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Education in Florida: How USF got its watershed moment with record-breaking funding

Despite lean years, the tide has turned for the better at the University of South Florida......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 24th, 2022

Education in Florida: How USF got its watershed moment with record-breaking funding

Despite lean years, the tide has turned for the better at the University of South Florida......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsJun 24th, 2022

Futures Rise As ECB Panics And Fed Looms

Futures Rise As ECB Panics And Fed Looms After five days of non-stop losses, US index futures finally bounced modestly along with stocks in Europe as the ECB announced it would hold an emergency meeting to undo the damage done by its meeting from last week, and ahead of the Fed which today will hike by 75bps, the most since 1994, and will then scramble to undo the damage from pushing the US into a recession in coming days and weeks. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 posted modest gains, rising 0.8% and 1% respectively, ahead of the Fed, with markets fully pricing in the biggest rate hike since 1994 amid worries about the outlook for the economy. Europe's Stoxx Europe 600 index jumped more than 1%, snapping a six-day losing streak, while the euro strengthened and the region’s bonds advanced as the European Central Bank’s Governing Council started an emergency meeting. Treasury yields dipped and the dollar retreated from a two-year high. In premarket trading, major technology and internet stocks are higher in premarket trading along with US stock futures ahead of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve announcement, with investors expecting a 75 basis-point increase in rates. Bank stocks were also higher in premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Spotify (SPOT US) shares gain 2.2% in premarket trading as Wells Fargo upgraded the stock to equal-weight, saying the music streaming firm’s recent investor day laid out a more profitable company than the brokerage has modeled historically. Chinese tech stocks are mostly higher in US premarket trading, with education shares continuing their winning streak since peer Koolearn’s livestreaming hit went viral. Alibaba (BABA US) +1.9%, Baidu (BIDU US) +3.6%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +2.3%, New Oriental Education (EDU US) +8.4%, TAL Education (TAL US) +4.5%. iQIYI (IQ US) shares decline 3.9% in US premarket trading as Baidu is in talks to sell its majority stake in the streaming service in a deal that could value all of iQIYI at $7 billion, Reuters reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Cryptocurrency-related stocks fell in premarket trading on Wednesday as Bitcoin and Ethereum tumbled. MicroStrategy (MSTR US) -7.6%, Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA US) -7.6%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -7%, Coinbase (COIN US) -6.6%. Apple (AAPL US) and other consumer computer-hardware stocks may be in focus today as Morgan Stanley cut its price targets for such shares due to risks related to a potential slowdown in consumer spending. Moderna’s (MRNA US) shares rose 1.2% in US after-hours trading on Tuesday, while analysts said that the unanimous verdict from an FDA panel, which supported the biotech firm’s Covid vaccine for children, came as no surprise. Qualcomm (QCOM US) stocks could be in focus after the company won a European Union court bid to topple a 997 million-euro antitrust fine for allegedly pressuring Apple to only buy its 4G chips. Fears of stagflation have driven stocks into a bear market and triggered a stunning selloff in bonds in recent days. Uncertainty is elevated heading into the Fed decision: increments of 50 basis points, 75 basis points and even 100 basis points have all been chewed over by commentators. Parts of the US yield curve remain inverted, signaling concerns that restrictive monetary policy will lead to an economic downturn. Today's main event is of course the Fed decision which is expected to include a 75bp rate hike, with latest forecasts released at the same time. Swaps market is currently pricing in around 70bp of rate hikes for the meeting with a combined 202bp of additional hikes priced for the June, July and September meetings. From the forecasts, focus will be on revisions to the Fed’s long-term rate; swaps market is currently pricing a rate peak at around 3.90% by the middle of next year (full preview here). “Markets are poised for aggressive rate hikes, but what of US economic growth?” said Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana, an economist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg. “It might not be in recessionary territory just yet, but the landing is not going to be as soft as the Fed predicates. Anything less than 75 basis points or at least a strong willingness to make more significant adjustments will likely turn the market on its head, eroding total returns of global bonds and equities even further.” European equities trade well but off session highs. FTSE MIB outperforms, rallying as much as 3.3% before stalling. Stoxx 600 rises as much as 1.2% with travel, banks and insurance names doing much of the heavy lifting, while the euro strengthened and the region’s bonds advanced as the European Central Bank’s Governing Council started an emergency meeting. While new stimulus may not be on the agenda, officials will discuss a crisis strategy and the reinvestment of bond purchases conducted under the now-halted pandemic emergency program, Bloomberg reported. Here are the biggest European movers: Rate-sensitive sectors such as financials and technology gained in Europe as the ECB holds an ad hoc meeting to discuss market conditions and the Fed concludes its two-day policy meeting. Finecobank shares rise as much as 8.4%, Intesa Sanpaolo +7.5%, Assicurazioni Generali +5.3%. Europe auto stocks are among outperforming sectors in the wider equity gauge, led by French part suppliers Faurecia and Valeo, and carmaker Renault. Faurecia shares gain as much as 8.7%, Valeo +6.5%, Renault +5.6% Whitbread shares rise as much as 6.4% after the hotel operator reported quarterly sales, with Barclays noting the company’s “upbeat tone.” Gerresheimer shares rise as much as 17% after a Bloomberg report that the German maker of packaging for drugs and cosmetics rejected an informal takeover approach from Bain Capital in recent weeks. Nordic and European forestry and paper mill companies’ shares rebound, breaking sharp declines triggered after brokers cut their  respective outlooks for the sector in the past week. Smurfit Kappa stock rises as much as 5.3%, BillerudKorsnas +4.8%, Huhtamaki +5.6% H&M shares drop as much as 6.4% with uncertainty about the margin outlook and ongoing cost pressures overshadowing the apparel retailer’s 2Q sales beat. Getinge shares fall as much as 18% after the medical technology firm lowered guidance, projecting flat organic sales growth for the year. Nordea and JPMorgan downgraded their recommendations. Elia Group shares fell as much as 12% after the electricity transmission company laid out plans for a rights offering. Autoneum shares drop as much as 5.2% after the car- parts maker warned on profits. Vontobel analyst Arben Hasanaj noted the firm’s difficulty in passing on higher costs, along with further likely delays in car production recovery. Voltalia slumps as much as 9.1% after Oddo downgrades to neutral in note as it questions what level of growth is possible after 2023. “The ECB is between rock and a hard place, like most other central banks,” said Marija Veitmane, a senior strategist at State Street Global Markets. “Inflation is very high and shows little signs of quickly declining, while the economy is increasingly fragile, particularly with the war in Europe and ever-rising energy costs. So anything the ECB can announce to reduce systemic risk is very welcome.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks posted modest declines as sentiment improved from earlier in the week, with Chinese shares rising after domestic economic data showed pockets of recovery. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.4% as of 6:07 p.m. in Singapore, as losses in regional tech hardware shares offset advances in China’s internet giants. South Korea and the Philippines led declines, while Japanese stocks fell ahead of a central bank policy meeting this week. Gains in China and Hong Kong helped offset losses elsewhere as data showed the country’s industrial production unexpectedly increased in May. Meanwhile the nation’s central bank kept a key policy rate unchanged, avoiding further policy divergence as the Federal Reserve tightens. “A more accommodative policy and fiscal environment together with stronger corporate fundamentals should be positive for Chinese equity assets,” said Jessica Tea, an investment specialist at BNP Paribas Asset Management. The MSCI Asia gauge dropped almost 4% over the previous two sessions as inflation data from the US fueled bets of a 75-basis-point rate hike by the Fed at Wednesday’s meeting. Still, the index has outperformed a measure of global peers this year, with the latter now in a bear market. Japanese stocks dropped ahead of a Federal Reserve rate decision. A Bank of Japan review on Friday is also on the radar.  The Topix Index fell 1.2% to close at 1,855.93 while the Nikkei gauge declined 1.1% to 26,326.16. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index’s decline, decreasing 3.9%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 288 rose and 1,829 fell, while 53 were unchanged. “The sharp decline in JGBs is also contributing to the drop in stock prices as uncertainty mounts ahead of the BOJ meeting,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co Indian stocks fell after swinging between gains and losses for the most part of the session, as concerns over higher inflation and likely tighter monetary policy measures weighed on sentiment.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.3% to close at 52,541.39 in Mumbai to its lowest level since July 28. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also slipped by a similar magnitude. Reliance Industries Ltd. posted its longest run of losses in more than a month and was the biggest drag on the Sensex, which had 17 of 30 member stocks trading lower. Ten of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd fell, led by a gauge of power stocks. Retail inflation in India held above the central bank’s target in May, while wholesale prices accelerated for a third-straight month as input costs continue to rise, hurting company earnings.  “Commodity prices continue to remain elevated and despite passing on the costs to consumers, India Inc. is still facing margin pressures,” Mitul Shah, head of research at Reliance Securities wrote in a note.   Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.3% to close at 6,601.00, the fourth straight day of declines. All sectors finished lower, with mining stocks and banks the biggest drags on the index. During early trade, Australia’s industrial relations umpire raised the minimum wage by 5.2% from July 1, a larger-than-expected increase, affirming speculation of faster tightening by the central bank.  Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 10,635.92., after entering a bear market Tuesday. The gauge has shed more than 20% from its January 2021 peak. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Canadian dollar. Risk-sensitive Scandinavian currencies and the Aussie dollar lead gains. The euro rose by as much as 0.9% to 1.0508, and the yield on 10-year Italian bonds fell as much as 30bps after the ECB announced the Governing Council would hold an ad-hoc meeting on Wednesday “to discuss current market conditions.” ECB officials will be invited to sign off on the reinvestment of bond purchases conducted under the now-halted pandemic emergency program, a crisis response that they flagged in their decision last week, according to people familiar with the matter. Three-month euribor fixes higher by the most in more than two years, climbing to the highest since April 2020 as funding rates seek to mirror ECB rate hike expectations. Japanese bond futures drop most since 2013 as traders ramp up bets BOJ will give in to tweak policy. Australian bonds slumped with three-year yields posting steepest two-day climb since 1994. The Aussie extended an advance after the Fair Work Commission said the minimum wage will be increased by 5.2%. Earlier, the RBA said it “will do what’s necessary” to bring inflation back down to its 2-3% target as Goldman sees three more half-point hikes. In rates, Treasuries pared a recent drop, with yields falling up to 8bps led by shorter maturities amid a TSY rally in Asia and early European sessions, leaving yields richer by as much as 12.5bp across front-end leading into US session.  Markets are pricing in 73bps worth of hikes from the Fed today. US 10-year yields around 3.36%, richer by 10bp on the day while front-end outperformance steepens 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 3bp and 6.5bp respectively. Curve steepens as long-end lags front-end rally and some rate hike premium eases out the swaps market ahead of 2pm ET Fed policy decision. European bonds rallied after ECB announces emergency meeting to discuss market conditions, with French and UK outperforming along with Italy and other peripherals. In commodities, crude futures drop back toward the lows for the week. WTI falls 1.2% near $117.50. Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 2.3%, outperforming peers. Spot gold rises roughly $16 to trade near $1,825/oz Looking to the day ahead, the main highlight will likely be the aforementioned FOMC decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. There’s also an array of ECB speakers, including President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Holzmann, Nagel, Centeno, Muller, De Cos, Panetta and Knot. Otherwise, data releases include Euro Area industrial production for April, US retail sales for May, the NAHB housing market index for June and the Empire State manufacturing survey for June. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.8% to 3,768.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 412.15 MXAP down 0.4% to 159.27 MXAPJ little changed at 529.71 Nikkei down 1.1% to 26,326.16 Topix down 1.2% to 1,855.93 Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 21,308.21 Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3,305.41 Sensex up 0.2% to 52,797.58 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.3% to 6,601.03 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,447.38 Brent Futures down 0.2% to $120.90/bbl Gold spot up 0.6% to $1,818.80 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.56% to 104.93 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.77% Euro up 0.6% to $1.0479 Brent Futures down 0.2% to $120.90/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who’s carefully telegraphed interest rate hikes over four years, looks likely to abandon gradualism and move more forcefully to stamp out inflation along with growing concerns that it will persist The European Central Bank’s Governing Council is ready to step in if it considers moves in government bond markets to be unjustified, according to Belgium’s Pierre Wunsch, as the ECB prepared for an emergency meeting on recent euro-zone bond turbulence The European Union is restarting infringement proceedings against the UK and will launch two new legal actions after London proposed legislation to override part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, according to an EU official The first batch of a Chinese offshore yuan sovereign bond sale saw the strongest demand in nearly two years, defying a recent stream of outflows at a time when the global debt market is showing deepening levels of stress Even after central banks recognized they got their inflation calls wrong last year, they’ve continued to flub their policy guidance, threatening greater damage to their credibility, roiling markets and undermining the pandemic recovery A more detailed look at markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed amid cautiousness heading into the FOMC with markets pricing in a more than 90% chance of a 75bps rate hike, while the region also digested better-than-expected Chinese activity data. ASX 200 was led lower by energy, resources and tech, despite a 5.2% national minimum wage increase. Nikkei 225 failed to benefit from strong Machinery Orders data amid the ongoing currency-related jitters. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were positive with encouragement from the latest activity data that showed surprise growth in Industrial Production and a narrower than feared contraction in Retail Sales, while attention was also on the PBoC which rolled over CNY 200bln through its 1-year MLF with the rate unchanged. Top Asian News PBoC injected CNY 200bln via 1-year MLF vs. CNY 200bln maturing with the rate kept at 2.85%, as expected. China's stats bureau said the main indicators show marginal improvement and the economy shows good recovery momentum, but added that the economic recovery still faces many difficulties and challenges. Furthermore, it said policies to stabilise economic growth gained traction and it expects economic performance to improve further in June due to policy support, but noted recovery is still at an initial stage and main indicators are at low levels, according to Reuters. Hong Kong reports 1047 new COVID cases. Appears to be the first time since early April that cases have surpassed the 1k mark. European equities are firmer across the board ahead of the impromptu ECB meeting, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.0%; unsurprisingly,  periphery-nation indexes are outperforming, FTSE MIB +3.0%, given upside in banking names. As such, the Banking sector outperforms with most of its peers also in the green, though the Energy sector lags amid benchmark pricing. Stateside, futures are firmer across the board deriving impetus from European performance, but with overall action somewhat more contained ahead of the Fed and uncertainty around 75bp, ES +0.3%. Baidu (BIDU) is in discussions with potential suitors to offload its 53% stake in video-streaming name Iqiyi, according to Reuters sources. +3.8% in the pre-market. Top European News UK PM Johnson is reportedly determined to reverse Chancellor Sunak's planned GBP 15bln tax raid on business as he tries to firm up support following last week's confidence vote, according to The Times. UK PM Johnson is understood to have told his cabinet to 'de-escalate' the Northern Ireland Protocol stand-off with the EU, according to The Telegraph. UK exports to the EU during H1 of last year fell by 15.6% amid Brexit frictions, according to a study by Aston University cited by FT. Swiss SECO Forecasts (summer): Inflation: 2022 2.5% (prev. 1.9%), 2023 1.4% (prev. 0.7%). GDP: 2022 2.8% (prev. 3.0%), 1.6% (prev. 1.7%) Central Banks BoJ offers an additional emergency bond buying operation; to buy unlimited amounts of 10yr JGBs on June 16th & 17th at 0.25%. Fall in JGB futures has triggered a circuit breaker at the Tokyo stock exchange, via Japan Exchange Group. Japan's Securities Dealer Association's Morita says the JPY may have weakened too much, via Reuters. 8/9 members (vs. 3/9 at the May meeting) of the Times' shadow MPC believe that the BoE should raise rates by 50bps at its policy meeting tomorrow, according to the Times. FX Buck backs off from best levels into FOMC and US data awaiting confirmation of the hawkish hype or half point hike signalled pre-hot CPI; DXY slips from 105.650 peak on Tuesday into 105.380-104.700 range. Aussie rebounds on risk grounds and more aggressive RBA tightening calls, AUD/USD reclaims 0.6900+ status. Yen takes note of latest verbal intervention and Hong Kong Dollar supported by more physical HKMA buying to keep it pegged; USD/JPY sub-134.50 vs 135.50+ overnight. Euro extends recovery rally as ECB holds ad hoc meeting to discuss fragmenting debt markets and Wunsch contends that gradualism does not rule out larger than 25 bp moves; EUR/USD pops over 1.0500 from just below 1.0400 yesterday. Yuan gleans impetus from better than expected or feared Chinese industrial production and retail sales, USD/CNH nearer 6.7200 than 6.7600, USD/CNY close to 6.7100 and not far from 21 DMA at 6.6965 today. Fixed Income Decent bear market retracement in debt approaching the FOMC. Bunds up to 143.79 at best vs new 143.25 cycle low, Gilts towards top of 112.48-111.88 band and 10 year T-note closer to 115-06 than 114-10. BTPs markedly outperform after near 3 full point bounce from Tuesday close in anticipation of an anti-fragmentation tool from the ECB as GC meets for crisis talks. Commodities Currently, WTI and Brent are lower by circa. USD 1.00bbl but reside within comparably narrow ranges of around USD 2.00bbl vs, for instance, yesterday’s USD +6.00/bbl parameters. Curtailed amid COVID updates from China and Hong Kong alongside Biden's reported push for an explanation from producers over why supply isn't increasing. US President Biden has demanded an explanation from oil companies over why they are refraining from putting additional gasoline on the market and wants concrete ideas as to how they can increase supplied, according to a letter seen by Reuters. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +0.7mln (exp. -1.3mln), Cushing -1.1mln, Gasoline -2.2mln (exp. +1.1mln), Distillates +0.2mln (exp. +0.3mln) US DoE announced contract awards and issued the fourth emergency sale of crude oil from SPR (as previously announced), in which contracts were awarded to nine including Chevron (CVX), Exxon (XOM) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC). Kazakhstan has capped wheat exports at 550k tonnes and wheat flour at 370k tonnes until September 30th, according to the Agriculture Ministry, via Reuters. Spot gold derives impetus from the USD’s retreat and is now back above USD 1820/oz but still shy of yesterday’s USD 1831/oz best and the subsequent 200-, 10- & 21-DMAs ahead at USD 1842, 1843 & 1845 respectively. US Event Calendar 07:00: June MBA Mortgage Applications +6.6%, prior -6.5% 08:30: May Import Price Index YoY, est. 11.9%, prior 12.0%;  MoM, est. 1.1%, prior 0% May Export Price Index YoY, prior 18.0%; MoM, est. 1.3%, prior 0.6% 08:30: May Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.9% May Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.6% May Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.3%, prior 1.0% 08:30: June Empire Manufacturing, est. 2.2, prior -11.6 10:00: April Business Inventories, est. 1.2%, prior 2.0% 10:00: June NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 67, prior 69 14:00: June FOMC Rate Decision 16:00: April Total Net TIC Flows, prior $149.2b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap In these crazy days for markets, I'm willing to stake my reputation that I've done something in the last 24 hours that no-one else reading this did. Yes, after a business trip to Europe yesterday, I watched the original Top Gun on my iPad on the plane ride home for the very first time, some 36 years after it came out. My wife wants to watch the sequel, so I thought I ought to see what all the fuss was about. She's seen it around 20 times and always asks what I was doing in my teenage years that's made me miss all the films of her youth. The truth is I was either studying or playing cricket or golf. Not much else. My review is that it was a decent film, but Mavericks' courting technique doesn't really age very well. I'm not sure Maverick and Goose would have been able to get out of the tight spot that the Fed are in at the moment very easily. After the astonishing price action over the previous 2 business days, markets have settled somewhat over the last 24 hours, but overall have continued to struggle as they await today’s all-important Federal Reserve decision. Up until the CPI report last Friday, that decision seemed like a lock in favour of a second consecutive 50bp hike, not because that was the right move, but because the Fed had firmly guided us to such an outcome. The CPI report raised doubts as to whether they could hold that line over the summer, but the WSJ article on Monday night broke the levee as a 75bps move tonight is now suddenly pretty much consensus. Our economics team agrees and have now updated their previously street leading view to have a +75bp hike tonight followed by another +75bp increase in July. The team believes fed funds will reach 3.5% by the end of the year, and hit a terminal rate of 4.1% in Q1 2023, sooner than they thought before the WSJ story. See their full updated call, available here. As we hit this big day, markets now fully price in a 75bps hike today. Indeed, 76.3bps is priced, so that actually incorporates a small risk of 100bps, something former New York Fed President Bill Dudley was openly considering yesterday, which may have contributed to the sentiment that drove the next leg of the selloff in the New York afternoon. A total of 289bps worth of rate hikes by year-end is now priced. So quite the turnaround from a few weeks back when some were even floating the strange idea of a “pause” in September. Clearly the 75bp call is mostly based on a WSJ article so we can't be certain but you would have thought the Fed would have tried to leak out a rebuttal if that wasn't what they wanted to guide the market towards. We will see. Whilst the size of any rate hike will be the focal point, today also brings the latest dot plot from the FOMC and offers an insight into the potential pace of rate hikes over the months ahead. Our US economists expect that to undergo substantial revisions, with the median dot likely rising to 3.5% and 3.8% for 2022 and 2023 respectively. Meanwhile on the economic projections, they think they’ll also show further movements towards a “softish landing”, with growth revised lower throughout the forecast, albeit stopping short of anticipating a recession. Ahead of all that, US equities slipped to fresh lows yesterday with the S&P 500 (-0.37%) falling to its lowest closing level since January 2021. Tech stocks outperformed, in contrast to the recent trend, with the NASDAQ (+0.18%) and the FANG+ Index (+1.97%) bouncing off of recent lows. Small-caps fared less well today and the Russell 2000 (-0.39%) fell to its lowest closing level since November 2020. Over in Europe, equities similarly fell to fresh lows and the STOXX 600 (-1.26%) likewise fell to levels unseen since March 2021. Rates sold off by a smaller magnitude than the previous two sessions (low bar to clear), but an initial rally gave way to a selloff in the European afternoon that continued to gather pace into the New York close. Yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +11.3bps to a fresh post-2011 high of 3.47%, supported by a further rise in the 10yr real yield (+13.7bps) that took it up to a 3-year high of 0.82 The 2s10s curve just about clambered out of inversion territory where it’d closed on Monday, steepening by +3.8bps to end the day at just 3.6bps. But even the Fed’s preferred yield curve measure of the near-term forward spread fell to its flattest level in 3 months, even if it’s still well out of inversion territory for now. This spread will likely collapse in the months ahead. As we go to press, yields on 10yr USTs (-4.63 bps) are moving lower to 3.42% with 2yrs -5.6bps. Today’s focus may be on the Fed, but over at the ECB we had Isabel Schnabel of the Executive Board give a significant speech last night about policy fragmentation. Recall, one of the key takeaways from last week’s ECB meeting was the apparent lack of progress on anti-fragmentation tools, shining a spotlight on Schnabel’s remarks last night. As our European economists emphasised last week, Schnabel argued that any tool would be reactionary, that is in response to more spread widening. She did not offer new details of any potential tool last night, instead echoing President Lagarde that PEPP purchase flexibility would be used to ensure smooth policy transmission in the interim. However, Schnabel also re-emphasised the ECB’s commitment to ensure smooth policy transmission. That Schnabel, a relative hawk on the committee and one that has expressed trepidation about a new facility in the past, so willingly supported the idea of doing what was needed to support policy implementation was an important shift for the ECB. The language Schnabel used last night may support the notion that the spread widening seen to date may already be approaching levels inconsistent with smooth policy transmission. It may not take much more pressure for the ECB to act but we are still in the dark on how they will. Earlier in the day, Dutch central bank governor Knot made some incredibly hawkish comments, saying that if “conditions remain the same as today, we will have to raise rates by more than 0.25 points” in September, and that “our options are not necessarily limited” to a 50bps move, so openly floating the potential to move by even more, which hasn’t been something discussed by the ECB to date. European sovereign bonds sold off significantly against that backdrop, with fresh multi-year highs seen for yields on 10yr bunds (+11.9bps), OATs (+13.7bps) and BTPs (+14.9bps). Peripheral spreads hit new post-Covid highs too, with the gap between Italian and German 10yr yields widening to 241bps. And there were some significant milestones on the credit side as well, with iTraxx Crossover widening +10.4bps to a fresh 10 year high of 544bps outside of 2-months around peak covid, and in North America we saw the CDX IG spread move above 100bps in trading for the first time since April 2020, before settling back at 99.0bps. In Asia markets are mixed with the Hang Seng (+1.44%) trading up boosted by technology stocks following the Nasdaq's overnight gain. Likewise, stocks in mainland China are also higher in early trade with the Shanghai Composite (+1.41%) and CSI (+1.57%) edging higher as the economy showed a slightly better than expected recovery in May (see below). However, the Nikkei (-0.73%) and the Kospi (-1.54%) are trading lower, extending earlier session losses. Outside of Asia, US equity futures are reversing losses this morning with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.38%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.59%) trading up. Early this morning, data released showed that China’s industrial production unexpectedly rebounded +0.7% y/y in May (v/s -0.9% expected), against a drop of -2.9% in April, whilst retail sales slid -6.7% in the period, less than -7.1% projected decline and slightly better than April’s -11.1% plunge. Meanwhile, Fixed-asset investment grew +6.2% in the first 5 months of the year (v/s +6.0% expected). Elsewhere, Japan’s core machinery orders strongly beat at +10.8% m/m in April, its fastest pace in 18 months (v/s -1.3% market consensus and +7.1% in March). Yesterday we also heard that the Bank of Japan had bought a record ¥2.2tn in government notes through its fixed-rate operation as they seek to defend their yield curve target and keep 10-year JGB yields beneath their stated limit of 0.25%. This has continued to put pressure on the Yen however, which fell to a closing level of 135.47 per dollar yesterday, thus moving beneath its 2002 closing low of 134.71 and leaving it at levels unseen since 1998. We're at just above 135 this morning after a small rally back. Speaking of currencies under pressure, Bitcoin fell to a 17-month low of $21,966 yesterday, having been trading around $30,000 just prior to the CPI release on Friday. This morning it's at $21,100. Elsewhere, brent crude and WTI futures reversed mid-day gains of near 2% to close -0.90% and -1.65% lower, respectively, following reports that the Biden Administration may pose a surtax on oil company profit margins, as another sign Biden is looking high and low for potential actions to curb oil gains into this year’s mid-terms. The big moves were seen in natural gas however, where US futures were down -16.5% and European futures were up +16.12% after the operator Freeport LNG said that they aiming for a partial resumption of operations at one of their Texas export terminals in 90 days, and that full operations wouldn’t return until late 2022. That’s a longer delay than was expected, and by keeping gas in the US led to that decline in US futures and the rise in European ones. Looking at yesterday’s data, the Fed got a fresh reminder about inflation pressures from the PPI release for May, where the monthly headline gain in prices rose to +0.8% in line with expectations, up from +0.4% in April. That left the year-on-year measure at +10.8% (vs. +10.9% expected), which does mark a second consecutive decline in that measure from its peak of +11.5% in March. One positive for the Fed ahead of today’s meeting is that elements that comprise a larger share of core PCE, such as healthcare, showed some softness, but time will tell. Separately, the UK employment data saw the number of payrolled employees in May grow by +90k (vs. +70k expected), but unemployment ticked up to 3.8% in the three months to April (vs. 3.6% expected). Finally, the ZEW survey from Germany saw an improvement relative to May’s readings, with expectations up to -28.0 (vs. -26.8 expected), and the current situation up to -27.6 (vs. -31.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will likely be the aforementioned FOMC decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. There’s also an array of ECB speakers, including President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Holzmann, Nagel, Centeno, Muller, De Cos, Panetta and Knot. Otherwise, data releases include Euro Area industrial production for April, US retail sales for May, the NAHB housing market index for June and the Empire State manufacturing survey for June. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/15/2022 - 07:53.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 15th, 2022

Women in Real Estate: It’s Time to ‘Play to Win’

In the wake of the pandemic, new challenges as well as new opportunities have arisen for women, and many new lessons have been learned. To honor Women’s History Month, we talked to some of the industry’s top female thought leaders to gauge the current state of women in real estate, including how far we’ve come, […] The post Women in Real Estate: It’s Time to ‘Play to Win’ appeared first on RISMedia. In the wake of the pandemic, new challenges as well as new opportunities have arisen for women, and many new lessons have been learned. To honor Women’s History Month, we talked to some of the industry’s top female thought leaders to gauge the current state of women in real estate, including how far we’ve come, and how much progress remains to be made. Candace Adams President & CEO Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England/Westchester/New York/ Hudson Valley Properties Helen Hanna Casey President & CEO Howard Hanna Real Estate Services   Sherry Chris President & CEO Realogy Expansion Brands   Lacey Conway CEO Latter & Blum   Bess Freedman CEO Brown Harris Stevens   Kymber Menkiti Regional Director, Keller Williams; President, Keller Williams Capital Properties   Teresa Palacios Smith  Chief Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Officer HomeServices of America   Desiree Patno CEO NAWRB/Women in the Housing & Real Estate Ecosystem   Jeanette Schneider President RE/MAX of Southeastern Michigan   Michael Saunders Founder & CEO Michael Saunders & Company   Sue Yannaccone President & CEO Realogy Franchise Group   What new challenges have women in real estate faced since the onset of the pandemic? Teresa Palacios Smith: According to a McKinsey study, the COVID-19 pandemic heightened the large and small inequalities—both at work and at home—that women face daily. This was true for women in real estate as they now had the added financial and emotional stress, along with the uncertainty of what the future held.  Women took on the primary role of managing home life and taking care of other family members while operating their real estate business. Women had to also adapt to a new way of doing business. From learning new technology, conducting virtual open houses, inspections and closings to keeping updated on government and institutional programs, combined with the emotional toll of not being able to visit relatives, parents and grandparents, additional challenges were created for women in all facets of business. Michael Saunders: The pandemic has had long-term repercussions on women, who were disproportionately affected. Not only did women have to be wage-earners, they had to handle childcare and remote schooling. I think women took on the psychological ownership of the impact of the pandemic on the family. I don’t think any of us are unscarred by the pandemic. We have carried it with us. Sue Yannaccone: Needless to say, every professional needed to adapt to the initial jolt of remote work in 2020, balancing both their professional goals and personal wellbeing. But, the reality remains that women disproportionately juggle homelife responsibilities, and that dynamic was exacerbated by the shift to work-from-home. Far too often, women assume the daily household duties or are expected to be the primary caregivers for their children or elders, all while tending to the demands of the workplace. We have a long way to go in dismantling the structural and cultural practices that are at the core of this inequity, but women in real estate stood at the forefront of a historic year for the real estate market, in which we witnessed numerous record-breaking efforts from women brokers, agents and leaders. Sherry Chris: The pandemic really brought to the forefront what it’s like for working women with children. Women with children faced the challenge of navigating childcare and virtual school while adapting their work routines and responsibilities to ensure continuity with clients, all while adhering to safety guidelines. In addition, women had to find ways to stay connected and relevant to their spheres, which took tremendous time and energy, coupled with the overall stress and anxiety of living in a pandemic. I would also say that in some cases, women had to take a back seat and put their careers on hold to care for their children. Bess Freedman: A lot of women lost their jobs because they couldn’t focus on everything. They pulled themselves out of the workforce to support their children’s mental health and academics, to shoulder most of the burden of unpaid work that men never do. During the pandemic, so many women had to take their focus off of work and career. Women got hurt so much more than men during the pandemic. Despite the challenges, have pandemic times opened up new opportunities for women in real estate? Helen Hanna Casey: Absolutely! This has just been amazing, what we have learned and mastered. The opportunities that were available to learn and grow were greater during the pandemic than any other time we have experienced. Women seized the moment!  We had more of our REALTORS® engaged in Hanna University, Martech Training and general learning experiences. Women relied on each other, which they have always done, but even more so during the pandemic. Today, as a result, they are better equipped to handle the needs of everyone around them, but their skill sets in social media, digital marketing and virtual open houses have catapulted everyone so far beyond what any of us could have imagined our capabilities even being. Candace Adams: The pandemic has caused extreme stress and anxiety, and women tend to be more emotionally intelligent and caregiving. Those qualities became critical in leadership and have opened pathways for women to advance in their industries, providing a more balanced work environment. Jeanette Schneider: Women have been able to grow their production as an individual or by growing a team. The pandemic has many women looking for career opportunities that are flexible. I have seen women who have been in car sales or teaching entering real estate as a career, and they have skills that can transfer very nicely into the real estate industry. We have seen women take on broker and ownership roles over the past couple of years or expand their business through mergers with other companies. Women have also found or expanded their voice in real estate—and by this, I mean embracing video to communicate and engage with past clients, sphere of influence and others. Desiree Patno: There has been a new sense of awareness to help dig deeper to understand some of the issues that have plagued our industry for decades. Women are stepping up and creating more startup companies with alternative ways to capitalize on the real estate market. From investing, creative management services and niche real estate verticals, including the metaverse, women are turning the dial outside of the normal traditional marketplace. Lacey Conway: COVID made us all take a hard look at career and health—some checked out and others dug in. There is an awareness of the need for women in real estate and leadership, and a big opportunity for women to step up. I also think shifts in workplace flexibility and more control over schedules due to remote work have been challenges, but created opportunities for many. Kymber Menkiti: In some ways, women have more advantages because we’ve been balancing and juggling well before the pandemic. So women have risen to the occasion because we already had the ability to manage under stress and pressure. I’ve certainly seen women rise to the occasion and really lead with feminine leadership. We need this, especially in times of difficulty and uncertainty. This has given women a competitive opportunity. The ability to be remote allowed the ability to flex into roles that maybe would’ve been harder to attain. In the last 24 months, less networking happened on the golf course, and this allowed women to be more present in networking opportunities. Sherry Chris: Many women joined real estate because of a career change precipitated by COVID. Now they are firmly in control of their career and earnings, working in an environment that offers work-life balance flexibility. Today, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports that 65% of real estate professionals are women, and 60% of brokers are women. We’ve added a number of women-owned companies to our networks this past year, many of them former team leaders who took the next step in starting a brokerage. What are some of the most impressive advancements for women in the industry that you’ve witnessed over the past couple of years?   Bess Freedman: I would love to pretend that I thought there were advancements. I don’t believe that there have been. As I look around our industry, I see that the owners of most companies are all men. I’m CEO, but I work for a chairman and owner who are men. There are no female developers. VC and hedge funds are all men. Women don’t have a big enough stake in real estate. There are incredible opportunities for growth for women—we have to keep pushing. Men need to open the door and encourage some new blood in that environment. We need men to coach them along, to mentor them. Michael Saunders: There hasn’t been enough advancement for women in the industry. If you look at national franchises and state associations, it’s predominantly still men at the top. And more than ever, women want to control their professional and financial destiny. I think that women naturally have the skills that are paramount to being successful. We have a long way to go and much to do, but I do think that everyone from NAR to state organizations to LeadingRE and Luxury Portfolio have focused on tracks for leadership development for women. Teresa Palacios Smith: With the backdrop of a global pandemic, a record number of women within the HomeServices family of companies were elevated to top positions. Women have taken on more leadership roles within the real estate industry. There have only been seven women who have led the National Association of REALTORS® in its 115-year history, and this past November, Leslie Rouda Smith took the helm as president for the largest trade organization in the world. Leslie explained during a recent conversation on the Facebook series “Women Who Lead” that for the first time in the history of NAR, there are more women than men on the leadership team. Candace Adams: We’ve seen a heightened sensitivity to equality in general in the last few years, and women have been among the beneficiaries of the light shining on diversity and inclusion. Women represent approximately 67% of the country’s real estate agents; however, leadership is not representative of that. In the past, men have mainly dominated leadership roles, but in the last few years, we have seen significant improvement in the opportunities available to women, and more and more are sitting in the C-suites. Helen Hanna Casey: Personally, I think real estate sales, brokerage, residential, commercial, mortgage banking, insurance and title have always been ripe for women successes. For over 70 years, women have helped shape our industry.  As the industry grows, we need more bright, multi-talented women to open new doors to new potential for all of us. At Howard Hanna, we believe we have created opportunities for women since our founding. Certainly, we have seen the number of women executives growing year after year. They are CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CLOs, CMOs, CGROs and presidents, and that is just at Howard Hanna. With the baby boomer generation aging and retiring, there will be even more opportunities for women leaders, opportunities for the best and the brightest that want to win! Kymber Menkiti: I feel like we have a lot of work to do. One of the things I’m seeing more, is men calling attention to the need for women and diversity in general in their leadership. At the end of the day, it’s going to be up to the male-dominated leadership in our industry. You have to change the people who are in front of you. If you don’t change who’s in front of you, we’ll continue that constant cycle. I became the first Black regional president for Keller Williams. We had White guys there for a long time. They had to look up and make sure they were drawing from a diverse pool—that was their intentionality. They have to be more intentional about tapping the shoulders of women and saying, ‘hey, are you interested?’ The other issue is being able to find other women leaders as mentors. It’s a pretty empty path in our industry. Lacey Conway: Impressive women in real estate are not something new, although I am delighted that they are being recognized more and more. I was so pleased to see Sue Yannaccone take on the role of CEO for Realogy Franchise Group and Christy Budnick named CEO of  Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices—both big roles and big promotions. I also like to witness women like Michael Saunders and Helen Hanna Casey be recognized for their major roles, but acknowledging their longevity, contributions and continued success in this business. How are you addressing diversity in your firm? What advice would you share with other real estate leaders for addressing diversity issues?   Sue Yannaccone: What Moves Her, an effort that I launched in 2020 to support women’s paths to leadership in real estate, has reached over 5,000 women in the industry through its programming. Ascend, our educational course for training our next generation of broker/owners, has more than doubled its participation from aspiring minority leaders. Meanwhile, our Inclusive Ownership Program has onboarded dozens of new diverse franchise owners in recent years, providing the support infrastructure, mentorship and financial incentives to empower more minority entrepreneurs in our industry. My advice to other leaders in our industry who are seeking to address diversity issues: Ensure that your efforts are designed to make a genuine impact. The unfortunate, under-discussed aspect of the business world’s newfound focus on diversity is that it often results in symbolic gestures to “check a box.” We can’t solve the myriad injustices across racial, ethnic and gender lines with a broad-brush approach; your solutions should be targeted and prescriptive. Jeanette Schneider: You can learn a lot from being willing to have a conversation and learn from others. We don’t all have the same life experiences, and being willing to really listen to other points of view can change your approach to things moving forward. RE/MAX has been a sponsor of the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA) for five years, and in 2021, we participated in the Diversity and Fair Housing Summit that was part of the AREAA event. RE/MAX also led the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals’ (NAHREP) list of top Latino agents. We look for opportunities to be part of organizations that support diversity. Kymber Menkiti: Keller Williams added a head of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, Julia Lashay Israel. They were able to identify a strong female leader of color who was in the agent base and has now come to be in the C-suite. Also, our free real estate school, which was birthed out of our social equity taskforce, was a way to level the playing field for women and people of color. I also founded an organization called Her Best Life, to amplify the voice of women in leadership in business. We need to come together and create these tribes where we feel connected and pour into other women. I live by the mantra, “lift while you climb.” Helen Hanna Casey: We have always been involved in community outreach to diverse populations. I think it is important that women themselves take leadership roles within those community organizations as examples to their companies. Our COO, Annie Hanna Cestra, has chaired the Urban League of Pittsburgh and been its Chair of Development for many years. We as a company are involved in the national Dress for Success campaign, which provides much more than clothes. On the educational forefront, it is imperative that we offer training and education on diversity and inclusion to help overcome unconscious bias within our daily lives. Education is also important to our communities, so we have funded scholarships through the educational promise, urban leagues, University of Pittsburgh and John Carroll University, in addition to funding women’s colleges in our markets. Teresa Palacios Smith: At HomeServices, we are committed to a robust education plan for our leaders, employees and network agents, which includes training on implicit bias, inclusive language and NAR’s (seven-hour) At Home with Diversity Course. I am proud to say that, beginning with our CEO, Gino Blefari, 100% of the HomeServices-owned companies’ leadership participated in all our seminars and classes. We also have continued partnerships with national organizations such as AREAA, NAHREP and NAREB. We are committed to bringing more women into leadership roles, supporting the work of organizations like NAWRB, Professional Women in Building (NAHB-PWB) and the Women’s Council of REALTORS®, along with a Facebook and podcast series “Women Who Lead.” We are also proud to be a founding sponsor of the LGBTQ+ Real Estate Alliance and work closely to expand our Veteran workforce by partnering with VAREP. What advice would you share with women aspiring to advance their careers in the real estate industry? Candace Adams: My advice to anyone wanting to advance their careers in real estate is to first be knowledgeable, educated and an expert in the industry. Understanding the many facets of the business, from sales to operations, can help foundation a career for growth. Be yourself, be confident and actively search for new opportunities. Michael Saunders: Be bold! Be curious! Have a strong set of values, stay focused and be really determined. Don’t let anyone deter you from your goals. Core values are critical and should be a guiding light of every woman. Don’t be afraid to take risks. Bess Freedman: Most importantly for women, I encourage them to shift their mindset. Instead of playing not to lose, play to win. Understand your value. So often we hear women say things like, “I was afraid to ask for a raise or a promotion.” It’s intimidating. But be clear about what your worth is, and know what you want. Men do it every day. Women need to stop tip-toeing and stop saying sorry. Lacey Conway: Go for it, and make it your own. It’s okay to grow into your role. Plenty of studies have shown that men tend to run after opportunities when they open up, whether they’re qualified or not… whereas women tend to feel like they aren’t qualified even when they clearly are. When it comes to pursuing a career in real estate, I feel like women could do themselves a favor by reaching higher even when they might not feel ready. When we wait and wait and wait, we fall into the mindset that we’re not “yet” qualified, that we need just one more year of experience, one more leadership class, etc. These are just ways we trick ourselves into playing small. Sherry Chris: Women with aspirations of leadership should strategically network to create an extended team of counselors and advisors that can be called upon at any time. It’s also essential to understand you can’t be a superhero—for women with competing responsibilities, you have to compartmentalize. Being able to maximize and optimize time spent on work and other aspects of life lets you be fully present at all times. Sue Yannaccone: The path to leadership isn’t the same for everyone, and it’s never a straight line. Your aspirations should start with goals for your own personal growth, like accepting new challenges and learning more about your industry, rather than an end result, like becoming CEO or achieving a certain salary. With the benefit of hindsight, I can see that I was unknowingly defining my path to leadership the entire time through the ways in which I accepted new opportunities with a focus on immersing myself in the work. I allowed myself to adapt my passion and leadership style in real-time, rather than predefining an outcome. Helen Hanna Casey: Learn. Try new things. Ask questions. Seek mentors, both men and women, and remember that there are opportunities that you may not realize exist unless you look. In today’s workforce, there are specialties in every form of what we do. Develop and strengthen your own talents, and know what they are. As REALTORS®, we are the greatest negotiators in the world, yet writers and academics indicate that women do not know how to ask for the order, negotiate or brag about themselves. I do not think they have studied women REALTORS®! Our future leaders are among us, they just need to make themselves known. Desiree Patno: Follow your heart, passion and drive, never give up! If you have conviction, it will happen. Teresa Palacios Smith: Seek areas where you can expand your knowledge of the business, focus on your strengths and sharpen areas where you may not feel as comfortable. Be open to constructive criticism, and take the time to improve those areas so that you develop and expand your capabilities. When the opportunity arises for you to step into a new role where you can advance and learn a new area, or leap into a new venture, go for it, even if you are scared to death. Jeanette Schneider: Be present and use your voice. Show up to meetings and events where you get to meet people and expand your network and make it a point to engage in conversation with both people you know and those you don’t yet know. Don’t be afraid to be heard at these meetings. Find a mentor who can share their experience and provide some guidance. Kymber Menkiti: Every time you state what you want, don’t put a ceiling on yourself. Name what you want. You have to be very comfortable being uncomfortable. Women are much more calculated and need to know they’ll succeed before they jump in. You need to step outside of that and just jump in. Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her with your real estate news ideas, maria@rismedia.com. The post Women in Real Estate: It’s Time to ‘Play to Win’ appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaMar 16th, 2022

Ten Strategies To Guide Teens About Money

How many times have you heard somebody say that they wish they had learned about money earlier? Maybe you’ve even said the phrase yourself. Wished you had a better financial education from the start so you could avoid some of the hefty mistakes that we can pay for well into our adult life. Well, you […] How many times have you heard somebody say that they wish they had learned about money earlier? Maybe you’ve even said the phrase yourself. Wished you had a better financial education from the start so you could avoid some of the hefty mistakes that we can pay for well into our adult life. Well, you cannot go back in time, but you can make sure the teenagers in your life learn these lessons early on – and get to avoid the costly pitfalls. This might not feel like the most exciting subject to a teenager, but it might just be the best gift you can give them. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more By getting their finances off to a great start they can benefit from things such as budgeting skills, larger savings, fewer debts, and compound interest. And just by having a thorough financial education, they’ll be more equipped to avoid common money mistakes and make smarter financial choices. These are the ten best ways to guide teens about money in 2022. Give them a monthly allowance One of the first things you can do to help your teenagers learn about money is to give them a monthly allowance. That means instead of them coming to the bank of mom and dad every time they need something, they get a monthly amount to budget themselves and decide what is a priority or not. It’s up to you whether you want to equate this monthly allowance to specific chores around the house, or to rules such as ‘going to their violin lessons’ or ‘getting B’s and above at school’, for example. If your teenager struggles with motivation then adding a financial reward can be a good way to incentivize them, and teach them how good it feels to earn your own money. Alternatively, the concept of an allowance can also just be an agreed monthly payment, that usually increases with age. Encourage them to get a part-time job or side hustle One of the greatest money lessons you can give a teenager is the skill of discipline and hard work. By having this ingrained from a young age, they’ll naturally grow a better appreciation and understanding of money than somebody who doesn’t start working until much later in life. Having a part-time job, whether that’s after school, on the weekends, or during the school holidays, also teaches valuable social skills and can grow them as an individual. Popular part-time jobs for teens The responsibility and grind that comes with a part-time job will quickly be rewarded when your teenagers start earning their very own income. However small, having your own money is an exciting time and for teenagers with little costs, this can vastly improve their quality of life. Retail Hospitality Lifeguard Babysitting Delivering newspapers Fast food server Side hustle ideas for teenagers The teenage years are the perfect time to start a side hustle because you have free time and no responsibilities. Without the fear of failure hanging over your teenagers, they can afford to spend time experimenting and trying out what side hustles they enjoy most before they have bills to consider. They’ll also learn valuable entrepreneurial skills, and if they do well could create the beginnings of a business to continue in years to come. Tutoring other children at their school Creating a blog or Youtube channel Teaching languages online Selling physical products Digital products online with unique selling proposition Guide them about budgets One of the first financial lessons you need to guide your teen is how to budget. No amount of money earned makes up for a lack of budgeting, because until one has control of where their money goes it can leave as quickly as it came. As John Maxwell said, “A budget is telling your money where to go, instead of wondering where it went.” For this reason, budgeting is something your teen needs to understand before they go off into the world and start making their own money. Ideally, you would start teaching them about budgets during childhood with their allowance or money they’re gifted. Teaching them simple lessons of prioritization, and when they get to the store to spend their money making sure they stick to the agreed budget and not caving and topping up their funds for them when it comes down to it. If your child doesn’t have money of their own yet, you can try getting them involved with the family budget. Not only will this give them a greater appreciation for the things they have, but it’ll prepare them for the day they need to budget for their only family. Play games that involve financial strategy One of the most fun ways to introduce your teenager to the world of finance is to play games that involve financial strategy. Learning is easier and less intimidating when there’s an element of play involved, and even particularly reluctant teens won’t be able to resist getting involved. Games that teach money lessons Pay Day The Allowance Game Monopoly Risk The Game of Life The Stock Exchange Game Explain taxes Many of us didn’t learn about taxes until we left school and started working. Or in some cases, not even then. Poor education around tax can result in missed payments, painful fines, bad credit scores, and a lot of headaches. So teaching your teen about taxes earlier rather than later is definitely not a bad idea. One of the first things you can teach your teens is why taxes exist in the first place. Explain how taxes benefit us in our everyday lives and make the world a safer, fairer place. By drumming this in from an early age, you can make sure your teen is responsible with their taxpaying and feels proud of the contributions they can make to society instead of resentful. Make sure your teens know that tax is not optional, despite what they might see online. Give them a bank account Putting away the piggybank and getting a bank account is an exciting moment in anyone’s life and will make your teen feel very grown-up and responsible. The more you can involve them in the process of choosing a bank and account type, the better. Many banks offer sign-up incentives and other benefits, such as cashback on purchases. Teaching your teens how to make the most of these from an early age will result in savvy spenders later on. By using online banking, your teens will improve their financial literacy and be better prepared for when they don’t have you around to help. Take some time to go through their bank of choices app with them, explaining how to read a statement, set up direct debits, and make payments. This will give them a chance to ask questions and you can test them on the different features. Warning: with money-making scams more prevalent than ever, this is a good time to give your teen a talk about online safety and not transferring money without your permission. If you have any concerns about this, consider agreeing to shared access of your teen’s online banking to make sure they’re not in any danger.   Explain how investing works You will rarely meet a person who doesn’t wish they began investing earlier. Making your money work for you is an exciting prospect, even to an unassuming teen, but many are too intimidated to start until much later in life- Says Stefan F. Dieffenbacher, Founder of Digital Leadership Encouraging your teen to start investing a portion of their income (whether that comes from a part-time job, business, allowance, or gifts) is a great way to set them up for success in the future. Because investing comes with a risk, teens should be given a thorough introduction to the world of investing before they commit to any serious amount of money. Teens may be more susceptible to un fact-checked social media posts and what their friends tell them which can cause problems when you team that with the impulsivity and lack of financial education many young people have. So, this is your opportunity (and responsibility) to ensure your teens know exactly what they’re getting into and understand all the possibilities beforehand. Investing topics to discuss with teenagers Compound interest. Make sure your teenagers understand compound interest and how beneficial it could be to them to start their investing journey early. Diversification. Let your teenager know about all the different ways they can invest their money and how to create a diverse portfolio to balance the risk. Patience. Explain the concept of ‘buy and hold’ and make teenagers aware that there is no such thing as a quick buck when it comes to investing. Consume financial education resources together If you don’t feel like you have all the answers to share with your teenagers, then try consuming financial content together. This could be as simple as listening to finance podcasts in the car or scrolling through money tips on Tiktok together, and it can be a great way to introduce new topics to discuss and research further. Teenagers don’t like to feel like they’re being lectured to, so finding a way to make it entertaining or using up dead time is a great way to inspire them to learn more in a fun, less formal way. By making the most of all the great financial resources out there you’re also introducing a wider range of financial advice and insights than any one person could possibly give. A well-rounded financial education needs to come from varied sources and people from different backgrounds and walks of life. Free financial content to consume with your teenager The Financial Diet The Ramsey Show Millennial Investing Afford Anything Girls That Invest The Diary of a CEO You Need a Budget Simple Money Save Live Thrive The Broken Wallet The Break Platform Teach them about debt You cannot teach your teenager about money without giving them an education on debt. Whether your family deals with debt or not, it’s important that your teenagers understand the role debt has in society and how this affects people. Instead of demonizing all debt and making teenagers feel like this is something to be feared (because this will result in feelings of shame and hiding debt in the future) you can educate them on the different types, the ways it can be utilized, and the types to avoid. Debt topics to discuss with teenagers Credit card debt. At the same time, you can teach your teenager about credit scores and the effects this has on their future financial choices. Student loans. If it’s likely your teenager will have to take on a student loan to attend college, make sure they’re aware of how this might affect their future as well as variants that could lower this impact, such as community college and scholarships. Car payments. Many teenagers want to get a car as soon as possible, but make sure they understand the difference between owning a car outright and leasing one – and which option might be best for them. Debt repayment strategies. While you might not want to imagine a world where your teenager is struggling to get out of debt, it’s important to be realistic and prepare them for ways to repay any debt they incur as responsibly as possible. Mortgage. The one kind of debt that most people can expect to have in their lifetime. The sooner you can teach young people about mortgages and the house buying process, the sooner they can start making the right steps towards this. Interest. Make sure to teach your teenagers how interest varies from debt to debt, so they can spot those sneaky high-interest repayments that can cause a vicious cycle to incur. Watch financial tv shows together If your teenager starts yawning whenever you bring up money management strategies, you may need to meet them somewhere in the middle. Start small by suggesting TV shows you can watch together that are entertaining and involve money lessons. This way they’ll still be learning but feel less intimidated because they’ll be in the comfort of their living room. You can use the time afterward to initiate wider conversations around the topics mentioned, let them ask any questions, and use this as an ice-breaking technique. TV shows and films that teach money lessons Shark Tank The Apprentice The Wolf of Wall Street The Profit The Pursuit of Happyness Dirty Money Bonus Tip- Discuss retirement options Your teen probably doesn’t spend much time thinking about retirement, especially if they haven’t entered the world of work just yet. However, you can never start too early with these things, and getting a good understanding of their retirement options will help them make choices now that their future selves will be very grateful for. If your teen struggles to grasp the concept of retirement then you could draw upon some examples of retirees in their lives, like grandparents and great grandparents. The retirement options you’ll discuss with your teen will depend on what country you live in, so we won’t deep dive into this here, but you might want to chat about the following: What retirement is and why do people need money for their old age The age people tend to retire, and the concept of FIRE (financial independence retire early) How much money they might need to have a good quality of life in retirement The importance of compound interest and getting started early Company benefits and advantageous pension schemes to look out for Saving for retirement as a self-employed person What is a 401k and the tax benefits that come with it Final words I hope you found these eleven strategies to guide teens about money helpful. You have an incredibly important opportunity to make a difference in somebody’s life by giving them these insights, and they’ll one day be very grateful that you took the time to impart this knowledge to them. At the same time, it’s okay not to be a complete financial expert. Be honest with teenagers about what you do and don’t know, and don’t be afraid to share your mistakes with them. They’ll appreciate your honesty and vulnerability, and understand that it’s how we rectify our financial mistakes that matter most. Teaching teenagers about money is also a great way to brush up on your own financial education, assess the choices you’re making, and be the best role model that you can be. Happy teaching! Article by Melissa Won, Due About the Author 9 years digital marketing experience with leading multinational company. Proven track record in handling several brands targeting different consumer groups. Updated on Jun 16, 2022, 3:50 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkJun 16th, 2022

Check out 18 pitch decks that legal-tech startups used to raise millions

Insider has collected legal-tech pitch decks that startup founders used to nab VC funding. See decks from Contractbook, Evisort, Disco and more. The legal-tech space raised more than $1 billion in 2021.Samantha Lee/Insider Funding for legal tech surpassed $1 billion in 2021.  VC firms, private equity, and even traditional law players are pouring money in.  Check out these 18 pitch decks for examples of how legal-tech startup founders sold their vision.  See more stories on Insider's business page. As law firms and their clients seek to digitize and streamline work, VCs have been opening their wallets to the growing legal-tech space. The total value of deals in the global legal-tech market through the end of the third quarter of 2021 clocked in at $1.47 billion — far surpassing the $607 million figure from all of 2020, according to data from PitchBook.PE firms invested upwards of a record-breaking $7 billion in legal tech and outsourced legal services in 2021, according to estimates by JEGI. The figure is likely to be larger, since many PE firms don't disclose their deal numbers.Here's a look at our legal-tech pitch deck collection.PaladinKristen Sonday, Paladin's co-founder and chief executive officer.Courtesy of Sonday.Paladin, which pitches itself as an innovator in the emerging field of "justice tech," has a pro bono management platform that it hopes will revolutionize how law firms and corporate legal departments engage with legal-services groups.The company offers free versions of its tools to legal-services companies. The platform is meant to streamline communications between the pro bono departments of law firms or corporate legal departments and the outside groups looking for those services, according to co-founder Kristen Sonday.Its Series A round was led by World Within, an impact fund based in Atlanta, with other investors including Mark Cuban and Hyde Park Ventures. Investors also include Vamos Ventures, C2 Ventures, and Sorenson Institute.See the 14-slide pitch deck that helped the pro bono tech startup Paladin score an $8 million Series A DellaChristopher Frerebeau, founder and CEO of DellaDellaContract review startup Della announced in March that it raised a $2.5 million seed round, led by Pragmatech Ventures.Founded in 2018, the London-based startup uses artificial intelligence to help lawyers review contracts faster. The startup wants to enable businesses to become less reliant on law firms for low-value tasks, and founder Christopher Frerebeau sees a large demand for those services.Legal-tech startup Della used this 14-page pitch deck to raise $2.5 million in seed fundingProof Technology Eric Voogt, a longtime trial lawyer, founded Proof Technology.Proof TechnologyProof Technology, a service of process and e-discovery platform, announced in March 2022 that it had raised $7 million in Series A funding. Blue Heron Capital and the LegalTech Fund led the round.In 2017, longtime trial lawyer Eric Voogt founded Proof because he grew frustrated with an inability to provide legal services to the 80% of Americans who can't afford them.The legal-tech startup streamlines the first stages of the litigation process, helping law firms deliver complaints and subpoenas to parties of a lawsuit more quickly and cheaply.Here's the 14-page pitch deck that legal-tech startup Proof Technology used to raise a $7 million Series ANew Era ADRRich Lee, New Era ADR's CEO and cofounder.New Era ADRNew Era ADR, an alternative dispute-resolution platform, raised $4.6 million in seed funding led by NextView Ventures.New Era helps companies handle large legal disputes virtually, from filing a case to uploading documents during discovery. The company hopes to drive efficiency and predictability by providing set timelines and fixed fees, which are split among the parties. An expedited arbitration of 60 days costs $10,000, and a standard arbitration of 100 days costs $35,000.See the 13-page pitch deck legal-disputes startup New Era ADR used to nab $4.6 million in seed fundingJustpointJustpoint founder Victor Bornstein.JustpointJustpoint, a legal-tech startup that matches personal injury victims with lawyers, raised an additional $6.9 million in a seed extension round led by Divergent Capital and Charge Ventures.Founded in 2018, Justpoint uses artificial intelligence to help personal injury claimants find the best lawyers suited to their case.Founder Victor Bornstein came up with the idea after struggling to consistently find high-quality lawyers for his family, who he said have been victims of human rights violations like political persecution not once, but five times.Here's the 15-page pitch deck that landed personal injury lawyer startup Justpoint an extra $6.9 million in seed fundingTime by PingRyan Alshak, CEO and cofounder of Time by PingTime by PingLegal-tech startup Time by Ping announced in March 2022 that it raised $36.5 million for its Series B.Ryan Alshak, an attorney, and Kourosh Zamani, a business executive, founded the company in 2016 as a way to help lawyers and other professionals automate the cumbersome timekeeping process. Time by Ping integrates with commonly used programs like Microsoft Suite, email, Slack, and internet browsers to track how much lawyers spend on each task. It then automatically creates time entries using natural language processing and machine learning, and presents that data in a dashboard.Here's the 22-page pitch deck that legal timekeeping startup Time by Ping used to nab a $36.5 million Series BLegal.ioLegal.io is a legal hiring marketplace for enterprise companies.Legal.ioLegal.io, a hiring marketplace for legal talent, announced in March it raised a $11.6 million Series A round led by Tiger Global.Founded in 2015 by a former DLA Piper lawyer, Legal.io helps large enterprise companies like Zoom, Medallia, and Nextdoor hire lawyers and other legal professionals. It has over 40 enterprise customers, and 70% of those are publicly listed companies with legal departments, according to Pieter Gunst, the startup's founder and CEO.Legal.io was founded on the thesis that as online networks like LinkedIn become more mature, there was a greater need for industry-specific hiring platforms. The startup is geared toward the needs of the legal industry, especially as lawyers are increasingly eyeing nontraditional paths away from Big Law.Here's the 17-page pitch deck legal-job marketplace Legal.io used to impress Tiger Global and raise an $11.6 million Series APainWorthMike Zouhri and Chris Trudel, the cofounders of PainWorth.Darren Jacknisky/Bluefish StudiosPainWorth, a personal injury claim tool, raised a $1.7 million ($2.1 CAD) seed round in December 2021.Founded in 2019, the Canadian startup combs through cases and other data to help personal injury victims calculate how much their claims are worth.PainWorth's cofounder Mike Zouhri came up with the idea after being hit by a drunk driver in early 2019. Growing frustrated by the lack of clarity from personal injury lawyers, many of whom refuse to give any useful information until a prospective client signs a contract that binds them to a hefty fee, Zouhri decided to make his own tool to help figure out the value of his claim.Check out the 13-page pitch deck that legal-tech startup PainWorth used to nab $1.7 million for its seed roundLawtradesRaad Ahmed, founder and CEO of Lawtrades.Leonard OkporLawtrades, an online hiring marketplace for freelance legal work, raked in $6 million for its Series A in December 2021.In 2016, Raad Ahmed and Ashish Walia, both former lawyers, created an easy, all-in-one app for companies to hire legal talent. A growing number of white-collar professionals have been leaving their companies in droves in search of better work-life balance, flexibility, and personal fulfillment. Lawtrades has more than 1,000 freelance lawyers, paralegals, and other legal specialists on its network, Ahmed said.Companies can use Lawtrades' matchmaking algorithm to find legal talent for specific engagements, and can use built-in calendar, video conference, and time-tracking features to manage the project from start to finish. Hiring lawyers through Lawtrades is also much cheaper than hiring one from a Big Law firm. Lawtrades lawyers cost companies around $150 to $250 an hour, depending on the practice area. Here's the futuristic 24-page pitch deck that landed legal freelancing app Lawtrades a $6-million Series ACourtCorrectLudwig Bull, who founded CourtCorrect in 2019.CourtCorrectCourtCorrect, which helps individuals and businesses submit and manage civil cases, snapped up $2.95 million (£2.2 million) in seed round funding in November 2021.Founded in 2019 in London, the legal-tech startup brings together claimants, defendants, lawyers, and judges into a single platform, where they can bring cases and reach resolutions without having to go to court.Investors included RLC Ventures, Ascension Ventures (UK), and The Twenty Minute VC. Visionaries Club and other angel investors also participated in the round.See the 12-page pitch deck that landed legal-tech startup CourtCorrect nearly $3 million in seed fundingMalbekHemanth Puttaswamy, CEO and co-founder of Malbek.MalbekMalbek, which helps companies' legal, sales, and finance teams manage and analyze their contracts, announced in September 2021 that it raised $15.3 million for its Series A.Contract lifecycle management, or CLM, has been red-hot in the legal-tech space. Of the $1.4 billion invested in legal-tech during the first half of 2021, almost a quarter was snapped up by six contract companies, including Ironclad, Contractbook, and Icertis. SoftBank recently led the $115 million Series C for ContractPodAi, another CLM company.Founded in 2017, Malbek helps these departments through the entire contracting process, from drafting contracts with optimal terms through tracking contractual obligations after they're signed.The Series A was led by Atlanta-based Noro-Moseley Partners, which invests in early-growth tech and healthcare companies. TDF Ventures and Osage Venture Partners also participated in the round.This 11-page pitch deck scored a contract-management startup $15.3 million for its Series AContractPodAiSoftBank founder Masa Son.Reuters/Issei KatoA startup looking to streamline how companies handle contracts nabbed an investment from one of the world's most high-profile investors in a nod to the rising interest in legal tech.  ContractPodAi, which helps in-house legal teams automate and manage their contracts, raised a $115 million Series C in late September 2021 led by SoftBank. The round quintupled ContractPodAi's valuation since its last funding round in 2019, though the company declined to disclose specific valuation numbers.The investment came from SoftBank's Vision Fund 2. Its predecessor, the original $100 billion megafund Vision Fund, has invested in dozens of household names including WeWork, Uber, and DoorDash. While some of the fund's bets were wildly successful, others fell short of expectations.ContractPodAi is the first legal-tech investment by either of SoftBank's Vision Funds.Here's the 7-page pitch deck that legal-tech startup ContractPodAi used to convince SoftBank's Masa Son to lead its $115 million Series CJus MundiJean-Rémi de Maistre, CEO and co-founder of Jus Mundi.Jus MundiJus Mundi, an AI-powered legal search engine for international law and arbitration, snapped up $10 million for its Series A in September 2021.In 2019, Jean-Rémi de Maistre, a former lawyer at the International Court of Justice, co-launched the company after realizing how hard it was to conduct research for cross-border legal cases.Paris-based Jus Mundi raised a €1 million ($1.17 USD) seed round in March 2020, spurring a fivefold growth in annual recurring revenue over the span of 2020, according to the company. Its most recent $10 million Series A was led by C4 Ventures, a European VC firm founded by Pascal Cagni, a former head of Apple Europe. The VC firm has also invested in hot-ticket companies like Foursquare, Nest, and Via.Here's the 16-page pitch deck that landed legal research company Jus Mundi a $10 million Series ALawVuLawVu co-founders Tim Boyne and Sam Kidd.LawVuLawVu, an end-to-end software platform for in-house legal teams, snapped up a $17 million Series A in August 2021.Founded in 2015, the New Zealand-based startup enables companies' in-house lawyers to manage contracts, documents, billing, and more on one platform. The funding round was led by the private-equity firm Insight Partners, which has invested in other legal-tech companies like DocuSign, Kira Systems, and ContractPodAI, as well as big-ticket businesses like Twitter, Shopify, and Hello Fresh. AirTree Ventures, an Australia-based venture-capital firm, co-led the Series A.See the 12-page pitch deck that LawVu, a startup that wants to be Salesforce for lawyers, used to nab $17 million from investors like Insight PartnersAthennianAthennian's CEO and founder, Adrian Camara.AthennianAthennian, which helps law firms and legal departments manage data and workflow around legal entities, raised a $7 million CAD (more than $5.5 million USD) Series A extension in the beginning of March 2021, nearly doubling its initial $8 million Series A round last year. Athennian's revenue and headcount more than doubled since the original Series A, according to founder and CEO Adrian Camara. He declined to disclose revenue numbers, but said that the sales and marketing team grew from 35 people in September to around 70 in March.Launched in 2017, Athennian is used by nearly 200 legal departments and law firms, including Dentons, Fastkind, and Paul Hastings, to automate documents like board minutes, stock certificates, and shareholder consents. The Series A extension was led by Arthur Ventures. New investors Touchdown Ventures and Clio's CEO, Jack Newton, also participated in the round, alongside Round13 Capital and other existing investors. To date, Athennian has raised $17 million CAD, or around $14 million USD, in venture capital funding, per Pitchbook.Here's the small but mighty pitch deck that nearly doubled legal tech Athennian's Series A to $12 million.EvisortEvisort's CEO and co-founder Jerry Ting.(Courtesy of Jerry Ting)Contract tech is the frontrunner in the legal tech space, as companies across industries seek to streamline their contract creation, negotiation, and management processes.Evisort, a contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform, raised $35 million in its Series B announced late February 2021, bringing total funding to $55.5 million. The private equity firm General Atlantic led its latest funding round, with participation from existing investors Amity Ventures, Microsoft's venture firm M12, and Vertex Ventures.Founded in 2016, Evisort uses artificial intelligence to help businesses categorize, search, and act on documents.Its CEO Jerry Ting founded Evisort while he was still attending Harvard Law School. He spent one summer working at Fried Frank, but soon realized that he didn't want to be a lawyer because he didn't want to spend excruciating hours manually reading fifty-page contracts. He did, however, recognize how important they are to corporations, and co-founded Evisort as a tool to locate and track valuable information like a contract's expiration date and obligations like payment dates.Evisort's CEO walks through the 11-page pitch deck that the contract software startup used to nab $35 million from investors like General Atlantic — and lays out its path to an IPOContractbookNiels Brøchner, Jarek Owczarek, and Viktor Heide founded Contractbook to offer a client-centric tool to manage contracts,ContractbookTry to imagine the contracts negotiation process, and one might conjure up a scene where a sheaf of papers, tucked discreetly into a manila folder, is shuttled from one law office to the mahogany table of another. With a stroke of a fountain pen, the deal is sealed.Those old-school methods have long been replaced with the adoption of PDFs, redlined versions of which zip from email inbox to inbox. Now, contracting is undergoing another digital shift that will streamline the process as companies are becoming more comfortable with tech and are seeking greater efficiencies — and investors are taking note.Contractbook, a Denmark-based contract lifecycle management platform, raised $9.4 million in its Series A investment round late 2020, led by venture capital titan Bessemer Venture Partners. In November 2019, Gradient Ventures, Google's AI-focused venture fund, led Contractbook's $3.9 million seed round.Founded in Copenhagen in 2017, Contractbook uses data to automate documents, offering an end-to-end contracts platform for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Niels Brøchner, the company's CEO and co-founder, said that Contractbook was born out of the notion that existing contract solutions failed to use a document's data — from names of parties to the folder the document is stored in — to automate the process and drive workflow.Here's the 13-page pitch deck that Contractbook, which wants to take on legal tech giants like DocuSign, used to raise $9.4 million from investors like Bessemer VenturesDiscoKiwi Camara, CEO and cofounder of Disco.DISCOCloud-based technology is having its moment, especially in the legal industry.As attorneys have been propelled to work remotely amid the pandemic, data security and streamlined work processes are top-of-mind for law firms, leading them to adopt cloud technology. Investors are taking note. Disco, a cloud-based ediscovery platform that uses artificial intelligence to streamline the litigation process, snapped up $60 million in equity financing in October 2020.Its Series F, led by Georgian Partners and also backed by VC titans like Bessemer Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners, brings total investment to $195 million, valuing the company at $785 million.Launched in Houston in 2012, Disco offers AI-fueled products geared towards helping lawyers review and analyze vast quantities of documents, allowing them to more efficiently determine which ones are relevant to a case.The CEO of Disco, a legal tech that sells cloud-based discovery software, walked us through a 20-page pitch deck the startup used to nab $60 millionBlackBoilerDan Broderick, cofounder and CEO of BlackBoiler.BlackBoilerBlackBoiler is an automated contract markup software that's used by Am Law 25 firms and several Fortune 1000 companies.The software uses machine learning to automate the process of reviewing and revising documents in "track changes." This saves attorneys the time they would typically spend marking up contracts that often use standard boilerplate language.As a pre-execution software used in the negotiation and markup stage of the contracts process, BlackBoiler has carved out a unique space in the $35 billion contracts industry, said Dan Broderick, a lawyer who co-founded the company in 2015 and is now its CEO. Broderick walked Insider through the pitch deck the company used to attract funding from investors, including DocuSign as well as 10 attorneys that run the gamut from Am Law 50 partners to general counsel at large corporations.Check out the 14-page pitch deck that contract-editing startup BlackBoiler used to nab $3.2 million from investors including DocuSignRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 8th, 2022

Live updates: Pennsylvania"s GOP Senate primary is going down to the wire

Senate seats in contention, Rep. Madison Cawthorn loses in North Carolina and a GOP face-off in Pennsylvania to run for US Senate. North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his seat in a primary on Tuesday.Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty ImagesWelcome to the Insider live blog for the May 17 primaries.Key Senate and House races remain too close to callFormer President Donald Trump poses for photos with David McCormick at the Trump National Golf Club Bedminster clubhouse in Bedminster, N.J. Mehmet Oz speaks at a town hall-style event at the Newtown Athletic Club in Newtown, Pa.AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster and AP Photo/Marc LevySeveral races are still neck-and-neck as of Wednesday morning, including the high-profile Republican Pennsylvania Senate contest, where just 0.19 percentage points separate Dr. Mehmet Oz from David McCormick with thousands of absentee ballots left to be counted. Meanwhile in the House, progressive candidates are potentially on the verge of scoring two big wins, with Jamie McLeod-Skinner on track to knock out centrist Rep. Kurt Schrader in Oregon's 5th District and progressive Summer Lee leading her main rival Steve Irwin by 446 votes in the open race for the Pittsburgh-based 12th Congressional District.  -Grace Panetta Pennsylvania remains unsettled as election night draws to a closeGREENSBURG, PA - Pennsylvania Republican U.S. Senate candidate Dr. Mehmet Oz joins former President Donald Trump onstage during a rally.Photo by Jeff Swensen/Getty ImagesDr. Mehmet Oz and Dave McCormick remain in neck-and-neck contention for the GOP nomination for Senate in Pennsylvania with less than half a percentage point separating the two frontrunners by late Tuesday night, meaning the race may not be called until Wednesday. More votes are still left to be counted in counties were Oz has been performing well, and a ballot printing error in Lancaster County that will require workers to manually recreate and re-scan 16,000 absentee ballots over the next few days will also potentially slow down the counting if the race remains this close. -Grace Panetta Lamb reportedly concedes Pennsylvania Senate primaryConor Lamb.Brendan McDermid/ReutersRep. Conor Lamb has conceded Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate primary, Politico's Holly Otterbein reports.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to win the contest, per Decision Desk HQ. As of 11 p.m. Eastern Time, Fetterman was running ahead of Lamb by more than 32 percentage points.We still don't know who the Republican nominee is and may not find that out tonight. Either way, the general election could decide which party will control the Senate. — By Brent D. GriffithsPolls close, wrapping up an evening of primariesIdaho Gov. Brad Little.Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesPolls are closed everywhere in the country, wrapping up an evening of primaries in states all over the US. The final results will come in Idaho, which just closed its last polls, and Oregon, which votes entirely by mail. The final race that will determine former President Donald Trump's status as kingmaker in the Republican party is in Idaho. There, Incumbent Gov. Brad Little is facing a primary challenge from his own Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, whom Trump endorsed. Oregon has an open primary for governor after the current governor, Democrat Kate Brown, is term limited out. US House seats are also up for grabs, with tensions growing between centrist and progressive Democrats in the House. Follow along to see the results of the races for gubernatorial nominations and congressional seats in Oregon, and for the governor's race in Idaho. - Kimberly Leonard Meet the man who just took down Rep. Madison CawthornChuck Edwards, a North Carolina state senator, defeated freshman GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Tuesday.Camila DeChalus/InsiderTake a look at this Insider profile of state Sen. Chuck Edwards, the Republican who just unseated Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.Senior Reporter Camila DeChalus traveled to Hendersonville and spoke with the state senator in May to learn more about the rising star in North Carolina. She found the antithesis of Cawthorn in Edwards: a candidate lacking his rival's hyperbolic bravado and a scant social media presence.When DeChalus asked about Cawthorn's plethora of recent controversies, Edwards told her that "it's obvious that he [Cawthorn] got caught up in political stardom and turned his back on the people in these mountains."He said that his "qualms with Madison Cawthorn are based on his performance and his poor attendance record in Congress."— By Madison HallBiden lauds Fetterman's Pennsylvania Senate nominationPresident Joe Biden hadn't said anything about the Pennsylvania Senate race — until John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination.AP Photo/Carolyn KasterPresident Joe Biden finally has something to say about Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate race.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to be the Democratic Party's nominee in what will be one of the nation's closest watched Senate races, Decision Desk HQ projects.Unlike his predecessor, Biden loathes to weigh in on contested party primaries. It didn't help matters that the Delawarian president who never forgets his Scranton roots encountered a race with three big names in Pennsylvania politics: Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, and state-Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta.Lamb and Kenyatta were close Biden allies. Biden bestowed one of his highest compliments on Lamb, saying that the young former Marine reminded him of his son Beau Biden when Lamb's 2018 special election attracted national attention. While Kenyatta was a key Biden surrogate and was among a group of rising stars that spoke during the 2020 Democratic National Convention's keynote address."Democrats are united around John, who is a strong nominee, will run a tough race, and can win in November," Biden said in a statement.— By Brent D. GriffithsA legislative leader and TikTok star is headed to Congress from KentuckyMorgan McGarvey, Kentucky's state Senate minority leader, is a TikTok star.Timothy D. Easley/AP PhotoKentucky's state Senate minority leader Morgan McGarvey, who won the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth in the safely Democratic, Louisville-based 3rd Congressional District, will also bring some TikTok starpower to Congress. McGarvey and his colleague, Sen. Reginald Thomas, currently boast nearly 130,000 followers on the @kysenatedems account. That's where the two use TikTok trends to document their daily lives in the state legislature and the woes of being in the superminority, including a video of Thomas doing the "Rick & Morty" trend in front of the state Senate chamber that eaned 5.7 million views.McGarvey is likely to also be in the minority in Congress, but at least he can give his colleagues some TikTok pointers. -Grace Panetta Rep. Madison Cawthorn losesRep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.House Television via APControversial GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to lose his re-election campaign in the face of fierce opposition from his fellow North Carolina Republicans.State-Sen. Chuck Edwards is projected to win the race, per Decision Desk HQ. Sen. Thom Tillis endorsed Edwards, a sign of just how much fellow elected Republicans rebelled against Cawthorn.Cawthorn courted controversy even before his election. But the 26-year-old finally hit a nerve on Capitol Hill when he suggested on a podcast that there were illicit sex and drug-filled parties in Washington. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly that Cawthorn had lost his trust. Tillis came off the sidelines and pushed hard for Edwards' campaign. And the rest is now history.— Brent D. GriffithsNorth Carolina GOP Senate candidate Ted Budd and Donald Trump.Chris Seward/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump's endorsement of Republican Rep. Ted Budd was likely crucial in helping the two-term lawmaker clinch the GOP nomination for US Senate on Tuesday, despite a crowded field of contenders. But Budd too has been decidedly Trumpian in the types of legislation he has introduced while in Congress. In April, for example, he introduced the Build the Wall Now Act to have the federal government continue constructing the border wall between the US and Mexico that was started under Trump and that President Joe Biden paused by executive order. Budd also introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act of 2021, which would allow people to sue cities if someone unauthorized to be living in the US committed a crime against them. While in office, Trump targeted sanctuary cities that are often led by Democrats and that sheltered migrants against federal crackdowns on illegal immigration. On education, Budd introduced a bill to recreate Trump's 1776 Commission, which was disbanded under Biden. Members of the conservative commission had created a 45-page document that aimed to promote a "patriotic education," and was intended as a rebuttal to the New York Times' 1619 Project. Budd's Freedom from Regulations Act, introduced in 2021, echoed a Trump-era executive order that called for trashing two regulations every time the administration created a new one. — Kimberly LeonardClay Aiken on track to lose, Decision Desk HQ projectsAmerican Idol star Clay Aiken is headed for defeat in his race for a US House seat in North Carolina.Vince Bucci/Getty ImagesClay Aiken is currently running third in the race for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 4th Congressional District. State-Sen. Valerie Foushee is already projected to have won the nomination. Long-time incumbent Rep. David Price, a Democrat, previously announced his retirement after over 30 years in Congress.Aiken won his party's 2014 nomination but later lost the general election to then-Rep. Renee Ellmers. The 2003 American Idol runner-up decided to give it another go this cycle.Since American Idol, Aiken launched a private foundation and starred on Broadway in the Monty Python-inspired "Spamalot."Daily Kos Elections joked on Twitter that now it can no longer be said that Aiken finishes second in everything. Outside of elections, Aiken finished as the runner-up on 2012's edition of the Celebrity Apprentice when it was still hosted by then-future President Donald Trump.— Brent D. GriffithsDoug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator, is the Republican nominee for governor.Carolyn Kaster/AP PhotoDoug Mastriano is the winner of the Republican primary in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, according to DDHQ and Insider.— Madison HallFetterman's turn in the Insider spotlightJohn Fetterman on the Senate campaign trial in May 2022.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoCheck out this Insider profile of John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate from Pennsylvania. In November 2020, Insider's Charles Davis interviewed Fetterman about his journey from being largely apolitical, to being elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2005, to being branded a rising Democratic star.Fetterman told Insider that he doesn't think that Democrats can't reach Trump voters. "If we're going to reverse the fortunes of not only our party but, most importantly, communities and regions, [we need to be] reinvesting and acknowledging that these places deserve to be championed," Fetterman said."There's certainly unreachable people," he said. "I think it's people reacting to a level of authenticity or rawness. You're not going to convince me that Pennsylvania changed radically from Barack Obama to Donald Trump."— Sarah GrayMehmet Oz: Not in it for the moneyMehmet Oz would earn $174,000 if he becomes a US senator.Matt Rourke/APIf Donald Trump endorsee Mehmet Oz win's tonight's US Senate primary in Pennsylvania, then defeats the Democratic nominee in November, he'll earn a standard congressional salary, which today stands at $174,000.Not bad, no, but it's peanuts compared to what he's been making in the private sector — or perhaps pistachios, given that Oz scored a cool $125,000 for a one-day speech to the American Pistachio Growers Association in March 2020, according a federal financial disclosure Oz submitted to the Senate in April.For hosting quiz show Jeopardy! during a two-week stint in late March and early April 2021, Oz earned $268,701, records show.And that's all before you consider his former day job: Oz reported earning more than $7 million from "income derived from ownership interest in Oz Media LLL through Oz Property Holdings." He also received a $2 million salary for hosting the "Dr. Oz Show."Oz is also an active stock trader, reporting sizeable investments in companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, among several dozen others. — Dave LevinthalFetterman wins Pennsylvania Democratic senator nominationJohn Fetterman, left, is the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania US Senate seat.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoJohn Fetterman is the winner of the Democratic primary race for Pennsylvania's US Senate seat. That's the call from Insider and DDHQ. Fetterman, currently the state's lieutenant governor, defeated Rep. Conor Lamb, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. Fetterman is currently recovering from a recent stroke and announced on Tuesday that he had received a pacemaker implant.A pricey house race to watch near Pittsburgh: PA-12Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee in her bid to win the nomination for the state's 12th congressional district.Rebecca Droke/AP PhotoWith the retirement of GOP Rep. Fred Keller, this district outside of Pittsburgh in the Susquehanna Valley is a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats.It's also a race that was looking pretty stale until the past few weeks. The frontrunner, state Rep. Summer Lee, has endorsements from Emily's List and Justice Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently stumped for her and she seemed to have everything going in her favor until a ton of money started pouring into the race. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, most commonly referred to as AIPAC, has been funding ads through a new Super PAC called the United Democracy Project for Lee's opponent, Steve Irwin. Lee would be the latest in a new generation of Democrats in Washington with positions further to the left than most of the caucus, as well as more critical views of Israel. Should Irwin pull out a victory, his surge couldn't have been hurt by the AIPAC ad spree, but Lee remains the favorite. The Republican primary has been more quiet, with Michael Doyle — unrelated to retiring Rep. Mike Doyle — running unopposed.— Jake LahutPennsylvania's US Senate race is stupid expensivePennsylvania Republican Senate Candidate Mehmet OzAlexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesThe government of Erie, Pennsylvania, population 94,831, forecasts that it'll bring in about $95.7 million worth of revenue during 2022.Pennsylvania's US Senate race, meanwhile, is on pace to bring in twice that — maybe even more — en route to competing for the crown of the year's most expensive political race.As of April 27, the race had already attracted more than $68.3 million in contributions, according to federal records compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets.There are two overriding reasons for this. First, both the Republican and Democratic primaries are highly competitive. They feature multiple candidates — David McCormick, Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette on the right, John Fetterman and Conor Lamb on the left. More candidates + more competition = more, more, more money.Second, McCormick and Oz are extremely wealthy. Both have pumped millions of dollars of their personal money into the race, with Oz alone accounting for more than $12 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. McCormick, at $11 million, isn't far behind.Tonight's winners will then have nearly six months to slug each other ahead of November's general election. National party committees and super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, will almost assuredly supplement the candidates' own fundraising efforts with tens of millions of more dollars.— Dave LevinthalPolls in Pennsylvania closed at 8 p.m. ET.InsiderFollow along to see the results for the Republican and Democratic  candidates for governor, the US Senate, House from the Keystone State.Madison Cawthorn's cryptic crypto play may have violated the STOCK ActMadison Cawthorn, Republican nominee for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, speaks during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, on August 26, 2020.2020 Republican National Convention/Handout via ReutersRep. Madison Cawthorn has plenty of problems — ones involving guns, money, cocaine orgies, and a nude video, to name four.One that's flying a bit below the radar, but still serious: he may have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law by not publicly reporting his stated purchase in a cryptocurrency named for an anti-Joe Biden slogan.Per federal law, Cawthorn had 45-days to formally disclose details about his crypto play. But as of this evening, Cawthorn had done no such thing, and his campaign and congressional office have not responded to Insider's questions as to why.Failure to properly report such financial transactions can result in a fine administered by Congress, or in extreme cases, a referral to the Department of Justice.— Dave LevinthalTed Budd wins GOP Primary for open Senate seatFormer President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina in the 2022 North Carolina Senate race.AP Photo/Chris SewardRepublican Ted Budd will face off against Democrat Cheri Beasley for a crucial open US Senate seat in North Carolina, Insider and Decision Desk HQ project. Budd is a Republican congressman who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, and easily cleared a field of GOP opponents. Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is hoping to flip control of the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.Mayoral MayhemCharlotte, NCShutterstockA Republican hasn't been the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, for more than 50 years. Four Republican candidates are hoping to change that, including Bill Dieruf, the current mayor of Jeffersontown, a nearby suburb. The current mayor of Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city, Linda Gorton, is running for reelection. Gorton's opponents recently chided her at a public forum over housing costs and crime rates. She countered by noting that she rose to the occasion when challenges surfaced in Lexington during her time in office, particularly during the pandemic.In Charlotte, North Carolina, Democratic Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles is vying for another term in office. Lyles became the first Black mayor in Charlotte history in 2017 after unseating the incumbent mayor. She's facing off against three other Democratic candidates tonight.You can check out and follow the three mayoral primaries here.—Madison HallJohn Fetterman gets pacemakerIn this Sept. 21, 2018 photo, former Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in PhiladelphiaAP Photo/Matt RourkePennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman "just completed a successful procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator," his communications director, Joe Calvello, said in a statement Tuesday evening. "The procedure began at 3:15 pm, John was released at 5:56 pm, and he has been given the all-clear that it was successful. He is resting at the hospital and recovering well. John continues to improve every day, and he is still on track for a full recovery."Fetterman, who is running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania in tonight's Democratic primary, suffered a stroke last week.— Dave LevinthalResults just beginning to trickle in in KentuckyHouse Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., talks with reporters after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus and Biden administration officials to discuss progress on an infrastructure bill, at the Capitol in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite/APPolls closed in Kentucky at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, and the results are beginning to come in. See results for the Senate, House and state legislative primaries here, and results for the mayoral elections in Louisville and Lexington here.The most notable primary race of the night is the Democratic primary in Kentucky's Third District to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John YarmuthA slew of Democratic candidates are seeking the nomination for the mayor's office in Louisville to replace term-limited outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer. Incumbent Mayor Linda Gorton is also seeking reelection to the mayor's office in Lexington, Kentucky in a nonpartisan primary. Democrats love Republican primaries — for fundraisingDemocratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, DCCC Chair, at a press conference on Capitol HillBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rarely immune to hyperbole or breathlessness. So it should perhaps come as little surprise how much the party's campaign arm for US House races is leveraging today's Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania to raise cash for itself."Trump has already helped make J.D. Vance the Republican nominee in the critical Ohio Senate race. Now, he's scheming to do the same with Dr. Oz in the ultimate swing state of Pennsylvania … please understand: If Trump is able to pack Congress with his top loyalists, it could pave the way for his return to the White House," the DCCC wrote supporters.It continues: "And at this dire moment, you have two options: OPTION 1: Ignore our urgent pleas, delete this email, and watch while Trump destroys our House Majority and Democratic Trifecta with his dangerous followers. OPTION 2: Step up with a powerful grassroots gift before midnight to stop Trump's power-hungry schemes and protect our Democratic House."  — Dave LevinthalTight gubernatorial primary races in the Beaver State- Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, who is running for governor, poses for photos in Columbia Park in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 18, 2022. Oregon's primary elections are Tuesday, May 17, 2022.AP Photo/Sara Cline, fileDemocratic Gov. Kate Brown is finishing up her second term in office and cannot run again. After 35 straight years of having a Democrat as governor, Republicans in Oregon are hoping this is their year to regain executive power, but must figure out their nominee from a slate of 19 candidates led by former state Rep. Christine Drazan and businessman Bob Tiernan. With Brown term-limited, she leaves behind a wide-open Democratic field with 15 candidates. Two notable leaders on the Democratic ticket include Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read and former House Speaker Tina Kotek.The list of Democratic primary contenders used to be longer — former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof left his job to explore running for office in October 2021. Oregon's Supreme Court ultimately ruled in February that he couldn't be on the ballot, citing his failure to meet the three-year residency requirement to qualify.— Madison HallEmbattled Rep. Madison Cawthorn fights for a second term after a slew of scandalsU.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., waves to the crowd after he spoke before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally on April 9, 2022, in Selma, NC.Chris Seward/APCawthorn catapulted into rising star status in the GOP when he was elected to Congress from North Carolina's 11th District in 2020 at age 25. But a series of ethics troubles, and explosive comments have infuriated his GOP colleagues and spurred some to openly root for his ouster, as Michael Kruse recently dug into for Politico Magazine. Our Camila DeChalus reported from Hendersonville earlier this month on Cawthorn's leading primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, voters' mixed feelings about Cawthorn's scandals, and the former volunteers who have buyer's remorse. A split field of seven primary challengers could help Cawthorn squeak by to reelection, but he could head to a July 26 runoff if no one gets about 30% of the vote. — Grace PanettaWould you pay $1 million out-of-pocket for a US Senate seat?McCormick received more than $70 million in discretionary awards connected to a Bridgewater Associates plan.Divorce agreement between David McCormick and Amy RichardsonAs C. Ryan Barber and Adam Wren reported earlier this year, divorce documents obtained by Insider indicate that Republican US Senate candidate David McCormick could face such a situation — if he's first able to survive his Pennsylvania primary battle against Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette.As Barber and Wren wrote: "McCormick's divorce agreement includes a clause stipulating that he would pay his ex-wife $1 million if he voluntarily left his lucrative position at Bridgewater Associates for the 'public domain.' The agreement between McCormick and his ex-wife, Amy Richardson, defined 'public domain' as employment in 'any government entity' and required him to pay the seven-figure sum in a pair of $500,000 installments in the first two years of any full-time public sector job.Once the frontrunner, McCormick has slipped in the polls of late and could conceivably finish third. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Oz, the longtime television show host, while Barnette has surged as a MAGA-friendly alternative to both Oz and McCormick. — Dave LevinthalOz, Barnette, and McCormick jockey in a close race in PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge in Warminster, Pennsylvania.Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesWe went to Pennsylvania earlier this month and found a lot of Trump voters who were pretty unhappy with Dr. Mehmet Oz as the former president's endorsement. Kathy Barnette has had an impressive surge late in the race, but the conservative author's background is now the subject of considerable scrutiny and has some Republicans worried she'd get beat by the Democrats should she make it to the November general election. No doubt, a victory for Barnette would be a big shock. But she's been within striking distance in all the latest polls. The candidate hoping to get a bump from undecideds is former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who has picked up endorsements from the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.– Jake LahutRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 18th, 2022

Live updates: Rep. Madison Cawthorn dramatically loses seat as Pennsylvania and North Carolina ballots are counted

Senate seats in contention, Rep. Madison Cawthorn loses in North Carolina and a GOP face-off in Pennsylvania to run for US Senate. North Carolina GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn lost his seat in a primary on Tuesday.Saul Loeb - Pool/Getty ImagesWelcome to the Insider live blog for the May 17 primaries.Polls close, wrapping up an evening of primariesIdaho Gov. Brad Little.Darin Oswald/Idaho Statesman/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesPolls are closed everywhere in the country, wrapping up an evening of primaries in states all over the US. The final results will come in Idaho, which just closed its last polls, and Oregon, which votes entirely by mail. The final race that will determine former President Donald Trump's status as kingmaker in the Republican party is in Idaho. There, Incumbent Gov. Brad Little is facing a primary challenge from his own Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin, whom Trump endorsed. Oregon has an open primary for governor after the current governor, Democrat Kate Brown, is term limited out. US House seats are also up for grabs, with tensions growing between centrist and progressive Democrats in the House. Follow along to see the results of the races for gubernatorial nominations and congressional seats in Oregon, and for the governor's race in Idaho. - Kimberly Leonard Meet the man who just took down Rep. Madison CawthornChuck Edwards, a North Carolina state senator, defeated freshman GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn on Tuesday.Camila DeChalus/InsiderTake a look at this Insider profile of state Sen. Chuck Edwards, the Republican who just unseated Rep. Madison Cawthorn in North Carolina's 11th Congressional District.Senior Reporter Camila DeChalus traveled to Hendersonville and spoke with the state senator in May to learn more about the rising star in North Carolina. She found the antithesis of Cawthorn in Edwards: a candidate lacking his rival's hyperbolic bravado and a scant social media presence.When DeChalus asked about Cawthorn's plethora of recent controversies, Edwards told her that "it's obvious that he [Cawthorn] got caught up in political stardom and turned his back on the people in these mountains."He said that his "qualms with Madison Cawthorn are based on his performance and his poor attendance record in Congress."— By Madison HallBiden lauds Fetterman's Pennsylvania Senate nominationPresident Joe Biden hadn't said anything about the Pennsylvania Senate race — until John Fetterman won the Democratic nomination.AP Photo/Carolyn KasterPresident Joe Biden finally has something to say about Pennsylvania's Democratic Senate race.Lt. Gov. John Fetterman is projected to be the Democratic Party's nominee in what will be one of the nation's closest watched Senate races, Decision Desk HQ projects.Unlike his predecessor, Biden loathes to weigh in on contested party primaries. It didn't help matters that the Delawarian president who never forgets his Scranton roots encountered a race with three big names in Pennsylvania politics: Fetterman, Rep. Conor Lamb, and state-Sen. Malcolm Kenyatta.Lamb and Kenyatta were close Biden allies. Biden bestowed one of his highest compliments on Lamb, saying that the young former Marine reminded him of his son Beau Biden when Lamb's 2018 special election attracted national attention. While Kenyatta was a key Biden surrogate and was among a group of rising stars that spoke during the 2020 Democratic National Convention's keynote address."Democrats are united around John, who is a strong nominee, will run a tough race, and can win in November," Biden said in a statement.— By Brent D. GriffithsA legislative leader and TikTok star is headed to Congress from KentuckyMorgan McGarvey, Kentucky's state Senate minority leader, is a TikTok star.Timothy D. Easley/AP PhotoKentucky's state Senate minority leader Morgan McGarvey, who won the Democratic primary to succeed retiring Rep. John Yarmuth in the safely Democratic, Louisville-based 3rd Congressional District, will also bring some TikTok starpower to Congress. McGarvey and his colleague, Sen. Reginald Thomas, currently boast nearly 130,000 followers on the @kysenatedems account. That's where the two use TikTok trends to document their daily lives in the state legislature and the woes of being in the superminority, including a video of Thomas doing the "Rick & Morty" trend in front of the state Senate chamber that eaned 5.7 million views.McGarvey is likely to also be in the minority in Congress, but at least he can give his colleagues some TikTok pointers. -Grace Panetta Rep. Madison Cawthorn losesRep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C.House Television via APControversial GOP Rep. Madison Cawthorn is projected to lose his re-election campaign in the face of fierce opposition from his fellow North Carolina Republicans.State-Sen. Chuck Edwards is projected to win the race, per Decision Desk HQ. Sen. Thom Tillis endorsed Edwards, a sign of just how much fellow elected Republicans rebelled against Cawthorn.Cawthorn courted controversy even before his election. But the 26-year-old finally hit a nerve on Capitol Hill when he suggested on a podcast that there were illicit sex and drug-filled parties in Washington. House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy said publicly that Cawthorn had lost his trust. Tillis came off the sidelines and pushed hard for Edwards' campaign. And the rest is now history.— Brent D. GriffithsNorth Carolina GOP Senate candidate Ted Budd and Donald Trump.Chris Seward/AP PhotoFormer President Donald Trump's endorsement of Republican Rep. Ted Budd was likely crucial in helping the two-term lawmaker clinch the GOP nomination for US Senate on Tuesday, despite a crowded field of contenders. But Budd too has been decidedly Trumpian in the types of legislation he has introduced while in Congress. In April, for example, he introduced the Build the Wall Now Act to have the federal government continue constructing the border wall between the US and Mexico that was started under Trump and that President Joe Biden paused by executive order. Budd also introduced the Justice for Victims of Sanctuary Cities Act of 2021, which would allow people to sue cities if someone unauthorized to be living in the US committed a crime against them. While in office, Trump targeted sanctuary cities that are often led by Democrats and that sheltered migrants against federal crackdowns on illegal immigration. On education, Budd introduced a bill to recreate Trump's 1776 Commission, which was disbanded under Biden. Members of the conservative commission had created a 45-page document that aimed to promote a "patriotic education," and was intended as a rebuttal to the New York Times' 1619 Project. Budd's Freedom from Regulations Act, introduced in 2021, echoed a Trump-era executive order that called for trashing two regulations every time the administration created a new one. — Kimberly LeonardClay Aiken on track to lose, Decision Desk HQ projectsAmerican Idol star Clay Aiken is headed for defeat in his race for a US House seat in North Carolina.Vince Bucci/Getty ImagesClay Aiken is currently running third in the race for the Democratic nomination for North Carolina's 4th Congressional District. State-Sen. Valerie Foushee is already projected to have won the nomination. Long-time incumbent Rep. David Price, a Democrat, previously announced his retirement after over 30 years in Congress.Aiken won his party's 2014 nomination but later lost the general election to then-Rep. Renee Ellmers. The 2003 American Idol runner-up decided to give it another go this cycle.Since American Idol, Aiken launched a private foundation and starred on Broadway in the Monty Python-inspired "Spamalot."Daily Kos Elections joked on Twitter that now it can no longer be said that Aiken finishes second in everything. Outside of elections, Aiken finished as the runner-up on 2012's edition of the Celebrity Apprentice when it was still hosted by then-future President Donald Trump.— Brent D. GriffithsDoug Mastriano, a Pennsylvania state senator, is the Republican nominee for governor.Carolyn Kaster/AP PhotoDoug Mastriano is the winner of the Republican primary in the Pennsylvania gubernatorial race, according to DDHQ and Insider.— Madison HallFetterman's turn in the Insider spotlightJohn Fetterman on the Senate campaign trial in May 2022.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoCheck out this Insider profile of John Fetterman, the Democratic nominee for the US Senate from Pennsylvania. In November 2020, Insider's Charles Davis interviewed Fetterman about his journey from being largely apolitical, to being elected mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, in 2005, to being branded a rising Democratic star.Fetterman told Insider that he doesn't think that Democrats can't reach Trump voters. "If we're going to reverse the fortunes of not only our party but, most importantly, communities and regions, [we need to be] reinvesting and acknowledging that these places deserve to be championed," Fetterman said."There's certainly unreachable people," he said. "I think it's people reacting to a level of authenticity or rawness. You're not going to convince me that Pennsylvania changed radically from Barack Obama to Donald Trump."— Sarah GrayMehmet Oz: Not in it for the moneyMehmet Oz would earn $174,000 if he becomes a US senator.Matt Rourke/APIf Donald Trump endorsee Mehmet Oz win's tonight's US Senate primary in Pennsylvania, then defeats the Democratic nominee in November, he'll earn a standard congressional salary, which today stands at $174,000.Not bad, no, but it's peanuts compared to what he's been making in the private sector — or perhaps pistachios, given that Oz scored a cool $125,000 for a one-day speech to the American Pistachio Growers Association in March 2020, according a federal financial disclosure Oz submitted to the Senate in April.For hosting quiz show Jeopardy! during a two-week stint in late March and early April 2021, Oz earned $268,701, records show.And that's all before you consider his former day job: Oz reported earning more than $7 million from "income derived from ownership interest in Oz Media LLL through Oz Property Holdings." He also received a $2 million salary for hosting the "Dr. Oz Show."Oz is also an active stock trader, reporting sizeable investments in companies such as Amazon, Apple, Microsoft, defense contractor Northrop Grumman, and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson, among several dozen others. — Dave LevinthalFetterman wins Pennsylvania Democratic senator nominationJohn Fetterman, left, is the Democratic nominee for the Pennsylvania US Senate seat.Keith Srakocic/AP PhotoJohn Fetterman is the winner of the Democratic primary race for Pennsylvania's US Senate seat. That's the call from Insider and DDHQ. Fetterman, currently the state's lieutenant governor, defeated Rep. Conor Lamb, Malcolm Kenyatta, and Alexandria Khalil. Fetterman is currently recovering from a recent stroke and announced on Tuesday that he had received a pacemaker implant.A pricey house race to watch near Pittsburgh: PA-12Sen. Bernie Sanders endorsed Pennsylvania state Rep. Summer Lee in her bid to win the nomination for the state's 12th congressional district.Rebecca Droke/AP PhotoWith the retirement of GOP Rep. Fred Keller, this district outside of Pittsburgh in the Susquehanna Valley is a potential pickup opportunity for Democrats.It's also a race that was looking pretty stale until the past few weeks. The frontrunner, state Rep. Summer Lee, has endorsements from Emily's List and Justice Democrats. Sen. Bernie Sanders recently stumped for her and she seemed to have everything going in her favor until a ton of money started pouring into the race. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, most commonly referred to as AIPAC, has been funding ads through a new Super PAC called the United Democracy Project for Lee's opponent, Steve Irwin. Lee would be the latest in a new generation of Democrats in Washington with positions further to the left than most of the caucus, as well as more critical views of Israel. Should Irwin pull out a victory, his surge couldn't have been hurt by the AIPAC ad spree, but Lee remains the favorite. The Republican primary has been more quiet, with Michael Doyle — unrelated to retiring Rep. Mike Doyle — running unopposed.— Jake LahutPennsylvania's US Senate race is stupid expensivePennsylvania Republican Senate Candidate Mehmet OzAlexi Rosenfeld/Getty ImagesThe government of Erie, Pennsylvania, population 94,831, forecasts that it'll bring in about $95.7 million worth of revenue during 2022.Pennsylvania's US Senate race, meanwhile, is on pace to bring in twice that — maybe even more — en route to competing for the crown of the year's most expensive political race.As of April 27, the race had already attracted more than $68.3 million in contributions, according to federal records compiled by nonpartisan research organization OpenSecrets.There are two overriding reasons for this. First, both the Republican and Democratic primaries are highly competitive. They feature multiple candidates — David McCormick, Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette on the right, John Fetterman and Conor Lamb on the left. More candidates + more competition = more, more, more money.Second, McCormick and Oz are extremely wealthy. Both have pumped millions of dollars of their personal money into the race, with Oz alone accounting for more than $12 million, according to Federal Election Commission records. McCormick, at $11 million, isn't far behind.Tonight's winners will then have nearly six months to slug each other ahead of November's general election. National party committees and super PACs, which may raise and spend unlimited amounts of money, will almost assuredly supplement the candidates' own fundraising efforts with tens of millions of more dollars.— Dave LevinthalPolls in Pennsylvania closed at 8 p.m. ET.InsiderFollow along to see the results for the Republican and Democratic  candidates for governor, the US Senate, House from the Keystone State.Madison Cawthorn's cryptic crypto play may have violated the STOCK ActMadison Cawthorn, Republican nominee for North Carolina's 11th Congressional District, speaks during the largely virtual 2020 Republican National Convention broadcast from Washington, on August 26, 2020.2020 Republican National Convention/Handout via ReutersRep. Madison Cawthorn has plenty of problems — ones involving guns, money, cocaine orgies, and a nude video, to name four.One that's flying a bit below the radar, but still serious: he may have violated a federal conflicts-of-interest law by not publicly reporting his stated purchase in a cryptocurrency named for an anti-Joe Biden slogan.Per federal law, Cawthorn had 45-days to formally disclose details about his crypto play. But as of this evening, Cawthorn had done no such thing, and his campaign and congressional office have not responded to Insider's questions as to why.Failure to properly report such financial transactions can result in a fine administered by Congress, or in extreme cases, a referral to the Department of Justice.— Dave LevinthalTed Budd wins GOP Primary for open Senate seatFormer President Donald Trump endorsed Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina in the 2022 North Carolina Senate race.AP Photo/Chris SewardRepublican Ted Budd will face off against Democrat Cheri Beasley for a crucial open US Senate seat in North Carolina, Insider and Decision Desk HQ project. Budd is a Republican congressman who was endorsed by President Donald Trump, and easily cleared a field of GOP opponents. Beasley, the former chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, is hoping to flip control of the seat currently held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr.Mayoral MayhemCharlotte, NCShutterstockA Republican hasn't been the mayor of Louisville, Kentucky, for more than 50 years. Four Republican candidates are hoping to change that, including Bill Dieruf, the current mayor of Jeffersontown, a nearby suburb. The current mayor of Lexington, Kentucky's second-largest city, Linda Gorton, is running for reelection. Gorton's opponents recently chided her at a public forum over housing costs and crime rates. She countered by noting that she rose to the occasion when challenges surfaced in Lexington during her time in office, particularly during the pandemic.In Charlotte, North Carolina, Democratic Mayor Vi Alexander Lyles is vying for another term in office. Lyles became the first Black mayor in Charlotte history in 2017 after unseating the incumbent mayor. She's facing off against three other Democratic candidates tonight.You can check out and follow the three mayoral primaries here.—Madison HallJohn Fetterman gets pacemakerIn this Sept. 21, 2018 photo, former Braddock, Pa., Mayor John Fetterman speaks at a campaign rally for Pennsylvania candidates in PhiladelphiaAP Photo/Matt RourkePennsylvania Lt. Governor John Fetterman "just completed a successful procedure to implant a pacemaker with a defibrillator," his communications director, Joe Calvello, said in a statement Tuesday evening. "The procedure began at 3:15 pm, John was released at 5:56 pm, and he has been given the all-clear that it was successful. He is resting at the hospital and recovering well. John continues to improve every day, and he is still on track for a full recovery."Fetterman, who is running for the US Senate in Pennsylvania in tonight's Democratic primary, suffered a stroke last week.— Dave LevinthalResults just beginning to trickle in in KentuckyHouse Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, D-Ky., talks with reporters after meeting with the House Democratic Caucus and Biden administration officials to discuss progress on an infrastructure bill, at the Capitol in Washington.J. Scott Applewhite/APPolls closed in Kentucky at 6 p.m. Eastern Time, and the results are beginning to come in. See results for the Senate, House and state legislative primaries here, and results for the mayoral elections in Louisville and Lexington here.The most notable primary race of the night is the Democratic primary in Kentucky's Third District to replace retiring Democratic Rep. John YarmuthA slew of Democratic candidates are seeking the nomination for the mayor's office in Louisville to replace term-limited outgoing Mayor Greg Fischer. Incumbent Mayor Linda Gorton is also seeking reelection to the mayor's office in Lexington, Kentucky in a nonpartisan primary. Democrats love Republican primaries — for fundraisingDemocratic Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney, DCCC Chair, at a press conference on Capitol HillBill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee is rarely immune to hyperbole or breathlessness. So it should perhaps come as little surprise how much the party's campaign arm for US House races is leveraging today's Republican Senate primary in Pennsylvania to raise cash for itself."Trump has already helped make J.D. Vance the Republican nominee in the critical Ohio Senate race. Now, he's scheming to do the same with Dr. Oz in the ultimate swing state of Pennsylvania … please understand: If Trump is able to pack Congress with his top loyalists, it could pave the way for his return to the White House," the DCCC wrote supporters.It continues: "And at this dire moment, you have two options: OPTION 1: Ignore our urgent pleas, delete this email, and watch while Trump destroys our House Majority and Democratic Trifecta with his dangerous followers. OPTION 2: Step up with a powerful grassroots gift before midnight to stop Trump's power-hungry schemes and protect our Democratic House."  — Dave LevinthalTight gubernatorial primary races in the Beaver State- Former Oregon House Speaker Tina Kotek, who is running for governor, poses for photos in Columbia Park in Portland, Ore., on Feb. 18, 2022. Oregon's primary elections are Tuesday, May 17, 2022.AP Photo/Sara Cline, fileDemocratic Gov. Kate Brown is finishing up her second term in office and cannot run again. After 35 straight years of having a Democrat as governor, Republicans in Oregon are hoping this is their year to regain executive power, but must figure out their nominee from a slate of 19 candidates led by former state Rep. Christine Drazan and businessman Bob Tiernan. With Brown term-limited, she leaves behind a wide-open Democratic field with 15 candidates. Two notable leaders on the Democratic ticket include Oregon Treasurer Tobias Read and former House Speaker Tina Kotek.The list of Democratic primary contenders used to be longer — former New York Times columnist Nick Kristof left his job to explore running for office in October 2021. Oregon's Supreme Court ultimately ruled in February that he couldn't be on the ballot, citing his failure to meet the three-year residency requirement to qualify.— Madison HallEmbattled Rep. Madison Cawthorn fights for a second term after a slew of scandalsU.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., waves to the crowd after he spoke before former President Donald Trump takes the stage at a rally on April 9, 2022, in Selma, NC.Chris Seward/APCawthorn catapulted into rising star status in the GOP when he was elected to Congress from North Carolina's 11th District in 2020 at age 25. But a series of ethics troubles, and explosive comments have infuriated his GOP colleagues and spurred some to openly root for his ouster, as Michael Kruse recently dug into for Politico Magazine. Our Camila DeChalus reported from Hendersonville earlier this month on Cawthorn's leading primary challenger, state Sen. Chuck Edwards, voters' mixed feelings about Cawthorn's scandals, and the former volunteers who have buyer's remorse. A split field of seven primary challengers could help Cawthorn squeak by to reelection, but he could head to a July 26 runoff if no one gets about 30% of the vote. — Grace PanettaWould you pay $1 million out-of-pocket for a US Senate seat?McCormick received more than $70 million in discretionary awards connected to a Bridgewater Associates plan.Divorce agreement between David McCormick and Amy RichardsonAs C. Ryan Barber and Adam Wren reported earlier this year, divorce documents obtained by Insider indicate that Republican US Senate candidate David McCormick could face such a situation — if he's first able to survive his Pennsylvania primary battle against Mehmet Oz and Kathy Barnette.As Barber and Wren wrote: "McCormick's divorce agreement includes a clause stipulating that he would pay his ex-wife $1 million if he voluntarily left his lucrative position at Bridgewater Associates for the 'public domain.' The agreement between McCormick and his ex-wife, Amy Richardson, defined 'public domain' as employment in 'any government entity' and required him to pay the seven-figure sum in a pair of $500,000 installments in the first two years of any full-time public sector job.Once the frontrunner, McCormick has slipped in the polls of late and could conceivably finish third. Former President Donald Trump has endorsed Oz, the longtime television show host, while Barnette has surged as a MAGA-friendly alternative to both Oz and McCormick. — Dave LevinthalOz, Barnette, and McCormick jockey in a close race in PennsylvaniaPennsylvania Republican Senate candidate Kathy Barnette speaks during a campaign rally at The Fuge in Warminster, Pennsylvania.Photo by Michael M. Santiago/Getty ImagesWe went to Pennsylvania earlier this month and found a lot of Trump voters who were pretty unhappy with Dr. Mehmet Oz as the former president's endorsement. Kathy Barnette has had an impressive surge late in the race, but the conservative author's background is now the subject of considerable scrutiny and has some Republicans worried she'd get beat by the Democrats should she make it to the November general election. No doubt, a victory for Barnette would be a big shock. But she's been within striking distance in all the latest polls. The candidate hoping to get a bump from undecideds is former hedge fund CEO David McCormick, who has picked up endorsements from the likes of Sen. Ted Cruz and former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.– Jake LahutRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 17th, 2022

Transcript: Alex Guervich

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Alex Guervich, Hon Te Advisors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in… Read More The post Transcript: Alex Guervich appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Alex Guervich, Hon Te Advisors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. BARRY RITHOLTZ, BLOOMBERG RADIO HOST: This week on the podcast, I have a fascinating guest. His name is Alex Gurevich. He is a hedge fund manager and trader who has been involved in macro trading for decades, since the late ‘90s. And he’s one of these folks that basically has managed to put together a fascinating trading history and a great track record. In 2020, he was positioned in a very contrarian setup. At the end of 2019 and into 2020, he was anticipating a substantial decrease in interest rates when most of the rest of the world was positioned in the opposite way. And when the pandemic hit and emergency Fed cuts came in, his fund did spectacularly well. It was ranked second best performance of all hedge funds in 2020. When you read his books, and his most recent one is “The Trades of March 2020: A Shield Against Uncertainty.” You can see there is a tremendous amount of complexity and deep thought in how his portfolio was positioned. They primarily trade derivatives, interest rates, swaps, currencies. It’s not your standard stock and bond trading. It’s a little more complex and sophisticated. And this is one of the only books I’ve ever read, where the Slack channel, that is his trading desk where all the trades are — are given, confirmed, executed is — is pretty much reprinted as it was. I would say about a third of the book is Slack. And following this is really an education on how a real-world hedge fund trading desk operates. They’re located on the West Coast. So they’re both behind the East Coast by three hours, but they’re anticipating what takes place in Asia, and Japan, and China. And what’s really fascinating about this is when the pandemic began, they were pretty much trading around the clock. It’s not a giant firm. It’s, you know, him and a number of his employees where, you know, for days at a time, trading continuously. And you could see it by the timestamps in the Slack channel, 1a.m., 3 a.m., 5 a.m., 7 a.m., 10 p.m., 8 p.m., and that’s West Coast time. Really fascinating conversation. He is a super interesting, not just a trader, but his worldview and how he looks at what drives asset prices is really fascinating. So if you are all interested in the world of macro trading, strap yourself in for an education because this conversation is fascinating. With no further ado, my interview with Alex Gurevich of HonTe Advisors. ANNOUNCER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’re listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. My special guest this week, Alex Gurevich, founder and CIO of HonTe Advisors. Previously, he was the head of JPMorgan’s macro book. In 2020, HonTe was ranked second in net return by Barclays, and Gurevich was one of the Top 10 emerging managers as tracked by Eurekahedge. He is the author of two books on trading the first, “The Next Perfect Trade: A Magic Sword of Necessity.” His most recent book just came out this year, “The Trades of March 2020: A Shield Against Uncertainty.” Alex Gurevich, welcome to Bloomberg. GUREVICH: Thank you very much for having me. I’m excited about this conversation. RITHOLTZ: As am I. Let’s start talking a little bit about your background. You earned a PhD in Mathematics from the University of Chicago. Tell us a little bit about that experience and how you get to apply math as a fund manager and a trader. GUREVICH: Well, first of all, I will confess, the experience of being in graduate school at University of Chicago was so amazing, that for many years, almost decades afterwards, I suffered from nostalgia. Even when I was a successful Wall Street trader, I was often suffering from nostalgia from my graduate school days. So that’s a quick summary. I think it’s pretty amazing for me, at least, to be in a very small circle of like-minded people who had — even though I grew up in a different country, and backgrounds are different, but interestingly, mathematicians all around the world do the same math. And they play the same math games, solve the same puzzles. So there was so much in common and so much fun to have in that environment. And — RITHOLTZ: Were you — were you ever — were you ever planning on pursuing a career in pure mathematics, or was the thinking I’ll take this skill in education I — I earned at Chicago and apply to Wall Street? Tell us what your thinking was when you were in school? GUREVICH: You know, honestly, since I was a teenager, there was kind of a double thinking in my mind. It’s almost like two superimposed ideas that I wasn’t really clear. My natural path was always to do theoretical math. I wanted to be a mathematician since — since I was four years old. But my fascination with finance industry with strategy was already there. I remember seeing the movie “Wall Street” in back in Russia and I was totally fascinated by it. And just the whole idea of like financial strategy was so exciting to me. I think somewhere in the back of my mind, I always thought that at some point, I would end up on Wall Street. But at the same time, I was making all the motions to pursue the career in theoretical math. So I think I was a little conflicted about this until certain points. RITHOLTZ: So you mentioned you saw the film “Wall Street” growing up in Russia, you grew up in St. Petersburg. GUREVICH: Correct. RITHOLTZ: Did you know you always wanted to come to the West? It’s hard to imagine seeing such a — just like, I guess, capitalist film like “Wall Street,” even with good guys, bad guys, and corruption in the film, even still seeing it in Russia had to be a little — you know, a little cognitive dissonance built into that? GUREVICH: Well, I think it was very exciting and refreshing. They did show a bit of foreign movies in Russia, it was not that closed. I saw “Star Wars” in Russia, too. So we had — there was a little bit of cultural flow. RITHOLTZ: Right. GUREVICH: So I did always want to go to America. There was no question in my mind, since I was six years old, I consider myself American. Like it was deep in my heart that I belong only in one country, in the United States. That was not a negative statement on Russia at all. It was not even about politics fully. Like, I mean, I — and also like I always loved Russian poetry and literature and architecture and many aspects of the culture. But I always felt that I belonged in the United States. There was never a doubt in my mind. I don’t know how I knew it, but I knew it since I was a little kid. RITHOLTZ: So — so when did you move to the U.S.? GUREVICH: I moved in the U.S. in the middle of college. It was ‘89. I was almost 20 years old. RITHOLTZ: And you’ve been here — GUREVICH: I did two years of college there, and I’ve had two years of college in America then I went to graduate school. RITHOLTZ: And — and so first job out of school was where? GUREVICH: Well, I went straight to graduate school and my first job out of graduate school, that’s when after I got my PhD. I went to Bankers Trust in ‘97. And that was a critical point of my decision when I decided, OK, I’ve already accomplished what I needed to accomplish. In math, I proved my mettle. And now, I really want to have a good opportunity. I’ve had a good offer. I’m going to try Wall Street. RITHOLTZ: And how did you go — how did you end up at JPMorgan? GUREVICH: Well, I was with Bankers Trust and I started trading fixed income derivatives. That’s very important to understand that I — most of my mathematician friends went to do some kind of quantitative work on Wall Street. I never did. I went straight into trading. That was my interest. I always said if I want to do associate, I would stay in the math department. Even if it pays less money, but the lifestyle will be worth it. I wanted to trade. I went to Bankers Trust, which became the trades on a swap desk. And then it bought — they’re bought by Deutsche Bank. And at Deutsche Bank, because they’re still three organizing, I was pretty junior at that time, they offered me a different kind of job, which was very good in terms of the trade options. It was not particularly interesting for me, but it was very educational. But I started to look for a new job soon and I got a — in 2000, I got a job at Chase, basically doing basis swaps, which I did originally Bankers Trust as a junior trader, but I got a senior job at Chase. And then Chase merged JPMorgan, I ended up at JPMorgan Chase, running basis swap franchise, and then I launched the agency asset swap franchise also in the year 2001, I think. RITHOLTZ: And then — GUREVICH: And then — RITHOLTZ: By — by 2003, you’re mentioned in The Wall Street Journal as the star trader of JPMorgan. Tell us about that. How did that feel being recognized for your trading skills? GUREVICH: You know, honestly, it is interesting. At that time, I did not really appreciate so much the value of publicity. And I did almost no networking and almost no publicity. So I moved to proprietary desk in 2002 from — because after I did really well with my market-making businesses in 2001 and built them up really well, they’re forming global currencies and commodities group in the merged JPMorgan Chase Bank. By the way, this group ended up to be extremely successful going forward, and they offered me to shift and move to macro portfolio because my — even with my client portfolios, I was more and more focusing on macro factors. And then that was like — then I had a very successful year in 2002, and started very successfully 2003 and that’s when they wrote an article. The article was really based on a leak. I think somebody just told them what positions we had and what money we’re making in 2003. And then there was this article. And it was, on one time, exciting and like — I know like my parents were excited about showing this article. But on the other hand, I was like a little disturbed that there is a leak and somebody knows something about my positions that they should not. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. GUREVICH: And I was not really seeking publicity and I was a little shy of publicity, honestly, after that. I don’t think it was like a bad leak. It was a very positive article. There was nothing — I mean, no negative in it and there was nothing wrong about it. But I was just a little nervous about publicity after that, because nobody — I think they reached for comment, but I don’t think there was — this was like an article that JPMorgan was specifically pushing, right? RITHOLTZ: Yeah. GUREVICH: So — but what I realized afterwards, like in a year’s later, when I started to raise money around my own hedge funds, I realized, well, actually, any publicity is kind of good and it’s good to know people. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s — let’s look at that timeline. So this was back in 2003. How much longer did you stay at JPMorgan for? And when did you launch your — your fund? GUREVICH: Well, I stayed at JPMorgan till early 2007. And then — so it’s been quite a while, it’s now 15 years that I’ve been doing various things on my own. But I not always run businesses. I had one fund which actually did not work out. And I talked about this a lot in my first book, “The Next Perfect Trade,” about my first fund and kind of mistakes that were made there and things like that. It was called Cloudy Capital. And then I, for a few years, basically was running my own money, and then HonTe was created around 2015 and started to take outside money around 2016, relatively recent, but also relatively established. RITHOLTZ: Since you mentioned HonTe, let’s talk a little bit about that fund. Tell us about the genesis of the name HonTe, which you described in the book, “The Trades of March.” GUREVICH: So HonTe is a Japanese strategic term. It originates from the game of Go. And Hon means to and Te means move, so it’s to move. But the context in which it’s used, sometimes in a game, you make a move which is not the most flashy or aggressive, but what they call an honest move, like what you really have to do even maybe not the most impressive thing to do, but that’s what gives you the best results in the long run. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. GUREVICH: And that’s what I wanted to make this strategic concept a symbol for how you run the fund. RITHOLTZ: I like it a lot. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk a little bit about what you do at HonTe. You went from being a trader to the head of JPMorgan’s macro book, to launching this — this hedge funds. Tell us a little bit about those transitions. What — how were you able to build on your prior experience with each new position? GUREVICH: Yes. I think it was very important step stone in my career that I started as a market-maker. Some people who move directly into hedge fund by side business, I think missed out a little bit. Seeing what’s actually happening in the trenches, what’s happening on a trading floor of the bank, how the client flows work, what’s doable and not doable, I think it was very important for my formation as a trader. I remember the crisis of ’98 and when there was a first freeze of the market that I observed, I was very junior, but as it turned out, I had to make some decisions because my boss was on vacation and I had to take over some aspects of the book that I was focusing on, and deal with big hedge funds. I was like super junior trader and all these big hedge funds coming to me, begging me for unwinds because they were blowing up. And people would ask me questions like market salespeople would come and ask me questions, “Where is such and such trading?” And I was like, “What are you talking about? It’s not trading, the market is frozen.” There is maybe one beat, and if I show any offer, my boss will fire me. That’s my market. RITHOLTZ: That’s really interesting because there’s a line in the book, “The Trades of March 2020,” that really jumped out at me. Tell me about this quote “Every crisis starts with fear and ends with necessity,” explain that. GUREVICH: You see a crisis – first of all, crisis always has to be something unexpected. Crisis never happens on schedule. We know that, right? Like, when people try to schedule a crisis like Y2K, you get no crisis. RITHOLTZ: Right. GUREVICH: So it always comes from unexpected direction, by definition. And then usually when there is a crisis which spills into financial markets, people lose liquidity. And then the panic starts, we need to liquidate positions, how bad things can go. And things get to the point when people are like really thinking that the world is ending, as we know it. And one day, it might end, as we know it. By in global financial crisis, people thought, “OK, the whole financial system will collapse. In COVID, I don’t know what people were thinking. We’re all going to die or whatever. Everything is going to be shut down. I don’t know what people were thinking. But clearly, people were quite panicked about what things can happen. And now, of course, we’ll have other existential threats with the current war situation, as we’re recording this. So first, it starts with fear. But then what happens is that because – and some people add some fear, but then people have — eventually, people have to act not because of their fear, and not only because of their choices, but because of the decisions are forced. What happens is if you are a founder and you’re losing money, and your AUM decreases, you need to reduce your position. This is not about fear; this is about necessity. So you have to liquidate. So various people need to liquidate certain positions, do certain transactions, because exchanges are forcing them, the margins are forcing them, the bosses are forcing them. And then the policymakers step in and they buy assets or provide liquidity, and this is all – this liquidity comes in not because somebody chooses it, but because these are various unstoppable flows that’s happening in the markets. And this is a necessity. In the end, there is no choice for things, but to go certain ways. Does it make sense? RITHOLTZ: Yeah. No, it makes perfect sense. We’ll talk about the book later. But there are some really interesting excerpts where you are showing your — your trading in real time and the conversation you’re having with your colleagues in your desk. When — when you say it begins with fear and ends with necessity, can you feel that as a trader when you’re plugged into the market? Are you seeing that in flows, in prices and in opportunities? GUREVICH: Yes, and I even feel it in my own emotion. RITHOLTZ: Explain that. GUREVICH: And one of the things I tried to concentrate on the book is like show the psychology of trading. There were moments and I point them out on the book when I felt like deep existential threat, like, what’s going to happen? I feel like that those moments were like, “Yeah, the Fed just cut 100 basis points, but I’m not sure that they’ll do it, right? And you’re feeling like, “Will everybody cut my funding tomorrow, right?” Will – will there be no balance sheet? What’s going to happen? That is — when you think in those terms, you realize that the market is still ruled by fear. When you start thinking, “OK, I’ve reduced my positions. Now, the Fed is buying those assets that I’m holding, and they’re rallying,” you start feeling the sense of necessity. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. So — so let’s talk a little bit about the trading in 2020 during the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In that year, your fund ranked second in net returns. You’re one of the Top 10 emerging managers. Tell us what your thought process was in 2020, what led to so much conviction that you had positioned right. And I believe if I’m reading the book correctly, you were fairly well positioned for a series of rate cuts in 2019, when much of the market was still expecting rate hikes, did — did I get that right? GUREVICH: Yes. Yes, and that definitely contributed to success in 2020. Generally, one has to realize if you’re on a macro portfolio and there is some kind of exogenous event, you’re not always fully positioned right for it. RITHOLTZ: Right. GUREVICH: Maybe like if you always own just optionality, there are pure option funds. But even that like event could do some very different things. Like, events don’t go just one direction. For example, U.S. election in 2016 sent markets in certain way that people did not expect at that moment, right? But then there was September 11, the global financial crisis. There was European debt crisis. There was — of course, going back, there was like 1987 crash. With all of those events, you can look at which happened suddenly. They’ll have different flavor, and you will not always be positioned right for it. So there is a little bit of an element of luck in terms of being positioned right. But there’s also a little bit of an element of work. If you’re always a little positive towards crisis premium, like if you tend to be — have assets that have some balance in your portfolio, that there are some assets that make positions, that make money if things go sideways. In that particular case, I was — in the job cut protection, I had a very strong view in 2018, that rates are heading an exorbitant zero. I think this view was ex ante undisputable. I think people who thought otherwise were just plain wrong. Because everything — same way as 2014, I was convinced that rates were going lower. And I delineated my logic in 2014 in my first book, “The Next Perfect Trade,” even back then. And then over the next few years, between 2014 and 2020, up to COVID, we’ll have the situations when everything that could go wrong for bonds went wrong. Like, we had very robust growth, strong employment. We had U.S. politics, fiscal, both fiscal — fiscal politics and growth. Everything was actually negative for bonds, if you looked at it, if you looked at those numbers, right? And those fiscal expansions and the elections and everything, you will — you would think everything would be negative for you as bonds. And yet they performed tremendously well, which — and I had that logic in place, why there was no choice for them not to perform as well. That’s why I called my first book “The Magic” — “A Magic Sword of Necessity.” RITHOLTZ: So — so — GUREVICH: I like to say sometimes the magic sword of necessity is on shift. RITHOLTZ: So — so how do you conceptualize all of these macro currents and cross-currents and events? Do you create a model, or is it really you’re just putting together a lot of different ideas and trying to game out how they’re going to manifest themselves in prices of interest rates and inflation, and other factors that — that drive markets? GUREVICH: I think what I — it’s a kind of a hybrid. I follow — I follow the market just kind of continuously. It’s hard to say because if you’re in the financial markets for 25 years, without ever really taking a true break, there is certain cont.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureMay 9th, 2022

I get paid to play with dogs and figure out how they communicate. Here are the qualifications I needed and the challenges of working in a niche field.

Scientific researcher Dr. Juliane Bräuer runs the DogStudies lab in Jena, Germany where she designs experiments and writes reports on dogs' behavior. Juliane Bräuer and her dog, Nana, who helps pilot experiments.Juliane Bräuer Juliane Bräuer is a researcher of comparative psychology. She studies how dogs communicate. Her job entails playing with dogs to test experiments and working closely with her own pup, Nana.  This is Bräuer's story about breaking into a niche academic field, as told to writer Ralph Jones.  This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Juliane Bräuer, the head of DogStudies at the Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany, about studying dogs for a living. It has been edited for length and clarity.I have worked with apes, wolves, wild boars, and also a bit with children. Now I work with dogs, and I spend a lot of my working hours watching dogs play and recording their behavior.I am an academic researcher in comparative psychology researching the general question: What are the similarities and differences between humans and other species? I try and answer this question by studying how dogs communicate with humans.It's been proven that dogs understand human communication and cues better than most other animals, including monkeys and apesI currently run the DogStudies Lab, which I founded in 2016, at the Jena Max Planck Institute in Jena, Germany. Max Planck Institutes are scientific research centers that work alongside universities to support scientists pursuing niche or nontraditional research areas. There are around 80 institutes, mainly in Germany. I started working with dogs in 2000, just after joining the institute, carrying out research with my colleague Juliane Kaminiski. Our first paper about the comparative psychology of dogs came out in 2001. My job is to develop experiments to test ideas about how dogs communicate with humans and with other dogs.First, you have to come up with an idea you'd like to explore; then you create the experiment.I spend a lot of time reading papers, working out the theory, and then designing the experiment to pilot. The process usually takes between three and four months.  We have to send a proposal to the Max Planck Institute or the university — our lab is connected to the University of Jena. I applied for this approval before I started the tests.When I start an experiment, I invite dog owners to the institute. Once a month, I go to the lab for around four days to conduct experiments. Students test the experiment and I supervise them.My Border collie, Nana, is our pilot dog, and she does any experiment I am working on for the first time. When she learns a trick or game for an experiment in 20 minutes, I know it will take a normal dog two hours.The experiments are enjoyable games for the dogs. If a dog seems distressed, we will not test them.I watch closely during the most exciting part of the experiment — the first three dogs you test. During these initial tests, you see if the dogs are doing what you wanted them to do and get an impression of whether your experiment will work.When you have to test 50 dogs, watching the 45th dog do the test is less interesting.We record all the the tests. The next step is to watch the recordings, which takes a long time. Then we have to code the behavior, do the statistics, and then write the paper.The time it takes from beginning to end is varied and depends on the size of the project, how long it takes to write up, and other factors. We recruit the dogs for our experiments from local pet owners. When we relocated to Jena in 2015, we had an article written in the local newspaper asking dog owners if they wanted to fill out a questionnaire and participate in our experiments. We also posted flyers in vets' offices and made a Facebook page. Now we have a database of around 300 dogs and owners we can reach out to. The dog owners get a little gift if they volunteer a certain number of times: a dog toy or some food, but I don't have the money to pay them. The most significant drawback of doing this job is the insecurity. You are constantly applying for funding and never know when you will receive your next contract.It's very difficult to get funding because 'dog studies' isn't well-known and the process is drawn outI have written about 40 proposals and only gotten three funded. It takes me four months to come up with the idea and write it up for funding, and it takes the German Research Foundation, which hands out the money, between six to nine months to make a decision.I most recently got funding in 2020 for a project I started working on in early 2017. At the moment, I'm very happy because I got funding for the next three years. Loving dogs is not enough to be able to do this job. You have to love the science, also. I am not around dogs 24/7. I spend the majority of my time researching, writing proposals, and designing experiments. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 13th, 2022

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma"s Political Reach

The Anatomy Of Big Pharma's Political Reach Authored by Rebecca Strong via Medium.com, They keep telling us to “trust the science.” But who paid for it? After graduating from Columbia University with a chemical engineering degree, my grandfather went on to work for Pfizer for almost two decades, culminating his career as the company’s Global Director of New Products. I was rather proud of this fact growing up — it felt as if this father figure, who raised me for several years during my childhood, had somehow played a role in saving lives. But in recent years, my perspective on Pfizer — and other companies in its class — has shifted. Blame it on the insidious big pharma corruption laid bare by whistleblowers in recent years. Blame it on the endless string of big pharma lawsuits revealing fraud, deception, and cover-ups. Blame it on the fact that I witnessed some of their most profitable drugs ruin the lives of those I love most. All I know is, that pride I once felt has been overshadowed by a sticky skepticism I just can’t seem to shake. In 1973, my grandpa and his colleagues celebrated as Pfizer crossed a milestone: the one-billion-dollar sales mark. These days, Pfizer rakes in $81 billion a year, making it the 28th most valuable company in the world. Johnson & Johnson ranks 15th, with $93.77 billion. To put things into perspective, that makes said companies wealthier than most countries in the world. And thanks to those astronomical profit margins, the Pharmaceuticals and Health Products industry is able to spend more on lobbying than any other industry in America. While big pharma lobbying can take several different forms, these companies tend to target their contributions to senior legislators in Congress — you know, the ones they need to keep in their corner, because they have the power to draft healthcare laws. Pfizer has outspent its peers in six of the last eight election cycles, coughing up almost $9.7 million. During the 2016 election, pharmaceutical companies gave more than $7 million to 97 senators at an average of $75,000 per member. They also contributed $6.3 million to president Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign. The question is: what did big pharma get in return? When you've got 1,500 Big Pharma lobbyists on Capitol Hill for 535 members of Congress, it's not too hard to figure out why prescription drug prices in this country are, on average, 256% HIGHER than in other major countries. — Bernie Sanders (@BernieSanders) February 3, 2022 ALEC’s Off-the-Record Sway To truly grasp big pharma’s power, you need to understand how The American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) works. ALEC, which was founded in 1973 by conservative activists working on Ronald Reagan’s campaign, is a super secretive pay-to-play operation where corporate lobbyists — including in the pharma sector — hold confidential meetings about “model” bills. A large portion of these bills is eventually approved and become law. A rundown of ALEC’s greatest hits will tell you everything you need to know about the council’s motives and priorities. In 1995, ALEC promoted a bill that restricts consumers’ rights to sue for damages resulting from taking a particular medication. They also endorsed the Statute of Limitation Reduction Act, which put a time limit on when someone could sue after a medication-induced injury or death. Over the years, ALEC has promoted many other pharma-friendly bills that would: weaken FDA oversight of new drugs and therapies, limit FDA authority over drug advertising, and oppose regulations on financial incentives for doctors to prescribe specific drugs. But what makes these ALEC collaborations feel particularly problematic is that there’s little transparency — all of this happens behind closed doors. Congressional leaders and other committee members involved in ALEC aren’t required to publish any records of their meetings and other communications with pharma lobbyists, and the roster of ALEC members is completely confidential. All we know is that in 2020, more than two-thirds of Congress — 72 senators and 302 House of Representatives members — cashed a campaign check from a pharma company. Big Pharma Funding Research The public typically relies on an endorsement from government agencies to help them decide whether or not a new drug, vaccine, or medical device is safe and effective. And those agencies, like the FDA, count on clinical research. As already established, big pharma is notorious for getting its hooks into influential government officials. Here’s another sobering truth: The majority of scientific research is paid for by — wait for it — the pharmaceutical companies. When the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published 73 studies of new drugs over the course of a single year, they found that a staggering 82% of them had been funded by the pharmaceutical company selling the product, 68% had authors who were employees of that company, and 50% had lead researchers who accepted money from a drug company. According to 2013 research conducted at the University of Arizona College of Law, even when pharma companies aren’t directly funding the research, company stockholders, consultants, directors, and officers are almost always involved in conducting them. A 2017 report by the peer-reviewed journal The BMJ also showed that about half of medical journal editors receive payments from drug companies, with the average payment per editor hovering around $28,000. But these statistics are only accurate if researchers and editors are transparent about payments from pharma. And a 2022 investigative analysis of two of the most influential medical journals found that 81% of study authors failed to disclose millions in payments from drug companies, as they’re required to do. Unfortunately, this trend shows no sign of slowing down. The number of clinical trials funded by the pharmaceutical industry has been climbing every year since 2006, according to a John Hopkins University report, while independent studies have been harder to find. And there are some serious consequences to these conflicts of interest. Take Avandia, for instance, a diabetes drug produced by GlaxoSmithCline (GSK). Avandia was eventually linked to a dramatically increased risk of heart attacks and heart failure. And a BMJ report revealed that almost 90% of scientists who initially wrote glowing articles about Avandia had financial ties to GSK. But here’s the unnerving part: if the pharmaceutical industry is successfully biasing the science, then that means the physicians who rely on the science are biased in their prescribing decisions. Photo credit: UN Women Europe & Central Asia Where the lines get really blurry is with “ghostwriting.” Big pharma execs know citizens are way more likely to trust a report written by a board-certified doctor than one of their representatives. That’s why they pay physicians to list their names as authors — even though the MDs had little to no involvement in the research, and the report was actually written by the drug company. This practice started in the ’50s and ’60s when tobacco execs were clamoring to prove that cigarettes didn’t cause cancer (spoiler alert: they do!), so they commissioned doctors to slap their name on papers undermining the risks of smoking. It’s still a pretty common tactic today: more than one in 10 articles published in the NEJM was co-written by a ghostwriter. While a very small percentage of medical journals have clear policies against ghostwriting, it’s still technically legal —despite the fact that the consequences can be deadly. Case in point: in the late ’90s and early 2000s, Merck paid for 73 ghostwritten articles to play up the benefits of its arthritis drug Vioxx. It was later revealed that Merck failed to report all of the heart attacks experienced by trial participants. In fact, a study published in the NEJM revealed that an estimated 160,000 Americans experienced heart attacks or strokes from taking Vioxx. That research was conducted by Dr. David Graham, Associate Director of the FDA’s Office of Drug Safety, who understandably concluded the drug was not safe. But the FDA’s Office of New Drugs, which not only was responsible for initially approving Vioxx but also regulating it, tried to sweep his findings under the rug. "I was pressured to change my conclusions and recommendations, and basically threatened that if I did not change them, I would not be permitted to present the paper at the conference," he wrote in his 2004 U.S. Senate testimony on Vioxx. "One Drug Safety manager recommended that I should be barred from presenting the poster at the meeting." Eventually, the FDA issued a public health advisory about Vioxx and Merck withdrew this product. But it was a little late for repercussions — 38,000 of those Vioxx-takers who suffered heart attacks had already died. Graham called this a “profound regulatory failure,” adding that scientific standards the FDA apply to drug safety “guarantee that unsafe and deadly drugs will remain on the U.S. market.” This should come as no surprise, but research has also repeatedly shown that a paper written by a pharmaceutical company is more likely to emphasize the benefits of a drug, vaccine, or device while downplaying the dangers. (If you want to understand more about this practice, a former ghostwriter outlines all the ethical reasons why she quit this job in a PLOS Medicine report.) While adverse drug effects appear in 95% of clinical research, only 46% of published reports disclose them. Of course, all of this often ends up misleading doctors into thinking a drug is safer than it actually is. Big Pharma Influence On Doctors Pharmaceutical companies aren’t just paying medical journal editors and authors to make their products look good, either. There’s a long, sordid history of pharmaceutical companies incentivizing doctors to prescribe their products through financial rewards. For instance, Pfizer and AstraZeneca doled out a combined $100 million to doctors in 2018, with some earning anywhere from $6 million to $29 million in a year. And research has shown this strategy works: when doctors accept these gifts and payments, they’re significantly more likely to prescribe those companies’ drugs. Novartis comes to mind — the company famously spent over $100 million paying for doctors’ extravagant meals, golf outings, and more, all while also providing a generous kickback program that made them richer every time they prescribed certain blood pressure and diabetes meds. Side note: the Open Payments portal contains a nifty little database where you can find out if any of your own doctors received money from drug companies. Knowing that my mother was put on a laundry list of meds after a near-fatal car accident, I was curious — so I did a quick search for her providers. While her PCP only banked a modest amount from Pfizer and AstraZeneca, her previous psychiatrist — who prescribed a cocktail of contraindicated medications without treating her in person — collected quadruple-digit payments from pharmaceutical companies. And her pain care specialist, who prescribed her jaw-dropping doses of opioid pain medication for more than 20 years (far longer than the 5-day safety guideline), was raking in thousands from Purdue Pharma, AKA the opioid crisis’ kingpin. Purdue is now infamous for its wildly aggressive OxyContin campaign in the ’90s. At the time, the company billed it as a non-addictive wonder drug for pain sufferers. Internal emails show Pursue sales representatives were instructed to “sell, sell, sell” OxyContin, and the more they were able to push, the more they were rewarded with promotions and bonuses. With the stakes so high, these reps stopped at nothing to get doctors on board — even going so far as to send boxes of doughnuts spelling out “OxyContin” to unconvinced physicians. Purdue had stumbled upon the perfect system for generating tons of profit — off of other people’s pain. Documentation later proved that not only was Purdue aware it was highly addictive and that many people were abusing it, but that they also encouraged doctors to continue prescribing increasingly higher doses of it (and sent them on lavish luxury vacations for some motivation). In testimony to Congress, Purdue exec Paul Goldenheim played dumb about OxyContin addiction and overdose rates, but emails that were later exposed showed that he requested his colleagues remove all mentions of addiction from their correspondence about the drug. Even after it was proven in court that Purdue fraudulently marketed OxyContin while concealing its addictive nature, no one from the company spent a single day behind bars. Instead, the company got a slap on the wrist and a $600 million fine for a misdemeanor, the equivalent of a speeding ticket compared to the $9 billion they made off OxyContin up until 2006. Meanwhile, thanks to Purdue’s recklessness, more than 247,000 people died from prescription opioid overdoses between 1999 and 2009. And that’s not even factoring in all the people who died of heroin overdoses once OxyContin was no longer attainable to them. The NIH reports that 80% of people who use heroin started by misusing prescription opioids. Former sales rep Carol Panara told me in an interview that when she looks back on her time at Purdue, it all feels like a “bad dream.” Panara started working for Purdue in 2008, one year after the company pled guilty to “misbranding” charges for OxyContin. At this point, Purdue was “regrouping and expanding,” says Panara, and to that end, had developed a clever new approach for making money off OxyContin: sales reps were now targeting general practitioners and family doctors, rather than just pain management specialists. On top of that, Purdue soon introduced three new strengths for OxyContin: 15, 30, and 60 milligrams, creating smaller increments Panara believes were aimed at making doctors feel more comfortable increasing their patients’ dosages. According to Panara, there were internal company rankings for sales reps based on the number of prescriptions for each OxyContin dosing strength in their territory. “They were sneaky about it,” she said. “Their plan was to go in and sell these doctors on the idea of starting with 10 milligrams, which is very low, knowing full well that once they get started down that path — that’s all they need. Because eventually, they’re going to build a tolerance and need a higher dose.” Occasionally, doctors expressed concerns about a patient becoming addicted, but Purdue had already developed a way around that. Sales reps like Panara were taught to reassure those doctors that someone in pain might experience addiction-like symptoms called “pseudoaddiction,” but that didn’t mean they were truly addicted. There is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support that this concept is legit, of course. But the most disturbing part? Reps were trained to tell doctors that “pseudoaddiction” signaled the patient’s pain wasn’t being managed well enough, and the solution was simply to prescribe a higher dose of OxyContin. Panara finally quit Purdue in 2013. One of the breaking points was when two pharmacies in her territory were robbed at gunpoint specifically for OxyContin. In 2020, Purdue pled guilty to three criminal charges in an $8.3 billion deal, but the company is now under court protection after filing for bankruptcy. Despite all the damage that’s been done, the FDA’s policies for approving opioids remain essentially unchanged. Photo credit: Jennifer Durban Purdue probably wouldn’t have been able to pull this off if it weren’t for an FDA examiner named Curtis Wright, and his assistant Douglas Kramer. While Purdue was pursuing Wright’s stamp of approval on OxyContin, Wright took an outright sketchy approach to their application, instructing the company to mail documents to his home office rather than the FDA, and enlisting Purdue employees to help him review trials about the safety of the drug. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act requires that the FDA have access to at least two randomized controlled trials before deeming a drug as safe and effective, but in the case of OxyContin, it got approved with data from just one measly two-week study — in osteoarthritis patients, no less. When both Wright and Kramer left the FDA, they went on to work for none other than (drumroll, please) Purdue, with Wright earning three times his FDA salary. By the way — this is just one example of the FDA’s notoriously incestuous relationship with big pharma, often referred to as “the revolving door”. In fact, a 2018 Science report revealed that 11 out of 16 FDA reviewers ended up at the same companies they had been regulating products for. While doing an independent investigation, “Empire of Pain” author and New Yorker columnist Patrick Radden Keefe tried to gain access to documentation of Wright’s communications with Purdue during the OxyContin approval process. “The FDA came back and said, ‘Oh, it’s the weirdest thing, but we don’t have anything. It’s all either been lost or destroyed,’” Keefe told Fortune in an interview. “But it’s not just the FDA. It’s Congress, it’s the Department of Justice, it’s big parts of the medical establishment … the sheer amount of money involved, I think, has meant that a lot of the checks that should be in place in society to not just achieve justice, but also to protect us as consumers, were not there because they had been co-opted.” Big pharma may be to blame for creating the opioids that caused this public health catastrophe, but the FDA deserves just as much scrutiny — because its countless failures also played a part in enabling it. And many of those more recent fails happened under the supervision of Dr. Janet Woodcock. Woodcock was named FDA’s acting commissioner mere hours after Joe Biden was inaugurated as president. She would have been a logical choice, being an FDA vet of 35 years, but then again it’s impossible to forget that she played a starring role in the FDA’s perpetuating the opioid epidemic. She’s also known for overruling her own scientific advisors when they vote against approving a drug. Not only did Woodcock approve OxyContin for children as young as 11 years old, but she also gave the green light to several other highly controversial extended-release opioid pain drugs without sufficient evidence of safety or efficacy. One of those was Zohydro: in 2011, the FDA’s advisory committee voted 11:2 against approving it due to safety concerns about inappropriate use, but Woodcock went ahead and pushed it through, anyway. Under Woodcock’s supervision, the FDA also approved Opana, which is twice as powerful as OxyContin — only to then beg the drug maker to take it off the market 10 years later due to “abuse and manipulation.” And then there was Dsuvia, a potent painkiller 1,000 times stronger than morphine and 10 times more powerful than fentanyl. According to a head of one of the FDA’s advisory committees, the U.S. military had helped to develop this particular drug, and Woodcock said there was “pressure from the Pentagon” to push it through approvals. The FBI, members of congress, public health advocates, and patient safety experts alike called this decision into question, pointing out that with hundreds of opioids already on the market there’s no need for another — particularly one that comes with such high risks. Most recently, Woodcock served as the therapeutics lead for Operation Warp Speed, overseeing COVID-19 vaccine development. Big Pharma Lawsuits, Scandals, and Cover-Ups While the OxyContin craze is undoubtedly one of the highest-profile examples of big pharma’s deception, there are dozens of other stories like this. Here are a few standouts: In the 1980s, Bayer continued selling blood clotting products to third-world countries even though they were fully aware those products had been contaminated with HIV. The reason? The “financial investment in the product was considered too high to destroy the inventory.” Predictably, about 20,000 of the hemophiliacs who were infused with these tainted products then tested positive for HIV and eventually developed AIDS, and many later died of it. In 2004, Johnson & Johnson was slapped with a series of lawsuits for illegally promoting off-label use of their heartburn drug Propulsid for children despite internal company emails confirming major safety concerns (as in, deaths during the drug trials). Documentation from the lawsuits showed that dozens of studies sponsored by Johnson & Johnson highlighting the risks of this drug were never published. The FDA estimates that GSK’s Avandia caused 83,000 heart attacks between 1999 and 2007. Internal documents from GSK prove that when they began studying the effects of the drug as early as 1999, they discovered it caused a higher risk of heart attacks than a similar drug it was meant to replace. Rather than publish these findings, they spent a decade illegally concealing them (and meanwhile, banking $3.2 billion annually for this drug by 2006). Finally, a 2007 New England Journal of Medicine study linked Avandia to a 43% increased risk of heart attacks, and a 64% increased risk of death from heart disease. Avandia is still FDA approved and available in the U.S. In 2009, Pfizer was forced to pay $2.3 billion, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in history at that time, for paying illegal kickbacks to doctors and promoting off-label uses of its drugs. Specifically, a former employee revealed that Pfizer reps were encouraged and incentivized to sell Bextra and 12 other drugs for conditions they were never FDA approved for, and at doses up to eight times what’s recommended. “I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives,” the whistleblower said. When it was discovered that AstraZeneca was promoting the antipsychotic medication Seroquel for uses that were not approved by the FDA as safe and effective, the company was hit with a $520 million fine in 2010. For years, AstraZeneca had been encouraging psychiatrists and other physicians to prescribe Seroquel for a vast range of seemingly unrelated off-label conditions, including Alzheimer’s disease, anger management, ADHD, dementia, post-traumatic stress disorder, and sleeplessness. AstraZeneca also violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by paying doctors to spread the word about these unapproved uses of Seroquel via promotional lectures and while traveling to resort locations. In 2012, GSK paid a $3 billion fine for bribing doctors by flying them and their spouses to five-star resorts, and for illegally promoting drugs for off-label uses. What’s worse — GSK withheld clinical trial results that showed its antidepressant Paxil not only doesn’t work for adolescents and children but more alarmingly, that it can increase the likelihood of suicidal thoughts in this group. A 1998 GSK internal memo revealed that the company intentionally concealed this data to minimize any “potential negative commercial impact.” In 2021, an ex-AstraZeneca sales rep sued her former employer, claiming they fired her for refusing to promote drugs for uses that weren’t FDA-approved. The employee alleges that on multiple occasions, she expressed concerns to her boss about “misleading” information that didn’t have enough support from medical research, and off-label promotions of certain drugs. Her supervisor reportedly not only ignored these concerns but pressured her to approve statements she didn’t agree with and threatened to remove her from regional and national positions if she didn’t comply. According to the plaintiff, she missed out on a raise and a bonus because she refused to break the law. At the top of 2022, a panel of the D.C. Court of Appeals reinstated a lawsuit against Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson, Roche, and GE Healthcare, which claims they helped finance terrorist attacks against U.S. service members and other Americans in Iraq. The suit alleges that from 2005–2011, these companies regularly offered bribes (including free drugs and medical devices) totaling millions of dollars annually to Iraq’s Ministry of Health in order to secure drug contracts. These corrupt payments then allegedly funded weapons and training for the Mahdi Army, which until 2008, was largely considered one of the most dangerous groups in Iraq. Another especially worrisome factor is that pharmaceutical companies are conducting an ever-increasing number of clinical trials in third-world countries, where people may be less educated, and there are also far fewer safety regulations. Pfizer’s 1996 experimental trials with Trovan on Nigerian children with meningitis — without informed consent — is just one nauseating example. When a former medical director in Pfizer’s central research division warned the company both before and after the study that their methods in this trial were “improper and unsafe,” he was promptly fired. Families of the Nigerian children who died or were left blind, brain damaged, or paralyzed after the study sued Pfizer, and the company ultimately settled out of court. In 1998, the FDA approved Trovan only for adults. The drug was later banned from European markets due to reports of fatal liver disease and restricted to strictly emergency care in the U.S. Pfizer still denies any wrongdoing. “Nurse prepares to vaccinate children” by World Bank Photo Collection is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 But all that is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’d like to dive a little further down the rabbit hole — and I’ll warn you, it’s a deep one — a quick Google search for “big pharma lawsuits” will reveal the industry’s dark track record of bribery, dishonesty, and fraud. In fact, big pharma happens to be the biggest defrauder of the federal government when it comes to the False Claims Act, otherwise known as the “Lincoln Law.” During our interview, Panara told me she has friends still working for big pharma who would be willing to speak out about crooked activity they’ve observed, but are too afraid of being blacklisted by the industry. A newly proposed update to the False Claims Act would help to protect and support whistleblowers in their efforts to hold pharmaceutical companies liable, by helping to prevent that kind of retaliation and making it harder for the companies charged to dismiss these cases. It should come as no surprise that Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Merck, and a flock of other big pharma firms are currently lobbying to block the update. Naturally, they wouldn’t want to make it any easier for ex-employees to expose their wrongdoings, potentially costing them billions more in fines. Something to keep in mind: these are the same people who produced, marketed, and are profiting from the COVID-19 vaccines. The same people who manipulate research, pay off decision-makers to push their drugs, cover up negative research results to avoid financial losses, and knowingly put innocent citizens in harm’s way. The same people who told America: “Take as much OxyContin as you want around the clock! It’s very safe and not addictive!” (while laughing all the way to the bank). So, ask yourself this: if a partner, friend, or family member repeatedly lied to you — and not just little white lies, but big ones that put your health and safety at risk — would you continue to trust them? Backing the Big Four: Big Pharma and the FDA, WHO, NIH, CDC I know what you’re thinking. Big pharma is amoral and the FDA’s devastating slips are a dime a dozen — old news. But what about agencies and organizations like the National Institutes of Health (NIH), World Health Organization (WHO), and Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC)? Don’t they have an obligation to provide unbiased guidance to protect citizens? Don’t worry, I’m getting there. The WHO’s guidance is undeniably influential across the globe. For most of this organization’s history, dating back to 1948, it could not receive donations from pharmaceutical companies — only member states. But that changed in 2005 when the WHO updated its financial policy to permit private money into its system. Since then, the WHO has accepted many financial contributions from big pharma. In fact, it’s only 20% financed by member states today, with a whopping 80% of financing coming from private donors. For instance, The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF) is now one of its main contributors, providing up to 13% of its funds — about $250–300 million a year. Nowadays, the BMGF provides more donations to the WHO than the entire United States. Dr. Arata Kochi, former head of WHO’s malaria program, expressed concerns to director-general Dr. Margaret Chan in 2007 that taking the BMGF’s money could have “far-reaching, largely unintended consequences” including “stifling a diversity of views among scientists.” “The big concerns are that the Gates Foundation isn’t fully transparent and accountable,” Lawrence Gostin, director of WHO’s Collaborating Center on National and Global Health Law, told Devex in an interview. “By wielding such influence, it could steer WHO priorities … It would enable a single rich philanthropist to set the global health agenda.” Photo credit: National Institutes of Health Take a peek at the WHO’s list of donors and you’ll find a few other familiar names like AstraZeneca, Bayer, Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck. The NIH has the same problem, it seems. Science journalist Paul Thacker, who previously examined financial links between physicians and pharma companies as a lead investigator of the United States Senate Committee, wrote in The Washington Post that this agency “often ignored” very “obvious” conflicts of interest. He also claimed that “its industry ties go back decades.” In 2018, it was discovered that a $100 million alcohol consumption study run by NIH scientists was funded mostly by beer and liquor companies. Emails proved that NIH researchers were in frequent contact with those companies while designing the study — which, here’s a shocker — were aimed at highlighting the benefits and not the risks of moderate drinking. So, the NIH ultimately had to squash the trial. And then there’s the CDC. It used to be that this agency couldn’t take contributions from pharmaceutical companies, but in 1992 they found a loophole: new legislation passed by Congress allowed them to accept private funding through a nonprofit called the CDC Foundation. From 2014 through 2018 alone, the CDC Foundation received $79.6 million from corporations like Pfizer, Biogen, and Merck. Of course, if a pharmaceutical company wants to get a drug, vaccine, or other product approved, they really need to cozy up to the FDA. That explains why in 2017, pharma companies paid for a whopping 75% of the FDA’s scientific review budgets, up from 27% in 1993. It wasn’t always like this. But in 1992, an act of Congress changed the FDA’s funding stream, enlisting pharma companies to pay “user fees,” which help the FDA speed up the approval process for their drugs. A 2018 Science investigation found that 40 out of 107 physician advisors on the FDA’s committees received more than $10,000 from big pharma companies trying to get their drugs approved, with some banking up to $1 million or more. The FDA claims it has a well-functioning system to identify and prevent these possible conflicts of interest. Unfortunately, their system only works for spotting payments before advisory panels meet, and the Science investigation showed many FDA panel members get their payments after the fact. It’s a little like “you scratch my back now, and I’ll scratch your back once I get what I want” — drug companies promise FDA employees a future bonus contingent on whether things go their way. Here’s why this dynamic proves problematic: a 2000 investigation revealed that when the FDA approved the rotavirus vaccine in 1998, it didn’t exactly do its due diligence. That probably had something to do with the fact that committee members had financial ties to the manufacturer, Merck — many owned tens of thousands of dollars of stock in the company, or even held patents on the vaccine itself. Later, the Adverse Event Reporting System revealed that the vaccine was causing serious bowel obstructions in some children, and it was finally pulled from the U.S. market in October 1999. Then, in June of 2021, the FDA overruled concerns raised by its very own scientific advisory committee to approve Biogen’s Alzheimer’s drug Aduhelm — a move widely criticized by physicians. The drug not only showed very little efficacy but also potentially serious side effects like brain bleeding and swelling, in clinical trials. Dr. Aaron Kesselheim, a Harvard Medical School professor who was on the FDA’s scientific advisory committee, called it the “worst drug approval” in recent history, and noted that meetings between the FDA and Biogen had a “strange dynamic” suggesting an unusually close relationship. Dr. Michael Carome, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, told CNN that he believes the FDA started working in “inappropriately close collaboration with Biogen” back in 2019. “They were not objective, unbiased regulators,” he added in the CNN interview. “It seems as if the decision was preordained.” That brings me to perhaps the biggest conflict of interest yet: Dr. Anthony Fauci’s NIAID is just one of many institutes that comprises the NIH — and the NIH owns half the patent for the Moderna vaccine — as well as thousands more pharma patents to boot. The NIAID is poised to earn millions of dollars from Moderna’s vaccine revenue, with individual officials also receiving up to $150,000 annually. Operation Warp Speed In December of 2020, Pfizer became the first company to receive an emergency use authorization (EUA) from the FDA for a COVID-19 vaccine. EUAs — which allow the distribution of an unapproved drug or other product during a declared public health emergency — are actually a pretty new thing: the first one was issued in 2005 so military personnel could get an anthrax vaccine. To get a full FDA approval, there needs to be substantial evidence that the product is safe and effective. But for an EUA, the FDA just needs to determine that it may be effective. Since EUAs are granted so quickly, the FDA doesn’t have enough time to gather all the information they’d usually need to approve a drug or vaccine. “Operation Warp Speed Vaccine Event” by The White House is licensed under CC PDM 1.0 Pfizer CEO and chairman Albert Bourla has said his company was “operating at the speed of science” to bring a vaccine to market. However, a 2021 report in The BMJ revealed that this speed might have come at the expense of “data integrity and patient safety.” Brook Jackson, regional director for the Ventavia Research Group, which carried out these trials, told The BMJ that her former company “falsified data, unblinded patients, and employed inadequately trained vaccinators” in Pfizer’s pivotal phase 3 trial. Just some of the other concerning events witnessed included: adverse events not being reported correctly or at all, lack of reporting on protocol deviations, informed consent errors, and mislabeling of lab specimens. An audio recording of Ventavia employees from September 2020 revealed that they were so overwhelmed by issues arising during the study that they became unable to “quantify the types and number of errors” when assessing quality control. One Ventavia employee told The BMJ she’d never once seen a research environment as disorderly as Ventavia’s Pfizer vaccine trial, while another called it a “crazy mess.” Over the course of her two-decades-long career, Jackson has worked on hundreds of clinical trials, and two of her areas of expertise happen to be immunology and infectious diseases. She told me that from her first day on the Pfizer trial in September of 2020, she discovered “such egregious misconduct” that she recommended they stop enrolling participants into the study to do an internal audit. “To my complete shock and horror, Ventavia agreed to pause enrollment but then devised a plan to conceal what I found and to keep ICON and Pfizer in the dark,” Jackson said during our interview. “The site was in full clean-up mode. When missing data points were discovered the information was fabricated, including forged signatures on the informed consent forms.” A screenshot Jackson shared with me shows she was invited to a meeting titled “COVID 1001 Clean up Call” on Sept. 21, 2020. She refused to participate in the call. Jackson repeatedly warned her superiors about patient safety concerns and data integrity issues. “I knew that the entire world was counting on clinical researchers to develop a safe and effective vaccine and I did not want to be a part of that failure by not reporting what I saw,” she told me. When her employer failed to act, Jackson filed a complaint with the FDA on Sept. 25, and Ventavia fired her hours later that same day under the pretense that she was “not a good fit.” After reviewing her concerns over the phone, she claims the FDA never followed up or inspected the Ventavia site. Ten weeks later, the FDA authorized the EUA for the vaccine. Meanwhile, Pfizer hired Ventavia to handle the research for four more vaccine clinical trials, including one involving children and young adults, one for pregnant women, and another for the booster. Not only that, but Ventavia handled the clinical trials for Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Novavax. Jackson is currently pursuing a False Claims Act lawsuit against Pfizer and Ventavia Research Group. Last year, Pfizer banked nearly $37 billion from its COVID vaccine, making it one of the most lucrative products in global history. Its overall revenues doubled in 2021 to reach $81.3 billion, and it’s slated to reach a record-breaking $98-$102 billion this year. “Corporations like Pfizer should never have been put in charge of a global vaccination rollout, because it was inevitable they would make life-and-death decisions based on what’s in the short-term interest of their shareholders,” writes Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now. As previously mentioned, it’s super common for pharmaceutical companies to fund the research on their own products. Here’s why that’s scary. One 1999 meta-analysis showed that industry-funded research is eight times less likely to achieve unfavorable results compared to independent trials. In other words, if a pharmaceutical company wants to prove that a medication, supplement, vaccine, or device is safe and effective, they’ll find a way. With that in mind, I recently examined the 2020 study on Pfizer’s COVID vaccine to see if there were any conflicts of interest. Lo and behold, the lengthy attached disclosure form shows that of the 29 authors, 18 are employees of Pfizer and hold stock in the company, one received a research grant from Pfizer during the study, and two reported being paid “personal fees” by Pfizer. In another 2021 study on the Pfizer vaccine, seven of the 15 authors are employees of and hold stock in Pfizer. The other eight authors received financial support from Pfizer during the study. Photo credit: Prasesh Shiwakoti (Lomash) via Unsplash As of the day I’m writing this, about 64% of Americans are fully vaccinated, and 76% have gotten at least one dose. The FDA has repeatedly promised “full transparency” when it comes to these vaccines. Yet in December of 2021, the FDA asked for permission to wait 75 years before releasing information pertaining to Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine, including safety data, effectiveness data, and adverse reaction reports. That means no one would see this information until the year 2096 — conveniently, after many of us have departed this crazy world. To recap: the FDA only needed 10 weeks to review the 329,000 pages worth of data before approving the EUA for the vaccine — but apparently, they need three-quarters of a century to publicize it. In response to the FDA’s ludicrous request, PHMPT — a group of over 200 medical and public health experts from Harvard, Yale, Brown, UCLA, and other institutions — filed a lawsuit under the Freedom of Information Act demanding that the FDA produce this data sooner. And their efforts paid off: U.S. District Judge Mark T. Pittman issued an order for the FDA to produce 12,000 pages by Jan. 31, and then at least 55,000 pages per month thereafter. In his statement to the FDA, Pittman quoted the late John F. Kennedy: “A nation that is afraid to let its people judge the truth and falsehood in an open market is a nation that is afraid of its people.” As for why the FDA wanted to keep this data hidden, the first batch of documentation revealed that there were more than 1,200 vaccine-related deaths in just the first 90 days after the Pfizer vaccine was introduced. Of 32 pregnancies with a known outcome, 28 resulted in fetal death. The CDC also recently unveiled data showing a total of 1,088,560 reports of adverse events from COVID vaccines were submitted between Dec. 14, 2020, and Jan. 28, 2022. That data included 23,149 reports of deaths and 183,311 reports of serious injuries. There were 4,993 reported adverse events in pregnant women after getting vaccinated, including 1,597 reports of miscarriage or premature birth. A 2022 study published in JAMA, meanwhile, revealed that there have been more than 1,900 reported cases of myocarditis — or inflammation of the heart muscle — mostly in people 30 and under, within 7 days of getting the vaccine. In those cases, 96% of people were hospitalized. “It is understandable that the FDA does not want independent scientists to review the documents it relied upon to license Pfizer’s vaccine given that it is not as effective as the FDA originally claimed, does not prevent transmission, does not prevent against certain emerging variants, can cause serious heart inflammation in younger individuals, and has numerous other undisputed safety issues,” writes Aaron Siri, the attorney representing PHMPT in its lawsuit against the FDA. Siri told me in an email that his office phone has been ringing off the hook in recent months. “We are overwhelmed by inquiries from individuals calling about an injury from a COVID-19 vaccine,” he said. By the way — it’s worth noting that adverse effects caused by COVID-19 vaccinations are still not covered by the National Vaccine Injury Compensation Program. Companies like Pfizer, Moderna, and Johnson & Johnson are protected under the Public Readiness and Emergency Preparedness (PREP) Act, which grants them total immunity from liability with their vaccines. And no matter what happens to you, you can’t sue the FDA for authorizing the EUA, or your employer for requiring you to get it, either. Billions of taxpayer dollars went to fund the research and development of these vaccines, and in Moderna’s case, licensing its vaccine was made possible entirely by public funds. But apparently, that still warrants citizens no insurance. Should something go wrong, you’re basically on your own. Pfizer and Moderna COVID-19 vaccine business model: government gives them billions, gives them immunity for any injuries or if doesn't work, promotes their products for free, and mandates their products. Sounds crazy? Yes, but it is our current reality. — Aaron Siri (@AaronSiriSG) February 2, 2022 The Hypocrisy of “Misinformation” I find it interesting that “misinformation” has become such a pervasive term lately, but more alarmingly, that it’s become an excuse for blatant censorship on social media and in journalism. It’s impossible not to wonder what’s driving this movement to control the narrative. In a world where we still very clearly don’t have all the answers, why shouldn’t we be open to exploring all the possibilities? And while we’re on the subject, what about all of the COVID-related untruths that have been spread by our leaders and officials? Why should they get a free pass? Photo credit: @upgradeur_life, www.instagram.com/upgradeur_life Fauci, President Biden, and the CDC’s Rochelle Walensky all promised us with total confidence the vaccine would prevent us from getting or spreading COVID, something we now know is a myth. (In fact, the CDC recently had to change its very definition of “vaccine ” to promise “protection” from a disease rather than “immunity”— an important distinction). At one point, the New York State Department of Health (NYS DOH) and former Governor Andrew Cuomo prepared a social media campaign with misleading messaging that the vaccine was “approved by the FDA” and “went through the same rigorous approval process that all vaccines go through,” when in reality the FDA only authorized the vaccines under an EUA, and the vaccines were still undergoing clinical trials. While the NYS DOH eventually responded to pressures to remove these false claims, a few weeks later the Department posted on Facebook that “no serious side effects related to the vaccines have been reported,” when in actuality, roughly 16,000 reports of adverse events and over 3,000 reports of serious adverse events related to a COVID-19 vaccination had been reported in the first two months of use. One would think we’d hold the people in power to the same level of accountability — if not more — than an average citizen. So, in the interest of avoiding hypocrisy, should we “cancel” all these experts and leaders for their “misinformation,” too? Vaccine-hesitant people have been fired from their jobs, refused from restaurants, denied the right to travel and see their families, banned from social media channels, and blatantly shamed and villainized in the media. Some have even lost custody of their children. These people are frequently labeled “anti-vax,” which is misleading given that many (like the NBA’s Jonathan Isaac) have made it repeatedly clear they are not against all vaccines, but simply making a personal choice not to get this one. (As such, I’ll suggest switching to a more accurate label: “pro-choice.”) Fauci has repeatedly said federally mandating the vaccine would not be “appropriate” or “enforceable” and doing so would be “encroaching upon a person’s freedom to make their own choice.” So it’s remarkable that still, some individual employers and U.S. states, like my beloved Massachusetts, have taken it upon themselves to enforce some of these mandates, anyway. Meanwhile, a Feb. 7 bulletin posted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security indicates that if you spread information that undermines public trust in a government institution (like the CDC or FDA), you could be considered a terrorist. In case you were wondering about the current state of free speech. The definition of institutional oppression is “the systematic mistreatment of people within a social identity group, supported and enforced by the society and its institutions, solely based on the person’s membership in the social identity group.” It is defined as occurring when established laws and practices “systematically reflect and produce inequities based on one’s membership in targeted social identity groups.” Sound familiar? As you continue to watch the persecution of the unvaccinated unfold, remember this. Historically, when society has oppressed a particular group of people whether due to their gender, race, social class, religious beliefs, or sexuality, it’s always been because they pose some kind of threat to the status quo. The same is true for today’s unvaccinated. Since we know the vaccine doesn’t prevent the spread of COVID, however, this much is clear: the unvaccinated don’t pose a threat to the health and safety of their fellow citizens — but rather, to the bottom line of powerful pharmaceutical giants and the many global organizations they finance. And with more than $100 billion on the line in 2021 alone, I can understand the motivation to silence them. The unvaccinated have been called selfish. Stupid. Fauci has said it’s “almost inexplicable” that they are still resisting. But is it? What if these people aren’t crazy or uncaring, but rather have — unsurprisingly so — lost their faith in the agencies that are supposed to protect them? Can you blame them? Citizens are being bullied into getting a vaccine that was created, evaluated, and authorized in under a year, with no access to the bulk of the safety data for said vaccine, and no rights whatsoever to pursue legal action if they experience adverse effects from it. What these people need right now is to know they can depend on their fellow citizens to respect their choices, not fuel the segregation by launching a full-fledged witch hunt. Instead, for some inexplicable reason I imagine stems from fear, many continue rallying around big pharma rather than each other. A 2022 Heartland Institute and Rasmussen Reports survey of Democratic voters found that 59% of respondents support a government policy requiring unvaccinated individuals to remain confined in their home at all times, 55% support handing a fine to anyone who won’t get the vaccine, and 48% think the government should flat out imprison people who publicly question the efficacy of the vaccines on social media, TV, or online in digital publications. Even Orwell couldn’t make this stuff up. Photo credit: DJ Paine on Unsplash Let me be very clear. While there are a lot of bad actors out there — there are also a lot of well-meaning people in the science and medical industries, too. I’m lucky enough to know some of them. There are doctors who fend off pharma reps’ influence and take an extremely cautious approach to prescribing. Medical journal authors who fiercely pursue transparency and truth — as is evident in “The Influence of Money on Medical Science,” a report by the first female editor of JAMA. Pharmacists, like Dan Schneider, who refuse to fill prescriptions they deem risky or irresponsible. Whistleblowers, like Graham and Jackson, who tenaciously call attention to safety issues for pharma products in the approval pipeline. And I’m certain there are many people in the pharmaceutical industry, like Panara and my grandfather, who pursued this field with the goal of helping others, not just earning a six- or seven-figure salary. We need more of these people. Sadly, it seems they are outliers who exist in a corrupt, deep-rooted system of quid-pro-quo relationships. They can only do so much. I’m not here to tell you whether or not you should get the vaccine or booster doses. What you put in your body is not for me — or anyone else — to decide. It’s not a simple choice, but rather one that may depend on your physical condition, medical history, age, religious beliefs, and level of risk tolerance. My grandfather passed away in 2008, and lately, I find myself missing him more than ever, wishing I could talk to him about the pandemic and hear what he makes of all this madness. I don’t really know how he’d feel about the COVID vaccine, or whether he would have gotten it or encouraged me to. What I do know is that he’d listen to my concerns, and he’d carefully consider them. He would remind me my feelings are valid. His eyes would light up and he’d grin with amusement as I fervidly expressed my frustration. He’d tell me to keep pushing forward, digging deeper, asking questions. In his endearing Bronx accent, he used to always say: “go get ‘em, kid.” If I stop typing for a moment and listen hard enough, I can almost hear him saying it now. People keep saying “trust the science.” But when trust is broken, it must be earned back. And as long as our legislative system, public health agencies, physicians, and research journals keep accepting pharmaceutical money (with strings attached) — and our justice system keeps letting these companies off the hook when their negligence causes harm, there’s no reason for big pharma to change. They’re holding the bag, and money is power. I have a dream that one day, we’ll live in a world where we are armed with all the thorough, unbiased data necessary to make informed decisions about our health. Alas, we’re not even close. What that means is that it’s up to you to educate yourself as much as possible, and remain ever-vigilant in evaluating information before forming an opinion. You can start by reading clinical trials yourself, rather than relying on the media to translate them for you. Scroll to the bottom of every single study to the “conflicts of interest” section and find out who funded it. Look at how many subjects were involved. Confirm whether or not blinding was used to eliminate bias. You may also choose to follow Public Citizen’s Health Research Group’s rule whenever possible: that means avoiding a new drug until five years after an FDA approval (not an EUA, an actual approval) — when there’s enough data on the long-term safety and effectiveness to establish that the benefits outweigh the risks. When it comes to the news, you can seek out independent, nonprofit outlets, which are less likely to be biased due to pharma funding. And most importantly, when it appears an organization is making concerted efforts to conceal information from you — like the FDA recently did with the COVID vaccine — it’s time to ask yourself: why? What are they trying to hide? In the 2019 film “Dark Waters” — which is based on the true story of one of the greatest corporate cover-ups in American history — Mark Ruffalo as attorney Rob Bilott says: “The system is rigged. They want us to think it’ll protect us, but that’s a lie. We protect us. We do. Nobody else. Not the companies. Not the scientists. Not the government. Us.” Words to live by. Tyler Durden Sat, 04/09/2022 - 22:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 9th, 2022

Meet the college basketball player turned US senator who pitched a tax on billionaires like Elon Musk to fund Biden"s economic agenda

Sen. Ron Wyden's optimism is being tested in the 50-50 Senate as he tries to bring Joe Manchin on board. Sen. Ron Wyden is playing a big role trying to revive Biden's economic agenda after a Democratic holdout torpedoed it last year.Ron Wyden; Marianne Ayala/InsiderThe shot-clock is about to hit zero to pass President Joe Biden's economic agenda as the midterm elections draw near. But Sen. Ron Wyden of Oregon says he's far from beaten.Wyden, 72, chairs the Senate Finance Committee, a powerful panel with major sway over tax and health policy. He's spent much of the past year wheeling and dealing on Biden's social- and climate-spending package that's withered in the Senate for over three months.Congress is about to get a closer look at what can happen when an unstoppable force meets an immovable object.The Oregon Democrat is confident he can lock down a holdout standing between the party's failure or victory: Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, the conservative Democrat who sank the legislation at the end of last year. "I talked to him a few minutes ago," he told Insider at the US Capitol on February 1.Not even 2 1/2 minutes had passed (or the full length of Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's "Ain't No Mountain High Enough") before Manchin walked past him and killed the bill all over again."What Build Back Better bill?" Manchin told Insider when asked about the future of Biden's economic agenda. "I don't know what you're all talking about.""It's dead," he said, re-emphasizing his opposition to the House bill as if to double-check it had no pulse. Despite Manchin's dismissal, Wyden accepts he has a crucial but uphill battle to revive the Build Back Better plan in some form. He's near the center of the effort to pull the Democratic agenda from the shredder that Manchin threw it in. The midterms are approaching, and voters will likely judge Democrats on pledges to curb prescription drug costs and provide financial relief for families. But the evenly divided Senate has also tested the limits of Wyden's optimism in a chamber where every Democrat is a president with veto power."Rounding up 50 votes in the Senate is not for the faint-hearted," Wyden told Insider in two wide-ranging interviews. "Legislating is not a spectator sport. You've got to be hands-on."Wyden has played a key role in shepherding several COVID-19 relief packages through Congress over the past two years. Those measures briefly expanded the safety net with direct payments and enhanced unemployment insurance to buoy struggling Americans. It demonstrated that the US can reduce poverty even in the middle of one of the worst economic crises since the Great Depression.Now, Wyden's focus is on reviving a bill without any of the chaos and blown deadlines from last fall. The mercurial Manchin says he's open to cutting a deal, floating a summer deadline to pass legislation without committing to it. But Wyden and other Democrats haven't managed yet to sort through the wreckage of their domestic ambitions to assemble another bill that fits his narrow demands.Some Democrats, particularly progressives, are souring on the odds he'll ever vote for anything. "Another week, another Manchin," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York told Insider in early March. "The moment he's actually willing to do something, I'll be listening. But as long as he's talking about doing something, I don't really have much faith."There are signs of a similar pessimism spilling into Democratic leadership. Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranked Senate Democrat, openly conceded he had effectively thrown in the towel on the social and climate package. He laid the blame on Manchin and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, another holdout.Rounding up 50 votes in the Senate is not for the faint-hearted. Sen. Ron WydenWyden acknowledged the numerous obstacles still separating Democrats from success on the centerpiece of their economic agenda."This is a uniquely challenging political time," Wyden said, noting war in Ukraine and supply-chain breakdowns at home contributing to the highest inflation in four decades. "I've never seen anything coming at us with this kind of velocity."But Wyden seems determined not to call it quits just yet even with time running short."Ron Wyden is one of the biggest optimists I've ever encountered," Josh Kardon, Wyden's former longtime chief of staff, said in an interview. "He wakes up every morning believing that he can make a difference, even when all the evidence around him suggests that's not so. It's really quite extraordinary."Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, left, and Wyden before a 2018 Senate committee hearing.Tom Williams/CQ Roll CallThe brigade to put Build Back Better back on trackSince he sided with the GOP to sink most of Biden's economic agenda, Manchin has dropped hints about his priorities. "Just fix the tax code," he said in February. "We have to basically get our financial house in order," he said another time. For Biden and Democrats in Congress, decoding Manchin is comparable to interpreting hieroglyphs — but without a Rosetta Stone to crack the meaning.He sketched out a smaller bill focused on prescription-drug savings, stepping up taxes on the rich, climate-related spending, and deficit reduction. Yet he's grown skeptical of domestic initiatives he views as social programs like affordable childcare. He told Insider in February that he "wants nothing to do with that."Wyden wants to meet him somewhere in the middle. Almost immediately after the talks went off the rails in December, the Oregon Democrat outlined a possible alternative centered on Obamacare subsidies to reduce the price of health insurance, cutting prescription drug costs, and clean-energy tax credits.There has been occasional speculation that Manchin could switch parties. But Wyden thinks negotiations with the conservative Democrat have been in good faith. "We all get an election certificate to represent the people in our state," he said.He's kept hitting the phones and dialed up fellow Democrats on reviving the party's broader agenda. Sens. Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Patty Murray of Washington, Jeff Merkley of Oregon, Sheldon Whitehouse of Rhode Island, Tom Carper of Delaware, and Sherrod Brown of Ohio are a few members forming a Build Back Better brigade to put the bill back on track, Democratic aides and offices said."My wife in fact said, 'Is there any day when these discussions about these next efforts on health and climate don't take place?'" Wyden said in late February. "I said, 'They're every day.' I've been in several today already. And it's only 5 o'clock, and I got probably two more to go."Sen. Elizabeth Warren, left, and Wyden at the US Capitol.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesThe Democratic two-step on chasing billionaire wealthAmong Wyden's top responsibilities is designing a litany of new taxes on the richest Americans and large corporations to finance the suite of climate, health, and childcare programs. But he's faced a familiar Democratic two-step on many of his ideas, including one of his biggest hopes: taxing billionaires.Wyden pitched ambitious tax plans through 2021, such as a tax on carbon emissions and ending the step-up loophole.  But fellow Democrats nixed them one-by-one. Then Sinema closed the door on rolling back swaths of the 2017 GOP tax cuts, depriving the party's plans of about $700 billion in new revenue from raising individual and corporate rates.The last-minute scramble for cash led Wyden to dust off what's perhaps his most audacious plan that had been in the works for two years.In the fall, he unveiled a billionaires' income tax to finance a large chunk of the package, targeting about 700 of the richest Americans who tend to park growing fortunes in tradable assets like stocks. The tax would apply to all the gains in value on those investments from the time they were first purchased.The novel plan took a cue from Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts, who pushed a wealth tax on the superrich during her 2020 presidential campaign that proved popular with voters.But Wyden's plan didn't get a warm reception among his colleagues: Plenty of Democrats treaded cautiously around the largely untested measure, and a few powerful ones assailed it. Manchin branded it as divisive within hours, and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi privately slammed it as a "public-relations stunt."Wyden also made a rival out of a tech titan. Tesla CEO Elon Musk unleashed vulgar attacks on Wyden and other prominent Democrats as the party debated his billionaire-tax proposal. That measure would have slapped Musk with a $10 billion annual tax bill over the first five years. He brushed off Musk. "I knew a long time ago that people say stuff online that can't exactly go into the old-fashioned community newspaper," Wyden said. "I just do my job. I've got my hands full trying to get stuff done that helps people."Biden recently unveiled a billionaire tax proposal of his own, the first time the White House had drafted a plan specifically aimed at some of the richest people in America. Wyden was on board. But it was dead within 12 hours after Manchin came out against it.To make up some of the lost revenue, Wyden is looking overseas to domestic companies paying little or no taxes if they're headquartered abroad."He's put together a very solid revenue package," Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia, a member of the Senate Finance Committee, told Insider. "If and when we get something through, it'll have a lot of those international components."From left, Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow, Wyden, and Chuck Schumer and Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo attend a press conference about supply-chain issues.Joshua Roberts/Getty Images'He's just situated impossibly'Democrats can go only so far with needle-thin majorities. They don't have a vote to spare in the Senate after their surprise victories in the 2021 Georgia runoffs handed them control of the White House and Congress for the first time in a decade. Democrats control the 50-50 upper chamber with a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.The party also holds only a three-seat House majority. The near-unanimity needed to pass legislation means they're bound to settle for much less than the original aim to strengthen the American welfare state and invest enormous sums on healthcare, education, clean energy, and tax credits for low-income families."Wyden is trying to deal with the fact that the Senate is composed of 50 Republicans who will always say no," Steve Rosenthal, a senior fellow at the Tax Policy Center, said in an interview. "And can he bring along Sinema, Manchin, and a few other Democrats in a direction that advances the Democratic agenda?" Rosenthal added: "He's just situated impossibly.""Chairman Wyden knows how to reach a deal," said Kardon, now a partner at the lobbying firm Capitol Counsel. "He learned long ago not to allow the perfect be the enemy of the good."The party's first big priority after the 2020 elections was muscling through a $1.9 trillion stimulus law to pump fresh money to Americans, hospitals, and state and local governments. Wyden initially sought to restore the $600-per-week unemployment insurance established early in the pandemic. He calculated the original amount — meant to fully replace a worker's lost wages — on his iPhone in a meeting with then-Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin in March 2020.He settled for less, and Democrats nearly lost the whole package due to Manchin's 11th hour demands to cut federal unemployment benefits. "This is the best that can be done for people who are hurting now," Wyden said in an interview at the time."He's cared about this stuff," Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado, an architect of the expanded child tax credit, said in an interview. "He's done it because he's passionate about trying to make the tax code fair for working people and for families."No Republican in either chamber voted for the package, foreshadowing their unified opposition to the Build Back Better plan. The ongoing partisan warfare has prompted Wyden to grow more circumspect on the big bipartisan compromises he once sought."It's always a heavy lift. It's clearly much harder today," Wyden said. But on restricting prescription-drug costs, there might be a brief window of opportunity. Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, a senior Republican on the Senate Finance panel, told Insider he believed a bipartisan agreement can be struck while Democrats still control Congress. He teamed up with Wyden on a drug bill in 2019. But it didn't go anywhere, partly because Mitch McConnell, then the Senate majority leader, sabotaged his efforts."We know what the situation is in the Congress of the United States when you put Republicans and Democrats together," Grassley said. "Even if Republicans control the Congress next time, there's going to be a lot of new members. I know what we got now, and we ought to move now."From left, Sens. Max Baucus, Mike Crapo, and Wyden speak at the US Capitol in December 2012. Baucus was the last Democrat before Wyden to serve as Senate finance chair.Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call'The value of having a gavel'Congress today couldn't be more different from the one that a lanky, younger Wyden first stepped into. A former college basketball player and the son of a journalist, Wyden was first elected to the House in 1980. He later became the first US senator to win an election conducted entirely by mail in 1996.In the Senate, Wyden carved out a profile as a liberal unafraid to work with Republicans. Over the years, he's partnered with Sen. Lisa Murkowski of Alaska on campaign-finance reform, former Rep. Jason Chaffetz on GPS privacy, and former GOP Sens. Orrin Hatch of Utah and Bob Bennett of Utah on healthcare reform. After President Barack Obama took office in 2009, Democrats saw a once-in-a-generation opportunity to push through healthcare reform.Wyden reintroduced legislation alongside Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to secure universal healthcare for Americans by expanding private insurance. Though the plan gathered dust, its guardrails preventing insurers from denying coverage to people with pre-existing conditions ended up in what became the Affordable Care Act, the law that expanded health coverage to many Americans.Wyden's chief of staff at the time thinks that era formed a valuable learning experience the senator still draws from.Democrats overcame Republican opposition and internal splits to forge the ACA. Sen. Max Baucus of Montana, the last Democratic chair of the Senate Finance Committee before Wyden, tried courting a handful of GOP votes for Obama's healthcare plan only for it to sputter out. Then Wyden fought with Baucus to make the law more ambitious in scope. But Baucus won out, helped get the bill over the finish line and signed into law in March 2010. "I think the senator above all learned the value of having a gavel," Kardon said of Wyden."As chairman, it remains to be seen what can be accomplished in this particular environment in a bipartisan fashion," Kardon said. "But those skills also have lent themselves to his dealings with the more conservative side of his caucus."Wyden takes the stage to speak at the "Time to Deliver" Home Care Workers rally and march on November 16 in Washington, DC.Jemal Countess/Getty Images for SEIUWyden's willpowerThe economy is in far better shape compared to a year ago. In 2021, the economy grew at its fastest rate since the Reagan years, creating a record 6.4 million jobs with wages rising at their fastest pace in years. But inflation is wiping out those pay increases and surveys indicate that Americans are souring on the economy.Democrats face enormous challenges hanging onto their narrow majorities this year — and Wyden is warning of blowback if the party fails to keep its campaign promises. I've never seen anything coming at us with this kind of velocity. Ron Wyden"My point has been, 'Senators, how many times have we promised that we were going to get serious about holding down the cost of medicine?" Wyden said in a Zoom interview, banging his fist on the desk. "How do you keep a straight face when you go home if you're not serious about doing this?" Other Democrats are keenly aware of the high stakes, particularly if they end up losing the House, Senate, or both. "We're not giving up," Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said in a brief interview. "There's too many important things."For now, Wyden is taking a lead role in bipartisan efforts to revoke trade relations with Russia, a step that essentially treats the country as an international pariah. He doesn't intend to sit around like a "potted plant" while Manchin makes up his mind about casting a vote on a smaller climate and energy bill."Every single day, he wakes up, reads about eight newspapers, starts quizzing his staff, and tries to figure out how to move the ball," Kardon said. "That's who the guy is." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytApr 1st, 2022

US Futures Ignore China Implosion, Reverse Overnight Losses as Oil Tumbles

US Futures Ignore China Implosion, Reverse Overnight Losses as Oil Tumbles Welcome to another rollercoaster session where US equity futures first tumbled alongside the second consecutive day of stocks plunging in China, which also dragged Europe lower, only to hit a U-turn around 5am at which point sentiment reversed higher, ahead of tomorrow’s expected Federal Reserve rate hike and amid mounting risks from the war in Ukraine and a Chinese equity rout. Nasdaq 100 contracts trade 0.5% higher at 7:15 a.m. after earlier slumping as much as 0.8% following the first bear-market close for the first time since March 2020. S&P 500 futures also turned 0.3% green, as did Dow futures. Much of the reversal in sentiment has been attributed to the latest drop in oil which tumbled over $8/bbl or 5.5%, sliding as low as $98 after hitting $139 one week ago. WTI crude oil also fell below $100 a barrel a barrel as traders reassessed the potential impact of disruptions in Russian oil supplies and a decline in demand from China. Iron ore futures fell for a sixth day, the longest streak since September. In other words, commodities are not sliding because of hopes for Russia peace, but because of fears about a global recession, but try explaining it all to algos. Treasuries gained, though the 10-year yield remains near the highest level since 2019. Yields across the euro region also declined. The dollar slipped, while the euro pushed higher and bitcoin dropped again. Earlier in the session, a selloff across Chinese equities deepened as concerns about ties with Russia, a growing covid crisis, and persistent regulatory pressure sent a key index to its lowest level since 2008. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong, sank 6.6%, following a plunge in the previous session that was the biggest since the global financial crisis. The Hang Seng index tumbled Tech giants Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. and Tencent Holdings Ltd. led the decline. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index slumped 5.7%, its biggest fall since July 2015. China’s equities are looking increasingly risky on concerns that Beijing’s ties with Russia could spark new U.S. sanctions. That’s adding to worries from regulatory developments including a possible delisting from the U.S. exchanges. While upbeat economic data was a rare bright spot in the market, growing lockdowns in major Chinese cities are dimming the outlook. "The selloff is overdone, but so is everything else,” said Andy Maynard, head of equities at China Renaissance Securities. "The market is crazy -- there’s no fundamentals anymore. This might be worse than the 2008 financial crisis." “Risk-off sentiment stemming from both the Russia-Ukraine war and the current wave of Covid-19 in China has driven equity markets sharply weaker this morning,” Siobhan Redford, an analyst at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg, said in a client note.  “This has been compounded by falling commodity prices as the intersection between limited supply -- given sanctions on Russia and the war in Ukraine -- and a weaker demand trajectory -- given further waves of the pandemic -- create a perfect storm of sorts.” With zero liquidity, and trigger happy traders looking to sell any rally, swings in S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures signaled another volatile day ahead for U.S. stocks. U.S.-listed Chinese stocks sank again on Tuesday, following a brutal rout in Asia, amid concerns that China’s ties with Russia may bring sanctions to Beijing, while persistent regulatory pressures also weighed. Alibaba (BABA US) fell 6.5% in premarket trading, while rival JD.com (JD US) declined 4.5%. Apple Inc. inched lower, heading toward a bear market -- defined as a 20% drop from recent highs -- on worries that lockdowns in China to contain a surge in Covid-19 cases could worsen supply-chain constraints. Other notable premarket movers: Shares in big U.S. energy companies slide in premarket trading as crude price fall, declining after last week’s rally as worries over growing coronavirus cases in top crude importer China weigh. Exxon Mobil (XOM US) -3.1% and Chevron (CVX US) -3.7%. Coupa Software (COUP US) slides 30% in postmarket trading after the company’s revenue forecast for the first quarter misses the average analyst estimate. Gitlab (GTLB US) shares rose 12% in extended trading on Monday, after the software company reported fourth-quarter revenue that beat expectations and gave a full-year forecast that is stronger than the analyst consensus. U.S. technology stocks have been particularly hard hit in the past week with the Federal Reserve expected to begin a rate-hike cycle on Wednesday, another negative for growth stocks valued on future profits. Investors are also looking for cues from the central bank about how aggressively it plans to continue tightening monetary policy as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine sent commodity prices soaring when inflation was already running high. A reading on the producer price index is due on Tuesday. “If we are entering a world of above-target inflation for several years to come, investors should ditch the easy answers,” said Sahil Mahtani, strategist at Ninety One. “Conventional 60-40 type portfolios are likely to struggle. Investors should reflect about what specifically is driving the inflationary process and invest in equities that have pricing power but are not at frothy valuations.” The Stoxx Europe 600 index fell more than 1.5%, with basic resources, consumer and technology stocks leading a broad-based decline.  All sectors are in the red. Euro Stoxx 50 slumps 2.4%. IBEX outperforms peers but still trades off ~1.5%. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Ahold Delhaize shares gain as much as 3.2%, the best performer in the Stoxx 600’s personal care, drug and grocery stores subgroup, after being upgraded to buy from neutral at UBS, which says the stock is at an “attractive entry point.” S&T rallied in Frankfurt, climbing as much as 18%, after the Austrian company said a forensic audit by Deloitte found allegations by short seller Viceroy Research were almost completely inaccurate. Sensirion shares spike as much as 13%, the most since June 2020, after the Swiss sensor manufacturer reported full- year sales and gave a revenue forecast that blew past analysts’ estimates. Stifel says the company’s growth is driven by all end markets and the performance of new environmental sensors looks “impressive.” Wacker Chemie shares gain as much as 6.9%, as Baader sees dividend proposal 56% above and midpoint ‘22 Ebitda guidance 3% ahead of consensus. Tecan falls as much as 16% after reporting sales for the full year that missed the average analyst estimate, and as the outlook disappointed. Dr. Martens shares tumble as much as 11% to the lowest since listing in January 2021 after RBC cut its price target to a Street-low, citing the bootmaker’s growth outlook. Swedish Match drops as much as 8.4%, the most intraday since February 2021, after the company suspended the spinoff of its U.S. cigar business. The move highlights regulatory risk, according to JPMorgan. Meanwhile, Russia has started the payment process of two bond coupons due this week. Investors are waiting to see if the nation defaults after the U.S. and its allies froze Russia’s foreign-currency reserves. The ruble gained in Moscow trading. Asian stocks plunged, on track for a third-straight daily loss, as the selloff in Chinese technology stocks continued after Monday’s plunge, while traders tried to gauge the impact of an imminent interest-rate hike by the Federal Reserve. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.9%, heading for its lowest close since August 2020. Tencent and Alibaba Group were among the biggest drags on the regional index, along with TSMC. The sustained selling pressure came as investors mulled the potential consequences of China’s assistance for Russia’s war in Ukraine and delisting risk for Chinese stocks traded in the U.S. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index tumbled 5.7%, its biggest fall since July 2015, while the Hang Seng Tech Index lost 8.1% following a wild intraday swing. Read: Relentless Selling in China Stocks Evokes Memories of 2008 Crash China’s CSI 300 Index slumped 4.6% as the nation’s strong set of economic data failed to lift sentiment amid market jitters on the rising case numbers of Covid-19. Japanese stocks rose for a second day as a weaker yen boosted the outlook for the nation’s exporters. “There are plenty of storms blowing through China right now,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific. “Fears continue to dog stock markets, that lockdowns could spread, which would severely impact China’s growth.” The risk of tighter monetary policies globally remained on investors’ minds as the Fed this week is expected to announce its first interest rate hike in three years in a bid to curb rising inflation amid surging commodity prices. Markets are now pricing in as many as seven quarter-point hikes for the full year. Lockdowns in major Chinese cities are dimming the outlook for economic growth and posing risks for energy and raw-materials demand, just as concerns about the country’s relationship with Russia stoke a relentless stock selloff.  The virus is also making a comeback in Europe: Germany on Tuesday set a fresh record for infection rates for the four straight day. Austria has also reached new highs, while cases in the Netherlands have doubled since lifting curbs on Feb. 25. Japanese equities rose, extending their rebound to a second day, supported by gains in exporters on a weaker yen. Auto and chemical makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which climbed 0.8%. KDDI and Recruit were the biggest contributors to a 0.2% rise in the Nikkei 225, while Fast Retailing fell. The Japanese currency extended its loss against the dollar to a seventh-straight session, weakening more than 3% in that span. Despite its “haven” status,” the yen has dropped as Russia’s war in Ukraine has driven up prices of oil and other raw materials which Japan imports. “The market has already factored in a lot of bad news” regarding Russia and Ukraine, said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities. “The weakening of the yen is positive for exporting, but looking further on we need to think of the negative effect from import costs.” In rates, Treasuries unwound a portion of Monday’s sharp selloff with yields richer by up to 4.5bp across front-end of the curve into early U.S. session. U.S. 10-year yield near 2.12% is down ~2bp vs Monday’s close, outperforming bunds and gilts in the sector by ~1bp; 2-year yield drop back to ~1.83% after topping near 1.89% during Asia session. Gilts and bund curves bull-flatten while Treasuries bull-steepen; short-dated USTs outperform bunds and gilts by roughly 2bps. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell 0.1% after rising to its highest level since July 2020 in early Asian trade. Treasury yields fell by up to 4bps led by the front-end after rising in early Asian session, when the 10-year yield climbed to 2.17%, the highest since June 2019. Antipodean currencies as well as the Canadian dollar and Norwegian krone were steady to lower as commodities extended losses. The euro extended an Asia session gain, to touch $1.1020 before paring. European benchmark bond yields also fell, yet underperforming Treasuries. Sweden’s krona advanced after inflation expectations rose considerably for the coming two years. Australia’s dollar pares reased an intraday loss, in part on short covering seen after Chinese economic data beat estimates. Reserve Bank said Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has the potential to prolong a period of elevated consumer-price growth and is clouding the economic outlook, minutes of its March 1 policy meeting showed. The yen whipsawed in the spot market as stocks and oil turned south, but options wagers suggest fresh lows versus the dollar may be in store. Whether the greenback can extend its recent rally and maintain its bullish momentum for long depends on options pricing changing course. In commodities, crude futures decline. WTI drifts 5.3% lower to trade around $97.50. Brent falls 5.3% but holds above $101. Most base metals trade in the red; LME aluminum falls 2.3%, underperforming peers. LME tin outperforms, adding 0.4%. Spot gold falls roughly $17 to trade near $1,934/oz. Elsewhere, nickel trading will resume on the London Metal Exchange on Wednesday, over a week after being suspended amid a historic short squeeze. Looking to the day ahead now, markets have PPI for February in the US. In Europe, Germany’s ZEW survey expectations, UK jobless claims change, ILO unemployment rate 3 months, Eurozone ZEW survey expectations and industrial production are all due. Elsewhere, housing starts and manufacturing sales in Canada will be released. Earnings include Volkswagen, RWE and Generali. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.4% to 4,154.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.7% to 429.03 MXAP down 1.7% to 165.53 MXAPJ down 2.9% to 531.41 Nikkei up 0.2% to 25,346.48 Topix up 0.8% to 1,826.63 Hang Seng Index down 5.7% to 18,415.08 Shanghai Composite down 5.0% to 3,063.97 Sensex down 1.4% to 55,702.16 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.7% to 7,097.45 Kospi down 0.9% to 2,621.53 Brent Futures down 5.7% to $100.79/bbl Gold spot down 0.9% to $1,934.19 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.21% to 98.79 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.33% Euro up 0.5% to $1.0995 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Germany is preparing to boost the supply of a scarce bond entangled in Russian sanctions, a move that will likely ease pockets of tension in European repo markets. The nation is looking to sell on Tuesday an additional 5.5 billion euros ($6.1 billion) of the notes maturing 2024, which the German government believed became difficult to source after sanctions were imposed against some bondholders Chinese stocks suffered another deep selloff on Tuesday as concerns about the country’s ties with Russia and persistent regulatory pressure sent shares on a downward spiral. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index, which tracks Chinese shares listed in Hong Kong, sank 6.6%, following a plunge in the previous session that was the biggest since the global financial crisis Fund managers are leery of buying Chinese stocks as the country’s close ties to Russia, extreme Covid-19 curbs and lack of clarity on the end of regulatory crackdowns overwhelm the dip buying opportunity presented by the 75% plunge from their peak China wants to avoid being impacted by U.S. sanctions over Russia’s war, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said, in one of Beijing’s most explicit statements yet on American penalties that are contributing to a historic market selloff The global economy is bracing for greater disruption as China scrambles to contain its worst outbreak of Covid-19 since the pandemic began Russia’s economy is fraying, its currency has collapsed, and its debt is junk. Next up is a potential default that could cost investors billions and shut the country out of most funding markets The dollar has powered ahead of every major currency over the past nine months due to the prospect of Federal Reserve interest-rate hikes but the end of its rally may be in sight, if history is any guide. The U.S. currency has weakened by an average of 4.1% during the Federal Open Market Committee’s four previous tightening cycles Traders are ramping up their bets on the amount of Federal Reserve rate hikes in 2022 but are still toying with the possibility of a rate cut as soon as next year U.K. unemployment dropped below its pre- pandemic level for the first time as companies generated more jobs and granted higher wages than expected. The jobless rate fell to 3.9% in the three months through January, the lowest since the start of 2020 US Event Calendar 8:30am: Feb. PPI Final Demand YoY, est. 10.0%, prior 9.7%; MoM, est. 0.9%, prior 1.0% 8:30am: Feb. PPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 8.7%, prior 8.3%; MoM, est. 0.6%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: March Empire Manufacturing, est. 6.1, prior 3.1 4pm: Jan. Total Net TIC Flows, prior -$52.4b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Some hints of positive diplomatic developments in the Ukraine crisis that materialised on Sunday night helped contribute to another major sell-off in bonds and a mild risk on move in European equities yesterday. While in the States, the reality of the impending Fed tightening cycle pushed yields higher and drove equities lower. Bonds are in a strange situation at the moment as we seem to have reached a point where higher energy prices are deemed to be signalling recessionary risks and encourage flight to quality flows that push nominal yields lower, outweighing the potentially savage inflationary impact. Conversely, the collapse in the likes of oil and gas since early last week has led to a huge rise in yields as it appears policy tightening is back on the central bank menu. Brent is around -25% from its intra-day highs last Tuesday and 10yr bunds are +46.6bps higher since hitting -0.10% last Monday morning. Meanwhile, 1-month futures on Dutch Gas have fallen from a high of 335 last Monday morning to 110.50 at the close last night. Remarkable moves. On the conflict, Russia and Ukraine finished a fourth day of negotiations yesterday and decided to take a pause to assess outcomes. Still, it seems that negotiations are making some progress. Meanwhile, President Zelensky is set to address the US Congress tomorrow, while there were reports that President Biden was considering a trip to Europe to express the US’s steadfast support for NATO allies. Overnight in Asia, most equity markets are down with Hong Kong and Chinese stocks leading regional losses. The Hang Seng (-3.56%) opened sharply lower, slipping more than 4% before recovering slightly as a resurgence of Covid-19 in Hong Kong and China and potential delisting of Chinese stocks from US exchanges weighed on sentiment. The Shanghai Composite (-2.18%) and CSI (-1.75%) are also down even if losses were pared following the release of stronger-than-anticipated economic data. A fresh lockdown in China’s Jilin province of 24 million people is offsetting this. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.33%) is advancing while the Kospi (-0.56%) is lagging. Moving forward, equity futures on the S&P 500 (+0.17%) and Nasdaq (+0.47%) are higher while DAX contracts (-0.45%) are weak. On that China data, industrial output rose a more-than-expected +7.5% y/y in January and February, (vs market estimates of +4.0%) and against a +9.6% gain in December while retail sales grew +6.7% y/y in the same period compared with analyst estimates of a +3.0% increase amid rising demand during the Lunar New Year holidays and the Winter Olympic Games. Meanwhile, fixed asset investment also beat, up by +12.2% y/y YTD in February and well above the forecast for a +5.0% increase. Separately, the People’s Bank of China (PBOC) unexpectedly kept the one-year medium-term lending facility rate (MLF) at 2.85%, resulting in a net injection of 100 billion yuan in fresh funds. The central banks’ action dashed hopes of a rate cut as the policymakers may want to avoid widening policy divergence with the US ahead of their expected hike tomorrow. Oil prices have extended their recent declines this morning with Brent futures sliding -4.0% to trade at $102.64/bbl and with WTI futures -4.2%, breaking below $100/bbl. It saw a similar fall yesterday after opening the week above $109/bbl. Elsewhere, the yield on the 10-year US Treasury note is roughly flat at 2.138%. As discussed at the top, the calm in yields overnight followed a rout yesterday. 10yr bunds eventually rose +11.9bps yesterday as risk premium eased, and to the highest level since November 2018. With a modest +2.2bps uptick in breakevens, most of the move was in real yields. Note that page 24 of the “Dislocations” chart book shows that 10yr real bund yields last week hit all-time low levels. Since those lows last week we’ve backed up +48.8bps. The move in other European sovereign yields was remarkably similar to bunds yesterday with BTPs (+11.3bps), Spanish (+11.0bps) and even Greek (+11.8bps) bonds seeing hardly any change in spreads. US Treasury yields sold even more (10yr +14.1bps) and unlike in Europe, higher yields were met with falling breakevens (-2.3bps) with real yields +16.4bps putting in their biggest daily move since February 2021. No small feat given the considerable sell-off in real rates that marked the beginning of this year. The 2s10s (+2.8bps) curve steepened a little which might be welcomed by the Fed. Yields across the US curve notched fresh cycle highs, with those on 2y (+11.3bps) and 10y reaching the highest levels since summer 2019. Notably, US futures moved to fully price in 7 Fed hikes in 2022 for the first time this cycle, in line with our US econ team’s view. While there were reports of incoming corporate issuance and hedging flows driving the Treasury rate sell-off, it appears markets are waking up to the magnitude of tightening the Fed is about to embark on, starting this week. If the war wasn’t enough to get the ECB to strike a dovish tone, the Fed will be all the more emboldened given fewer direct linkages to growth shocks from the conflict and the higher starting point for inflation. Indeed, in a new periodical we launched yesterday, Questions for the Chair, link here, DB Research personnel offer the questions they would ask Chair Powell at his FOMC press conference. A common question was wouldn’t policy rates need to be higher than current forecasts given the inflationary outlook. It seems markets are coming around to that view. That line of thinking passed through to US equities, where the S&P 500 slid -0.74%. The tech-heavy NASDAQ, which is more exposed to rising rates, underperformed, falling -2.04%. Sector-wise, amid plummeting oil prices energy stocks (-2.93%) performed the worst after a sustained run of outperformance, while financials (+1.23%) were the top performers in the S&P 500 amid a steeper yield curve. European stocks outperformed their American counterparts, with the positive geopolitical noise outweighing a tighter monetary policy path to push major indices into positive territory. The STOXX 600 rallied +1.20%, but gains in country-level benchmarks like the German DAX (+2.21%) and the French CAC 40 (+1.75%) were even more startling amid recent sharp underperformance relative to their US counterparts. The same positive risk sentiment pushed commodity prices lower. We've already mentioned the slump in Oil but European gas prices also fell, with front month Dutch TTF contracts losing -17.29%. Oil prices fell despite no additional supply via Iran, US, Venezuela, or OPEC appearing likely. Instead, it seems as though Russian supply may make its way to buyers such as China and India with fewer frictions than were previously feared. As a secondary consideration, reports of Covid-19 lockdowns in China may have pushed prices lower due to potential lower demand needs. Industrial metals lost steam as well, with aluminium and copper falling -4.69% and -2.24%, respectively, while gold lost -1.89% as markets revised geopolitical risks downwards. One developing story with unclear implications so far is Russia’s request for Chinese support of its invasion. There have been conflicting reports about the veracity of the original claims. We do know that the US National Security Advisor met with his Chinese counterpart yesterday to try and dissuade China from offering any such support. One to keep a very close eye on. To the day ahead now. In today’s data releases, markets have PPI for February in the US. In Europe, Germany’s ZEW survey expectations, UK jobless claims change, ILO unemployment rate 3 months, Eurozone ZEW survey expectations and industrial production are all due. Elsewhere, housing starts and manufacturing sales in Canada will be released. Earnings include Volkswagen, RWE and Generali. Tyler Durden Tue, 03/15/2022 - 07:53.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytMar 15th, 2022

Futures Soar On Ukraine "Positive Developments" Comment From Putin

Futures Soar On Ukraine "Positive Developments" Comment From Putin Here comes another rollercoaster of a day for markets. In a rerurn of last week's (transitory) Ukraine war "ceasefire" euphoria which fizzled almost as fast as it emerged, a little after 6am ET on Friday morning, futures which had been trading rangebound for much of the overnight session, soared 60 points in seconds after Interfax reported that according Putin told his Belarusian counterpart Alexander Lukashenko that "there are certain positive developments, as far as negotiators from our side informed me" adding that "Talks are happening almost daily." Whether this was merely an attempt to boost morale or an accurate reflection of events (doubtful since at the same time Bloomberg reports that Putin also said "Russia to Send Fighters From Middle East to Ukraine the WSJ reports that "Russian Forces Intensify Strikes on Cities in Western Ukraine") did not matter because contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 indexes spiked higher as much as 1.5%, while safe havens like gold tumbled and 10Y yields pushed to new session highs above 2.01% and the he dollar erased gains. Despite the positive shift in mood this morning, not everyone was on board: “our view remains that simply selling risk assets is not the best response to the war in Ukraine,” said Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management. “But in this environment of heightened uncertainty, we advise investors to reduce excess equity exposure above long-term strategic benchmark allocations and add to hedges." In premarket trading, China's Didi Global fell 20% in U.S. premarket trading after people familiar with the matter said the ride-hailing giant halted a plan to list its shares in Hong Kong for failing to appease regulators’ demands about its handling of user data. DocuSign plunged 18% in early New York trading after the electronic-signature company forecast revenue for the first quarter that fell short of the average analyst estimate. In the latest Ukraine developments, the big news as noted above is that Putin said there are certain positive shift in talks with Ukraine. Here are some other notable headlines in the always changing situation: EU said it will support Ukraine in pursuing its European path and Austrian Chancellor Nehammer noted that EU leaders see Ukraine as part of the European family, while Netherlands PM Rutte said it may take years for the EU Commission to assess the Ukraine bid. A source close to Turkish President Erdogan says a meeting between Russian President Putin and Ukrainian President Zelensky could become possible in the near future, according to Sky News Arabia. US President Biden will speak regarding Russia at 10:15EST/15:15GMT today and will announce actions to continue to hold Russia accountable for its unprovoked and unjustified war on Ukraine, according to the White House. US President Biden also called for an end to Russia's preferred trade status and is to announce a trade push by the G7, US and EU this Friday, which paves the way for higher tariffs on Russian goods. US Treasury Secretary Yellen said they can do more regarding sanctions on Russia and she hasn't seen evidence of China assisting Russia with sanctions. White House Press Secretary Psaki said the US supports corporations making decisions about Russia and if Russia seizes companies' assets, it will cause further suffering. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index rose 2.1% and was headed for its first weekly gain since the start of the Ukraine war, as investors reacted to the news of Putin's commentary as they weighed the ECB's newly found hawkishness amid the emerging stagflationary outlook. Travel and mining stocks were standout outperformers, while utilities, food and bank shares underperformed.  European stocks had their largest equity outflows on record in the week to March 9, while investors bought U.S. stocks, according to Bank of America Corp strategists citing EPFR data. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Leonardo shares jump as much as 12% in Milan trading after results and FY22 guidance. Mediobanca notes the forecast for free operating cash flow generation came in ahead of expectations. EQT rises as much as 5.9% as Deutsche Bank initiates with a buy recommendation, saying alternative asset management is highest growth segment within the sector. EssilorLuxottica shares climb as much as 4.5% as the eyewear giant unveiled longer-term profitability goals that exceeded expectations, outweighing worries over lack of 2022 guidance. Pearson shares rise as much as 7.8%, following a so- called “uncooked” mention in a Betaville report regarding potential interest in the publishing company. Wind energy stocks resumed their rally after a dip mid-week, with Citi expecting outperformance amid record energy prices and Europe’s strive for energy independence. Lanxess shares climb as much as 7.4% in Frankfurt. The company’s guidance for adjusted Ebitda for 2022 showed outlook for “significant growth,” Jefferies says in a note to investors. Rubis shares jump as much as 10% after the French company increased its dividend, gave a positive outlook and said it has no direct exposure to Russia and Ukraine. Earlier in the session, Asian markets reflected overnight losses in the U.S. market. The MSCI index of Asian stocks capped its fourth consecutive weekly decline as a technology gauge in Hong Kong slumped more than 6% early in the session, after the U.S. identified five Chinese firms that could be delisted,before a burst of afternoon buying by China's PPT salvaged some of the plunge. Chinese stocks traded in the U.S. had their worst day since 2008 Thursday amid renewed regulatory concerns. Japanese stocks dropped following declines on Wall Street as the fastest U.S. inflation in 40 years drove bond yields higher and raised expectations for steeper interest-rate hikes.  The Topix fell 1.7% to close at 1,799.54, while the Nikkei 225 declined 2.1% to 25,162.78. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s decline, decreasing 4.4%. Out of 2,175 shares in the index, 413 rose and 1,703 fell, while 59 were unchanged. Oil initially rebounded following news that Iran nuclear deal talks had been halted, but then then reversed following the Putin comments and was still on track for its biggest weekly loss since November. U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to call for an end to normal trade relations with Russia, clearing the way for increased tariffs on the country’s imports. Treasuries remained near session lows reached in early U.S. session after Russian President Putin cited positive developments in talks with Ukraine. Front-end yields led the curve higher, with 2-year rising more than 5bp. S&P 500 futures jumped to a weekly high. U.S. 10-year yields hover around 2% with bunds underperforming in the sector, cheaper by 1bp while gilts trade broadly in line; 2s10s curve flattens by ~2bp, 5s30s by ~1bp. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; over $67b has so far priced this week, eighth largest on record; 5 to 6 borrowers stood down Thursday, are expected to try again Friday. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rose as the greenback strengthened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Norwegian krone. The dollar advanced past 1.10 per euro in European session and Treasury yields rose by up to 2bps led by the front end while European benchmark yields were 1bp lower to 2bps higher. The pound slid to the lowest since November 2020 against the dollar amid concern that bets on interest-rate hikes may be too aggressive despite an unexpected surge in the U.K. economy. The U.K. economy surged at the strongest pace in seven months in January, surpassing levels prevailing before the coronavirus struck. GDP rose 0.8%, recovering from an 0.2% in December when the omicron variant of the virus was spreading. The yen was the worst G-10 performer and fell to a five-year low against the dollar; Australian and New Zealand dollars were also underperforming as traders cut positions before the weekend on concern fallout from the war in Ukraine will worsen in coming days. Ruble gained against dollar for a second day in onshore trading. In commodities, crude futures advance after coming down from this week’s highs. WTI drifts 2.4% higher to trade around $108. Brent rises 2.6% at the $112 level. Spot gold falls roughly $6 to trade below $1,990/oz. Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 1.7%, outperforming peers. LME zinc lags, dropping 0.6% Looking at the day ahead, data releases include the UK’s GDP for January, whilst in the US there’s the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for March. Otherwise, central bank speakers include the ECB’s Rehn and Centeno. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,268.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 430.00 MXAP down 1.7% to 171.77 MXAPJ down 1.3% to 563.03 Nikkei down 2.1% to 25,162.78 Topix down 1.7% to 1,799.54 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 20,553.79 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,309.75 Sensex up 0.3% to 55,616.90 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.9% to 7,063.60 Kospi down 0.7% to 2,661.28 Brent Futures up 1.6% to $111.03/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,990.83 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.29% to 98.80 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.26% Euro down 0.2% to $1.0963 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg President Joe Biden on Friday is set to call for an end of normal trade relations with Russia, clearing the way for increased tariffs on Russian imports, according to people familiar with the matter The Senate passed a full year $1.5 trillion federal funding bill that wards off a possible government shutdown while also providing Ukraine with aid to respond to the Russian invasion of its territory ECB Governing Council member Olli Rehn says the central bank on Thursday decided that the gradual normalization of monetary policy can continue and that the calibration of net purchases of securities will depend on data and reflect an “evolving assessment” of the outlook The ECB’s decisions on Thursday mean there’s no longer an automatic link between the end of net asset purchases and possible interest-rate increases, Bank of France Governor Francois Villeroy de Galhau says European equities broke last week’s record for outflows, while investors bought U.S. stocks, materials and gold as war rages in Ukraine, according to Bank of America strategists citing BofA and EPFR Global data Global investors are losing faith in China’s ability to navigate an increasingly complex maze of challenges. The war in Ukraine raises the specter of harsh sanctions being applied to Chinese firms should they proceed with plans to acquire stakes in Russian energy and materials producers A more detailed looka t global markets courtesy of newsquawk Asian markets reflected overnight losses in the U.S. market. The MSCI index of Asian stocks capped its fourth consecutive weekly decline as a technology gauge in Hong Kong slumped more than 6% early in the session, after the U.S. identified five Chinese firms that could be delisted,before a burst of afternoon buying by China's PPT salvaged some of the plunge. Top Asian News Didi Said to Halt Hong Kong Listing on Cybersecurity Probe China Move to Boost Yuan-Ruble Trading Meets Dire Liquidity Logan Cut Deeper into Junk; Bonds Decline: Evergrande Update China Markets in Turmoil as Russia Ties Add to List of Risks European bourses are firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +3.0%, and were back around cash-open parameters after a choppy first-half to the session; however, President Putin's remarks have sparked further risk-on. US futures are firmer across the board and derived recent upside from the Russian President, ES +1.3%, though magnitudes are somewhat more contained amid a thin US docket. In terms of the European sectors, cyclicals are outperforming with Energy/Retail among the top performers throughout the morning. France is said to be mulling reviving plans to nationalise EDF (EDF FP), according to Bloomberg sources. UK CMA and European Commission are launching parallel probes into the "Jedi Blue" agreement between Alphabet's (GOOG) Google and Meta's (FB). Top European News European Gas Set for Record Weekly Drop on Extreme Volatility Wizz Air Leads Travel-Stock Rebound on HSBC Upgrade Pearson Shares Rise Following Betaville ‘Uncooked Alert’ Mention India is Said to Consider Rupee Payments for Trade With Russia In FX, the DXY firmer, but off highs, around 98.500 after recent steep retreat as acceleration in US CPI underpins Fed tightening expectations, but with safe-havens and USD paring amid Russia's Ukraine commentary. Yen folds amidst multiple bearish factors, including rates, risk, fiscal and technical impulses; USD/JPY probed 117.00 after breaching prior YTD twin peaks. Aussie also underperforming as RBA Governor Lowe keeps markets guessing on a 2022 rate hike, AUD/USD is back under 0.7350 and nearer round number below. Euro trying to find its feet following sharp post-ECB reversal that saw EUR/USD snap-back from 1.1100+ peaks to sub-1.1000 again; lifting to a new high of 1.1042 post-Putin. Rouble maintains and extends on recovery momentum as prospects  for a Russia/Ukraine Presidential talks persist, but Lira continues to weaken as Turkish IP falls short of expectations and CBRT survey reveals another jump in end 2022 inflation projections; USD/RUB circa 113.7500, USD/TRY on brink of 15.000. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are firmer on the day with initial upside bolstered by a pause in Iranian talks, whilst upside pared amid constructive remarks from Russian President Putin. G7 is looking at measures to halt gas price hikes and called on oil and gas producers to increase deliveries, according to AFP. Canada is examining boosting oil pipeline flows to the US and is conducting the analysis to ramp up pipeline flows with the industry, according to Reuters citing natural resources minister Wilkinson  who expects to have an answer of what Canada can do as soon as next week. Kuwait set April KEC OSP for Asia at Oman/Dubai + USD 4.80/bbl, according to Reuters. Qatar sold May-loading Al-Shaheen and Marine crude at record premiums of USD 11-12/bbl above Dubai quotes. Spot gold fell further below USD 2,000/oz amid a Putin-induced unwind. LME copper extends gains above USD 10k/t as risk appetite buoys the red metal In fixed income, core EZ debt remains mildly divergent at the end of another bleak week, as Bunds suffer post-APP taper hangover. However, benchmarks dropped in tandem to fresh lows sending the US/German 10yr yields back to 2.0% and 0.30% respectively following Putin's update. BTPs have regrouped after pronounced ECB fallout with supply out of the way. USTs are now unchanged after initial firmer performance though the curve continues its post-supply flattening. US Event Calendar 10am: March U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 61.0, prior 62.8 Expectations, est. 57.0, prior 59.4 Current Conditions, est. 65.8, prior 68.2 1 Yr Inflation, est. 5.0%, prior 4.9%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It's a sign of the times that we have 1140 more words today until we get to a 7.9% US CPI print and also that hardly anyone cared about a 41.8% YoY Italian PPI print yesterday. The Russian/Ukraine conflict and a hawkish (relative to expectations) ECB meeting dominated the headlines. In fact it probably wasn't too far from the ECB meeting we expected before the invasion. More on this below. Asia has started on a weaker note this morning. The Hang Seng (-3.63%) is leading losses as Chinese tech stocks listed in Hong Kong slumped after the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) indicated that it has put five Chinese firms on a provisional waitlist for delisting from the US exchanges. Elsewhere the Shanghai Composite (-2.16%) and CSI (-2.44%) are also trading down. Also challenging the mainland Chinese stocks are the latest covid numbers as Beijing reported 1,000 new local cases - the highest daily count in two years. Meanwhile, the Nikkei (-2.36%) and the Kospi (-1.14%) are also weak this morning. S&P 500 (-0.35%) and Nasdaq (-0.62%) futures (-0.30%) are also down. Before this, last night European Union leaders met in Versailles, but without anything materially to shift the outlook at the moment. Indeed, President Macron managed expectations by noting the summit will lead to historic decisions for Europe in the coming weeks, so more to come. What we did get from the meeting included reports that EU leaders disagreed about the desirability of paving the way to swift EU membership for Ukraine. Also out of the meeting, following reports of an updated energy strategy earlier in the week, EC President Leyen is proposing measures to reduce reliance on Russian gas and oil by 2027. When it comes to the conflict itself, markets adopted a more risk-off posture yesterday, even if the S&P 500 (-0.43%) closed well off the lows before a slight reversal again in Asia as mentioned above. The meeting of the Russian and Ukrainian foreign ministers failed to produce the progress that some had hoped for. While expectations weren’t exactly high for the talks, there had been a slight shift in Russia’s language ahead of the meeting on regime change, and Ukrainian President Zelensky himself had said the previous day that he was prepared for certain compromises, which contributed to that stronger investor optimism we saw on Wednesday. But yesterday there was a more negative tone from the meeting, with Ukraine’s foreign minister Kuleba saying of Russian foreign minister Lavrov that “The broad narrative he conveyed to me is that they will continue their aggression until Ukraine meets their demands, and the least of these demands is surrender”. So no signs of a ceasefire being instituted any time soon. Against that backdrop, there was intense focus on the ECB (see our economists' review here) as they made their first policy decision since Russia’s invasion. They adopted a more hawkish position than had been anticipated by announcing a faster reduction in their asset purchases, which led to a sharp selloff in sovereign bonds as well as a significant widening in peripheral spreads, which meant we saw another day of multi-year records. Indeed, yields on 10yr bunds were up +5.6bps yesterday, bringing their gains since the start of the week to a massive +34.3bps. Even if they’re unchanged today, that would still mark their biggest weekly increase since June 2015, when they rose +35.7bps. Furthermore, the widening in the Italian 10yr spread over bunds yesterday (+16.7bps) was the largest daily widening since April 2020. It's quite clear that the ECB won't allow Italian spreads to gap out but they also probably won't devise a policy tool to deal with it until it threatens to. So the market may need to push for it if it wants it. In terms of the decision itself, the ECB described Russia’s invasion as a “watershed for Europe”, and pledged to take “whatever action is needed to fulfil the ECB’s mandate to pursue price stability and to safeguard financial stability.” On immediate policy moves, they said that net purchases under their Asset Purchase Programme would go from €40bn in April to €30bn in May and then €20bn in June, and said that they may end purchases in Q3. That came as their inflation forecast for 2022 was upgraded to +5.1% (vs. +3.2% in December), and 2023 was upgraded to +2.1% (vs. +1.8% in December). And in another hawkish move, they also dropped the reference to interest rates potentially moving lower, only saying that rates would remain “at their present levels” until their forward guidance conditions were met, rather than “present or lower levels”. So overall it looks like the concerns about inflation (which is currently at the highest since the formation of the single currency) have dominated the uncertainties presented by the invasion of Ukraine, and overnight index swaps are now pricing in more than 40bps worth of moves this year (+7.6bps on the day) from the ECB for the first time since the conflict began. That more hawkish-than-anticipated ECB outcome along with the more negative signals from the Russia-Ukraine talks saw equities lose ground on both sides of the Atlantic, with the S&P 500 (-0.43%), after being as much as -1.59% lower intraday, and still leaving it up +2.13% over the last two days. The STOXX 600 shed -1.69% but finished at roughly the same levels as before the ECB announcement. Tech stocks led the US declines, and similarly put in a large round trip performance, with the NASDAQ as low as -2.33% intraday before finishing the session at -0.95%. Megacap stocks were the hardest hit as the FANG+ index fell -2.09%. Despite the price retreat and roundtrips, the VIX fell for a third straight day, falling -2.22ppts. Nevertheless, the VIX has now closed above 30pts for 9 straight days, the longest run since June 2020, and on 11 of the last 12 days. Despite the late pullback in oil prices (more in a second), energy was the clear outperformer, with S&P 500 energy stocks gaining +3.07%. This continues this year’s trend where not only are energy stocks the sole S&P 500 sector in the green YTD, they’re up +38.51%. Speaking of intraday volatility, oil put in another roller coaster session. Brent futures increased +6.49% in the New York morning before falling -1.63% to $109.33/bbl to end the day. Following a day where it looked like some OPEC members would break rank, the Iraqi oil minister noted that “OPEC will stay with the program”, but would make the right decision to increase production should real shortages result from the war. The discrete drop in oil prices happened when President Putin announced that Russia would honor its energy commitments, ameliorating concern that there would be shortages to contend with in the first place. European natural gas likewise fell, as the front futures contract dropped -14.68%, bringing prices -41.46% lower over the last three days. So 1140 words later, and with all those other events yesterday, the US CPI release for February took something of a back seat, not least since the numbers were exactly in line with consensus for both headline and core, meaning the direct market reaction was pretty limited. In fact US Treasuries saw their biggest shift of the day around the time of the ECB meeting and were basically unaffected by the CPI, with yields on 10yr Treasuries up +3.8bps to 1.99%, whilst the 2yr yield (+2.1bps) hit its highest level since September 2019, at 1.70%. 30 year yields increased +3.2bps to 2.37%, their highest levels for 10 months. In terms of the CPI details, the release saw year-on-year CPI rise to +7.9%, which is the highest in 40 years, and the month-on-month print rose to +0.8%, which was the fastest monthly price growth since October. Core also accelerated to +6.4% year-on-year, which was similarly a post-1982 high. I mentioned the release in my chart of the day yesterday (link here), since it means that the real Federal Funds rate has now fallen to fresh lows once again, and continues to remain beneath levels seen throughout the entirety of the inflationary 1970s. To the day ahead now, and data releases include the UK’s GDP for January, whilst in the US there’s the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for March. Otherwise, central bank speakers include the ECB’s Rehn and Centeno. Tyler Durden Fri, 03/11/2022 - 07:52.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 11th, 2022

Even With "Defund The Police" Discredited, Some Schools May Still Shun The Police

Even With 'Defund The Police' Discredited, Some Schools May Still Shun The Police Authored by Vince Bielski via RealClearInvestigations (emphasis ours), Des Moines this week suffered its first fatal school shooting – reigniting a controversy in the city after the district removed police officers from its schools last year. Police say a group of teenagers in vehicles outside Des Moines' East High School fired multiple rounds onto school property on Monday, killing a 15-year-old boy and critically wounding two female students who were bystanders. Six teenagers, some of them current Des Moines students, have been charged with first-degree murder. The deadly drive-by shooting now hovers over the decision by Des Moines officials, along with about 30 districts across the country, to exile cops from schools. These moves were part of the "defund the police" movement that erupted after the murder of George Floyd in 2020. It’s a movement now reeling in the face of violent crime surging nationwide, punctuated by President Biden’s State of the Union vow last week to “fund the police.” But in schools, at least, a decision to bring back cops -- or “school resource officers,” as they are called -- isn’t a slam dunk in places where students of color had been arrested at higher rates than whites. Des Moines (population: 214,000) provides a case in point. So far its district, half of whose students are black or Latino, has not followed schools from Maryland to California heeding pleas to restore the SROs. Instead, Iowa’s capital city is rolling out a new community-engagement safety plan to replace the cops. And that infuriates parents alarmed by school mayhem long before Floyd’s death moved racial justice to the front burner -- parents like Lindsay LaGrange. The Des Moines mom reached her breaking point in November after a student in her son’s middle school was found with an airsoft pellet gun on campus. “My son turned in this boy to the front office, and then later this boy beats up my son after school,” she said. “Almost every day he said there’s another fight at school. The kids are not safe.” Police investigating after Monday's fatal shooting outside Des Moines' East High School. (Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register via AP) The Policing of America’s Schools Des Moines joined the wave of districts that hired SROs after the rash of school shootings in the 1990s, a decade capped by the Columbine High School massacre in Colorado. The killing of Sandy Hook elementary school children in Connecticut in 2012 spurred more districts to follow suit. As many as 25,000 law enforcement officers are working today in all types of schools, from rural to suburban to urban, said Mo Canady, executive director of the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO). In Des Moines, SRO was a coveted job. Cops went through a competitive hiring process, which vetted them for the patience and savvy to communicate with teenagers, said Sergeant Paul Parizek of the Des Moines Police Department. Not every officer was a good fit. Those tapped went through training at NASRO, a crash course in seeing the world through the eyes of a teenager. Des Moines started its SRO program about two decades ago. The district would eventually hire 10 SROs and a supervisor – one cop for each high school and four that were shared by the middle schools. Seventy percent of SROs were white men and women. Black men made up 30%. Parizek said the public has harbored misconceptions about the approach. SROs weren’t placed in schools to jack up kids with a dime bag. Although an average of 287 Des Moines students were arrested annually in the years before the pandemic, the goal was prevention: to build relationships with students to deter them from trouble and to hear chatter about what’s going down in the schools. Who’s going to fight? Who has a gun? “The guns we recovered in 2019, we recovered them before they made it inside the school door,” Parizek said. “And this was because of the relationships that SROs had with students who provided them with information.” School resource officer Deb Vanvelzen: “Sometimes kids talked to me to keep their friends safe.” A Cop’s Story at Lincoln High Officer Deb Vanvelzen fit the SRO mold. She was a school teacher with a passion for working with students before becoming a cop and then an SRO from 2005 to 2019, mostly at Lincoln High. In addition to performing typical police duties, such as breaking up fights and disposing of drugs, Vanvelzen aimed to be part of the Lincoln community. She advised teachers on how to keep classrooms safe. She spoke with parents about how to address problems with their children. She gave students lunch money and clothing her own kids outgrew. A former high school athlete, the white cop played hoops in the gym (and in uniform) with students and ate lunch in the cafeteria with kids of color to break the ice. They talked about clothing styles. For a few years she sent every student a birthday card. At graduation, Vanvelzen shook everyone’s hand. The payoff? “Once the students saw me as trustworthy, they started talking to me and I found out things before they happened and exploded,” she said. “Sometimes kids talked to me to keep their friends safe.” A few years ago, a Lincoln student approached Vanvelzen with a tip about a weapon. The day before, a teen from a different school involved in a fight across the street from Lincoln had a gun. Vanzelzen then relayed the tip to the SRO at that student’s school. “So that SRO sees the kid in the hallway, gets him into his office, and lo and behold, he still has the gun,” she said. Portilda Sayon, a junior at Lincoln, said some students felt safer because of the SROs. Sayon got to know Dusty Chapline, Vanvelzen’s replacement, after Sayon had a verbal spat with other girls. The two talked a lot about Sayon’s emotional problems and issues at home. “Chappie helped me tremendously,” Sayon said.    Some students, however, never took to the SROs. “They don’t like cops because they had a bad experience with them before,” Sayon said. Vanvelzen said that she, in collaboration with the Lincoln staff, “absolutely” made the school safer. But she notes the challenge in assessing the effectiveness of SROs. There’s no way to count the number of incidents that did not happen because of her presence at Lincoln. The statistics are hard to interpret: there were 1,652 reported acts of physical aggression in the Des Moines middle and high schools in fiscal 2019. That number was fairly steady in the few years before SROs were removed. So perhaps the cops were keeping a lid on violence but not significantly reducing it. When officials examined the data, they couldn’t come to a definitive conclusion about SROs. “That’s the essential question, but we really couldn’t answer it with confidence that SROs were or weren’t making schools safer,” said Jake Troja, the district director of school climate transformation. How Two Students Expelled the SROs The campaign to remove the police was led by two Des Moines students at East High School, Endi Montalvo-Martinez and Lyric Sellers. While researching racial equity for a leadership class, Montalvo-Martinez, then a junior, learned about the controversy surrounding SROs in other cities. It meshed with the experience of some of his friends who believed racism had led SROs to stop them and search their bags.   So Montalvo-Martinez and Sellers, then a sophomore, wrote a sweeping anti-racist proposal in early 2020 to compel the district to remove the police, redesign its Eurocentric curriculum and hire more teachers of color. Jake Troja, school official: Statistics didn't answer whether "SROs were or weren’t making schools safer.”  When the duo met with Superintendent Thomas Ahart, he said no. “He made excuses like there’s no funding, we can’t invest in these things,” said Montalvo-Martinez. Soon after that rejection, Floyd’s murder in Minneapolis ignited protests, even in quiet Des Moines, where demonstrators clashed with cops, exchanging bricks and bottles for tear gas in May of 2020. The following month, Ahart sent a letter to families, titled “We ALL Must Be Actively ANTI-Racist.” Montalvo-Martinez said the district’s new anti-racist pledge gave the two students more political leverage, but they still needed tactical advice on how to sway administrators and board members. Jaylen Cavil, a defund the police advocate with the Black Liberation Movement and candidate for the Iowa House, became a key adviser. Montalvo-Martinez and Sellers gathered arrest data from the Des Moines human rights department and student testimonials about being traumatized by SROs before making presentations to principals, teachers and school board members individually. They encountered some resistance from school staff, but in their second meeting with the superintendent, Ahart agreed that the SROs must go. "Ahart did a 180," Montalvo-Martinez said. Thomas Ahart, superintendent: After Floyd's murder, “We ALL Must Be Actively ANTI-Racist.” But Ahart knew that most parents probably wouldn’t back his decision. In a survey by the district, a majority of parents (66%) and students (53%) had said they supported having police in schools. In the heated racial politics of the moment, the arrest data – blacks students were twice as likely to be involved with a SRO than whites – became a rallying point. Montalvo-Martinez and other activists said it showed that the cops were biased and targeted blacks for arrest. The cops, however, generally didn’t patrol the halls and playgrounds looking to make arrests. The vast majority of arrests started with calls for help to SROs from school administrators, who were identifying the incidents and misbehaving students that they wanted the cops to handle, district officials say. “I want to make clear that SROs were not the problem even though it comes off in the media that way,” Troja said. “They were summoned” to the scene. In February 2021, the school board voted unanimously to end the SRO program. “Kudos to these two students for really being intentional around the process and information and lining up support on this issue,” said Teree Caldwell-Johnson, vice chair of the school board.  Schools Take On Violence Control Following the lead of other districts, Des Moines developed a SRO replacement plan for schools to handle most of the behavior problems, other than serious crimes such as possession of a weapon. This way, students would avoid the taint of a police record that could harm their job prospects after graduation. Officials also argued that they could improve school safety if the $900,000 spent on SROs was redeployed in support of a new, community-based approach. That included bringing community organizations like Dads on a Mission – a group of local fathers who want to have a positive influence on students – into the schools. Hall monitors were hired so high schools now have five of them rather than one SRO. And the district has been rolling out a restorative justice program, where students hash out their conflicts in discussion groups in hopes of overcoming them – a practice that has had mixed results in other districts around the country. “We were calling the SROs for many incidents, like physical fights in the hallways, that we could have handled ourselves,” Troja said. “Now we are approaching safety differently by allocating funds to different resources to try to get better results.” The new approach didn’t get off to a good start. Last fall, after 16,000 middle and high school students returned to classrooms full-time in Des Moines, officials were caught off guard by the spike in fighting and disruptive behavior. The removal of the SROs didn’t cause the surge in violence, but nor were the cops readily available to tamp it down. Last September, there were 83 referrals for fighting in Des Moines’ six high schools compared with 59 in the same month in 2019 – a pattern of monthly increases that continued through December. Students posted numerous disturbing videos on Snapchat of boys and girls aggressively attacking each other at different schools, with punches to the head, kicks to the stomach and stomps on the chest. Then there’s the matter of guns. Last year, a student brought a loaded 9mm pistol into Lincoln High, alarming parents but not surprising them. From 2016 to 2020, the staff and SROs confiscated 20 lethal weapons from students, mostly loaded guns, in this school district of 32,000 students. Des Moines police say a number of gun shots have been fired near schools that have been linked to students, but without any fatalities. In addition to guns, students have access to a wide arsenal of weapons. In December, a Lincoln student who had been bullied brought a taser to school and used it when he was attacked by others bearing brass knuckles and pepper spray. Backlash at the School Board Aveantai Smith moved from Arlington, Texas, to Des Moines, where she had lived about 17 years ago, assuming the schools were as safe as she remembered. Instead, she has been horrified by the brutality that her son and daughter have encountered at Lincoln High. Smith met with the principal, who said he’s doing everything he can to control the surge in violence. But that didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. She pulled her daughter out of Lincoln and sent her back to Texas to live with her grandmother. Her son, a football player who isn’t easily intimidated, remains at the school. “It’s literally outrageous,” said Smith, herself a college nursing student. “The school is not safe and secure. The fighting is on a whole different level. I’m scared to send my kids to school every single day.” By December a backlash was underway, with Des Moines parents calling for a return of the SROs in media interviews. The controversy came to a head at a Dec. 7 school board meeting. LaGrange, whose son Jeremiah was attacked by another student, has been organizing other parents on social media behind the SRO cause. She bluntly told board members during the meeting to “wake up” to the reality of the rise in violence and restore the police program to protect students. Critics of SROs also spoke up at the meeting, repeating the story line about racist police practices. A public school employee told the board that the police were removed for “targeting black children” and that the racist practice would return with the SROs. An activist with the Young Women’s Resource Center urged the officials to reject the “dangerous narrative” pushed by local TV station KCCI in its “campaign against black children, framing them as sources of violence within our schools.” But KCCI hasn’t singled out black students in its coverage. Ten days later, Superintendent Ahart was forced to crack down on students, announcing a tougher suspension policy for fighting in a letter to families. After a first fight, students can stay in school and try to resolve the conflict. After a second, they shift to 30 school days of remote virtual learning with counseling to get to the root of the problem. A third fight means two months of virtual instruction. With the return of some old school discipline, the number of reported high school fights dropped to 47 in January compared with 67 in the same month of 2020. But Ahart, who announced his resignation on Feb. 28, was silent on the question of bringing back SROs. Would having cops on-site who can quickly respond to incidents like the brawl outside of Lincoln High in September also make a difference? “Yes, without SROs we lose that immediate access to an officer,” Troja said. “Does that have benefits? It does. But do those benefits outweigh the benefits that we gain now with our new approach? I don’t think so, or we wouldn’t have gone down this path.” Tyler Durden Thu, 03/10/2022 - 21:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 10th, 2022

Check out 10 pitch decks that legal-tech startups used to raise millions

Real examples of legal tech pitch decks that startup founders used to nab VC funding. See decks from Contractbook, Evisort, Disco and more. The legal-tech space has raised more than $1 billion in funding so far this year.Samantha Lee/Insider Funding for legal-tech has surprassed $1 billion for 2021 so far.  VC firms, private equity, and even traditional law players are pouring money in.  Check out these 10 pitch decks for examples of how legal-tech startup founders sold their vision.  See more stories on Insider's business page. As law firms and their clients seek to digitize and streamline work, VCs have been opening their wallets to the growing legal-tech space. The total value of deals in the global legal-tech market through the end of the third quarter of 2021 clocked in at $1.47 billion — far surpassing the $607 million figure from all of 2020, according to data from PitchBook.PE firms invested upwards of a record-breaking $7 billion in legal tech and outsourced legal services in 2021, according to estimates by JEGI. The figure is likely to be larger, since many PE firms don't disclose their deal numbers.Here's a look at our legal-tech pitch deck collection.LawtradesRaad Ahmed, founder and CEO of Lawtrades.Leonard OkporLawtrades, an online hiring marketplace for freelance legal work, raked in $6 million for its Series A in December 2021.In 2016, Raad Ahmed and Ashish Walia, both former lawyers, created an easy, all-in-one app for companies to hire legal talent. A growing number of white-collar professionals have been leaving their companies in droves in search of better work-life balance, flexibility, and personal fulfillment. Lawtrades has more than 1,000 freelance lawyers, paralegals, and other legal specialists on its network, Ahmed said.Companies can use Lawtrades' matchmaking algorithm to find legal talent for specific engagements, and can use built-in calendar, video conference, and time-tracking features to manage the project from start to finish. Hiring lawyers through Lawtrades is also much cheaper than hiring one from a Big Law firm. Lawtrades lawyers cost companies around $150 to $250 an hour, depending on the practice area. Here's the futuristic 24-page pitch deck that landed legal freelancing app Lawtrades a $6-million Series ACourtCorrectLudwig Bull, who founded CourtCorrect in 2019.CourtCorrectCourtCorrect, which helps individuals and businesses submit and manage civil cases, snapped up $2.95 million (£2.2 million) in seed round funding in November 2021.Founded in 2019 in London, the legal-tech startup brings together claimants, defendants, lawyers, and judges into a single platform, where they can bring cases and reach resolutions without having to go to court.Investors included RLC Ventures, Ascension Ventures (UK), and The Twenty Minute VC. Visionaries Club and other angel investors also participated in the round.See the 12-page pitch deck that landed legal-tech startup CourtCorrect nearly $3 million in seed fundingMalbekHemanth Puttaswamy, CEO and co-founder of Malbek.MalbekMalbek, which helps companies' legal, sales, and finance teams manage and analyze their contracts, announced in September 2021 that it raised $15.3 million for its Series A.Contract lifecycle management, or CLM, has been red-hot in the legal-tech space. Of the $1.4 billion invested in legal-tech during the first half of 2021, almost a quarter was snapped up by six contract companies, including Ironclad, Contractbook, and Icertis. SoftBank recently led the $115 million Series C for ContractPodAi, another CLM company.Founded in 2017, Malbek helps these departments through the entire contracting process, from drafting contracts with optimal terms through tracking contractual obligations after they're signed.The Series A was led by Atlanta-based Noro-Moseley Partners, which invests in early-growth tech and healthcare companies. TDF Ventures and Osage Venture Partners also participated in the round.This 11-page pitch deck scored a contract-management startup $15.3 million for its Series AContractPodAiSoftBank founder Masa Son.Reuters/Issei KatoA startup looking to streamline how companies handle contracts nabbed an investment from one of the world's most high-profile investors in a nod to the rising interest in legal tech.  ContractPodAi, which helps in-house legal teams automate and manage their contracts, raised a $115 million Series C in late September 2021 led by SoftBank. The round quintupled ContractPodAi's valuation since its last funding round in 2019, though the company declined to disclose specific valuation numbers.The investment came from SoftBank's Vision Fund 2. Its predecessor, the original $100 billion megafund Vision Fund, has invested in dozens of household names including WeWork, Uber, and DoorDash. While some of the fund's bets were wildly successful, others fell short of expectations.ContractPodAi is the first legal-tech investment by either of SoftBank's Vision Funds.Here's the 7-page pitch deck that legal-tech startup ContractPodAi used to convince SoftBank's Masa Son to lead its $115 million Series CJus MundiJean-Rémi de Maistre, CEO and co-founder of Jus Mundi.Jus MundiJus Mundi, an AI-powered legal search engine for international law and arbitration, snapped up $10 million for its Series A in September 2021.In 2019, Jean-Rémi de Maistre, a former lawyer at the International Court of Justice, co-launched the company after realizing how hard it was to conduct research for cross-border legal cases.Paris-based Jus Mundi raised a €1 million ($1.17 USD) seed round in March 2020, spurring a fivefold growth in annual recurring revenue over the span of 2020, according to the company. Its most recent $10 million Series A was led by C4 Ventures, a European VC firm founded by Pascal Cagni, a former head of Apple Europe. The VC firm has also invested in hot-ticket companies like Foursquare, Nest, and Via.Here's the 16-page pitch deck that landed legal research company Jus Mundi a $10 million Series ALawVuLawVu co-founders Tim Boyne and Sam Kidd.LawVuLawVu, an end-to-end software platform for in-house legal teams, snapped up a $17 million Series A in August 2021.Founded in 2015, the New Zealand-based startup enables companies' in-house lawyers to manage contracts, documents, billing, and more on one platform. The funding round was led by the private-equity firm Insight Partners, which has invested in other legal-tech companies like DocuSign, Kira Systems, and ContractPodAI, as well as big-ticket businesses like Twitter, Shopify, and Hello Fresh. AirTree Ventures, an Australia-based venture-capital firm, co-led the Series A.See the 12-page pitch deck that LawVu, a startup that wants to be Salesforce for lawyers, used to nab $17 million from investors like Insight PartnersAthennianAthennian's CEO and founder, Adrian Camara.AthennianAthennian, which helps law firms and legal departments manage data and workflow around legal entities, raised a $7 million CAD (more than $5.5 million USD) Series A extension in the beginning of March 2021, nearly doubling its initial $8 million Series A round last year. Athennian's revenue and headcount more than doubled since the original Series A, according to founder and CEO Adrian Camara. He declined to disclose revenue numbers, but said that the sales and marketing team grew from 35 people in September to around 70 in March.Launched in 2017, Athennian is used by nearly 200 legal departments and law firms, including Dentons, Fastkind, and Paul Hastings, to automate documents like board minutes, stock certificates, and shareholder consents. The Series A extension was led by Arthur Ventures. New investors Touchdown Ventures and Clio's CEO, Jack Newton, also participated in the round, alongside Round13 Capital and other existing investors. To date, Athennian has raised $17 million CAD, or around $14 million USD, in venture capital funding, per Pitchbook.Here's the small but mighty pitch deck that nearly doubled legal tech Athennian's Series A to $12 million.EvisortEvisort's CEO and co-founder Jerry Ting.(Courtesy of Jerry Ting)Contract tech is the frontrunner in the legal tech space, as companies across industries seek to streamline their contract creation, negotiation, and management processes.Evisort, a contract lifecycle management (CLM) platform, raised $35 million in its Series B announced late February 2021, bringing total funding to $55.5 million. The private equity firm General Atlantic led its latest funding round, with participation from existing investors Amity Ventures, Microsoft's venture firm M12, and Vertex Ventures.Founded in 2016, Evisort uses artificial intelligence to help businesses categorize, search, and act on documents.Its CEO Jerry Ting founded Evisort while he was still attending Harvard Law School. He spent one summer working at Fried Frank, but soon realized that he didn't want to be a lawyer because he didn't want to spend excruciating hours manually reading fifty-page contracts. He did, however, recognize how important they are to corporations, and co-founded Evisort as a tool to locate and track valuable information like a contract's expiration date and obligations like payment dates.Evisort's CEO walks through the 11-page pitch deck that the contract software startup used to nab $35 million from investors like General Atlantic — and lays out its path to an IPOContractbookNiels Brøchner, Jarek Owczarek, and Viktor Heide founded Contractbook to offer a client-centric tool to manage contracts,ContractbookTry to imagine the contracts negotiation process, and one might conjure up a scene where a sheaf of papers, tucked discreetly into a manila folder, is shuttled from one law office to the mahogany table of another. With a stroke of a fountain pen, the deal is sealed.Those old-school methods have long been replaced with the adoption of PDFs, redlined versions of which zip from email inbox to inbox. Now, contracting is undergoing another digital shift that will streamline the process as companies are becoming more comfortable with tech and are seeking greater efficiencies — and investors are taking note.Contractbook, a Denmark-based contract lifecycle management platform, raised $9.4 million in its Series A investment round late 2020, led by venture capital titan Bessemer Venture Partners. In November 2019, Gradient Ventures, Google's AI-focused venture fund, led Contractbook's $3.9 million seed round.Founded in Copenhagen in 2017, Contractbook uses data to automate documents, offering an end-to-end contracts platform for small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs). Niels Brøchner, the company's CEO and co-founder, said that Contractbook was born out of the notion that existing contract solutions failed to use a document's data — from names of parties to the folder the document is stored in — to automate the process and drive workflow.Here's the 13-page pitch deck that Contractbook, which wants to take on legal tech giants like DocuSign, used to raise $9.4 million from investors like Bessemer VenturesDiscoKiwi Camara, CEO and cofounder of Disco.DISCOCloud-based technology is having its moment, especially in the legal industry.As attorneys have been propelled to work remotely amid the pandemic, data security and streamlined work processes are top-of-mind for law firms, leading them to adopt cloud technology. Investors are taking note. Disco, a cloud-based ediscovery platform that uses artificial intelligence to streamline the litigation process, snapped up $60 million in equity financing in October 2020.Its Series F, led by Georgian Partners and also backed by VC titans like Bessemer Venture Partners and LiveOak Venture Partners, brings total investment to $195 million, valuing the company at $785 million.Launched in Houston in 2012, Disco offers AI-fueled products geared towards helping lawyers review and analyze vast quantities of documents, allowing them to more efficiently determine which ones are relevant to a case.The CEO of Disco, a legal tech that sells cloud-based discovery software, walked us through a 20-page pitch deck the startup used to nab $60 millionBlackBoilerDan Broderick, cofounder and CEO of BlackBoiler.BlackBoilerBlackBoiler is an automated contract markup software that's used by Am Law 25 firms and several Fortune 1000 companies.The software uses machine learning to automate the process of reviewing and revising documents in "track changes." This saves attorneys the time they would typically spend marking up contracts that often use standard boilerplate language.As a pre-execution software used in the negotiation and markup stage of the contracts process, BlackBoiler has carved out a unique space in the $35 billion contracts industry, said Dan Broderick, a lawyer who co-founded the company in 2015 and is now its CEO. Broderick walked Insider through the pitch deck the company used to attract funding from investors, including DocuSign as well as 10 attorneys that run the gamut from Am Law 50 partners to general counsel at large corporations.Check out the 14-page pitch deck that contract-editing startup BlackBoiler used to nab $3.2 million from investors including DocuSignRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 14th, 2022

Meet the next generation of luxury entrepreneurs selling millions in real estate, creating art galleries, and building fashion empires

A new crop of luxury entrepreneurs has popped up, creating the businesses they want to see taking over the sector. (L-R), Alex Assouline, Destinee Ross-Sutton, Marina Raphael, Avi Hiaeve.Emilia Brandao; Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton 2020; Marina Raphael; Avi & Co; Yuqing Liu/Business Insider Luxury spans many sectors including, fashion, travel, real estate, and nightclubs.  However, the industry is changing: People want more sustainability and faces that are more diverse. Insider regularly talks to the young people who are making their mark in luxury and challenging the market.  Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Luxury is a pretty hard sector to tap into — and even years of notoriety doesn't necessarily mean years of financial stability or economic success. The coronavirus pandemic only heightened many of those issues, as brands and retailers throughout the world have been forced to close or declare bankruptcy. Even before the pandemic, however, there were calls for a changing of the guard in the luxury sector. People want more sustainability, leaders who are more tech-savvy, faces that are more diverse, and clothes that come with a meaning and a purpose.Rather than wait around for those currently in charge to change, a new crop of luxury entrepreneurs has popped up, creating the businesses they want to see taking over the sector. These are names and the faces that will come to define and helm the next generation of luxury spending. Insider has been speaking to the new rising faces in luxury about the future of their respective spaces, touching on topics such as the investment value in high-priced watches, and where they hope to see the world after the pandemic subsides. The interviews are being compiled here: Millennial entrepreneur Brandon Blackwood shares how $7,000 and Instagram helped him build a handbag empire that's on track to book $30 million in revenueBrandon BlackwoodBrandon BlackwoodBrandon Blackwood, 29, is the founder of his eponymous handbag line that went viral last year after making a tote that said: "End Systemic Racism." Since then, other styles of his bag have gone viral and he's launched a spring campaign featuring celebrities and influencers like Ryan Destiny, Normani, and Jaime Xie. So far, the brand booked more than $14 million in revenue this year and is on track to close 2021 with $30 million. The 24-year old jewelry designer, whose rings have been spotted on Serena Williams and Meghan Markle, uses half her profits to fund female entrepreneursShilpa YarlagaddaCourtesy of Shilpa Yarlagadda; Taken by Shoji Van KuzumiShilpa Yarlagadda, 24, is the cofounder of Shiffon, the fine jewelry brand that invests its proceeds back into female-funded businesses. For the upcoming election, the brand has partnered with Michelle Obama's When We All Vote foundation for limited-edition hoop earrings to represent the hoops women have to go through for basic rights. In an interview with Business Insider, she talks her career journey, the importance of mentorship, and her partnership with Obama. Inside the world of 'Bling Empire's' Jaime Xie, the tech heiress forging her own path as a fashion influencerJaime XieYoshi UemuraXie told Insider she had never even seen reality TV before joining the cast of Netflix's hit show "Bling Empire." Now she's one of its standout stars and is best known for her fashion and style. Born in Silicon Valley, she said tech wasn't really her thing, and she's always wanted a career in fashion. Now she's an influencer, jet-setting to Paris and Milan, sporting the hottest ready-to-wear looks. In an interview, she gives Insider a peek at her glamorous life. Real estate heiress Danielle Naftali, who is just 27, helped convince a mystery buyer to shell out $35 million for an NYC penthouse during the pandemicJonathan GrassiDanielle Naftali, 27, is expected to take over her father's real estate company Naftali Group, which develops some of New York City's most luxurious properties. But even she had to start at the reception desk. To Insider she breaks down working her way up and how she helped convince a buyer to shell out over $30 million for an apartment during a pandemic. Pajama sets are the new 2-piece suit. A millennial brand explains the wild pandemic year when sales spiked 400% .Joel Jeffery (L) and Molly Goddard (R)Desmond & DempseyHusband-wife duo Molly Goddard and Joel Jeffrey are known for their high-end pajama line Desmond & Dempsey, which also saw record growth during the pandemic as people sought to buy more comfortable clothing. To Insider, they talk about the brand's beginnings and how they hope to further capitalize on the billion-dollar markets of both wellness and comfort wear. Meet the millennial designer and CEO who wants to make comfort clothing the new power dressingMisha NonooCourtesy of Misha NonooDesigner Misha Nonoo thinks comfort clothes will also be part of the new way to power dress. To Insider, she spoke about her career beginnings, her latest collection, and what she thinks the future of sustainable fashion will be in a post-pandemic world. How fashion's 'patient zero' turned her fight with Covid into a new hygiene and wellness lineNga NguyenCourtesy of Nga NguyenAfter being diagnosed with COVID-19 last year, Nga Nguyen was deemed the fashion industry's "patient zero" as she was the first known case in the world of jet-set high fashion to catch the virus. But she's light at the end of the tunnel. To Insider she talks about her new wellness line, inspired by her run-in with the virus, and shares her expectations on what role hygiene products will play in a post-pandemic world. How a 28-year-old sold his first jewelry design for $25,000 and within 3 years built an exclusive client roster including RihannaEmmanuel Tarpin.Emmanuel TarpinCalling in from Paris, Emmanuel Tarpin spoke about his rise in the jewelry industry, how he nabbed two of the industry's top honors, and got Rihanna to fall in love with his work.How a 22-year-old heiress launched a handbag line and within 3 years landed the Netherlands' Queen Maxima as a fanMarina Raphael.marina raphaelAt just 22, Marina Raphael has already built a luxury handbag business that counts the Queen of the Netherlands as a fan. In an interview with Business Insider, she spoke about learning Italian, teaching herself design, and her plans to build the next-big-thing in luxury — as well as being a sixth-generation member of the Swarovski crystal dynasty.Swarovski crystal heiress Marina Raphael explains how she achieved record-breaking sales by selling smaller handbags, donating to charity, and using snail mail to reach customersMarina Raphael with her SS21 collection(1)Marina RaphaelRaphael caught up with Insider again in March of this year to talk about how her brand saw record growth during the pandemic. To cope with the time, she changed her marketing strategies and even reduced the size of her handbags as production took a hit due to closures. Still, the brand came out stronger than ever before. How one millennial CEO built a luxury eyewear brand that's been spotted on everyone from Jeff Bezos to Brad PittCourtesy of Garrett LeightGarrett Leight is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Garrett Leight California Optical. His father, Larry, was the founder of the sunglass brand Oliver Peoples. In an interview with Business Insider, Garrett talks about opening his own eyewear brand and keeping his family legacy alive. Pauline Ducruet isn't so different from other 26-year-old entrepreneurs — she just happens to be Grace Kelly's granddaughterPhoto by Francois Durand/Getty ImagesPauline Ducruet is the founder of the gender-neutral fashion line, Alter Designs. She also happens to be a granddaughter of Grace Kelly through her mother, Princess Stephanie of Monaco. In an interview with Business Insider, she talks about the importance of sustainability in fashion, and how the pandemic almost wiped out her business. A millennial car customizer who counts Lebron James and Kendall Jenner among his clients explains why he's expanding his business with a luxury shoe lineVik Tchalikian.Vik TchalikianVik Tchalikian is best known as the car customizer for the stars and boasts a client list that includes Kendall Jenner, LeBron James, and Billie Eilish. In an interview with Business Insider, he talks about how he used his car knowledge to start up a luxury shoe line. Two Gen Zers turned a $2,000 investment into an art gallery that sells $600K pieces. They want to usher in a new generation of art collectors.Alexis de Bernede (L) and Marius Jacob (R)Darmo ArtBased in France, Alexis de Bernede and Marius Jacob are the founders of Darmo Art gallery. Last summer, their two art shows netted six figures each, and they are now planning future exhibitions in Paris, the French Riviera, and at the Grand Hotel Heiligendamm, an exclusive report in Germany. Millennial fashion designer Alexandra O'Neill is seeing cocktail dress sales skyrocket as customers prepare for the new Roaring 20sCourtesy of Alexandra O'NeillAlexandra O'Neill is the founder of luxury brand Markarian and made headlines last year after First Lady Jill Biden wore a custom Markarian piece for Inauguration. Since then, the company has seen sales skyrocket. What's more, O'Neill held her first New York Fashion Week presentation in September, showing off a collection inspired by Lauren Bacall in the movie "How to Marry a Millionaire." Meet the Black millennial art curator who worked on a Zendaya photoshoot, had her portrait featured in Beyoncé's 'Black Is King,' and was just tapped by auction house Christie's to curate an exhibitDestinee Ross-Sutton.Courtesy the artist and Destinee Ross-Sutton 2020The art industry is notoriously white. Enter, Destinee Ross-Sutton, the 24-year-old art curator who already counts a Zendaya photoshoot and a Christie's exhibit under her name. A shining moment for her this year was when she discovered that a painting of her was featured in Beyoncé's "Black IS King." In speaking with Business Insider, Ross-Sutton talks about her mission to increase diversity and inclusion in the art world.The 28-year-old heir to a luxury publishing house explains how he creates some of the most exclusive — and expensive — private libraries in the worldAlex Assouline.Emilia BrandaoAlex Assouline is a creative library designer who helps create some of the most exclusive — and expensive — libraries in the world. The heir to his family's publishing house, Assouline also helps make stunning coffee books on subjects ranging from feminism to the palace of Versailles. In an interview with Business Insider, he talks about the art of library designing and which books he is helping to make next. Meet the 'VIPER Girls,' the female nightlife entrepreneurs who couldn't get a credit card 4 years ago and now field requests to work the Super Bowl(L) Kelsi Kitchener and (R) Celeste Durve.Courtesy of Kelsi Kitchener and Celeste DurveKelsi Kitchener, 28, and Celeste Duvre, 24, are the cofounders of the guest experience company VIPER, which works with some of the biggest celebrities and brands in the world. Known as the Viper Girls, they manage all points of the overall guest experiences at events. In an interview with Business Insider, Kitchener and Duvre talk about the founding of their company, and being young women in an industry that's long been touted as a "boys club." A 25-year-old set her eyes on taking over the high-end smoking accessories market — and it's workingCourtesy of Smoking JacketChiara di Carcaci, 25, is the founder of Smoking Jacket, a high-end cigarette accessories company that counts a Getty heiress as a fan. In an interview with Business Insider, di Carcaci talks about why she decided to start a luxury cigarette brand, and her ambitions to expand it into a full-service lifestyle company. A 28-year-old fashion brand director explains how ruthless attention to detail has landed Rihanna, Kim Kardashian, and Jennifer Lopez as clientsKyle Bryan.Courtesy of Kyle BryanIn an exclusive interview with Business Insider, Kyle Bryan, brand director at the luxury label LaQuan Smith, breaks down his plans on helping create the next big American fashion house. "A lot of women and celebrities will directly reach out to LaQuan and say, 'I would love for you to make me something,'" he said. "That's how some of our best stuff has even happened."Nisha Persaud's side hustle is creating at-home manicure boxes that are beloved by celebs and have been featured in luxury campaignsDanisha "Nisha" PersaudDanisha "Nisha" PersaudWhen the pandemic made it impossible for Nisha Persaud to get her nails done last year, she created at-home manicure kits to bring the nail salon to her. Since then, she's netted more than $100,000 in revenue and her work has been reposted on social media by Cardi B, received a shoutout by Megan Thee Stallion in a video, and gifted to the model Teyana Taylor for her baby shower. Meet the millennial cofounders of Apparis, the cult-favorite vegan coat brand that raised $3 million in funding this year and just launched a collaboration with Juicy Couture(L) Lauren Nouchi and (R) Amelie Brick.ApparisAmelie Brick, 37, and Lauren Nouchi, 29, are the cofounders of Apparis, an apparel company best known for its vegan coats. In an interview with Business Insider, they talk about why they decided to start a high-end vegan coat line, how the pandemic led them to expand into homewear, and why they decided to launch a collaboration with Juicy Couture. Meet the millennial cofounder of a jewelry brand that has partnered with the NFL and NBA and is on track to make $50 million in revenue this yearChristian Johnston.Courtesy of Christian Johnston cofounder of GLDChristian Johnston is the cofounder of the jewelry brand GLD, beloved by the likes of Justin Bieber and rapper Wiz Khalifa. The company has also done partnerships with the NFL, NBA, MLB, and Disney's Marvel. In an interview with Business Insider, Johnston talks about growing his jewelry company, which is now on track to make $50 million in revenue this year. Hogoè Kpessou worked as an Uber Eats driver before she launched her handbag brand last year. Now she's on track to net seven figures.Hogoè KpessouHogoè KpessouLuxury designer Hogoè Kpessou is best known for her backpacks emblazoned with a gold bumblebee. Before starting her eponymous company, she worked weekend shifts at a local restaurant and delivered food for Uber Eats. Today, she estimates her brand will hit seven figures in revenue in the beginning of 2022. YIMBY with a conscience: Meet the 26-year-old real-estate heir who wants to make affordable housing a reality in the Biden eraDonahue Peebles IIIPeebles CorporationDonahue Peebles III is set to one day take over his father's real estate and development empire, The Peebles Corporation. Speaking to Insider, he talks about his passion for helping make housing more affordable, gives his thoughts on gentrification, and shares his expectations for what's to come under a Biden presidency. Meet the millennial CEO who wants to redefine the ownership of men's clothing, and convinced Alexis Ohanian and Nas to investRegy PerleraCourtesy of SeasonsRegy Perlera is the co-founder of Seasons, an app that allows men to rent designer clothing. He tells Insider that renting clothing is one way to reduce your carbon footprint, and contribute to the circular economy. In 2019, Seasons raised $4.3 million in funding from investors such as Alexis Ohanian's Initialized Capital, Notation Capital, and the rapper Nas.A millennial entrepreneur who runs a high-end watch retailer explains why now is the time to invest in watches — and which timepieces are the most valuableAvi & Co.Avi Hiaeve, owner of the high-end watch retailer Avi & Co., met with Business Insider earlier this year to talk about his watch business as well as give tips for those looking to start investing in luxury watches. "The celebrities and the artists and all of them, they're not wearing watches under $100,000 anymore, everything they want is over $100,000. It's really gone through the roof," he explained to us. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead

2021 Greatest Hits: The Most Popular Articles Of The Past Year And A Look Ahead One year ago, when looking at the 20 most popular stories of 2020, we said that the year would be a very tough act to follow as there "could not have been more regime shifts, volatility moments, and memes than 2020." And yet despite the exceedingly high bar for 2021, the year did not disappoint and proved to be a successful contender, and if judging by the sheer breadth of narratives, stories, surprises, plot twists and unexpected developments, 2021 was even more memorable and event-filled than 2020. Where does one start? While covid was the story of 2020, the pandemic that emerged out of a (Fauci-funded) genetic lab team in Wuhan, China dominated newsflow, politics and capital markets for the second year in a row. And while the biggest plot twist of 2020 was Biden's victory over Trump in the presidential election (it took the pandemic lockdowns and mail-in ballots to hand the outcome to Biden), largely thanks to Covid, Biden failed to hold to his biggest presidential promise of defeating covid, and not only did he admit in late 2021 that there is "no Federal solution" to covid waving a white flag of surrender less than a year into his presidency, but following the recent emergence of the Xi, pardon Omicron variant, the number of covid cases in the US has just shattered all records. The silver lining is not only that deaths and hospitalizations have failed to follow the number of cases, but that the scaremongering narrative itself is starting to melt in response to growing grassroots discontent with vaccine after vaccine and booster after booster, which by now it is clear, do nothing to contain the pandemic. And now that it is clear that omicron is about as mild as a moderate case of the flu, the hope has finally emerged that this latest strain will finally kill off the pandemic as it becomes the dominant, rapidly-spreading variant, leading to worldwide herd immunity thanks to the immune system's natural response. Yes, it may mean billions less in revenue for Pfizer and Moderna, but it will be a colossal victory for the entire world. The second biggest story of 2021 was undoubtedly the scourge of soaring inflation, which contrary to macrotourist predictions that it would prove "transitory", refused to do so and kept rising, and rising, and rising, until it hit levels not seen since the Volcker galloping inflation days of the 1980s. The only difference of course is that back then, the Fed Funds rate hit 20%. Now it is at 0%, and any attempts to hike aggressively will lead to a horrific market crash, something the Fed knows very well. Whether this was due to supply-chain blockages and a lack of goods and services pushing prices higher, or due to massive stimulus pushing demand for goods - and also prices - higher, or simply the result of a record injection of central bank liquidity into the system, is irrelevant but what does matter is that it got so bad that even Biden, facing a mauling for his Democratic party in next year's midterm elections, freaked out about soaring prices and pushed hard to lower the price of gasoline, ordering releases from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve and vowing to punish energy companies that dare to make a profit, while ordering Powell to contain the surge in prices even if means the market is hit. Unfortunately for Biden, the market will be hit even as inflation still remain red hot for much of the coming year. And speaking of markets, while 2022 may be a year when the piper finally gets paid, 2021 was yet another blockbuster year for risk assets, largely on the back of the continued global response to the 2020 covid pandemic, when as we wrote last year, we saw "the official arrival of global Helicopter Money, tens of trillions in fiscal and monetary stimulus, an overhaul of the global economy punctuated by an unprecedented explosion in world debt, an Orwellian crackdown on civil liberties by governments everywhere, and ultimately set the scene for what even the World Economic Forum called simply "The Great Reset." Yes, the staggering liquidity injections that started in 2020, continued throughout 2021 and the final tally is that after $3 trillion in emergency liquidity injections in the immediate aftermath of the pandemic to stabilize the world, the Fed injected almost $2 trillion in the subsequent period, of which $1.5 trillion in 2021, a year where economists were "puzzled" why inflation was soaring. This, of course, excludes the tens of trillions of monetary stimulus injected by other central banks as well as the boundless fiscal stimulus that was greenlighted with the launch of helicopter money (i.e., MMT) in 2020. It's also why with inflation running red hot and real rates the lowest they have ever been, everyone was forced to rush into the "safety" of stocks (or stonks as they came to be known among GenZ), and why after last year's torrid stock market returns, the S&P rose another 27% in 2021 and up a staggering 114% from the March 2020 lows, in the process trouncing all previous mega-rallies (including those in 1929, 1938, 1974 and 2009)... ... making this the third consecutive year of double-digit returns. This reminds us of something we said last year: "it's almost as if the world's richest asset owners requested the covid pandemic." A year later, we got confirmation for this rhetorical statement, when we calculated that in the 18 months since the covid pandemic, the richest 1% of US society have seen their net worth increase by over $30 trillion. As a result, the US is now officially a banana republic where the middle 60% of US households by income - a measure economists use as a definition of the middle class - saw their combined assets drop from 26.7% to 26.6% of national wealth as of June, the lowest in Federal Reserve data, while for the first time the super rich had a bigger share, at 27%. Yes, the 1% now own more wealth than the entire US middle class, a definition traditionally reserve for kleptocracies and despotic African banana republics. It wasn't just the rich, however: politicians the world over would benefit from the transition from QE to outright helicopter money and MMT which made the over monetization of deficits widely accepted in the blink of an eye. The common theme here is simple: no matter what happens, capital markets can never again be allowed to drop, regardless of the cost or how much more debt has to be incurred. Indeed, as we look back at the news barrage over the past year, and past decade for that matter, the one thing that becomes especially clear amid the constant din of markets, of politics, of social upheaval and geopolitical strife - and now pandemics -  in fact a world that is so flooded with constant conflicting newsflow and changing storylines that many now say it has become virtually impossible to even try to predict the future, is that despite the people's desire for change, for something original and untried, the world's established forces will not allow it and will fight to preserve the broken status quo at any price - even global coordinated shutdowns - which is perhaps why it always boils down to one thing - capital markets, that bedrock of Western capitalism and the "modern way of life", where control, even if it means central planning the likes of which have not been seen since the days of the USSR, and an upward trajectory must be preserved at all costs, as the alternative is a global, socio-economic collapse. And since it is the daily gyrations of stocks that sway popular moods the interplay between capital markets and politics has never been more profound or more consequential. The more powerful message here is the implicit realization and admission by politicians, not just Trump who had a penchant of tweeting about the S&P every time it rose, but also his peers on both sides of the aisle, that the stock market is now seen as the consummate barometer of one's political achievements and approval. Which is also why capital markets are now, more than ever, a political tool whose purpose is no longer to distribute capital efficiently and discount the future, but to manipulate voter sentiments far more efficiently than any fake Russian election interference attempt ever could. Which brings us back to 2021 and the past decade, which was best summarized by a recent Bill Blain article who said that "the last 10-years has been a story of massive central banking distortion to address the 2008 crisis. Now central banks face the consequences and are trapped. The distortion can’t go uncorrected indefinitely." He is right: the distortion will eventually collapse especially if the Fed follows through with its attempt rate hikes some time in mid-2020, but so far the establishment and the "top 1%" have been successful - perhaps the correct word is lucky - in preserving the value of risk assets: on the back of the Fed's firehose of liquidity the S&P500 returned an impressive 27% in 2021, following a 15.5% return in 2020 and 28.50% in 2019. It did so by staging the greatest rally off all time from the March lows, surpassing all of the 4 greatest rallies off the lows of the past century (1929,1938, 1974, and 2009). Yet this continued can-kicking by the establishment - all of which was made possible by the covid pandemic and lockdowns which served as an all too convenient scapegoat for the unprecedented response that served to propel risk assets (and fiat alternatives such as gold and bitcoin) to all time highs - has come with a price... and an increasingly higher price in fact. As even Bank of America CIO Michael Hartnett admits, Fed's response to the the pandemic "worsened inequality" as the value of financial assets - Wall Street -  relative to economy - Main Street - hit all-time high of 6.3x. And while the Fed was the dynamo that has propelled markets higher ever since the Lehman collapse, last year certainly had its share of breakout moments. Here is a sampling. Gamestop and the emergence of meme stonks and the daytrading apes: In January markets were hypnotized by the massive trading volumes, rolling short squeezes and surging share prices of unremarkable established companies such as consoles retailer GameStop and cinema chain AMC and various other micro and midcap names. What began as a discussion on untapped value at GameStop on Reddit months earlier by Keith Gill, better known as Roaring Kitty, morphed into a hedge fund-orchestrated, crowdsourced effort to squeeze out the short position held by a hedge fund, Melvin Capital. The momentum flooded through the retail market, where daytraders shunned stocks and bought massive out of the money calls, sparking rampant "gamma squeezes" in the process forcing some brokers to curb trading. Robinhood, a popular broker for day traders and Citadel's most lucrative "subsidiary", required a cash injection to withstand the demands placed on it by its clearing house. The company IPOed later in the year only to see its shares collapse as it emerged its business model was disappointing hollow absent constant retail euphoria. Ultimately, the market received a crash course in the power of retail investors on a mission. Ultimately, "retail favorite" stocks ended the year on a subdued note as the trading frenzy from earlier in the year petered out, but despite underperforming the S&P500, retail traders still outperformed hedge funds by more than 100%. Failed seven-year Treasury auction:  Whereas auctions of seven-year US government debt generally spark interest only among specialists, on on February 25 2021, one such typically boring event sparked shockwaves across financial markets, as the weakest demand on record hit prices across the whole spectrum of Treasury bonds. The five-, seven- and 10-year notes all fell sharply in price. Researchers at the Federal Reserve called it a “flash event”; we called it a "catastrophic, tailing" auction, the closest thing the US has had to a failed Trasury auction. The flare-up, as the FT put it, reflects one of the most pressing investor concerns of the year: inflation. At the time, fund managers were just starting to realize that consumer price rises were back with a vengeance — a huge threat to the bond market which still remembers the dire days of the Volcker Fed when inflation was about as high as it is today but the 30Y was trading around 15%. The February auaction also illustrated that the world’s most important market was far less liquid and not as structurally robust as investors had hoped. It was an extreme example of a long-running issue: since the financial crisis the traditional providers of liquidity, a group of 24 Wall Street banks, have pulled back because of higher costs associated with post-2008 capital requirements, while leaving liquidity provision to the Fed. Those banks, in their reduced role, as well as the hedge funds and high-frequency traders that have stepped into their place, have tended to withdraw in moments of market volatility. Needless to say, with the Fed now tapering its record QE, we expect many more such "flash" episodes in the bond market in the year ahead. The arch ego of Archegos: In March 2021 several banks received a brutal reminder that some of family offices, which manage some $6 trillion in wealth of successful billionaires and entrepreneurs and which have minimal reporting requirements, take risks that would make the most serrated hedge fund manager wince, when Bill Hwang’s Archegos Capital Management imploded in spectacular style. As we learned in late March when several high-flying stocks suddenly collapsed, Hwang - a former protege of fabled hedge fund group Tiger Management - had built up a vast pile of leverage using opaque Total Return Swaps with a handful of banks to boost bets on a small number of stocks (the same banks were quite happy to help despite Hwang’s having been barred from US markets in 2013 over allegations of an insider-trading scheme, as he paid generously for the privilege of borrowing the banks' balance sheet). When one of Archegos more recent bets, ViacomCBS, suddenly tumbled it set off a liquidation cascade that left banks including Credit Suisse and Nomura with billions of dollars in losses. Conveniently, as the FT noted, the damage was contained to the banks rather than leaking across financial markets, but the episode sparked a rethink among banks over how to treat these clients and how much leverage to extend. The second coming of cryptos: After hitting an all time high in late 2017 and subsequently slumping into a "crypto winter", cryptocurrencies enjoyed a huge rebound in early 2021 which sent their prices soaring amid fears of galloping inflation (as shown below, and contrary to some financial speculation, the crypto space has traditionally been a hedge either to too much liquidity or a hedge to too much inflation). As a result, Bitcoin rose to a series of new record highs that culminated at just below $62,000, nearly three times higher than their previous all time high. But the smooth ride came to a halt in May when China’s crackdown on the cryptocurrency and its production, or “mining”, sparked the first serious crash of 2021. The price of bitcoin then collapsed as much as 30% on May 19, hitting a low of $30,000 amid a liquidation of levered positions in chaotic trading conditions following a warning from Chinese authorities of tighter curbs ahead. A public acceptance by Tesla chief and crypto cheerleader Elon Musk of the industry’s environmental impact added to the declines. However, as with all previous crypto crashes, this one too proved transitory, and prices resumed their upward trajectory in late September when investors started to price in the launch of futures-based bitcoin exchange traded funds in the US. The launch of these contracts subsequently pushed bitcoin to a new all-time high in early November before prices stumbled again in early December, this time due to a rise in institutional ownership when an overall drop in the market dragged down cryptos as well. That demonstrated the growing linkage between Wall Street and cryptocurrencies, due to the growing sway of large investors in digital markets. China's common prosperity crash: China’s education and tech sectors were one of the perennial Wall Street darlings. Companies such as New Oriental, TAL Education as well as Alibaba and Didi had come to be worth billions of dollars after highly publicized US stock market flotations. So when Beijing effectively outlawed swaths of the country’s for-profit education industry in July 2021, followed by draconian anti-trust regulations on the country's fintech names (where Xi Jinping also meant to teach the country's billionaire class a lesson who is truly in charge), the short-term market impact was brutal. Beijing’s initial measures emerged as part of a wider effort to make education more affordable as part of president Xi Jinping’s drive for "common prosperity" but that quickly raised questions over whether growth prospects across corporate China are countered by the capacity of the government to overhaul entire business models overnight. Sure enough, volatility stemming from the education sector was soon overshadowed by another set of government reforms related to common prosperity, a crackdown on leverage across the real estate sector where the biggest casualty was Evergrande, the world’s most indebted developer. The company, whose boss was not long ago China's 2nd richest man, was engulfed by a liquidity crisis in the summer that eventually resulted in a default in early December. Still, as the FT notes, China continues to draw in huge amounts of foreign capital, pushing the Chinese yuan to end 2021 at the strongest level since May 2018, a major hurdle to China's attempts to kickstart its slowing economy, and surely a precursor to even more monetary easing. Natgas hyperinflation: Natural gas supplanted crude oil as the world’s most important commodity in October and December as prices exploded to unprecedented levels and the world scrambled for scarce supplies amid the developed world's catastrophic transition to "green" energy. The crunch was particularly acute in Europe, which has become increasingly reliant on imports. Futures linked to TTF, the region’s wholesale gas price, hit a record €137 per megawatt hour in early October, rising more than 75%. In Asia, spot liquefied natural gas prices briefly passed the equivalent of more than $320 a barrel of oil in October. (At the time, Brent crude was trading at $80). A number of factors contributed, including rising demand as pandemic restrictions eased, supply disruptions in the LNG market and weather-induced shortfalls in renewable energy. In Europe, this was aggravated by plunging export volumes from Gazprom, Russia’s state-backed monopoly pipeline supplier, amid a bitter political fight over the launch of the Nordstream 2 pipeline. And with delays to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany, analysts say the European gas market - where storage is only 66% full - a cold snap or supply disruption away from another price spike Turkey's (latest) currency crisis:  As the FT's Jonathan Wheatley writes, Recep Tayyip Erdogan was once a source of strength for the Turkish lira, and in his first five years in power from 2003, the currency rallied from TL1.6 per US dollar to near parity at TL1.2. But those days are long gone, as Erdogan's bizarre fascination with unorthodox economics, namely the theory that lower rates lead to lower inflation also known as "Erdoganomics", has sparked a historic collapse in the: having traded at about TL7 to the dollar in February, it has since fallen beyond TL17, making it the worst performing currency of 2021. The lira’s defining moment in 2021 came on November 18 when the central bank, in spite of soaring inflation, cut its policy rate for the third time since September, at Erdogan’s behest (any central banker in Turkey who disagrees with "Erdoganomics" is promptly fired and replaced with an ideological puppet). The lira recovered some of its losses in late December when Erdogan came up with the "brilliant" idea of erecting the infamous "doom loop" which ties Turkey's balance sheet to its currency. It has worked for now (the lira surged from TL18 against the dollar to TL12, but this particular band aid solution will only last so long). The lira’s problems are not only Erdogan’s doing. A strengthening dollar, rising oil prices, the relentless covid pandemic and weak growth in developing economies have been bad for other emerging market currencies, too, but as long as Erdogan is in charge, shorting the lira remains the best trade entering 2022. While these, and many more, stories provided a diversion from the boring existence of centrally-planned markets, we are confident that the trends observed in recent years will continue: coming years will be marked by even bigger government (because only more government can "fix" problems created by government), higher stock prices and dollar debasement (because only more Fed intervention can "fix" the problems created by the Fed), and a policy flip from monetary and QE to fiscal & MMT, all of which will keep inflation at scorching levels, much to the persistent confusion of economists everywhere. Of course, we said much of this last year as well, but while we got most trends right, we were wrong about one thing: we were confident that China's aggressive roll out of the digital yuan would be a bang - or as we put it "it is very likely that while 2020 was an insane year, it may prove to be just an appetizer to the shockwaves that will be unleashed in 2021 when we see the first stage of the most historic overhaul of the fiat payment system in history" - however it turned out to be a whimper. A big reason for that was that the initial reception of the "revolutionary" currency was nothing short of disastrous, with Chinese admitting they were "not at all excited" about the prospect of yet one more surveillance mechanism for Beijing, because that's really what digital currencies are: a way for central banks everywhere to micromanage and scrutinize every single transaction, allowing the powers that be to demonetize any one person - or whole groups - with the flick of a switch. Then again, while digital money may not have made its triumphant arrival in 2021, we are confident that the launch date has merely been pushed back to 2022 when the rollout of the next monetary revolution is expected to begin in earnest. Here we should again note one thing: in a world undergoing historic transformations, any free press must be throttled and controlled, and over the past year we have seen unprecedented efforts by legacy media and its corporate owners, as well as the new "social media" overlords do everything in their power to stifle independent thought. For us it had been especially "personal" on more than one occasions. Last January, Twitter suspended our account because we dared to challenge the conventional narrative about the source of the Wuhan virus. It was only six months later that Twitter apologized, and set us free, admitting it had made a mistake. Yet barely had twitter readmitted us, when something even more unprecedented happened: for the first time ever (to our knowledge) Google - the world's largest online ad provider and monopoly - demonetized our website not because of any complaints about our writing but because of the contents of our comment section. It then held us hostage until we agreed to implement some prerequisite screening and moderation of the comments section. Google's action was followed by the likes of PayPal, Amazon, and many other financial and ad platforms, who rushed to demonetize and suspend us simply because they disagreed with what we had to say. This was a stark lesson in how quickly an ad-funded business can disintegrate in this world which resembles the dystopia of 1984 more and more each day, and we have since taken measures. One year ago, for the first time in our 13 year history, we launched a paid version of our website, which is entirely ad and moderation free, and offers readers a variety of premium content. It wasn't our intention to make this transformation but unfortunately we know which way the wind is blowing and it is only a matter of time before the gatekeepers of online ad spending block us again. As such, if we are to have any hope in continuing it will come directly from you, our readers. We will keep the free website running for as long as possible, but we are certain that it is only a matter of time before the hammer falls as the censorship bandwagon rolls out much more aggressively in the coming year. That said, whether the story of 2022, and the next decade for that matter, is one of helicopter or digital money, of (hyper)inflation or deflation: what is key, and what we learned in the past decade, is that the status quo will throw anything at the problem to kick the can, it will certainly not let any crisis go to waste... even the deadliest pandemic in over a century. And while many already knew that, the events of 2021 made it clear to a fault that not even a modest market correction can be tolerated going forward. After all, if central banks aim to punish all selling, then the logical outcome is to buy everything, and investors, traders and speculators did just that armed with the clearest backstop guarantee from the Fed, which in the deapths of the covid crash crossed the Rubicon when it formally nationalized the bond market as it started buying both investment grade bonds and junk bond ETFs in the open market. As such it is no longer even a debatable issue if the Fed will buy stocks after the next crash - the only question is when. Meanwhile, for all those lamenting the relentless coverage of politics in a financial blog, why finance appears to have taken a secondary role, and why the political "narrative" has taken a dominant role for financial analysts, the past year showed vividly why that is the case: in a world where markets gyrated, and "rotated" from value stocks to growth and vice versa, purely on speculation of how big the next stimulus out of Washington will be, the narrative over Biden's trillions proved to be one of the biggest market moving events for much of the year. And with the Biden stimulus plan off the table for now, the Fed will find it very difficult to tighten financial conditions, especially if it does so just as the economy is slowing. Here we like to remind readers of one of our favorite charts: every financial crisis is the result of Fed tightening. As for predictions about the future, as the past two years so vividly showed, when it comes to actual surprises and all true "black swans", it won't be what anyone had expected. And so while many themes, both in the political and financial realm, did get some accelerated closure courtesy of China's covid pandemic, dramatic changes in 2021 persisted, and will continue to manifest themselves in often violent and unexpected ways - from the ongoing record polarization in the US political arena, to "populist" upheavals around the developed world, to the gradual transition to a global Universal Basic (i.e., socialized) Income regime, to China's ongoing fight with preserving stability in its gargantuan financial system which is now two and a half times the size of the US. As always, we thank all of our readers for making this website - which has never seen one dollar of outside funding (and despite amusing recurring allegations, has certainly never seen a ruble from the KGB either, although now that the entire Russian hysteria episode is over, those allegations have finally quieted down), and has never spent one dollar on marketing - a small (or not so small) part of your daily routine. Which also brings us to another critical topic: that of fake news, and something we - and others who do not comply with the established narrative - have been accused of. While we find the narrative of fake news laughable, after all every single article in this website is backed by facts and links to outside sources, it is clearly a dangerous development, and a very slippery slope that the entire developed world is pushing for what is, when stripped of fancy jargon, internet censorship under the guise of protecting the average person from "dangerous, fake information." It's also why we are preparing for the next onslaught against independent thought and why we had no choice but to roll out a premium version of this website. In addition to the other themes noted above, we expect the crackdown on free speech to accelerate in the coming year when key midterm elections will be held, especially as the following list of Top 20 articles for 2021 reveals, many of the most popular articles in the past year were precisely those which the conventional media would not touch out of fear of repercussions, which in turn allowed the alternative media to continue to flourish in an orchestrated information vacuum and take significant market share from the established outlets by covering topics which the public relations arm of established media outlets refused to do, in the process earning itself the derogatory "fake news" condemnation. We are grateful that our readers - who hit a new record high in 2021 - have realized it is incumbent upon them to decide what is, and isn't "fake news." * * * And so, before we get into the details of what has now become an annual tradition for the last day of the year, those who wish to jog down memory lane, can refresh our most popular articles for every year during our no longer that brief, almost 11-year existence, starting with 2009 and continuing with 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2020. So without further ado, here are the articles that you, our readers, found to be the most engaging, interesting and popular based on the number of hits, during the past year. In 20th spot with 600,000 reads, was an article that touched on one of the most defining features of the market: the reflation theme the sparked a massive rally at the start of the year courtesy of the surprise outcome in the Georgia Senate race, where Democrats ended up wining both seats up for grabs, effectively giving the Dems a majority in both the House and the Senate, where despite the even, 50-seat split, Kamala Harris would cast the winning tie-breaker vote to pursue a historic fiscal stimulus. And sure enough, as we described in "Bitcoin Surges To Record High, Stocks & Bonds Battered As Dems Look Set To Take Both Georgia Senate Seats", with trillions in "stimmies" flooding both the economy and the market, not only did retail traders enjoy unprecedented returns when trading meme "stonks" and forcing short squeezes that crippled numerous hedge funds, but expectations of sharply higher inflation also helped push bitcoin and the entire crypto sector to new all time highs, which in turn legitimized the product across institutional investors and helped it reach a market cap north of $3 trillion.  In 19th spot, over 613,000 readers were thrilled to read at the start of September that "Biden Unveils Most Severe COVID Actions Yet: Mandates Vax For All Federal Workers, Contractors, & Large Private Companies." Of course, just a few weeks later much of Biden's mandate would be struck down in courts, where it is now headed to a decision by SCOTUS, while the constantly shifting "scientific" goal posts mean that just a few months later the latest set of CDC regulations have seen regulators and officials reverse the constant drone of fearmongering and are now even seeking to cut back on the duration of quarantine and other lockdown measures amid a public mood that is growing increasingly hostile to the government response. One of the defining political events of 2021 was the so-called "Jan 6 Insurrection", which the for America's conservatives was blown wildly out of proportion yet which the leftist media and Democrats in Congress have been periodically trying to push to the front pages in hopes of distracting from the growing list of failures of the Obama admin. Yet as we asked back in January, "Why Was Founder Of Far-Left BLM Group Filming Inside Capitol As Police Shot Protester?" No less than 614,000 readers found this question worthy of a response. Since then many more questions have emerged surrounding this event, many of which focus on what role the FBI had in organizing and encouraging this event, including the use of various informants and instigators. For now, a response will have to wait at least until the mid-term elections of 2022 when Republicans are expected to sweep one if not both chambers. Linked to the above, the 17th most read article of 2021 with 617,000 views, was an article we published on the very same day, which detailed that "Armed Protesters Begin To Arrive At State Capitols Around The Nation." At the end of the day, it was much ado about nothing and all protests concluded peacefully and without incident: perhaps the FBI was simply spread too thin? 2021 was a year defined by various waves of the covid pandemic which hammered poor Americans forced to hunker down at home and missing on pay, and crippled countless small mom and pop businesses. And yet, it was also a bonanza for a handful of pharma companies such as Pfizer and Moderna which made billions from the sale of "vaccines" which we now know do little if anything to halt the spread of the virus, and are instead now being pitched as palliatives, preventing a far worse clinical outcome. The same pharma companies also benefited from an unconditional indemnity, which surely would come in useful when the full side-effects of their mRNA-based therapies became apparent. One such condition to emerge was myocarditis among a subset of the vaxxed. And while the vaccines continue to be broadly rolled out across most developed nations, one place that said enough was Sweden. As over 620,000 readers found out in "Sweden Suspends Moderna Shot Indefinitely After Vaxxed Patients Develop Crippling Heart Condition", not every country was willing to use its citizens as experimental guniea pigs. This was enough to make the article the 16th most read on these pages, but perhaps in light of the (lack of) debate over the pros and cons of the covid vaccines, this should have been the most read article this year? Moving on to the 15th most popular article, 628,000 readers were shocked to learn that "Chase Bank Cancels General Mike Flynn's Credit Cards." The action, which was taken by the largest US bank due to "reputational risk" echoed a broad push by tech giants to deplatform and silence dissenting voices by literally freezing them out of the financial system. In the end, following widespread blowback from millions of Americans, JPMorgan reversed, and reactivated Flynn's cards saying the action was made in error, but unfortunately this is just one example of how those in power can lock out any dissenters with the flick of a switch. And while democrats cheer such deplatforming today, the political winds are fickle, and we doubt they will be as excited once they find themselves on the receiving end of such actions. And speaking of censorship and media blackouts, few terms sparked greater response from those in power than the term Ivermectin. Viewed by millions as a cheap, effective alternative to offerings from the pharmaceutical complex, social networks did everything in their power to silence any mention of a drug which the Journal of Antibiotics said in 2017 was an "enigmatic multifaceted ‘wonder’ drug which continues to surprise and exceed expectations." Nowhere was this more obvious than in the discussion of how widespread use of Ivermectin beat Covid in India, the topic of the 14th most popular article of 2021 "India's Ivermectin Blackout" which was read by over 653,000 readers. Unfortunately, while vaccines continue to fail upward and now some countries are now pushing with a 4th, 5th and even 6th vaccine, Ivermectin remains a dirty word. There was more covid coverage in the 13th most popular article of 2021, "Surprise Surprise - Fauci Lied Again": Rand Paul Reacts To Wuhan Bombshell" which was viewed no less than 725,000 times. Paul's reaction came following a report which revealed that Anthony Fauci's NIAID and its parent, the NIH, funded Gain-of-Function research in Wuhan, China, strongly hinting that the emergence of covid was the result of illicit US funding. Not that long ago, Fauci had called Paul a 'liar' for accusing him of funding the risky research, in which viruses are genetically modified or otherwise altered to make them more transmissible to humans. And while we could say that Paul got the last laugh, Fauci still remains Biden's top covid advisor, which may explain why one year after Biden vowed he would shut down the pandemic, the number of new cases just hit a new all time high. One hope we have for 2022 is that people will finally open their eyes... 2021 was not just about covid - soaring prices and relentless inflation were one of the most poignant topics. It got so bad that Biden's approval rating - and that of Democrats in general - tumbled toward the end of the year, putting their mid-term ambitions in jeopardy, as the public mood soured dramatically in response to the explosion in prices. And while one can debate whether it was due to supply-issues, such as the collapse in trans-pacific supply chains and the chronic lack of labor to grow the US infrastructure, or due to roaring demand sparked by trillions in fiscal stimulus, but when the "Big Short" Michael Burry warned that hyperinflation is coming, the people listened, and with over 731,000 reads, the 12th most popular article of 2021 was "Michael Burry Warns Weimar Hyperinflation Is Coming."  Of course, Burry did not say anything we haven't warned about for the past 12 years, but at least he got the people's attention, and even mainstream names such as Twitter founder Jack Dorsey agreed with him, predicting that bitcoin will be what is left after the dollar has collapsed. While hyperinflation may will be the endgame, the question remains: when. For the 11th most read article of 2021, we go back to a topic touched upon moments ago when we addressed the full-blown media campaign seeking to discredit Ivermectin, in this case via the D-grade liberal tabloid Rolling Stone (whose modern incarnation is sadly a pale shadow of the legend that house Hunter S. Thompson's unforgettable dispatches) which published the very definition of fake news when it called Ivermectin a "horse dewormer" and claimed that, according to a hospital employee, people were overdosing on it. Just a few hours later, the article was retracted as we explained in "Rolling Stone Issues 'Update' After Horse Dewormer Hit-Piece Debunked" and over 812,000 readers found out that pretty much everything had been a fabrication. But of course, by then it was too late, and the reputation of Ivermectin as a potential covid cure had been further tarnished, much to the relief of the pharma giants who had a carte blanche to sell their experimental wares. The 10th most popular article of 2021 brings us to another issue that had split America down the middle, namely the story surrounding Kyle Rittenhouse and the full-blown media campaign that declared the teenager guilty, even when eventually proven innocent. Just days before the dramatic acquittal, we learned that "FBI Sat On Bombshell Footage From Kyle Rittenhouse Shooting", which was read by over 822,000 readers. It was unfortunate to learn that once again the scandal-plagued FBI stood at the center of yet another attempt at mass misinformation, and we can only hope that one day this "deep state" agency will be overhauled from its core, or better yet, shut down completely. As for Kyle, he will have the last laugh: according to unconfirmed rumors, his numerous legal settlements with various media outlets will be in the tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars.  And from the great US social schism, we again go back to Covid for the 9th most popular article of 2021, which described the terrifying details of one of the most draconian responses to covid in the entire world: that of Australia. Over 900,000 readers were stunned to read that the "Australian Army Begins Transferring COVID-Positive Cases, Contacts To Quarantine Camps." Alas, the latest surge in Australian cases to nosebleed, record highs merely confirms that this unprecedented government lockdown - including masks and vaccines - is nothing more than an exercise in how far government can treat its population as a herd of sheep without provoking a violent response.  The 8th most popular article of 2021 looks at the market insanity of early 2021 when, at the end of January, we saw some of the most-shorted, "meme" stocks explode higher as the Reddit daytrading horde fixed their sights on a handful of hedge funds and spent billions in stimmies in an attempt to force unprecedented ramps. That was the case with "GME Soars 75% After-Hours, Erases Losses After Liquidity-Constrained Robinhood Lifts Trading Ban", which profiled the daytrading craze that gave an entire generation the feeling that it too could win in these manipulated capital markets. Then again, judging by the waning retail interest, it is possible that the excitement of the daytrading army is fading as rapidly as it first emerged, and that absent more "stimmies" markets will remain the playground of the rich and central banks. Kyle Rittenhouse may soon be a very rich man after the ordeal he went through, but the media's mission of further polarizing US society succeeded, and millions of Americans will never accept that the teenager was innocent. It's also why with just over 1 million reads, the 7th most read article on Zero Hedge this year was that "Portland Rittenhouse Protest Escalates Into Riot." Luckily, this is not a mid-term election year and there were no moneyed interests seeking to prolong this particular riot, unlike what happened in the summer of 2020... and what we are very much afraid will again happen next year when very critical elections are on deck.  With just over 1.03 million views, the 6th most popular post focused on a viral Twitter thread on Friday from Dr Robert Laone, which laid out a disturbing trend; the most-vaccinated countries in the world are experiencing  a surge in COVID-19 cases, while the least-vaccinated countries were not. As we originally discussed in ""This Is Worrying Me Quite A Bit": mRNA Vaccine Inventor Shares Viral Thread Showing COVID Surge In Most-Vaxxed Countries", this trend has only accelerated in recent weeks with the emergence of the Omicron strain. Unfortunately, instead of engaging in a constructive discussion to see why the science keeps failing again and again, Twitter's response was chilling: with just days left in 2021, it suspended the account of Dr. Malone, one of the inventors of mRNA technology. Which brings to mind something Aaron Rogers said: "If science can't be questioned it's not science anymore it's propaganda & that's the truth." In a year that was marked a flurry of domestic fiascoes by the Biden administration, it is easy to forget that the aged president was also responsible for the biggest US foreign policy disaster since Vietnam, when the botched evacuation of Afghanistan made the US laughing stock of the world after 12 US servicemembers were killed. So it's probably not surprising that over 1.1 million readers were stunned to watch what happened next, which we profiled in the 5th most popular post of 2021, where in response to the Afghan trajedy, "Biden Delivers Surreal Press Conference, Vows To Hunt Down Isis, Blames Trump." One person watching the Biden presser was Xi Jinping, who may have once harbored doubts about reclaiming Taiwan but certainly does not any more. The 4th most popular article of 2021 again has to do with with covid, and specifically the increasingly bizarre clinical response to the disease. As we detailed in "Something Really Strange Is Happening At Hospitals All Over America" while emergency rooms were overflowing, it certainly wasn't from covid cases. Even more curiously, one of the primary ailments leading to an onslaught on ERs across the nation was heart-related issues, whether arrhytmia, cardiac incidents or general heart conditions. We hope that one day there will be a candid discussion on this topic, but until then it remains one of the topics seen as taboo by the mainstream media and the deplatforming overlords, so we'll just leave it at that. We previously discussed the anti-Ivermectin narrative that dominated the mainstream press throughout 2021 and the 3rd most popular article of the year may hold clues as to why: in late September, pharma giant Pfizer and one of the two companies to peddle an mRNA based vaccine, announced that it's launching an accelerated Phase 2/3 trial for a COVID prophylactic pill designed to ward off COVID in those may have come in contact with the disease. And, as we described in "Pfizer Launches Final Study For COVID Drug That's Suspiciously Similar To 'Horse Paste'," 1.75 million readers learned that Pfizer's drug shared at least one mechanism of action as Ivermectin - an anti-parasitic used in humans for decades, which functions as a protease inhibitor against Covid-19, which researchers speculate "could be the biophysical basis behind its antiviral efficiency." Surely, this too was just another huge coincidence. In the second most popular article of 2021, almost 2 million readers discovered (to their "shock") that Fauci and the rest of Biden's COVID advisors were proven wrong about "the science" of COVID vaccines yet again. After telling Americans that vaccines offer better protection than natural infection, a new study out of Israel suggested the opposite is true: natural infection offers a much better shield against the delta variant than vaccines, something we profiled in "This Ends The Debate' - Israeli Study Shows Natural Immunity 13x More Effective Than Vaccines At Stopping Delta." We were right about one thing: anyone who dared to suggest that natural immunity was indeed more effective than vaccines was promptly canceled and censored, and all debate almost instantly ended. Since then we have had tens of millions of "breakout" cases where vaccinated people catch covid again, while any discussion why those with natural immunity do much better remains under lock and key. It may come as a surprise to many that the most read article of 2021 was not about covid, or Biden, or inflation, or China, or even the extremely polarized US congress (and/or society), but was about one of the most long-suffering topics on these pages: precious metals and their prices. Yes, back in February the retail mania briefly targeted silver and as millions of reddit daytraders piled in in hopes of squeezing the precious metal higher, the price of silver surged higher only to tumble just as quickly as it has risen as the seller(s) once again proved more powerful than the buyers. We described this in "Silver Futures Soar 8%, Rise Above $29 As Reddit Hordes Pile In", an article which some 2.4 million gold and silver bugs read with hope, only to see their favorite precious metals slump for much of the rest of the year. And yes, the fact that both gold and silver ended the year sharply lower than where they started even though inflation hit the highest level in 40 years, remains one of the great mysteries of 2021. With all that behind us, and as we wave goodbye to another bizarre, exciting, surreal year, what lies in store for 2022, and the next decade? We don't know: as frequent and not so frequent readers are aware, we do not pretend to be able to predict the future and we don't try despite endless allegations that we constantly predict the collapse of civilization: we leave the predicting to the "smartest people in the room" who year after year have been consistently wrong about everything, and never more so than in 2021 (even the Fed admitted it is clueless when Powell said it was time to retire the term "transitory"), which destroyed the reputation of central banks, of economists, of conventional media and the professional "polling" and "strategist" class forever, not to mention all those "scientists" who made a mockery of the "expertise class" with their bungled response to the covid pandemic. We merely observe, find what is unexpected, entertaining, amusing, surprising or grotesque in an increasingly bizarre, sad, and increasingly crazy world, and then just write about it. We do know, however, that after a record $30 trillion in stimulus was conjured out of thin air by the world's central banks and politicians in the past two years, the attempt to reverse this monetary and fiscal firehose in a world addicted to trillions in newly created liquidity now that central banks are freaking out after finally getting ot the inflation they were hoping to create for so long, will end in tears. We are confident, however, that in the end it will be the very final backstoppers of the status quo regime, the central banking emperors of the New Normal, who will eventually be revealed as fully naked. When that happens and what happens after is anyone's guess. But, as we have promised - and delivered - every year for the past 13, we will be there to document every aspect of it. Finally, and as always, we wish all our readers the best of luck in 2022, with much success in trading and every other avenue of life. We bid farewell to 2021 with our traditional and unwavering year-end promise: Zero Hedge will be there each and every day - usually with a cynical smile - helping readers expose, unravel and comprehend the fallacy, fiction, fraud and farce that defines every aspect of our increasingly broken system. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/02/2022 - 03:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 2nd, 2022

A Culture War in Four Acts: Loudoun County, Virginia. Part Two, "The Incident”

A Culture War in Four Acts: Loudoun County, Virginia. Part Two, "The Incident” By Matt Taibbi, via Substack An Underground Railroad simulation at an elementary school brings a long-simmering political dispute out into the open, triggering a bizarre series of unfortunate events February 5th, 2019. An educational consultant named Dr. Linda Deans walked to the lectern at a meeting of the Loudoun County School Board. Addressing issues like black student underrepresentation in the gifted programs and overrepresentation in disciplinary cases, she asked the board to remedy matters through more funding of diversity and inclusion positions. Loudoun had a diversity officer, but Deans stumped for a department. “To be real about equity and inclusion, contracting out the work might be a good idea because insiders may be — hmm — influenced by politics,” she said, pausing to apply a dollop of contemptuous stank on the hmm. She went on: “I highly recommend that LCPS offer this serious work to a reputable organization, such as the Loudoun Freedom Center.” The Center, where Deans worked, is a nonprofit founded by charismatic local pastor and new NAACP chapter president Michelle Thomas. The meaning was clear: Loudoun had race problems, and if the board wanted to be credited with taking those seriously, it had to make a financial commitment, and to the right destination. Deans was followed by the Education Chair for the local NAACP chapter, Robin Burke. Burke and husband Steven had recently met with Loudoun’s Director of Teaching and Learning, and weren’t happy. “On Wednesday, January 16th, 2019,” she says, “my husband and I attended a meeting facilitated by Mr. James Dallas to discuss our concerns regarding our son… being denied admission to the Academies of Loudoun.” She paused. “We are convinced that the admission process is disjointed, unfair and represents a clear example of historical institutional racism. Therefore, we expect now more than ever that our straight A-student [son] be unconditionally admitted to the Academies of Loudoun.” The Board was silent for a moment, some members confused. They only set policy and had no power to intervene in an individual gifted admissions question. Also, the admissions process was blind: reviewers had no access to names or racial identities, seeing only test scores, grades, courses taken, etc. To some members, this was an obvious reply to any charge of “historical institutional racism.” To Burke, the blind nature of the testing was the racism. The fact that Loudoun had race-neutral admissions was “true, therefore problematic,” she told me by email. “By removing personal identifiable information,” she added, “it is impossible to assess an applicant’s unique experiences alongside traditional measures of academic achievement such as grades and test scores.” Burke had reached out to several officials about her son. After correspondence didn’t result in changes, she went public with complaints. Asked about this, she replied, “As the Chair of Education for the NAACP, I represent all students of color,” adding that, “These claims were brought to the attention of the School Board and the Superintendent,” whose “inaction led to the NAACP contacting the AGs office.” Loudoun has a gruesome history on race and schools. In 1956, the county infamously voted to defund schools rather than follow the Supreme Court’s historic Brown v. Board of Education desegregation order. Not until 1962 did the first black student attend a “white” school. Segregation was essentially pried from the cold dead fingers of this county’s grandfathers and great-grandfathers, and suspicions in the black community naturally linger. However, the current controversies aren’t a clear continuation of civil rights-era battles. Some aspects may be similar, but the legal context at least is reversed: in place of a decades-long effort on the part of groups like the NAACP to expunge racial considerations from the law, the new thinking is that progress is impossible without them. Whether or not that’s a warranted belief is a separate issue, but it’s how the new debate is framed. Heading into the winter of 2018-2019, a dispute between county officials and the NAACP had been escalating. This disagreement would eventually be memorialized in the aforementioned formal complaint to the Virginia Attorney General’s Office, called NAACP Loudoun Branch vs. Loudoun County Public Schools. Loudoun’s NAACP leadership increasingly felt statistical inequities in areas like gifted admissions or discipline were explained by racism, and policy proposals often mere cover for perpetuation of an inherently discriminatory system. For a long time, they clashed in this with an old guard of county officials trying to cling to do-gooder liberalism’s once-standard position that a variety of addressable factors, including racism but also economics and other issues, were the cause of discrepancies. The latter group’s idea for addressing gifted admissions once involved things like Loudoun’s adoption of EDGE (“Experiences Designed for Growth and Excellence”). The plan was to provide “intensive, engaging support” early in elementary school to talented-but-disadvantaged students to help them compete in the difficult admissions processes ahead. The school system had long been pushing back against more drastic action, like eliminating standardized testing, that might heighten complaints about a lack of rigor in Loudoun’s once-celebrated school system. The county had already eliminated final and midterm requirements in 2015, leading some parents to complain of their kids being left unprepared for college. NAACP officials were more and more uninterested in those concerns, demanding direct intervention to square ugly numbers. In 2017, after data was released showing 88% of Loudoun teachers were white compared with only 48% of students, then-NAACP chapter head Philip Thompson threatened to file a federal civil rights complaint. “We believe we will only see an increase in the number of minority teachers when LCPS puts requirements on the people hiring the teachers,” Thompson said. Rhetorically, this was walking a fine line, since Supreme Court cases like the 1977 Regents of the University of California v. Bakke had deemed explicit racial quotas in public education illegal. According to the Loudoun Times-Mirror, Thompson hastened to add he wasn’t “suggesting the school division adopt racial hiring quotas,” merely applying pressure to meet “targets.” However, putting “requirements on the people hiring” seemed to have a clear meaning. By 2019, the NAACP seemed out of patience, moving toward the Ibram Kendi conception of equity, which holds that “there is no such thing as a nonracist or race-neutral policy.” As Kendi puts it, “racial discrimination is not inherently racist. The defining question is whether the discrimination is creating equity or inequity.” Loudoun in this view fell under the latter category, even if the admissions inequity, for instance, overwhelmingly redounded to the county’s Asian minority. (Ironically, Asians were also massively underrepresented in school hiring in 2017, making up 3% of teachers despite being 20% of the student body, though this fact didn’t make it into the NAACP complaint). When asked about the legality of quotas, which she would later publicly support, Burke’s response was that the legal system itself was part of the problem and therefore not relevant. “As you are aware, the legal system has protected and in some cases perpetuated systemic racism. It was LEGAL to own people,” she said. She added: “LCPS needs to make of amends for the wrong they have done, by helping those who have been wronged, African American students and families. Reperations [sic].” Late in the fall of 2018, a group of fourth-grade teachers at Madison’s Trust elementary school in Brambleton, Virginia got together to plan the curriculum for Black History Month in February 2019. At the time, principal David Stewart was following in the footsteps of Superintendent Eric Williams, described on school websites as a devotee of an educational theorist named Philip Schlechty, by pushing a program called Project-Based Learning. Schlechty scoffed at the idea that a teacher was a mere “facilitator” of “personal development,” seeing the educator as a more muscular figure who helped ensure the “functioning of a democratic society” by “transmitting the collective wisdom of the group” through “authentically engaging activities.” Loudoun’s schools touted “Project Based Learning” as such an “engaging” approach that fused the “3 Rs” (a Relevant, Rigorous, and Responsive curriculum) and the “4 Cs” (utilizing Critical thinking, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity). What did those seven letters mean, at a school like Madison’s Trust? In practice, that classroom instruction might be bolstered by cross-pollinating lessons with a gym class. The 4th grade team that fall was working on a “PBL” on “Notable African Americans.” One of the school’s three PE teachers volunteered that he’d been to a conference years before, where he’d heard about a plan that sounded to him like a potential complement to any lesson about Harriet Tubman. Ian Prior of the Loudoun parent group Fight for Schools later brought details forward in a story for The Federalist, and noted in a longer private report that this teacher had attended the 2011 meeting of the Virginia Association For Health, Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance (VAPHERD) at the Hyatt Regency in Reston. There, a program was presented called “Underground Railroad” In “Underground Railroad,” kids in a PE class are led through an obstacle course simulating the path of slaves to safety along Tubman’s famous road to freedom. Along the way, they stop at various stations, where they might be introduced to a “drinking gourd” to learn that slaves used the Big Dipper constellation to help find the north star, or help each other move through hula hoops, or watch a video about Tubman, etc. Such simulations have been going on for at least thirty years, if not longer. One educator I spoke with who’d used a version of the program, Geoffrey Bishop of “Nature’s Classroom” in Mukwonago, Wisconsin, said he thought he first came across the idea at a conference in New Hampshire 35 years ago. The most famous “UGRR” simulation is the Kambui Education Initiative, a re-enactment founded by Kamau Kambui, a former devotee to a Malcolm X-inspired secessionist group called the Republic of New Afrika. The Initiative takes place in a thousand-acre slice of Minnesota’s Wilder Forest, dates back to the late eighties at least, and is part living museum, part outdoors adventure. Anthony Galloway, a pastor and equity coach who does use the term “critical race theory” in describing what his “Dare 2 Be Real” program teaches, cites experience with the Kambau Initiative as part of his credentials. However, both he and the current head of the Initiative, Chris Crutchfield, vehemently deny that he or Galloway had anything to do with any public school programs. “It’s abhorrent to me that people might think that,” Crutchfield says. “If it’s not done in the right way, it can be problematic.” In the end, the origin story doesn’t really matter. As the New Yorker wrote last year, “UGRR” simulations became a craze beginning in the nineties, long ago reaching into public school classes from coast to coast. Writer Julian Lucas described it as part of a movement to replace the old Schoolhouse Rock heroes with progressive updates: The runaway has emerged as the emblematic figure of a renovated national mythology, hero of a land that increasingly sees its Founding Fathers as settler-colonist génocidaires. In their stead rises a patriotism centered on slavery and abolition, and a campaign to set the country’s age-old freedom cult on a newly progressive footing. No matter who came up with the Madison’s Trust lesson plan, the idea clearly grew out of this same nest of ideas, with the aim of valorizing Harriet Tubman, Henry “Box” Brown, and other Railroad figures. Until there were complaints, there were plenty of progressive educators in Virginia who seemed to think these simulations were a good idea. A story in the Virginia Pilot from 2006 showed teachers boasting of how lifelike they’d made theirs. In that case, a pair of PE teachers in Chesapeake “transformed their gym into an eerie obstacle course” and “allowed the school’s 800 students to experience a little of what the slaves encountered during their nighttime runs.” Parents volunteered to play roles as slave-catchers and “patrolled the gym to the recorded sounds of barking dogs and galloping horses,” and teachers added heavy doses of verisimilitude: Students who made unnecessary noise or skipped obstacles found themselves caught and wearing gray construction paper manacles. There were no second chances. The slaves never got any, the teachers explained. “Some first- and second-graders cried,” the Pilot noted, in a deeply buried lede. A version of this was even officially approved for use in Loudoun County at one point, only to be discontinued years before the 2019 incident. Though the Loudoun County Schools declined to speak on the record for this story, it’s safe to say there’s disagreement about who signed off on what at Madison’s Trust, whose much watered-down version incidentally didn’t involve dogs or manacles. The Physical Education teachers are adamant that principal Stewart, as well as the Dean, Robert Rauch, visited the simulation in its first days — all of this took place between a Monday and a Wednesday on February 4th, 5th, and 6th, of 2019 — and gave it a thumbs-up. Other teachers and even Stewart tweeted about it in approval, claiming the students were “100% engaged.” Those messages have since been deleted. An amazing part of this story is how close it came to never happening. “We would have been fine not going cross-curricular,” one of the three Physical Education teachers told me. “We’d have been just fine doing our normal stuff.” Much later, what happened in the district would be portrayed as a white backlash against teaching the “truth” about America’s past. Buzzfeed for instance would eventually describe the Loudoun controversy as an effort by “right-wing activists” to “ban lessons and conversations around race, racism, and slavery.” A Washington Post article described local citizens as being against “efforts to promote racial justice,” and blamed Donald Trump and his followers for seeing “hateful lies” in “teaching about slavery and racism.” Yet the triggering incident in Loudoun clearly involved an overenthusiastic attempt to teach students about the Underground Railroad. Any progressive’s knee-jerk response to this story would involve aching to go back in time, Terminator-style, to quash thoughts of sticking “conversations about slavery” in a period normally reserved for volleyball and sack races. The issue wasn’t teachers trying to sabotage an antiracist lesson plan, but rather trying too hard to teach one. Even if you saw it as problematic, it was surely the opposite of not wanting to “teach about slavery and racism.” What happened next followed the pattern after simulations in Carrolton, Ohio, in 1997 (“Living-History Lessons Resurrect Old Wounds”), or Atlanta in 2013 (“Parent Says Slavery Experiment at Camp Went Too Far”) or Chicago in 2018 (“Illinois School Made Black Students Pretend to Be Slaves”) or countless other places: things went wrong. The typical complaint involved a black student coming home with a tale about having been asked to role-play a slave in school, followed by said child’s parent going somewhat understandably ballistic (“That’s when the blood vessel kind of broke,” is how one Atlanta parent described hearing his daughter’s story). The parents of one black child complained about the Brambleton simulation, and what followed was a perfect metaphor for so much of what’s wrong with modern American politics. Continue reading over at Matt's substack Tyler Durden Fri, 12/17/2021 - 19:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 17th, 2021

Your dream company, role, and salary are now negotiable — here are 3 steps to make them a reality

Around the world, employees are rethinking what they want at work — and thanks to COVID, they have more leverage. There's no better time to take stock of what's important to you, imagine a new future, and strategize in how to get there.Eclipse Images/Getty Images Thanks to a tight labor market, companies are more flexible in meeting employees' needs.  To take advantage, first look back at the past few years and take stock of your work preferences. Then decide what your ideal future job looks like and find out which company's values match yours. Forty-one percent of the global workforce is likely to consider quitting their job this year, with 46 percent contemplating a "major pivot or career transition," reports Microsoft. Meanwhile, half of American workers are considering a career change, reports CNBC  — while in September, a record-breaking 4.4 million Americans — 3% of the workforce — actually quit their jobs. The so-called "Great Resignation" shows no signs of stopping.What's going on?"We're in a moment in time that has staying power," said Ellen Taaffe, a clinical assistant professor of management and organizations and director of Women's Leadership Program at Kellogg.COVID has had a huge impact on most of our daily lives. The pandemic has emphasized that life is short, and also that, for better or for worse, things once viewed as nonnegotiable or intractable — from in-person work and school to busy social calendars — now appear more up for debate.In short, employees are looking at the options available to them with new eyes. And, because companies have retooled everything from strategy to operations, they're still evolving. Which means even more opportunities for employees. "You can stay and redesign, reinvent both yourself and your company, or you can create what you want somewhere else. COVID has accelerated all of this."Moreover, Taaffe says, thanks to the tight labor market, firms may be more receptive to giving employees what they seek. This makes now a great moment to consider a pivot, whether that is to a new function within your company, or to a new company or industry."I think there's no better time to take stock of what's important to you, to imagine a new future, and to strategize in how to get there," she said.She explains how to get started.Take stockTo figure out your next move forward, you first need to look backwards. Before you delve into your search for a new role, set aside time to consider: What have you learned about yourself in the last two years?Get concrete and specific, Taaffe advises. Make a list of answers for each question. Write them down.For example, if you're still working from home, what have you realized about your preferences? It could be that you're more productive, love not having a commute, or are more collaborative with colleagues across geographies. Or maybe you found out that you prefer face-to-face sales calls because developing new leads is harder on Zoom. Perhaps you miss travel."A lot depends on where you are in your life stage," Taaffe said. "Some people value flexibility where others may crave social interaction."For example, a recent survey reports that more than half of employees would like to work from home for three or more days per week, but that working parents with young children are more likely to prefer fully remote work.You should also take stock of what you have learned about your industry and company. The pandemic drastically changed working conditions in industries such as healthcare and education. And many industries — like hospitality, travel, and retail — are trying to reinvent themselves altogether.Within your company, look at its trajectory. For example, if the pandemic forced a wave of layoffs or a mass exodus, take note. Perhaps new business units are expanding headcount and can't hire fast enough. How might you fit in?"Consider the impact COVID has had on your company's business model and which changes are temporary or likely to continue into the future. Assess how that may or may not affect future performance, your function, company leadership and resources, and the longer-term outlook for both growth and a satisfying work environment," said Taaffe. "Do your responses to these questions tell you that it may be time to pivot?"Imagine the futureAs companies figure out how to adapt and retain talent, now is a good time to brainstorm what is important to you. So be bold and imagine your ideal future job. Get actionable."What do you want to do, drop, delegate, decline, or dare to do?" Taaffe asked.Employees who have worked in a company for a while and are a known entity with social capital are especially well-positioned to negotiate new or expanded roles within their organizations."Companies are losing talented individuals, and they're worried about it," Taaffe said . "So if you take stock in the company and think, "We have a chance to grow, I'm still developing here, and I can make a difference," you should consider staying."But of course, just because you want something doesn't mean you'll get it. Whether your current company won't make the necessary changes or whether they simply can't, it may be time to look elsewhere. "You owe it to yourself to look and to understand your options," said Taaffe.And don't rule out opportunities or working arrangements that were a no-go in prior years."The power dynamic has changed. Employees have more leverage now," Taaffe said. "Companies are changing so much that they might be more open to something they rejected before."As you explore opportunities, you will need to translate your wants and needs in ways that are beneficial to the company that is considering you. As companies' value propositions for employees evolve, you should position your priorities as part of their solution, she says."Be prepared to explain, 'Here's what I'm really good at, this is what I want to do that can add value, and here's how we can shape it,'" she said. "For example, if you are interviewing to lead a major initiative, now is the time to negotiate for how you want to lead it. This could mean focusing on your strengths: your strategy, your ability to achieve cross-functional alignment, and your skill at communicating to senior management. Then let them know that leading the initiative well requires a strong project manager. Then ask for what you need to succeed."Find where you want to beFinally, it's time to investigate if a company's values match yours.Taaffe notes that even prior to the pandemic, the Me Too and BLM movements cast a spotlight on the dissonance between what companies say they value and their actions. The pandemic has only increased the pressure on companies to walk the talk on key issues like racial and gender equality or climate change. Employees, especially underrepresented minorities, Generation Z, and Millennials, are fed up with companies whose ethics do not carry through to daily operations.So interested employees should seize this moment to find a role or organization that is consistent with the impact they want to have on the world. "Ask yourself whether the values you have match the values of this company," Taaffe said. "How do they show up in behaviors and not simply signs in the lobby?"While you are zeroing in on the type of work you want to be doing — and the right company to do it — don't forget to prioritize your own well-being. In the wake of the pandemic, employee mental-health issues are escalating. With lots of employees feeling anxious, isolated, or burnt out — or grieving lost loved ones — it is important to consider whether employee mental health and well-being is a priority at these companies. What do they offer for support?And while it is good to inquire about the benefits package, it helps to realize that a company's stance on mental health extends beyond benefits. "Find out whether the company recognizes what people have been through," Taaffe recommended.Just as many companies put policies in place for physical safety — from COVID protocols to fire drills — employees also want psychological safety, Taaffe says. Leaders can best create this by being authentic, humble, and inclusive themselves and expecting this as the norm across their company. This allows employees to feel safe, take risks, and think in more innovative ways."A silver lining of the pandemic is that we got a bigger window into our colleagues," Taaffe said, "whether that was seeing their make-shift office at the kitchen table, their kids or pets, or the anxiety and uncertainty we all feel about the future. We learned that it's okay to not be okay."Part of taking stock is asking whether this cultural shift holds true in a company.Taaffe recommends that, as you meet people through the interview process, ask the same questions to each person about the culture, the leadership, and their outlook on work-from-home, hybrid, or in-office expectations. Then consider the refrains you may hear in those responses — especially those that reveal more than a robotic company message."Listen for vulnerability and transparency as they talk about the challenges the company has been through over the last two years," she said. "No company had all of the answers, especially in the pandemic. If they respond like they do, you know you aren't talking to a learning organization where it is safe to say, 'I don't know.'"She suggests asking about how the company handled failures or mistakes. Does the organization debrief on what worked and what insights it can apply next time? What happens to those who were involved with a failed initiative or product launch?"You can tell that psychological safety is strong when employees can bring their whole selves to work," Taaffe said. "If the company combines diversity of styles and approaches with consistency of their values and work ethic, you may have found the right place for you to thrive."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 16th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease S&P futures and European stocks rebounded from Friday’s selloff while Asian shares fell, as investors took comfort in reports from South Africa which said initial data doesn’t show a surge of hospitalizations as a result of the omicron variant, a view repeated by Anthony Fauci on Sunday. Meanwhile, fears about a tighter Fed were put on the backburner. Also overnight, China’s central bank announced it will cut the RRR by 50bps releasing 1.2tn CNY in liquidity, a move that had been widely expected. The cut comes as insolvent Chinese property developer Evergrande was said to be planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring plan. US equity futures rose 0.3%, fading earlier gains, and were last trading at 4,550. Nasdaq futures pared losses early in the U.S. morning, trading down 0.4%. Oil rose after Saudi Arabia boosted the prices of its crude, signaling confidence in the demand outlook, which helped lift European energy shares. The 10-year Treasury yield advanced to 1.40%, while the dollar was little changed and the yen weakened. “A wind of relief may blow the current risk-off trading stance away this week,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at U.K. brokerage ActivTrades. “Concerns related to the omicron variant may ease after South African experts didn’t register any surge in deaths or hospitalization.” As Bloromberg notes, the mood across markets was calmer on Monday after last week’s big swings in technology companies and a crash in Bitcoin over the weekend. Investors pointed to good news from South Africa that showed hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by the latest wave of Covid cases. Initial data from South Africa are “a bit encouraging regarding the severity,” Anthony Fauci, U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday. At the same time, he cautioned that it’s too early to be definitive. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Alibaba’s (BABA US) U.S.-listed shares rise 1.9% in premarket after a 8.2% drop Friday prompted by the delisting plans of Didi Global. Alibaba said earlier it is replacing its CFO and reshuffling the heads of its commerce businesses Rivian (RIVN US) has the capabilities to compete with Tesla and take a considerable share of the electric vehicle market, Wall Street analysts said as they started coverage with overwhelmingly positive ratings. Shares rose 2.2% initially in U.S. premarket trading, but later wiped out gains to drop 0.9% Stocks tied to former President Donald Trump jump in U.S. premarket trading after his media company agreed to a $1 billion investment from a SPAC Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks tumble amid volatile trading in Bitcoin, another indication of the risk aversion sweeping across financial markets Laureate Education (LAUR US) approved the payment of a special cash distribution of $0.58 per share. Shares rose 2.8% in postmarket Friday AbCellera Biologics (ABCL US) gained 6.2% postmarket Friday after the company confirmed that its Lilly-partnered monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, together with etesevimab, received an expanded emergency use authorization from the FDA as the first antibody therapy in Covid-19 patients under 12 European equities drifted lower after a firm open. Euro Stoxx 50 faded initial gains of as much as 0.9% to trade up 0.3%. Other cash indexes follow suit, but nonetheless remain in the green. FTSE MIB sees the largest drop from session highs. Oil & gas is the strongest sector, underpinned after Saudi Arabia raised the prices of its crude. Tech, autos and financial services lag. Companies that benefited from increased demand during pandemic-related lockdowns are underperforming in Europe on Monday as investors assess whether the omicron Covid variant will force governments into further social restrictions. Firms in focus include meal-kit firm HelloFresh (-2.3%) and online food delivery platforms Delivery Hero (-5.4%), Just Eat Takeaway (-5.6%) and Deliveroo (-8.5%). Remote access software firm TeamViewer (-3.7%) and Swedish mobile messaging company Sinch (-3.0%), gaming firm Evolution (-4.2%). Online pharmacies Zur Rose (-5.1%), Shop Apotheke (-3.5%). Online grocer Ocado (-2.2%), online apparel retailer Zalando (-1.5%). In Asia, the losses were more severe as investors remained wary over the outlook for U.S. monetary policy and the spread of the omicron variant.  The Hang Seng Tech Index closed at the lowest level since its inception. SoftBank Group Corp. fell as much as 9% in Tokyo trading as the value of its portfolio came under more pressure. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.9%, hovering above its lowest finish in about a year. Consumer discretionary firms and software technology names contributed the most to the decline, while the financial sector outperformed.  Hong Kong’s equity benchmark was among the region’s worst performers amid the selloff in tech shares. The market also slumped after the omicron variant spread among two fully vaccinated travelers across the hallway of a quarantine hotel in the city, unnerving health authorities. “People are waiting for new information on the omicron variant,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Tokyo. “We’re at a point where it’s difficult to buy stocks.” Separately, China’s central bank announced after the country’s stock markets closed that it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost to economic growth.  Futures on the Nasdaq 100 gained further in Asia late trading. The underlying gauge slumped 1.7% on Friday, after data showed U.S. job growth had its smallest gain this year and the unemployment rate fell more than forecast. Investors seem to be focusing more on the improved jobless rate, as it could back the case for an acceleration in tapering, Ichikawa said.  Asian equities have been trending lower since mid-November amid a selloff in Chinese technology giants, concern over U.S. monetary policy and the spread of omicron. The risk-off sentiment pushed shares to a one-year low last week.  Overnight, the PBoC cut the RRR by 50bps (as expected) effective 15th Dec; will release CNY 1.2tln in liquidity; RRR cut to guide banks for SMEs and will use part of funds from RRR cut to repay MLF. Will not resort to flood-like stimulus; will reduce capital costs for financial institutions by around CNY 15bln per annum. The news follows earlier reports via China Securities Daily which noted that China could reduce RRR as soon as this month, citing a brokerage firm. However, a separate Chinese press report noted that recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean that there will be a policy change and an Economics Daily commentary piece suggested that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic and could lead to misunderstandings after speculation was stoked for a RRR cut from last week's comments by Premier Li. Elsewhere, Indian stocks plunged in line with peers across Asia as investors remained uncertain about the emerging risks from the omicron variant in a busy week of monetary policy meetings.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 1.7% to 56,747.14, in Mumbai, dropping to its lowest level in over three months, with all 30 shares ending lower. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also declined by a similar magnitude. Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both indexes and declined 2.3%.  All 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a measure of software exporters.  “If not for the new omicron variant, economic recovery was on a very strong footing,” Mohit Nigam, head of portfolio management services at Hem Securities Ltd. said in a note. “But if this virus quickly spreads in India, then we might experience some volatility for the coming few weeks unless development is seen on the vaccine side.” Major countries worldwide have detected omicron cases, even as the severity of the variant still remains unclear. Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to announce its rate decision on Tuesday, while the Indian central bank will release it on Dec. 8. the hawkish comments by U.S. Fed chair Jerome Powell on tackling rising inflation also weighed on the market Japanese equities declined, following U.S. peers lower, as investors considered prospects for inflation, the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt and the omicron virus strain. Telecommunications and services providers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and Daiichi Sankyo were the largest contributors to a 0.4% loss in the Nikkei 225. The Mothers index slid 3.8% amid the broader decline in growth stocks. A sharp selloff in large technology names dragged U.S. stocks lower Friday. U.S. job growth registered its smallest gain this year in November while the unemployment rate fell by more than forecast to 4.2%. There were some good aspects in the U.S. jobs data, said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. “We’re in this contradictory situation where there’s concern over an early rate hike given the economic recovery, while at the same time there’s worry over how the omicron variant may slow the current recovery.” Australian stocks ended flat as staples jumped. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed little changed at 7,245.10, swinging between gains and losses during the session as consumer staples rose and tech stocks fell. Metcash was the top performer after saying its 1H underlying profit grew 13% y/y. Nearmap was among the worst performers after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the stock will be removed from the benchmark as a result of its quarterly review. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,597.81. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gave up a modest advance as the European session got underway; the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies among the leaders and havens among the laggards. JPY and CHF are the weakest in G-10, SEK outperforms after hawkish comments in the Riksbank’s minutes. USD/CNH drifts back to flat after a fairly well telegraphed RRR cut materialized early in the London session.  The euro fell to a day low of $1.1275 before paring. The pound strengthened against the euro and dollar, following stocks higher. Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent due to speak. Market participants will be watching for his take on the impact of the omicron variant following the cautious tone of Michael Saunders’ speech on Friday. Treasury yields gapped higher at the start of the day and futures remain near lows into early U.S. session, leaving yields cheaper by 4bp to 5bp across the curve. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.395%, cheaper by 5bp vs. Friday’s close while the 2s10s curve steepens almost 2bps with front-end slightly outperforming; bunds trade 4bp richer vs. Treasuries in 10-year sector. November's mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. Italian bonds outperformed euro-area peers after Fitch upgraded the sovereign by one notch to BBB, maintaining a stable outlook. In commodities, crude futures drift around best levels during London hours. WTI rises over 1.5%, trading either side of $68; Brent stalls near $72. Spot gold trends lower in quiet trade, near $1,780/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME copper outperforms, holding in the green with lead; nickel and aluminum drop more than 1%. There is nothing on today's economic calendar. Focus this week includes U.S. auctions and CPI data, while Fed speakers enter blackout ahead of next week’s FOMC. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,567.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 466.39 MXAP down 0.9% to 189.95 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 617.01 Nikkei down 0.4% to 27,927.37 Topix down 0.5% to 1,947.54 Hang Seng Index down 1.8% to 23,349.38 Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,589.31 Sensex down 1.5% to 56,835.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,245.07 Kospi up 0.2% to 2,973.25 Brent Futures up 2.9% to $71.89/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,780.09 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 96.26 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1290 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Speculators were caught offside in both bonds and stocks last week, increasing their bets against U.S. Treasuries and buying more equity exposure right before a bout of volatility caused the exact opposite moves Inflation pressure in Europe is still likely to be temporary, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe said Monday, even if it is taking longer than expected for it to slow China Evergrande Group’s stock tumbled close to a record low amid signs a long-awaited debt restructuring may be at hand, while Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. faces a potential default this week in major tests of China’s ability to limit fallout from the embattled property sector China Evergrande Group is planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring that may rank among the nation’s biggest ever, people familiar with the matter said China tech shares tumbled on Monday, with a key gauge closing at its lowest level since launch last year as concerns mount over how much more pain Beijing is willing to inflict on the sector The U.S. is poised to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, CNN reported, a move that would create a new point of contention between the world’s two largest economies SNB Vice President Fritz Zurbruegg to retire at the end of July 2022, according to statement Bitcoin has markedly underperformed rivals like Ether with its weekend drop, which may underscore its increased connection with macro developments Austrians who reject mandatory coronavirus vaccinations face 600-euro ($677) fines, according to a draft law seen by the Kurier newspaper Some Riksbank board members expressed different nuances regarding the asset holdings and considered that it might become appropriate for the purchases to be tapered further next year,  the Swedish central bank says in minutes from its Nov. 24 meeting A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities began the week cautiously following last Friday's negative performance stateside whereby the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq closed lower by around 2% apiece, whilst the S&P 500 and Dow Jones saw shallower losses. The Asia-Pac region was also kept tentative amid China developer default concerns and conflicting views regarding speculation of a looming RRR cut by China's PBoC. The ASX 200 (+0.1%) was initially dragged lower by a resumption of the underperformance in the tech sector, and with several stocks pressured by the announcement of their removal from the local benchmark, although losses for the index were later reversed amid optimism after Queensland brought forward the easing of state border restrictions, alongside the resilience in the defensive sectors. The Nikkei 225 (-0.4%) suffered from the currency inflows late last week but finished off worse levels. The Hang Seng (-1.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.5%) were mixed with Hong Kong weighed by heavy tech selling and as default concerns added to the headwinds after Sunshine 100 Holdings defaulted on a USD 170mln bond payment, whilst Evergrande shares slumped in early trade after it received a demand for payments but noted there was no guarantee it will have the sufficient funds and with the grace period for two offshore bond payments set to expire today. Conversely, mainland China was kept afloat by hopes of a looming RRR cut after comments from Chinese Premier Li that China will cut RRR in a timely manner and a brokerage suggested this could occur before year-end. However, other reports noted the recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean a policy change and that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic which could lead to misunderstandings. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady after having marginally extended above 152.00 and with prices helped by the lacklustre mood in Japanese stocks, while price action was tame amid the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today and attention was also on the Chinese 10yr yield which declined by more than 5bps amid speculation of a potentially looming RRR cut. Top Asian News SoftBank Slumps 9% Monday After Week of Bad Portfolio News Alibaba Shares Rise Premarket After Rout, Leadership Changes China PBOC Repeats Prudent Policy Stance With RRR Cut China Cuts Reserve Requirement Ratio as Economy Slows Bourses in Europe kicked off the new trading week higher across the board but have since drifted lower (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a somewhat mixed lead from APAC. Sentiment across markets saw a fleeting boost after the Asia close as China’s central bank opted to cut the RRR by 50bps, as touted overnight and in turn releasing some CNY 1.2tln in liquidity. This saw US equity futures ticking to marginal fresh session highs, whilst the breakdown sees the RTY (+0.6%) outpacing vs the ES (Unch), YM (+0.3%) and NQ (-0.6%), with the US benchmarks eyeing this week’s US CPI as Fed speakers observe the blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC policy decision – where policymakers are expected to discuss a quickening of the pace of QE taper. From a technical standpoint, the ESz1 and NQz1 see their 50 DMAs around 4,540 and 16,626 respectively. Back to trade, Euro-indices are off best levels with a broad-based performance. UK’s FTSE 100 (+0.8%) received a boost from base metals gaining impetus on the PBoC RRR cut, with the UK index now the outperformer, whilst gains in Oil & Gas and Banks provide further tailwinds. Sectors initially started with a clear cyclical bias but have since seen a reconfiguration whereby the defensives have made their way up the ranks. The aforementioned Oil & Gas, Banks and Basic Resources are currently the winners amid upward action in crude, yields and base metals respectively. Food & Beverages and Telecoms kicked off the session at the bottom of the bunch but now reside closer to the middle of the table. The downside meanwhile sees Travel & Tech – two sectors which were at the top of the leaderboard at the cash open – with the latter seeing more noise surrounding valuations and the former initially unreactive to UK tightening measures for those travelling into the UK. In terms of individual movers, AstraZeneca (+0.7%) is reportedly studying the listing of its new vaccine division. BT (+1.2%) holds onto gains as Discovery is reportedly in discussions regarding a partnership with BT Sport and is offering to create a JV, according to sources. Taylor Wimpey (Unch) gave up opening gains seen in wake of speculation regarding Elliott Management purchasing a small stake. Top European News Johnson Says U.K. Awaiting Advice on Omicron Risks Before Review Scholz Names Harvard Medical Expert to Oversee Pandemic Policy EU Inflation Still Seen as Temporary, Eurogroup’s Donohoe Says Saudi Crown Prince Starts Gulf Tour as Rivalries Melt Away In FX, the Buck has settled down somewhat after Friday’s relatively frenetic session when price action and market moves were hectic on the back of a rather mixed BLS report and stream of Omicron headlines, with the index holding a tight line above 96.000 ahead of a blank US agenda. The Greenback is gleaning some traction from the firmer tone in yields, especially at the front end of the curve, while also outperforming safer havens and funding currencies amidst a broad upturn in risk sentiment due to perceivably less worrying pandemic assessments of late and underpinned by the PBoC cutting 50 bp off its RRR, as widely touted and flagged by Chinese Premier Li, with effect from December 15 - see 9.00GMT post on the Headline Feed for details, analysis and the initial reaction. Back to the Dollar and index, high betas and cyclicals within the basket are doing better as the latter meanders between 96.137-379 and well inside its wide 95.944-96.451 pre-weekend extremes. AUD/GBP/CAD/NZD - A technical correction and better news on the home front regarding COVID-19 after Queensland announced an earlier date to ease border restrictions, combined to give the Aussie a lift, but Aud/Usd is tightening its grip on the 0.7000 handle with the aid of the PBoC’s timely and targeted easing in the run up to the RBA policy meeting tomorrow. Similarly, the Pound appears to have gleaned encouragement from retaining 1.3200+ status and fending off offers into 0.8550 vs the Euro rather than deriving impetus via a rise in the UK construction PMI, while the Loonie is retesting resistance around 1.2800 against the backdrop of recovering crude prices and eyeing the BoC on Wednesday to see if guidance turns more hawkish following a stellar Canadian LFS. Back down under, the Kiwi is straddling 0.6750 and 1.0400 against its Antipodean peer in wake of a pick up in ANZ’s commodity price index. CHF/JPY/EUR - Still no sign of SNB action, but the Franc has fallen anyway back below 0.9200 vs the Buck and under 1.0400 against the Euro, while the Yen is under 113.00 again and approaching 128.00 respectively, as the single currency continues to show resilience either side of 1.1300 vs its US counterpart and a Fib retracement level at 1.1290 irrespective of more poor data from Germany and a deterioration in the Eurozone Sentix index, but increases in the construction PMIs. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned revival in risk appetite, albeit fading, rather than Riksbank minutes highlighting diverse opinion, is boosting the Sek, and the Nok is also drawing some comfort from Brent arresting its decline ahead of Usd 70/brl, but the Cnh and Cny have been capped just over 6.3700 by the PBoC’s RRR reduction and ongoing default risk in China’s property sector. Elsewhere, the Try remains under pressure irrespective of Turkey’s Foreign Minister noting that domestic exports are rising and the economy is growing significantly, via Al Jazeera or claiming that the Lira is exposed to high inflation to a degree, but this is a temporary problem, while the Rub is treading cautiously before Russian President Putin and US President Biden make a video call on Tuesday at 15.00GMT. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are firmer on the day with the complex underpinned by Saudi Aramco upping its official selling prices (OSPs) to Asian and US customers, coupled with the lack of progress on the Iranian nuclear front. To elaborate on the former; Saudi Arabia set January Arab light crude oil OSP to Asia at Oman/Dubai average +USD 3.30/bbl which is an increase from this month’s premium of USD 2.70/bbl, while it set light crude OSP to North-West Europe at ICE Brent USD -1.30/bbl vs. this month’s discount of USD 0.30/bbl and set light crude OSP to the US at ASCI +USD 2.15/bbl vs this month’s premium of USD 1.75/bbl. Iranian nuclear talks meanwhile are reportedly set to resume over the coming weekend following deliberations, although the likelihood of a swift deal at this point in time seems minuscule. A modest and fleeting boost was offered to the complex by the PBoC cutting RRR in a bid to spur the economy. WTI Jan resides on either side of USD 68/bbl (vs low USD 66.72/bbl) whilst Brent Feb trades around USD 71.50/bbl (vs low 70.24/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways with the cluster of DMAs capping gains – the 50, 200 and 100 DMAs for spot reside at USD 1,792/oz, USD 1,791.50/oz and USD 1,790/oz respectively. Base metals also saw a mild boost from the PBoC announcement – LME copper tested USD 9,500/t to the upside before waning off best levels. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’re really at a fascinating crossroads in markets at the moment. The market sentiment on the virus and the policymakers at the Fed are moving in opposite directions. The greatest impact of this last week was a dramatic 21.1bps flattening of the US 2s10s curve, split almost evenly between 2yr yields rising and 10yrs yields falling. As it stands, the Fed are increasingly likely to accelerate their taper next week with a market that is worried that it’s a policy error. I don’t think it is as I think the Fed is way behind the curve. However I appreciate that until we have more certainly on Omicron then it’s going to be tough to disprove the policy error thesis. The data so far on Omicron can be fitted to either a pessimistic or optimistic view. On the former, it seems to be capable of spreading fast and reinfecting numerous people who have already had covid. Younger people are also seeing a higher proportion of admissions which could be worrying around the world given lower vaccinations levels in this cohort. On the other hand, there is some evidence in South Africa that ICU usage is lower relative to previous waves at the same stage and that those in hospital are largely unvaccinated and again with some evidence that they are requiring less oxygen than in previous waves. It really does feel like Omicron could still go both ways. It seems that it could be both more transmittable but also less severe. How that impacts the world depends on the degree of both. It could be bad news but it could also actually accelerate the end of the pandemic which would be very good news. Lots of people more qualified than me to opine on this aren’t sure yet so we will have to wait for more news and data. I lean on the optimistic side here but that’s an armchair epidemiologist’s view. Anthony Fauci (chief medical advisor to Mr Biden) said to CNN last night that, “We really gotta be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or really doesn’t clause any severe illness comparable to Delta, but this far the signals are a bit encouraging….. It does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.” Anyway, the new variant has taken a hold of the back end of the curve these past 10 days. Meanwhile the front end is taking its guidance from inflation and the Fed. On cue, could this Friday see the first 7% US CPI print since 1982? With DB’s forecasts at 6.9% for the headline (+5.1% for core) we could get close to breaking such a landmark level. With the Fed on their media blackout period now, this is and Omicron are the last hurdles to cross before the FOMC conclusion on the 15th December where DB expect them to accelerate the taper and head for a March end. While higher energy prices are going to be a big issue this month, the recent falls in the price of oil may provide some hope on the inflation side for later in 2022. However primary rents and owners’ equivalent rents (OER), which is 40% of core CPI, is starting to turn and our models have long suggested a move above 4.5% in H1 2022. In fact if we shift-F9 the model for the most recent points we’re looking like heading towards a contribution of 5.5% now given the signals from the lead indicators. So even as YoY energy prices ease and maybe covid supply issues slowly fade, we still think inflation will stay elevated for some time. As such it was a long overdue move to retire the word transitory last week from the Fed’s lexicon. Another of our favourite measures to show that the Fed is way behind the curve at the moment is the quits rate that will be contained within Wednesday’s October JOLTS report. We think the labour market is very strong in the US at the moment with the monthly employment report lagging that strength. Having said that the latest report on Friday was reasonably strong behind the headline payroll disappointment. We’ll review that later. The rest of the week ahead is published in the day by day calendar at the end but the other key events are the RBA (Tuesday) and BoC (Wednesday) after the big market disruptions post their previous meetings, Chinese CPI and PPI (Thursday), final German CPI (Friday) and the US UoM consumer confidence (Friday). Also look out for Congressional newsflow on how the year-end debt ceiling issue will get resolved and also on any progress in the Senate on the “build back better” bill which they want to get through before year-end. Mr Manchin remains the main powerbroker. In terms of Asia as we start the week, stocks are trading mixed with the CSI (+0.62%), Shanghai Composite (+0.37%) and KOSPI (+0.11%) trading higher while the Nikkei (-0.50%) and Hang Seng (-0.91%) are lower. Chinese stock indices are climbing after optimism over a RRR rate cut after Premier Li Kequiang's comments last week that it could be cut in a timely manner to support the economy. In Japan SoftBank shares fell -9% and for a sixth straight day amid the Didi delisting and after the US FTC moved to block a key sale of a company in its portfolio. Elsewhere futures are pointing a positive opening in US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.46%) and DAX (+1.00%) futures both trading well in the green. 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.+4.2bps with 2yrs +2.6bps. Oil is also up c.2.2% Over the weekend Bitcoin fell around 20% from Friday night into Saturday. It’s rallied back a reasonable amount since (from $42,296 at the lows) and now stands at $48,981, all after being nearly $68,000 a month ago. Turning back to last week now, and the virus and hawkish Fed communications were the major themes. Despite so many unknowns (or perhaps because of it) markets were very responsive to each incremental Omicron headline last week, which drove equity volatility to around the highest levels of the year. The VIX closed the week at 30.7, shy of the year-to-date high of 37.21 reached in January and closed above 25 for 5 of the last 6 days. The S&P 500 declined -1.22% over the week (-0.84% Friday). The Stoxx 600 fell a more modest -0.28% last week, -0.57% on Friday. To be honest both felt like they fell more but we had some powerful rallies in between. The Nasdaq had a poorer week though, falling -c.2.6%, after a -1.9% decline on Friday. The other main theme was the pivot in Fed communications toward tighter policy. Testifying to Congress, Fed Chair Powell made a forceful case for accelerating the central bank’s asset purchase taper program, citing persistent elevated inflation and an improving labour market, amid otherwise strong demand in the economy, clearing the way for rate hikes thereafter. Investors priced in higher probability of earlier rate hikes, but still have the first full Fed hike in July 2022. 2yr treasury yields were sharply higher (+9.1bps on week, -2.3bps Friday) while 10yr yields declined (-12.0bps on week, -9.1bps Friday) on the prospect of a hard landing incurred from quick Fed tightening as well as the gloomy Covid outlook. The yield curve flattened -21.1bps (-6.8bps Friday) to 75.6bps, the flattest it has been since December 2020, or three stimulus bills ago if you like (four if you think build back better is priced in). German and UK debt replicated the flattening, with 2yr yields increasing +1.3bps (-0.7bps Friday) in Germany, and +0.3bps (-6.7bps) in UK this week, with respective 10yr yields declining -5.3bps (-1.9bps Friday) and -7.8bps (-6.4bps Friday). On the bright side, Congress passed a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through February, buying lawmakers time to agree to appropriations for the full fiscal year, avoiding a disruptive shutdown. Positive momentum out of DC prompted investors to increase the odds the debt ceiling will be resolved without issue, as well, with yields on Treasury bills maturing in December declining a few basis points following the news. US data Friday was strong. Despite the headline payroll increase missing the mark (+210k v expectations of +550k), the underlying data painted a healthy labour market picture, with the unemployment rate decreasing to 4.2%, and participation increasing to 61.8%. Meanwhile, the ISM services index set another record high. Oil prices initially fell after OPEC unexpectedly announced they would proceed with planned production increases at their January meeting. They rose agin though before succumbing to the Omicron risk off. Futures prices ended the week down again, with Brent futures -3.67% lower (+0.55% Friday) and WTI futures -2.57% on the week (-0.15% Friday). Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 07:51.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 6th, 2021