thank you for endlesslyAmazonInstant Pot Mini Air Fryer, available at Amazon and Walmart, from $49.99If your friend is late to the air fryer trend, get them up to speed with this affordable Instant Pot model. They'll understand the hype in no time. A set of high-quality soap and cleaners from Courtney Cox's brandHomecourtKitchen Trio, available at Homecourt and Violet Grey, $65For friends who like to keep things clean, help them step up their cleaning game with this Kitchen Trio from Homecourt, actress Courteney Cox's home brand. This set includes a surface cleaner, hand wash, and dish soap and comes in four decadent fragrances. A scented candle catered to their birthdayBirthdate CoBirthdate Candles, available at Amazon and Birthdate Co., $49.99Avid astrologist friends will love this birthdate candle. Birthdate Co. manufactures 366 candles, each with a specific scent and meaning based on the recipient's birthday. If you want to go the extra mile, you can pair this with an astrology book.A classic, quirky plant holderAnthropologieGrecian Bust Pot, available at Anthropologie, from $28This beautiful and functional Grecian bust pot is the perfect gift for your plant-loving bestie. Plus, at only $24, it's a budget-friendly find. A Tiktok-famous lampUncommon GoodsBrilliant Ideas Sunset Lamp, available at Urban Outfitters and Bed Bath & Beyond, from $30.99If your friendship consists of sending home-improvment TikToks back and forth, your friend will definitely appreciate this sunset lamp that frequents the for you page. The lamp's projector will cast your space in a calming orangey glow reminiscent of the setting sun. A cozy hammock they'll use all summerREIENO DoubleNest Hammock, available at Amazon, REI, and Dick's Sporting Goods, from $36.09Friends who like to get outside will especially appreciate the ENO Doublenest Hammock. It's perfect for lounging on lazy summer days or sleeping under the stars. A box of sweets they can curate themselvesSugarwishTreats Select, available at Sugarwish, from $23If your friend prefers sweet over salty, you can't go wrong with a candy box from Sugarwish. The candy package comes jampacked with a wide array of throwback confectionaries that can satisfy even the sweetest of sweet tooths. You can also pick from cookies, gourmet popcorn, and even dog treats.A set of subtle friendship braceletsKendra ScottMother of Pearl Friendship Bracelet, available at Kendra Scott, $40Nothing says friendship like matching jewelry, so treat both you and your best friend to a set of Kendra Scott friendship bracelets in one of the nine stunning variations. A pretty tiled mug that'll become their new favoriteAnthropologieTiled Margot Monogram Mug, available at Anthropologie, $14Get them something they'll use every morning, like this beautiful, tiled monogram mug. A stunning embroidered journal that'll encourage them to writeRifle Paper CoEmbroidered Journal, available at Rifle Paper Co. and Paper Source, from $38For the best friend who expresses themselves best through pen and paper, this unique, embroidered journal is the perfect place to store their thoughts. A poster of 100 must-see moviesUncommon GoodsAt Home Movie Critic's Chart, available at Uncommon Goods, $20Film buffs and casual moviegoers alike will love the At Home Movie Critic's Chart. This interactive poster features IMDB's top 100 movies and is the perfect addition to a movie night with friends. A pair of the coziest socksBloomingdale'sUGG Leda Cozy Crew Socks, available at Amazon, UGG, and Bloomingdale's, from $15.99Treat your bestie to a sock experience like no other with the UGG Leda Cozy Sock. These plush crew socks come in different shades and are sure to impress. A jigsaw puzzle that's also a murder mystery gameUncommon GoodsMurder Mystery Jigsaw Puzzle, available at Uncommon Goods, $19This murder mystery jigsaw puzzle is the ideal gift for friends who enjoy a challenge as the mystery unfolds with the placement of each piece. Not to mention, puzzles are a great activity to do together. A cute, personalized gift of why you appreciate themUncommon GoodsFriendship Messages, available at Uncommon Goods, $40Tell your best friend 12 reasons why you love them so much with a beautiful handmade gift. This box of messages allows the gift giver to choose a dozen meaningful, heart-shaped reasons for their friendship that all fit in a beautiful birch container.A skincare gift set with everything they needKiehl'sKiehl's Skincare Discovery Gift Set, available at Kiehl's and Nordstrom, from $43.50Everyone seems to have an elaborate skincare routine these days, so if your best friend doesn't yet, give them a jumpstart with The Ultimate Kiehl's Skincare Gift Set. It's got everything a skincare newbie needs to improve their complexion.A kitchen gadget that'll make their whole summerWilliams SonomaWatermelon Wedger, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Any summer party with friends wouldn't be complete without fresh fruit, hence the Watermelon Wedger. This ingenious gadget simultaneously slices and cores any watermelon and is sure to become a BBQ essential. A mini set of fancy olive oils and vinegarBrightlandMini Essentials Set, available at Brightland, $70If your friend loves to cook, bring a touch of luxury to their kitchen with the Brightland Mini Essentials Set. They'll think of you every time they reach for these little olive oil and vinegar bottles, which happen to be some of our favorites.Crystal coasters to complement their homeWest ElmClouded Agate Coasters, available at West Elm, $42.75Crystal-loving friends will appreciate these Clouded Agate Coasters. They come in a set of four and are a complement to any table or home bar. A customized phone caseBaubleBarCustom iPhone Case, available at Bauble Bar, $68For something a bit more customized, consider treating your friend to the Talk To The Sand iPhone Case. Adorn the case with their name for a one-of-a-kind gift they'll use daily.A ClassPass gift cardClass PassGift Card, available at ClassPass, choose your amountStart heading to more boutique fitness classes with your friend by making them easier and cheaper to attend. ClassPass lets you drop in to different specialized studios for $15 or less per class.A class or experience for you to take togetherAirbnbCheck out local Airbnb ExperiencesCheck out local GrouponsThrough Airbnb Experiences, you can book an experience like a pasta-making class, brewery tour, or local tour that the two of you can enjoy together. Plus, you can buy this gift as last-minute as you like.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2022