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Central Florida expects benefits from federal infrastructure funds

Florida could get an estimated $19 billion from the package......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

Central Florida expects benefits from federal infrastructure funds

Florida could get an estimated $19 billion from the package......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns

Futures Trade Near All Time High As Traders Shrug At Inflation, Covid Concerns US equity futures and European markets started the Thanksgiving week on an upbeat note as investors set aside fear of surging inflation and focused on a pickup in M&A activity while China signaled possible easing measures. The euphoria which lifted S&P futures up some 0.5% overnight and just shy of all time highs ended abruptly and futures reversed after German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the Covid situation in the country is worse than anything so far and tighter curbs are needed. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 95 points, or 0.26%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 12.25 points, or 0.26% and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.75 points, or 0.357%. U.S. stocks trade near record levels, outpacing the rest of the world, as investors see few alternatives amid rising inflation and a persistent pandemic that undermines global recovery. Concerns about high valuations and the potential for the economy to run too hot on the back of loose monetary and fiscal policies have interrupted, but not stopped the rally. In other words, as Bloomberg puts it "bears are winning the argument, bulls are winning in the market" while Nasdaq futures hit another record high as demand for technology stocks remained strong. “Based on historical data, the Thanksgiving week is a strong week for U.S. equities,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “Black Friday sales will be closely watched. The good news is, people still have money to spend, even though they get less goods and services in exchange of what’s spent.” In premarket moves, heavyweights, including most FAANG majors, rose in premarket trade. Vonage Holdings Corp. jumped 26% in premarket trading after Ericsson agreed to buy it. Telecom Italia SpA jumped as much as 30% in Europe after KKR offered to buy it for $12 billion. Energy stocks recovered slightly from last week's losses, although anticipation of several economic readings this week kept gains in check. Bank stocks rose in premarket trading as the U.S. 10-year Treasury yield climbed for the first time in three sessions to about 1.58%. S&P 500 futures gain as much as 0.5% on Monday morning. Tesla gained 2.8% after Chief Executive Elon Musk tweeted that Model S Plaid will "probably" be coming to China around March. Activision Blizzard (ATVI.O) slipped 1.1% after a media report that the video game publisher's top boss, Bobby Kotick, would consider leaving if he cannot quickly fix culture problems. Travel and energy stocks, which were among the worst performers last week, also marked small gains before the open. Here is a list of the other notable premarket movers: Astra Space (ASTR US) shares surge 33% in premarket trading after the company said its rocket reached orbit. Aurora Innovation (AUR US) falls 8% in premarket, after soaring 71% last week amid a surge in popularity for self-driving technology companies among retail traders. Chinese electric-carmaker Xpeng (XPEV US) rises as much as 2.8% premarket after co. unveils a large sports-utility vehicle pitted more directly against Tesla’s Model Y and Nio’s ES series. Stocks of other EV makers are mixed. Monster Beverage (MNST US)., the maker of energy drinks, is exploring a combination with Corona brewer Constellation Brands (STZ US), according to people familiar with the matter. CASI Pharma (CASI US) jumped 17% in postmarket trading after CEO Wei-Wu He disclosed the purchase of 400,000 shares in a regulatory filing. Along with an eye on the Fed's plans for tightening policy, investors are also watching for an announcement from Joe Biden on his pick for the next Fed chair. Powell was supposed to make his decision by the weekend but has since delayed it repeatedly. Investors expect current chair Jerome Powell to stay on for another term, although Fed Governor Lael Brainard is also seen as a candidate for the position. “Bringing the most dovish of the doves wouldn’t guarantee a longer period of zero rates,” Ozkardeskaya wrote. “If the decisions are based on economic fundamentals, the economy is calling for a rate hike. And it’s calling for it quite soon.” The Stoxx 600 trimmed gains after German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for tighter Covid-19 restrictions. European telecom shares surged after KKR’s offer to buy Telecom Italia for about $12 billion, which boosted sentiment about M&A in the sector. The Stoxx 600 Telecommunications Index gained as much as 1.6%, the best-performing sector gauge for the region: Telefonica +4.8%, Infrastrutture Wireless Italiane +4%, KPN +2.7%. Meanwhile, telecom equipment stock Ericsson underperforms the rest of the SXKP index, falling as much as 4.9% after a deal to buy U.S. cloud communication provider Vonage; Danske Bank says the price is “quite steep”. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell as Covid-19 resurgences in Europe triggered risk-off sentiment across markets amid weaker oil prices, a strong U.S. dollar and higher bond yields. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined 0.3%, with India’s Sensex measure slumping the most since April as Paytm’s IPO weighed on sentiment. The country’s oil giant Reliance dragged down the Asian index after scrapping a deal with Saudi Aramco, and energy and financials were the biggest sector losers in the region. Asian markets have turned softer after capping their first weekly retreat this month, following lackluster moves from economically sensitive sectors in the U.S., while investors continue to monitor earnings reports of big Chinese technology firms this week. “Some impact from the regulatory risks and dull macroeconomic conditions have shown up in several Chinese big-tech earnings and that may put investors on the sidelines as earnings season continues,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte., wrote in a note. China’s equity gauge posted a second straight day of gains after the central bank’s quarterly report indicated a shift toward easing measures to bolster the economic recovery. South Korea led gains in the region, with the Kospi adding more than 1%, helped by chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix. Asia’s chip-related shares rose after comments from Micron Technology CEO Sanjay Mehrotra added to optimism the global shortage of semiconductors is easing. Reports of Japan earmarking $6.8 billion to bolster domestic chipmaking and Samsung planning to announce the location of its new chip plant in the U.S. also aided sentiment. Japanese stocks fluctuated after U.S. shares retreated on Friday following hawkish remarks from Federal Reserve officials. The Topix index was virtually unchanged at 2,044.16 as of 2:21 p.m. Tokyo time, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.1% to 29,783.92. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,107 rose and 948 fell, while 125 were unchanged. “There are uncertainties surrounding the direction of U.S. monetary policy,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co. “The latest comments from FRB members are spurring talk that steps to taper could accelerate.” Australian stocks sunk as banks tumbled to almost a 4-month low. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.6% to close at 7,353.10, weighed down by banks and technology stocks as the measure for financial shares finished at the lowest level since July 30.  Nickel Mines was the top performer after agreeing to expand its strategic partnership with Shanghai Decent. Flight Centre fell for a second session, ending at its lowest close since Sept. 20, as the Covid-19 situation worsens in Europe. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 1% to 12,607.64. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index holds Asia’s narrow range, trading little changed on the day. AUD outperforms G-10 peers, extending Asia’s modest gains. SEK and JPY are the weakest. RUB lags in EMFX, dropping as much as 1% versus the dollar with USD/RUB on a 74-handle. According to Bloomberg, hedge funds’ bullishness toward the dollar is starting to evaporate amid speculation the U.S. currency has risen too much given the Federal Reserve remains adamant it’s in no rush to raise interest rates. Meanwhile, the euro pared modest Asia session losses to trade below $1.13, while European bond yields edged higher, led by bunds and gilts. The pound dipped after comments from Bank of England policy makers raised questions about the certainty of an interest-rate increase in December. Governor Andrew Bailey said that the risks to the U.K. economy are “two-sided” in a weekend interview. Australian dollar advanced against the kiwi on position tweaking ahead of Wednesday’s RBNZ’s rate decision, and after China’s central bank removed sticking with “normal monetary policy” from its policy outlook. Yen declines as speculation China will steer toward more accommodative policy damps the currency’s haven appeal. Hungary’s forint tumbled to a record low against the euro as back-to-back interest rate increases failed to shield it during a rapidly deteriorating pandemic and a flight to safer assets. In commodities, crude futures drifted higher. WTI rises 0.3% near $76.20, Brent regains at $79-handle. Spot gold has a quiet session trading near $1,844/oz. Base metal are mixed: LME copper, tin and zinc post small losses; lead and nickel are in the green Looking at today's calendar, we get the October Chicago Fed national activity index, existing home sales data, and the Euro Area advance November consumer confidence. Zoom is among the companies reporting earnings. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,710.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 487.45 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro little changed at $1.1283 MXAP down 0.2% to 198.88 MXAPJ down 0.2% to 647.20 Nikkei little changed at 29,774.11 Topix little changed at 2,042.82 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,951.34 Shanghai Composite up 0.6% to 3,582.08 Sensex down 2.0% to 58,450.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.6% to 7,353.08 Kospi up 1.4% to 3,013.25 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $79.22/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,846.10 U.S. Dollar Index also little changed at 96.08 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Negotiators hammering out details of a transformative new global corporate tax regime are shaping the deal to maximize its chance of winning acceptance in the U.S., whose companies face the biggest impact from the overhaul The U.S. has shared intelligence including maps with European allies that shows a buildup of Russian troops and artillery to prepare for a rapid, large-scale push into Ukraine from multiple locations if President Vladimir Putin decided to invade, according to people familiar with the conversations. The ruble slid to the weakest since August and the hryvnia fell With investors ramping up expectations for the Federal Reserve and other developed-market central banks to tighten policy, the likes of the Brazilian real and Hungarian forint have been weighed down by inflation and political concerns even as local officials pushed up borrowing costs. The Chinese yuan, Taiwanese dollar and Russian ruble have been among the few to stand their ground An organization formed by key participants in China’s currency market urged banks to limit speculative foreign-exchange trading after the yuan climbed to a six-year high versus peers The Avalanche cryptocurrency has surged in the past several days, taking it briefly into the top 10 by market value and surpassing Dogecoin and Shiba Inu, after a deal related to improvement of U.S. disaster-relief funding A more detailed breakdown of overnight news courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following last Friday's mostly negative performance stateside, where risk appetite was dampened by concerns of a fourth COVID wave in Europe and recent hawkish Fed rhetoric. Weekend newsflow was light and the mood was tentative heading into this week's risk events including FOMC minutes and US GDP data before the Thanksgiving holiday. The ASX 200 (-0.6%) was subdued with declines led by weakness in gold miners and the energy sector. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was lacklustre after last week’s inflows into the JPY but with downside eventually reversed as the currency faded some of the gains and following the recent cabinet approval of the stimulus spending. The KOSPI (+1.4%) outperformed and reclaimed the 3k level with shares in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics rallying as its de facto leader tours the US which spurred hopes the Co. could deploy its USD 100bln cash pile. The Hang Seng (-0.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.6%) diverged with the mainland kept afloat after the PBoC conducted a mild liquidity injection and maintained its Loan Prime Rate for a 19th consecutive month as expected, although Hong Kong was pressured by losses in energy and cautiousness among developers, as well as the recent announcement of increased constituents in the local benchmark. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked marginal gains amid the cautious risk tone in Asia and following firmer demand at the enhanced liquidity auction for 2yr-20yr JGBs, but with upside capped as T-note futures continued to fade Friday’s early gains that were fuelled by the COVID-19 concerns in Europe before the advances were later halted by hawkish Fed rhetoric calling for a discussion on speeding up the tapering at next month’s meeting. Top Asian News China Blocks Peng Shuai News as It Seeks to Reassure World China FX Panel Urges Banks to Cap Speculation as Yuan Surges Paytm Founder Compares Himself to Musk After Historic IPO Flop China Tech Stocks Are Nearing Inflection Point, UBS GWM Says European cash bourses kicked off the new trading week with mild gains (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a mixed APAC handover. Some have been attributing the mild gains across Europe in the context of the different approaches of the Fed and ECB, with the latter expected to remain dovish as the former moves tighter, while COVID lockdowns will restrict economic activity. News flow in the European morning has however been sparse, as participants look ahead to FOMC Minutes, Flash PMIs and US GDP ahead of the Thanksgiving holiday (full Newsquawk Desk Schedule on the headline feed) alongside the Fed Chair update from President Biden and a speech from him on the economy. US equity futures see modestly more pronounced gains, with the more cyclically-exposed RTY (+0.6%) performing better than then NQ (+0.4%), ES (+0.4%) and YM (+0.4%). Since the European cash open, the initial mildly positive momentum has somewhat waned across European cash and futures, with the region now conforming to a more mixed picture. Spain's IBEX (+0.7%) is the clear regional outperforming, aided by index heavyweight Telefonica (+5.0%), which benefits from the sectorial boost received by a couple of major M&A updates. Firstly, Telecom Italia (+22%) gapped higher at the open after KKR presented a EUR 0.505/shr offer for Telecom Italia. The offer presents a ~45% premium on Friday's close. Second, Ericsson (-3.5%) made a bid to acquire American publicly held business cloud communications provider Vonage in a deal worth USD 6.2bln. As things stand, the Telecom sector is the clear outperformer, closely followed by banks amid a revival in yields. The other end of the spectrum sees Travel & Leisure back at the foot of the bunch as COVID fears in Europe mount. In terms of individual movers, Vestas Wind Systems (-2.0%) was hit as a cyber incident that impacted parts of its internal IT structure and data has been compromised. Looking ahead, it’s worth noting that volume will likely be more muted towards the latter half of the week on account of the Thanksgiving holiday. Top European News Scholz Closer to German Chancellery as Cabinet Takes Shape Austria Back in Lockdown Ahead of Mandatory Vaccine Policy Energy Crunch Drives Carbon to Record as Europe Burns More Coal BP Goes on Hydrogen Hiring Spree in Bid for 10% Market Share In FX, the Antipodean Dollars are outperforming at the start of the new week on specific supportive factors, like a bounce in the price of iron ore and a further re-opening from pandemic restrictions in both Australia and New Zealand, while the REINZ shadow board is ‘overwhelmingly’ behind another RBNZ rate hike this week. Aud/Usd is holding around 0.7250 and Nzd/Usd is hovering circa 0.7000 as the Aud/Nzd cross pivots 1.0350 in the run up to flash Aussie PMIs and NZ retail sales. DXY - Aussie and Kiwi strength aside, the Greenback retains a solid underlying bid on safe haven and increasingly hawkish Fed grounds after a run of recent much better than expected US data. In index terms, a base just above 96.000 provides a platform to retest last week’s peaks at 96.245 and 96.266 vs 96.223 so far, but Monday’s agenda may not give bulls much in the way of encouragement via data with only existing home sales scheduled. Instead, the Buck could derive more impetus from Treasuries given front-loaded supply ahead of Thanksgiving in the form of Usd 58 bn 2 year and Usd 59 bn 5 year notes. CHF/CAD/EUR/GBP/JPY - All narrowly mixed against their US rival, as the Franc keeps its head above 0.9300 and meanders between 1.0485-61 vs the Euro amidst some signs of official intervention from a rise in weekly Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks. Meanwhile, the Loonie has some leverage from a mild rebound in crude prices to pare declines from sub-1.2650 and should glean support into 1.2700 from 1 bn option expiries at 1.2685 on any further risk aversion or fallout in WTI. Conversely, 1 bn option expiry interest from 1.1300-05 could scupper Euro recoveries from Friday’s new y-t-d low around 1.1250 against the backdrop of ongoing COVID-19 contagion and pre-ECB speakers plus preliminary Eurozone consumer confidence. Elsewhere, the Pound is weighing up BoE tightening prospects and the impact of no breakthrough between the UK and EU on NI Protocol as Cable and Eur/Gbp straddle the 1.3435-40 zone and 0.8400 respectively, while the Yen has unwound more of its safe haven premium within a 114.27-113.91 range eyeing UST yields in relation to JGBs alongside overall risk sentiment. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is deriving some traction from Brent back over Usd 79/brl, but geopolitical concerns are preventing the Rub from benefiting and the Mxn is also on a weaker footing along with most EM currencies. However, the Try is striving to draw a line in the sand irrespective of a marked deterioration in Turkish consumer sentiment and the Cnh/Cny are holding up well regardless of a softer PBoC fix for the onshore unit as LPRs were unchanged yet again and China’s FX regulator told banks to limit Yuan spec trades. In CEE, the Pln has plunged on diplomatic strains between Poland and the EU, the Huf has depreciated to all time lows on virus fears and the Czk has been hampered by CNB’s Holub downplaying the chances of more big tightening surprises such as the aggressive hike last time. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures see some consolidation following Friday’s slide in prices. In terms of the fundamentals, the demand side of the equations continues to be threatened by the fourth wave of COVID, namely in the European nations that have not had a successful vaccine rollout. As a reminder, Austria is in a 20-day nationwide lockdown as of today, whilst Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands see tighter restrictions, with the latter two also experiencing COVID-related social unrest over the weekend. The European Commission will on Wednesday issue a set of new recommendations to its member states on non-essential travel, a senior EU diplomat said, which will be watched for activity and jet fuel demand. Over to the supply side, There were weekend reports that Japan and the US are planning a joint announcement regarding the SPR release, although a key Japanese official later noted there was no fixed plan yet on releasing reserves. Japanese PM Kishida confirmed that they are considering releasing oil reserves to curb prices. Meanwhile, Iranian nuclear talks are regaining focus as negotiations are poised to resume on the 29th of November – it is likely we’ll see officials telegraph their stances heading into the meeting. Eyes will be on whether the US offers an olive branch as Tehran stands firm. Elsewhere, the next OPEC+ meeting is also looming, but against the backdrop of lower prices, COVID risk and SPR releases, it is difficult to see a scenario where OPEC+ will be more hawkish than dovish. WTI and Brent Jan trade on either side of USD 76/bbl and USD 79/bbl respectively and within relatively narrow bands. Spot gold and silver meanwhile see a mild divergence, with the yellow metal constrained by resistance in the USD 1,850/oz area, whilst spot silver rebounded off support at USD 24.50/oz. Finally, base metals are relatively mixed with no standout performers to point out. LME copper is flat but holds onto USD 9,500+/t status. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Oct. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.10, prior -0.13 10am: Oct. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.8%, prior 7.0% 10am: Oct. Home Resales with Condos, est. 6.18m, prior 6.29m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This morning we’ve just published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. 2021 has been one of the lowest vol years for credit on record but we think this is unlikely to last and spreads will sell-off at some point in H1 when markets reappraise how far behind the curve the Fed is. Even with covid restrictions mounting again in Europe as we go to print, we think it’s more likely that we’ll be in a “growthflationary” environment for 2022 and think overheating risks are more acute than the stagflation risk, especially in the US. Strong growth and high liquidity should mean that full year 2022 is a reasonable year for credit overall but if we’re correct there’ll be regular pockets of inflationary/interest rate concerns in the market, which we think is more likely to happen in H1. At the H1 wides, we could see spreads widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY which is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. However, with the potential for a shift in the narrative to potential late-cycle dynamics, we think spreads will close 2022 slightly wider than they are today. We will be watching the yield curve closely through the year for clues as to how the cycle will evolve into 2023. This has the ability to move our YE 22 forecasts in both directions as the year progresses. This week will be heavily compressed given Thanksgiving on Thursday. The highlight though will be a likely choice of Fed governor before this, assuming the timetable doesn’t slip again. Overnight it’s been announced that Biden will give a speech to the American people tomorrow on the economy and prices. It’s possible the Fed Chair gets announced here and perhaps plans to release oil from the strategic reserve. We will see. Following that, Wednesday is especially busy as a pre-holiday US data dump descends upon us. We’ll see the minutes of the November 3rd FOMC meeting and earlier that day the core PCE deflator (the Fed's preferred inflation metric), Durable Goods, the UoM sentiment index (including latest inflation expectations), new home sales and jobless claims amongst a few other releases. More internationally, covid will be focus, especially in Europe as Austria enters lockdown today after the shock announcement on Friday. Germany is probably the swing factor here for sentiment in Europe so case numbers will be watched closely. Staying with Germany, there’s anticipation that a coalition agreement could be reached in Germany between the SPD, Greens and the FDP, almost two months after their federal election. Otherwise, the flash PMIs for November will be in focus, with the ECB following the Fed and releasing the minutes from their recent meeting on Thursday. As discussed at the top the most important market event this week is likely to be on the future leadership of the Federal Reserve, as it’s been widely reported that President Biden is expected to announce his choice on who’ll be the next Fed Chair by Thanksgiving on Thursday. Previous deadlines have slipped on this announcement, but time is becoming increasingly limited given the need for Senate confirmation ahead of Chair Powell’s current four-year term expiring in early February. The two names that are quite obviously in the frame are incumbent Chair Powell and Governor Brainard, but there are also a number of other positions to fill at the Fed in the coming months, with Vice Chair Clarida’s term as an FOMC governor expiring in January, Randal Quarles set to leave the Board by the end of this year, and another vacant post still unfilled. So a significant opportunity for the Biden administration to reshape the top positions at the Fed. In spite of all the speculation over the position of the Fed Chair, our US economists write in their latest Fed update (link here), that the decision is unlikely to have a material impact on the broad policy trajectory. Inflation in 2022 is likely to remain at levels that make most Fed officials uncomfortable, whilst the regional Fed presidents rotating as voters lean more hawkish next year, so there’ll be constraints to how policy could shift in a dovish direction, even if an incoming chair wanted to move things that way. Another unconfirmed but much anticipated announcement this week could come from Germany, where there’s hope that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP will finally reach a coalition agreement. The general secretaries of all three parties have recently said that they hope next week will be when a deal is reached, and a deal would pave the way for the SPD’s Olaf Scholz to become chancellor at the head of a 3-party coalition. Nevertheless, there are still some hurdles to clear before then, since an agreement would mark the start of internal party approval processes. The FDP and the SPD are set to hold a party convention, whilst the Greens have announced that their members will vote on the agreement. On the virus, there is no doubt things are getting worse in Europe but it’s worth putting some of the vaccine numbers in some context. Austria (64% of total population) has a double vaccination rate that is somewhat lower than the likes of Spain (79%), Italy (74%), France (69%), the UK (69%) and Germany (68%). The UK for all its pandemic fighting faults is probably as well placed as any due to it being more advanced on the booster campaign due to an earlier vaccine start date and also due to higher natural infections. It was also a conscious decision back in the summer in the UK to flatten the peak to take load off the winter wave. So this is an area where scientists and the government may have made a calculated decision that pays off. Europe is a bit behind on boosters versus the UK but perhaps these will accelerate as more people get 6 months from their second jab, albeit a bit too late to stop some kind of winter wave. There may also be notable divergence within Europe. Countries like Italy and Spain (and to a slightly lesser extent France) that were hit hard in the initial waves have a high vaccination rate so it seems less likely they will suffer the dramatic escalation that Austria has seen. Germany is in the balance as they have had lower infection rates which unfortunately may have encouraged slightly lower vaccination rates. The irony here is that there is some correlation between early success/lower infections and lower subsequent vaccination rates. The opposite is also true - i.e. early bad outcomes but high vaccination rates. The US is another contradiction as it’s vaccination rate of 58% is very low in the developed world but it has had high levels of natural infections and has a higher intolerance for lockdowns. So tough to model all the above. Overall given that last winter we had no vaccines and this year we have very high levels of protection it seems unfathomable that we’ll have an outcome anywhere near as bad. Yes there will be selected countries where the virus will have a more severe impact but most developed countries will likely get by without lockdowns in my opinion even if the headlines aren’t always going to be pleasant. Famous last words but those are my thoughts. In light of the rising caseloads, the November flash PMIs should provide some context for how the global economy has performed into the month. We’ve already seen a deceleration in the composite PMIs for the Euro Area since the summer, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s maintained. If anything the US data has reaccelerated in Q4 with the Atlanta Fed GDPNow series at 8.2% for the quarter after what will likely be a revised 2.2% print on Wednesday for Q3. Time will tell if Covid temporarily dampens this again. Elsewhere datawise, we’ll also get the Ifo’s latest business climate indicator for Germany on Wednesday, which has experienced a similar deceleration to other European data since the summer. The rest of the week ahead appears as usual in the day-by-day calendar at the end. Overnight in Asia stocks are mixed with the KOSPI (+1.31%) leading the pack followed by the Shanghai Composite (+0.65%) and CSI (+0.53%), while the Nikkei (-0.18%) and Hang Seng (-0.35%) are lower. Stocks in China are being boosted by optimism that the PBOC would be easing its policy stance after its quarterly monetary policy report on Friday dropped a few hints to that effect. Futures are pointing towards a positive start in the US and Europe with S&P 500 futures (+0.31%) and DAX futures (+0.14%) both in the green. Turning to last week now, rising Covid cases prompted renewed lockdown measures to varying degrees and hit risk sentiment. Countries across Europe implemented new lockdown measures and vaccine requirements to combat the latest rise in Covid cases. The standouts included Austria and Germany. Austria will start a nationwide lockdown starting today and will implement a compulsory Covid vaccine mandate from February. Germany will restrict leisure activities and access to public transportation for unvaccinated citizens and announced a plan to improve vaccination efforts. DM ten-year yields decreased following the headline. Treasury, bund, and gilt yields declined -3.8bps, -6.7bps, and -4.6bps on Friday, respectively, bringing the weekly totals to -1.3bps, -8.3bps, and -3.5bps, respectively. The broad dollar appreciated +0.54% Friday, and +0.98% over the week. Brent and WTI futures declined -2.89% and -3.68% on Friday following global demand fears, after drifting -4.27% and -5.79% lower throughout the week as headlines circulated that the US and allies were weighing whether to release strategic reserves. European equity indices declined late in the week as the renewed lockdown measures were publicized. The Stoxx 600, DAX, and CAC 40 declined -0.33%, -0.38%, and -0.42%, respectively on Friday, bringing their weekly totals to -0.14%, +0.41%, and +0.29%. The S&P 500 index was also hit ending the week +0.32% higher after declining -0.14% Friday, though weekly gains were concentrated in big technology and consumer discretionary stocks. U.S. risk markets were likely supported by the U.S. House of Representatives passing the Biden Administration’s climate and social spending bill. The bill will proceed to the Senate, where its fate lays with a few key moderate Democrats. This follows President Biden signing a physical infrastructure bill into law on Monday. On the Fed, communications from officials took a decidedly more hawkish turn on inflation dynamics, especially from dovish members. Whether the Fed decides to accelerate its asset purchase taper at the December FOMC will likely be the key focus in markets heading into the meeting. Ending the weekly wrap up with some positive Covid news: the U.S. Food and Drug Administration cleared Pfizer and Moderna booster shots for all adults. Additionally, the US will order 10 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid pill. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/22/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

Biden Signs a Bill to Revive Infrastructure… and Gold!

Gold rallied thanks to the changed narrative on inflation, and Biden’s infrastructure plan can only add to the inflationary pressure. Huge price moves ahead? Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more How The Government Should Decrease Inflation I have a short quiz for you! What the government should do to decrease inflation that reached […] Gold rallied thanks to the changed narrative on inflation, and Biden’s infrastructure plan can only add to the inflationary pressure. Huge price moves ahead? 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 How The Government Should Decrease Inflation I have a short quiz for you! What the government should do to decrease inflation that reached the highest level in 30 years? A) Decrease its expenditure to make room for the Fed to hike the federal funds rate. B) Press the US central bank to tighten its monetary policy. C) Deregulate the markets and lower taxes to boost the supply side of the economy. D) Introduce a huge infrastructure plan that will multiply spending on energy, raw materials, and inputs in general. Please guess which option the US government chose. Yes, the worst possible. Exam failed! At the beginning of November, Congress passed a bipartisan infrastructure bill. And President Biden signed it on Monday (November 15, 2021). To be clear, I’m not claiming that America doesn’t need any investment in infrastructure. Perhaps it needs it, and perhaps it’s a better idea than social spending on unemployment benefits that discourage work. I don’t want to argue about the adequacy of large government infrastructure projects, although government spending generally fails to stimulate genuine economic growth and governments rarely outperform the private sector in effectiveness. My point is that $1.2 trillion infrastructure spending is coming at the worst possible moment. The US economy is facing supply shortages and high inflation caused by surging demand, which choked the ports and factories. In short, too much money is chasing too few goods, and policymakers decided to add additional money into the already blocked supply chains! I have no words of admiration for the intellectual abilities of the members of Congress and the White House! Indeed, the spending plan does not have to be inflationary if financed purely by taxes and borrowing. However, the Fed will likely monetize at least part of the newly issued federal debt, and you know, to build or repair infrastructure, workers are needed, and steel, and concrete, and energy. The infrastructure spending, thus, will add pressure to the ongoing energy crisis and high producer price inflation, not to mention the shortage of workers. Implications for Gold What does the passing of the infrastructure bill imply for the gold market? Well, it should be supportive of the yellow metal. First, it will increase the fiscal deficits by additional billions of dollars (the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the bill will enlarge the deficits by $256 billion). Second, government spending will add to the inflationary pressure, which gold should also welcome. After all, gold recalled last week that it is a hedge against high and accelerating inflation. As the chart below shows, gold not only jumped above the key level of $1,800, but it even managed to cross $1,850 on renewed inflation worries. The infrastructure bill was probably discounted by the traders, so its impact on the precious metals market should be limited. However, generally, all news that could intensify inflationary fears should be supportive of the yellow metal. You see, the narrative has changed. So far, the thinking was that higher inflation implies faster tapering and interest rates hikes and, thus, lower gold prices. This is why gold was waiting on the sidelines for the past several months despite high inflation. Investors also believed that inflation would be transitory. However, the recent CPI report forced the markets to embrace the fact that inflation could be more persistent. What’s more, tapering of quantitative easing started, which erased some downward pressure on gold. Moreover, despite the slowdown in the pace of asset purchases, the Fed will maintain its accommodative stance and stay behind the curve. So, at the moment, the reasoning is that high inflation implies elevated fears, which is good for gold. I have always believed that gold’s more bullish reaction to accelerating inflation was a matter of time. It’s possible that this time has just come. Having said that, investors should remember that market narratives can change quickly. At some point, the Fed will probably step in and send some hawkish signals, which could calm investors and pull some of them out of the gold market. My second concern is that gold could have reacted not to accelerating inflation, but rather to the plunge in the real interest rates. As the chart below shows, the yields on 10-year TIPS have dropped to -1.17, a level very close to the August bottom. When something reaches the bottom, it should rebound later. And if real interest rates start to rally, then gold could struggle again. However, I’ll stop complaining now and allow the bulls to celebrate the long-awaited breakout. It’s an interesting development compared to the last months, that’s for sure! If you enjoyed today’s free gold report, we invite you to check out our premium services. We provide much more detailed fundamental analyses of the gold market in our monthly Gold Market Overview reports and we provide daily Gold & Silver Trading Alerts with clear buy and sell signals. In order to enjoy our gold analyses in their full scope, we invite you to subscribe today. If you’re not ready to subscribe yet though and are not on our gold mailing list yet, we urge you to sign up. It’s free and if you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe. Sign up today! Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care Updated on Nov 16, 2021, 10:18 am (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 16th, 2021

Wave Life Sciences Reports Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results and Provides Business Update

Strengthened balance sheet with approximately $52 million; focusing additional investment in RNA editing programs led by hepatic editing Optimized AIMers for AATD program demonstrate potent, highly specific RNA editing and restoration of functional AAT protein substantially above therapeutic threshold; potential for best-in-class, potent and durable RNA editing in vivo in multiple preclinical models and tissues Dosing ongoing in three clinical programs (WVE-004, WVE-003, WVE-N531); data being generated through 2022 to enable decision-making Wave to host investor conference call and webcast at 8:30 a.m. ET today CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Nov. 10, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Wave Life Sciences Ltd. (NASDAQ:WVE), a clinical-stage genetic medicines company committed to delivering life-changing treatments for people battling devastating diseases, today announced financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2021 and provided a business update. "In the third quarter, we achieved several important milestones including providing a comprehensive update on our potentially best-in-class ADAR editing capability and the initiation of dosing in three clinical trials evaluating our next-generation stereopure PN-modified oligonucleotides," said Paul Bolno, MD, MBA, President and Chief Executive Officer of Wave Life Sciences. "RNA editing is a novel therapeutic modality that greatly expands our landscape of addressable genetically defined diseases. We are leading the way in this new field and quickly working toward announcing our first ADAR editing development candidate for our alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency program next year. With this program, we are on a path to generate proof of principle that we can harness human biological machinery to edit RNA for the treatment of genetic diseases of the liver, CNS, and beyond." "Our robust and diversified pipeline is driven by our PRISM platform, which enables a unique ability to design and optimize oligonucleotides with novel, stereopure backbone modifications, including PN chemistry. We expect data being generated from our three ongoing clinical trials will enable us to make decisions on next steps for the programs next year. Finally, we recently strengthened our balance sheet via our at-the-market facility and funds received from Takeda under the terms of the amendment, leaving us well-capitalized to deliver on our portfolio, including advancing our first ADAR editing program toward the clinic and expanding our AIMer pipeline to include additional indications." ADAR editing capability recent events and upcoming milestones Leading RNA editing capability using AIMers to harness endogenous ADAR enzymes Wave's RNA editing capability leverages widely expressed endogenous ADAR enzymes to achieve highly specific A-to-I (G) RNA editing using stereopure oligonucleotides, called "AIMers," with and without GalNAc conjugation, to edit RNA in the liver, central nervous system (CNS), and other tissues. In September 2021, during its Analyst and Investor Research Webcast, Wave presented new preclinical data that demonstrated potent and durable editing of UGP2 mRNA out to at least four months post-dose in multiple regions of mouse CNS. Wave is applying ADAR editing to multiple therapeutic targets in the CNS, including restoring functional MECP2 protein for the treatment of Rett Syndrome. Wave also presented preclinical data demonstrating up to 50% editing of UGP2 mRNA in the posterior of the eye of mice at one-month post-single intravitreal injection and ACTB RNA editing in non-human primates (NHPs) using systemic administration, including in the kidneys, liver, lungs, and heart, as well as editing of ACTB in multiple immune cell types in vitro. Wave expects to share additional ADAR editing data using AIMers in scientific publications and presentations in 2022. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (AATD) program with ADAR editing: Wave's AATD program, its first therapeutic ADAR editing program, uses stereopure oligonucleotides to correct the single base mutation in mRNA coded by the SERPINA1 Z allele. Restoring circulating levels of healthy alpha-1 antitrypsin (M-AAT) protein and reducing aggregation in the liver of mutant protein (Z-AAT) with RNA editing could potentially address both the lung and liver manifestations of the disease simultaneously. In September 2021, during its Analyst and Investor Research Webcast, Wave shared new in vivo data demonstrating durable restoration of M-AAT protein in the liver of transgenic mice with human SERPINA1 and human ADAR following initial doses of a GalNAc-conjugated SERPINA1 AIMer. Using PRISM chemistry optimization, Wave AIMers can achieve highly specific editing of up to 50% of SERPINA1 mRNA in vivo and restore AAT protein in serum to a level four-fold higher than phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) control (or more than 15 micromolar). Ongoing and planned preclinical studies are assessing durability, dose response, pharmacokinetics, and pharmacodynamics. Wave also plans to assess reduction of Z-AAT aggregates in the liver and changes in liver pathology in its transgenic mouse model, with data expected in 2022. Wave expects to announce its AATD AIMer development candidate in 2022. Clinical silencing and exon skipping programs and upcoming milestones WVE-004 for C9orf72-associated amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (C9-ALS) and frontotemporal dementia (C9-FTD): WVE-004 is an investigational stereopure antisense oligonucleotide designed to selectively target transcript variants containing a hexanucleotide repeat expansion (G4C2) associated with the C9orf72 gene, which is one of the most common genetic causes of the sporadic and inherited forms of ALS and FTD. WVE-004 uses Wave's novel PN backbone chemistry modifications (PN chemistry). In July 2021, Wave announced the initiation of dosing in the Phase 1b/2a FOCUS-C9 clinical trial, which is adaptive, with an independent committee to guide dose level and dosing frequency. WVE-003 targeting SNP3 for Huntington's disease (HD): WVE-003, Wave's first HD candidate to use PN chemistry and leverage transgenic models to assess target engagement in vivo, is designed to selectively target the mutant allele of the huntingtin (mHTT) gene, while leaving the wild-type (healthy) HTT (wtHTT) protein relatively intact. Wave's approach to HD is guided by the recognition that people with HD have less wtHTT protein compared to unaffected individuals and a growing body of scientific evidence suggests that preserving as much of this essential protein as possible, when in the setting of stress from toxic mHTT protein, may be important for favorable clinical outcomes. In September 2021, Wave announced the initiation of dosing in the Phase 1b/2a SELECT-HD clinical trial of WVE-003 in patients with early manifest HD. The SELECT-HD trial is adaptive, with an independent committee to guide dose level and dosing frequency. WVE-N531 for Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) amenable to exon 53 skipping: WVE-N531 is Wave's first stereopure splicing candidate and first systemically administered candidate to incorporate PN chemistry. In September 2021, Wave announced the initiation of dosing in an open-label clinical trial of WVE-N531 dosed intravenously bi-weekly in patients with DMD amenable to exon 53 skipping. Dose level and dosing frequency will be guided by tolerability and plasma PK, with possible cohort expansion driven by an assessment of drug distribution in muscle and biomarkers, including dystrophin. Upcoming clinical milestones: Wave expects to generate clinical data through 2022 from WVE-004, WVE-003, and WVE-N531 to provide insight into the clinical effects of PN chemistry and enable decision-making regarding next steps for each program. Corporate developments In October 2021, Wave issued and sold an aggregate block of approximately $30 million in ordinary shares through its at-the-market (ATM) equity program, based on interest received from new and existing shareholders following its Analyst and Investor Research Webcast in September 2021. Wave intends to use the additional capital to accelerate its RNA editing capability, led by its AATD program. In October 2021, Wave announced an amendment to its ongoing collaboration with Takeda, which streamlined the collaboration and allows Wave to advance or partner early-stage CNS programs, including those using ADAR editing. Wave received $22.5 million from Takeda under the terms of the amendment. The amendment did not impact the late-stage component of the collaboration, including Takeda's option to co-develop and co-commercialize WVE-004 and WVE-003. Should Takeda opt in on any of these programs, Wave would receive an opt-in payment, global costs and potential profits would be shared 50:50, and Wave would be eligible to receive development and commercial milestone payments. Third quarter 2021 financial results and financial guidance Wave reported a net loss of $6.2 million in the third quarter of 2021 as compared to $33.1 million in the same period in 2020. Revenue earned during the three months ended September 30, 2021 was $36.4 million, as compared to $3.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2020. The increase in revenue year-over-year is primarily driven by the $22.5 million paid as part of the amendment to Wave's collaboration agreement with Takeda, which was recognized as revenue in the three months ended September 30, 2021, as well as the recognition of the remaining revenue related to Category 2 research support payments previously paid by Takeda. Research and development expenses were $31.1 million in the third quarter of 2021 as compared to $28.3 million in the same period in 2020. The increase in research and development expenses in the third quarter was primarily due to increased external expenses related to preclinical programs and compensation-related expenses, partially offset by decreased external expenses related to our discontinued programs. General and administrative expenses were $12.9 million in the third quarter of 2021 as compared to $9.6 million in the same period in 2020. The increase in general and administrative expenses in the third quarter of 2021 was driven by increases in compensation-related and other external general and administrative expenses. As of September 30, 2021, Wave had $123.9 million in cash and cash equivalents as compared to $184.5 million as of December 31, 2020. The decrease in cash and cash equivalents was mainly due to Wave's year-to-date net loss of $87.5 million, partially offset by the receipt of $21.2 million in proceeds under Wave's ATM equity program through September 30, 2021. Subsequently, in October 2021 Wave received an additional $52.1 million in cash, including $22.5 million from Takeda under the terms of the amendment to Wave's collaboration agreement with Takeda, and $29.6 million in proceeds under its ATM equity program from a block sale of ordinary shares based on interest received from new and existing shareholders following its Analyst and Investor Research Webcast in September 2021. Wave expects that its existing cash and cash equivalents will enable the company to fund its operating and capital expenditure requirements into the second quarter of 2023. Investor Conference Call and WebcastWave management will host an investor conference call today at 8:30 a.m. ET to discuss the company's third quarter and 2021 financial results and provide a business update. The conference call may be accessed by dialing (866) 220-8068 (domestic) or (470) 495-9153 (international) and entering conference ID: 6995569. The live webcast may be accessed from the Investor Relations section of the Wave Life Sciences corporate website at ir.wavelifesciences.com. Following the webcast, a replay will be available on the website. About PRISM™PRISM is Wave Life Sciences' proprietary discovery and drug development platform that enables genetically defined diseases to be targeted with stereopure oligonucleotides across multiple therapeutic modalities, including silencing, splicing and editing. PRISM combines the company's unique ability to construct stereopure oligonucleotides with a deep understanding of how the interplay among oligonucleotide sequence, chemistry and backbone stereochemistry impacts key pharmacological properties. By exploring these interactions through iterative analysis of in vitro and in vivo outcomes and machine learning-driven predictive modeling, the company continues to define design principles that are deployed across programs to rapidly develop and manufacture clinical candidates that meet pre-defined product profiles. About Wave Life SciencesWave Life Sciences (NASDAQ:WVE) is a clinical-stage genetic medicines company committed to delivering life-changing treatments for people battling devastating diseases. Wave aspires to develop best-in-class medicines across multiple therapeutic modalities using PRISM, the company's proprietary discovery and drug development platform that enables the precise design, optimization, and production of stereopure oligonucleotides. Driven by a resolute sense of urgency, the Wave team is targeting a broad range of genetically defined diseases so that patients and families may realize a brighter future. To find out more, please visit www.wavelifesciences.com and follow Wave on Twitter @WaveLifeSci. Forward-Looking StatementsThis press release contains forward-looking statements concerning our goals, beliefs, expectations, strategies, objectives and plans, and other statements that are not necessarily based on historical facts, including statements regarding the following, among others: the anticipated initiation, site activation, patient recruitment, patient enrollment, dosing, generation of data for decision-making and completion of our adaptive clinical trials, and the announcement of such events; the protocol, design and endpoints of our ongoing and planned clinical trials; the future performance and results of our programs in clinical trials; future preclinical activities and programs; regulatory submissions; the progress and potential benefits of our collaborations with partners; the potential of our in vitro and in vivo preclinical data to predict the behavior of our compounds in humans; our identification and expected timing of future product candidates and their therapeutic potential; the anticipated therapeutic benefits of our potential therapies compared to others; our ability to design compounds using multiple modalities and the anticipated benefits of that model; the potential benefits of PRISM, including our novel PN backbone chemistry modifications, and our stereopure oligonucleotides compared with stereorandom oligonucleotides; the potential benefits of our novel ADAR-mediated RNA editing platform capabilities, including our AIMers, compared to others; the benefit of nucleic acid therapeutics generally; the strength of our intellectual property; our assumptions based on our balance sheet and the anticipated duration of our cash runway; our intended uses of capital; and our expectations regarding the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these forward-looking statements as a result of various important factors, including the following: our ability to finance our drug discovery and development efforts and to raise additional capital when needed; the ability of our preclinical programs to produce data sufficient to support our clinical trial applications and the timing thereof; our ability to maintain the company infrastructure and personnel needed to achieve our goals; the clinical results of our programs, which may not support further development of product candidates; actions of regulatory agencies, which may affect the initiation, timing and progress of clinical trials, including their receptiveness to our adaptive trial designs; our effectiveness in managing future clinical trials and regulatory interactions; the effectiveness of PRISM, including our novel PN backbone chemistry modifications; the effectiveness of our novel ADAR-mediated RNA editing platform capability and our AIMers; the continued development and acceptance of oligonucleotides as a class of medicines; our ability to demonstrate the therapeutic benefits of our candidates in clinical trials, including our ability to develop candidates across multiple therapeutic modalities; our dependence on third parties, including contract research organizations, contract manufacturing organizations, collaborators and partners; our ability to manufacture or contract with third parties to manufacture drug material to support our programs and growth; our ability to obtain, maintain and protect our intellectual property; our ability to enforce our patents against infringers and defend our patent portfolio against challenges from third parties; competition from others developing therapies for similar indications; the severity and duration of the COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on the conduct of, and the timing of enrollment, completion and reporting with respect to our clinical trials; and any other impacts on our business as a result of or related to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the information under the caption "Risk Factors" contained in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and in other filings we make with the SEC from time to time. We undertake no obligation to update the information contained in this press release to reflect subsequently occurring events or circumstances. WAVE LIFE SCIENCES LTD.UNAUDITED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (In thousands, except share amounts)     September 30, 2021     December 31, 2020   Assets                 Current assets:                 Cash and cash equivalents   $ 123,896     $ 184,497   Accounts receivable     22,500       30,000   Prepaid expenses     7,627       10,434   Other current assets     3,964       5,111   Total current assets     157,987       230,042   Long-term assets:              .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 10th, 2021

Infrastructure: What"s The Bang For The Buck?

Infrastructure: What's The Bang For The Buck? By Philip Marey, Senior US Strategist at Rabobank Summary Last Friday, the House of Representatives finally approved the bipartisan infrastructure bill. Although long overdue given the state of US infrastructure, it will hit the economy at a time of full employment and after a couple of years of high inflation. This means that the bang for the buck will be substantially eroded. The attention of Congress now turns to the health care, education and child care bill that the Democrats want to pass through reconciliation, i.e. without Republican support. However, so far Democratic unity on this bill has been more difficult to find than a bipartisan majority for infrastructure spending. Meanwhile, the December 3 deadline for the debt ceiling and government funding is approaching rapidly. Introduction Last Friday, Nancy Pelosi made a U-turn and surprised everybody with the announcement that the House of Representatives would vote on the infrastructure bill and then take a procedural vote on the reconciliation bill, holding it for final passage until there was a CBO score. Until then, the two bills were tied together, as progressive Democrats were not willing to approve the infrastructure bill before the reconciliation bill (aimed at health care, education, child care), and moderate Democrats did not want to pass the reconciliation bill before the infrastructure bill. In order to break the deadlock, Pelosi called the progressives’ bluff and offered the CBO-contingent solution proposed by the Black Caucus. Although the progressives were not happy about this, they folded. While 6 Democrats defected, 13 Republicans more than made up for them. A victory for centrists in both parties, but those in the Democratic Party now have their hands tied to the numbers that the CBO comes up with for the reconciliation bill. And of course a victory for Nancy Pelosi, who finally took the risk of challenging the progressives. Ironically, she needed moderate Republicans to save the infrastructure bill from defecting progressive Democrats such as AOC. Economic impact: what’s the bang for the buck? While the law is presented as a $1 trillion infrastructure package, this includes spending on infrastructure the government had already planned for the next decade. The additional spending amounts to about $550 billion for roads, passenger railways, subway systems, airports, ports, power facilities, and broadband networks. The funds are expected to start flowing in the second half of 2022, but the bulk would be spent in 2024 and later. If an infrastructure plan arrives during a slowdown or recession, the bang for the buck is relatively high. Unemployed construction workers can get a job and idle machines are put to use. However, this time the recession is already behind us and we are even experiencing labor shortages. By the time the bulk of the infrastructure activities should start, the economy is expected to be at full employment. Note that the Fed expects to hike before the end of 2022 because of full employment. This means that the infrastructure builders will compete for workers and machines that are expected to be short in supply to begin with by 2024. This will make the projects more expensive, so the bang for the buck is much lower than in case of a recession. What’s more, with high inflation in 2021 and a large part of 2022, higher prices of materials and equipment will also erode the purchasing power of the infrastructure package. This comes on top of monopoly power in for example freight railroads and broadband, which is reducing the bang for the buck in any phase of the business cycle. So after Trump slashed taxes during an economic expansion, Biden now launches an infrastructure spending package into full employment. The timing of US economic policies seems a bit off in recent years. Instead of counter-cyclical fiscal policies they have turned cyclical. Evidently, the political cycle trumps the business cycle in DC. Still, infrastructure spending has long-term benefits that will outlive the business cycle. Especially, in the US which has an outdated infrastructure compared to some other industrialized nations. What’s more, from a cyclical perspective the next recession could still hit the economy before the decade of additional infrastructure spending is over. In terms of additional annual GDP growth, estimates reach at most 0.1 to 0.2 percentage points in the coming years and even less in later years. So not a major change in economic growth. Electoral impact: too late for this and next year’s elections The electoral limitations of the infrastructure plan for the Democrats are twofold. In the first place, this is a bipartisan bill, supported by a minority of Republicans. Although most Republicans voted against it, the yes voters were predominantly from swing districts, increasing their electability next year. Meanwhile, the majority of Republicans will continue to claim that only a small portion of the infrastructure package ($110 billion) goes to traditional infrastructure, and that the package is not paid for (the CBO estimated that it would increase federal borrowing by $256 billion over 10 years). In the second place, the bulk of the benefits will not arrive until 2024. Democrats will argue that the infrastructure package will alleviate supply chain bottlenecks, but voters are not likely to reap the benefits prior to the November 2022 midterm elections. Meanwhile, rampant inflation is eroding the purchasing power of middle and lower class voters, while the Fed continues to pump up the stock portfolios of wealthy voters until June next year. (Note that tapering is not tightening.) This means that the voters will mostly experience higher prices and constrained supply before the midterm elections in November next year. But at least Biden can claim he has delivered a bipartisan bill, which swing voters may appreciate more than the progressive reconciliation bill. This could help rebuild his tarnished image. However, the passage of the infrastructure bill came too late to help Democratic candidates in last week’s elections, which did not go very well for them. Reconciliation is next Congress is on recess this week and returns on November 15. On top of the agenda will be the $1.75 trillion reconciliation bill. It is difficult to keep track of what’s in the reconciliation bill. Last Wednesday, Pelosi put the four weeks of paid family leave and negotiated changes on prescription drugs and immigration back in the reconciliation bill. These changes are likely to be rejected by the Senate, but Pelosi seems done waiting for what Manchin and Sinema exactly want before starting the process on the reconciliation bill. We are likely to see more changes, especially after the bill has been sent to the Senate. It is interesting to note that these days it seems easier to pass a bipartisan bill than a Democrats-only reconciliation bill. In fact, if moderate Republicans had not come to the rescue, the infrastructure bill would have failed in the House because of Democratic defections. While the bipartisan infrastructure bill had already passed the Senate prior to Friday’s passage in the House, the reconciliation bill still has to be approved by both the House and the Senate. It could take weeks before the CBO has finalized its full analysis of the reconciliation bill, but lawmakers may be satisfied with a few preliminary projection tables. So Congress will be focused on the reconciliation bill during the remainder of November. Don’t forget the deadlines However, there is a December 3 deadline for the debt ceiling and government funding. McConnell already said last month the Democrats were on their own next time. It remains to be seen if he will blink again in this game of chicken, but if he does not, the Democrats would have to include a raise in the debt ceiling in the reconciliation bill. However, the Democrats are again betting on a bipartisan increase in the debt limit. If the debt ceiling is not raised in time, the extraordinary measures taken by the Treasury Department are expected to run out after December 3 and a federal government default would become inevitable sometime between mid-December and mid-February according to estimates by the Bipartisan Policy Center. What’s more, if no government funding bill or continuing resolution is passed by December 3, the federal government will have to shut down partially in early December. Note that a continuing resolution would prevent a shutdown, but imply a substantial cut in defense spending. Unfortunately, the reconciliation bill may take up most of Congress’ time in coming weeks, leaving little time for the two fiscal deadlines. Conclusion While this bipartisan infrastructure law was long overdue given the state of US infrastructure, it will hit the economy at a time of full employment and after a couple of years of high inflation. This means that the bang for the buck will be substantially eroded. The attention of lawmakers now turns to the health care, education and child care bill that the Democrats want to pass through reconciliation, i.e. without Republican support. So far this has been more difficult than reaching bipartisan agreement on an infrastructure bill. As we noted earlier, President Biden is trying to hold together a broad and shaky coalition. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/09/2021 - 18:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 9th, 2021

Stock Market News for Nov 5, 2021

U.S. stock markets closed mixed on Thursday as market participants were busy analyzing post FOMC statement of the Fed Chairman. U.S. stock markets closed mixed on Thursday as market participants were busy analyzing post FOMC statement of the Fed Chairman. The central bank has decided to start pulling back its gigantic stimulus effective this month. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite ended in green while the Dow finished in red.How Did The Benchmarks Perform?The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) dropped 0.1% to close at 36,157.58, terminating its five-day winning streak. Notably, 15 components of the 30-stock index ended in the green while 15 in red.  The major loser of the blue-chip index was Dow Inc. DOW. Shares of Dow tumbled 3.2%. Dow sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The tech-heavy Nasdaq Composite finished at 15,940.31, gaining 0.8% or 128.72 points due to strong performance by large-cap technology stocks. This marked the tech-laden index’s new closing high. In intraday trading, the index recorded a fresh all-time high of 15,966.09.Meanwhile, the S&P 500 advanced 0.4% to end at 4,680.06. marking the broad-market index’s new closing high. In intraday trading, the index registered a fresh all-time high of 4,683.00. Six out of eleven sectors of the benchmark index closed in positive territory and five in red. The Technology Select Sector SPDR (XLK) and the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR (XLY) increased 1.6% and 1.4%, respectively.The fear-gauge CBOE Volatility Index (VIX) was up 2.3% to 15.44. A total of 11.3 billion shares were traded on Thursday, lower than the last 20-session average of 10.4 billion. Decliners outnumbered advancers on the NYSE by a 1.12-to-1 ratio. On Nasdaq, a 1.24-to-1 ratio favored declining issues.Fed to Pullback Monetary StimulusOn Nov 3, the Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in his post-FOMC meeting statement that the central bank will start reducing its existing $120 billion per month bond-buy program ($80 billion Treasury Note and $40 billion mortgage-backed securities) effective this month.The Fed has decided to reduce its existing bond-buy program by $15 billion per month ($10 billion Treasury Note and $5 billion mortgage-backed securities) later this month. At this rate, the quantitative easing program will terminate in June 2022. The gradual elimination of the monetary stimulus is a calculated move by the central bank to avoid a 2013 like taper tantrum.Having initiated the tapering, the Fed chair said “Our decision today to begin tapering our asset purchases does not imply any direct signal regarding our interest rate policy. We continue to articulate a different and more stringent test for the economic conditions that would need to be met before raising the federal funds rate.”In this regard, Powell only slightly adjusted the Fed’s view on inflation from “transitory” to “expected to be transitory.” This clearly implies that the central bank is in no hurry to hike the benchmark interest rate from the current range of 0-0.25%. He also said that the Fed is ready to adjust the pace of tapering “if warranted by changes in the economic outlook.”Economic DataThe Department of Labor reported that weekly jobless claims fell 14,000 to pandemic-era low of 269,000 for the week ended Oct 30. The consensus estimate was 275,000. This is the lowest reading since Mar 14, 2020. Previous week’s data was revised upward to 283backslash,000 from 281,000 reported earlier.Continuing claims (those who already received government benefit and are reported a week behind) declined 134,000 to just over 2.1 million. This is the lowest reading since Mar 14, 2020. Total number of people receiving benefits under all programs fell 157,731 to 2.67 million.U.S. productivity growth rate plunged 5% in third-quarter 2021, worse-than-the consensus estimate of a decline of 2.7%. This is the biggest quarterly drop since the second quarter of 1981. Second-quarter’s productivity growth rate was revised upward to 2.4% from 2.1% reported earlier.Unit labor cost in third-quarter 2021 skyrocketed 8.3%, exceeding the consensus estimate of 6.6%. This is the combination of 5% drop in productivity and 2.9% hourly compensation. Second-quarter’s data was revised downward to 1.1% from 1.3% reported earlier.U.S. trade deficit in goods and services reached a record high of $80.9 billion in September, surpassing the consensus estimate of $78.4 billion. The trade deficit in August was revised downward to $72.8 billion from $73.3 billion reported earlier.Stocks That Have Made HeadlineUBER's Q3 Loss Narrower Than Expected, Revenues Surge Y/YUber Technologies Inc. (UBER ) incurred a loss (excluding $1.05 from non-recurring items) of $0.23 per share in the third quarter of 2021, narrower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of a loss of $0.37. (Read More)EOG Resources Q3 Earnings & Revenues Beat EstimatesEOG Resources Inc. EOG reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings per share of $2.16, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.01. (Read More) Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 Dow Inc. (DOW): Free Stock Analysis Report EOG Resources, Inc. (EOG): Free Stock Analysis Report Uber Technologies, Inc. (UBER): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 8th, 2021

Fed Chair Speaks in Cautious Tone Despite Tapering: 5 Picks

Each of our large-cap picks carries either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and has a VGM Score of A. These are: NUE, PFE, DOW, COST and LOW. The Federal Reserve has finally announced its much-expected tapering of the ongoing quantitative easing program. On Nov 3, Fed Chairman Jerome Powell said in his post-FOMC meeting statement that the central bank will start reducing its existing $120 billion per month bond-buy program ($80 billion Treasury Note and $40 billion mortgage-backed securities), effective this month.Despite adopting the first major shift from the ultra-dovish monetary policies that it initiated in March 2020, the overall tone of Powell’s statement still sounds dovish as he categorically delinked bond-buy tapering from the future interest rate hike.Fed Remains Dovish Despite TaperingThe Fed has decided to reduce its existing bond-buy program by $15 billion per month ($10 billion Treasury Note and $5 billion mortgage-backed securities) later this month. At this rate, the quantitative easing program will terminate in June 2022. The gradual elimination of the monetary stimulus is a calculated move by the central bank to avoid a 2013 like taper tantrum.Having initiated the tapering, the Fed chair said, “Our decision today to begin tapering our asset purchases does not imply any direct signal regarding our interest rate policy. We continue to articulate a different and more stringent test for the economic conditions that would need to be met before raising the federal funds rate.”In this regard, Powell only slightly adjusted the Fed’s view on inflation from “transitory” to “expected to be transitory.” This clearly implies that the central bank is in no hurry to hike the benchmark interest rate from the current range of 0-0.25%. He also said that the Fed is ready to adjust the pace of tapering “if warranted by changes in the economic outlook.”Wall Street Welcomes Fed’s DecisionFed’s decision was mostly in line with market participants’ expectation. The central bank has injected this unprecedented monetary stimulus to maintain sufficient liquidity in the system to cope with unprecedented economic devastation owing to the coronavirus-led pandemic. The central bank has decided to gradually withdraw that stimulus as the economy has made sufficient progress.Market valuation has already discounted the likelihood of the Fed starting to taper its monthly bond-buy program this month as the inflation rate skyrocketed to a 30-year high. Prolonged supply-chain disruptions, a labor shortage and massive pent-up demand are the primary reasons for the galloping inflation.In fact, the dovish tone of the Fed Chair bodes well with the market. As a result, the three major stock indexes — the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite — gained 0.3%, 0.7% and 1%, respectively. The small-cap-centric Russell 2000 advanced 1.8%.The current projection by the CME FedWatch shows a 9% probability that the central bank will hike the benchmark interest rate in early 2022. The Fed has maintained that a rate hike is unlikely before the second half of 2022. Moreover, Powell’s statement also signaled that the first rate hike may be delayed till late 2022.Moreover, not all stocks will succumb to a higher interest rate. Even if the Fed changes its current projection, pushing up the market's interest rate earlier than expected, corporate bigwigs are unlikely to bear the brunt of a rising interest rate. These companies have a robust business model across the world and command globally acclaimed brand values. Their strong financial position will help them to cope with a higher interest rate.Our Top PicksSeveral good stocks are available for investment for the rest of this year. However, we have applied our VGM Style Score to narrow down the search to five stocks. These stocks have strong growth potential for the rest of 2021 and have seen solid earnings estimate revisions within the past 7 days, indicating that the market currently expects these companies to do solid business in 2021.Each of our picks carries either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and a VGM 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 ResearchNucor Corp. NUE is a leading producer of structural steel, steel bars, steel joists, steel deck and cold-finished bars in the United States. It operates through three segments: Steel Mills, Steel Products, and Raw Materials.The company has been seeing consistent momentum in the non-residential construction market. Demand in the non-residential construction markets was strong in the most recent quarter. Nucor’s downstream products unit has been benefiting from continued strength in the non-residential construction markets.This Zacks Rank #1 company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 7.7% over the last 30 days.Dow Inc. DOW should gain from cost synergy savings and productivity initiatives. The company is focused on maintaining cost and operational discipline through cost synergy and stranded cost-removal initiatives. Its actions to reduce operating costs are expected to lend support to its earnings in 2021.Dow’s restructuring program is also expected to deliver margin benefits. Investment in high-return projects should also be accretive to its earnings. Management is investing in several high-return growth projects, including the expansion of downstream silicones capacity.This Zacks Rank #1 company has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.3% over the last 7 days.Pfizer Inc. PFE expects strong growth of key brands like Ibrance, Inlyta and Eliquis to drive sales. Its COVID-19 vaccine candidate, developed in record time, is now approved for emergency use in several countries and has become a key contributor to the top line. Pfizer boasts a sustainable pipeline with multiple late-stage programs that can drive growth.Pfizer has committed a significant number of resources toward the development of treatments in the fields of oncology, internal medicine, rare diseases, immunology, inflammation, vaccines and hospital. Its phase III success rate, on a five-year rolling average, has improved from 70% to 85%.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 84.7% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.5% over the last 7 days.Costco Wholesale Corp. COST operates membership warehouses in the United States, Puerto Rico, Canada, the United Kingdom, Mexico, Japan, Korea, Australia, Spain, France, Iceland, China, and Taiwan. It offers branded and private-label products in a range of merchandise categories.Its growth strategies, better price management, decent membership trend and increasing penetration of e-commerce business reinforce its position. The strategy to sell products at discounted prices has helped to draw customers seeking both value and convenience. These factors have been aiding in registering impressive sales numbers.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 7.7% for the current year (ending August 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 0.3% over the last 7 days.Lowe's Companies Inc. LOW remains well-positioned to capitalize on the demand in the home improvement market backed by investments in technology, merchandise category and strength in Pro business. Management is committed toward expanding the company’s market share and boosting the operating margin.The company’s new total home strategy that includes providing complete solutions for various types of home repair and improvement needs bodes well. The strategy is an extension of the company’s retail-fundamentals approach.This Zacks Rank #2 company has an expected earnings growth rate of 27.9% for the current year (ending January 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 0.6% 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 Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Nucor Corporation (NUE): Free Stock Analysis Report Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW): Free Stock Analysis Report Dow Inc. (DOW): Free Stock Analysis Report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 4th, 2021

L.B. Foster Reports Third Quarter Operating Results

PITTSBURGH, Nov. 02, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- L.B. Foster Company (NASDAQ:FSTR), a leading provider of products and services for the rail industry and solutions to support critical infrastructure projects, today reported its 2021 third quarter operating results, which included the following performance highlights: Net sales for the 2021 third quarter were $130.1 million, an $11.7 million increase, or 9.9%, over the third quarter of 2020. Gross profit for the 2021 third quarter was $22.3 million, a $0.2 million improvement, or 1.0%, from the prior year quarter. The 2021 third quarter gross profit margin was 17.1% versus 18.6% in last year's comparable quarter. Selling and administrative expenses for the 2021 third quarter were $20.1 million, a $3.0 million increase, or 17.5%, over the prior year quarter. Selling and administrative expenses as a percent of net sales increased to 15.4% compared to 14.4% last year. Net income from continuing operations for the 2021 third quarter was $2.3 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, a decrease of $1.35 per diluted share from the prior year quarter. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 was $0.2 million, or $0.02 per diluted share, compared to adjusted net income of $1.0 million, or $0.09 per diluted share, for the prior year quarter. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 for the 2021 third quarter of 2021 excludes a net gain on the sale of the Company's Piling Products ("Piling") business of $2.0 million. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 for 2020 third quarter excludes restructuring charges of $0.2 million and a non-recurring income tax benefit of $15.8 million resulting from the divestiture of the IOS Test and Inspection Services business. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations1 for the 2021 third quarter was $4.4 million, a $3.0 million decrease versus the prior year comparable quarter. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the quarter excludes a $2.7 million pre-tax gain on the sale of the Piling business. Net operating cash flow used in the third quarter totaled $13.7 million, a $21.7 million decrease compared to the prior year quarter. Net debt1 as of September 30, 2021 was $26.0 million, an $11.4 million decrease from December 31, 2020. The Company's adjusted net leverage ratio1 was 1.2x as of September 30, 2021. Backlog, as adjusted for the divestiture of the Piling business, increased by $20.4 million, or 9.8%, compared to the prior year quarter, driven by a $19.7 million increase in Infrastructure Solutions backlog. New orders totaling $125.6 million for the 2021 third quarter increased 18.5% over the prior year quarter and 10.7% sequentially, both adjusted for the Piling divestiture. 1 See "Non-GAAP Disclosures" at the end of this press release for information regarding the following non-GAAP measures from continuing operations used in this release: adjusted net income, adjusted diluted earnings per share, EBITDA, adjusted EBITDA, net debt, adjusted net leverage ratio, free cash flow. CEO CommentsJohn Kasel, President and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "Third quarter revenues increased substantially year over year, driven by the strength in our rail, precast concrete products, and fabricated steel business lines. These results, coupled with significant growth in backlog and new orders versus the third quarter of 2020 as well as sequentially, positions us well for continued growth in the coming quarters. Like many industrial companies, we were impacted by raw material, labor, supply chain, service partner, and lingering covid-related disruptions during the quarter which adversely impacted our ability to execute on our order book. In addition, margins year over year continue to reflect the adverse impact in our Infrastructure Solutions segment related to weakness in the midstream energy market. Despite these challenges, overall margins improved slightly on a sequential basis due to improved business mix and our cost mitigation efforts. Orders booked in the third quarter were up both year over year and sequentially, and we continue to build momentum heading into 2022, with the potential for additional tailwinds from the pending infrastructure bill from the U.S. Federal government." Mr. Kasel added, "We believe the work accomplished during the quarter has laid the groundwork for driving growth over the next several years. We completed our comprehensive strategy reassessment, which established our playbook for transforming the Company's performance going forward. We also accomplished one of the key objectives in our strategic plan by divesting the Piling business, which generated a significant amount of capital that we believe can be redeployed to businesses with a stronger competitive position in more attractive and growing markets in order to create more value for our shareholders. This transaction was a meaningful step as we continue to improve our balance sheet. Coupled with completing the amendment to our credit facility resulting in much more favorable terms, we now have significantly more flexibility to fund both accretive, bolt-on acquisitions and investment in organic growth initiatives in our core businesses. Of course, we will continue to focus on mitigating the current operating challenges we face, but our team is energized more than ever by the vision we've established and the opportunities that lie ahead." Third Quarter Results Net sales for the third quarter of 2021 were $130.1 million, an $11.7 million increase, or 9.9%, compared to the prior year quarter due to a 15.6% increase in the Rail Technologies and Services segment ("Rail") and 3.2% increase in the Infrastructure Solutions segment net sales. The $10.0 million increase in the Rail segment was attributable to both the Rail Products and Rail Technologies business units. The $1.7 million increase in the Infrastructure Solutions segment resulted from increases in both the Fabricated Steel and Precast Concrete Products business units, partially offset by the Coatings and Measurement business unit which continued to face a challenging environment in the midstream energy market due to excess pipeline infrastructure capacity. Gross profit for the 2021 third quarter was $22.3 million, a $0.2 million increase, or 1.0%, over the prior year quarter. The consolidated gross profit margin of 17.1% decreased by 150 basis points versus last year, with the decline attributable to both segments. Infrastructure Solutions gross profit declined from the prior year quarter by $0.8 million, while Rail gross profit increased by $1.0 million. The decline in gross profit margin in Infrastructure Solutions, which was down 180 basis points compared to the prior year period, is principally attributable to the decline in revenues in the Coatings and Measurement business unit. Rail segment gross profit margin declined by 140 basis points due primarily to the product mix in Rail Technologies business unit during the current quarter. Selling and administrative expenses in the third quarter increased $3.0 million, or 17.5%, over the prior year quarter, primarily attributable to increases in personnel related costs and operating costs associated with the Piling divestiture. Selling and administrative expenses as a percent of net sales increased to 15.4%, a 100-basis point increase from the prior year quarter. Net income from continuing operations for the 2021 third quarter was $2.2 million, or $0.21 per diluted share, a $14.3 million reduction, or $1.35 per diluted share, from the prior year quarter. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 for the third quarter of 2021 was $0.2 million, or $0.02 per diluted share compared to adjusted net income from continuing operations1 of $1.0 million or $0.09 per diluted share in the prior year quarter. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 for the third quarter of 2021 excludes the $2.0 million net gain on the sale of the Piling business. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 for third quarter of 2020 excludes restructuring charges, net of tax, of $0.2 million and a non-recurring income tax benefit of $15.8 million resulting from the divestiture of the IOS Test and Inspection Services business. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations1 for the 2021 third quarter was $4.4 million, a 40.7% decrease compared to the prior year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the quarter excludes the $2.7 million gain on the sale of the Piling business. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the prior year quarter excludes restructuring charges of $0.3 million. Over the last four quarters, the Company reduced its net debt1 from $39.8 million to $26.0 million as of September 30, 2021, a $13.7 million reduction. The Company's adjusted net leverage ratio1 was 1.2x, with total available funding capacity of $103.5 million as of September 30, 2021. Third quarter new orders were $138.9 million, an increase of $8.4 million from the prior year quarter. Excluding Piling Products, new orders were $125.6 million, up $19.6 million, or 18.5%, from the prior year quarter. New orders in the Rail and Infrastructure Solutions segments increased by $15.5 million and $4.1 million, respectively, compared to the prior year quarter excluding new orders for the divested Piling division. First Nine Months Results Net sales for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 were $400.7 million, a $18.8 million increase, or 4.9%, compared to the prior year period. The sales increase was attributable to the Rail segment, which increased 9.5% from the prior year period, partially offset by a 0.6% decrease in Infrastructure Solutions. Gross profit for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was $67.3 million, a $6.1 million decrease, or 8.3%, from the prior year period. The 16.8% consolidated gross profit margin decreased by 240 basis points compared to the prior year period, with the decline attributable to Infrastructure Solutions. Gross profit increased $2.9 million in the Rail segment. In Infrastructure Solutions, gross profit declined from the prior year by $9.0 million, driven by the decline in revenues in the Coatings and Measurement business unit. Infrastructure Solutions' gross profit margin was down by 510 basis points compared to the prior year period. Selling and administrative expenses for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 increased by $1.6 million, or 2.8%, over the prior year period, primarily driven by increases in professional services costs. Selling and administrative expenses as a percent of net sales decreased to 14.4%, a 30-basis point decline from the prior year period. Net income from continuing operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was $3.8 million, or $0.36 per diluted share, a $19.7 million reduction, or $1.85 per diluted share, from the prior year period. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was $1.8 million, or $0.17 per diluted share compared to adjusted net income from continuing operation of $7.9 million, or $0.75 per diluted share for the prior year period. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 excludes the $2.0 million net gain on the sale of the Piling business. Adjusted net income from continuing operations1 for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 excludes restructuring and relocation costs, net of tax, of $1.7 million, a non-recurring benefit, net of tax, of $1.4 million from a distribution associated with the Company's interest in an unconsolidated partnership and a non-recurring income tax benefit of $15.8 million resulting from the sale of the IOS Test and Inspection Services business. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations1 for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was $15.5 million, a 38.4% decrease compared to the prior year period. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the quarter excludes the $2.7 million gain on the sale of the Piling business. Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 excludes restructuring and relocation costs of $2.2 million and a non-recurring benefit of $1.9 million from a distribution associated with the Company's interest in an unconsolidated partnership. Operating cash used for the period was $6.8 million, as compared to $16.2 million in operating cash provided in the prior year period. The $23.0 million decrease in operating cash flows was primarily as a result of increases in working capital when compared to the prior year period, which is partially attributable to the improvement in sales volume. New orders for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 were $413.1 million, a 4.5% improvement over the prior year period. As adjusted for the Piling Products divestiture, new orders were $354.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, a $10.7 million increase, or 3.1%, over the prior year period. New orders in Infrastructure Solutions, excluding Piling, increased $4.8 million, while new orders in the Rail segment increased by $5.9 million compared to the prior year period. Market OutlookThe Company's backlog, adjusted for the divestiture of the Piling division, increased by $20.4 million, or 9.8%, over September 30, 2020. Order activity continues to strengthen, particularly in the Rail segment with $84.0 million in new orders in the third quarter, a 18.5% sequential increase and a 22.6% increase versus the third quarter of 2020. The Company is maintaining its optimistic outlook regarding longer-term trends in the North American transit and freight markets. However, global ridership levels remain depressed relative to pre-pandemic levels, a trend which is expected to continue to adversely impact the Company's friction management consumable sales, particularly in international markets. The Coatings and Measurement business line, which primarily serves midstream energy customers, is expected to remain weak despite rising energy prices as the lack of investment in energy infrastructure continues to persist. The Company is not projecting any meaningful recovery in this business unit from current levels for the foreseeable future, and will continue to adjust the cost structure of this business as appropriate to mitigate the effects of these negative market conditions as much as possible. The present inflationary environment is expected to continue to pressure margins, particularly in the Precast Concrete Products and Fabricated Steel business lines, although actions to mitigate these impacts are on-going. In addition, the Company continues to take proactive steps to manage disruptions in raw materials, labor, supply chains, service partner resources, as well as lingering covid-related effects in an attempt to mitigate their adverse impact on its operations and results as much as possible. The Company expects its businesses will continue to directly benefit from infrastructure investment activity, particularly if a U.S. Federal infrastructure bill is passed by Congress in the fourth quarter of 2021. Additionally, with the proceeds from the Piling business divestiture coupled with the additional flexibility and capacity resulting from its recently amended credit agreement, the Company believes that it has significant capability to execute on organic and acquisitive growth opportunities in 2022 and beyond. Third Quarter Conference CallL.B. Foster Company will conduct a conference call and webcast to discuss its third quarter 2021 operating results on Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at 11:00 AM ET. The call will be hosted by Mr. John Kasel, President and Chief Executive Officer. Listen via audio and access the slide presentation on the L.B. Foster web site: www.lbfoster.com, under the Investor Relations page. The conference call can also be accessed by dialing 833-614-1392 (U.S. & Canada) or 914-987-7113 (International). A conference call replay will be available through November 9, 2021. To access the replay, please dial 855-859-2056 (U.S. & Canada) or 404-537-3406 (International) and provide the access code: 5087674. The conference call replay will also be available via webcast through L.B. Foster's Investor Relations page of the company's website. About L.B. Foster CompanyL.B. Foster Company and its subsidiaries provide products and services for the rail industry and solutions to support critical infrastructure projects. The Company's innovative engineering and product development solutions address the safety, reliability, and performance of its customers' challenging requirements. The Company maintains locations in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. For more information, please visit www.lbfoster.com. This release may contain "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended. Forward-looking statements provide management's current expectations of future events based on certain assumptions and include any statement that does not directly relate to any historical or current fact. Sentences containing words such as "believe," "intend," "plan," "may," "expect," "should," "could," "anticipate," "estimate," "predict," "project," or their negatives, or other similar expressions of a future or forward-looking nature generally should be considered forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements in this earnings release are based on management's current expectations and assumptions about future events that involve inherent risks and uncertainties and may concern, among other things, the Company's expectations relating to our strategy, goals, projections, and plans regarding our financial position, liquidity, capital resources, and results of operations and decisions regarding our strategic growth initiatives, market position, and product development. While the Company considers these expectations and assumptions to be reasonable, they are inherently subject to significant business, economic, competitive, regulatory, and other risks and uncertainties, most of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond the Company's control. The Company cautions readers that various factors could cause the actual results of the Company to differ materially from those indicated by forward-looking statements. Accordingly, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results. Among the factors that could cause the actual results to differ materially from those indicated in the forward-looking statements are risks and uncertainties related to: the COVID-19 pandemic, including the impact of any worsening of the pandemic, or the emergence of new variants of the virus, on our financial condition or results of operations, and any future global health crises, and the related social, regulatory, and economic impacts and the response thereto by the Company, our employees, our customers, and national, state, or local governments, including vaccine mandates; volatility in the prices of oil and natural gas and the related impact on the upstream and midstream energy markets, which could result in further cost mitigation actions, including additional shutdowns or furlough periods; a continuation or worsening of the adverse economic conditions in the markets we serve, whether as a result of the current COVID-19 pandemic, including its impact on travel and demand for oil and gas, the volatility in the prices for oil and gas, governmental travel restrictions, project delays, and budget shortfalls, or otherwise; volatility in the global capital markets, including interest rate fluctuations, which could adversely affect our ability to access the capital markets on terms that are favorable to us; restrictions on our ability to draw on our credit agreement, including as a result of any future inability to comply with restrictive covenants contained therein; a continuing decrease in freight or transit rail traffic, including as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; environmental matters, including any costs associated with any remediation and monitoring; the risk of doing business in international markets, including compliance with anti-corruption and bribery laws, foreign currency fluctuations and inflation, and trade restrictions or embargoes; our ability to effectuate our strategy, including cost reduction initiatives, and our ability to effectively integrate acquired businesses or to divest businesses, such as the third quarter of 2021 disposition of the Piling Products business, 2020 disposition of the IOS Test and Inspection Services business and acquisition of the LarKen Precast business, and to realize anticipated benefits; costs of and impacts associated with shareholder activism; continued customer restrictions regarding the on-site presence of third party providers due to the COVID-19 pandemic; the timeliness and availability of materials from our major suppliers, including any continuation or worsening of the disruptions in the supply chain experienced as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the impact on our access to supplies of customer preferences as to the origin of such supplies, such as customers' concerns about conflict minerals; labor disputes; cyber-security risks such as data security breaches, malware, ransomware, "hacking," and identity theft, including as experienced in 2020, which could disrupt our business and may result in misuse or misappropriation of confidential or proprietary information, and could result in the significant disruption or damage to our systems, increased costs and losses, or an adverse effect to our reputation; the effectiveness of our continued implementation of an enterprise resource planning system; changes in current accounting estimates and their ultimate outcomes; the adequacy of internal and external sources of funds to meet financing needs, including our ability to negotiate any additional necessary amendments to our credit agreement or the terms of any new credit agreement, and reforms regarding the use of LIBOR as a benchmark for establishing applicable interest rates; the Company's ability to manage its working capital requirements and indebtedness; domestic and international taxes, including estimates that may impact taxes; domestic and foreign government regulations, including tariffs; economic conditions and regulatory changes caused by the United Kingdom's exit from the European Union; a lack of state or federal funding for new infrastructure projects; an increase in manufacturing or material costs; the loss of future revenues from current customers; and risks inherent in litigation and the outcome of litigation and product warranty claims. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual outcomes could vary materially from those indicated. Significant risks and uncertainties that may affect the operations, performance, and results of the Company's business and forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those set forth under Item 1A, "Risk Factors," and elsewhere in our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, or as updated and/or amended by our other current or periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Investor Relations:   Stephanie Listwak L.B. Foster Company (412) 928-3417 415 Holiday Drive investors@lbfoster.com Suite 100   Pittsburgh, PA 15220 L.B. FOSTER COMPANY AND SUBSIDIARIESCONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS(Unaudited)(In thousands, except per share data)     Three Months EndedSeptember 30,   Nine Months EndedSeptember 30,     2021   2020   2021   2020                   Sales of goods   $ 112,813     $ 101,945     $ 351,668     $ 321,212   Sales of services   17,240     16,420     48,987     60,623   Total net sales   130,053     118,365     400,655     381,835   Cost of goods sold   93,521     82,881     292,733     263,537   Cost of services sold   14,256     13,423     40,655     44,977   Total cost of sales   107,777     96,304     333,388     308,514   Gross profit   22,276     22,061     67,267     73,321   Selling and administrative expenses   20,056     17,066     57,849     56,273   Amortization expense   1,462     1,428     4,397     4,271   Interest expense - net   722     940     2,454     2,841   Other income - net   (2,880 )   (209 )   (2,751 )   (1,909 ) Income from continuing operations before income taxes   2,916     2,836     5,318     11,845   Income tax expense (benefit) from continuing operations   676     (13,742 )   1,494     (11,698 ) Income from continuing operations   2,240     16,578     3,824     23,543   Net loss attributable to noncontrolling interest   (30 )   —     (64 )   —   Income from continuing operations attributable to L.B. Foster Company   2,270     16,578     3,888     23,543          .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 2nd, 2021

CVB Financial Corp. Reports Earnings for the Third Quarter of 2021

Net Earnings of $49.8 million for the third quarter of 2021, or $0.37 per share 6% Quarter-over-Quarter Annualized Core Loan Growth Year-to-Date Efficiency Ratio of 40.9% Return on Average Tangible Common Equity of 14.6% for the third quarter of 2021 ONTARIO, Calif., Oct. 20, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- CVB Financial Corp. (NASDAQ:CVBF) and its subsidiary, Citizens Business Bank (the "Company"), announced earnings for the quarter ended September 30, 2021. CVB Financial Corp. reported net income of $49.8 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2021, compared with $51.2 million for the quarter ended June 30, 2021 and $47.5 million for the quarter ended September 30, 2020. Diluted earnings per share were $0.37 for the third quarter, compared to $0.38 for the prior quarter and $0.35 for the same period last year. The third quarter of 2021 included $4.0 million in recapture of provision for credit losses, primarily due to a modest improvement in our economic forecast.   In comparison, the second quarter of 2021 included $2.0 million in recapture of provision. The Company's allowance for credit losses at September 30, 2021 of $65.4 million, compares to the pre-pandemic allowance of $68.7 million at December 31, 2019. David Brager, Chief Executive Officer of Citizens Business Bank, commented, "Citizens Business Bank remains well positioned to take advantage of the improving economic environment in California. Our pre-tax, pre-provision earnings remain strong despite the impact of the low interest rate environment and prevailing lower line utilization rates due to strong customer liquidity. We believe that our net interest margins will increase in a rising rate environment, and we are seeing the steady improvement in our loan pipelines from previous quarters translate into solid loan growth in the third quarter. We are also excited about our announced acquisition of Suncrest Bank and the opportunities it provides to expand into the Sacramento market as well as to solidify our significant position in the Central Valley." Net income of $49.8 million for the third quarter of 2021 produced an annualized return on average equity ("ROAE") of 9.49% and an annualized return on average tangible common equity ("ROATCE") of 14.62%. ROAE and ROATCE for the second quarter of 2021 were 10.02% and 15.60%, respectively, and 9.51% and 15.20%, respectively, for the third quarter of 2020. Annualized return on average assets ("ROAA") was 1.26% for the third quarter, compared to 1.35% for the second quarter and 1.38% for the third quarter of 2020. The efficiency ratio for the third quarter of 2021 was 42.27%, compared to 40.05% for the second quarter of 2021 and 42.57% for the third quarter of 2020.        Net income totaled $164.8 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. This represented a $37.7 million, or 29.68%, increase from the prior year, as we recaptured $25.5 million of provision for credit losses for the first nine months of 2021 compared to a $23.5 million provision for credit losses for the same period of 2020. Diluted earnings per share were $1.21 for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to $0.93 for the same period of 2020. Net income for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 produced an annualized ROAE of 10.73%, an ROATCE of 16.64% and an ROAA of 1.46%. This compares to ROAE of 8.55%, an ROATCE of 13.76% and an ROAA of 1.35% for the first nine months of 2020. The efficiency ratio for the nine months ended September 30, 2021 was 40.85%, compared to 41.66% for the first nine months of 2020. Net interest income before recapture of provision for credit losses was $103.3 million for the third quarter of 2021. This represented a $2.1 million, or 1.98%, decrease from the second quarter of 2021, and was flat compared to the third quarter of 2020. Total interest income was $104.5 million for the third quarter of 2021, which was $2.5 million, or 2.32%, lower than the second quarter of 2021 and $2.1 million, or 1.95%, lower than the same period last year. Total interest income and fees on loans for the third quarter of 2021 of $88.4 million decreased $3.3 million from the second quarter of 2021, and decreased $5.8 million, or 6.17%, from the third quarter of 2020.   Total investment income of $15.0 million increased $461,000 from the second quarter of 2021 and increased $3.2 million, or 26.89%, from the third quarter of 2020. Interest expense decreased $392,000 from the prior quarter and decreased $2.1 million, or 62.19%, compared to the third quarter of 2020. During the third quarter of 2021 we recaptured $4.0 million of provision for credit losses, compared to a recapture of $2.0 million of provision for credit losses in the second quarter of 2021. The recapture during the quarter reflects continued improvement in our economic forecast of certain macroeconomic variables, as the negative economic impact from the pandemic continues to wane. A $25.5 million recapture of provision for credit losses was recorded for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. In comparison, $23.5 million in provision for credit losses was recorded for the nine months ended September 30, 2020 due to the severe economic forecast at that time as a result of the pandemic. Noninterest income was $10.5 million for the third quarter of 2021, compared with $10.8 million for the second quarter of 2021 and $13.2 million for the third quarter of 2020. Trust and investment services income declined by $486,000, compared to the second quarter of 2021 and grew by $276,000 year-over-year. Service charges on deposit accounts increased $344,000 quarter-over-quarter and increased $543,000 from the third quarter of 2020. Swap fee income increased $167,000 quarter-over-quarter and decreased $1.4 million from the third quarter of 2020. The third quarter of 2020 included a $1.7 million net gain on the sale of one of our bank owned buildings. Noninterest expense for the third quarter of 2021 was $48.1 million, compared to $46.5 million for the second quarter of 2021 and $49.6 million for the third quarter of 2020. The $1.5 million quarter-over-quarter increase was primarily due to a $1.0 million recapture of provision for unfunded loan commitments recorded in the second quarter of 2021 and $809,000 in acquisition expense in the third quarter related to the announced merger with Suncrest Bank. A $905,000 increase in salaries and employee benefit costs resulted from a one-time reduction in benefit expense of approximately $1 million during the second quarter of 2021. Marketing and promotion expense decreased $900,000 due to the timing of donations made during the second quarter of 2021. The year-over-year decrease of $1.5 million included a $1.3 million decrease in salaries and employee benefits, including $1.1 million in additional bonus expense for "Thank You Awards" paid to all Bank employees during the third quarter of 2020, and a $700,000 write-down of one OREO property in the third quarter of 2020. Compared to the third quarter of 2020, merger related expenses increased $809,000 and regulatory assessment expense increased $227,000 in the third quarter of 2021 compared to the prior year quarter, resulting from the final application of assessment credits provided by the FDIC at the end of the second quarter of 2020. As a percentage of average assets, noninterest expense was 1.22% for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 1.23% for the second quarter of 2021 and 1.44% for the third quarter of 2020. Net Interest Margin and Earning Assets Our net interest margin (tax equivalent) was 2.89% for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 3.06% for the second quarter of 2021 and 3.34% for the second quarter of 2020. Total average earning asset yields (tax equivalent) were 2.92% for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 3.11% for the second quarter of 2021 and 3.45% for the third quarter of 2020. The decrease in earning asset yield from the prior quarter was due to a combination of a 3 basis point decline in loan yields and a change in asset mix with loan balances declining to 54.97% of earning assets on average for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 59.22% for the second quarter of 2021. Interest and fee income from Paycheck Protection Program ("PPP") loans was approximately $7.9 million in the third quarter of 2021, compared to $8.1 million in the second quarter of 2021. The decrease in earning asset yield compared to the third quarter of 2020 was primarily due a change in asset mix with loan balances declining to 54.97% of earning assets on average for the third quarter of 2021, compared to 67.08% for the third quarter of 2020. The decline in interest rates since the start of the pandemic has had a negative impact on loan yields, which after excluding discount accretion, nonaccrual interest income, and the impact from PPP loans, declined by 23 basis points compared to the third quarter of 2020. The significant decline in interest rates also impacted the tax equivalent yield on investments, which decreased by 45 basis points from the third quarter of 2020, but remained essentially the same as the prior quarter. Earning asset yields were further impacted by a change in asset mix resulting from an $876.6 million increase in average balances at the Federal Reserve compared to the third quarter of 2020. Average earning assets increased from the second quarter of 2021 by $471.1 million to $14.40 billion for the third quarter of 2021. Of the increase in earning assets, $186.8 million represented an increase in average investment securities while average loans declined by $333.0 million. Average investments increased by $1.51 billion, while balances at the Federal Reserve grew on average by $876.6 million compared to the third quarter of 2020. Average earning assets increased by $1.91 billion from the third quarter of 2020. Average loans declined by $465.8 million from the third quarter of 2020, which included a $336.7 million decrease in PPP loans on average. Total cost of funds declined to 0.04% for the third quarter of 2021 from 0.05% for the second quarter of 2021. The Company redeemed $27.6 million in subordinated debt on June 15, 2021, which had an average interest rate of 1.57% during the previous quarter. Noninterest bearing deposits grew on average by $292.8 million, from the second quarter of 2021, while interest-bearing deposits and customer repurchase agreements grew on average by $124.3 million. The cost of interest-bearing deposits and customer repurchase agreements declined from 0.12% for the prior quarter to 0.09% for the third quarter of 2021. In comparison to the third quarter of 2020, our overall cost of funds decreased by 7 basis points, as average noninterest bearing deposits grew by $1.26 billion, compared to average growth of $652.6 million in interest-bearing deposits. The cost of interest-bearing deposits and customer repurchase agreements declined by 19 basis points when compared to the third quarter of 2020. On average, noninterest bearing deposits were 62.94% of total deposits during the current quarter. Income Taxes Our effective tax rate for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2021 was 28.60%, compared with 29.00% for the quarter and nine months ended September 30, 2020, respectively.   Our estimated annual effective tax rate can vary depending upon the level of tax-advantaged income as well as available tax credits. Assets The Company reported total assets of $16.20 billion at September 30, 2021. This represented an increase of $662.3 million, or 4.26%, from total assets of $15.54 billion at June 30, 2021.   Interest-earning assets of $14.93 billion at September 30, 2021 increased $669.7 million, or 4.70%, when compared with $14.26 billion at June 30, 2021. The increase in interest-earning assets was primarily due to a $667.1 million increase in investment securities and a $223.4 million increase in interest-earning balances due from the Federal Reserve, partially offset by a $221.8 million decrease in total loans which included a decrease in PPP loans of approximately $327 million for the current quarter. The Company's total assets of $16.20 billion at September 30, 2021, represented an increase of $1.78 billion, or 12.36%, from total assets of $14.42 billion at December 31, 2020. Interest-earning assets of $14.93 billion at September 30, 2021 increased $1.71 billion, or 12.92%, when compared with $13.22 billion at December 31, 2020. The increase in interest-earning assets was primarily due to a $1.66 billion increase in investment securities and a $565.9 million increase in interest-earning balances due from the Federal Reserve, partially offset by a $499.3 million decrease in total loans which included a decrease in PPP loans of $552 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021. Total assets of $16.20 billion at September 30, 2021 increased by $2.38 billion, or 17.24%, from total assets of $13.82 billion at September 30, 2020. Interest-earning assets increased $2.34 billion, or 18.58%, when compared with $12.59 billion at September 30, 2020.   The increase in interest-earning assets includes a $1.85 billion increase in investment securities and a $1.06 billion increase in interest-earning balances due from the Federal Reserve, partially offset by a $558.4 million decrease in total loans which included PPP loan decrease of $770 million.   Total loans include the remaining outstanding balance in PPP loans, totaling $331 million as of September 30, 2021, compared to $657.8 million as of June 30, 2021 and $1.1 billion as of September 30, 2020. Excluding PPP loans, total loans grew by $105.1 million from June 30, 2021 and grew by $211.8 million compared to September 30, 2020. Investment Securities Total investment securities were $4.64 billion at September 30, 2021, an increase of $667.1 million, or 16.81%, from $3.97 billion at June 30, 2021, an increase of $1.66 billion from December 31, 2020, and an increase of $1.85 billion, or 66.56%, from $2.78 billion at September 30, 2020. In the third quarter of 2021, we purchased $892.5 million of securities with an average investment yield of approximately 1.70%, compared to $317.1 million of securities with an average investment yield of approximately 1.69% in the second quarter of 2021 and $1.23 billion of securities purchased in the first quarter of 2021, with an average expected yield of approximately 1.57%. At September 30, 2021, investment securities held-to-maturity ("HTM") totaled $1.71 billion, a $1.13 billion, or 195.69%, increase from December 31, 2020 and a $1.13 billion increase, or 196.17%, from September 30, 2020. In the third quarter of 2021, we purchased approximately $705.1 million of HTM securities. Approximately $546 million of HTM securities were purchased in the first quarter of 2021. At September 30, 2021 investment securities available-for-sale ("AFS") totaled $2.93 billion, inclusive of a pre-tax net unrealized gain of $8.8 million. AFS securities increased by $526.1 million, or 21.93%, from December 31, 2020, and increased by $719.4 million, or 32.62%, from September 30, 2020. During the third quarter of 2021, we purchased approximately $187.4 million of AFS securities, compared to approximately $317.1 million of AFS securities purchased in the second quarter of 2021 and approximately $683 million of AFS securities purchased in the first quarter of 2021. Combined, the AFS and HTM investments in mortgage backed securities ("MBS") and collateralized mortgage obligations ("CMO") totaled $3.81 billion at September 30, 2021, compared to $2.66 billion at December 31, 2020 and $2.48 billion at September 30, 2020. Virtually all of our MBS and CMO are issued or guaranteed by government or government sponsored enterprises, which have the implied guarantee of the U.S. Government. Our combined AFS and HTM municipal securities totaled $242.8 million as of September 30, 2021, or approximately 5% of our total investment portfolio. These securities are located in 28 states. Our largest concentrations of holdings by state, as a percentage of total municipal bonds, are located in Minnesota at 21.18%, Texas at 10.39%, Massachusetts at 10.30%, Ohio at 8.16%, and Connecticut at 5.74%. Loans Total loans and leases, at amortized cost, of $7.85 billion at September 30, 2021 decreased by $221.8 million, or 2.75%, from $8.07 billion at June, 2021. The $221.8 million decrease in total loans included decreases of $326.9 million in PPP loans, $10.9 million in construction loans, and $5.8 million in SFR mortgage loans, partially offset by increases of $64.0 million in commercial real estate loans, $21.8 million in dairy & livestock and agribusiness loans, $20.9 million in commercial and industrial loans, and $15.8 million in Small Business Administration ("SBA") loans. After adjusting for PPP loans, our loans grew by $105.1 million or at an annualized rate of approximately 6% from the end of the second quarter of 2021. Total loans and leases, at amortized cost, of $7.85 billion at September 30, 2021 decreased by $499.3 million, or 5.98%, from December 31, 2020. The $499.3 million decrease in total loans included decreases of $552.0 million in PPP loans, $81.6 million in dairy & livestock and agribusiness loans due to seasonal pay downs, $42.1 million in commercial and industrial loans, $39.2 million in SFR mortgage loans, $7.7 million in construction loans, and $13.5 million in consumer and other loans, partially offset by an increase of $233.2 million in commercial real estate loans and $3.6 million in SBA loans. After adjusting for seasonality and PPP loans, our loans grew by $134.3 million or at an annualized rate of approximately 3% from the end of the fourth quarter of 2020. Total loans and leases, at amortized cost, decreased by $558.4 million, or 6.64%, from September 30, 2020. The decrease in total loans included a $770.2 million decline in PPP loans. After excluding the impact of PPP loans, the $211.8 million or approximately 3% increase in core loans included increases of $306.5 million in commercial real estate loans, $26.8 million in dairy & livestock and agribusiness loans and $9.3 million in municipal lease financings.   Partially offsetting these increases were declines of $47.1 million in commercial and industrial loans, $43.4 million in SFR mortgage loans, $24.5 million in construction loans, and $15.8 million in consumer and other loans. Asset Quality During the third quarter of 2021, we experienced credit charge-offs of $11,000 and total recoveries of $33,000, resulting in net recoveries of $22,000. The allowance for credit losses ("ACL") totaled $65.4 million at September 30, 2021, compared to $93.7 million at December 31, 2020 and $93.9 million at September 30, 2020. The allowance for credit losses for 2021 was decreased by $25.5 million, due to the improved outlook in our forecast of certain macroeconomic variables that were influenced by the economic impact of the pandemic and government stimulus, and by $2.8 million in year-to-date net charge-offs. At September 30, 2021, ACL as a percentage of total loans and leases outstanding was 0.83%. This compares to 1.12% and 1.12% at December 31, 2020 and September 30, 2020, respectively. When PPP loans are excluded, ACL as a percentage of total adjusted loans and leases outstanding was 0.87% at September 30, 2021, compared to 1.25% at December 31, 2020 and 1.28% at September 30, 2020. Nonperforming loans, defined as nonaccrual loans and loans 90 days past due accruing interest plus nonperforming TDR loans, were $8.4 million at September 30, 2021, or 0.11% of total loans. This compares to nonperforming loans of $14.3 million, or 0.17% of total loans, at December 31, 2020 and $11.8 million, or 0.14% of total loans, at September 30, 2020. The $8.4 million in nonperforming loans at September 30, 2021 are summarized as follows: $4.1 million in commercial real estate loans, $2.0 million in commercial and industrial loans, $1.5 million in SBA loans, $399,000 in SFR mortgage loans, $305,000 in consumer and other loans, and $118,000 in dairy & livestock and agribusiness loans. As of September 30, 2021, we had no OREO properties, compared to $3.4 million at December 31, 2020 and $4.2 million at September 30, 2020. At September 30, 2021, we had loans delinquent 30 to 89 days of $1.1 million. This compares to $3.1 million at December 31, 2020 and $3.8 million at September 30, 2020. As a percentage of total loans, delinquencies, excluding nonaccruals, were 0.01% at September 30, 2021, 0.04% at December 31, 2020, and 0.04% at September 30, 2020. At September 30, 2021, we had $8.0 million in performing TDR loans, compared to $2.2 million in performing TDR loans at December 31, 2020 and $2.2 million in performing TDR loans at September 30, 2020. Nonperforming assets, defined as nonaccrual loans and loans 90 days past due accruing interest plus OREO, totaled $8.4 million at September 30, 2021, $17.7 million at December 31, 2020, and $16.0 million at September 30, 2020. As a percentage of total assets, nonperforming assets were 0.05% at September 30, 2021, 0.12% at December 31, 2020, and 0.12% at September 30, 2020. Classified loans are loans that are graded "substandard" or worse. At September 30, 2021, classified loans totaled $49.8 million, compared to $78.8 million at December 31, 2020 and $72.7 million at September 30, 2020. Deposits & Customer Repurchase Agreements Deposits of $12.93 billion and customer repurchase agreements of $659.6 million totaled $13.59 billion at September 30, 2021. This represented an increase of $342.5 million, or 2.59%, when compared with $13.25 billion at June 30, 2021. Total deposits and customer repurchase agreements increased $1.41 billion, or 11.61% when compared to $12.18 billion at December 31, 2020 and increased $1.94 billion, or 16.63%, when compared with $11.65 billion at September 30, 2020. Noninterest-bearing deposits were $8.31 billion at September 30, 2021, an increase of $245.3 million, or 3.04%, when compared to June 30, 2021, an increase of $855.3 million, or 11.47%, when compared to $7.46 billion at December 31, 2020, and an increase of $1.39 billion, or 20.11%, when compared to $6.92 billion at September 30, 2020. At September 30, 2021, noninterest-bearing deposits were 64.27% of total deposits, compared to 63.66% at June 30, 2021, 63.52% at December 31, 2020 and 61.95% at September 30, 2020. Capital The Company's total equity was $2.06 billion at September 30, 2021. This represented an increase of $55.9 million, or 2.79%, from total equity of $2.01 billion at December 31, 2020. The increase was primarily due to net earnings of $164.8 million, partially offset by a $32.3 million decrease in other comprehensive income from the tax effected impact of the decrease in market value of available-for-sale securities and $73.4 million in cash dividends. During the third quarter, we repurchased 390,336 shares of common stock for $7.4 million, or an average repurchase price of $18.97. Our tangible book value per share at September 30, 2021 was $10.13. Our capital ratios under the revised capital framework referred to as Basel III remain well-above regulatory standards. As of September 30, 2021, the Company's Tier 1 leverage capital ratio was 9.2%, common equity Tier 1 ratio was 14.9%, Tier 1 risk-based capital ratio was 14.9%, and total risk-based capital ratio was 15.7%. CitizensTrust As of September 30, 2021 CitizensTrust had approximately $3.28 billion in assets under management and administration, including $2.39 billion in assets under management. Revenues were $2.7 million for the third quarter of 2021 and $8.5 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2021, compared to $2.4 million and $7.3 million, respectively, for the same periods of 2020. CitizensTrust provides trust, investment and brokerage related services, as well as financial, estate and business succession planning. Corporate Overview CVB Financial Corp. ("CVBF") is the holding company for Citizens Business Bank. CVBF is one of the 10 largest bank holding companies headquartered in California with over $15 billion in total assets. Citizens Business Bank is consistently recognized as one of the top performing banks in the nation and offers a wide array of banking, lending and investing services through 58 banking centers and 3 trust office locations serving the Inland Empire, Los Angeles County, Orange County, San Diego County, Ventura County, Santa Barbara County, and the Central Valley area of California. Shares of CVB Financial Corp. common stock are listed on the NASDAQ under the ticker symbol "CVBF". For investor information on CVB Financial Corp., visit our Citizens Business Bank website at www.cbbank.com and click on the "Investors" tab. Conference Call Management will hold a conference call at 7:30 a.m. PDT/10:30 a.m. EDT on Thursday, October 21, 2021 to discuss the Company's third quarter 2021 financial results. To listen to the conference call, please dial (833) 301-1161, participant passcode 9938279. A taped replay will be made available approximately one hour after the conclusion of the call and will remain available through October 28, 2021 at 6:00 a.m. PDT/9:00 a.m. EDT. To access the replay, please dial (855) 859-2056, participant passcode 9938279. The conference call will also be simultaneously webcast over the Internet; please visit our Citizens Business Bank website at www.cbbank.com and click on the "Investors" tab to access the call from the site. Please access the website 15 minutes prior to the call to download any necessary audio software. This webcast will be recorded and available for replay on the Company's website approximately two hours after the conclusion of the conference call, and will be available on the website for approximately 12 months. Safe HarborCertain matters set forth herein (including the exhibits hereto) constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including forward-looking statements relating to the Company's current business plans and expectations and our future financial position and operating results. Words such as "will likely result", "aims", "anticipates", "believes", "could", "estimates", "expects", "hopes", "intends", "may", "plans", "projects", "seeks", "should", "will," "strategy", "possibility", and variations of these words and similar expressions help to identify these forward-looking statements, which involve risks and uncertainties. These forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results, performance and/or achievements to differ materially from those projected. These risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, local, regional, national and international economic and market conditions, political events and public health developments and the impact they may have on us, our customers and our assets and liabilities; our ability to attract deposits and other sources of funding or liquidity; supply and demand for commercial or residential real estate and periodic deterioration in real estate prices and/or values in California or other states where we lend; a sharp or prolonged slowdown or decline in real estate construction, sales or leasing activities; changes in the financial performance and/or condition of our borrowers, depositors, key vendors or counterparties; changes in our levels of delinquent loans, nonperforming assets, allowance for credit losses and charge-offs; the costs or effects of mergers, acquisitions or dispositions we may make, whether we are able to obtain any required governmental approvals in connection with any such mergers, acquisitions or dispositions, and/or our ability to realize the contemplated financial or business benefits associated with any such mergers, acquisitions or dispositions, including our recently announced agreement to acquire Suncrest Bank ; the effects of new laws, regulations and/or government programs, including those laws, regulations and programs enacted by federal, state or local governments in the geographic jurisdictions in which we do business in response to the current national emergency declared in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic; the impact of the federal CARES Act and the significant additional lending activities undertaken by the Company in connection with the Small Business Administration's Paycheck Protection Program enacted thereunder, including risks to the Company with respect to the uncertain application by the Small Business Administration of new borrower and loan eligibility, forgiveness and audit criteria; the effects of the Company's participation in one or more of the new lending programs recently established by the Federal Reserve, including the Main Street New Loan Facility, the Main Street Priority Loan Facility and the Nonprofit Organization New Loan Facility, and the impact of any related actions or decisions by the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and its special purpose vehicle established pursuant to such lending programs; the effect of changes in other pertinent laws, regulations and applicable judicial decisions (including laws, regulations and judicial decisions concerning financial reforms, taxes, bank capital levels, allowance for credit losses, consumer, commercial or secured lending, securities regulation and securities trading and hedging, bank operations, compliance, fair lending rules and regulations, the Community Reinvestment Act, employment, executive compensation, insurance, cybersecurity, vendor management, customer and employee privacy, and information security technology) with which we and our subsidiaries must comply or believe we should comply or which may otherwise impact us; changes in estimates of future reserve requirements and minimum capital requirements, based upon the periodic review thereof under relevant regulatory and accounting standards, including changes in the Basel Committee framework establishing capital standards for bank credit, operations and market risks; the accuracy of the assumptions and estimates and the absence of technical error in implementation or calibration of models used to estimate the fair value of financial instruments or currently expected credit losses or delinquencies; inflation, changes in market interest rates, securities market and monetary fluctuations; changes in government-established interest rates, reference rates or monetary policies, including the possible imposition of negative interest rates on bank reserves; the impact of the anticipated phase-out of the London Interbank Offered Rate (LIBOR) on interest rate indexes specified in certain of our customer loan agreements and in our interest rate swap arrangements, including any economic and compliance effects related to the expected change from LIBOR to an alternative reference rate; changes in the amount, cost and availability of deposit insurance; disruptions in the infrastructure that supports our business and the communities where we are located, which are concentrated in California, involving or related to public health, physical site access and/or communication facilities; cyber incidents, attacks, infiltrations, exfiltrations, or theft or loss of any Company, customer or employee data or money; political developments, uncertainties or instability, catastrophic events, acts of war or terrorism, or natural disasters, such as earthquakes, drought, the effects of pandemic diseases, climate change or extreme weather events, that may affect electrical, environmental and communications or other services, computer services or facilities we use, or that may affect our assets, customers, employees or third parties with whom we conduct business; our timely development and implementation of new banking products and services and the perceived overall value of these products and services by our customers and potential customers; the Company's relationships with and reliance upon outside vendors with respect to certain of the Company's key internal and external systems, applications and controls; changes in commercial or consumer spending, borrowing and savings patterns, preferences or behaviors; technological changes and the expanding use of technology in banking and financial services (including the adoption of mobile banking, funds transfer applications, electronic marketplaces for loans, block-chain technology and other financial products, systems or services); our ability to retain and increase market share, to retain and grow customers and to control expenses; changes in the competitive environment among banks and other financial services and technology providers; competition and innovation with respect to financial products and services by banks, financial institutions and non-traditional providers including retail businesses and technology companies; volatility in the credit and equity markets and its effect on the general economy or local or regional business conditions or on the Company's capital, deposits, assets or customers; fluctuations in the price of the Company's common stock or other securities, and the resulting impact on the Company's ability to raise capital or to make acquisitions; the effect of changes in accounting policies and practices, as may be adopted from time-to-time by the principal regulatory agencies with jurisdiction over the Company, as well as by the Public Company Accounting Oversight Board, the Financial Accounting Standards Board and other accounting standard-setters; changes in our organization, management, compensation and benefit plans, and our ability to recruit and retain or expand or contract our workforce, management team, key executive positions and/or our board of directors; our ability to identify suitable, qualified replacements for any of our executive officers who may leave their employment with us, including our Chief Executive Officer; the costs and effects of legal, compliance and regulatory actions, changes and developments, including the initiation and resolution of legal proceedings (including any securities, lender liability, bank operations, check or wire fraud, financial product or service, data privacy, health and safety, consumer or employee class action litigation); regulatory or other governmental inquiries or investigations, and/or the results of regulatory examinations or reviews; our ongoing relations with our various federal and state regulators, including the SEC, Federal Reserve Board, FDIC and California DFPI; our success at managing the risks involved in the foregoing items and all other factors set forth in the Company's public reports, including our Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020, and particularly the discussion of risk factors within that document. Among other risks, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic may significantly affect the banking industry, the health and safety of the Company's employees, and the Company's business prospects.  The ultimate impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business and financial results will depend on future developments, which are highly uncertain and cannot be predicted, including the scope and duration of the pandemic, the impact on the economy, our customers, our employees and our business partners, the safety, effectiveness, distribution and acceptance of vaccines developed to mitigate the pandemic, and actions taken by governmental authorities in response to the pandemic. The Company does not undertake, and specifically disclaims any obligation, to update any forward-looking statements to reflect occurrences or unanticipated events or circumstances after the date of such statements, except as required by law. Any statements about future operating results, such as those concerning accretion and dilution to the Company's earnings or shareholders, are for illustrative purposes only, are not forecasts, and actual results may differ. Contact: David A. Brager   Chief Executive Officer   (909) 980-4030               CVB FINANCIAL CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited) (Dollars in thousands)                                 September 30,2021   December 31,2020   September 30,2020 Assets             Cash and due from banks   $ 159,563     $ 122,305     $ 145,455   Interest-earning balances due from Federal Reserve     2,401,800       1,835,855       1,339,498   Total cash and cash equivalents     2,561,363       1,958,160       1,484,953   Interest-earning balances due from depository institutions     27,260       43,563       44,367   Investment securities available-for-sale     2,925,060       2,398,923       2,205,646   Investment securities held-to-maturity     1,710,938       578,626       577,694   Total investment securities     4,635,998       2,977,549       2,783,340   Investment in stock of Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB)     17,688       17,688       17,688   Loans and lease finance receivables     7,849,520       8,348,808       8,407,872   Allowance for credit losses     (65,364 )     (93,692 )     (93,869 )   Net loans and lease finance receivables     7,784,156       8,255,116       8,314,003   Premises and equipment, net     49,812       51,144       51,477   Bank owned life insurance (BOLI)     251,781       226,818       228,132   Intangibles     27,286       33,634       35,804   Goodwill     663,707       663,707       663,707   Other assets     182,547       191,935       195,240         Total assets   $ 16,201,598     $ 14,419,314     $ 13,818,711   Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity             Liabilities:             Deposits:             Noninterest-bearing   $ 8,310,709     $ 7,455,387     $ 6,919,423   Investment checking     594,347       517,976       447,910   Savings and money market     3,680,721       3,361,444       3,356,353   Time deposits     344,439       401,694       445,148     Total deposits     12,930,216       11,736,501       11,168,834   Customer repurchase agreements     659,579       439,406       483,420   Other borrowings     -       5,000       10,000   Junior subordinated debentures     -       25,774       25,774   Payable for securities purchased     421,751       60,113       -   Other liabilities     126,132       144,530       148,726       Total liabilities     14,137,678       12,411,324       11,836,754   Stockholders' Equity             Stockholders' equity     2,060,842       1,972,641       1,945,864   Accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax     3,078       35,349       36,093       Total stockholders' equity     2,063,920       2,007,990       1,981,957         Total liabilities and stockholders' equity   $ 16,201,598     $ 14,419,314     $ 13,818,711                 CVB FINANCIAL CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED AVERAGE BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited) (Dollars in thousands)                                             Three Months Ended   Nine Months Ended     September 30,2021   June 30,2021   September 30,2020   September 30,2021   September 30,2020 Assets                         Cash and due from banks   $ 156,575     $ 157,401     $ 156,132     $ 154,861     $ 154,543   Interest-earning balances due from Federal Reserve     2,328,745       1,711,878       1,452,167       1,890,160       916,849   Total cash and cash equivalents     2,485,320       1,869,279       1,608,299       2,045,021       1,071,392   Interest-earning balances due from depository institutions     27,376       26,907       41,982       32,074       30,362   Investment securities available-for-sale     2,942,255       2,862,552       2,006,829       2,787,617       1,774,620   Investment securities held-to-maturity     1,169,892       1,062,842       594,751       1,005,613       626,594   Total investment securities     4,112,147       3,925,394       2,601,580       3,793,230       2,401,214   Investment in stock of FHLB     17,688       17,688       17,688       17,688       17,688   Loans and lease finance receivables     7,916,443       8,249,481       8,382,257       8,144,105       7,972,208   Allowance for credit losses     (69,309 )     (71,756 )     (93,972 )     (78,094 )     (82,529 ) Net loans and lease finance receivables     7,847,134       8,177,725       8,288,285       8,066,011       7,889,679   Premises and equipment, net     50,105       50,052       52,052       50,348       52,817   Bank owned life insurance (BOLI)     251,099       239,132       227,333       239,137       226,209   Intangibles     28,240       30,348       37,133       30,377       39,376   Goodwill     663,707       663,707       663,707       663,707       663,707   Other assets     190,445       189,912       189,117       190,034       183,118        Total assets   $ 15,673,261     $ 15,190,144     $ 13,727,176     $ 15,127,627     $ 12,575,562   Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity                   Liabilities:                   Deposits:                   Noninterest-bearing   $ 7,991,462     $ 7,698,640     $ 6,731,711     $ 7,646,283     $ 6,063,469   Interest-bearing     4,704,976       4,633,103       4,184,688       4,591,779       3,844,874    Total deposits     12,696,438       12,331,743       10,916,399       12,238,062       9,908,343   Customer repurchase agreements     636,393       583,996       504,039       593,543       475,103   Other borrowings     4       3,022       10,020       2,658       4,833   Junior subordinated debentures     -       20,959       25,774       15,483       25,774   Payable for securities purchased     151,866       98,771       157,057       113,685       53,630   Other liabilities     108,322       102,697       128,045       110,064       121,579      Total liabilities     13,593,023       13,141,188       11,741,334       13,073,495       10,589,262   Stockholders' Equity                   Stockholders' equity     2,067,072       2,041,906       1,948,351       2,035,787       1,956,676   Accumulated other comprehensive income, net of tax     13,166       7,050       37,491       18,345       29,624      Total stockholders' equity     2,080,238       2,048,956       1,985,842       2,054,132       1,986,300         Total liabilities and stockholders' equity   $ 15,673,261     $ 15,190,144     $ 13,727,176     $ 15,127,627     $ 12,575,562                       CVB FINANCIAL CORP. AND SUBSIDIARIES CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS (Unaudited) (Dollars in thousands, except per share amounts)                                             Three Months Ended   Nine Months Ended     September 30,2021   June 30,2021   September 30,2020   September 30,2021   September 30,2020 Interest income:                         Loans and leases, including fees   $ 88,390     $ 91,726     $ 94,200     $ 271,911     $ 281,669   Investment securities:                   Investment securities available-for-sale     9,813       9,410       8,447       28,382       26,945   Investment securities held-to-maturity     5,188       5,130       3,375       14,258       11,033   Total investment income     15,001       14,540       11,822       42,640       37,978   Dividends from FHLB stock     258       283       215       758       761   Interest-earning deposits with other institutions     898  .....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaOct 20th, 2021

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning Authored by Avik Roy via NationalAffairs.com, Cryptocurrencies like bitcoin have few fans in Washington. At a July congressional hearing, Senator Elizabeth Warren warned that cryptocurrency "puts the [financial] system at the whims of some shadowy, faceless group of super-coders." Treasury secretary Janet Yellen likewise asserted that the "reality" of cryptocurrencies is that they "have been used to launder the profits of online drug traffickers; they've been a tool to finance terrorism." Thus far, Bitcoin's supporters remain undeterred. (The term "Bitcoin" with a capital "B" is used here and throughout to refer to the system of cryptography and technology that produces the currency "bitcoin" with a lowercase "b" and verifies bitcoin transactions.) A survey of 3,000 adults in the fall of 2020 found that while only 4% of adults over age 55 own cryptocurrencies, slightly more than one-third of those aged 35-44 do, as do two-fifths of those aged 25-34. As of mid-2021, Coinbase — the largest cryptocurrency exchange in the United States — had 68 million verified users. To younger Americans, digital money is as intuitive as digital media and digital friendships. But Millennials with smartphones are not the only people interested in bitcoin; a growing number of investors are also flocking to the currency's banner. Surveys indicate that as many as 21% of U.S. hedge funds now own bitcoin in some form. In 2020, after considering various asset classes like stocks, bonds, gold, and foreign currencies, celebrated hedge-fund manager Paul Tudor Jones asked, "[w]hat will be the winner in ten years' time?" His answer: "My bet is it will be bitcoin." What's driving this increased interest in a form of currency invented in 2008? The answer comes from former Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, who once noted, "the U.S. government has a technology, called a printing press...that allows it to produce as many U.S. dollars as it wishes at essentially no cost. By increasing the number of U.S. dollars in circulation...the U.S. government can also reduce the value of a dollar in terms of goods and services, which is equivalent to...inflation." In other words, governments with fiat currencies — including the United States — have the power to expand the quantity of those currencies. If they choose to do so, they risk inflating the prices of necessities like food, gas, and housing. In recent months, consumers have experienced higher price inflation than they have seen in decades. A major reason for the increases is that central bankers around the world — including those at the Federal Reserve — sought to compensate for Covid-19 lockdowns with dramatic monetary inflation. As a result, nearly $4 trillion in newly printed dollars, euros, and yen found their way from central banks into the coffers of global financial institutions. Jerome Powell, the current Federal Reserve chairman, insists that 2021's inflation trends are "transitory." He may be right in the near term. But for the foreseeable future, inflation will be a profound and inescapable challenge for America due to a single factor: the rapidly expanding federal debt, increasingly financed by the Fed's printing press. In time, policymakers will face a Solomonic choice: either protect Americans from inflation, or protect the government's ability to engage in deficit spending. It will become impossible to do both. Over time, this compounding problem will escalate the importance of Bitcoin. THE FIAT-CURRENCY EXPERIMENT It's becoming clear that Bitcoin is not merely a passing fad, but a significant innovation with potentially serious implications for the future of investment and global finance. To understand those implications, we must first examine the recent history of the primary instrument that bitcoin was invented to challenge: the American dollar. Toward the end of World War II, in an agreement hashed out by 44 Allied countries in Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, the value of the U.S. dollar was formally fixed to 1/35th of the price of an ounce of gold. Other countries' currencies, such as the British pound and the French franc, were in turn pegged to the dollar, making the dollar the world's official reserve currency. Under the Bretton Woods system, foreign governments could retrieve gold bullion they had sent to the United States during the war by exchanging dollars for gold at the relevant fixed exchange rate. But enabling every major country to exchange dollars for American-held gold only worked so long as the U.S. government was fiscally and monetarily responsible. By the late 1960s, it was neither. Someone needed to pay the steep bills for Lyndon Johnson's "guns and butter" policies — the Vietnam War and the Great Society, respectively — so the Federal Reserve began printing currency to meet those obligations. Johnson's successor, Richard Nixon, also pressured the Fed to flood the economy with money as a form of economic stimulus. From 1961 to 1971, the Fed nearly doubled the circulating supply of dollars. "In the first six months of 1971," noted the late Nobel laureate Robert Mundell, "monetary expansion was more rapid than in any comparable period in a quarter century." That year, foreign central banks and governments held $64 billion worth of claims on the $10 billion of gold still held by the United States. It wasn't long before the world took notice of the shortage. In a classic bank-run scenario, anxious European governments began racing to redeem dollars for American-held gold before the Fed ran out. In July 1971, Switzerland withdrew $50 million in bullion from U.S. vaults. In August, France sent a destroyer to escort $191 million of its gold back from the New York Federal Reserve. Britain put in a request for $3 billion shortly thereafter. Finally, that same month, Nixon secretly gathered a small group of trusted advisors at Camp David to devise a plan to avoid the imminent wipeout of U.S. gold vaults and the subsequent collapse of the international economy. There, they settled on a radical course of action. On the evening of August 15th, in a televised address to the nation, Nixon announced his intention to order a 90-day freeze on all prices and wages throughout the country, a 10% tariff on all imported goods, and a suspension — eventually, a permanent one — of the right of foreign governments to exchange their dollars for U.S. gold. Knowing that his unilateral abrogation of agreements involving dozens of countries would come as a shock to world leaders and the American people, Nixon labored to re-assure viewers that the change would not unsettle global markets. He promised viewers that "the effect of this action...will be to stabilize the dollar," and that the "dollar will be worth just as much tomorrow as it is today." The next day, the stock market rose — to everyone's relief. The editors of the New York Times "unhesitatingly applaud[ed] the boldness" of Nixon's move. Economic growth remained strong for months after the shift, and the following year Nixon was re-elected in a landslide, winning 49 states in the Electoral College and 61% of the popular vote. Nixon's short-term success was a mirage, however. After the election, the president lifted the wage and price controls, and inflation returned with a vengeance. By December 1980, the dollar had lost more than half the purchasing power it had back in June 1971 on a consumer-price basis. In relation to gold, the price of the dollar collapsed — from 1/35th to 1/627th of a troy ounce. Though Jimmy Carter is often blamed for the Great Inflation of the late 1970s, "the truth," as former National Economic Council director Larry Kudlow has argued, "is that the president who unleashed double-digit inflation was Richard Nixon." In 1981, Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker raised the federal-funds rate — a key interest-rate benchmark — to 19%. A deep recession ensued, but inflation ceased, and the U.S. embarked on a multi-decade period of robust growth, low unemployment, and low consumer-price inflation. As a result, few are nostalgic for the days of Bretton Woods or the gold-standard era. The view of today's economic establishment is that the present system works well, that gold standards are inherently unstable, and that advocates of gold's return are eccentric cranks. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that the post-Bretton Woods era — in which the supply of government currencies can be expanded or contracted by fiat — is only 50 years old. To those of us born after 1971, it might appear as if there is nothing abnormal about the way money works today. When viewed through the lens of human history, however, free-floating global exchange rates remain an unprecedented economic experiment — with one critical flaw. An intrinsic attribute of the post-Bretton Woods system is that it enables deficit spending. Under a gold standard or peg, countries are unable to run large budget deficits without draining their gold reserves. Nixon's 1971 crisis is far from the only example; deficit spending during and after World War I, for instance, caused economic dislocation in numerous European countries — especially Germany — because governments needed to use their shrinking gold reserves to finance their war debts. These days, by contrast, it is relatively easy for the United States to run chronic deficits. Today's federal debt of almost $29 trillion — up from $10 trillion in 2008 and $2.4 trillion in 1984 — is financed in part by U.S. Treasury bills, notes, and bonds, on which lenders to the United States collect a form of interest. Yields on Treasury bonds are denominated in dollars, but since dollars are no longer redeemable for gold, these bonds are backed solely by the "full faith and credit of the United States." Interest rates on U.S. Treasury bonds have remained low, which many people take to mean that the creditworthiness of the United States remains healthy. Just as creditworthy consumers enjoy lower interest rates on their mortgages and credit cards, creditworthy countries typically enjoy lower rates on the bonds they issue. Consequently, the post-Great Recession era of low inflation and near-zero interest rates led many on the left to argue that the old rules no longer apply, and that concerns regarding deficits are obsolete. Supporters of this view point to the massive stimulus packages passed under presidents Donald Trump and Joe Biden  that, in total, increased the federal deficit and debt by $4.6 trillion without affecting the government's ability to borrow. The extreme version of the new "deficits don't matter" narrative comes from the advocates of what has come to be called Modern Monetary Theory (MMT), who claim that because the United States controls its own currency, the federal government has infinite power to increase deficits and the debt without consequence. Though most mainstream economists dismiss MMT as unworkable and even dangerous, policymakers appear to be legislating with MMT's assumptions in mind. A new generation of Democratic economic advisors has pushed President Biden to propose an additional $3.5 trillion in spending, on top of the $4.6 trillion spent on Covid-19 relief and the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill. These Democrats, along with a new breed of populist Republicans, dismiss the concerns of older economists who fear that exploding deficits risk a return to the economy of the 1970s, complete with high inflation, high interest rates, and high unemployment. But there are several reasons to believe that America's fiscal profligacy cannot go on forever. The most important reason is the unanimous judgment of history: In every country and in every era, runaway deficits and skyrocketing debt have ended in economic stagnation or ruin. Another reason has to do with the unusual confluence of events that has enabled the United States to finance its rising debts at such low interest rates over the past few decades — a confluence that Bitcoin may play a role in ending. DECLINING FAITH IN U.S. CREDIT To members of the financial community, U.S. Treasury bonds are considered "risk-free" assets. That is to say, while many investments entail risk — a company can go bankrupt, for example, thereby wiping out the value of its stock — Treasury bonds are backed by the full faith and credit of the United States. Since people believe the United States will not default on its obligations, lending money to the U.S. government — buying Treasury bonds that effectively pay the holder an interest rate — is considered a risk-free investment. The definition of Treasury bonds as "risk-free" is not merely by reputation, but also by regulation. Since 1988, the Switzerland-based Basel Committee on Banking Supervision has sponsored a series of accords among central bankers from financially significant countries. These accords were designed to create global standards for the capital held by banks such that they carry a sufficient proportion of low-risk and risk-free assets. The well-intentioned goal of these standards was to ensure that banks don't fail when markets go down, as they did in 2008. The current version of the Basel Accords, known as "Basel III," assigns zero risk to U.S. Treasury bonds. Under Basel III's formula, then, every major bank in the world is effectively rewarded for holding these bonds instead of other assets. This artificially inflates demand for the bonds and enables the United States to borrow at lower rates than other countries. The United States also benefits from the heft of its economy as well as the size of its debt. Since America is the world's most indebted country in absolute terms, the market for U.S. Treasury bonds is the largest and most liquid such market in the world. Liquid markets matter a great deal to major investors: A large financial institution or government with hundreds of billions (or more) of a given currency on its balance sheet cares about being able to buy and sell assets while minimizing the impact of such actions on the trading price. There are no alternative low-risk assets one can trade at the scale of Treasury bonds. The status of such bonds as risk-free assets — and in turn, America's ability to borrow the money necessary to fund its ballooning expenditures — depends on investors' confidence in America's creditworthiness. Unfortunately, the Federal Reserve's interference in the markets for Treasury bonds have obscured our ability to determine whether financial institutions view the U.S. fiscal situation with confidence. In the 1990s, Bill Clinton's advisors prioritized reducing the deficit, largely out of a conern that Treasury-bond "vigilantes" — investors who protest a government's expansionary fiscal or monetary policy by aggressively selling bonds, which drives up interest rates — would harm the economy. Their success in eliminating the primary deficit brought yields on the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond down from 8% to 4%. In Clinton's heyday, the Federal Reserve was limited in its ability to influence the 10-year Treasury interest rate. Its monetary interventions primarily targeted the federal-funds rate — the interest rate that banks charge each other on overnight transactions. But in 2002, Ben Bernanke advocated that the Fed "begin announcing explicit ceilings for yields on longer-maturity Treasury debt." This amounted to a schedule of interest-rate price controls. Since the 2008 financial crisis, the Federal Reserve has succeeded in wiping out bond vigilantes using a policy called "quantitative easing," whereby the Fed manipulates the price of Treasury bonds by buying and selling them on the open market. As a result, Treasury-bond yields are determined not by the free market, but by the Fed. The combined effect of these forces — the regulatory impetus for banks to own Treasury bonds, the liquidity advantage Treasury bonds have in the eyes of large financial institutions, and the Federal Reserve's manipulation of Treasury-bond market prices — means that interest rates on Treasury bonds no longer indicate the United States' creditworthiness (or lack thereof). Meanwhile, indications that investors are growing increasingly concerned about the U.S. fiscal and monetary picture — and are in turn assigning more risk to "risk-free" Treasury bonds — are on the rise. One such indicator is the decline in the share of Treasury bonds owned by outside investors. Between 2010 and 2020, the share of U.S. Treasury securities owned by foreign entities fell from 47% to 32%, while the share owned by the Fed more than doubled, from 9% to 22%. Put simply, foreign investors have been reducing their purchases of U.S. government debt, thereby forcing the Fed to increase its own bond purchases to make up the difference and prop up prices. Until and unless Congress reduces the trajectory of the federal debt, U.S. monetary policy has entered a vicious cycle from which there is no obvious escape. The rising debt requires the Treasury Department to issue an ever-greater quantity of Treasury bonds, but market demand for these bonds cannot keep up with their increasing supply. In an effort to avoid a spike in interest rates, the Fed will need to print new U.S. dollars to soak up the excess supply of Treasury bonds. The resultant monetary inflation will cause increases in consumer prices. Those who praise the Fed's dramatic expansion of the money supply argue that it has not affected consumer-price inflation. And at first glance, they appear to have a point. In January of 2008, the M2 money stock was roughly $7.5 trillion; by January 2020, M2 had more than doubled, to $15.4 trillion. As of July 2021, the total M2 sits at $20.5 trillion — nearly triple what it was just 13 years ago. Over that same period, U.S. GDP increased by only 50%. And yet, since 2000, the average rate of growth in the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for All Urban Consumers — a widely used inflation benchmark — has remained low, at about 2.25%. How can this be? The answer lies in the relationship between monetary inflation and price inflation, which has diverged over time. In 2008, the Federal Reserve began paying interest to banks that park their money with the Fed, reducing banks' incentive to lend that money out to the broader economy in ways that would drive price inflation. But the main reason for the divergence is that conventional measures like CPI do not accurately capture the way monetary inflation is affecting domestic prices. In a large, diverse country like the United States, different people and different industries experience price inflation in different ways. The fact that price inflation occurs earlier in certain sectors of the economy than in others was first described by the 18th-century Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon. In his 1730 "Essay on the Nature of Commerce in General," Cantillon noted that when governments increase the supply of money, those who receive the money first gain the most benefit from it — at the expense of those to whom it flows last. In the 20th century, Friedrich Hayek built on Cantillon's thinking, observing that "the real harm [of monetary inflation] is due to the differential effect on different prices, which change successively in a very irregular order and to a very different degree, so that as a result the whole structure of relative prices becomes distorted and misguides production into wrong directions." In today's context, the direct beneficiaries of newly printed money are those who need it the least. New dollars are sent to banks, which in turn lend them to the most creditworthy entities: investment funds, corporations, and wealthy individuals. As a result, the most profound price impact of U.S. monetary inflation has been on the kinds of assets that financial institutions and wealthy people purchase — stocks, bonds, real estate, venture capital, and the like. This is why the price-to-earnings ratio of S&P 500 companies is at record highs, why risky start-ups with long-shot ideas are attracting $100 million venture rounds, and why the median home sales price has jumped 24% in a single year — the biggest one-year increase of the 21st century. Meanwhile, low- and middle-income earners are facing rising prices without attendant increases in their wages. If asset inflation persists while the costs of housing and health care continue to grow beyond the reach of ordinary people, the legitimacy of our market economy will be put on trial. THE RETURN OF SOUND MONEY Satoshi Nakamoto, the pseudonymous creator of Bitcoin, was acutely concerned with the increasing abundance of U.S. dollars and other fiat currencies in the early 2000s. In 2009 he wrote, "the root problem with conventional currency is all the trust that's required to make it work. The central bank must be trusted not to debase the currency, but the history of fiat currencies is full of breaches of that trust." Bitcoin was created in anticipation of the looming fiscal and monetary crisis in the United States and around the world. To understand how bitcoin functions alongside fiat currency, it's helpful to examine the monetary philosophy of the Austrian School of economics, whose leading figures — especially Hayek and Ludwig von Mises — greatly influenced Nakamoto and the early developers of Bitcoin. The economists of the Austrian School were staunch advocates of what Mises called "the principle of sound money" — that is, of keeping the supply of money as constant and predictable as possible. In The Theory of Money and Credit, first published in 1912, Mises argued that sound money serves as "an instrument for the protection of civil liberties against despotic inroads on the part of governments" that belongs "in the same class with political constitutions and bills of rights." Just as bills of rights were a "reaction against arbitrary rule and the nonobservance of old customs by kings," he wrote, "the postulate of sound money was first brought up as a response to the princely practice of debasing the coinage." Mises believed that inflation was just as much a violation of someone's property rights as arbitrarily taking away his land. After all, in both cases, the government acquires economic value at the expense of the citizen. Since monetary inflation creates a sugar high of short-term stimulus, politicians interested in re-election will always have an incentive to expand the money supply. But doing so comes at the expense of long-term declines in consumer purchasing power. For Mises, the best way to address such a threat is to avoid fiat currencies altogether. And in his estimation, the best sound-money alternative to fiat currency is gold. "The excellence of the gold standard," Mises wrote, is "that it renders the determination of the monetary unit's purchasing power independent of the policies of governments and political parties." In other words, gold's primary virtue is that its supply increases slowly and steadily, and cannot be manipulated by politicians. It may appear as if gold was an arbitrary choice as the basis for currency, but gold has a combination of qualities that make it ideal for storing and exchanging value. First, it is verifiably unforgeable. Gold is very dense, which means that counterfeit gold is easy to identify — one simply has to weigh it. Second, gold is divisible. Unlike, say, cattle, gold can be delivered in fractional units both small and large, enabling precise pricing. Third, gold is durable. Unlike commodities that rot or evaporate over time, gold can be stored for centuries without degradation. Fourth, gold is fungible: An ounce of gold in Asia is worth the same as an ounce of gold in Europe. These four qualities are shared by most modern currencies. Gold's fifth quality is more distinct, however, as well as more relevant to its role as an instrument of sound money: scarcity. While people have used beads, seashells, and other commodities as primitive forms of money, those items are fairly easy to acquire and introduce into circulation. While gold's supply does gradually increase as more is extracted from the ground, the rate of extraction relative to the total above-ground supply is low: At current rates, it would take approximately 66 years to double the amount of gold in circulation. In comparison, the supply of U.S. dollars has more than doubled over just the last decade. When the Austrian-influenced designers of bitcoin set out to create a more reliable currency, they tried to replicate all of these qualities. Like gold, bitcoin is divisible, unforgeable, divisible, durable, and fungible. But bitcoin also improves upon gold as a form of sound money in several important ways. First, bitcoin is rarer than gold. Though gold's supply increases slowly, it does increase. The global supply of bitcoin, by contrast, is fixed at 21 million and cannot be feasibly altered. Second, bitcoin is far more portable than gold. Transferring physical gold from one place to another is an onerous process, especially in large quantities. Bitcoin, on the other hand, can be transmitted in any quantity as quickly as an email. Third, bitcoin is more secure than gold. A single bitcoin address carried on a USB thumb drive could theoretically hold as much value as the U.S. Treasury holds in gold bars — without the need for costly militarized facilities like Fort Knox to keep it safe. In fact, if stored using best practices, the cost of securing bitcoin from hackers or assailants is far lower than the cost of securing gold. Fourth, bitcoin is a technology. This means that, as developers identify ways to augment its functionality without compromising its core attributes, they can gradually improve the currency over time. Fifth, and finally, bitcoin cannot be censored. This past year, the Chinese government shut down Hong Kong's pro-democracy Apple Daily newspaper not by censoring its content, but by ordering banks not to do business with the publication, thereby preventing Apple Daily from paying its suppliers or employees. Those who claim the same couldn't happen here need only look to the Obama administration's Operation Choke Point, a regulatory attempt to prevent banks from doing business with legitimate entities like gun manufacturers and payday lenders — firms the administration disfavored. In contrast, so long as the transmitting party has access to the internet, no entity can prevent a bitcoin transaction from taking place. This combination of fixed supply, portability, security, improvability, and censorship resistance epitomizes Nakamoto's breakthrough. Hayek, in The Denationalisation of Money, foresaw just such a separation of money and state. "I believe we can do much better than gold ever made possible," he wrote. "Governments cannot do better. Free enterprise...no doubt would." While Hayek and Nakamoto hoped private currencies would directly compete with the U.S. dollar and other fiat currencies, bitcoin does not have to replace everyday cash transactions to transform global finance. Few people may pay for their morning coffee with bitcoin, but it is also rare for people to purchase coffee with Treasury bonds or gold bars. Bitcoin is competing not with cash, but with these latter two assets, to become the world's premier long-term store of wealth. The primary problem bitcoin was invented to address — the devaluation of fiat currency through reckless spending and borrowing — is already upon us. If Biden's $3.5 trillion spending plan passes Congress, the national debt will rise further. Someone will have to buy the Treasury bonds to enable that spending. Yet as discussed above, investors are souring on Treasurys. On June 30, 2021, the interest rate for the benchmark 10-year Treasury bond was 1.45%. Even at the Federal Reserve's target inflation rate of 2%, under these conditions, Treasury-bond holders are guaranteed to lose money in inflation-adjusted terms. One critic of the Fed's policies, MicroStrategy CEO Michael Saylor, compares the value of today's Treasury bonds to a "melting ice cube." Last May, Ray Dalio, founder of Bridgewater Associates and a former bitcoin skeptic, said "[p]ersonally, I'd rather have bitcoin than a [Treasury] bond." If hedge funds, banks, and foreign governments continue to decelerate their Treasury purchases, even by a relatively small percentage, the decrease in demand could send U.S. bond prices plummeting. If that happens, the Fed will be faced with the two unpalatable options described earlier: allowing interest rates to rise, or further inflating the money supply. The political pressure to choose the latter would likely be irresistible. But doing so would decrease inflation-adjusted returns on Treasury bonds, driving more investors away from Treasurys and into superior stores of value, such as bitcoin. In turn, decreased market interest in Treasurys would force the Fed to purchase more such bonds to suppress interest rates. AMERICA'S BITCOIN OPPORTUNITY From an American perspective, it would be ideal for U.S. Treasury bonds to remain the world's preferred reserve asset for the foreseeable future. But the tens of trillions of dollars in debt that the United States has accumulated since 1971 — and the tens of trillions to come — has made that outcome unlikely. It is understandably difficult for most of us to imagine a monetary world aside from the one in which we've lived for generations. After all, the U.S. dollar has served as the world's leading reserve currency since 1919, when Britain was forced off the gold standard. There are only a handful of people living who might recall what the world was like before then. Nevertheless, change is coming. Over the next 10 to 20 years, as bitcoin's liquidity increases and the United States becomes less creditworthy, financial institutions and foreign governments alike may replace an increasing portion of their Treasury-bond holdings with bitcoin and other forms of sound money. With asset values reaching bubble proportions and no end to federal spending in sight, it's critical for the United States to begin planning for this possibility now. Unfortunately, the instinct of some federal policymakers will be to do what countries like Argentina have done in similar circumstances: impose capital controls that restrict the ability of Americans to exchange dollars for bitcoin in an attempt to prevent the digital currency from competing with Treasurys. Yet just as Nixon's 1971 closure of the gold window led to a rapid flight from the dollar, imposing restrictions on the exchange of bitcoin for dollars would confirm to the world that the United States no longer believes in the competitiveness of its currency, accelerating the flight from Treasury bonds and undermining America's ability to borrow. A bitcoin crackdown would also be a massive strategic mistake, given that Americans are positioned to benefit enormously from bitcoin-related ventures and decentralized finance more generally. Around 50 million Americans own bitcoin today, and it's likely that Americans and U.S. institutions own a plurality, if not the majority, of the bitcoin in circulation — a sum worth hundreds of billions of dollars. This is one area where China simply cannot compete with the United States, since Bitcoin's open financial architecture is fundamentally incompatible with Beijing's centralized, authoritarian model. In the absence of major entitlement reform, well-intentioned efforts to make Treasury bonds great again are likely doomed. Instead of restricting bitcoin in a desperate attempt to forestall the inevitable, federal policymakers would do well to embrace the role of bitcoin as a geopolitically neutral reserve asset; work to ensure that the United States continues to lead the world in accumulating bitcoin-based wealth, jobs, and innovations; and ensure that Americans can continue to use bitcoin to protect themselves against government-driven inflation. To begin such an initiative, federal regulators should make it easier to operate cryptocurrency-related ventures on American shores. As things stand, too many of these firms are based abroad and closed off to American investors simply because outdated U.S. regulatory agencies — the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the Treasury Department, and others — have been unwilling to provide clarity as to the legal standing of digital assets. For example, the SEC has barred Coinbase from paying its customers' interest on their holdings while refusing to specify which laws Coinbase has violated. Similarly, the agency has refused to approve Bitcoin exchange-traded funds (ETFs) without specifying standards for a valid ETF application. Congress should implement SEC Commissioner Hester Peirce's recommendations for a three-year regulatory grace period for decentralized digital tokens and assign to a new agency the role of regulating digital assets. Second, Congress should clarify poorly worded legislation tied to a recent bipartisan infrastructure bill that would drive many high-value crypto businesses, like bitcoin-mining operations, overseas. Third, the Treasury Department should consider replacing a fraction of its gold holdings — say, 10% — with bitcoin. This move would pose little risk to the department's overall balance sheet, send a positive signal to the innovative blockchain sector, and enable the United States to benefit from bitcoin's growth. If the value of bitcoin continues to appreciate strongly against gold and the U.S. dollar, such a move would help shore up the Treasury and decrease the need for monetary inflation. Finally, when it comes to digital versions of the U.S. dollar, policymakers should follow the advice of Friedrich Hayek, not Xi Jinping. In an effort to increase government control over its monetary system, China is preparing to unveil a blockchain-based digital yuan at the 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics. Jerome Powell and other Western central bankers have expressed envy for China's initiative and fret about being left behind. But Americans should strongly oppose the development of a central-bank digital currency (CBDC). Such a currency could wipe out local banks by making traditional savings and checking accounts obsolete. What's more, a CBDC-empowered Fed would accumulate a mountain of precise information about every consumer's financial transactions. Not only would this represent a grave threat to Americans' privacy and economic freedom, it would create a massive target for hackers and equip the government with the kind of censorship powers that would make Operation Choke Point look like child's play. Congress should ensure that the Federal Reserve never has the authority to issue a virtual currency. Instead, it should instruct regulators to integrate private-sector, dollar-pegged "stablecoins" — like Tether and USD Coin — into the framework we use for money-market funds and other cash-like instruments that are ubiquitous in the financial sector. PLANNING FOR THE WORST In the best-case scenario, the rise of bitcoin will motivate the United States to mend its fiscal ways. Much as Congress lowered corporate-tax rates in 2017 to reduce the incentive for U.S. companies to relocate abroad, bitcoin-driven monetary competition could push American policymakers to tackle the unsustainable growth of federal spending. While we can hope for such a scenario, we must plan for a world in which Congress continues to neglect its essential duty as a steward of Americans' wealth. The good news is that the American people are no longer destined to go down with the Fed's sinking ship. In 1971, when Washington debased the value of the dollar, Americans had no real recourse. Today, through bitcoin, they do. Bitcoin enables ordinary Americans to protect their savings from the federal government's mismanagement. It can improve the financial security of those most vulnerable to rising prices, such as hourly wage earners and retirees on fixed incomes. And it can increase the prosperity of younger Americans who will most acutely face the consequences of the country's runaway debt. Bitcoin represents an enormous strategic opportunity for Americans and the United States as a whole. With the right legal infrastructure, the currency and its underlying technology can become the next great driver of American growth. While the 21st-century monetary order will look very different from that of the 20th, bitcoin can help America maintain its economic leadership for decades to come. Tyler Durden Tue, 10/19/2021 - 23:25.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 20th, 2021

Key Events This Week: Payrolls, PMIs And Politics

Key Events This Week: Payrolls, PMIs And Politics Previewing the week's main event, DB's Jim Reid writes that unless there is a marked deterioration across the whole sweep of labor market indicators within the report, Friday's jobs report will be the catalyst to cement the November taper barring an exogenous or market shock. Investors will also be increasingly focused on the US debt ceiling deadline, whilst Congress simultaneously grapples with the infrastructure bill and the reconciliation package. Elsewhere on the political scene, coalition negotiations in Germany will be important to look out for, as the parties seek to form a government after the election. To be sure, the US jobs report will be the main macro highlights this week, and follows last month’s release that strongly underwhelmed expectations, with nonfarm payrolls growth of just +235k in August being the slowest since January. So another poor release would not be welcome news even if it did reflect labor shortages. In terms of what to expect this time around, economist consensus forecasts a pickup in September, with nonfarm payrolls growing by +470k, and the unemployment rate ticking down to a post-pandemic low of 5.1%. Remember in the weak report last month, yields rose on the day as markets focused on the wage increases rather than the poor headline number. As noted at the time, the bond reaction to last month’s report probably helped signal the end of the extreme positive technicals and short positioning in treasuries. Over the summer strong inflation and decent data couldn’t help treasuries sell off, indicating bullet proof technicals but the period around last month’s release seemed to turn the tide the other way a bit. The other important data release this week will be the global services and composite PMIs out tomorrow, which will give an indication of how the economy has fared into the end of Q3. That said, the flash readings we’ve already had have indicated slowing growth momentum across the major economies, so it will be interesting to see where things progress from here. Turning to the US, negotiations in Congress will be in focus as legislators face the debt ceiling deadline this month (expected to be breached around October 18th according to Treasury Secretary Yellen last week), just as the Democrats are also seeking to pass a $550bn bipartisan infrastructure bill and a reconciliation package. On Saturday, Speaker Pelosi seemed to suggest that the new deadline was October 31st for the bipartisan bill which highlights how much difference there still is between the progressives and moderates on the reconciliation package. Will they eventually find a compromise for a lower amount than the original $3.5tn (maybe around $2tn) that makes nether side happy but gets the legislation through? Staying on the political scene, there’ll also be a focus on coalition negotiations in Germany, where exploratory talks have now begun between the parties. The Greens and the liberal FDP will be key to forming a majority in the new Bundestag, with 210 seats between them, as both the centre-left SPD and the conservative CDU/CSU bloc still hope to lead the next coalition. Initial exploratory talks began with the SPD yesterday, and the FDP have also spoken to the CDU/CSU, with the Greens set to follow tomorrow. On the central bank side it’s a quieter week ahead, with the two G20 policy decisions expected from the Reserve Bank of Australia (tomorrow) and the Reserve Bank of India (Friday). In Australia, economists generally expect no change in policy and a reaffirmation of their dovish policy outlook. Samd in India, where economists also expects the MPC to keep all key policy rates unchanged, with many expecting a reverse repo rate liftoff starting from December. Day-by-day calendar of events Monday October 4 Data: US August factory orders, final August durable goods orders, core capital goods orders Central Banks: Fed’s Bullard, BoE’s Ramsden, ECB Vice President de Guindos and ECB’s Makhlouf speak Politics: Extraordinary Diet session in Japan to elect Prime Minister Tuesday October 5 Data: Services and composite PMIs from Japan, India, Russia, Italy, France, Germany, Euro Area, UK, Brazil and US, US September ISM services index, France August industrial production, Euro Area August PPI, US August trade balance Central Banks: Reserve Bank of Australia decision, ECB President Lagarde, ECB Holzmann and Fed’s Quarles speak Wednesday October 6 Data: Germany August factory orders, Germany and UK September construction PMI, Euro Area August retail sales, US September ADP employment change Central Banks: ECB’s Centeno speaks Thursday October 7 Data: Japan preliminary August leading index, Germany August industrial production, Italy August retail sales, US weekly initial jobless claims, US August consumer credit Central Banks: PBoC Governor Yi Gang, ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson, Holzmann, Lane, Schnabel, Fed’s Mester and BoC Governor Macklem speak Friday October 8 Data: Japan August current account balance, China September services and composite PMI, US September change in nonfarm payrolls, unemployment rate, average hourly earnings Central Banks: Reserve Bank of India policy decision, ECB’s Panetta speaks * * * Finally, focusing just on the US, here is Goldman noting that the key economic data releases this week are the ISM services index on Tuesday and the employment report on Friday. There are a few scheduled speaking engagements from Fed officials this week. Monday, October 4 10:00 AM Factory orders, August (GS +0.9%, consensus +1.0%, last +0.4%); Durable goods orders, August final (consensus +1.8%, last +1.8%); Durable goods orders ex-transportation, August final (last +0.2%); Core capital goods orders, August final (last +0.5%); Core capital goods shipments, August final (last +0.7%): We estimate that factory orders increased 0.9% in August following a 0.4% increase in July. Durable goods orders rose 1.8% in the August advance report and core capital goods orders increased 0.7%. 10:00 AM St. Louis Fed President Evans (FOMC non-voter) speaks: St. Louis Fed President James Bullard will take part in a virtual panel discussion on “Mastering the Economic Recovery.” Tuesday, October 5 08:30 AM Trade Balance, August (GS -$71.1bn, consensus -$70.6bn, last -$70.1bn); We estimate that the trade deficit increased by $1.0bn to $71.1bn in August, reflecting a larger increase in imports than exports in the advance goods report. 09:45 AM Markit services PMI, September final (consensus 54.4, last 54.4) 10:00 AM ISM services index, September (GS 59.2, consensus 59.9, last 61.7): We estimate that the ISM services index declined 2.5pt points to 59.2, reflecting a drag from the Delta variant on virus-sensitive services and the elevated level of the ISM measure relative to other service-sector surveys. Our services tracker fell 2.7pt to 55.5. 01:15 PM Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Quarles (FOMC voter) speaks: Fed Vice Chair for Supervision Randal Quarles discusses the Libor transition at a conference hosted by the Structured Finance Association in Las Vegas. Prepared text and moderated Q&A are expected. Wednesday, October 6 08:15 AM ADP employment report, September (GS +375k, consensus +430k, last +374k); We expect a 375k rise in ADP payroll employment for the month of September, similar to the 374k gain in August. Our forecast assumes firm underlying job gains but incorporates a drag from the August nonfarm payroll data, which is one of the inputs to the ADP model. Thursday, October 7 08:30 AM Initial jobless claims, week ended October 2 (GS 333k, consensus 350k, last 362k); Continuing jobless claims, week ended September 25 (consensus 2,770k, last 2,802k); We estimate initial jobless claims decreased to 333k in the week ended October 2. 11:45 AM Cleveland Fed President Mester (FOMC non-voter) speaks: Cleveland Fed President Loretta Mester takes part in a virtual panel discussion on inflation dynamics hosted by the Cleveland Fed and the European Central Bank. Audience Q&A is expected. Friday, October 8 08:30 AM Nonfarm payroll employment, September (GS +600k, consensus +470k, last +235k); Private payroll employment, September (GS +500k, consensus +450k, last +243k); Average hourly earnings (mom), September (GS +0.4%, consensus +0.4%, last +0.6%); Average hourly earnings (yoy), September (GS +4.6%, consensus +4.6%, last +4.3%); Unemployment rate, September (GS 5.1%, consensus 5.1%, last 5.2%): We estimate nonfarm payroll growth picked up to +600k in September following the disappointing 235k gain in August (mom sa). Remaining federal enhanced unemployment benefits expired on September 5, and we believe the associated easing in labor supply constraints began to boost job growth in September. But because the survey week ended only two weeks later (September 18), we continue to expect a larger impact in the October report. We also expect the reopening of schools to contribute roughly 150k to September job growth. Despite these tailwinds, Big Data employment measures were mixed, and dining activity rebounded only marginally after falling in August due to the Delta variant. We estimate a one-tenth drop in the unemployment rate to 5.1%, reflecting a strong household employment gain but a 0.1-0.2pp rise in the labor force participation rate, the latter driven by expiring benefits and the easing of childcare constraints. We estimate a 0.4% rise in average hourly earnings (mom sa, and +4.6% yoy), reflecting continued wage pressures partially offset by negative calendar effects. 10:00 AM Wholesale inventories, August final (consensus +1.2%, last +1.2%) Source: DB, Goldman, BofA Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 09:56.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 4th, 2021

Stocks on Tap From Top Wall Street Stories So Far in 2021

We present some of the biggest Wall Street stories of the first nine months that have influenced stocks like First American Financial (FAF), MercadoLibre Inc. (MELI), BuildABear (BBW), Boyd Gaming (BYD) and Goodrich Petroleum (GDP). U.S. stocks have been booming this year with major bourses skyrocketing to new peaks. This is primarily thanks to the reopening of businesses and economies, the largest vaccination drive, an unprecedent stimulus, a huge infrastructure package, resumption of earnings growth and a healing job market. However, inflation fears, the resurgence in COVID-19 cases, taper talks, the potential for high corporate tax rates and signs of slowdown in China’s economy have kept the stock market edgy throughout the year.With a few trading sessions left to end the first nine months of 2021, the S&P 500 is up about 18.3% while the Dow Jones and the Nasdaq have gained 13.9% and 16.1%, respectively.Below we discuss some of the hot events of the first nine months of this year and influenced the market in a big way:Fed Tapering SignalsIn the FOMC meeting that concluded on Sep 22, the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell kept the interest rates near zero at 0-0.25% but signaled bond-buying tapering ahead followed by interest rate hikes as early as next year.The central bank is expected to begin scaling back the monthly bond purchases as soon as November and complete the process by mid-2022. This is because it expects the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has dented economic activity in the recent months, to have a short-lived effect on the recovery. Per the officials, the economy will likely make “substantial further progress” by the end of the year, a threshold needed for the central bank to begin slowing the pace of asset purchasesThe financial sector seems to be the biggest beneficiary of the Fed’s move. This is because the steepening yield curve would bolster profits for banks, insurance companies, and discount brokerage firms. Some of the top ranked stocks like First American Financial Corporation FAF, StepStone Group Inc. STEP and Lincoln National Corporation LNC ae great choices to play this trend. These stocks have a solid Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy), suggesting their outperformance in the months ahead. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Further, these stocks are expected to generate solid earnings growth in the current fiscal year (FAF – 28.3%, STEP – 42.5%, and LNC – 131.2%).Delta Variant of COVID-19The Delta variant of COVID-19 has kept investors jittery for most of this year. The rising number of cases, especially in the unvaccinated or under-vaccinated areas, has led to renewed restriction measures. This has resulted in continued acceleration in the digital shift, driving the e-commerce boom.Given this, investors could bet on the flourishing trend with the top-ranked stock in this space. MercadoLibre Inc. MELI has a Zacks Rank #1 and Growth Score of A. With a market cap of $92.9 billion, it is one of the largest e-commerce platforms in Latin America. The company’s earnings are estimated to grow to $2.74 per share this year from a loss of 8 cents reported last year.Biggest Vaccination DriveThe biggest vaccination rollout in history is underway. As of Sep 22, about 77% of the adult population in the United States has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 64% of the total population has received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and about 55% is fully vaccinated.In the latest development, the FDA granted the first full Pfizer (PFE)-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine and the emergency use of a booster dose that will help put brakes on the ongoing surge in the COVID-19 Delta variant cases and lead to continued reopening of the economy. As the cyclical sectors are tied to economic activities, these outperform when economic growth improves. In particular, airlines, hotels, casino operators, travel, and entertainment-booking companies will benefit the most.Some of the top-ranked stocks from these spaces include Boyd Gaming Corporation BYD, Hub Group Inc. HUBG and SeaWorld Entertainment Inc. SEAS. These stocks have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy) and are expected to generate solid earnings growth in the current fiscal year (BYD – 3220%, HUBG – 67.1%, and SEAS– 176.4%). These stocks are in green over the past three months despite a series of sell-offs.Stimulus and Infrastructure PlanBiden signed the $1.9 trillion coronavirus stimulus bill in March. The package includes another round of $1,400 stimulus checks, $350 billion in state and local aid, $25 billion in rental and utility assistance, and enhanced federal unemployment benefits. On Aug 10, the Senate had passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which would be one of the most substantial federal investment in roads, bridges and rails in decades. The bill, which includes $550 billion in new spending on roads, bridges, and Internet access, is still awaiting the approval from the House of Representatives.These stimulus packages have been bolstering investors’ confidence in the economy. While there are several top-ranked stocks that investors could bet on to tap the booming economy, small caps seem to be the best choice as these are more domestically focused and outperform when the economy improves. BuildABear Workshop Inc. BBW has soared about 553% so far this year and is expected to rise further with estimated earnings growth of 256.3% for the current fiscal year. It carries a Zacks Rank #1 and a VGM Score of B.Energy Sector: A Hot SpotBrent jumped above $80 per barrel for the first time in around three years while WTI climbed to above $75 per barrel — the highest since July. The rally has been driven by supply shortages and growing demand with the easing of pandemic restrictions. Overall demand for fuel has rebounded to the pre-pandemic levels. Driven by an oil surge, energy has been the best performing sectors of this year. Goodrich Petroleum Corporation GDP has more than doubled this year and has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and a VGM Score of A.  Its earnings are estimated to grow to $3.73 per share for this year from 21 cents reported last year. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>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 First American Financial Corporation (FAF): Free Stock Analysis Report Boyd Gaming Corporation (BYD): Free Stock Analysis Report BuildABear Workshop, Inc. (BBW): Free Stock Analysis Report MercadoLibre, Inc. (MELI): Free Stock Analysis Report SeaWorld Entertainment, Inc. (SEAS): Free Stock Analysis Report Goodrich Petroleum Corporation (GDP): Free Stock Analysis Report Hub Group, Inc. (HUBG): Free Stock Analysis Report StepStone Group Inc. (STEP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 28th, 2021

Despite promises, Biden has yet to issue a single pardon, leaving reformers depressed and thousands incarcerated

President Biden has the unchecked power to grant clemency to any federal prisoner. But he hasn't used it. US President Joe Biden participates in the 74th annual Thanksgiving turkey pardon of Peanut Butter in the Rose Garden of the White House November 19, 2021 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty Images Presidents have the sweeping ability to commute sentences, immediately freeing any federal prisoner. They can also grant pardons, which erase a criminal conviction from a person's record. But Biden, like others before him, has been hesitant to use the power early on in his presidency. At this point in his presidency, Joe Biden has pardoned just two sentient beings: Peanut Butter and Jelly, 40-pound turkeys from Jasper, Indiana.Former President Donald Trump, by contrast, had pardoned three: a pair of flightless birds and Joe Arpaio, the ex-Arizona sheriff known for illegally detaining Latinos.Over the past three decades, that's pretty much been the norm, regardless of which political party claims the White House. Presidents Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and George W. Bush all waited until at least their second year in office before granting clemency to a human being.That's not because there is a dearth of potential candidates. As of October 2021, the Department of Justice had just under 17,000 pending petitions for clemency, up from 15,000 around the time of the 2020 election.The problem, critics say, is one of urgency, or the lack thereof."Just because that's what the situation has been doesn't mean that's how it has to be," Nkechi Taifa, an attorney, activist, and leader of the progressive Justice Roundtable, said in an interview. "Where there's a will there's a way."President Joe Biden has a meeting in the Roosevelt Room of the White House on Nov. 15, 2021.AP Photo/Susan WalshThat's the message Taifa delivered to the Biden White House. In an early December meeting with Susan Rice, director of the Domestic Policy Council, and staff from the Office of the White House Counsel, she implored the administration to act now.More than 7,700 federal inmates are currently on home confinement, granted release from prison on the grounds that they pose no security threat and are at a heightened risk of suffering severe complications from COVID-19. When the public health emergency is declared over, they could be forced to return. Leading Democrats, including Senate Whip Dick Durbin of Illinois, have argued it would be an injustice to send them back, urging the White House to consider granting clemency en masse.In the meeting, White House staff appeared to agree, Taifa said. That's not the problem."Their rhetoric says that they understand what we're saying, and that they're working on it," she said. The issue is the conversation is taking place in December."If it's going to take this long for a first step, how long is it going to take for the rest?"A 'bureaucratic morass' to wade throughBiden has never been a favorite of those advocating criminal justice reform.In the 2020 primaries, he was arguably the most conservative Democrat running for his party's nomination. But he was also not the same man who, as a senator from Delaware, helped author legislation that put many people behind bars for nonviolent drug offenses.On his campaign website, Biden promised to use his clemency power, like Obama, "to secure the release of individuals facing unduly long sentences for certain non-violent and drug crimes."But others pledged to go further. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, a former prosecutor, proposed a new clemency advisory board that could issue recommendations directly to the White House, bypassing what is currently a seven-step process.Democratic presidential candidates Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., former Vice President Joe Biden, former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., participate in a Democratic presidential primary debate in Las Vegas on Feb. 19, 2020.AP Photo/John Locher"What we've got is this bureaucratic morass," Mark Osler, a former federal prosecutor, said in an interview. "There's seven levels of review, one after the other, and the first four levels are all in the Department of Justice, which of course is conflicted because they're the ones who sought the sentence in the first place."The first step is the Office of the Pardon Attorney, which is currently led, on an acting basis, by Rosalind Sargent-Burns, a career department lawyer former Attorney General William Barr appointed. They then present their recommendations on who should get clemency to the deputy attorney general's office, where another staffer reviews it and passes it on — maybe — to their boss. Then it goes to the staff for the White House counsel, then the actual counsel, then an aide to the president and then, if all goes well, to Biden himself.The president could, at any time, bypass this process. Trump did when he pardoned Arpaio and his other allies, such as Roger Stone and Steve Bannon.If anything, Osler, now a professor at the University of Saint Thomas, told Insider he thinks Biden is too committed to the way things were. It's one thing to respect the Justice Department's career bureaucracy when it comes to deciding who deserves prosecution but, he said, "it doesn't make sense in terms of clemency."A White House official told Insider the president is "exploring the use of his clemency power" for non-violent drug offenders who were moved to home confinement at the start of the pandemic, a transfer authorized by the March 2020 CARES Act — specifically, those with fewer than four years left on their sentences (one activist who has engaged the White House expects those with less than two years remaining will also be excluded)."At the same time," the official said, Biden "continues to consider requests for pardon and commutation that are submitted in the ordinary course."That's not exactly what reformers want to hear. While Obama granted clemency to more than 1,900 people — compared to just 200 under George W. Bush and 238 under Trump — the byzantine process for requesting one's freedom, "the ordinary course," means many more deserving cases likely never reach the president's desk for consideration.The American Civil Liberties Union has called on Biden to immediately grant clemency to 25,000 people, namely those serving sentences longer than those handed out today, nonviolent drug offenders, and the elderly."If it's unjust at the end of the term," when presidents typically wait to grant pardons, "it's unjust during the entire term," Cynthia Roseberry, deputy director at the ACLU's national policy advocacy department, told Insider.She argued that it would be a failure if the administration tried to achieve its stated goals — of racial justice and correcting past wrongs — by relying on prosecutors and judges who sent people to prison to co-sign petitions for release."Justice hasn't been done under that draconian system, and we can't expect justice from that kind of system going forward," she said. "It has to be radically changed."The Department of Justice declined to comment on how many petitions for clemency have received favorable recommendations within the department or have been referred to the White House. It is impossible to say for sure, then, how much the delay in granting pardons is due to bureaucracy or stalling by political actors.But sticking with the opaque status quo is itself a political decision — the president could unilaterally discard it — and it's a disappointment, if not a surprise, to people like Osler. He's not expecting big things."I haven't heard anything from the administration that gives me hope," he said.Reform, deniedIn 2020, there appeared to be a new consensus.Joe Biden greets Sen. Bernie Sanders before the Democratic presidential primary debate in Des Moines, Iowa, on January 14, 2020.Scott Olson/Getty ImagesA "unity" task force composed of Biden supporters and those backing Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont issued a report endorsing the creation of a independent board to recommend pardons, saying it would "ensure an appropriate, effective process for using clemency, especially to address systemic racism." The call also made it into the Democratic Party platform.But it didn't make it into the president's agenda. Respect for institutions, however slow and flawed, is one explanation. Bureaucracy could also explain the lack of pardons. It's not clear where in the process the 17,000-odd petitions for clemency are — if they are sitting on the president's desk or in a cabinet somewhere else in the White House or Department of Justice.The fear of political fallout could be another reason. Reports of someone who received a presidential pardon going on to commit a serious crime are extremely rare. But if it happens, that's a television ad; the benefits of mercy toward those who go on to lead quiet lives in obscurity are perhaps less obvious.The current political environment at least raises the question. Since the start of the pandemic, major cities in the US, red state and blue state alike, have seen an uptick in violent crime. Daring instances of smash-and-grab robberies have gone viral. And the opposition party has been eager to pin blame on the White House, despite the trend beginning under its previous inhabitant."It's less about the review process and more about power," Jeffrey Crouch, an expert on federal clemency at American University, told Insider. New presidents are, of course, focused on passing the big-ticket items in their agenda — think infrastructure and "building back better."They "may want to avoid potential controversy before a midterm election," Crouch added.Kermit Roosevelt, a law professor at the University of Pennsylvania, likewise thinks pardons are a victim of competing priorities, and not something that a new administration wants leading the news cycle."Some pardons are probably politically popular," he said, "but many of them don't actually look that good, which is why presidents tend to issue a lot just before leaving office."The vast majority of pardons, in fact, are uncontroversial. No one, for example, criticized Trump when he granted clemency to Alice Marie Johnson, a Black woman in her 60s who had already served two decades behind bars for a nonviolent drug offense.U.S. President Donald Trump signs a document as Alice Johnson looks on during an event in the Oval Office of the White House August 28, 2020 in Washington, DC.Anna Moneymaker/Pool/Getty ImagesBut it is the "bad" pardons — of political allies, be they Trump's former aides or, under Clinton, Democratic donor Marc Rich — that tend to stick out.The president's unique, unchecked power to commute sentences and free the imprisoned could, then, be seen as a potential liability with little upside.But fear is not typically a good basis for policy."I think it reflects an outdated view of the clemency power as something politically risky," Ames Grawert, senior counsel at the Brennan Center's Justice Program, told Insider.There may always be demagoguery associated with incarceration, but in recent years there has been increasing bipartisan agreement that too many people have been locked up for too long. Indeed, thousands of federal prisoners are serving sentences that would not be handed out today thanks to 2018 reform legislation that Trump signed into law."I understand the fear of backlash for perceived leniency — as if any tampering with the federal system, which is excessively punitive through and through — would be 'lenient' vs. 'just,'" Grawert said, "but I don't know if there's a constituency for that."'I pretty much lost all hope'On the surface, an article The New York Times published last May was a victory for reformers."Biden Is Developing a Pardon Process With a Focus on Racial Justice," the headline asserted, and this was the substance: that the president would begin to aggressively employ the power of his office ahead of the 2022 midterm elections — "identifying entire classes of people who deserve mercy."But to Rachel Barkow, a vice dean and law professor at New York University who is one of the nation's leading advocates of clemency reform, the piece was anything but inspiring."It was kind of the death knell," she said in an interview. "There were so many red flags that this was going to be a disaster that I pretty much lost all hope then."For starters, the piece said the Biden administration would continue to "rely on the rigorous application vetting process" at the Department of Justice. That process was established, in part, not by the US Constitution — which does not mention it at all — but by former President Ronald Reagan, whose administration issued strict guidelines on who is even eligible to ask for reprieve.From left: Donald Trump, Bill Clinton, Joe Biden, George Bush, and Barack Obama.Mandel NGAN/AFP via Getty; Ben Gabbe/Getty Images for Common Sense Media; Win McNamee/Getty; Nathan Congleton/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty; Scott Olson/Getty; Shayanne Gal/InsiderWhat the White House is calling "the ordinary course" was, Barkow said, an "historical accident." And not a best practice."No state does this," she said. "'Ordinary course' is not that you ask the same prosecutors who brought a case, 'Should this person now get clemency?' No one in their right mind would set clemency up that way."Every administration deals with competing priorities, and Biden, objectively, was dealt a bad hand, inheriting an economy still struggling to recover from a pandemic that continues to kill more than a thousand Americans every day. And his agenda is constrained by a slim Democratic majority in the House and a 50-50 Senate.But that's also why people like Barkow are so disappointed.They're passionate about freeing those they see as unjustly incarcerated, but they are not simply naive idealists, unaware of political realities. Clemency is an area where Biden can act alone and immediately improve lives. Democrats may feel constantly on the defensive over issues of criminal justice, but none other than Trump saw clemency as such a feel-good winner that his campaign ran a Super Bowl ad telling the story of one woman he freed from prison."Anyone who has spent any time with people who are incarcerated, with their loved ones, who have talked with people who were formerly incarcerated, would get the urgency of this," Barkow said. "You wouldn't be able to sleep at night."But there doesn't appear to be urgency at the White House.So far, roughly 1,200 petitions for pardons or commutations have been closed "without presidential action," per the Department of Justice. Each day, loved ones are separated due to policies that the current president helped shape, which he now says were mistaken — contributors to racial injustice — and which he has thus far declined to ameliorate."It's very depressing," Barkow said. "I think it's words on paper," she said of the administration's talk of change."It's just not really something that they're feeling in their bones. And as a result, it's not getting done."Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider11 hr. 42 min. ago

Here"s Why You Should Add Nucor (NUE) Stock to Your Portfolio

Nucor (NUE) benefits from an upswing in steel prices and strong demand in its major markets. Nucor Corporation’s NUE stock looks promising at the moment. The steel giant is benefiting from demand strength across its end-markets and higher domestic steel prices. We are positive on the company’s prospects and believe that the time is right for you to add the stock to portfolio as it looks promising and is poised to carry the momentum ahead.Nucor has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of B. Our research shows that stocks with a VGM Score of A or B, combined with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2, offer the best investment opportunities for investors.Let’s take a look into the factors that make Nucor an attractive choice for investors right now.An OutperformerShares of Nucor have rallied 114.3% year to date against the 29.6% rise of its industry. It has also outperformed the S&P 500’s 22.3% rise over the same period. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Estimates NorthboundEarnings estimate revisions have the greatest impact on stock prices. Over the past two months, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for Nucor for the current year has increased around 7.2%. The consensus estimate for fourth-quarter 2021 has also been revised 11.2% upward over the same time frame.Solid Growth ProspectsThe Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings for the current year for Nucor is currently pegged at $22.82, reflecting an expected year-over-year growth of 583.2%. Moreover, earnings are expected to register a 463.4% growth in the fourth quarter.Superior Return on Equity (ROE)ROE is a measure of a company’s efficiency in utilizing shareholder’s funds. ROE for the trailing 12-months for Nucor  is 40.1%, above the industry’s level of 33.6%.Upbeat ProspectsNucor is gaining from continued strength in the non-residential construction market. It is also seeing healthy demand in the automotive market despite the ongoing semiconductor crunch. The company is also witnessing strength in heavy equipment and improved conditions in energy markets. Higher demand is driving its shipments.The company is also benefiting from higher steel prices. Its average sales price surged 86% year over year in the third quarter. Higher domestic steel prices are acting as a catalyst for Nucor’s steel mills unit. U.S. steel prices have hit record levels this year after plunging to pandemic-led multi-year lows in August 2020. The strong rebound has been driven by strong end-market demand, tight supply conditions and higher raw material costs.The company’s profits rose year over year in the third quarter of 2021, thanks to strong demand and higher steel prices. The third quarter marked the highest quarterly earnings in its history.Nucor, in its third-quarter call, said that it envisions continued strong results in the fourth quarter with earnings potentially exceeding the record-level set in the third quarter. The company expects strong demand across most end-use markets to continue into 2022. Nucor expects improved profitability in the steel mills segment in the fourth quarter on a sequential comparison basis on additional earnings growth at its sheet and plate mills.Stocks to ConsiderOther top-ranked stocks worth considering in the basic materials space include Nutrien Ltd. NTR, AdvanSix Inc. ASIX and Intrepid Potash, Inc. IPI, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here. Nutrien has an expected earnings growth rate of 212.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for NTR's current-year earnings has been revised 10.6% upward over the last 60 days.Nutrien beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missing once. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 73.5%, on average. NTR has rallied around 40% in a year.AdvanSix has a projected earnings growth rate of 196.9% for the current year. ASIX's consensus estimate for the current year has been revised 6.8% upward over the last 60 days.AdvanSix beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters, the average being 46.9%. ASIX has rallied around 114% in a year.Intrepid Potash has a projected earnings growth rate of 244.7% for the current year. The consensus estimate for IPI’s current year has been revised 3.3% upward over the last 60 days.Intrepid Potash beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in three of the last four quarters while missing once. It has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of roughly 132.9%, on average. IPI shares have surged around 170% in a year. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 Nucor Corporation (NUE): Free Stock Analysis Report Intrepid Potash, Inc (IPI): Free Stock Analysis Report AdvanSix (ASIX): Free Stock Analysis Report Nutrien Ltd. (NTR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacks20 hr. 58 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

Related Companies strikes historic deal with NYCHA

Related Companies and the minority-owned Essence Development are about to make history with NYCHA. The powerhouse global developer behind projects including the new Hudson Yards, and the Minority Business Enterprise founded by former Related vice president and NFL player Jamar Adams, will take over the running of the 2,054 NYCHA... The post Related Companies strikes historic deal with NYCHA appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Related Companies and the minority-owned Essence Development are about to make history with NYCHA. The powerhouse global developer behind projects including the new Hudson Yards, and the Minority Business Enterprise founded by former Related vice president and NFL player Jamar Adams, will take over the running of the 2,054 NYCHA apartments in Manhattan and complete $366 million in renovations as part of a historic deal struck with the city and the people who live there. For the first time ever, the tenants have led both the review and developer selection process for the multi-million-dollar campaign at Fulton, Chelsea, Chelsea Addition and Elliott Houses. Now, two years after the city first floated a plan to raze the properties, Related and Essence will instead renovate 18 buildings inside and out, create new community spaces, health centers and gardens area. Once the work is done to the tenants’ satisfaction, the developers will get to build a new 100-unit apartment building on West 27th Street, half of which will be permanently affordable at rents recommended by the Fulton-Chelsea tenants. JESSICA KATZ “This is a historic moment for NYCHA residents that demonstrates the power of leveraging residents’ expertise alongside the resources of the affordable housing industry,” said Jessica Katz, executive director of Citizens Housing & Planning Council. “These are the kinds of decisions that directly impact their livelihoods, and it is absolutely critical that we continue to follow this model, elevate tenant voices and give everyone a seat at the table.” The selection of the two developers follows months of often contentious debate over the future of the properties, which have fallen into disrepair under cash strapped NYCHA. After tenants balked at the plan to demolish the worst of the buildings, the city formed the Chelsea Working Group, made up of residents, elected officials, community representatives, and housing and legal organizations. The Chelsea Working Group recommended that the Fulton and Elliott-Chelsea developments be included in NYCHA’s Permanent Affordability Commitment Together Program, or PACT, and devised the plan that will modernize 18 of the buildings and give the developers “appropriate locations” for new, ground-up buildings on land within their boundaries. While today’s announcement only confirmed one new ground-up building that will rise on 27th Street, NYCHA has said in the past that potential new developments could add up to 700 units to the four sites that make up the complexes, half of which, under the deal, would be income-restricted affordable housing. According to NYCHA, those new buildings would only generate about a fifth of the $366 million needed to pay for the repairs to Fulton and Chelsea-Elliott and, by moving the projects into the PACT program, the city has leverage to raise the rest of the money. New York City Housing Development Corporation (HDC), the local housing finance agency, will assemble the financing and provide asset management and compliance for the PACT transactions. The balance of the repair bill will come via PACT through the federal government’s Rental Assistance Demonstration program, or RAD, an Obama-era program that allows private companies to manage public housing, giving them responsibility for maintenance, repairs and rent collection. The PACT program will grant Essence and Related Companies access to the money to fund the work while maintaining permanent affordability and residents’ rights. NYCHA retains ownership and oversight of the development but shifts day-to-day management to the PACT partner through a ground lease. Residents of PACT converted buildings continue to pay 30 percent of their adjusted gross household income towards rent and reserve the right to organize. Residents have the right to remain in their apartments through the duration of construction and can apply for job opportunities associated with the conversion. Residents also reserve the right to renew or add relatives to their lease, and residents who receive Earned Income Disregard will continue to receive it. Initially viewed as a back door to privatization, PACT is being embraced in New York as a way to funds a massive backlog of renovations desperately needed within NYCHA’s 179,000 apartments spread across 302 developments. To date, some 9,500 NYCHA apartments have been moved to the PACT system and are privately managed under RAD. Another 11,800 units are expected to be transferred to the program by year’s end. VICKI BEEN “PACT is a critical component of the City’s strategy for fundamentally improving the quality of life for public housing residents,” said New York City Deputy Mayor Vicki Been. “Today’s announcement is the culmination of an innovative and extensive collaborative process of working together with residents and other stakeholders to craft a plan to achieve beautifully renovated homes in a safe and welcoming development, and to address residents’ concerns about the changes necessary to both secure these renovations and ensure that their homes are permanently affordable, and well managed and maintained.” Darlene Waters, president of the Elliott-Chelsea Houses Tenant Association who was part of the Chelsea Working Group that developed the plan, was among the first to celebrate the announcement today. “I am incredibly proud of the Chelsea Working Group for our collaboration and determination to identify a partner that will most effectively meet our communities’ needs and improve our lives,” said Waters. “Our voices have guided the conversation throughout the entire recommendations and RFP processes. Bringing NYCHA residents to the table to make decisions gives us dignity, the power of choice and autonomy over our homes.” Fulton Houses Tenant Association president Miguel Acevedo, added, “Residents should remain central to every decision that NYCHA makes for its properties, and today we are honored to be part of a group that drove each step of the decision-making process to make a substantial, lasting impact on our communities. “We look forward to partnering with Essence Development and Related Companies to address urgent concerns, long overdue repairs and critical infrastructure upgrades for our homes.” BRUCE BEAL “Fulton & Elliott-Chelsea Houses have been waiting for, and deserve, the critical repairs and upgrades needed in their homes,” said Bruce Beal Jr., president of Related Companies. “Through our partnership with Essence Development, we will address not just the physical needs, but also complete a suite of community enhancements to ensure this comprehensive rehabilitation will deliver quality homes for residents.” JAMAR ADAMS Added Adams, “We are honored to be a part of this historic project, driven by dedicated and passionate residents. We look forward to working alongside the Working Group, NYCHA and Related to undertake this massive rehabilitation project, and help create a more stable future for the community.” Among the New York politicians backing the PACT plan as a way forward today were Congressman Jerrold Nadler, who called the tenant working group process a model for other NYCHA developments; State Senator Brad Hoylman; and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer. The post Related Companies strikes historic deal with NYCHA appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyDec 1st, 2021

Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout

Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout Ask a drug dealer if methadone helps cure a cocaine addition and - shockingly - you will hear that the answer is "hell no", after all an affirmative response would mean the fixer needs to get a real job. Just as shocking was the "admission" of Moderna CEO, Stéphane Bancel, who in the latest stop on his media whirlwind tour of the past 48 hours gave the FT an interview in which he predicted that existing vaccines will be much less effective at tackling Omicron than earlier strains of coronavirus and warned it would take months before pharmaceutical companies could manufacture new variant-specific jabs at scale. “There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level . . . we had with [the] Delta [variant],” Bancel told the Financial Times, claiming that the high number of Omicron mutations on the spike protein, which the virus uses to infect human cells, and the rapid spread of the variant in South Africa suggested that the current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year. Here, the self-serving CEO whose sell-mode was fully engaged - after all what else would the maker of a vaccine for covid say than "yes, the world will need more of my product" - completely ignored the earlier comments from Barry Schoub, chairman of South Afruca's Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, who over the weekend said that the large number of mutations found in the omicron variant appears to destabilize the virus, which might make it less “fit” than the dominant delta strain. As such, it would be a far less virulent strain... but of course that would also reduce the need for Moderna's mRNA therapy and so Bancel failed to mention it. What is grotesque is that the Moderna CEO’s comments on existing vaccines’ effectiveness against the omicron variant is “old news so should be a fade,” says Prashant Newnaha, a senior Asia-Pacific rates strategist at TD Securities in Singapore. Indeed as Bloomberg notes, Bancel reiterated comments made by Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton during the weekend. Alas, the last thing algos care about is nuance and/or reading between the lines, and so moments after Bancel's interview hit, markets hit risk off mode on Tuesday, and yesterday’s bounce in markets immediately reversed amid fresh worries about the efficacy of currently available vaccines with U.S. equity futures dropping along with stocks in Europe. Bonds gained as investors sought havens. After dropping as much as 1.2%, S&P futures pared losses to -0.7%, down 37 points just above 4,600. Dow Eminis were down 339 points or 1% and Nasdaq was down -0.8%. Adding to concerns is Fed Chair Jerome Powell who today will speak, alongside Janet Yellen, at the Senate Banking Committee in congressional oversight hearings related to pandemic stimulus. Last night Powell made a dovish pivot saying the new variant poses downside risks to employment and growth while adding to uncertainty about inflation. Powell's comments dragged yields lower and hit bank stocks overnight. “The market’s reaction to reports such as Moderna’s suggest the ball is still very much in the court of proving that this will not escalate,” said Patrick Bennett, head of macro strategy for Asia at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Hong Kong. “Until that time, mode is to sell recoveries in risk and not to try and pick the extent of the selloff” U.S. airline and cruiseliner stocks dropped in premarket trading Tuesday, after vaccine maker Moderna’s top executives reiterated that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may require new vaccines. Most U.S. airline stocks were down: Alaska Air -5%, United -3.2%, American -3%, Spirit -2.7%, Delta -2.6%, JetBlue -2.6%, Southwest -1.7%. Here are some other notable movers today: U.S. banks decline in premarket trading following comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that may push back bets on when the central bank will raise rates. Citigroup (C US) -2.4%, JPMorgan (JPM US) -2.2%, Morgan Stanley (MS US) -2.6% Vaccine manufacturers mixed in U.S. premarket trading after rallying in recent days and following further comments from Moderna about treating the new omicron Covid-19 variant. Pfizer (PFE US) +1.6%, Novavax  (NVAS US) +1.3%, Moderna (MRNA US) -3.8% U.S. airline and cruiseliner stocks dropped in premarket trading Tuesday, after vaccine maker Moderna’s top executives reiterated that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may require new vaccines. Alaska Air (ALK US) -5%, United (UAL US) -3.2%, American (AAL US) -3% Krystal Biotech (KRYS US) jumped 4.3% in postmarket trading on Monday, extending gains after a 122% jump during the regular session. The company is offering $200m of shares via Goldman Sachs, BofA, Cowen, William Blair, according to a postmarket statement MEI Pharma (MEIP US) gained 8% postmarket after the cancer-treatment company said it will hold a webcast Tuesday to report on data from the ongoing Phase 2 Tidal study evaluating zandelisib in patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma Intuit (INTU US) declined 3.4% postmarket after holder Dan Kurzius, co-founder of Mailchimp, offered the stake via Goldman Sachs In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index fell to almost a seven-week low. Cyclical sectors including retail, travel and carmakers were among the biggest decliners, while energy stocks tumbled as crude oil headed for the worst monthly loss this year; every industry sector fell led by travel stocks. Earlier in the session, the Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.6% while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to finish at its weakest level since May 2016. Asian stocks erased early gains to head for a third day of losses on fresh concerns that existing Covid-19 vaccines will be less effective at tackling the omicron variant. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index extended its fall to nearly 1% after having risen as much as 0.8% earlier on Tuesday. The current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year, Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in an interview with the Financial Times, adding that it may take months before pharmaceutical firms can manufacture new variant-specific jabs at scale. U.S. futures also reversed gains. Property and consumer staples were the worst-performing sectors on the regional benchmark. Key gauges in Hong Kong and South Korea were the biggest losers in Asia, with the Kospi index erasing all of its gains for this year. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to finish at its weakest level since May 2016. The fresh bout of selling offset early optimism spurred by data showing China’s factory sentiment improved in November. “With the slower vaccination rate and more limited health-care capacity in the region, uncertainty from the new omicron variant may seem to bring about higher economic risks for the region at a time where it is shifting towards further reopening,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. Asia’s stock benchmark is now down 3.5% for the month, set for its worst performance since July, as nervousness remains over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering schedule and the potential economic impact of the omicron variant. “Moderna is one of the primary mRNA vaccines out there, so the risk-off sentiment is justified,” said Kelvin Wong, an analyst at CMC Markets (Singapore) Pte. Liquidity is thinner going into the end of the year, so investors are “thinking it’s wise to take some money off the table,” he added Japanese equities fell, reversing an earlier gain to cap their third-straight daily loss, after a report cast doubt on hopes for a quick answer to the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Telecoms and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which dropped 1%, erasing an earlier gain of as much as 1.5%. Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.6% loss in the Nikkei 225. The yen strengthened about 0.4% against the dollar, reversing an earlier loss. Japanese stocks advanced earlier in the day, following U.S. peers higher as a relative sense of calm returned to global markets. Tokyo share gains reversed quickly in late afternoon trading after a Financial Times report that Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said a new vaccine may be needed to fight omicron. “The report of Moderna CEO’s remarks has bolstered an overall movement toward taking off risk,” said SMBC Trust Bank analyst Masahiro Yamaguchi. “Market participants will probably be analyzing information on vaccines and the new virus variant for the next couple of weeks, so shares will likely continue to fluctuate on these headlines.” In FX, the dollar dropped alongside commodity-linked currencies while the yen and gold climbed and bitcoin surged as safe havens were bid. The yen swung to a gain after Moderna Inc.’s chief executive Stephane Bancel was quoted by the Financial Times saying existing vaccines may not be effective enough to tackle the omicron variant. Commodity-linked currencies including the Aussie, kiwi and Norwegian krone all declined, underperforming the dollar In rates, treasuries held gains after flight-to-quality rally extended during Asia session and European morning, when bunds and gilts also benefited from haven flows. Stocks fell after Moderna CEO predicted waning vaccine efficacy. Intermediates lead gains, with yields richer by nearly 6bp across 7-year sector; 10-year Treasuries are richer by 5.6bp at 1.443%, vs 2.5bp for German 10-year, 4.7bp for U.K. Long-end may draw support from potential for month-end buying; Bloomberg Treasury index rebalancing was projected to extend duration by 0.11yr as of Nov. 22. Expectations of month-end flows may support the market, and Fed Chair Powell is slated to testify to a Senate panel.       In commodities, crude futures are off their late-Asia lows but remain in the red. WTI trades close to $68.30, stalling near Friday’s lows; Brent is off over 2.5% near $71.50. Spot gold rises ~$11 near $1,796/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME zinc outperforms, rising as much as 1.6%.  To the day ahead now, and the main central bank highlight will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Villeroy and de Cos, and the BoE’s Mann. On the data side, we’ll get the flash November CPI reading for the Euro Area today, as well as the readings from France and Italy. In addition, there’s data on German unemployment for November, Canadian GDP for Q3, whilst in the US there’s the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure for November, the FHFA house price index for September, and the MNI Chicago PMI for November. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.2% to 4,595.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.4% to 460.47 MXAP down 0.5% to 190.51 MXAPJ down 0.6% to 620.60 Nikkei down 1.6% to 27,821.76 Topix down 1.0% to 1,928.35 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 23,475.26 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,563.89 Sensex down 0.2% to 57,122.74 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,255.97 Kospi down 2.4% to 2,839.01 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36% Euro up 0.6% to $1.1362 Brent Futures down 3.0% to $71.26/bbl Brent Futures down 3.0% to $71.26/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,796.41 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.65% to 95.72 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Euro-area inflation surged to a record for the era of the single currency and exceeded all forecasts, adding to the European Central Bank’s challenge before a crucial meeting next month on the future of monetary stimulus. If the drop in government bond yields on Friday signaled how skittish markets were, fresh declines are leaving them looking no less nervous. One of Germany’s most prominent economists is urging the European Central Bank to be more transparent in outlining its exit from unprecedented monetary stimulus and argues that ruling out an end to negative interest rates next year may be a mistake. The Hong Kong dollar fell into the weak half of its trading band for the first time since December 2019 as the emergence of a new coronavirus variant hurt appetite for risk assets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities traded mixed with early momentum seen following the rebound on Wall Street where risk assets recovered from Friday’s heavy selling pressure as liquidity conditions normalized post-Thanksgiving and after some of the Omicron fears abated given the mild nature in cases so far, while participants also digested a slew of data releases including better than expected Chinese Manufacturing PMI. However, markets were later spooked following comments from Moderna's CEO that existing vaccines will be much less effective against the Omicron variant. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was underpinned by early strength across its sectors aside from utilities and with gold miners also hampered by the recent lacklustre mood in the precious metal which failed to reclaim the USD 1800/oz level but remained in proximity for another attempt. In addition, disappointing Building Approvals and inline Net Exports Contribution data had little impact on sentiment ahead of tomorrow’s Q3 GDP release, although the index then faded most its gains after the comments from Moderna's CEO, while Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was initially lifted by the recent rebound in USD/JPY but then slumped amid the broad risk aversion late in the session. Hang Seng (-1.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) were varied in which the mainland was kept afloat for most the session after a surprise expansion in Chinese Manufacturing PMI and a mild liquidity injection by the PBoC, with a central bank-backed publication also suggesting that recent open market operations demonstrates an ample liquidity goal, although Hong Kong underperformed on tech and property losses and with casino names pressured again as shares in junket operator Suncity slumped 37% on reopen from a trading halt in its first opportunity to react to the arrest of its Chairman. Finally, 10yr JGBs were initially contained following early momentum in stocks and somewhat inconclusive 2yr JGB auction which showed better results from the prior, albeit at just a marginal improvement, but then was underpinned on a haven bid after fears of the Omicron variant later resurfaced. Top Asian News China’s Biggest Crypto Exchange Picks Singapore as Asia Base SoftBank-Backed Snapdeal Targets $250 Million IPO in 2022 Omicron Reaches Nations From U.K. to Japan in Widening Spread Slump in China Gas Shows Spreading Impact of Property Slowdown Major European bourses are on the backfoot (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.5%; Stoxx 600 -1.5%) as COVID fears again take the spotlight on month-end. APAC markets were firmer for a large part of the overnight session, but thereafter the risk-off trigger was attributed to comments from Moderna's CEO suggesting that existing vaccines will be much less effective against the Omicron COVID strain. On this, some caveats worth keeping in mind - the commentary on the potential need for a vaccine does come from a vaccine maker, who could benefit from further global inoculation, whilst data on the new variant remains sparse. Meanwhile, WSJ reported Regeneron's and Eli Lilly's COVID antiviral cocktails had lost efficacy vs the Omicron variant - however, the extent to which will need to be subject to further testing. Furthermore, producers appear to be confident that they will be able to adjust their products to accommodate the new variant, albeit the timeline for mass production will not be immediate. Nonetheless, the sullied sentiment has persisted throughout the European morning and has also seeped into US equity futures: the cyclically bias RTY (-1.7%) lags the ES (-1.0%) and YM (-1.3%), whilst the tech-laden NQ (-0.5%) is cushioned by the slump in yields. Back to Europe, broad-based losses are seen across the majors. Sectors tilt defensive but to a lesser extent than seen at the European cash open. Travel & Leisure, Oil & Gas, and Retail all sit at the bottom of the bunch amid the potential implications of the new COVID variant. Tech benefits from the yield play, which subsequently weighs on the Banking sector. The retail sector is also weighed on by Spanish giant Inditex (-4.3%) following a CEO reshuffle. In terms of other movers, Glencore (-0.9%) is softer after Activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners called on the Co. to spin off its coal business and divest non-core assets. In a letter seen by the FT, Glencore was also asked to improve corporate governance. In terms of equity commentary, analysts at JPM suggest investors should take a more nuanced view on reopening as the bank expects post-COVID normalisation to gradually asset itself over the course of 2022. The bank highlights hawkish central bank policy shifts as the main risk to their outlook. Thus, the analysts see European equities outperforming the US, whilst China is seen outpacing EMs. JPM targets S&P 500 at 5,050 (closed at 4,655.27 yesterday) by the end of 2022 with EPS at USD 240 – marking a 14% increase in annual EPS. Top European News Omicron Reaches Nations From U.K. to Japan in Widening Spread ECB Bosses Lack Full Diplomatic Immunity, EU’s Top Court Says Adler Keeps Investors Waiting for Answers on Fraud Claims European Gas Prices Surge Above 100 Euros With Eyes on Russia In FX, the Greenback may well have been grounded amidst rebalancing flows on the final trading day of November, as bank models are flagging a net sell signal, albeit relatively weak aside from vs the Yen per Cit’s index, but renewed Omicron concerns stoked by Moderna’s CEO casting considerable doubt about the efficacy of current vaccines against the new SA strain have pushed the Buck back down in any case. Indeed, the index has now retreated further from its 2021 apex set less than a week ago and through 96.000 to 95.662, with only the Loonie and Swedish Krona underperforming within the basket, and the Antipodean Dollars plus Norwegian Crown in wider G10 circles. Looking at individual pairings, Usd/Jpy has reversed from the high 113.00 area and breached a Fib just below the round number on the way down to circa 112.68 for a marginal new m-t-d low, while Eur/Usd is back above 1.1350 having scaled a Fib at 1.1290 and both have left decent option expiries some distance behind in the process (1.6 bn at 113.80 and 1.3 bn between 1.1250-55 respectively). Elsewhere, Usd/Chf is eyeing 0.9175 irrespective of a slightly weaker than forecast Swiss KoF indicator and Cable has bounced firmly from the low 1.3300 zone towards 1.3375 awaiting commentary from BoE’s Mann. NZD/AUD/CAD - As noted above, the tables have turned for the Kiwi, Aussie and Loonie along with risk sentiment in general, and Nzd/Usd is now pivoting 0.6800 with little help from a deterioration in NBNZ business confidence or a decline in the activity outlook. Similarly, Aud/Usd has been undermined by much weaker than forecast building approvals and a smaller than anticipated current account surplus, but mostly keeping hold of the 0.7100 handle ahead of Q3 GDP and Usd/Cad has shot up from around 1.2730 to top 1.2800 at one stage in advance of Canadian growth data for the prior quarter and month of September as oil recoils (WTI to an even deeper trough only cents off Usd 67/brl). Back down under, 1 bn option expiry interest at 1.0470 in Aud/Nzd could well come into play given that the cross is currently hovering near the base of a 1.0483-39 range. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned downturn in risk appetite after Monday’s brief revival has hit the Sek and Nok hard, but the latter is also bearing the brunt of Brent’s latest collapse to the brink of Usd 70/brl at worst, while also taking on board that the Norges Bank plans to refrain from foreign currency selling through December having stopped midway through this month. The Rub is also feeling the adverse effect of weaker crude prices and ongoing geopolitical angst to the extent that hawkish CBR rhetoric alluding to aggressive tightening next month is hardly keeping it propped, but the Cnh and Cny continue to defy the odds or gravity in wake of a surprise pop back above 50.0 in China’s official manufacturing PMI. Conversely, the Zar is struggling to contain losses sub-16.0000 vs the Usd on SA virus-related factors even though Gold is approaching Usd 1800/oz again, while the Try is striving to stay within sight of 13.0000 following a slender miss in Turkish Q3 y/y GDP. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are once again under pressure amid the aforementioned COVID jitters threatening the demand side of the equation, albeit the market remains in a state of uncertainty given how little is known about the new variant ahead of the OPEC+ confab. It is still unclear at this point in time which route OPEC+ members will opt for, but seemingly the feasible options on the table are 1) a pause in output hikes, 2) a smaller output hike, 3) maintaining current output hikes. Energy journalists have suggested the group will likely be influenced by oil price action, but nonetheless, the findings of the JTC and JMMC will be closely watched for the group's updated forecasts against the backdrop of COVID and the recently coordinated SPR releases from net oil consumers – a move which the US pledged to repeat if needed. Elsewhere, Iranian nuclear talks were reportedly somewhat constructive – according to the Russian delegate – with working groups set to meet today and tomorrow regarding the sanctions on Iran. This sentiment, however, was not reciprocated by Western sources (cited by WSJ), which suggested there was no clarity yet on whether the teams were ready for serious negotiations and serious concessions. WTI Jan resides around session lows near USD 67.50/bbl (vs high USD 71.22/bbl), while Brent Feb dipped under USD 71/bbl (vs high USD 84.56/bb). Over to metals, spot gold remains underpinned in European trade by the cluster of DMA's under USD 1,800/oz – including the 100 (USD 1,792/oz), 200 (USD 1,791/oz) and 50 (1,790/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper is modestly softer around the USD 9,500/t mark, whilst Dalian iron ore futures meanwhile rose over 6% overnight, with traders citing increasing Chinese demand. US Event Calendar 9am: 3Q House Price Purchase Index QoQ, prior 4.9% 9am: Sept. FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.0% 9am: Sept. Case Shiller Composite-20 YoY, est. 19.30%, prior 19.66%; S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. 1.20%, prior 1.17% 9:45am: Nov. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 67.0, prior 68.4 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Consumer Confidenc, est. 111.0, prior 113.8 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Present Situation, prior 147.4 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Expectations, prior 91.3 Central Banks 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before Senate Panel on CARES Act Relief 10:30am: Fed’s Williams gives remarks at NY Fed food- insecurity event 1pm: Fed’s Clarida Discusses Fed Independence DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Just as we go to print markets are reacting negatively to an interview with the Moderna CEO in the FT that has just landed where he said that with regards to Omicron, “There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level... we had with Delta…… I think it’s going to be a material drop (efficacy). I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to . . . are like ‘this is not going to be good’.”” This is not really new news relative to the last 3-4 days given what we know about the new mutation but the market is picking up on the explicit comments. In response S&P futures have gone from slightly up to down just over -0.5% and Treasury yields immediately dipped -4bps to 1.46%. The Nikkei has erased gains and is down around -1% and the Hang Seng is c.-1.8%. This is breaking news so check your screens after you read this. In China the official November PMI data came in stronger than expected with the Manufacturing PMI at 50.1 (49.7 consensus vs 49.2 previous) and the non-manufacturing PMI at 52.3 (51.5 consensus vs 52.4 previous). The negative headlines above as we go to print followed a market recovery yesterday as investors hoped that the Omicron variant wouldn’t prove as bad as initially feared. In reality, the evidence is still incredibly limited on this question, and nothing from the Moderna CEO overnight changes that. However the more positive sentiment was also evident from the results of our flash poll in yesterday’s EMR where we had 1569 responses so very many thanks. The poll showed that just 10% thought it would still be the biggest topic in financial markets by the end of the year, with 30% instead thinking it’ll largely be forgotten about. The other 60% thought it would still be an issue but only of moderate importance. So if that’s correct and our respondents are a fair reflection of broader market sentiment, then it points to some big downside risks ahead if we get notable bad news on the variant. For the record I would have been with the majority with tendencies towards the largely forgotten about answer. So I will be as off-side as much as most of you on the variant downside risk scenario. When I did a similar poll on Evergrande 2 and a half months ago, only 8% thought it would be significantly impacting markets a month later with 78% in aggregate thinking limited mention/impact, and 15% thinking it would have no impact. So broadly similar responses and back then the 15% were most correct although the next 78% weren’t far off. In terms of the latest developments yesterday, we’re still waiting to find out some of the key pieces of information about this new strain, including how effective vaccines still are, and about the extent of any increased risk of transmission, hospitalisation and death. Nevertheless, countries around the world are continuing to ramp up their own responses as they await this information. President Biden laid out the US strategy for tackling Omicron in a public address yesterday, underscoring the variant was a cause for concern rather than panic. He noted travel bans from certain jurisdictions would remain in place to buy authorities time to evaluate the variant, but did not anticipate that further travel bans or domestic lockdowns would be implemented, instead urging citizens to get vaccinated or a booster shot. Over in Europe, Bloomberg reported that EU leaders were discussing whether to have a virtual summit on Friday about the issue, and Poland moved to toughen up their own domestic restrictions, with a 50% capacity limit on restaurants, hotels, gyms and cinemas. In Germany, Chancellor Merkel and Vice Chancellor Scholz will be meeting with state premiers today, whilst the UK government’s vaccination committee recommended that every adult be eligible for a booster shot, rather than just the over-40s at present. Boosters have done a tremendous job in dramatically reducing cases in the elder cohort in the UK in recent weeks so one by product of Omicron is that it may accelerate protection in a wider age group everywhere. Assuming vaccines have some impact on Omicron this could be a positive development, especially if symptoms are less bad. Markets recovered somewhat yesterday, with the S&P 500 gaining +1.32% to recover a large portion of Friday’s loss. The index was driven by mega-cap tech names, with the Nasdaq up +1.88% and small cap stocks underperforming, with the Russell 2000 down -0.18%, so the market wasn’t completely pricing out omicron risks by any means. Nevertheless, Covid-specific names performed how you would expect given the improved sentiment; stay-at-home trades that outperformed Friday fell, including Zoom (-0.56%), Peloton (-4.35%), and HelloFresh (-0.8%), while Moderna (+11.80%) was the biggest winner following the weekend news that a reformulated vaccine could be available in early 2022. Elsewhere, Twitter (-2.74%) initially gained after it was announced CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey would be stepping down, but trended lower throughout the rest of the day. The broader moves put the index back in positive territory for the month as we hit November’s last trading day today. Europe saw its own bounceback too, with the STOXX 600 up +0.69%. Over in rates, the partial unwind of Friday’s moves was even smaller, with yields on 10yr Treasuries moving up +2.6bps to 1.50%, driven predominantly by real rates, as inflation breakevens were a touch narrower across the curve. One part of the curve that didn’t retrace Friday’s move was the short end, where markets continued to push Fed rate hikes back ever so slightly, with the first full hike now being priced for September (though contracts as early as May still price some meaningful probability of Fed hikes). We may see some further movements today as well, with Fed Chair Powell set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 15:00 London time, where he may well be asked about whether the Fed plans to accelerate the tapering of their asset purchases although it’s hard to believe he’ll go too far with any guidance with the Omicron uncertainty. The Chair’s brief planned testimony was published on the Fed’s website last night. It struck a slightly more hawkish tone on inflation, noting that the Fed’s forecast was for elevated inflation to persist well into next year and recognition that high inflation imposes burdens on those least able to handle them. On omicron, the testimony predictably stated it posed risks that could slow the economy’s progress, but tellingly on the inflation front, it could intensify supply chain disruptions. The real fireworks will almost certainly come in the question and answer portion of the testimony. The bond moves were more muted in Europe though, with yields on 10yr bunds (+2.0bps), OATs (+1.0bps) and BTPs (+0.4bps) only seeing a modest increase. Crude oil prices also didn’t bounce back with as much rigor as equities. Brent gained +0.99% while WTI futures increased +2.64%. They are back down -1 to -1.5% this morning. Elsewhere in DC, Senator Joe Manchin noted that Democrats could raise the debt ceiling on their own through the reconciliation process, but indicated a preference for the increase not to be included in the build back better bill, for which his support still seems lukewarm. We’re approaching crucial deadlines on the debt ceiling and financing the federal government, so these headlines should become more commonplace over the coming days. There were some further developments on the inflation front yesterday as Germany reported that inflation had risen to +6.0% in November (vs. +5.5% expected) on the EU-harmonised measure, and up from +4.6% in October. The German national measure also rose to +5.2% (vs. +5.0% expected), which was the highest since 1992. Speaking of Germany, Bloomberg reported that the shortlist for the Bundesbank presidency had been narrowed down to 4 candidates, which included Isabel Schnabel of the ECB’s Executive Board, and Joachim Nagel, who’s currently the Deputy Head of the Banking Department at the Bank for International Settlements. Today we’ll likely get some further headlines on inflation as the flash estimate for the entire Euro Area comes out, as well as the numbers for France and Italy. There wasn’t much in the way of other data yesterday, though UK mortgage approvals fell to 67.2k in October (vs. 70.0k expected), which is their lowest level since June 2020. Separately, US pending home sales were up +7.5% in October (vs. +1.0% expected), whilst the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing activity index for November unexpectedly fell to 11.8 (vs. 15.0 expected). Finally, the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area dipped to 117.5 in November as expected, its weakest level in 6 months. To the day ahead now, and the main central bank highlight will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Villeroy and de Cos, and the BoE’s Mann. On the data side, we’ll get the flash November CPI reading for the Euro Area today, as well as the readings from France and Italy. In addition, there’s data on German unemployment for November, Canadian GDP for Q3, whilst in the US there’s the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure for November, the FHFA house price index for September, and the MNI Chicago PMI for November. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Futures Drift Higher In Quiet, Holiday Session

Futures Drift Higher In Quiet, Holiday Session US equity futures rose (ahead of a cash session that is closed for Thanksgiving holiday), European stocks were mixed and Asian snapped a three-day losing streak on Thursday, hurt by the U.S. dollar which continued to march higher as investors bet on interest rates rising more quickly in the United States than in other major economies such as Japan and the euro zone. Overnight Goldman (which only a few weeks ago brought forward its liftoff forecast by one year to July 2002) said that it now expects the Fed "to announce at its December meeting that it is doubling the pace of tapering to $30bn per month starting in January." That forecast, however, has not spooked futures with S&P 500 and Nasdaq eminis rising by 7 points (0.14%) and 28 points (0.17%) respectively, in a listless session - trading volumes on the MSCI’s gauge of world equities slid 18% from its 30-day average. The dollar rose again, hitting a fresh 16-month high. Remy Cointreau SA jumped 11% in Europe on an earnings beat. Base metals rallied, with nickel near the highest level in seven years. Unlike recent sharp drawdowns, on Wednesday U.S. stocks proved resilient to a slew of strong economic data and Fed minutes on Wednesday that hinted at stagflationary concerns and supported expectations for a quicker removal of stimulus by the Fed. And while inflation concerns deepened, and traders appeared in no mood to miss a year-end calendar meltup, rising bets not only for a quicker taper, but also an earlier liftoff of interest rates, suggest caution may return after Thanksgiving. “The market mood is rather OK-ish after the minutes,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, wrote in a note. “At this point, it makes sense to expect an earlier, and maybe a steeper rate normalization from the Fed.” European stocks traded off opening highs with Euro Stoxx 50 up as much as 0.7% before stalling and trading up 0.25% last. Utilities, tech and financial services are the strongest performers; travel remains under pressure as Covid measures are still in focus. MSCI’s global equity benchmark headed for the biggest advance since Nov. 16 as European traders shrugged off a worsening Covid-19 situation in the continent. The Stoxx 600 gauge was boosted by utilities and real estate companies. Remy Cointreau soared to a record high after the French distiller reported first-half results that Citigroup Inc. called “truly exceptional.” Earlier in the session, Asian equities were poised to snap a three-day losing streak, as traders continued to weigh the prospects of higher inflation and faster-than-expected tapering by the U.S. Federal Reserve. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.3% Thursday, with Japanese stocks among the leaders as the dollar held a three-day advance against the yen. In Hong Kong, shares of Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd's (1638.HK) rose as much as 24% on their return to trading, after the embattled Chinese developer said it was offering bondholders an option to exchange existing bonds with new bonds having an extended maturity, to improve financial stability. In India, Reliance shares returned to a price level reached prior to the scrapping of the Indian conglomerate’s deal with Saudi Aramco.  Asian stocks are hovering near a six-week low as a strong dollar remains a headwind for emerging-market equities, while higher U.S. Treasury yields have dragged down technology and other growth stocks around the region. The latest Fed minutes suggested it will accelerate the pace of tapering and rate hikes if inflation persistently stays above the targeted rate and maintains its uptrend, said Banny Lam, head of research at CEB International Investment. “Strong dollar concerns remain intact on earlier-than-expected rate hikes, intensifying the inflation of emerging markets.” South Korean stocks were among the biggest decliners after the nation’s central bank hiked its key interest rate by 25 basis points to 1%, as expected, citing faster inflation. In broad terms, "when it comes to regional equities allocation, we're watching the U.S. dollar which is making new highs and that is a headwind for emerging market equities," said Fook-Hien Yap, senior investment strategist at Standard Chartered Bank wealth management. "The market is now pricing in more than two hikes next year, but we think that is overly aggressive. We are only looking for about one hike next year," said Yap. These expectations have pushed U.S. treasury yields higher, albeit inconsistently, with benchmark 10 year notes last yielding 1.6427% having risen as high as 1.6930% on Wednesday. U.S. Treasuries will not trade on Thursday because of the Thanksgiving holiday. U.S. stock markets will also be closed and will have a shortened session on Friday. Sure enough, fixed income markets are quiet. Bund and gilt curves bull flatten a touch, cash Treasuries remain closed for Thanksgiving. In other central bank news, the Bank of Korea raised its policy interest rate by 25 basis points on Thursday, as widely expected, as concern about rising household debt and inflation offset uncertainty around a resurgence in COVID-19 cases. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index recovered Asia’s small weakness to trade flat. SEK is the best performer in G-10 with EUR/SEK down 0.4% after the Riksbank tweaked inflation forecasts slightly and signaled that they see a case for a higher benchmark rate in 2024. NZD and AUD lag with most majors trading a narrow range. The dollar is trading near its highest in almost five years versus the Japanese currency at 115.3 yen, and nearly 18 months to the euro which was at $1.1206. In commodities, oil prices were mixed after a turbulent few days in which the United States said it would release millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves in coordination with China, India, South Korea, Japan and Britain to try to cool oil prices after calls to OPEC+ to pump more went unheeded. However, investors laughed at the programme's effectiveness, leading to price gains. Brent crude was last at $82.14 a barrel, down 0.1%. Action continued to heat up in the base metals market. Nickel rose in London toward the highest level since May 2014 on a closing basis as shrinking inventories pointed to tight supply. Aluminum and copper extended their two-day increase to at least 2% each. Looking at the day ahead, it's a fairly quiet calendar given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. On the central bank side however, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, and the ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson and Schnabel, along with BoE Governor Bailey and the BoE’s Haskel. On top of that, the ECB will release the account of their October meeting, and data releases include the German GfK consumer confidence reading for December. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities traded mixed following on from the tentative mood in US where the major indices headed into the Thanksgiving holiday with a slight positive bias although upside was capped as participants digested a deluge of mixed data releases and hawkish leaning FOMC Minutes which suggested an increased likelihood of a taper adjustment. ASX 200 (+0.1%) was choppy as outperformance in tech and miners was counterbalanced by losses in consumer stocks, energy and the top-weighted financials sector, while mixed capex data which showed a larger than expected contraction for Q3 further added to the headwinds. Nikkei 225 (+0.7%) outperformed and reclaimed the 29,500 level after the recent favourable currency flows and stimulus optimism with Japan considering offering a JPY 5k inbound travel subsidy and is planning a JPY 22.1tln government bond sale as part of economic stimulus and extra budget. KOSPI (-0.4%) softened amid a widely expected 25bps rate hike by the BoK and with BoK Governor Lee suggesting the potential for another hike in Q1 next year. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.1%) lacked direction amid ongoing frictions including issues related to Taiwan and after the US Commerce Department placed 12 Chinese companies/entities on its entity list due to national security concerns, while EU ambassadors approved to renew sanctions on four Chinese officials and one Chinese entity for human rights abuses. However, the downside for Chinese bourses was limited after another tepid PBoC liquidity effort and with a local press report noting that China is to use more fiscal policy to support growth. There were also reports that Chengdu city launched measures to help developers with cash problems in obtaining funds, while Kaisa Group shares saw a double-digit percentage jump on reopen from a three-week trading halt after it offered to exchange bonds for new bonds with an extended maturity in an effort to improve financial stability and remain afloat. Finally, 10yr JGBs were rangebound after the sideways price action seen in global counterparts and cautious risk tone in Asia, while the results of the latest 40yr JGB auction were also inconclusive with a weaker b/c offset by an increase in the low price. European cash equities (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.3%; Stoxx 600 +0.2%) trade on a modestly in the green but off best levels as bourses’ attempt to reclaim some of the lost ground seen throughout the week somewhat lost momentum, with the Stoxx 600 down 1.3% WTD. Macro drivers for the region remain a combination of this week’s (slightly stale) survey metrics, ECB speak and COVID angst with the latter providing a bulk of the direction for European assets this week. The handover from the APAC region was a somewhat mixed one as the Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) continued to benefit from favourable currency flows and ongoing stimulus hopes whilst Chinese stocks (Shanghai Comp -0.2%) digested a combination of US-China tensions over Taiwan, EU sanctions on China and expectations of domestic fiscal measures to support growth. Futures in the US (ahead of the early close) are currently on a mildly firmer footing (ES +0.3%) however, traders will likely not pay much credence to these moves given that the cash markets are closed today. The latest BofA flow show noted that stocks saw just their second week of outflows for the year, albeit equities have posted USD 839bln of inflows in 2021 which is more than the USD 785bln seen in the past 19 years combined. Elsewhere, SocGen is of the view that the bull market is not over for European equities and the cycle has further room to run into next year as inflation peaks and Fed-ECB policy diverges. SocGen’s end-2022 target of 520 implies a 9% upside from current levels. Sectors in Europe are mostly firmer with the Food & Beverage sector a top performer amid gains in Remy Cointreau (+11%) who sit at the top of the Stoxx 600 post-earnings which saw the Co. raise its profit outlook. In sympathy, Pernod Ricard (+2.0%), Campari (+1.1%) and Diageo (+0.8%) are all seen higher. To the downside, Travel & Leisure names lag amid ongoing losses in sector-heavyweight Evolution (-5.6%) with the latest update for the Co. noting it has contacted New Jersey regulators and launched an internal probe following accusations the company is conducting business in US blacklisted countries. Also of note for the sector, reports suggest that the EU is set to endorse a 9-month limit on COVID-19 vaccine validity in travel. Finally, Vivo Energy (+20%) is seen higher on the session after Vitol reached an agreement to purchase the Co. for USD 1.85/shr. In FX, the index sees a mild pullback in early European trade on Thanksgiving Day Holiday, after notching a fresh YTD peak yesterday at 96.938 with traders also weighing end-of-month flows. Yesterday's FOMC Minutes had little impact on the Buck, but the release stated the Fed should be prepared to adjust the pace of asset purchases and raise the target range for FFR sooner if inflation continued to run higher than levels consistent with the Fed objective. Some participants preferred a somewhat faster pace of reductions. DXY trades within a narrow 96.649-832 range. Ahead, the calendar is empty from a US standpoint. EUR, GBP - The single currency stands are the current G10 winner, albeit within narrow ranges in holiday-thinned trade. Desks suggest that light short-covering may warrant given the recent COVID-led downside. On the COVID front, reports suggested the EU is to endorse a 9-month limit on COVID-19 vaccine validity in travel. Sources earlier in the week suggested that updated EU travel guidance will likely be released today, whilst France is also today poised to provide more colour on COVID-related restrictions. EUR/USD has reclaimed a 1.1200 handle but trades within yesterday's 1.1184-1.1250 range. GBP/USD meanwhile is relatively flat within a 20-pip parameter, with not much to report aside from overnight commentary highlighting the 'substantial distance' between the UK and EU on the Northern Ireland protocol. Ahead, participants will be on the lookout for commentary from BoE governor Bailey and Haskel. Note, some participants also highlight chunky OpEx tomorrow in GBP/USD comprising of some GBP 1.3bln around 1.3400-10. AUD, NZD - Antipodeans are on the back foot, with the NZD continuing to lag post-RBNZ and following a narrower NZ trade deficit as the AUD/NZD cross inches closer towards 1.0500 after confirming support around the 1.0450 region. AUD/USD was unfazed by lower-than-expected Q3 Aussie Capex. Desks highlight support at 0.7170 (Sept 29th low) ahead of the YTD low at 0.7106. Technicians may also be cognizant of the 21 DMA (0.7346) set to cross through the 100 DMA (0.7346) and 50 DMA (0.7344). JPY - The JPY is relatively flat on the day within a 115.30-45 band, with desks suggesting bids are eye towards 115.00 and offers above 115.50. OpEx is interesting; USD/JPY sees USD 1.2bln between 115.10 and around USD 800mln at strike 115.50. SEK, HUF - The Riksbank maintained its Rate at 0.00% and asset holdings unchanged as expected and said the repo rate will be raised in the latter part of 2024 – with the Q4 2024 rate path seen averaging at 0.19%. Overall, the decision was in-line with expectations. The SEK saw some modest upside heading into the announcement, but on the largely as-expected release, EUR/SEK remained in proximity to the pre-announcement level of 10.20. Meanwhile, the Hungarian Central Bank announced a 40bps hike to its 1-week Repo Rate in an expected but unscheduled move. EUR/HUF moved from 367.25 to 365.40 on the hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy following the earlier softness at the start of the session, which was seemingly a function of a mild deterioration across equity markets, also coinciding with Ifax reports that the US is trying to persuade Russia to lift oil output. Sticking with OPEC+, the morning also saw commentary out of Kuwait and the UAE, who both signalled open-mindedness heading into next week’s meeting, although WSJ sources yesterday suggested the UAE does not see the need to pause current plans. WTI Jan has dipped back under USD 78/bbl (vs high USD 76.65/bbl) while Brent Feb resides just north of USD 80.50/bbl (vs high 81.40/bbl). Ahead, participants will be balancing OPEC+ sources and commentary to get a more solid idea on which route the group will likely take next week. Elsewhere, spot gold remains caged within a cluster of DMAs including the 100 (1,793), 200 (1,791) and 50 (1,789). Base metals are once again firmer with traders citing bullish commentary on Chinese infrastructure. LME copper inches closer towards USD 10k/t whilst Dalian iron ore futures overnight stretched their rally to a fifth consecutive session, spot prices topped USD 100/t. DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that this week we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detailed IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. Today will likely prove a quieter one in markets given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. But ahead of that, risk assets eventually climbed a wall of worry yesterday as investors moved to dial up their hawkish bets on the Fed’s policy trajectory, just as the latest Covid wave in Europe further contributed to investor concerns. Nevertheless, after trading in the red most of the day, global equity markets just managed to finish the day in positive territory, with the S&P 500 gaining +0.23% and the STOXX 600 advancing +0.09%. First, on the hawkish Fed policy trajectory, our US economics team updated their calls to expect just that. In a note yesterday (link here), they outlined expectations for the Fed to double the pace of tapering at the December FOMC meeting following better-than-expected inflation and employment data since the November FOMC. This would bring monthly reductions in Treasury purchases to $20bn and MBS purchases to $10bn, which would bring the end of taper forward to March. In line, they’re bringing their call for liftoff forward a month to June 2022. Our econ team weren’t the only ones to adjust their outlook. San Francisco Fed President Daly, one of the biggest doves on the FOMC and a voter in December, said in an interview that, “if (strong inflation and jobs data continue) then those are the things that would say, looks like we need faster tapering”. Furthermore, she also said that “I am very open and, in fact, leaning towards that we’ll want to raise rates from the zero lower bound at the end of next year”. So if one of the Fed’s biggest doves is feeling this way, then that showcases the shift in thinking that could be taking place more broadly on the committee. Front-end US rates sold off following the comment and yesterday’s data releases, which did nothing to change the recent hawkish turn from Fed officials. In fact, by the close of trade investors were fully pricing in a hike by June, and pricing about two-thirds probability of a May hike. They are still projecting three full hikes in the next calendar year. You’ll know from the credit outlook that we continue to think the Fed is way behind the curve and that catch-up will likely cause some volatility in H1 with notably wider credit spreads. See the link at the top for more on our view. Those moves were given some fresh impetus by stronger-than-expected US data, of which plenty arrived in advance of the holiday today. First, the weekly initial jobless claims for the week through November 20 fell to 199k (vs. 260k expected), which is their lowest level since 1969 and the first time we’ve seen a reading comfortably around or beneath their levels immediately before the pandemic. Claims are always a bit all over the place around Thanksgiving due to seasonal adjustments so we may need a couple of weeks before the trend can be confirmed. Secondly, we then had the second estimate of Q3 GDP in the US, which was revised up a tenth to show an annualised growth rate of +2.1%. Third, the personal income and spending data came in above expectations in October, with personal income up +0.5%, and personal spending up +1.3%, which in both cases was three-tenths higher than expected. And finally, although the University of Michigan’s final consumer sentiment index was still at a decade low, the final measure came in at 67.4, above the preliminary reading of 66.8. Long-term inflation expectations edged back up a tenth to 3.0%, where it was in September and May this year, the joint highest readings since 2013. All that created additional momentum in front-end US rates, with the 2yr yield (+2.6bps) and the 5yr yield (+0.3bps) both rising to fresh post-pandemic highs as the prospect of faster tapering and earlier rate hikes came into view. That put further upward pressure on the dollar as well, with the index strengthening by +0.33% yesterday to hit a 16-month high, having now risen by over +6% since its low in late May just 6 months ago. Of course the flip side was that a number of currencies shifted lower vis-à-vis the dollar, and the euro dipped below the $1.12 mark at the end of the day for the first time since June 2020. Amidst the moves higher in front-end Treasury yields, another round of curve flattening saw longer-dated ones fall back yesterday, with the 10yr yield down -3.1bps to 1.63%. That flattening took the 5s30s curve down -6.9bps to its lowest level since the initial market turmoil at the start of the pandemic back in March 2020, having fallen by over 100bps since its intraday high back in February. 2s10s twisted -5.7bps flatter as well, as investors priced in near-term Fed policy action that could engender a hard landing that hurts longer term growth. It was a different picture in Europe however, where curves steepened for the most part and the moves lower in long-end rates were much more subdued. By the close, yields on 10yr bunds (-0.8bps), OATs (+0.0bps) and BTPs (+1.3bps) had seen relatively little movement, as investors continue to expect that the ECB will take a much more cautious approach to raising rates relative to the Fed. Overnight in Asia markets are again mixed but being led by the Nikkei (+0.68%) and the Hang Seng (+0.14%), while the Shanghai Composite (-0.10%), CSI (-0.31%) and KOSPI (-0.34%) are losing ground. In a widely expected move the Bank of Korea raised rates for a second time since August, taking the policy rate to 1.0%. The BOK revised its inflation outlook to 2.3% for 2021 and 2% for 2022 which was expected. Futures markets are higher with the S&P 500 (+0.28%) and DAX (+0.35%) trading in the green. Treasuries are closed. Back to yesterday, and one of the main pieces of news came from Germany, where there was finally confirmation that the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP had agreed a full coalition deal. In terms of the economic measures, the notable ones include a restoration of the debt brake from 2023, which has been suspended during the pandemic, as well as an increase in the minimum wage to €12 per hour. We’ll wait to see if dealing with the climate emergency is carved out to some degree from the debt brake. I suspect it will be in some form. Assuming the deal is agreed by each of the parties, who will put the agreement to internal party approval processes, that could see the SPD’s Olaf Scholz become Chancellor in the week commencing December 6, bringing an end to Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure. That new coalition will be coming into office at a difficult time in light of the latest covid wave across Europe, and in his remarks yesterday, Scholz said that they would consider targeted vaccination mandates for those working with vulnerable groups. That came as the Bild newspaper reported that Chancellor Merkel asked the members of the new coalition to impose a 2-week nationwide lockdown, but this was rejected in a meeting on Tuesday evening. Overnight Germany reported 75,961 new cases, up from 66,884 on Tuesday. Other countries are also moving to ramp up restrictions across the continent, with French health minister Veran expected to announce fresh measures at a news conference today, whilst Italy approved new curbs on the unvaccinated, including entry restrictions to enter restaurants and cinemas. Elsewhere, Slovakia announced a new lockdown that will see residents only permitted to leave home for work, education, or essential activities, with the closure of restaurants and non-essential shops for two weeks. A reminder that we are adding a daily G7 plus important country new cases chart every day in this email blast and a fatalities chart in the full pdf under “view report”. The day ahead has a fairly quiet calendar given the Thanksgiving holiday in the US. On the central bank side however, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde, and the ECB’s Villeroy, Elderson and Schnabel, along with BoE Governor Bailey and the BoE’s Haskel. On top of that, the ECB will release the account of their October meeting, and data releases include the German GfK consumer confidence reading for December. Tyler Durden Thu, 11/25/2021 - 08:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 25th, 2021

Thanks to Wall Street for a Wonderful Rally YTD: 5 Top Picks

We have narrowed the search to five U.S. corporate behemoths that have skyrocketed more than 50% year to date. These are: GOOGL, TSLA, LOW, HD and XOM. Wall Street started 2021 from where it ended in 2020. Year to date, U.S. stock markets have seen an impressive rally after completing an astonishing 2020 despite being pandemic-ridden. Instead of the technology-driven rally like last year, Wall Street is witnessing a broad-based rally this year — across all segments (large, mid and small caps) and various sectors of the economy. Very few economists and financial analysts had anticipated such a powerful rally at the beginning of this year.At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in corporate giants that have popped in 2021 with a favorable Zacks Rank and strong upside left. Here are five such stocks — Tesla Inc. TSLA, Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, The Home Depot Inc. HD, Exxon Mobil Corp. XOM and Lowe's Companies Inc. LOW.Impressive 2021 So FarWall Street has had a dream run so far this year. The pandemic is not over yet and the resurgence of the Delta variant of coronavirus disrupted U.S. economic recovery this summer. To make the situation worse, inflation is currently at its peak in more than three decades thanks to prolonged global supply-chain bottleneck and acute labor shortage.Despite these headwinds, year to date, the three large-cap centric indexes — the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite — have surged 17%, 24.9% and 22.4%, respectively. The small-cap specific Russell 2000 and S&P 600 Index have advanced 17.9% and 28.1%, respectively. The mid-cap benchmark S&P 400 Index has surged 24.6% in the same period.Year to date, all 11 broad sectors of the market’s benchmark – S&P 500 Index – are in positive territory. Aside from the technology sector, cyclical sectors like energy, financials, consumer discretionary, materials and industrials have contributed significantly to the S&P 500 rally.The momentum of U.S. stocks markets is likely to continue and will pave the way for a year-end rally. Here are the reasons:Government’s Spending PlansOn Nov 15, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill of $550 billion in addition to the previously approved funds of $450 billion for five years. Total spending may go up to $1.2 trillion if the plan is extended to eight years.The infrastructure development project will be a major catalyst for the U.S. stock markets in 2022. Various segments of the economy such as basic materials, industrials, telecommunications and utilities will benefit immensely with more job creation for the economy.On Nov 19, the House of Representatives passed a massive $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate bill proposed by the Biden administration. The bill will now head toward the Senate. Moreover, the White House has put pressure on Congress to quickly pass legislation providing $52 billion to help computer chip manufacturers and ease a shortage of the components vital for a range of industries.Strong Projections for Holiday SalesThe National Retail Federation has projected November/December retail sales in 2021 to go up 8.5% to 10.5% from 2020. Deloitte forecasts retail sales growth of 7% to 9% during the November-to-January period.Digital Commerce 360 has estimated that holiday retail sales through all channels, including physical stores, will likely rise 9.4% during the season. KPMG expects 2021 U.S. holiday sales to be 7% higher than last year. Mastercard SpendingPulse forecasts a 7.4% year-over-year rise in U.S. holiday sales.Solid Growth of U.S. GDP and Corporate ProfitIn its latest projection on Nov 17, the Atlanta Fed reported that the U.S. economy will grow by 8.2% in fourth-quarter 2021. U.S. GDP grew 6.4%, 6.7% and 2%, in the first, second and third quarters of this year, respectively.As of Nov 17, total third-quarter earnings of the market's benchmark — the S&P 500 Index — are projected to jump 40.3% from the same period last year on 17.2% higher revenues. Moreover, in fourth-quarter 2021, total earnings of the S&P 500 index are expected to up 19.4% year over year on 11.1% higher revenues.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed the search to five U.S. corporate behemoths (market capital > $100 billion) that have skyrocketed more than 50% year to date. These stocks still have more upside left for the rest of 2021 and have seen positive earnings estimate revisions within the last 30 days. Each of our picks sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). 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 year to date.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAlphabet Inc. has been strongly emphasizing AI techniques and the home automation space that should aid business growth in the long term. Solid momentum across search, advertising, cloud and YouTube businesses aided the results of GOOGL. Further, the growing proliferation of consumer online activities and rising advertiser spending remained as tailwinds.Alphabet's robust cloud division continues to be the key catalyst. Expanding data centers will continue to bolster its presence in the cloud space. Further, major updates in its search segment are enhancing the search results. Moreover, GOOGL’s mobile search is constantly gaining traction.Alphabet has an expected earnings growth rate of 84% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 5.9% over the last 30 days. The stock price of GOOGL has soared 66.4% year to date.Tesla Inc. has acquired a substantial market share within the electric car segment. Increasing Model 3 delivery, which forms a significant chunk of TSLA’s overall deliveries, is aiding its top line. Along with Model 3, Model Y is contributing to its revenues.In addition to increasing automotive revenues, Tesla’s energy generation and storage revenues boost its earnings prospects. The automaker said that its overall deliveries surged 20% in the third quarter from its previous record in the second quarter, marking the sixth consecutive quarter-on-quarter gain.Tesla has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 9.7% over the last 30 days. The stock price of TSLA has jumped 57.2% year to date.The Home Depot Inc. is witnessing significant benefits from the execution of the “One Home Depot” investment plan, which focuses on expanding supply chain facilities, technology investments and enhancement to the digital experience.Amid the pandemic, customers have been increasingly blending the physical and digital elements of the shopping experience, making the interconnected One Home Depot strategy most relevant. The Home Depot is effectively adapting to the demand for renovations and construction activities, driven by prudent investments. HD is gaining from growth in Pro and DIY customer categories as well as digital momentum.The Home Depot has an expected earnings growth rate of 28.2% for the current year (ending January 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 5.3% over the last 7 days. The stock price of HD has surged 53.8% year to date.Exxon Mobil Corp. made multiple world-class oil discoveries at the Stabroek Block, located off the coast of Guyana. XOM has raised the estimate for discovered recoverable resources from the Stabroek Block to approximately 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels.Exxon Mobile’s bellwether status and an optimal integrated capital structure, which has historically produced industry-leading returns make it a relatively lower-risk energy sector play. The integrated oil behemoth expects to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 30% in its upstream business. By the same time, XOM expects to reduce flaring and methane emissions by 40%.Exxon Mobil has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.2% over the last 7 days. The stock price of XOM has advanced 53.2% year to date.Lowe's Companies Inc. remains well-positioned to capitalize on the demand in the home improvement market backed by investments in technology, merchandise category and strength in Pro business. Management is committed toward expanding LOW’s market share and boosting the operating margin.Lowe's Companies new total home strategy, which includes providing complete solutions for various types of home repair and improvement, bodes well. The strategy is an extension of LOW’s retail-fundamentals approach.Lowe's Companies has an expected earnings growth rate of 33.8% for the current year (ending January 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings has improved 4.2% over the last 7 days. The stock price of LOW has climbed 57% year to date. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 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 Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report Lowe's Companies, Inc. (LOW): Free Stock Analysis Report The Home Depot, Inc. (HD): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 24th, 2021

Deere Reports Net Income of $1.283 Billion for Fourth Quarter, $5.963 Billion for Fiscal Year

MOLINE, Ill., Nov. 24, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Fourth-quarter net income rises on net sales gain of 19%, demonstrating solid execution and benefits of operating model. UAW contract agreement shows commitment to Deere's workforce. Full-year 2022 earnings forecast to be $6.5 to $7.0 billion, reflecting healthy demand. Deere & Company (NYSE:DE) reported net income of $1.283 billion for the fourth quarter ended October 31, 2021, or $4.12 per share, compared with net income of $757 million, or $2.39 per share, for the quarter ended November 1, 2020. For fiscal year 2021, net income attributable to Deere & Company was $5.963 billion, or $18.99 per share, compared with $2.751 billion, or $8.69 per share, in fiscal 2020. Worldwide net sales and revenues increased 16 percent, to $11.327 billion, for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 and rose 24 percent, to $44.024 billion, for the full year. Equipment operations net sales were $10.276 billion for the quarter and $39.737 billion for the year, compared with corresponding totals of $8.659 billion and $31.272 billion in 2020. "Deere's strong fourth-quarter and full-year performance was delivered by our dedicated employees, dealers, and suppliers throughout the world, who have helped safely maintain our operations and serve customers," said John C. May, chairman and chief executive officer. "Our results reflect strong end-market demand and our ability to continue serving customers while managing supply-chain issues and conducting contract negotiations with our largest union. Last week's ratification of a 6-year agreement with the UAW brings our highly skilled employees back to work building the finest products in our industries. The agreement shows our ongoing commitment to delivering best-in-class wages and benefits." Company Outlook & Summary Net income attributable to Deere & Company for fiscal 2022 is forecasted to be in a range of $6.5 billion to $7.0 billion. "Looking ahead, we expect demand for farm and construction equipment to continue benefiting from positive fundamentals, including favorable crop prices, economic growth, and increased investment in infrastructure," May said. "At the same time, we anticipate supply-chain pressures will continue to pose challenges in our industries. We are working closely with our suppliers to address these issues and ensure that our customers can deliver essential food and infrastructure more profitably and sustainably." Deere & Company Fourth Quarter Full Year $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change 2021 2020 % Change Net sales and revenues $ 11,327 $ 9,731 16% $ 44,024 $ 35,540 24% Net income $ 1,283 $ 757 69% $ 5,963 $ 2,751 117% Fully diluted EPS $ 4.12 $ 2.39 $ 18.99 $ 8.69 Net income in the fourth quarter and full-year 2020 was negatively affected by impairment charges and employee-separation costs of $211 million and $458 million after-tax, respectively. In addition, net income was unfavorably affected by discrete adjustments to the provision for income taxes in both periods of 2020. Equipment Operations Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net sales $ 10,276 $ 8,659 19% Operating profit $ 1,393 $ 1,056 32% Net income $ 1,056 $ 571 85% For a discussion of net sales and operating profit results, see the production and precision agriculture, small agriculture and turf, and construction and forestry sections below. Production & Precision Agriculture Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net sales $ 4,661 $ 3,801 23% Operating profit $ 777 $ 578 34% Operating margin 16.7% 15.2% Production and precision agriculture sales increased for the quarter due to higher shipment volumes and price realization. Operating profit rose primarily due to price realization and improved shipment volumes / mix. These items were partially offset by higher production costs. Results for fourth-quarter 2020 were negatively impacted by employee-separation expenses.   Small Agriculture & Turf Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net sales $ 2,809 $ 2,397 17% Operating profit $ 346 $ 282 23% Operating margin 12.3% 11.8% Small agriculture and turf sales increased for the quarter due to higher shipment volumes and price realization. Operating profit rose primarily due to improved shipment volumes / mix and price realization. These items were partially offset by higher production costs and higher research and development and selling, administrative, and general expenses. Employee-separation expenses and impairments negatively impacted the fourth quarter of 2020.   Construction & Forestry Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net sales $ 2,806 $ 2,461 14% Operating profit $ 270 $ 196 38% Operating margin 9.6% 8.0% Construction & Forestry sales moved higher for the quarter primarily due to higher shipment volumes and price realization. Operating profit improved mainly due to price realization and higher sales volume / mix. Partially offsetting these factors were increases in production costs and higher selling, administrative, and general and research and development expenses. Fourth-quarter 2020 results were adversely affected by employee-separation expenses and impairments.   Financial Services Fourth Quarter $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change Net income $ 227 $ 186 22% Net income for financial services in the quarter rose mainly due to income earned on a higher average portfolio and favorable financing spreads, as well as improvements on operating-lease residual values. These factors were partially offset by a higher provision for credit losses. Results in 2020 also were affected by employee-separation costs. Industry Outlook for Fiscal 2022 Agriculture & Turf U.S. & Canada: Large Ag Up ~ 15% Small Ag & Turf  ~ Flat Europe Up ~ 5% South America (Tractors & Combines) Up ~ 5% Asia  ~ Flat Construction & Forestry U.S. & Canada: Construction Equipment Up 5 to 10% Compact Construction Equipment Up 5 to 10% Global Forestry Up 10 to 15%   Deere Segment Outlook for Fiscal 2022 Currency Price $ in millions Net Sales Translation Realization Production & Precision Ag Up 20 to 25% 0% +9% Small Ag & Turf Up 15 to 20% -1% +7% Construction & Forestry Up 10 to 15% 0% +8% Financial Services Net Income $870 Financial Services. Fiscal-year 2022 net income attributable to Deere & Company for the financial services operations is forecast to be approximately $870 million. Results are expected to be slightly lower than fiscal 2021 due to a higher provision for credit losses, lower gains on operating-lease residual values, and higher selling, general, and administrative expenses. These factors are expected to be partially offset by income earned on a higher average portfolio. John Deere Capital Corporation The following is disclosed on behalf of the company's financial services subsidiary, John Deere Capital Corporation (JDCC), in connection with the disclosure requirements applicable to its periodic issuance of debt securities in the public market. Fourth Quarter Full Year $ in millions 2021 2020 % Change 2021 2020 % Change Revenue $ 673 $ 693 -3% $ 2,688 $ 2,808 -4% Net income $ 181 $ 154 18% $ 711 $ 425 67% Ending portfolio balance $ 41,488 $ 38,726 7% Net income for the fourth quarter of fiscal 2021 was higher than in the fourth quarter of 2020 primarily due to income earned on higher average portfolio balances and improvements on operating-lease residual values. These factors were partially offset by a higher provision for credit losses. Fourth-quarter 2020 results were also negatively impacted by employee-separation expenses. Full-year 2021 net income was higher than in 2020 due to improvements on operating-lease residual values, a lower provision for credit losses, favorable financing spreads, and income earned on a higher average portfolio. Full-year 2020 results also included impairments on lease residual values. Safe Harbor Statement Safe Harbor Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995:  Statements under "Company Outlook & Summary," "Industry Outlook for Fiscal 2022," "Deere Segment Outlook (Fiscal 2022)," and other forward-looking statements herein that relate to future events, expectations, and trends involve factors that are subject to change and risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Some of these risks and uncertainties could affect particular lines of business, while others could affect all of the company's businesses. The company's agricultural equipment businesses are subject to a number of uncertainties, including certain factors that affect farmers' confidence and financial condition. These factors include demand for agricultural products; world grain stocks; weather conditions and the effects of climate change; soil conditions; harvest yields; prices for commodities and livestock; crop and livestock production expenses; availability of transport for crops (including as a result of reduced state and local transportation budgets); trade restrictions and tariffs (e.g., China); global trade agreements; the level of farm product exports (including concerns about genetically modified organisms); the growth and sustainability of non-food uses for some crops (including ethanol and biodiesel production); real estate values; available acreage for farming; land ownership policies of governments; changes in government farm programs and policies; international reaction to such programs; changes in and effects of crop insurance programs; changes in environmental regulations and their impact on farming practices; animal diseases (e.g., African swine fever) and their effects on poultry, beef, and pork consumption and prices and on livestock feed demand; crop pests and diseases; and the impact of the COVID pandemic on the agricultural industry including demand for, and production and exports of, agricultural products, and commodity prices.  The production and precision agriculture business is dependent on agricultural conditions, and relies in part on hardware and software, guidance, connectivity and digital solutions, and automation and machine intelligence. Many factors contribute to the company's precision agriculture sales and results, including the impact to customers' profitability and/or sustainability outcomes; the rate of adoption and use by customers; availability of technological innovations; speed of research and development; effectiveness of partnerships with third parties; and the dealer channel's ability to support and service precision technology solutions. Factors affecting the company's small agriculture and turf equipment operations include agricultural conditions; consumer confidence; weather conditions and the effects of climate change; customer profitability; labor supply; consumer borrowing patterns; consumer purchasing preferences; housing starts and supply; infrastructure investment; spending by municipalities and golf courses; and consumable input costs. Factors affecting the company's construction and forestry equipment operations include consumer spending patterns; real estate and housing prices; the number of housing starts; interest rates; commodity prices such as oil and gas; the levels of public and non-residential construction; and investment in infrastructure. Prices for pulp, paper, lumber, and structural panels affect sales of forestry equipment. Many of the factors affecting the production and precision agriculture, small agriculture and turf, and construction and forestry segments have been and may continue to be impacted by global economic conditions, including those resulting from the COVID pandemic and responses to the pandemic taken by governments and other authorities. All of the company's businesses and its results are affected by general economic conditions in the global markets and industries in which the company operates; customer confidence in general economic conditions; government spending and taxing; foreign currency exchange rates and their volatility, especially fluctuations in the value of the U.S. dollar; interest rates (including the availability of IBOR reference rates); inflation and deflation rates; changes in weather and climate patterns; the political and social stability of the global markets in which the company operates; the effects of, or response to, terrorism and security threats; wars and other conflicts; natural disasters; and the spread of major epidemics or pandemics (including the COVID pandemic) and government and industry responses to such epidemics or pandemics, such as travel restrictions and extended shut downs of businesses. Continued uncertainties related to the magnitude, duration, and persistent effects of the COVID pandemic may significantly adversely affect the company's business and outlook. These uncertainties include, among other things: the duration and impact of the resurgence in COVID cases in any country, state, or region; the emergence, contagiousness, and threat of new and different strains of virus; the availability, acceptance, and effectiveness of vaccines; additional closures as mandated or otherwise made necessary by governmental authorities; disruptions in the supply chain, including those caused by industry capacity constraints, material availability, and global logistics delays and constraints arising from, among other things, the transportation capacity of ocean shipping containers, and a prolonged delay in resumption of operations by one or more key suppliers, or the failure of any key suppliers; an increasingly competitive labor market due to a sustained labor shortage or increased turnover caused by COVID pandemic; the company's ability to meet commitments to customers on a timely basis as a result of increased costs and supply and transportation challenges; increased logistics costs; additional operating costs due to continued remote working arrangements, adherence to social distancing guidelines, and other COVID-related challenges; increased risk of cyber-attacks on network connections used in remote working arrangements; increased privacy-related risks due to processing health-related personal information; legal claims related to personal protective equipment designed, made, or provided by the company or alleged exposure to COVID on company premises; absence of employees due to illness; and the impact of the pandemic on the company's customers and dealers. The sustainability of the economic recovery observed in 2021 remains unclear and significant volatility could continue for a prolonged period. These factors, and others that are currently unknown or considered immaterial, could materially and adversely affect our business, liquidity, results of operations, and financial position. Significant changes in market liquidity conditions, changes in the company's credit ratings, and any failure to comply with financial covenants in credit agreements could impact access to funding and funding costs, which could reduce the company's earnings and cash flows. Financial market conditions could also negatively impact customer access to capital for purchases of the company's products and customer confidence and purchase decisions, financing and repayment practices, and the number and size of customer delinquencies and defaults. A debt crisis in Europe, Latin America, or elsewhere could negatively impact currencies, global financial markets, social and political stability, funding sources and costs, asset and obligation values, customers, suppliers, demand for equipment, and company operations and results. The company's investment management activities could be impaired by changes in the equity, bond, and other financial markets, which would negatively affect earnings. Continued effects of the withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union could adversely affect business activity, political stability, and economic conditions in the United Kingdom, the European Union, and elsewhere. The economic conditions and outlook could be further adversely affected by (i) uncertainty regarding any new or modified trade arrangements between the United Kingdom and the European Union and/or other countries; (ii) the risk that one or more other European Union countries could come under increasing pressure to leave the European Union; or (iii) the risk that the euro as the single currency of the eurozone could cease to exist. Any of these developments could affect our businesses, liquidity, results of operations, and financial position. Additional factors that could materially affect the company's operations, access to capital, expenses, and results include changes in, uncertainty surrounding, and the impact of governmental trade, banking, monetary, and fiscal policies, including financial regulatory reform and its effects on the consumer finance industry, derivatives, funding costs, and other areas; the potential default of the U.S. federal government if Congress fails to pass a fiscal 2022 budget resolution; governmental programs, policies, and tariffs for the benefit of certain industries or sectors; sanctions in particular jurisdictions; retaliatory actions to such changes in trade, banking, monetary, and fiscal policies; actions by central banks; actions by financial and securities regulators; actions by environmental, health, and safety regulatory agencies, including those related to engine emissions, carbon and other greenhouse gas emissions, noise, and the effects of climate change; changes to GPS radio frequency bands or their permitted uses; changes in labor and immigration regulations; changes to accounting standards; changes in tax rates, estimates, laws, and regulations and company actions related thereto; changes to and compliance with privacy, banking, and other regulations; changes to and compliance with economic sanctions and export controls laws and regulations; compliance with U.S. and foreign laws when expanding to new markets and otherwise; and actions by other regulatory bodies. Other factors that could materially affect the company's results include production, design, and technological innovations and difficulties, including capacity and supply constraints and prices; the loss of or challenges to intellectual property rights, whether through theft, infringement, counterfeiting, or otherwise; the availability and prices of strategically sourced materials, components, and whole goods; delays or disruptions in the company's supply chain or the loss of liquidity by suppliers; disruptions of infrastructures that support communications, operations, or distribution; the failure of customers, dealers, suppliers, or the company to comply with laws, regulations, and company policy pertaining to employment, human rights, health, safety, the environment, sanctions, export controls, anti-corruption, privacy and data protection, and other ethical business practices; introduction of legislation that could affect the company's business model and intellectual property, such as right to repair or right to modify; events that damage the company's reputation or brand; significant investigations, claims, lawsuits, or other legal proceedings; start-up of new plants and products; the success of new product initiatives or business strategies; changes in customer product preferences and sales mix; gaps or limitations in rural broadband coverage, capacity, and speed needed to support technology solutions; oil and energy prices, supplies, and volatility; the availability and cost of freight; actions of competitors in the various industries in which the company competes, particularly price discounting; dealer practices, especially as to levels of new and used field inventories; changes in demand and pricing for used equipment and resulting impacts on lease residual values; labor relations and contracts, including work stoppages and other disruptions; changes in the ability to attract, develop, engage, and retain qualified personnel; acquisitions and divestitures of businesses; greater-than-anticipated transaction costs; the integration of new businesses; the failure or delay in closing or realizing anticipated benefits of acquisitions, joint ventures, or divestitures; the inability to deliver precision technology and agricultural solutions to customers; the implementation of the smart industrial operating model and other organizational changes; the failure to realize anticipated savings or benefits of cost reduction, productivity, or efficiency efforts; difficulties related to the conversion and implementation of enterprise resource planning systems; security breaches, cybersecurity attacks, technology failures, and other disruptions to the information technology infrastructure of the company and its suppliers and dealers; security breaches with respect to the company's products; changes in company-declared dividends and common stock issuances and repurchases; changes in the level and funding of employee retirement benefits; changes in market values of investment assets, compensation, retirement, discount, and mortality rates which impact retirement benefit costs; and significant changes in health care costs. The liquidity and ongoing profitability of John Deere Capital Corporation and the company's other financial services subsidiaries depend largely on timely access to capital in order to meet future cash flow requirements, and to fund operations, costs, and purchases of the company's products. If general economic conditions deteriorate or capital markets become more volatile, funding could be unavailable or insufficient. Additionally, customer confidence levels may result in declines in credit applications and increases in delinquencies and default rates, which could materially impact write-offs and provisions for credit losses. The company's forward-looking statements are based upon assumptions relating to the factors described above, which are sometimes based upon estimates and data prepared by government agencies. Such estimates and data are often revised. The company, except as required by law, undertakes no obligation to update or revise its forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new developments or otherwise. Further information concerning the company and its businesses, including factors that could materially affect the company's financial results, is included in the company's other filings with the SEC (including, but not limited to, the factors discussed in Item 1A. Risk Factors of the company's most recent annual report on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q).   DEERE & COMPANY FOURTH QUARTER 2021 PRESS RELEASE (In millions of dollars) Unaudited Three Months Ended Years Ended October 31 November 1 % October 31 November 1 % 2021 2020 Change 2021 2020 Change Net sales and revenues: Production & precision ag net sales $ 4,661 $ 3,801 +23 $ 16,509 $ 12,962 +27 Small ag & turf net sales 2,809 2,397 +17 11,860 9,363 +27 Construction & forestry net sales 2,806 2,461 +14 11,368 8,947 +27 Financial services 869 891 -2 3,548 3,589 -1 Other revenues 182 181 +1 739 679 +9 Total net sales and revenues $ 11,327 $ 9,731 +16 $ 44,024 $ 35,540 +24 Operating profit: * Production & precision ag $ 777 $ 578 +34 $ 3,334 $ 1,969 +69 Small ag & turf 346 282 +23 2,045 1,000 +105 Construction & forestry 270 196 +38 1,489 590 +152 Financial services 299 249 +20 1,144 746 +53 Total operating profit 1,692 1,305 +30 8,012 4,305 +86 Reconciling items ** (78) (219) -64 (390) (472) -17 Income taxes (331) (329) +1 (1,659) (1,082) +53 Net income attributable to Deere & Company $ 1,283 $ 757 +69 $ 5,963 $ 2,751 +117 * Operating profit is income from continuing operations before corporate expenses, certain external interest expense, certain foreign exchange gains and losses, and income taxes. Operating profit of the financial services segment includes the effect of interest expense and foreign exchange gains or losses. ** Reconciling items are primarily corporate expenses, certain external interest expense, certain foreign exchange gains and losses, pension and postretirement benefit costs excluding the service cost component, and net income attributable to noncontrolling interests.   DEERE & COMPANY STATEMENT OF CONSOLIDATED INCOME For the Three Months Ended October 31, 2021 and November 1, 2020 (In millions of dollars and shares except per share amounts) Unaudited  2021 2020 Net Sales and Revenues Net sales $ 10,276 $ 8,659 Finance and interest income 828 867 Other income 223 205 Total 11,327 9,731 Costs and Expenses Cost of sales 7,809 6,470 Research and development expenses 450 443 Selling, administrative and general expenses 936 1,011 Interest expense 210 278 Other operating expenses 309 414 Total 9,714 8,616 Income of Consolidated Group before Income Taxes 1,613 1,115 Provision for income taxes 330 329 Income of Consolidated Group 1,283 786 Equity in income (loss) of unconsolidated affiliates 1 (28) Net Income 1,284 758 Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 1 1 Net Income Attributable to Deere & Company $ 1,283 $ 757 Per Share Data Basic $ 4.15 $ 2.41 Diluted $ 4.12 $ 2.39 Average Shares Outstanding Basic 309.1 314.1 Diluted 311.5 317.1 See Condensed Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.   DEERE & COMPANY STATEMENT OF CONSOLIDATED INCOME For the Years Ended October 31, 2021 and November 1, 2020 (In millions of dollars and shares except per share amounts) Unaudited 2021 2020 Net Sales and Revenues Net sales $ 39,737 $ 31,272 Finance and interest income 3,296 3,450 Other income 991 818 Total 44,024 35,540 Costs and Expenses Cost of sales 29,116 23,677 Research and development expenses 1,587 1,644 Selling, administrative and general expenses 3,383 3,477 Interest expense 993 1,247 Other operating expenses 1,343 1,612 Total 36,422 31,657 Income of Consolidated Group before Income Taxes 7,602 3,883 Provision for income taxes 1,658 1,082 Income of Consolidated Group 5,944 2,801 Equity in income (loss) of unconsolidated affiliates 21 (48) Net Income 5,965 2,753 Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 2 2 Net Income Attributable to Deere & Company $ 5,963 $ 2,751 Per Share Data Basic $ 19.14 $ 8.77 Diluted $ 18.99 $ 8.69 Average Shares Outstanding Basic 311.6 313.5 Diluted 314.0 316.6 See Condensed Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.   DEERE & COMPANY CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEET As of October 31, 2021 and November 1, 2020 (In millions of dollars) Unaudited  2021 2020 Assets Cash and cash equivalents $ 8,017 $ 7,066 Marketable securities 728 641 Receivables from unconsolidated affiliates 27 31 Trade accounts and notes receivable - net 4,208 4,171 Financing receivables - net 33,799 29,750 Financing receivables securitized - net 4,659 4,703 Other receivables 1,738 1,220 Equipment on operating leases - net 6,988 7,298 Inventories 6,781 4,999 Property and equipment - net 5,820 5,817 Investments in unconsolidated affiliates 175 193 Goodwill 3,291 3,081 Other intangible assets - net 1,275 1,327 Retirement benefits 3,601 863 Deferred income taxes 1,037 1,499 Other assets 1,970 2,432 Total Assets $ 84,114 $ 75,091 Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity Liabilities Short-term borrowings $ 10,919 $ 8,582 Short-term securitization borrowings 4,605 4,682 Payables to unconsolidated affiliates 143 105 Accounts payable and accrued expenses 12,205 10,112 Deferred income taxes 576 519 Long-term borrowings 32,888 32,734 Retirement benefits and other liabilities 4,344 5,413 Total liabilities 65,680 62,147 Stockholders' Equity Total Deere & Company stockholders' equity 18,431 12,937 Noncontrolling interests 3 7 Total stockholders' equity 18,434 12,944 Total Liabilities and Stockholders' Equity $ 84,114 $ 75,091 See Condensed Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.   DEERE & COMPANY STATEMENT OF CONSOLIDATED CASH FLOWS For the Years Ended October 31, 2021 and November 1, 2020 (In millions of dollars) Unaudited 2021 2020 Cash Flows from Operating Activities Net income $ 5,965 $ 2,753 Adjustments to reconcile net income to net cash provided by operating activities: Provision (credit) for credit losses (6) 110 Provision for depreciation and amortization 2,050 2,118 Impairment charges 50 194 Share-based compensation expense 82 81 Loss on sales of businesses and unconsolidated affiliates 24 Undistributed earnings of unconsolidated affiliates 2 (7) Credit for deferred income taxes (441) (11) Changes in assets and liabilities: Trade, notes, and financing receivables related to sales 969 2,009 Inventories (2,497) 397 Accounts payable and accrued expenses 1,884 (7) Accrued income taxes payable/receivable 11 8 Retirement benefits 29 (537) Other (372) 351 Net cash provided by operating activities 7,726 7,483 Cash Flows from Investing Activities Collections of receivables (excluding receivables related to sales) 18,959 17,381 Proceeds from maturities and sales of marketable securities 109 93 Proceeds from sales of equipment on operating leases 2,094 1,783 Cost of receivables acquired (excluding receivables related to sales) (23,653) (19,965) Acquisitions of businesses, net of cash acquired (244) (66).....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 24th, 2021