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Beijing Furious After Biden Invites Taiwan To Global Democracy Summit, While China Left Off List

Beijing Furious After Biden Invites Taiwan To Global Democracy Summit, While China Left Off List It was previously reported that the US intentionally kept China and Russia off the list of invitees for the Biden administration-sponsored "Summit for Democracy" set to be held next month in virtual format. The first ever US-sponsored event of its kind has a goal of restoring democracy and promoting human rights across the globe, based on Biden's foreign policy agenda, and the US has invited at total of 110 countries to participate.  China on Wednesday is seething, issuing a scathing statement, after it's been revealed the White House has invited Taiwan instead of China to the world gathering which runs from Dec.9 through Dec.10. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson told a press conference in Beijing that it's "firmly opposed" to the "mistake" of the US inviting Taiwan, given Taiwan remains "inalienable part of Chinese territory," according to the statement. AFP via Getty Images "U.S. actions only go to show democracy is just a cover and a tool for it to advance its geopolitical objectives, oppress other countries, divide the world and serve its own interests," the statement added.  At the same time officials in Taipei are seeing it as a major diplomatic win - considering it advances Taiwan independence and self-rule on the world stage:  The island state would be represented by Digital Minister Audrey Tang and Hsiao Bi-khim, Taiwan’s de facto ambassador to the US, said Taiwan’s foreign ministry. "Our country’s invitation to participate in the ‘Summit for Democracy’ is an affirmation of Taiwan’s efforts to promote the values of democracy and human rights over the years," the ministry said. Starting especially under the Trump administration, Washington began more frequently denouncing Beijing for egregious human rights violations, especially in Hong Kong and in Xinjiang, the latter which reportedly has a system of Communist 'reeducation camps' for Muslim Uyghurs.  US-China tensions have only continued despite last week's virtual meeting between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and President Biden wherein Biden reaffirmed his commitment to the 'one China' policy as Xi reportedly laid out that Beijing sees Washington support to Taiwan - including weapons transfers - as "playing with fire". State media reported Xi during the Nov.15 virtual meeting: "Such moves are extremely dangerous, just like playing with fire. Whoever plays with fire will get burnt." Biden had said according to the White House summery of the virtual summit that his administration "strongly opposes unilateral efforts to change the status quo or undermine peace and stability across the Taiwan Strait".  Meanwhile, the Chinese and Russian militaries just this week pledged to expand their cooperation on the basis of "threats" emanating from the West, led by the United States. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

Key Event This Week: Geopolitics, Retail Sales, Housing, And Who Is The Next Fed Head

Key Event This Week: Geopolitics, Retail Sales, Housing, And Who Is The Next Fed Head After a fast and furious week in earnings, economic news and central bank developments, it’s a quieter week ahead in terms of the calendar, though market attention will continue to focus on the question of who might be appointed as the next Fed Chair, as well as the latest inflation statistics from a number of countries, including the UK (Wednesday). As DB's Jim Reid summarizes, there is a reasonable amount of Fedspeak so it’ll be especially interesting to hear those on the transitory side to see if last week’s shocking print has impacting their thinking. Otherwise, geopolitics will be in focus, with today’s virtual meeting between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi, alongside continued speculation about whether the UK might trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol even if tensions have eased a touch in the last few days. Starting with today’s virtual meeting between President Biden and President Xi, it is set to take place at 7:45 PM Washington time (well past Joe's bedtime), which will be 8:45 AM on Tuesday in Beijing. While both the presidents spoke over the phone twice this year, this is the first time it is being dubbed as a summit. There is some thought that tariff reductions could be on the agenda, especially given current US inflation levels but it might be a bit early for that in any relationship rebuild. We’ll know more in time for tomorrow’s EMR. Moving onto the rest of the week, there are a few decisions from EM central banks over the week ahead, including Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia (all Thursday). However, the main focus for investors will be the speculation about who might be the next Fed Chair, particularly in light of the news out last week that both incumbent Fed Chair Powell and Governor Brainard had been interviewed for the position. Powell’s current four-year term comes to an end in February, and whoever’s nominated would require senate confirmation for another term. At this point 4, 8 and 12 years ago, the announcement of who’d be nominated had already been made, but we still don’t have a date for when we might get the news. However, it may not be too far away, with President Biden saying in Glasgow on November 2 that it would be “fairly quickly”. On the data side, there’ll be an increasing amount of hard data out of the US for October, including retail sales, industrial production (both Tuesday) and housing starts (Wednesday). Meanwhile, there’ll also be some important UK data as the Bank of England mulls over their monetary policy settings ahead of their meeting next month. On Tuesday, there’s the latest employment report, and then on Wednesday, we’ll get the latest CPI reading for October. Turning to politics, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any developments on Brexit, with speculation rising that the UK government could trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Over the last 3 or 4 days the mood music has moved a little towards compromise so we’ll see if this gathers some momentum. Lastly on the earnings front, it’s the tail end of the season now, but there are still a few major companies left to report. Tomorrow we’ll hear from Walmart and Home Depot, before Wednesday brings reports from Nvidia, Cisco, Lowe’s and Target. Then on Thursday, we’ll hear from Intuit, Applied Materials and TJX. Courtesy of DB, here is a day-by-day calendar of events Monday November 15 Data: China October retail sales, industrial production, US November Empire State manufacturing survey Central Banks: BoE’s Haskel speaks Tuesday November 16 Data: Japan tertiary industry index, UK September unemployment, Euro Area second Q3 GDP estimate, US October retail sales, industrial production, capacity utilisation, November NAHB housing market index, Japan September core machine orders (23:50 UK time) Central Banks: Fed’s Barkin, Bostic, George and Daly speak Earnings: Walmart, Home Depot Wednesday November 17 Data: UK October CPI, US October housing starts, building permits, Canada October CPI Central Banks: Fed’s Bowman, Mester, Waller, Daly, Evans and Bostic speak Earnings: Nvidia, Cisco, Lowe’s, Target Thursday November 18 Data: US weekly initial jobless claims, October Conference Board leading index, November Philadelphia Fed business outlook, Kansas City Fed manufacturing activity, Japan October nationwide CPI (23:30 UK time) Central Banks: Monetary policy decisions from Bank Indonesia, the Central Bank of Turkey and the South African Reserve Bank, ECB’s Centeno, and Fed’s Bostic, Evans and Daly speak Earnings: Intuit, Applied Materials, TJX Friday November 19 Data: UK November GfK consumer confidence, October retail sales, Germany October PPI Central Banks: Fed Vice Chair Clarida, Fed’s Waller and BoE’s Pill speak * * * Finally, here is Goldman with a focus just on the US, where the key economic data releases this week are the retail sales report on Tuesday and the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index on Thursday. There are several scheduled speaking engagements from Fed officials this week, including a speech by Vice-Chair Clarida on global monetary policy coordination on Friday. Monday, November 15 08:30 AM Empire State manufacturing survey, November (consensus +21.6, last +19.8) Tuesday, November 16 08:30 AM Retail sales, October (GS +1.1%, consensus +1.3%, last +0.7%); Retail sales ex-auto, October (GS +0.7%, consensus +1.0%, last +0.8%); Retail sales ex-auto & gas, October (GS +0.5%, consensus +0.7%, last +0.7%); Core retail sales, October (GS +0.5%, consensus +0.9%, last +0.8%):  We estimate a 0.5% increase in core retail sales (ex-autos, gasoline, and building materials) in October (mom sa). The Census measure is somewhat elevated relative to other high-frequency spending measures, and we believe the sunset of income-support programs weighed on some discretionary retail categories in the month following the strong back-to-school shopping season. We estimate a 1.1% increase in headline retail sales, reflecting rebounding auto sales and higher auto and gas prices. 08:30 AM Import price index, October (consensus +1.0%, last +0.4%) 09:15 AM Industrial production, October (GS +1.1%, consensus +0.8%, last -1.3%); Manufacturing production, October (GS +1.0%, consensus +0.9%, last -0.7%); Capacity utilization, October (GS 76.0%, consensus 75.8%, last 75.2%): We estimate industrial production rose by 1.1% in October, reflecting strength in oil and gas production and motor vehicle output, and a post-Hurricane rebound in areas affected by Ida. We estimate capacity utilization rose by 0.8pp to 76.0%. 10:00 AM Business inventories, September (consensus +0.6%, last +0.6%) 10:00 AM NAHB housing market index, November (consensus 80, last 80) 12:00 PM Richmond Fed President Barkin (FOMC voter), Kansas City Fed President George (FOMC non-voter), and Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC voter) speak: Richmond Fed President Thomas Barkin, Kansas City Fed President Esther George, and Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will take part in a discussion on racism and the economy, hosted by the Minneapolis Fed. 03:30 PM San Francisco Fed President Daly (FOMC voter) speaks: San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will speak at the Commonwealth Club. Media Q&A is expected. Wednesday, November 17 08:30 AM Housing starts, October (GS +1.0%, consensus +1.6%, last -1.6%); Building permits, October (consensus +2.8%, last -7.8%): We estimate housing starts increased by 1.0% in October, reflecting lower permits in September. 09:10 AM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks: New York Fed President John Williams will speak at the Treasury Market Conference, hosted by the Treasury Department and the Fed’s Board of Governors. Prepared text is expected. 11:00 AM Fed Governor Bowman (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Governor Michelle Bowman will deliver introductory remarks at a virtual roundtable on the Fed’s Accounting Communication Network, hosted by the Dallas Fed. 11:20 AM Cleveland Fed President Mester (FOMC non-voter) and Governor Waller (FOMC voter) speak: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester will introduce Fed Governor Christopher Waller, who will discuss stablecoins at the Cleveland Fed’s 2021 Financial Stability Conference. Prepared text and moderated Q&A are expected. 12:40 PM San Francisco Fed President Daly (FOMC voter) speaks: San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will speak to Rostin Behnam (acting chair of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission) in a fireside chat hosted by the New York Fed. 4:05 PM Chicago Fed President Evans (FOMC voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will take part in a moderated Q&A hosted by the Mid-Size Bank Coalition of America. 4:10 PM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC voter) speaks: Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will make closing remarks at a virtual conference on community development hosted by the Fed. Thursday, November 18 8:00 AM Atlanta Fed President Bostic (FOMC voter) speaks; Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic will discuss the regional outlook at a virtual event hosted by the Metro Atlanta Chamber. 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended November 13 (GS 265k, consensus 260k, last 267k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended November 6 (last 2,160k) We estimate initial jobless claims decreased to 265k in the week ended November 13; 08:30 AM Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index, November (GS 23.0, consensus 24.0, last 23.8): We estimate that the Philadelphia Fed manufacturing index declined by 0.8pt to 23.0 in November, reflecting continued production constraints. 9:30 AM New York Fed President Williams (FOMC voter) speaks; New York Fed President John Williams will speak on the transatlantic economic policy responses to the pandemic at an event hosted by the European Commission, the New York Fed, and the Centre for Economic Policy Research. 11:00 AM Kansas City Fed manufacturing index, November (consensus 30, last 31) 2:00 PM Chicago Fed President Evans (FOMC voter) speaks: Chicago Fed President Charles Evans will take part in a moderated Q&A hosted by the BKD Financial Services Symposium. Audience and media Q&A are expected. 3:30 PM San Francisco Fed President Daly (FOMC voter) speaks: San Francisco Fed President Mary Daly will take part in a Fed Listens event about the pandemic recovery and care work. Friday, November 19 10:45 AM Fed Governor Waller (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Governor Chris Waller will give a speech on the economic outlook at an event hosted by the Financial Stability Club in New York. Prepared text and Q&A are expected. 12:15 PM Fed Vice-Chair Clarida (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida will discuss global monetary policy coordination, cooperation, and collaboration at a virtual event hosted by the San Francisco Fed. Prepared text and moderated Q&A are expected. Source: DB, BofA, Goldman Tyler Durden Mon, 11/15/2021 - 09:33.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 15th, 2021

Rabo: Tonight"s Summit Between US And China Is Not About Trade; Or "Green"; Or Sunshine And Roses - It"s About Guns

Rabo: Tonight's Summit Between US And China Is Not About Trade; Or "Green"; Or Sunshine And Roses - It's About Guns By Michael Every of Rabobank Guns 'N' Roses COP26 is over and Bloomberg’s take is it “seals breakthrough climate deal after major compromises,” as Wall Street cannot says ESG without salivating. By contrast, COP president Sharma wept and apologized, and Greta Thunberg said “Blah blah blah.” Indeed, coal is not to be phased out but “phased down,” its longevity is ironically underlined by PM BoJo, who thought the summit was held in Edinburgh not Glasgow, proclaiming its “death knell”; the 1.5-degree Celsius target is not being met; and the can was kicked to COP27 in Egypt. The blame is being placed on India and China, but US coal is still 20% of its electricity generation, and Germany is hardly green. Then again, with energy prices surging due to a ‘green rush’, we already close to a global energy crisis, and a likely food-price crisis to follow ahead if fertilizer prices don’t decline. Use Your Illusion, 1 and 2 (1991) Today late US time, tomorrow Asian time, another key summit starts – between the US and Chinese leaders. This is not about trade; or Huawei; or ‘green’; or sunshine and roses. It is about guns. Market analysts will recoil, but a former high-level US diplomat writes in Foreign Affairs: “Although this coming summit cannot resolve, or even begin to resolve, issues such as the future of Taiwan, it does represent a chance for both leaders to re-establish some of the safeguards that can prevent these disputes from being decided by force…The US-Chinese relationship is in dire need of such diplomacy --particularly at high levels-- in order to stem a downward spiral that could lead to war.” A lot of tightly-held market illusions are riding on it. On the economic side, Bastiat said, "If goods don’t cross borders, armies will." However, the inverse realpolitik argument heard in DC is now that if goods cross borders, armies don’t have to bother. Consider this weekend’s Guardian report that “Beijing urges US businesses to lobby against China-related bills in Congress” – bills for the US to mirror Chinese industrial policy, with Beijing threatening US firms with loss of access should this legislation pass; The Economist saying “China still steals commercial secrets for its own firms’ profits”; and the UK ambassador being accused of lobbying the cabinet for China. Then there is the need to Build Back Better, which as Pettis and Klein underlined in ‘Trade Wars are Class Wars’ is actually all about the political-economy model. On which, see this long-read from Chinese intellectual Qin Hui, who argues we face a structural clash of economic systems as things stand, underlining the argument long echoed here that Western views of left vs. right no longer apply in a world economy centred on Chinese production. Ironically, when Bloomberg Opinion argues “Americans Need to Learn to Live More Like Europeans: Supply-chain shortages are constraining US consumers' endless appetite for buying whatever they want whenever they want. It's about time,” what it is actually implying is higher US savings, and so a swing from a trade deficit to a surplus…which would up-end the European and Chinese economic models it lauds, which are built on forcibly saving too much, via repressed demand, and exporting their excess production to the US directly and indirectly. I doubt the author grasps this – they are just echoing what they think they heard the White House say about inflation recently. In short, the Biden-Xi summit will find little common ground on the area the market is most concerned about – markets. Chinese Democracy (2008) For those who think the US-China tensions are not ideological, the Global Times also just stated in an op-ed that China is a “vigorous democracy,” while the West’s is ageing, and has developed an “efficient market economy” based on its political system, while the West is struggling. It concludes: “…The Chinese and Western democratic systems could learn from each other and carry out sound competition. Unfortunately, some political elites in the US and West stubbornly seek to turn the two systems into antagonistic relations. Then they will have to bear the long-term consequences of their actions. China will develop faster than them in the long run. After passing a critical point --it's doomed to appear in future-- the US and West's political confidence will be greatly shaken. Their unrealistic flattery of Western-style democracy will collapse.” So what is the ‘correct’ US/Biden response? Over Taiwan, the binary is even starker. The Global Times elsewhere urges “the US not to be reckless on trade and mutual security issues, especially on the South China Sea and Taiwan question, as it cannot bear the response from China.” Yet the South China Morning Post says ‘US puts Taiwan in focus in countdown to Xi-Biden summit,’ quoting other Chinese analysts stating Beijing and Washington need to reach a new deal to prevent armed conflict. What deal, exactly? Yes, US language is shifting: “Cold War” was never in vogue, but “extreme competition” just became “stiff competition” according to US National Security Advisor Sullivan. Will it transmute to “sound competition”, when US military alliances in the region are stiffening? The Aussie defense minister just said Canberra would also defend Taiwan, and Japan has suggested the same. Before the meeting we also saw a slew of key Chinese data that suggest its economy is struggling --if less than had been expected-- so there is again less tolerance for any US boat-rocking. New home prices dipped 0.3% m/m, showing an accelerating decline in this key sector; yet somehow retail sales were somehow 4.9% y/y vs. expectations of 3.7% (a price effect?); industrial production was 3.5% vs. a consensus of 3.0% y/y (an export effect); and fixed asset investment was 6.1% vs. 6.2% y/y YTD expected. Meanwhile, the plunge in the US Michigan consumer sentiment survey expectations index on Friday sent a similar message of serious trouble Stateside. In short, protocols to reduce tensions are welcome, and a common desire to deal with some joint problems is clear - but structural binaries on how to resolve them at root remain clearer. So do fat tail risks markets don’t want to see. Expect November Rain? The Spaghetti Incident? (1993) On which note, the crisis on the EU’s eastern border grows. Russia/Belarus are orchestrating the destabilization of Bosnia, an EU gas-price spike, a migration/border crisis, and the renewed threat of war with Ukraine (the rumor being Moscow may seize control of at least the Sea of Azov, which would impact on global wheat exports at a time when prices are already skyrocketing). Gas aside, this may not be registering in the west of the EU, but that is precisely why Russia is doing it: to expose that the EU is divided, and NATO looks unwilling to act. Because Russian gas flows across borders, à la Bastiat, either its army does not have to, or its army is able to flow as well, with “strategic autonomy” Paris and “Merkelcantilist” Berlin both saying “Whatchagonnado?” By contrast, the UK, ever eager for a distraction from a litany of corruption scandals, is sending token forces to support Poland, and the Guardian quotes the head of the UK armed forces stating the country needs to be ready for war with Russia: bomb back better? In short, we are starting to see serious volatility in some parts of the global financial markets: and, aside from central-bankery, much more is certain to come if you look at the real-world events unfolding as a direct result of four decades of people endlessly saying, “because markets.” Tyler Durden Mon, 11/15/2021 - 10:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 15th, 2021

Was COP26 Another Step Towards Disaster?

Was COP26 Another Step Towards Disaster? Authored by Bill Blain via MorningPorridge.com, “From Glasgow to Greenock, in towns on each side, the hammer’s ding-dong is the Song of the Clyde” Greta Thunburg was right – there was a lot of blah, blah, blah at COP26, but also positive steps. The perception remains of rising climate risks, and that’s fuelling an increasingly de-growth extreme climate change populist agenda – which could prove even more disastrous than rising temperatures! As the COP26 climate change conference ticks into its final day, was it a success for the planet or for institutional blah blah blah? I guess we should listen to the scientists… so this morning I’ve taken the gospel according to New Scientist Magazine as one of my texts on the conference. Nicely balanced I thought. I am somewhat jaundiced at the prospects for a massive conference-jamboree of politicians, businesspeople and activists actually solving anything – but it does get media attention. We may quickly forget the utterly forgettable Alok Sharma (who he?), but we will remember Greta! We won’t forget the massive protest march in Glasgow. But, since the first COP1 meeting in Berlin in 1995, global CO2 levels have risen nearly 50%, temperatures are up 0.5 degrees, and the ice on the Greenland cap is melting faster. Talk is cheap – but people are listening now. The first draft summit communique yesterday didn’t please anyone – apparently. It urged nations to revisit and strengthen 2030 plans to hold warming to 1.5 and below 2 degrees. While Boris promises us the 1.5 degree temp rise ambition is achievable, the UN warned it’s on life support. Who do you believe? Depending on who you read the outcome will be anything from a 2.4 – 2.7 degree temperature rise – which will leave climate scientists in despair. The reality is holding to the 1.5 degree target looks increasingly unlikely, even if the world has agreed to cut methane by 30% – which means teaching cows to fart less or selling MickyDee Stock. (MickeyDee? Look for them at sign of the Golden Arches..) Funding for developing nations to ameliorate climate change and to transition from fossil fuels has already fallen well short of what was promised in Paris. While $100 bln is on offer, that’s the same sum India wants as a precondition to action its promised zero carbon plan for 2070. While there is a clearly justified case for the developed nations to pay, it’s an enormous risk. The unspoken reality (unspoken because climate conferences are all about trust, being nice and smiling for the camera, and not mentioning corruption) is the risk much of that money will simply end up making some folk incredibly rich and improving nothing. One big issue remains corporate behaviours – more corporate jets and Sushi flown in fresh from California than you could shake a sharp pointy stick at. Every company on the planet wants to be seen to be aligned with the new Green Mantra. Every company on the planet exists to sell stuff. More than a few are greenwashing – from banking, to autos, to airlines. I could have screamed at BA havering on about how sustainable hydrogen planes tomorrow mean you can still go on holiday today with a clean conscience – but hydrogen plans have massive tech challenges to overcome and are decades, not weeks, away! While some nations have banded together to outlaw fossil fuels, others are on the sidelines – while some remain absolutely deaf. Highlight moment from Glasgow has to be the perhaps apocryphal story of Scotland’s smiling first minister Nicola Sturgeon manoeuvring herself into a selfie with Greta, who snapped and asked pointedly if La Sturgeon’s economic plan remained an independent Scottish economy based on Oil… curiously, Scotland hasn’t joined the new European Beyond Oil and Gas Alliance, Sturgeon realising what the loss of 100,000 jobs would do her political future. Over the past years I’ve written about the threats of climate change and global warming many times. I accept the science, and this year’s mounting evidence of rising – potentially chaotic – climate instability. I absolutely agree we have to do something – but what? There has been nonsense in Glasgow, but equally some good and positive stuff around it… The critical thing is: COP was never going to be the magic wand climate protestors demand. COP26 confirms World Leaders recognise the climate issue – but its left just as many questions hanging as to how we collectively solve the multiplexity of the crisis. The conference was long on pledges, promises and questions, but short on actual solutions. At the core of the coming crisis is what we perceive to be the threat: how do we transition from fossil fuels? Pragmatists understand a complete restructuring of global energy provision can’t happen overnight. It took 200 years for the world to industrialise and destabilise the climate. With the right political push and incentives, we have the wit and wisdom, and innovative capacity to make it cleaner over the next 30-50 years. We are an inventive species, and we may actually succeed in making things better. Just not overnight. Yet, of all the climate instability factors markets worry about, the one we might have missed is the growing consequences of green populism. The climate crisis could well manifest itself into a more immediate threat: political instability. Being green is no longer eccentric – its mainstream. Everyone will answer yes if asked about a better environment. That has moved the goal posts. Increasingly, extreme climate protestors are supporting “De-Growth” strategies – that it’s better to somehow switch off the world to avoid a catastrophic Malthusian disaster caused by too many people consuming to many resources and polluting our closed system spaceship earth. Malthus was wrong in the 18th Century and is no doubt still wrong today! What COP26 protests highlights is how polarised Green politics are on collision course with the economy and growth. It’s going to take years to wean the economy off fossil fuels, but protestors will demand it happens now! Governments have politically committed themselves to a Green future, but are only just waking up to the reality of the need to transit from fossil fuels to renewables – which isn’t feasible without a long-term plan. Much as I admire the passion of green campaigners, the current volatility of energy pricing demonstrates a massive underlying transition problem and political naivety. We can’t fundamentally change energy provision overnight. Climate protestors furious this generation have “stolen” their futures will be even less happy if they succeed in reversing economic growth. The result will be to ensure billions of children as yet unborn don’t just face rising temperatures and sea-levels, but also chronic poverty, unemployment, starvation, migration and rising conflict over the environment – water being the primary threat. While “democratic” western nations may embrace Degrowth populism – nations like China will not. It doesn’t need to be a frying pan vs fire choice, but that’s not the way popular politics work. The real failure of governments wasn’t ignoring Greta et al and the evidence of global warming, but not anticipating it and working out a transition plan. In coming years, the noise between climate protests and the slow pace of the transition to clean energy will get louder and become ever more likely to dislocate politics. It sets up for a political crisis within the next few years as empowered Green campaigners garner more air time. That has massive market implications. Pragmatists take the view we need a well thought out transition programme. I’ve warned about the dangers of over-simplification of the financial and economic aspects of the CO2 mitigation equation many times. There are consequences from doing the easy things like wind and solar renewables and lithium battery technology, rather than pursuing more difficult routes like nuclear and tidal energy, and cleaner capacitance solutions to get to long-term carbon neutrality. I’m intrigued to see the latest iteration of the EU’s Green Taxonomy includes Gas during the transition phase and also Nuclear power – a factor that already got some nations antsy! (Ah, how well I remember my student protest days at the Torness Nuclear power construction site and my girlfriends “nein danke nuclear” sticker on her 2CV… ah happy days..) The result of the current mishmash of competing green vs transition politics means that navigating the course to a clean global economy becomes a confusing mass of objectives such a timing carbon neutrality, realities such as population and economic growth, short and long-term solutions, and optimisations such as power vs growth. We all need to make compromises to get where we want to go. But, as is so often the case, compromise is a difficult concept for politicians. It’s even more difficult for extreme climate protestors. By all means trade markets in line with green objectives, but be very wary of just how destabilising Green Politics may become. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/12/2021 - 19:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 12th, 2021

Xi Pushes Biden Into Political "Catch-22" With Official Invitation To Winter Olympics

Xi Pushes Biden Into Political 'Catch-22' With Official Invitation To Winter Olympics As Chinese and American negotiators continue their difficult discussions over the logistics of a virtual summit to be held between President Biden and CCP leader President Xi Jinping, the Chinese have gotten stuck on demands for a new commitment from the Americans: they would sincerely like American President Joe Biden (whose family has always had close ties to the Chinese, particularly "businessmen" with connections to the PLA and intelligence agencies) Following news last night that the US and China had struck a mutual deal alongside India to effectively slow the shift away from fossil fuels, CNBC reports that President Xi is likely to invite President Biden to visit China's during a virtual meting next week.  Per CNBC, the invitation would serve as a "challenge" to Biden, leaving him with a difficult dilemma: he could decline, and put the relationship on ice, or he could accept and contradict his administration’s own messaging on democracy and human rights. President Xi Jinping of China is likely to use an upcoming the discussion, expected next week, to extend a personal invitation to US President Joe Biden to attend the events in Beijing in February, sources said. Analysts noted that the ultimatum by Beijing was a smart move by Beijing because it leaves Biden with a serious dilemma. The White House and National Security Council declined to comment on how the president would respond, claiming that it needs more time to mull the invitation. White House principal deputy press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre. reviously said staff were working out details of the summit, which was focused on managing the countries' competition, not on "deliverables." The or G-7 nations are still discussing a possible "diplomatic boycott" of the games, where athletes would participate but heads of state would not attend, western diplomats have been saying. Some activists have gone so for as to a global boycott of what some activists have labeled the "Genocide Game" and urged the International Olympic Committee to postpone or relocate the events, citing China’s human rights abuses against the Uyghur population. China hawks on the left have insisted human-rights abuses warrant broader boycotts of Chinese industry. The State Department has condemned the “mass detention and political indoctrination campaign" against China’s ethnic minority, which it estimates are engaged in forced labor in some 1,200 “state-run internment camps." "In Xinjiang, the government is the trafficker," the agency said in a July factsheet. In April, State Department spokesman Ned Price said a coordinated boycott is “something we certainly wish to discuss” with allies. The department later walked back the comments, suggesting it is not discussing a full boycott of the Games. Already, the G-20 in Rome included language condemning the Chinese winter Olympics in Beijing, which infuriated Beijing. Now that Biden has at least signed the infrastructure package, he's got a local "win" that will boost his credibility abroad (even though the social spending side of his 'Build Back Better' agenda still needs to be passed, as promised). The politics here are extremely complicated, and the US must tread lightly. “This is the most complex and consequential relationship we have,” said Secretary of State Antony Blinkin Next week's virtual summit will be the closest the two leaders have come to an in-person meeting since Biden took office. And whatever decision Biden makes regarding attending the Winter Olympics will set the stage for the rest of the west. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/11/2021 - 08:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytNov 11th, 2021

Futures Fall, Yields And Dollar Jump Ahead Of Highest CPI In 31 Years

Futures Fall, Yields And Dollar Jump Ahead Of Highest CPI In 31 Years For the third day in a row, early weakness in futures - in this case as a result of China's soaring, record producer price inflation - reversed and spoos rose from session lows but were still down on the session as traders awaited inflation data due later on Wednesday. Treasury yields climbed and the dollar and cryptos rose. At 7:45 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 47 points, or 0.12%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 10.25 points, or 0.22%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 68 points, or 0.42%. Earlier, China's Shanghai Composite fell as much as 1.7% and the Hang Seng dropped more than 1% after China’s factory inflation soared to a 26-year high. The number came just hours before today's US CPI print is expected to rise 5.8% in October, the highest level since since December 1990, after a 5.4% increase in the previous month. The report comes a day after producer prices data showed a solid rise in October and will be scrutinized for clues on the extent to which manufacturers were passing on higher costs to consumers, whose spending accounts for 70% of the U.S. economy Elevated inflationary pressures “would be the latest test for the Fed’s ‘transitory’ view and challenge the central bank’s stance on policy tightening,” Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group, said in written comments. “The worry is that such stubborn inflationary pressures could choke the recovery in global demand or hasten policy tightening by major central banks.” On Tuesday, Wall Street's main indexes ended their long streak of record closing highs on Tuesday as Tesla tumbled and as investors booked profits from the recent run-up in gains, especially in the absence of market-moving catalysts. The declines on Wednesday came after data showed Chinese factory gate prices hit a 26-year high in October, while economic advisers to the German government said they expected the current rise in inflation to continue well into 2022. It has been a busy premarket trading session with lots of movers. We start with Coinbase which fell 11% as analysts said the crypto exchange’s quarterly results were well below expectations. DoorDash shares surged as analysts raised price targets on the food-delivery firm after expectation-beating results and purchase of Finnish food-delivery startup Wolt Enterprises Oy.  Here are some other premarket movers today: DoorDash (DASH US) shares surge 19% in U.S. premarket trading, with analysts raising their price targets on the food-delivery firm after expectation-beating results and its biggest ever acquisition Chinese technology stocks listed in the U.S. rise premarket after Tencent reported 3Q profit that exceeded expectations even as revenue missed amid China’s crackdown on the tech industry Tesla (TSLA US) shares inch higher 1.9% in premarket trading, set for a positive open after a 16% slump in two days amid several negative headlines for the stock Stran & Co. (STRN US) shares jump as much as 43% in U.S. premarket trading, recovering ground after a sharp drop following the branding solutions firm’s IPO Society Pass (SOPA US) shares drop as much as 54% in U.S. pre trading hours, after the loyalty tech platform had surged following its IPO in the prior session Upstart Holdings (UPST US) plunged 19% in U.S. premarket trading after the company released 3Q earnings and 4Q forecasts; Piper Sandler ascribes share drop to “elevated investor expectations” and lack of quantification of auto opportunity Poshmark (POSH US) shares sink 29% in U.S. premarket trading with Berenberg (buy) saying the online retail platform’s 3Q results and guidance were disappointing PubMatic (PUBM US) surges 22% in U.S. premarket trading after the company’s 4Q sales forecast topped expectations and it posted 3Q results that Jefferies called “impressive” FuboTV (FUBO US) shares drop 4.3% in U.S. premarket trading as a 3Q results beat for the “sports first” streaming-video platform was overshadowed by higher costs and some weakness on its ad revenue Purple Innovation (PRPL US) slumps 31% after it cut its net revenue forecast for the full year; the guidance missed the average analyst estimate RingCentral (RNG US) rises 22% premarket, a day after the provider of cloud-based communications services forecast 4Q revenue that beat the average analyst estimate Toast (TOST US) slides after reporting financial results that included a net loss that widened compared with the same period last year Turning back to CPI, here is a lenghtier preview courtesy of DB's Jim Reid: I may have just about found it vaguely conceivable at the start of the year that on November 10th we’d see a 5.9% YoY US CPI print and the sixth month above 5%; however, I would certainly not have thought that such a number if it had materialized would be greeted with a collective market “meh” with 10yr Treasury yields 450bps below this rate. A lot is resting on this inflation being transitory. This will be the multi-trillion dollar question for 2022, that’s for sure. Last month saw yet another upside surprise that further undermined the transitory narrative, and, in fact, if you look at the last 7 monthly readings, 5 of them have come in above the median estimate on Bloomberg, with just 1 below and the other in line. In terms of what to expect, our US economists are looking for a reacceleration in the monthly prints, with a +0.47% forecast for the headline measure (+0.6% consensus), and +0.37% for core (+0.4% consensus). Their view is that the main driver is likely to be price pressures in those categories most sensitive to supply shocks, such as new and used vehicles. But they also see some downside risk from Covid-19-sensitive sectors like lodging away and airfares, where prices fell over the late summer as the delta variant slowed the recovery in travel. Look out for rental inflation too – last month we saw owners’ equivalent rent experience its strongest monthly increase since June 2006. It’s a measure that reflects underlying trend inflation, so it is important to monitor moving forward. Many models suggest it will be over 4% for much of next year, which is large given that it makes up around a third of the headline rate and c.40% of core. Shifting back to markets, we next look at Europe, where equities also recovered off opening lows with the Euro Stoxx 50 and DAX recovering to trade flat. FTSE 100 outperformed, rising as much as 0.6%. Sector gains in oil & gas, utilities and insurance names are broadly offset by losses in luxury, tech, household & personal goods and travel. Earlier in the session, Asian equities fell for a second day after data showed China’s monthly factory-gate prices grew at the fastest pace in 26 years. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.6% before paring its loss, with materials and IT the biggest drags. The CSI 300 Index slid as much as 1.9% before sharply paring its drop, after China’s producer and consumer price inflation numbers both exceeded forecasts. Commodity prices have soared globally this year amid expectations for a rebound from the pandemic, with energy getting a further boost from a supply crunch. Traders await Wednesday’s U.S. consumer-price report for further clues on monetary policy and economic growth. “Eyes are now closely watching inflation as that is the next market catalyst,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. For some Asian companies “the candle is burning on both ends -- with the supply chain crisis as a ceiling on revenues while obligations to expenses and liabilities remain.”  The Hang Seng turned higher in late trading as real estate developers climbed on a report that China’s bond-issuance policies may be loosened, while Tencent led a surge in tech stocks ahead of its earnings report. Vietnam and Taiwan showed small gains, while benchmarks in most other markets fell. Japanese equities fell, following Asian peers lower after China reported worse than expected inflation. Electronics makers and trading houses were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 0.6% drop in the Nikkei 225. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid 0.5%, while China’s CSI 300 Index tumbled 1.1% after monthly factory-gate prices in Asia’s largest economy grew at the fastest pace in 26 years. U.S. consumer price data is scheduled to be reported later Wednesday. “Asia is on inflation alert, fearing future costs of inputs from goods sourced from the mainland,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “It seems that investors are keen to lower exposure into the U.S. CPI data tonight.” Australian stocks ended lower for a third session as miners tumbled: the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1% to close at 7,423.90 after a volatile session. Miners were the worst performing industry group as iron ore prices dropped, with eight of the 11 subgauges closing lower.  Bluescope was the day’s biggest laggard after iron ore plunged to a fresh 18-month low as debt troubles in China’s real-estate market deal blow after blow to prospects for steel demand. United Malt advanced after a media report said the company could be a takeover target. Australia’s central bank Governor Philip Lowe is anchoring his bet that he won’t need to raise interest rates until 2024 on a view that unemployment needs to be lower to spur wage gains. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 13,022.46. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose as the greenback traded higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Canadian dollar. The euro extended an Asia session loss and traded firmly below the $1.16 handle. The pound slipped against a broadly stronger dollar, and edged higher versus the euro before a speech by the BOE’s Tenreyro; market is focused on the outlook for rate hikes and traders are also turning attention back to Brexit risks, with the European Union preparing a package of retaliatory measures in case the U.K. decides to suspend parts of a trade accord. Australia’s dollar fell to a one-month low as a slump in iron ore prices prompted short-term leveraged funds to cut long positions. The kiwi declined after a preliminary New Zealand business confidence index weakened In rates, Treasuries traded weak in the early U.S. session, following a selloff in gilts as U.K. markets start to price a higher terminal rate, bear-steepening the curve. Treasury yields are mostly cheaper by 2bp-3bp across the curve with 10-year around 1.475%; gilts lag by additional 1bp vs Treasuries while bunds outperform. During the Asian session, China’s CPI data beat expectations, adding to downside pressure in front eurodollars. Focal points for U.S. session include October CPI expected to show steep increase in y/y rate and final quarterly refunding auction, a $25b 30-year bond sale. Reduced-size U.S. refunding auctions conclude with $25b 30-year bond vs $27b in previous four; Tuesday’s 10- year sale tailed by 1.2bp after steep gains into the bidding deadline. Wednesday's WI 30-year yield around 1.85% is below 30-year stops since January and ~19bp richer than last month’s, which stopped 1.3bp below the WI level at the bidding deadline. In commodities, Crude futures drift lower: WTI drops 0.5% to trade near $83.70. Brent dips back below $85. Base metals are mixed. LME aluminum is the strongest performer; tin and lead are in negative territory. Spot gold drifts lower, losing $5 to trade near $1,826/oz To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned CPI release from the US for October. Otherwise, there’ll also be Italian industrial production for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from the ECB’s Elderson and the BoE’s Tenreyro, whilst earnings releases include Disney. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 4,669.75 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 482.35 MXAP down 0.1% to 198.31 MXAPJ up 0.1% to 648.70 Nikkei down 0.6% to 29,106.78 Topix down 0.5% to 2,007.96 Hang Seng Index up 0.7% to 24,996.14 Shanghai Composite down 0.4% to 3,492.46 Sensex little changed at 60,399.20 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 7,423.90 Kospi down 1.1% to 2,930.17 Brent Futures little changed at $84.75/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,825.71 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.29% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1574 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.18% to 94.13 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The European Central Bank would risk exacerbating inequality if it were to raise interest rates before ceasing asset purchases, according to Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel U.S. President Joe Biden and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinpingare are scheduled to hold a virtual summit next week, although no specific date has been set, according to people familiar with the matter A lack of top-tier intelligence on Chinese President Xi Jinping’s inner circle is frustrating senior Biden administration officials struggling to get ahead of Beijing’s next steps, according to current and former officials who have reviewed the most sensitive U.S. intelligence reports China’s inflation risks are building as producers pass on higher costs to consumers, reigniting a debate over whether the central bank has scope to ease monetary policy to support a weakening economy and potentially adding to the pressure on global consumer prices The U.K. opposition called for a parliamentary investigation into former Conservative cabinet minister Geoffrey Cox, as the scandal over sleaze and lobbying engulfing Boris Johnson’s ruling party gains momentum A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded negatively after a lacklustre handover from Wall Street where the major indices took a break from recent advances and the S&P 500 snapped an eight-day win streak ahead of looming US inflation data. ASX 200 (-0.1%) was rangebound with early strength in financials gradually offset by losses in the commodity-related sectors and with the improvement in Westpac Consumer Sentiment data doing little to spur risk appetite. Nikkei 225 (-0.6%) was subdued with exporters pressured by unfavourable currency inflows and with the list of biggest movers in the index dominated by companies that recently announced their earnings, although Nissan and NTT Data Corp were among the success stories on improved results including a surprise return to quarterly profit for the automaker. Hang Seng (+0.7%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.4%) initially underperformed amid ongoing developer default concerns as Evergrande has reportedly failed to pay coupon payments at the end of its 30-day grace period. Rating agencies have also downgraded a couple of developers and Fantasia Holdings shares fell as much as 50% on resumption from a one-month trading halt after it missed bond payments due early last month. Furthermore, tensions continued to brew on the Taiwan Strait after US lawmakers made a surprise visit to Taiwan and with China conducting combat readiness patrols in the area ahead of a potential Biden-Xi virtual meeting that could occur next week, which potentially lifted sentiment, while participants also reflected on the firmer than expected inflation data from China which showed consumer prices registered their fastest increase in more than a year and factory gate prices rose at a fresh record pace. Finally, 10yr JGBs traded marginally higher amid the lacklustre mood in stocks and presence of the BoJ in the market for over JPY 1.3tln of JGBs with 1yr-10yr maturities, although gains were capped by resistance ahead of the 152.00 focal point and a pull-back in T-notes. Top Asian News China SOEs Suggest Govt Ease Debt Rules in Property M&A: Cailian Iron Ore Gloom Deepens as China Property Woes Threaten Demand Chinese Developers Surge on Report Bond Rules May be Eased Tencent’s ‘Other Gains’ Unexpectedly Double, Helping Profit Beat European equities (Eurostoxx 50 -0.1%) have traded with little in the way of firm direction as a slew of earnings dictate the state of play amid a lack of fresh macro impulses. The handover from Asia was mostly a downbeat one with focus on firmer than expected CPI and PPI prints out of China and ongoing developer default concerns as Evergrande bond holders have reportedly not received coupon payments by the end of today's Asia-close grace period, in reference to missed coupon payments totalling USD 148.1mln. Stateside, futures are a touch softer (ES -0.2%) after cash markets saw the S&P 500 snap its eight-day winning streak during yesterday’s session. Ahead, the main event for the US will be the CPI release at 13:30GMT whilst the earnings docket continues to slow down with Disney the main standout after-hours. Back to Europe, sectors are mixed with Oil & Gas outperforming peers alongside price action in the crude complex. Banking names saw initial gains trimmed after earnings from Credit Agricole (-1.1%) and ABN AMRO (+1.9%) were unable to provide sustained support for the sector despite the former exceeding profit expectations. The retail sector has been provided a boost by Marks & Spencer (+11.4%) after the Co. reported stellar earnings and raised guidance. Elsewhere in the UK, ITV (+12.0%) sits at the top of the FTSE 100 after printing solid revenue metrics and a bullish revenue outlook. To the downside, Personal and Household goods lag in the wake of earnings from Adidas (-6.0%) which saw the Co.’s performance hampered by factory closures in Vietnam and product boycotts in China. Finally, Alstom (+9.6%) sits at the top of the CAC post-earnings with the Co. stating that supply chain shortages had no material impact on H1 sales. Top European News ECB May Aid Rich If Rates Rise Before QE Ends, Schnabel Says Merkel Advisers Urge ECB Exit Strategy as Price Pressures Rise King Sinks Impala Plan to Create World’s No. 1 Platinum Firm Alstom’s Cash Drain Is Less Than Forecast; Shares Jump In FX, the Greenback remains relatively firm in the run up to US inflation data having turned a corner of sorts on Tuesday, with the index extending beyond 94.000 following its rebound from 93.872 and inching closer to the current 94.380 w-t-d peak, at 94.221, thus far. Interestingly, the Buck has regained momentum irrespective of the benign Treasury (and global) yield backdrop, softer than forecast elements in the PPI release and most Fed officials maintaining a distance between the end of tapering and tightening. However, risk sentiment if wavering to the benefit of the Dollar more than others and the aforementioned CPI readings may be supportive if in line or above consensus. Note, initial claims are also scheduled due to tomorrow’s Veteran’s Day holiday and the final leg of supply comes via Usd 25 bn long bonds. NZD/JPY - Ironically perhaps, the Kiwi is struggling to keep sight of 0.7100 vs its US peer on the very day that COVID-19 restrictions were eased in Auckland, and a further deterioration in NZ business sentiment alongside a fall in the activity outlook may be the catalyst, while the Yen has run into resistance again above 113.00 and is now relying on decent option expiry interest between the round number and 113.05 (1.1 bn) to keep its bull run going. GBP/EUR/AUD/CHF - All softer against the Greenback, as Cable hovers below 1.3550, the Euro pivots 1.1575, Aussie meanders within a range just above 0.7350 amidst favourable Aud/Nzd crossflows and an improvement in Westpac consumer sentiment, and the Franc treads water inside 0.9150-00 parameters. However, Eur/Usd appears to be underpinned by heavier option expiries on the downside than upside rather than ostensibly hawkish ECB promptings from Germany’s Government advisors given 2.1 bn between 1.1575-65 and a further 1.2 bn from 1.1555-50 vs 1.5 bn at the 1.1600 strike. CAD - The Loonie is outperforming or holding up better than other majors near 1.2400 vs its US rival even though WTI has backed off from best levels just shy of Usd 85/brl, but Usd/Cad could still be drawn to expiry interest starting at 1.2450 and stretching some way over 1.2500 in the absence of anything Canadian specific, and pending US inflation data of course. WTI and Brent have been somewhat choppy this morning, but remain within reach of overnight ranges and well within yesterday’s parameters as fresh newsflow has been light; a performance that is similar to the morning’s directionless equity trade. Focus has been on last nights/yesterday's events after the EIA’s STEO release seemingly lessened the likelihood of a SPR release followed by the weekly private inventory report, which printed a headline draw of 2.485M against the expected build of 2.1mln – reaction was minimal. Later today, we get the DoE equivalent for which expectations remain at a headline build of 2.13mln, but the components are expected to post draws of around 1mln. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are a touch softer on the session with the US Dollar and yields perhaps weighing, though the previous metals have once again not deviated too far from overnight parameters. On copper, prices were hampered by the Chinese inflation data though LME copper has staged a marginal recovery as the session has progressed. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Oct. CPI YoY, est. 5.9%, prior 5.4%; CPI MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.4% 8:30am: Oct. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.3%, prior 4.0%; MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.2% 8:30am: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 260,000, prior 269,000 8:30am: Oct. Continuing Claims, est. 2.05m, prior 2.11m 8:30am: Oct. Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -0.8% 8:30am: Oct. Real Avg Hourly Earning YoY, prior -0.8% 10am: Sept. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, prior -1.1%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.1%, prior 1.1% 2pm: Oct. Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$179b, prior - $61.5b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap After three days in hospital in traction, little Maisie has a 3-hour hip operation this morning. Showing one benefit of the pandemic, she had a zoom call with her class at school yesterday on their big screen where they all got to ask her questions. The best one apparently was one boy who put his hand up and said “will your new wheelchair have an engine?”. I was reading last night about people with Maisie’s condition (perthes) ending up playing international sport as an adult after a long recovery as a kid, including a Danish striker who played in the semi-finals of the Euros this summer and a 132kg American football player. As long as she waits a polite time after her long recovery to beat me at golf then I’ll be very happy. Keeping my mind off things today will undoubtedly be US CPI. Given my inflationary bias views I may have just about found it vaguely conceivable at the start of the year that on November 10th we’d see a 5.9% YoY US CPI print and the sixth month above 5%; however, I would certainly not have thought that such a number if it had materialised would be greeted with a collective market “meh” with 10yr Treasury yields 450bps below this rate. A lot is resting on this inflation being transitory. This will be the multi-trillion dollar question for 2022, that’s for sure. Last month saw yet another upside surprise that further undermined the transitory narrative, and, in fact, if you look at the last 7 monthly readings, 5 of them have come in above the median estimate on Bloomberg, with just 1 below and the other in line. In terms of what to expect, our US economists are looking for a reacceleration in the monthly prints, with a +0.47% forecast for the headline measure (+0.6% consensus), and +0.37% for core (+0.4% consensus). Their view is that the main driver is likely to be price pressures in those categories most sensitive to supply shocks, such as new and used vehicles. But they also see some downside risk from Covid-19-sensitive sectors like lodging away and airfares, where prices fell over the late summer as the delta variant slowed the recovery in travel. Look out for rental inflation too – last month we saw owners’ equivalent rent experience its strongest monthly increase since June 2006. It’s a measure that reflects underlying trend inflation, so it is important to monitor moving forward. Many models suggest it will be over 4% for much of next year, which is large given that it makes up around a third of the headline rate and c.40% of core. Staying with inflation, China’s year-on-year numbers for October surprised on the upside overnight with CPI +1.5% (consensus +1.4%, last month +0.7%), the highest since September 2020. PPI +13.5% (consensus +12.3%) was also at a 26-year high. Asian stocks are trading lower with the KOSPI (-0.86%), Shanghai Composite (-1.20%), CSI (-1.40%), the Nikkei (-0.49%) and Hang Seng (-1.20%) all down after the China numbers. Futures are pointing to a weak start in the US & Europe too with S&P 500 futures (-0.4%) and DAX futures (-0.23%) both down. As investors look forward to today’s number, the long equity advance finally petered out yesterday as the S&P 500 (-0.35%) snapped a run of 8 successive gains. A 9th day in the green would have marked the longest winning streak since November 2004, but in the end it wasn’t to be.It also prevented an 18th up day out of the last 20 for the first time since September 1954.So reset your counters. Instead, we saw a broader risk-off move as equity indices moved lower on both sides of the Atlantic alongside a fresh rally and flattening in sovereign bond yields and curves. So the S&P 500 (-0.35%), the NASDAQ (-0.60%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (-0.19%) all fell back from their record highs in the previous session although the equal weighted S&P 500 was almost flat (-0.03%) showing that there wasn’t huge breadth to the US weakness. Sector dispersion was tight in the US, with materials (+0.43%) among the leaders again along with the more typically defensive utilities sector (+0.44%). Financials (-0.55%) declined on the flatter curve story but it was discretionary stocks (-1.35%) that took the biggest hit, dragged down by Tesla declining a further -11.99% and now losing c.$200bn of market cap over two days or the equivalent of 8.5 times Ford’s market cap. The VIX index of volatility ticked up another +0.58pts to hit its highest level in nearly 4 weeks, but remains comfortably below the peaks reached during September’s 5% pullback in the S&P. By contrast, Bitcoin proved to be one of the few winners of yesterday as it increased to an all-time high of $67,734, although that was slightly down from its all-time intraday high of $68,513 earlier in the day. Meanwhile, the question of the various Federal Reserve appointments has been occupying increasing attention and impacting bond markets, but in spite of the gossip there’s been no fresh news over the last 24 hours we didn’t already know. Earlier this week, Politico cited two sources with knowledge of the process saying that a decision would be made by Thanksgiving. But for those with longer memories, it was reported by Bloomberg back in August that people familiar with the process were saying that President Biden was likely to make his choice around Labor Day in early September, and over two months have passed since. So we’ll have to see what the real deadline is. Nevertheless, the news from late Monday night in the US that Fed Governor Brainard had been interviewed for the Fed Chair position helped support US Treasuries, thanks to the perception that Brainard would be a more dovish pick. Regardless of whether Powell or Brainard is Chair come this time next year, the Board will likely become more dovish as President Biden replaces outgoing Governors (and fills empty seats should he choose to do so). By the close of trade, 10yr yields were down -5.4bps to 1.44%, and the 30yr yield was down -6.4bps to 1.82%, which was its lowest closing level since mid-September. Another striking thing was that the moves lower in Treasury yields were entirely driven by a fresh decline in real yields, with the 10yr real yield down -7.0bps to -1.20%, marking its lowest closing level since TIPS began trading in 1997. Meanwhile, there was another round of curve flattening yesterday, with the 5s30s slope down -2.8bps to 73.5bps, which is the flattest it’s been since the initial market panic over the pandemic back in March 2020. For Europe it was a similar story as yields fell across the continent, and those on 10yr bunds (-5.5bps), OATs (-5.5bps) and BTPs (-5.3bps) all saw decent moves lower. Ahead of today’s CPI, investors had the PPI numbers to digest yesterday, though there was little market reaction to speak of as they came in almost entirely in line with the consensus. The monthly reading was up by +0.6% in October, which in turn saw the year-on-year measure remain at +8.6%, with both of those in line with expectations. The core measure did come in a touch below, at +0.4% (vs. +0.5% expected), but again that left the yoy reading at +6.8% as expected. One factor that may help on the inflation front over the coming months was a major decline in natural gas prices yesterday, with both European (-8.16%) and US (-8.26%) futures witnessing substantial declines. This wasn’t reflected elsewhere in the energy complex though, with WTI (+2.71%) and Brent crude (+1.62%) oil prices seeing a further rise following reports that the US would not need to release strategic reserves due to the demand outlook, and gold prices (+0.42%) closed at their highest levels since June. There wasn’t a massive amount of other data yesterday, though the ZEW survey from Germany for November saw the expectations reading unexpectedly rise to 31.7 (vs. 20.0 expected), which is the first increase after 5 consecutive monthly declines. However, the current situation measure did fall to 12.5 (vs. 18.3 expected). Finally out of the US, the NFIB’s small business optimism index for October fell to a 7-month low of 98.2 (vs. 99.5 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned CPI release from the US for October. Otherwise, there’ll also be Italian industrial production for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from the ECB’s Elderson and the BoE’s Tenreyro, whilst earnings releases include Disney. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/10/2021 - 07:56.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 10th, 2021

American Defense Policy After Twenty Years Of War

American Defense Policy After Twenty Years Of War Authored by Jim Webb via NationalInterest.org, America has always been a place where the abrasion of continuous debate eventually produces creative solutions. Let’s agree on those solutions, and make the next twenty years a time of clear purpose and affirmative global leadership. The American scorecard for foreign policy achievements over the past twenty years is, frankly, pretty dismal. And without talking our way all around the globe, it’s clear that the most dismal score goes to the stupidest mistakes. We fought one war that we never should have fought and another war whose objectives grew so out of control that no amount of battlefield proficiency could overcome the naïve mission creep of the political and military leadership at the top that was defining what our troops were supposed to do. So, let me start with a couple of quotes from two pieces I wrote, one at the beginning of this twenty-year period and the other at the end.   On September 4, 2002, five months before the Bush administration ordered the invasion of Iraq, I wrote the following as part of a larger editorial for the Washington Post, warning that an invasion would be a strategic blunder: Nations such as China can only view the prospect of an American military consumed for the next generation by the turmoil of the Middle East as a glorious windfall. Indeed, if one gives the Chinese credit for having a long-term strategy — and those who love to quote Sun Tzu might consider his nationality — it lends credence to their insistent cultivation of the Muslim world. An “American war” with the Muslims, occupying the very seat of their civilization, would allow the Chinese to isolate the United States diplomatically as they furthered their own ambitions in South and Southeast Asia. Almost exactly nineteen years later as the military planners serving the Biden Administration executed a shamefully incompetent final withdrawal from Afghanistan, I wrote the following for The National Interest, excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, in a piece entitled “Requiem for an Avoidable Disaster:”  …the war that we began was not the same war that we are finally bringing to an end. When we went into Afghanistan in 2001 our national concern was to eliminate terrorist entities who desired to attack us. The common understanding at the time was that we would operate with maneuver elements capable of attacking and neutralizing terrorist entities. It was never to occupy territory with permanent bases or to attempt to change the societal and governmental structure of the Afghan people. This “mission creep” began after a few years of successful operations and was obvious in 2004 when I was in the country as an embed journalist. The change in mission eventually increased our troop presence tenfold and sent our forces on an impossible political journey that no amount of military success could overcome. Why did all this happen? And how can we rectify the damage that has been done to the institutions that were involved, and to our international credibility? There’s an old saying that “success has a thousand fathers but failure is an orphan.” In this case, there were two entirely different categories of orphans, some of whom were not touched personally or even professionally, and some who gave up lives, limbs, and emotional health. For the policymakers in Washington, these were wars to be remotely managed inside the guide rails of theoretical national strategy and uncontrolled financial planning. As with so many other drawn-out military commitments with vaguely defined and often changing objectives, America’s diplomatic credibility steadily decreased while the price tag rose through the roof, into trillions of dollars and thousands of combat deaths. There is no way around the reality that these hand-selected policymakers, military and civilian alike, failed the country, even as many of them were being lionized in the media and offered lucrative post-retirement positions in the private sector. Their immediate strategic goals, vague as they were from the outset, were not accomplished. The larger necessity of meeting global challenges, and particularly China’s determined expansion, was put on the back burner as our operational and diplomatic capabilities were diverted into a constantly quarreling region with the deserved reputation of being the “Graveyard of Empires.” In the context of history, the human cost on the battlefield as viewed by those at the top was manageably small, and carried out by an all-volunteer military. Indeed, despite the length of twenty years of war and many ferocious engagements, the overall casualty numbers were historically low. DOD reports the total number of American military deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan combined over twenty years as 7,074, of which 5,474 were killed in action. This twenty-year number was about the same as six months of American casualties during any one of the peak years of fighting in Vietnam. Emotionally, although there was much sympathy and respect for our soldiers we were not really a nation in a fully engaged war. As the wars continued, life in America went on without disruption. A very small percentage of the country was at human or even family risk. The wars did not interfere on a national scale with the lives of those who chose not to serve. The economy was largely good. In places like my home state of Virginia it absolutely boomed with tens of billions of dollars going to Virginia-based programs in the departments of Defense and Homeland Security. This societal disconnect gave the policymakers great latitude in the manner in which they ran the wars. It also resulted in very little congressional oversight, either in operational concepts or in much-need scrutiny of DOD and State Department management and budgets. Powerpoint presentations replaced vigorous discussion. Serious introspection by Pentagon staff members gave way to bland reports from Beltway Bandit consultants hired to provide answers to questions asked during committee hearings. An “Overseas Contingency Fund” with billions of unlabeled dollars allowed military leaders to fund programs that were never directly authorized or specifically appropriated by Congress. To be blunt, the Pentagon and the Joint commands were basically making their own rules, and to hell with everybody else. This was not the Congress in which I had worked as a full committee counsel during the Carter Administration. Nor was it the Pentagon in which I had served as an assistant secretary of defense and Secretary of the Navy under Ronald Reagan. At the other end of the pipeline, it was different. For those who did serve, and especially for those who served in ground combat units and in special operations, being thrown into the middle of a region where violence and bitter retribution is the norm was often a life-altering experience. Repetitive combat tours pulled them away from home, from family, and from the normal routines of their peers again and again, creating burnout from unresolved personal issues of stress and readjustment to civilian life. So-called “stop loss” programs kept many soldiers on active duty after their initial terms of service were supposed to end, a policy that brought the not-unreal slogan that stop-loss was, in reality, nothing more than a back-door version of the draft: We have you. And we are going to keep you until we no longer need you. The traditional policy of allowing troops a two-to-one ratio of “dwell time” at home between deployments was repeatedly shortened until, for the Army, the ratio was less than one-to-one, requiring soldiers to return to combat for fifteen months with only twelve months at home to recuperate, refurbish, and retrain. Those who left the military after one enlistment rather than choosing a career were largely ignored by commands that provided little post-military guidance and sent battle-weary young soldiers home without much more than a goodbye. But along the way, as with those who have served our country in uniform in every other war, our young military did the job that they were sent to do, no matter the overall wisdom of the mission itself. With respect to these capable and dedicated young Americans who stepped forward to serve, I feel fortunate to have been able to play a part in making sure that the public was aware of the contributions they made, and to put into place policies that recognized and properly rewarded their service. And as a writer, journalist and later a Senator I was able to use whatever pulpit was available in order to emphasize that our greatest strategic challenges were not in the places where our elites had decided to invest our people and our national treasure, and to call for the country’s leadership to cease its unfortunate obsession with a region that has never needed a permanent American ground presence as a means of mediating, much less resolving, its centuries-old conflicts. You don’t take out a hornet’s nest by sitting on top of it. We’re smarter than that, and also more capable.   In addition to working on strongly felt issues such as economic fairness and criminal justice reform, once I was elected to the Senate I took a two-pronged approach to resolving the mess that had been made in our misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan. The first involved our larger strategic interests. I immediately gained a seat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and two years later was named Chairman of the Subcommittee on East Asian and Pacific Affairs. From our immediate office, I designed a staff—and a legislative approach—that would energetically re-emphasize our commitment to relations in East Asia, and recruited good people to carry out that approach. My mission to my staff was that we were going to work to invigorate American relations in East Asia, particularly in South Korea, Japan, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, and the Philippines, and we were going to open up Burma to the outside world. We did more than talk about this, averaging three intense trips every year where I was able to meet with top leaders in those countries as well as almost every other country in ASEAN. Barack Obama later announced a similar policy after he was elected two years later, calling it the “Pivot to Asia.” Unfortunately, his administration’s approach skirted the largest issue in the region by avoiding any major confrontations with China. The pivot was largely abandoned at a crucial period in 2012 after China claimed sovereignty over a two million square kilometer area of the South China Sea, and began militarizing numerous contested islands claimed by several other countries. The Obama administration declined to criticize China’s actions, saying that the United States would not take a position on sovereignty issues. Quite obviously, not taking a position in this matter was defaulting to China’s aggressive acts. I responded by introducing a Senate resolution condemning any use of military force in the resolution of sovereignty issues in the South China Sea, which passed with a unanimous vote. The second involved the day-to-day manner in which our wars were being fought, and the way that our younger military people were being treated by those at the top. I participated in numerous hearings on all aspects from my seats on the Armed Services and Foreign Relations committees, becoming even more concerned about the lack of serious congressional oversight. During one Foreign Relations Committee hearing on post-invasion reconstruction efforts, an assistant secretary of state testified that the United States had spent 32 billion dollars on different smaller-scale projects.  I asked him to provide me and the committee a complete list of every project, as well as the cost. That was in 2007. I’m still waiting for his answer. This was clearly not the way things worked when I was a counsel in the House, where such requests were often answered within a day or two, from information that had already been compiled. In fact, the lack of an answer, despite follow-up calls from my staff, followed a broader pattern that had evolved after 9/11 when vague answers and delayed responses had become the norm, a deliberate and increasingly routine snub of the Congress by higher-level members of the executive branch. Take your choice. This was either incompetent leadership or deliberate obstruction. If the congressional liaisons from DOD were able to provide specific, complicated data within a day or two in 1977, certainly the computers of 2007 were capable of doing so after thirty years of technological progress. I responded by co-authoring legislation along with Senator Claire McCaskill that created the Wartime Contracts Commission, modeled after the Truman Commission of World War Two. After three years of investigations, the commission’s final report estimated that due to major failures in our contracting system the United States had squandered up to 60 billion dollars through contract waste and fraud in Iraq and Afghanistan. Unfortunately, the commission lacked subpoena power or criminal jurisdiction over actions taken in the past, but it certainly got the attention of would-be fraudsters, led to better record-keeping, improved the oversight process, and put a marker down for contracts from that point forward.   Having grown up in the military, and serving as an infantry Marine in Vietnam, and with a son who had left college to enlist in the Marine Corps infantry and fought in Ramadi, Iraq during one of the worst periods in that war, I seized the opportunity – and undertook the obligation – to properly reward the contributions of those who had stepped forward to serve. Immediately after I won the election to the Senate, and two months before actually being sworn in, I sat down with the Senate legislative counsel and drafted the Post-9/11 GI Bill. Having spent four years as a full committee counsel on the House Veterans Affairs Committee, my legislative model was the GI Bill that had been given to our World War Two veterans, the most generous GI Bill in history up to that time: pay for the veteran’s tuition and fees, buy the books, and provide a monthly living stipend. For every tax dollar that was spent on the World War Two GI bill, our treasury received eight dollars in tax remunerations from veterans who had gone on to successful lives. By contrast, the Vietnam Era GI Bill had provided only a monthly payment that in almost every case was far less than the costs of higher education, beginning in 1966 at a paltry rate of 50 dollars a month and ending in the early 1970s at $340 a month. I introduced the Post-9/11 GI Bill on my first day as a Senator. I put together a bipartisan leadership team—two Republicans, John Warner and Chuck Hagel; two Democrats, Frank Lautenberg and myself; two of them World War Two veterans, and two of them Vietnam veterans. Sixteen months later in a modern-day Congressional miracle, the bill became law, ironically over the strong opposition of the Bush Administration to the very end. The White House and the Pentagon claimed that such a generous bill would affect retention, causing too many people to leave the military. The obvious but implicit message was, Don’t treat them too good; they’ll leave. This position was taken by general officers who were going to receive a couple of hundred thousand dollars every year in military retirement when they themselves decided to leave. Having spent five years in the Pentagon and being intimately familiar with manpower issues, I held a completely different belief, that the generosity of the new GI Bill would enhance enlistments and help broaden the base of our overall military. In a back-handed compliment, at least in my view, I was not invited to the White House for the ceremony when the President signed the bill. But to date, millions of post-9/11 veterans have used this Bill, which is beyond cavil the most generous GI Bill in history. It has created opportunities and empowered the careers of people who are now making their way into positions of leadership and influence throughout the country. Shortly after I introduced the GI Bill, I introduced legislation to mandate a proper ratio for dwell time between overseas deployments. The legislation would have required that military members not be returned to combat unless they had been home for at least the amount of time that they had previously been gone. This was not unreasonable. A two-to-one ratio was a simple formula that reflected traditional rotation cycles. With the continuous deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan it had fallen to less than one-to-one, which meant that for years our soldiers would be gone longer than they were at home, and when they were at home they would be spending much of their time getting ready to go back. This reality was clearly affecting not only morale but also the potential for long-term emotional difficulties such as post-traumatic stress. Predictably, the White House and the Pentagon opposed the legislation. Some claimed that I had designed it with a hidden agenda to slow down the war in Iraq. Others, led by Senator Lindsey Graham, claimed that the legislation was unconstitutional, that Congress could not intervene in the operational tempo of the military since the President was the Commander in Chief. But a precedent was already set. During the Korean War, Congress had ceased the deployment of soldiers who were being sent to the war zone without proper training by mandating that no military members could be deployed overseas unless they had spent 120 days on active duty. If the military leaders weren’t going to take care of their people, it was only right that Congress should set proper boundaries. The Republicans filibustered the legislation, which then required sixty votes for passage. Although the bill twice received a fifty-six vote majority, with several Republican votes for passage, we did not break the filibuster.  But we did put the issue of dwell time firmly before Congress and the public, and the two-to-one deployment cycle eventually became the express goal inside the Department of Defense. All of that is history. I put it before you as something of a template to show the patterns that evolved and have continued over the past twenty years, as well as evidence that strong and informed leadership in Congress can turn things around. In many ways, this dislocation is between those who make policy—including military leaders—and those who carry it out. It continues due to the group mentality of a foreign policy aristocracy seeking common agreement rather than original thought. And it has exacerbated this ever-growing dislocation by freezing out those who are not, basically, in the club because their thinking does not fit the usual mantra and their ideas threaten the prevailing orthodoxy. We need these other voices. There are lessons to be learned and unavoidable questions that need to be answered at every level. Some involve the articulation of our national security objectives and how we define national strategy. Some involve when and how we should use the military for operational missions in harm’s way. And some involve the actual makeup of these military missions, from their remote or covert or overt nature, and if deployed in large numbers how large that footprint should be, and what portion should consist of military contractors along the lines of the past twenty years. And for those who want to repair the damage, it challenges us to find clear ways where we can move forward. Who do we hold accountable for the random and often changing strategic mistakes that have damaged our strength and our reputation? How do we move forward in the way we articulate and implement our national strategy here at home? How do we regain our respect in the international community, both among our friends who need us, and from potential adversaries who pray every day that America will lose its willpower, that we would be so overcome by military failures abroad and turbulence at home that the nation itself will atrophy and descend into the ranks of an also-ran, second-rate power?   We should begin with a vigorous and open discussion about the makeup, power, and influence of America’s massive defense establishment. And here I’m talking about the highest levels of our uniformed military, the civilian government officials, the powerful defense corporations, the numerous think tanks funded heavily by the defense industry, the hugely influential lobbying organizations, and—if not at the bottom, certainly in the bullseye of the efforts of all of these entities—the authorizing and appropriating committees in the Senate and House of Representatives. Couple that with the media of all sorts, particularly the huge growth of the internet and social media, and one can see how complicated the debate over any controversial issue can become. We were warned about this, sixty years ago, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower in his well-remembered speech about the “military / industrial complex.” The speech was the president’s carefully placed farewell message to the American people, made just three days before he left office. His words resonate, symbolic in their timing as his final shot across the bow, and coming as they did from this former five-star general who knew the military with a completeness that no other American president could ever match. After commenting that in the aftermath of World War Two the “conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience,” Eisenhower expressed his concern about the “total influence – economic, political, even spiritual” of this new reality “in every city, every State house, every office of the Federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications.”   The outgoing, immensely popular President then bluntly called out the members of his own professional culture—the military itself—and the bond its top leaders were increasingly forming with America’s defense corporations. “In the councils of government we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military / industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.” Looking at the decades following his speech and particularly the past twenty years, I believe President Eisenhower would be amazed at how massively this military-industrial complex has grown, how entangled the relationships between the military and the industrial complex have become, and how much it has affected the career paths of civilian “experts,” as well as the positions taken by many senior flag officers facing retirement. Lucrative civilian careers have been made through the “revolving doors” of serving for a few years in appointed posts in the Departments of Defense and State, or by working on committee staffs in the Congress, then rotating over the space of many years in and out of government into the defense-oriented industry and in the ever more influential think tanks, some of them heavily funded by corporations with major financial interests in defense contracts. The number of people involved in such revolving doors and the amount of money flowing back and forth would have stunned the understanding of people in Eisenhower’s era. Likewise, many military officers have made similar career moves, taking advantage of skills and relationships that were developed while on active duty. Those in uniform and others who work in the area of national defense regularly comment about the potential for conflicts of interest among the most senior flag officers as they carry out their final active duty positions before retiring and prepare for their next career in the civilian world. Critical issues ranging from the procurement of weapons systems to carrying out politically sensitive military operations often comprise the way in which potential civilian employers decide on the next chapter in their lives. A hand played well can bring large financial benefits. A hand played poorly can result in media stigma or even being relieved of their duties, and a beach house in Tarpon Springs. As with other areas of public service, it would be useful for Congress to examine the firewalls in place in order to maintain the vitally important separation of the military, on the one side, and the industrial complex on the other, just as President Dwight Eisenhower so prophetically pointed out sixty years ago. Dwight Eisenhower would have liked General Robert Barrow, the twenty-seventh commandant of the Marine Corps. His leadership example personally inspired me, both during and after my service in the Corps. We had many personal discussions over the years, until he passed away in 2008. He was a great combat leader. He mastered guerrilla warfare while fighting Japanese units alongside Chinese soldiers in World War Two. In the Korean War, he received the Navy Cross, our country’s second-highest award, for extraordinary heroism as a company commander during the historic breakout from the Chosin Reservoir. And in Vietnam, he was known as one of the war’s finest regimental commanders. He knew war, he knew loyalty, and he knew his Marines. General Barrow was fond of emphasizing that moral courage was often harder, and more exemplary, than physical courage. On matters of principle, he would not bend. During one difficult period when he was dealing with serious issues in the political process, the four-star Commandant calmly pointed out to me that his obligation was to run the Marine Corps “the same way a good company commander runs his rifle company: I’ll do the best job I know how to do, and if you don’t like what I’m doing, then fire me.” It is rare these days to see such leaders wearing the stars of a general or an admiral. And thinking of President Eisenhower’s prescient warnings about what he termed the “the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals,” I have no doubt that he and General Barrow shared the same concerns. General Barrow held another firm belief. Having served as Commandant of the Marine Corps, he believed it would soil the dignity of that office by trading on its credibility for financial gain through banging on doors in Washington as a lobbyist or serving as a board member giving a defense-related corporation his prized insider’s advice on how to sell their product. The Japanese have a saying that “life is a generation, but reputation is forever.” And General Barrow’s pristine motivation will forever preserve his honor. I grew up in the military. I know the price that families must pay when their fathers or now even their mothers are continuously deployed, because I lived it as a very young boy. My father, a pilot who flew B-17s and B-29s in World War Two and cargo planes in the Berlin Airlift, was continually deployed either overseas or on bases with no family housing, at one point for more than three years. I know the demands and yet the honor of leading infantry Marines in combat and then spending years in and out of the hospital after being wounded. I know what it is like to be a father with a son deployed in a very bad place as an enlisted infantry Marine. And most of all I know the pride that comes from being able to say for the rest of my life that when my country called, I was there, and I took care of my people. My other major point today is that our top leaders in all sectors of national defense need to get going and develop a clearly articulated foreign policy. We have lost twenty years, unfortunately fulfilling the prediction that I made in the Washington Post five months before the invasion of Iraq that “Nations such as China can only view the prospect of an American military consumed for the next generation by the turmoil of the Middle East as a glorious windfall.” And for China, indeed it was. It’s ironic that we are now hearing frantic warnings from our uniformed leaders about China’s determined expansionism, both military and economic, and particularly about how recent reports of Chinese technological leaps might be something of a new “Sputnik” moment where America has been caught off-guard and now must rush to catch up. Too bad they weren’t following this as these policies and technological improvements were developed by the Chinese over at least the past two decades, while our focus remained intently on the never-ending and never-resolved brawls in the Middle East. The very people who now are wringing their hands and calling for a full-fledged effort to counter such threats are the same people who should have been warning the nation of their possibility ten or even twenty years ago. So, ask yourself: If things go wrong, who then shall we blame? Much of the world is now uneasy with China’s unremitting aggression on its home turf in Asia. Over the past decade, China has been calling its own shots, rejecting international law and public opinion while flexing its muscle to signal its view that it will soon replace the United States as the region’s dominant military, diplomatic and economic power. Beijing has taken down Hong Kong’s democracy movement; started military spats with India; disrupted life for tens of millions by damming the headwaters of the Mekong River; conducted what our government now deems a campaign of genocide against Muslim Uighurs; escalated tensions with Japan over the Senkaku Islands; consolidated its illegal occupation and militarization of islands in the South China Sea; and made repeated bellicose gestures designed to test the international community’s resistance to “unifying” the “renegade province” of Taiwan. China’s military is expanding and modernizing and its Navy is becoming not only technological but global. While we expended a huge portion of our human capital, emotional energy, and national treasure on two wars, China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has had a major economic impact in Asia, Africa, and Latin America and with individual governments on other continents. In Africa, whose population has quadrupled since 1970 and which counts only one of the world’s top thirty countries in Gross National Product, more than forty countries have signed on to China’s BRI. Let’s get going. We have alliances to enhance, and extensive national security interests to protect. We need to address these issues immediately and with clarity. America has always been a place where the abrasion of continuous debate eventually produces creative solutions. Eventually is now. Let’s agree on those solutions, and make the next twenty years a time of clear purpose and affirmative global leadership. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

Globalist Elites Don"t Trust You To Make The Right Choice

Globalist Elites Don't Trust You To Make The Right Choice Authored by James Rickards via DailyReckoning.com, When the U.K. voted for Brexit in June 2016, the globalists were stunned. They couldn’t believe it. They then did everything they could to delay and fight Brexit. Then when Donald Trump won the election as president in November 2016, the globalists were even more stunned. They went into complete denial and put their heads in the sand. They comforted themselves with the convenient myth that Russian interference lost them the election, not a popular rejection of their ideology. Yet it kept getting worse for globalists. Both China and Russia have become more nationalistic and completely turned their backs on globalism. The pandemic only strengthened the trend away from globalism, and the fractured supply chains we’re now seeing expose globalism’s fragile underbelly. These chains may be efficient and economical, but when they break down, it has a rippling effect on the global economy. It’s like pulling on one strand on a carpet. The entire thing is affected. Globalists worship at the altar of free trade. But free trade is a myth. It doesn’t exist outside classrooms. France subsidizes agriculture. The U.S. subsidizes electric vehicles. China subsidizes a long list of national champions with government contracts, cheap loans and currency manipulation. Every major economy subsidizes one or more sectors using fiscal and monetary tools and tariffs and nontariff barriers to trade. America grew rich and powerful from 1787–1962, a period of 175 years, using tariffs, subsidies and other barriers to trade to nurture domestic industry and protect high-paying manufacturing jobs. In fact, tariffs are as American as apple pie. Beginning in 1962, the U.S. turned its back on a successful legacy of protecting its jobs and industry and embraced the free trade theory. This was done first through the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade, or GATT, one of the original Bretton Woods institutions in addition to the World Bank and IMF. Against the mercantilist system was a theory of free trade based on comparative advantage as advocated by British economist David Ricardo in the early 19th century. Ricardo’s theory said that trading nations are endowed with attributes that gave them a relative advantage in producing certain goods versus others. These attributes could consist of natural resources, climate, population, river systems, education, ports, financial capacity or any other factor of production. Nations should produce those goods as to which they have a natural advantage and trade with other nations for goods where the advantage was not so great. Countries should specialize in what they do best, and let others also specialize in what they do best. Then countries could simply trade the goods they make for the goods made by others. All sides would be better off because prices would be lower as a result of specialization in those goods where you have a natural advantage. It’s a nice theory often summed up in the idea that Tom Brady should not mow his own lawn because it makes more sense to pay a landscaper while he practices football. For example, if the U.K. had an advantage in textile production and Portugal had an advantage in wine production, then the U.K. and Portugal should trade wool for wine. But if the theory of comparative advantage were true, Japan would still be exporting tuna fish instead of cars, computers, TVs, steel and much more. The problem with the theory of comparative advantage is that the factors of production are not permanent and they are not immobile. If labor moves from the countryside to the city in China, then suddenly China has a comparative advantage in cheap labor. If finance capital moves from New York banks to direct foreign investment in Chinese factories, then China has the comparative advantage in capital also. Before long, China has the advantage in labor and capital and is running huge trade surpluses with the U.S., putting Americans out of work and shutting down U.S. factories in the process. Worse yet, countries such as China can pull comparative advantage out of thin air with government subsidies. We’ve been living in a world where the U.S. has been a free trade sucker and everyone else breaks the rules. In a world where a few parties are free traders but most are mercantilists, the mercantilists win every time. They are like parasites sucking the free traders dry. But to globalists, the moral arc of the universe bends in one direction, and that’s toward increasing globalization. Populism and protectionism are therefore moral evils that must be condemned. But globalists have slowly realized that the nationalist trend is not an anomaly but a powerful force that is reversing globalist policies that have been ascendant since 1989, or even since the end of World War II, when institutions like the IMF and World Bank were established to promote globalist goals. But right now, free trade is on the ropes, currency wars are rampant and geopolitical hotspots like Taiwan are becoming more dangerous. What happened to globalism? The globalist-in-chief is Columbia University academic Jeffrey D. Sachs. He led the charge for “market” solutions in Russia in the 1990s, which backfired into a takeover by oligarchs and the rise of Putin. He also led the charge for “opening” China in the early 2000s, which led to the rise of Xi Jinping and the strongest form of Communism since the death of Mao Zedong. Is Sachs willing to admit any mistakes? No. Like most globalists who are too arrogant to question their own worldviews and assumptions, Sachs instead says the problem is democracy itself. Essentially, Sachs wants to abandon traditional voting in the U.S. and U.K. to create a system more favorable to globalists. Sure, you can let voters choose center-right candidate x or center-left candidate y, who might be 10% apart on many issues. Neither of them will really rock the boat and have no fundamental disagreement with globalism in general. As far as globalists are concerned, voters cannot be trusted to vote on fundamental issues like Brexit. They also can’t be trusted to vote against presidential candidates like Trump. Such decisions should be beyond democratic control, globalists believe. In fact, Time magazine ran an article gloating about how corporate and media elites essentially conspired to prevent Trump from winning the election. Media refusal to cover the Hunter Biden laptop scandal was just one example. Former intelligence officials joined in by claiming it bore all the trademarks of “Russian disinformation.” Of course, we all know the laptop was real. But they wouldn’t allow it to influence the election. When elites don’t like the potential outcome, just change the rules. Another issue that unites globalists is climate change. Globalists argue that climate change is too important to trust to voters in individual countries. Climate change is the perfect cover for globalism because combating it requires an internationally coordinated policy run by elites. Their real agenda is to define a “global problem” so they can advance “global solutions” such as world governance, world taxation and world rule by elites. It doesn’t matter that the actual science behind hysterical climate alarmism is extremely weak. Unfortunately, the media, corporations, governments and international organizations are run mostly by globalists. And many of them are working hard to silence dissent. We’re in a Brave New World. Tyler Durden Sat, 11/06/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 6th, 2021

Gabriel Grego’s Short Report On Cassava Sciences

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing Gabriel Grego’s short report on Cassava Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:SAVA); retail sales rise, showing strong consumer demand, higher inflation; China’s economy rests on three shaky legs; Pivot podcast by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway; his Zoom call on The Art of Playing Defense. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and […] Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discussing Gabriel Grego’s short report on Cassava Sciences Inc (NASDAQ:SAVA); retail sales rise, showing strong consumer demand, higher inflation; China’s economy rests on three shaky legs; Pivot podcast by Kara Swisher and Scott Galloway; his Zoom call on The Art of Playing Defense. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Gabriel Grego's Short Report On Cassava Sciences 1) My friend and former student Gabriel Grego of Quintessential Capital Management just released a short report on Cassava Sciences (SAVA). The biotech company has a $2.3 billion market cap despite no revenue based on bullish expectations for its sole drug, Simufilam, which it claims will help treat Alzheimer's disease. Gabriel's report, which you can read here, documents the shady backgrounds of many people associated with the company and concludes that there's no chance that Simufilam will ever be approved by the Food and Drug Administration ("FDA"). Here's an excerpt: Simufilam, Cassava's only prospective drug, appears based on allegedly forged scientific research. Phase II trials have been conducted with numerous and serious irregularities, which appear to have allowed management to deceive investors about the effectiveness of the drug. In our opinion, Simufilam is a worthless compound, and any touted benefit is likely the result of a combination of forgery, "cherry picking" of patients, and statistical manipulation of data, of which we have plenty of disturbing evidence. This alleged exercise in deception has taken place with the involvement of an astounding number of questionable characters: Cassava's former Senior Clinical Research Associate is a convicted felon with a record in fraud and theft. Cassava's prominent clinical research site (whose CEO is coauthor of critical research on Simufilam), IMIC Inc., is co-owned by a former escort, stripper, and crack addict with a criminal record for consumption and possession of cocaine. IMIC's Principal Investigator has been hit with a rare and ominous FDA warning letter during recent trials. Cassava's CEO and CMO have been caught making allegedly fraudulent statements about Simufilam's predecessor Remoxy, which duly failed, devastating shareholders. Cassava's recent board addition, Richard Barry, has been involved with multiple frauds. I'm not a biotech expert (to say the least) and haven't independently verified Gabriel's work, but knowing him and his track record, I have no doubt that his report is correct – which is bad news for this high-flying stock and its huge market cap... Retail Sales Rise 2) Following up on yesterday's e-mail about the white-hot economy, check out this extraordinary chart in this Wall Street Journal article: Retail Sales Rise, Showing Strong Consumer Demand, Higher Inflation. Spending on U.S. retail and food service hasn't just recovered but is nearly 15% above the trend line: China's Economy Rests On Three Shaky Legs 3) I'm not a China expert by any stretch of the imagination – and never will be – but I've read a bit about the country's history and try to follow current events there for two reasons: First, China fascinates me. It has a rich history and, in particular, its economic rise in recent decades, in which it's pulled over a billion people out of poverty, is simply unprecedented. Second, as I wrote in my October 11 e-mail, two possible triggers for a stock market crash are us getting into a shooting war with China (likely over Taiwan) and a crash of China's economy. I occasionally send articles related to China to my China e-mail list (if you wish to join it, simply send a blank e-mail to: china-subscribe@mailer.kasecapital.com). Here are two recent ones... From the Wall Street Journal: China's Economy Rests on Three Shaky Legs. Excerpt: China's economy has been taking it from all sides: power outages, the property debt fiasco, snarled shipping lanes, and, a bit further back, a brief but damaging Delta variant outbreak. Sharply weaker growth last quarter at 4.9% from a year earlier was expected. And given how modest countercyclical support has been so far, next quarter will almost certainly be worse. What happens in 2022 remains uncertain but appears to depend primarily on three things: how fast Beijing dials back its squeeze on the property sector, whether consumers finally perk up again, and whether exporters can hang on to recent market-share gains. Power outages remain a drag, but efforts to restart shuttered coal mines and raise power prices will help significantly. And another from the New York Times: In China, Home Buyers Who Went All In Say They Want Out. Excerpt: The real estate boom that once attracted young professionals like Mr. He is experiencing a dramatic overhaul. At one point, buying was so frenzied that properties would sell out within minutes of being offered. Speculation sent prices soaring. Real estate grew to provide more than a quarter of the country's economic growth by some estimates, with homes becoming the main savings vehicle for Chinese families. Nearly three-quarters of household wealth in China is now tied to property. The loss of confidence in the market could spill over to lower sales of cars and appliances, further hurting the economy. Already, weak retail sales in China have signaled that consumers are feeling increasingly insecure. As more buyers shy away from home sales, experts say Beijing's decision to intervene in the market and curb debt may risk overall growth. Even as prominent investors question whether the collapse of Chinese property developer Evergrande could lead to China's so-called Lehman moment, referring to the investment bank that triggered the 2008 global financial crisis, Beijing has been largely silent, having vowed to no longer rescue companies once considered too big to fail. Many local officials have been left on their own to respond to the growing frustration. When massive real estate bubbles burst, the fallout can be devastating and long-lasting – witness the U.S. in 2008 and several years afterward and Japan since 1990 (for more on the latter, see: The Lost Decade: Lessons From Japan's Real Estate Crisis). That said, I think there's only, say, a 20% chance that China will experience a similar meltdown that could roil world markets. Pivot Podcast By Kara Swisher And Scott Galloway 4) I'm really enjoying a new podcast called Pivot, hosted by two of my favorite commentators on the tech sector, New York Times columnist Kara Swisher and New York University marketing professor Scott Galloway. I especially recommend listening to "Land of the Giants: This Changes Everything," about Apple's (AAPL) remarkable history, and the latest episode, in which they: a) Heaped scorn on Facebook (FB) CEO Mark Zuckerberg renaming the company Meta. b) Praised Bobby Kotick, the CEO of video game maker Activision Blizzard (ATVI), which was sued by California's civil rights agency for fostering a "frat boy" culture, for his recent letter to his employees in which he asked the company's board of directors to reduce his salary to $62,500 and not award him any compensation or bonuses on top of his basic salary "until the Board has determined that we have achieved the transformational gender-related goals and other commitments." c) Interviewed professor Aswath Damodaran, a fascinating guy who teaches corporate finance and valuation at the Stern School of Business at New York University. Zoom Call On The Art Of Playing Defense 5) I was delighted to send more than 30 of my readers a free PDF of my recent book, The Art of Playing Defense, after they sent me copies of their recent COVID-19 vaccination or booster shots. I'll keep this offer open for at least another week, so please keep e-mailing me at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com! Speaking of my book, I did an 82-minutes Zoom (ZM) call with an Israeli friend and his colleagues about it recently, which he posted on YouTube here if you'd like to watch it. Best regards, Whitney P.S. I welcome your feedback at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com. Updated on Nov 3, 2021, 12:17 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 3rd, 2021

Luongo: There Is No Getting Off Europe"s Elevator To Hell

Luongo: There Is No Getting Off Europe's Elevator To Hell Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, The European Union has been, in the immortal words of Private Hudson from Aliens, “… on an express elevator to hell, going down,” for a long time now. From the day of then ECB President Mario Draghi’s “We will do whatever it takes” speech in July 2012 to today, the EU has chosen a path of fiscal, foreign and monetary policy insanity that has lead it directly to where it is today, the sick man at the geopolitical table. The most recent missive from the great Alistair Crooke over at Strategic Culture Foundation has some very choice words for Europe as well as his always trenchant analysis. “Two events have combined to make a major inflection point for Europe: The first was America’s abandonment of the Great Game ploy of attempting to keep the two Central Asian great land powers – Russia and China – divided and at odds with each other. This was the inexorable consequence to the US’ defeat in Afghanistan – and the loss of its last strategic foothold in Asia… Crooke lays out the fundamentals which led to the formation of AUKUS and the recent application of a more rapid depreciation curve for NATO. Underscoring the divisions within the U.S. policy establishment which left Europe, especially France, twisting in the wind with the shift in priorities, Crooke quotes George Friedman of Stratfor, who argued recently on Polish television that NATO serves no real current purpose for a U.S. that finally acknowledges China, not Russia, as its biggest threat. Since Friedman and Stratfor are as deep state as they come, you should always read Friedman’s publicly available ‘analysis’ as an operations manual for U.S. foreign policy.  It’s the real official policy said out loud. The key to understanding the splits within the western global order represented by the new AUKUS Alliance between the U.S., Australia and the U.K. is the following: … the EU, Friedman has made ruthlessly clear, is not viewed by the US security élite as a serious global player – or really as much more than one ‘punter’, amongst others, buying at the US weapons supermarket. The submarine contract with Australia however, was a centerpiece to Paris’s strategy for European ‘strategic autonomy’. Macron believed France and the EU had established a position of lasting influence in the heart of the Indo-Pacific. Better still, it had out-maneuvered Britain, and broken into the Anglophone world of the Five Eyes to become a privileged defense partner of Australia. Biden dissed that. And Commission President [Ursula] von der Leyen told CNN that there could not be “business as usual” after the EU was blindsided by AUKUS. Honestly, though, I really have to question whether they were actually “blindsided by this?”  If people like von der Leyen and Macron are this angry over AUKUS then it’s clear that they, like Pelosi and Schumer here in the U.S., have not one clue as to what the plans actually are. They are just mostly uninformed midwit lieutenants. Crooke’s points, however, are well taken that the U.S. built the EU with the idea of it being the soft-power projector to complement the U.S.’s real (military and financial) power projector. I’ve been saying for years now that the EU’s technocratic miasma of suck was designed to “California-ize” the world the same way that state has ruined the U.S. from within.   But that only works if the U.S. also agrees to all of the EU’s moronic Climate Change policy.   So, Davos installed O’Biden to get things back on track when Trump and Brexit put their plans on the rocks by pulling out of the Paris Accords, the TTIP, the TPP and all the rest of his very important moves like shaking down NATO for money and questioning its purpose. Clinton was supposed to perfect this Atlanticist, two-pronged Great Truncheon of Held to subjugate the lesser beings and she lost. The U.S. had the military power backed up by the EU strangling the world economy with useless ESG regulatory minutia gumming up the works worldwide.  The EU’s part was really the most important because with it, the combination of the post-WWII monetary and transnational institutions, the Fed calling the shots for the world’s economy, and the ECB destroying internal opposition to the EU itself, all of those regulations are borne much more easily by established countries/businesses than emerging ones. These costs drain capital when it is most needed, during the rapid expansion and growth periods. They are massive barriers to entry into new markets, anti-competitive to the core and designed to roll market share up across all important sectors into the waiting arms of the people writing the campaign and lobbyist checks. Moreover, it also ensures that all capital raises are bloated to contain these costs as well, creating bureaucracies and whole divisions (HR anyone?) which sap the country/company of its dynamism and leave it vulnerable to internal strife and attack while enriching the bookrunners for these ridiculous deals spinning the hamster wheel that much faster. Now, however, Davos is scrambling to maintain the EU’s position through the O’Biden Administration while inertial forces within the U.S. and UK are breaking off from them.   This is why I’m more convinced than ever that Wall St. and The Fed are no longer on board with the Davos Great Reset. Before I go there I need to address Crooke’s other ‘event’ that forced this change by O’Biden. The second ‘leg’ to this global inflection point – also triggered around the Afghan pivot into the Russo-Chines axis – was the SCO summit last month. A memorandum of understanding was approved that would tie together China’s Belt and Road Initiative to the Eurasian Economic Community, within the overall structure of the SCO, whilst adding a deeper military dimension to the expanded SCO structure. In short, Asia is being stitched together by institutions almost equally governed by Russia and China. Russia with the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and CSTO and China with the SCO and BRI – Belt and Road Initiative. This integration now can take place with the U.S. pullback from Afghanistan and soon from both Syria and Iraq, regardless of whatever Biden may have mumbled before having his afternoon Jell-O and getting his Depends changed. All that has happened here is the U.S. has finally admitted there are limits to its resources because the threats to it are too expensive to keep up with. Two can play the cost attrition game it seems. The deep state actors sympathetic with but not necessarily aligned with Davos had to choose — Russia or China. They have chosen China and (this is the key point), Davos has shifted its strategies in line with this change. They are finally improvising. This is why Biden was sent to Geneva to sue for peace over Ukraine in June. It’s also why the O’Biden administration begged Moscow to accept an audience with the High Priest of Neoconservatism, Victoria Nuland. To truly shore up Europe’s Eastern front requires an particular messenger. Who better than Nuland to finally admit publicly that the Minsk Agreements are the only way forward to solve the status of the Donbass to convey to the Russians that, finally, the U.S. may actually be serious about ending our insane policy in Eastern Europe. And with it, admit publicly that NATO was no longer all that important. Davos wanted this outcome because it ensures that war with Russia is off the table now that Ukraine will be settled by relatively peaceful means with less overt foreign intervention. It also conserves precious resources, while building anti-American sentiment in Europe, and clarifies who works for whom. And this fits in with the overall plans to reorient the U.S. into a war footing with China, who themselves, are already on a war footing with us. Now, with that said, let’s back up and ask the important question left hanging by Crooke’s essay? Why was Europe was purposefully demilitarized over these past few decades?  What started as a U.S. protectorate after WWII has now been all but abandoned.  NATO’s position in Europe is a joke vis a vis Russia. In fact, relations with NATO are so bad Russia just recalled its ambassador to NATO, a further signal that it is no longer as important as it was just a few weeks ago.   Think back to the incidents of the past few years in Syria and all of the redlines that were nearly tripped that could have created an Article 5 invocation and open War with Russia. I absolutely maintain that France and Israel attempted to do this by shooting down the Russian IL-20 ELINT plane in September 2018. France and Israel could see the writing on the wall then, Trump was depreciating NATO. The foreign policy realignment was in place then. Macron can talk all he wants about an EU army, but he’ll only get that after hyperinflation forces debt default, UBI, conscription and a digital euro.  Without those conditions he won’t have a population desperate enough to become part of that… and even then, it will only be used to suppress dissent within the EU, as a kind of supranational police force. For a preview of that watch some video of who is trying to put down the strikes happening across Italy. But, back to my question, why is this happening now?  There had to be a strategic purpose to this, especially considering Britain’s legendary and inconsolable animosity towards Russia, which should have sustained this policy. Money and resources.  As always, big projects are always more expensive than you budget for.  I’ve built enough outbuildings, goat sheds, fences and garden beds to know that the Bill of Materials in my head never matches the credit card statements at the end of the month. The West is broke, they know it and there isn’t enough money to support a two-front war anymore against both Russia and China…while simultaneously subjugating central Asia to make the world safe for Zionists in Israel. In fact, if that policy was meant as a long-term project to sap the U.S. of its dynamism and future, then job well done! (Just in case anyone is confused my speculation above is the subtlest form of sarcasm, of course that was the freaking plan.). So, with the collapse of the COVID-9/11 narrative back in May, when Fauci was first exposed as a liar by Rand Paul, the strategy had to shift… to focus on a war with China. This is when Davos began improvising, for it was pretty obvious they believed they could continue this maximum pressure campaign through U.S. and British belligerence indefinitely while COVID kept everyone fearful and thinking it would hand them unlimited spending to build the final phase of their more perfect technocracy. Too bad for them COVID-9/11 didn’t work out that way. In the grand scheme of things, this demilitarization of Europe was a policy set in place to ensure it wouldn’t be a target in the next ‘great war’ that’s coming between the U.S. and China.  Think it through. The U.S. survived WWII because none of its industrial base was bombed.  Two big oceans separated the U.S. from the World at War.  Now, we’re looking at a war between China and an overextended U.S. fighting a war in China’s back yard, the Pacific. What separates them from Europe? Asia, for one.  Africa for another.   So, from the geographical context, the war that’s to come it only makes sense that Europe, if they keep their heads down, will be the place not attacked directly.  During the war to come capital can flee both the U.S. and China and come to them, the safe harbor. What Davos is clearly thinking here is that they can play the role the U.S. played after WWII, installing its system on the post-war industrial world, while using that same system to keep the emerging and frontier parts of the world on the debt hamster wheel.  And to get that done they destroy the middle class and old industrial base at home to ensure continental hegemony through total surveillance and a digital euro. The problem however, is that the U.S., Russia and China are wise to this game and everyday take concrete steps to ensure that plan fails miserably, c.f. everything I wrote above. Making Europe a laughingstock of a military power now means this is the best possible outcome given the shift we’ve seen this year. Davos is realizing very quickly that its power base is shrinking and while they still hope to institute their glorious technocratic revolution from the top down through manipulating elections, installing puppet governments and openly lying about why their doing it (Climate Change), the reality is their costs are skyrocketing (c.f. commodity prices) and their minions in the U.S. are proving to be particularly inept. I’m convinced this wasn’t the original plan.  I’m sure Macron was told that NATO would be there forever while they built his EU Army through French weapons contractors and then all of it could be transferred to the U.N. after the next ‘Great War.’ And I’m sure there’s still some version of that on the table as a kind-of Plan R or whatever. But COVID-9/11 didn’t work out as planned.  The time table they worked under was too compressed.  ADE is killing them.  The virus is burning out too fast. The vaccines are dangerous to too many to countenance and, most importantly, they are unnecessary for an even broader slice of the population. Opposition to their ridiculous leaders is rising.   We now have full-on Randian Strikes going on and gods bless my kin in Italy for standing up to the truly odious Mario Draghi. If the Green Pass fails there, the whole Davos project collapses. Let me reiterate, these people are not worth fearing. They can’t harm you if you have nothing they can take from you. I’ve been saying we live in the Third Act of Atlas Shrugged for years now…. but to see it happen warms the cockles of my cold, dead heart. The narrative collapsed too quickly and it’s all slipping through their fingers.  This is why AUKUS had to happen. The time table for war with China had to accelerate.  We’ve got troops stationed in Taiwan, FFS.  The Chinese have to respond to this or they lose massive face.  Yes, it’s only ‘two dozen’ according to the WSJ, but it’s not the number that matters but that that number is non-zero. To sum up, I don’t think this course of events was inevitable. The best way to think of it is as a flow chart, with a very fluid Gantt chart on the wall over at Spectre HQ.   And that should make the ‘why’ of Europe’s ‘demilitarization’ clear now. O’Biden and Davos shifted gears after COVID-9/11 failed and this was the fall back plan because it jibed so well with existing U.S. and UK deep state strategies that are decades old.   It’s not like this wasn’t an easy pivot, after all.   It was the plan in the first place, it’s just been modified to leave Europe at the mercy of Russia which was the price to pay when looking at the balance sheet of assets and realizing someone else needs to pay the bills. It also means that my analysis of German politics is correct and that in order to save Europe and some fragment of the globalists’ dream, it means a split in the EU.  I mean, how else does Russia sign off on this without getting the guarantee that hostilities from the West end? Davos still have their sights set on a world without war through technocracy, ruthless policing and surveillance, and fake value(s) precluding societal level war.  It’s monumentally stupid, but, then again, so is Communism.   Whie they aren’t to Ornette Coleman levels of improvising yet, they are damn close to it.   The problem is they didn’t tell any of the lieutenants what was coming. They just issued orders through O’Biden and left the continentals angry they weren’t consulted.  Macron is genuinely furious as Crooke points out, because he thought they were all on the same team.   And that’s creating confusion as to what’s really going on.   They aren’t on the same team. Macron is still Davos’ best chance to hold onto France so don’t expect any miracles from the corrupt French political system and he will do exactly as he’s told. So will the Germans until the German people force a change on their political system. Don’t expect that until inflation truly ravages the middle class there. Knowing that they’re chanting “Let’s Go Brandon” in the former East Germany, tells you all you need to know about where theirs heads are. This is the world as it lays out today. There are cracks forming all along the big Davosian plan for the future. Their agents still command the microphone and the media still soldiers on as if anyone cares what they think. And while many people are still so very asleep, enough aren’t that very soon now, the costs to the enforcers of these idiotic mandates personally will be too great for Davos to pay off. And that’s when the real chaos starts. But now that the U.S. and UK have told the EU they are junior partners in the great game, it has almost zero options. The only way Davos can salvage a tactical win is to get rid of Jay Powell as FOMC Chair who is strangling the European capital markets. They took their shot, got a couple of scalps but the reality is that there is no good narrative left for continuing to terrorize people over COVID-9/11 and not raise rates and let the economy run. So, that strategy is a non-starter. Why replace a guy who is the only one actually defending U.S. interests within the halls of power and who has the confidence of the guys who write the real checks in D.C., i.e. Wall St. Europe doesn’t like it but it may be the best possible solution after this debacle. So, watch now as Europe collapses and Davos tries to create a war that no rational person wants, costing everyone far more than just the money in their wallets while the Private Hudsons look up and finally say, “No.” *  *  * Join my Patreon if you can see the cracks forming. BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7ZfBCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6rytDCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oELTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5kDASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4VaWAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSaETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edcDGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE Tyler Durden Tue, 10/19/2021 - 06:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 19th, 2021

How to make and receive WhatsApp video calls

You can start a WhatsApp video call from the Calls tab by looking up a contact or from a chat thread. There are a few different ways to place individual or group video call on WhatsApp. Carol Yepes/Getty Images You can start a WhatsApp video call from the Calls tab by looking up a contact or from a chat thread. WhatsApp allows you to take part in a video call with up to eight participants. If you link the WhatsApp desktop app to your phone, you can send and receive video calls on your computer. Visit Insider's Tech Reference library for more stories. According to Statista, WhatsApp is considered the single most popular global messaging app in the world with about two billion monthly active users - that's close to one out of every three people on earth. If you count yourself among them, you may want to use the service for video chats in addition to voice calls and text messaging. Related Article Module: What is WhatsApp? A guide to navigating the free internet-based communication platformNo matter how you connect to WhatsApp, whether it's via the mobile app or the desktop app on your PC or Mac, you can join a video call with just a few clicks or taps. How to make and receive a WhatsApp video call on mobileOn both iPhone and Android, you can start a video call from the WhatsApp Calls tab or from the Chat tab.To place a video call from the Calls tab1. Tap the Calls tab, located at the bottom of the screen on iPhone and at the top on Android. 2. Tap the New call button, shaped like a phone. It's at the top on iPhone and at the bottom on Android. Tap the "New call" button and then choose who you want to video call. Dave Johnson 3. In your list of contacts, find the person you want to call. Tap the video button at the far right of the screen to place the call. To start a video call from the Chats tab1. Tap the Chats tab, located at the bottom of the screen on iPhone and at the top on Android.2. In your list of chat messages, find and tap the chat for the person you want to talk to.3. At the top of the chat page, tap the video button to start the video call. There's a button to launch a video call from the top of every chat. Dave Johnson Quick tip: WhatsApp does not charge a fee, so WhatsApp calls - both audio and video - are free. Even so, like any online activity, WhatsApp calls rely on the internet, so if you are not connected to a Wi-Fi network, you will use data from your mobile plan. Depending on your plan, that might cost money. How to switch between WhatsApp video and voice calls during a callYou can switch between voice and video on a WhatsApp call already in progress. To switch from a voice call to a video call1. Tap the Video button at the bottom of the screen, shaped like a video camera. It's always visible on Android, but you might need to tap the iPhone screen (or click the desktop screen) to make the controls appear first. You can switch back and forth between video and audio on the same call. Dave Johnson 2. The other party will get notified you are switching to video. If your contact chooses to switch, then it becomes a video call. If the other party does nothing or declines the video, it reverts back to a voice call. To switch from a video call to a voice call1. Tap the Cancel video button (the video with a slash through it). This disables your video.2. The other party sees a message that you've turned off your video. If he or she also taps the Cancel video button, the call reverts to a voice call. If not, it stays a video call with only one party's video disabled. You can switch back and forth between voice and video calls as many times as you like in a call. How to make a group video call on WhatsAppOne of WhatsApp's strengths is its ability to handle group video calls with up to eight participants at once. You can launch a group video call several different ways. From a group or individual chat1. Tap the Chats tab.2. In the list of chat messages, tap the chat you want to video call. 3. Tap the Video call button at the top of the screen. The call will start immediately. 4. After the call starts, you can add more people to the video call (up to eight, including yourself). To do that, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap Add participant, then choose the person you want to add to the video call. Swipe up to add more participants to a call. Dave Johnson From the Calls tab1. Tap the Calls tab.2. Tap the New call button.3. At the top of the contact list, tap New group call. 4. Select up to seven people and then tap the Video button. 5. After the call starts, you can add more people to the video call (up to eight, including yourself). To do that, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap Add participant, then choose the person you want to add to the video call. You can convert a one-on-one video call into a group call at any time. When you're in a call, swipe up from the bottom of the screen and tap Add participant, then choose the person you want to add to the video call.How to join a group video call on WhatsAppIf someone includes you in a group video call, you'll get the invitation when the call starts, but don't feel pressured to answer right away. Even if you reject the call, you can still get back to it and join the call any time before it ends. Incoming call1. When you're included in a group call, you'll receive a notification inviting you to join. 2. If you want to accept the call, tap Open. To defer the call, tap Ignore. 3. If you're joining the call, you'll see the call menu, where you can preview details about the call including the list of participants. Tap Join. When someone invites you to a group call, you can see all the participants before choosing to join it. Dave Johnson Quick tip: Even if you've linked your desktop computer to your mobile device, group video call invitations will go to your phone because group video isn't yet supported on the desktop. Missed callIf you previously tapped Ignore to defer a video call or you didn't respond at all, you can still join the video call as long as it's still in progress. 1. Tap the Calls tab.2. If the call is still in progress, you'll see a banner for the call. Tap it to open the call menu screen.3. Tap Join. If you miss a video invitation, you can join it later if it's still in progress. Dave Johnson How to make a WhatsApp video call on a computerThere are two ways to use WhatsApp on a computer - on a web browser using WhatsApp Web or on the desktop app, if you've installed it. Unfortunately, you can only make video calls using the desktop app version of WhatsApp, not the website version.1. If you haven't already installed the desktop app, install the WhatsApp Desktop for Windows or Mac.2. After you install the app, link WhatsApp on your phone to the desktop. To do that, tap the QR code icon at the top-right of the mobile app. Then tap Scan and point your phone's camera at the QR code on the desktop app. Finally, tap Link a Device to complete the connection. You'll need to scan the QR code on the desktop app with the WhatsApp app on your mobile device to use the desktop version. Dave Johnson 3. Open the chat you want to video call and then click the Video call button, shaped like a video camera. Note: You can only video call individuals on desktop, so you can't start or join a group chat using the desktop app. Can you multitask on a WhatsApp video call? WhatsApp doesn't limit you to your call when you are in a video chat. Instead, you can multitask while in a WhatsApp call. Here's what you can do:Minimize the video window. When in a WhatsApp call, tap the back button (on Android, it's the downward-facing arrow at the top-left, while it's the left-facing button on iOS). The video call will continue, but the video will be minimized into a small picture-in-picture video window in the corner of the screen. Move the video window around. After you minimize the video window, you can drag it around anywhere along the edge of either side of the screen. Do something else in WhatsApp. If you like, you can open other WhatsApp tabs. You can have a text chat while video calling, for example. Use a different app on your phone. You can start another app and continue to have a video chat in a small window. Return to a full screen video chat. To make the video go full-screen again (and get the controls to end the call) just tap the video window. What is WhatsApp? A guide to navigating the free internet-based communication platform20 of the best WhatsApp tips and tricks for getting the most out of the popular messaging appHow to know if someone has blocked you on WhatsAppHow to find someone on WhatsApp using your iPhone or AndroidRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

Ken Griffin Says Chicago Violence Like "Afghanistan On A Good Day", Claims Crypto Is "Jihadist" Attack On The Dollar

Ken Griffin Says Chicago Violence Like "Afghanistan On A Good Day", Claims Crypto Is "Jihadist" Attack On The Dollar Move over Jamie Dimon. There's another American billionaire financier who appears to be quietly launching a post-business political career. Or at the very least, one could be forgiven for believing Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin's appearance Monday at the Chicago Club of Economics was one long stump speech. Griffin's hour-plus dialogue, which received extensive coverage from the financial press, comes at an interesting time. On the Internet, "conspiracy theorists" (according to Citadel) have continued to raise questions about possible collusion (or other wrongdoings) between Citadel and Robinhood (and one Robinhood exec in particular) before RH pulled the plug on January's meme stonk mania. Meanwhile, over at the SEC, Gary Gensler has said he's looking into regulating - or possibly eliminating or greatly restricting - the practice of 'Payment for Order Flow", whereby electronic retail brokerages like Robinhood sell their customers' orders to Citadel and other market makers (but primarily Citadel). Griffin spoke with Bloomberg's Erik Schatzker about a seemingly endless list of topics, offering imminently quotable lines and thoughtful takes on everything from crypto, to political corruption in Illinois and Chicago's slow decline into anarchy, President Biden's policies, the prospect of another Trump presidency, PFOF, crypto, and of course COVID. The dialogue started with a question on vaccination rates and meandered on from there. Here's a breakdown of what Griffin said by topic. COVID When it comes to containing COVID, Griffin believes that the US's battle against the virus was lost right at the beginning. "The country lost this battle in the first attack, when we weren’t willing to do what it took to shut down America, to truly contain Covid-19. And then to get back out of the seat, and we’ve all just paid a catastrophic price as a result." When it comes to vaccination rates, Griffin believes they have plateaued at an "unacceptably low level". The Fed According to Griffing "the Fed's in a really tough box." The Fed is in "no man's land", Griffin says, and as far as being its chairman, "it is a job I would not be so grateful to have". He also noted that inflationary pressures in the US are "really unsettling." What to do? "If i were Chairman Powell, i stay the course that I'm on as unnerving as that is. to see inflation running this hot is really unsettling." It was at this point that Griffin said something really interesting about the Fed and it's credibility. It's not often that you hear the people who actually run our financial system speak frankly about how it really works. But Griffin essentially said 'the quiet part out loud' when the discussion turned to the Fed's credibility, which we have argued time and again is already in tatters - especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. "And let's be clear right now we don't have price stability. Inflation is at 5% is the highest number people here have seen in their lifetimes," Griffin said. He added that the Fed's position that these pressures are "transitory" is really just "a big bet". But regardless of the course of inflation in the future, Griffin said that the more pressing issue is protecting the Fed from being tainted by the same ugly politics that afflict Capitol Hill. The whole point of a central bank is it's supposed to be independent from politics. Whether this is actually true or not, it's the appearance of neutrality that's necessary to maintain global confidence in the dollar. "We need to maintain the belief in the separation of the Fed from the halls of Washington for the sake of a strong dollar. If you're part of the financial community...you need to push back on that". Fiscal Stimulus Griffin slammed the post-COVID stimulus for being to expansive, and claimed all those benefits are still "disincentivizing lower-wage workers". China The first question Griffin was asked about China was whether he still opposes a "decoupling" between China and the US. According to Griffin, this "decoupling" is already happening. "I think in important ways we have already decoupled." But on a day where Biden's Trade Rep Katherine Tai essentially plagiarized President Trump's tough-on-China economic policies during a major speech, Griffin insisted that there will be drawbacks to what the US is doing - including limiting access to semiconductors and software, which has further motivated Beijing to develop their own. "By restricting Chinese access to semiconductors and American software we have pushed them into a national campaign to eliminate their dependence on the west...imagine a world where there are two totally independent software stacks." When it comes to the technology arms race, Griffin warned, the US is bound to lose. "They graduate about twice as many graduates as we do half of them have stem degrees. They're producing about 5x more talented engineers per annum. The belief that we will be technologically dominant...is naive." Once China surpasses American tech, "not only will they use it in the biggest market in the world which is their own market...but they'll push it to all their trading partners, the Brazils of the world..." Ultimately, "I can imagine a world where we have been divided...and I don't like thinking about that outcome. I can picture a world in 30 to 40 years where, in some sense we have divided the world up between east to west technologically,” Griffin said. TSMC Could Beijing's lust for better semis technology accelerate their takeover of Taiwan? The tiny rogue territory has somehow emerged as a global leader in chip technology and production thanks to TSMC. "They don't have the entire solution, they still buy equipment from around the world, but talk about a powerhouse...and going back to my point earlier, China views Taiwan as part of China, there's no way they will be technologically important against American in the next 20 years. They will get there eventually." The Rust Belt That's not to say there haven't been drawbacks to the US engagement with Beijing, and according to Griffin is the fact that China's advances in manufacturing and the state support allowing their companies to be more competitive helped contribute to the hollowing out of thousands of American factory towns. In retrospect, this was a necessary sacrifice to entice the Chinese to embrace first capitalism, and then democracy. But increasingly it looks like the CCP has no intention to ever loosen its monopoly on power, meaning all those sacrifices were for nothing. "To have the most populous country in the world becoming increasingly capitalistic our belief was that them becoming capitalist would inevitably lead to them becoming a democracy. when we wrote the rules of rht road for them, we did it with the objective of making that happen." "The challenge that we underestimated is how devastating this was going to be for small towns that had its only factory shut down. It wasn't how it was going to impact NYC, Chicago or LA but how it was going to impact a small town in upstate New York. That was a terrible policy miscalculation not done in bad faith...but we didn't have the trainin or relocation strategies to help people get back on their feet." Competition Griffin believes America is facing an identity crisis, and needs to get back to its "core values." And a big part of that is embracing "competition". Enough of this 'everybody gets a trophy' bs. "We need to get back to our core values if we're going to win. What does that mean? Children need to be taught the virtue of earned success. It can't be that every time a race is won, there's two gold medal winners. and earned success is so important to the psychological success of our country. When people know they've done a job well..." there's a sense of pride. The reason why 1 in 10 Americans is severely depressed is that "when life revolves around your instagram and facebook account not how well you do on the sports field, how well you do in class...you've lost your way in life." "We need to teach our children math and science and how to write and how to compete and how to enjoy success....because we need these children to lead this country in 20 years." Griffin also complained that the scientists who developed the COVID jabs weren't properly venereated. "Why haven't we brought the scientists from Pfizer and Moderna to the White House to recognize them for the accomplishment of developing a vaccine in a year. These people are the heroes of our lifetime..." "There are no people who are children are looking up to to say 'I wanna be like her'" Griffin said. Teachers Unions One of the biggest causes of the decay in the quality of public education, according to Griffin, are the teachers unions. He relayed how former Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel went to bat for the schools against the unions...and lost. That's why Chicago has one of the shortest school years, and shortest school days, in the country. "Our mayor went to bat to change that and got batted over the head by the teacher's union," he said. Biden Agenda Moving on to the subject of Biden's economic agenda, which is presently the subject of a Democratic civil war in Washington, Griffin said there was plenty in the bill he liked, but also plenty he opposed, starting with the price tag. "Let's just say thank God for Sen. Manchin," Griffin said. Debt Ceiling Griffin believes the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling lies with the Dems...whether or not that means falling back on reconciliation to bypass a GOP filibuster, or not. "We've played this game of chicken before...I hope somebody blinks before they go over the cliff. I do believe the Democrats have a responsibility....to push this forward." Payment for Order Flow Finally, the big one. Are hidden costs imposed by Citadel and other market makers via payment for order flow (PFOF) helping to line Griffin's pockets at the expense of retail traders? Of course not, he insisted. In fact, if you took away PFOF, Citadel would be just fine..."from the 100,000 feet view" at least, Griffin said. Even though the practice has been a major driver of profits at his firm, Griffin tried to frame PFOF as a nuisance cost, suggesting he would rather not have to "pay" for order flow at all. "Let us hope that we maintain the status quo. brokerage firms have a duty to secure the best price for their customers. That's the premise on which we compete that's the premise on which we win." Ultimately, losing PFoF would be "a huge loss" for traders who enjoy the lowest commissions in history right now (nothing), Griffin claimed, while adding that "let us hope that in Washington, they maintain the status quo." Ken Griffin discusses PFOF (1/2)#BanPFOF #KenGriffinLied pic.twitter.com/nprGSAzT1M — Antonio Martinez (@AntonioTheMexi) October 4, 2021 Ken Griffin discusses PFOF (2/2)#BanPFOF #KenGriffinLied pic.twitter.com/PwnVVNuex5 — Antonio Martinez (@AntonioTheMexi) October 4, 2021 Whatever the SEC decides regarding PFoF, "all i want to know are the rules of the road...If i have to drive on the left I'll drive on the left...just tell me to drive." Crypto While Griffin is certainly amused by crypto, he wishes all this energy could be channeled toward something that doesn't also inadvertently undermine the American financial system. Instead, Griffin sees crypto-mania as a "jihadist call"... Griffin Sees Crypto-Mania as ‘Jihadist Call’ Against the Dollar A mania which your Robinhood subsidiary is eagerly fanning... — zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 4, 2021 ...to attack and undermine the dollar. "I wish all this passion directed at crypto was redirected at making American stronger," adding that backing bitcoin over the dollar was a "Jihadist call". He also made a crack about how terribly energy inefficient bitcoin is, repeating a longstanding criticism. While he certainly has ethical objections to crypto, Griffin says he would absolutely let Citadel to get involved in the market if it's ever regulated. "If it were regulated, I would trade it because..it would be good to have a Tier 1 firm making prices." Chicago Griffin saved most of his anger for Gov. Pritzker and other Illinois elected officials. He started with a story of a conversation between him and Pritzker where Griffin claimed the governor refused to send in the National Guard to quell violence in the city because of the political optics. Since the last time Griffin spoke at the Economic Club in 2013, the City has gotten even worse. "Since the last time I spoke in 2013, 25,000 of my fellow Chicagoans have been shot. It is a disgrace that our governor will not insert himself into the challenge of addressing crime in our city. It won't look good to have men and women on corners on Michigan Avenue with assault weapons...well, if it would save the life of one child, I don't care. We need to try and start to take the state back inch by inch from people who put their politics first and the people second." On the subject of police, Griffin said: "We need our police officers to know that they are respected and welcomed as Americans." In fact, Griffin says Citadel has already started to dial back its presence in Chicago because of the safety issue before sharing an amusing crack about Chicago being more dangerous than Afghanistan. "We aren't as much in Chicago. It's becoming ever more difficult to have this as our global headquarters, a city that has so much violence. I mean Chicago is like Afghanistan on a good day. They tried to car jack the security detail that sits outside my apartment. It just shows you how deep crime runs in this city. There is nowhere you can feel safe walking home at 2130 at night. And it's really hard to recruit people to Chicago. When they read the headlines, theey know the facts. 20 years ago, this was a great place to raise a family...I could say that and be genuine...I can't give that speech today." As for New York City, Griffin warned that many of the same things he has seen in Chicago are starting to take place in New York City. Griffin added that Citadel's next big expansion will be office space in Miami, and that the company's time of remaining headquarter in Chicago will be measured in "years not decades". The Sun Belt Moving on from the Chicago discussion, Griffin believes that across the US, coastal blue states with high taxes will start to lose their economic edge to the Sun Belt, which has more business-friendly regulations. "Conditions are Better across the sun belt states, less regulation less taxes a workforce that's generally of the ethos of 'I'm here to earn it'. Northern cities still have a considerable advantage...those schools anchor our great northern cities. the south doesn't have that yet writ large. But as universities in the south continue to get better, you're going to see the balance of power shift from the north to the south as the ease of doing business in the south trumps the ease of hiring top employees in the north." Trump Finally, the big one. When it comes to President Trump, Griffin admits his economic policies were "pretty damn good." However, when asked about the prospect of another campaign in 2020, he said that "it's time for America to move on. The 4 years under president trump were so divisive it was not constructive for the country." He also said he was "appalled" by Trump's willingness to play identity politics. * * * Griffin's speech before the Chicago Club  the first major public appearance by Griffin since the "GameStopped" hearings back in Feb. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 17:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

Avoid AMC Entertainment; Metaverse Real Estate Selling Like Hotcakes

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors suggesting to avoid AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC); investors snap up metaverse real estate in a virtual land boom; Scott Galloway: Inflated. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Avoid AMC Entertainment 1) The 25 stocks in my “Short Squeeze Bubble Basket” that I identified in my January 27 […] Whitney Tilson’s email to investors suggesting to avoid AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc (NYSE:AMC); investors snap up metaverse real estate in a virtual land boom; Scott Galloway: Inflated. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Avoid AMC Entertainment 1) The 25 stocks in my "Short Squeeze Bubble Basket" that I identified in my January 27 e-mail have declined by an average of 34%, while the S&P 500 Index has risen by 22% – 56 points of underperformance. However, one notable exception is the largest movie theater operator in the world, AMC Entertainment (AMC), which is up 52% since then. So am I throwing in the towel and admitting a mistake? Heck no! This article is a good summary of why AMC continues to be among my least favorite stocks: Movie theaters must 'urgently' rethink the experience, a study says. Excerpt: About 49% of pre-pandemic moviegoers are no longer buying tickets. Some of them, roughly 8%, have likely been lost forever. To win back the rest, multiplex owners must "urgently" rethink pricing and customer perks in addition to focusing on coronavirus safety. Those were some of the takeaways from a new study on the state of the American movie theater business, which was troubled before the pandemic – attendance declining, streaming services proliferating – and has struggled to rebound from coronavirus-forced closings in 2020. Over the weekend, ticket sales in the United States and Canada stood at roughly $96 million, compared to $181 million over the same period in 2019. I, for one, have yet to return to a movie theater, even as pretty much every other aspect of my life has gone back to normal (sporting events, Broadway shows, etc.). I was actually planning to see the new movie about Venus and Serena Williams' father, King Richard, but then saw it was released simultaneously on HBO Max, so my wife and I just watched it at home (and loved it). This new development is very bad news for AMC... Investors Snap Up Metaverse Real Estate 2) I'm no longer in the short-selling business (thank goodness!), but if I were, I'd feel perfectly comfortable shorting AMC, especially now that it's already been pumped to the moon by the Reddit speculators and subsequently crashed (it's down nearly 60% from its all-time high on June 2). While, as we've seen, it could trade anywhere in the short term. At the end of the day, its stock will ultimately be valued on the performance of the underlying business, which I believe will be dreadful relative to the expectations built into its current $15 billion market cap and $24 billion enterprise value. I don't even think the company is worth $9 billion in net debt, meaning the stock will eventually be worthless. But as an old-school value guy, I take zero comfort in evaluating things like cryptocurrencies, non-fungible tokens ("NFTs"), and the latest craze, buying real estate in the metaverse. I'm not making this up – here are two recent in-depth articles about it in the Wall Street Journal and New York Times, respectively: a) Metaverse Real Estate Piles Up Record Sales in Sandbox and Other Virtual Realms. Excerpt: The latest hot real estate market isn't on the scenic coasts or in balmy Sunbelt cities. It's in the metaverse, where gamers are flocking, and digital property sales are setting new records. A growing number of investment firms are acquiring digital land in worlds such as the Sandbox and Decentraland, where players simulate real-life pursuits, from shopping to attending a concert. They are betting that individuals and companies will spend money to use virtual homes and retail space and that the value of properties will increase as more people join the worlds. b) Investors Snap Up Metaverse Real Estate in a Virtual Land Boom. Excerpt: Investors were watching, too. Preparing for a digital land boom that appears just months away, they are snapping up concert venues, shopping malls, and other properties in the metaverse. Interest in this digital universe skyrocketed last month when Mark Zuckerberg announced that Facebook would be known as Meta, an effort to capitalize on the digital frontier. The global market for goods and services in the metaverse will soon be worth $1 trillion, according to the digital currency investor Grayscale. My knee-jerk, old-school-value-guy reaction is that this is an obvious and ridiculous bubble, but I've been humbled too many times to have any conviction in that judgment. So I'm just going to defer to my colleagues Enrique Abeyta and Gabe Marshank, who have already done a deep dive into the metaverse. In fact, they recommended one of the leading companies in the space, Roblox Corp (NYSE:RBLX), to their Empire Elite Growth subscribers in September, and it's already up 38%. (Click here for a free trial to Empire Elite Growth.) Scott Galloway On Inflation 3) Run, don't walk, to read NYU professor Scott Galloway's latest column, Inflated. It's the essay of the year, I think. It should be required reading for everyone interested in our higher education system, starting with college administrators. Excerpts: In 1980 a gallon of gasoline cost $1.19. Today it's $3.41, a 2.7% annual increase. But undergraduate tuition has risen nearly 3 times as fast: 6.7% a year at public colleges, for an increase of nearly 1,400%. The greatest assault on middle-class America's prosperity may be the relentless, four-decade-long inflation in higher education. Student loan debt ($1.7 trillion) is now greater than credit card debt. And that doesn't account for the busted 401(k)s, second mortgages, and general financial oppression [that] me and my colleagues have levied on lower- and middle-income households. The number of Americans who have more than $100,000 in student debt is greater than the population of Utah. This sustained inflation has been devastating for lower- and middle-income households. Higher education's ability to soak America is a function of limiting the supply of freshman seats at our best universities in concert with the continued fetishization of their brands. We can scale Salesforce (NYSE:CRM), Facebook (NASDAQ:AAPL), and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL) by 25% to 60% per annum, but we can't seem to bust above 1% per year at our great public universities. The top 200 schools in America educate only 10% of college attendees. And these universities raise prices in perfect lockstep, miraculously, resulting in millions of kids who get arbitraged to mediocre universities but pay an elite price. It's a cartel enforced by the accreditation organizations, institutions who are as corrupt as the NCAA... minus the charm. Acceptance rates have plummeted, turning senior spring from a time of optimism and opportunity to one of anguish and sacrifice. Kids are still getting into college (total enrollment has kept pace with the growth in graduating seniors), but more and more are shuffled down to lower-tier schools that charge a top-tier price for a credential worth far less. College deans boast about low admissions rates. But if you accept five of every 100 applications, that's not a 5% admission rate. It's a 95% rejection rate. This is un-American. Rejectionism is cloaked in progressive policies. It's true that the student body at these institutions is more diverse than it was 40 years ago. And that's great. But it's not an excuse for maintaining a rejectionist posture. The mission is to expand opportunity, not reallocate elites. Bigotry is prejudice against a person or people on the basis of their membership in a particular group. Haven't we in higher education become bigoted against unremarkable kids from lower- and middle-income households? I love his personal story at the end – it was a similar story for my mom, the daughter of a Seattle fireman, who graduated from the University of Washington in 1962: The best things in my life – kids who made the head's list this semester, a supportive mate, and financial security that (generally) enables me to do whatever I want, whenever I want – are a function of one thing: 74. Specifically, in the 80s, UCLA had an acceptance rate of 74%. I (no joke) had to apply twice. I was the first person on either side of my family to graduate from high school, much less get to attend amazing institutions for undergraduate and graduate degrees. The cost? $7,000 (total) in tuition for a BA and an MBA. In addition, I was presented this opportunity as a function of being good, not great... much less remarkable. Higher ed catalyzed an upward spiral of prosperity for me and my family that's been good for the commonwealth – we love America and are good citizens. Today the acceptance rate at UCLA is 12%. Since I graduated, the number of graduating high school seniors in California has grown nearly twice as fast as the number of undergraduate seats at UCLA. To its credit, the UC system has announced plans to add 20,000 more seats to the system by 2030. At night, alone with the dogs, I hear voices. (No shit.) Not strange voices like the dogs telling me to head to Kroger's in my underwear. But the voices of millions of kids who have one question: "Boss, you got yours, where is mine? When do I get my shot?" America is not about making the children of rich people and the remarkable billionaires but giving everyone a shot at being a millionaire and/or making a contribution. American higher ed has become un-American. We need to fall back in love with the unremarkables and return to America. Best regards, Whitney P.S. I welcome your feedback at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com. Updated on Dec 3, 2021, 3:13 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalk18 hr. 7 min. ago

Labor Shortages And Inflation Are Affecting Everyone – But In Different Ways Than You May Think

It’s no secret that jobs have been hard to fill and that an employee shortage is having a significant impact on the economy. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted public health and created economic disorder on a global scale. Because of this, businesses worldwide are experiencing supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, while consumers are […] It’s no secret that jobs have been hard to fill and that an employee shortage is having a significant impact on the economy. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted public health and created economic disorder on a global scale. Because of this, businesses worldwide are experiencing supply chain disruptions and labor shortages, while consumers are dealing with the aftermath of inflation. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more There are 8.6 million potential employable workers and 10 million job openings in the U.S. today, reflecting the strong decrease in workforce participation that contributes to the ongoing supply chain disruptions impacting many industries, including suppliers, distributors, and consumers, with the most significant impact on consumers and the economic growth. For example, American Airlines canceled more than 460 flights earlier in November due to staffing shortages that led to travel disruptions for tens of thousands of people. Unfortunately, the labor shortages and supply chain issues also impact inflation and will only worsen before it gets better. These labor shortages and supply chain disruptions have created a destructive cyclical effect. Fewer employees result in fewer goods produced. As fewer goods are available with higher demand, prices rise, which has caused inflation to hit a 31-year high with no signs of abating anytime soon. While it's easy to think that these realities impact everyone similarly, some companies persevere through these times, and consumers notice. At the same time, many other companies struggle to adapt, and the volume of social and media activity around these issues demonstrates consumer frustrations. So, which companies are performing well, and which aren't? And how can you quantify the difference? Using AI And NLP To Analyze Data And Calculate Sentiment Using artificial intelligence (AI) and natural language processing (NLP), financial services firms can quickly pull data from several sources, like news, social media reports, financial reports, and third-party data providers. AI and NLP can analyze the information gathered from these sources and rank the sentiment of the data with either a negative, neutral or positive sentiment score. At Accern, we’ve created a no-code AI platform that allows financial organizations to extract sentiment and insights from textual data for better risk and investment decisions. We recently analyzed the impact of labor shortages and inflation on companies and consumers. After gathering data on the companies most impacted, we analyzed the human emotion behind the news and issued a sentiment score for each piece of information pulled. Insights On Labor Shortages There are a few companies experiencing outsized negative sentiment among consumers, including Yum! Brands, Spirit Airlines, American Airlines, Ulta Beauty, Foot Locker, and Delta Airlines, to name a few. The most significant issues impacting these companies include airline labor shortages, food shortages, truck driver shortages, and supply chain disruptions. Additionally, restaurant employees and drivers are speaking out against low wages and harsh working conditions. To put things in perspective, roughly half of the news activity around these companies embodies a negative sentiment. Considering the lack of truck drivers, more drivers are voicing negative points of view around uncomfortable working conditions and resigning as shown in the snippets pulled from the dashboard above. The shortage of drivers has created a rift within the global economy and exacerbated the supply chain crisis as stores do not receive their goods in time to fill the empty shelves and meet shoppers' demands. Especially with holiday shopping, panicked consumers are experiencing the impact of the supply chain disruption and labor shortages. Stores like Ulta and Foot Locker, which have not fully adapted to the supply chain problems, are not only reporting lower earnings but are dealing with negative sentiment from the media, investors, and consumers. Although Ulta and Foot Locker expected higher growth once physical stores reopened, investors were disappointed to see the earnings for each store drop. As consumers have stuck to the pandemic habits of online shopping, they now look for convenience and digital experiences more than ever. Although Ulta and Foot Locker are doing their best to ensure that these digital experiences are available to consumers as fast as possible, there is still a long way to go. Conversely, companies like Anheuser Busch, Pepsi, Coca-Cola, and JetBlue are seeing outsized positive attention despite the same labor shortages and supply chain disruption trends. The difference lies in increasing employee benefits and providing better digital experiences to consumers, leading to higher earnings reports. For example, PepsiCo’s response to the supply chain crisis was to digitize the supply chain and invest in technological innovation at scale to ensure that consumers all across the globe receive their products. Pepsi's response has generated positive sentiment from the news and consumers around the world. Consumers are happiest when brands meet their demands, act ethically, and innovate their services and products. Innovation is critical in keeping consumers interested in products as it shows that companies are adapting to new technologies to meet their consumers' needs. Insights On Inflation The supply chain and labor shortage crises are driving inflation. In the most recent CPI report, inflation came in at 6.2 percent, marking the highest increase in over 30 years. But companies that have navigated well around supply chain disruptions and labor shortages have also proven their ability to minimize the impact of inflation. Our recent analysis shows that companies like Discover, Peloton, Nike, and Capital One are receiving negative sentiment from consumers, while JB Hunt, American Express, Starbucks, and Costco are not drawing the ire of their customers. Nike is one company that has used digital acceleration to adapt during the pandemic and saw consumer demand rise as profits rose 16 percent in the last year. Despite its revenue growth, supply chain issues also inflate cotton prices and disrupt the flow of products to stores. As a result, Nike announced that it anticipates increasing prices in the second half of 2022 to offset supply chain-related costs. Contrarily, Costco is navigating higher labor and freight costs, transportation demand, and container shortages. Still, they manage to keep their prices low and membership fees the same while meeting the needs of consumers. Additionally, Costco acquired a logistic network to enable the company to deliver large items within days instead of weeks and has gone digital with e-commerce platforms like Instacart. These AI-generated insights demonstrate how certain companies are effectively navigating the most prominent issues affecting our economy today. Accern's AI and NLP analysis reveals that companies proactively innovating their products and services can meet consumers' demands without significantly cutting employee salaries or raising costs. These companies are the ones that are also driving positive sentiment from the media and consumers. With the amount of structured and unstructured data available today, AI and NLP are crucial in understanding the relative health of companies and how different players in the economy are handling challenges – and staying afloat. Article By Kumesh Aroomoogan, co-founder and CEO, Accern About Kumesh Aroomoogan Kumesh Aroomoogan is the co-founder and CEO of Accern, a New York-based, venture-backed AI startup. Founded in 2014, Accern accelerates AI workflows for financial enterprises with a no-code development platform and has raised $16m to date. In 2018 Kumesh was named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Enterprise Technology list. Previously, he was the co-founder and CEO of BrandingScholars, an advertising agency, a General Accountant at the Ford Foundation, an Executive Board Member, Chairman of Public Relations at ALPFA, Equity Researcher at Citigroup, and a Financial Analyst at SIFMA. Updated on Dec 3, 2021, 3:34 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalk18 hr. 7 min. ago

Leapfrogging Legacy Banking To A Bitcoin Standard

Leapfrogging Legacy Banking To A Bitcoin Standard Authored by Mitch Klee via BitcoinMagazine.com, How looking at the history of technological adoption can give us insights into where Bitcoin could be embraced the fastest... INTRO Throughout time, technology has proven to change our lives by leveraging efficiencies in energy. New ways in how we hunt have saved time and energy for innovation and to live more intentionally. Currently, Bitcoin presents an immense opportunity to change the lives of those who are burdened by old forms of manipulated money and preserve their time and energy. It is the first self-sovereign, programmable money that is proving to destroy expectations of every “expert” imaginable. At the intersection of money and technology, Bitcoin's network effect is spreading like a mind virus to all corners of the globe. This is not a coincidence but the manifestation of a zero to one moment; a radical new technology that will change nearly everything it touches. This article explores the idea that some regions and nations have a higher susceptibility to adoption in new monetary networks. Specifically, I will outline how the unbanked populations of emerging countries can leapfrog legacy systems, straight into a new monetary standard. But first, let's lay the groundwork for understanding how this can happen with some concepts. DEMOCRATIZATION OF TECHNOLOGY To understand leapfrogging, let’s first look into something that naturally happens when humans produce technology: the democratization of technology. As we make technology, the cost reduces, while the ease of production increases. Our tools get better, people’s skills improve, securing the material for production gets easier, logistics improve, and everything is less costly as humans continue increasing the output/yield over time. Simply put, cost goes down, while production goes up. Figure 1. A great example is the printing press. Before this innovation, each book had to be typed out or written one by one and distributed almost by osmosis. This means books were more expensive and were only in the hands of the few. After the printing press, people were able to automate a portion of the process by creating blueprints of the books. This cut down labor costs, and there was a huge explosion in printed material. This may have put people out of work; but it also introduced better dissemination of information to a wider group of people and new opportunities to produce more books for less cost and effort. Another example is photography. Historically, taking photos on film took hours to produce in a dark room. The film had to be brought to a local expert and it would take several days to get back the finished product. Smartphones and photoshop technology made this essentially free. It was then possible to download an app or use the built-in app on smartphones, take pictures, and immediately process them. Democratization of technology has been happening across every single aspect of human society since the beginning of time. Humans create tools to make it easier and cheaper to survive. Each tool becomes better, we then expand and evolve with less energy improving the quality of life. Fast-forward to the internet age. Emerging countries are just now tapping into the power of the internet. Although there are many factors underlying the reasons for expansion, one thing that is known is that technology builds on itself, making each successive technology easier to produce. Not only is there growth, but there is exponential growth. Certain times throughout history, technology has made such a large leap forward that it allows extremely poor countries to skip the legacy technology and quickly adopt the new one. This is called leapfrogging. LEAPFROGGING EXPLAINED Leapfrogging is when the cost to produce one technology is too great for a population, so when a new, drastically cheaper technology is created it’s quickly adopted and the old tech is skipped. This is the coexistence and benefit of separate populations within society. Let's look at the mobile phone revolution as a way to explain leapfrogging. Some societies did not have the wealth or infrastructure to adopt landlines and phone communication when it was brand new, but when the mobile phone was introduced, this gave mostly everyone around the world the ability to opt-in. Figure 2. Landlines in the U.S., 1900–2019. Figure 2 shows the number of landlines in the U.S. population from the 1900s to 2019. Throughout the entirety of the 20th century, the landline was being adopted in the U.S. Consequently it only took a decade to dethrone this old technology. The decline started when the benefit of cell phones outweighed the cost compared to landlines. This is where democratization hit the tipping point and we saw a huge jump from one technology to the next. Now it’s extremely cheap to use technology that is 100 times or even 1,000 times more advanced than the previous. Mobile phones usurped landlines because they were more affordable, easier to use and more mobile. Figure 2 shows how quickly a society can adopt a technology that has significantly more benefits than the previous, even in an advanced society. A similar thing is happening with television and the internet. Netflix came out and disrupted how people consume media on the television. As more platforms emerged, and people realized they could pay a fraction of the cost for a Netflix subscription rather than $100 for cable and a bunch of commercials, the switch was easy. Legacy systems were bogged down by all of the brick-and-mortar stores and overhead costs. They could not compete and pivot quickly enough, so they lost their seat at the table. Figure 3. Number of telephone subscriptions in the U.S. versus worldwide. When comparing fixed telephone subscriptions to other countries, the U.S. was way ahead of most. Many factors were contributing to this. Wealth played a huge part, but much of it was the production and first movers’ advantage. The U.S. was the first country to set up telephone lines from Boston to Somerville Massachusetts and expanded from there. Other countries did not have this opportunity, so they were laggards in the technology simply by default. It also made it easy to have a grid to run on top of, being a technologically advanced country with a power grid. Because it was so resource-heavy to set up this grid, this took over 30 years to build up the infrastructure. Figure 4. Landline subscriptions compared to GDP per capita, 2019. One of the main reasons why it was so hard to increase telephone subscriptions in other countries is because of the initial cost. You can’t just tap into a telephone line, there needs to be a large grid, infrastructure and companies/governments willing to build out this grid. Figure 4 shows that there is a rough line at a GDP per capita of $5,000 to get off zero and start communicating via landline. As the GDP per capita grows in a country, it is more likely they adopt fixed landlines. This is a huge barrier to entry as they try and compete to be a part of the 21st century. With telephones, it brings an easier flow of information across long distances quickly. These are important technologies that helped first-world countries advance quicker than their counterparts. This technology could mean the difference between surviving and thriving in the modern era. Figure 5. Mobile phone subscriptions versus GDP per capita, 2019. Things get much different when you start looking at mobile phones in Figure 5. To have a mobile phone is drastically cheaper than having a landline, all costs considered. Before, you needed the infrastructure and everything that came with installing a landline phone. But with mobile phones, even at a GDP per capita of less than $1,000, you get ~50% penetration of adoption within the population. All of the countries that were left out of communication with landlines, now have leapfrogged the old technology, right into a new standard of mobile phones. People benefit, businesses benefit and countries benefit immensely from these technologies. With mobile communication, people have higher leverage over their energy output. Businesses and life in general are more efficient, in turn creating a higher GDP for the country. It is a feedback loop that is good for all of humanity. When one group of people creates new technology, everyone benefits at one point or another. FROM LANDLINES TO MOBILE PHONES TO INTERNET-CONNECTED SMARTPHONES Not only are poorer countries leapfrogging into mobile phone communication, but they are, in turn, jumping right into the internet age. On top of that, (Android) smartphone costs are dropping significantly every year, with the average cost down by 50% from 2008 to 2016. With the growing ability to connect with the rest of the world comes more opportunities to learn and grow with the rest of the world. An incredible amount of information is available on the internet, and the benefit of being on the network is immeasurable. Figure 6. Mobile versus landline subscriptions, worldwide, 1960–2019. When comparing the numbers of mobile phone users to the numbers of landlines, you get a huge disparity in the pace at which they were adopted. Fixed landlines were around for almost 50 years before they started to see some real competition. Thinking back to our Figure 5, this makes sense, because the cost to build infrastructure is drastically higher than that of mobile phones. The opportunity a landline brought to civilization was immense, but the cost-effective mobility of cell phones transcends previous communication technology by a longshot. As of September 2021, the world’s population was ~7.89 billion people. Of that, there are 10.5 billion cell phones with network connections. That is 2.52 billion more activated phones than there are people. This becomes thought-provoking when adoption data starts to reveal where mobile phones are headed next. As people adopt mobile phones, smartphones are becoming cheaper and more abundant. The cost of production for smartphones is less and less each year, and soon there will be little reason to have a cell phone without internet connection because the cost difference will be so minuscule. Smartphone abundance is allowing people around the world to tap into the internet and it is estimated that “by 2025, 72% of all internet users will solely use smartphones to access the web.” Figure 7. Share of the population using the internet, 1990–2019. Currently, the world is in a transitionary period of communication. Not all of the world has access to the internet, only 65%, with an increasingly rapid pace of adoption. Because it is so inexpensive to get a mobile phone, and the benefits are immense, the world is being onboarded at an incredible rate. To answer the question “What is Leapfrogging?” we can look directly at mobile phones. But it’s not just one leapfrog, it’s more of a continuous onboarding to the digital revolution for the entire human population. Things are getting cheaper, and technology is moving exponentially forward, toward a more connected future. Soon, everyone will have access to the internet and will bring about new and exciting opportunities for the world to grow. With the high rate of adoption in communication technology, mobile phones swept across low-GDP countries allowing information to spread. Smartphones are a small hop away from mobile phones. With smartphones comes all sorts of opportunities not to mention the connection to the world's internet. In developing countries, the internet is starting to hit its hockey stick moment. Adoption continues to grow and as smartphones get cheaper, more people in the world have access to the internet, connecting them to their local and global economies and new innovations will come about in unforeseen ways. This begs the question, what monetary network will they use to transact in the digital age? It's taken years to get the legacy banking system up to speed. We’ve bootstrapped and “Frankensteined” many different ways to connect the internet to a centuries-old banking infrastructure, but these newly onboarded countries have the opportunity to skip that altogether. With no legacy banking infrastructure rooted within the nation, this leaves the door wide open for a new legacy. LEAPFROGGING ONTO A BITCOIN STANDARD It seems the stage is set for a paradigm shift. A perfect storm is brewing in populations that lack bank accounts and access to store their wealth. Coupling this with connection to the internet, and 21st-century e-commerce and monetary system, it is impossible for countries not to adopt it. Because bitcoin is a global asset with no intermediaries, its infrastructure is inherently global. Any improvements to the network, the entire world will benefit automatically without having to update the old tech. Unlike landlines, there is no infrastructure to build, and the barrier to entry is almost zero. You just opt in with a bit of hardware and an internet connection. As of 2017, according to the World Bank, there are 1.7 billion adults in the world without a basic transacting account. Most of these countries with higher rates of unbanked are poor, have high rates of inflation and lower currency stability, not to mention a disconnected state government ripe with problems. This is extremely common when looking at currencies in other low-GDP countries. So, what are some of the biggest factors in which people would want or need to adopt Bitcoin? If we can answer this question, then maybe we can quantify and pinpoint which countries have the biggest opportunity and most to gain from adopting a Bitcoin standard. Figure 8. World’s most unbanked countries (Source). Figure 8 shows the top-10 most unbanked countries as of February 2021. The Oxford dictionary defines “unbanked” as “not having access to the services of a bank or similar financial organization.” Much like building the infrastructure for landlines, it’s expensive to build banks and serve the local economy. Not to mention, many of the people living in these countries don't have the amount of money that would warrant the cost of owning a bank account. Some even share bank accounts with members of their families to save on costs. There is a huge opportunity to solve the problem of banking in low-GDP countries, but many of the digital banking companies around the world are constrained by regulation and geographical jurisdiction. It may be hard to grasp the importance of a bank account having never lived without one, but without a bank, citizens cannot secure funds safely. Without secure funds, the future is uncertain. This is where Bitcoin can solve some of the problems in these less developed and emerging countries. There are three specific ways in which these problems could be solved. 1. Bank the Unbanked Bitcoin gives everyone the ability to be their own bank with something as little as a cell phone. All that's needed is to be connected to the network and accept funds. The smartphone does all of this. It allows people to download a bitcoin wallet, connect to the internet and start transacting. There are many ways in which one can use this wallet. Coincidentally, the countries above who have low banking numbers within their population, also have mobile phones and high internet penetration. This is an open door from a technological standpoint, allowing people to opt into Bitcoin and secure their funds digitally. In addition to using the Bitcoin network to transact on your phone, you can also use it as a cold storage solution. Cold storage is similar to a savings account. This savings account or cold storage is disconnected from the internet, making it harder for people to steal your funds. With the old technology of banks, you would have to pay for this solution, but with Bitcoin, it's free, just download the software and/or buy a hardware wallet. There are some cold storage solutions where you can pay for a hardware device, but creating a phone wallet and securing your keys, gives the people an entry point and on-ramp to storing their wealth in a digital bank. 2. Securely Store Value Over Time The second opportunity is the store of value function. Many of the countries that have unbanked populations and poverty issues are a result of a currency problem. In my previous article, “Bitcoin As A Pressure Release Valve,” I wrote that certain countries have hyperinflated currencies with no option but to turn to the black market. Most of the time, these countries use the U.S. dollar to transact since it holds its value better relative to their currency. Strictly from a monetary standpoint, bitcoin is scarce. It is the most scarce form of money there is. There will only ever be 21 million bitcoin in existence and when the value rises, the production does not increase. This is called elasticity or the lack of elasticity in bitcoin’s case. Unlike fiat money, no government, central bank or agency can print more. And unlike gold, silver or any other commodity, when the demand rises, the amount that is mined stays the same. The first completely inelastic asset in existence is a result of preprogrammed architecture, with consensus in the network that’s default is to not change the protocol. People that live in countries where the money is known to be manipulated, understand Bitcoin almost immediately. When the idea of something that can't be manipulated is presented, the concept of scarcity and 21 million is understood. With the reality of incorruptible money, the current regime in power can't stuff their pockets without alienating the population through force. These people understand this idea because they have experienced it firsthand. When food prices rise faster than people can spend a weekly budget on groceries, it is immediately apparent the importance of a completely scarce, un-manipulatable asset. In developed countries with low levels of unbanked, people have ways of storing their wealth. They have a 401k and IRA, and most people own property. This is a way of storing value over time. It may not be completely efficient, but it is sufficient enough to escape some level of inflation. The alternative would be to keep your dollars in a savings account, and the real yield of that is negative and not a smart way to store money. These countries put money in financial devices, because it is the smart thing to do and it preserves time and energy. Unbanked countries have no way of storing long-term value. It is degraded and evaporated through manipulation and high levels of money printing. Emerging countries cannot store time and value into financial instruments. There is no Apple stock or S&P 500 to put money into. They are stuck with low levels of wealth that are stolen away on an ever-moving treadmill. There is no way of truly saving value or energy spent over time. For the first time, Bitcoin gives the world, particularly those in emerging countries, the ability to hold their value in a closed system that cannot be inflated. Much like the opportunity the mobile phone brought to change communication, bitcoin is the first “store of value'' that is available for low-GDP countries to buy and hold. It allows them to securely transfer their wealth over time, without fear of inflation or confiscation. Add on top of that, if they need to transfer wealth out of the country and flee an oppressive regime, bitcoin is the first asset that gives the ability to do so. Large amounts of gold cannot be taken on a plane or property and homes cannot be transferred to another country. Bitcoin gives people the freedom to do what they want with their earned value, without fear of a centralized power removing it. Bitcoin preserves the fundamental human right of property. 3. Connection to the Digital Economy The third problem Bitcoin solves is connecting and transacting digitally. Being a digitally native asset, bitcoin smooths the rails of commerce allowing low-GDP countries to join the 21st century of commerce. This is huge, and what cell phones did for communication, digital commerce will do the same. It immensely increases our ability to transact and exchange value. Bitcoin allows anyone, anywhere, to join a digital transacting network and exchange value natively over the internet, whether in person or without knowing them at all. Digital economies move at the speed of light, while old-school economies move at the speed of osmosis. This brings more time and efficiency for people on both ends of the transaction. Businesses spend less time on transactions, widen their addressable market, and start putting more time and effort into other things that can improve their work. It is the difference between transacting daily in cash and using a preprogrammed point of sales system. It is simply better. Not only does Bitcoin make things easier and frees up more time, but it is programmable money. Like the internet, Bitcoin can be built in layers. Each layer brings a new way to use it that widens the possibilities and use cases. What the internet did for communication, Bitcoin will do for money. Combining all three of these factors, you get a massive magnetic pull toward adoption of the new technology. It is hard to slow the movement of technological adoption and impossible to stop. Like throwing a match on a tinder-filled hillside, years of opportunity build up in countries that lack technology where innovation and adoption prepare to explode at the right moment. QUANTIFYING BITCOIN ADOPTION IN LOW-GDP COUNTRIES Figure 9. LocalBitcoins and Paxful Vietnamese dong (VND) combined volume in Vietnam (Source). Looking at every one of the top-10 countries from Figure 8, they all have meaningful adoption in Bitcoin and it is growing every week. Not only is Vietnam number two on the unbanked list, but it is also number one on the “Chainalysis 2021 Global Adoption Ranking.” In fact, looking at Figure 10 of adoption through LocalBitcoins and Paxful, USD volume shows that every one of the countries in the top-10 list of unbanked have meaningful adoption. Figure 10. LocalBitcoins and Paxful Vietnamese dong (VND) combined volume. What does this tell us about Bitcoin adoption in unbanked countries? It tells us that it's working. Continuing to see these trends improve will be good for Bitcoin adoption and not to mention the countries in which they are adopting it. All the ingredients are there. Most are unbanked with high internet access and an unreliable currency that isn't natively digital. All you need is time for the adoption to take hold. There are also some concerns that come up when thinking about Bitcoin adoption. Like, “How can they adopt bitcoin when it is so volatile?” Well, there are a few solutions to this problem. The first is that when a population has no choice, something as volatile as bitcoin could mean the difference between losing 30% or losing 90% over the span of one year. Keep in mind that bitcoin is already solving three of the major problems listed above, we are just remedying the problem of volatility. First, look at just bitcoin and its use cases today. For some countries, their currency is just as volatile if not more volatile than bitcoin. Not only that, but it is volatile to the downside, continuing to lose value as the government steals and prints away spent time and energy. If bitcoin were to be used, sure it might be volatile, but this volatility is either short lived, or it’s to the upside. Now look at bitcoin while using it for everyday transactions through Strike, as a more technical solution. This solution is currently available now in El Salvador as a test case and is starting to roll out to more and more countries. People use the Bitcoin and Lightning rails every single day but transact in USD, choosing to either save in bitcoin or not. This solution gives the best of both worlds. One, a population has the ability to transact short term in a currency that isn't volatile, like other emerging countries. Two, this gives access to the payment rails of Bitcoin and the ability to save in the most scarce asset in existence. Looking back historically, bitcoin has grown at a 200% compound annual growth rate and this has the opportunity to conserve and grow wealth immensely. For someone in a developing world, this is life changing. As this trend of adoption in underbanked countries continues, new and exciting ways where Bitcoin is used will emerge. For the first time in history, countries have the ability to store wealth in something that cannot be stolen. It gives the opportunity to transact freely without the permission of the state or government, and it allows people to break free from imposed serfdom. Bitcoin is here and it is only getting bigger. There is a change in the tides of time, and Bitcoin is a once-in-a-millennia technology that is pulling the shores. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 18:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021

5 Momentum Picks for December Amid Virus and Fed Uncertainty

We have narrowed our search to five large-cap momentum stocks that have strong upside left for the rest of 2021. These are WLK, DVN, CVX, CBRE and EXPD. U.S. stock markets along with the global bourses, have been suffering from extreme volatility since Black Friday. As we are in the last month of 2021, market participants have started anticipating how Wall Street will behave this December. Historically December is the best-performing month for Wall Street, although it has a history of negative ending.At this stage, it will be fruitful to invest in stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank that have showed strong momentum over the past month defying volatility. We have selected five such stocks. These are — Chevron Corp. CVX, Expeditors International of Washington Inc. EXPD, Westlake Chemical Corp. WLK, Devon Energy Corp. DVN and CBRE Group Inc. CBRE.December – Historically Favorable to Wall StreetU.S. stock markets have provided impressive returns so far in 2021. Barring September’s market turmoil, major indexes have done extremely well. In November, the Dow and S&P 500 tumbled, but that was due to severe volatility in the last three trading sessions of last month. The resurgence of a new variant of coronavirus  — Omicron — and the Fed’s likely shift to a relative hawkish monetary stance have unnerved investors.However, the fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain robust.  This is evident from the recently released economic data of November. CNBC reported citing a Bank of America finding that in December — the market’s benchmark the S&P 500 Index — has risen 2.3% on average since 1936 and ended on a positive note 79% of the time. Year to date, the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite — have rallied 13.2%, 21.9% and 19.3%, respectively.Near-Term PositivesAs of now, we have very little data available on the Omicron. Globally doctors and medical scientists are divided in opinion regarding the new variant of coronavirus. Upon analyzing the little data available, analyzing doctors think that Omicron is more transmissible but less severe than the earlier variants. Patients detected with Omicron have so far shown mild effect of coronavirus.On Nov 30, in his testimony before a Senate committee, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said that the central bank will discuss speeding up the tapering process of its monthly bond-buy program in the upcoming FOMS meeting scheduled from Dec 14-15. Current inflation is no longer transitory to Fed.Powell said “At this point, the economy is very strong and inflationary pressures are higher, and it is therefore appropriate in my view to consider wrapping up the taper of our asset purchases, which we actually announced at the November meeting, perhaps a few months sooner.”This means that the Fed strongly believes that the fundamentals of the U.S. economy are robust. Both consumer spending and business spending remain strong despite mounting inflation and supply-chain disruptions. Manufacturing and services PMIs have stayed elevated. The struggling labor market is showing a systematic recovery.Moreover, in its latest projection on Dec 1, the Atlanta Fed reported that the U.S. economy would grow by 9.7% in fourth-quarter 2021. U.S. GDP grew 6.4%, 6.7% and 2.1%, in the first, second and third quarters of this year, respectively.Total third-quarter earnings of the market's benchmark — the S&P 500 Index — jumped 40.3% from the same period last year on 17.3% higher revenues. Moreover, in fourth-quarter 2021, total earnings of the S&P 500 Index are expected to increase 19.1% year over year on 11.2% higher revenues.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed our search to five large-cap (market capital > $10 billion) momentum stocks that have strong upside left for the rest of 2021. These stocks have seen positive earnings estimate revisions within the last 30 days.  Each of our picks carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and has a Momentum Score of A.  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our five picks in the past month.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchChevron Corp. is one of the best-placed global integrated oil firms to achieve a sustainable production ramp-up. CVX’s existing project pipeline is one of the best in the industry, thanks to its premier position in the lucrative Permian Basin.Chevron’s Noble Energy takeover has expanded its footprint in the region and the DJ Basin. CVX now has access to Noble Energy’s low-cost, proven reserves along with cash-generating offshore assets in Israel — particularly the flagship Leviathan natural gas project — thereby boosting its footing in the Mediterranean.Chevron has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current-year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 2.5% over the last 30 days.Expeditors International of Washington Inc. is engaged in the business of global logistics management, including international freight forwarding and consolidation, for both air and ocean freight in the Americas, North Asia, South Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and India.Expeditors is optimistic about the buyout of Fleet Logistics’ Digital Platform. The acquisition has boosted Expeditors’ online LTL shipping platform, Koho. The move is in line with EXPD's focus on Digital Solutions. Amid the coronavirus crisis, the acquisition is expected to expand business and get further investments that are expected to drive the top line in the upcoming quarters.EXPD has an expected earnings growth rate of 80.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 9.7% over the last 30 days.Devon Energy Corp. aims for strong oil production from the Delaware Basin holdings. Devon Energy’s presence in Delaware has expanded due to its all-stock merger deal with WPX Energy. DVN is using new technology in production process to lower expenses.Devon Energy’s divestiture of Canadian and Barnett Shale gas assets will allow it to focus on its five high-quality oil-rich U.S. basins assets. DVN’s stable free cash flow generation allows it to pay dividend and buy back shares. Devon Energy has ample liquidity to meet near-term debt obligations.Devon Energy has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 5.4% over the last 30 days.CBRE Group Inc. operates as a commercial real estate services and investment company worldwide. CBRE’s performance in the recent quarters reflects the benefits from diversifying across asset type, business lines, client type and geography, plus the expansion of its resilient business in recent years.CBRFE Group is well poised to continue on its growth path in the upcoming days on the back of its wide real estate products and services offerings, healthy outsourcing business, strategic buyouts, technology investments and solid balance-sheet strength.CBRE has an expected earnings growth rate of 62.1% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for its current-year earnings improved 1.9% over the last 30 days.Westlake Chemical is benefiting from synergies from the Axiall acquisition. The buyout has diversified its product portfolio and geographical operations. The NAKAN acquisition has also allowed Westlake Chemical to boost its compounding business globally. Further, Westlake Chemical sees favorable demand trends for polyethylene and polyvinyl chloride resin.Strong demand in the polyethylene business is likely to continue, especially in food packaging. Also, rising housing starts in the United States augur well for WLK’s downstream vinyl products business and domestic demand for PVC. Westlake Chemical should also benefit from its capacity expansion projects.Westlake Chemical has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 11.6% over the last 30 days. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Devon Energy Corporation (DVN): Free Stock Analysis Report Chevron Corporation (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report Westlake Chemical Corporation (WLK): Free Stock Analysis Report Expeditors International of Washington, Inc. (EXPD): Free Stock Analysis Report CBRE Group, Inc. (CBRE): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

Marsh & McLennan (MMC) Offers $750M Senior Notes in 2 Tranches

Marsh & McLennan (MMC) issues senior notes with an aim to procure funds. The move further highlights MMC's strong financial position. Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. MMC recently announced the pricing of $750 million of senior notes in two tranches with an aggregate principal amount of $400 million and $350 million, respectively. With interest rates of 2.375% and 2.9%, the two tranches of notes are set to mature on 2031 and 2051, respectively.Shares of Marsh & McLennan gained 2.9% on Dec 2.Marsh & McLennan intends to utilize the proceeds derived from the sale of the notes  to repay or redeem the outstanding aggregate principal amount of $500 million senior notes bearing interest rate of 2.75%, which are set to mature in 2022, and for other general corporate purposes.By issuing senior notes amid a continued low interest rate environment, Marsh & McLennan can procure funds at lower cost and enhance financial flexibility. This, in turn, reinforces MMC’s efforts to reduce the interest expenses, which otherwise can put pressure on the margins. As of Sep 30, 2021, Marsh & McLennan had $10.7 billion senior notes.MMC seems to have succeeded in pursuing its endeavor as interest expenses slumped 13.4% in the first nine months of 2021 from the prior-year comparable period.Marsh & McLennan boasts of a solid cash balance and sustained cash generating abilities. This, in turn, helps the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) global professional services firm to service its debt uninterruptedly. MMC also has $2.8 billion left for borrowing under its revolving credit facility as of Sep 30, 2021.In the first nine months of 2021, net cash provided by operations of Marsh & McLennan increased 3.8% from the year-ago comparable period. Solid cash flows can be utilized for pursuing growth-related initiatives, deploying capital and repaying debts, thus ensuring the stock’s creditworthiness.A strong financial position places MMC well to service debt uninterruptedly. Times interest earned, the metric reflecting a company’s ability to meet interest payments, stands at 9.2X for Marsh & McLennan. The figure is higher than the industry’s average of 8.6X.The leverage ratio of MMC has been improving for a while. Marsh & McLennan’s total debt to total capital of 50.8% at the third-quarter end improved 300 basis points (bps) from the level at the 2020 end.Similar to Marsh & McLennan, other insurance stocks like Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. AJG, Brown & Brown, Inc. BRO and Lincoln National Corporation LNC continue to issue senior notes with an aim to reduce the debt burden.As of Sep 30, 2021, Arthur J. Gallagher had $850 million of senior notes. AJG’s leverage ratio is improving as total debt to total capital of 37.5% at the third-quarter end improved 310 bps from 2020-end.Brown & Brown’s senior notes as on Sep 30, 2021 totaled $1.5 billion. The leverage ratio of BRO came in at 33.2 at the third-quarter end, which improved 260 bps from the 2020-end figure.Total senior notes of Lincoln National came in at $4.9 billion as of Sep 30, 2021. LNC’s leverage ratio of 23.8 at the third-quarter end deteriorated 110 bps from the 2020-end figure.Shares of Marsh & McLennan have gained 43.6% in a year compared with the industry’s rally of 23.2%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchShares of Arthur J. Gallagher, Brown & Brown and Lincoln National have gained 43.9%, 47.7% and 27%, respectively, in a year. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Lincoln National Corporation (LNC): Free Stock Analysis Report Marsh & McLennan Companies, Inc. (MMC): Free Stock Analysis Report Arthur J. Gallagher & Co. (AJG): Free Stock Analysis Report Brown & Brown, Inc. (BRO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 3rd, 2021

The Philippines" presidential election heats up with boxer Manny Pacquiao and the former dictator"s son among 5 surprising candidates duking it out for control

As President Rodrigo Duterte's six-year term comes to an end, here are five front-runners who have emerged in a bid to replace him. From left: Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr., Manny Pacquiao, Panfilo Lacson, Francisco Domagoso, and Leni Robredo.L to R: Gregorio B. Dantes Jr./Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images, TED ALJIBE/AFP via Getty Images, NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images, Ezra Acayan/Getty Images, Ezra Acayan/Getty Images The Philippines' presidential election is set for May, and all candidates have filed for the race. The candidates include boxer Manny Pacquiao, the son of a reviled dictator, and a former teen actor. President Rodrigo Duterte has already stirred the pot, saying one of the front-runners uses cocaine. With the deadline for candidacy elapsing on November 15, we compiled a list of the front-runners who have emerged in the lead-up to the Philippines' May presidential election.Perhaps the most notable among them are the son of a former dictator, a teen actor turned senator, the senator and champion boxer Manny Pacquiao, and an ex-police general once on Interpol's most-wanted list.Campaigning isn't set to start until February, but the theatrics have already begun. President Rodrigo Duterte has joined in, saying in a recent speech that a candidate "who might win hands down" used cocaine. When reporters asked him whom he was referring to, he demurred.The country's constitution blocks Duterte from running for president again. As his six-year term — characterized by his hardhanded style and controversial war on drugs — comes to an end next year, the nation is watching keenly for who will replace him.The Philippines has long struggled with political corruption and instability in the wake of a 1986 revolution that deposed the dictator Ferdinand Marcos. It ranked 115th out of 180 countries in the 2020 Corruption Perception Index run by Transparency International and has for decades consistently charted well below the World Bank's median for political stability.And unlike in the US, Philippine political parties are generally weak, and politicians can switch sides with little consequence, experts told Insider.Here are five notable and leading candidates for the May election in the Philippines.The dictator's son: Ferdinand 'Bongbong' Marcos Jr.Marcos, a former senator and son of the dictator Ferdinand Marcos on October 5, 2017.Noel Celis/AFP via Getty ImagesFerdinand "Bongbong" Marcos Jr. is the son of the dictator Marcos Sr., who ruled the Philippines for 25 years until he was ousted by an uprising in 1986. After years of torturing, killing, and displacing thousands of Filipinos under martial law, Marcos Sr. went into exile in Hawaii with his family, where he died three years later.After his father died, Marcos was permitted to return to the Philippines, where he later served as a governor and a senator. He ran for vice president in 2016 — endorsed by his mother, Imelda — but was beaten by the lawyer Leni Robredo, who's also running for president in the upcoming election."His family has spent quite a lot in rehabilitating their image and promoting revisionist versions of Philippine history and the legacy of the late dictator," professor Maria Ela Atienza, the chair of the department of political science at the University of the Philippines, told Insider.He commands a cultlike following in the Philippines, especially among younger voters who may not have had as much direct contact with his father's government, professor Jorge Tigno, who also teaches political science at the University of the Philippines, said.Tigno considers him one of the race's strongest candidates."He may not get a majority, but he can, at least, at this point, get a plurality to win," the professor said.Sara Duterte-Carpio, the daughter of President Rodrigo Duterte, announced that she would be Marcos' running mate.Manman Dejeto / AFP via Getty ImagesMarcos has benefited from one of the biggest twists so far in the race: Sara Duterte-Carpio, the current president's daughter, who was thought to be a powerhouse candidate for the presidency, announced on November 16 that she would be Marcos' running mate as vice president.The vice president and president are elected separately in the Philippines, but the alliance allows both sides to tap each other's voter bases — Marcos is popular in the northern part of the country, while the Dutertes are favored in the south.Human-rights groups decried Marcos' candidacy and filed a petition to stop him from running, but there has been no result. As to how he got his nickname, Atienza said: "Bongbong" is a common name given to people named after their fathers.The boxing champion: Manny 'PacMan' PacquiaoPacquiao.Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty ImagesIn September, the world-champion boxer Pacquiao put down his gloves for good, announcing his retirement in a YouTube video that transitions into a hip-hop music video.Pacquiao lived on the streets and worked construction as a young teenager but is now worth $26 million, according to Forbes. His rag-to-riches story has earned him folk-hero status among Filipinos, but Tigno said he lacked a serious political network and largely relied on giving out cash to sway voters."I don't even think his own supporters are that serious in making sure he wins," he said. "They just want a slice of his boxing winnings."And Pacquiao has a poor political track record. He was the most absent member of the Senate."Beyond populist promises like jailing corrupt officials, he lacks concrete programs and policies," Atienza said. Duterte once saw Pacquiao as a prospective successor and close friend, but the pair had a falling out after the latter criticized Duterte's pandemic response and relationship with China. That led the president to publicly scold the boxing champ.Overall, Tigno and Atienza said the boxing icon didn't stand much of a chance at winning the election.The teen actor: Francisco Domagoso, aka Isko MorenoDomagoso, Manila City's mayor, delivers his state of the city address at Manila City Hall on July 15.Ezra Acayan/Getty ImagesFrancisco Domagoso is serving his first term as the mayor of Manila, the Philippines' capital. But Domagoso, who goes by the stage name Isko Moreno, was also a teen actor who came from humble beginnings, growing up in the slums like Pacquiao did. As a teen, Domagoso hosted the popular Filipino variety show "That's Entertainment" and appeared in several films. During the 1990s, Domagoso starred in what Filipinos called "titillating films," a "mature" genre popular at the time. He moved into politics in '98 and got his start as a city councilor. He was elected as Manila's mayor in 2019.As mayor, he has focused on reviving Manila's tourism industry and image, which has earned him the favor of the capital's residents, Atienza said.He's been branded as a "Duterte-lite" figure because he employed the same campaign team as Duterte and is campaigning off his record as a mayor, while aligning with populist ideologies, she added.But Tigno said he believed running may be a mistake. With only one mayoral term under his belt, Domagoso's reputation isn't as well-established as it could be."He could have run for another two terms and solidify his hold on the city, as well as on the national psyche, but he instead chose to run for a national position," Tigno said.He added: "His popularity at this time is simply no match to the cult status enjoyed by Marcos Jr. And while he may be able to command a significant portion of his Manila constituents, I don't think it would be enough."The police general: Panfilo 'Ping' LacsonLacson during a press conference at the Senate in Manila on March 28, 2011.NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty ImagesPanfilo "Ping" Lacson has been serving on and off in the Philippines Senate since 2001. Before that, he served as the director general of the police from 1998 to 2001.Hailed as an enforcer who spurned bribes and cracked down on corruption, Lacson gained a celebritylike status for his reforms, such as requiring cops to trim their waistlines to 86 centimeters and posting corrupt officers to dangerous areas with high levels of rebel presence.A movie was even made about him in 2000, titled "Ping Lacson: Super Cop." After he retired from police work and was elected to the Senate in 2001, Lacson was accused by the military-intelligence chief Victor Corpus of laundering $700 million for then-President Joseph Estrada. He has denied the allegations and since been outspoken for stricter laws against money laundering.Lacson was also accused of involvement in the killings of 11 gang members in 1995, as well as the slaying of a well-known publicist and his driver, with the latter allegation putting him on Interpol's "red-notice" wanted list in 2010.But in 2013, the Supreme Court of the Philippines dismissed the gang-killing case against Lacson with finality. He was also taken off the red-notice list in 2011 after the Philippines dropped charges for the publicist's killing because it found that the main witness against Lacson was "unreliable."Lacson, having one failed a presidential bid from 2004, now hopes to win the race with promises of curbing illegal drugs, criminality, and corruption, which mirrors Duterte's 2016 campaign.Once an outspoken proponent of bringing the death penalty back to the Philippines, he's now changed his mind and wants to build a prison for criminals like the one on Alcatraz Island. He said that "prevention, rehabilitation, and correction" were a better route for combating criminal behavior, according to the local outlet Inquirer.netRecent polls indicate Lacson hasn't generated the popularity he needs to contest Marcos or other front-runners, said Tigno. The vice president and Duterte's nemesis: Leni RobredoRobredo with her daughters after filing her candidacy to join the 2022 presidential race on October 7.Ezra Acayan/Getty ImagesLeni Robredo is the vice president of the Philippines, serving alongside Duterte. But she's also been a fierce critic of his, regularly slamming his war on drugs and his pandemic response. In return, Duterte tried to exclude her from Cabinet meetings and pressured her to resign.The daughter of a regional-court judge, Robredo passed the bar in 1997 and worked in the public attorney's office before being elected to Congress in 2013. She supported antidiscrimination and anti-poverty movements and a Freedom of Information Act that increased public transparency of government funding and transactions.The presidential hopeful has been the target of several fake-news campaigns by other politicians and social-media influencers.One such incident was a doctored photo of politicians having dinner while appearing to laugh at her as she was on TV. Agence France-Presse has since debunked the image. And a fake viral video claimed she had been disqualified from the presidential race after she broke election rules."Robredo's numbers at the moment are not that high, but they are rising," Tigno said. "With a constant campaign movement behind her, she may end up matching, if not outrunning, Marcos Jr."Robredo has experience as a politician and vice president, but whether voters will appreciate those achievements is another thing altogether, he added."People want immediate positive results, and I don't think Robredo is able to make that kind of promise to people," he added. "She is too sincere with herself to allow herself to lie and twist the truth to people. That can be a problem for her in the end if she loses."But if she wins, it can mean a new lease on life for Philippine democracy."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Germany Falls Completely To Davos

Germany Falls Completely To Davos Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, If anyone was under any illusions that Germany wasn’t completely under the control of the Davos Crowd then I think this article from Politico should burn that perception into your retinas. The article details what’s in the new German government’s agreement between the parties. It lays out the goals of the coalition as well as the roadmap for its policy priorities. In short, this is literally a laundry list of everything Davos has been demanding and it ensures the complete neutering or submission of the FDP’s Christian Lindner to the Davos agenda. I’m not going to go through them all point by point, the Politico article does that well enough. What’s important here is that in light of the media release of OmicronVID-9/11 that the new German government is keen on serving its Davos masters agenda fully. Even though OmicronVID-9/11 looks to be the mildest and least interesting strain of COVID-9/11 that isn’t deterring European governments from announcing enforced vaccination programs, including from Germany’s new, fragile coalition. NEW - Designated Minister of Justice, Buschmann (FDP), wants to have the parliament vote on compulsory vaccination for the population in Germany. — Disclose.tv (@disclosetv) November 29, 2021 This tweet confirms that Lindner fully caved here. New Chancellor Olaf Scholz and a majority of state Presidents are pushing this legislation into the Bundestag as I write. Sadly, no one should really be surprised by this. While I hoped Lindner would be the thorn in Davos’ side in Germany, it doesn’t look that way at all. This cave was presaged by the ‘retirement’ of uber monetary hawk, Jens Wiedmann, as President of the Bundesbank ‘to spend time with his family.’ Yeah, pull the other one Jens, it plays “Jingle Bells.” The best Lindner can do under the circumstances is slow the roll out of this but he won’t do it now unless this compulsory vaccination program pushes through the Bundestag and is deeply unpopular with German voters. But, back to the coalition agreement. This is a document that reads like a German takeover of the entire continent. And I guess that was the bribe offered the FDP to go along with this. On the surface it cements the idea that Germany is in charge of the EU’s evolution from a collection of independent states into a full political and fiscal union which supersedes all national government considerations. But, at the same time it will further erode any sovereignty left in Germany, as well as any other EU member state. Davos is clear about what the plan here is, full evolution of the EU into a transnational bureaucratic superstate with zero direct accountability of its leadership to the people. Expecting this coalition to back down, for example, on “Rule-of-Law” issues with Poland and Hungary is a fantasy.  If anything, now Berlin is giving Brussels a blank check to go after these two countries harder than ever. And the clincher to that argument is in these two provisions highlighted below: More broadly, the three parties set the highly ambitious goal of changing the EU’s treaties. The deal says the ongoing Conference on the Future of Europe — a discussion forum for possible EU reforms — “should lead to a constitutional convention and the further development of a federal European state.” That stance won’t go down well in some other EU capitals like Warsaw or Budapest, which would likely veto any such moves. On foreign policy and defense, the treaty demands a reform of the EU’s foreign policy division, the European External Action Service. And it pushes the EU to move away from requiring unanimity for all foreign policy moves — a barrier the bloc has struggled to overcome on basic matters like issuing statements on China’s crackdown in Hong Kong. Moreover, to sell this transformation into a depraved technocracy, the Germans will push for more direct democratic ‘elections’ across the entire bloc to decide on leadership within the European Commission. Look everyone! Democracy! This is simply a stalking horse for getting further political integration as the national governments still control who represents them on the Commission. Since, as we’ve seen time and again, Davos and the EU are in full control of the party apparatuses in each major country and the people’s loyalty so split up across five to seven parties in each of these countries, elections themselves are a complete joke since the coalitions that end up ruling look nothing like what the majority of the people actually voted for, c.f. Italy, Chechia, Austria. Davos controls the governing coalitions in every country other than Hungary and Poland. This is an illusion of more democracy and furthering ‘European values’ while cementing total control within the Brussels bureaucracy. The most insidious thing in the document to me is Germany’s call for ending unanimity within the European Council on foreign policy matters.  This is where both Hungary and Poland have been able to fight off the worst advances by Brussels for years and retain some semblance of independence. By holding EU foreign policy hostage multiple times in recent years, both countries have been able to slow down and/or force course corrections onto Brussels while retaining some semblance of their autonomy. These have been attrition moves by Prime Ministers Orban and Morawiecki hoping to outlast the EU while popular uprisings against Brussels matured. But Poland has repeatedly betrayed its Visigrad neighbors with its virulent Russophobia which the Eurocrats and the British have used time and again to their advantage. The Poles continue to play footsie trying to play the EU off Russia to get what they want, but all that ends up happening is they bind themselves tighter in the EU’s geopolitical Chinese finger trap while alienating the Russians even further. If the Germans are able to push this through, by the complete rewriting of the European Treaties as advocated by this coalition agreement, then during their time in office they will have completed the transformation of the EU into the EUSSR for all intents and purposes. This agreement is worse than any version I could have expected given the FDP’s involvement in this.  The pressure on Lindner must be immense and he likely went along with this, like many, hoping he can at least slow this down by withholding the purse strings. With AfD not rallying into the September elections, there simply wasn’t the political will to oppose what is happening at this point. That may change in 2022 as things progress from here so German polling will bear very close scrutiny. That said, I suspect this agreement will go down very well with German voters as it looks like one in which Germany’s power within the EU, which they are still overwhelmingly in favor of, expands greatly. Notice, however, how quickly Olaf Scholz, the new Chancellor, after rejecting Merkel’s call for new lockdowns over COVID-19 last week and looking surprisingly independent, changed course with the release of OmicronVID-9/11 this week. In the end, this is close to the government Davos wanted.  The FDP can still be a wildcard here depending on how the polls in Germany shift over the next six months. But it looks pretty obvious at this point there is no will to move against the Davos agenda of crashing the European economy and destroying capital formation absent a full takeover of EU institutions first. The dangerous buildup of tensions in Ukraine with Russia over the breakaway republics of the Donbass is inextricably linked to this shift in Germany’s governance. As are the wranglings over the Nordstream 2 pipeline, which the Scholz government is in favor of. As always, the EU and Davos want Russia as their energy supplier but as a vassal not as a partner. If anyone is using Nordstream 2 as a political tool over the rest of Europe it is Germany, not Russia, as they will control the distribution of gas internally after Nordstream 2 is live, not Russia. They will use that as a cudgel to get through many of these policy prescriptions. I am still convinced that Nordstream 2 will be live, delivering gas soon. It may take further negotiations to get it done but it will happen. Don’t discount Germany leaking the letter to the U.S. Congress lobbying them not to further sanction the pipeline because it will do irreparable damage to U.S./German relations. Whether morons like Ted Cruz (R-TX) finally get this or not is still unknown. With the power vacuum at the top of the U.S. political system, where the Neocon Flying Monkeys are being allowed to bring us to the brink of a NATO war with Russia over Ukraine, all bets are off as to what happens next. I still feel a real sovereign debt crisis is on the horizon and with FOMC Chair Jerome Powell putting the final nail in the coffin of the “transitory inflation” narrative, it’s clear that the U.S. political faction hostile to selling the country out to Obama and Davos are winning.   And because of this the new German coalition staking their flag in the ground saying, “if EU integration is going to happen, it’s going to happen somewhat on terms we control,” may actually be too little, too late. Lindner may not be privy to everything going on here either. If he isn’t aware of the nuances at play it may explain why he went along with this insanity. Once he, like Powell and a few others here in the U.S., get a sense of what’s really going on, what the real plan is, he may pull out of this coalition during the height of the debt crisis in2022. In fact, a collapse of this government could be the catalyst for the very debt crisis we’ve been preparing for.  But for now, I’d consider Germany Davos Occupied Territory completely and Germany as an economic powerhouse of any import a thing of the recent past. *  *  * Join My Patreon if you don’t want to fall. BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7ZfBCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6rytDCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oELTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5kDASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4VaWAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSaETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edcDGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 2nd, 2021

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory"

Futures Surge After Powell-Driven Rout Proves To Be "Transitory" Heading into yesterday's painful close to one of the ugliest months since March 2020, which saw a huge forced liquidation rebalance with more than $8 billion in Market on Close orders, we said that while we are seeing "forced selling dump into the close today" this would be followed by "forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close." Forced selling dump into the close today. Forced Dec 1 buying frontrunning after the close — zerohedge (@zerohedge) November 30, 2021 And just as expected, despite yesterday's dramatic hawkish pivot by Powell, who said it was time to retire the word transitory in describing the inflation outlook (the same word the Fed used hundreds of times earlier in 2021 sparking relentless mockery from this website for being clueless as usual) while also saying the U.S. central bank would consider bringing forward plans for tapering its bond buying program at its next meeting in two weeks, the frontrunning of new monthly inflows is in full force with S&P futures rising over 1.2%, Nasdaq futures up 1.3%, and Dow futures up 0.9%, recovering almost all of Tuesday’s decline. The seemingly 'hawkish' comments served as a double whammy for markets, which were already nervous about the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant and its potential to hinder a global economic recovery. "At this point, COVID does not appear to be the biggest long-term Street fear, although it could have the largest impact if the new (or next) variant turns out to be worse than expected," Howard Silverblatt, senior index analyst for S&P and Dow Jones indices, said in a note. "That honor goes to inflation, which continues to be fed by supply shortages, labor costs, worker shortages, as well as consumers, who have not pulled back." However, new month fund flows proved too powerful to sustain yesterday's month-end dump and with futures rising - and panic receding - safe havens were sold and the 10-year Treasury yield jumped almost 6bps, approaching 1.50%. The gap between yields on 5-year and 30-year Treasuries was around the narrowest since March last year. Crude oil and commodity-linked currencies rebounded. Gold remained just under $1,800 and bitcoin traded just over $57,000. There was more good news on the covid front with a WHO official saying some of the early indications are that most Omicron cases are mild with no severe cases. Separately Merck gained 3.8% in premarket trade after a panel of advisers to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration narrowly voted to recommend the agency authorize the drugmaker's antiviral pill to treat COVID-19. Travel and leisure stocks also rebounded, with cruiseliners Norwegian, Carnival, Royal Caribbean rising more than 2.5% each. Easing of covid fears also pushed airlines and travel stocks higher in premarket trading: Southwest +2.9%, Delta +2.5%, Spirit +2.3%, American +2.2%, United +1.9%, JetBlue +1.3%. Vaccine makers traded modestly lower in pre-market trading after soaring in recent days as Wall Street weighs the widening spread of the omicron variant. Merck & Co. bucked the trend after its Covid-19 pill narrowly gained a key recommendation from advisers to U.S. regulators. Moderna slips 2.1%, BioNTech dips 1.3% and Pfizer is down 0.2%. Elsewhere, Occidental Petroleum led gains among the energy stocks, up 3.2% as oil prices climbed over 4% ahead of OPEC's meeting. Shares of major Wall Street lenders also moved higher after steep falls on Tuesday. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Salesforce (CRM US) drops 5.9% in premarket trading after results and guidance missed estimates, with analysts highlighting currency-related headwinds and plateauing growth at the MuleSoft integration software business. Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE US) falls 1.3% in premarket after the computer equipment maker’s quarterly results showed the impact of the global supply chain crunch. Analysts noted solid order trends. Merck (MRK US) shares rise 5.8% in premarket after the company’s Covid-19 pill narrowly wins backing from FDA advisers, which analysts say is a sign of progress despite lingering challenges. Chinese electric vehicle makers were higher in premarket, leading U.S. peers up, after Nio, Li and XPeng reported strong deliveries for November; Nio (NIO US) +4%, Li (LI US ) +6%, XPeng (XPEV US) +4.3%. Ardelyx (ARDX US) shares gain as much as 34% in premarket, extending the biotech’s bounce after announcing plans to launch its irritable bowel syndrome treatment Ibsrela in the second quarter. CTI BioPharma (CTIC US) shares sink 18% in premarket after the company said the FDA extended the review period for a new drug application for pacritinib. Allbirds (BIRD US) fell 7.5% postmarket after the low end of the shoe retailer’s 2021 revenue forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Zscaler (ZS US) posted “yet another impressive quarter,” according to BMO. Several analysts increased their price targets for the security software company. Shares rose 4.6% in postmarket. Ambarella (AMBA US) rose 14% in postmarket after forecasting revenue for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. Emcore (EMKR US) fell 9% postmarket after the aerospace and communications supplier reported fiscal fourth-quarter Ebitda that missed the average analyst estimate. Box (BOX US) shares gained as much as 10% in postmarket trading after the cloud company raised its revenue forecast for the full year. Meanwhile, the omicron variant continues to spread around the globe, though symptoms so far appear to be relatively mild. The Biden administration plans to tighten rules on travel to the U.S., and Japan said it would bar foreign residents returning from 10 southern African nations. As Bloomberg notes, volatility is buffeting markets as investors scrutinize whether the pandemic recovery can weather diminishing monetary policy support and potential risks from the omicron virus variant. Global manufacturing activity stabilized last month, purchasing managers’ gauges showed Wednesday, and while central banks are scaling back ultra-loose settings, financial conditions remain favorable in key economies. “The reality is hotter inflation coupled with a strong economic backdrop could end the Fed’s bond buying program as early as the first quarter of next year,” Charlie Ripley, senior investment strategist at Allianz Investment Management, said in emailed comments. “With potential changes in policy on the horizon, market participants should expect additional market volatility in this uncharted territory.” Looking ahead, Powell is back on the Hill for day 2, and is due to testify before a House Financial Services Committee hybrid hearing at 10 a.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. Investors are also awaiting the Fed's latest "Beige Book" due at 2:00 p.m. ET. On the economic data front, November readings on U.S. private payrolls and manufacturing activity will be closely watched later in the day to gauge the health of the American economy. European equities soared more than 1.2%, with travel stocks and carmakers leading broad-based gain in the Stoxx Europe 600 index, all but wiping out Tuesday’s decline that capped only the third monthly loss for the benchmark this year.  Travel, miners and autos are the strongest sectors. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Proximus shares rise as much as 6.5% after the company said it’s started preliminary talks regarding a potential deal involving TeleSign, with a SPAC merger among options under consideration. Dr. Martens gains as much as 4.6% to the highest since Sept. 8 after being upgraded to overweight from equal- weight at Barclays, which says the stock’s de-rating is overdone. Husqvarna advances as much as 5.3% after the company upgraded financial targets ahead of its capital markets day, including raising the profit margin target to 13% from 10%. Wizz Air, Lufthansa and other travel shares were among the biggest gainers as the sector rebounded after Tuesday’s losses; at a conference Wizz Air’s CEO reiterated expansion plans. Wizz Air gains as much as 7.5%, Lufthansa as much as 6.8% Elis, Accor and other stocks in the French travel and hospitality sector also rise after the country’s government pledged to support an industry that’s starting to get hit by the latest Covid-19 wave. Pendragon climbs as much as 6.5% after the car dealer boosted its outlook after the company said a supply crunch in the new vehicle market wasn’t as bad as it had anticipated. UniCredit rises as much as 3.6%, outperforming the Stoxx 600 Banks Index, after Deutsche Bank added the stock to its “top picks” list alongside UBS, and Bank of Ireland, Erste, Lloyds and Societe Generale. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks also soared, snapping a three-day losing streak, led by energy and technology shares, as traders assessed the potential impact from the omicron coronavirus variant and U.S. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s hawkish pivot. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 1.3% Wednesday. South Korea led regional gains after reporting strong export figures, which bolsters growth prospects despite record domestic Covid-19 cases. Hong Kong stocks also bounced back after falling Tuesday to their lowest level since September 2020. Asia’s stock benchmark rebounded from a one-year low, though sentiment remained clouded by lingering concerns on the omicron strain and Fed’s potentially faster tapering pace. Powell earlier hinted that the U.S. central bank will accelerate its asset purchases at its meeting later this month.  “A faster taper in the U.S. is still dependent on omicron not causing a big setback to the outlook in the next few weeks,” said Shane Oliver, head of investment strategy and chief economist at AMP Capital, adding that he expects the Fed’s policy rate “will still be low through next year, which should still enable good global growth which will benefit Asia.” Chinese equities edged up after the latest economic data showed manufacturing activity remained at relatively weak levels in November, missing economists’ expectations. Earlier, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He said he’s fully confident in the nation’s economic growth in 2022 Japanese stocks rose, overcoming early volatility as traders parsed hawkish comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which closed 0.4% higher after swinging between a gain of 0.9% and loss of 0.7% in the morning session. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.4% rise in the Nikkei 225, which similarly fluctuated. The Topix had dropped 4.8% over the previous three sessions due to concerns over the omicron virus variant. The benchmark fell 3.6% in November, its worst month since July 2020. “The market’s tolerance to risk is quite low at the moment, with people responding in a big way to the smallest bit of negative news,” said Tomo Kinoshita, a global market strategist at Invesco Asset Management in Tokyo. “But the decline in Japanese equities was far worse than those of other developed markets, so today’s market may find a bit of calm.” U.S. shares tumbled Tuesday after Powell said officials should weigh removing pandemic support at a faster pace and retired the word “transitory” to describe stubbornly high inflation In rates, bonds trade heavy, as yield curves bear-flatten. Treasuries extended declines with belly of the curve cheapening vs wings as traders continue to price in additional rate-hike premium over the next two years. Treasury yields were cheaper by up to 5bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by ~5.5bp on the day; 10-year yields around 1.48%, cheaper by ~4bp, while gilts lag by additional 2bp in the sector. The short-end of the gilt curve markedly underperforms bunds and Treasuries with 2y yields rising ~11bps near 0.568%. Peripheral spreads widen with belly of the Italian curve lagging. The flattening Treasury yield curve “doesn’t suggest imminent doom for the equity market in and of itself,” Liz Ann Sonders, chief investment strategist at Charles Schwab & Co., said on Bloomberg Television. “Alarm bells go off in terms of recession” when the curve gets closer to inverting, she said. In FX, the Turkish lira had a wild session, offered in early London trade before fading. USD/TRY dropped sharply to lows of 12.4267 on reports of central bank FX intervention due to “unhealthy price formations” before, once again, fading TRY strength after comments from Erdogan. The rest of G-10 FX is choppy; commodity currencies retain Asia’s bid tone, havens are sold: the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower, as the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers. The euro moved in a narrow range and Bund yields followed U.S. yields higher. The pound advanced as risk sentiment stabilized with focus still on news about the omicron variant. The U.K. 10-, 30-year curve flirted with inversion as gilts flattened, with money markets betting on 10bps of BOE tightening this month for the first time since Friday. The Australian and New Zealand dollars advanced as rising commodity prices fuel demand from exporters and leveraged funds. Better-than-expected growth data also aided the Aussie, with GDP expanding by 3.9% in the third quarter from a year earlier, beating the 3% estimated by economists. Austrian lawmakers extended a nationwide lockdown for a second 10-day period to suppress the latest wave of coronavirus infections before the Christmas holiday period.  The yen declined by the most among the Group-of-10 currencies as Powell’s comments renewed focus on yield differentials. 10-year yields rose ahead of Thursday’s debt auction In commodities, crude futures rally. WTI adds over 4% to trade on a $69-handle, Brent recovers near $72.40 after Goldman said overnight that oil had gotten extremely oversold. Spot gold fades a pop higher to trade near $1,785/oz. Base metals trade well with LME copper and nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 1.2% to 4,620.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.0% to 467.58 MXAP up 0.9% to 191.52 MXAPJ up 1.1% to 626.09 Nikkei up 0.4% to 27,935.62 Topix up 0.4% to 1,936.74 Hang Seng Index up 0.8% to 23,658.92 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,576.89 Sensex up 1.0% to 57,656.51 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,235.85 Kospi up 2.1% to 2,899.72 Brent Futures up 4.2% to $72.15/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,778.93 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.98 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1326 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov Thursday, the first direct contact between officials of the two countries in weeks as tensions grow amid western fears Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine Oil rebounded from a sharp drop on speculation that recent deep losses were excessive and OPEC+ may on Thursday decide to pause hikes in production, with the abrupt reversal fanning already- elevated volatility The EU is set to recommend that member states review essential travel restrictions on a daily basis in the wake of the omicron variant, according to a draft EU document seen by Bloomberg China is planning to ban companies from going public on foreign stock markets through variable interest entities, according to people familiar with the matter, closing a loophole long used by the country’s technology industry to raise capital from overseas investors Manufacturing activity in Asia outside China stabilized last month amid easing lockdown and border restrictions, setting the sector on course to face a possible new challenge from the omicron variant of the coronavirus Germany urgently needs stricter measures to check a surge in Covid-19 infections and protect hospitals from a “particularly dangerous situation,” according to the head of the country’s DIVI intensive-care medicine lobby. A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly positive as regional bourses atoned for the prior day’s losses that were triggered by Omicron concerns, but with some of the momentum tempered by recent comments from Fed Chair Powell and mixed data releases including the miss on Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was led lower by underperformance in consumer stocks and with utilities also pressured as reports noted that Shell and Telstra’s entrance in the domestic electricity market is set to ignite fierce competition and force existing players to overhaul their operations, although the losses in the index were cushioned following the latest GDP data which showed a narrower than feared quarterly contraction in Australia’s economy. Nikkei 225 (+0.4%) was on the mend after yesterday’s sell-off with the index helped by favourable currency flows and following a jump in company profits for Q3, while the KOSPI (+2.1%) was also boosted by strong trade data. Hang Seng (+0.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) were somewhat varied as a tech resurgence in Hong Kong overcompensated for the continued weakness in casinos stocks amid ongoing SunCity woes which closed all VIP gaming rooms in Macau after its Chairman's recent arrest, while the mood in the mainland was more reserved after a PBoC liquidity drain and disappointing Chinese Caixin Manufacturing PMI data which fell short of estimates and slipped back into contraction territory. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower amid the gains in Japanese stocks and after the pullback in global fixed income peers in the aftermath of Fed Chair Powell’s hawkish comments, while a lack of BoJ purchases further contributed to the subdued demand for JGBs. Top Asian News Asia Stocks Bounce Back from One-Year Low Despite Looming Risks Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Shell Sees Hedge Funds Moving to LNG, Supporting Higher Prices Abe Warns China Invading Taiwan Would Be ‘Economic Suicide’ Bourses in Europe are firmer across the board (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.6%; Stoxx 600 +1.1%) as the positive APAC sentiment reverberated into European markets. US equity futures are also on the front foot with the cyclical RTY (+2.0%) outpacing its peers: ES (+1.2%), NQ (+1.5%), YM (+0.8%). COVID remains a central theme for the time being as the Omicron variant is observed for any effects of concern – which thus far have not been reported. Analysts at UBS expect market focus to shift away from the variant and more towards growth and earnings. The analysts expect Omicron to fuse into the ongoing Delta outbreak that economies have already been tackling. Under this scenario, the desk expects some of the more cyclical markets and sectors to outperform. The desk also flags two tails risks, including an evasive variant and central bank tightening – particularly after Fed chair Powell’s commentary yesterday. Meanwhile, BofA looks for an over-10% fall in European stocks next year. Sticking with macro updates, the OECD, in their latest economic outlook, cut US, China, Eurozone growth forecasts for 2021 and 2022, with Omicron cited as a factor. Back to trade, broad-based gains are seen across European cash markets. Sectors hold a clear cyclical bias which consists of Travel & Leisure, Basic Resources, Autos, Retail and Oil & Gas as the top performers – with the former bolstered by the seemingly low appetite for coordination on restrictions and measures at an EU level – Deutsche Lufthansa (+6%) and IAG (+5.1%) now reside at the top of the Stoxx 600. The other side of the spectrum sees the defensive sectors – with Healthcare, Household Goods, Food & Beverages as the straddlers. In terms of induvial movers, German-listed Adler Group (+22%) following a divestment, whilst Blue Prism (+1.7%) is firmer after SS&C raised its offer for the Co. Top European News Wizz Says Travelers Are Booking at Shorter and Shorter Notice Turkey Central Bank Intervenes in FX Markets to Stabilize Lira Gold Swings on Omicron’s Widening Spread, Inflation Worries Former ABG Sundal Collier Partner Starts Advisory Firm In FX, the Dollar remains mixed against majors, but well off highs prompted by Fed chair Powell ditching transitory from the list of adjectives used to describe inflation and flagging that a faster pace of tapering will be on the agenda at December’s FOMC. However, the index is keeping tabs on the 96.000 handle and has retrenched into a tighter 95.774-96.138 range, for the time being, as trade remains very choppy and volatility elevated awaiting clearer medical data and analysis on Omicron to gauge its impact compared to the Delta strain and earlier COVID-19 variants. In the interim, US macro fundamentals might have some bearing, but the bar is high before NFP on Friday unless ADP or ISM really deviate from consensus or outside the forecast range. Instead, Fed chair Powell part II may be more pivotal if he opts to manage hawkish market expectations, while the Beige Book prepared for next month’s policy meeting could also add some additional insight. NZD/AUD/CAD/GBP - Broad risk sentiment continues to swing from side to side, and currently back in favour of the high beta, commodity and cyclical types, so the Kiwi has bounced firmly from worst levels on Tuesday ahead of NZ terms of trade, the Aussie has pared a chunk of its declines with some assistance from a smaller than anticipated GDP contraction and the Loonie is licking wounds alongside WTI in advance of Canadian building permits and Markit’s manufacturing PMI. Similarly, Sterling has regained some poise irrespective of relatively dovish remarks from BoE’s Mann and a slender downward revision to the final UK manufacturing PMI. Nzd/Usd is firmly back above 0.6800, Aud/Usd close to 0.7150 again, Usd/Cad straddling 1.2750 and Cable hovering on the 1.3300 handle compared to circa 0.6772, 0.7063, 1.2837 and 1.3195 respectively at various fairly adjacent stages yesterday. JPY/EUR/CHF - All undermined by the aforementioned latest upturn in risk appetite or less angst about coronavirus contagion, albeit to varying degrees, as the Yen retreats to retest support sub-113.50, Euro treads water above 1.1300 and Franc straddles 0.9200 after firmer than forecast Swiss CPI data vs a dip in the manufacturing PMI. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are recovering following yesterday’s COVID and Powell-induced declines in the run-up to the OPEC meetings later today. The complex has also been underpinned by the reduced prospects of coordinated EU-wide restrictions, as per the abandonment of the COVID video conference between EU leaders. However, OPEC+ will take centre stage over the next couple of days, with a deluge of source reports likely as OPEC tests the waters. The case for OPEC+ to pause the planned monthly relaxation of output curbs by 400k BPD has been strengthening. There have been major supply and demand developments since the prior meeting. The recent emergence of the Omicron COVID variant and coordinated release of oil reserves have shifted the balance of expectations relative to earlier in the month (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite). In terms of the schedule, the OPEC meeting is slated for 13:00GMT/08:00EST followed by the JTC meeting at 15:00GMT/10:00EST, whilst tomorrow sees the JMMC meeting at 12:00GMT/07:00EST; OPEC+ meeting at 13:00GMT/08:00EST. WTI Jan has reclaimed a USD 69/bbl handle (vs USD 66.20/bbl low) while Brent Feb hovers around USD 72.50/bbl (vs low USD 69.38/bbl) at the time of writing. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver trade with modest gains and largely in tandem with the Buck. Spot gold failed to sustain gains above the cluster of DMAs under USD 1,800/oz (100 DMA at USD 1,792/oz, 200 DMA at USD 1,791/oz, and 50 DMA at USD 1,790/oz) – trader should be aware of the potential for a technical Golden Cross (50 DMA > 200 DMA). Turning to base metals, copper is supported by the overall risk appetite, with the LME contract back above USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Chinese coking coal and coke futures rose over 5% apiece, with traders citing disrupted supply from Mongolia amid the COVID outbreak in the region. US Event Calendar 7am: Nov. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 1.8% 8:15am: Nov. ADP Employment Change, est. 525,000, prior 571,000 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 59.1 10am: Oct. Construction Spending MoM, est. 0.4%, prior -0.5% 10am: Nov. ISM Manufacturing, est. 61.2, prior 60.8 2pm: U.S. Federal Reserve Releases Beige Book Nov. Wards Total Vehicle Sales, est. 13.4m, prior 13m Central Banks 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before House Panel on CARES Act Relief DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap If you’re under 10 and reading this there’s a spoiler alert today in this first para so please skip beyond and onto the second. Yes my heart broke a little last night as my little 6-year old Maisie said to me at bedtime that “Santa isn’t real is he Daddy?”. I lied (I think it’s a lie) and said yes he was. I made up an elaborate story about how when we renovated our 100 year old house we deliberately kept the chimney purely to let Santa come down it once a year. Otherwise why would we have kept it? She then asked what about her friend who lives in a flat? I tried to bluff my way through it but maybe my answer sounded a bit like my answers as to what will happen with Omicron. I’ll test both out on clients later to see which is more convincing. Before we get to the latest on the virus, given it’s the start of the month, we’ll shortly be publishing our November performance review looking at how different assets fared over the month just gone and YTD. It arrived late on but Omicron was obviously the dominant story and led to some of the biggest swings of the year so far. It meant that oil (which is still the top performer on a YTD basis) was the worst performer in our monthly sample, with WTI and Brent seeing their worst monthly performances since the initial wave of market turmoil over Covid back in March 2020. And at the other end, sovereign bonds outperformed in November as Omicron’s emergence saw investors push back the likelihood of imminent rate hikes from central banks. So what was shaping up to be a good month for risk and a bad one for bonds flipped around in injury time. Watch out for the report soon from Henry. Back to yesterday now, and frankly the main takeaway was that markets were desperate for any piece of news they could get their hands on about the Omicron variant, particularly given the lack of proper hard data at the moment. The morning started with a sharp selloff as we discussed at the top yesterday, as some of the more optimistic noises from Monday were outweighed by that FT interview, whereby Moderna’s chief executive had said that the existing vaccines wouldn’t be as effective against the new variant. Then we had some further negative news from Regeneron, who said that analysis and modelling of the Omicron mutations indicated that its antibody drug may not be as effective, but that they were doing further analysis to confirm this. However, we later got some comments from a University of Oxford spokesperson, who said that there wasn’t any evidence so far that vaccinations wouldn’t provide high levels of protection against severe disease, which coincided with a shift in sentiment early in the European afternoon as equities begun to pare back their losses. The CEO of BioNTech and the Israeli health minister expressed similar sentiments, noting that vaccines were still likely to protect against severe disease even among those infected by Omicron, joining other officials encouraging people to get vaccinated or get booster shots. Another reassuring sign came in an update from the EU’s ECDC yesterday, who said that all of the 44 confirmed cases where information was available on severity “were either asymptomatic or had mild symptoms.” After the close, the FDA endorsed Merck’s antiviral Covid pill. While it’s not clear how the pill interacts with Omicron, the proliferation of more Covid treatments is still good news as we head into another winter. The other big piece of news came from Fed Chair Powell’s testimony to the Senate Banking Committee, where the main headline was his tapering comment that “It is appropriate to consider wrapping up a few months sooner.” So that would indicate an acceleration in the pace, which would be consistent with the view from our US economists that we’ll see a doubling in the pace of reductions at the December meeting that’s only two weeks from today. The Fed Chair made a forceful case for a faster taper despite lingering Omicron uncertainties, noting inflation is likely to stay elevated, the labour market has improved without a commensurate increase in labour supply (those sidelined because of Covid are likely to stay there), spending has remained strong, and that tapering was a removal of accommodation (which the economy doesn’t need more of given the first three points). Powell took pains to stress the risk of higher inflation, going so far as to ‘retire’ the use of the term ‘transitory’ when describing the current inflation outlook. So team transitory have seemingly had the pitch taken away from them mid match. The Chair left an exit clause that this outlook would be informed by incoming inflation, employment, and Omicron data before the December FOMC meeting. A faster taper ostensibly opens the door to earlier rate hikes and Powell’s comment led to a sharp move higher in shorter-dated Treasury yields, with the 2yr yield up +8.1bps on the day, having actually been more than -4bps lower when Powell began speaking. They were as low as 0.44% then and got as high as 0.57% before closing at 0.56%. 2yr yields have taken another leg higher overnight, increasing +2.5bps to 0.592%. Long-end yields moved lower though and failed to back up the early day moves even after Powell, leading to a major flattening in the yield curve on the back of those remarks, with the 2s10s down -13.7bps to 87.3bps, which is its flattest level since early January. Overnight 10yr yields are back up +3bps but the curve is only a touch steeper. My 2 cents on the yield curve are that the 2s10s continues to be my favourite US recession indicator. It’s worked over more cycles through history than any other. No recession since the early 1950s has occurred without the 2s10s inverting. But it takes on average 12-18 months from inversion to recession. The shortest was the covid recession at around 7 months which clearly doesn’t count but I think we were very late cycle in early 2020 and the probability of recession in the not too distant future was quite high but we will never know.The shortest outside of that was around 9 months. So with the curve still at c.+90bps we are moving in a more worrying direction but I would still say 2023-24 is the very earliest a recession is likely to occur (outside of a unexpected shock) and we’ll need a rapid flattening in 22 to encourage that. History also suggests markets tend to ignore the YC until it’s too late. So I wouldn’t base my market views in 22 on the yield curve and recession signal yet. However its something to look at as the Fed seemingly embarks on a tightening cycle in the months ahead. Onto markets and those remarks from Powell (along with the additional earlier pessimism about Omicron) proved incredibly unhelpful for equities yesterday, with the S&P 500 (-1.90%) giving up the previous day’s gains to close at its lowest level in over a month. It’s hard to overstate how broad-based this decline was, as just 7 companies in the entire S&P moved higher yesterday, which is the lowest number of the entire year so far and the lowest since June 11th, 2020, when 1 company ended in the green. Over in Europe it was much the same story, although they were relatively less affected by Powell’s remarks, and the STOXX 600 (-0.92%) moved lower on the day as well. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading higher though with the KOSPI (+2.02%), Hang Seng (+1.40%), the Nikkei (+0.37%), Shanghai Composite (+0.11%) and CSI (+0.09%) all in the green. Australia’s Q3 GDP contracted (-1.9% qoq) less than -2.7% consensus while India’s Q3 GDP grew at a firm +8.4% year-on-year beating the +8.3% consensus. In China the Caixin Manufacturing PMI for November came in at 49.9 against a 50.6 consensus. Futures markets are indicating a positive start to markets in US & Europe with the S&P 500 (+0.73%) and DAX (+0.44%) trading higher again. Back in Europe, there was a significant inflation story amidst the other headlines above, since Euro Area inflation rose to its highest level since the creation of the single currency, with the flash estimate for November up to +4.9% (vs. +4.5% expected). That exceeded every economist’s estimate on Bloomberg, and core inflation also surpassed expectations at +2.6% (vs. +2.3% expected), again surpassing the all-time high since the single currency began. That’s only going to add to the pressure on the ECB, and yesterday saw Germany’s incoming Chancellor Scholz say that “we have to do something” if inflation doesn’t ease. European sovereign bonds rallied in spite of the inflation reading, with those on 10yr bunds (-3.1bps), OATs (-3.5bps) and BTPs (-0.9bps) all moving lower. Peripheral spreads widened once again though, and the gap between Italian and German 10yr yields closed at its highest level in just over a year. Meanwhile governments continued to move towards further action as the Omicron variant spreads, and Greece said that vaccinations would be mandatory for everyone over 60 soon, with those refusing having to pay a monthly €100 fine. Separately in Germany, incoming Chancellor Scholz said that there would be a parliamentary vote on the question of compulsory vaccinations, saying to the Bild newspaper in an interview that “My recommendation is that we don’t do this as a government, because it’s an issue of conscience”. In terms of other data yesterday, German unemployment fell by -34k in November (vs. -25k expected). Separately, the November CPI readings from France at +3.4% (vs. +3.2% expected) and Italy at +4.0% (vs. +3.3% expected) surprised to the upside as well. In the US, however, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure in November fell to its lowest since February at 109.5 (vs. 110.9 expected), and the MNI Chicago PMI for November fell to 61.8 9vs. 67.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and once again we’ll have Fed Chair Powell and Treasury Secretary Yellen appearing, this time before the House Financial Services Committee. In addition to that, the Fed will be releasing their Beige Book, and BoE Governor Bailey is also speaking. On the data front, the main release will be the manufacturing PMIs from around the world, but there’s also the ADP’s report of private payrolls for November in the US, the ISM manufacturing reading in the US as well for November, and German retail sales for October. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 07:47.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 1st, 2021

Covid Woes And Supply Chain Issues Among The Drivers In FTSE Reshuffle

The FTSE All Share Index Quarterly Review is based on closing prices today and is due to be announced on Wednesday 1 December, with the changes effective after the close on Friday 17 December. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more A sparky performance by Electrocomponents pushes it into a prime position to move into […] The FTSE All Share Index Quarterly Review is based on closing prices today and is due to be announced on Wednesday 1 December, with the changes effective after the close on Friday 17 December. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more A sparky performance by Electrocomponents pushes it into a prime position to move into the FTSE 100. Dechra pharma, another FTSE 100 contender has clawed opportunity from the soaring popularity for pets. Cyber Security firm DarkTrace set to slip out of the FTSE 100 following a share slide as the lock-in IPO period ended. Johnson Matthey’s position in the FTSE 100 looks shaky after it abandoned its battery plans. Supply chain issues plague electrical retailer AO World as it looks set to slide from FTSE 250. Petershill Partners eyes up a FTSE 250 position and fresh acquisitions of private equity assets. Fresh Covid woes hit The Restaurant Group as it looks set to slide out of the FTSE 250. Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown summarises the runners and riders: Electrocomponents – Contender To Enter The FTSE 100 "The sparky performance by Electrocomponents plc (LON:ECM), with adjusted pre-tax profits up 91% for the first half of the year, has led to a surge in its share price, pushing it into a prime position to move into FTSE 100 territory. The vast range of industrial and electronics products held by the distributor is partly behind its success, as well as its smooth online operations fulfilling the lucrative business-to-business segment. It’s not been immune from higher transport and labour costs, and global supply chain issues, but it appears to have deftly managed its inventory and kept margins intact. Although there are likely to be further cost pressures ahead, Electrocomponents appears in a robust position, particularly given that demand for electrical parts shows little sign of waning." Dechra Pharma - Contender To Enter The FTSE 100 "Dechra Pharmaceuticals plc (LON:DPH) has clawed opportunity from the soaring popularity for pets during the pandemic. Its share price has bounded upwards and it is a prime contender to take a walk into the FTSE 100. With so many more people working from home, it’s been an ideal opportunity to settle in a new furry friend and Dechra is in the business of keeping them healthy throughout their lifetimes. Demand for the pharmaceutical company’s veterinary products has been strong, with full year results showing pre-tax profits almost doubling. There is a risk that with incomes facing a squeeze from rising inflation, spending per head could decline, so there could be headwinds to navigate. But other results from pet orientated companies indicate that demand for pets doesn’t seem to be falling away, which bodes well for future revenues streams." Darktrace – Likely To Be Demoted From The FTSE 100 "Cyber security firm Darktrace PLC (LON:DARK) made a stealthy entry into the top-flight at the last reshuffle, but it’s a leading contender to leave the blue chip index given that shares have fallen by 52% since reaching a record high in September. This appears to be down to the end of the lock-up period following its IPO, with big chunks of new shares flooding the market prompting the falls. Darktrace is not alone in being a former IPO darling, now experiencing the pain of a rapid deceleration in its share price. Its successful launch in the spring was seen as a coup for the London market, and if it exits the top-flight it will leave a big tech gap in the FTSE 100. However, given ongoing growth reported by the company and some pretty upbeat trading updates, it may not stay outside the top-flight for long.  There is growing demand for sophisticated technology to counter the growing armies of cyber criminals and Darktrace uses AI to scan regular business operations and detect tiny irregularities, providing an early warning system of cyber-attacks. The ongoing shift to digital is likely to keep opening up new opportunities and markets for Darktrace as firms scale up their operations to meet demand, whilst trying to ensure their systems stay secure." Johnson Matthey – Likely To Be Demoted From The FTSE 100 "Investors are clearly worried about Johnson Matthey PLC (LON:JMAT)’s strategy for the future and amid this uncertainty, the company risks sliding out of the FTSE 100. The engineering company’s decision to abandon plans to become a battery supplier by selling off its eLNO business saw shares slide, because this appeared to be JMAT’s answer to the shift towards electric vehicles and away from combustion engines, for which it makes catalytic converters. Management says it will focus on other potential growth avenues, but ultimately the group will be starting from scratch as it looks for new opportunities alongside the new greener auto industry. Although catalytic converters won’t be rendered obsolete immediately, the clock is ticking and as the transition to electric vehicles speeds up, Johnson Matthey will need to quickly find a new sense of direction." AO World – Likely To Be Demoted From The FTSE 250 "Online electrical retailer AO World PLC (LON:AO) was well set up to capitalise on the accelerated shift to e-commerce during the first stages of the pandemic, with profits soaring as demand for white goods and IT equipment bounded higher. But the company has come down to earth with a bump, falling to a £10 million half year loss, sending shares plummeting, and this dramatic reversal of fortunes is likely to see it kicked out of the FTSE 250. Its rapid growth seems to have been part of the problem, given that it hasn’t had as much time to build up deep relationships with suppliers, so when the supply crunch hit for electrical goods, it was lower down on the list of priorities. Higher labour and transport costs exacerbated by the shortage of drivers have also dented margins, given that it’s so reliant on its delivery network to make sales and provide after care. A quick turnaround is unlikely given that the company has warned that the crucial Christmas trading period will be tough, with supply chain issues lingering, so AO World may find it hard to climb back up the ladder into FTSE 250 territory for some time." The Restaurant Group – Likely To Be Demoted From The FTSE 250 "As fears about the Omicron variant swirl, there are fresh concerns that restrictions could be tightened on hospitality firms and The Restaurant Group PLC (LON:RTN) hasn’t escaped this fresh round of volatility. Although shares are up marginally today, they have fallen by 35% over the past month as investors worry that despite a big round of cost cutting and the slimming down of its restaurant footprint, a big bounce back in fortunes remains elusive.  Although its star brand Wagamama is dishing out fast food as fast as it can make it to crowds queuing outside restaurants or ordering in from home, its airport concessions arm has struggled with a 53% fall in like-for-like sales at the last quarterly reading, as tourism has been slow to recover. Like many other firms in the sector the company is also facing the challenges of higher costs and wage pressures, amid a shortage of staff and those problems look set to linger." Provident Financial - Contender For The FTSE 250 "Provident Financial plc (LON:PFG), the sub-prime firm known for specialising in credit cards, online loans and consumer car finance is likely to gain a foothold in the FTSE 250 after its valuation recovered as it’s pivoted the business. The company called time on its doorstep lending business earlier this year as part of its attempt to climb out of a financial black hole, after being forced to pay compensation for mis-selling its products. Shifting its business model away from riskier high interest loans towards a mid-cost credit model is now more of a focus for the company and it’s a direction of travel investors have embraced. Although the shine has come off the share price in recent days, which may be partly due to fears that if the new variant leads to another downturn, the potential for bad loans could increase, shares are still up by 41% over the past six months." Petershill Partners – Contender For The FTSE 250 "Petershill Partners PLC (LON:PHLL) only started trading on the London Stock Exchange in September but already it’s a leading contender to step into the FTSE 250. Petershill owns minority stakes in a range of alternative asset managers such as venture capital firms and private equity companies, many of which had been managed by Goldman Sachs for a decade or more.  Assets under management at the investment firm increased by 8% in the third quarter, and it has its eye on fresh prizes with new acquisitions being sized up. Petershill has capitalised on the hunger for private equity investments in an era of ultra-low rates, enabling firms to borrow cheaply to finance takeovers.  With an increase in interest rates looming there is a risk that appetite for such assets may wane, and that might partly account for a slight nudging downwards in the share price over the past month." About Hargreaves Lansdown Over 1.67 million clients trust us with £138.0 billion (as at 30 September 2021), making us the UK’s number one platform for private investors. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month. Updated on Nov 30, 2021, 12:19 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 30th, 2021