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Dispatches from a Pandemic: ‘I’m paying 30% more’: Lobster prices are soaring just in time for Memorial Day Weekend

'When you're dealing with lobster rolls, you're dealing with the champagne of proteins.'.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchMay 26th, 2021

NASDAQ Starts Second Half with a New Closing High

NASDAQ Starts Second Half with a New Closing High SPECIAL ALERT: Remember, we need your input to make next week’s new Zacks Ultimate Strategy Session episode the best it can be. There are two ways you can participate: 1) Zacks Mailbag: In this regular segment, Kevin Matras answers your questions ranging from current market conditions, general investing wisdom, usage of the Zacks Rank or any resources of Zacks.com and more. Pretty much anything goes.   2) Portfolio Makeover: Sheraz Mian and David Borun review a customer portfolio to give feedback for improvement. No need to send us personal information such as dollar value of holdings. Simply email us with all of the tickers you own. Just make sure to email your submissions for either one, or both, by tomorrow morning, July 2. Email now to mailbag@zacks.com. Coming off of the best quarter in more than two decades, the major indices started the second half of this difficult year with mostly positive results and a new closing high. You can probably guess that the milestone came from the NASDAQ, which rose 0.95% (or nearly 96 points) to a new record close of 10,154.63. Also, the S&P rose 0.50% to 3115.86. The Dow soared nearly 800 points in the first two sessions of this week with a lot of help from Boeing (BA). However, the index took a break on Wednesday and slipped 0.30% (or nearly 78 points) to 25,734.97. Just yesterday, stocks completed the best quarter in more than 20 years with the NASDAQ soaring 30.6%, the S&P up 20% and the Dow rising 17.8%.    We enjoyed a lot of good news on Wednesday, but perhaps none bigger than positive trial results for a potential coronavirus vaccine from Pfizer (PFE, +3.2%) and partner BioNTech.   The market always loves to hear about progress on the vaccine front. We’ve seen it soar on such news several times before… only for the air to come out of the balloon in subsequent days. So we’ll see where this story goes moving forward. But if it is something worth getting excited about, the best part is that Pfizer would be able to manufacture A LOT of it. Meanwhile, the ISM manufacturing index soared to 52.6% last month, which puts it above 50 (signifying expansion) for the first time since February. That was well ahead of expectations below 50. Also, ADP said private payrolls increased by 2.37 million in June. It’s an appetizer for tomorrow’s Government Employment Situation report, which comes a day early due to the market being closed on Friday for July 4th. Last month’s report was one of the most surprising in a long time, as the economy added 2.5 million jobs with the unemployment rate moving lower to 13.3%. The vaccine news and the economic data are welcomed developments for a market that’s growing increasingly concerned about rising coronavirus cases and stalled reopening plans. Let’s hope we get more positive headlines tomorrow as we head into the long weekend. Today's Portfolio Highlights: Value Investor: The portfolio is getting ready for the upcoming earnings season with a couple of new buys on Wednesday. Penske (PAG) is an auto, truck and logistics company that announced improvement across every segment in a business update about a month ago. Tracey likes PAG because it offers exposure to a couple of hot areas: car sales and logistics. Shares are up 40% in three months but still down nearly 23% for the year. The other buy is Donnelley Financial Solutions (DFIN), a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) global risk and compliance solutions company. The editor likes this name because of its software transformation strategy, which plans to expand its software solutions business by 10% each year until 2024. The segment saw record sales of $47.3 million in the first quarter. Shares are up more than 59% in the past three months, but still down nearly 20% so far this year. But Tracy wants you to be prepared for volatility with this small-cap. Read the complete commentary for more these new buys, including a closer look at their value characteristics.  Commodity Innovators: Copper prices are on the rise, so Jeremy took advantage by adding Freeport-McMoRan (FCX) on Wednesday. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) also mines gold and silver, which are on their own bullish runs. The editor sees FCX as a long-term holding and expects it to eventually get back to 2020 highs at $13 and maybe even 2019’s high of $15. The portfolio also sold VelocityShares 3X Long Gold ETN (UGLD) before it gets delisted, bringing a gain of 4.26%. Read the complete commentary for a lot more on today’s moves.  Home Run Investor: With a solid report from Micron, the semiconductor industry looks positive as we head into earnings season. Therefore, the portfolio added CyberOptics (CYBE) on Wednesday. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) is a leading provider of sensors and inspection systems, which are used on production lines that manufacture surface mount technology circuit boards and semiconductor process equipment. CYBE has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 11 straight quarters and is expected to generate earnings growth of 200% for the current year and another 36% next. See the full write-up for a lot more on this new addition. Healthcare Innovators: Cell therapy is a ground-breaking treatment that uses a patient’s own cells to repair damaged tissues. On Wednesday, Kevin got involved in this innovative field with the addition of Vericel (VCEL). The company has products that help to fix cartilage defects in the knee and severe burns… and it recently submitted a new candidate to the FDA. The company pulled its 2020 guidance due to the coronavirus cancelling elective surgeries, but sales are expected to soar 44% to nearly $180 million next year. Analysts were pretty excited about VCEL before the pandemic, and the editor thinks it will be hot once again moving forward. In fact, he expects the stock to breakout above $15 this quarter. Read the full write-up for more on this new addition. By the way, this portfolio had a solid session with a couple of the best performers of the day among all ZU services, including Global Blood Therapeutics (GBT, +11.6%) and CRISPR (CRSP, +6.8%). Stocks Under $10: It was a bit of a risk for Brian to add Bed Bath & Beyond (BBBY) on June 15. This specialty retailer of domestic merchandise and home furnishings has been under pressure for years now as consumers turn toward online shopping and away from brick-and-mortar. However, the editor thought he could get something out of this name… and he did! But it was never supposed to be a long-term holding. So with coronavirus cases on the rise, he thought this would be a good time to sell BBBY and take a nice 29.6% return in a little over two weeks. Have a Good Evening, Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Sluggish Start to Retail Earnings Week

Sluggish Start to Retail Earnings Week Stocks finished last week on a roll with strong back-to-back performances after a stiff inflation-induced plunge, but the weekend really cooled things off and left the major indices with slight losses in a groggy Monday session. Meanwhile, earnings season moves toward its conclusion with some of the biggest retailers in the country scheduled to report in the next few days. It's been a truly fantastic season where more than 80% of companies beat earnings estimates… even if the market rarely rewarded them for the effort. On Monday, stocks were sluggish with tech again under pressure. The NASDAQ slipped 0.38% (or about 50 points) to 13,379.05. The index lost 2.4% last week, but that was after soaring approximately 3% on Thursday and Friday combined. The S&P slipped 0.25% to 4163.29, while the Dow was down 0.16% (or about 54 points) to 34,327.79. These indices were off 1.4% and 1.1%, respectively, last week. We’re coming back from a really volatile week, which saw inflation concerns pull everything down in the first three days (especially tech). The final two sessions saved some face for the market, though it was still solidly in the red over the five days.   Despite the bounce off oversold levels late last week, the market is still not comfortable with the recent CPI report. Consumer prices jumped 4.2% in April year over year, which surged past expectations of around 3.5%. That’s something this skittish market isn’t going to get over quickly, especially since this issue has been its main concern with the pandemic now on its last legs. But this week won’t be all about inflation. Earnings season still has some work to do, especially when it comes to the retailers. Tomorrow will be one of those busy days with giants like Walmart (WMT) and Home Depot (HD) going to the plate before the bell. Department store staple Macy’s (M) is also scheduled for tomorrow ahead of the open. For more on this Retail Week, check out Headline Trader editor Dan Laboe’s new article titled: “What to Expect from Retail Earnings Week”.  Today's Portfolio Highlights: Surprise Trader: For the second session in a row, department store giant Dillard’s (DDS) was easily the top performer among all ZU names. It jumped 12.8% on Monday after reporting strong quarterly results last week that included a more than 400% positive surprise. So you can see why Dave stuck with the same industry today by adding Kohl’s (KSS). This Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) has a positive Earnings ESP of more than 155% for the quarter coming before the bell this coming Thursday, May 20. The editor added KSS today with a 12.5% allocation, while also selling Tractor Supply (TSCO) for 3.1% in a month to free up some space for the remainder of the season. Read the complete commentary for more on today’s action. By the way, DDS is now the best performer over the past 30 days as well with a gain of 34.9%. Technology Innovators: For the past several months, Alpha and Omega Semi (AOSL) has been trending lower. However, Brian thinks this stock is poised for a rebound, especially if the chip shortage is about to end (as he expects). AOSL is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) that has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate in each of the past four quarters with an average surprise of 33% in that time. Looking forward, earnings estimates have been advancing across the board with analysts calling for growth of 200%+ for this year. Despite this growth, the valuation still looks attractive and margins have been on the rise for the past three quarters. Brian added AOSL on Monday before the next move higher, while also selling Upwork (UPWK) after it slipped to a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). See the complete commentary for more on today’s action. Blockchain Innovators: There’s no need to explain what Coinbase (COIN) has to do with blockchain technology. This pure-play is the country’s largest cryptocurrency exchange, trading about 50 different digital assets. Dave wanted to add COIN ever since its IPO, and now has a fantastic opportunity after the recent selloff. The stock is currently trading below its IPO price, which means it has plenty of room to run higher. “As bitcoin and other currencies tumble, this feels like a bit of a contrarian move... which I am all for,” said the editor. Read more in the full write-up. TAZR Trader: Throughout this “software slide and Bitcoin bludgeoning”, Square (SQ) is holding at around $200. Kevin has been a fan of this innovative payment processor for a while now, and considers the stock to be a deal at this price. Therefore, he added more to SQ once again on Monday. The portfolio originally bought this position back in November and added to it twice since then. Now it's three times! Read the complete commentary to learn about the five reasons why the editor made this move. Black Box Trader: This week's adjustment swapped out four stocks. The names that were sold today included: • CNH Industrial (CNHI, +2.7%) • CommScope (COMM, +0.7%) • Bloomin Brands (BLMN) • Fluor (FLR) The new buys that filled these spots were: • Sally Beauty (SBH) • Timken Steel (TMST) • U.S. Steel (X) • U.S. Foods (USFD) Read the Black Box Trader’s Guide to learn more about this computer-driven service. Headline Trader: "The markets are readjusting for the new normal, and stock picking has never been more important in this highly uncertain environment. Still, you need to give the market some time to work through macro-economic issues such as tax uncertainties and where the Federal Reserve stands with interest rates as core inflation spreads. It looks like 2021 may be the year that big tech underperforms the S&P 500. "It feels like we are experiencing a goldilocks stock market where equities are not too hot and not too cold, but just right. This is causing the post-earnings market consolidation that we are seeing." -- Dan Laboe Have a Good Evening, Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Dow has Worst Session of the Year on Covid, Inflation Concerns

Dow has Worst Session of the Year on Covid, Inflation Concerns A market already nervous about sharply-rising inflation now gets to worry about the Delta variant too as cases are on the rise. This one-two punch led to a significant pullback to begin the week on Monday, including the Dow’s worst single-day plunge of 2021 so far. The index came off its lows by the end of the day, but still plunged by 2.09% (or about 725 points) to 33,962.04. The S&P declined 1.59% to 4258.49 and the NASDAQ slipped 1.06% (or around 152 points) to 14,274.90. Stocks are coming back from their first negative week in the past four. Investors had to deal with a couple indicators showing inflation on the rise, namely the CPI soaring 5.4% year over year and the PPI up 7.3%. Of course, we also got good numbers for retail sales and jobless claims, along with a nice start to earnings season. The concern about the Delta variant is very real out there. Nobody wants to see a new wave of covid, especially when we thought it was on the way out. But will today’s selloff prove to be an overreaction? In the short term, it really doesn’t matter. “The fear of 2020 is fresh in many minds, so whether it is noise or not, people are panicked,” said Jeremy Mullin in today’s Commodity Innovators. “When it comes to markets, this means slower growth and possibly supply disruptions in hard hit Asian countries.” In the longer run, we may look back on the recent sluggishness as the market’s way to pull back a bit from setting so many new highs of late. The editors have certainly been waiting from some give back to pick up stocks at more reasonable prices. For now though, it looks like we’ll be paying attention to covid headlines again. "Today's COVID-driven sell-off seemed a bit overdone, and I wouldn't be surprised if some of the hardest-hit sectors caught a bid tomorrow. I will be looking to add more to the portfolio if we continue lower this week," said Dan Laboe in Headline Trader. Meanwhile, earnings season shifts into another gear this week. The banks gave us a solid start last week, and we’ve already received a strong release from IBM (IBM). After the bell today, the company reported a positive earnings surprise of more than 3.5% and its best revenue in years (+3% year over year). The stock gained about 3% afterhours, as of this writing. One of the biggest reports of the week comes after the bell tomorrow when Netflix (NFLX) becomes the first FAANG to take centerstage. Shares of the streaming giant bucked the downward pull on Monday and gained 0.37%. As of this writing, stock futures are up. Will there be a rebound tomorrow? We’ll see... Today's Portfolio Highlights: Headline Trader: When Uber (UBER) dropped sharply after a mixed quarterly report back in February, Dan saw dollar signs and picked up this market-disrupting ride-sharing pioneer. He feels the same way today amid a slide in the stock during this market selloff. Shares are reaching oversold territory less than three weeks before a quarterly report that’s expected to demonstrate record revenues. The editor thinks it’s a no-brainer to buy more UBER on its dip before this pandemic-proof company springboards off the upcoming quarterly report. Read the complete commentary for more. Insider Trader: The past five sessions have seen shares of Hibbett (HIBB) decline by about 10%, which seems to have prompted two insiders to buy shares of this athletic-inspired fashion retailer. On July 15, the CIO and the General Counsel added 2200 and 2000 shares, respectively. Tracey found this interesting for two reasons: 1) HIBB is still up 86% year to date and 2) the usually-conservative GC was one of the buyers. The editor thinks these buys are a signal that things are going well behind the scenes. Therefore, she added this Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) on Monday with a 10% allocation. Read a lot more about this buy in the full write-up. Surprise Trader: Even if this wasn’t earnings season, you can bet that Dave would be buying on a down day like this. “Buying low and selling high is the name of the game,” he said. To kick things off this week, the editor picked up Graco (GGG) from the highly-ranked Manufacturing – General Industry space (top 22%). The company makes equipment and systems used to measure, move, control, spray and dispense fluid and powder materials. GGG has beaten the Zacks Consensus Estimate for four straight quarters and now has an Earnings ESP of 7.3% for the report coming after the bell on Wednesday, July 21. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) was added with a 12.5% allocation. Dave will wait on deleting something since there’s “no reason to sell into a rough day like this”. Read the full write-up for more. Counterstrike: With fear building in the markets, ProShares Ultra VIX ShortTerm Futures ETF (UVXY) has certainly done its job. Jeremy added this name on Friday in preparation a day just like this, and today he sold it to lock in a more than 26% return. Grayscale Bitcoin Trust (GBTC) was also sold as it approaches max loss with Bitcoin coming under pressure. By the way, the editor added Direxion Daily S&P 500 Bear 3X Shares (SPXS) last week as another short bet, which he will continue to hold for now. Black Box Trader: This week's adjustment switched out six positions in the portfolio. The stocks that were sold today included: • International Paper (IP) • Abercrombie & Fitch (ANF) • Jabil (JBL) • Olin Corp. (OLN) • Athene (ATH) • Alcoa (AA) The new buys that filled these spots were: • Halliburton (HAL) • LKQ Corp. (LKQ) • Nucor (NUE) • Santander Consumer (SC) • Target (TGT) • Textron (TXT) Read the Black Box Trader’s Guide to learn more about this computer-driven service. Options Trader: "It’s ironic that the two ‘concerns’ in the marketplace right now are inflation (too hot of an economy), and a potential slowing down due to a resurgence in the case counts (too slow of an economy). Leave it to the market to take such a schizophrenic position. "In the meantime, earnings season is off to a great start. And that’s always an exciting time since stocks typically go up during earnings season. Should be a busy week," said Kevin Matras All the Best, Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

S&P, NASDAQ Begin Week with Another Session of Record Highs

S&P, NASDAQ Begin Week with Another Session of Record Highs Stocks continued to rise and set new records on the penultimate session of August 2021, leaving the major indices with solid gains for the month heading into the final session. After the weekend, investors are still happy with Fed Chair Jerome Powell’s comments at the virtual Jackson Hole meeting on Friday. Basically, some tapering of the monthly bond purchases may begin before the end of the year given the strong rebound from the pandemic, but an interest rate hike is far from imminent. The NASDAQ continued to lead the way higher with a jump of 0.90% (or about 136 points) to 15,265.89. It was an especially solid session for the FAANGs, as Apple (AAPL) rose over 3% while Facebook (FB) and Amazon (AMZN) each advanced nearly 2.2%. Netflix (NFLX) was up 1.3%, while Microsoft (MSFT) joined the fun with a similar increase. The S&P rose 0.43% to 4528.79. This index and the NASDAQ each closed at record highs for a second consecutive session on Monday. They’ve both hit record highs numerous times in August. The Dow was left out in the cold today by declining 0.16% (or nearly 56 points) to 35,399.84. All of these indices, though, are set for strong monthly performances. The NASDAQ is up approximately 4% for August with one day left, while the S&P advanced 3%. Even the Dow is up 1.3% so far this month. It’s going to be a very busy, but perhaps quiet week ahead. We’re at the turn of the month, so there’s plenty of economic reports coming out in the next few days, culminating with the all-important Government Employment Situation report on Friday. Investors will be paying even closer than normal attention to this number since it could provide the Fed with the final straw to begin scaling back the asset purchases. But on the other hand, we’re coming up on the Labor Day weekend. The market is closed next Monday, so a lot of investors will probably be cutting this week short and keeping the volume rather low. Today's Portfolio Highlights: Value Investor: Sometimes in the initial rollout stage of a new medical treatment, the company’s value fundamentals remain elevated while revenue jumps. That’s the situation with Vericel (VCEL), a medical products company that markets MACI for treatment of cartilage defects in the knee and Epicel for burns. Strong business momentum for those products led to second-quarter total revenue soaring 97% year over year. VCEL also raised its full-year guidance to between $168 million and $171 million, instead of $165 - $168 million. Revenue is expected to rise 36% in 2021 and 27% in 2022, while earnings should also advance. Shares plunged 25% in June, which Tracey thinks was a buying opportunity. So she added VCEL on Monday with a price target of $68 and will buy more if it dips back into the $40s. Read the full write-up for all the specifics on this new addition. Headline Trader: The low volume, growth-oriented rally on Monday has Dan looking to gain some exposure to an unloved recovery sector, while also bulking up the portfolio’s protection. First of all, energy stocks have caught a wave in the past week after paddling for years, and the editor thinks that Chevron (CVX) is the best way to capitalize. The company is well-positioned to harness unprecedented pent-up oil demand as the world economies eventually reopen. Plus, CVX has “all the makings of a long-term winner” with a 5.5% dividend yield that’s “almost as safe as a US Treasury Note”. Meanwhile, Dan also added to ProShares UltraPro Short QQQ (SQQQ), which may be down now but should rebound as the NASDAQ 100 becomes increasingly overbought. Finally, the service sold the rest of Synopsys (SNPS) for 32.4% in a little over three months as shares reached the editor’s price target. Read the complete commentary for a lot more on these moves. Income Investor: It’s a bit crowded in the portfolio these days, so Maddy decided to take some profits off the table on Monday. The big winner was Lockheed Martin (LMT), which remains a very reliable dividend stock. However, shares are down more than 8% over the past year while the S&P has soared by about 30%. Plus, it’s been in the portfolio since February 2014. The editor thought this was a good time to cash in LMT for a nice 150.9% return. She also sold Automatic Data Processing (ADP) for 37.7% in about a year-and-a-half and Whirlpool (WHR) for 22.9% in just under a year. ADP’s annual yield has fallen, while WHR is in a tough spot with all the inflation unknowns. The complete write-up has additional info on these sells. Surprise Trader: Dave needs a new pair of shoes, so the editor picked up Designer Brands (DBI) for the portfolio on Monday. It’s the parent company of DSW and is part of the highly-ranked Retail – Apparel and Shoes industry (Top 15%), which is an area that has really worked for the service this earnings season. DBI enjoys a solid Earnings ESP of 23.94% for the quarter coming before the bell tomorrow. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the past three quarters, including a positive surprise of 150% last quarter. Dave added DBI on Monday with a 12.5% allocation, while also getting out of Brinker (EAT). Read the full write-up for more. TAZR Trader: Henry Ford would be flabbergasted that a tiny microchip could impact the production of his most popular vehicle. But that's the difference between 1908 (when the Model T was released) and 2021. The global shortage of semiconductor chips has forced the mighty Ford (F) to cut its F-150 pickup truck production. But Kevin thinks the real opportunity for this automaker is its upcoming EV F150 Lightning, which should come out ahead of Tesla’s Cybertruck and the new Rivian. Therefore, the editor thinks that picking up F around $13 is a great idea. Read more about this addition in the full commentary.   Black Box Trader: The portfolio swapped out three positions in this week's adjustment. The stocks that were sold today included: • Vertiv Holdings (VRT, +4.6%) • Skechers U.S.A. (SKX, +0.4%) • Interpublic Group (IPG) The new buys that filled these spots were: • Capri Holdings (CPRI) • CBRE Group (CBRE) • DICK'S Sporting Goods (DKS) Read the Black Box Trader’s Guide to learn more about this computer-driven service. By the way, this portfolio had a top performer on Monday as Option Care Health (OPCH) climbed 4.9%. Options Trader: "Of course, news that the Fed would be tapering sooner rather than later was no secret. They had been hinting at it for months. So Friday’s revelation was hardly a revelation at all. But it struck the right tone as inflation continues to rise and traders have become anxious as to when the Fed would do something about it. "With the Fed now looking to act, that has calmed some fears that inflation was being left unchecked. "But with interest rates still likely to stay near zero for the foreseeable future (rest of 2021, all of 2022, and a portion of 2023), the Fed has signaled that they will still do everything they can to support the economy as well." -- Kevin Matras Until Tomorrow, Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

S&P, NASDAQ Close at Record Highs Ahead of Jobs Report

S&P, NASDAQ Close at Record Highs Ahead of Jobs Report The market may be a bit nervous about the jobs report tomorrow, but that didn’t keep stocks from continuing to grind higher on Thursday and set a couple new closing highs. A better-than-expected jobless claims report helped keep things in the green before the big event. The S&P rose 0.28% to 4535.95 and the NASDAQ advanced 0.14% (or nearly 22 points) to 15,331.18, which marks record closing highs for both indices. They had both made history this past Monday as well in the wake of Fed Chair Jerome’s Powell’s comments at the virtual Jackson Hole meeting. But the biggest gainer on Thursday was the Dow, which hasn’t come along on the record-breaking ride but advanced by 0.37% (or more than 130 points) in the session to 35,443.82. The result snapped three days of losses. Just like last week, the big news comes on Friday with the Government Employment Situation scheduled for release tomorrow morning. Expectations are for approximately 720K jobs being added, which would be a step down from the previous month’s blockbuster result of 943K. However, a report in that neighborhood or better might be the final straw that starts the Fed to scale back on its super easy monetary policy. But, as highlighted in the Jackson Hole remarks last Friday, a tightening of the monthly bond purchases does not mean that interest rate hikes are close behind. "We will get the jobs number tomorrow, which will give the Fed an idea on where we are on unemployment. This number will be an indicator of how quickly the Fed will both taper and raise rates," said Jeremy Mullin in Counterstrike. "The expectations is that tapering will be moderate and the market is ok with that. Rising rates are well into the future, but a hot number could change that idea." But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. Instead, let's focus on the weekly jobless claims, which provided a nice appetizer for tomorrow’s number. The print came in at 340K, slightly better than expectations at 345K and marking a new pandemic-era low. It was a welcomed bounce back from yesterday’s disappointing ADP employment report, which stated that private payrolls added only 374K jobs last month. The result was well off of expectations for more than 600K. But neither of these reports should be considered a harbinger for what’s coming tomorrow. So get ready for a potentially hectic session before the long Labor Day weekend.   Today's Portfolio Highlights: Blockchain Innovators: Sometimes it’s a surprise to find out how a company employs blockchain technology, and then other times its self-evident. You can put ScanSource (SCSC) in the latter camp. It’s a value-added distributor of specialty technologies, including automatic identification and point-of-sale products, as well as business telephone products. For a company that develops new technologies, blockchain is essential. And it’s certainly been working for SCSC. The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) topped the Zacks Consensus Estimate for five straight quarters now. EPS growth for this year is forecasted at 14.6%, while next year should rise to 17.7%. If the earnings trend continues, Dave wouldn’t be surprised to see SCSC get back to 2017 highs near $45. The editor also sold Air Transport Services (ATSG) today for 37.9% to make room for new opportunities. Read the full write-up for more on today’s moves.   Commodity Innovators: The portfolio added Cabot Oil & Gas Corp. (COG) and Rayonier (RYN) on Thursday. COG is a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) natural gas play, which should benefit from higher prices in the winter months. It has a great-looking chart and a 2.7% dividend. RYN is a timberland REIT that held up well during the lumber selloff and beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 120% last quarter. This Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) has a dividend of almost 3% and should benefit on any rebound in lumber prices. Jeremy considers COG to be a mid-term stock, while RYN is a long-term. Read the full write-up for more specifics on these moves. Options Trader: Coming out of the pandemic, sales at American Express (AXP) have been slower than other payment processors. “I think its top heavy right now,” said Kevin. “And their chart suggests it might be getting tired.” Therefore, the editor bought to open a December 160.00 Put in AXP. He notes that this is a riskier trade, so use caution and get all the specifics on this move in the complete commentary. Surprise Trader: Taking some profits from a soaring stock is never a bad idea, so Dave sold half of DICK’S Sporting Goods (DKS) on Thursday for a nice return of more than 35% in just two weeks. On August 25, the company reported its fifth straight positive surprise (and 15th beat out of past 16 quarters) and raised its fiscal 2021 view. Now the portfolio gets a nice profit and lets the rest run to harness any further upswings. The editor also sold all of sidewinder Ulta Beauty (ULTA) for 1.6% in a little over a week and all of Designer Brands (DBI) since “the sellers have taken control”.   Headline Trader: After breaking Dan’s price target this morning, the editor decided to sell Equinix (EQIX) for a more than 35% return in less than six months. Furthermore, tomorrow’s jobs report presents “a slippery slope” for the world’s largest data center REIT, since it is inversely correlated to interest rates. The editor also got out of Virtu Financial (VIRT) after it broke through a critical support level. Zacks Top 10 Stocks: This portfolio had the best performer among all ZU names on Thursday as Quanta Services (PWR) climbed approximately 12%. The company announced today that it entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Blattner Holding Company, a leading utility-scale renewable energy infrastructure solutions provider. The deal would increase PWR’s exposure to renewable energy markets, such as wind, solar and energy storage. PWR is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) provider of specialty contracting services, and one of the largest contractors serving the transmission and distribution sector of the North American electric utility industry. It is the second-best performer in the portfolio with a gain of nearly 67% since being added on January 4. All the Best, Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Dispatches from a Pandemic: ‘I’m paying 30% more’: Lobster prices are soaring just in time for Memorial Day Weekend

'When you're dealing with lobster rolls, you're dealing with the champagne of proteins.'.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchMay 26th, 2021

An NYC restaurant owner raised staff wages to $25 an hour. She"s had no trouble recruiting - but still doesn"t think she pays employees enough.

Amanda Cohen raised menu prices by 30% to afford a $25-an-hour starting wage for staff. She's had no issue hiring - and diners accept the new prices. Across the US, restaurant workers have been demanding better pay and working conditions. Damien Eagers/PA Images via Getty Images A Manhattan restaurant owner raised prices so she could pay all staff a $25-an-hour starting wage. "I still don't think we pay them enough," Amanda Cohen, owner of Dirt Candy, told Insider. Restaurants are struggling to find staff - but Cohen says she hasn't had "a single problem." See more stories on Insider's business page. A Manhattan restaurant owner thinks the $25-an-hour starting wage she pays her staff still isn't high enough.Amanda Cohen, who owns vegetarian tasting restaurant Dirt Candy, hiked up wages when she reopened indoor dining in May 2021, after realizing how badly some workers struggled financially during lockdown.Cohen said she previously thought she paid her staff a decent wage, but that it became clear she was not paying them enough. The pandemic forced her to close her restaurant in March 2020 and lay off her 30 employees."I know none of them have enough savings to weather this," she told Insider. "I want my staff to have more."While the restaurant was closed, she decided that she'd raise wages when she reopened.The chefs were previously paid between $18 and $21 an hour and front-of-house staff between $23 and $25. Now their wages all start at $25, with built-in raises based on the length of service, she said."I still don't think we pay them enough," she said.Cohen said that even before the pandemic, the restaurant industry was rife with poaching and had "really turned into this gig economy where these cooking jobs started to feel really disposable, as though you could hop from one to the next" for better wages.During the pandemic, restaurant workers have been demanding better pay and working conditions, "justifiably so," Cohen said. Some workers quit the industry, causing restaurants to slash hours, limit services, or even close for good.It's not just restaurants that have been hit by what's billed as "The Great Resignation." Businesses ranging from ride-hailing apps and small stores to hotels and delivery services have been struggling to find new workers or retain existing staff, saying they don't need to take low-paying jobs in such a competitive labor market.Cohen said Dirt Candy, which now has around 25 staff, provides employees with paid time off and health insurance. She said that in other industries, these provisions were "just standard, but in a restaurant, somehow it became sort of the norm not to treat our employees like professionals."The restaurant also has a no-tipping policy, which has been in place since 2015."We don't have to trick you into paying a 20% 'tip' at the end of your meal to cover our labor costs," Dirt Candy says on its website.Cohen said some staff had left Dirt Candy during the pandemic to move to a new town or different industry, but that she'd been able to find replacements easily."We have not had a single problem with finding staff," she said.Cohen said that the wage hikes meant she had to raise prices by around 30%.She streamlined the restaurant's menu, too. Previously, it offered tasting menus of five and ten courses, but now it just offers one five-course menu, which she said slashed the restaurant's food costs and meant she could afford to pay staff more."We put the focus on staff comes first and everything comes second," Cohen said. "I can't succeed without a staff."Other restaurants have voiced concerns that price hikes could lead to fewer visitors, but Cohen said her menu changes hadn't deterred diners. She said that the restaurant, which seats 44, was serving between 85 and 90 diners on an average night, which was roughly the same as pre-pandemic."I think for a pandemic, we're doing just fine," she said.Do you own or manage a restaurant that's struggling to find staff? Or are you a hospitality worker who quit your job - or the industry - over pay, benefits, or working conditions? Contact this reporter at gdean@insider.com.Expanded Coverage Module: what-is-the-labor-shortage-and-how-long-will-it-lastRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

Asheville boasts one of the longest foliage seasons in the US - these 10 central hotels offer striking views

These are the best hotels in Asheville, NC including Grand Bohemian, the Biltmore, Cambria, the Renaissance, Kimpton, and Omni Grove Park Inn. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Omni Hotels Asheville is a big city with a small-town feel in North Carolina. Asheville is near national parks and is known for vibrant dining, breweries, art, and music. Asheville's best hotels are also varied, from boutique inns to B&Bs and brand name luxury. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyWith unbelievable mountain views, a thriving food and drink scene, an emphasis on nature, and a penchant for the arts, Asheville is a must-visit destination. Sitting on "America's Prettiest Drive," the Blue Ridge Parkway, it has mild seasons year-round and one of the longest, most vibrant fall foliage seaons in the US.I've been visiting Asheville for the past decade, and throughout the pandemic, it made it my go-to road trip for its accessible location, outdoor activities, and how safely it's handled COVID-19. Follow my lead and plan a trip to Asheville with a stay at one of the following standout hotels that range from cozy bed and breakfast in a historic neighborhood to trendy downtown high rise, and the lap of luxury at a five-star spa hotel. Browse the best Asheville hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area here:The best hotels in AshevilleFAQ: Asheville, NC hotelsHow we selected the best hotels in AshevilleMore of the best hotels on the East CoastThese are the best hotels in Asheville, sorted by price from low to high. Cambria Downtown Ashville Floor-to-ceiling windows offer direct views of Pisgah Mountain. Booking.com Book Cambria Downtown AshevilleCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $128/$515Best for: Couples, friends, families, solo travelers, business travelers On-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, convenience store, meeting roomsPros: Every room is thoughtfully designed with wide foyers, Bluetooth mirrors in the bathroom, and desks and beds facing floor-to-ceiling windows with mountain views.Cons: TVs only have a few channels and don't connect to streaming services, so don't count on a lot of in-room entertainment.Located next to historic Grove Arcade, the Cambria Downtown Asheville places you in an ideal location to explore Downtown's revered restaurants, bars, breweries, and galleries on foot.The rooms are loft-style, with floor-to-ceiling windows offering direct views of Pisgah Mountain and more space to spread out than most standard hotel rooms. As you walk in, a foyer gradually widens, opening up to a space marked by crisp white beds, a desk, plenty of electrical outlets and USB ports, wood floors, and exposed red brick walls with eye-catching splashes of blue. The bathroom is spacious with a large vanity, walk-in showers, bathtubs in some rooms, and the coolest part, Bluetooth mirrors that can play your music while you get ready.A sundry in the lobby is packed with healthy meals to prepare in your in-room microwave, or head to Hemingway's, a Cuban restaurant and bar on the fourth-floor with a terrace and fire pits. Locals pack this rooftop on weekend nights, so make a reservation to grab a seat. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Renaissance Asheville Hotel Rooms are comfortable, clean, and have mountain views. Marriott Book Renaissance Asheville HotelCategory: Mid-rangeNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $131/$512Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, fitness room, pool, meeting rooms, marketPros: This Renaissance has the largest Junior Olympic saltwater swimming pool in Asheville.Cons: The restaurant is only open for breakfast, and the only other food served at the hotel are the snacks and packaged meals available at the on-site market. When you need a nice, but moderate Downtown Asheville hotel with a full list of modern amenities from a trusted brand, choose the Renaissance.I stayed here on a whim as I was passing through Asheville in the height of COVID-19 in 2020, and wanted a hotel brand I knew I could trust to handle the pandemic safely. The Renaissance, a Marriott Bonvoy property, did this exceptionally well and impressed me with their levels of safety and cleanliness.The Renaissance is on the edge of Downtown Asheville and every room has floor-to-ceiling windows that allow you to wake up to see the sunrise over the Blue Ridge Mountains. Rooms are spacious and comfortable with plush beds, textured black headboards, a desk, and a sitting area.Asheville was nicknamed "Bee City USA" in 2012 for its honey bee population and commitment to educating the public about how important bees are for the environment. Staying true to this oath, this hotel houses "bee boxes" from the Bee Institute on its roof to promote sustainability.COVID-19 procedures are available here. 1900 Inn on Montford The lavish, spa-like Cloisters Suite is a top pick for romance and relaxation. Booking.com Book 1900 Inn On MontfordCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $145/$605Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, daily breakfast and social hour, live music, games, all-day snacksPros: Book the luxurious 1,300-square-foot Cloisters suite, which has a private garden and a large spa room with a two-person Whirlpool, shiatsu massage, air bath, and walk-in shower.Cons: This hotel is not great for families as children under the age of 12 are not permitted.Perched on a hill in a historic residential neighborhood, just eight blocks from the edge of Downtown Asheville, the Inn on Montford is charming, cozy, and well-placed.This Arts and Crafts style bed and breakfast has eight rooms, each with King beds, gas fireplaces, bathrooms with fiber-optic starry floors, Roman baths, and color-changing, LED-lit vanities.Don't miss the daily cookie selection; one of the innkeepers, Shawnie, makes them herself and prepares a mix of mouthwatering flavors like salted chocolate chip, oatmeal raisin, or chocolate-orange.If you're on vacation with your special someone, make it extra romantic and book the Cloisters suite, in the Carriage House, which has 1,300 square feet of space, a private garden, a huge living room, a kitchenette, a bar, a fireplace, and a luxurious 68-square-foot spa room with a two-person Whirlpool tub, shiatsu massage, air bath, and a huge walk-in shower. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph Collection Art and design feature prominently, with statement decor in guest rooms. Marriott Book Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville, Autograph CollectionCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $158 /$600Best for: Couples, families, solo travelers, business travelers, Marriott loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, art gallery, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Grand Bohemian Asheville is located directly across the street from the entrance to the famed Biltmore Estate, and the on-site art gallery has local and regional art and jewelry for sale.Cons: In some room categories, the bathroom is separated from the bedroom by a thin curtain rather than an actual door, which isn't ideal for privacy or modesty. Request one with a door if you're traveling with mixed company.This art-driven hotel is the best hotel in Biltmore Village, directly across the street from the entrance to famous Biltmore Estate, known as "America's Largest Home," which was built by George Vanderbilt in 1889 and has a world-class winery, historic gardens, popular restaurants, a farm and over 20 miles of nature trails.Like all Kessler boutique properties, this hotel is innately luxurious, but with a vibe that's creative, relaxing, and comfortable enough to make you feel at home. Art also features prominently, with an on-site art gallery filled with paintings, sculptures, glass art, and jewelry by local artists that are also available for sale.As such, the atmosphere is rich and enticing, with an entrance flanked by a Tudor-style driveway, dramatic candelabras, and heavy burgundy drapes.Inside, stylish, but quirky rooms and common areas juxtapose oil and contemporary paintings and historic busts with surprising sculptures, like a wild hog wearing a tacky tourist hat, and bright purple low lighting that matches velvet chairs alongside fixtures that look like antlers. The rooms are big and enticing, with tufted teal headboards, lamps with tree branch bases, brown and teal-patterned carpeting, and sleek bathrooms with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains from the soaking tub.COVID-19 procedures are available here.Read our full hotel review of Grand Bohemian Hotel Asheville Village Hotel Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate. Booking.com Book Village HotelCategory: Mid-RangeNeighborhood: Biltmore VillageTypical starting/peak prices: $170 /$705Best for: Families, couples, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, pool, spa, fitness room, meeting roomsPros: Village Hotel is located in Antler Hill Village, on Biltmore Estate, right next to a slew of family-friendly restaurants, activities, a petting zoo, a winery, and over 20 miles of nature trails. Cons: Transportation around the estate is currently unavailable due to COVID-19, so guests will need to factor a rental car into the cost of their trip.Village Hotel is one of three accommodation options housed within the 8,000-acre Biltmore Estate, and it's the best pick for families. Located in Antler Hill Village, just steps from the winery, the famed Cedric's Tavern (named after the Vanderbilt family dog), a petting zoo, the outdoor adventure center, and over 20 miles of nature trails, the hotel offers tons to do.The entry-level Village Double Rooms are simple, without fancy bells and whistles, but are modern and spacious with a minimalist black, white and gray color scheme, comfortable double beds, a walk-in shower, and a charming window seat for a vantage point over the beautiful grounds.In addition to all of the aforementioned perks of staying at Biltmore Estate, guests can also dine at Village Social for kid-friendly breakfast, lunch, and dinner menus, or go to The Creamery for "Winky Bar sundaes," which is a waffle cone filled with black cherry ice cream, whipped cream, and a cherry.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Kimpton Hotel Arras Kimpton Hotel Arras has a prime downtown location and impressive perks, especially for pets. Booking.com Book Kimpton Hotel Arras Category: Boutique Neighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $171/$760Best for: Couples, solo travelers, business travelers, travelers with pets, IHG loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, meeting rooms, fitness center, seasonal book program, free essential toiletriesPros: This hotel boasts a super central location in downtown Asheville, right on Pack Square. Animals may stay at no extra charge and receive special pet amenities.Cons: With its prime downtown location and resident and local foot traffic, this hotel can be loud and crowded.When in Downtown Asheville, look up and you'll spot the Kimpton Hotel Arras; it's the tallest building in all of Asheville.The 128 rooms, suites, one-bedroom, and two-bedroom luxury condos are bright, airy, and filled with natural woods, white and neutral fabrics, textured walls, art by local Asheville artist Catherine Murphy, a desk, and floor-to-ceiling windows facing Downtown Asheville and the Blue Ridge Mountains.In even the most basic Queen Room, the vanity and bathroom area feels luxurious with a huge walk-in glass shower, marble accents, warm lighting, a dark wood vanity, a large mirror, and a separate toilet.Indulge in drinks and a Mediterranean meal at District 42, and when the sun goes down on a pretty evening, grab a seat by the glass fire pits on the terrace and watch life in Downtown Asheville buzz by. All Kimpton hotels are pet-friendly, too, so bring your dog, cat, bird, iguana or any other animal for no charge. All pet companions are also pampered with perks like stylish feeding bowls, pet beds, treat bags, a ball, and more for free.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Foundry Hotel Asheville Exposed brick and contemporary furnishings give off an industrial-chic vibe. Hilton Book The Foundry Hotel AshevilleCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak prices: $182/$684Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, families, Hilton loyalistsOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, fitness room, meeting rooms, courtyard with fire pitsPros: It's just two blocks walking distance from the heart of downtown Asheville, and offers Tesla car service and a Southern soul food restaurant by a six-time James Beard Award nominee.Cons: The internet connection was unreliable when I visited, which is hard for business travelers or those who like to be overly connected.Once the foundry and warehouse that forged steel for Asheville's famous Biltmore Estate, The Foundry Hotel Asheville is now a luxury boutique Hilton property next to Pack Square Park.An ode to the city's Black history, it's located in a historical enclave called "The Block," that was once a hub of African American community and business in the late 19th and 20th centuries.After sipping a glass of Champagne at check-in, make your way up to your room, which feels industrially luxe with exposed brick walls, all-white beds with cream tufted leather headboards, floor-to-ceiling mountain views, and eclectic wall art featuring period paintings and newspaper clippings in mixed oval and rectangular frames.Paying homage to its Black heritage, the on-site Benne on Eagle is a Southern soul food restaurant led by six-time James Beard Award nominee John Fleer. The hotel is just a five-minute walk from Downtown Asheville, but if you'd rather drive, The Foundry's Tesla car service can drop you off. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Abbington Green This charming B&B feels plucked from the English countryside. Booking.com Book Abbington GreenCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Montford Historic DistrictTypical starting/peak prices: $229/$469Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, foodiesOn-site amenities: Dining room, spa, English gardens, daily breakfast and social hour, games, all-day snacksPros: Every room has a King bed (which is unique for most historic bed and breakfasts in Asheville) and TVs you can watch from the bathtub.Cons: Children under the age of 12 are not permitted, which isn't ideal for young families.The English-inspired Abbington Green is an award-winning bed and breakfast, sitting atop a hill with whimsical landscaping and prize-winning manicured gardens.The property has both a main and carriage house, seven rooms, one two-bedroom suite, a spa room, a dining room, and a living room with games, a piano, and a guitar.Every guest room has a King bed, which is unique for historic homes like these, as well as towel warmers, a fireplace, and luxury bathtubs with a view of the TV — perfect for a bubble bath with a glass of wine and your favorite movie.There's an on-site charging station for electric cars, daily breakfast, a social hour, and a beautiful veranda where you can watch the sunset over the Blue Ridge mountains. The warmth of innkeepers Dean and Cherie brings it all together, as they love to talk to their guests, swap travel stories, and make everyone feel right at home.For COVID-19 procedures, call (828) 251-2454. Sourwood Inn The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry, and their knowledge filters down to the overall experience of staying here. Booking.com Book Sourwood InnCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: Greater AshevilleTypical starting/peak prices: $235/$390Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, solo travelers, nature lovers, foodies, oenophilesOn-site amenities: Dining room, library, loop trails, wine and flower packages, gamesPros: The owners spent more than 25 years in the wine industry and brought that culinary experience to the hotel, giving guests farm-to-table dining, curated wine lists, in-room wine programs, and pairing dinners.Cons: The inn is a 20-minute drive from downtown Asheville on remote mountain roads, so you'll have to factor a rental car into your trip.This romantic bed and breakfast is a true hidden gem that sits largely under the radar in Asheville. Located right off the famous Blue Ridge Parkway, it's just 20 minutes from downtown, positioned on 100 acres of hilly landscapes that make it feel as if you're staying in a national park.There are 12 guest rooms in the cedar and stone-trimmed main house, with a separate Sassafras Cabin, all of which underwent a recent head-to-toe renovation. Rooms are airy and bright, welcoming sunlight through tall windows, plus light-colored walls, wood-burning fireplaces, balconies overlooking Reems Creek Valley, and soaking tubs with scenic Bullhead Mountain views.The owners spent a combined 25+ years in the wine industry, and brought that culinary knowledge to the inn through well-executed farm-to-table cuisine, curated wine lists, food pairings, as well as wine of the month and wine and dine packages that add value for serious oenophiles. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Omni Grove Park Inn Sprawling grounds feel regal and are exceedingly beautiful. Tripadvisor Book The Omni Grove Park InnCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Grove ParkTypical starting/peak prices: $239/$1,049Best for: Couples, luxury travelers, business travelers, families On-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, fitness room, pools, spa, meeting rooms, sports complex, outdoor center, golf course, tennis courts, food foraging experiencesPros: Perfect for a honeymoon or couples getaway, this romantic hotel guarantees five-star service, a renowned subterranean spa, and an iconic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains at sunset from its restaurant, Sunset Terrace.Cons: As this is a luxury property, expect to pay premium prices for everything.Few resorts can say they've hosted 10 US presidents and every celebrity you can think of, from Gene Hackman and Helen Carter to Nick Carter and Barack Obama, but The Omni Grove Park Inn is one of them. Additionally, this historic resort, which opened in 1913 is famous for being a World War II internment camp for German diplomats, and served as the hotel and inspiration of choice for author F. Scott Fitzgerald over the course of two summers. Five-star service is unparalleled, with an exterior resembling a majestic stone palace that appears as if it's built right into the mountains. Overlooking 300 acres of hills, woodlands, and the Blue Ridge Mountains, the hotel also sits on a Donald Ross-designed championship golf course.From its famous terrace viewpoint, wander down the stone steps to the subterranean spa (it's so popular that you have to book six or eight weeks in advance to get an appointment) and discover hidden waterfalls along the way. Be sure to drink a glass of wine by one of two huge lobby fireplaces, and look up to see original light fixtures from the first day it opened.You'll likely pinch yourself watching the sunset over the mountains from dinner at Sunset Terrace. It's such an iconic view that, whether you stay at the Omni or not, everyone will ask if you saw it.COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Asheville, NC hotels What is the best area to stay in Asheville?Asheville is a revered food and drink destination and staying in downtown Asheville puts you within walking distance from many award-winning restaurants and breweries.If you're only in town to visit Biltmore Estate, you could stay in Biltmore Village, which is right across the street from the estate entrance, or at the Biltmore itself. Biltmore Village and Downtown Asheville are the two main attraction areas in Asheville and, luckily for visitors, they are only a 10-minute drive apart.Don't worry about not having a car; Uber and Lyft are everywhere in Asheville's popular areas, and it's easy to catch one to get to and from each. When is the best time of year to visit Asheville?Ask the locals, and they'll tell you there's no such thing as a "low season" in Asheville anymore. As such, the best time of year to visit Asheville is anytime. The award-winning restaurant and brewery scene is always available and the famous Biltmore Estate is a top attraction.If you're planning a fall visit, Asheville's 100+ deciduous trees give it one of the nation's longest fall foliage seaons, making it truly spectacular to visit in September and October. At this time of year, the leaves start to change along the iconic Blue Ridge Parkway, apple-picking season is in full swing, and temperatures drop to the 40s and 50s.Prices get slightly cheaper in January and February when snow and ice make driving in the mountains less appealing, and in March when it's cold and rainy. What are COVID-19 protocols in Asheville?Asheville has been very proactive about COVID-19 risk since the beginning of the pandemic, and stores, restaurants, and businesses strictly enforce local mandates. Currently, there are no restrictions on capacity and social distancing in restaurants, bars, and meeting spaces. Masks are required in all indoor locations in Buncombe County based on advice from medical experts and scientists. What is the best hotel in Asheville?I believe that The Omni Grove Park Inn is by far the best hotel in Asheville. It feels like staying in a palace built into the mountain, right on a championship golf course, with five-star service, a subterranean spa, and unbelievable views of 300+ acres of rolling green hills and the Blue Ridge Mountains in the distance. Staying here is the ultimate getaway, whether you're on your honeymoon, planning a girls spa weekend, or looking for a memorable place to spend the holidays. But with rooms hitting peak prices at $1,049 a night, it might not be an option for everyone. However, Asheville is filled with a range of wonderful boutique properties and larger hotels. For the best boutique hotel in Asheville, stay at the Abbington Green, an England-inspired bed and breakfast in the Montford Historic District with large and modern King rooms, daily breakfast, social hours, and beautiful English gardens.For the best hotels in downtown Asheville, the Kimpton Hotel Arras is a dog-friendly hotel right on Pack Square with beautiful and spacious rooms. And across from Grove Arcade, the Cambria Hotel Downtown Asheville offers stylish loft-style rooms with panoramic mountain views, Bluetooth bathroom mirrors, and a terrific terrace restaurant serving authentic Cuban food. What is better in Asheville—a boutique inn or bed and breakfast, or a larger hotel or resort?Both options are wonderful, and the one you choose depends on what your group needs or prefers. Boutique inns or bed and breakfasts are usually in historic residential neighborhoods and offer a cozy and comfortable feel of staying in someone's house. They typically have between six and 16 rooms, so if you're traveling with a small or mid-sized group, you could even rent the entire property.A larger hotel comes with more amenities and usually a more central location within walking distance of great restaurants, bars, breweries, shopping, and entertainment. There are also no age restrictions at larger hotels in Asheville, while most bed and breakfasts don't allow children under the age of 12 so as not to disturb other guests. What is the most romantic hotel in Asheville?With its beautiful stone building, iconic views, luxury service, and intimate feel, there is nowhere more romantic in Asheville than The Omni Grove Park Inn. Make your honeymoon extra special by booking a couples massage at the spa, ordering a tasty steak dinner and a bottle of wine at Sunset Terrace, book a Premium Club Floor Room on the adults-only Club Floor, and end each night with a drink by the lobby fireplace. What is the best hotel for families in Asheville?Village Hotel in Biltmore Estate's Antler Hill Village is great for families. Its basic Village Room starts at $170 and comes with two double beds. If you need more room, upgrade to the Village Double with Living Room, which starts at $320 per night and comes with a bedroom with two double beds, a separate living room with a couch, two twin sleeper sofas, and two full bathrooms.The location is also a huge benefit for families as it is steps away from family-friendly restaurants, the Farmyard petting zoo, 20+ miles of easy nature trails, falconry, and the Biltmore Gardens Railway, which has model trains that kids will love.How cheap or expensive is it to plan a trip to Asheville?Asheville is definitely a top tourist destination in the United States, so prices are constantly rising. That said, there is so much to do and see in Asheville, from hiking, biking, and kayaking to award-winning restaurants, breweries, and the Biltmore. These activities run from free or cheap to quite expensive. Hotels and resorts also run the gamut from $128 to $1,049 per night, and there are also tons of Airbnbs at a variety of price points. If you'd prefer one, we rounded up the best vacation rentals in Asheville as well. How we selected the best hotels in Asheville I chose the properties on this list based on my own deep knowledge of Asheville, supplemented by the research points listed below. I extensively researched and visited each hotel and selected properties with excellent recent reviews and ratings of 4 or higher on trusted traveler sites like Tripadvisor or Booking.com.All properties offer a variety of accommodation types, from boutique bed and breakfasts to brand-name hotels and luxury resorts.They range in starting price from $128 to $1,049 per night to suit a range of budgets. Hotels are located in Asheville's top neighborhoods and historic districts, and are near popular restaurants, breweries, shops, and attractions.All hotels offer COVID-19 safety policies, which we've linked for each property, or provided contact information where you can find out more. More of the best hotels on the East Coast Tripadvisor The best hotels in BostonThe best hotels in New York CityThe best hotels in PhiladelphiaThe best hotels in Washington, DCThe best hotels in Ocean City, MarylandThe best hotels on Hilton Head IslandThe best hotels in Myrtle BeachThe best hotels in CharlestonThe best hotels in SavannahThe best hotels on Tybee IslandThe best hotels in Florida Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

China Crypto Crackdown Hits Pre-Markets

Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers "illegal crypto activity," including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. Friday, September 24, 2021Light on new economic data this morning, we nevertheless see a reversal of fortune in market indexes. After flipping a rough start into positive or near-positive gains for the week by Thursday’s close, pre-market futures are back in the red on this final day of trading before the weekend. Almost as if the trading week has been perfectly bookended, the culprit behind the selloff once again appears to be China.The next step the Chinese government has made in cracking down on financial risk-taking has to do with the cryptocurrency market. Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers “illegal crypto activity,” including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. No explicit ban on crypto ownership is part of this new policy, only if you actively do something with your cryptocurrency might you run afoul of new Chinese law.This, of course, follows the news on Monday that China’s second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande, was likely to default on a payment this week without the government stepping in to assist the corporation. Evergrande’s interest payment alone came to $83 million, which passed Thursday’s due date and has yet gone unpaid. Subsequent reports this week have explained that Chinese finance officials will bail out the real estate company, which has another 30 days before default.Important as China is — the second-largest economy in the world — to global markets, investors here at home are now recalibrating scenarios by which China continues to a) lock down its economy from outside interests, b) feel a broad hit to internal growth, of which its real estate market is just one of many leveraged extensively, or c) both. In short, whatever moves the Red Dragon makes in the near term, they’re bound to force U.S. markets to account for them.New Home Sales for August are due after today’s open, with seasonally adjusted, annualized units expected to continue its bounce off June lows of 701K. It was 708K in its last read, and this morning’s tally is estimated at 720K. As of January 2021, we were still seeing close to a million new homes sold; this hit a major snag when supply of lumber, copper, etc. became scarce due to pandemic conditions, caused input prices to spike, and finished homes were left unsold at vastly higher prices.Existing Home Sales, released earlier this week, showed results in-line with estimates. From spring through summer, we’ve seen existing home sales pingpong around cycle lows, with August -2% month over month to 5.88 million. Early this year, before supply constraints, etc. we were seeing more than 6.6 million existing homes sold. With pandemic conditions winding down (in certain regions, usually those with high vaccination rates) and commodity availability improving, sales numbers may adjust higher in the months ahead. We’ll see if New Home Sales last month have already begun to get there or not.Questions or comments about this article and/or its author? Click here>> Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 Invesco QQQ (QQQ): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P 500 ETF (SPY): ETF Research Reports SPDR Dow Jones Industrial Average ETF (DIA): ETF Research Reports Global X MSCI China Consumer Discretionary ETF (CHIQ): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research 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.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Volatility Returns on Wall Street: Pre-Markets in Red

Volatility Returns on Wall Street: Pre-Markets in Red. Light on new economic data this morning, we nevertheless see a reversal of fortune in market indexes. After flipping a rough start into positive or near-positive gains for the week by Thursday’s close, pre-market futures are back in the red on this final day of trading before the weekend. Almost as if the trading week has been perfectly bookended, the culprit behind the selloff once again appears to be China.The next step the Chinese government has made in cracking down on financial risk-taking has to do with the cryptocurrency market. Beijing has generated a list of what it now considers “illegal crypto activity,” including exchanging legal tender for crypto and cryptocurrencies exchanged for each other. No explicit ban on crypto ownership is part of this new policy, only if you actively do something with your cryptocurrency might you run afoul of new Chinese law.This, of course, follows the news on Monday that China’s second-largest real estate developer, Evergrande, was likely to default on a payment this week without the government stepping in to assist the corporation. Evergrande’s interest payment alone came to $83 million, which passed Thursday’s due date and has yet gone unpaid. Subsequent reports this week have explained that Chinese finance officials will bail out the real estate company, which has another 30 days before default.Important as China is — the second-largest economy in the world — to global markets, investors here at home are now recalibrating scenarios by which China continues to a) lock down its economy from outside interests, b) feel a broad hit to internal growth, of which its real estate market is just one of many leveraged extensively, or c) both. In short, whatever moves the Red Dragon makes in the near term, they’re bound to force U.S. markets to account for them.New Home Sales for August are due after today’s open, with seasonally adjusted, annualized units expected to continue its bounce off June lows of 701K. It was 708K in its last read, and this morning’s tally is estimated at 720K. As of January 2021, we were still seeing close to a million new homes sold; this hit a major snag when supply of lumber, copper, etc. became scarce due to pandemic conditions, caused input prices to spike, and finished homes were left unsold at vastly higher prices.Existing Home Sales, released earlier this week, showed results in-line with estimates. From spring through summer, we’ve seen existing home sales pingpong around cycle lows, with August -2% month over month to 5.88 million. Early this year, before supply constraints, etc. we were seeing more than 6.6 million existing homes sold.With pandemic conditions winding down (in certain regions, usually those with high vaccination rates) and commodity availability improving, sales numbers may adjust higher in the months ahead. We’ll see if New Home Sales last month have already begun to get there or not. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>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 To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

“The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China

“The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China With Wall Street's fascination with risk associated with Evergrande's default fading fast, and the sellside pumping out charts such as this one showing that the contagion in China junk bond market is unlikely to spillover globally... ... the smartest men in the room are once again missing the forest for the trees because as we explained in detail over the weekend, and again reminded earlier this week... Remember: for China this is not about Evergrande, it's about preserving confidence in the property sector — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 ... for Beijing the real risk is not whether foreign creditors are impacted - in fact Evergrande's willingness to default on offshore bondholders while preserving operational cash flow and continuing to build homes shows just how much China "cares" about Blackrock's P&L - but how an Evergrande crisis could impact China's massive, $60 trillion, property sector, something which CCB International, the Chinese investment bank, touched on in a recent research note in which it said that Evergrande "contagion risk has spread from financing to land sales, property sales, project deliveries and home prices." And indeed, as the FT reports this morning, some very ominous cracks in China's property market - which according to Goldman is the largest asset class globally - are starting to emerge. In a letter to the Shaoxing municipal government in eastern Zhejiang province, the local office of developer Sunac China appealed for “policy assistance” as it was struggling through what it called a "turning point in China’s real estate industry." "We have never experienced such a radical change in the external environment," Sunac’s Shaoxing office said, pointing to a 60% year-on-year fall in home sales over the summer. "The market is almost frozen," it added in the letter, which was first reported by the Financial Times. “The radical change in policy and environment has seriously disrupted our business and made it very difficult to maintain normal operations.” The sudden, sharp collapse in China's property market is shown in the charts below which reveal that the amount of actual land transactions was not only well below the land supply in recent weeks, an unprecedented divergence, but that volumes were 65% below year-ago levels as potential buyers are suddenly terrified of investing in real estate as the Evergrande fate remains in limbo, with some worried that some of the 65 million empty apartments could hit the market and lead to a crash in property values. While the plunge in transactions is demand-induced, there are also concerns that an Evergrande insolvency and eventual collapse could lead to a supply crunch. As reported earlier, in July a Chinese city halted sales at two Evergrande projects alleging the troubled developer misappropriated funds by only depositing a portion of the proceeds from housing sales into the escrow accounts, according to a local government statement.  To ensure Evergrande doesn’t divert these funds, the housing bureau in Nansha district created an escrow account under its own name this month to take in proceeds from Evergrande homebuyers, cutting off the developer’s direct access to the money. A lack of funds has already led to a construction halt on some unfinished housing properties, sparking social unrest among buyers. In Guangzhou, buyers surrounded a local housing bureau earlier this month to demand Evergrande restart construction. As we discussed over the weekend, one of the most troubling downstream consequences from chaos in the property sector would be social unrest, and as we noted, maintaining social order has always been a key priority for the Communist Party, which has no tolerance for protests of any kind. In Guangzhou, homebuyers surrounded a local housing bureau last week to demand Evergrande restart stalled construction. Disgruntled retail investors have gathered at the companys Shenzhen headquarters for at least three straight days this week, and videos of protests against the developer in other parts of China have been shared widely online. Without a social safety net and with limited places to put their money, Chinese savers have for years been encouraged to buy homes whose prices were only ever supposed to go up (similar to the US before 2007 when even idiots like Ben Bernanke said that the US housing market never goes down). Today, buying a house (or two) is a cultural touchstone. And while housing affordability has become a hot topic in the West, many Chinese are more likely to protest falling home prices than spiking ones. Which brings us to a must read report from Goldman's Kinger Lau published overnight and focusing entirely on China's property sector - instead of just Evergrande - where it addresses a glaring dilemma: Beijing's desire to regulate and deleverage the housing sector even as it keeps property prices rising, a dynamic we summarized concisely earlier this week inside a tweet: Markets used to focus on China's "impossible trinity" but it's time to shift to China's "impossible dilemma": you can't have deleveraging/tightening/"3 red lines" AND rising home prices at the same time. China wants both, will have to pick one — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 In his must read report (available for professional subscribers in the usual place) Goldman's Lau explains that what is going on with Evergrande, and in fact the turmoil gripping China's broader property sector is largely self-inflicted as "regulatory actions in China Internet have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on the tech sector since mid-Feb, but in the past two weeks, investor focus has shifted to the US$60tn China property market which is linked to ~20% of Chinese GDP and represents 62% of household wealth." Specifically, Goldman notes that more than 400 new property regulations (shown in the appendix) that are largely tightening in nature have been announced ytd to restrain housing market activity, spanning supply, demand, funding, leverage, to price control measures. It is these measures that have contributed to a 14% year-on-year fall in property sales and $90 billion of market-cap losses among developer stocks in 3Q alone. In his attempt to summarize the critical linkages between China's all-important property sector and the broader economy (something we first tried to do back in 2017 in "Why The Fate Of The World Economy Is In The Hands Of China's Housing Bubble"), Goldman first focuses on the immediate catalyst behind the current crisis, which according to the bank has to do with the unprecedented regulatory tightening "in the largest asset class globally." Or, as Goldman puts it succinctly, "Property is everywhere in China" Some explanatory notes on the chart above: The regulatory cycle keeps evolving: The ongoing regulatory tightening cycle, which is unprecedented in terms of its duration, intensity, scope, and velocity (of new regulation announcement) as suggested by our POE regulation proxy, has so far provoked significant concerns among investors in and have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on China Tech. From Tech to Social Sector, and then to Property: According to Centaline, more than 400 new property regulations have been unveiled ytd across the central and local governments to address the issues of rising property prices and imbalanced supply/demand in certain areas, over-reliance on property for economic growth and fiscal revenues, and potential speculation in the real estate market where 22% of property could be vacant and ~60% of recent-year purchases were driven by investment demand. Property market tightening isn’t a new feature in the Chinese policy cycle over the past decade, but the severity of the measures, the scope of tightening, and the determination of policy implementation (e.g. the 3 Red Lines) are arguably unprecedented. China property is big: Almost two years ago, Goldman took a deep dive into the US$40tn Chinese residential housing market and analyzed its impacts on macro and asset markets. Since then, the market has grown to US$60tn in notional value including inventory, likely the largest asset class in the world on current prices. It has also registered Rmb26tn (US$4tn) of home sales with more than 3bn sqm of GFA being sold, almost 3x the size of HK SAR. Additionally, it is well-documented that Chinese households have a strong investment and allocation bias towards real assets for different economic and cultural reasons—as of Aug 2021, property accounted for around 62% of household assets in both the total and net terms, vs. 23% in the US and 36% in Japan, where stocks are the dominant household assets. Property is ubiquitous in China, fundamentally and financially: Goldman economists estimate that the housing sector contributes to around 20% of GDP via direct and indirect channels such as property FAI, property construction supply chain, consumption, and wealth effect. In the financial markets, 15% of aggregate market earnings (i.e. ~US$150bn out of US$1tn in 2020) could be exposed to ‘property demand’ in the extended housing construction-to-sale cycle which typically spans over three years, and that property-related loans (developer loans, mortgages, shadow banking)/ developer bonds represent 35%/23% of banks’ loan books/the outstanding balance of the offshore USD credit (IG + HY) market,respectively. And visually: While a full-blown property crisis would impact virtually every aspect of the Chinese economy, starting with capital markets, shadow banks, and social stability, the most immediate one for global investors is of course, the equity market. Here are Goldman's key observations on this topic: The regulation headwinds have resulted in a noticeable slowdown in property activities in recent months: nationwide property sales have fallen 14% yoy in3Q21 alongside stable prices in the primary market but large declines of transactions in the secondary market; property FAI and new starts have fallend rastically, although completion growth momentum has remained strong largely on favorable base effects. At the macro level, Goldman economists have laid out 3 scenarios to model the contagion impacts from reduced property impulse on macro growth. Overall, they see 2022 GDP growth hit ranging from 1.4% to 4.1% depending on the magnitude/severity of the property market slowdown and the tightening of financial conditions domestically, although their scenario analysis does not take into consideration potential monetary and fiscal policy easing in response to the property market declines. While listed developers only account for 4% of earnings in the aggregate listed universe, the housing market could be linked, directly and indirectly, to ~15% of corporate earnings, and every 10pp growth deceleration in housing activity could reduce profit growth of the housing market by ~2pp, all else equal. Broadly, Goldman lists five key transmission mechanisms along the extended property market food chain: Property developers and management companies (4% of equity market earnings): Developers’ earnings are highly sensitive to the property market fundamentals. However, given the time lag between transaction (pre-sales) and revenue recognition (accrual-based accounting), reported earnings usually lag sales by around 2 years, meaning that their current- and next-year earnings may not fully reflect the latest situation in the physical market. For property management companies, their near-term earnings profile is more sensitive to completions than sales but slowing property sales could dampen their future growth prospect. Financial institutions (54% of equity market earnings): Developer loans and mortgage loans account for 35% of commercial banks’ aggregate loan book. Goldman's banks analysts see the potential for mortgage NPLs to rise (at 0.3% now, 1% increase in mortgage NPL ratio translates into 18.7% drop in net profits per their bear case) although their risk exposures to property-related WMPs have fallen substantially since 2016. For insurers, Goldman's team believes the listed insurers’ exposure to the property sector is low, but the potential indirect wealth effect could pose a bigger fundamental challenge. While not directly linked to the housing market, equity brokers’ earnings cycles have been negatively correlated with property sales, likely reflecting the asset allocation decisions/flows from Chinese households between the two asset classes. Construction (2% of equity market earnings): From new property FAI start to completion, the construction cycle for commodity housing typically lasts 20-30 months in China. It drives demand for construction materials (China is the largest consumer of copper, iron ore and steel), although the focus of materials and their consumption intensity varies in different parts of the cycle. The process also directly impacts construction-related equipment, with excavators, heavy-duty trucks, bulldozers, cranes, and loaders all exhibiting reasonably high demand correlation with land sales. Consumption: (3% of equity market earnings): Whether property purchase is considered consumption (at least for first time buyer) remains an open-ended debate, but the housing market is undoubtedly a key demand driver for a wide range of consumption items, including white goods,consumer durables like furniture equipment, and certain electronic products(e.g. Audio devices and air conditioners). Goldman's study shows that housing completion usually leads the sales and earnings in these sectors by 6-9months. Wealth effect (1% of equity market earnings): At the micro level, capital appreciation (or depreciation) in the housing market could have short-term material impact on discretionary spending given the potential wealth creation from the US$60tn asset market, especially considering the relatively high investment ratios there. Industries that are sensitive to this channel encompass the Autos (luxury), Macau gaming, HK retailers and travel-related companies (before the pandemic), which tend to lag property sales by around two quarters, although these relationships may be also reflective of the broader macro dynamics including liquidity easing. A snapshot of the various top-down impact of the Chinese property cycle on corporate earnings is shown below: In sum, mapping Goldman' base case assumptions on GDP growth and property activities for 2022 onto corporate earnings via these channels,the bank lowers its 2022E EPS growth for MSCI China from 13% to 7%, but as the bank warns "the earnings downside (delta) could be much more significant (-28pp) if their bear cases prevail." And should more companies warn that "the market is almost frozen" as a result of the Evergrande crisis, the bear case is virtually assured. We conclude with Goldman's observations on the contagion risks which according to the bank - and contrary to the market - "are building", even if systemic risks can still be avoided. While the restrictive policies have cooled the market, it has put highly-geared developers, notably Evergrande, in the spotlight as their deleveraging path becomes increasingly challenging. On one hand, Goldman agrees with us, and says that on a standalone basis, Evergrande should not be a serious systemic threat given that its total liability of Rmb1.9tn accounts for 0.6% of China’s outstanding TSF, its bank loans of Rmb572bn represent 0.3% of systemwide loan book, and its market share in nationwide commodity housing sales stood at 4% by 1H21. However, the real risks emerges in the context of the slowing property market: indeed, as in other systemic/crisis episodes, investors are concerned about specific weak links which could spread to the broader system via fundamental and financial channels in the case of disorderly default, and therefore the financial condition tightening risk could be much more significant than the Rmb1.9tn liability would suggest, according to Goldman. How much risk is priced in? This is a popular question from investors but also a difficult one to answer given the fluidity of the situation. However, the following analyses lead Goldman to believe that the market may have priced in some degrees of degradation in macro/corporate fundamentals and possibly policy response from the authorities (i.e. a “muddle-through” scenario), but not a harsh scenario that is systemic and global in nature Episodic analysis: Historical physical property market downturns were short-lived and shallow, but if we focus on episodes where developer equities traded at depressed valuations to proxy for property-related concerns (eg.2H11, early 2015, and late 2018), prevailing NAV discounts of listed developers(-60%) are roughly in-line with those difficult times. At the index level, MSCI China bottomed at around 10-11x fwd P/E and 10% ERP in those periods, vs. 13xand 9% at present respectively. Fair PE targets: The MSCI China index is currently trading on 13x fP/E, having already de-rated from 19.6x at the peak in mid-Feb. Applying Goldman's three scenarios to its top-down macro PE model, the bank estimates that the index fair PE could fall to 12.5x in the base case, and 11.0x in their most bearish case. Correlation analysis: Intra- and inter-sector, and cross-asset correlations with regard to Chinese stocks or developer equities have all risen in the past weeks, albeit from a low base. However, compared with previous cases where concerns related to China regulations or trade relations had spooked global markets (e.g. 2015 FX reform, 2018 US-China trade war), the absolute correlation levels are more benign at present, suggesting a global contagious impact is not fully priced in. In light of all this, the good news is that in Goldman's view systemic risks could still be avoided considering: broad liquidity and risk-appetite indicators such as 7d repo, the onshore funding stress index, as well as the A-share market performance/ turnover suggest that the imminent "minsky moment" remains a narrative but far from a reality; the effective leverage (LTV) for the housing market is low, around 40% to 50% per our Banks team’s estimate; the institutional setup in China where the government has strong control over its banking system makes a market-driven collapse less likely to happen than would otherwise be the case; Losses will be realized by stakeholders associated with highly-geared developers, but the liabilities are relatively transparent and are less widely socialized in the financial markets than in previous global financial crises; the potential economic, social, and financial impacts have been well publicized and discussed, and it appears that the authorities are assessing the situation and starting to take actions; and, economists believe there is potential for the authorities to ease policy to prevent a disorderly default of Evergrande from developing into a crisis leading up to the Sixth Plenum in November. Ultimately, timing will be key to a happy ending: Given the outsized market value of China property, and its intricate linkages to the real economy and the financial markets, deleveraging the property market and improving financial stability - two contradictory concepts - could raise systemic concern if policy actions are pursued too aggressively, or without clear coordination among regulators and communication with the market. Importantly, as market concerns over tail risk and spillovers start to build, there is increasing focus on the narrowing window for policymakers to provide the necessary circuit breakers to ring-fence the (collateral) damages and stop the downward spirals. A key risk from continued delayed action would be a bigger snowball effect and more damage on markets and investor (already strained) confidence in Chinese assets. As such, Goldman expects the market to focus on potential actions that could be pursued, such as a combination of debt restructuring (bank loans, WMP, credits), conditional government involvement in working capital bridges and unfinished property projects, and a coordinated plan to divest and cash in assets. Finally, as promised earlier, here is a summary of the key loosing (green) and tightening (red) policies in China's property market.   Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 13:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown US futures and European stocks fell amid ongoing nerves over the Evergrande default, while cryptocurrency-linked stocks tumbled after the Chinese central bank said such transactions are illegal. Sovereign bond yields fluctuated after an earlier selloff fueled by the prospect of tighter monetary policy. At 745am ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.43%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 88.75 points, or 0.58% and Dow e-minis were down 112 points, or 0.33%. In the biggest overnight news, Evergrande offshore creditors remain in limbo and still haven't received their coupon payment effectively starting the 30-day grace period, while also in China, the State Planner issued a notice on the crackdown of cryptocurrency mining, will strictly prohibit financing for new crypto mining projects and strengthen energy consumption controls of new crypto mining projects. Subsequently, the PBoC issued a notice to further prevent and dispose of the risks from speculating on cryptocurrencies, to strengthen monitoring of risks from crypto trading and such activities are illegal. The news sent the crypto space tumbling as much as 8% while cryptocurrency-exposed stocks slumped in U.S. premarket trading. Marathon Digital (MARA) drops 6.5%, Bit Digital (BTBT) declines 4.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) -5.9%, Coinbase -2.8%. Big banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp slipped about 0.5%, while oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp were down 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, in premarket trading.Mega-cap FAAMG tech giants fell between 0.5% and 0.6%. Nike shed 4.6% after the sportswear maker cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations and warned of delays during the holiday shopping season. Several analysts lowered their price targets on the maker of sports apparel and sneakers after the company cut its FY revenue growth guidance to mid-single- digits. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Helbiz (HLBZ) falls 10% after the micromobility company filed with the SEC for the sale of as many as 11m shares by stockholders. Focus Universal (FCUV), an online marketing company that’s been a favorite of retail traders, surged 26% in premarket trading after the stock was cited on Stocktwits in recent days. Vail Resorts (MTN) falls 2.7% in postmarket trading after its full-year forecasts for Ebitda and net income missed at the midpoint. GlycoMimetics (GLYC) jumps 15% postmarket after announcing that efficacy and safety data from a Phase 1/2 study of uproleselan in patients with acute myeloid leukemia were published in the journal Blood on Sept. 16. VTV Therapeutics (VTVT) surges 30% after company says its HPP737 psoriasis treatment showed favorable safety and tolerability profile in a multiple ascending dose study. Fears about a sooner-than-expected tapering amid signs of stalling U.S. economic growth and concerns over a spillover from China Evergrande’s default had rattled investors in September, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on course to snap a seven-month winning streak. Elaine Stokes, a portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles & Co., told Bloomberg Television, adding that “what they did is tell us that they feel really good about the economy.” While the bond selloff vindicated Treasury bears who argue yields are too low to reflect fundamentals, others see limits to how high they can go. “We’d expected bond yields to go higher, given the macro situation where growth is still very strong,” Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist with JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we do stress that is a modest view, because we think that upside to yields is still limited from here given that central banks including the Fed are still buying bonds.” Still, Wall Street’s main indexes rallied in the past two session and are set for small weekly gains. European equities dipped at the open but trade off worst levels, with the Euro Stoxx 50 sliding as much as 1.1% before climbing off the lows. France's CAC underperformed at the margin. Retail, financial services are the weakest performers. EQT AB, Europe’s biggest listed private equity firm, fell as much as 8.1% after Sweden’s financial watchdog opened an investigation into suspected market abuse. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today: SMCP shares surge as much as 9.9%, advancing for a 9th session in 10, amid continued hopes the financial troubles of its top shareholder will ultimately lead to a sale TeamViewer climbs much as 4.2% after Bankhaus Metzler initiated coverage with a buy rating, citing the company’s above-market growth AstraZeneca gains as much as 3.6% after its Lynparza drug met the primary endpoint in a prostate cancer trial Darktrace drops as much as 9.2%, paring the stock’s rally over the past few weeks, as a technical pattern triggered a sell signal Adidas and Puma fall as much as 4% and 2.9%, respectively, after U.S. rival Nike’s “large cut” to FY sales guidance, which Jefferies said would “likely hurt” shares of European peers Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a second day, led by rallies in Japan and Taiwan, following U.S. peers higher amid optimism over the Federal Reserve’s bullish economic outlook and fading concerns over widespread contagion from Evergrande. Stocks were muted in China and Hong Kong. India’s S&P BSE Sensex topped the 60,000 level for the first time on Friday on optimism that speedier vaccinations will improve demand for businesses in Asia’s third-largest economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, with TSMC and Sony the biggest boosts. That trimmed the regional benchmark’s loss for the week to about 1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 2.1%, reopening after a holiday, pushing its advance for September to 7.7%, the best among major global gauges. The Asian regional benchmark pared its gain as Hong Kong stocks fell sharply in late afternoon trading amid continued uncertainty, with Evergrande giving no sign of making an interest payment that was due Thursday. Among key upcoming events is the leadership election for Japan’s ruling party next week, which will likely determine the country’s next prime minister. “Investor concerns over the Evergrande issue have retreated a bit for now,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co. in Tokyo. “But investors will have to keep downside risk in the corner of their minds.” Indian stocks rose, pushing the Sensex above 60,000 for the first time ever. Key gauges fell in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, while the Thai market was closed for a holiday. Treasuries are higher as U.S. trading day begins after rebounding from weekly lows reached during Asia session, adding to Thursday’s losses. The 10-year yield was down 1bp at ~1.42%, just above the 100-DMA breached on Thursday for the first time in three months; it climbed to 1.449% during Asia session, highest since July 6, and remains 5.2bp higher on the week, its fifth straight weekly increase. Several Fed speakers are slated, first since Wednesday’s FOMC commentary set forth a possible taper timeline.  Bunds and gilts recover off cheapest levels, curves bear steepening. USTs bull steepen, richening 1.5bps from the 10y point out. Peripheral spreads are wider. BTP spreads widen 2-3bps to Bunds. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed back from a one-week low as concern about possible contagion from Evergrande added to buying of the greenback based on the Federal Reserve tapering timeline signaled on Wednesday. NZD, AUD and CAD sit at the bottom of the G-10 scoreboard. ZAR and TRY are the weakest in EM FX. The pound fell after its rally on Thursday as investors looked ahead to BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s sPeech next week about a possible interest-rate hike. Traders are betting that in a contest to raise borrowing costs first, the Bank of England will be the runaway winner over the Federal Reserve. The New Zealand and Aussie dollars led declines among Group-of-10 peers. The euro was trading flat, with a week full of events failing “to generate any clear directional move,” said ING analysts Francesco Pesole and Chris Turner. German IFO sentiment indeces will “provide extra indications about the area’s sentiment as  businesses faced a combination of delta variant concerns and lingering supply disruptions”. The Norwegian krone is the best performing currency among G10 peers this week, with Thursday’s announcement from the Norges Bank offering support In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range up around best levels for the week. WTI stalls near $73.40, Brent near $77.50. Spot gold extends Asia’s gains, adding $12 on the session to trade near $1,755/oz. Base metals are mixed, LME nickel and aluminum drop ~1%, LME tin outperforms with a 2.8% rally. Bitcoin dips after the PBOC says all crypto-related transactions are illegal. Looking to the day ahead now, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,423.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 464.18 German 10Y yield fell 8.5 bps to -0.236% Euro little changed at $1.1737 MXAP up 0.4% to 201.25 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 643.20 Nikkei up 2.1% to 30,248.81 Topix up 2.3% to 2,090.75 Hang Seng Index down 1.3% to 24,192.16 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,613.07 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,031.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,342.60 Kospi little changed at 3,125.24 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $77.57/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,755.38 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.14 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China Evergrande Group’s unusual silence about a dollar-bond interest payment that was due Thursday has put a focus on what might happen during a 30-day grace period. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s inflation target is increasingly out of step with international counterparts and fails to account for structural changes in the country’s economy over the past 30 years, Westpac Banking Corp.’s Bill Evans said. With central banks from Washington to London this week signaling more alarm over faster inflation, the ultra-stimulative path of the euro zone and some of its neighbors appears lonelier than ever. China’s central bank continued to pump liquidity into the financial system on Friday as policy makers sought to avoid contagion stemming from China Evergrande Group spreading to domestic markets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed with the region failing to fully sustain the impetus from the positive performance across global counterparts after the silence from Evergrande and lack of coupon payments for its offshore bonds, stirred uncertainty for the company. ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative as underperformance in mining names and real estate overshadowed the advances in tech and resilience in financials from the higher yield environment. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) was the biggest gainer overnight as it played catch up to the prior day’s recovery on return from the Autumnal Equinox holiday in Japan and with exporters cheering the recent risk-conducive currency flows, while KOSPI (-0.1%) was lacklustre amid the record daily COVID-19 infections and after North Korea deemed that it was premature to declare that the Korean War was over. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were indecisive after further liquidity efforts by the PBoC were offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds but has a 30-day grace period with the Co. remaining quiet on the issue. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from global counterparts including the declines in T-notes as the US 10yr yield breached 1.40% for the first time since early-July with the pressure in bonds also stemming from across the Atlantic following a more hawkish BoE, while the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.3tln of government bonds with 1yr-10yr maturities did very little to spur prices. Top Asian News Rivals for Prime Minister Battle on Social Media: Japan Election Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day, Led by Gains in Japan, Taiwan Hong Kong Stocks Still Wagged by Evergrande Tail Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index Extends Decline to More Than 2% European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.9%) are trading on the back foot in the final trading session of the week amid further advances in global bond yields and a mixed APAC handover. Overnight, saw gains for the Nikkei 225 of 2.1% with the index aided by favourable currency flows, whilst Chinese markets lagged (Shanghai Comp. -0.8%, Hang Seng -1.6%) with further liquidity efforts by the PBoC offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds. As context, despite the losses in Europe today, the Stoxx 600 is still higher by some 1.2% on the week. Stateside, futures are also on a softer footing with the ES down by 0.4% ahead of a busy Fed speaker schedule. Back to Europe, sectors are lower across the board with Retail and Personal & Household Goods lagging peers. The former has been hampered by losses in Adidas (-3.0%) following after hours earnings from Nike (-4.2% pre-market) which saw the Co. cut its revenue guidance amid supply chain woes. AstraZeneca (+2.1%) sits at the top of the FTSE 100 after announcing that the Lynparza PROpel trial met its primary endpoint. Daimler’s (+0.1%) Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will take a 33% stake in a battery cell manufacturing JV with Total and Stellantis. EQT (-6.5%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Swedish FSA announced it will open an investigation into the Co. Top European News EQT Investigated by Sweden’s FSA Over Suspected Market Abuse Gazprom Says Claims of Gas Under-supply to Europe Are ‘Absurd’ German Sept. Ifo Business Confidence 98.8; Est. 99 German Business Index at Five-Month Low in Pre-Election Verdict In FX, the rot seems to have stopped for the Buck in terms of its sharp and marked fall from grace amidst post-FOMC reflection and re-positioning in the financial markets on Thursday. Indeed, the Dollar index has regained some poise to hover above the 93.000 level having recoiled from 93.526 to 92.977 over the course of yesterday’s hectic session that saw the DXY register a marginal new w-t-d high and low at either end of the spectrum. Pre-weekend short covering and consolidation may be giving the Greenback a lift, while the risk backdrop is also less upbeat ahead of a raft of Fed speakers flanking US new home sales data. Elsewhere, the Euro remains relatively sidelined and contained against the Buck with little independent inspiration from the latest German Ifo survey as the business climate deteriorated broadly in line with consensus and current conditions were worse than forecast, but business expectations were better than anticipated. Hence, Eur/Usd is still stuck in a rut and only briefly/fractionally outside 1.1750-00 parameters for the entire week, thus far, as hefty option expiry interest continues to keep the headline pair in check. However, there is significantly less support or gravitational pull at the round number today compared to Thursday as ‘only’ 1.3 bn rolls off vs 4.1 bn, and any upside breach could be capped by 1.1 bn between 1.1765-85. CAD/NZD/AUD - Some payback for the non-US Dollars following their revival, with the Loonie waning from 1.2650+ peaks ahead of Canadian budget balances, though still underpinned by crude as WTI hovers around Usd 73.50/brl and not far from decent option expiries (from 1.2655-50 and 1.2625-30 in 1.4 bn each). Similarly, the Kiwi has faded after climbing to within single digits of 0.7100 in wake of NZ trade data overnight revealing a much wider deficit as exports slowed and imports rose, while the Aussie loses grip of the 0.7300 handle and skirts 1.1 bn option expiries at 0.7275. CHF/GBP/JPY - The Franc is fairly flat and restrained following a dovish SNB policy review that left in lagging somewhat yesterday, with Usd/Chf and Eur/Chf straddling 0.9250 and 1.0850 respectively, in contrast to Sterling that is paring some hawkish BoE momentum, as Cable retreats to retest bids circa 1.3700 and Eur/Gbp bounces from sub-0.8550. Elsewhere, the Yen has not been able to fend off further downside through 110.00 even though Japanese participants have returned to the fray after the Autumn Equinox holiday and reports suggest some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in 13 prefectures on a trial basis. SCANDI/EM/PM/CRYPTO - A slight change in the pecking order in Scandi-land as the Nok loses some post-Norges Bank hike impetus and the Sek unwinds a bit of its underperformance, but EM currencies are bearing the brunt of the aforementioned downturn in risk sentiment and firmer Usd, with the Zar hit harder than other as Gold is clings to Usd 1750/oz and Try down to deeper post-CBRT rate cut lows after mixed manufacturing sentiment and cap u readings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is being shackled by the latest Chinese crackdown on mining and efforts to limit risks from what it describes as unlawful speculative crypto currency trading. In commodities, WTI and Brent are set the conclude the week in the green with gains in excess of 2% for WTI at the time of writing; in-spite of the pressure seen in the complex on Monday and the first-half of Tuesday, where a sub USD 69.50/bbl low was printed. Fresh newsflow has, once again, been limited for the complex and continues to focus on the gas situation. More broadly, no update as of yet on the Evergrande interest payment and by all accounts we appear to have entered the 30-day grace period for this and, assuming catalysts remain slim, updates on this will may well dictate the state-of-play. Schedule wise, the session ahead eyes significant amounts of central bank commentary but from a crude perspective the weekly Baker Hughes rig count will draw attention. On the weather front, Storm Sam has been upgraded to a Hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify but currently remains someway into the mid-Atlantic. Moving to metals, LME copper is pivoting the unchanged mark after a mixed APAC lead while attention is on Glencore’s CSA copper mine, which it has received an offer for; the site in 2020 produced circa. 46k/T of copper which is typically exported to Asia smelters. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are firmer but have been very contained and remain well-within overnight ranges thus far. Which sees the yellow metal holding just above the USD 1750/oz mark after a brief foray below the level after the US-close. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. New Home Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.0% 10am: Aug. New Home Sales, est. 715,000, prior 708,000 Central Bank Speakers 8:45am: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook 10am: Powell, Clarida and Bowman Host Fed Listens Event 10:05am: Fed’s George Discusses Economic Outlook 12pm: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Equitable Community Development DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap WFH today is a bonus as it’s time for the annual ritual at home where the latest, sleekest, shiniest iPhone model arrives in the post and i sheepishly try to justify to my wife when I get home why I need an incremental upgrade. This year to save me from the Spanish Inquisition I’m going to intercept the courier and keep quiet. Problem is that such speed at intercepting the delivery will be logistically challenging as I remain on crutches (5 weeks to go) and can’t grip properly with my left hand due to an ongoing trapped nerve. I’m very glad I’m not a racehorse. Although hopefully I can be put out to pasture in front of the Ryder Cup this weekend. The big news of the last 24 hours has been a galloping global yield rise worthy of the finest thoroughbred. A hawkish Fed meeting, with the dots increasing and the end of QE potentially accelerated, didn’t quite have the ability to move markets but the global dam finally broke yesterday with Norway being the highest profile developed country to raise rates this cycle (expected), but more importantly a Bank of England meeting that saw the market reappraise rate hikes. Looking at the specific moves, yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +13.0bps to 1.430% in their biggest daily increase since 25 February, as both higher real rates (+7.9bps) and inflation breakevens (+4.9bps) drove the advance. US 10yr yields had been trading in a c.10bp range for the last month before breaking out higher, though they have been trending higher since dropping as far as 1.17% back in early-August. US 30yr yields rose +13.2bps, which was the biggest one day move in long dated yields since March 17 2020, which was at the onset of the pandemic and just days after the Fed announced it would be starting the current round of QE. The large selloff in US bonds saw the yield curve steepen and the long-end give back roughly half of the FOMC flattening from the day before. The 5y30y curve steepened 3.4bps for a two day move of -3.3bps. However the 2y10y curve steepened +10.5bps, completely reversing the prior day’s flattening (-4.2bps) and leaving the spread at 116bp, the steepest level since first week of July. 10yr gilt yields saw nearly as strong a move (+10.8bps) with those on shorter-dated 2yr gilts (+10.7bps) hitting their highest level (0.386%) since the pandemic began.That came on the back of the BoE’s latest policy decision, which pointed in a hawkish direction, building on the comment in the August statement that “some modest tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period is likely to be necessary” by saying that “some developments during the intervening period appear to have strengthened that case”. The statement pointed out that the rise in gas prices since August represented an upside risks to their inflation projections from next April, and the MPC’s vote also saw 2 members (up from 1 in August) vote to dial back QE. See DB’s Sanjay Raja’s revised rate hike forecasts here. We now expect a 15bps hike in February. The generalised move saw yields in other European countries rise as well, with those on 10yr bunds (+6.6bps), OATs (+6.5bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all seeing big moves higher with 10yr bunds seeing their biggest climb since late-February and back to early-July levels as -0.258%. The yield rise didn’t stop equity indices recovering further from Monday’s rout, with the S&P 500 up +1.21% as the index marked its best performance in over 2 months, and its best 2-day performance since May. Despite the mood at the end of the weekend, the S&P now starts Friday in positive territory for the week. The rally yesterday was led by cyclicals for a second straight day with higher commodity prices driving outsized gains for energy (+3.41%) and materials (+1.39%) stocks, and the aforementioned higher yields causing banks (+3.37%) and diversified financials (+2.35%) to outperform. The reopening trade was the other main beneficiary as airlines rose +2.99% and consumer services, which include hotel and cruiseline companies, gained +1.92%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+0.93%) witnessed a similarly strong performance, with index led by banks (+2.16%). As a testament to the breadth of yesterday’s rally, the travel and leisure sector (+0.04%) was the worst performing sector on this side of the Atlantic even while registering a small gain and lagging its US counterparts. Before we get onto some of yesterday’s other events, it’s worth noting that this is actually the last EMR before the German election on Sunday, which has long been signposted as one of the more interesting macro events on the 2021 calendar, the results of which will play a key role in not just domestic, but also EU policy. And with Chancellor Merkel stepping down after four terms in office, this means that the country will soon be under new management irrespective of who forms a government afterwards. It’s been a volatile campaign in many respects, with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the Greens and the centre-left SPD all having been in the lead at various points over the last six months. But for the last month Politico’s Poll of Polls has shown the SPD consistently ahead, with their tracker currently putting them on 25%, ahead of the CDU/CSU on 22% and the Greens on 16%. However the latest poll from Forschungsgruppe Wahlen yesterday suggested a tighter race with the SPD at 25, the CDU/CSU at 23% and the Greens at 16.5%. If the actual results are in line with the recent averages, it would certainly mark a sea change in German politics, as it would be the first time that the SPD have won the popular vote since the 2002 election. Furthermore, it would be the CDU/CSU’s worst ever result, and mark the first time in post-war Germany that the two main parties have failed to win a majority of the vote between them, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties in the rest of continental Europe. For the Greens, 15% would be their best ever score, and exceed the 9% they got back in 2017 that left them in 6th place, but it would also be a disappointment relative to their high hopes back in the spring, when they were briefly polling in the mid-20s after Annalena Baerbock was selected as their Chancellor candidate. In terms of when to expect results, the polls close at 17:00 London time, with initial exit polls released immediately afterwards. However, unlike the UK, where a new majority government can immediately come to power the day after the election, the use of proportional representation in Germany means that it could potentially be weeks or months before a new government is formed. Indeed, after the last election in September 2017, it wasn’t until March 2018 that the new grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD took office, after attempts to reach a “Jamaica” coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens was unsuccessful. In the meantime, the existing government will act as a caretaker administration. On the policy implications, it will of course depend on what sort of government is actually formed, but our research colleagues in Frankfurt have produced a comprehensive slidepack (link here) running through what the different parties want across a range of policies, and what the likely coalitions would mean for Germany. They also put out another note yesterday (link here) where they point out that there’s still much to play for, with the SPD’s lead inside the margin of error and with an unusually high share of yet undecided voters. Moving on to Asia and markets are mostly higher with the Nikkei (+2.04%), CSI (+0.53%) and India’s Nifty (+0.52%) up while the Hang Seng (-0.03%), Shanghai Comp (-0.07%) and Kospi (-0.10%) have all made small moves lower. Meanwhile, the Evergrande group missed its dollar bond coupon payment yesterday and so far there has been no communication from the group on this. They have a 30-day grace period to make the payment before any event of default can be declared. This follows instructions from China’s Financial regulators yesterday in which they urged the group to take all measures possible to avoid a near-term default on dollar bonds while focusing on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors. Yields on Australia and New Zealand’s 10y sovereign bonds are up +14.5bps and +11.3bps respectively this morning after yesterday’s move from their western counterparts. Yields on 10y USTs are also up a further +1.1bps to 1.443%. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.04% while those on the Stoxx 50 are down -0.10%. In terms of overnight data, Japan’s August CPI printed at -0.4% yoy (vs. -0.3% yoy expected) while core was unchanged in line with expectations. We also received Japan’s flash PMIs with the services reading at 47.4 (vs. 42.9 last month) while the manufacturing reading came in at 51.2 (vs. 52.7 last month). In pandemic related news, Jiji reported that Japan is planning to conduct trials of easing Covid restrictions, with 13 prefectures indicating they’d like to participate. This is likely contributing to the outperformance of the Nikkei this morning. Back to yesterday now, and one of the main highlights came from the flash PMIs, which showed a continued deceleration in growth momentum across Europe and the US, and also underwhelmed relative to expectations. Running through the headline numbers, the Euro Area composite PMI fell to 56.1 (vs. 58.5 expected), which is the lowest figure since April, as both the manufacturing (58.7 vs 60.3 expected) and services (56.3 vs. 58.5 expected) came in beneath expectations. Over in the US, the composite PMI fell to 54.5 in its 4th consecutive decline, as the index hit its lowest level in a year, while the UK’s composite PMI at 54.1 (vs. 54.6 expected) was the lowest since February when the country was still in a nationwide lockdown. Risk assets seemed unperturbed by the readings, and commodities actually took another leg higher as they rebounded from their losses at the start of the week. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot index rose +1.12% as Brent crude oil (+1.39%) closed at $77.25/bbl, which marked its highest closing level since late 2018, while WTI (+1.07%) rose to $73.30/bbl, so still a bit beneath its recent peak in July. However that is a decent rebound of roughly $11/bbl since its recent low just over a month ago. Elsewhere, gold (-1.44%) took a knock amidst the sharp move higher in yields, while European natural gas prices subsidised for a third day running, with futures now down -8.5% from their intraday peak on Tuesday, although they’re still up by +71.3% since the start of August. US negotiations regarding the upcoming funding bill and raising the debt ceiling are ongoing, with House Speaker Pelosi saying that the former, also called a continuing resolution, will pass “both houses by September 30,” and fund the government through the first part of the fiscal year, starting October 1. Treasury Secretary Yellen has said the US will likely breach the debt ceiling sometime in the next month if Congress does not increase the level, and because Republicans are unwilling to vote to raise the ceiling, Democrats will have to use the once-a-fiscal-year tool of budget reconciliation to do so. However Democrats, are also using that process for the $3.5 trillion dollar economic plan that makes up the bulk of the Biden agenda, and have not been able to get full party support yet. During a joint press conference with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said that Democrats have a “framework” to pay for the Biden Economic agenda, which would imply that the broad outline of a deal was reached between the House, Senate and the White House. However, no specifics were mentioned yesterday. With Democrats looking to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill early next week, negotiations today and this weekend on the potential reconciliation package will be vital. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through September 18 unexpectedly rose to 351k (vs. 320k expected), which is the second week running they’ve come in above expectations. Separately, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index fell to 0.29 in August (vs. 0.50 expected), and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing activity index also fell more than expected to 22 in September (vs. 25 expected). To the day ahead now, and data highlights include the Ifo’s business climate indicator from Germany for September, along with Italian consumer confidence for September and US new home sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

The European Energy Crisis Is About To Go Global

The European Energy Crisis Is About To Go Global Authored by Irina Slav via OilPrice.com, It was only a matter of time, really. In a globalized world, energy crunches can hardly remain regionally contained for very long, especially in a context of damaged supply chains and a rush to cut investment in fossil fuels. The energy crunch that began in Europe earlier this month may now be on its way to America. For now, all is well with one of the world's top gas producers. U.S. gas exporters have enjoyed a solid increase in demand from Asia and Europe as the recovery in economic activity pushed demand for electricity higher. According to a recent Financial Times report, there is a veritable bidding war for U.S. cargos of liquefied natural gas between Asian and European buyers—and the Asians are winning. Coal exports are on the rise, too, and have been for a while now, especially after a political spat had China shun Australian coal. But supply is tightening, Argus reported earlier this month. In July, according to the report, U.S. coking coal exports dropped by as much as 20.3 percent from June. The report noted supply was constrained by producers' limited access to funding and a labor shortage that has plagued many industries amid the pandemic. All this should be good news for U.S. producers of fossil fuels. But it may easily become bad news as winter approaches. The Wall Street Journal's Jinjoo Lee wrote earlier this week high energy prices could be the next hot import for the United States. Lee cited data showing gas inventory replenishment was running below average rates for this season, and gas in storage in early September was 7.4 percent below the five-year average. Coal inventories are also running low because of stronger exports, with prices for thermal coal three times higher than they were a year ago. According to calculations from the Energy Information Administration cited in the WSJ report, coal inventories in the United States could fall to less than half last year's inventory levels by the end of the year. Last year, energy demand was depressed because of the pandemic. This year, the U.S. economy is firing on all cylinders once again.  No wonder electricity prices are already going up. In a way, the events in Europe could be seen as a trailer of what might happen in the United States. It is a trailer because it shows all the worst bits. The United States is much more energy independent than, say, the UK, and that's a big plus. Yet exports bring in revenues, and it would require government intervention to make gas producers cut exports. In an alarming move, such intervention was requested last week by a manufacturing industry group. Industrial Energy Consumers of America, an organization representing companies producing chemicals, food, and materials, asked the Department of Energy to institute limits on the exports of liquefied natural gas in order to avoid soaring prices and gas shortages during the winter, Reuters reported on Friday. Opinions seem to differ on whether rising LNG exports are in fact hurting U.S. consumers. But the fact is that gas prices are already double what they were a year ago. According to the IECA, they are not, however, high enough to motivate a ramp-up in natural gas production. Therefore, in order to stockpile enough gas for the winter, the U.S. government must force a reduction in exports. The LNG industry is, of course, against this. The executive director of Center for Liquefied Natural Gas told Reuters most LNG exports are shipped under long-term fixed-price contracts that have no relation to benchmark gas prices and their movements. Yet some cargos are sold on the spot market. "Buyers of LNG who compete for natural gas with U.S. consumers are state-owned enterprises and foreign government-controlled utilities with automatic cost pass through," Paul Cicio, president of IECA, said, as quoted by Reuters. "U.S. manufacturers cannot compete with them on prices." Traders are already getting jittery, and this will likely contribute to price uncertainty; regardless of how the fundamentals situation develops. Again, Europe is at the heart of the uncertainty - or rather the certainty that prices have higher to climb. But now, China has added to concern about gas supply and the potential for shortages. For now, China's biggest problem seems to be coal rather than gas. A recent Bloomberg report said that China coal power plant operators are struggling to buy enough coal to keep their plants running, and some are being forced to shut down their boilers because of insufficient coal supply. This, however, might lead to stronger gas demand to ensure enough electricity and heating for the winter. This will further exacerbate the difference between global demand and supply. The European energy crunch is spilling over into other regions. The blame game has begun with culprits ranging from years of underinvestment in local gas production to a Gazprom scheme to get Nord Stream 2 approved by Germany. For now, it is still unclear how much of the price surge is due to a gap between demand and supply and how much of it is due to market nervousness, at least according to RBC commodity strategist Christopher Louney, as quoted by the WSJ's Lee. This question is less important than another, however, and it is a scary one: Just how bad could things get this winter? Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 02:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Norway Becomes First Developed Central Bank To Hike Rates Post-COVID

Norway Becomes First Developed Central Bank To Hike Rates Post-COVID In a time of soaring prices, central bank tightening has now become all the rage (except in Turkey of course which just surprised markets with a 1% rate cut, sending the lira plunging to all time lows), and one day after Brazil hiked rates by 1% to 6.25% with promises to do the same next month and even the Fed turning hawkish and revealing the taper will start "soon", most likely in November (even if the first US rate hike is expected to come well in late 2022), overnight Norway's central bank, the Norges Bank, become the first major Western central bank to raise interest rates following the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. After cutting rates three times in 2020 due the economic fallout from the crisis, on Thursday Norway’s central bank unanimously decided to raise rates to 0.25% from zero, in line with expectations. “The reopening of society has led to a marked upswing in the Norwegian economy, and activity is now higher than its pre-pandemic level. Unemployment has fallen further, and capacity utilisation appears to be close to a normal level,” the bank said in the statement. "A normalising economy now suggests that it is appropriate to begin a gradual normalisation of the policy rate,” said Governor Oystein Olsen in a statement, adding that another rate hike is likely coming in December: “Based on the Committee’s current assessment of the outlook and balance of risks, the policy rate will most likely be raised further in December”. The projected policy rate path was revised up from late-2022 onward, rising to 1.7% at end-2024. The decomposition shows higher inflation on the back of higher capacity utilization and a weaker krone accounting for most of the change since June (Exhibit 1). The Committee stressed that longer-term inflation expectations remain anchored and that the risk of inflation becoming too high is limited. The updated economic projections in the Monetary Policy Report (MPR), which was also published today, show a larger positive output gap from 2022 onward, and the inflation outlook was revised up accordingly. Norges Bank now forecasts core inflation to reach 1.9% at the end of the forecast horizon, up from 1.6% in the June MPR. Norway’s currency rallied to its highest levels since June, gaining 0.7% against the U.S. dollar.   Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 11:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

The federal funds rate is the benchmark interest rate that affects borrowing costs across the US economy

The federal funds rate is the interest banks charge each other for overnight loans. Set by the Federal Reserve, it's a basis for other interest rates. While it technically applies only to banks, the federal funds rate impacts interest rates on a variety of loans and investments. Richard Drew/Associated Press Set by the Federal Reserve, the federal funds rate is the interest banks charge each other to borrow money overnight. Changes in the federal funds rate impact the interest rates on consumer loans, credit cards, and bank accounts. The federal funds rate is the key tool the Federal Reserve uses to stimulate or slow down the economy. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. The major mandate of the Federal Reserve - the central bank of the US - is to keep the nation's financial system solvent and manage its money supply (the amount of cash and readily available funds in circulation). It does this through a balancing act involving interest rates - specifically one called the federal funds rate. The federal funds rate ("fed funds rate," for short) is only used between banks; it's not an interest rate an individual can apply for or a financial account will earn. But it's a key benchmark. After the Fed sets it, the federal funds rate becomes the basis for interest charged on loans and credit card purchases, and the return offered by fixed-income investments, like bonds and annuities. The level of interest rates - how cheap or expensive it is to borrow money - affects business and consumer spending. So, through the federal funds rate, the Fed tries to keep the entire economy on course. Here's how it works, and the ways it can affect you.What is the federal funds rate?The federal funds rate, also known as the overnight rate, is the interest commercial banks charge when they lend money to one another for extremely short-term periods - literally, overnight. The Fed mandates this activity between banks to ensure they meet their reserve requirements. That is, it requires that each bank must maintain enough cash on hand, plus a reserve balance with the central bank, to cover a certain percentage of its deposits and other liabilities on every business day. These regulations are to make sure that a bank's account-holders always have ready access to their money. If banks are short on funds to maintain their reserve requirement, they borrow from another - at (or very close to) the fed funds rate.There are two types of federal funds rates:The federal funds effective rate is the weighted average of all the interest rates banks pay when they borrow from other banks in the country.The federal funds target rate is the rate set by the Federal Open Market Committee (FOMC), the monetary policy-making body of the Federal Reserve, to serve as the guidepost by which banks charge each other. Made up of the Fed's Board of Governors and five regional Federal Reserve Bank presidents, the FOMC meets at least eight times a year to decide the federal funds rate based on prevailing economic conditions.When people refer to the Fed "slashing the interest rate" or "raising interest rates," they usual mean the federal funds target rate.What is the current federal funds rate?On September 22, 2021, the Federal Reserve maintained the federal funds rate at a range of 0% to 0.25%. This remains unchanged from the first time the Fed lowered the benchmark rate to almost 0% on March 15, 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The fed funds rate averaged 5.59% from 1971 until 2020.How does the federal funds rate affect the economy?During its eight meetings a year, the FOMC can raise, lower, or keep the fed funds rate the same. But what motivates the committee to periodically change it? How does the Fed use it as an economy-adjusting tool?When it needs to stimulate economic growth - production, spending, expansion - the Fed lowers the fed funds rate. This move makes it cheaper for banks to borrow money and maintain their reserves. So these banks can then lend out their extra funds at lower financing costs, encouraging companies and individuals to take out loans to expand, invest, and buy things. It increases the money supply in the system, in technical terms.In contrast, when the Fed needs to slow down the economy - say, because prices are climbing too fast, causing rampant inflation - it raises the fed funds rate. To prevent their required reserve balance from going into the red, member banks have to pay more interest. They then raise their interest rates to clients, which tends to slow down any form of borrowing activity. When banks don't finance as much, the money supply contracts, and economic growth goes back to more sustainable levels. !function(){"use strict";window.addEventListener("message",(function(a){if(void 0!==a.data["datawrapper-height"])for(var e in a.data["datawrapper-height"]){var t=document.getElementById("datawrapper-chart-"+e)||document.querySelector("iframe[src*='"+e+"']");t&&(t.style.height=a.data["datawrapper-height"][e]+"px")}}))}();How does the federal funds rate affect you?The federal funds rate is an interbank interest rate. But it has a ripple effect throughout people's financial lives, the interest they pay, and the money they earn. Among its effects:Prime rate: How the fed funds rate moves influences the movement of a number of interest rates, one of the most significant being the prime rate. The prime rate is the rate a bank can offer its best corporate or high-net-worth individual clients. Consumer loans and accounts: A shift in the prime rate influences consumer interest rates as well. When the prime rate rises or drops, you can expect a corresponding adjustment on the monthly charges of your personal loans, credit cards, and adjustable-rate mortgages. If they pay fluctuating interest, your bank accounts and CDs also earn more or less.US Treasuries and other bonds: Changes in the fed funds rate can be paralleled in the interest rates paid by newly issued Treasury notes and bonds. These in turn serve as a benchmark for corporate bond rates. Stocks: A decrease in the feds fund rate can send markets soaring, while an increase can push the markets to decline. Employment: When interest rates go down, it encourages consumers to buy more goods and services. In turn, this propels businesses to meet the demand by expanding production, hiring more workers, and raising wages.The financial takeawayThe federal funds rate is an important tool - the tool, some would say - the Federal Reserve uses to stimulate or slow down the economy. Not to mention, maintain the solvency and reliability of the nation's banks.Financial institutions, corporations, and individuals are all affected by the federal funds rate one way or another. There's not much you can do to alter the Fed's moves or even anticipate them, but it's good to understand how it can influence your daily life and finances. The Federal Reserve is the central bank of the US - here's why it's so powerful and how it affects your financial lifeWhy the Federal Reserve uses contractionary monetary policy to curb the inflation that accompanies an overheating economyWhat is a bond? How to earn a steady stream of income by loaning money to a business or governmentWhat is inflation? Why the cost of goods rise over time and what it means for the value of your moneyRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021

What Makes ConocoPhillips" (COP) Permian Acquisition So Special?

After closing the latest deal in the fourth quarter, ConocoPhillips (COP) still expects to end the year with $4 billion in cash and short-term investments. ConocoPhillips COP is likely to become the second-largest hydrocarbon producer in the Lower 48 with the $9.5-billion Permian acquisition from Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A). It will also become the second-largest producer in the prolific Permian Basin.2nd LargestThe major acquisition is expected to add 200,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day (Boe/d) of production to ConocoPhillips’ portfolio, putting it just behind Exxon Mobil Corporation XOM, which is likely to produce around 1 million Boe/d from the Lower 48 in 2021. Also, combined production from ConocoPhillips and Shell’s Permian assets in the second quarter reaches the second spot, beating Chevron Corporation CVX, just below Pioneer Natural Resources, per Bloomberg.Patience Pays OffThe acquisition’s timing and patience showed by ConocoPhillips have been well pointed out by Andrew Dittmar, Senior M&A Analyst at Enverus. At the time of shale boom and Permian buyout frenzy, the company showed restraint and now it bagged Shell’s land at almost $15,000 per acre, way below Occidental Petroleum’s Anadarko acquisition of around $60,000 per acre in 2019, said Dittmar. He also noted ConocoPhillips’ Concho acquisition at $10,000 per acre this year, marking the company’s prudent time selection for such a deal.All-Cash TransactionConocoPhillips is paying all cash for the transaction, which shows its balance sheet strength. At second quarter-end, it had a debt-to-capitalization of 29.8%, significantly lower than the industry average of 76.6%. After closing the deal in the fourth quarter, ConocoPhillips still expects to end the year with $4 billion in cash and short-term investments. The ability to pay the whole amount in cash might have played a major role in Shell’s decision-making process. After all, the company intends to use $7 billion from the proceeds to distribute to shareholders. Receiving $9.5 billion in cash can be helpful. It will use the rest for debt reduction.What’s in the Future?Ryan Lance, ConocoPhillips’ chief executive officer, expects demand for oil to recover to pre-pandemic levels by the beginning of 2022, per Bloomberg. An increase in oil consumption is likely to keep oil prices high as supply remains constrained by OPEC+ and others. As such, the Permian assets acquisition will help the company generate massive cash in the coming days. It expects to generate $1.9 billion in free cash flow in 2022. Rising cash from operations due to the deal will help the company to provide higher returns to shareholders, in line with its plan of returning 30% cash from operations to shareholders.Price Performance & Zacks RankThe upstream company’s shares have jumped 48.4% in the year-to-date period compared with a 28.6% rise of the industry it belongs to. Currently, it has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment Research 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 Chevron Corporation (CVX): Free Stock Analysis Report Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report ConocoPhillips (COP): Free Stock Analysis Report Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

5 ETF Areas for Investors to Consider Amid the September Slump

Amid the market uncertainty, we have highlighted some ETF areas that can be good investment options for market participants to combat the September chaos. Wall Street is witnessing a tough time in the historically weak month of September. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has fallen 4%, whereas the S&P 500 has lost 3.7% in the month. Not just the reputation of the month, there are other factors like uncertainty surrounding the Fed’s decision, several weak economic data releases, concerns about rising COVID-19 cases and the approaching winter season, a large chunk of unvaccinated population, possibilities of high corporate tax rates, China property market concerns along with inflation pressure that have been keeping investors on the edge.Investors are waiting for the minutes from the Fed’s two-day policy meeting that began on Sep 21. They are concerned about the Fed’s chances of tapering the fiscal stimulus support, which includes the $120 billion a month bond-buying program. Several economic data releases are also weighing on investors’ minds.Amid the market uncertainty, we have highlighted some ETF areas that can be good investment options for market participants amid the September chaos:Healthcare ETFsThe pandemic has triggered a race to introduce vaccines and treatment options, opening up investing opportunities in the healthcare sector. Moreover, the space has been gaining increasing attention lately, largely due to the resurgence in COVID-19 infections due to the Delta variant. This has made investors jittery, compelling them to shift toward defensive investments.Considering the current market situation, investors can consider The Health Care Select Sector SPDR Fund XLV, Vanguard Health Care ETF VHT, iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF IYH and Fidelity MSCI Health Care Index ETF (FHLC).Retail ETFsThe latest retail sales data has pleasantly surprised investors. The metric rose 0.7% sequentially in August 2021 against market expectations of a 0.8% decline, per a CNBC article. Online retail sales rose 5.3% last month after declining 4.6% in July, per a Reuters article. There was a rise in sales at clothing stores as well as building material and furniture in the previous month. Encouragingly, the core retail sales rebounded 2.5% in August from a downwardly revised drop of 1.9% in July, according to the Reuters article. Importantly, the metric highlights the spending component of GDP.Going on, market analysts expect impressive retail sales in 2021 along with a strong holiday season. The strength in consumer sentiment can be the major driving force as they are believed to be prepared to splurge this holiday season after facing strict restrictions for more than a year and have gathered enough resources.Considering the strong trends, investors may park their money in the following retail ETFs to tap the sales boom -- SPDR S&P Retail ETF XRT, Amplify Online Retail ETF IBUY, VanEck Retail ETF RTH and ProShares Online Retail ETF (ONLN) (read: ETFs to Win & Lose as Delta Variant Cases Surge).Housing ETFsThe U.S. housing sector saw a bright spot with strength in housing demand and declining lumber prices. However, headwinds like increasing construction costs and continued material supply-chain worries along with rising home prices remain. These factors took a toll on builder confidence, which declined for three months. Per the monthly National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI), builder sentiment for the newly-built single-family homes rose a point to 76 in September from 75 in August, 80 in July, 81 in June and 30 in April (the lowest since June 2012). The reading looks strong as any number above 50 signals at improving confidence.Against such a backdrop, here are a few housing ETFs like iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF ITB, SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF XHB, Invesco Dynamic Building & Construction ETF (PKB) and Hoya Capital Housing ETF (HOMZ) (read: Forget Bubble Fear: Bet on Housing ETFs).Dividend ETFsDividend aristocrats are blue-chip dividend-paying companies with a long history of increasing dividend payments year over year. Moreover, dividend aristocrat funds provide investors with dividend growth opportunities in comparison to other products in the space but might not necessarily have the highest yields.‘Dividend aristocrats’ or ‘dividend growers’ are mostly deemed to be the smartest way to deal with market turmoil. Notably, the inclination toward dividend investing has been rising due to easing monetary policy on the global front, and market uncertainty triggered by the pandemic and deceleration in global growth.These products also form a strong portfolio, with a higher scope of capital appreciation as against simple dividend-paying stocks or those with high yields. As a result, these products deliver a nice combination of annual dividend growth and capital-appreciation opportunities and are mostly good for risk adverse long-term investors.Against this backdrop, let’s take a look at some ETFs that investors can consider like Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF VIG, SPDR S&P Dividend ETF SDY, iShares Select Dividend ETF DVY and ProShares S&P 500 Dividend Aristocrats ETF (NOBL) (read: Tax Hike Worries Drive Last Week's Inflows: 5 Hot ETFs).Low Volatility ETFsDemand for funds with “low volatility” or “minimum volatility” generally increases during tumultuous times. These seemingly-safe products usually do not surge in bull market conditions but offer more protection than the unpredictable ones. Providing more stable cash flow than the overall market, these funds are less cyclical in nature. Here are some options --  iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol USA ETF USMV, Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF SPLV, iShares Edge MSCI EAFE Minimum Volatility ETF EFAV, iShares Edge MSCI Min Vol Global ETF (ACWV), Invesco S&P 500 High Dividend Low Volatility ETF (SPHD) (read: Growth Concerns to Drive Demand for Low-Volatility ETFs). 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 Health Care Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLV): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Healthcare ETF (IYH): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Health Care ETF (VHT): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P Homebuilders ETF (XHB): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P Retail ETF (XRT): ETF Research Reports VanEck Retail ETF (RTH): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Home Construction ETF (ITB): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P Dividend ETF (SDY): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Dividend Appreciation ETF (VIG): ETF Research Reports iShares Select Dividend ETF (DVY): ETF Research Reports iShares MSCI USA Min Vol Factor ETF (USMV): ETF Research Reports iShares MSCI EAFE Min Vol Factor ETF (EFAV): ETF Research Reports Amplify Online Retail ETF (IBUY): ETF Research Reports Invesco S&P 500 Low Volatility ETF (SPLV): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

Equity Residential (EQR) Expects to Meet or Top Revenue Projections

Equity Residential (EQR) sees a strong leasing season on healthy demand and pricing for its apartment units. Equity Residential EQR, in its recently-released operating update, noted that it is concluding a strong leasing season, witnessing healthy demand and pricing for the company’s apartment units. Management, therefore, says that its same-store revenue growth is on track to meet or slightly surpass the company’s projections referred in its second-quarter 2021 earnings release.Particularly, as of Sep 21, 2021, the company saw physical occupancy of 96.9%, up from 96.7% as of the end of August and July, and 96.3% at the end of June.Renewals have also improved in September, with 62% of the residents renewing by the month compared with 58% by August, 54% by July and 53% by June. Further, the blended rate has increased to 9.7% for September, up from August’s 8.2%, July’s 5.1% and June’s 0.6%.Essex Property Trust ESS recently issued an operating update for the third quarter. The residential REIT also reaffirmed its third-quarter and full-year 2021 guidance ranges.Essex Property’s preliminary August update revealed that the same-property cash delinquencies stood at 0.8% for the month compared with July’s 2.2% and the second quarter’s 2.6%, while financial occupancy was 96.4% in August compared with July’s 96.5%. For the preliminary July-to-August period, total same-property revenues increased 2.6% year on year, as against the 3% decrease seen in the second quarter.Markedly, the U.S. apartment market put up an encouraging show in August, as its performance continued to pick up pace in the month, setting new records for rent growth and occupancy.Per a report from the real estate technology and analytics firm RealPage, occupancy is at a new all-time record level, reaching 97.1%. In fact, August 2021 marks the first time that occupancy has ever surpassed the 97% level. Robust occupancy is also fuelling rent growth, and effective asking prices for new renters climbed 1.8% in August, in turn, pushing asking prices up 10.3%, year over year. In addition, renters signing renewal leases in August witnessed price increases averaging 5.2%. Rent growth has also been widespread. While the small metros are experiencing robust occupancy, the gateway markets too are seeing a decent increase in effective asking rents.After living with parents during the onset of the pandemic, young adults are now forming new households, in turn, driving demand for the moderately priced apartments, while a better job-market, particularly for the high-paying employment sectors than in the low-wage positions, is triggering demand for luxury units, per the report.Equity Residential, with a diversified portfolio, too is likely to have benefited from this improving trend. It has a healthy balance sheet, and is banking on its technology, scale and organizational capabilities to fuel growth.Currently, Equity Residential carries a Zacks Rank # 2 (Buy). Shares of this residential REIT have gained 36.1% so far in the year compared with its industry’s rally of 33.5%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOther Key PicksThe Zacks Consensus Estimate for American Homes 4 Rent’s AMH 2021 funds from operations (FFO) per share has moved 3.9% north to $1.33 over the past two months. The company carries a Zacks Rank of 2, currently.Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc. APTS carries a Zacks Rank of 2, at present. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the ongoing year’s FFO per share has been revised 17.6% upward to $1.00 over the past two months. 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 Equity Residential (EQR): Free Stock Analysis Report Essex Property Trust, Inc. (ESS): Free Stock Analysis Report Preferred Apartment Communities, Inc. (APTS): Free Stock Analysis Report American Homes 4 Rent (AMH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

IEA Demands Russia Deliver More Gas To A Reeling Europe

IEA Demands Russia Deliver More Gas To A Reeling Europe Over the weekend, Morgan Stanley's global energy head Martijn Rats shared comprehensive yet streamlined analysis of what happened in 2021 that has sent many commodity prices, including Europe's nat gas and electricity prices, surging to never before seen levels. For those who missed it, Rats explained that A common set of factors has tied all these commodity rallies together. As often happens, the story starts in China. The combination of a post-COVID-19 recovery and unusually hot weather has increased consumption of electricity sharply this year. Most of China’s electricity is produced from coal, but domestic coal production is increasingly struggling to keep up – the result of regulatory reforms, under-investment and more stringent HSE inspections. Another important source of electricity generation in China is hydropower, but because of droughts in key parts of the country, hydropower has failed to grow this year too. Over the summer, this led to power crunches that forced regional governments to curtail consumption – street lights were even switched off at night in a number of regions. Another victim of these measures was aluminum smelting, which is a particularly electricity-intensive process. Normally, China supplies ~60% of the world’s aluminum. With its production curtailed and global demand continuing to grow, aluminum prices soared. China’s domestic coal shortage compelled it to turn to the seaborne market. However, coal production elsewhere has also had its issues – e.g., heavy rains and staff shortages in Indonesia, railway disruptions in Russia and unrest in South Africa. As the seaborne coal market tightened, global coal prices rallied. The same factors drove up China’s demand for LNG, but here China was not alone. For example, droughts in Brazil also curtailed its production of hydropower, driving up LNG demand as well. With a number of production outages at liquefaction terminals, the global LNG market has tightened severely in the last few months. Europe is usually the end market for a substantial share of the world’s LNG. However, with other regions pulling harder, European LNG imports declined sharply this summer. At the same time, power generation from offshore wind disappointed – it has not been that windy in Europe recently – boosting demand for natural gas. Yet, with gas supply from Russia and other regions constrained, Europe was unable to build natural gas inventories as much as it normally does in the summer. European gas inventories are now unusually low for this time of the year, with winter yet to start. As natural gas prices largely set electricity prices, they have surged in tandem. And while Europe, where electricity prices have hit stratospheric levels that have prompted street protests and forecasts of winter blackouts, has had lots of time to analyze all these factors, the continent which has been at the forefront of the "Green revolution" which is indirectly responsible for the collapse in legacy fossil fuel infrastructure and hence, for the surge in prices, decided to ignore everything else and focus on one single word: Russia. So, as a result, on Tuesday the International Energy Agency demand that Russia send more gas to Europe "to help alleviate the energy crisis" the FT report, noting that in doing so the IEA becoming the first major international body to address claims by traders and foreign officials that Moscow has restricted supplies. And so, once again, it's all Russia's fault. The Paris-based body admitted that while Russia was fulfilling its long-term contracts to European customers - in other words it wasn't in breach of contract - it could always do more, and was supplying less gas to Europe than before the coronavirus pandemic. “The IEA believes that Russia could do more to increase gas availability to Europe and ensure storage is filled to adequate levels in preparation for the coming winter heating season,” said the IEA, which is primarily funded by OECD members to advise on energy policy and security. “This is also an opportunity for Russia to underscore its credentials as a reliable supplier to the European market.” This, coming from a continent that as recently as a few months ago was contemplating ending the Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, is hypocrisy at its most astounding; it is also a clear example that beggars can indeed be choosers. Taking a page out of the Hillary Clinton book where everything is Russia's fault, some industry participants have accused Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly exporter of pipeline gas, of limiting top-up sales in the spot market to Europe — that has led to a historic surge in prices which is raising household bills and threatening industries across the continent. As the FT adds, the company has also unsettled energy traders by keeping the underground storage facilities it controls in Europe stocked at low levels compared with previous years. Translation: Europe's politicians are so desperate - only this time instead of explaining Hillary Clinton's stunning loss they have to explain why electricity hyperinflation is transitory - they have pulled the Russia bogeyman out of their sleeves again. Of course, Gazprom is free to do as it wishes: after all in a world where higher prices lead to more supply, any Gazprom attempt to ramp up prices would lead to more output. Only, in the virtuously green Europe, the continent suddenly finds not only does it not have spare capacity, but global interconnections mean that foreign LNG deliveries are backloffed, making Europe Russia's bitch, just as Putin had intended all along. Meanwhile, Gazprom’s chief executive Alexei Miller said last week that the company was meeting its supply obligations and was ready to increase production if needed, but warned that prices could rise further in the winter due to shortages in underground facilities. Gas prices rose even higher on Monday after Gazprom declined to book additional capacity for export via Ukraine for October and only reserved one-third of the available space on the Yamal gas pipeline via Poland. To be sure, Europe has a simple solution: start using the Nord Stream 2 pipeline. The only downside is that this will destroy any leverage Ukraine - the site of the CIA inspired 2014 presidential coup which meant to bring Ukraine closer to NATO but ended up going terrible wrong for Western countries - may have had. As the FT notes, Russia is looking to gain approval to start the Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany, which remains contentious because it will redirect some of the gas that flows through Ukraine. Gazprom and Kremlin officials have said Russia could boost gas sales once Germany and the EU approve the start up of the pipeline. And even though its actions have added to suspicions that it has restricted sales in order to try to accelerate the decision, Russia has every right to lever its natural resources to achieve its geopolitical goals. And since the opportunity cost is half of Europe freezing this winter, Russia will get what it wants. What is truly hilarious, is that while Europe politicians have generally refused to blame Russia for contributing to the fact that gas prices have more than tripled this year, some members of the European parliament have called for an investigation into Gazprom’s role in the crisis ever since European electricity prices exploded. Needless to say, doing so will only lead to even higher prices in a continent which clearly appears unaware that the global realpolitik has shifted dramatically in the past year. The IEA’s call for more Russian gas comes as Russian president Vladimir Putin is considering allowing Rosneft, the Russian state-owned oil company, to supply gas to Europe via the pipeline. Russia's energy minister Alexander Novak recommended allowing Rosneft to export 10bn cubic metres to Europe a year via Gazprom’s export transit facilities in a recent report to Putin. The amount is small compared with the 139 bcm that Gazprom has exported outside the former Soviet Union so far this year. But it would spell a highly significant end to Gazprom’s monopoly on gas exports, which are more lucrative than the domestic Russian market. Not that any of that would matter to Russia: both Rosneft and Gazprom are controlled by longtime allies of Putin. Amos Hochstein, senior adviser for energy security at the US state department, told the Financial Times this month he was worried that “lives are at stake” in Europe in the event of a severe winter in part because Russia had “under supplied the market compared to its traditional supplies”. Now if only Europe had thought just a few months ahead, secured the highly valuable commodity in advance and not gutted its existing energy infrastructure in the name of the most expensive "green virtue signaling" campaign of all time... Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 02:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Some of the best hotels in Las Vegas aren"t on the Strip - here"s where to find a great stay starting at $30

Here's where to stay off the Strip in Las Vegas, including cheap and luxury hotels near Downtown, Fremont Street, Summerlin, Henderson, and Red Rocks. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Tripadvisor The Las Vegas Strip draws millions, but locals know that's not the real heart of the city. Downtown Las Vegas, Fremont Street, and suburbs are more authentic with cheaper casinos and hotels. Some of the best Las Vegas hotels are off-Strip, from retro motels to luxury amid the Red Rocks. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyThe Las Vegas Strip is the city's glitzy, showy draw, luring millions of tourists each year. But it's hardly the sole attraction.As a Las Vegas local, I want you to know there's much more to this wonderful city than just what you'll find along Las Vegas Boulevard. And while you can (and should) enjoy time on the Strip, going off-Strip will show you a part of the city you've never experienced, one that's neighborhood-centric, artsy, outdoorsy, and filled with character.As such, the next time you're looking for a Las Vegas hotel, consider an off-Strip hotel. From historic Fremont Street hotels that lean into a vintage Vegas aesthetic to luxurious desert escapes with spas and pools, these off-Strip hotels also boast lower prices and gaming minimums than their Las Vegas Boulevard counterparts. Browse all the best off-Strip Las Vegas hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area:The best off-Strip hotels in Las VegasFAQ: Las Vegas hotelsHow we selected the best off-Strip hotels in Las VegasMore of the best places to stay in Las VegasThese are the best off-Strip hotels in Las Vegas, sorted by price from low to high. El Cortez Hotel & Casino This property dating back to 1941 is the longest continuously-running casino in Las Vegas. Tripadvisor Book El Cortez Hotel & CasinoCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: Downtown Typical starting/peak price: $30/$125Best for: Groups of friends, solo travelers, couplesOn-site amenities: 24-restaurant known for its shrimp cocktail and prime rib, bars with live entertainment, spa, beauty salon, old-school barbershop, casino, sportsbookPros: This is a very budget-friendly option in the heart of the trendy Fremont East District that will be enticing to history buffs. The 1941 era property is the longest continuously-running casino in Las Vegas.Cons: This is an older property that is showing its age. You will either find it charming or hopelessly dated. There's also no pool.Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the El Cortez and its pink neon cursive sign harken back to the early days of Las Vegas. The Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture stands out in a city increasingly defined by steel and glass.Step inside and find a dimly lit casino, a lobby bar with a live piano, and no-frills rooms. Amenities are limited. There's no pool and the retail space is just a small general store.Most people who appreciate the El Cortez do so because they either like the history or the low prices. For something more modern, book a room at the El Cortez Cabana Suites, the 64-room sister property across the street with tufted white headboards, green walls, marble bathrooms, and a fitness center.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino Vibrant, bright colors create a tropical look on the aptly named Citrus Pool Deck. Tripadvisor Book Downtown Grand Hotel & CasinoCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak price: $33/$217Best for: Couples, groups of friends, locals On-site amenities: Lively rooftop pool, bars, restaurants, live entertainment, meeting and event spacePros: The 3rd Street location gives easy access to stellar restaurants and the Mob Museum is just across the street. Also, the hotel's rooftop pool has dreamy views come sunset.Cons: The on-site Art Bar, which has paintings hanging from the ceiling, used to be an under-the-radar cocktail lounge, but in recent years, the resort has served continental breakfast there, which feels like a downgrade.Can't decide between the raucous Fremont Street Experience and the slightly more chill East Fremont District? Then try the Downtown Grand, which expertly straddles that line.The recently expanded property (the hotel's 495-room Gallery Tower opened in September 2020) still feels boutique despite the budget price tag. Rooms are simple but comfortable, with white walls, geometric accents, and floor-to-ceiling windows.The real highlight is the Citrus Grand Pool Deck, which was voted the best of Las Vegas' best Downtown hotel pool in 2020. When I first moved to Vegas, I whiled away many a desert afternoon at this rooftop oasis; I love the cocktail program and the city views. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Oasis at Gold Spike Known for its party scene, the pool at Gold Spike is a lively one. Booking.com Book Oasis at Gold SpikeCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak price: $35/$149Best for: Groups of friends, solo travelers, young professionalsOn-site amenities: Pool, bike rentals, restaurant, bar, coworking space, fitness center, backyard area with gamesPros: This hotel is vibrant and social. It's not just close to the party; this is the party. Plus, unique rooms include a solar-powered trailer and the penthouse where the 31st season of The Real World was filmed.Cons: This hotel can be very loud (especially on weekends) and rooms are small.Like a lot of things in Downtown Las Vegas, the Oasis at Gold Spike (formerly the Gold Spike Hotel & Casino) used to be a little bit seedy. Now, it's a millennial/Gen Z hangout with a vinyl soundtrack, a coworking space that turns into a house party at night, and 130 hotel rooms. Notably absent: a casino.Staying here is like staying at a deliberately cool hostel, minus the bunk beds. You'll have your own room, but it'll be small and basic, simply a place to crash after staying out all night. Then you'll wake up, grab a cocktail from the 24-hour bar, and hit the pool.The Oasis at Gold Spike is also steps from all of the bars and restaurants on Fremont Street, so there's much to explore within walking distance, although to be honest, on most nights, the best party is right here.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Plaza Hotel & Casino An iconic mural keeps watch over the pool at this equally iconic hotel. Tripadvisor Book The Plaza Hotel & CasinoCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak price: $39/$145Best for: Groups of friends, couplesOn-site amenities: Rooftop pool with pickleball court, an outdoor equestrian center that hosts rodeos, bingo, bars, restaurants including a steakhouse that was seen in the movie "Casino"Pros: This budget-friendly hotel has a prime Fremont Street location with unique amenities (name another Downtown hotel that hosts the National Finals Rodeo; you can't) and great views.Cons: The Plaza opened in 1971 and despite a $35 million renovation in 2010, the property still shows signs of wear, particularly in guest hallways and rooms. Nearly every Las Vegas local (and many a visitor) has taken a photo beneath the twinkling gold lights at the entrance to The Plaza. This backdrop, like the hotel itself, is classic Las Vegas.The 995-room property excels by leaning into the 70's vintage vibe hard. From the banana-leaf wallpaper at the coffee shop to the retro Palm Springs-inspired rooftop pool lounge, The Plaza will feel like a Killers music video if you're a young traveler (Spoiler: It was actually in a Killers music video) and you will unironically enjoy the bingo, smoky casino, and showgirl-bespeckled carpet.In some places, The Plaza feels retro in all the right ways — the steakhouse overlooking Fremont Street, the colorful pool area — in other places, such as the 325-square-foot Deluxe rooms, it feels dated and spartan. Spring for a renovated room (especially one of the Pool Patio rooms which includes a private covered patio) or request one of the newer Luxe rooms, which come with voice-activated Amazon Echoes.COVID-19 procedures are available here. M Resort Spa & Casino The 100,000 square-foot pool complex has two infinity pools including a family-friendly pool and a separate day club pool that hosts parties. Tripadvisor Book M Resort Spa & CasinoCategory: Luxury Neighborhood: HendersonTypical starting/peak price: $78/$345Best for: Families, localsOn-site amenities: Pool with summer parties, spa, fitness center, restaurants including a steakhouse and artisan bakery, lounge with UFC viewing partiesPros: M Resort has a locally-loved pool and a location that is convenient for activities in the Henderson area. Rooms are quiet and have unique views.Cons: The surrounding area isn't much of a destination — think suburban sprawl.A staycation favorite among locals, M Resort has a 100,000 square-foot pool complex with two infinity pools. There's a family-friendly pool and a separate day club pool that hosts parties that allow guests to have the option of both a party environment and a more mellow one.Because the property is located south of the Strip in the Henderson area, rooms feature unique views. They're modern and luxe, outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows, power blinds, and raw wooden decor. On-site restaurants are also a bright spot; find everything from a deli to a steakhouse, and a Raiders-themed bar and grill, which is a popular recent addition.The M Resort is not a place to stay if you want to be close to the action of the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, but odds are if you're choosing this hotel, a respite from the mayhem is what you're seeking.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino The pool complex here is expansive, with restaurants, bars, and even a 200,000-gallon shark tank. Tripadvisor Book Golden Nugget Hotel & CasinoCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak price: $79/$179Best for: Couples, familiesOn-site amenities: Expansive pool complex with a 200,000-gallon shark tank, wide selection of restaurants and bars, nightclub with patio overlooking Fremont Street, spa, salon, fitness center, retail shopsPros: Multiple fine dining options and comfortable rooms make this a great base, and it's also dog-friendly (not as common Downtown as it is on the Strip). Plus, the shark tank with a slide going through it in the pool area is a fun perk.Cons: Golden Nugget is not as budget-friendly as other Fremont Street hotels and the nightclub may not dazzle guests who are used to the Strip's more opulent ones.Before Circa, the Golden Nugget was the correct answer to, "where can I stay Downtown if I like the vibe of the Strip?" The property, which is in the center of the Fremont Street Experience, has marble floors, upscale restaurants, and a large casino.A large number of the rooms were recently renovated (the Carson Tower and Gold Tower rooms were renovated in 2018 and 2015 respectively) and feature neutral decor, comfortable mattresses, and lots of space. The Rush Tower rooms with California King beds and 439-square feet of space are an excellent value (expect to pay $109-$229 approximately). The pool complex is huge, and even has a shark tank with an adjacent water slide.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Signature at MGM Grand Every room here is a suite with apartment-like features. Tripadvisor Book The Signature at MGM GrandCategory: Luxury Neighborhood: Near StripTypical starting/peak price: $99/$599Best for: Business travelers, couplesOn-site amenities: Pool, spa, fitness center, lounge, cafePros: All rooms are suites with balconies, which is a real rarity in Las Vegas. It's also slightly removed from the Strip while offering easy access to it.Cons: There are very limited on-site food and drink options unless you walk to the adjacent MGM Grand.If you want to be near the Strip without being directly on the Strip, the Signature at MGM Grand is one of the best options you'll find. This non-gaming property, which is less than a mile from the Strip, is connected to the massive playground that is the MGM Grand (you won't even have to go outside to walk to it) but still feels completely separate.The lobby is tranquil and elegant, and rooms come with kitchenettes, separate living room areas, and in some cases, balconies. Upgrade to a Deluxe Balcony Suite to secure one. They also have spacious spa bathrooms with a rainfall shower, a deep soaking tub, and a TV.While sunning on your balcony, don't be surprised if the view is of a rowdy pool party at the nearby Wet Republic Ultra Pool.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino This family-friendly resort is located in one of Las Vegas' most desirable suburbs. Tripadvisor Book Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and CasinoCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: HendersonTypical starting/peak price: $99/$500Best for: Families, locals, foodiesOn-site amenities: Pool, spa, salon, arcade, restaurants, bars, fitness center, concert, event spacePros: Family-friendly and Vegas don't always go hand-in-hand, so the kid-friendly amenities such as the Cyber Quest arcade are a nice touch. Also, locally-acclaimed restaurant Pizza Rock has a location here, which is not to be missed.Cons: Guests complain about long check-in times and long distances between parking areas and rooms. The Las Vegas neighborhood of Green Valley is attractive with locals due to its safety, proximity to the Strip (about a 15-20 minute drive), and The District at Green Valley Ranch, an open-air shopping and dining area. Travelers staying at Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino, which is just a five-minute walk from The District at Green Valley Ranch, will appreciate these same things.The well-manicured property feels as big as some Strip resorts and has a similar scope of amenities too, including high-end restaurants. Italian restaurant Bottiglia offers a lively brunch with bottomless mimosas, Borracha Mexican Cantina has fresh fish tacos, and Tides Oyster Bar has an outstanding fresh seafood selection.The rooms at Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino are nothing out of the ordinary, with beige and chocolate brown accents and flat-screen televisions, but they're a good value. Just expect to pay more on weekends.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton Bright, bold rooms are stylish and new and suites are especially spacious. Virgin Hotels Book Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by HiltonCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Near StripTypical starting/peak price: $111/$500Best for: Groups of friends, couples, Hilton loyalistsOn-site amenities: Live music venue, beach club, pool, spa, fitness center, meeting and event space, sportsbook with interactive games, bars, restaurantsPros: The aesthetic throughout the property aims to please, and rooms are bright and modern with just a bit of quirkiness.Cons: Near Strip is definitely not on-Strip. Expect a 25-minute walk to Las Vegas Boulevard if you dare to go on foot. The brand new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas emerged on former the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino site in 2021 and has made a strong case for a pilgrimage away from the Strip. Though, it is a solid mile away from Las Vegas Boulevard.The hotel is colorful and inviting with jewel-toned furniture and bold accent walls. Rooms are white with pops of color and interesting, modern light fixtures. The property also scores major points for embracing its desert location. You'll be greeted with cacti at the entrance, and once inside, you're met with an infusion of color.Dining and drinking feature venues from Todd English and Nobu Matsuhisa, and as long as you aren't counting on an easy stroll to the Strip, this property will impress. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Circa Resort & Casino The epic pool complex dubbed Stadium Swim is a sight to behold. Tripadvisor Book Circa Resort & CasinoCategory: Luxury Neighborhood: Downtown Las VegasTypical starting/peak price: $139/$639Best for: Groups of friends, couples, locals on staycationOn-site amenities: Year-round pool deck with a massive outdoor screen that broadcasts live sports games, swanky 60th-floor rooftop lounge, three-story sportsbook, the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street, restaurantsPros: Circa opened in 2020 as the first newly-built hotel-casino in Downtown Las Vegas in 40 years, and it shows. Everything feels fresh, from the art installations in the parking garage (which the resort calls Garage Mahal) to sapphire and gold accents in guest rooms. This is a hotel for people who want a luxury Strip resort but in Downtown Las Vegas.Cons: This hotel still comes with a Strip resort price tag; Circa can be pricier than nearby Fremont Street properties.Located on the former site of the Las Vegas Club, Circa dominates the Downtown Las Vegas skyline with an angular design that looks distinctly modern compared to neighboring hotels.The property, owned by locally famous Derek Stevens who also runs the nearby The D Casino and Hotel, is flashy and upscale. For example, there's a display case containing 1,000 ounces of gold on the rooftop lounge and suites come with Balmain products in the bathroom.Instead of one rooftop pool, there are six spread across three levels. Dubbed Stadium Swim, it features six temperature-controlled pools, two swim-up bars, and a 143-foot diagonal, 14-million-megapixel LED screen, always playing the day's biggest sports games and events. Like most Vegas locals, I am partial to Vegas Vickie's, the casino bar that features Vegas Vickie herself, a beloved neon cowgirl who stood watch over Fremont Street for more than three decades. In a hotel that's so intensely modern, it's nice to see this nod to the neighborhood's past. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Red Rock Casino Resort Spa Red Rock's pool complex is serene and lush, lined with palms for ample shade. Hotels.com Book Red Rock Casino Resort SpaCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: SummerlinTypical starting/peak price: $139/$600Best for: Couples, familiesOn-site amenities: lush pool, upscale restaurants, movie theater, bowling alley, spaPros: This hotel is a convenient jumping-off point for outdoor adventures in Red Rock Canyon, and is within walking distance from shops and restaurants in Downtown Summerlin. Plus, the pool is beautiful.Cons: Red Rock Resort is far from the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas. It can also be expensive.Red Rock Resort and Hotel is a true desert escape, located on the western edge of the city near the soaring cliffs of Red Rock Canyon. One could easily spend a day hiking, rock climbing, or mountain biking in the desert and then return to Red Rock for a spa treatment, a margarita by the palm-shaded pool, or fresh pasta from Osteria Fiorella.Conversely, this is also the kind of upscale hotel that makes it easy to spend an entire weekend without leaving the property. It has everything: great room service, cloud-like beds, views of the desert and the Strip, a nice selection of restaurants, and even a bowling alley and movie theater.The pool, in particular, is one of the best in the city and if you're looking for the opposite of a wild Strip pool party, this tranquil oasis is it. Should you feel inclined to wander, shops, restaurants, and even a weekly farmers market are steps away in Downtown Summerlin. COVID-19 procedures are available here. JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa The JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa offers a respite from the desert landscape with abundant greenery. Marriott Book JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & SpaCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: SummerlinTypical starting/peak price: $163/$311Best for: Couples, business travelers, golfersOn-site amenities: Pool, spa, fitness center, golf course, restaurants, business services, meeting spacePros: The Mediterranean-inspired landscaping with trees and waterfalls is beautiful and there is a shuttle to a nearby award-winning golf course.Cons: The on-site Rampart Casino feels notably shabby compared to the high-end feel of the resort.Every time I set foot in the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa, it's an immediate escape from the harsh desert landscape. The greenery and water features are abundant, making the resort feel like a haven.I also love the restaurants, especially Jade Asian Kitchen which is great for sushi and cocktails, and Hawthorn Grill, which has an amazing waterside patio shrouded with trees.The rooms are simple and elegant with jetted tubs and large workspace areas, making this a good hotel for business travelers. The concierge can help arrange golf reservations and the surrounding Summerlin area is similarly upscale. The nearby Italian-inspired Tivoli Village offers open-air shopping and dining. Red Rock Canyon is also close. COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Las Vegas hotels What is the best time of year to visit Las Vegas?The shoulder seasons — fall and spring — bring perfect desert weather and are the best time to visit Las Vegas. Expect pleasant, sunny days with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s. Of these two seasons, fall tends to be quieter, with spring bringing spring break crowds.Despite the very hot weather, summer is very busy and you may see higher room rates during this time. Winter is the least busy season in Las Vegas (except for New Year's Eve) and it can also be surprisingly chilly, so you might not get that pool day.Which off-Strip neighborhood should I choose?Stay Downtown or near the Strip if you want to still experience the casinos, restaurants, bars, and delightful mayhem that makes the city so special. Or choose Downtown if you want to experience historic Las Vegas, Fremont Street, and go where the locals go. Choose near-Strip if you want access to Las Vegas Boulevard without the noise and traffic.If you are traveling for business or with young children (or are sensitive to loud noise) consider the suburbs of Henderson or Summerlin. Henderson has outdoor shopping malls, big box stores, quiet neighborhoods, and nice city parks where families picnic. Summerlin will speak to you if you're the outdoorsy type, as Red Rock Canyon is just a stone's throw away. What is there to do off-Strip in Las Vegas?There's a whole world outside of the Las Vegas Strip (not to mention a couple of million people who call Clark County home). You can browse the shops at the Downtown Container Park, catch an intimate live concert at an East Fremont Street bar, or check out First Friday in the Arts District.Dine at a neighborhood restaurant that rivals the ones on the Strip and hit the trails at Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston, Lake Mead, or Valley of Fire. From art galleries, museums, boutiques and craft cocktail bars to hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking, there's much to explore in Southern Nevada.Why should I stay off-Strip?If you've visited Las Vegas a million times and only ever experience one street, you owe it yourself to see another part of the city at least once. You might also find lower rates, though not at every property. Don't expect to pay less for a room at Red Rock Casino than you would for a room at a budget Strip property like Excalibur.You may also find fewer crowds, less vehicle traffic, less noise, and less price-gouging when you shop, eat, and drink. Whether it's your first or tenth time to Vegas, if any of that appeals to you, consider going off the beaten path.Staying off Strip also balances the experience of Las Vegas Boulevard.  Hike through the stark, wild beauty of the desert complemented by a fancy dinner at a sleek steakhouse. An intimate cocktail bar in the Arts District can serve as a prelude to a crowded evening at a nightclub. Is it worth staying off-Strip in Las Vegas?You can still find all of the classic Las Vegas amenities you love such as pools and poolside bars, spas, casinos, buffets, and sportsbooks, plus other surprising extras, like movie theaters, bowling alleys, kid-focused amenities, and community events.And if you miss the Strip, it's not hard to get there. You can be as close as a half-mile away if you stay near Strip, or as far as 12-15 miles away if you stay in Henderson or Summerlin.Do off-Strip hotels have resort fees?Sadly, you would be hard-pressed to find a hotel in Las Vegas without a resort fee. Every hotel on this list with the exception of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas charges one. Some properties may waive these fees for special promotions (M Resorts is currently offering a no resort fee stay to locals on staycation), but for the most part, you can expect to shell out an extra $20 to $40 on average per night. What are current Las Vegas COVID-19 travel restrictions and protocols? Las Vegas is open, without restrictions involving capacity limits and large gatherings.However, the State of Nevada has mandated that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor settings, including resorts and casinos, restaurants, bars, showrooms, and meeting spaces. Masks are also required on public transportation.Large indoor events also have masks, testing, and vaccination requirements so check before arriving both with local Las Vegas mandates, the Nevada Health Response updates, as well as your individual hotel and destination. How we selected the best off-Strip hotels in Las Vegas As a Las Vegas local travel writer, I'm personally familiar with every hotel on this list and stand behind all of these hotels. I have either stayed at the hotel or have spent significant time exploring the property and the surrounding neighborhood. Hotels are located in desirable Las Vegas neighborhoods, including near-Strip, Downtown, Summerlin, and Henderson. Each hotel holds a TripAdvisor rating of between 3 to 4.5 (the average rating on this list is 4 out of 5) with a high volume of recent honest, unbiased reviews.Rates range between $30 and $163 to start and do not include resort fees. Las Vegas room rates fluctuate based on the season and major events usually drive up prices. Las Vegas room rates tend to fluctuate wildly. On one night a room might be below a hundred dollars, on another night it might be approaching a thousand. This is why value is so key.Standard hotel rooms at each property are known to be comfortable with classic or unique Vegas views.    The hotel features must-have Vegas amenities, such as a pool, great on-site restaurants and bars, a casino, spa, fitness center, plus entertainment offerings, and events.You don't want to stay in a quiet, spa-like environment if you've come to Vegas to party, and you don't want to stay in the middle of a party if you're traveling with small kids. We've noted who we think would enjoy each hotel, such as solo travelers, groups of friends, couples, families, business travelers, and locals on staycations.The hotel keeps guests safe by instituting COVID-19 policies in accordance with the most recent CDC guidelines. More of the best places to stay in Las Vegas Prayitno/Flickr The best Las Vegas luxury hotels on or near the StripThe best cheap hotels in Las VegasThe most incredible hotel suites in Las Vegas for every budgetThe best Las Vegas Airbnbs Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2021