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Elon Musk suggests cutting Twitter offer by proportion of bots and calls its lack of explanation "very suspicious"

Musk agreed that if 25% of daily active users are fake accounts, the takeover should cost 25% less, equivalent to $11 billion. Elon Musk has put his $44 billion deal to buy Twitter on hold pending confirmation on the number of bots using the platform.AP Musk suggested cutting $44 billion offer for Twitter based on the number of bots on the platform. He says the share of fake accounts is about 25% of users, rather than Twitter's 5% estimate. Musk called Twitter's lack of explanation over the bot figure "very suspicious."  Elon Musk has added to uncertainty over his $44 billion offer for Twitter by saying the price should be cut by the proportion of fake accounts on the platform and calling Twitter's lack of explanation over its estimates "very suspicious."Musk agreed Saturday with conservative commentator Ian Miles Cheong who tweeted: "If 25% of the users are bots then the Twitter acquisition deal should cost 25% less.""Absolutely," Musk replied. Musk put his deal to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share "on hold" until the platform could prove that only 5% of users are bots.Speaking on the "All-In" podcast Monday, he said the figure was likely to be "four or five times" higher.A 25% reduction would reduce the value of the offer to $33 billion. That sum is far closer to Twitter's market value of just under $30 billion. Shares closed on Friday in New York at $38.29. Musk earlier questioned Twitter's lack of explanation over the 5% estimate, saying it had no incentive to tackle fake accounts. "I'm worried that Twitter has a disincentive to reduce spam, as it reduces perceived daily users," Musk said. Replying to a user who asked if Twitter had been in contact, Musk replied: "No, they still refuse to explain how they calculate that 5% of daily users are fake/spam! Very suspicious."It marks the latest escalation in rhetoric in a turbulent acquisition process, and prompted Musk to remind investors of his priorities toward his other companies Tesla and SpaceX.Musk had previously suggested taking a sample of 100 users to determine the number of bots on the platform, allegedly breaking a NDA with Twitter. He replied to Twitter CEO Parag Agrawal's explanation as to why this wasn't possible with a poop emoji. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 22nd, 2022

How the world"s only stealth fighter jets really stack up

Fifth-generation of fighters combine low-observable designs with advanced data-fusing avionics to offer incredible new capabilities. USAF Over the past 25 years, only four fifth-generation jets have entered service around the world. Two of them, the F-35 and the F-22, were developed by the US, while China built the J-20 and Russia designed the Su-57. Here's how the jets within that very exclusive club stack up. In September 1997, an unusual-looking aircraft — the world's first truly stealth fighter — left the runway at Lockheed Martin's Marietta, Georgia facility.Its wide, angular body looked like it had been ripped right out of the pages of a science-fiction story. It blurred the lines between the unusual stealth aircraft the US was using for attack and bombing missions and the high-performance fighters America relied on for control of the skies.Before this new aircraft, the F-15 Eagle had previously ruled the roost of America's air-superiority mission. Its astonishing air combat record of 104 wins and zero losses had been enough to make any nation think twice about picking a dogfight with Uncle Sam.But the F-15's famously massive radar signature (said to cover some 25 square meters on a radar screen) had placed its dominance into question.However, after decades of focus on flying higher and faster to defeat enemy air defenses, it was time for a change.Introducing the world to 5th-generation (stealth) fightersAn F-22 Aircraft.Scott Knuteson/USAFThis new jet, dubbed the F-22 Raptor, was such a departure from anything that came before it that it defied classification, serving as the basis for an entirely new generation of fighters to come.Today, some 25 years later, only three other jets anywhere in the world have offered capabilities considered close enough to the Raptor to earn a seat at its generational table.These jets, collectively known as the 5th-generation of fighters, combine low-observable designs with advanced data-fusing avionics to offer incredible new capabilities. Included on the list are the Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, the Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon, and the Sukhoi Su-57 Felon.In order to qualify for this elite fraternity of fighters, a jet must meet these (generally accepted) criteria:StealthA high degree of maneuverabilityAdvanced avionics systemsMulti-role capabilitiesNetwork or data fusion capabilitiesHow to rank the world's stealth fightersUS Air ForceWhen comparing stealth fighters, most people tend to focus on the "tale of the tape" just like we would when comparing boxers or cage fighters: hard numbers like top speeds, service ceilings, and thrust-to-weight ratios.These numbers are reported by national governments, military branches, and aircraft manufacturers. While all three of those groups may have reason to overstate or even understate capabilities, these figures are generally accepted as accurate by the world at large, which makes them a logical basis for comparison.But while the following analysis will lean heavily on hard, quantifiable figures as they're reported, it will also delve into the more qualitative things like how technology and tactics coalesce to create capabilities — and because that sort of discussion is, by its very nature, hypothetical — and by extension — somewhat subjective, your list may look a little different from mine.Because the old football adage "on any given Sunday, any team can beat any other team" holds true in a fight just like it does on the gridiron, the real king of the skies can only be crowned in combat.Here's hoping we never actually see that happen, but based on publicly available information, here's how these fighters would likely perform, ranked from worst to first.#4 Russia's Sukhoi Su-57 FelonSukhoi Su-57 jet multirole fighter aircraft in flight.Sergei BobylevbackslashTASS via Getty ImagesThe worst of the world's stealth fightersRussia has a long and storied history of exaggerating or overtly overstating its military capabilities for the sake of media attention: Its ventures into the realm of stealth fighters serve as a textbook example of this approach.The Su-57 began development (then known as the PAK FA) as a joint venture between Russia and India until India backed out because the decades-in-the-making fighter failed to live up to expectations.Since then, things haven't gotten much better for Russia's stealth fighter. The entirety of Russia's Su-57 fleet currently consists of just 12 hand-made prototypes of varying degrees of finish and only two serial production jets. That count would have been three now, but the first Su-57 to roll off of Sukhoi's production line promptly crashed shortly after takeoff.Radar cross-sections (RCS) are subject to a great deal of debate online and should always be taken with a grain of salt, but expert assessments of the Su-57 suggest that it boasts an RCS of about .5 square meters — which is about the same as a 4th-generation F/A-18 Super Hornet when flying without ordnance and 5,000 times bigger than the F-22 Raptor.Stealthy woes aren't the Su-57's only problem — delays in Russia's 5th-generation engine program have left its Felon fleet operating the same AL-41F1 engines found in Russia's non-stealth but highly capable 4th-generation Su-35S.A Rand Corporation analysis of the aircraft's advanced 360-degree sensor suite posits that the system itself remains incomplete as well, likely hindered by international sanctions placed on Russia following its 2014 invasion of Ukraine. These issues are sure to be exacerbated by deeper-cutting sanctions against Russia after its recent large-scale invasion of Ukraine.However, despite the Su-57's problems, it should be remembered that Russian air-warfare doctrine does not lean as heavily on stealth as America's, and the Su-57 remains extremely difficult to detect when approaching from head-on (as one might during a fighter intercept).Combine that with 360-degree thrust-vector control allowing for fantastic maneuverability once targeted and a thrust-to-weight ratio about comparable to the Super Hornet and it becomes clear that the Su-57 would be no slouch in a scrap with practically any 4th-generation fighter.Although Su-57s have been deployed to Syria, no Felons have reportedly seen any combat to date.#3 China's Chengdu J-20 Mighty DragonA J-20 stealth fighter at an air show in Zhuhai, China, November 1, 2016.REUTERS/StringerA designer imposter fighter with real chopsChina's Chengdu J-20 Mighty Dragon is the nation's first operational stealth aircraft, but evidence suggests China wasn't really starting from scratch when they designed it.Between 2008 and 2014, a Chinese-Canadian businessman named Su Bin managed to gain access to classified materials regarding America's F-22 and F-35 programs (among others) which he provided directly to the Chinese government. As a result, many have pointed out that the J-20 was likely designed with blueprints for America's F-22 Raptor also on the table, leveraging Lockheed Martin's design methodology.However, the aircraft itself actually bears a more striking resemblance to a different 5th-generation fighter: Russia's defunct MiG MFI, or Project 1.44. As is the case with many Chinese aircraft, the J-20 is likely a design that borrows heavily from both of these programs.The J-20 entered service in 2017 and has seen considerable production since, with more than 150 airframes now in service. However, China has struggled to field its truly 5th generation engine, the WS-15. It has instead equipped its fleet with either Russian-sourced 4th-generation AL-31 engines or improved indigenous equivalents in the WS-10.Early J-20s did not include thrust vector control, but more recent iterations have added the capability in an attempt to close with America's F-22 Raptor.The first J-20s saw combat exercises in 2018, with China's military using the platform to devise stealth fighter tactics.The lack of significant combat experience found at every level of China's military represents a significant disadvantage when compared to America's four-decade of experience operating stealth jets and even Russia's tactical aviation experience in places like Syria. However, the J-20 outclasses the Su-57 in a number of very important ways; most notably, in terms of stealth.Expert assessments of the J-20's radar cross-section place it somewhere between .08 and .3 square meters. This places it well ahead of Russia's Su-57 in a head-on comparison (RCS varied depending on the angle from which the aircraft is observed), but well behind both of America's stealth fighters.#2 America's F-35 Lighting IIAn F-35 during an airshow at Joint Base Langley-Eustis in Virginia, April 24, 2016.U.S. Air Force photo/Senior Airman R. Alex DurbinA highly capable financial boondoggleLockheed Martin's F-35 Lightning II, also known as the Joint Strike Fighter, has gotten a lot of bad press in recent years thanks to the program's frequent delays, setbacks, and cost overruns. But something that tends to get lost in the discussions about how expensive the F-35 is proving to be, is just how capable this aircraft really is.With a reported radar-cross section of 0.0015 square meters, the F-35 appears 5-10 times larger than the F-22 does on radar when approaching from head-on, but that's still only about the size of a golfball. The aircraft's stealth gets lots of attention, but the F-35's biggest claim to fame comes in the form of its onboard systems.The F-35's AN/APG-81 Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) Fire Control Radar system is widely considered the best in the world. It's so powerful that it can actually be leveraged for electronic warfare (EW) operations, making the F-35 the only attack aircraft in the US arsenal that can handle its own EW in a fight.Radar data is supplemented by the jet's AN/AAQ-37 Electro-optical Distributed Aperture System, which consists of six high-resolution infrared sensors at different points on the airframe to provide a complete 360-degree view of the battlespace. This system can identify and track other aircraft in the area, incoming missiles, and even allow the pilot to look through the fighter's fuselage using his or her helmet-mounted viewing system during nighttime operations.The powerful computers onboard the F-35 take data fed through both of these systems, as well as from other sensors in space, the air, land, and sea, and fuse it all into a single consumable display presented to the pilot through a combination of a single large screen and a helmet-mounted system.As a result, the F-35 provides better situational awareness than any tactical aircraft in history. And by sharing this data with older aircraft, it makes 4th-generation fighters deadlier simply by flying alongside them.Perhaps most important of all, the F-35 outnumbers all other stealth fighters by a wide margin, with more than 700 delivered to the US and its allies since the program began. So, while the F-35 may not match the sheer performance of other stealth fighters, it more than compensates through awareness and volume.#1 America's F-22 RaptorAn F-22 Raptor.US Air ForceThe reigning king of the skies (is endangered)As the world's first 5th-generation fighter, the F-22 Raptor is the oldest design on this list, but its incredible combination of low observability and high performance not only set the standard for all stealth fighters to come. It remains the most capable stealth fighter in service anywhere on the planet to this very day.The Raptor is said to carry a frontal RCS of just 0.0001~0.0002 square meters, which is (as we've already mentioned) some 5,000 times smaller than expert assessments of the Russian Su-57, at least 800 times smaller than the J-20, and even 5-10 times smaller than the much newer F-35.Of course, stealth isn't everything in fighters, and the Raptor brings a lot more than sneakiness to the fight.While the F-22 doesn't offer the same degree of situational awareness found in the F-35, its sensor and avionics suite is still considered to be robust enough to give Raptor pilots what the Air Force calls, "first kill opportunity," meaning it can spot enemy fighters and engage them with weapons that reach beyond-visual-range before the bad guy even knows it's there.But the F-22 is not just a sniper. Thanks to a top speed of Mach 2.25 and the ability to supercruise (fly at supersonic speeds without using its afterburner), the Raptor can cover more distance at greater speeds than its competition while still having enough fuel left in the tank for a fight once it arrives. And even when fighting in close quarters, the F-22's 180-degree thrust vector control supplements its aerodynamic design to provide excellent maneuverability.Despite the Raptor's dominant performance, even in a field of stealth fighters, it exists in dwindling numbers today. With just 186 total F-22s delivered and fewer than 150 considered combat-capable, the F-22 is already living on borrowed time.Because its production line was devoured by the F-35 and the Air Force's next air superiority fighter developed under the Next Generation Air Dominance program, the F-22's reign as king of the skies will likely come to a close within the coming decade.Honorable mentionsSecurity guards in front of a poster depicting China's J-31 fighter at Airshow China 2014 in Zhuhai, November 11, 2014.Dickson Lee/South China Morning Post via Getty ImagesIt should be noted that there are a number of other 5th-generation fighter programs in various stages of development, including Russia's budget-friendly Su-75 Checkmate and China's FC-31 Gyrfalcon.However, because these aircraft have yet to reach operational service, they can't really be ranked against these jets that are already on the job.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 2nd, 2022

From Resort to Residential: Disney Expands on Community Living

Disney has always been well-known for its hospitality. Songs like, “Be Our Guest,” invite audiences to make a home for themselves—whether they’re visitors being delighted at the theme parks or families cozied up on the couch. Now, Disney hopes to repurpose its company commitment towards placemaking with a real estate venture sequel it hopes will… The post From Resort to Residential: Disney Expands on Community Living appeared first on RISMedia. Disney has always been well-known for its hospitality. Songs like, “Be Our Guest,” invite audiences to make a home for themselves—whether they’re visitors being delighted at the theme parks or families cozied up on the couch. Now, Disney hopes to repurpose its company commitment towards placemaking with a real estate venture sequel it hopes will have a better ending than its last. In the first quarter of 2022 alone, the entertainment and media conglomerate has announced the development of two major residential community properties. On April 6, the Walt Disney Company announced in a press release that it will be using  80 acres of land in Orange County, California to bring affordable housing opportunities to qualifying public applicants and its cast members (as Disney calls its employees). This development will expand on the initiatives it’s taken to address the nation’s affordable housing crisis—which also include several housing developments built around the Disneyland Resort. Credit: @Disney In February, Disney also announced the launch of its new Storyliving by Disney communities, which will offer housing, entertainment and unique amenities encompassing a plot of land in Rancho Mirage, California—dubbed Cotino. Aerial View of Palm Springs In collaboration with Scottsdale-based DMB Development specializing in planned communities, Cotino will allow homebuyers to purchase single-family homes, villa estates and condominiums, with some neighborhoods designated as 55+. Cast members will also manage day-to-day associations. While Orange County remains in a concept phase, Storyliving in Rancho Mirage has been approved and will include a mixed-use district featuring shopping, dining and entertainment, a beachfront hotel and beach park with recreational water activities that can be accessed by the public through the purchase of a day pass. Rancho REALTORS® have voiced their support for this endeavor, highlighting the power of influence communities like Cotino can have on a new era of homebuyers. “There is an increasing market for lifestyle communities with conveniences—hotel, shops, restaurants—and easy access through walkability,” says Geoff McIntosh, broker associate for Coldwell Banker and former president of the California Association of REALTORS®. “Leave the car at home! We have a clientele—especially baby boomers and millennials—looking for exactly that.” He adds that this development aims to deliver on its decades-plus mission of enchantment and enterprise. “Leveraging the Disney brand is brilliant—with Disneyland opening in 1955 that brand is uniquely positioned to have broad appeal. Recognized as a “quality-trusted” brand with incredible Imagineering looks like a winning combination to me.” The tagline on the Storyliving by Disney website reads, “Imagine. Create. Live your story.,” displaying illustrated, concept renderings of a diverse community backlit by a picturesque, desert-spring landscape. “A Living Painting,” another tagline suggests. The notion of a suburban utopia conceived by Disney isn’t new. Many are familiar with Disney’s past residential endeavors—the most recent being the multi-million-dollar luxury properties in Golden Oak, Florida, located within Walt Disney World Resort, and its first and former residential model in Celebration, Florida. The concept draws upon decades of achievements in innovation, brand loyalty…and quite a few learning-curves. Something to Celebrate In 1966, when Walt Disney outlined his vision for the Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow (EPCOT), it was less a suggestion for a compact representation of world heritage, but moreover an Arcadian Americana. Disney died a year later, and his grand vision metamorphosed into EPCOT park in 1982. In 1991, the company turned back the pages of his book and began planning an actualized version of Walt’s perfect town—climate-controlled bio-dome excluded. Epcot in Disney World at Sunset Disney secured nearly 5,000 acres of land in Osceola County, Florida, a stone’s throw away from the parks, and in 1996, his vision was fully realized. “Celebration” was a community styled off of the holistic design movement, New Urbanism, which aims to shift away from low-density zoning and single-use buildings and homes that became popular after the end of World War II. New Urbanism promotes walkable, mixed-family neighborhoods, a centralized main street, accessible public spaces and a community model where function influences social well-being. Disney hired celebrity architects around the world to design its residential and commercial infrastructure. Celebration’s Town Center contained commerce, a town hall, a movie theater, schools and other civic establishments incorporated into the town. Homes were designed in different architectural styles like Classical, Victorian and Colonial Revival, with a front porch and garage in the back. Everything from street signs to storefronts, even manhole covers, were designed to tie the whole town together. Postcard Perspective When Kim Hawk first heard of Celebration, she was one of the first (of 5,000) people who showed up for the lottery Disney held for the sale of the first 350 homes. “My mother, who was a broker at the time, said to me, ” Now’s the time to activate your life,” because it’s always smart when you can see a project from the ground up. I’ve been here for over 25 years since.” Hawk, a REALTOR® for Florida in Motion Realty and reputed locally as the “Fairygodmother of Real Estate Near Disney,” shared what it was like at the start in terms of buyer expectations. “There were people that put every bit of their energy into getting a house here,” she says. “Back in those days, it was required that you had to sell whatever property that you lived in prior because they wanted to have founding residents. All of a sudden, you really started to see the definition of supply and demand. The power of Disney behind the community really amped up the sales quickly.” Hawk reveals that the community’s walkable streets, fiber optics and locale under a no-fly zone are still attractable assets. “Because people are concerned about the pandemic returning, people have adopted this mindset of ‘who has the right resources where I can live the best lifestyle possible’,” she says. “I would say Celebration is skyrocketing because of that. Now, we’re getting calls from people who say, “I just want to live in Celebration, you don’t even have to show me the house.” Great Reflections of the Celebration, Florida Downtown and Lakefront Social analyst and author Andrew Ross, who wrote about his year-long stint living in Celebration in his book, The Celebration Chronicles: Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Property Value in Disney’s New Town, resounded in favor of Celebration’s design scheme. “The first people who came to Celebration were just dying to live on Disney land. You can compare Celebration with typical suburban subdivisions in Central Florida, but I think the quality of offering was far superior,” he details. “A master plan residential development wasn’t all that experimental at the time. However, when you think about the identity of the developer and that they were able to build a town center before people even moved in—that has never happened before in real estate history.” Ross also has been vocal about the issue of affordable housing in American suburbs and rural areas, and cites Disney’s own shortcomings on the issue. His 2021 follow up to Celebration Chronicles titled Sunbelt Blues: The Failure of American Housing, provides even further insight into Disney’s response (or lack thereof) to the need for affordable housing within Celebration itself. “At the time Celebration was built, the alternative was for the developer to put a bunch of money into a fund and have affordable housing built off-site, which is what they did,” he explains. “It was only $300,000—that doesn’t give you much affordable housing. As a result, there was nothing built-in in the way of permanent affordable housing in Celebration.” The town remains to be a mixed-income community, but Ross articulates how once these kinds of properties become commercially successful, they no longer become affordable—which is what happened in Celebration and other New Urbanist-showpiece towns like it. Hawk retrospectively addresses the issue of affordability in Celebration, saying, “It probably was a little bit of a stretch 25 years ago, but I think a lot of those people are now very happy with it because when they went to sell, they made a good amount of money from the properties.” Because of its Disney name, critics couldn’t help but perceive Celebration as an extension of the theme parks—which complicated matters of public interest, according to Ross. “The problem is, visitors and consumers of the theme parks are accustomed to a high level of customer satisfaction” he explains. “I think there were some people who expected that Disney would be on call if something went wrong and that they’d deliver customer satisfaction, but that doesn’t happen in real estate. You can’t control the speech of the residents in the same way you control animatronic figures in the theme park.” Walt Versus Wall Street Disney’s conflation of imagination and perception resulted in a fairytale-like dilemma. In truth, it was a real town, like any, with real problems. Even though Celebration proved to be a commercial success for Disney in terms of home sales, the company sold Town Center in 2004 to Lexin Capital, a private-equity New York City firm. Disney claimed that it wanted to focus on selling other commercial lands, but insisted it’d keep a watchful eye on the town for several more years. While Lexin assured that the effects on the town were going to be nothing short of a change in guard, the next decade plus proved otherwise. The years following ignited a media frenzy. Crime, educational tussles and a litany of lawsuits from disgruntled residents plagued the town. Hawk recounts how many residents wanted power to transfer over to its own residents who knew the town best. “I was a member of a group of people that said we wanted to buy downtown versus Disney going out and selling it to a group that wasn’t familiar. I think if that had been the case, it might have been a better situation.” She does maintain, however, that the issue involved both personal and public deception, since resolved. “As far as expectations of what should be delivered, the town’s doing pretty well right now,” she holds. “My heart does go out to a couple people who had to fight in order to get the results that they wanted, but I wouldn’t say it was the town in its totality that was an issue.” Celebration’s distinctive origins and design elements cement it as an entirely unique community, however, Ross addresses its drawbacks in a much broader context. “There are communities all across America with a similar story to tell when they get taken over by private equity. They usually don’t go after fairly affluent places like Celebration, and they don’t usually get pushback (i.e. residents who fight back), but that’s what happened in Celebration.” A New Chapter of Real Estate Though Disney’s past real estate ventures do not necessarily dictate the future of Cotino, it certainly informs how they move forward. The narrative for Storyliving characterizes this project as an entirely new venture for Disney, and in many ways it is. Since it is not the developer, it’s safe to assume that it would want to distance their brand more so than it has in the past. Bringing his expertise in planned communities and Disney into the fold is DMB’s president and CEO, Brett Harrington, who formerly served as Celebration’s town manager in its formative years. Though Rancho Mirage Mayor, Ted Weill, believes that Cotino will be a “fabulous fit” for the community and serve as a much-needed economic boost—he took the time to dispel some public concerns on the government website. Its location has raised eyebrows. The state of California is experiencing a two-decade drought, and with plans to feature a 24-acre, “grand oasis,” lagoon on the property, many are wary of the environmental impact a structure like that will do. Disney safeguards the potential water shortage issues by stating they will be employing the use of Crystal Lagoons, which promotes sustainable, eco-friendly, low-consumption technologies. Others question its location in relation to its nearest park. In contrast, Celebration is at arm’s length with Walt Disney World, and Golden Oak is located within the resort itself. Cotino does not have the luxury of such proximity (nearby Disneyland is two hours away). Disney squares this by tying the land to the magic man himself, Walt Disney. The Coachella Valley was a beloved destination for Walt Disney and his wife Lillian, as well as other golden-age celebrities and U.S. presidents alike. It was a reprieve from the hustle and bustle of Hollywood, with Cotino offering a similar level of escapism. Disney has yet to announce how much homes will cost, but it has stated that they will not be developing, building or selling the homes themselves. What is certain, however, is that REALTORS® up to the challenge of selling these homes will be marketing towards a very niche demographic who might welcome the idea of morning tee times, solitude in the Santa Ana’s and a community of like-minds with a penchant for theatrics. David Cantwell, managing broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Bennion Deville Homes, offered a generally optimistic approach to this development, and revealed that the Disney connection was unbeknownst to city officials until the day before the official announcement came through. “The response has been mostly positive,” he says. “It’s amazing was able to keep it quiet.” Cantwell, whose corporate offices reside in Rancho Mirage, is encouraged that the city has put in place conservation efforts so that the water being taken from aquifers underneath the land and through its Colorado River reserves is mitigated through the use of the advanced tech being used to fill the lagoon. “We have no thoughts on it going dry,” he maintains. He also gave insight into the potential rate of these Cotino homes in lieu of an already steep market. He noted that forces that have driven detached home prices higher, (i.e. low inventory and rising sales) continue to dominate the Coachella Valley housing market—currently averaging $630,000 for detached homes. “Considering that the median price for homes have gone up over 40% in the Coachella Valley, we expect that the rate for these new properties will go for $500,000 or more, which is actually below the median in the area.” As for who might be eying these homes, Cantwell categorized this target demographic as 55+ residents (the median age in Rancho Mirage is 65), Midwest and Pacific Northwest buyers who look for secondary homes in warmer climates and higher income families interested in the amenities being developed on the property. In regard to its future community impact, Cantwell assures that this project can only bring out good things for the housing market. “We need the inventory. A project of this size helps our market currently being affected by a low-cycle housing market. This property also offers plenty of room for growth in the commercial sector.” Geoff McIntosh of Coldwell Banker additionally gave insight into the eventual process of selling these homes—and is hopeful that these properties would foster new leads and growth opportunities for area real estate agents. “I would anticipate that there will be an onsite sales team that handles the initial sell out. Given the size and scope of the project it will likely take years,” McIntosh estimates. “Generally, new developments are very welcoming of the local real estate community as we are influential in introducing prospective buyers to all the options they have in the area. Usually the onsite sales office represents both the developer and the new home buyers received through referrals by local REALTORS®.” Though many are wary of this property’s large footprint negatively impacting the landscape, McIntosh trusts the experts and the bottom-line overview as compared to similar properties in the area. “I believe adequate studies have been completed to address these concerns and the location of the project is 618 acres of undeveloped desert land on the north side of most of the improved property in Rancho Mirage. In comparison, Del Webb Rancho Mirage is on a site about half the size with roughly 1,050 planned homes at completion. There are only 1932 residences and a 400-room boutique hotel on site at Cotino, so it will be relatively low density.” In a continued market that favors the seller, Judy Ziegler of Bennion Deville Homes contends that agents have the leg up. Compared to years past when the area really catered to secondary homes, work-from-home opportunities and an emphasis on life-work balance has made the greater Palm Springs area and alfresco living desirable year-round. “COVID changed our entire market. People are staying here,” she says. A project of this scale naturally invites some curiosity and criticism. It’s safe to say onlookers will be tuning into every phase of this venture—from the very first nail to the cutting of the ribbon. Storyliving seeks to expand on the concept of storytelling set out by Walt himself nearly a century ago wherein everyday is the story, and you hold the pen. There is hope, however, that these communities foster a new chapter of real estate beyond just its whimsicalities and brand name. These undertakings illuminate the desire and necessity for a larger scope of natural and accessible living spaces throughout the country. Whether Disney will be the one to change the status quo of real estate, only time will tell. Joey Macari is RISMedia’s associate editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at jmacari@rismedia.com. The post From Resort to Residential: Disney Expands on Community Living appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaApr 18th, 2022

Malthusianism, Prometheanism, & The Hyper-Bitcoinized World To Come

Malthusianism, Prometheanism, & The Hyper-Bitcoinized World To Come Via Cathedra.com, 2021 Letter to Shareholders Dear Fellow Shareholders of Cathedra Bitcoin Inc: In 1798, a British economist was concerned that the incessant increase in population would cause humanity to run out of food. As a solution, he supported a variety of measures aimed at curbing the rate of population growth (e.g., taxes on food) to improve the living standards for those humans who did survive. The economist in question, Thomas Malthus, was raised in a country house in Surrey, was educated at Jesus College Cambridge, became a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1818, and–in simple terms–championed policies designed to limit (or end) human life to prevent this population bomb. “Instead of recommending cleanliness to the poor, we should encourage contrary habits. In our towns we should make the streets narrower, crowd more people into the houses, and court the return of the plague.” – Thomas Malthus, “An Essay on the Principle of Population” (1798) Looking back, we can see that such predictions have (fortunately) not come to fruition. The human population has grown ninefold since Malthus penned his infamous piece, “An Essay on the Principle of Population.” Meanwhile, technology has given humanity the ability to channel energy in ways unimaginable to Malthus, allowing us to enjoy levels of prosperity that make the elitist Malthus look like a serf in comparison. Yet we are not without our troubles. In response to COVID-19, the last two years have seen an unprecedented degree of government intervention around the world, through mandates as well as record-breaking fiscal and monetary stimulus. Meanwhile, food shortages have visited the developed and developing worlds alike. Housing, asset, and commodity prices are soaring, with even the dubious Consumer Price Index reaching its highest level in four decades in the U.S. And around the world, civil unrest is on the rise. We believe the root causes of these issues are quite simple: unsound money and unsound energy infrastructure. In this first annual letter to Cathedra Bitcoin shareholders, we examine the current state of both and discuss how they inform our vision for the future of the company. Macro Update: Energy The European Energy Crisis For the last six months, headlines have been filled with a “European Energy Crisis.” As the global economy surged back to life after 18 months of lockdowns, a perfect storm of events unfolded: over the summer, China increased natural gas imports following a coal shortage, causing power prices to rise in Europe; in September, a wind shortage beset northern Europe, resulting in enormous sums being paid to dispatch other (“dirtier”) forms of generation; reduced natural gas imports from Russia left Europe with historically low natural gas reserves; in December, unusually cold temperatures hit the continent, sending shockwaves through energy markets (even serving as a catalyst for the civil unrest in Kazakhstan); and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in recent weeks has sent oil and gas prices surging, bringing calls for increased domestic energy production. These events have conspired to cause a sharp increase in energy prices around the continent. One is tempted to point to any one of the above as a “black swan event” driven by unforeseeable forces beyond our control (in hindsight, it will be even more tempting to blame this crisis on Putin’s invasion of Ukraine). But in reality, Europe has been systematically dismantling its stable energy infrastructure for over a decade. And unfortunately, they are not alone. Take California, for example: over the last decade, the state has seen energy prices rise 7x more than those in the rest of the U.S., and blackouts have become “almost daily events.” If one looks deeper, a far subtler cause reveals itself: misguided policies that subsidize intermittent renewables and shutter stable forms of generation, the net effects of which are energy insecurity and higher energy costs. The Real “Energy Transition” Beginning in the early 2000s, governments around the world began reorienting energy policy around climate change. These “net-zero” policies push for an “energy transition” away from CO2-emitting energy sources toward 100% “renewable” energy, primarily via subsidies to intermittent wind and solar generation. On the surface, these policies seem to have worked. EU power generation from renewables has increased 157% in the last ten years. As a result, in 2020, renewable generation in Europe surpassed that of fossil fuels for the first time, providing 38% of the region’s electricity (vs. fossil fuels’ 37%). And these policies are only accelerating: in July 2021, the EU announced its even more ambitious goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 55% by 2030, requiring an estimated tripling of wind and solar generation from 547 TWh in 2020 to ~1,500 TWh in 2030. These pro-renewables policies have been paired with the abandonment of more stable forms of generation. Coal continues to be pushed out of the generation stack due to its heavy carbon footprint and the rising cost of carbon credits. Additionally, despite the seemingly obvious importance of nuclear energy in a “net-zero” carbon future, regulators have been shutting down nuclear reactors around the world in response to environmentalist movements[1] (a trend that accelerated in the wake of the Fukushima disaster). Germany alone shut down 16 GW of nuclear power since 2011, and plans to retire its last three nuclear power plants this year. With hydro being geography-dependent and long-term energy storage unsolved, natural gas is left as the main  viable form of dispatchable generation. Given self-imposed fracking bans, Europe has no choice but to import natural gas via LNG or pipelines (largely from Russia). Returning to California, we see the same dangerous combination of policies. Despite the aforementioned rising electricity costs and grid fragility, the state is decommissioning its last nuclear power plant at Diablo Canyon–responsible for ~10% of the state’s electricity–while reasserting goals to achieve “net-zero” by 2045. Unfortunately, even if stable forms of generation are not discarded by mandates, renewables subsidies distort market signals. This auxiliary revenue stream of carbon or renewable energy credits allows wind and solar farms to sell power to the grid at negative prices, often driving unsubsidized, baseload generation out of business. The net result? The hollowing out of sound energy infrastructure, which increases both the costs and fragility of the energy system. In her book Shorting the Grid, Meredith Angwin warns of a “fatal trifecta” affecting grids around the world: (1) overreliance on renewables, (2) overreliance on natural gas, often used to load-follow renewables, and (3) overreliance on energy imports. When demand outpaces supply, either due to diminished output from renewables or heightened demand (e.g., during a cold snap), grid operators seek to dispatch additional generation. But natural gas and energy imports are both vulnerable to disruptions, as natural gas is typically delivered just-in-time via pipelines and neighboring regions are likely to experience correlated supply or demand shocks (read: weather). This results in more expensive energy (increased demand chasing limited supply) or enforced blackouts (e.g., Texas in February 2021). “Grid fragility” may sound like a highly abstract concept, but its real-world consequences are severe. It means industry halting, hospitals losing power, and even access to clean water being threatened. Such effects are so severe that energy-insecure countries tend to rely on more rudimentary forms of energy, including expensive backup diesel generators, to keep the lights on. Robert Bryce has termed this phenomenon the “Iron Law of Electricity”: people, businesses, and governments will do whatever they must to get the electricity they need[2]. We fear these confused policies are causing an energy transition of the wrong kind–one toward energy insecurity. Its effects are clear in the U.S., where “major electric disturbances and unusual occurrences” on the grid have increased 13x over the last 20 years. Meanwhile, Generac, a leading gas-powered backup generator company, saw 50% growth in sales in 2021 (it's worth highlighting the contradiction between the stated aims of these “net-zero” policies and their downstream effects). A Malthusian Approach to Energy Energy insecurity is also expensive. Dependence on intermittent renewables often results in paying top-dollar for energy when it’s needed most. During its September wind shortage, the UK paid GBP 4,000 per MWh to turn on a coal power plant–a clear demonstration that not all megawatt hours are created equal. The quality of energy matters. With renewables, humanity is once again at the mercy of the weather. This is the underlying logic of these “net-zero” policies: make energy more expensive so that we use less of it. In fact, economists advising the European Central Bank view rising energy costs (“greenflation”) as a feature, not a bug–a necessary consequence of the energy transition. Rising energy prices are a regressive tax on the least well-off in society. We all require energy to survive (heating/cooling, food, water, etc.), regardless of our wealth. These requirements are effectively a fixed cost; the lower one’s income, the greater the percentage of it one spends on energy. There is a point beyond which rising energy costs become unsustainable, sending people to the streets to fight for their survival–as we saw in Kazakhstan after the spike in LPG prices. Researchers estimate that each 1% increase in heating prices causes a 0.06% increase in winter-related deaths, with disproportionate effects in low-income areas. “If energy is life, then the lack of energy is death.” – Doomberg, “Shooting Oil in a Barrel” (2021) Energy is the key input for every other good and service in the economy, and over time accounts for all wealth in an economy. To the extent energy gets more expensive, so does everything else (including and especially food), making society poorer. This is the Malthusian approach to energy. Expensive “green” energy that the elites can afford, while the unwashed masses bear the brunt of those rising costs. Energy for me, but not for thee. We question the political and social sustainability of such an approach. Enter Entropy Energy’s role is even more fundamental to the economy and human well-being than most understand. As we’ve discussed elsewhere, what is commonly understood as “energy generation” is really just the conversion of energy into a more highly ordered form; it is the reduction of entropy locally by shedding even greater amounts of entropy elsewhere. Despite the universality of this entropy reduction, some energy resources are inherently lower-entropy than others (highly dense nuclear fission vs. low-density wind power). We depend on this entropy reduction to sustain us through the food and energy we need to maintain the order of civilization. This entropy reduction is cumulative; without sufficient entropy-reducing energy infrastructure, we cannot maintain our existing order. We cannot create entropy-reducing energy infrastructure without adequate pre-existing infrastructure. And we cannot advance further as a civilization (i.e., create more order) unless we develop even more entropy-reducing infrastructure. “We never escape from the need for energy. Whatever the short-term variations might look like, the trend over time is for greater energy use, to deliver and crucially to maintain and replace a human sphere that is progressively further away from thermodynamic equilibrium. There is no point at which you sit down and have a rest.” – John Constable, “Energy, Entropy and the Theory of Wealth” (2016) There is no free lunch when it comes to energy. If a country’s economy grows while reducing energy consumption, it is only through de-industrialization, exporting its energy footprint to other countries (the same often holds true for carbon emissions). The second law of thermodynamics is indeed a law, the best attested regularity in natural science, not a tentative suggestion: the entropy must go somewhere. Unfortunately, distortions caused by our current monetary system have convinced many otherwise, a deception that has had dire consequences. Macro Update: Money For the last 50 years the world has participated in an unprecedented experiment: a global fiat monetary standard. In 1974, a few years after “Tricky Dick” Nixon rug-pulled the other governments of the world by severing convertibility of the U.S. dollar into gold, the U.S. struck a deal with Saudi Arabia to cement the dollar’s status as the global reserve currency: the OPEC nations would agree to sell oil exclusively for U.S. dollars, and the Saudis would receive the protection of the U.S. military in return. This arrangement, which survives to this day, became known as the “Petrodollar system,” and it has had enduring economic, social, and political consequences: securing the dollar’s status as the reserve currency of the world; bidding up U.S. asset prices via petrodollar “recycling;” displacing U.S. manufacturing capabilities and increasing economic inequality between American wage-earners and asset-owners; and contributing to the secular decline in interest rates, causing an accumulation of public- and private-sector debts and distortions in the pricing mechanism for all other assets (typically viewed in relation to the “risk-free rate” of interest on Treasuries). In recent years, cracks in the foundation of this system have begun to show. A half-century of irresponsible fiscal and monetary policy has pushed sovereign and private sector debt to the brink of unsustainability and fragilized financial markets. The once steady foreign demand for Treasuries is evaporating, forcing the Fed to begin monetizing U.S. deficits at an increasing rate. The U.S.’s share of global GDP is waning, and the role of the dollar in key trading relationships is diminishing. Even the once-mighty U.S. military—on whose supremacy the entire Petrodollar system was predicated—shows signs of degeneration. The U.S. response to the COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated many of these trends. Through a series of legislative and executive actions in 2020 and 2021, Congress and the Trump and Biden administrations approved nearly $7 trillion of spending on COVID relief, a large majority of which increased the federal deficit. Not to be outdone, the Fed authorized its own emergency measures to the tune of $7 trillion. In the nearly two years since these extraordinary actions, the U.S. and the global economy has been defined by record-low interest rates (which is part of the explanation for the interest in subsidized renewables); acute supply chain disruptions (read: shortages) across critical markets; a continuation of the asset price inflation of prior decades; and the highest levels of consumer price inflation in 40 years. This last development—“not-so-transitory” CPI inflation—is perhaps most significant given it represents a departure from economic conditions since the Great Financial Crisis. The Fed now faces a predicament. With mounting cries from the public and political officials over the runaway CPI, the pressure is on Jay Powell & Co. to arrest inflation by raising interest rates. But the current state of public and private sector balance sheets complicates matters. As the Fed increases rates, so too does it increase the federal government’s borrowing cost, not to mention that of a private sector which is also saddled with dollar-denominated debt. If corporates are unable to service or refinance their debt, they will be forced to reduce costs, resulting in higher unemployment. Rest assured; rates aren’t going higher for long. Global balance sheets will not allow it. This suggests to us that we may be entering a period of financial repression, whereby inflation is allowed to run hot while interest rates remain pinned near zero, producing negative real returns and deleveraging balance sheets over several years. We also find it likely that the Fed will be forced to implement some version of a yield curve control program. Under such a policy, the central bank commits to purchasing as many bonds as necessary to cap the yields of various maturities of Treasuries at certain predetermined levels. There is precedent for a maneuver of this sort: the Fed implemented a version of the policy throughout the 1940s to inflate away the national debt during and after WWII. At the end of the long-term debt cycle, the only option is to inflate away the debt and debase the currency. But unlike in the 1940s, citizens, businesses, and governments now have several monetary alternatives available to them. We therefore believe the coming period of structural inflation will hasten a transition to a new monetary standard. The Currency Wars Cometh The writing is on the wall; the post-Bretton Woods monetary system is in its death throes. The question is not if we will see a paradigm shift away from the present dollar-based monetary order, but when. And the far more interesting question, in our view, is: what will replace it? We believe the next global monetary system will be built atop Bitcoin—with bitcoin the asset and Bitcoin the network working together to offer final settlement in a digitally native, fixed-supply reserve currency on politically neutral rails. Bitcoin uniquely enables this value proposition, and game theory and economic incentives will compel nation-states to take notice amid the collapsing monetary order. But it is not without competition. Central Bank Digital Currencies Bitcoin is the ideological and economic foil to another candidate for heir to the petrodollar: the central bank digital currency (“CBDC”). The retail CBDC—which is the variety most often discussed in policy circles—is a natively digital form of fiat money that is issued, managed, and controlled by the central bank. Their proponents claim CBDCs would enable many of the same benefits as cryptocurrencies—near-instant final settlement, programmability, high availability, etc.—without many of the attendant “disadvantages”—decentralization, untraceability, etc. CBDCs open up a whole new design space for monetary authorities, empowering them to implement creative and fine-grained policies which heretofore have been confined to masturbatory thought-experiments in BIS papers (e.g., negative interest rates). They would also allow for all manner of fiscal policies which today are operationally or technically infeasible; one can imagine government-imposed parameters around how and when a given sum of CBDC money is spent, digitally programmed into one’s Fed wallet. A universal basic income program could be effected with a single keystroke. In many ways, the CBDC is the perfect Malthusian implement. Their inherent programmability allows for granular, top-down rationing of resources for whatever “greater good” suits the politically powerful. “I’m sorry, sir. Your card has been declined, as you have already exceeded your weekly beef quota. Might we suggest a more environmentally friendly alternative, such as a Bill Gates pea protein patty?” Such a system amounts to highly efficient regulatory capture; citizens are only permitted to spend money on those goods and services favored by The Powers That Be (or the corporate interests that fund them). Expect CBDCs to further distort the pricing mechanism, leading to a variety of market failures (such as the current energy crises). Skeptics of such claims need only be reminded of the U.S. government’s recent history of abusing its power to restrict politically undesirable financial activities. It should come as no surprise that the CBDC model is being pioneered by the Chinese Communist Party in the form of a “digital renminbi.” Make no mistake—wherever a CBDC is implemented, it will be weaponized by the State for political ends. In the West, such a system would be readily abused to create a Chinese-style social credit system—but one cloaked in the neo-liberal parlance of “financial inclusion,” “climate justice,” and “anti-money laundering.” CBDCs: Coming to A Country Near You? We remain cautiously optimistic that the U.S. will forgo implementing this dystopian technology. The U.S. remains among the freest nations in the world, both politically and culturally. A CBDC is wholly incompatible with American values, and we expect millions of Americans would resist the complete usurpation of their financial lives by the State. Additionally, a retail CBDC implemented by the Fed would transfer power from the commercial banks whose interests the Fed was conceived to protect to the federal bureaucracy[3]. And is there any doubt that the U.S. now lacks the state capacity to implement a CBDC, a feat which would require a high degree of technical and operational competence? Figure 1: Which Way, Western Man? BTC vs. CBDC Bitcoin for America So, how can the U.S. extend its financial leadership of the 20th century amid the decaying Petrodollar system? The U.S. is already the frontrunner in nearly all things Bitcoin—trading volumes, mining activity, number of hodlers, entrepreneurial and business activity, capital markets activity, etc. We submit that the path of least resistance would be for America to lean into its leadership in the Bitcoin industry and embrace the technology as a privacy-respecting, open-source, free-market, and fundamentally American alternative to the totalitarian CBDC. What does “adopting Bitcoin” look like for a country like the U.S.? It is likely some combination of: (i) authorizing bitcoin as legal tender, (ii) removing onerous capital gains tax treatment, (iii) subsidizing or sponsoring mining operations (which could support domestic energy infrastructure, in turn), (iv) purchasing bitcoin as a reserve asset by the Fed and/or Treasury, or (v) making the dollar convertible into bitcoin at a fixed exchange rate. We see early signs that such a move by the U.S. may not be so far-fetched. Notably, major American policymakers have already signaled support for bitcoin as an important monetary asset and nascent industry. The “crypto” sector has grown into an important lobby in D.C. and represents a highly engaged, motivated constituency—politicians are taking notice. In our estimation, Bitcoin’s economic incentives and congruence with American values make it the leading candidate for U.S. adoption as a successor to the present monetary order. As the current dollar-based system continues to deteriorate, we are excited by the potential for a U.S.-led coalition of freedom loving nations moving to a Bitcoin Standard. Money, Energy, and Entropy Energy is the fundamental means to reduce entropy in the human sphere, and money is our tool for the direction of energy towards this end. We use money to communicate information about economic production, resolving uncertainty about how scarce resources ought to be employed. And we seek out highly ordered sources of energy to resist the influence of entropy on our bodies and societies. In his lecture, “Energy, Entropy and the Theory of Wealth,” John Constable of the Renewable Energy Foundation observes that all goods and services—and indeed, civilizations—are alike in that they are thermodynamically improbable. All require energy as an input and necessarily create order (i.e., reduce entropy) in the human domain, shifting the local state further away from thermodynamic equilibrium. So then, wealth can be understood as a thermodynamically improbable state made possible through human entropy reduction. If material wealth is measured by the goods and services one has at one’s disposal, then wealth creation on a sound monetary standard is the reduction of entropy for others, and one’s wealth is a record of one’s ability to reduce entropy for fellow man. Unsound money (of the sort the Malthusians celebrate) increases uncertainty—and therefore, entropy—in economic systems. Active management of the money supply confuses the price signal, reducing the information contained therein and erecting an economic Tower of Babel. Fiat money therefore contributes to malinvestment—entrepreneurial miscalculations which produce the wrong goods and services and increase societal entropy. Nowhere is this more apparent than in our energy infrastructure: unsound money has caused malinvestment in unsound sources of generation. As noted above, a half-century of government subsidies and declining interest rates made possible by the Petrodollar system has steered capital towards unreliable renewables that invite greater entropy into the fragile human sphere, dragging us ever closer toward thermodynamic equilibrium (read: civilizational collapse). Cathedra Bitcoin Update Our macro views on energy and money inform everything we’re doing at Cathedra. Chief among them is the belief that sound money and cheap, abundant, highly ordered energy are the fundamental ingredients to human flourishing. Our company mission is to bring both to humanity, and so lead mankind into a new Renaissance—one led by Bitcoin and the energy revolution we believe it will galvanize. Accordingly, with Cathedra we’ve set out to build a category-defining company at the intersection of bitcoin mining and energy. One which is designed to thrive in the turbulent years of the present energy and monetary transition and in the hyperbitcoinized world we believe is to come. In December we announced a change of the company’s name from Fortress Technologies to Cathedra Bitcoin. Our new name reflects our aspirations for the company and for Bitcoin more broadly. The gothic cathedral is a symbol of bold, ambitious, long-term projects; indeed, any single contributor to the monument would likely die before its completion, but contributed nonetheless—because it was a project worth undertaking. So it is with Cathedra, and so it is with Bitcoin. The religious connotations of the name “Cathedra” are not lost on us. Rather, they’re an indication of the seriousness with which we regard this mission. Ours is a quest of civilizational importance. Our new name also hints at another distinguishing feature of our business: we focus our efforts on Bitcoin, and Bitcoin only. The difference between Bitcoin and other “crypto” networks is one of kind, not degree. Bitcoin is the only meaningfully decentralized network in the “crypto” space, which is why bitcoin the asset will continue to win adoption as the preferred form of digitally native money by the world’s eight billion inhabitants. Bitcoin seeks to destroy the institution of seigniorage once and for all. Your favorite shitcoin creator just wants to capture the seigniorage himself. We feel strongly that our long-term mission of delivering sound money and cheap, abundant energy to humanity can be best achieved through a vertically integrated model. In the long-term, Cathedra will develop and/or acquire a portfolio of energy generation assets that leverages the synergies between energy production and bitcoin mining to the advantage of both businesses. In a decade, Cathedra may be as much an energy company as a bitcoin miner. Vertical integration will allow us to control our supply chain and rate of expansion to a greater degree, in addition to giving us a cost advantage over our competitors. As a low-cost producer of bitcoin, we will also be positioned to deliver a suite of ancillary products and services to customers in the Bitcoin and energy sectors. And we’ve begun making strides toward this goal. Earlier this year, the Cathedra team expanded by three with the hires of Isaac Fithian (Chief Field Operations and Manufacturing Officer), Rete Browning (Chief Technology Officer), and Tom Masiero (Head of Business Development). Each of these gentlemen brings years of experience in developing and deploying mobile bitcoin mining infrastructure in off-grid environments. With this expanded team, we recently began production of proprietary modular datacenters to house the 5,100 bitcoin mining machines we have scheduled for delivery throughout 2022. We’re calling these datacenters “rovers,” a nod to their mobility, embedded automation, and capacity to operate under harsh environmental conditions in remote geographies. The modularity and modest footprint of our rovers will allow us to produce them at a rapid pace and deploy them wherever the cheapest power is found, in both on- and off-grid environments. We are proud to be manufacturing our fleet of rovers entirely in New Hampshire, working with the local business community to bring heavy industry back to the U.S. As bitcoin miners, we view ourselves as managers of a portfolio of hash rate. As in the traditional asset management business, diversification can be a powerful asset. Whereas most of the large, publicly traded bitcoin miners are pursuing a similar strategy to one another—developing and/or renting space at hyperscale, on-grid datacenters in which to operate their mining machines—we have optimized our approach to minimize regulatory, market, environmental, or other idiosyncratic risk within our portfolio of hash rate. If one has 90% of one’s hash rate portfolio concentrated in a single on-grid site, 90% of one’s revenue can be shut off by a grid failure or other catastrophic event—an occurrence which is sadly becoming more common, as highlighted in our Energy Update. To our knowledge, Cathedra is the only publicly traded bitcoin miner with both on- and off-grid operations today. We increasingly believe that the future of bitcoin mining is off-grid. On-grid deployments are already vulnerable to myriad unique risks today, and we believe their economic proposition will become less attractive over time. As power producers continue to integrate bitcoin mining at the site of generation themselves, large on-grid miners positioned “downstream” in the energy value chain will see their electricity rates rise. Today, “off-grid” describes any arrangement in which a bitcoin miner procures power directly from an energy producer. Popular implementations include stranded and flared natural gas and behind-the-meter hydro and nuclear. In the long-term, we believe the only way to remain competitive will be to vertically integrate down to the energy generation asset. Mining bitcoin is a capital-intensive business. To ensure we have access to the capital we’ll require to execute on our vision, we’ve embarked on several capital markets initiatives. In February, Cathedra commenced trading on the OTCQX Best Market under the symbol “CBTTF.” This milestone represents a significant upgrade from our prior listing on the OTC Pink Market and should enhance our stock’s accessibility and liquidity for U.S. investors. We intend to list on a U.S. stock exchange in 2022 to further increase the visibility, liquidity, and trading volume in our stock. We recently announced that Cathedra secured US$17m in debt financing from NYDIG, a loan secured by bitcoin mining equipment. When it comes to borrowing in fiat to finance assets that produce bitcoin—an asset which appreciates 150%+ per year on average—almost any cost of debt makes sense. We intend to continue using non-dilutive financing in a responsible manner where possible, with a sober appreciation for the risks debt service presents as an additional fixed cost. Accumulating a formidable war chest of bitcoin on our corporate balance sheet is a priority for us. If one believes, as we do, that the next global monetary order will be built with Bitcoin at its center, then those companies with the largest bitcoin treasuries will thrive. We will continue to hold as much of our mined bitcoin as possible and may even supplement our mining activities with opportunistic bitcoin purchases on occasion. At time of writing, Cathedra has 187 PH/s of hash rate active, and another 534 PH/s of hash rate contracted via purchases of mining machines we expect to be delivered from April through December of this year. Since we replaced the prior management team in September, we have grown Cathedra’s contracted hash rate by more than 300%. And we’re just getting started. Conclusion We stand today at a crossroads between two divergent movements defined by conflicting visions for the future: Malthusianism and Prometheanism. The Malthusians believe progress is zero (or even negative) sum; resources are finite and “degrowth” is the only viable path forward; we ought to judge human action first and foremost by whether it disturbs the natural world. This movement is characterized by totalitarian CBDCs and a desire to make energy more scarce and expensive, so that earth’s resources can be appropriately rationed. On the other hand, the Prometheans carry with them a more optimistic vision: progress is positive-sum; human creativity allows us to liberate and employ resources in novel ways, in turn preserving the natural world for our own benefit; and that human flourishing is the moral standard by which we should evaluate human action. These are social, cultural, and spiritual choices we are all called to confront. “The century will be fought between Malthusians (“resources are finite”; obsessed with overpopulation; scarcity mindset; zero-sum, finite games) and Prometheans (“human imagination is the most valuable natural resource”; abundance mindset; positive sum, infinite games).” – Alpha Barry (2020) The Malthusian camp wants top-down, centralized management of resources via CBDCs and energy rationing policies. They believe our energy resources are fixed; the only path forward is backward, farming for energy using huge swaths of land controlled by the privileged few. “Industrialization for me but not for thee.” “You’ll own nothing and be happy.” These are the slogans of the Malthusian movement. This is not the path that took us to space and lifted billions out of poverty. We, Cathedra, choose the other path. That of Prometheus, who stole fire from the gods to benefit humankind. We believe in a future of sound money that brings property rights to eight billion humans around the world. A world of beautiful, free cities powered by dense and highly ordered forms of energy generation. Small modular nuclear reactors with load-balancing bitcoin miners (and no seed oils). A future in which technology is employed to improve the human condition–not only for those who walk the earth today, but for generations to come. Bitcoin mining is a powerful ally to the Promethean cause. As the energy buyer of last resort, Bitcoin promotes sound money and sound energy infrastructure. No two forces are more fundamental to keeping disorder at bay and advancing human civilization. We at Cathedra are not alone; there are other Prometheans working tirelessly to further this vision of a freer, more prosperous tomorrow. Human flourishing is earned, not given. Together, we win. Drew Armstrong President & Chief Operating Officer AJ Scalia Chief Executive Officer Tyler Durden Mon, 03/14/2022 - 19:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytMar 14th, 2022

Europe"s Spendthrifts Are Stuck In Irreversible Debt-Traps

Europe's Spendthrifts Are Stuck In Irreversible Debt-Traps Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, A Euro Catastrophe Could Collapse It This article looks at the situation in the euro system in the context of rising interest rates. Central to the problem is role of the ECB, which through monetary inflation embarked on a policy of transferring wealth from fiscally responsible member states to the spendthrift PIGS and France. The consequences of these policies are that the spendthrifts are now ensnared in irreversible debt traps. Even in a Keynesian context, the ECB’s monetary policy is no longer to stimulate the economy but to keep the spendthrifts afloat. The situation has deteriorated so that Eurozone commercial banks appear to have credit restricted in New York, evidenced by the reluctance of the US banks to enter into repo transactions with them, leading to the market failure in September 2019 when the Fed had to intervene. An examination of the numbers strongly suggests that even Eurozone banks, insurance companies and pension funds are no longer net buyers of Eurozone government debt. It could be because the terms are unattractive. But if that is the case it is an indictment of the ECB’s asset purchase programmes deliberately suppressing rates to the point where they are unattractive, even to normally compliant investors. Consequently, without any savings offsets, the ECB has gone full Rudolf Havenstein, and is following similar inflationary policies to those that impoverished Germany’s middle classes and starved its labourers and the elderly in 1920-1923. That the German people are tolerating such an obvious destruction of their currency for the third time in a hundred years is simply astounding. Institutionalised Madoff Schemes to pilfer from people without their knowledge always end in disaster for the perpetrators. Central banks using their currency seigniorage are no exception. But instead of covering it up like an institutionalised Madoff they use questionable science to justify their openly fraudulent behaviour. The paradox of thrift is such an example, where penalising savers by suppressing interest rates supposedly for the wider economic benefit conveniently ignores the theft involved. If you can change the way people perceive reality, you can get away with an awful lot. The mass discovery by the people of the fraud perpetrated on the people by those supposedly representing the people is always the reason behind a cycle of crises and wars. It can take a long period of suffering before an otherwise supine population refuses to continue submitting unquestionably to authority. But the longer the condition exists, the more oppressive the methods that the state uses to defer the inevitable crisis become. Until something finally gives. In the case of the euro, we have seen the system give savers no interest since 2012, while the quantity of money and credit in circulation has debased it by 63% (measured by M3 euro money supply). Furthermore, prices can be rigged to create an illusion of price stability. The US Fed increased its buying of inflation-linked Treasury bonds (TIPS) since March 2020 at a faster pace than they were issued by the US Treasury, artificially pushing TIPS prices up and creating an illusion that the market is unconcerned about price inflation. But that is not all. Government statisticians are not above fiddling the figures or presenting figures out of context. We believe the CPI inflation figures are a true reflection of the cost of living, despite the changes over time in the way prices are input. We believe that GDP is economic growth — a questionable concept — and not growth in the quantity of money. We even believe that monetary inflation has nothing to do with prices. Statistics are designed to deceive. As Lord Canning said 200 years ago, “I can prove anything with statistics but the truth”. And that was before computers, which have facilitated an explosion in the quantity of questionable statistics. Can’t work something out? Just look at the stats. A further difference between Madoff and the state is that the state forces everyone to submit to its monetary frauds by law. And since as law-abiding citizens we respect the law, we even despise those with the temerity to question it. But in the process, we hand enormous power to the monetary authorities, so should not be surprised when that power is abused, as is the case with interest rates and the dilution of the state’s currency. And it follows that the deeper the currency fraud, when something gives, the greater is the ensuing crisis. The best measure of market distortions from deliberate actions of the monetary authorities we have is the difference between actual bond yields and an estimate of what they should be. In other words, assessments of the height of negative real yields. But any such assessment is inherently subjective, with markets and statistics either distorted, rigged, or unable to provide the relevant yardstick. But it makes sense to assume that the price impact, that is the adjustment to bond prices as markets normalise, is greatest for those where nominal bond yields are negative. This means our focus should be directed accordingly. And the major jurisdictions where this applies is Japan and the Eurozone. The eurozone’s banking instability A critique of Japan’s monetary policy must be reserved for a later date, in order to concentrate on monetary and economic conditions in the Eurozone. The ECB first reduced its deposit rate to 0% in July 2012. That was followed by its initial introduction of negative deposit rates of -0.1% in June 2014, followed by -0.2% later that year, -0.3% in 2014, -0.4% in 2016 and finally -0.5% in September 2019. The last move coincided with the repo market blow-up in New York, the day that the transfer of Deutsche Bank’s prime dealership to the Paris based BNP was completed. We can assume with reasonable certainty that the coincidence of these events showed a reluctance of major US banks to take on either of these banks as repo counterparties, as hedge and money funds with accounts at Deutsche decided to move their accounts elsewhere, which would have blown substantial holes in Deutsche’s and possibly BNP’s balance sheets as well, thereby requiring repo cover. The reluctance of American banks to get involved would have been a strong signal of their reluctance to increasing their counterparty exposure to Eurozone banks. We cannot know this for sure, but it is the logical explanation for what happened. In which case, the repo crisis in New York was an important advance warning of the fragility of the Eurozone’s monetary and banking system. A look at the condition of the major Eurozone global systemically important banks (G-SIBs) in Table A, explains why. Balance sheet gearing for these banks is roughly double that of the major US banks, and except for Ing Group, deep price-to-book discounts indicate a market assessment of these banks’ credit risk as exceptionally high. Other Eurozone banks with international counterparty business deemed not significant enough to be labelled as G-SIBs but still capable of transmitting systemic risk could be even more highly geared. The reasons for US banks to limit their exposure to the Eurozone banking system on these grounds alone are compelling. And the persistence of price inflation today is a subsequent development, likely to expose these banks as being riskier still because of higher interest rates on their exposure to Eurozone government and commercial bonds, and defaulting borrowers. The euro credit cycle has been suspended When banks buy government paper, it is usually because they see it as the risk-free alternative to expanding credit to non-financial private sector actors. In the normal course of an economic cycle, it is inherently cyclical. Both Basel and national regulations enhance the concept that government debt is risk-free, giving it a safe-haven status in times of heightened risk. In a normal bank credit cycle, banks will tend to hold government bills and bonds with less than one year’s maturity and depending on the yield curve will venture out along the curve to five years at most. These positions are subsequently wound down when the banks become more confident of lending conditions to non-financial borrowers when the economy improves. But when economic conditions become stagnant and the credit cycle is suspended due to lack of recovery, banks can accumulate positions with longer maturities. Other than the lack of alternative uses of bank credit, this is for a variety of reasons. Trading desks increasingly seek the greater price volatility in longer maturities, central banks encourage increased commercial bank participation in government bond markets, and yield curve permitting, generally longer maturities offer better yields. The more time that elapses between investing in government paper and favouring credit expansion in favour of private sector borrowers, the greater this mission creep becomes. As we have seen above, the ECB introduced zero deposit rates nearly 10 years ago, and private sector conditions have not generated much in the way of bank credit funding. Lending from all sources including securitisations and bank credit to a) households and b) non-financial corporations since 2008 are shown in Figure 1. Before the Covid pandemic, total lending to households had declined from $9 trillion equivalent in 2008 to $7.4 trillion in 2019 Q4. And for non-financial corporations, total lending declined marginally over the same period as well. Admittedly, this period included a credit slump and recovery, but on a net basis lending conditions stagnated. But bank credit for these two sectors will have contracted, allowing for net bond issuance of collateralised consumer debt and by corporations securing cheap finance by issuing corporate bonds at near zero interest rates, which are contained in Figure 1. Following the start of the pandemic, lending conditions expanded under government direction and borrowing by both sectors increased substantially. Meanwhile, over the same period bond issuance to governments increased, particularly since the pandemic started, illustrated in Figure 2. The charts in Figures 1 and 2 support the thesis that credit expansion and bond finance had, until recently, disadvantaged the non-financial private sector. The expansion of government borrowing has been entirely through bonds bought by the ECB, as will be demonstrated when we look at the euro system balance sheet. They confirm that zero and negative rates have not stimulated the Eurozone’s economies as Keynesians theorised. And the increased credit during the pandemic reflects financial support and not a renewed attempt at Keynesian stimulation. The purpose of debt expansion is important because the moment the supposed stimulus wears off or interest rates rise, we will see bank credit for households and businesses begin to contract again. Only this time, there will be a heightened risk for banks of collateral failure. And higher interest rates will also undermine mark-to-market values for government and corporate bonds on their balance sheets, which could rapidly erode the capital of Eurozone banks, given their exceptionally high gearing shown in Table A above. Figure 3 charts the euro system’s combined balance sheet since August 2008, the month Lehman failed, when it stood at €1.43 trillion. Greece’s financial crisis ran from 2012-2014, during which time the balance sheet expanded to €3.09 trillion, before partially normalising to €2.01 trillion. In January 2015, the ECB launched its expanded asset purchase programme (APP — otherwise referred to as quantitative easing) to prevent price inflation remaining too low for a prolonged period. The fear was Keynesian deflation, with the HICP measure of price inflation falling to -0.5% at that time, despite the ECB’s deposit rate having been already reduced to -0.2% the previous September. Between March 2015 and September 2016, the combined purchases by the ECB of public and private sector securities amounted to €1.14 trillion, corresponding to 11.3% of euro area nominal GDP. The APP was “recalibrated” in December 2015, extended to March 2017 and beyond, if necessary, at €60bn monthly. And the deposit rate was lowered to -0.3%. Not even that was enough, with a further recalibration to €80bn monthly in March 2016, with it intended to be extended to the end of the year when it would be resumed at the previous rate of €60bn per month. The expansion of the ECB’s balance sheet led to the rate of price inflation recovering to 1% in 2017, as one would expect. With the expansion of credit for the non-financial private sector going nowhere (Figures 1 and 2 above), the Keynesian stimulus simply failed in this objective. But when in March 2020 the US Fed reduced its funds rate to 0% and announced QE of $120bn monthly, the ECB did what it had learned to do when in a monetary hole: continue digging even faster. March 2020 saw the ECB increase purchases under the asset purchase programme (APP) and adopt a new programme, the pandemic emergency purchase programme (PEPP). These measures are the reason why the volumes of the Eurosystem’s monthly monetary policy net purchases are higher than ever before, driving its balance sheet total to over €8.5 trillion today. The ECB’s bond purchases closely matched the funding requirements of national central banks, both being €4 trillion between January 2015 and June 2021. The counterpart to these purchases is an increase in the amount of circulating cash. In other words, the ECB has gone full Rudolf Havenstein. There is no difference in the ECB’s objectives compared with those of Havenstein when he was President of the Reichsbank following the First World War; a monetary policy that impoverished Germany’s middle classes and pushed the labouring class and elderly into starvation by collapsing the paper-mark. Except that today, German society is paying through the destruction of its savings for the spendthrift behaviour of its Eurozone partners rather than that of its own government. The ECB now has an additional problem with price inflation picking up globally. Producer input prices in Europe are rising strongly with the overall Eurozone HICP rate for November at 4.9% annualised, and doubtless with more rises to come. Oil prices have risen over 50% in a year, and natural gas over 60%, the latter even more on European markets due to a supply crisis of its governments’ own making. Increasingly, the policy purpose of the ECB is no longer to stimulate the economy, but to ensure that spendthrift member state deficits are financed as cheaply as possible. But how can it do that when on the back of soaring consumer prices, interest rates are now going to rise? Clearly, the higher interest rates go, the faster the ECB will increase its balance sheet because it is committed to not just covering every Eurozone member state’s budget deficit but the interest on their borrowings as well. But there’s more. In a speech on 12 October, Christine Lagarde, the President of the ECB indicated that it stands ready to contribute to financing the transition to carbon neutral. And in a joint letter to the FT, the President of France and Italy’s Prime Minister called for a relaxation of the EU’s fiscal rules so that they could spend more on key investments. This is a flavour of what they said: "Just as the rules could not be allowed to stand in the way of our response to the pandemic, so they should not prevent us from making all necessary investments," the two leaders wrote, while noting that "debt raised to finance such investments, which undeniably benefit the welfare of future generations and long-term growth, should be favoured by the fiscal rules, given that public spending of this sort actually contributes to debt sustainability over the long run." The rules under the Stability and Growth Pact have in fact been suspended, and are planned to be reapplied in 2023, But clearly, these two high spenders feel boxed in. The Stability and Growth Pact will almost certainly be eased — being a charade, rather like the US’s debt ceiling. The trouble is Eurozone governments are too accustomed to inflationary finance to abandon it. If the ECB could inflate the currency without the consequences being apparent, there would be no problem. But with prices soaring above the mandated 2% target that is no longer true. Up to now, the ECB has been in denial, claiming that price pressures will subside. But we know, or should know, that a rise in the general level of prices is due to monetary expansion, the excessive plucking of leaves from the magic money tree, particularly at an enhanced rate since March 2020 which is yet to be reflected fully at the consumer level. And in its duty to fund the PIGS government deficits, the ECB’s balance sheet expansion through bond purchases is sure to continue. Furthermore, if bond yields do rise, it will threaten to undermine the balance sheets of the highly geared commercial banks. The commercial banks position With the economies of Eurozone member states stifled by the ECB’s management of monetary affairs since the Lehman crisis in 2008 and by more recent covid lockdowns, the accumulation of bad debts at the commercial banks is a growing threat to the entire financial system. Table A above, of the Eurozone G-SIBs’ operational gearing and their share ratings, gives testament to the problem. So far, bad debts in Italian and other PIGS banks have been reduced, not by their being resolved, but by them being used as collateral for loans from national central banks. Local bank regulators deem non-performing loans to be performing so they can be hidden from sight in the ECB’s TARGET2 settlement system. Together with the ECB’s asset purchases conducted through national central banks, these probably account for most of the imbalances in the TARGET2 cross-border settlement system, which in theory should not exist. The position to last October is shown in Figure 4. Liabilities owed to the Bundesbank are increasing again at record levels, while the amounts owed by the Italian and Spanish central banks are also increasing. These balances were before global pressures for rising interest rates materialised. Given the sharp increase in bank lending to households and non-financial corporations since March last year (see Figure 1), bad debts seem certain to accumulate at the banks in the coming months. This is likely to undermine collateral values in Europe’s repo markets, which are mostly conducted in euros and almost certainly exceed €10 trillion, having been recorded at €8.3 trillion at end-2019.[vi] The extent to which national central banks have taken in repo collateral themselves will then become a major problem. It is against the background of negative Euribor rates that the repo market has grown. It is not clear what role negative rates plays in this growth. While one can see a reason for a bank to borrow at sub-zero rates, it is harder to justify lending at them. And in a repo, the collateral is returned on a pre-agreed basis, so it’s removal from a bank’s books is temporary. Nonetheless, this market has grown to be an integral part of daily transactions between European banks. The variations in collateral quality are shown in Figure 5. This differs materially from repo markets in the US, which is almost exclusively for short-term liquidity purposes and uses high quality collateral only (US Treasury bills and bonds and agency debt). Bonds rated BBB and worse made up 27.7% of the total collateral in December 2019. In Europe and particularly the Eurozone rising interest rates can be expected to undermine collateral ratings, which with increasing Euribor rates will almost certainly contract the size of the market. This heightens the risk of a liquidity-driven systemic failure, as repo liquidity is withdrawn from banks that depend upon it. Government finances are out of control The first column in Table B shows government debt to GDP, which is the conventional yardstick of government debt measurement relative to the economy. The second column shows the proportion of government spending in the total economy relative to GDP, enabling us to derive the third column. The base for government revenue upon which paying down its debt ultimately rests is the private sector, and the third column shows the extent to which and where this true burden lies. It exposes the impossible position of countries such as Greece, Italy, France, and Belgium, Portugal and Spain, where, besides their own private sector debt burdens, citizens earning their livings without being paid by their governments are assumed by markets to be responsible for underwriting their governments’ debts. The hope that these countries can grow their way out of their debt is demolished in the context of the actual tax base. It is now widely recognised that will already high levels of taxation further tax increases will undermine these economies. We can dismiss as hogwash the alterative, the vain hope that yet more stimulus in the form of a further increase in deficits will generate economic recovery, and that higher tax revenues will follow to normalise public finances. It is a populist argument amongst some free marketeers today, citing Ronald Reagan’s and Margaret Thatcher’s successful economic policies. But in those times, the US and UK governments were not nearly so indebted and their economies were able to respond positively to lower taxes. Furthermore, price inflation was declining then while it is increasing today. And as a paper by Carmen Reinhart and Ken Rogoff pointed out, a nation whose government debt exceeds 90% of GDP has great difficulty growing its way out of it.[vii]Seven of the Eurozone nations already exceed this 90% Rubicon, and their debts are still growing considerably faster than their GDP. At 111% the entire Euro area itself is well above it. Taking account of the smaller proportion of private sector activity relative to those of their governments highlights the difference between the current situation and that of nations that managed to pay down even higher debt levels after the Second World War by gently inflating their way out of a debt trap while their economies progressed in the post-war environment. Additionally, we should bear in mind future government liabilities, whose net present values are considerably greater than their current debt. Over time, these must be financed. And with rising price inflation, hard costs such as healthcare escalate them even further. The position gets progressively worse as these mandated costs become realised. There is a solution to it, and that is to cut government spending so that its budget always balances. But for socialising politicians, slashing departmental budgets is the equivalent of eating their own children. It is a reversal of everything they stand for. And it requires welfare legislation to be rescinded to stop the accumulation of future welfare costs. There is no democratic mandate for that. Conclusion Rising interest rates globally will affect all major currencies, and for some of them expose systemic risks. An examination of the existing situation and how higher interest rates will affect it points to the Eurozone as being the most likely global weak spot. The Eurozone’s debt position pitches the entire global financial and economic system further towards a debt crisis than generally realised. Particularly for Greece, Italy, France, Belgium, Portugal, and Spain in that order of indebtedness, the problem is most acute. They only survive because the ECB ensures they can pay their bills by funding them totally through inflation of the quantity of euros in circulation. The ECB’s entire purpose has become to transfer wealth from the more fiscally prudent member states to the spendthrifts by debasing the currency. In the process, based on figures provided by the Bank for International Settlements the banking system is contracting credit to the private sector, and it is not even accumulating government bonds, which is a surprise.  Much like banks in the US, Eurozone banks have become increasingly distracted into financial activities and speculation. The difference is the high level of operational gearing, up to thirty times in the case of one major French bank, while most of the US’s G-SIBs are geared about 11 times on average. This article points to these disparities between US and EU banking risks having been a factor in the US repo market failure in September 2019. And we can assume that the Americans remain wary of counterparty exposure to Eurozone banks to this day. That the ECB is funding net government borrowing in its entirety indicates that even investing institutions such as pension funds and insurance companies, along with the banks are sitting on their hands with respect to government debt. It means that savings are not offsetting the inflationary effects of government bond issues. It represents a vote to stay out of what has become a highly troubling and inflationary situation. The question arises as to how long this extraordinary situation can continue. It must come to an end some time, and by destabilising a highly leveraged banking system the end will be a crisis. With its GDP being similar in size to China’s (which is seeing a more traditional property crisis unfolding at the same time) a banking crisis in the Eurozone could be the trigger for dominoes falling everywhere. As for the euro’s future, it seems unlikely that the ECB has the capability of dealing with the crisis that will unfold. It has cheated the northern states, particularly Germany, the Netherlands, Finland, Ireland, the Czech Republic, and Luxembourg to the benefit of spendthrifts, particularly the political heavyweights of France, Italy and Spain. It is a rift likely to end the euro system and the ECB itself. The deconstruction of this shabby arrangement should prove the end of the euro and possibly of the European Union itself. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 07:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

Google Manipulates Results As "Mass Formation Psychosis" Searches Explode Due To Collapsing COVID Narrative

Google Manipulates Results As "Mass Formation Psychosis' Searches Explode Due To Collapsing COVID Narrative Authored by Matt Agorist via TheFreeThoughtProject.com, Those paying attention to the current situation regarding the establishment’s control on the narrative around Covid-19, have watched as anyone — including esteemed experts in the field — are censored into oblivion for attempting to put forth information that challenges the status quo. For the first time in recent American history, merely talking about alternative treatments for a disease is met with mass censorship by big tech. This is diametrically opposed to actual “science” and the opposite direction in which a free society should be moving. One of the people who has been censored the most is Robert W Malone MD, MS who is one of the inventors of mRNA & DNA vaccines. Dr. Malone has been outspoken about the way the establishment system is handling, or rather mishandling, the covid crisis. His Twitter account had grown to over a half million followers last week before the platform decided that his alternative views on the pandemic were a danger to the narrative. So they banned him. Instead of standing up for the free exchange of ideas by experts — which is how science works  — the left cheered for Malone’s censorship, calling him a kook while celebrating the tools of tyrants. Before Donald Trump came into office and caused mass hysteria over Russia, the left used to stand for freedom of speech. However, the flamboyant tyrant in the White House quickly eroded their respect for rights. Then, in 2020, Covid-19 arrived and the censorship campaign switched into overdrive. The left — armed with their militant “fact checkers” whose opinions are wielded like swords against anyone who challenges the official narrative — became the regime of authoritarian information controllers. After all, if you challenge their messiahs like Dr. Fauci, you challenge science itself — facts be damned. So what happened? Why did the left go from championing free speech for years — even supporting the speech of neo-nazis — to rabidly demanding the silencing of those who attempt to challenge team doom? Dr. Malone and others have a theory, and it’s called mass formation psychosis. “When you have a society that has become decoupled from each other and has free-floating anxiety in a sense that things don’t make sense, we can’t understand it, and then their attention gets focused by a leader or series of events on one small point just like hypnosis, they literally become hypnotized and can be led anywhere,” explained Malone on a recent interview with Joe Rogan. Malone then described how “leaders” can exploit this situation: “And one of the aspects of that phenomenon is that the people that they identify as their leaders, the ones typically that come in and say you have this pain and I can solve it for you. I and I alone. Then they will follow that person. It doesn’t matter whether they lied to them or whatever. The data is irrelevant.” On Joe Rogan, Dr Robert Malone suggests we are living through a mass formation psychosis. He explains how and why this could happen, and its effects. He draws analogy to 1920s/30s Germany “they had a highly intelligent, highly educated population, and they went barking mad” pic.twitter.com/wZpfMsyEZZ — Mythinformed MKE (@MythinformedMKE) January 1, 2022 After Dr. Malone explained this concept of mass formation, developed by Dr. Mattias Desmet, professor of clinical psychology at Ghent University in Belgium, internet searches for “mass formation psychosis” began to exponentially increase. It appeared that Google, at one point, even attempted to skew the returned results, and it appears it is still happening. Dr Malone broke the algorithm and now Google is struggling to manually edit the results when you search for mass formation psychosis. Try it. Never seen this before. pic.twitter.com/kBKBGjM8bB — Jack Posobiec (@JackPosobiec) January 1, 2022 Now, when you search for the phrase on Google, it returns articles by mainstream media outlets, like Forbes who took to making fun of Malone for even daring to suggest that this was the case. Apparently, large swaths of people calling for the unvaccinated to be put into camps, denied healthcare, and even killed, is not psychosis. It’s normal. It’s normal to completely dismiss the massive amounts of data in front of us, and instead opt for a fear-driven narrative that has caused suffering of epic proportions in populations whose risk of complications from covid are almost non-existent. If you search for the term on DuckDuckGo, however, Dr. Malone’s article from last month comes up. Bing, unlike Google, did not manipulate Malone’s article out of the search results either.  Though Google is hiding it and Forbes is downplaying it, mass formation psychosis is a plausible explanation for what is going on right now in Western society. According to Desmet, there are four basic conditions which need to be met for a society to be vulnerable to mass hypnosis. And we are meeting all of them. The first condition is a lack of social bonding. Over the last five years, Americans have been torn in half by the Trump phenomenon and when covid arrived it pushed people into isolation that much further. As fearful individuals pine away in their homes with no social interaction, their lack of community has fallen to a depressing level. The second condition for mass psychosis is a lack of meaning or purpose in one’s life. Desmet cites a Gallup poll done with people in 142 countries in which 63% of respondents admitted to being so disengaged at work that they were sleepwalking through their day, putting time but not passion into their work. What’s more, a recent poll of young people in the UK revealed that 89 percent of those aged 16-29, “believe that their lives have no meaning or purpose.” Free floating anxiety is the third condition for mass psychosis and one need only look at the millions of prescriptions for anti-anxiety/depression medications in the country to realize that it is rife throughout the west. As Desmet points out, if people feel socially isolated and that their life has no meaning, their anxiety isn’t connected to a mental representation. This free-floating anxiety then creates deep psychological discontent. Finally, the fourth condition needed for mass psychosis is prevalent levels of frustration and aggression. A quick stroll down Twitter lane and the amount of overt societal aggression becomes exceedingly clear. It has even manifested countless times in real life as pro-maskers attack anti-maskers and vice versa. The term “covid Karen” exists for a reason. One can reasonably argue that all four of these condition are easily met currently, which is fomenting a mob psychology. And as Desmet reminds us, this psychological phenomenon explains why so many have bought into a clearly illogical and unscientific narrative, and why they are willing to participate in the prescribed strategy like quadruple masking — “even if it’s utterly absurd,” Desmet says. “The reason they buy into the narrative is because it leads to this new social bond,” he explains. “Science, logic and correctness have nothing to do with it.” Sound familiar? How many times have people continued to cite the “experts” whose narratives have been proven false over and over again. How many times have wee seen people blindly follow these known liars simply because these liars offer them solidarity in their mutual psychosis. Even the FDA has fallen into this formation as they push vaccinations for 5-11 year old children despite no clear emergency for children. In spite of the lack of emergency, because these new community bonds have formed and team doom is under mass hypnosis, millions of parents eagerly await to inject their children with a vaccine that hasn’t even been approved for them. What, besides mass psychosis could explain the mainstream media scoffing at the 400,000 adverse reaction events from the covid vaccine reported to VAERS in the last year? How is it that these reported events, including 20,000 deaths posted to the system are written off as immediately unreliable — despite all previous data showing that it is likely a vast undercount? How is it that mainstream media and their supporters in team doom can justify myocarditis in children as some preservation of the greater good, without falling victim to mass psychosis? Without mass psychosis, why are people so willing to surrender their freedoms, submit to vaccine passports, and welcome a totalitarian police state with open arms? This behavior is not “normal.” Those under mass psychosis have simply formed a bond so strong that actual facts no longer matter — for they are now the virtuous ones. Anyone who doesn’t constantly virtue signal to the collective is an enemy. Through fact checkers, social media, and big tech control, this collective focusses their rage and hatred on those who have not fallen victim to the spell. Those not under the spell are evil, need to be locked up, arrested, and are deemed domestic terrorists by the collective. Critical thought, logic, and reason rest in their graves as mass psychosis maintains its grip on millions of fearful, anxious, and aggressive loners who have found their place in the virtuous and caring aggregate horde. While this outlook may seem bleak, the good news is that we can fight this mass psychosis by continuing to counter the narrative which is driving it, thereby shaking others out of their hypnosis by repeatedly exposing them to actual reality. What’s more, it means these horrific things that many people are saying online, like the unvaccinated should be excluded from society or locked up, isn’t necessarily coming from a place of evil, but it’s more of a psychological process their minds are doing to help them survive their false reality. *  *  * Click here to join The Free Thought Project resistance Tyler Durden Tue, 01/04/2022 - 18:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 4th, 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

Futures Ramp On China Stimulus Hopes Ahead Of Central Bank Barrage

Futures Ramp On China Stimulus Hopes Ahead Of Central Bank Barrage U.S. futures rose again, starting the Santa rally predicted over the weekend by Goldman, after the underlying index surged to a record on Friday with risk appetite returning ahead of this week’s barrage of central bank meetings including the Fed on Wednesday, followed by the Bank of England and ECB. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.4% as major technology and internet stocks rose in premarket trading with Apple inching closer to a $3 trillion market valuation; S&P 500 futures rose 11 points or 0.2%; with Dow Jones futures also rising 0.2%. Chinese developers’ bonds and shares experienced a wave of selling after the sudden plunge in Shimao Group's notes restarted concern over the health of the sector 10-year Treasury yields inched lower to 1.4684% and the dollar pushed higher. Bitcoin extended losses toward $48,000 as Binance bailed on plans for a Singapore exchange. Traders pared bets that the BOE will raise rates next year as concerns over fresh Covid restrictions outweighed inflation fears. Risk sentiment got a boost from predictions China will start adding fiscal stimulus in early 2022, said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote. “The chances of a massive hawkish surprise are limited, and the actual expectation doesn’t interfere with equity investors’ craving for a Santa rally to close a record-breaking year with one last record,” she wrote. Indeed, as we have been expecting for much of the past 6 months, China’s top decision makers last week signaled policies may become more supportive of growth next year. Economists predict China will start adding fiscal stimulus in early 2022. US stocks close Friday at a new record after in-line inflation data did not surprise to the upside for the first time in months and spurred bets that the Federal Reserve won’t have to accelerate plans to tighten monetary policy. That came amid a backdrop of uncertainty from the omicron coronavirus variant, a factor that traders are likely to also monitor closely as the week starts. Volatility should remain high as several central banks will decide on interest rates this week, Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades, said in written comments. The “policies should set the trading tone, providing investors with more clues on next year’s investing environment.” The Federal Reserve on Wednesday is expected to speed up stimulus withdrawal and perhaps open the door to earlier interest-rate hikes in 2022 if price pressures stay near a four-decade peak. After repeated jawboning, it would be a major surprise if the bank doesn't announce a faster tapering, and the bond market will have to adapt to the new approach. “Global equities had a solid run last week and we’ll see if the goodwill lasts into what is a behemoth when it comes to event risk,” Chris Weston, head of research with Pepperstone Financial Pty Ltd., wrote in a note. Omicron and the Fed should dictate sentiment, he added. Meanwhile, in the world of covid, at least 30 U.S. states have reported omicron cases, with Anthony Fauci of course stepping up calls for boosters to increase protection and making pharma CEOs even richer. That said, all cases for which there's available information were asymptomatic or mild, European health chiefs said. That did not stop Boris Johnson from warning that the U.K. faces a tidal wave of infections and set a year-end deadline for its booster program. South Africa's Cyril Ramaphosa tested positive. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Arena Pharmaceuticals soars after Pfizer agrees to buy it for $100/Shr in Cash Apple shares rose 1%, leaving the stock close to hitting $3t market capitalization if the move holds. Airbnb, Lucid, Zscaler and Datadog shares all rise in U.S. premarket trading with the companies set to be added to the Nasdaq 100 index later this month. Peloton Interactive shares gain after the home-exercise firm put out an advert responding to a scene in the TV show “And Just Like That...” where a character dies using its product. The stock closed 5.4% lower on Friday, the day after the episode aired. TherapeuticsMD fell 25% in premarket trading after the FDA said it couldn’t approve revisions to some manufacturing testing limits for the Annovera birth-control ring requested by the company through a supplemental new drug application. European stocks also advanced, led by technology and mining stocks. The Euro Stoxx 50 rose as much as 1%, DAX outperforming at the margin.  In the U.K., traders are paring back bets on Bank of England rate hikes over the next year as concerns over fresh Covid restrictions outweigh inflation fears. Asian stocks erased an early advance as deepening losses in shares of Chinese property developers and persistent concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant soured sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.2% after having climbed as much as 0.8%. Equity benchmarks in India and South Korea led regional declines. While stocks in China and Hong Kong rallied in morning trade on signals policies may become more pro-growth next year, the Hang Seng Index erased a gain of as much as 1.6%. That was owing to a selloff in real estate names after a plunge in the bonds and shares of Shimao Group sparked renewed concern over the health of the sector. Monday’s trading in Asia also highlighted investor caution as markets confront potential economic risks from omicron’s spread and a series of central bank meetings this week, including the Federal Reserve. The Fed on Wednesday is expected to speed up stimulus withdrawal and perhaps open the door to earlier interest-rate hikes in 2022 if price pressures stay near a four-decade peak. “We are in the last three weeks of the year -- no investor is going to place new bets and are more likely to be taking profits off the table,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. “Any negative news will be taken as a reason to press the sell button.” Meanwhile, China’s stocks climbed for the fourth day in five after the nation’s annual economic conference ended Friday with a vow to ensure “stability” and “front load” policies. Foreign investors on Monday added to record purchases of mainland shares last week. Focus now shifts to data due later in the week, including industrial production, retail sales and fixed-asset investment. India’s benchmark stock index dropped, with a fall in Reliance Industries Ltd. weighing on the market. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.9% to close at 58,283.42 in Mumbai, reversing gains of as much as 0.7%. The index had posted its best weekly performance since mid-October on Friday. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also fell 0.8% on Monday. Still, a measure of small-cap companies gained 0.2%. Reliance, the nation’s most valuable company, dropped 2%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 23 fell and seven rose. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a gauge of energy companies. “Selling is more evident in benchmark indices as overseas investors are booking at least a part of their profits ahead of the U.S. Fed’s rate-setting meeting that is likely to speed up the policy normalization process,” Abhay Agarwal, founder of Mumbai-based Piper Serica Advisors Pvt., an investment management company with assets of 5 billion rupees under management, said by phone.  The Fed.’s policy announcement is due Wednesday, where it is expected to speed up stimulus withdrawal and perhaps open the door to earlier interest-rate hikes in 2022. “Post-event, we expect to see a reallocation, though at a slower pace as FPIs will factor in the possible hike in interest rates, apart from the tapering of stimulus,” Agarwal said. Locally, the government will release its consumer inflation print for the month of November later on Monday. Inflation likely rose to 5.1% year-on-year in November from 4.5% in the previous month, according to a Bloomberg survey. Fixed income drifts higher with bund and UST curves bull flattening. Treasury yields were lower as the U.S. trading day begins, with the 10Y sliding to 1.46% and short-term little changed, prolonging the curve-flattening trend. With no U.S. economic data slated and Fed speakers silent ahead of Wednesday’s policy meeting, supply is a focal point, and Fed is slated to buy long-end sectors with no coupon supply until next week’s 20-year reopening. 10- to 30-year yields lower by about 1bp-2bp, 10-year by 1.5b at ~1.468%; 2- to 5-year yields little changed, narrowing 2s10s and 5s30s by 1bp-2bp.Peripheral spreads tighten slightly with short-dated BTPs leading a cautious move higher. Gilts bull steepen, trading ~2.5bps richer across the short end as money markets continue to price out hikes in light of the latest Covid restrictions. In FX, Bloomberg Dollar index drifts 0.3% higher, erasing Friday’s decline and rallying against all its peers with the focus on Wednesday’s Federal Reserve meeting amid speculation officials might accelerate the pace of policy normalization. Flows in the spot market are running at 70% of the recent average, a Europe-based trader told Bloomberg. Volatility term structures in the major currencies remain inverted as the market awaits forward guidance that could shape trading for the better part of 2022 U.S. inflation data in line with expectations on Friday “almost certainly won’t change the balance-of-risk assessment for the Fed, and the communications of late expressing concern over inflation risks remain valid,” says MUFG’s Derek Halpenny. “The week starts quietly in terms of data today but it remains likely that the dollar will remain supported into the FOMC on Wednesday with anticipation high of some hawkish rhetoric to accompany the decision to speed up QE tapering.” GBP/USD fell 0.2% to 1.3244 after gaining 0.5% over the previous two sessions. The Bank of England is set to opt for caution over Covid rather than worries about inflation, pushing back its first rate increase since the pandemic into 2022, according to economists. U.K. Health Secretary Sajid Javid said there’s no certainty the government will be able to keep schools in England open, as it battles to contain the spread of the omicron Covid-19 variant.  “This week is interesting for GBP as markets scrutinize labor-market report tomorrow ahead of BOE,” said Christopher Wong, senior foreign-exchange strategist at Malayan Banking Bhd. in Singapore. “There are concerns unemployment will spike if workers are made redundant or if people cannot find jobs, and this labor report will provide the first assessment.” The Yen outperformed amid broad dollar strength; USD/JPY still up 0.2% at 113.69. AUD and NOK are the weakest in G-10.  Turkish lira crashed again, plunging to a new record low in early London trade with USD/TRY initially rallying over 6% to highs of 14.7590, before fading some of the move after another intervention from the Turkish central bank. In commodities, crude futures give back Asia’s gains; WTI is little changed near $71.78, Brent dips below $75.50. Spot gold holds a narrow range near $1,785/oz. Most base metals are in the green with LME aluminum outperforming.  Bitcoin once again failed to rise above $50,000, extending losses toward $48,000 as Binance bailed on plans for a Singapore exchange There are no major economic developments on today's calendar, but it's a busy week with about 20 central banks making monetary policy announcements, including the Fed, the BOE and ECB, and the divergence of their paths will be evident. Jerome Powell may turn more hawkish as he fights rising inflation, while the ECB joins China in leaning dovish and playing down soaring prices. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 4,728.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.7% to 478.82 MXAP down 0.2% to 193.62 MXAPJ down 0.3% to 630.93 Nikkei up 0.7% to 28,640.49 Topix up 0.1% to 1,978.13 Hang Seng Index down 0.2% to 23,954.58 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,681.08 Sensex down 0.9% to 58,278.65 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 7,379.26 Kospi down 0.3% to 3,001.66 Brent Futures up 0.8% to $75.74/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,784.20 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.34% to 96.42 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36% Euro down 0.4% to $1.1265 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Almost 20 central banks meet this week, including the world’s biggest. No surprise that volatility term structures in the major currencies remain inverted as the market awaits forward guidance that could shape trading for the better part of 2022 The Bank of Japan offered to buy 2 trillion yen ($17.6 billion) of government bonds under repurchase agreements after repo rates jumped to a two-year high Turkey’s central bank intervened in the market by selling FX after the lira tumbled past 14 to the dollar for the first time, piling pressure on a central bank that’s forecast to keep cutting interest rates this week despite rising inflation. The decline came after S&P Global Ratings lowered the outlook on the nation’s sovereign credit rating to negative on Friday, citing risks from the “extreme currency volatility” The ECB’s biggest decision this week is to decide if it can still call the current inflation spike “transitory.” The answer will have a huge bearing on the euro-area economy, which is already dealing with resurgent coronavirus infections, new restrictions and lockdowns, and uncertainty about the omicron variant ECB Vice President Luis de Guindos is self-isolating after testing positive for Covid-19 on Saturday, the ECB said in a statement posted on its website. Guindos hasn’t been in close contact with ECB President Christine Lagarde over the past week, according to the statement. The Spaniard, who is double- vaccinated and has very mild symptoms, will work from home until further notice Two doses of the Pfizer Inc. and AstraZeneca Plc. vaccines induced lower levels of antibodies against the omicron variant, increasing the risk of Covid infection, according to researchers from the University of Oxford. A more detailed breakdown of overnight news from Newsquawk Asia-Pac equity markets took their cues from last Friday’s gains on Wall Street where the S&P 500 notched a fresh record close and its best weekly performance since February, with markets now bracing for a risk-packed week including a busy schedule of central bank meetings. The ASX 200 (+0.4%) traded higher with risk appetite supported by the reopening of Australia’s borders to international students and skilled workers from Wednesday, while the government will also partially underwrite up to AUD 7bln in new loans for small businesses impacted by lockdowns. The Nikkei 225 (+0.7%) benefitted from the mild outflows from the JPY, with the index unphased by mixed Tankan and Machinery Orders data in which the Tankan Large Manufacturers Index and Outlook missed expectations but sentiment among Large Non-Manufacturers and Small Manufacturers improved for the sixth consecutive quarter. The Hang Seng (-0.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) predominantly conformed to the upbeat mood amid economists' expectations for China to add fiscal stimulus from early next year following last week’s conclusion to the Central Economic Work Conference, which noted that China's economy faces shrinking demand, supply shock, and weakening expectations but added that economic operations are to be kept within a reasonable range. Alibaba shares were among the biggest gainers in Hong Kong as it extended its rebound from YTD lows. Finally, 10yr JGBs were rangebound with March futures contained by resistance at the key 152.00 level and amid the positive mood across riskier assets, although JGBs were off the lows seen late last week where there were source reports that the BoJ is likely to scale back its pandemic relief programs in March with a potential announcement as early as this week’s meeting. Top Asian News Shriram Units Merge to Form Largest India Retail Financier Intel to Spend $7 Billion on Big Malaysia Chipmaking Expansion Shimao Group Appoints Xie Kun as Executive Director Daimler Reveals Chinese Partner BAIC Raised Stake to Almost 10% Stocks in Europe have continued to gain since the cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +1.0%; Stoxx 600 +0.5%) as the APAC sentiment reverberates through the region following a fleeting blip lower in early European trade. US equity futures are also firmer but to a lesser magnitude – with the RTY (+0.3%) narrowly outpacing the ES (+0.%), NQ (+0.4%) and YM (+0.2%). Focus this week will be on the slew of central bank updates which kicks off with the FOMC on Wednesday, followed by the BoE and ECB on Thursday - with Flash PMIs, Christmas liquidity and Quad Witching also part of this week’s concoction. Add to that the potential tail-risk from geopolitics and headline risk from COVID. Nonetheless, European cash markets at the moment seem unfazed by what’s ahead. Sectors are pro-cyclical with Basic Resources and Autos topping the charts, whilst the defensive Healthcare, Telecoms and Personal & Household goods reside at the bottom. A recent Citi note suggests that rising earnings should keep European stocks moving higher and offset expansive valuations and tightening monetary policy in the US. Citi targets some 9% upside for the Stoxx 600 next year, with a target of 520 (vs current c.477), whilst 12% upside is targeted in the FTSE 100 to 8,200 (vs current c. 7,303). Citi leans in favour of cyclicals vs defensives - with overweights in Banks, Insurance, Basic Resources, Industrials, Media, Luxury Goods and Chemicals. Citi is underweight Utilities, Telecoms, Food & Beverages, Personal Care, Travel, Autos and Financial Services. The bank has also added to its focus list: AstraZeneca (+0.1%), Aviva (+0.7%), Capgemini (+1.2%), Faurecia (+0.9%), Iberdrola (-0.3%), Lloyds (-0.7%), Prosus (+1.5%), Royal Mail (+1.6%), Sanofi (Unch), Tesco (+0.4%), UBS (+0.2%), Vodafone (Unch), Volvo (+1.1%). Separately, Goldman Sachs sees muted returns for global stocks next year amid negative real rates coupled with high equity risk premia and in the absence of a growth shock. GS suggests that risks are growing in the US on a relative basis and sees a maximum drawdown of between -5 to -10% over the next 12 months. Top European News European Gas, Power Prices Surge on Nord Stream 2 Worries U.K. Says Can’t Rule Out Shutting Schools as Omicron Spreads UBS Global Wealth Management Discontinues USDTRY Coverage Vivendi Has ‘Never Been a Threat’ to Lagardere: Arnaud Lagardere In FX, the Greenback has clawed back all and a bit more of its post-US inflation data losses, partly on reflection perhaps that the CPI prints were broadly in line, and actually a tad above consensus in terms of the m/m headline rate, so highly unlikely to derail the Fed from upping the pace of QE tapering this week and probably won’t deter the more hawkish FOMC members from pencilling in a steeper lift-off. Hence, having ended Friday’s session fractionally below a Fib retracement level (96.098), the index subsequently eclipsed the intraday peak (96.429) to turn what was a bearish technical close into a constructive start to the new week within a 96.080-450 range and a ‘close’ above 96.500 would be deemed positive, if not bullish. CHF/EUR/AUD - Very little traction from latest signs of building inflation pressure in the Eurozone via German wholesale prices reaching a record high 16.6% y/y in November, but the Euro has held above 1.0400 against the Franc in wake of latest weekly Swiss sight deposits showing a rise in domestic bank balances. Meanwhile, the single currency has absorbed some stops triggered on a breach of 1.1265 vs the Buck and could derive underlying support from decent option expiry interest at 1.1250 (1.5 bn) at the base of a band extending to 1.1320 (2 bn) through 1.1270-1.1300 (1.1 bn), and Usd/Chf is hovering around 0.9250 at the upper end of a 0.9257-00 band ahead of producer/import prices on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the Aussie has not been able to benefit from good news in the form of Australia opening its borders to international students and skilled workers from Wednesday, Government plans to partially underwrite up to Aud 7 bn new loans for small businesses impacted by lockdowns, or buoyant risk appetite, as it straddles 0.7150 against its US counterpart. JPY/NZD/CAD/GBP - Also conceding ground to their US peer, with the Yen back below 113.50 and hardly helped by mixed Japanese macro releases including December’s Tankan survey and October machinery orders, while the Kiwi is back under 0.6800 even though NZ PM Ardern said the COVID-19 alert level for Auckland is to be eased on December 30 and the next review is scheduled for January 17. The Loonie is slipping alongside WTI between 1.2753-06 parameters and Cable has tested Fib support into 1.3200 at 1.3200 amidst ongoing UK political furore over Conservative Party transgressions during lockdown last year and heightened Omicron restrictions to prevent a tidal wave of infections. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures have been drifting lower since the European morning after the former tested USD 73/bbl to the upside and the latter briefly topped USD 76/bbl. Newsflow for the complex has been light but there have been further positive omens regarding the Iranian nuclear talks - Iran’s top nuclear negotiator said good progress was made in nuclear talks and can quickly pave the way for serious negotiations, whilst Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister said they have reason to anticipate some progress. That being said, we are yet to hear from some of the western nations. Meanwhile, on the OPEC front, Iraq’s Oil Minister said he expects OPEC to maintain its current policy of gradual monthly increases of 400k BPD at the next meeting – slated for early January. On the COVID front, the UK opted not to further tighten restrictions over the weekend but instead boosted the booster programme, whilst reports surrounding the Omicron variant have all highlighted a mild illness. The geopolitical space may require some more attention as tensions remain high on the Ukraine/Russia and Taiwan/China front, with the US involved in both. Russian Deputy Foreign Minister, according to reports this morning, said if the US and NATO do not provide them with guarantees around security, it may lead to confrontation – and emphasised that the lack of progress on this would lead to a military response. Further, there were reports that Saudi Arabia and Iran held security talks. Ahead, the monthly OPEC oil market report is due to be released, but focus this week will likely remain on the slew of central bank meetings. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are constrained to recent ranges ahead of a risk-packed week, with the former still in a purgatory zone below its 50 DMA (1,789/oz), 200 DMA (1,793/oz) and 100 DMA (1,795/oz). Meanwhile, LME copper is firmer on the mild market optimism but has receded south of the USD 9,500/t mark. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We had our first Xmas lunch yesterday with my golf club hosting Santa (arriving on a golf buggy up the 18th fairway) and welcoming kids to the dinning room. I spent the whole lunch worrying their behaviour would get me black balled and banned from golf. Before we went my wife and I took lateral flow tests and Maisie asked if this was to stop Santa getting the virus? She then asked who would deliver all the presents if he had to self isolate. I must admit that I thought this was a very good question, especially as she’s starting to slowly question his existence. I said it was likely ok as Santa had just got his booster as he is over 50. I remember when the third week of December was one long string of Xmas client lunches that you desperately tried the leave as early as you could politely do so even if that was 8pm. This week they’ll be no time for lunches and we’ll be glued to our screens with just the eight G20 central banks deciding on monetary policy. The Fed’s decision on Wednesday will be key of course, with anticipation that they might accelerate the tapering of their asset purchases, but there’s also the ECB and Bank of England meetings to watch out for as well. All of them are very much “live” meetings. Elsewhere the flash PMIs for December (Thursday) could give us an initial indication as to how increased restrictions have begun to affect economic activity. US retail sales and UK CPI (both Wednesday) might be other interesting data points. Reviewing the main highlights in more details now. The Fed’s decision on Wednesday will be the focal point of the week. In terms of what to expect, our US economists write in their preview (link here) that they anticipate a doubling in the pace of tapering, which would bring the monthly drawdown of Treasury and MBS to $20bn and $10bn per month respectively. That would see the process of tapering conclude in March, giving them greater optionality for an earlier liftoff. Bear in mind that this meeting will also see the release of the latest dot plot, as well as the projections for inflation, growth and unemployment. On that, our economists see the median dot in 2022 likely showing two rate hikes, with risks of more, up from September when only half the dots saw any hikes by the end of 2022. The ECB’s decision will then follow on Thursday. In our European economists’ preview (link here) they write that until the arrival of the Omicron variant, the ECB appeared on track to initiate a transition to a monetary policy stance based more on policy rates and rates guidance and less on liquidity provision. They were also set to create a policy framework with more optionality to better respond to inflation uncertainties. The Omicron variant reinforces the need for optionality, but until there’s greater clarity on what it means for the pandemic and the recovery, the ECB may stall the expected decisions in part or in whole until early 2022. As with the Fed, it’ll be interesting to see the December staff forecasts on inflation, which could influence the market view on lift-off timing. The Bank of England’s decision will then take place on Thursday, and our UK economist expects the MPC will raise Bank Rate by +15bps to 0.25%. In the preview (link here) it argues that news of the Omicron variant has changed little on the medium-term economic outlook, with the labour market remaining as tight as it has been in recent memory, and inflation continuing to outpace staff forecasts. Nevertheless, the risks to this view are finely balanced, and risk management considerations may lead them to delay a rate hike, as they instead opt to find out more information on Omicron’s impact. Finally on the central bank front, the Bank of Japan will be holding their final monetary policy meeting of the year on Friday. In our economist’s preview (link here), it says that although there had been an expectation that the bank would revise their special pandemic corporate financing support program at this meeting, the emergence of the Omicron variant has changed the situation. Given the next meeting is only a month later, the view is now that they’ll maintain a wait-and-see stance in this meeting and adjust the policy in January, although a revision remains possible this week if more positive evidence is found on the new variant. Moving on to the data, the main highlight will be the flash PMIs for December from around the world on Thursday which will offer an initial indication as to whether there’s been any economic reaction yet to rise in restrictions and the emergence of the Omicron variant. There’ll also be an increasing amount of hard data out of the US for November, including retail sales (Wednesday), industrial production, housing starts and building permits (all Thursday). In China, Wednesday will see the release of their own retail sales and industrial production data for November, and in Germany on Friday there’s the Ifo’s business climate indicator for December. Finally on the inflation side, releases will include the US PPI data for November tomorrow, along with the UK and Canadian CPI readings for November on Wednesday. Late on Friday the UK released a paper looking at vaccine effectiveness against the Omicron variant. The good news is it suggested those who’d been boosted at least a couple of weeks ago still had decent protection, with 3 doses of Pfizer offering 75.5% effectiveness against symptomatic disease, and those who’d had two doses of AstraZeneca followed by a Pfizer booster had 71.4% effectiveness. Those are both lower than the 90+% effectiveness against delta with a booster, but is still much better than some of the worst outcomes had feared. Furthermore, if the past variants are anything to go by, then the protection against severe disease and hospitalisation could be even higher. However, the bad news is it indicated those who’ve been double-jabbed for some months now have significantly waning protection against this new variant from a purely symptomatic basis without a booster, so this will only encourage governments to ramp up their booster campaigns. The UK last night accelerated their plans to get all over 18s offered a booster. It’s now by the end of the year which will be a Herculean task. This follows PM Johnson last night telling the nation that there’s a tidal wave of Omicron cases coming. The government expects it to become the dominant strain very soon in what will be an incredibly short space of time. Overnight in Asia, markets are trading notably higher with the CSI (+1.31%), Hang Seng (+1.01%), Shanghai Composite (+1.00%), the Nikkei (+0.89%) and KOSPI (+0.28%) all strong after China's policymakers' hinted at more stimulus at the end of annual Central Economic Work Conference on Friday. Indeed our economists suggest that this is the decisive policy shift that markets have been waiting for and believe it’s a big deal. See their report on it here. This optimism is being reflected in the near 6% jump in Iron Ore trading overnight. DM futures are indicating a positive start to markets in the US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.37%) and DAX (+0.44%) futures both in the green. Looking back at last week now and the focus remained squarely on Omicron, where the lack of any concrete bad news lent a more optimistic tone. This modestly improved risk sentiment sent equities and yields higher, and pushed volatility lower with the VIX ending the week -11.88 ppts lower at 18.79. The S&P 500 and Stoxx 600 gained +3.82% and +2.76% over the week (+0.95% and -0.30% Friday respectively). Cyclical sectors and tech stocks led the gains in the US. The small cap Russell 2000 advanced +2.43% (-0.38% Friday) while the Nasdaq climbed +3.61% (+0.73% Friday). The optimism also pushed yields higher and yield curves slightly steeper, with the 10yr treasury gaining +14.1bps this week after a poor close the previous week (-1.5bps Friday) and 10yr bunds climbing +5.1bps (+0.7bps Friday). The 2s10s treasury curve steepened +7.2bps (+1.6bps Friday). Ahead of the Fed’s meeting this week, the market is pricing the first full Fed rate hike by June. In the world of central banking, the Bank of Canada kept policy on hold and reinforced expectations for their inflation target to be sustainably achieved in the middle of 2022, enabling policy rate hikes. Like most DM central banks, they are focused on persistently elevated inflation, which they ascribe to supply constraints that will take time to alleviate. The Reserve Bank of Australia also left its benchmark interest rate unchanged while cautioning that price pressures remain subdued, in contrast to the rest of the DM space. In China, the PBoC cut the required reserve ratio by -50bps to support the economy, while FX reserve ratio was lifted +2.0% to lean against an appreciating renminbi. Property developers Evergrande and Kaisa defaulted on dollar debt. Chinese officials asserted the defaults would be dealt with “in a market-oriented way”. Geopolitical rumblings out of Europe also garnered focus. Presidents Biden and Putin held a phone call to discuss tensions following the build-up of Russian forces on the Ukrainian border. The readouts following the call offered few details but signalled both sides would follow up. President Biden has cautioned severe economic sanctions would be levied should Russia invade Ukraine, including sanctions on Putin’s inner circle, energy companies, and banks. The US would also consider severing Russian access to the US-run international payments system, SWIFT. On Friday, US CPI increased 0.8% and core US CPI increased 0.5% month-over-month in November, with the headline reading a tenth ahead of expectations. Commensurate year-over-year readings were 6.8% and 4.9%, the highest readings since 1982 and 1991, respectively. Measures of underlying and trend inflation continued to move higher, suggesting the Fed’s recent hawkish pivot will continue to be embraced by policymakers. Tyler Durden Mon, 12/13/2021 - 07:56.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 13th, 2021

ADUs Are Blowing Up, But Does It Matter?

What are ADUs? Some call them “granny flats.” Others call them “she-sheds” or “in-law suites.” Recently, “tiny house” became a trendy topic among certain builders. Nearly all of these—regardless of terminology or function—will fall under the category of “accessory dwelling unit,” or ADU. Amid a nationwide housing crunch, this alternate model of living, investment and […] The post ADUs Are Blowing Up, But Does It Matter? appeared first on RISMedia. What are ADUs? Some call them “granny flats.” Others call them “she-sheds” or “in-law suites.” Recently, “tiny house” became a trendy topic among certain builders. Nearly all of these—regardless of terminology or function—will fall under the category of “accessory dwelling unit,” or ADU. Amid a nationwide housing crunch, this alternate model of living, investment and space-sharing has seen massive growth as developers and homeowners seek ways to integrate post-pandemic lifestyles and policymakers scramble to address an acute shortage of living spaces. But what is the value of an ADU, from a real estate perspective? Are consumers seeing them as worth the significant time and monetary investment? Will the trend of local authorities relaxing restrictions change the current market, and if so, how? Can ADUs outlast the current unprecedented housing crisis? Not all of these questions have answers. But according to the people who are building, regulating and studying ADUs, if you are not asking about them right now, you might be missing out. Amy Allgeyer is the founder of Architect Inc., a building company in Boise, Idaho, that has come to specialize in ADUs. She said that in her market, interest in these specialized structures has been creeping up over the past five years, but exploded after the onset of the pandemic as people sought more living space or more value in their fast-appreciating properties. Recently, she said she gets multiple calls a week from people interested in the possibilities of an ADU. “Sort of a perfect storm—it’s a lot of different things that are coming together to help people get ADUs that they want, and encourage people to want ADUs,” she says. The ABCs of ADUs The first question most people have about ADUs is quite simply, what are they? That, like a lot other things in the ADU world, depends on where you are. At the basic level, ADUs are separate living spaces on the same lot as another primary structure—sometimes physically separated from it, sometimes not. Most states allow cities and counties significant latitude in defining and permitting the structures. Building codes in some cities restrict free-standing cottage-style ADUs more than attached structures. Often there is a requirement they offer separate amenities—bathrooms or kitchens—but not always. Maximum sizes can range from a couple hundred square feet to over a thousand. Permitting ADUs can be as simple as a quick visit to a county office or as complex as a multi-month public hearing process. Local officials also seek to conform ADUs to local conditions or preferences. According to Sarah Berke, program officer at the Family Housing Fund in Minnesota, ADUs in that area must have frost-proof foundations so they can endure the harsh northern winters. Voters in the historic Boston suburb of Salem recently voted on a new ADU ordinance that, among other things, requires property owners to replace any trees they chop down when building an ADU. There are literally hundreds of other potential requirements, from street setback to paint scheme. Across the country, though, policymakers are trending toward loosening these restrictions, making ADUs easier and cheaper to build and massively expanding the number of properties and neighborhoods where they are allowed, which potentially creates a new market and vast new opportunities for both homeowners and renters. Why It Matters  There is one thing that nearly everyone agrees on in regards to ADUs: they have a tremendous value right now in a tight housing market. “We do have more people who are interested in having their property help pay their mortgage in the wake of COVID,” Allgeyer says. “Definitely in the past two years, I’m seeing a lot of home offices going into ADUs.” It is not clear yet whether a new interest in ADUs will have a lasting impact on the market—the kind of impact that could address supply scarcity or significantly alter regional trends or consumer behavior. But the “perfect storm” Allgeyer referred to is a combination of policy, market conditions and consumer attitudes that right now are making ADUs a red-hot opportunity in the real estate market. In Salem, Amanda Chiancola serves as the city’s Deputy Director of Planning. She is also a long-time advocate of inclusionary housing who recently helped spearhead an ordinance that serves as a major overhaul in how the town regulates ADUs. In the three months since that ordinance was approved, the city has already surpassed the number of ADU permits it received over the previous three years, she says. “We get calls all the time from people…who say, ‘I can’t afford to live here, I’m driving two hours to work everyday,'” Chiancola says. “We hear these calls and emails all the time.” With a large proportion of their housing tied to single-family zoning, a lack of living spaces—and affordable units in particular—Salem needed to find a way to expand and diversify its housing stock in a meaningful way. Enter the ADU. The focus for Salem is affordability, according to Chiancola, and so the ordinance actually set a maximum rent for ADUs—$1,635 for a two-bedroom and $1,214 for a studio. Even with this limitation, Chiancola says that estimates by her office projected that a property owner financing an ADU through a home equity loan or second mortgage will pay less than half of that cost a month—$500-700 on average. That will hopefully make building an ADU an attractive investment for existing homeowners, she says. In Boise, Allgeyer says that many families use the rental income from an ADU to allow them to move into an otherwise unattainable neighborhood, seeking better schools or shorter commutes. “Younger families who wouldn’t be able to afford that property in the really good school district, but they want to raise their kids there and so they buy a house with an ADU they can rent out,” Allgeyer says “It helps a first-time homebuyer be able to afford a mortgage,” Chiancola adds. An ADU also adds “fantastic” resale value to a home, according to Allgeyer, because even if the buyer is not interested in renting the unit, ADUs are incredibly flexible no matter the demographic or needs of the homeowner, serving as everything from a caregiver’s apartment for an older resident to office space for young professionals. “Anywhere between [age] 30 and 90—it’s pretty evenly split,” Allgeyer says. How ADUs can be used is something in flux across the country, driven mostly by policy at the local level. Many places—Salem being one of them—have banned short-term rentals like Airbnb from utilizing ADUs. Town officials actually scan those company’s websites to make sure homeowners aren’t surreptitiously listing them, according to Chiancola. Boise and other places allow Airbnb rentals, which Allgeyer has seen become very lucrative for homeowners especially in hot housing markets. “I see ADUs really being enticing in an urban area,” she says. Berke says that as the price of construction falls, more and more people will be ready and willing to build ADUs. A handful of developers are actually adding ADUs into their single-family constructions in the Twin Cities area, according to Berke, offering that kind of flexibility from the start. “You can build a single-family home with a basement space that is suitable for conversion ADUs, and that creates a value addition opportunity in the future,” she says. Minneapolis was ahead of Salem and many other cities, expanding their policies for ADUs in 2014—partly in response to an acute housing shortage that a recent study by the Minnesota Population Center rated as the worst in the country. Just changing the policy created a huge influx of ADUs as many homeowners found that rooms they had rented off the books or garage conversion projects now qualified as ADUs—with the potential benefits of being able to advertise the structures more traditionally when selling or renting. Many only cost a few thousand dollars to permit or finish up, according to Berke. All of this is coming together to allow more mobility, more flexibility, and potentially a shift in attitudes as people find new rental opportunities and a new way to look at work-from-home and age-in-place scenarios. Despite all this, Allgeyer says that she does not personally see the run on ADUs outlasting the current housing crunch. Once urban areas get their fill of new ADU construction, she says the trend will peter out in suburbs and rural areas where space is less of an issue. But for the cities and neighborhoods that are seeing an ADU boom right now, the potential for a transformational change is there, Berke suggests. Though Minneapolis has seen a relatively small increase in ADUs since they changed their policies, adding those structures to just 1.5% of eligible properties would make a huge difference in the local market. “That could be 11,000 new housing units. So the impact on any one block…won’t change anything on how your neighborhood feels. But if you add a little here and there, it really does add up to a lot of housing,” she concludes. Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post ADUs Are Blowing Up, But Does It Matter? appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaSep 27th, 2021

These 46 pitch decks helped fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOSussing out bad actorsFrom left to right: Cofounders CTO David Movshovitz, CEO Doron Hendler, and chief architect Adi DeGaniRevealSecurityAn encounter with an impersonation hacker led Doron Hendler to found RevealSecurity, a Tel Aviv-based cybersecurity startup that monitors for insider threats.Two years ago, a woman impersonating an insurance-agency representative called Hendler and convinced him that he made a mistake with his recent health insurance policy upgrade. She got him to share his login information for his insurer's website, even getting him to give the one-time passcode sent to his phone. Once the hacker got what she needed, she disconnected the call, prompting Hendler to call back. When no one picked up the phone, he realized he had been conned.He immediately called his insurance company to check on his account. Nothing seemed out of place to the representative. But Hendler, who was previously a vice president of a software company, suspected something intangible could have been collected, so he reset his credentials."The chief of information security, who was on the call, he asked me, 'So, how do you want me to identify you? You gave your credentials; you gave your ID; you gave the one time password. How the hell can I identify that it's not you?' And I told him, 'But I never behave like this,'" Hendler recalled of the conversation.RevealSecurity, a Tel Aviv-based cyber startup that tracks user behavior for abnormalities, used this 27-page deck to raise its Series AA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AHelping fintechs manage dataProper Finance co-founders Travis Gibson (left) and Kyle MaloneyProper FinanceAs the flow of data becomes evermore crucial for fintechs, from the strappy startup to the established powerhouse, a thorny issue in the back office is becoming increasingly complex.Even though fintechs are known for their sleek front ends, the back end is often quite the opposite. Behind that streamlined interface can be a mosaic of different partner integrations — be it with banks, payments players and networks, or software vendors — with a channel of data running between them. Two people who know that better than the average are Kyle Maloney and Travis Gibson, two former employees of Marqeta, a fintech that provides other fintechs with payments processing and card issuance. "Take an established neobank for example. They'll likely have one or two card issuers, two to three bank partners, ACH processing for direct deposits and payouts, mobile check deposits, peer-to-peer payments, and lending," Gibson told Insider. Here's the 12-page pitch deck a startup helping fintechs manage their data used to score a $4.3 million seed from investors like Redpoint Ventures and Y CombinatorE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Branded cards for SMBsJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym.TandymJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is no stranger to the private-label credit-card business. As a former Capital One exec, she worked in both the card giant's co-brand partnerships division and its tech organization during her seven years at the company.Now, Glaspie-Lundstrom is hoping to use that experience to innovate a sector that was initially created in malls decades ago.Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym, which offers private-label digital credit cards to merchants. Store and private-label credit cards aren't a new concept, but Tandym is targeting small- and medium-sized merchants with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. Glaspie-Lundstrom said that group often struggles to offer private-label credit due to the expense of working with legacy players."What you have is this example of a very valuable product type that merchants love and their customers love, but a huge, untapped market that has heretofore been unserved, and so that's what we're doing with Tandym," Glaspi-Lundstrom told Insider.A former Capital One exec used this deck to raise $60 million for a startup helping SMBs launch their own branded credit cardsCatering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingSpeeding up loans for government contractors OppZo cofounders Warren Reed and Randy GarrettOppZoThe massive market for federal government contracts approached $700 billion in 2020, and it's likely to grow as spending accelerates amid an ongoing push for investment in the nation's infrastructure. Many of those dollars flow to small-and-medium sized businesses, even though larger corporations are awarded the bulk of contracts by volume. Of the roughly $680 billion in federal contracts awarded in 2020, roughly a quarter, according to federal guidelines, or some $146 billion that year, went to smaller businesses.But peeking under the hood of the procurement process, the cofounders of OppZo — Randy Garrett and Warren Reed — saw an opportunity to streamline how smaller-sized businesses can leverage those contracts to tap in to capital.  Securing a deal is "a government contractor's best day and their worst day," as Garrett, OppZo's president, likes to put it."At that point they need to pay vendors and hire folks to start the contract. And they may not get their first contract payment from the government for as long as 120 days," Reed, the startup's CEO,  told Insider. Check out the 12-page pitch deck OppZo, a fintech that has figured out how to speed up loans to small government contractors, used to raise $260 million in equity and debtHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersAutomating accounting ops for SMBsDecimal CEO Matt Tait.DecimalSmall- and medium-sized businesses can rely on any number of payroll, expense management, bill pay, and corporate-card startups promising to automate parts of their financial workflow. Smaller firms have adopted this corporate-financial software en masse, boosting growth throughout the pandemic for relatively new entrants like Ramp and massive, industry stalwarts like Intuit. But it's no easy task to connect all of those tools into one, seamless process. And while accounting operations might be far from where many startup founders want to focus their time, having efficient back-end finances does mean time — and capital — freed up to spend elsewhere. For Decimal CEO Matt Tait, there's ample opportunity in "the boring stuff you have to do to survive as a company," he told Insider. Launched in 2020, Decimal provides a back-end tech layer that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to integrate their accounting and business-management software tools in one place.On Wednesday, Decimal announced a $9 million seed fundraising round led by Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures, alongside Service Providers Capital and other angel investors. See the 13-page pitch deck for Decimal, a startup automating accounting ops for small businessesInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 30th, 2022

Why Is The VIX So Low? A Surprising Answer Emerges In The Market"s Microstructure

Why Is The VIX So Low? A Surprising Answer Emerges In The Market's Microstructure One of the most frequent questions tossed around Wall Street trading desks (and strip clubs), and which was duly covered by Bloomberg recently in "Fear Has Gone Missing in Wall Street’s Slow-Motion Bear Market", is why despite the crushing bear market and the coming recession, does the VIX refuse to rise sustainably above 30, or in other words, why is the VIX so low? As Goldman's Rocky Fishman wrote in a recent note "Option Markets Take the SPX Bear Market in Stride" (available to professional subs), "one of the most popular questions we have received is why the VIX hasn't surpassed its March peak (36) despite the SPX being lower than it was in March and realized vol being higher than it was in March." Here, Fishman notes that implied volatility was unusually high in March, and the current VIX level (29) is only slightly low for the current level of realized vol. Furthermore, a VIX around 30 typically happens with the 5Y CDX HY spread above 600, and although it has risen steadily it's currently in the mid 500's. Meanwhile, even as the VIX has fallen moderately since late April, both vol risk premium and skew have both fallen dramatically. Picking up on this quandary, overnight JMorgan also joined the discussion with its analyst Peng Cheng laying out his own thoughts on why the VIX remains so low (note is also available to professional subs), and similar to Goldman notes that the current bear market, despite being deeper in magnitude, has produced VIX levels well below the peak observed during previous market sell-offs: However, unlike Goldman which mostly analyzes the VIX in the context of a macro framework, JPM's Cheng offers observations based on his analysis of market microstructure in both equity and options markets. Cheng starts with the previously noted low realized volatility: as the JPM strategist writes, YTD, the SPX realized vol, measured on a close to close basis, is only 25.5, which means that delta-hedged put options would have lost money in the gamma component. From a technical perspective, JPM believes that return volatility is dampened by a lack of intraday price momentum and increasingly frequent occurrences of intraday price reversal. As seen in the next chart, intraday reversal has only started to become noticeable in the last two years. Prior to that, intraday momentum was the dominant market behavior. This diminishing intraday price momentum has had a non-trivial impact on realized volatility, according to JPM which estimates that if the intraday return correlation remained the same as pre-pandemic, YTD volatility would be close to 28.8, or 3.3 vol points higher than realized. As an aside, those asking for the reason behind this change in intraday patterns in the last couple of years, Cheng notes that "this is a complex topic" but in short, his view is that it is a result of 1) crowding in intraday momentum trading strategies and 2) a potential shift in option gamma dynamics as discussed below. Supply/demand of S&P 500 options: Although the estimation of market level option gamma profile is highly dependent on many factors, including assumptions on open interest, OTC options, and leveraged ETFs, etc., in a report published earlier this year, JPM's quants presented a more dynamic estimation of the gamma profile by using tick level data. Specifically, they assigned directions to SPX and SPY option trades based on their distance to the best bid/offer at the tick level, rather than the constant assumption of investors being outright long puts and short calls. The updated results are shown below. Tha chart shows that starting in 2020, the put gamma imbalance has fallen meaningfully. This is the result of investors’ changing preference from buying outright puts to put spreads for protection, in JPM's view. And year to date, the decline in gamma demand has not improved. Moreover, and echoing what we have said on several recent occasions, JPM notes that judging from the outright negative put gamma imbalance in early 2022, it appears that investors have been monetizing hedges that had been held since 2021 - note the consistently positive and relatively elevated put gamma imbalance throughout 2021, which suggests that protections were put on during this period. More in the full note available to pro subs Tyler Durden Wed, 06/29/2022 - 15:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 29th, 2022

The 30 bestselling audiobooks on Audible in 2022, from celebrity memoirs to the most gripping thrillers

These are the most popular audiobooks on Audible that make for great road trip or beach day entertainment. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.These are the most popular audiobooks on Audible that make for great road trip or beach day entertainment.Crystal Cox/Insider Audible has thousands of books and podcasts. You can start a free 30-day Audible trial here. Below, we compiled its 30 bestselling audiobooks among Audible users right now. Books run the gamut from popular novels to self-help hits. If you're spending more time outside these days and have already cycled through your weekly podcasts, we'd recommend the slow burn of a great (and highly mobile) audiobook. If you're looking for a new title, we suggest starting with the books currently gaining buzz. Below are the top 30 bestselling audiobooks on Audible right now. The site has hundreds of thousands of titles to choose between, as well as a catalog of podcasts. If you're new to Audible or audiobook services in general, be sure to check out the FAQ section at the bottom of this article to get started. You can access Audible for free as part of a 30-day trial.The 30 bestselling audiobooks on Audible right now:Descriptions are provided by Amazon (lightly edited and condensed)."Where the Crawdads Sing" by Delia OwensAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $12.39For years, rumors of the "Marsh Girl" have haunted Barkley Cove, a quiet town on the North Carolina coast. So in late 1969, when handsome Chase Andrews is found dead, the locals immediately suspect Kya Clark, the so-called Marsh Girl. But Kya is not what they say.Sensitive and intelligent, she has survived for years alone in the marsh that she calls home, finding friends in the gulls and lessons in the sand. Then the time comes when she yearns to be touched and loved. When two young men from town become intrigued by her wild beauty, Kya opens herself to a new life — until the unthinkable happens."Atomic Habits: An Easy & Proven Way to Build Good Habits & Break Bad Ones" by James ClearAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $11.98No matter your goals, "Atomic Habits" offers a proven framework for improving every day. James Clear, one of the world's leading experts on habit formation, reveals practical strategies that will teach you exactly how to form good habits, break bad ones, and master the tiny behaviors that lead to remarkable results.“The Summer I Turned Pretty” by Jenny HanAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $9.25Some summers are just destined to be pretty.Belly measures her life in summers. Everything good, everything magical happens between June and August. Winters are simply a time to count the weeks until the following summer, a place away from the beach house, away from Susannah, and most importantly, away from Jeremiah and Conrad. They are the boys Belly has known since her very first summer — they have been her brother figures, her crushes, and everything in between. But one summer, one wonderful and terrible summer, the more everything changes, the more it all ends up just the way it should have been all along.“Dreadgod: Cradle, Book 11” by Will WightAmazonPre-order: Free with 30-day trialThe battle in the heavens has left a target on Lindon's back.His most reliable ally is gone, the Monarchs see him as a threat, and he has inherited one of the most valuable facilities in the world. At any moment, his enemies could band together to kill him.If it weren't for the Dreadgods. All four are empowered and unleashed, rampaging through Cradle, and grudges old and new must be set aside. The Monarchs need every capable fighter to help them defend their territory.And Lindon needs time. While he fights, he sends his friends off to train. They'll need to advance impossibly fast if they want to join him in battle against the kings and queens of Cradle. Together, they will need enough power to rival a Dreadgod.“Scars and Stripes: An Unapologetically American Story of Fighting the Taliban, UFC Warriors, and Myself” by Tim Kennedy, Nick PalmiscianoAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $18.37From decorated Green Beret sniper and UFC headliner Tim Kennedy comes a rollicking, inspirational memoir. It offers lessons on embracing failure and weathering storms — to unlock the strongest version of yourself.“It’s Not Summer Without You: Summer I Turned Pretty, Book 2” by Jenny HanAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $9.36It used to be that Belly counted the days until summer until she was back at Cousins Beach with Conrad and Jeremiah. But not this year. Not after Susannah got sick again, and Conrad stopped caring. Everything right and good has fallen apart, leaving Belly wishing summer would never come. But when Jeremiah calls, saying Conrad has disappeared, Belly knows what she must do to make things right again. And it can only happen back at the beach house, the three of them together, the way things used to be. If this summer really and truly is the last summer, it should end the way it started — at Cousins Beach.“The Hotel Nantucket” by Elin HilderbrandAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $17.99Fresh off a bad breakup with a longtime boyfriend, Nantucket sweetheart Lizbet Keaton is desperately seeking a second act. When she's named the new general manager of the Hotel Nantucket, a once Gilded Age gem turned abandoned eyesore, she hopes that her local expertise and charismatic staff can win the favor of their new London billionaire owner, Xavier Darling, as well as that of Shelly Carpenter, the wildly popular Instagram tastemaker who can help put them back on the map. And while the Hotel Nantucket appears to be a blissful paradise, complete with a celebrity chef-run restaurant and an idyllic wellness center, there's a lot of drama behind closed doors. The staff (and guests) have complicated pasts, and the hotel can't seem to overcome the bad reputation it earned in 1922 when a tragic fire killed 19-year-old chambermaid Grace Hadley. With Grace gleefully haunting the halls, a staff harboring all kinds of secrets, and Lizbet's romantic uncertainty, is the Hotel Nantucket destined for success or doom?“I'd Like to Play Alone, Please” by Tom SeguraAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $18.33From Tom Segura, the massively successful stand-up comedian and co-host of chart-topping podcasts "2 Bears 1 Cave" and "Your Mom's House," come hilarious real-life stories of parenting, celebrity encounters, youthful mistakes, misanthropy, and so much more.“Verity” by Colleen HooverAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $23.99Lowen Ashleigh is a struggling writer on the brink of financial ruin when she accepts the job offer of a lifetime. Jeremy Crawford, the husband of bestselling author Verity Crawford, has hired Lowen to complete the remaining books in a successful series his injured wife is unable to finish.Lowen arrives at the Crawford home, ready to sort through years of Verity's notes and outlines, hoping to find enough material to get her started. What Lowen doesn't expect to uncover in the chaotic office is an unfinished autobiography Verity never intended for anyone to read. Page after page of bone-chilling admissions, including Verity's recollection of the night her family was forever altered.Lowen decides to keep the manuscript hidden from Jeremy, knowing its contents could devastate the already grieving father. But as Lowen's feelings for Jeremy intensify, she recognizes all the ways she could benefit if he were to read his wife's words. After all, no matter how devoted Jeremy is to his injured wife, a truth this horrifying would make it impossible for him to continue loving her.You can find more of Colleen Hoover's best books here.“Sparring Partners” by John GrishamAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $27.90"Homecoming" takes us back to Ford County, the fictional setting of many of John Grisham's unforgettable stories. Jake Brigance is back, but he's not in the courtroom. He's called upon to help an old friend, Mack Stafford, a former lawyer in Clanton, who three years earlier became a local legend when he stole money from his clients, divorced his wife, filed for bankruptcy, and left his family in the middle of the night, never to be heard from again — until now. In "Strawberry Moon," we meet Cody Wallace, a young death row inmate only three hours away from execution. His lawyers can't save him, the courts slam the door, and the governor says no to a last-minute request for clemency. As the clock winds down, Cody has one final request. The "Sparring Partners" are the Malloy brothers, Kirk and Rusty, two successful young lawyers who inherited a once prosperous firm when its founder, their father, was sent to prison. As the firm disintegrates, the resulting fiasco falls into the lap of Diantha Bradshaw, the only person the partners trust. "Atlas of the Heart: Mapping Meaningful Connection and the Language of Human Experience" by Brené BrownAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $18.34In "Atlas of the Heart," Brown takes us on a journey through eighty-seven of the emotions and experiences that define what it means to be human. As she maps the necessary skills and an actionable framework for meaningful connection, she gives us the language and tools to access a universe of new choices and second chances — a universe where we can share and steward the stories of our bravest and most heartbreaking moments with one another in a way that builds connection.Over the past two decades, Brown's extensive research into the experiences that make us who we are has shaped the cultural conversation and helped define what it means to be courageous with our lives. Atlas of the Heart draws on this research, as well as on Brown's singular skills as a storyteller, to show us how accurately naming an experience doesn't give the experience more power — it gives us the power of understanding, meaning, and choice.“The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo” by Taylor Jenkins ReidAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $22.49Aging and reclusive Hollywood movie icon Evelyn Hugo is finally ready to tell the truth about her glamorous and scandalous life. But when she chooses unknown magazine reporter Monique Grant for the job, no one is more astounded than Monique herself. Why her? Why now?Monique is not exactly on top of the world. Her husband has left her, and her professional life is going nowhere. Regardless of why Evelyn has selected her to write her biography, Monique is determined to use this opportunity to jump-start her career.Summoned to Evelyn's luxurious apartment, Monique listens in fascination as the actress tells her story. From making her way to Los Angeles in the 1950s to her decision to leave show business in the '80s, and, of course, the seven husbands along the way, Evelyn unspools a tale of ruthless ambition, unexpected friendship, and a great forbidden love. Monique begins to feel a very real connection to the legendary star, but as Evelyn's story nears its conclusion, it becomes clear that her life intersects with Monique's own in tragic and irreversible ways.You can read a review of "The Seven Husbands of Evelyn Hugo" here.“Greenlights” by Matthew McConaugheyAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $15.98From the Academy Award-winning actor, an unconventional memoir filled with raucous stories, outlaw wisdom, and lessons learned the hard way about living with greater satisfaction.“Finding Me: A Memoir” by Viola DavisAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $18.53In my book, you will meet a little girl named Viola who ran from her past until she made a life-changing decision to stop running forever.This is my story, from a crumbling apartment in Central Falls, Rhode Island, to the stage in New York City, and beyond. This is the path I took to finding my purpose, but also my voice in a world that didn't always see me.“The End of the World Is Just the Beginning: Mapping the Collapse of Globalization” by Peter ZeihanAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $31.50For generations, everything has been getting faster, better, and cheaper. Finally, we reached the point that almost anything you could ever want could be sent to your home within days — even hours — of when you decided you wanted it.America made that happen, but now America has lost interest in keeping it going.Globe-spanning supply chains are only possible with the protection of the U.S. Navy. The American dollar underpins internationalized energy and financial markets. Complex, innovative industries were created to satisfy American consumers. American security policy forced warring nations to lay down their arms. Billions of people have been fed and educated as the American-led trade system spread across the globe.All of this was artificial. All this was temporary. All this is ending.In "The End of the World Is Just the Beginning," author and geopolitical strategist Peter Zeihan maps out the next world: a world where countries or regions will have no choice but to make their own goods, grow their own food, secure their own energy, fight their own battles, and do it all with populations that are both shrinking and aging.The list of countries that make it all work is smaller than you think. This means everything about our interconnected world — from how we manufacture products, to how we grow food, to how we keep the lights on, to how we shuttle stuff about, to how we pay for it all — is about to change.“Finna: Book 1” by Nino CipriAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $14.99When an elderly customer at a Swedish big-box furniture store ― but not that one ― slips through a portal to another dimension, it's up to two minimum-wage employees to track her across the multiverse and protect their company's bottom line. Multi-dimensional swashbuckling would be hard enough, but those two unfortunate souls broke up a week ago.To find the missing granny, Ava and Jules will brave carnivorous furniture, swarms of identical furniture spokespeople, and the deep resentment simmering between them. Can friendship blossom from the ashes of their relationship? In infinite dimensions, all things are possible.“The Golden Couple” by Greer Hendricks, Sarah PekkanenAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $17.68Wealthy Washington suburbanites Marissa and Matthew Bishop seem to have it all ― until Marissa is unfaithful. Beneath their veneer of perfection is a relationship driven by work and a lack of intimacy. She wants to repair things for the sake of their eight-year-old son and because she loves her husband. Enter Avery Chambers.Avery is a therapist who lost her professional license. Still, it doesn't stop her from counseling those in crisis, though they must adhere to her unorthodox methods. And the Bishops are desperate.When they glide through Avery's door, and Marissa reveals her infidelity, all three are set on a collision course. Because the biggest secrets in the room are still hidden, and it's no longer simply a marriage that's in danger.“It Ends with Us” by Colleen HooverAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $10.26Lily hasn't always had it easy, but that's never stopped her from working hard for the life she wants. She's come a long way from the small town where she grew up — she graduated from college, moved to Boston, and started her own business. And when she feels a spark with a gorgeous neurosurgeon named Ryle Kincaid, everything in Lily's life seems too good to be true.Ryle is assertive, stubborn, and maybe even a little arrogant. He's also sensitive, brilliant, and has a soft spot for Lily. And the way he looks in scrubs certainly doesn't hurt. Lily can't get him out of her head. But Ryle's complete aversion to relationships is disturbing. Even as Lily finds herself becoming the exception to his "no dating" rule, she can't help but wonder what made him that way in the first place.As questions about her new relationship overwhelm her, so do thoughts of Atlas Corrigan — her first love and a link to the past she left behind. He was her kindred spirit, her protector. When Atlas suddenly reappears, everything Lily has built with Ryle is threatened.You can find more of Colleen Hoover's best books here."Can't Hurt Me: Master Your Mind and Defy the Odds" by David GogginsAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $20.10For David Goggins, childhood was a nightmare — poverty, prejudice, and physical abuse colored his days and haunted his nights. The only man in history to complete elite training as a Navy SEAL, Army Ranger, and Air Force Tactical Air Controller, he went on to set records in numerous endurance events, inspiring Outside magazine to name him The Fittest (Real) Man in America.In "Can't Hurt Me," he shares his astonishing life story and reveals that most of us tap into only 40% of our capabilities. Goggins calls this The 40% Rule, and his story illuminates a path that anyone can follow to push past pain, demolish fear, and reach their full potential.“We’ll Always Have Summer: Summer I Turned Pretty, Book 3” by Jenny HanAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $9.31Belly has only ever been in love with two boys, both with the last name Fisher. And after being with Jeremiah for the previous two years, she's almost positive he is her soul mate. Almost. While Conrad has not gotten over the mistake of letting Belly go, Jeremiah has always known that Belly is the girl for him. So when Belly and Jeremiah decide to make things forever, Conrad realizes that it's now or never — tell Belly he loves her or loses her for good.Belly will have to confront her feelings for Jeremiah and Conrad and face the inevitable: She will have to break one of their hearts.“Happy-Go-Lucky” by David SedarisAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $17.79Back when restaurant menus were still printed on paper, and wearing a mask — or not — was a decision made mostly on Halloween, David Sedaris spent his time doing normal things. As "Happy-Go-Lucky" opens, he is learning to shoot guns with his sister, visiting muddy flea markets in Serbia, buying gummy worms to feed to ants, and telling his nonagenarian father wheelchair jokes.But then the pandemic hits, and like so many others, he's stuck in lockdown, unable to tour and read for audiences — the part of his work he loves most. To cope, he walks for miles through a nearly deserted city. He vacuums his apartment twice a day, fails to hoard anything, and contemplates how sex workers and acupuncturists might be getting by during quarantine.As the world gradually settles into a new reality, Sedaris too finds himself changed. His offer to fix a stranger's teeth rebuffed, he straightens his own, and ventures into the world with new confidence. Newly orphaned, he considers what it means, in his seventh decade, no longer to be someone's son. And back on the road, he discovers a battle-scarred America: people weary, storefronts empty or festooned with "Help Wanted" signs, walls painted with graffiti reflecting the contradictory messages of our time: Eat the Rich. Trump 2024. Black Lives Matter.“Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone, Book 1” by J.K. RowlingAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $6.98Harry Potter has never even heard of Hogwarts when the letters start dropping on the doormat at number four, Privet Drive. Addressed in green ink on yellowish parchment with a purple seal, they are swiftly confiscated by his grisly aunt and uncle. Then, on Harry's eleventh birthday, a great beetle-eyed giant of a man called Rubeus Hagrid bursts in with some astonishing news: Harry Potter is a wizard, and he has a place at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.“Match Game: Expeditionary Force, Book 14” by Craig AlansonAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $14.44For years, the ancient alien AI known as Skippy (the Magnificent, don't forget that part) has been able to do one impossible thing after another. What is his secret? It's simple: 100 percent Grade-A Extreme Awesomeness. And also because he had never been faced with an opponent of equal power. Until now.This time, he might need a little help from a band of filthy monkeys.“The Terminal List” by Jack CarrAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $11.99On his last combat deployment, Lieutenant Commander James Reece's entire team was killed in a catastrophic ambush. But when those dearest to him are murdered on the day of his homecoming, Reece discovers that this was not an act of war by a foreign enemy but a conspiracy that runs to the highest levels of government.Now, with no family and free from the military's command structure, Reece applies the lessons that he's learned in over a decade of constant warfare toward avenging the deaths of his family and teammates. With breathless pacing and relentless suspense, Reece ruthlessly targets his enemies in the upper echelons of power without regard for the laws of combat or the rule of law."Project Hail Mary" by Andy WeirAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $17.32Ryland Grace is the sole survivor on a desperate, last-chance mission — and if he fails, humanity and the earth itself will perish.Except that right now, he doesn't know that. He can't even remember his own name, let alone the nature of his assignment or how to complete it.All he knows is that he's been asleep for a very, very long time. And he's just been awakened to find himself millions of miles from home, with nothing but two corpses for company.His crewmates dead, his memories fuzzily returning, Ryland realizes that an impossible task now confronts him. Hurtling through space on this tiny ship, it's up to him to puzzle out an impossible scientific mystery — and conquer an extinction-level threat to our species.And with the clock ticking down and the nearest human being light-years away, he's got to do it all alone. Or does he?You can read a review of "Project Hail Mary" here."12 Rules for Life" by Jordan B. PetersonAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $13.55What are the most valuable things that everyone should know?In this book, Jordan Peterson provides twelve profound and practical principles for how to live a meaningful life, from setting your house in order before criticizing others to comparing yourself to who you were yesterday, not someone else today. Happiness is a pointless goal, he shows us. Instead, we must search for meaning, not for its own sake, but as a defense against the suffering that is intrinsic to our existence.Drawing on vivid examples from the author's clinical practice and personal life, cutting-edge psychology and philosophy, and lessons from humanity's oldest myths and stories, "12 Rules for Life" offers a deeply rewarding antidote to the chaos in our lives: eternal truths applied to our modern problems.“Run, Rose, Run” by James Patterson, Dolly PartonAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $17.84From America's most beloved superstar and its greatest storyteller — a thriller about a young singer-songwriter on the rise and on the run, determined to do whatever it takes to survive.Nashville is where she's come to claim her destiny. It's also where the darkness she's fled might find her. And destroy her."The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck" by Mark MansonAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $12.99In this generation-defining self-help guide, a superstar blogger cuts through the crap to show us how to stop trying to be "positive" all the time so that we can truly become better, happier people.“The Paris Apartment” by Lucy FoleyAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $17.99Jess needs a fresh start. She's broke and alone, and she's just left her job under less than ideal circumstances. Her half-brother Ben didn't sound thrilled when she asked if she could crash with him for a bit, but he didn't say no, and surely everything will look better from Paris. Only when she shows up — to find a very nice apartment, could Ben really have afforded this? — he's not there.The longer Ben stays missing, the more Jess starts to dig into her brother's situation, and the more questions she has. Ben's neighbors are an eclectic bunch and not particularly friendly. Jess may have come to Paris to escape her past, but it's starting to look like it's Ben's future that's in question.The socialite — the nice guy — the alcoholic — the girl on the verge — the concierge.Everyone's a neighbor. Everyone's a suspect. And everyone knows something they're not telling.“Come with Me” by Ronald MalfiAmazonFree on Audible with 30-day trialAvailable on Amazon for $11.49Aaron Decker's life changes one December morning when his wife Allison is killed. Haunted by her absence — and her ghost — Aaron goes through her belongings, where he finds a receipt for a motel room in another part of the country. Piloted by grief and an increasing sense of curiosity, Aaron embarks on a journey to discover what Allison had been doing in the weeks prior to her death.Yet Aaron is unprepared to discover Allison's dark secrets, the death and horror that make up the tapestry of her hidden life. And with each dark secret revealed, Aaron becomes more and more consumed by his obsession to learn the terrifying truth about the woman who had been his wife, even if it puts his own life at risk.Audible FAQHow much is Audible?Audible Plus is $7.95/month and Audible Premium is $14.95 per month. You can compare the Audible plans here.Audible Plus and Audible Premium Plus have a 30-day free trial to most new members that come with one free credit to use on a title of your choice. And since Audible is an Amazon company, Prime members get two credits in their Audible trial as one of their perks.When your trial is over, you'll be automatically charged a monthly subscription fee. You can cancel anytime. What's the difference between Audible Plus and Audible Premium?Both memberships give you unlimited access to select audiobooks, Audible Originals, podcasts, and more.But, only Audible Premium gives you a credit that's good for one title of your choice in the premium selection every month and 30% off all additional premium titles, plus access to exclusive sales. You can toggle between some of the titles in the Premium selection and Plus selection here.Are there other good audiobook services out there?At Insider Reviews, we also like the service Scribd, which is $10/month for unlimited audiobooks and books. The company also has a joint NYT and Scribd membership for $12.99/month which can be a very good deal. You can start a free trial here, or find a full review of the service here. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 29th, 2022

Cruise holidays may be as "cheap as we"ve seen" this summer as operators try to fill cabins, analyst says

Cruise lines are cutting cabin prices and offering deals to attract passengers in the hope they will spend while onboard, said Patrick Scholes. The Carnival Magic cruise ship docked in Marseille.Gerard Bottino/Getty Images Cruises could go for bargain prices this summer as operators try to fill cabins. Some cruise prices have fallen by $1,000 this year, data reported by Reuters suggests. Carnival told Insider its prices had been "at the higher end" this year. Cruise holidays could be as cheap as they've ever been this summer, despite soaring inflation.Cruises are slowly making a comeback as pandemic restrictions end, but wafer-thin margins mean leading lines are likely to cut prices to cope with lower demand, according to analysts. "Prices are down as there is too much unsold capacity and the cruise lines need to sail with their ships as full as possible to cover their very high fixed costs," Patrick Scholes, a leisure analyst at Truist Securities, told Insider. "Cruise lines are offering lower prices and deals to attract customers in the hope that they will continue to spend while onboard." In its latest earnings report, Carnival said occupancy in the second quarter of 2022 was 69%. Scholes said this spare capacity meant it would be forced to offer discounts.Scholes previously told Reuters: "Your typical Carnival, Royal Caribbean or Norwegian Cruise this summer to the Caribbean is about as cheap as we've ever seen it." He also said there were 13% more ships at sea compared with pre-pandemic levels.According to Cruise Critic data seen by Reuters, the average cost of a five-night Caribbean cruise for two in June fell from about $3,000 this time last year to $2,000. Falling fares buck the trend of rising inflation. Air fares have jumped nearly 38% this year as fuel prices and labor shortages are passed onto customers, making cruises more attractive. It also contrasts with steeper cost pressures for cruise lines. In May, Insider reported that some cruise lines were being forced to cancel sailings, close on-board restaurants, and shed capacity owing to a lack of staff. But while Scholes told Insider that "cost increase drivers for the cruise industry are similar to cost increases for everyone else, whether it be for fuel and food," he said there was now less pressure on labor costs due to staffing being sourced from countries such as the Philippines, Vietnam and India.A Carnival spokesperson told Insider: "While there are always attractive cruise offers being promoted by our brands, across the company, advanced bookings have been at the higher end of the historical range at higher pricing."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 26th, 2022

These 44 pitch decks helped fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. New twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series APersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalG 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of TulipshareTulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundHelping small banks lendTKCollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed roundA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BAn alternative auto lenderTricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investors A new way to access credit The TomoCredit teamTomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingQuantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series AHelping fintechs manage dataProper Finance co-founders Travis Gibson (left) and Kyle MaloneyProper FinanceAs the flow of data becomes evermore crucial for fintechs, from the strappy startup to the established powerhouse, a thorny issue in the back office is becoming increasingly complex.Even though fintechs are known for their sleek front ends, the back end is often quite the opposite. Behind that streamlined interface can be a mosaic of different partner integrations — be it with banks, payments players and networks, or software vendors — with a channel of data running between them. Two people who know that better than the average are Kyle Maloney and Travis Gibson, two former employees of Marqeta, a fintech that provides other fintechs with payments processing and card issuance. "Take an established neobank for example. They'll likely have one or two card issuers, two to three bank partners, ACH processing for direct deposits and payouts, mobile check deposits, peer-to-peer payments, and lending," Gibson told Insider. Here's the 12-page pitch deck a startup helping fintechs manage their data used to score a $4.3 million seed from investors like Redpoint Ventures and Y CombinatorE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series AShopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy VoProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series ADeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Branded cards for SMBsJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym.TandymJennifer Glaspie-Lundstrom is no stranger to the private-label credit-card business. As a former Capital One exec, she worked in both the card giant's co-brand partnerships division and its tech organization during her seven years at the company.Now, Glaspie-Lundstrom is hoping to use that experience to innovate a sector that was initially created in malls decades ago.Glaspie-Lundstrom is the cofounder and CEO of Tandym, which offers private-label digital credit cards to merchants. Store and private-label credit cards aren't a new concept, but Tandym is targeting small- and medium-sized merchants with less than $1 billion in annual revenue. Glaspie-Lundstrom said that group often struggles to offer private-label credit due to the expense of working with legacy players."What you have is this example of a very valuable product type that merchants love and their customers love, but a huge, untapped market that has heretofore been unserved, and so that's what we're doing with Tandym," Glaspi-Lundstrom told Insider.A former Capital One exec used this deck to raise $60 million for a startup helping SMBs launch their own branded credit cardsCatering to 'micro businesses'Stefanie Sample is the founder and CEO of FundidFundidStartups aiming to simplify the often-complex world of corporate cards have boomed in recent years.Business-finance management startup Brex was last valued at $12.3 billion after raising $300 million last year. Startup card provider Ramp announced an $8.1 billion valuation in March after growing its revenue nearly 10x in 2021. Divvy, a small business card provider, was acquired by Bill.com in May 2021 for approximately $2.5 billion.But despite how hot the market has gotten, Stefanie Sample said she ended up working in the space by accident. Sample is the founder and CEO of Fundid, a new fintech that provides credit and lending products to small businesses.This May, Fundid announced a $3.25 million seed round led by Nevcaut Ventures. Additional investors include the Artemis Fund and Builders and Backers. The funding announcement capped off the company's first year: Sample introduced the Fundid concept in April 2021, launched its website in May, and began raising capital in August."I never meant to do Fundid," Sample told Insider. "I never meant to do something that was venture-backed."Read the 12-page deck used by Fundid, a fintech offering credit and lending tools for 'micro businesses'Embedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote teamHighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingHelping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Jackson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersAutomating accounting ops for SMBsDecimal CEO Matt Tait.DecimalSmall- and medium-sized businesses can rely on any number of payroll, expense management, bill pay, and corporate-card startups promising to automate parts of their financial workflow. Smaller firms have adopted this corporate-financial software en masse, boosting growth throughout the pandemic for relatively new entrants like Ramp and massive, industry stalwarts like Intuit. But it's no easy task to connect all of those tools into one, seamless process. And while accounting operations might be far from where many startup founders want to focus their time, having efficient back-end finances does mean time — and capital — freed up to spend elsewhere. For Decimal CEO Matt Tait, there's ample opportunity in "the boring stuff you have to do to survive as a company," he told Insider. Launched in 2020, Decimal provides a back-end tech layer that small- and medium-sized businesses can use to integrate their accounting and business-management software tools in one place.On Wednesday, Decimal announced a $9 million seed fundraising round led by Minneapolis-based Arthur Ventures, alongside Service Providers Capital and other angel investors. See the 13-page pitch deck for Decimal, a startup automating accounting ops for small businessesInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now co-foundersNowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionCheckout made easyRyan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DPayments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia MontesiQoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ABetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay DavisAtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounderGleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPOAgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of LadderLadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionData science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of CounterpartCounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in fundingDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysSoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalPay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair SilverbergHum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Helping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo ParejoKaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed roundThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 22nd, 2022

The Bill Gurley Chronicles: Part 2

The Bill Gurley Chronicles: Part 2 By Alex of the Macro Ops Substack What if there was a way to distill all the knowledge that someone’s written over the last 25 years into one, easy-to-read document? And what if that person was a famous venture capital investor known for betting big on companies like Uber, Snapchat, Twitter, Discord, Dropbox, Instagram, and Zillow (to name a few)?  Well, that’s what I’ve done with Bill Gurley’s blog Above The Crowd.  Gurley is a legendary venture capital investor and partner at Benchmark Capital. His blog oozes valuable insights on VC investing, valuations, growth, and marketplace businesses.  This document is past two to the one-stop-shop summary of every blog post Gurley’s ever written, part 1 can be found here. February 2, 2004: The Rise Of Open-Standard Radio: Why 802.11 Is Under-Hyped (Link) Summary: WiFi will dominate wireless communications for the same reason Ethernet dominated networking and x86 dominated computing: high switching costs. This wide-scale adoption causes capital to flow into the standard as companies look to differentiate on top of the existing platform. In doing so, it further entrenches the “open-standard” incumbent.  Favorite Quote: “Open standards obtain a high “stickiness” factor with customers as a result of compatibility. Once customers invest in a standard, they are likely to purchase more and more supporting infrastructure. As their supporting infrastructure grows, their switching costs rise dramatically with respect to competitive alternate architectures. Customers are no longer tied simply to the core technology, but also to the numerous peripherals and applications on which they are now dependent. All of these things make challenging an accepted open standard a very difficult exercise.” March 24, 2004: All Things IP: The Future Of Communications In America (Link) Summary: South Korea and Japan are leading the world in broadband speed and connectivity. South Korea, for example, sports 80% broadband adoption. The US on the other hand, less than 50%. Different players battle for the future of US communication. Free services like Skype offer high-quality VoIP calls. But it’s the cable companies, with their mega-cable infrastructure, that lead the way. At the end of the day follow the money. Comcast went after Disney not because of distribution, but because of content. Favorite Quote: “Now, while voice should be free, that doesn’t mean that it will be free. The two conditions outlined above are nontrivial. First and foremost, it is not at all clear that we have enough competition in the U.S. broadband market. Innovations in the wireless market, particularly recent innovations around mesh architectures, have the opportunity to change this. As of right now, however, many users simply lack choice. Additionally, the many state municipalities around the country are eager to place their hands on VoIP. A poorly executed policy could in fact “increase” the long term pricing on voice services for all users (for example, would you really tax a free service?).” May 6, 2004: Entrepreneurialism And Protectionism Don’t Mix (Link)  Summary: Protectionism and entrepreneurialism don’t work together. One prides itself on open dissemination of ideas, talent and problems (entrepreneurialism). The other (protectionism) desires to keep what’s theirs and turn a blind eye to competition. There are seven reasons why these two ideologies don’t mix: it hurts the economy (comparative advantage), start-ups don’t receive government subsidies (that encourage protectionism), disincentivizes diversity, more start-ups start with a global presence, the hot markets are ex-US, it goes against our global open standards (WiFi, etc.) and its inconsistent with the entrepreneurial mindset.  Favorite Quote: “It is hard to imagine a successful entrepreneur arguing that he or she deserves a job over someone else that is equally skilled and willing to work for a lower wage. The entire spirit of entrepreneurialism is based on finding ways to do something better, faster, and cheaper. It is the whole nature of the game. If someone can do something better somewhere else, it simply means it’s time to innovate again – with intellect and technology, not politics.” October 19, 2004: The Revolutionary Business Of Multiplayer Gaming (Link)  Summary: Multiplayer gaming is an incredible business featuring five “Buffett-Like” business characteristics: recurring revenue (subscription pricing), competitive moats (switching costs), network effects/increasing returns, real competition with others and high brand engagement. Those that fail to realize the importance (and power) of the video game business model (40%+ operating margins) will miss a huge investment opportunity.  Favorite Quote: “Some skeptics argue that MMOG is still a “niche” business and that the same half-million users are migrating from Everquest to Ultima Online to City of Heroes. Under this theory, MMOGs will never be mass market and will never really “matter” in the $20 billion interactive entertainment business. However, with billion dollar businesses now dotting the NASDAQ, it becomes harder and harder to invoke such skepticism. And if new paradigms, architectures, and broadband speeds allow for titles that meet the needs of a wider demographic, ignoring MMOGs may be equivalent to ignoring the successor to television.” March 11, 2005: Believe It Or Not: Your State Leaders May Be Acting To Slow The Proliferation Of Broadband (Link) Summary: In 2005, rumors circulated that laws would pass eliminating a city’s right to offer telecommunications services to its citizens. Gurley suggested states should say “no way” to this offering, and opined six reasons why (straight from the post):  The primary reason for the proposition is to reduce or eliminate competition for incumbent telcos An oligopoly doesn’t make a marketplace Taking rights from municipalities will have negative overall impact on American innovation  Even if a city has no intention of deploying wireless services, it is still in that city’s best interest to retain the right to do so In 2005, isn’t it reasonable for a city to choose to offer broadband as a community service?  A founding American principle — localized government whenever possible Favorite Quote: “In what is ostensibly the cornerstone “democracy” on the planet, one would think that the citizens in each of America’s cities could simply “vote” on the services they believe make sense for their city to provide.  Running a wireless network in a city like Topeka, Kansas simply has no overriding impact on the state as a whole.  As Thomas Jefferson aptly wrote in a letter to William Jarvis in 1820, “I know of no safe depository of the ultimate powers of society but the people themselves; and if we think them not enlightened enough to exercise their control with a wholesome discretion, the remedy is not to take it from them, but to inform them.”” March 21, 2005: The State Of Texas Refuses To Block Municipal Broadband (Link) Summary: Gurley’s post before this one did its job and Texas removed the harsh language around cities offering broadband access to its citizens. According to Gurley, the battle moved to Colorado.  Favorite Quote: “This proposed bill, in its original form, would prohibit a city from helping any new carrier whatsoever get started.  It’s a pure and blatant anti-competitive move.  It’s been modified slightly, but it is still one of the harshest proposals of any state, and once again created only to help the incumbent carriers by removing competition.  Consumers do not benefit from this language.” March 24, 2005: Texas Two Step – Backwards (Link) Summary: After celebrating the removal of restrictive broadband language three days prior, Texas reinserted the notion. What’s crazy is that the member who reinserted the language, Robert Puente, serves in a district where a large telco company has its headquarters. Hmm …  Favorite Quote: “It is shocking that these local reps really don’t care if broadband deployment in America continues to fall further and further behind the rest of the world.  Just shocking.” June 2, 2005: Texas Sets Key Precedent For Other States In Refusing To Ban Municipal Wireless (Link) Summary: It’s interesting that fixed broadband incumbents in Texas are so opposed to wireless broadband. The incumbents claim wireless is a weaker form of their product. But if it’s so weak, why do they want it banned from their state? Why won’t they let natural competition run its course? If it is indeed weak, there shouldn’t be a reason to impose sanctions and restrictions.  Favorite Quote: “The reason the pro-broadband movement was successful is because they organized, they gathered the real data on the success of municipal wireless deployments, and they were able to inform the citizens about this effort by the incumbents and their key legislators to use regulation to restrict competition.  They leveraged the Internet, blogs, and mailing lists, and made a huge difference.  The tech community also played a role with the AEA, the Broadband Coalition, and TechNet all speaking out against this effort to intentional slow technical progress.  These lessons and resources are now focusing on other states to ensure the Texas outcome.” July 12, 2005: DVD Glut (Link) Summary: Gurley saw the rise of TiVo and its effect on the DVD industry. Why would people pay for DVDs when they can record their favorite movies on TV and watch them whenever they want? There is no practical use for DVDs outside nostalgia and collection.  Favorite Quote: “Could it be that people are watching Shrek 2 on Tivo and saving that on Tivo for future viewing?  Could it be that other activities, such as Internet usage, is infringing on DVD time?” July 19, 2005: Do VCs Help In Building A Technology Platform? (Link) Summary: There are two important implications for venture capital’s lack of investment in Microsoft’s .NET platform. First, VCs are investing on the Open Platform. This is likely due to (what Gurley calls) “a more benign” platform. Such a platform allows for more creativity and application. Second, VCs aren’t investing in .NET applications because Microsoft’s simply going up the software vertical (owning each spot). There is a lack of opportunity within the existing .NET framework.  Favorite Quote: “Venture Capitalists look to the public markets for clues on where to go next.  There is no point in investing in technologies that don’t lead to liquidity events.  What the article stresses is that the majority of VC money these days is being spent on top of the Open Source platform rather than the Microsoft’s .Net platform.” July 22, 2005: Wifi Nation… (Link) Summary: This article gives us an excuse to talk about Innovator’s Dilemma. Clayton Christensen coined the term in his book with the same title. Wikipedia defines the term as, “the new entrant is deep into the S-curve and providing significant value to the new product. By the time the new product becomes interesting to the incumbent’s customers it is too late for the incumbent to react to the new product.” In short, WiFi is disrupting the incumbent broadband and their end consumers. Also, WiFi isn’t built for the incumbents. It’s built for the next generation.  Favorite Quote: “What you will see, and what many continue to deny, is that Metro-scale Wifi isn’t a theory, its a reality.  The networks are live.  They perform way better than EVDO or any cellular alternative. They are cheaper to deploy.  AND, there is huge momentum around more and more networks.” Years: 2006 – 2008 April 5, 2006: Why SOX Will Lead To The Demise Of U.S. Markets (Link) Summary: Sarbanes-Oxley (SOX) killed the small and micro-cap public market spirit. Like most regulations, the creators of SOX thought their stipulations would preserve the growth of public markets. Instead it stunted growth. SOX is an expensive requirement for smaller public companies. The costs disincentivize companies from going public. In return, US capital markets offer less opportunities than global companions. Will this lead to more money flowing overseas? Favorite Quote: “Ironically, the two gentlemen that created SOX did it with the intention of “preserving” U.S. capital market leadership. Their fear was that people viewed our markets as too risky, and so they created SOX to ensure that investors would “trust” our markets.” April, 2006: As Wifi Grows, So Do The PR Attacks (Link) Summary: There will always be haters when new technology replaces old, resentful incumbents. Can you blame them? WiFi completely destroyed their business model. Of course they’re going to run sham campaigns. But that’s the beauty of the Innovator’s Dilemma. WiFi doesn’t care about fixed broadband and incumbents. It’s serving its new wave of customers who want something incumbents can’t offer. Look for this in other up-and-coming technologies.  Favorite Quote: “Better performance than EVDO at a much lower cost.  You won’t stop this with an AP article.  Are their issues?  Sure, but I drop 5 cell calls a day in Silicon Valley and that technology (cellular voice) is over 25 years old.”  April 27, 2006: MMOs (MMORPGs) Continue To Rock (Link) Summary: Gurley again emphasizes the importance of MMO video games — particularly out of Asia. In fact, he mentions that Nexon (Japanese gaming company) plans to file on the JSE. Gurley believes the JSE filing is directly correlated with Sarbanes Oxley (from the article above). Regardless, the real winners in the video game industry are coming from Asia. Winning games will be based on community and entertainment, rather than pure competition. It’s no wonder Fortnite is so popular today. Gurley gave us clues almost 20 years ago.  Favorite Quote: “Many of the rising stars of multi-player interactive entertainment are more social than interactive. They also target much broader demographics than gaming ever dreamed of hitting. Consider three sites targeted at younger children and teens that are all doing extremely well — NeoPets, HabboHotel, and GaiaOnline (Benchmark is an investor in HabboHotel).” June 19, 2008: Back To Blogging (Maybe)… (Link) Summary: Gurley returned from his writing break to mention a few of his favorite reading sources. Gurley notes that he reads each of these websites every morning:  TechCrunch GigaOm Marc Andressen’s Blog Favorite Quote: “The bottom line is I have been really busy. Busy with our investments here at Benchmark, and busy with three growing kids at home.  But in the end, I am quite fond of writing, and I have been inspired by some of the great writing of others.” June 30, 2008: Bleak VC Quarter? Why? (Link) Summary: June 2008 marked another dreary quarter for venture capital. Not one single VC-backed company went public. At first glance, this seems bad for venture capital. But looking deeper, it’s not venture capital that’s the issue. It’s the public market. Between regulations and SOX costs, small companies are opting to remain private at record numbers. As Gurley notes, fund managers want high growth and capital appreciation. But these small growth companies don’t want the issues of being a public company.  Favorite Quote: “This passionate desire to be public is completely gone in Silicon Valley. For reasons you could easily list – Sarbanes Oxley; 12b1 trading rules; shareholder litigation; option pricing scandals; personal liability on 10-Q filing signatures – it is simply not much fun being a public executive.” July 22, 2008: BAILOUT What? (Link) Summary: Fascinating how relevant this quote is for 2020. What we’ve seen from the US government during the COVID pandemic is a double-downed effort on its bailout precautions. Even going so far as to buy bond ETFs on the open market! Capitalism requires failure. It requires weak businesses to fall by the wayside in exchange for stronger competitors.  Favorite Quote: “Is our government really going to bail out equity investors in a failed business enterprise? I totally get keeping America afloat, but it is critical that failed businesses FAIL. They must FAIL. You can’t provide band-aids to equity failure. The whole system will come to a halt. Risk that pans out must result in failure. it is a crucial part of the system.” December 1, 2008: Benchmark Capital: Open For Business (Link) Summary: Gurley and the Benchmark team continued investing while the rest of their VC peers cowered in fear during the bowels of the Great Recession. Investing when others are fearful is not only a sign of a great VC firm, but any great company.  Favorite Quote: “I can’t speak for other firms, but make no mistake about…Benchmark Capital is wide open for business and we are eager to invest new capital behind great entrepreneurs.  Right now.  In this environment.  Today. You may wonder why I feel the need to make this pronouncement, and you may even consider this a stunt.  It is not.   We have made fourteen new investments this year, and are actively considering new investments each and every day.” December 5, 2008: Do VCs Help In Building A Technology Platform; Part 2 (Link) Summary: Microsoft offers three years of free software/service to startups. This is a clear signal that Microsoft understands the power of platforms and where companies choose to build their products. Otherwise, as Gurley notes, why offer it for free? This comes on the heels of three new cloud platform technologies entering the space: Facebook, Salesforce and Amazon AWS. VCs may not choose which platform wins, but they choose which platform gets capital. And to some, that’s the same thing.  Favorite Quote: “It obviously would be overstating it to suggest that VCs help “choose” the platform that wins. That said, it is a powerfully positive indicator if VCs show confidence in a new platform by shifting where they deploy their capital.” Years: 2009 – 2011 February 1, 2009: Google Stock Option Repricing: Get Over It (Link) Summary: Retail investors, bloggers, and financial pundits argued that Google’s Stock Options Repricing hurt the “common” shareholder. Gurley thinks stock options shouldn’t matter because common shareholders gave up their rights (more or less) when investing in Google shares. The fact is, Google’s founder and original shareholder shares carry 9/10ths voting power. That means minority (aka second-class citizen) shareholders get 1/10th. In other words, deal with it.  Favorite Quote: “So my reaction to anyone who owns Google stock and is sore over this decision — Get Over It.  You bought a stock where you gave up the ability to vote on such things, and if you don’t like it, sell the stock.  But you have no right to complain, as the rules were laid out from the beginning.” February 11, 2009: Picture Proof Of The Innovator’s Dilemma: SlideRocket (Link) Summary: With a team of 3 engineers and a fraction of Microsoft’s budget, SlideRocket created (arguably) a better version of PowerPoint. According to Gurley, SlideRocket is a perfect example of the Innovator’s Dilemma. PowerPoint took (probably) billions of dollars in R&D and thousands of engineers to create. SlideRocket did it with 4 orders of magnitude less resources.  Favorite Quote: “One subtlety of this is that it allows others to catch up and basically recreate the same thing for a fraction of the cost.   In SlideRocket’s case, it appears that a team of 3 engineers with primary work done by the founder, have recreated PowerPoint (leveraging Flex of course).”  February 18, 2009: Just Say No To A VC Bailout: A Green Government Venture Fund Is A Flawed Idea (Link) Summary: Some VC investors wanted a bailout from the government during the GFC. Gurley originally thought this was a far-cry from a lone complainer. Then he read an article by Thomas Friedman suggesting the same thing: a bailout for VC targeted at green-tech companies. According to Gurley, VC bailouts are flawed for six reasons: There are no lack of capital in VC VCs don’t deserve a bailout Those that need bailout are (likely) bad ideas Excess capital hurts markets Good companies don’t lack for capital Use customer subsidies instead of government-backed VC investment Favorite Quote: “Great ideas have never suffered from a lack of capital availability.  Bringing extra government dollars to the investment side will only ensure that marginal and sub-par companies get more funding dollars, which historically has had a perverse and negative effect on the overall market.” February 22, 2009: Just Say No To A VC Bailout – Part 2 (Link) Summary: Continuing the rant from the previous blog post, Gurley hits on three main criticisms with Friedman’s cry for a VC bailout. First, Friedman suggested that the US Treasury give the Top 20 VC firms up to $1B to “invest in the best VC ideas”. When you consider the 2% annual fee each year that VC’s take, you’re effectively giving these firms an additional $4B in partners’ fees. Finally, Gurley hammers home the idea that to win in green-tech you need to incentivize the customer on the demand side. Create a positive ROI proposition for the customer to use the product or service.  Favorite Quote: “The key is to create an ROI positive investment for the end customer through subsidies.  Ethanol isn’t falling to succeed because of a lack of capital — it’s a problem with customer ROI.  Invest through subsidies in making the market huge and ROI positive.  Capital alone will not solve the problem as the ethanol case proves.” February 27, 2009: Perfect Online Video Advertising Model: Choose Your Advertiser (Link) Summary: Gurley reveals his “perfect online video advertising model” in which consumers can choose their advertiser. It works like this. Before an online premium or VOD show starts, the content creators present the consumer with a list of 4-9 sponsors for the programming. Then, the consumer picks which sponsor they’d like to see when the inevitable ad runs during their program. The benefit to this is that content creators would know their customers’ interests to the tee, which would allow them to raise prices on advertising channels (read: higher revenue).  Favorite Quote: “Just because I am a male between 18-24 and watching “Lost” doesn’t mean I want an XBOX.  You are more likely to guess that i might want it, but you would be 10X better off if I chose XBOX as my sponsor at the start of the show.  Then you would KNOW I have an interest — no more guessing. Making predictions is always a dangerous game, but I am fairly certain that this will be the video ad model of the future.  It makes way too much sense not to work.” March 2, 2009: Looking For Work: Are You An Insurance Agent? (Link) Summary: One of Gurley’s investments had an unusual circumstance during the GFC: they had excess demand for work. LiveOps, a virtual SaaS call center on the cloud, leverages a network of work-from-home call center operators. At the time of writing, LiveOps had 20,000+ live call-center agents working from home assisting companies like Aegon, Colonial Penn, and American Idol.  Favorite Quote: “Their core technology is a SAAS “contact center in cloud.” Just like anyone’s call center, it is a four-9’s operation that is highly resilient. What’s different, and very unique, is that the agents on the other end don’t actually work for LiveOps – they work for themselves. So far, over 20,000 “crowd-sourced” agents are now working from home on behalf of LiveOps customers – companies like Aegon, Colonial Penn, etc. One really cool customer example is American Idol. For Idol Gives Back, AI’s charity campaign, over 4000 LiveOps agents handled over 200,000 calls in less than five hours. Only a crowd-sourced play could handle such a ramp.” March 9, 2009: How To Monetize A Social Network: MySpace And Facebook Should Follow TenCent (Link) Summary: Social networks had trouble monetizing their websites. MySpace and Facebook failed to generate revenue like Yahoo, which did $7B at the time of writing. The problem wasn’t growing the userbase (both sites had tremendous user growth). It was the dependence on advertising to generate the lion’s share of their revenues. Gurley compares MySpace and Facebook to Tencent (700.HK). The two primary drivers of revenue for Tencent are digital items and casual game packages and upgrades. These are significantly higher-margin businesses than advertising. At the end of the day, social networks are social status symbols. This means if you want to leverage your business, you need to provide users with ways to improve their social status. Favorite Quote: “If you removed the Chanel logo from them, and offered them for $50 cheaper, you could not sell a pair.  Not one.  Why?  People are buying an image that they want to project about themselves.  Without the logo, they fail to make that statement.  The same is true for watches, clothes, cars, sodas, beers, cell phones, and many more items.  People care greatly about how they are perceived and are willing to part with big bucks to achieve it.  Digital items are merely the same phenomenon online.” March 26, 2009: Note To Timothy Geithner: Do Startups & Venture Capitalists Really Need More Regulation? (Link) Summary: The US government levied Sarbanes-Oxley on all public companies after the whole Enron, WorldCom saga. The purpose? Protect investors from future frauds. While the efficacy of “Sarbox” remains in question, one thing doesn’t: the cost on small public companies. Sarbox costs ~$2-$3M to implement. This makes it nearly impossible for small companies to go public because the Sarbox costs eat away all potential operating profits. Overburdening small companies could restrict the pipeline of new public IPOs.  Favorite Quote: “And remember that the largest companies in America that were created in the last 35 years (MSFT, GOOG, AAPL, CSCO, INTC) were all small venture-backed companies at one point in time.  Do we really want to inappropriately restrain or throttle the future pipeline of such companies in America?” May 2, 2009: Swine Flu: Overreaction More Costly Than The Virus Itself? (Link) Summary: It’s amazing how relevant this blog post became during the COVID-19 pandemic. Gurley suggests that in some cases, overreacting to news (like swine flu) can have far worse consequences than the natural course of the virus itself. For example, Mexico’s economy teetering on the brink of insolvency as tourism represents a third of their economy. The argument for overreacting is that it prepares people for the worst-case scenario. Yet that decision has consequences. Consequences we can’t see, and might not see for a long time.  Favorite Quote: “Some people rationalize that this hysteria serves a noble purpose, in that it prepares us for the worse.  This, however, ignores the fact that there are tremendous real economic costs to overreaction, and that sometimes overreaction has far-reaching negative impacts which can be many times greater than that of the original problem.” May 8, 2009: Second Life: Second Most Played PC Title, #1 In Minutes/User (Link) Summary: Gurley’s investment in Linden Lab paid off big time in May 2009 when Linden’s hit game Second Life ranked as the #2 most-played PC title. The game trailed World of Warcraft in number of users, but ranked first in number of minutes played per user. Data like this further reiterates Gurley’s earlier claims that selling goods online (digital signs of social status) can make for a great business. It also shows people love distracting themselves from their everyday lives.  Favorite Quote: “The truth of the matter is that the company is quite large, it’s growing, it’s profitable,  it has hired a number of great people over this time frame, and as the data shows it’s kicking butt. Note that the data also shows SecondLife actually leads WOW in terms of minutes played per user.”   May 10, 2009: Bill Gurley’s Online Video Market Snapshot (Link) Summary: Gurley did an on Hollywood talk about the massive changes in the Online Video Market. The link has an 18-minute video where Gurley outlines five things that matter in the coming online video market battle:  Great content is super expensive Affiliate fees are a “huge fucking deal”  The Netflix Business model is widely misunderstood HBO and the NFL are incredibly well-positioned companies Wireless will not save the day  Favorite Quote: I didn’t have a favorite quote from this post as it was mainly a link to the video and slide deck. I highly recommend watching the video and scanning through the deck. It’s 18 minutes long but you can watch at 1.5-2x speed without issue.  Tyler Durden Sun, 06/19/2022 - 17:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 19th, 2022

Rabo: We Are In A Period Of Inverse FX Wars, Where Everyone Needs A Stronger Currency... Real Wars Lean In That Direction

Rabo: We Are In A Period Of Inverse FX Wars, Where Everyone Needs A Stronger Currency... Real Wars Lean In That Direction By Michael Every of Rabobank Thursday was another crazy day in markets. The S&P was -3.3% and is now -23.1% year-to-date while the Nasdaq was -4.1% and is -32% YTD. The equity bulls are in a ball hugging their knees in the corner, shaking their heads and staring into space. US Treasury yields were all over the place: up again (nearly 18bps), then hugely down (almost 30bps) to close 9bp lower overall. Japanese 10-year JGBs briefly got as high as 0.285% before Yield Curve Control (YCC) controlled them again. In Europe, we saw German 2s rise 23bps, then drop 15bps from that high, while 10s went up 29bps, then rallied 20bps from that point. In Italy, 2s started at 1.74%, leaped 13bps, slumped 16bps, rose 10bps, and fell 9bps to close at 1.72%, while 10s started at 3.76%, rose 22bps, but ended back at 3.74%. Clearly the market is (in)digesting what the ECB is cooking up re: anti-fragmentation actions for next month. The US dollar had a bad, bad day due to chaos in other markets. Oil was down big, at first, with Brent tumbling from $120 to below $116, but then bounced to $120 before closing around $119. US Energy Secretary Graham is to meet refining executives on 23 June: hopefully she will have read the explanation they just sent to President Biden explaining how the energy market actually works. Other commodities were mixed, with metals down mostly a little, but softs up on the day as the dollar dipped – which alongside oil refusing to stay down, is still a warning for those still hoping the Fed can ease off quickly. Indeed, as my colleagues and I were discussing yesterday, let’s presume the Fed tightens to the point where we get recession and deflation, i.e., CPI goes from nearly 10% y-o-y to -2%. Then the Fed eases monetary policy again aggressively while the supply side remains constrained: wouldn’t you just get 4-5% inflation straight away, taking base consumer prices to even higher highs? A projected glide-path back to 2% CPI “because DSGE models” and “because no geopolitics” risks being as inaccurate as “inflation is transitory”. That implies risks of higher rates ahead, and for longer. “Higher for longer” is not what we are used to in markets, is it? On crypto, that cutting-too-early scenario might mean a 2024 bid. But for now, it’s “Do you want DeFis with that?” for holders likely to soon boost the size of the US labor market again. One of the proximate causes of the sell-off yesterday was not just post-Fed 75bps gloom, but even the stolid Swiss rolling us by hiking an unexpected 50bps. It wasn’t quite as large a market shock as the SNB’s dropping of the CHF peg a few years ago, but it was still big. Indeed, the SNB not only took their key rate closer to positive territory but underlined that CHF has depreciated in trade-weighted terms and is “no longer highly valued,” so imported inflation has increased: that implies CHF needs to be more highly valued to deal with inflation; and that suggests the SNB will be selling, not buying US stocks and other assets, now they aren’t needed to keep CHF down. In short, we are in a period of inverse FX wars, where everyone now needs a stronger currency. Actual wars naturally lean in that direction. The same post-2008 finance generation who think FX war is actual war(!) again don’t understand how things really work. It isn’t about ‘export competitiveness’ in the face of supply constraints and bullets flying. It’s about cheaper key imports to fight, and to allow low enough borrowing rates to fund long-term war spending; or it’s about running a trade surplus, and so a strong currency as a result, which allows money-printing (i.e., MMT) to pay for said defence spending. That is to say we are in an inflationary, FX, and geopolitical reversal of what we knew as the ‘new normal’ – and all three are linked. Quite literally on that front, France’s, Italy’s, and Germany’s leaders all visited Kyiv yesterday and jointly pledged Ukraine would be accepted as a candidate for EU membership ahead of the expected EU decision on that matter today. If so, it makes the battle taking place more existential for the EU, as it is obviously is for Ukraine. Yet as EU gas prices spike again thanks to Russia, which says it has a perfectly-good Nord Stream 2 to replace the suddenly malfunctioning Nord Stream 1, cynical geostrategists note either the EU steps up the supply of military support to Ukraine, or it risks finding that while it wanted to offer it EU membership, sadly it is no longer in a physical position to accept it. In short, as on rates, real action now matters, not jawboning. As such, don’t expect the recent dollar weakness to last. The Fed is moving 75bps while others are doing 25bps or 50bps. And if a US recession is coming, a global recession is coming too. While the US will suffer, net exporters with less fiscal flexibility will suffer far more. Risk will be very off in very many places. Indeed, the BOE only offered up a feeble 25bps hike to 1.25% at their meeting. GBP/USD was still up from a low of 1.2050 to nearly 1.24 at its peak just because everyone, temporarily, wanted out of the dollar, but this won’t last. As Stefan Koopman notes, the MPC also updated its guidance, and is no longer telling markets “some degree of further tightening” is needed in order to bring inflation back to target, but that “the Committee would be particularly alert to indications of more persistent inflationary pressures, and would if necessary act forcefully in response.” He adds that this change in guidance has sown confusion: it is not 100% clear why it was made in the first place, and it is not 100% clear if this is dovish (i.e. only forceful action if there is more persistent evidence) or hawkish (i.e. a signal that 50bps increases are on the cards if m/m rates of inflation don’t fall soon). For now, markets are inclined to believe the latter. He concludes, “We expect one more 25bps hike in August, before the MPC takes a pause and re-assesses. The risk is that the market will not allow the central bank to pause… This places the central bank in a perilous spot: if it does too little, imported cost pressures keep flowing in, if it does too much, it will only intensify the recession. Welcome to Stagflation Nation!” At least in that regard, it truly is Global Britain. Today, the market turns to the BOJ, where the betting is increasingly that they too will have to abandon their YCC policy and let the 10-year JGB yield rip – which will let JPY rip and destroy lots of carry trades people won’t be expecting until they do. When that unwind happens there will also be cross-selling of whatever is still liquid and not too beaten-up. In short, the BOJ may join the rest of the central banking world today in tightening policy one way or another, creating yet more havoc. Indeed, at time of writing, the 10-year JGB was already above the 0.25% target again, as people again tried the long-time ‘widow-maker’ trade. Yet recent comments from Finance Minister Suzuki suggest the BOJ may still stick to their guns. If so, they are pulling even further on a monetary elastic band that will hurt far more when it does inevitably come snapping back the other way. Happy Friday. Try not to get Swiss rolled as the market embraces a yen for change. Tyler Durden Fri, 06/17/2022 - 12:59.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJun 17th, 2022

Rabobank: Central Bank Amateur Hour Means Growing Risk Of People Sharpening Guillotines

Rabobank: Central Bank Amateur Hour Means Growing Risk Of People Sharpening Guillotines By Michael Every of Rabobank Yesterday saw major developments from both the ECB and the Fed. In both cases, it was sadly amateur hour. The ECB, less than a week after saying it didn’t need a “concrete plan” for Euro fragmentation risk as it raised rates, was forced to hold an emergency meeting to provide one due to the surge in Italian yields: it said, “We will get back to you.” Their plan is a promise to come up with a plan. El-Erian was saying yesterday that the Fed risks looking like an emerging market central bank, channelling my recent DM = EM meme: and the ECB came across as a bad EM central bank. (By contrast, Brazil just hiked rate 50bps with no drama. They might want to offer lessons.) My colleagues cover this Eurosis in more detail in ‘Pain threshold hit already?’, noting the ECB statement leaves much uncertainty over how powerful its intervention will actually be. We expect more clarity in July, and its vagueness may contain spreads for now, as the market will not want to try the ECB’s hand ahead of the formalization of any instrument. However, once an anti-fragmentation tool is known and markets will know its limitations, that arguably gives traders a new target to aim for – and they will go for it. Especially if it just says, ‘Build Back Better’.   There are lots of ways the ECB can act via acronyms. However, clearly there can be no end to ECB QE as they raise rates - as posited here was logical; or they can’t raise rates at all; and there can’t be any real QT. Moreover, the ECB raising rates and doing QE is now both monetization and mutualization.  So, logically, we have a central bank that de facto “prints” money… and very inefficiently for the real economy. Regular readers might recall my thought-piece from mid-2020 asking how we were going to justify our political-economy when it doesn’t work anymore. The ECB is now a case in point: is “because Euro” enough for everyone ? So to the Fed, where we got a first-since 1994 75bps hike following the leaks planted in the press during a supposed blackout period. Yet markets rallied hard because: the Fed had leaked it, rather than shocking them, so undoing the point of a bigger move; because Powell then refused to cement a 75bps move in July, as if the inflation dynamic he suddenly watches will have changed in a few weeks; and because he also stressed there will be a soft landing - as the drop in retail sales and the Atlanta Fed survey suggests a reasonable chance the US is already in a technical recession. The market also liked that the Fed's projected long run rates projection was clustered around 2.50%. Yet there is no sign that broad commodity inflation is under control to match, leading President Biden to now lash out at over-stretched-and-about-to-be-windfall-taxed US refiners for causing inflation. And Russia just cut gas flows to Germany by 40% and to Italy by 15%. That long-run rate is really a loooong way out until the supply side is sorted out. Our Fed-whisperer Philip Marey argues in ‘75 not the new 50, but maybe again next time’ that the Keystone Cops from the Eccles Building are again behind the curve. He now sees the Fed Funds rates having to move closer to 4% by year end, with 75bps in July, and then three 50bps hikes in a row. Then we get a US recession (or perhaps another one) in H2 2023. As such, one would posit the huge bull steepening in the US curve and the post-FOMC equity rally are both likely to be reversed ahead.   Tomorrow is then the BOJ and their “Hey, ECB, hold my beer!” yield curve control policy - as yesterday saw the 10-year JGB yield break as high as 0.29% before being brought back down to 0.246% again via yet more intervention. When that peg eventually breaks, markets are going to get hit hard. Japan is currently a source of ultra-cheap financing in a world of rising rates, and with a currency that is only going one way - down. If both reverse at once,… ouch! Only Korea would be really happy: it goes head-to-head with Japan in many export markets, and is openly saying it is facing an economic crisis as the BOJ goes all-in. They will arguably need a Fed swap line soon. So will many others as US rates rise. Yet the Fed will only be handing them out to geopolitical friends, i.e., what about Türkiye and its crumbling TRY, as it places its S-400 anti-aircraft missiles facing towards Greece, flies a UAV over a Greek island, and blocks Swedish and Finnish NATO membership? That’s ironically central banking coming full circle to its origins as a vehicle for national security and Grand Strategy, a point I have repeated before. Nobody created central banks to be inefficient money printing machines, or for rich people. They had a far more important purpose. They likely will have to do so again – but do you think this collective bunch of amateurs are the ones to lead that particular charge? First-time readers will see, and regular readers will know, that I do not show much of the usual market deference for central banks or central bankers. But why should we? Epistemologically, how can any bureaucrat have any true idea of what is happening in any one economy and national financial market, with all its moving parts, let alone when it is cojoined to the global? Methodologically, how can they have any idea what effects their actions will or won’t engender when based on a theoretical neoliberal economic framework that would be laughed out of the room if presented as any form of hard ‘science’? Heuristically, after their initial creation to finance wars (such as the Bank of England vs. Napoleon), central banks’ modern-day track record is one of almost continual policy failure – it’s just that we refuse to take the big picture view to frame it properly, instead focusing on the here-and-now pockets of coincidental historic ‘success’. A quick time-line recap of ‘amateur decades’ follows. Pre-WW1 central banks are seen as having worked well under a gold standard. Actually it was British imperialism that tied things together. The global system ‘worked’, in a far simpler economy, by ripping off swathes of countries at gunpoint: and even then inflation swung massively positive and negative all the time. The gold peg was what mattered, not inflation. Then America got too big, and Germany got too big for its boots and tried to copy British imperialism. That was the end of the pre-WW1 period. Post-WW1 central banks never all got back on a milquetoast gold standard due to huge war debts, or destroyed societies where they tried if they didn’t let credit boom anyway. All they rustled up was fascism, the Wall Street Crash, the Great Depression, and then Nazism and WW2. Post-WW2 central banks under Bretton Woods and Cold War saw international capital flows regulated and credit rationed or allocated in a hypothecated manner domestically. As such, even their Keynesian models couldn’t screw things up too badly, and we got 25 years of low inflation and solid GDP growth. Yet the Triffin Paradox kicked in, and the US was forced off gold, and Bretton Woods collapsed. Then we saw deregulation of capital flows domestically and externally. Central banks decided that following monetary aggregates was then the key to keeping inflation in check, because “inflation is always and everywhere a monetary phenomenon.” Except this policy didn’t work in the slightest, because once you deregulate markets, especially allowing US dollars to flow to the Eurodollar market, all your M0, M1, M2, M3 data are useless. Central banks had to abandon the policy framework. Only with the emergence of true globalisation did inflation plunge and stay low - due to the breaking of unions, privatisation, and offshoring, especially to cheap-as-chips China. Again, this was nothing to do with central banks – who nonetheless took all the credit. Such deregulation of course caused rolling financial instability, but the central bank response was always to cut rates into any crisis to blow more air back into the global bubble. Likewise, as society became more unequal and real wages lagged behind productivity growth, the response was to push up asset prices, not wages. Greenspan was the “maestro”. Then we got the GFC in 2008-09, which central banks’ didn’t see it coming at all despite being ‘experts’ in it. Then it was the post-2009 ‘new normal’ decade, where central banks tried to get inflation back up to 2% by making rich people even richer with acronyms, and the ECB did “whatever it takes”, leading to yesterday’s door opening to structural, inefficient, mutualised monetisation of debt.   Then we rediscovered fiscal and monetary policy during Covid in 2020…and inflation came roaring back. In short, central banks can look smart for a long time, but entirely due to exogenous developments. They can blow things up by being crazily ahead of the curve, or very much behind it. But most of the time they are just making it up as they go along. Arguably the worst sin they can commit is to *show* they don’t know what they are doing and are making it up as they go along. Amateur hours are dangerous because, as with royalty, the risk is the mystique and magic wears off, and people start asking awkward questions. Or sharpening guillotines. Not that gold is any better - or crypto. The sad fact is that nothing works for long in a complex, dynamic system such as a globalized financialised economy. Logically, if we want true stability then we really shouldn’t have one. That’s not a forecast by the way, even if it is partly the zeitgeist. For now, we are going to get much higher US rates, and then a recession - and then lots of questions about how things might work better than they currently do. China has some ideas on that front. The PBOC is already unique among central banks with its lack of independence, as is China’s ‘common prosperity’ idea of avoiding Marxist “fictitious” capital, when that’s pretty much all the Western system has to offer. Building on that base, China will now require foreign funds based there to set up internal communist party units that will carry out “party activities”. That will make for some interesting morning calls – but at least the assessment of how foreign central banks’ policies work --or rather don’t-- will be more accurate. Tyler Durden Thu, 06/16/2022 - 10:05.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 16th, 2022

Live: Jan. 6 committee to hold next hearing on Thursday, Pence advisors to testify

The House select committee is investigating the Capitol riot and the role Donald Trump and his allies played in trying to overturn the 2020 election. Lawmakers on the House January 6 committee.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images The House committee investigating the Capitol riot is holding its next hearing at 1 p.m. ET Thursday. Two people who worked with Vice President Mike Pence are scheduled to testify. One is expected to say that America's democracy was "almost stolen," CBS News reported. The next January 6 committee hearing is due on Thursday, with Pence advisors set to testifyFormer Vice President Mike Pence.Meg Kinnard/APThe next hearing by the January 6 committee is due to take place on Thursday at 1 p.m. ET.Two advisors to Mike Pence, who was former President Donald Trump's vice president, are due to testify.The aides are Greg Jacob, Pence's former counsel, and J. Michael Luttig, a retired judge for the US Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit who served as an informal advisor to Pence.Two people familiar with Luttig's testimony told CBS News that he is expected to say tht America's democracy was "almost stolen" and that conservatives should recognize the seriousness of what Trump did on January 6.He will also say that he urged Pence to ignore Trump's pressure on the vice president to block Joe Biden's certification as president, CBS News reported.Trump had piled pressure on Pence not to recognize Biden's victory in the days running up to January 6, 2021, and some of the rioters at the Capitol had chanted "hang Mike Pence." Pence's role in the certification process was largely ceremonial.All the times GOP Rep. Loudermilk shifted his story about the Capitol tour he led a day before Jan. 6 attackVideo released by the January 6 committee shows Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia leading a tour through the Capitol complex on January 5, 2021.Screenshot / January 6 CommitteeThe explanation given by Republican Rep. Barry Loudermilk about a tour that he led a day before the January 6 Capitol riot has changed several times.The committee investigating the attack said Wednesday at least one person on the tour later attended Trump's January 6 rally and march toward the Capitol. Other tour members appear to have taken photos of stairwells and a security station in the Capitol complex. There is currently no evidence that suggests any of the tour participants rioted inside the Capitol. There is also no evidence that suggests that Loudermilk knew any of the people on the tour wanted to commit violence or deface the Capitol.The January 6 committee released footage of the tour on Wednesday, saying it included areas that tourists don't typically pay much attention to, like stairwells and hallways.Capitol police said there was nothing "suspicious" about the tour, but Loudermilk's explanation of it has evolved.Read Full StoryGinni Thomas emailed Trump lawyer John Eastman ahead of January 6, report saysGinni Thomas, the wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, arrives to watch Judge Amy Coney Barrett take the constitutional oath on the South Lawn of the White House on October 26, 2020.AP Photo/Patrick SemanskyGinni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, exchanged emails with John Eastman, a Trump lawyer who drafted a memo detailing a plan for overturning the 2020 election, The Washington Post reported Wednesday.Sources close to the House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection told the Post that the correspondence, which was obtained by the committee, showed Ginni Thomas went to greater lengths than previously known to overturn the election.A spokesman for Rep. Bennie Thompson, co-chair of the committee, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Other reports have emerged of efforts by Ginni Thomas, a right-wing activist, to overturn the election. The Post previously reported she had emailed 29 GOP lawmakers in Arizona urging them to ignore Biden's win in the state and choose pro-Trump electors.Read Full StoryPolice say tour of Capitol complex given by GOP lawmaker on eve of the January 6 attack was not suspiciousRep. Barry Loudermilk.Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesThe Capitol Police chief confirmed in a letter on Monday that GOP Rep. Barry Loudermilk of Georgia had given 15 people a tour of the Capitol complex on the eve of the January 6 attack, adding that it was not suspicious.Chief J. Thomas Manger also said that the group didn't enter the Capitol building in his letter to Rep. Rodney Davis of Illinois, the ranking Republican member of the House Administration committee."We train our officers on being alert for people conducting surveillance or reconnaissance, and we do not consider any of the activities we observed as suspicious," Manger wrote.Citing security footage, Manger said that Loudermilk had led a group of 12 people, which later grew to 15, through the Rayburn, Cannon, and Longworth buildings, but the group never appeared at "any tunnels that would have led them to the US Capitol."Read Full StoryHeiress to Publix grocery chain sponsored Kimberly Guilfoyle's $60,000 speech on Jan. 6 that lasted 2 minutes, report saysKimberly Guilfoyle gives an address to the Republican National Convention on August 24, 2020 in Washington, DC.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesThe daughter of the Publix grocery chain's founder sponsored the January 6, 2021, speech given by Kimberly Guilfoyle, which lasted two-and-a-half minutes and cost $60,000, The Washington Post reported.Guilfoyle, a former Fox News host who went on to work for former President Donald Trump and is now Donald Trump Jr.'s fiancée, was given $60,000 for the speech by the conservative nonprofit Turning Point Action, The Post reported, citing two sources with knowledge of the matter.The sponsoring donor for that payment was Julie Fancelli, the daughter of Publix founder George Jenkins, The Post reported.Guilfoyle's speech was at a Trump rally in Washington, DC, which preceded the Capitol riot.Read Full StoryMike Lindell says he offered to publicly testify before the January 6 committee but they didn't want to talk to himMike Lindell, political activist and CEO of MyPillow, attends a rally hosted by former President Donald Trump at the Delaware County Fairgrounds on April 23, 2022 in Delaware, Ohio.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMyPillow CEO Mike Lindell says that he tried to get a spot to testify before the January 6 committee and show them his "evidence" to prove former President Donald Trump's baseless claims of voter fraud, but they did not want to talk to him. Lindell made this statement during an appearance on Steve Bannon's podcast, "War Room: Pandemic."Bannon asked Lindell if the committee had reached out to him to go through "all the voluminous material" he has about the 2020 election. "No, they haven't. And it's really — that's sad, too, because I've offered. I'd love to come to your committee as long as you nationally televise it, Ms. Pelosi," Lindell replied, referring to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.Read Full StorySen. Raphael Warnock says that January 6 Capitol attack shows that 'our democracy is in peril'Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock of Georgia speaks to members of the press after a Senate Democratic Caucus meeting on January 18, 2022 in Washington, DC.Alex Wong/Getty ImagesSen. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat in Georgia, told NPR that democracy in the US is at risk.Warnock, who is running for reelection against Republican Herchel Walker, serves as Georgia's first Black senator since his election in 2021. He is also a pastor at Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, the church where Martin Luther King Jr. attended."Democracy is hard work. Democracy is not a noun, it's a verb. And over the course of time, our democracy expands. It gets a little closer towards those ideals. There are moments when it contracts, but even contractions open the possibility for new birth and new hope," Warnock said to NPR's Mary Louise Kelly.Warnock said that the January 6 Capitol attack, in which hundreds of rioters breached the US Capitol in an effort to overturn the 2020 election, demonstrates the troubled state of democracy.Read Full StoryTrump might have to be prosecuted to save American democracy, an expert on authoritarianism arguesFormer President Donald Trump speaks on May 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming.Chet Strange/Getty ImagesRuth Ben-Ghiat spends a lot of time thinking about authoritarianism. An historian at New York University, she is an expert on the rise of fascism in Italy and, most recently, author of the the book, "Strongmen: Mussolini to the Present," tracing the erosion of democracy from Russia to the United States of America.She is keenly focused on what happens when those in power lose their grip on it."The authoritarian playbook has no chapter on failure," Ben-Ghiat wrote in a November 2020 piece for The Washington Post. "Nothing prepares the ruler to see his propaganda ignored and his charismatic hold weaken until his own people turn against him."When, two months later, former President Donald Trump urged his supporters to head over to the US Capitol in a last-ditch effort to overturn the 2020 election, Ben-Ghiat was not altogether surprised. Indeed, she had told people to expect it, arguing: "the rage that will grow in Trump as reality sinks in may make for a rocky transition to Biden's presidency. Americans would do well to be prepared."What stopped a failed insurrection from being a successful coup, she recently told CNN, was — at least in part — one of the lies Trump said on January 6: "I'll be there with you," he told supporters as they prepared to march on Congress.He never showed.In an interview with Insider, Ben-Ghiat expanded on why she thinks January 6 was an "attempted coup," why it did not succeed, and what the future holds.Read Full StoryConservative lawyer John Eastman was told to 'get a great f-ing criminal defense lawyer': House January 6 testimonyJohn Eastman testifies before the House Ways and Means Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2013.Charles Dharapak/APConservative lawyer John Eastman previously wrote a memo to former Vice President Mike Pence urging him to overturn the 2020 election results.White House lawyer Eric Herschmann told Eastman to "get a great f-ing criminal defense lawyer" the day after the Capitol attack."You're going to need it," Herschmann recounted to the January 6 House committee.Read Full StoryTrump releases 12-page statement bashing the Jan. 6 investigation, saying it is merely to stop him from running for president againVideo of former President Donald Trump is played during a hearing by the Select Committee in Washington, DC, on June 13, 2022.Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump released a 12-page statement after the committee's second hearing on Monday.He spent nearly nine pages of the statement pushing bogus claims that the 2020 election was rigged against him.He also bashed the panel and claimed it was trying to stop him from running again in 2024. He has repeatedly teased a 2024 run for president.Read Full StoryRudy Giuliani pushes back on testimony that he was drunk on election night 2020, says he was drinking Diet CokeRudy Giuliani.Jacquelyn Martin/APRudy Giuliani responded to claims that he was drunk on election night 2020 in a tweet on Monday night, insisting he "was drinking diet coke all night."The claim about the former New York City mayor's behavior at the White House election night party resurfaced during Monday's January 6 committee hearings.In a taped deposition, former advisor to then-President Donald Trump Jason Miller said: "I think the mayor was definitely intoxicated, but I do not know his level of intoxication when he spoke with the president, for example."After, Giuliani's media office tweeted about his drinking Diet Coke, attributing the claim to an unnamed "fellow guest."Read Full StoryJan. 6 committee members push back on chair Bennie Thompson's claim that they won't ask the DOJ to indict TrumpRep. Bennie Thompson at the Jan. 6 committee's first public hearing on June 9, 2022.Andrew Harnik/APRep. Bennie Thompson, chair of the January 6 committee, said it was not the group's job to refer Trump or anyone else to the Justice Department for charges."No, that's not our job," Thompson said on Monday, according to CNN. "Our job is to look at the facts and circumstances around January 6, what caused it and make recommendations after that."But some committee members disagreed with that approach, showing rare public cracks within the committee."The January 6th Select Committee has not issued a conclusion regarding potential criminal referrals. We will announce a decision on that at an appropriate time," tweeted Rep. Liz Cheney, a Republican serving as the committee's vice chair.And Rep. Adam Schiff, a Democrat, told CNN's Anderson Cooper on Monday that he had not seen Thompson's comment but was not aware a decision on referrals had been made yet.Read Full Story Rudy Giuliani continued to make false claims to the January 6 panel that if they gave him 'the paper ballots,' he could overturn Biden's victoryRudy Giuliani continued to make false claims about election fraud during his testimony to the January 6 panel.Jacquelyn Martin/APTrump-allied lawyer Rudy Giuliani continued to make bizarre false claims about voter fraud in the 2020 election during his testimony to the January 6 panel, claiming he had evidence of a "big truck" of fraudulently-cast Biden votes. Giuliani's testimony to the House panel investigating the Capitol riot was aired on Monday, during the second of the committee's six public hearings on January 6. The former New York mayor doubled down on outlandish and unproven election fraud claims. "They saw a big truck bringing in 100,000 ballots in garbage cans, in wastepaper baskets, in cardboard boxes, and in shopping baskets," Giuliani claimed without substantiation.Read Full StoryFormer AG Bill Barr says Trump was fixated on 'crazy' voter fraud allegations and had no interest 'in what the actual facts were'Former Attorney General Bill Barr and former President Donald TrumpDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesFormer Attorney General William Barr said that former President Donald Trump was more fixated on "crazy" allegations of voter fraud than knowing the "actual facts" on the matter.Barr's testimony to the House panel investigating the January 6 Capitol riot was aired on Monday as part of the second of the committee's six public hearings on their investigation.In a videotaped deposition, Barr recounted a meeting with Trump on December 14, 2020. Barr said Trump "went off on a monologue" during the meeting about what he claimed to be "definitive evidence" of election fraud being carried out via the Dominion voting machines.According to Barr, Trump then "held up the report" and claimed it showed "absolute proof that the Dominion machines were rigged." Barr added that Trump then declared that the report meant that he would have a second term.Read Full StoryTrump campaign lawyer says Trump aide Peter Navarro accused him of being 'an agent of the deep state' for questioning baseless Dominion voter fraud conspiracy theoriesFormer Trump aide Peter NavarroAlex Wong/Getty ImagesAlex Cannon, a former Trump campaign lawyer, testified in front of the House Committee on January 6 and said that Trump aide Peter Navarro accused him of being a "deep state" operative because he expressed doubt over Dominion voting machine conspiracy theories. Cannon's testimony was broadcast on Monday as part of the second of six public hearings on the committee's investigation. During his deposition, Cannon said that he had a conversation with Navarro in mid-November, after the 2020 presidential election, about voter fraud allegations.Cannon said he spoke to Navarro specifically regarding the conspiracy theory that Dominion voting machines were used to flip votes from Trump to Biden. This conspiracy has continually been pushed by Trump-allied lawyers Sidney Powell and Rudy Giuliani, as well as MyPillow CEO Mike Lindell. Dominion named all three in a $1.3 billion defamation lawsuit.Read Full StoryTrump campaign chief says the Trump team was split into two halves after election night — 'Team Normal' and 'Team Giuliani'Former Trump campaign chief Bill Stepien (left) says he did not mind being called part of "Team Normal," as opposed to "Team Giuliani".Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images; Matias J. Ocner/Miami Herald/Tribune News Service via Getty ImagesFormer Trump campaign chief Bill Stepien says the Trump team was split into two camps after the election – "Team Normal" and "Team Giuliani." The House Select Committee to Investigate January 6 played a clip of Stepien's testimony on Monday during the second of the committee's six public hearings. During his deposition, Stepien was asked if he had pulled back from the Trump camp to preserve his professional reputation. "You didn't want to be associated with some of what you were hearing from the Giuliani team and others that — that sort of stepped in in the wake of your departure?" an unidentified questioner asked Stepien. "I didn't mind being categorized. There were two groups of them. We called them kind of my team and Rudy's team. I — I didn't mind being characterized as being part of Team Normal, as — as reporters, you know, kind of started to do around that point in time," Stepien said.Read Full StoryFired Fox News political editor said television news as entertainment has 'really damaged' Americans' capacity to be 'good citizens'Chris Stirewalt, former Fox News political editor, testifies as the House select committee investigating the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol continues to reveal its findings of a year-long investigation, at the Capitol in Washington, Monday, June 13, 2022.AP Photo/Susan WalshFormer Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt said he was surprised by the internal firestorm that erupted at his former workplace after Fox became the first major news network to call Arizona for President Joe Biden in the 2020 presidential election.Stirewalt, who was fired from Fox in January 2021, testified before the January 6 committee investigating the Capitol riot on Monday, telling lawmakers that former President Donald Trump's chance at victory was virtually zero after most networks called the election for Biden on November 7, 2020.Trump was reportedly enraged that Fox News's decision desk called the swing state of Arizona for Biden before most other outlets did the same, but Stirewalt said he was confident in his team's work. Biden ultimately won the state by about 11,000 votes.But what Stirewalt wasn't expecting was the wave of backlash at Fox News that followed the accurate projection. Stirewalt spoke to NPR's David Folkenflik following his Monday testimony, telling the outlet that people close to Trump were hammering Fox executives and anchors to take back their Arizona call. The ordeal left Stirewalt disillusioned about the state of network news in the US, he told the outlet.READ FULL STORYWhite House lawyer asked John Eastman a day after January 6: 'Are you out of your effing mind'Eric D. Herschmann answers a question from a senator during impeachment proceedings against then-President Donald Trump in January 2020.Senate Television via Getty ImagesTrump White House lawyer Eric Herschmann confronted a conservative lawyer who pushed Trump's election lies, the day after the Capitol riot, according to a taped deposition the January 6 committee released on Monday."I said to him, 'Are you out of your effing mind,'" Herschmann told the committee about his conversation with Eastman. "'I only want to hear two words coming out of your mouth for now on: orderly transition.'"Eastman was closely involved in then-President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, including a push to get Vice President Mike Pence to either delay or unilaterally overturn a state's results on January 6.Read Full StoryThere's an 'obvious explanation' for Trump's loss in Pennsylvania — and it's not voter fraud, Barr saysFormer Attorney General Bill Barr says then-President Donald Trump did not have a "good idea" about what the roles of the DOJ and the President were.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty ImagesFormer Attorney General Bill Barr laid out his frank assessment of former President Donald Trump's election loss in Pennsylvania during Monday's House Select Committee hearing — and it wasn't voter fraud."I think once you actually look at the votes, there's a [sic] obvious explanation," Barr said of Trump's election fraud conspiracy theories. "For example, in Pennsylvania, Trump ran weaker than the Republican ticket generally. He ran weaker than two of the state candidates. He ran weaker than the congressional delegation running for federal Congress."Trump campaign manager says why he quitThen-Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien alongside then-US President Donald Trump on August 28, 2020.Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty ImagesFormer Trump campaign manager Bill Stepien said he quit his high-profile job because he felt what unfolded after the 2020 presidential election night was not "honest or professional."He described a Trump campaign that was becoming increasingly divided because Trump chose to use baseless allegations to claim he hadn't lost the 2020 election.Read Full StoryBarr said dealing with 'bogus' 2020 voting fraud claims was like 'playing Whac-a-Mole'Former Attorney General Bill Barr and former President Donald TrumpDrew Angerer/Getty ImagesBill Barr said that dealing with baseless claims of voter fraud from Donald Trump's team was like "playing Whac-a-Mole," in testimony played Monday by the House select committee.Barr described dealing with an "avalanche" of false voter fraud claims from Trump and allies like Rudy Giuliani and Sidney Powell, who became the campaign's primary peddlers of election fraud claims.Read Full StoryRudy Giuliani was 'apparently inebriated' when advising Trump on election nightRudy Giuliani.Jacquelyn Martin/APTrump rejected his campaign advisors' guidance on election night in 2020 and instead relied on counsel from his former personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani, who was apparently drunk, Rep. Liz Cheney said Monday.Campaign aides were advising Trump that the race was too close to call in key battlegrounds, but Trump took Giuliani's advice and just claimed he'd won in an early morning speech.Read Full StoryRudy Giuliani pushed Trump to prematurely declare victory on election nightFormer New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani looks on as then-President Donald Trump speaks.Joshua Roberts/Getty ImagesFormer New York Rudy Giuliani pushed then-President Donald Trump to prematurely declare victory on election night 2020, a group of former top Trump aides testified.Bill Stepien, Trump's final 2020 campaign manager, testified to the House January 6 committee that he urged Trump to strike a measured tone and not to declare victory while votes were being counted."Ballots were still being counted, ballots were still going to be counted for days, and it was far too early to be making any proclamation like that," Stepien testified in a previous deposition that was partially aired on Monday.But Trump rejected the calls of caution and in the early morning after the election did exactly what some of his aides told him not to do."Frankly, we did win this election," Trump declared at the White House.Read Full StoryFox News' early call for Arizona takes center state at second hearingImages of Fox News personalities appear outside News Corporation headquarters in New York on July 31, 2021.AP Photo/Ted ShaffreyAs the January 6 select committee honed in on Trump's efforts to overturn the 2020 election, Monday's hearing started off with pre-taped depositions of former White House officials on their incensed reaction to Fox News calling Arizona for then-candidate Joe Biden.Fox News had just introduced a new methodology to its decision desk, which its director, Arnon Mishkin, explained to Insider ahead of Election Day. The network called Arizona before other major TV outlets, and ultimately proved correct in its decision.Chris Stirewalt, a former Fox News political editor, described the network's decision desk as "the best in the business" in his testimony.The network's new strategy included surveying upwards of 100,000 Americans ahead of Election Day to see where people were voting by mail or in person, and using that large dataset to make sense of the returns on election night. That allowed Fox to have an assessment of how many remaining votes would be by mail and how those who intended to vote by mail indicated they would vote."We already knew Trump's chances were small and getting smaller based on what we'd seen," Stirewalt said.The second public hearing is due to start Monday morning. Here's who to expect.The former Fox News editor Chris Stirewalt being interviewed on CNN in September 2021.CNNThe second public hearing by the committee is due to start around 10:30 a.m. ET on Monday.Witnesses include the former Fox News political editor Chris Stirewalt and the GOP election lawyer Benjamin Ginsberg.Stirewalt's team correctly called Arizona for Joe Biden in the 2020 election before other networks did so, and subsequently became the target of Trump supporters.He was fired as a Fox News political editor on January 19, 2021, and now works for NewsNation. It is not clear what the committee plans to ask Stirewalt.The committee said in a Monday morning update that Bill Stepien, Trump's former campaign manager, was no longer able to appear due to a family emergency. It said Stepien's lawyer would make a statement on the record instead.Rep. Jamie Raskin declines to share evidence that GOP lawmakers asked Trump for pardons after Capitol riot, says details will come 'in due course'Rep. Jamie Raskin on CNN on Sunday night.YouTube/CNNJanuary 6 committee member Rep. Jamie Raskin dodged questions from CNN for evidence that Republican lawmakers asked then-President Donald Trump for pardons after the Capitol riot.He said the details would emerge later.When asked by CNN's Dana Bash if he had evidence, Raskin responded: "It is multiple members of Congress, as the vice-chair said at our opening hearing, and all in due course the details will surface," Raskin said, referring to Cheney.When asked again if he had evidence, he said: "Everything we're doing is documented by evidence ... Everything that we are doing is based on facts and this is a bipartisan investigation which is determined to ferret out all of the facts of what happened."Read Full Story GOP governor says many Republicans are quietly seeking an 'off-ramp' from Trump's bogus election-fraud claimsArkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on June 22, 2021.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesArkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said that much of the Republican Party is looking for an "off-ramp" from former President Donald Trump's bogus theory that the 2020 election was stolen. Speaking to Fox News host Bret Baier, Hutchinson said Sunday that Trump is "politically and morally responsible" for much of the January 6 riot at the Capitol. He suggested that many Republicans are looking for alternative leadership as Trump continues to falsely insist on the claim that inspired the riot — that there was widespread election fraud. "For him to continue to push that theory, I agree is the wrong direction for the Republican Party," said Hutchinson. "I think there's many Republicans that are looking for an off-ramp, new opportunities … to find leadership in the future."He did not specify whether he meant ordinary GOP voters, or elected officials, mainly of whom have vocally endorsed Trump's claims.Read Full StoryHouse Jan. 6 committee members says panel has uncovered enough 'credible evidence' to ask the DOJ to indict TrumpLawmakers on the House January 6 committee will air the inquiry's findings during a public hearing Thursday.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesThe members of the House panel investigating the Capitol riot on Sunday said that the panel has uncovered enough evidence for the Department of Justice to mull a criminal indictment against former President Donald Trump over his efforts to invalidate President Joe Biden's electoral win, according to The Associated Press.Democratic Rep. Adam Schiff of California, who sits on the panel and also leads the House Intelligence Committee, said that he wanted to see the department examine Trump's efforts in seeking to halt the certification of Biden's victory."I would like to see the Justice Department investigate any credible allegation of criminal activity on the part of Donald Trump," he said on ABC News on Sunday. "There are certain actions, parts of these different lines of effort to overturn the election that I don't see evidence the Justice Department is investigating."Read Full StoryHouse Jan. 6 committee to focus on Trump's 'dereliction of duty' during Capitol riot at next public hearing, committee member saysUS President Donald Trump speaks to supporters from The Ellipse near the White House on January 6, 2021, in Washington, DC.Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty ImagesThe upcoming January 6 committee hearing will focus on a deep dive that former President Donald Trump knew he lost the election but still tried to overturn it and his "dereliction of duty," a committee member said. Democratic Rep. Elaine Lurie told NBC's "Meet the Press" host Chuck Todd that the upcoming hearing will show how Trump tried to pressure local, state and federal officials to overturn the election, after baselessly claiming it was rigged against him. "We've pieced together a very comprehensive tick-tock timeline of what he did," The Virginia lawmaker said.Lurie told Todd that it's more accurate to say that the committee now has a timeline of what Trump was not doing before and during the insurrection than what he was doing. "There is a gap there that we have tried through these witnesses, we've interviewed a thousand witnesses and a lot of people who work directly in the White House for the president, in his immediate vicinity throughout the day," she said."So we've pieced together a very comprehensive tick-tock timeline of what he did."Read Full StoryRepublican Gov. Asa Hutchinson calls out Trump, says the former president is 'politically, morally responsible' for the Capitol riotArkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson labeled former President Donald Trump as "politically" and "morally responsible" for the Capitol attack.His comments come after the kick-off of the Jan. 6 committee hearings last week, where officials started sharing their findings of the events of that day — where pro-Trump supporters stormed the US Capitol building in an attempt to halt the certification of President Joe Biden. During an appearance on "Fox News Sunday," Hutchinson called the hearings "an important review," however, the GOP governor doesn't think Trump is criminally responsible for the insurrection. "Trump is politically, morally responsible for much of what has happened, but in terms of criminal liability, I think the committee has a long way to go to establish that," Hutchinson said.    A lawyer for Pence told him the day before January 6 that not certifying the election would lead to a loss in court: reportDonald Trump and former US Vice President Mike Pence in the Brady Briefing Room at the White House on April 2, 2020, in Washington, DC.MANDEL NGAN / AFP) (Photo by MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty ImagesA lawyer for former Vice President Mike Pence told him the day before the Capitol Riot that following former President Donald Trump's request to certify the election for him would eventually fail in court, according to a memo obtained by Politico. Congress was in the process of certifying the 2020 presidential election on January 6, 2021, when Trump supporters who falsely believed the election had been rigged stormed the US Capitol. Trump had previously asked Pence to certify the election in his favor, but attorney Greg Jacob told Pence in a memo that doing so would break multiple provisions of the Electoral Count Act. According to Politico, in the memo, Jacob said the move could fail in the courts or put America in a political crisis where Pence would find himself "in an isolated standoff against both houses of Congress … with no neutral arbiter available to break the impasse."The attorney will testify publicly in front of the House committee investigating the Capitol riots this week, however, his letter has been known to the committee for months, Politico reported. Read Full StoryGiuliani defends Trump after January 6 committee points to his attempts to overturn the 2020 presidential electionRudy Giuliani, attorney for US President Donald Trump, speaks at the White House in Washington, DC, on July 1, 2020Jim Watson/Getty ImagesRudy Giuliani, former advisor and personal lawyer to Donald Trump, claimed in an episode of his podcast that the former president had "nothing to do with" the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol. The episode, released Saturday, was a response to the House select committee's televised hearings related to the investigation into the events of Jan. 6, 2021. On Thursday, the committee released findings that indicated the events of the day were an attempted coup intended to keep former president Trump in power. READ FULL STORYLaura Ingraham says the Jan 6 hearings 'bombed' despite reeling in nearly 20 million views compared to Fox's 3 millionPresident Donald Trump gives Laura Ingraham a kiss after inviting her on stage during the Turning Point USA Student Action Summit at the Palm Beach County Convention Center, Saturday, Dec. 21, 2019, in West Palm Beach, Fla.Luis M. Alvarez/APFox News host Laura Ingraham claimed the January 6 Committee hearing on Thursday "bombed," despite reeling in nearly 20 million viewers. Fox was the only major news outlet not to carry the hearing live on Thursday evening, which was the House Select Committee on January 6's first major public hearing about the Capitol attack, the efforts to overturn the election, and what then-President Donald Trump knew before and during the attack.Committee members revealed that Trump and his allies staged "an attempted coup" and funded a misinformation campaign that "provoked the violence on January 6." They also said that Ivanka Trump "accepted" the attorney general's opinion that there was no election fraud, and that several Republican congressmen asked for pardons following January 6. Ingraham's claim that the hearings "bombed" came as she responded to criticism from The View's Joy Behar."Fox News did not carry the January 6 Committee's live hearings last night. Shocker isn't it? But they still had plenty to say about it," Behar said. "The usual suspects, Tucker [Carlson] and Ingraham, dusted off their greatest hits, calling it a witch hunt, saying it's political revenge from Pelosi, and downplayed what happened on the 6th."Behar added: "There were no commercial breaks last night on either show. So what does that tell you? That Rupert Murdoch is so desperate to keep his viewers away from the hearing, along with those two, that he is willing to lose millions of dollars." Ingraham swiped back at Behar in a tweet, claiming to have had "two commercial breaks Thursday night." According to PolitiFact, Carlson's and Hannity's shows had no commercial breaks, whereas Ingraham "went to commercial a few times." Read Full StoryWhat is the potential penalty if someone is convicted of 'seditious conspiracy'Proud Boys leader Enrique Tarrio leaves the D.C. Central Detention Facility on January 14, 2022.Evelyn Hockstein/ReutersEnrique Tarrio and four other members of the Proud Boys were charged this week with seditious conspiracy in what one constitutional expert calls a "textbook case" of sedition, but the charges themselves face an uphill battle in court.Seditious conspiracy, sometimes referred to as "sedition," is law that first originated in 1789 to prosecute speech critical of the government. Read Full StoryThe public hearings resume on Monday, June 13, at 10 a.m. ETLawmakers on the House January 6 committee will air the inquiry's findings during a public hearing Thursday.Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesThe public hearings for the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection resume on Monday, June 13, at 10 a.m. ET.Catch up on our takeaways of the biggest moments from the first hearing on Thursday, June 9, 2022, and check out the full schedule.Read Full StoryRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Tweets at Matt Gaetz, Lauren Boebert, and Marjorie Taylor Greene wanting to know if they asked for pardons after January 6Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.Drew Angerer/Getty ImageIn a Friday tweet storm, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez asked several of her fellow representatives if they'd asked the White House for a pardon following the January 6 attack.Her remarks came the day after the January 6 House select committee aired its first public hearing — in which GOP co-chair Rep. Liz Cheney alleged that several members of Congress asked for pardons after the insurrection.Read Full StoryMore than 19 million people watched first public hearingFormer US President Donald Trump appears on a screen during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 9, 2022 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesMore than 19 million people watched the first public hearing of the congressional committee investigating the January 6 insurrection, The New York Times reported Friday, citing preliminary figures from ratings company Nielsen.The actual number is higher, The Times noted, as the preliminary tally does not include all networks and streaming services that aired the hearing.The Thursday hearing aired from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on broadcast channels and cable news networks — but not on Fox News, which elected to stick its usual programming.Trump calls William Barr a 'weak and frightened' AG after his January 6 testimonyFormer Attorney General Bill Barr says then-President Donald Trump did not have a "good idea" about what the roles of the DOJ and the President were.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump on Friday lashed out at William Barr, calling him a "weak and frightened" attorney general and a "coward" after the House January 6 committee aired his testimony debunking Trump's false claims of widespread election fraud.During Thursday's public hearing, the committee played recorded testimony from Barr in a closed-door interview saying that he didn't agree that the election was "stolen" and that he told Trump the idea was "bullshit."Trump attacked Barr, his former attorney general, on his social-media platform, Truth Social, saying he "was always being 'played' and threatened by the Democrats and was scared stiff of being Impeached." Read Full StoryTrump says Ivanka Trump doesn't understand elections after she rejected his stolen 2020 vote claimIvanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump said his daughter Ivanka Trump doesn't understand elections after she testified that there was no fraud in the 2020 election.The committee aired her testimony on Thursday, where she said that she "accepted" former Attorney General Bill Barr finding no evidence that the vote was stolen."Ivanka Trump was not involved in looking at, or studying, Election results," Trump wrote on Truth Social Friday. "She had long since checked out and was, in my opinion, only trying to be respectful to Bill Barr and his position as Attorney General (he sucked!)."Read Full StoryTrump attacks House committee, repeats bogus fraud claims after hearing blamed him for insurrectionFormer President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on May 28, 2022 in Casper, Wyoming.Chet Strange/Getty ImagesFormer President Donald Trump responded to the first public hearing by criticizing the House committee and repeating his fake voter fraud claims."So the Unselect Committee of political HACKS refuses to play any of the many positive witnesses and statements, refuses to talk of the Election Fraud and Irregularities that took place on a massive scale," he shared on Truth Social early Friday morning. He added: "Our Country is in such trouble!" Read Full StoryFox News hosts bragged about not airing the hearing live, and called it a 'smear campaign' against TrumpTucker Carlson on his show on June 9, 2022.Fox NewsFox News' prime-time shows refused to carry Thursday's hearing, with host Tucker Carlson bragging about the network's decision."The whole thing is insulting. In fact, it's deranged," Carlson said. "And we're not playing along.""This is the only hour on an American news channel that will not be carrying their propaganda live. They are lying, and we are not going to help them do it," he said, apparently referring to those investigating the riot.Host Sean Hannity on his own show called the hearing a "multi-hour Democratic fundraiser," without offering any evidence, and a "made-for-TV smear campaign against President Trump featuring sliced and diced video that fits their pre-determined political narrative."And host Laura Ingraham painted the hearing as boring, saying: "In the end, this was nearly two hours of an unsuccessful, laborious attempt to connect the dots back to Trump, to Trump to a coup that never happened."Read Full StoryTrump's spokesperson responded to the scathing Jan. 6 hearing by pumping out voter-fraud conspiracy theoriesLiz Harrington, a spokesperson for former President Donald Trump, tweeted out election fraud disinformation during the Thursday's hearing.She tweeted misleading claims that she said suggested voter fraud in some swing states during the 2020 election, and said: "They didn't want to talk about voter fraud then, and they don't want to talk about it now."She did not engage directly with what was said at the hearings.Read Full StorySeveral Republicans including Scott Perry sought pardons from Trump after the Capitol riot, Liz Cheney saysRep. Liz Cheney listens during the House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on July 27, 2021.AP Photo/ Andrew Harnik)Rep. Liz Cheney, the vice chair of the House January 6 committee, said at Thursday's hearing that several Republican members of Congress asked for a pardon from then-President Donald Trump after the Capitol riot.She called out Rep. Scott Perry in particular, saying: "Representative Perry contacted the White House in the weeks after January 6 to seek a presidential pardon.""Multiple other Republican congressmen also sought presidential pardons for their roles in attempting to overturn the 2020 election," she added.Read Full StoryRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says watching the January 6 hearings made all the trauma from the Capitol riot come 'rushing back into the body'Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said watching the first televised hearing on the Capitol riot took her back to the traumatic experience of being there on the day. Ocasio-Cortez posted a video of the hearing, where scenes of violence and sights of Trump supporters flooding the Capitol were being played. "Good Lord. The way it all comes rushing back into the body. It's like it's that day all over again," she wrote. Read Full StoryA Proud Boy told the January 6 panel that membership in the organization 'tripled' after Trump told them to 'stand back and stand by'Enrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys, speaks to Black Lives Matters supporters during a commemoration of the death of George Floyd in Miami on May 25, 2021.Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl//GettyA high-ranking member of the Proud Boys told the January 6 panel that membership in the organization "tripled" after former President Donald Trump told them to "stand back and stand by." Trump made the comments during a debate in September 2020. The former president was asked to disavow white supremacist groups and urge them to "stand down." But instead of doing so, Trump said: "Proud Boys, stand back and stand by." A clip of an interview with Proud Boys member Jeremy Bertino aired during the televised January 6 hearings on Thursday night. He said Trump's comments were a watershed moment for the group. Bertino was asked if the number of Proud Boys members increased specifically after Trump's comments. "Exponentially," Bertino said. "I'd say, tripled, probably. With the potential for a lot more eventually." Read Full StoryNew video from the Capitol riot shows dozens of staffers fleeing Rep. Kevin McCarthy's office in a panic as rioters clashed violently with copsHouse Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA).Kent Nishimura/Los Angeles Times via Getty ImagesThe January 6 panel released a never-before-seen video from inside House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy's office during the January 6 Capitol riot.In the video, the dozens of frantic staffers are seen pouring into the hallways of Rep. McCarthy's office.The staffers appeared to be fleeing McCarthy's office as a radio transmission signaled that people would be moving through the tunnels of the Capitol building. The House committee played the video during the first of six televised January 6 hearings. It pinpoints 2:28 p.m. — as violent clashes between rioters and police officers take place outside the Capitol, McCarthy staffers can be seen running through the hallway of his chambers. Read Full StoryEx-DC cop beaten by Jan. 6 rioters says it's time for America to 'wake the fuck up' to danger Trump posesFormer DC Metropolitan Police Officer Michael Fanone, who suffered a heart attack during the January 6 attack on the US Capitol, said on Friday that people need to "wake the fuck up" to the danger former President Donald Trump poses following the House select committee playing videos of what unfolded on that day.Read Full Story'I was slipping in people's blood,' says Capitol Police officerU.S. Capitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards, who was the first law enforcement officer injured by rioters storming the Capitol grounds on January 6, testifies during a hearing by the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol on June 09, 2022 in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesCapitol Police Officer Caroline Edwards said it looked to her like an "absolute war zone" on January 6, 2021, when supporters of former President Trump attacked the US Capitol, forcing officers to engage in "hours of hand-to-hand combat" beyond the scope of any law enforcement training.Edwards, who was injured in the attack, told members of the House select committee on Thursday, "I can just remember my breath catching in my throat" while looking at the "carnage" and "chaos" of the riot scene."I couldn't believe my eyes," she told the committee. "There were officers on the ground. You know, they were bleeding, they were throwing up…I mean I saw friends with blood all over their faces. I was slipping in people's blood. You know, I was catching people as they fell."Read Full StoryEx-Proud Boys leader says he'd wished he'd sold 'stand back and standby' t-shirts after Trump's debate commentEnrique Tarrio, former leader of the Proud Boys, speaks to Black Lives Matters supporters during a commemoration of the death of George Floyd in Miami on May 25, 2021.Eva Marie Uzcategui Trinkl//GettyAt the first of six public hearings planned for this month, the House committee displayed video of an interview with a Proud Boy who attributed Trump's comment to exponential membership growth in the far-right group.In another interview, former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio cracked a wry smile and said he regretted not selling t-shirts brandished with the words "Stand back and stand by." "One of the vendors on my page actually beat me to it, but I wish I would've made a 'stand back stand by' t-shirt," Tarrio said in his interview with the House committee.Read Full StoryJared Kushner testified that he thought the White House counsel's threat to resign was only 'whining'President Donald Trump listens as Jared Kushner speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on September 11, 2020.Andrew Harnik/AP Photo—Bloomberg (@business) June 10, 2022 Former Trump White House Senior Advisor Jared Kushner testified in front of the January 6 House Committee that he thought White House Counsel Pat Cipollone's threat to resign was nothing more than "whining.""I know that him and the team were always saying, 'We're gonna resign, we're not gonna be here' if this happens, that happens," Kushner, who is also the former president's son-in-law, said during an on-camera deposition Thursday. "I kind of took it up to just be whining, to be honest with you."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney blasts Republicans for supporting Trump: 'There will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain'U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson, Chairman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, Vice Chairwoman Rep. Liz Cheney, and Rep. Adam Kinzinger take part in a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 09, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesGOP Rep. Liz Cheney of Wyoming on Thursday evening issued members of her party a stark warning over their continued support of former President Donald Trump."I say this to my Republican colleagues who are defending the indefensible: there will come a day when Donald Trump is gone, but your dishonor will remain," Cheney, vice chair of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 Capitol riot, said during the panel's first hearing.Read Full StoryWhite House aides tried to limit access to Trump knowing he was 'too dangerous to be left alone' after his election loss, Cheney saysRep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Rep. Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Drew Angerer/Getty Images"The White House staff knew that President Trump was willing to entertain and use conspiracy theories to achieve his ends," Rep. Cheney said during opening remarks at the first public hearing investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol."They knew that the president needed to be cut off from all of those who had encouraged him.  They knew that President Donald Trump was too dangerous to be left alone," she added.Read Full StoryHouse Jan. 6 panel played footage of former AG William Barr calling Trump's election claims 'bullshit'Attorney General William Barr speaks during a news conference, Monday, Dec. 21, 2020 at the Justice Department in WashingtonMichael Reynolds/APFollowing the 2020 presidential election, then-Attorney General William Barr told Donald Trump that his claims of widespread election fraud were "bullshit" and entirely unsupported by evidence, it was revealed during the first January 6 committee public hearing.Video of Barr recounting his remarks to Trump in a closed-door interview with the House committee investigating the January 6, 2021, attack on the Capitol was played on June 9, 2022, during the public hearing. Barr said he spoke with Trump on at least three occasions between November and December 2020, and he described Trump's claims of election malfeasance as "crazy stuff" and said the falsehoods were influencing the public, doing a "great, great disservice to the country." Barr credited the timing of his December 2020 resignation, in part, to Trump's baseless election claims. Read Full StoryIvanka Trump 'accepted' DOJ found no fraud that could overturn the 2020 electionIvanka Trump.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesVideo testimony of part of Ivanka Trump's testimony to the January 6 committee was shown during the first public hearing of the investigation into the riots at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.During the clip, Ivanka Trump was asked about then-Attorney General Bill Barr's statement that former President Donald Trump's claims that there was fraud in the 2020 election were incorrect."It affected my perspective," Ivanka Trump told the committee in recorded testimony, aired for the first time on Thursday. "I respect Attorney General Barr. So I accepted what he was saying."Read Full StoryLiz Cheney says Trump oversaw a 'sophisticated 7-part plan' to overturn the election and stay in powerU.S. Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY) Vice Chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the U.S. Capitol, delivers remarks during a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 9, 2022.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesRep. Liz Cheney, one of two Republicans on the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, said that during these public hearings they would reveal more information about a "seven-part plan" to overturn the 2020 presidential election, led by former President Donald Trump.—CSPAN (@cspan) June 10, 2022Read Full StoryRep. Liz Cheney: Trump backed supporters' call to 'hang Mike Pence'US Rep. Liz Cheney (R-WY), vice chairwoman of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the US Capitol, arrives for a hearing on the January 6th investigation on June 09, 2022 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.Win McNamee/Getty ImagesAs a riot unfolded at the US Capitol, former President Donald Trump told aides that his own vice president might deserve to die, Rep. Liz Cheney said Thursday.Cheney, a Wyoming Republican who co-chairs the House panel investigating the January 6 insurrection, made the claim in her opening remarks."Aware of the rioters chants to 'hang Mike Pence,'" Cheney said, "the president responded with this sentiment: 'Maybe our supporters have the right idea.' Mike Pence 'deserves it.'"As The New York Times reported last month, two former White House staffers testified before the January 6 committee that Mark Meadows, Trump's ex-chief of staff, told them that he heard the former president make the comment.Read Full StoryJanuary 6 committee chairman Bennie Thompson says hearings will show Trump and his allies mounted 'an attempted coup'—CSPAN (@cspan) June 10, 2022 Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat in his 13th term, recalled his upbringing in the Magnolia State and the nation's history of white supremacist violence, specifically lynching."I'm from a part of the country where people justify the actions of slavery, the Ku Klux Klan, and lynching," Thompson said. "I'm reminded of that dark history as I hear voices today try and justify the actions of the insurrections on Jan. 6, 2021."The chairman of the House panel investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the US Capitol described the rioters as "domestic enemies of the Constitution," and promised that the evidence his panel has collected proves former President Donald Trump and his allies attempted a coup d'etat."Donald Trump was at the center of this conspiracy, and ultimately, Donald Trump, the President of the United States, spurred a mob of domestic enemies of the Constitution to march down the Capitol and subvert American democracy," Rep. Bennie Thompson said at the start of Thursday night's prime-time hearings.Read Full StoryHouse Jan. 6 committee chair will say 'democracy remains in danger'From left to right, January 6 Select Committee members Chairman Bennie Thompson, D-Miss. Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., and Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Md.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesRep. Bennie Thompson, the chairman of the House panel investigating the January 6 attack, will say tonight that the American people deserve answers about the insurrection."We can't sweep what happened under the rug," Thompson says in early excerpts of his opening statement. "The American people deserve answers. So I come before you this evening not as a Democrat, but as an American who swore an oath to defend the Constitution."The House Select Committee on January 6 will have its first major public hearing tonight, kicking off a series of public hearings about the attack, efforts to overturn the election, and what then-President Donald Trump was aware of in the lead up to it.Thompson will add that American democracy "remains in danger.""... Our work must do much more than just look backwards," Thompson will say. "Because our democracy remains in danger. The conspiracy to thwart the will of the people is not over. There are those in this country who thirst for power but have no love or respect for what makes America great: devotion to the Constitution, allegiance to the rule of law, our shared journey to build a more perfect Union."Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat, is facing a defining career moment after nearly three decades in Congress. Thompson told Insider's Camila DeChalus that the committee is his "signature work in the United States House of Representatives."Bennie Thompson is poised to take center stage as Jan. 6 hearings start after 29 years in CongressHouse Homeland Security Committee Chair Benny Thompson (D-MS) listens as U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) discusses the formation of a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol during a news conference in Washington, U.S., July 1, 2021.Jonathan Ernst/ReutersRep. Bennie Thompson is the chairman of the House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021 insurrection. He has been in Congress for 29 years but views this investigation as his "signature work.""There's a lot of other pieces of legislation that basically alter the trajectory of so many people in my district, in this country, as well as other pieces of legislation, but nothing compares to the importance of this committee and why I value its work as my signature work in the United States House of Representatives," he told Insider's Camila DeChalus in a May interview.In the first public hearing of the January 6 committee, Thompson will take center stage.Read Full StorySen. Ted Cruz says watching paint dry would be more productive than tuning into a single second of the January 6 committee's first public hearingSenator Ted Cruz (R-TX) holds up a cellphone during the confirmation for Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett on the third day before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Capitol Hill on October 14, 2020 in Washington, DC.ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/POOL/AFP via Getty ImagesRepublican Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas offered up three things he'd rather do Thursday night than sit through any part of the January 6 committee's highly anticipated prime-time hearing. "I've got to mow my lawn. Or comb my hair. Or maybe just watch the paint dry on the walls," Cruz said of what he considered better ways to invest one's time than validating the existence of  "a political campaign ad for the Democrats." Cruz bashed the ongoing House investigation as political theater meant to distract a recession-wary populace from all the ways he said President Joe Biden and congressional Democrats have failed them. "From the opening gavel to the close of the hearing, one hundred percent of their endeavor is a political Hail Mary pass," Cruz told Insider in the tunnels beneath the Senate chamber. "The American people are deeply unhappy with the disaster of the left-wing policy agenda we've seen for the last two years." Read Full StoryDOJ lawyers expect transcripts from the 1,000 January 6 committee witnesses to be made public in SeptemberTrump supporters clash with police and security forces as in the US Capitol on January 6, 2021.Brent Stirton/Getty ImagesA Justice Department lawyer revealed Thursday that transcripts of the 1,000 interviews conducted as part of the House January 6 committee's investigation into the Capitol attack will be made public in September. It would be an unprecedented release of documents that could shed new light on the January 6, 2021 insurrection.The revelation came during a pretrial hearing for former Proud Boys chairman Enrique Tarrio and four other members of the far-right group who were charged with seditious conspiracy in connection with their alleged role in planning and participating in the Capitol siege."The committee will release the transcripts in early September and a report of the committee's findings will be released around the same time," Assistant US Attorney Jason McCullough told a judge.Read Full StoryThe first public hearing held by House select committee investigating the January 6, 2021, insurrection starts at 8 p.m. ET. Catch up on what you need to know ahead of the hearing.Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Mississippi), left, listens as Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyoming) speaks during the House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack in Washington, DC, on July 27, 2021. Washington Metropolitan Police Department officer Michael Fanone is at center.Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via AP, PoolThe House select committee investigating the January 6 insurrection is holding a much-anticipated public hearing Thursday night.The nine-member panel, chaired by Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Democrat from Mississippi, has spent months interviewing witnesses and examining phone and email records to try to get to the bottom of former President Donald Trump and his allies' efforts to overturn the 2020 election and prevent President Joe Biden from taking office.The committee, which includes Republican Reps. Liz Cheney of Wyoming and Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, is expected to hold a half-dozen public hearings in June.Here's what you need to know ahead of the broadcast at 8 p.m. ET:How to watch the hearingsThe key witnesses who are likely to testifyWhat to expectSources say the evidence will put Trump "at the center" of the eventsMeet the lawmakers and staff leading the investigationAt least 862 people have now been arrested for their actions on January 6More than 300 people have already pleaded guiltyAn oral history of the insurrection from 34 people who were thereHow the US Capitol riot led to Trump's second impeachmentLiz Cheney's break from GOP leadership on the investigationRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 16th, 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

How To Retire Early – The Definitive Guide

Have you dreamed of early retirement? ‌How about the freedom it brings – financial and otherwise? ‌It’s not just you who dreams of‌ ‌early‌ ‌retirement. In fact, since 1992, people have embraced the F.I.R.E. movement. ‌It has become more popular in recent years. ‌As an example, Natixis Investment Managers reported that Generation Y (ages 26-61) […] Have you dreamed of early retirement? ‌How about the freedom it brings – financial and otherwise? ‌It’s not just you who dreams of‌ ‌early‌ ‌retirement. In fact, since 1992, people have embraced the F.I.R.E. movement. ‌It has become more popular in recent years. ‌As an example, Natixis Investment Managers reported that Generation Y (ages 26-61) wants to retire at the age of 60 on average. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more There is a slight hiccup, unfortunately. 59% of Americans don’t believe that have enough to retire, let along retire early. There are number of reasons why a majority of people feel this way. Everything from overwhelming debt, the impact of the pandemic, and inflation. At the same time, all is not lost. ‌As well as getting your retirement savings back on track, you might be able to‌ still ‌retire‌ ‌early. How? Well, let’s show you in the following guide. What is Early Retirement? Before‌ ‌you commit to early retirement, make sure you understand what exactly it means. In the past, early retirement was defined as retiring before the age of‌ ‌65. ‌Technically, this is true. Nevertheless, it’s an evolving concept. You don’t have to give up work completely by taking early retirement. ‌Rather, your employment is purely voluntary. ‌That means you’re free to live your life as you see fit. Why? Because you have the financial freedom to do so. Believe it or not, people as young as 30 or 40 can take early retirement. ‌But most of them also work in some capacity, such as with their passion projects or other endeavors. More simply put, people who work this way do it for themselves, not because they have to. It is important to remember that work can be fulfilling, meaningful, and purposeful. ‌Additionally, some studies suggest that people who retire early and do not work at all may die earlier than those who remain employed. Conversely, early retirement enables you to spend more time with your family and friends. ‌You can‌ ‌also‌ ‌start your own company or pursue new hobbies. Or, maybe you’re burned out from the daily grind. For many, stopping working isn’t the ultimate goal. ‌Instead, it’s about having the freedom to do what you want. What are the Pros and Cons of Early Retirement? Getting to early retirement can be tough. But the rewards are typically worth all of the struggles once you reach it. ‌Again, as soon as you retire, you are free to spend it as you choose. Among the things you can do with all that free time are: Bond with family and friends. You can visit your friends and family more often when you retire and stay for longer periods of time. Take extended vacations. The question might arise, “Who on earth can spend a month in Europe or take weeklong cruises?” ‌Now that you’re retired, the answer is obvious: You can. Enjoy hobbies. Your days can be filled with the things that bring you joy once you retire, whether that is golf or ‌reading. Volunteer. There are many reasons why people do not volunteer, one of them being lack of‌ ‌time. ‌Giving back to your community becomes a lot easier once you retire. Early retirement might sound amazing, but there are a few downsides. ‌There are even experts who claim that early retirement isn’t worth the effort. ‌For‌ ‌example, 64% of Americans live‌ ‌paycheck‌ ‌to‌ ‌paycheck. ‌Thus, pushing yourself to fit into an early retirement plan can be stressful and counter-productive. Another drawback? You might get bored. In early retirement, you may wish that you were still working so you would have something to keep your mind occupied. Yes. You get to travel and engage with new hobbies. But, will this truly keep you stimulated for the next 40 or 50 years? Overall, the financial risks of early retirement are substantial. ‌That‌ ‌is,‌ ‌unless you‌ ‌have‌ ‌a number of sources of income or have ‌more‌ ‌than‌ ‌enough‌ ‌money‌ ‌in‌ ‌the‌ ‌bank. If not, early retirement may ‌completely bankrupt your dreams. Phase 1: Pre-Retirement Planning When you’re young, you can adopt the right mindset and financial plan to help you retire early. If that sounds daunting, here’s how you can get the ball rolling. What does early retirement mean to you? Retiring early doesn’t mean you have to stop working — unless that’s your endgame. ‌Early retirement is instead a term used to describe a situation where an individual is not working‌ ‌‌to‌‌ ‌‌support themselves. It simply means that you’re financially independent enough to stop working your 9-to-5 job. ‌Nevertheless, you can still work part-time or find ways to earn a passive income. But, since you aren’t putting in 40 pus hours a week working, you can spend that time however you please. Early retirement begins with you figuring out what it means ‌to‌ ‌you. ‌‌‌After that, you can begin to move in that direction. ‌ The following questions may help you define‌ ‌your‌ ‌ideal‌ ‌early‌ ‌retirement: Are you planning on moving or staying in the same place? How will the cost of living change for you? Which kind of lifestyle are you looking for? Hobbies and travel are expensive, for example. ‌But, volunteering and spending time with your family are not. Would you prefer to work‌ ‌part-time,‌ ‌full-time,‌ ‌or‌ ‌not‌ ‌at‌ ‌all? By answering these questions accurately, you’ll be able to calculate when you’ll be able to retire. Save money on a larger scale. It’s crucial that you change your attitude about money if you’re committed to retiring‌ ‌early. ‌The process begins with making conscious trade-offs when spending money. Contrary to popular belief, ‌fiscal discipline along will not solve the problem. For example, cutting back on high-cost expenditures is ‌more sensible than giving up your daily latte. ‌You can stick to your budget by making your coffee at home. But you won’t be able to retire early with this method. You should, simply put, live ‌below‌ ‌your‌ ‌means. ‌This will allow you to save a significant portion‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌earnings. What’s the appropriate amount to save? ‌Planners recommend saving 30% of one’s earnings over 40 years,‌ ‌instead‌ ‌of‌ ‌10%‌ ‌to‌ ‌15%. You might think that’s an impossible‌ ‌goal. ‌But it’s possible if you automate your savings. The reason being is that you’ll stash this money away before you can spend it. ‌You should also contribute to your savings whenever you receive a windfall of cash, such as a bonus or tax refund. Keep your lifestyle in check. It’s okay to reward yourself when you get a ‌generous raise or promotion. ‌However, with greater earnings comes a natural tendency to spend more money. ‌Financial‌ ‌advisors‌ ‌refer to this as “lifestyle creep.” How can you keep your lifestyle in check? You can save half of those additional dollars by setting up automatic deductions from your paycheck or making a bank transfer. But you should also refrain from feeling restricted when using your dollars. ‌If you find ways to cut costs or search for the best deals, you can still travel. Perhaps you could stay with a friend or family member rather than book a hotel. This can’t be stressed enough. Retiring doesn’t mean that you stop‌ ‌working. Taking a part-time job or starting a side business are possibilities. ‌Because you’re still generating an income, you can still enjoy a comfortable lifestyle. Become more aware‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌financial‌ ‌decisions. Regardless of your retirement plan, the only way to achieve your retirement goals is to make wise financial decisions. ‌You can secure your financial success in the future if you make smart decisions today. What’s the best way to get started? ‌Get the basics down first, like; Spending only what you can afford. Create a budget to keep you from overspending. ‌‌If necessary, try creating a mock retirement budget with your monthly expenses for retirement as well. ‌To calculate how much maintaining that lifestyle would cost, you can work backwards. Paying‌ ‌off‌ ‌high-interest debts,‌ ‌such‌ ‌as‌ ‌credit‌ ‌cards. Creating a fund for emergencies so that you won’t be forced to tap into‌ ‌savings. Putting your tax returns and bonuses to good use, as well as your savings from unnecessary purchases. The obvious examples are paying off debt or contributing to a retirement or emergency fund. But, let’s also address the elephant in the room. Housing. Your‌ ‌house is probably your biggest expenditure, and therefore your biggest opportunity for savings. ‌According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans spend a third of their income on housing. In order to figure out what you can realistically afford, check out calculators provided by Bankrate, NerdWallet, or Mortgage Loan. If you can’t downsize and buy a home that you can actually pay off your mortgage in a shorter time-frame. More likely than not, you’ve heard this advice before. ‌There’s a good reason for this. ‌By following these steps, you can put money aside, plan for the future, and manage the unpredictable. Maximize your tax savings. Do you really want to retire‌ ‌early? ‌As much money as possible should be deposited in tax-favored accounts if that’s the case. Maximizing your 401(k) would be the logical starting point). ‌As of 2022, employees can contribute up to $20,500 ‌to‌ ‌their‌ ‌401(k). ‌The catch-up contribution for individuals over 50 years old in 2022 will be $6,000 more. You can also choose‌ ‌a‌ ‌Roth‌ ‌IRA. A Roth IRA contribution is‌ ‌after-tax. ‌However, you must meet certain income requirements to contribute to a Roth IRA. ‌To qualify, your Modified Adjusted Gross Income (MAGI) must be under $144,000 in‌ ‌2022 if you’re filing as a single person. ‌To contribute to a Roth IRA for tax year 2022, your MAGI must be less than 214,000 if you’re married and file jointly. Combined,‌ ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌contribute‌ ‌these amounts to all ‌your‌ ‌IRAs; $6,000 for those under 50 $7,000 if you’re 50 years old or older Additionally, you can contribute a portion of the income from your side job as well as your regular job to a SEP-IRA. You may also want to consider putting as much into a health savings account as possible if you have a high-deductible health plan. ‌HSAs can sometimes be a better investment than 401(k)s when certain factors apply. ‌HSA earnings are not taxed if they are used to pay for qualified medical expenses today or in the future, and taxable withdrawals are also not allowed. ‌For a self-only plan, you can contribute $3,650, and for a family plan, $7,300 as of 2022 Phase 2: ‌Getting Ready to Dive Into Early Retirement Nearing your early retirement? ‌Make sure these key elements of your plan are in place. Make an estimation of‌ ‌your‌ ‌retirement‌ ‌savings. In order to plan a successful early retirement lifestyle, you must estimate your expenses and income. ‌You can estimate your retirement income by combining your Social Security, pension, and any side jobs you have. Most retirees depend on Social Security and, ‌less frequently, pensions for income. ‌With a pension, the payments are often available as early as age 55, and with Social Security at age 62. ‌If you take early benefits, however, your monthly benefits will be smaller. ‌In the long run, your retirement plan will be affected by Social Security, even if it is only the cream on top. You will be able to see the projected benefits on the Social Security website if you file early. ‌If you’re part of a couple who earns two incomes, it’s best to discuss your options with a Social Security offiicial or a financial professional. Suppose you die with a higher monthly benefit than your spouse. ‌The‌ ‌earlier you claim your benefits, the less you will receive, and the less your spouse will receive in the event you pass away. Ask your employer’s pension administrator how much your pension payment will be at different ages. ‌With this info, you’ll have a better idea of how much income you’ll get. You may have difficulty calculating your expenses, however. Establish a‌ ‌retirement‌ ‌budget. When you are within five years of your desired early retirement, think about the lifestyle you want and what it might cost you. ‌Determining where and what activities you will engage in will assist you with this. ‌It’s an incorrect belief that a person’s expenses will decrease after they stop working. ‌Actually, retired people spend about 20% more during retirement than during their working years. Even though you’ll have more time to spend on hobbies and trips, this obviously costs more. ‌Moreover, if you leave the workforce young, you can enjoy an active and most likely costly retirement if you are healthy and energetic. Budget items may rise faster than inflation overall, so you must keep this in mind. ‌For example, health care costs could rise as much as 7% or 10% annually. In some cases, a retirement income calculator such as‌ ‌T. Rowe Price’s Retirement Income Calculator ‌will let you know whether your retirement portfolio will allow you to retire early. Your retirement will be delayed if you reduce your lifestyle expectations, boost your savings, or delay your retirement. Just add up your pension, Social Security, and savings. ‌After this, calculate how much you would have to spend every month (including income taxes) if you were to retire five years early and become eligible for Social Security and pension benefits earlier. ‌It should give you an idea of how much you will need in retirement. But, to give you a ballpark figure, the Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Expenditure Survey found that the average household earns $84,352 a year. In addition, the average household spends $72,258 each‌ ‌year. ‌The data also shows that roughly $5,854 is spent monthly on bills and other expenses. Make sure your health insurance is in place. Nobody wants to blow through retirement savings by paying for unanticipated medical expenses in the years between early retirement and Medicare eligibility. ‌Until‌ ‌you‌ ‌are eligible for Medicare, you will still need private health insurance. COBRA allows you to keep your employer-sponsored health insurance. But, you can also join the plan of your spouse or enroll in a health insurance plan through HealthCare.gov. ‌AARP and other organizations may offer‌ ‌discounts‌ ‌on‌ ‌coverage as well. You might also want to think about long-term care insurance. ‌It’s not just the long-term care costs that can be expensive, it’s medical insurance too. ‌In order to save money, you might like to research it while you’re still young. Even if you have some sort of health insurance, taking care of yourself is a surefire way to keep healthcare costs at bay. The most obvious places to start is eating a nutritious and balanced diet and engaging in physical activity. Don’t take any risks‌ ‌with‌ ‌your‌ ‌portfolio. Suppose you’re planning to retire at 50. You should be more conservative with your portfolio in your late 40s than your peers who plan to keep working until 65. ‌The objective is to avoid what’s called‌ ‌”sequence‌ ‌of‌ ‌return‌ ‌risk.” ‌This is the risk of having a series of bad markets occur at a time when your finances are particularly fragile. In fact, according to Dr. Wade Pfau, professor of retirement income at the American College of Financial Services, this is what makes the first couple of years in retirement so dangerous. “I’ve estimated that if somebody is planning for a 30-year retirement, the market returns they experience in the first 10 years can explain 80% of the retirement outcome,” he told Barron’s. “If you get a market downturn early on, and markets recover later on, that doesn’t help all that much when you’re spending from that portfolio because you have less remaining to benefit from the subsequent market recovery.” The solution? “There are four ways to manage the sequence-of-return risk,” Dr. Pfau adds. “One, spend conservatively. Two, spend flexibly.” You can manage sequence-of-return risk if you can reduce your spending after a market downturn by not selling as many shares to meet spending needs. “A third option is to be strategic about volatility in your portfolio, even using the idea of a rising equity glide path,” he states. “The fourth option is using buffer assets like cash, a reverse mortgage or whole life policy with cash value.” Create a 10-year financial buffer. “At least five years before their early retirement date, investors should set aside the amount of money required to provide income for their first five years of retirement,” says Phil Lubinski, CFP, co-founder of IncomeConductor. “This will effectively put a 10-year buffer between the money they need for early income and any market volatility that could take place during their five-year countdown to retirement.” By setting aside this money from their main retirement savings, investors are able to protect the wealth they’ve accumulated. ‌The recommended five years of income can be rolled into a new IRA. ‌These funds can then be invested in a portfolio designed for capital preservation, such as one using cash-based investments such as‌ ‌Treasury‌ ‌Bills‌ ‌or‌ ‌bonds, suggest E. Napoletano and Benjamin Curry in Forbes. With a separate account for the money you’ll need for retirement, you give yourself a cushion in case the market experiences‌ ‌volatility. ‌You’ll have years to bounce back from any losses experienced in your remaining investments under this model. Phase 3: ‌Maintaining and Sustaining Your Finances So, you were able to retire early. Congratulations! ‌However, while you’re in the initial stage of retirement, keep an eye on your compass and be prepared to correct course. Keep your retirement funds secure. “One of the biggest misconceptions many people have is that retirement simply means living off of their pension, Social Security, or retirement savings,” notes Pierre Raymond, cofounder of Global Equity Analytics & Research Services LLC (GEARS). “While this may be the case for a minority of people, the latter reveals that some Americans have still not placed any stress on their financial future when they reach the age of retirement.” A retiree’s expenses can become more manageable by investing in various stocks and portfolios, or perhaps taking out an annuity. An annuity offers a guaranteed lifetime income. Because of this, it’s an ideal supplement to other income sources. Raymond also suggests that you have an investment portfolio and minimize withdrawals from retirement funds. And, as mentioned several times already, think about how you can introduce new income streams. Some suggestions would be: Starting a blog or online course. Renting out a spare bedroom. Providing baby-or-petsitting services. House-sit internationally. Being a freelancer or local business consultant. Tutoring. Selling handmade goods online. Take a strategic approach to‌ ‌Social‌ ‌Security. Did you know ‌you‌ ‌can‌ ‌‌‌manage ‌the‌ ‌size‌ ‌of‌ ‌your‌ ‌Social‌ ‌Security‌ ‌check? ‌Yes, you can – to an‌ ‌extent. ‌The key is when you start getting‌ ‌benefits. “About 1 out of 3 Social Security recipients apply for benefits at the earliest age, which is 62,” writes author and certified financial planner Liz Weston. “It’s often a mistake.” “Benefits grow by a guaranteed 5% to 8% each year that the applicant delays,” ‌she‌ ‌adds. “Starting early also can stunt the survivor benefit that one spouse will have to live on when the other dies.” Don’t rush it. ‌Wait‌‌ ‌‌until the right time comes. ‌This will increase your Social Security benefits. Seek the advice of‌ ‌a‌ ‌financial‌ ‌advisor. In order to retire early there are two major challenges to consider: It takes less time to save for retirement. After retirement, you’ll have more free time. You should work with a financial advisor regularly — unless you’re a financial expert yourself. ‌An advisor can help you to develop an investment strategy so that you can meet your retirement goals. ‌In addition, a financial planner can show you how much you have to invest per month to hit your goals over‌ ‌time. Even after retirement, it’s possible for you to work with your advisor to ensure that your retirement funds last. ‌Income streams include dividend income, required minimum distributions, Social Security, defined-benefit plans, and rental income from real estate. Trust is imperative since you’ll probably work together for a long time. ‌Likewise, an advisor’s fee shouldn’t just be based on their time, but also their expertise. ‌In the end, hiring an advisor with the right expertise is more than worth it. Follow your plan, but enjoy life as well. Discipline and time are both essential for executing and maintaining your plan. ‌Save and invest while you can, but don’t forget to take advantage of your youth. ‌If you dream of touring Patagonia, you should do it when you’re younger and ‌in‌ ‌good‌ ‌health. In the words of early retiree Steven Adcock, “Sacrifice is necessary to retire early, but it’s not all we do, either. It is important to treat and reward ourselves along the way by celebrating those smaller achievements.” Frequently Asked Retirement Questions When can I retire? There is no set age to retire. ‌As long as you are able to retire, you can leave the workforce whenever you wish. There are some factors, however, that may limit when you can‌ ‌retire. ‌Pensions are usually available to employees after 20 to 30 years of service. Aside from that, Social Security benefits aren’t available until the age of 62. And Medicare won’t kick in until ‌65. ‌So, people covered by their employer’s health insurance may not be able to retire until 65. How‌ ‌much‌ ‌money‌ ‌do‌ ‌I‌ ‌need‌ ‌for retirement? An individual’s retirement income depends on a variety of factors. The factors considered include Social Security benefits, monthly expenses, retirement age, and life expectancy. ‌It’s helpful to have a financial advisor help you figure out how much you’ll need for a comfortable retirement. How will early retirement affect my Social Security benefits? In general, you can receive Social Security retirement benefits as early as‌ ‌age 62. ‌Benefits may, however,‌ ‌be‌ ‌reduced‌ ‌by‌ ‌up‌ ‌to‌ ‌30%. “Workers planning for their retirement should be aware that retirement benefits depend on age at retirement,” notes the Social Security Administration. “If a worker begins receiving benefits before his/her normal (or full) retirement age, the worker will receive a reduced benefit. A worker can choose to retire as early as age 62, but doing so may result in a reduction of as much as 30 percent.” “Starting to receive benefits after normal retirement age may result in larger benefits,” adds the SSA. “With delayed retirement credits, a person can receive his or her largest benefit by retiring at age 70.” For each month before normal retirement age, you lose 5/9 of one percent of your benefits. ‌When the number of months over 36 is exceeded, the benefit is reduced by 5/12 of one percent per month. “For example, if the number of reduction months is 60 (the maximum number for retirement at 62 when normal retirement age is 67), then the benefit is reduced by 30 percent,” the SSA states. “This maximum reduction is calculated as 36 months times 5/9 of 1 percent plus 24 months times 5/12 of 1 percent.” Should I pay off my mortgage before retiring? At the end of the day, it’s a personal choice. ‌People who itemize deductions can reduce their taxes by paying mortgage interest. ‌In addition, if the interest rate is low enough, it might make more sense financially to invest money rather than pay off the debt. If you plan on retiring comfortably, it’s important to think about how paying off your mortgage will impact your ability to do so. ‌Though a debt-free retirement is ideal, don’t use too much money from a retirement account to pay off a house. What does a good monthly retirement income look like? An individual’s definition of an adequate monthly retirement income may differ from another’s. ‌Various factors will determine how much retirement income is adequate. ‌This includes your retirement lifestyle, any dependents you have (kids, grandkids, debts, etc.) and your health. A good retirement income is usually between 70% and 80% of an individual’s last income before retirement. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old while attending the University of Utah he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and Finance Expert by Time . He is the Founder and CEO of Due. Updated on Jun 14, 2022, 3:35 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 14th, 2022

Some companies are revoking job offers and blaming it on the economy

More than 15,000 tech workers were laid off globally in May, per a TechCrunch analysis. It signals the industry is worried about a recession. Tech companies have announced over the last few weeks that they’re instituting hiring freezes and laying off employees.PixelsEffect/Getty Images Coinbase said in a blog post that it will rescind some job offers and freeze hiring indefinitely. Other tech companies are freezing hiring as well due to impact of inflation and interest rates.  Some workers say they'll be less likely to apply to companies that retract job offers.  Signing on to work for a company doesn't necessarily mean you're safe in this economy — some are starting to rescind job offers in an effort to cut costs amid growing fears of a coming recession. According to LinkedIn, a growing number of its members reported this happening. Tech companies especially are slowing hiring, after adding employees at record levels over the last two years. Companies have announced over the last few weeks that they're instituting hiring freezes and laying off employees, but the move to drop workers right after taking them on suggests that many businesses are making last-minute considerations about what they can and cannot afford amid rising inflation rates and slowing demand. "A lot of companies were over-hiring, part of this is really a correction on that," says Lars Schmidt, founder of HR search firm Amplify, told Axios. Cryptocurrency platform Coinbase recently joined the line of tech companies dropping new hires, rescinding the offers of hundreds of new employees in recent weeks. Insider reported last month that companies including Meta, Netflix, Uber, and Salesforce are either cutting down hiring or implementing layoffs. More than 15,000 tech workers were laid off globally in May, according to a TechCrunch analysis. The hiring moves — or lack thereof — come despite the US labor market still feels a strong demand for workers. It represents a divergent trend in the market right now: the hospitality and service sectors can't hire people fast enough, but there's a slowing need for tech workers. That's as hospitality and service sector workers — historically in the lowest wage bracket — bargain for higher wages, with the most power they've seen in decades. Tech workers, in contrast, are some of the highest earners in the country, and now those salaries are getting harder to hold onto. Some in the finance and tech industries warn that rescinding offers will make workers wary of joining companies in the future. So tech leadership is hoping the trend doesn't last. "I've never rescinded an offer before, and I hope I never have to do it again," Jeff Mahacek, the VP of product design at Redfin, commented on the Linkedin post of a Redfin hire whose offer was revoked. "What's going on in the economy now is happening quickly and leaders are having to make tough decisions." Rescinding offers may spook future hires away from certain companies Tech leaders like Mahacek point to the state of the economy to explain the current hiring pileup, but workers might still have reservations about working with companies like Redfin in the future, Joe Moglia, the chairman of investment firm FG New America Acquisition, wrote on Linkedin."Decisions like this to halt hirings and rescind offers can have a real chilling effect much farther down the line," Moglia said. "This sort of thing conveys a message of potential disorganization or mismanagement and can scare off a lot of really smart and talented people, especially in an industry where folks don't lack job options."Although it's the tech industry that's experiencing the sudden squeeze at this moment, many warned that a mass retraction of job offers could deter talent from applying to any company in the future, especially as workers hold the upper hand in a persisting Great Resignation. "Rescinding accepted offers really feels like a good way to never be able to hire again," Thomas Powell, a software engineer at Progress Chief, wrote on Linkedin. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJun 13th, 2022