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EVs the biggest business opportunity for Taiwan since PCs, says PSMC chairman Frank Huang

Electric vehicles (EV) have been one of the most talked-about topics of 2021. In Taiwan, in addition to Foxconn's MIH Alliance recently surpassing 2,000 members, Powerchip Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (PSMC) chairman Frank Huang began preparations for establishing the Taiwan Advanced Automotive Technology Development Association (TADA) in 2020. TADA reportedly has already received backing from key EV supply chain members Pegatron, AU Optronics (AUO) and the Taiwan Computer Association......»»

Category: topSource: digitimesNov 25th, 2021

A Top CEO Was Ousted After Making His Company More Environmentally Conscious. Now He’s Speaking Out

(To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) The battle within Danone—producer of Activia and Oikos yogurts, Silk soy milk, and Evian water, among others—might have been dubbed a “food fight,” had it not erupted in such serious times. But it was no laughing matter. Months of… (To receive weekly emails of conversations with the world’s top CEOs and business decisionmakers, click here.) The battle within Danone—producer of Activia and Oikos yogurts, Silk soy milk, and Evian water, among others—might have been dubbed a “food fight,” had it not erupted in such serious times. But it was no laughing matter. Months of tension within the executive board of the $36-billion global food giant exploded in March 2021, just as the world began easing its lockdowns and launching mass vaccination campaigns. In a gloves-off power struggle, two small stakeholders maneuvered a coup, ousting the company’s CEO and chairman Emmanuel Faber, whose four-year leadership had made him a star among environmentalists and climate activists. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Faber had turned Danone into an “enterprise à mission,” France’s new category similar to an American B-Corp, whose purpose was far broader than profits and growth. He named his strategy “One Planet, One Health,” and created a carbon adjusted earnings per share indicator, pegging Danone’s success directly to its environmental performance. While that brought applause from climate activists, the company’s shares lagged behind peers like Nestlé and Unilever during the pandemic, as sales of some key Danone products like Evian water plummeted. Amid the shock of Faber’s ouster, there were roiling questions over what it all meant. Do CEOs now face an impossible dilemma: Either to please their shareholders, or to join the fight for climate justice and social equity? Faber had placed those issues at the core of the company. And outside it, he threw himself into activist CEO coalitions like the B Team and Business for Inclusive Growth, or B4IG. Little wonder, then, that his firing left palpable distress in some circles, from Paris to the U.N. “Are these two objectives, environmental and economic, irreconcilable?” asked France’s liberal Le Monde of Faber’s ouster. “It plunges us into a confusion of emotions over the ethics of capitalism,” the paper said. Faber, for his part, was more sanguine. At 57, he escaped to his beloved Alps, where he was born and raised, and climbed the peaks, reflecting on what to do, after a 24-year career at Danone. In October, he took a partnership at agritech impact fund Astanor Ventures. Far from irreconcilable, environment and economic objectives are, he believes, becoming inexorably aligned. Over green tea and Perrier in Paris on Nov. 16, Faber spoke with TIME about the role business leaders must play in solving the world’s urgent crises. Fresh off the COP26 climate talks in Glasgow, he believes companies will be key—perhaps the key—to fighting climate change and inequity. (This interview has been condensed and edited for clarity.) It’s been a very strange year for you. Did you feel sideswiped by what happened at Danone? Danone had grown to become my family, so it’s like leaving your family. I didn’t choose that. But I suddenly discovered that I was totally free to reinvent myself, in terms of where I do want to spend time and with whom and how. Which is a privilege, really. What happened was a few people that saw a window of opportunity and for personal reasons pursued that opportunity at the moment where it was easy to destabilize the governance of the company. The outside world believed you wanted to create a climate-driven company, and were punished for it. You know, they had voted the equivalent of public Benefit Corporation [B-Corp] status, 99%, not even a year before, they had agreed with the €3 billion climate and digital acceleration plan that we had announced a year before. … None of them were opposed to what we were doing. You need to read the end of the story, which is unfortunately on the 29th of July. The whole board had to resign. They said they would not seek any reappointment, and all of them would step down with one year in advance. The board had lost total credibility to shareholders. How should corporate boards be changed? What needs to happen in this new generation of corporate leaders? Climate change is there. I don’t think you would find one CEO in the business ecosystem that would say it is not there. That is behind us, different from five years ago… Five years ago, that recently? Oh yeah. I think the pandemic has also taught us lessons, about the fact that there were elements in our supposedly well-controlled and old system that we did just not control. This virus is only half a living organism, and yet it played havoc with the health system. Suddenly we discovered that our food systems were entangled in such a complex web that food sovereignty became huge in the agenda. We suddenly learned that what we felt was a predictable model and a safe model wasn’t, that we hadn’t been super good at being efficient, but we were tested in our resilience in the system. The other thing is, I think last summer’s extreme weather events, fires all over the place, floods all over the place, brought to the public attention that climate change was not in five or 10 years, it was not for remote countries. It is here now. Agriculture is the first victim of climate change warming. The yields are declining, water stress all over the place, soils are eroded. We see a number of situations where civil society and citizens are going after governments for action or inaction against climate change. Governments will have no other way than turning to companies and corporations to do the job, because governments are not doing the job themselves. The private sector will be front and center of the climate transition. So that’s one. Employees collectives are asking questions about ESG [Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance], big time. More and more, the war for talent is there for the larger companies. So many of the highly educated talents don’t want to work for these large companies. More and more employers are asking the new generation what they want: Meaning, they want impact. And then you have the shareholders. Already now it’s harder for the most carbon-emitting companies to find the right appeal from shareholders. I’ll just give you one example. Anglo American [Corporation] wanted to spin off their coal-mining operations, Thungela. Typically, the market would be ready to pay you 20 years of your current earnings because they believe these earnings have great potential to grow in the future. In the case of Thungela, when they spun it off, they got four months of EBITDA [Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation and Amortization] multiple. They couldn’t find enough investors that would be willing to pay the cost on their reputation to consciously, in 2021, choose to invest in the business which is purely coal mining. So how do you even keep a business like that going? Well, that’s exactly my point. The global financial markets are increasingly reluctant to finance these assets. So far, ESG has been sort of an easy path for CEOs and boards that wanted to look good, but weren’t ready to really walk the talk. That’s the whole question of greenwashing. I think there will always be greenwashing. All this greenwashing noise is paralyzing everybody. It’s penalizing the people that are doing the real stuff, because they can’t prove that, and it’s favoring the people that are not doing the real stuff, because they can claim without being challenged on the reality of this stuff, because there are no metrics. The big announcement at COP26 for me was when the IFRS [International Financial Reporting Standards, which sets rules for public companies] said that they have prepared a prototype for a climate standard that is going to be transparent, comparable, and reliable and audited. It’s huge news. What they are essentially saying is by 2023, all companies will be able to—and in some cases compelled to—report under these new standards. Essentially, 140 countries already agreed to be part of the IFRS metrics in the past, so they would take the additional metric on climate, and adopt it as part of their IFRS. Each company will have to report on its targets on CO2 emissions and its pathway to reduce that. If a company is ahead of its plan, the market will look at this positively. If you’re late, it means that there are some capital expenditures that you need to do in the future. That will mean additional debt. So immediately, the valuation of companies in the stock market will be impacted. Which means as for profits, when you are ahead of your forecast, you get a bump on your share price, and a bump down if you’re super late on your emissions trajectory. Suddenly you can be compared, within peers, within an industry. And you start having a situation where the capital allocation can be based not only on profit but also on carbon. So it’s a huge change. How many companies followed your model of using a carbon-adjusted earnings per share metric, to show the financial cost of the company’s carbon emissions? Zero. Because it takes time. There was a whole journey for those shareholders to understand where I was coming from. We took them into the fields. We had food scientists coming to speak to them. We had been constantly and consistently over years speaking about this to our shareholders. When we decided to become a B-Corp, we were puzzled about how to explain that to our shareholders. I received a short note from my friend Doug McMillon, CEO of Walmart, and he said, “Emmanuel, that’s so great.” So I call him and say, “Would you shoot a short video saying why you think it’s great? You’re my biggest customer.” So he he did that. It was 2017. The Investor Day started with a video of my biggest customer, saying why it was great. It cut 80% of the questions. So when like two years later, we come up with this CO2 adjusted metric, they knew that this carbon charge was not just here to save the planet, it was to save the business, because we needed that carbon in the soil, not in the air. Beyond the food and agriculture system, you don’t have the same magic of telling a story that it’s actually good for the business to put carbon back into the soil. The absence of metrics on carbon made it very difficult to do this. I think the day you have those climate metrics it will become obvious. Maybe we were just ahead by a few years. … The metrics may not be the ones that we had, but there will be one, which will make it a market conversation instead of just one company that had this crazy idea. What got a lot of people’s attention from COP26 in Glasgow was Greta Thunberg’s protests. I think maybe most people will remember her saying, “It’s all blah, blah, blah.” Is that just cynical? And what’s the impact of that on the real work being done? Is it just a sideshow? Unfortunately, it’s a combination of all of that. I don’t think this is only cynicism. I think there has been blah blah. I have myself said that we had not moved either fast or far enough. But I can see many things moving fast. We’re still behind the curve, but we have never been as close as coming to a tipping point. CEOs are held back in talking, by their legal teams, by their comms teams, by their PR teams. They have this polished, you know, sometimes bullshit kind of communication. Shareholders were not so interested in all these discussions three years ago, but now they got very interested, and so everyone is super nervous. But in themselves, [CEOs] know that there is a problem, and they know that there is an opportunity. The food industry, your industry, is a big carbon business. We started the journey on carbon emissions in 2008. By 2009, all the team managers at Danone had a significant incentive [to reduce our] carbon footprint. An incentive bonus. A third [of the bonus] was on social and environmental issues, among which was carbon. The EBITDA level of the company and the carbon footprint had an equal weight in my bonus. So that’s how far we and I went into walking the talk and putting our money where our mouth was. Were you losing some money because that was part of the equation? No, I was making money. We established in 2009 a trajectory that said our peak carbon emissions would be in 2025. And the result of the hard work of 15,000 team leaders, incentivized in their bonuses, led us to reach peak carbon six years in advance, in 2019. So we have constantly been ahead of our plan and the reduction of the intensity of carbon. When you speak about agriculture, carbon is 60% of the organic matter of the soils. And the intensive agriculture, the monoculture kind of agriculture that is the dominant food system, is actually extracting carbon from the soil. Danone was the first—Patagonia and ourselves—to start a regenerative organic certification in the U.S. in 2015. When we started, no one understood what that was. It started by saying we need to regenerate the soil health by going from intensive agricultural practices to practices that actually put carbon back into the soil. We know how to do that. How big has the idea of putting carbon back in the soil become? In 2019, I gathered 30 of the largest companies in the world that that are using resources from the soil: Textile companies, fashion companies, cosmetics, food retailers, some data companies, Microsoft, Google, joined…. So we are now two years after, we have a set of indicators, a framework for what regenerative agriculture stands for. And you find these huge companies. After Danone, you have Nestlé, that this year said by 2030, we will supply from regenerative agriculture. These people needed a safe place where they could incubate and think and work and get their teams to meet together and discuss as an ecosystem. You talk about monoculture agriculture—growing only one type of crop at a time, as is popular at large American farms—ruining soils and the need to put carbon back into the soil, so they’re actually seeing the effects in terms of the quality of their crops? The International Union for Nature Conservation, which is a UN agency on biodiversity, ran a big study. They looked at the wild relatives of the varieties that are being used in the fields. Wild vanilla. Wild coffee, etc. They found out that a third of all the wild relatives in beans are under threat of extinction. They found out that 100% of the sample they used on vanilla’s wild relatives are under the threat of extinction. The seeds of those wild varieties, they constantly adapt to the climate conditions, to the water availability, to the shades or no shades, to the temperature, to the sun, to everything. They mutate naturally. So with climate change, these wild varietals are going to be just way more able to deal with things, and it is so important that we bring them on board. If you are a Cargill or others, or the big coffee companies or the big cocoa companies, that are directly dealing with this reality, with the farmers who see their yields declining and the water scarcity more and more, they have either the choice of going up in altitudes—meaning lower lands at lower volumes, more expensive to adapt—or to find alternatives. This is one of these topics on which I see CEOs’ minds just opening when they realize that there is this opportunity. Because climate change is knocking on the door saying, “Here is the huge problem we have.” But also nature is saying, “Here are the huge abilities that I have to solve your problems.” In your new role in Astanor Ventures, are you going to be putting investments in the future of agriculture? I think at the juncture of technology and nature-based solutions. I’ll say something which is terribly unpopular, but which I’ve been saying for 10 years: We are not paying the true cost of food. We are just not. Do you think that should be reflected when we go to the supermarket? Yes, it should be more expensive. Because it’s not sustainable in terms of farmer income, in terms of animal welfare, in terms of your health sometimes. When we walk into a supermarket in 10 years’ time, is it going to look different? Will there be different products on the shelves? What do you think, and what would you like to see? I hope it is going to be different. There is one aspect that I think I am absolutely convinced about: The food system will relocalize. The second biggest topic for governments through the pandemic has been to make sure that there would be enough food. And they suddenly realized that with the complexity of the food system, there were these bottlenecks. The reduction of the food system carbon emissions will also come from the fact that the ingredients will travel less. In 20 years from now, you will have much more local food. I would like to see more diverse local food, and more expensive than you have today. Some subsidies should be redirected in order to make sure that the people that cannot afford to pay are being given the possibility to do that. At the end of the day, we know where the food systems have led us: About two billion people that are overweight in the world, about 700 million people that have diabetes. Instead of dealing with these obesity and diabetes issues, by providing better food aid and supporting people that need to be supported, you’d actually save money for the future. This is the whole theory of where I think we can gradually move. And climate change will force us to move there. I want to get back to the original thing we were talking about: What we call “conscious capitalism.” You sound almost kind of optimistic, that there are really big changes to come out of this pandemic. And yet inequality is worse, and the profit motivation seems as strong as ever. What makes you so hopeful that people are going to act in the common good rather than in their own self interest? I’m not sure they will. I’ve seen the worst and the best in this pandemic. We see all over the place that growing inequalities are a danger for democracies. So I’m not optimistic. But we’ve seen solidarity, social bonding, people changing their behaviors in many ways, again for the worse and for the best. I see climate change as such a huge frontier for us as a species, that I’m sure it will bring the worst. And I see signs that it can also bring the best. It would be illogical to blame capitalism and the global financial markets for ruining the resilience of our species. I’ve defined myself as a business activist. I’m an activist of business being part of the solution, being the fundamental solution, the solution. I saw you said that when you were 33, you thought of leaving business. Now you think it is the place to be. Yes, I really think so. Do you think the next generation of CEOs is going to be quite different? The next, I don’t know. But the next-next? I think yes. Maybe they will not join the companies. That’s the point. And this is why CEOs are paying a lot of attention to these collectives of employees that have started all around the world. They are highly educated, talented managers. And they will be candidates for CEOs. They are part of a generation that was born with these questions already. So it’s not a cultural shift [for them]. We were talking about this climate skilling and upskilling. How to make people aware of [climate change]. This is not a problem for that generation. They’re entirely into it already, sometimes too much, with climate anxiety and everything. So they will leave these large companies, in which case I think these large companies will simply not survive, because they will not have the skills. Put it this way, if you’re not able to lead climate strategy 10 years from now, you should not be a CEO. It’s as simple as that. Your company will not find capital. I’m pretty clear on that......»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 21st, 2021

J&J (JNJ) to Separate Consumer Unit Into New Company, Stock Up

J&J (JNJ) is set to divide itself into two publicly traded companies. One will be its consumer products, while the other will comprise its pharmaceuticals and medical devices segments. Shares of Johnson & Johnson JNJ were up 1.2% on Friday after it announced plans to separate its Consumer Health segment into a new publicly-traded company, leaving behind a new J&J with its Pharmaceuticals and Medical Device units.J&J’s Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices units are expected to generate revenues of $77 billion in 2021 and remain one of the strongest drugmakers in the world.J&J’s Consumer Health includes a broad range of products covering the areas of baby care, beauty/skin health, oral care, wound care and women’s health care, as well as over-the-counter (OTC) pharmaceutical products. Some iconic consumer brands of J&J are Neutrogena, Aveeno, Tylenol, Listerine and Band-Aid. The Consumer Health segment is expected to generate approximately $15 billion in sales in 2021.J&J believes the Consumer Health unit’s separation would drive growth and unlock significant value as its Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices units are relatively higher growth, higher-margin businesses.The separation of the Consumer Health unit is expected to be completed in the next 18 to 24 months, pending necessary board and regulatory approval. The remaining Pharmaceutical and Medical Devices company will continue to use the name Johnson & Johnson and will be led by the new chief executive officer (CEO) Joaquin Duato. Duato will be replacing present chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky, effective Jan 3, 2022. J&J will later announce the new Consumer Health publicly-traded company’s name.J&J’s stock price increase on Friday suggests that investors, in general, are optimistic about J&J’s decision to split. However, a group of analysts believes that J&J’s talc liabilities spurred the decision to separate the Consumer division. Some analysts have criticized the move on the grounds that it will reduce the company’s scale and diversity, considered by some as J&J’s biggest competitive advantage. This year so far, J&J’s shares have risen 4.8% compared with the industry’s 16.2% increase.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAnother large drugmaker, GlaxoSmithKline GSK is also due to separate its Consumer Healthcare segment into a standalone company in 2022. Glaxo will split into two UK-based global companies — one dealing in prescription drugs and vaccines, the other focused on consumer healthcare/over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.In 2019, Glaxo and Pfizer PFE merged their consumer healthcare unit into a new joint venture (JV) to create the world’s largest consumer healthcare business. While Glaxo owns a controlling stake of 68% in the JV, Pfizer owns 32%.The JV operates globally as GSK Consumer Healthcare. Pfizer deconsolidated Pfizer Consumer Healthcare from its financial statements following the closure of the transaction.The deal brought together some popular OTC brands like Glaxo’s Sensodyne, Voltaren and Panadol and Pfizer’s Advil, Centrum and Caltrate. Back in 2019, Glaxo had announced its intention to separate GSK Consumer Healthcare into an independent company within three years of transaction closing.A few years back, another large drugmaker, Merck MRK sold off its Consumer Care business to Bayer for $14.2 billion in October 2014 so that it could focus on its core areas of expertise, which was pharmaceuticals and vaccines.Merck’s Consumer Care unit comprised a portfolio of well-established product brands, such as Claritin, Afrin and Coppertone.J&J currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK): Free Stock Analysis Report Johnson & Johnson (JNJ): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Merck & Co., Inc. (MRK): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 15th, 2021

Futures Rise Ahead Of Deluge Of Big Tech Earnings

Futures Rise Ahead Of Deluge Of Big Tech Earnings One day after Goldman doubled down on its call for a market meltup into year-end, futures on the Nasdaq 100 edged higher, while contracts on the S&P 500 were modestly higher on Monday, approaching record highs again as investors braced for a flood of earnings (164 of 500 S&P companies report this week) while weighing rising inflation concerns, Covid-19 risks and China’s deteriorating outlook (Goldman slashed China's 2022 GDP to 5.2% from 5.6% overnight). The FOMC enters quiet period ahead of next week's FOMC meeting, which means no Fed speakers as attention shifts to economic data and corporate earnings. At 745 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 3 points, or 0.01%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 4.25 points, or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 36.25 points, or 0.25%. Bitcoin bounced back over $63,000 after sliding below $60,000 over the weekend, the 10-year US Treasury yield rose and the dollar also rose after Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell flagged that inflation could stay higher for longer, fueling investor concern that sticky price increases may force policy makers to raise borrowing costs. Global markets have remained resilient despite risks from price pressures stoked by supply-chain bottlenecks and higher energy costs. On Sunday, Janet Yellen was among those counseling the inflation situation reflects temporary pain that will ease in the second half of 2022 even as Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey warned hyperinflation is coming. Investors are wary that tighter monetary policy to keep inflation in check will stir volatility “Inflation concerns will continue to dominate markets this year as the price of crude oil remains elevated,” while “the pandemic remains a central concern,” said Siobhan Redford, an analyst at FirstRand Bank Ltd. in Johannesburg. “This will add further complexity to the already difficult decisions facing policy makers around the world.” All of FAAMG - Facebook, Microsoft, Apple, Alphabet and Amazon.com - are set to report their results later this week. The companies shares, which collectively account for over 22% of the weighting in the S&P 500, were mixed in trading before the bell. Facebook shares fell in premarket trading, extending six weeks of declines, after Bloomberg reported that the social-media company is struggling to attract younger users and that employees are concerned over the spread of misinformation and hate speech on its platform. The company is scheduled to report quarterly results after the market closes. “After Snap got an Apple caught in its throat, markets will have an itchy trigger finger over the sell button if the social network says the same,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific at OANDA. “Additionally, this week, it is a FAANG-sters paradise ... that decides whether the U.S. earnings season party continues, before the FOMC (Federal Open Market Committee) reasserts its dominance next week.” PayPal jumped 6.4% as the company said it wasn’t currently pursuing an acquisition of Pinterest, ending days of speculation over a potential $45 billion deal. Shares of Pinterest plunged 12.5%. Tesla gained 2.2% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley raised its price target for the stock by a third, citing “extraordinary” sales growth. The stock then surged to new all time highs after Bloomberg reported that Hertz placed an order for 100,000 Teslas in the first step of an ambitious plan to electrify its rental-car fleet. Oil firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil rose about 0.5% each, tracking Brent crude prices to three-year high. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks gain in premarket trading as Bitcoin climbs back above the $63,000 per token level after slipping from its record high last week. Crypto-linked stocks that are climbing in premarket include Bakkt +6.6%, Hive Blockchain +3.9%, Hut 8 Mining +2.8%, Riot Blockchain +2.2%, MicroStrategy +2.3%, Marathon Digital +2.8%, Coinbase +1.9%, Silvergate +1.8%, Bit Digital +1.2% and Mogo +0.8% Strong earnings reports helped lift the S&P 500 and the Dow to record highs last week, with the benchmark index rising 5.5% so far in October to recoup all of the losses suffered last month.  However, market participants are looking beyond the impressive earnings numbers with a focus on how companies mitigate supply chain bottlenecks, labor shortages and inflationary pressures to sustain growth. Analysts expect S&P 500 earnings to grow 34.8% year-on-year for the third quarter, according to data from Refinitiv. On the economic data front, readings on U.S. third-quarter GDP - the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge, the core PCE price index and consumer confidence data will be released later this week. In Europe, mining companies and banks gained but the telecommunications and industrial goods and services sectors declined, leaving the Stoxx 600 index little changed. Banks rose on HSBC’s bright outlook. Spain’s Banco de Sabadell SA jumped more than 5% after rejecting an offer for its U.K. unit. Telecoms and industrials were the biggest losers. Volvo Car slashed its initial public offering by a fifth, making it the latest in a string of European companies to pull back from equity markets roiled by soaring energy costs and persistent supply chain delay. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Banca Monte dei Paschi slides as much as 9.5% after the Italian government and UniCredit ended talks over the sale of the lender. Exor shares gain as much as 5.6% in Milan trading to the highest level on record after a report that the Agnelli family’s holding co. revived talks with Covea for the sale of Exor’s reinsurance unit PartnerRe. Banco Sabadell jumps as much as 5.6% after it said it rejected an offer for its TSB Bank unit in the U.K. from Co-operative Bank. SSAB rises as much as 5.2% after the Swedish steelmaker posted 3Q earnings well above analysts expectations. Handelsbanken analyst Gustaf Schwerin said the figures were “very strong.” Weir Group rises as much as 3.7% after Exane BNP Paribas raised the stock to outperform. Analyst Bruno Gjani says the stock’s underperformance YTD provides a “compelling entry opportunity.” Darktrace drops as much as 26% after Peel Hunt initiated coverage of the cybersecurity firm with a sell rating and 473p price target that implies about 50% downside to Friday’s close. Nordic Semiconductor declines as much as 8.8% after ABG Sundal Collier downgraded to hold. German business morale deteriorated for the fourth month running in October as supply bottlenecks in manufacturing, a spike in energy prices and rising COVID-19 infections are slowing the pace of recovery in Europe’s largest economy from the pandemic. The Ifo institute said on Monday that its business climate index fell to 97.7 from an upwardly revised 98.9 in September. This was the lowest reading since April and undershot the 97.9 consensus forecast in a Reuters poll. “Supply problems are giving businesses headaches,” Ifo President Clemens Fuest said, adding that capacity utilisation in manufacturing was falling. “Sand in the wheels of the German economy is hampering recovery.” The weaker-than-expected business sentiment survey was followed by a grim outlook from Germany’s central bank, which said in its monthly report that economic growth was likely to slow sharply in the fourth quarter. The Bundesbank added that full-year growth was now likely to be “significantly” below its 3.7% prediction made in June. Earlier in Asia, stocks dipped in Japan and were mixed in China, where the central bank boosted a daily liquidity injection and officials expanded a property-tax trial. Signs that it would take at least five years before authorities impose any nationwide property tax bolstered some industrial metals.  Asia-Pac equities kicked off the week with a downside bias as the region adopted a similar lead from Friday’s Wall Street session, although sentiment marginally improved. The ASX 200 (+0.3%) was kept afloat by its energy sector as oil prices drifted higher, whilst index heavyweight Telstra was boosted after partnering with the Australian government to acquire Digicel Pacific in USD 1.6bln deal - for which Telstra contributed only USD 270mln. The Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) opened lower by around 1% with Softbank and Fast Retailing the biggest losers, although the index initially trimmed losses as the JPY remained on the backfoot. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.8%) were mixed at the open, with the latter supported by a net PBoC injection of CNY 190bln, while the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. On the flip side, China Evergrande and Evergrande New Energy Vehicle opened higher after the chairman said the group is to complete its transition to the NEV industry from real estate within 10 years. Finally, 10yr JGBs trade subdued and in contrast to its US and German counterparts. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier inching lower to touch the weakest level since Sept. 27; the greenback was mixed against its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies performing best, led by the Australian dollar and Norwegian krone. The euro hovered around $1.1650 even as German business confidence took another hit in October as global supply logjams damp momentum in the manufacturing-heavy economy. Ifo business confidence fell to 97.7 in October, from 98.9 in the prior month. The pound inched up, rising alongside other risk- sensitive Group-of-10 currencies, having trailed all its peers on Friday after Brexit risks reared their head late in the London session. A quiet week for U.K. data turns focus to the upcoming government budget. The Australian dollar rose against all its Group-of-10 peers, tracking commodity gains, with market sentiment also boosted by the People’s Bank of China’s move to inject additional cash into the banking system. The yen declined after rising for three consecutive days; Economists expect the BoJ to keep its policy rate unchanged Thursday. Turkey’s lira fell to a record low as the country’s latest diplomatic spat gave traders another reason to sell the struggling currency. Day traders in Japan have started trimming their bullish wagers on the Turkish lira, with forced liquidation a growing threat as the currency tumbles. In rates, Treasuries were under pressure again, with the yield curve steeper as US trading begins Monday. They’re retracing a portion of Friday’s swift flattening, which occurred after Fed Chair Powell said rising inflation rates would draw a response from the central bank. 5s30s curve is back to ~89bp vs Friday’s low 85bp, within half a basis point of the lowest level in more than a year. Long-end yields are higher by as much as 3bp, 10-year by 2.7bp at 1.66%, widening vs most developed-market yields; yields across the curve remain inside Friday’s ranges, which included higher 2- and 5-year yields since 1Q 2020. Curve-steepening advanced after an apparent wager via futures blocks. In commodities, Brent oil rallied above $86 a barrel after Saudi Arabia urged caution in boosting supply. Gold rose for a fifth day, the longest run of gains since July, as risks around higher-for-longer inflation bolstered the metal’s appeal. Facebook will report its third quarter results after the market today, followed by Alphabet, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon later in the week.  On the economic data front, readings on U.S. third-quarter GDP - the Federal Reserve’s favored inflation gauge, the core PCE price index and consumer confidence data will be released later this week. Top Overnight News from Bloomberg S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,542.25 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 472.03 MXAP little changed at 200.13 MXAPJ up 0.1% to 661.46 Nikkei down 0.7% to 28,600.41 Topix down 0.3% to 1,995.42 Hang Seng Index little changed at 26,132.03 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,609.86 Sensex up 0.4% to 61,038.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,441.00 Kospi up 0.5% to 3,020.54 Brent Futures up 0.7% to $86.14/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,800.45 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.10% to 93.55 Euro up 0.1% to $1.1655 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen defended Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell’s record on regulating the financial system, which has been a target of criticism from progressive Democrats arguing he shouldn’t get a new term. Yellen said she expects price increases to remain high through the first half of 2022, but rejected criticism that the U.S. risks losing control of inflation. Speaker Nancy Pelosi opened the door to Democrats using a special budget tool to raise the U.S. debt ceiling without the support of Senate Republicans, whose votes would otherwise be needed to end a filibuster on the increase. President Joe Biden and fellow Democrats are racing to reach agreement on a scaled-back version of his economic agenda, with a self-imposed deadline and his departure later this week for summits in Europe intensifying pressure on negotiations. Bundesbank chief Jens Weidmann’s surprise announcement last week that he will leave on Dec. 31 has hit Berlin at a sensitive time, with Chancellor Angela Merkel currently running only a caretaker administration in the aftermath of an election whose outcome is likely to remove her CDU party from power. Some holders of an Evergrande bond on which the embattled developer had missed a coupon deadline last month received the interest before the end of a grace period Saturday, according to people familiar with the matter. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities kicked off the week with a downside bias as the region adopted a similar lead from Friday’s Wall Street session, although sentiment marginally improved with the region now mixed heading into the European open. US equity futures overnight opened trade with a mild negative tilt before drifting higher, with a broad-based performance experienced across the Stateside contracts, whilst European equity contracts are marginally firmer. Back to APAC, the ASX 200 (+0.3%) was kept afloat by its energy sector as oil prices drifted higher, whilst index heavyweight Telstra was boosted after partnering with the Australian government to acquire Digicel Pacific in USD 1.6bln deal - for which Telstra contributed only USD 270mln. The Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) opened lower by around 1% with Softbank and Fast Retailing the biggest losers, although the index initially trimmed losses as the JPY remained on the backfoot. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp (+0.8%) were mixed at the open, with the latter supported by a net PBoC injection of CNY 190bln, whilst the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. On the flip side, China Evergrande and Evergrande New Energy Vehicle opened higher after the chairman said the group is to complete its transition to the NEV industry from real estate within 10 years. Finally, 10yr JGBs trade subdued and in contrast to its US and German counterparts. Top Asian News Xi Takes Veiled Swipe at U.S. as China Marks 50 Years at UN Hong Kong Convicts Second Person Under National Security Law Gold Extends Gain as Inflation Risks and Virus Concerns Persist Amnesty to Quit Hong Kong Citing Fears Under Security Law A tentative start to the week for European equities (Stoxx 600 U/C) as stocks struggle to find direction. On the macro front, the latest IFO report from Germany was mixed, with commentary from IFO downbeat, noting that Germany's economy faces an uncomfortable autumn as supply chain problems were causing trouble for companies, and production capacities were falling. The overnight session was a mixed bag with the Shanghai Composite (+0.8%) supported by a liquidity injection from the PBoC whilst the Hang Seng Mainland Properties Index (-2.9%) was pressured by reports China's State Council is to expand the property-tax reform trials to more areas. Stateside, US futures are marginally firmer with newsflow in the US in part, focused on events on Capitol Hill with CNN reporting that the goal among Democratic leaders is to have a vote Wednesday or Thursday on the infrastructure package. Note, the Fed is currently observing its blackout period ahead of the November meeting. From an earnings perspective, large-cap tech earnings dominate the slate for the week with the likes of Facebook (FB), Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and Amazon (AMZN) all due to report. Back to Europe, sectors are somewhat mixed as Basic Resources is the marked outperformer amid upside in underlying commodity prices. It’s been a busy morning for the Banking sector as HSBC (+1%) reported a 74% increase in Q3 earnings, whilst Credit Suisse (+0.7%) is reportedly mulling the sale of its asset management unit. Less encouragingly for the sector, UniCredit (-0.5%) and BMPS (-3.2%) shares are lower after negations on a rescue plan for BMPS have ended without an agreement. Finally, Airbus (-1.2%) and Safran (-2.3%) sit at the foot of the CAC after reports suggesting that the CEO's of Avolon and AerCap have, in recent weeks, written to the Airbus CEO expressing their concerns that the market will not support Airbus' aggressive plans to increase the pace of production; subsequently, Airbus has rejected their proposal, according to sources. Top European News The Man Behind Erdogan’s Worst Spat With the West: QuickTake Weidmann Succession Suspense May Last for Weeks on Berlin Talks Cat Rock Capital Urges Just Eat Takeaway to Sell GrubHub European Gas Jumps Most in a Week as Russian Supplies Slump In FX, the Dollar is somewhat mixed vs major counterparts and the index is jobbing around 93.500 as a result in rather aimless fashion at the start of a typically quiet start to the new week awaiting fresh impetus or clearer direction that is highly unlikely to come from September’s national activity index or October’s Dallas Fed business survey. Instead, the Greenback appears to be reliant on overall risk sentiment, US Treasury yields on an outright and relative basis along with moves elsewhere and technical impulses as the DXY roams within a 93.775-483 range. TRY - Lira losses continue to stack up, and the latest swoon to circa 9.8545 against the Buck came on the back of Turkish President Erdogan’s decision to declare 10 ambassadors persona non grata status due to their countries’ support for a jailed activist, including diplomats from the US, France and Germany. However, Usd/Try has actually pared some gains irrespective of a deterioration in manufacturing confidence and this may be partly psychological given that 10.0000 is looming with little in the way of chart resistance ahead of the big round number. AUD/NZD - Iron ore prices are helping the Aussie overcome rather mixed news on the COVID-19 front, as the state of Victoria is on course to open up further from Friday, but new cases in NSW rose by almost 300 for the second consecutive day on Sunday. Nevertheless, Aud/Usd has had another look at offers around 0.7500 and Aud/Nzd is approaching 1.0500 even though Westpac sees near term downside prospects for the cross while maintaining its 1.0600 year end projection, as Nzd/Usd continues to encounter resistance and supply into 0.7200. GBP/CAD - Sterling has regrouped after losing some of its hawkish BoE momentum and perhaps the Pound is benefiting from the latest rebound in Brent prices towards Usd 86.50/br on top of reports that the first round of talks between the UK and EU on NI Protocol were constructive, while the Loonie is up alongside WTI that has been adobe Usd 84.50 and awaiting the BoC on Wednesday. Cable is around 1.3750 after fading into 1.3800, Eur/Gbp is hovering above 0.8450 and Usd/Cad is pivoting 1.2350. EUR/JPY/CHF - The Euro has bounced from the lower half of 1.1600-1.1700 parameters and looks enshrined by a key Fib just beyond the current high (1.1670 represents a 38.2% retracement of the reversal from September peak to October trough) and decent option expiry interest under the low (1 bn between 1.1615-00), with little fundamental direction coming from a very inconclusive German Ifo survey - see 9.00BST post on the Headline Feed for the main metrics and accompanying comments from the institute. Elsewhere, the Yen is hedging bets prior to the BoJ within a 113.83-42 band against the Dollar and the Franc seems to have taken heed of another rise in weekly Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks as Usd/Chf climbs from circa 0.9150 towards 0.9200 and Eur/Chf trades nearer the top of a 1.0692-65 corridor. SCANDI/EM/PM - Firm oil prices are also underpinning the Nok, Rub and Mxn to various extents, while the Zar looks content with Gold’s advance on Usd 1800/oz and the Cnh/Cny have derived traction via a firmer onshore PBoC midpoint fix, a net Yuan 190 bn 7 day liquidity injection and the fact that China’s Evergrande has restarted work on more than 10 projects having made more interest payments on bonds in time to meet 30 day grace period deadlines. In commodities, a modestly firmer start to the week for the crude complex though action has been contained and rangebound throughout the European session after a modest grinding bid was seen in APAC hours. Currently, the benchmarks post upside of circa USD 0.30/bbl amid relatively minimal newsflow. The most pertinent update to watch stems from China, where the National Health Commission spokesperson said China's current COVID outbreak covers 11 provinces and expects the number of new cases to keep rising; additionally, the number of affected provinces could increase. Separately, but on COVID, they are some reports that the UK Government is paving the wat for ‘plan B’ measures in England, while this are primarily ‘softer’ restrictions a return of work-from-home guidance could hamper the demand-side of the equation. Note, further reports indicate this is not on the cards for this week and there are some indications that we could see, if necessary, such an announcement after the COP26 summit in Scotland ends on November 12th. Elsewhere, and commentary to keep an eye on for alterations given the above factors, Goldman Sachs writes that the persistence of the global oil demand recovery being on course to hit pre-COVID levels would present an upside risk to its end-2021 USD 90/bbl Brent price target. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are firmer but reside within tight ranges of just over USD 10/oz in gold, for instance. In a similar vein to crude, newsflow explicitly for metals has been minimal but it is of course attentive to the COVID-19 situation while coal futures were hampered overnight as China’s State Planner announced it is to increase credit supervision in the area. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Chicago Fed Nat Activity Index, est. 0.20, prior 0.29 10:30am: Oct. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 6.2, prior 4.6 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Well I saw Frozen twice this weekend. Once in the flesh up in London in the musical version and once on TV on Sunday at the heart of Manchester United’s defence which was breached 5 (five) times by Liverpool without reply. Regular readers can guess which I enjoyed the most. Anyway I’ll let it go for now and prepare myself for a bumper week ahead for markets. This week we have decisions from the ECB and the Bank of Japan (both Thursday) even if the Fed will be on mute as they hit their blackout period ahead of the likely taper decision next week. Inflation will obviously remain in the spotlight too as we get the October flash estimate for the Euro Area (Friday) with some regional numbers like German (Thursday) before. In addition, the Q3 earnings season will ramp up further, with 165 companies in the S&P 500 reporting, including Facebook (today), Microsoft, and Alphabet (both tomorrow), and Apple and Amazon (Thursday). Elsewhere, the UK government will be announcing their latest budget and spending review (Wednesday), Covid will remain in the headlines in light of the growing number of cases in many countries, and we’ll get the first look at Q3 GDP growth in the US (Thursday) and the Euro Area (Friday). Starting with those central bank meetings, we’re about to enter a couple of important weeks with the ECB and BoJ meeting this week, before the Fed and the BoE follow the week after. Market anticipation is much higher for the latter two though. So by comparison, the ECB and the BoJ are likely to be somewhat quieter, and our European economists write in their preview (link here) that this Governing Council meeting is likely to be a staging ground ahead of wide-ranging policy decisions in December, and will therefore be about tone and expectations management. One thing to keep an eye on in particular will be what is said about the recent surge in natural gas prices, as well as if ECB President Lagarde challenges the market pricing on liftoff as inconsistent with their inflation forecasts and new rates guidance. 5yr5yr Euro inflation swaps hit 2% for the first time on Friday so if the market is to be believed the ECB has achieved long-term success in hitting its mandate. With regards to the meeting, we think there’ll be more action in December where our economists’ baseline is that there’ll be confirmation that PEPP purchases will end in March 2022. See the BoJ preview here. Inflation will remain heavily in focus for markets over the week ahead, with recent days having seen investor expectations of future inflation rise to fresh multi-year highs. See the week in review at the end for more details. This week one of the main highlights will be the flash Euro Area CPI reading for October, which is out on Friday. Last month, CPI rose to 3.4%, which is the highest inflation has been since 2008, and this time around our economists are expecting a further increase in the measure to 3.8%. However, their latest forecast update (link here) expects that we’ll see the peak of 3.9% in November, before inflation starts to head back down again. The other main data highlight will come from the Q3 GDP figures, with releases for both the US and the Euro Area. For the US on Thursday the Atlanta Fed tracker has now hit a low of only +0.53%. DB is at 2.3% with consensus at 2.8%. Earnings season really ramps up this week, with the highlights including some of the megacap tech firms, and a total of 165 companies in the S&P 500 will be reporting. Among the firms to watch out for include Facebook and HSBC today. Then tomorrow, we’ll hear from Microsoft, Alphabet, Visa, Eli Lilly, Novartis, Texas Instruments, UPS, General Electric, UBS and Twitter. On Wednesday, releases will include Thermo Fisher Scientific, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Boeing, General Motors, Santander and Ford. Thursday then sees reports from Apple, Amazon, Mastercard, Comcast, Merck, Royal Dutch Shell, Linde, Volkswagen, Starbucks, Sanofi, Caterpillar, Lloyds Banking Group and Samsung. Finally on Friday, we’ll hear from ExxonMobil, Chevron, AbbVie, Charter Communications, Daimler, BNP Paribas, Aon and NatWest Group. Here in the UK, the main highlight next week will be the government’s Autumn Budget on Wednesday, with the Office for Budget Responsibility also set to release their latest Economic and Fiscal Outlook alongside that. In addition to the budget, the government will also be outlining the latest Spending Review, which will cover public spending priorities over the next 3 years. Our UK economists have released a preview of the event (link here), where they write that 2021-22 borrowing is expected to be revised down by £60bn, and they expect day-to-day spending will follow the path set out at the Spring Budget. They’re also expecting Chancellor Sunak will outline new fiscal rules. Finally, the pandemic is gaining increasing attention from investors again, with a number of countries having moved to toughen up restrictions in light of rising cases. This week, something to look out for will be the US FDA’s advisory committee meeting tomorrow, where they’ll be discussing Pfizer’s request for an emergency use authorization for its vaccine on 5-11 year olds. The CDC’s advisory committee is then holding a meeting on November 2 and 3 the following week, and the White House have said that if it’s authorised then the vaccine would be made available at over 25,000 paediatricians’ offices and other primary care sites, as well as in pharmacies, and school and community-based clinics. The full day by day calendar is at the end as usual. Asian markets are mixed this morning so far, as the Shanghai Composite (+0.38%), Hang Seng (+0.09%) and the KOSPI (+0.30%) are edging higher, while the Nikkei (-0.85%) is down. The rise in Chinese markets comes despite the news of 38 new COVID-19 cases as well as an announcement of a lockdown affecting around 35,700 residents of a county in Inner Mongolia. As China is one of the last countries in the world to still adhere to strict containment measures, a major outbreak can deal a fresh blow to the domestic economy and further reinforce global supply chain issues. Elsewhere the Turkish Lira hit fresh record lows, and is down around -1.5% as we type after last week’s surprise interest rate cut and Saturday’s news that ambassadors from 10 countries, including the US, Germany and France, were no longer welcome in the country. S&P 500 futures (+0.06%) are around unchanged and 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.1bp. Looking back on an eventful week now, and there was a marked increase in inflation expectations, which manifested itself in global breakevens hitting multi-year, if not all-time, highs. Starting with the all-time highs, US 5-year breakevens increased +14.9bps (-1.0bps Friday) to 2.90%, the highest level since 5-year TIPS have started trading, while 10-year breakevens increased +7.5bps (-0.7bps Friday) to 2.64%, their highest readings since 2005. 10-year breakevens in Germany increased +9.5 bps (+3.6bps Friday) to 1.91%, their highest since 2011, while in the UK 10-year breakevens increased +17.1 bps (+4.0bps Friday) to 4.19%, the highest level since 1996. Remarkable as these levels are, 5-year 5-year inflation swaps in the US, UK, and Euro Area finished the week at 2.63%, 4.00%, and 2.00%, multi-year highs for all of these measures. If you never thought you’d see the day that long term inflation expectations in Europe would hit 2% then this is a nice/nasty surprise. Overall, this suggests investors are pricing in the potential for inflation far into the future to be higher, in addition to responding to near-term stimulus and Covid reopening impacts. Crude oil prices also climbed to their highest levels since 2014, with Brent climbing +1.07% (+1.37% Friday) and WTI gaining +2.07% (+1.79% Friday). One area where there was some reprieve was in industrial metals. Copper decreased -4.81% (-1.24% Friday), but at $449.80, remains +10.10% higher month-to-date. Bitcoin also joined the all-time high club intraweek, and finished the week +2.28% higher (-3.08% Friday). It marked a seminal week for the crypto asset, which saw ETFs and options on said ETFs begin trading in the US. The inflationary sentiment coincided with market pricing of central bank rate hikes shifting earlier. 2-year yields in the US, UK, and Germany increased +5.9 bps (+0.1bps Friday), +8.0 bps (-4.7 bps Friday), and +4.0 bps (+0.9bps Friday) respectively. In fact, money markets are now placing slightly-better-than even odds that the MPC will raise Bank Rate as early as next week. Fed and ECB officials offered some push back against the aggressive policy path repricing, but BoE speakers seemed to confirm a hike next week was a legitimate possibility. Rounding out sovereign bonds, nominal 10-year yields increased +6.2 bps (-6.9bps Friday) in the US, +4.0 bps (-5.6bps Friday) in the UK, +6.2 bps (-0.3 bps Friday) in Germany, +6.0 bps (-0.1bpFriday) in France, and +8.1 bps (+0.8bps Friday) in Italy. Inflation expectations didn’t fall with the big rally in the US and U.K. but real rates rallied hard. The S&P 500 increased +1.64% over the week, but ended its 7-day winning streak after retreating on -0.11% Friday. On earnings, 117 S&P 500 companies have now reported third quarter earnings. Roughly 85% of companies have beat earnings expectations compared to the five-year average of 76%, while 74% of reporting companies have beat sales estimates. The aggregate earnings surprise is +13.05%, topping the 5-year average of +8.4%, while the sales surprise is +2.06%. Although a seemingly strong performance on the surface, our equity team, after taking a look under the hood in this note here, points out that a large part of the beats so far is due to loan-loss reserve releases by banks. Excluding those, the aggregate S&P 500 beat is running much closer to historical average, suggesting the headline beats have not been as broad based as they look at first glance. Congressional Democrats spent the week negotiating the next fiscal package, which is set to spend more than $1 trillion on social priorities key to the Biden administration. On Sunday, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted that 90% of the bill is agreed to and would be voted on before October was out. One of the key sticking points has been what offsetting revenue raising measures should be included in the final bill. As those details emerge, it should give us a better picture as to the ultimate additional fiscal impulse the new bill will provide. Finally, global services PMIs out last Friday expanded while manufacturing PMIs lagged. Readings across jurisdictions were consistent with supply chain issues continuing to impact activity. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/25/2021 - 08:09.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 25th, 2021

Bitcoin & The US Fiscal Reckoning

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

Category: worldSource: nytOct 20th, 2021

How the baby boomer generation is the real problem, according to 21 millennials

21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for the many problems millennials now face. These millennials tell us about the problems they now face because of baby boomers. Business Insider Deutschland Millennials are accused by some of being whiny, narcissistic, and too politically passive. A number of them suggest, however, that the real problem isn't them; it's baby boomers. 21 millennials told Insider why baby boomers are responsible for many problems millennials now face. See more stories on Insider's business page. Whiny, self-obsessed, not politically engaged enough - the accusations directed at millennials by older generations seem endless.Millennials, or anyone born between 1980 and 2000, often get painted as pampered do-gooders with a naive worldview, whose priorities extend only to getting sabbaticals and being allowed to work from home.That said, decades of disregard for the climate, unfair policies and structures being implemented between the generations, and questionable ideas concerning success in the workplace have left 18 to 38-year-olds with a heavy weight to bear.Twenty-one young people from Germany told Insider of the problems the baby boomers have created and perpetuated in Germany and how they can be solved:'Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong.' Felix Finkbeiner, 20, environmental activist. Flickr / Plant for the Planet We're hurtling towards the edge of a cliff at full pelt - it isn't for the sake of science that we're trying to figure out the quantity by which sea levels are set to rise; it's about survival.Together, with more than 67,000 other children and young people from our Plant for the Planet initiative, I've committed myself to combat the climate crisis. And yes, perhaps the older generation is listening to us but are they doing enough?The climate crisis is the greatest challenge of our time. The CO2 clock is ticking. What must we do and what can we do right now? Well, we can massively reduce our CO2 emissions. And we can plant 1,000 billion trees to absorb a quarter of man-made CO2. I'd say to the older generations, to company bosses, and to politicians: "Let's stop talking about what's gone wrong or what's going wrong - let's plant trees together and save our future."'It's older people who get to call the shots on pensions - yet they no longer have to cough up.' Sarna Röser, 30, chairwoman of Junger Unternehmer (Young Entrepreneurs). BJU Most baby boomers will be retiring soon, which will put considerable pressure on our pension system. There's a massive disparity between the number of working people and the increasing number of pensioners for whom those working people are footing the bill.I think a simple and logical solution would be if everyone had to work for a period of time during their later years. And retirement should be linked to life expectancy. I'm skeptical about who decides what's what when it comes to pensions. You only find older people sitting on the Pensions Commission, who no longer foot the bill themselves. We younger people have to hand out payments but aren't given a say.'The biggest problem the baby boomers have left us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crap.' Kevin Kühnert, 28, national chairman of the youth organisation of the Social Democratic Party of Germany, Jusos. Getty Images The biggest problem the baby boomers have dumped on us isn't that they haven't grown out of their crappy habits: it's the state they've in which they've left the future of our pension system. Pay-as-you-go financing, which has been successfully practiced for decades, will come under increasing pressure as more baby boomers leave the workforce and begin receiving benefits from the pension fund. This news comes as no surprise but politics has, so far, failed to make provisions for that day, when it comes.Fewer contributors and more beneficiaries mean great challenges will be posed for the statutory pension for a good 15 years. How these challenges will be managed isn't just a technical question. In fact, some are taking the opportunity - through scandalous inaction - to slowly chip away at the principle of solidarity when it comes to pensions and to privatize them. If all employees became contributors, we could increase contributions slightly and, if necessary, avoid shying away from tax subsidies.'We've inherited the baby boomers' workaholic attitude and taken it to the next level. Stefanie Laufs, 31, senior communications consultant at a PR agency. Stefanie Laufs The notion that Generation Y has no interest in professional success and thinks of the home office as synonymous with doing nothing is certainly not new - and unfortunately, it's firmly rooted in the minds of many among the older generation. I actually believe we've inherited their workaholic attitude - always better, always more, always higher - and that we've taken what the baby boomers did and pushed it much further.Whether among friends, colleagues, or in reports in the media - no other generation linked with topics such as burnout or partly unpaid overtime as often as ours. The demands on our generation when it comes to starting a career are enormous. You're expected to have five years of professional experience after completing your studies as well as to nearly have finished your Ph.D. Of course, you can't solely blame the baby boomers, but they've always stressed the importance of establishing a career and reinforced that it was the key to a successful and happy life. Although we've taken on this attitude, we'd actually do a lot better to leave it behind. Generation Y continues to work a lot, but having a private life is much more important than money: leisure and downtime shouldn't be overlooked.Our generation is on its way to achieving the ideal work-leisure balance and to putting the baby boomers' workaholic madness to rest.'Too much emphasis on progress and performance is a key problem we've inherited from the older generation.' Jonathan Sierck, 24, author of the book 'Junge Überflieger'. Jonathan Sierck A serious problem we've inherited from the older generation is this fixation on progress and performance. In our tireless efforts to push boundaries, whatever the cost, there's usually little room to address the often serious consequences. There's no doubt about it: constant growth and development do pay off and, as a species, we have to take certain risks every now and then in order to move forward and survive. But pushing boundaries mustn't become the objective itself nor must it come at the cost that it currently does.In order to steer us into a desirable future, we need those in decision-making positions to be sharp. They need both the courage to change yet the informed judgment to pick up on warning signs too. To ensure we don't continue to deplete our resources, we need a clear plan that takes into consideration the effects of our actions. Otherwise, we'll leave our future generations with more - possibly even more serious - problems than those we have inherited, whether they be nuclear waste, the bees dying off, or climate disasters.'Our education systems barely differ to those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.' Magdalena Rogl, 33, head of digital channels Microsoft Germany. Magdalena Rogl I'm firm on the notion that we owe much to those who came before us. Especially the generation born in 1968, who revolutionized so much and helped break down so many structures.But one area in which far too little has happened in recent decades is education. Our education systems have barely changed from those of the previous generation - and neither has the emphasis on grades and targets in the world of work, unfortunately.At the age of 10, our children are still "sorted" into schools - not based on their individual talents, but purely according to their grades. Applicants are still assessed according to their qualifications on paper far too often, and not by what they actually know. And academic degrees are still worth more than emotional education.I still remember the look of horror on the faces of my first boyfriend and his parents when I announced I was leaving high school as soon as I legally could, to follow my heart and become a childcare worker.But I think I learned more life lessons through doing so than I could have ever done at university.And that's exactly what our generation so urgently needs: lessons in life. More and more tasks are being taken over by machines and artificial intelligence. The skills Generation Y needs in professional life today are not obedience, authority, and academic knowledge, but empathy, flexibility, and problem-solving.Our generation must adapt quickly to new circumstances, because the job you did yesterday may look quite different tomorrow. And the office is no longer about sitting at a desk from nine until five; it's about working at a time and place that maximizes one's quality of work, based on the individual.That's why I'm committed to ensuring our future generations get better human and digital education, so they make our world more human and each individual person can be as he or she is - and thus achieve their own best performance.'Those who monopolize most of the power are, on average, much too old.' Daniel Krauss, 35, cofounder and chief information officer of Flixbus. Flixbus Today's prosperity is probably the greatest legacy of the previous generation. We should definitely be grateful for it. But it's not as though it's being passed down to younger generations without its drawbacks. The downside is that his focus on prosperity means few provisions have been made for the future and we haven't adapted to our current challenges.Those who monopolize most of the power are still, on average, far too old. Our generation is still trapped in a gilded cage. At some point, young Germans are going to escape that cage and find that the country is no longer at the top of the list of industrial nations.This power needs to be handed over to the younger generation at an early stage. We're ready to take on the responsibility and start restructuring things.'The older generation knows little about what constitutes a healthy and balanced diet.' Jörg Mayer and Nadine Horn, both in their early thirties, are vegan bloggers on 'Eat this'. Eat This The abundance in food and convenience have featured heavily in the kitchens of the post-war generation. Where meat had previously featured rarely on the dining table, it was almost a compulsory, everyday part of meals in the 1950s. But it had to be simple, fast, and cheap.It's becoming increasingly clear that this kind of practice can't go on indefinitely for future generations.Due to this abundance and a lack of true appreciation for food, some among the older generation have little idea about what constitutes a healthy, balanced diet. What's more, over the years a lot of marketing-driven pseudo-sciences - which, simply put, is often wrong and sometimes even dangerous - have persisted.Questions like: "Where do vegans get protein from if they don't eat meat?" or the myth that milk consumption is good for the bones (when the opposite is true) are still firmly anchored in their minds and will only be shifted with a lot of effort.We try to set a good example and show that vegan life is anything but boring, that we don't just live off salad or tofu - that the kitchen can be a place to have fun. We're trying to show that cooking with friends, either alone or in pairs, is not another tedious chore; it's the best thing you can do.'Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously.' Ria Schröder, 26, chairman of Jungen Liberalen (the Young Liberals). Business Insider Deutschland The baby boomers, our parents and theirs, have been instrumental in ensuring we grew up with high living standards. I'm grateful for that but we've also inherited a few problems, one of them being the pension situation. Like many in my generation, I don't assume I'll be provided for in old age. The level of baby boomers being paid for by us is ever increasing while there are fewer of us to foot the bill. It's great that people are living longer but the subsidy for the pension system is already the largest item in the German budget.At the same time, less and less is being invested in the future: for example, in education, and in infrastructure. My generation is outnumbered. But those who focus only on large voter groups are putting the future of our country at risk in favor of short-term electoral success. Politicians must take us and our ideas seriously. Ultimately it will help not only one generation but the whole country.'We know humanity has power over the Earth's biophysical systems, thanks to our predecessors.' Sina Leipold, 32, junior professor of social transformation and circular economy at the University of Freiburg. Sina Leipold For some time, we've known humanity affects and has control over the Earth's biophysical systems more than any other force of nature - knowledge we've attained only thanks to our predecessors. It is both a blessing and a curse for our generation.Never before have so many people been able to inhabit our planet and never before have commodities like regular holiday flights been so easy and readily affordable.At the same time, hurricanes, floods, and heatwaves have threatened to destroy (and, in many cases, have destroyed) the lives and homes of millions.My personal goal, through a more responsible approach than previous generations, is to help our generation ensure this power sticks around long term, instead of putting it at risk by inviting irreversible climate disasters.'Older generations aren't prepared to take risks.' Christopher Obereder, 26, startup founder. David Visnjic Setting up a business in Germany is far too complex; it should be more straightforward. Other countries are well ahead and we should be moving on as soon as possible. The tax system in Germany is also massively outdated and makes it extremely difficult for those looking to get started with a business.Start-ups could be much better supported with tax reforms so the start-ups could focus more on taking care of their business. Singapore has attracted startups from all over the world with its simple control system and has become the hub of the crypto scene. Our political structures are also too slow to change and aren't able to keep up with innovation. Things have to change on this front.A survey by U.S. News showed Germany was in first place in the "Entrepreneurship" category, ahead of Japan and the USA. It's clear Germany is at the forefront despite the clear room for improvement.Work has also changed: people used to stay in the same job their whole life, which is why it used to be feasible to work without constantly developing and learning. Today we seem to switch jobs every year or two. I think it has a lot to do with the Internet.We always need to be ready to learn new things and take risks. And many opportunities and possibilities arise with the Internet if you're open to it - cryptocurrencies are something I'm currently heavily involved in and open to, and I realize older generations aren't.There's a conflict simply because older generations always advocate stability and safety over risk-taking, which they aren't prepared to do. I can only speak for myself but if I'd never taken risks, I'd never have learned. We have to learn through trial and error that you can't make money from anything and everything. Failure has become a valid part of working life, even if older generations still don't want to admit it.But older generations are starting to accept the start-up scene for what it is: it's fast-moving, involves risk-taking, and isn't always lucrative.'The older generation has left European peace in a fragile state.' Lisa Badum, 34, Green Party parliament representative. Lisa Badum The rapid rise in greenhouse gases, the dramatically worsening climate crisis, the question of nuclear waste disposal, the irreversible death of countless plant and animal species - these are just some of the many consequences of failed climate and environmental policies from previous generations. Because they haven't relied on sustainability, they've dumped the consequences of and responsibility for their actions onto future generations. We're now having to face a mammoth challenge together: to keep global warming below two degrees to give future generations the chance to make mistakes.As for Europe, our younger generation has inherited the task of establishing European peace, a project which the older generation has left in a sorry state. The continually rising rate of youth unemployment within the EU, austerity policies, Brexit - all of these things have greatly weakened the notion of the "European community" and reinforced right-wing nationalist and populist forces in Europe. I myself have close ties with Greece, and over the years I've witnessed the destructive effects of austerity there, and have also seen growing disillusionment towards the EU. We have to stop this in its tracks and do it now because lasting peace between us all is the most basic of prerequisites for taking on the many challenges ahead and finding solutions for tomorrow.Where justice and gender equality are concerned, the older generation has set us on a path of clear progress, particularly as regards legal equality between the sexes. While we have to defend this success, we also have to continue fighting for 100% equality between men and women, whether in family and work, pay or pension, and the end of sexual violence towards women and girls.'Digitisation is largely a generational issue.' Barbara Engels, 30, economist at the Institute of German Economics Cologne (IW). IW Cologne Being digital means being online, networking, being open to new business models - and being young. It seems to be a largely generational issue: older people are less likely to be online than younger people, which is a pity because digitization opens up many new possibilities, especially for people who are aging. It can simplify and enrich everyday life. I hope people of all ages will greet digitization with open arms and optimism, but obviously not without a healthy dose of skepticism. Networking is at the heart of the digital world and could contribute to a better level of understanding between young and old. And it would help us learn much more from older people and vice versa.'Pension plans are a big disappointment.' Kristine Lütke, 35, president of WirtschaftsjuniorDeutschland (the Junior Chamber Germany). Wirtschaftsjunioren Deutschland The subsequent drop in birth rate as a result of the rise of the contraceptive pill among the baby boomers is exacerbating demographic change. This has resulted in a shortage of specialists and labor in all areas of the economy. We young entrepreneurs and managers in particular are suffering from this as employers. Moreover, our country's pension plans are a huge disappointment for our generation and an attack on intergenerational justice, particularly in view of demographic changes. The question of billions of funding for the "maternal pension" that's been proposed in Germany remains open.What can be done to increase employment rates and to mitigate the consequences of demographic change, as well as the pensions package? We need to look at options for flexible retirement. The statutory retirement age should be done away with. And working time law needs to be fundamentally reformed.'Climate change presents us with challenges that will dictate the opportunities of future generations.' Lukas Köhler, 31, Free Democratic Party Member of Parliament. Lukas Köhler We've inherited a lot of problems to do with CO2 in the atmosphere. Climate change today presents us with a task - and how we manage this task will directly determine the opportunities available for future generations. That's why I'm fully committed to limiting climate change as much as possible. We will only succeed with a market-based climate policy in which politicians set clear targets for reducing emissions. Other bans and regulations are unnecessary and provide false incentives. If we succeed in building a global emissions trading scheme with ambitious goals, which is as broad as possible for all economic sectors, I'm convinced we can limit global warming to an acceptable level.'We've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability.' Sonja Oberbeckmann, 36, environmental microbiologist at the Leibniz Institute for Baltic Sea Research. Sonja Oberbeckmann We have much to thank the previous generations for: no generation has grown up as carefree and with as many possibilities as ours. However, it's come at a price: we've been left with a society that revolves around profit rather than sustainability, where material prosperity counts more than individual happiness.My professional field, science, is set up for the short term: there are many temporary contracts, focusing on trendy topics. But this profit-focused society has left its mark everywhere. The environment is riddled with pesticides, exhaust gases, plastics, and much more. People are stressed and it seems they would sooner pop pills than demand the time to live more healthily. Hardly anyone stops to breathe.We, all generations together, can define new goals and break out of this established cycle, that's exploiting human and environmental resources. Instead of sitting passively in front of the television and getting worked up about company bosses, we should all be taking responsibility and consuming both more sustainably and consciously. And we should be asking ourselves from time to time what actually makes us truly happy.'We're still teaching as though we're in the 19th century.' Nina Toller, Private Teacher. Business Insider Deutschland Living in the 21st century, teaching 19th-century style: this is what seems to be at the core of our schooling.I've tried myself to fend this off with learning methods that combine critical thinking and communication with creativity and teamwork, as well as the use of digital media. My students shouldn't just be learning content and facts; they should be learning how to obtain new facts, how to share work effectively and efficiently, and how best to absorb and apply what they've learned. In this way, they develop openness, a willingness to learn, and also a certain degree of independence. The teacher becomes more of a companion for learning and a moderator.My school is open to digital media and supports me in my creative work. I almost always use QR codes or get foreign-language authors, into the classroom via Skype.Yet, due to a lack of technical support, training, time, and security, few teachers can organize something like this on their own initiative. On my page "Toller Unterricht" I publish lots of my ideas as well as tried and tested lesson plans, with materials included.Politicians have made promises to digitize schools. In addition to the lack of qualifications teachers have, there also seems to be a lack of equipment. I'm glad my school has some projectors and smartboards I can use for my lessons, but some don't even have Internet access.Data protection is currently being taken to ridiculous extremes: new data protection regulation makes the use of private computers difficult, so some are being advised to use paper and pen. This won't work within the frame of a digitization strategy for Germany in 2018.Therefore, comprehensive reform is needed. Only then can we equip all our students with the skills to prepare them for life and learning in the 21st century.'It's as if the parents think schools are responsible for raising children.' Franziska Hafer, 23, teacher. Franziska Hafer The older generation has paid far too little attention to sustainable development. Sustainable development means empowering children to form their own opinions and encouraging them to act sustainably. Sustainable development means the current generation is developing, not compromising the next generation, but actively considering it. Children haven't been sensitized to this at all.I think there's a very different tone in schools now. I get the sense that kids are becoming less and less respectful. Manners are disappearing and, unfortunately, you rarely see a boy holding the door open for a girl. It's as if parents think schools are responsible for bringing children up.Some children are only interested in who has the latest, highest-end mobile. The children who do not have a say in this are outside the picture - and I think that the generation above us is responsible for instilling different values.'We've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us.' Max Lucks, 21, spokesman for Grünen Jugend (Green Youth). Max Lucks We've not inherited generational conflicts; we've inherited a toxic political style from the generation before us, which has dealt little with political change or shaping the future and has been more focused on how everything can remain as is. One only has to look at how Merkel's government dealt with a climate crisis and how it's always been ignored and fought against by one commission or another. This political style has disappointed our generation and rightly so: it's clear to young people that a little isn't enough to answer the hard questions. For example, how can we still find well-paid and permanent jobs in 20 years' time in spite of digitalization?'The older ranks of conservative politicians are afraid of change.' Akilnathan Logeswaren, 29, European Activist. Business Insider Deutschland As an activist for a united Europe, I'm always reminded of how much of the older ranks of conservative politicians fear change. While young people are almost unanimous in their commitment to a united Europe, the older generation is still resistant to it, although though the United States of Europe has been on the agenda of previous German political figures such as Franz Josef Strauss himself.While old politicians are practicing against the left by remaining on the right, today's young people are already focusing more on the spirit of the European Parliament, namely by looking for solutions.In the 21st century, it is no longer about just having ideas, but about collaborating for a shared future. For example, the campaign #FreeInterrail - a free Interrail ticket for all Europeans as soon as they turn 18 - was devised by the youth for the youth. Ideas like these will secure our peace and cohesion in the long term.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

Ray Dalio, Elon Musk and other big investors are divided over China. Here"s what they have to say as the Evergrande crisis unfolds.

Big-name investors like Ray Dalio and Elon Musk have praised China. But others such as Mohamed El-Erian have said there are big dangers. Ray Dalio remains positive about China. Hollis Johnson/Insider The world's biggest investors are divided over China, with the Evergrande crisis fuelling the debate. Ray Dalio and Elon Musk have said the country is a big opportunity for investors and entrepreneurs. But others such as Mohamed El-Erian have questioned whether it's an "investable" market. See more stories on Insider's business page. Whether to invest in China is the question haunting Wall Street right now.Some argue export powerhouse China is likely to dominate the global economy for decades, so it would be foolish not to invest there.Yet plenty of others say President Xi Jinping's "common prosperity" drive to reduce economic inequality is a danger for overseas investors. They note China's economic model is built on excessive debt.The ongoing $305 billion debt crunch for Evergrande has only made the debate more relevant. A default by the embattled Chinese property developer - which faces another deadline for a dollar bond interest payment Wednesday - could ripple across the global economy.Here is what some of the world's biggest investors make of the situation.Ray Dalio, founder of $140 billion hedge fund BridgewaterHedge fund veteran Dalio told Bloomberg the Evergrande crisis "is all manageable," and China will be able to work it out.Beijing's regulatory crackdown on big companies and push for economic equality is worrying some notable investors, such as George Soros. But Dalio argues the opportunities outweigh the risks, and foreign investors are still welcome."China's motivations should not be interpreted as a return to Maoism," he told the Financial Times. Elon Musk, cofounder of TeslaMusk's electric car company Tesla has big business interests in China, and the outspoken billionaire was full of praise for the country's tech sector last weekend.Tesla will continue to step up its research and development efforts and its investment there, he told the World Internet Conference in Wuzhen."My frank observation is that China spends a lot of resources and efforts applying the latest digital technologies in different industries, including the automobile industry, making China a global leader in digitalization," he said.Howard Marks, cofounder of asset manager Oaktree Capital ManagementInvesting in China is risky, but is likely to be rewarding, Marks believes. "Compared with the US, Europe and Japan, I think of China as an economic adolescent ... tempestuous and volatile, but its best decades are ahead," he told the Financial Times.Yet he noted: "If [China acts]in an unpalatable way towards outsiders, they won't progress the way they want to."Jim Chanos, who foresaw the collapse of EnronRenowned short seller Chanos is more cautious than Marks on China, telling the Financial Times Evergrande is "symptomatic of the whole economic model and the debt that's behind the economic model."But he doesn't think the property giant's looming default will cause "contagion" and hit the world economy. Yet he said: "This is more a risk to the economic model because residential real estate is still such a huge part of GDP there."Mohamed El-Erian, chief economic adviser at AllianzThe Evergrande debt crisis is undermining faith in Chinese assets, former PIMCO CEO El-Erian has said.The country's government has failed to show that it stands behind the financial sector, he told CNBC. "Now add to that what has been an attack on various sectors … and it's shaking this notion that China is an investable market."Carson Block, short seller famous for taking on Chinese companiesMuddy Waters Research founder Block believes there's "rule by law, but not rule of law" in the country. "I'm not going to be long China because the numbers are not trustworthy and nothing about it is trustworthy," he told the Financial Times.Block told Insider Beijing is cracking down on US-listed companies such as ride-hailing app maker Didi "in part to send the message that you need to start thinking about how you can get delisted from the United States."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 29th, 2021

Futures Rebound As Yields Drop

Futures Rebound As Yields Drop U.S. index futures rebounded on Tuesday from Monday's stagflation-fear driven rout as an increase in Treasury yields abated and the greenback dropped from a 10 month high while Brent crude dropped from a 3 year high of $80/barrel after API showed a surprise stockpile build across all products. One day after one of Wall Street’s worst selloff of this year which saw the S&P's biggest one-day drop since May, dip buyers made yet another another triumphal return to global markets, with Nasdaq 100 futures climbing 130 points or 0.9% after the tech-heavy index tumbled the most since March on Tuesday as U.S. Treasury yields rose on tapering and stagflationconcerns. S&P 500 futures rose 28 points or 0.6% after the underlying gauge also slumped amid mounting concern over the debt-ceiling impasse in Washington. A key catalyst for today's easing in financial conditions was the 10-year yield shedding four basis points and the five-year rate falling below 1%. In the past five sessions, the 10Y yield rose by a whopping 25 basis point, a fast enough move to trigger VaR shocks across risk parity investors. "We think (10-year treasury yields) are likely to around 1.5% to 1.75%, so they obviously still have room to go," said Daniel Lam, senior cross-asset strategist at Standard Chartered, who added that the rise in yields was driven by the fact that the United States was almost definitely going to start tapering its massive asset purchases by the end of this year, and that this would drive a shift from growth stocks into value names. Shares of FAAMG gigatechs rose between 1% and 1.3% in premarket trading as the surge in yields eased. Oil firms and supermajors like Exxon and Chevron dipped as a rally in crude prices petered out. The S&P energy sector has gained 3.9% so far this week and is on track for its best monthly performance since February. Among stocks, Boeing rose 2.5% after it said 737 MAX test flight for China’s aviation regulator last month was successful and the planemaker hopes a two-year grounding will be lifted this year. Cybersecurity firm Fortinet Inc. led premarket gains among S&P 500 Index companies. Here are some of the other big movers this morning: Micron (MU US) shares down more than 3% in U.S. premarket trading after the chipmaker’s forecast came in well below analyst expectations. Co. was hurt by slowing demand from personal-computer makers Lucid (LCID US) shares rise 9.7% in U.S. premarket trading after the electric-vehicle company said it has started production on its debut consumer car EQT Corp. (EQT US) shares fell 4.8% in Tuesday postmarket trading after co. reports offering by certain shareholders who received shares as a part of its acquisition of Alta Resources Development’s upstream and midstream units PTK Acquisition (PTK US) rises in U.S. premarket trading after the blank-check company’s shareholders approved its combination with the Israel-based semiconductor company Valens Cal-Maine (CALM US) shares rose 4.4% postmarket Tuesday after it reported net sales for the first quarter that beat the average analyst estimate as well as a narrower-than-estimated loss Sherwin-Williams (SHW US) dropped 3.5% in Tuesday postmarket trading after its forecasted adjusted earnings per share for the third quarter missed the average analyst estimate Boeing (BA US) and Spirit Aerosystems (SPR US) climb as much as 3% after being upgraded to outperform by Bernstein on travel finally heading to inflection point The S&P 500 is set to break its seven-month winning streak as fears about non-transitory inflation, China Evergrande’s default, potential higher corporate taxes and a sooner-than expected tapering of monetary support by the Federal Reserve clouded investor sentiment in what is usually a seasonally weak month. Meanwhile, Senate Democrats are seeking a vote Wednesday on a stopgap funding bill to avert a government shutdown, but without a provision to increase the federal debt limit. On Tuesday, Jamie Dimon said a U.S. default would be “potentially catastrophic” event, in other words yet another multibillion bailout for his bank. “Many things are in flux: the pandemic is not over, the supply chain bottlenecks we are seeing are affecting all sorts of prices and we’ll need to see how it plays out because the results are not clear in terms of inflation,” Belita Ong, Dalton Investments chairman, said on Bloomberg Television. Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge rebounded from a two-month low, rising 0.9% and reversing half of yesterday's losses. Semiconductor-equipment company ASM International posted the biggest increase on the index amid positive comments by analysts on its growth outlook. A sharp rebound during the European session marked a turnaround from the downbeat Asian session, when equities extended losses amid concerns over stagflation and China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis. Sentiment improved as a steady flow of buyers emerged in the Treasury market, ranging from foreign and domestic funds to leveraged accounts.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Academedia shares rise as much as 6.9% in Stockholm, the most since June 1, after the company said the number of participants for its higher vocational education has increased 25% y/y. ASM International jumps as much as 7.3%, rebounding from a three-day sell-off, boosted by supportive analyst comments and easing bond yields. GEA Group gains as much as 4.7% after the company published new financial targets through 2026, which Citigroup says are above analysts’ consensus and an encouraging signal. DSV bounces as much as 4.4% as JPMorgan upgrades to overweight, saying the recent pullback in the shares presents an opportunity. Genova Property Group falls as much as 10% in Stockholm trading after the real estate services company placed shares at a discount to the last close. ITM Power drops as much as 6.4% after JPMorgan downgrades to neutral from overweight on relative valuation, with a more mixed near-term outlook making risk/reward seem less compelling. Royal Mail slides as much as 6.2% after UBS cuts its rating to sell from buy, expecting U.K. labor shortages and wage inflation pressures to hurt the parcel service company’s profit margins. Earlier in the session, Asian equities slumped in delayed response to the US rout. MSCI's broadest index of Asia-Pacific shares outside Japan fell 1.43% with Australia off 1.5%, and South Korea falling 2.06%. The Hong Kong benchmark shed 1.2% and Chinese blue chips were 1.1% lower. Japan's Nikkei shed 2.35% hurt by the general mood as the country's ruling party votes for a new leader who will almost certainly become the next prime minister ahead of a general election due in weeks.  Also on traders' minds was cash-strapped China Evergrande whose shares rose as much as 12% after it said it plans to sell a 9.99 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) stake it owns in Shengjing Bank. Evergrande is due to make a $47.5 million bond interest payment on its 9.5% March 2024 dollar bond, having missed a similar payment last week, but it said in the stock exchange filing the proceeds of the sale should be used to settle its financial liabilities due to Shengjing Bank. Chinese real estate company Fantasia Holdings Group is struggling to avoid falling deeper into distress, just as the crisis at China Evergrande flags broader risks to other heavily indebted developers. In Japan, the country's PGIF, or Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest pension fund, said it won’t include yuan- denominated Chinese sovereign debt in its portfolio. In rates, as noted above, Treasuries lead global bonds higher, paring large portion of Tuesday’s losses with gains led by intermediates out to long-end of the curve. Treasury yields richer by up to 4bp across long-end of the curve with 10s at around 1.50%, outperforming bunds and gilts both by 2bp; front-end of the curve just marginally richer, flattening 2s10s spread by 3.2bp with 5s30s tighter by 0.5bp. Futures volumes remain elevated amid evidence of dip buyers emerging Tuesday and continuing over Wednesday’s Asia hours. Session highlights include a number of Fed speakers, including Chair Powell.     In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier advancing, and the dollar slipped versus most of its Group-of-10 peers. The yen was the best G-10 performer as it whipsawed after earlier dropping to 111.68 per dollar, its weakest level since March 2020. The Australian dollar also advanced amid optimism over easing of Covid-related restrictions while the New Zealand dollar was the worst performer amid rising infections. The euro dropped to an 11-month low while the pound touched its weakest level since January against the greenback amid a bout of dollar strength as the London session kicked off. Confidence in the euro-area economy unexpectedly rose in September as consumers turned more optimistic about the outlook and construction companies saw employment prospects improve. The yen climbed from an 18-month low as a decline in stocks around the world helps boost demand for the currency as a haven. Japanese bonds also gained. In commodities, oil prices dropped after touching a near three-year high the day before. Brent crude fell 0.83% to $78.25 per barrel after topping $80 yesterday; WTI dipped 1.09% to $74.47 a barrel. Gold edged higher with the spot price at $1,735.6 an ounce, up 0.1% from the seven-week low hit the day before as higher yields hurt demand for the non interest bearing asset. Base metals are under pressure with LME aluminum and copper lagging. Looking at the day ahead, the biggest highlight will be a policy panel at the ECB forum on central banking featuring ECB President Lagarde, Fed Chair Powell, BoJ Governor Kuroda and BoE Governor Bailey. Other central bank speakers include ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Centeno, Stournaras, Makhlouf, Elderson and Lane, as well as the Fed’s Harker, Daly and Bostic. Meanwhile, data releases include UK mortgage approvals for August, the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for September, and US pending home sales for August. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,371.75 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 455.97 MXAP down 1.2% to 197.38 MXAPJ down 0.7% to 635.17 Nikkei down 2.1% to 29,544.29 Topix down 2.1% to 2,038.29 Hang Seng Index up 0.7% to 24,663.50 Shanghai Composite down 1.8% to 3,536.29 Sensex down 0.4% to 59,445.57 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.1% to 7,196.71 Kospi down 1.2% to 3,060.27 Brent Futures down 0.7% to $78.53/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,740.79 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.81 German 10Y yield fell 1.1 bps to -0.210% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1664 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China’s central bank governor said quantitative easing implemented by global peers can be damaging over the long term and vowed to keep policy normal for as long as possible China’s central bank injected liquidity into the financial system for a ninth day in the longest run since December as it sought to meet a surge in seasonal demand for cash China stepped in to buy a stake in a struggling regional bank from China Evergrande Group as it seeks to limit contagion in the financial sector from the embattled property developer The Chinese government is considering raising power prices for industrial consumers to help ease a growing supply crunch Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest pension fund, said it won’t include yuan-denominated Chinese sovereign debt in its portfolio. The decision comes as FTSE Russell is set to start adding Chinese debt to its benchmark global bond index, which the GPIF follows, from October Fumio Kishida is set to become Japan’s prime minister, after the ex-foreign minister overcame popular reformer Taro Kono to win leadership of the country’s ruling party, leaving stock traders feeling optimistic ECB Governing Council member Gabriel Makhlouf said policy makers must be ready to respond to persistently higher inflation that could result from lasting supply bottlenecks Inflation accelerated in Spain to the fastest pace in 13 years, evidence of how surging energy costs are feeding through to citizens around the euro-zone economy Sterling-debt sales by corporates exceeded 2020’s annual tally as borrowers rushed to secure ultra-cheap funding costs while they still can. Offerings will top 70 billion pounds ($95 billion) through Wednesday, beating last year’s total sales by at least 600 million pounds, according to data compiled by Bloomberg A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets were pressured on spillover selling from global peers which saw the S&P 500 suffer its worst day since May after tech losses were magnified as yields climbed and with sentiment also dampened by weak data in the form of US Consumer Confidence and Richmond Fed indexes. ASX 200 (-1.1%) was heavily pressured by tech and with mining-related stocks dragged lower by weakness in underlying commodity prices, with the mood also clouded by reports that Queensland is on alert for a potential lockdown and that Australia will wind down emergency pandemic support payments within weeks. Nikkei 225 (-2.1%) underperformed amid the broad sell-off and as participants awaited the outcome of the LDP leadership vote which saw no candidate win a majority (as expected), triggering a runoff between vaccine minister Kono and former foreign minister Kishida to face off in a second round vote in which Kishida was named the new PM. KOSPI (-1.2%) was heavily pressured by the tech woes and after North Korea confirmed that yesterday’s launch was a new type of hypersonic missile. Hang Seng (+0.7%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.8%) conformed to the broad risk aversion with tech stocks hit in Hong Kong, although the losses were milder compared to regional peers with Evergrande shares boosted after it sold CNY 10bln of shares in Shengjing Bank that will be used to pay the developer’s debt owed to Shengjing Bank, which is the Co.’s first asset sale amid the current collapse concerns although it still faces another USD 45.2mln in interest payments due today. In addition, the PBoC continued with its liquidity efforts and there was also the absence of Stock Connect flows to Hong Kong with Southbound trading already closed through to the National Holidays. Finally, 10yr JGBs were slightly higher as risk assets took a hit from the tech sell-off and with T-notes finding some reprieve overnight. Furthermore, the BoJ were also in the market for nearly JPY 1tln of JGBs mostly in 3yr-10yr maturities and there were notable comments from Japan’s GPIF that it is to avoid investments in Chinese government bonds due to concerns over China market. Top Asian News L&T Is Said in Talks to Merge Power Unit With Sembcorp India Prosecutors Seek Two Years Jail for Ghosn’s Alleged Accomplice Japan to Start Process to Sell $8.5 Billion Postal Stake Gold Climbs From Seven Week Low as Yields Retreat, Dollar Pauses Bourses in Europe are attempting to claw back some ground lost in the prior session’s global stocks rout (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.9%; Stoxx 600 +0.8%). The upside momentum seen at the cash open has somewhat stabilised amid a lack of news flow and with a busy agenda ahead from a central bank standpoint, with traders also cognizant of potential month-end influence. US equity futures have also been gradually drifting higher since the reopen of electronic trade. As things stand, the NQ (+1.0%) narrowly outperforms the ES (+0.7%), RTY (+0.8%) and YM (+0.6%) following the tech tumble in the prior session, and with yields easing off best levels. Back to European cash, major regional bourses see broad-based gains with no standout performers. Sectors are mostly in the green; Oil & Gas resides at the foot of the bunch as crude prices drift lower and following two consecutive sessions of outperformance. On the flip side, Tech resides among today’s winners in what is seemingly a reversal of yesterday’s sector configuration, although ASML (+1.3%) may be offering some tailwinds after upping its long-term outlook whilst suggesting ASML and its supply chain partners are actively adding and improving capacity to meet this future customer demand – potentially alleviating some concerns in the Auto sector which is outperforming at the time of writing. Retail also stands strong as Next (+3.0%) upped its guidance whilst suggesting the longer-term outlook for the Co. looks more positive than it had been for many years. In terms of individual movers, Unilever (+1.0%) is underpinned by source reports that the Co. has compiled a shortlist of at least four bidders for its PG Tips and Lipton Iced Tea brands for some GBP 4bln. HeidelbergCement (-1.4%) is pressured after acquiring a 45% stake in the software firm Command Alko. Elsewhere, Morrisons (+1.3%) is on the front foot as the takeover of the Co. is to be decided via an auction process as touted earlier in the month. Top European News Makhlouf Says ECB Must Be Ready to Act If Inflation Entrenched ASML to Ride Decade-Long Sales Boom After Chip Supply Crunch Spanish Inflation at 13-Year High in Foretaste of Regional Spike U.K. Mortgage Approvals Fall to 74,453 in Aug. Vs. Est. 73,000 In FX, the yield and risk backdrop is not as constructive for the Dollar directly, but the index has posted another marginal new y-t-d best, at 93.891 compared to 93.805 yesterday with ongoing bullish momentum and the bulk of the US Treasury curve remaining above key or psychological levels, in contrast to other global bond benchmarks. Hence, the Buck is still elevated and on an upward trajectory approaching month end on Thursday, aside from the fact that hedge rebalancing flows are moderately positive and stronger vs the Yen. Indeed, the Euro is the latest domino to fall and slip to a fresh 2021 low around 1.1656, not far from big barriers at 1.1650 and further away from decent option expiry interest at the 1.1700 strike (1 bn), and it may only be a matter of time before Sterling succumbs to the same fate. Cable is currently hovering precariously above 1.3500 and shy of the January 18 base (1.3520) that formed the last pillar of support for the Pound before the trough set a week earlier (circa 1.3451), and ostensibly supportive UK data in the form of BoE mortgage lending and approvals has not provided much relief. AUD/JPY - A rather odd couple in many ways given their contrasting characteristics as a high beta or activity currency vs traditional safe haven, but both are benefiting from an element of corrective trade, consolidation and short covering relative to their US counterpart. Aud/Usd is clinging to 0.7250 in advance of Aussie building approvals on Thursday and Usd/Jpy is retracing from its new 111.68 y-t-d pinnacle amidst the less rampant yield environment and weighing up the implications of ex-Foreign Minister Kishida’s run-off win in the LDP leadership contest and the PM-in-waiting’s pledge to put together a Yen tens of trillion COVID-19 stimulus package before year end. CHF/CAD/NZD - All relatively confined vs their US rival, as the Franc continues to fend off assaults on the 0.9300 level with some impetus from a significant improvement in Swiss investor sentiment, while the Loonie is striving to keep its head above 1.2700 ahead of Canadian ppi data and absent the recent prop of galloping oil prices with WTI back under Usd 75/brl from Usd 76.67 at best on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the Kiwi is pivoting 0.6950 pre-NZ building consents and still being buffeted by strong Aud/Nzd headwinds. SCANDI/EM - Not much purchase for the Sek via upgrades to Swedish GDP and inflation forecast upgrades by NIER as sentiment indices slipped across the board, but some respite for the Try given cheaper crude and an uptick in Turkish economic confidence. Conversely, the Cnh and Cny have not received their customary fillip even though the PBoC added liquidity for the ninth day in a row overnight and China’s currency regulator has tightened control over interbank trade and asked market makers to narrow the bid/ask spread, according to sources. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures have been trimming overnight losses in early European trade. Losses overnight were seemingly a function of profit-taking alongside the bearish Private Inventory Report – which showed a surprise build in weekly crude stocks of 4.1mln bbls vs exp. -1.7mln bbls, whilst the headline DoE looks for a draw of 1.652mln bbls. Further, there have been growing calls for OPEC+ to further open the taps beyond the monthly 400k BPD hike, with details also light on the White House’s deliberations with OPEC ahead of the decision-making meeting next week. Despite these calls, it’s worth bearing in mind that OPEC’s latest MOMR stated, “increased risk of COVID-19 cases primarily fuelled by the Delta variant is clouding oil demand prospects going into the final quarter of the year, resulting in downward adjustments to 4Q21 estimates. As a result, 2H21 oil demand has been adjusted slightly lower, partially delaying the oil demand recovery into 1H22.” Brent Dec dipped back under USD 78/bbl (vs low 763.77/bbl) after testing USD 80/bbl yesterday, whilst WTI Nov lost the USD 75/bbl handle (vs low USD 73.37/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold and silver have seen somewhat of divergence as real yields negate some effects of the new YTD peak printed by the Dollar index, whilst spot silver succumbs to the Buck. Over to base metals, LME copper trade is lacklustre as the firmer dollar weighs on the red metal. Shanghai stainless steel meanwhile extended on losses, notching the fourth session of overnight losses with desks citing dampened demand from the Chinese power crunch. US Event Calendar 7am: Sept. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior 4.9% 10am: Aug. Pending Home Sales YoY, est. -13.8%, prior -9.5% 10am: Aug. Pending Home Sales (MoM), est. 1.3%, prior -1.8% Central Bank speakers 9am: Fed’s Harker Discusses Economic Outlook 11:45am: Powell Takes Part in ECB Forum on Central Banking 11:45am: Bailey, Kuroda, Lagarde, Powell on ECB Forum Panel 1pm: Fed’s Daly Gives Speech to UCLA 2pm: Fed’s Bostic Gives Remarks at Chicago Fed Payments DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap The main story of the last 24 hours has been a big enough rise in yields to cause a major risk-off move, with 10yr Treasury yields up another +5.0bps to 1.537% yesterday, and this morning only seeing a slight -0.3bps pullback to 1.534%. At the intraday peak yesterday, they did climb as high as 1.565% earlier in the session, but this accelerated the risk off and sent yields somewhat lower intraday as a result, which impacted the European bond closes as we’ll see below. All told, US yields closed at their highest level in 3 months and up nearly +24bps since last Wednesday’s close, shortly after the FOMC meeting. That’s the largest 4-day jump in US yields since March 2020, at the outset of the pandemic and shortly after the Fed announced their latest round of QE. This all led to the worst day for the S&P 500 (-2.04%) since mid-May and the worst for the NASDAQ (-2.83%) since mid-March. The S&P 500 is down -4.06% from the highs now – trading just below the Evergrande (remember that?) lows from last week. So the index still has not seen a -5% sell-off on a closing basis for 228 days and counting. If we make it to Halloween it will be a full calendar year. Regardless, the S&P and STOXX 600 remain on track for their worst monthly performances so far this year. Those moves have continued this morning in Asia, where the KOSPI (-2.05%), Nikkei (-1.64%), Hang Seng (-0.60%), and the Shanghai Comp (-1.79%) are all trading lower. The power crisis in China is further dampening sentiment there, and this morning Bloomberg have reported that the government are considering raising prices for industrial users to ease the shortage. Separately, we heard that Evergrande would be selling its stake in a regional bank at 10 billion yuan ($1.55bn) as a step to resolve its debt crisis, and Fitch Ratings also downgraded Evergrande overnight from CC to C. However, US equity futures are pointing to some stabilisation later, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.49%. Running through yesterday’s moves in more depth, 23 of the 24 industry groups in the S&P 500 fell back yesterday with the lone exception being energy stocks (+0.46%), which gained despite the late pullback in oil prices. In fact only 53 S&P constituents gained on the day. The largest losses were in high-growth sectors like semiconductors (-3.82%), media (-3.08%) and software (-3.05%), whilst the FANG+ index was down -2.52% as 9 of the 10 index members lost ground – Alibaba’s +1.47% gain was the sole exception. Over in Europe it was much the same story, with the STOXX 600 (-2.18%) falling to its worst daily performance since July as bourses across the continent fell back, including the German DAX (-2.09%) and France’s CAC 40 (-2.17%). Back to bonds and the rise in 10yr Treasury yields yesterday was primarily led by higher real rates (+2.1bps), which hit a 3-month high of their own, whilst rising inflation breakevens (+2.3bps) also offered support. In turn, higher yields supported the US dollar, which strengthened +0.41% to its highest level since November last year, though precious metals including gold (-0.92%) fell back as investors had less need for the zero-interest safe haven. Over in Europe the sell-off was more muted as bonds rallied into the close before selling off again after. Yields on 10yr bunds (+2.4bps), OATs (+3.0bps) and BTPs (+6.1bps) all moved higher but were well off the peaks for the day. 10yr Gilts closed up +4.2bps but that was -6.6bps off the high print. And staying with the UK, sterling (-1.18%) saw its worst day this year and fell to its lowest level since January 11 as sentiment has increasingly been knocked by the optics of the fuel crisis here. Given this and the hawkish BoE last week many are now talking up the stagflation risk. On the petrol crisis it’s hard to know how much is real and how much is like an old fashion bank run fuelled mostly by wild speculation. Regardless it doesn’t look good to investors for now. All this came against the backdrop of yet further milestones on inflation expectations, as the German 10yr breakeven hit a fresh 8-year high of 1.690%, just as the Euro Area 5y5y forward inflation swap hit a 4-year high of its own at 1.789%. Meanwhile 10yr UK breakevens pulled back some, finishing -6bps lower on the day after initially spiking up nearly +5bps in the opening hours of trading. This highlights the uncertainty as to the implications of a more hawkish BoE last week. As we’ve discussed over recent days, part of the renewed concerns about inflation have come from a fresh spike in energy prices, and yesterday saw Brent crude move above $80/bbl in regards intraday trading for the first time since 2018. Furthermore, natural gas prices continued to hit fresh highs yesterday, with European futures up +2.69% to a fresh high of €78.56 megawatt-hours. That said, oil prices did pare back their gains later in the session as the equity selloff got underway, with Brent crude (-0.55%) and WTI (-0.21%) both closing lower on the day, and this morning they’ve fallen a further -1.49% and -1.54% respectively. Yesterday, Fed Chair Powell and his predecessor Treasury Secretary Yellen appeared jointly before the Senate Banking Committee. The most notable moment came from Senator Warren who criticized Chair Powell for his track record on regulation, saying he was a “dangerous man” and then saying on the record that the she would not support his re-nomination ahead of his term ending in February. Many senators, mostly Republicans, voiced concerns over inflationary pressures, but both Yellen and Powell maintained their stances that the current high level of inflation was temporary and due to the supply chain issues from Covid-19 that they expect to be resolved in time. Lastly, both Powell and Yellen warned the Senators that a potential US default would be “catastrophic” and Treasury Secretary Yellen said in a letter to Congress that the Treasury Department now estimated the US would hit the debt ceiling on October 18. So we’ve got an important few days and weeks coming up. Last night, Senate Majority Leader Schumer tried to pass a vote that would drop the threshold from 60 to a simple majority to suspend the debt limit, but GOP Senator Cruz amongst others blocked this and went forward with forcing Democrats to use the budget reconciliation measure instead. Some Democrats have pushed back saying that the budget process would take too long and increases the risk of a default. While this is all going on we’re now less than 48 hours from a US government shutdown as it stands, though there seems to be an agreement on the funding measure if it were to be raised as clean bill without the debt ceiling provisions. There is also other business in Washington due tomorrow, with the bipartisan infrastructure bill with $550bn of new spending up for a vote. While the funding bill is the higher short-term priority, there was news yesterday that progressive members of the House of Representatives may try and block the infrastructure bill if it comes up ahead of the budget reconciliation vote. That was according to Congressional Progressive Caucus Chair Jayapal who said “Progressives will vote for both bills, but a majority of our members will only vote for the infrastructure bill after the President’s visionary Build Back Better Act passes.” The infrastructure bill could be tabled once again as there is no real urgency to get it voted on until the more pressing debt ceiling and funding bill issues are resolved. Democratic leadership is trying to thread a needle and the key sticking point appears to be if the moderate and progressive wing can agree on the budget quickly enough to beat the clock on the US defaulting on its debt. Shifting back to central bankers, ECB President Lagarde warned against withdrawing stimulus too rapidly as a response to inflationary pressures. She contested that there are “no signs that this increase in inflation is becoming broad-based across the economy,” and continued that the “key challenge is to ensure that we do not overreact to transitory supply shocks that have no bearing on the medium term.” Similar to her US counterpart, Lagarde cited higher energy prices and supply-chain breakdowns as the root cause for the current high inflation data and argued these would recede in due time. The ECB continues to strike a more dovish tone than the Fed and BoE. Speaking of inflation, DB’s chief European economist, Mark Wall, has just put out a podcast where he discusses the ECB, inflation and the value of a flexible asset purchase programme. He and his team have a baseline assumption that the ECB will double the pace of their asset purchases to €40bn per month to smooth the exit from the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme, but the upward momentum in the inflation outlook and the latest uncertainty from recent supply shocks puts a premium on policy flexibility. You can listen to the podcast "Focus Europe: Podcast: ECB, inflation and the value of a flexible APP" here. In Germany, there weren’t a great deal of developments regarding the election and coalition negotiations yesterday, but NTV reported that CSU leader Markus Söder had told a regional group meeting of the party that he expected the next government would be a traffic-light coalition of the SPD, the Greens and the FDP. Speaking to reporters later in the day, he went onto say that the SPD’s Olaf Scholz had the best chance of becoming chancellor, and that the SPD had the right to begin coalition negotiations. Running through yesterday’s data, the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading in the US for September fell to 109.3 (vs. 115.0 expected), which marks the third consecutive decline in the reading and the lowest it’s been since February. Meanwhile house prices continued to rise, with the FHFA’s house price index for July up +1.4% (vs. +1.5% expected), just as the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller index saw a record +19.7% increase in July as well. To the day ahead now, and the biggest highlight will be a policy panel at the ECB forum on central banking featuring ECB President Lagarde, Fed Chair Powell, BoJ Governor Kuroda and BoE Governor Bailey. Other central bank speakers include ECB Vice President de Guindos, the ECB’s Centeno, Stournaras, Makhlouf, Elderson and Lane, as well as the Fed’s Harker, Daly and Bostic. Meanwhile, data releases include UK mortgage approvals for August, the final Euro Area consumer confidence reading for September, and US pending home sales for August. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/29/2021 - 07:42.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 29th, 2021

Investors" reactions to my pregnancy made me feel I should be ashamed to be having a baby. VCs have got to change their attitudes.

Heka cofounder Steph Hind was pregnant when she and her partner were pitching for VC investment. She describes how put off some investors were. Steph Hind with her daughter. Courtesy of Steph Hind Steph Hind hid her pregnancy while seeking investment for the startup she runs with her partner. A group of investors began addressing her cofounder after she revealed they were having a baby. "Alex is perceived as able to manage being a parent and a founder, while I'm expected to choose one over the other." See more stories on Insider's business page. It shouldn't be remarkable that I'm both a mother and founder. I hear that from people in the startup community all the time.But my experience of feeling like I have to hide who I am while seeking investment shows we may talk the talk but don't walk the walk.Just 2.3% of venture capital funding went to female-led companies in 2020, according to the Harvard Business Review.Of those deals, the average investment was less than half of that given to male-founded ventures. It's clear that women are in no way integrated into the VC ecosystem, and that startup culture has a problem with mothers.So, why do women-led ventures carry such onerous connotations, and how do we move past this to put more mothers in the boardroom permanently?I'm exceptionally lucky to be backed by a team of family-orientated, future-looking investors, but it hasn't always been plain sailing.As the only woman in the room, I've previously been treated like a PA in my own investor meetings and dismissed as "too busy" with my daughter to guarantee a return on an investment.My partner Alex and I have loved building our company. We share the founder title, we share the workload, we share our daughter, yet Alex is perceived as being able to manage being both a parent and a founder, while, as a mother, I'm expected to choose one over the other.In January 2021, early on in our bid to seek VC investment, we disclosed my pregnancy to some new investors over Zoom to mixed reactions.I remember one potential investor then only directed questions to Alex after stating I'd "have my hands full" with the baby, with others dismissing my future role with the company - the general sentiment being I'd be out of the picture soon. VCs may publicly encourage women-founded companies but these ones had baulked at learning a female founder was about to be a mother. We took our business elsewhere, successfully over-raising our round.While VCs hold female founder hours to get more women through the door, no space exists for women to compare experiences of being both mothers and founders post-investment.Ultimately, they need to completely overhaul how they define female-focused support.At times, I hid my pregnancy when meeting with new investors over video. In part this was to compare their reactions, but also to seem like a more typical founder - a safer bet to investors.I even went as far to agree with another potential investor when they said I'd be back in the office "a few weeks" after giving birth, knowing full well I'd still be healing, and (with any luck by then) breastfeeding.At that moment, my impending motherhood felt like something to be ashamed of. It's an outmoded attitude to be perpetuating. It ostracizes mothers in an environment that doesn't acknowledge this huge part of their lives.As working online or interacting over video become a bigger and bigger part of our lives, I struggle to see how startup culture can continue this toxic relationship with parenthood. Agile working makes running a company and parenting easier, whether that means working when the baby is asleep or managing people around morning sickness.Heka has 21 investors who are parents. With flexible working common in startups today, it's time VCs caught up with the companies they are investing in to recognize these changes and normalize parenthood. To foster real change, the startup community needs more women angel investors. Crucially, the kind of support VCs and accelerators provide needs to be flexible and sustainable enough to take women-led companies to completion and keep women in the boardroom.An injection of cash isn't enough in the current climate, parents who are founders need to feel that parenthood is in some way factored into their business plans, not something they have to hide the way I did.From personal experience, we currently lack the resources and information needed for women to see themselves as both successful founders and mothers. Our chairman, Michael Whitfield, has been hugely supportive of Alex and myself, and introduced me to the only other founder I know who is also a mother, giving us both the opportunity to compare experiences and breathe a sigh of relief.There is so much more the VC ecosystem could be doing - simply asking the right questions about family life and work-life balance and speaking openly and honestly about parenthood post-investment would go a long way. Championing founder mother voices such as Bumble's Whitney Wolfe is also important, and creating the spaces for women founders to come together to compare experiences opens up the discussion in making motherhood work for them.Ultimately, the sign of any good founder is the ability to create an amazing team. Parenthood has nothing to do with that.One day, female investors will have frank conversations with female founders about their needs as parents. For now, it's time the VC ecosystem wakes up to the shifts in attitude happening in many of the innovative companies they invest in.Steph Hind is cofounder of employee benefits startup Heka.This is an opinion column. The thoughts expressed are those of the author.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 22nd, 2021

5 steps to start researching and buying stocks like the Wall Street pros

Researching the right stocks for your portfolio can feel like a daunting task. Here are the basics you need to know. Risk tolerance and budget are two key factors that should inform your stock research.Terry Vine/Getty Your budget, investment style, and risk tolerance should guide your stock research. Understanding a company's fundamentals is key to finding quality stocks. Certain documents, such as a company's annual report, reveal key financial information and risks. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. For individual investors, choosing the right stocks can feel like a daunting task. But if you want to manage your own portfolio, you can apply the same kind of techniques that the pros on Wall Street use in their research and analysis.Not sure how to begin? Use these 5 steps to help guide your approach.Step 1: Understand the types of stock analysisThe first step to researching stocks is to understand the different types of stock analysis. When researching stocks, the three main types of analyses are:Fundamental analysis: Examines fundamentals such as earnings, cash flow, and financial position to forecast performance.Technical analysis: Uses past prices and trading patterns to forecast future price changes.Quantitative analysis: Uses mathematical and statistical modeling to assess the value of a stock.Each approach has its merits. However, in most cases, fundamental analysis should be your primary tool to assess the value of a given stock, according to Robert Johnson, chairman and CEO at index provider Economic Index Associates. "Investors should concern themselves primarily with a company or asset's fundamentals (earnings, cash flow, financial position, products, and the like)," he says.The reason for this is that fundamental analysis breaks down the real-world performance of a company. Technical analysis, on the other hand, may reveal anomalies in an asset's price. But those can occur for many reasons, such as negative news coverage."Technical analysis is an assessment of statistics generated by market activity, such as past prices and volume," says Melanie Mortimer, president at SIFMA Foundation, which provides financial literacy programs. "Technical analysts use charts and other tools to project a security's potential future activity, taking cues from patterns in the data."Quantitative analysis may use some of the same metrics as technical analysis but can incorporate statistical modeling in an attempt to determine whether a stock is a good investment opportunity. "Quantitative funds tend to rely more heavily on valuation metrics and market technicals such as price momentum," says Carl Ludwigson, director of manager research at Bel Air Investment Advisors.Quick tip: Start your analysis by checking a company's fundamentals, such as earnings, profit margin, and revenue growth. You can then use technical and quantitative analysis to supplement your fundamental analysis to gain deeper insight.Step 2: Establish your risk tolerance and budgetIt's important to establish both your risk tolerance and budget before you research stocks. After all, there are many types of stocks and theoretically no limit to how much you can invest.For instance, blue-chip stocks such as those included in the Dow Jones Industrial Average may provide a consistent return but not have quite the potential for gains  as a startup company. However, there is naturally a greater chance of a startup performing poorly, or even going out of business. Therefore, you must determine the balance between how much risk you are willing to take and what kind of return you expect."With a longer time to retire and fewer financial obligations, an individual has the ability to absorb some volatility in their investment portfolio, knowing that time can help balance any short-term losses with longer-term gains, or the ups and downs of economic cycles," says Mortimer.Willingness to bear risk, on the other hand, is more subjective. "One way to gauge a person's willingness to bear risk is to simply ask the question: If your portfolio suddenly declined in value by X percent, would you lose sleep over it and suffer substantial regret?" Johnson says. "If the answer switches from yes to no when X is 10 percent, then the person has very little willingness to bear risk, and quite frankly, has limited investment options."Your budget also plays a role. There is a large difference between a 10% return on a $1,000 investment and a 10% return on a $100,000 investment. In other words, if your budget is relatively small, you may have to take bigger risks to see the return you want. That is not unusual, though, as those who are early in their careers tend to have less to invest — but also more time to take risks. Understanding where you are on this spectrum is key to forming your investment strategy.Step 3: Know which investing metrics to pay attention toThere's no shortage of investing metrics available, especially for larger, well-established companies. Some are more critical than others. Key metrics to consider include:Price/earnings ratioPrice/book ratioNet profit marginFree cash flowReturn on equityReturn on assetsWhich metrics are most important depends in large part on the style of investing you prefer. For instance, two common forms of investing are value and growth investing. Value investing involves buying stock in companies that are undervalued, therefore selling at a discounted rate. Growth investing, on the other hand, means buying stocks of companies that are expected to grow at a rate faster than the market."Value-oriented managers tend to focus on price-to-book, price-to-cash flow, and other measures that indicate a depressed price compared to the normalized earnings or intrinsic value of a business which creates a margin of safety," says Ludwigson. In other words, for value investors, the key metrics are those that indicate the price is lower than competitors' stocks, such as on a price-to-earnings or price-to-book basis. The lower these ratios are, the better.One thing to watch out for with value investing is the tendency toward mean reversion, according to Johnson. "Historically, asset prices and historical returns gradually move toward the long-term mean. So, if a particular stock is selling at a low P/E or price-to-sales multiple, all else equal, the P/E or price-to-sales ratio will likely revert to the mean at some point," he says.Growth investors take an entirely different approach, says Ludwigson. "Growth managers tend to focus on revenue and earnings growth with less focus on metrics like price-to-earnings as they expect the earnings to expand over time to justify the price," he says. Oftentimes, growth stocks are companies that have not fully matured, so revenue and earnings growth is more important than price.Quick tip: Certain metrics are more important than others to pay attention to, depending on the style of investing. For instance, price-based metrics lend themselves to value investing, while growth investors focus more on growth of earnings and revenue. Step 4: Find the data you need to start your researchNow that you have an idea of which companies you want to analyze, it's time to dive deeper. Here are some of the documents, reports, and tools you may want to check:SEC reportsThe company's revenue and incomeOnline brokerage research platformsCompany press releasesStock screenersIndustry trendsWhen first starting your research, you can check each company on an online brokerage's research platform as well as in stock screeners. These are a good way to check some of those metrics, like profit margin and price-to-earnings. Then, you can take a deeper dive into reports on the companies that look good.There is no shortage of reports to detail the companies you are considering for investment. However, there are certain places you should direct your focus first, says Kevin L. Matthews II, founder of investment education company BuildingBread. "Any company that you're looking into usually has an investor relations section on the website. If you go there you can find any important press releases, financial documents, and  documents filed with the SEC like the 10-K and 10-Q," he says.Matthews notes that the 10-K (the annual report) is his favorite document to help with company research as it outlines performance as well as potential risks and other strategic and financial details.In addition to reports found on a company's investor relations page, there are some databases you should know about, says Johnson. "The SEC's role of running the EDGAR database is of utmost importance to investors. The key types of documents on EDGAR include Annual reports (10-Ks), Quarterly Reports (10-Qs), Proxy Statements (DEF 14As), Prospectuses (S-1s), and Interim Reports of Material Events (8-Ks)," he says.Step 5: Narrow your focus and pick stocks that fit your portfolioAs you have probably already discovered, there aren't any magic bullets that fit perfectly into your portfolio. Instead, you should look for the investments that best align with your investing goals. For example, do you prefer value or growth investing? What is your budget and what is your risk tolerance?Once you answer these questions, you can start to formulate your investing strategy. Certain metrics, such as price-to-earnings, lend themselves more to value investing, while metrics like profit margin are more important for growth investing. You can then hone in on a company's fundamentals using an online broker and company reports to identify the right stocks for you.Depending on how risky a given stock is, you can weigh it against your risk tolerance and budget to determine whether to invest — and if so, how much. Then, you can continue to evaluate using future quarterly and annual reports to ensure the company still fits within your strategy.The financial takeawayResearching stocks can seem overwhelming, but it doesn't have to be. First, determine your preferred investment style, budget, and risk tolerance. Then, you can use an online broker as well as internal and external company filings to find out more about each stock you are considering.Once you have done that, you're ready to start investing. Be sure to continue to evaluate each of your investments, either quarterly or annually. You may want to make changes if a company no longer aligns with your strategy — just be aware of potential capital gains taxes if you decide to sell.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider20 hr. 19 min. ago

Shorewest, REALTORS® Celebrates 75 Years of Relationship Building

Organizations that have been part of the fold of real estate for several decades understand how the tides change, bringing everything from volatile economies and housing crashes to surprisingly resilient markets that can withstand even a worldwide health crisis. It’s no surprise, then, that Shorewest, REALTORS®, now celebrating its 75th year in business, is more […] The post Shorewest, REALTORS® Celebrates 75 Years of Relationship Building appeared first on RISMedia. Organizations that have been part of the fold of real estate for several decades understand how the tides change, bringing everything from volatile economies and housing crashes to surprisingly resilient markets that can withstand even a worldwide health crisis. It’s no surprise, then, that Shorewest, REALTORS®, now celebrating its 75th year in business, is more prepared than most to withstand these fluctuations. In fact, the brokerage navigated murky waters in the 80s, when sky-high interest rates slowed the markets down to a crawl. Out of that stumbling block, however, emerged an opportunity for growth. “We decided to help our buyers by securing blocks of funds to use for mortgages to purchase homes,” Joe Horning, president of Shorewest, REALTORS®, tells RISMedia. “This is how we founded Wisconsin Mortgage in 1983.” In today’s market, inventory poses the biggest challenge, according to Joe Horning. But again, the organization sees the opportunity before the obstacle. While there isn’t enough supply to satisfy the buyer pool, the brokerage can continue investing in agents that can then help educate potential buyers about how they can achieve their dream of homeownership regardless of the strained market. “Our greatest opportunity is new agents. In the first nine months of 2021, we enrolled 600 students into our real estate school,” he says. Part of being prepared for the unknown means providing agents and staff with the tools they’ll need in order to tackle all types of markets. According to Joe Horning, while the brokerage does provide the necessary tech they can leverage in all situations, the key has always been, and continues to be, relationships—and that’s what helps differentiate the firm. “We continue to develop the tools and technologies that are most effective in supporting our team and their clients,” says Joe Horning. “However, in the end, real estate is still a relationship business. It fundamentally comes down to taking care of our clients and helping them achieve their goals. If we continue to focus on that core value, we will be successful for another 75 years.” Looking back at the founding of the brokerage, the company notes that if John A. Horning were here today, he would not only be proud to see his dream continue for 75 years and three generations later, but he would also be humbled. John A. Horning started Wauwatosa Realty in 1946 out of an office in his home with a simple vision and philosophy that set the foundation for the powerful culture Shorewest, REALTORS® lives and breathes today: provide clients with exemplary customer service that extends beyond the transaction, as well as innovative marketing and personal recognition. He looked to instill a familial relationship with each employee and customer, imparting Midwestern values of hard work and dedication. After seven months, John A. Horning opened the first of many offices at 7602 Harwood Avenue in Wauwatosa, quickly outgrowing his initial space. During his first year in business, Horning sold $500,000 and served 40 families. From there, the brokerage opened more offices and continued expanding the business, with second-generation John E. and Donald F. Horning, son and nephew of John A. Horning, opening Heritage Title Services, Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation, the Real Estate Institute, Home Closing and Relocation divisions. The Wauwatosa name reached a crossroads in 1997, as leadership embraced the explosive growth, which eventually led to the founding of Shorewest, REALTORS®. In 2002, Joe and John P. Horning, sons of John E., became the third generation of leadership, following in their grandfather’s footsteps. “Shorewest, REALTORS® is the only major company in our market that has been in business for 75 years and has remained independent,” says Joe Horning. “We credit this to attracting and growing the best people in the business along with our ability to innovate and lead over the years. In Wisconsin, we were the first company to develop a website, the first to open a real estate school, and the first to offer full service to our clients.” Seventy-five years in, the celebrated brokerage and its family of companies— Wisconsin Mortgage Corporation, Heritage Title Services, Shorewest Insurance and My-Dwelling—now support over 1,400 team members who serve neighborhoods throughout Wisconsin to help people realize the American Dream of homeownership and give back to the community through a proprietary charity, Christmas Is for Kids. “You don’t make it to 75 years without innovating and providing the best support for your team and their clients,” says Joe Horning. Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to lizd@rismedia.com. The post Shorewest, REALTORS® Celebrates 75 Years of Relationship Building appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismedia22 hr. 50 min. ago

The latest news about the public relations industry, from pay and hiring to growth areas

Here's the latest on salaries, M&A, and growth areas in public relations. Protesters against abortion restrictions gathered at the Texas State Capitol on May 21, 2019.Eric Gay/AP PR is getting more complex as companies and public figures seek help navigating social issues. The industry is also booming as firms see opportunity in areas like financial communications and data. Insider rounded up its coverage of all the big trends in the industry, from hiring to growth areas to M&A. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. The public relations industry is going through big changes as PR firms scramble to invest in data and analytics and fend off competition and as corporate America faces increasing public scrutiny.Firms are also seeing opportunity in areas like advertising, digital, and ecommerce. They're taking advantage of booming areas like financial communications and diversity, equity, and inclusion, creating lucrative if high-pressure jobs.Insider has been tracking these trends at some of the largest PR firms including Edelman, Weber Shandwick, and Sard Verbinnen. Here's a roundup of our coverage on everything from hot practice areas, how to get hired, and pay. Hiring, pay trendsThe PR industry employed around 270,000 people in the US as of 2019, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. It employs people who work in-house at brands as well as agencies of all sizes.PR firms have cut hundreds of jobs in the downturn, but the field remains high-paying and competitive, with growing opportunities in pharma, tech, and healthcare communications.Read more:PR industry salaries revealed: How much top firms like Teneo, BCW, and FTI pay employees, from consultants to managing directorsHere's a rundown of new perks and benefits public relations firms are offering, from big bonuses to extra vacation daysTough interview questions public relations execs can expect as social issues and politics become a bigger part of the jobWhy I quit PR agencies: 5 public relations pros share why they left and tips for former colleaguesHow to get a job at PR giant Edelman and what to expect if you land an interview, according to the company's recruitersMeet 12 top public relations recruiters to know right nowWhat it takes to get high-paying jobs at strategic consulting firms like Finsbury and Kekst CNC, from handling tricky questions to nailing writing testsThe industry is attracting new investmentPrivate equity firms used to view public relations agencies and software companies as a volatile industry, but now they're pouring money into the industry, drawn to its high recurring revenues, diversified businesses, and cash flow.Read more: 8 big investors like Golden Gate Capital and Stagwell Group that are pouring billions into public relations firmsA new Enero exec who's hunting for PR acquisitions revealed what she's looking for as it tries to grab share from holding companies like WPP and Omnicom9 public relations companies are challenging the status quo and taking on giants like Edelman and BCWInvestment giant Apollo is planning to sell Notified, one of the biggest PR software companies10 public relations firms that experts say are plum acquisition targetsSome areas of PR are thrivingFirms like Edelman, BCW, and FleishmanHillard have seen growth as new pitches pick up and companies seek help with crisis situations and communicating to the public and employees about office reopening and diversity and inclusion issues.Read more: Crypto and blockchain companies are snapping up public relations execs from Google, Twitter, and Edelman, as regulation loomsPR giants like Edelman and Sard Verbinnen are seeing a surge in demand as companies seek to minimize damage from the coronavirus pandemicPR shops like Edelman bag millions as companies struggle with back to work messInternal communications business is booming for PR firms like Edelman, Prosek, and Kekst CNC as CEOs scramble to reassure remote workforces and plan for a return to the officeThe world's two largest PR firms, Edelman and Weber Shandwick, pledged to hire more people of color in senior positionsFirms see opportunity in advertising and consultingA lucrative but less understood niche is strategic communications, which involves crisis, litigation, financial, and other high-stakes public relations and comprises firms like Finsbury, Kekst CNC, and Gladstone Place Partners.PR firms are increasingly finding themselves in competition with advertising, consulting companies, and even law firms as the lines between these industries blur.Read more: A consulting firm backed by mega-law firm Dentons is offering an unusual perk to lure top talent from public relations heavyweights like Edelman and FTICEOs of PR firms like Edelman and BCW reveal why they're focused on winning business from advertising and consulting companies coming out of the pandemic.With the Texas abortion law, CEOs face pressure on what to say on another hot-button social issue — but few have spoken outPorter Novelli's CEO lays out his plan to revive the PR firm after office closures and years of declinePublic relations heavyweight Edelman has quietly built a 600-person creative team and says it's becoming a 'serious alternative' to ad agencies, winning clients like Ikea and TazoHealthcare marketing giant W2O just snapped up two more companies as it seeks to take on consultancies like Accenture and CognizantMeet 18 top PR pros that companies like SoFi and Talkspace are turning to in the SPAC IPO crazeMeet PR exec Jennifer Prosek, who built a $60 million business spinning for clients like Goldman Sachs and The Carlyle Group, and now faces her biggest challenge yetThese are the top 15 financial public relations pros CEOs call when their companies are on fireHow tech is changing PRPublic relations pros are facing increased pressure to prove the value of their services, giving rise to a $4.5 billion communications software industry that helps PR firms do things like monitor news coverage and social media, provide accurate measurements, and identify influencers and journalists.Firms like Edelman and MSL have developed their own tools to monitor news and track the impact of PR for clients.Read more:Private equity firm Tritium Partners acquired an up-and-coming PR tech company to take on giants like Cision and Meltwater11 tech firms that top companies like Coca-Cola and Samsung rely on to prove their PR worksThe top 27 software companies serving the public relations industryPR agencies are beefing up their data services to keep consulting firms like Deloitte and Accenture from eating their lunchPR giant MSL breaks down how it's using tech tools to prove its work drives results for clients like P&G and CadillacPublic relations giant Edelman is poaching execs from WPP, Google, and others to build a data analytics powerhouseOmnicom is boosting its data arm with a new tool to convince skeptics that PR can drive business resultsRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 26th, 2021

The Best Retail Stocks to Buy Now

The retail industry has a lot of shining stars including Lululemon, Macy's, Target, American Eagle and Levi Strauss. (0:35) - Finding Hot Retail Stocks For Your Portfolio(4:00) - Will Black Friday Help or Hurt Retailers This Year: What To Expect(8:45) - Is It Too Late To Invest In Retailers Near All Time Highs?(16:40) - How Will Back Orders And Delayed Shipping Impact Retailers?(21:30) -  Will The Pandemic Stock Winners Continue Their Growth?(32:00) - Top Stock Picks: Cheap Retail Stocks Poised For Growth(40:25) - Retail Stocks That Might Want To Avoid(47:10) - Episode Roundup: LULU, LEVI, AEO, M, RVLV, URBN, ANF, CHS, JWN, TGT, ULTA, DECK, NKE, GPS, DKS, WSM, KSS               Podcast@Zacks.com Welcome to Episode #293 of the Zacks Market Edge Podcast.Every week, host and Zacks stock strategist, Tracey Ryniec, will be joined by guests to discuss the hottest investing topics in stocks, bonds and ETFs and how it impacts your life.This week, Tracey talks with Zacks Associate Stock Strategist, and the Editor of Zacks Income Investor Portfolio, Maddy Johnson, about the hot retail industry.You know the hot names: Lululemon, Macy’s, Target, American Eagle Outfitters and Levi Strauss.Black Friday and Cyber Monday are fast approaching but many retailers have already launched their holiday sales, including department stores. Apparel is one of the hottest items as consumers head back-to-work and out to parties for the first time in nearly 2 years.Retailers are reporting that women’s party dresses are one of the hottest categories. And, of course, athleisure, including yoga pants and joggers, remain in high demand.Which Retail Stocks to Buy Right Now?1.       Lululemon LULULululemon, which Tracey owns in her own personal portfolio, continues to be the leader in athleisure.Lululemon is still the first retailer of choice for yoga pants, but women’s tops and men’s clothing are up and coming growing categories.Shares are near all-time highs, up 31% year-to-date.Lululemon isn’t for value investors, as it trades with a forward P/E of 61. But Lululemon’s sales are expected to rise 42% this fiscal year and another 17% in fiscal 2023.Will it have its best holiday season ever, or will COVID and supply chain disruptions ruin the party?2.       Macy’s MMacy’s recently surprised with an outstanding third quarter and strong guidance for the upcoming holiday season.Weren’t department stores supposed to be dead?Macy’s shares have soared 198% year-to-date but aren’t even back to 5-year highs.Macy’s is also cheap, with a forward P/E of just 7.5. Sales are expected to soar 39.5% this year but analysts are unsure about fiscal 2023, with sales expected to fall about 1%.But the focus is on this year, and this holiday season.Is it time to get on board the Macy’s train?3.       Target TGTTarget is one of Maddy’s favorite retailers. She owns it in the Income Investor portfolio and her own personal portfolio.It recently beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the 12th quarter in a row.Target shares have been hitting 5-year highs this year, gaining 41%.Target’s sales are expected to rise 14% in fiscal 2022 and another 2.4% in fiscal 2023.It trades with a forward P/E of 18.6 and is shareholder friendly, with a dividend of 1.4%.Target is a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock.Is it time to buy one of the industry’s biggest winners?4.       American Eagle Outfitters AEOAmerican Eagle Outfitters recently reported a record fiscal third quarter, with revenue up 24% year-over-year.It has two powerful brands: American Eagle, which saw revenue jump 21%, and Aerie, which saw a 28% revenue gain.Even with inflationary pressures, American Eagle Outfitters saw gross margins rise 410 basis points to 44.3%, the highest level since 2007.While shares have gained 43% year-to-date, over the last 3 months, they’ve retreated 11%.American Eagle Outfitters trades with a forward P/E of just 12.5.Is this weakness in the shares a buying opportunity in American Eagle Outfitters?5.       Levi Strauss & Company LEVILevi Strauss in at the epicenter of one of the hottest apparel trends: denim.Forget those skinny jeans, straight and wide legs are in and Levi’s has got them.Sales are expected to rise 29% in fiscal 2021 and another 11% in fiscal 2022.Like other apparel retailers, shares of Levi Strauss have out performed in 2021, gaining 39%.It trades with a forward P/E of 19.6.Levi Strauss has been in business since 1853. Denim has never gone out of style.Is 2021 the time to buy this Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock?Which Retail Stocks Do Tracey and Maddy Not Like?In addition to their favorite retail stocks, Tracey and Maddy also talked about a few retailers that they’re not fans of right now.Find out which stocks those are and everything else you need to know about the retail industry on this week’s podcast.For more headline-fueled trades and insight, checkout my daily market commentary of the Headline Trader portfolio. Zacks’ Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence This world-changing technology is projected to generate $100s of billions by 2025. From self-driving cars to consumer data analysis, people are relying on machines more than we ever have before. Now is the time to capitalize on the 4th Industrial Revolution. Zacks’ urgent special report reveals 6 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 6 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Macy's, Inc. (M): Free Stock Analysis Report Target Corporation (TGT): Free Stock Analysis Report American Eagle Outfitters, Inc. (AEO): Free Stock Analysis Report lululemon athletica inc. (LULU): Free Stock Analysis Report Levi Strauss & Co. (LEVI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 24th, 2021

GreenWood Investors 3Q21 Commentary: Defense, Offense & Conviction

GreenWood Investors commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, titled, “Defense, Offense & Conviction.” Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more When Defense Misfires “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.” This past quarter, much of my curiosity has been focused on the differences between offense and defense. Given I’ve spent little time watching […] GreenWood Investors commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021, titled, “Defense, Offense & Conviction.” 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 Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more When Defense Misfires “Offense wins games. Defense wins championships.” This past quarter, much of my curiosity has been focused on the differences between offense and defense. Given I’ve spent little time watching team sports, it’s been an interesting exploration. As my mind was occupied by defining an offensive playbook for our two coinvestments, we took our eyes off the ball of our protective, defense-oriented portfolio activities. The performance in the quarter was impacted by a 4% headwind generated by one particular short, which was the primary reason our fund underperformed indices in the quarter. While it was a painful lesson, we immediately evolved our short process in order to prevent our defensive measures from ever hurting our performance to such an extent going forward. Cutting to the chase, the performance in the quarter for the Global Micro Fund was -7.7% net (+30.5% YTD), and this compares to our benchmark MSCI ACWI index returning -1.1% in the quarter (+11.5% YTD). Without any FX headwinds, euro-denominated Luxembourg fund returned -3.3% net (+39.4% YTD). Separate account composites had similar returns, as Global Micro strategy returned -8.1% net (+15.0% YTD) and our longest-running and long-only Traditional accounts returned -6.8% net (16.5% YTD). The Builders Fund I returned -5.2% net in the quarter (+84.5% YTD) driven partially by foreign exchange. Builders Fund II, which was launched in the quarter, returned +3.0% net (+3.0% YTD). Aside from the one short mentioned, our returns were also impacted by corrections at Superdry PLC (LON:SDRY) and Peloton Interactive Inc (NASDAQ:PTON), each taking away roughly 2% from our performance in the quarter. They are both experiencing very different situations right now in the aftermath of Covid, but both are pressing their offense strategies with increased vigor. We remain undeterred with Superdry despite popular skepticism on the brand’s turnaround. Such perspectives look mismatched with a reinvigorated influencer strategy targeting a whole new generation, which have just driven same-store-sales to positive territory on a two-year stack. This is ahead of a pivotal autumn-winter season, when its jackets, coats and sweaters have traditionally shined. Having missed last winter due to Covid, we are excited to see the new product resonate with an entirely new base of consumers. We recently followed the Chairman and CEO’s insider buys, and purchased more shares on weakness. We continue to be encouraged by the progress made; and for a slightly longer discussion on where our thoughts are on Superdry, click here to see a tweet thread. Peloton has experienced a round trip of home workout demand back to pre-covid levels. Thus, while it is launching new products and new geographies, and retains an industry-leading engaged base of 6.2 million exercisers with low monthly subscription churn, this position will have to return to old fashioned marketing to continue on its path towards its incredibly ambitious goal of impacting 100 million users’s fitness routines every month.. With its customer satisfaction, as measured by the Net Promotor Score, remaining one of the highest, if not the highest, in the world, we would not bet against this heavily engaged cult of growing endorphin-filled users. We believe the company still has a very significant market opportunity to both attack and define. Revisiting The Defense Playbook “Rule No.1: Never lose money. Rule No.2: Never forget rule No.1.” Warren Buffett Stretching the offense and defense analogies over to investing, this past year has rewarded risk-taking (offensive) strategies, particularly those that are furthest out on the risk curve. But over the long-term, value-oriented investing wins the championship. That means taking a conservative underwriting approach to investment opportunities and maintaining a defensive posture when everyone else is doing the opposite. In our opinion, that also means running a short book, which allow us to remain opportunistic in periods of greater stress. It is not a good time to be reducing a defensive posture, in our opinion. Over the first 11 years of GreenWood’s existence, we have almost never been idea-constrained. Rather, we have been only constrained by the capacity we have to analyze the large opportunity set. That has typically meant, aside from the earliest years, we have had minimal cash left over. Given we have gravitated towards misunderstood assets and areas neglected by robotic index funds, not only does this portfolio tend to not carry a large cash balance, but it has exhibited more volatility than an index. Accordingly, carrying a short book is essential for us to be able to remain opportunistic in periods of stress. And quite frankly, our defense track record could use some improvement. While this defensive posture paid off in 2008, 2011, and 2018, we had few opportunistic shorts going into 2016 and 2020, right when we needed them. I’m personally committed to improving on that 3-2 market defense track record. I’m also committed to lowering any significant portfolio tilt towards specific factors, as our fundamental research capabilities are not able to be matched on a macroeconomic scale. There are too many factors and estimates to know anything on a large scale with any degree of certainty. For us, conviction is the most important function of an asset manager. It was with that intention we have been carrying a full short book ever since late 2020. And that short book largely paid off over the first half of this year, as the current environment has proved to be fertile in finding over-valued, value-less businesses. In fact, most of these shorts underperformed the market so quickly and so dramatically, that short book turnover caused Chris and I to run on a faster and faster treadmill throughout this year. When we found the short that ended up causing us so much pain in the quarter, it sounded too good to be true. It was a perfect offset to some of our chunkier portfolio factor exposures, but even more, it became clear this was not only a terrible business model, but it was likely a fraud. As Chris and I dug further into the business, there was a never-ending string of yarn that we kept pulling, and the more we pulled, the more damning the evidence was on the founder, company and target markets. In that excited process, we failed to appreciate the risk posed by the meme-trading phenomenon, in the assumption that an Italian company was unlikely to get caught up in the retail trading frenzy that has generated so many distortions elsewhere. Bypassing that debate proved to be our mistake, as the less liquid nature of the stock meant that it was more easily manipulated higher for a few months. As it was getting squeezed, I took action to eliminate that portfolio risk, even knowing that the stock would eventually go to zero. And in the wake of that experience, we also exited other shorts that had largely run their course, but that posed some possible retail trading risk. In our post-mortems, that are published on our investors-only research area, we identified one of the problems we were trying to solve for was the treadmill we found ourselves on. Because each piece of incremental evidence made it more and more compelling, we actually didn’t pause to have a proper bull-bear debate, which is what we have done for every other position. We had put too much pressure on ourselves to maintain a timely short book, and in many ways that papered over the obvious truth that the borrow was hard to obtain and liquidity was not accommodative. We revised our ranking framework to ensure there is a significantly higher bar for less liquid shorts in the future. Furthermore, we decided that any “gaps” in needed short exposure would more easily be filled immediately with index funds that could directly help offset some of the chunkier factor risks to our portfolio, namely European value stocks. We don’t intend to hold these index hedges forever, but believe it will help take pressure off of us to prematurely add new shorts to the portfolio. We have a lot of candidates in the backlog, but we are determined to ensure that we get the timing right as opposed to just the company thesis and factor exposure. At their core, our defensive moves should first do no harm. This analogy mirrors perhaps the most quoted Buffett lesson about rule number one, noted above. In that vein, our current short portfolio is comprised of large, liquid index constituents with very low short interests, cheap borrows, and are largely well-loved. Similar to most of our short positions in the past, they also have mounting liabilities as decades of unconscious behaviors or corruption have eroded the core values of the businesses. We recently published our research on two newer positions on our investor-only research site. These shorts have multiple catalysts over the next few quarters, that we believe, will cause both a material impact to their financials while also possibly downgrading the market’s behavioral narrative. More Conscious Than ESG “Sustainability is built into our business model. If we are focused on the long term, there is no conflict between profitability and the interests of stakeholders. If you are focused on the short term, there is. It’s that simple!” Sir Martin Sorrell Most importantly, these two businesses that we are short have some deeply unconscious features. While each case is different, this means that we’ve found evidence of corruption or deliberate sales of defective or toxic products for decades prior to being discontinued. All of these behaviors are only now catching up to these companies and present material downside risks to these businesses that have historically been run for short-term profit maximization as opposed to long-term value creation or innovation. These are the kinds of companies that are causing the ESG movement to gain major traction around the world. But while we applaud action being taken on protecting the environment, the ESG movement is not solving the root of the problem. The movement is addressing the symptoms rather than the causes. In a white paper that I can’t wait to publish, we’ll show evidence that the fundamental issue facing business today is one of unaccountable agents seeking immediate gratification. There’s a lack of ownership and accountability in a market that continues to outsource much of the “ratings” to agents. Large funds managed by agents with no skin in the game are relying on ratings agencies, also with no skin in the game, to dictate qualitative criteria that often don’t tie to value creation, but rather liability minimization. And that is important, but not sufficient on its own. It is defense without the offense. Or sometimes, it’s all marketing covering up flimsy foundations. Owners or founders exhibit more long-term, conscious capitalist behavior. They generally don’t give quarterly profit guidance, and instead prefer to focus on their customer satisfaction and employee morale. They invest more in their own businesses rather than paying that capital out to shareholders or to acquisition targets. Great shareholder returns are the result of a highly conscious business model, not the goal in and of itself. Exhibit 1: Builders Have Happier Customers & More Engaged Employees Source: GreenWood Investors, OO = owner operators, DC = dual share class structures, S&P = S&P 1200 Global Index But what does it mean actually to be conscious? That’s the subject that Anil Seth seeks to answer in his latest work, Being You. In seeking to demystify the mystery of consciousness, he discusses the most robust model that has been put forward for understanding and measuring how conscious an organism is. Integration information theory (IIT) postulates that consciousness is measured by the degree to which information is integrated into a system or action. Seth explains, “This underpins the main claim of the theory, which is that a system is conscious to the extent that its whole generates more information than its parts.” This concept struck me, as it has many direct parallels to well-worn concepts in investing. Of course it makes sense that the more conscious an organization is, the better it is at integrating information into action. But what really struck me here is that using this IIT framework- an organization is only conscious if the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. To me this infers that if the parts of a business don’t come together to produce something more powerful or valuable than the sum of those individual units, segments or components, the business is not a conscious business. Seth later explained how conscious perceptions are largely built from best guesses and confidence. A key insight of Bayesian inference is that perception is largely a function of updating beliefs about the world based on the precision and reliability of new information. Our minds seek to eliminate prediction errors everywhere and all the time, and we do so by converging our beliefs to the level of conviction we have in the information. In this age of ubiquitous and free information, we differentiate ourselves by the level of conviction we have in the quality and reliability of the insights we have. Conviction is the key. And as Seth later demonstrated, such insights are virtually worthless if not paired with action. This echoes the sentiment that Warren Buffett expressed in talking about getting fat pitches in one’s career, and that one must “swing big,” as they don’t happen very often. This is indeed why we are “swinging big” with Coinvestment II, as this is one of the fattest pitches we’ve ever been thrown. Moving From Defense to Offense “High expectations are the key to everything.” -Sam Walton As my mind was more occupied with offensive capital allocation strategies in the quarter, this pairing of action with insight particularly spoke to me, highly conscious offense playbook strategies are rare. Instead the norm is that most offensive actions are typically made from a defensive motive, and are not based on novel insights. As I wrote in last year’s fourth quarter letter, we endeavor to only get involved in turnaround situations where we either have a board presence, or where a founder or owner operates the business. In our view, these managers have been more resilient in defending their businesses from adversity. Simply put, they cannot just give up and move on. As Covid ripped through the world and economies, far too many managers decided to give up. In the depths of the Covid crisis, at the Presidential inauguration ceremony, National Youth Poet Laureate Amanda Gorman articulated rather eloquently that, “Your optimism will never be as powerful as it is in that exact moment when you want to give it up.” Founders are inherently optimistic, and they don’t give up. In exploring the differences between defense and offense, I’ve come to realize that it is even more important to have an owner-oriented management culture when moving from defense to offense. Defense is inherently reactive, reacting to “known knowns” or “known unknowns.” Reactions are easier than proaction. Traditional boards are typically very good at liability minimization. But as important as liability reduction is, these actions do not create value. New business and invention is inherently venturing into the unknown, seeing what others don’t, and pursuing the path untravelled. It comes naturally to a founder or owner, whose authorship imbues the business with the optimistic, entrepreneurial impulse that often started it in the first place. As my friend Bill Carey has articulated, most managers compensated via stock options act more like stock brokers as opposed to owners. Similar to brokers, their time horizons have shrunk considerably. They are simply rent-seeking for a short period of time. And as my friend Chris Mayer likes to say, “no one washes a rental.” Our research on the differences in the behaviors of owner operators and these renters, shows these renters are not very good at offense strategies either. They are very good at competitive reactions, cost cutting and margin optimization. These are important, just as any defense strategy is, but they typically fail to create any lasting value. The value that is captured from these tools generally only lasts as long as the brief period in which the manager’s stock options vest. Given 70-90% of mergers and acquisitions fail, and stock repurchases have taken a notably pro-cyclical, buy-high, sell-low, history, these renters have a typically poor track record in value-creating initiatives and capital deployment. This short-term rental behavior often results in mediocre outcomes. As the late great Sergio Marchionne regularly reminded, “mediocrity is not worth the trip.” Marchionne acted like an owner even before he was one. And he created so much value that his net worth neared $1 billion when he shuffled off this mortal coil. While much of that was indeed generated by options that he exercised, such options were struck at twice and three times the level at which he came in to rescue Fiat in 2004. His package inspired the design of CTT’s options package for top and first level managers. Sergio was very good at seeing things others didn’t. He and his venerable team of managers, to whom he dedicated so much of his energy, were very good at transforming ignored products and assets into gold. Of particular note, Jeep grew from just over 2%of the market in the US to just under 6% when he passed- and it became a truly global brand. He invented Ferrari’s Icona series, which made the irregular limited edition profits part of the regular P&L of the brand without diluting the exclusivity of such models. He and parent holding company Exor have continued to provide much of the inspiration behind our activities with both coinvestments. We endeavor to replicate their divide & conquer strategy, which allowed the Fiat Group to become stronger as stand-alone Fiat-Chrysler (now Stellantis), Ferrari, CNH, and soon to be Iveco Group. Just as Sergio advised the few believers throughout his career, investors will be “owning multiple pieces of paper” as the journey unfolds. In hindsight, we can all agree on the value creation prowess of him and his team. But we easily forget that for most of his career, he was faced mostly by skeptics and doubters. He was not afraid to look dumb. In his own words, “A lot of what I do is challenge assumptions . . . which often looks like you are asking stupid questions.” Being entrepreneurial, by definition, means taking the path untraveled, and heading into the unknown with daring boldness. Offense playbooks, by design, must take competition by surprise. Coming from a humble place with brands and companies that were ridiculed by competitors, when Sergio put medium-term plans out to the market, they were not timid. He would always aim higher than anyone, especially his competitors, believed he and his team could reach. And while not every target was always achieved, the formidable results speak for themselves. This past earnings season, as Twitter was the only social media company to deliver on guidance while also confirming the quarter ahead to be at least as good, the stock sold off materially as its monetizable daily active user (MDAU) targets in the medium-term were called into question. While founder Jack Dorsey is clearly unafraid to look foolish to the public, or even in front of congress, he also manages multiple businesses at the same time. Competitors openly make fun of him. But his team is exceptionally loyal to him, and they have set out very ambitious targets for themselves over the next few years. The recent sell-off in Twitter shares was like deja vu all over again, as I reminisced about the Fiat capital markets day in 2014, fittingly on Twitter in this tweet thread. With its product and revenue servers rebuilt, it can now innovate and launch new ad formats faster than ever before. We look forward to the Twitter team pressing its offense strategy as a major peer loses focus on its core business. Into The Unknown “Action is inseparable from perception. Perception and action are so tightly coupled that they determined and define each other. Every action alters perception by changing the incoming sensory data, and every perception is the way it is in order to help guide action. There is simply no point to perception in the absence of action.” Anil Seth, Being You What does it mean to move into offense? One thing very clear to us, is that it has to be a dynamic and reflexive approach. It cannot be built into a three or five year plan and remain fixed over that duration. As Anil Seth’s work on consciousness explains, a highly conscious being is constantly ingesting and integrating information, evolving actions based on reliability, precision and conviction. As capital-markets focused investors, we believe one of the highest values we can provide to our companies is information that can be integrated into their offense and defense playbooks. Thanks to our collaborative approach, we get nearly daily recommendations and thoughts from our investors with new information, new case studies, and new suggestions on how to continue iterating. One of the biggest differentiations between good and great investments, that is often overlooked, is the value added by good capital allocation- be it with a very well-done merger, opportunistic buyback or even more, venture-style investments that are almost in no one’s “model” or perception. Small acquisitions that bring new tools and managers can often upgrade the business model. As Clayton Christensen suggested in The Big Idea: The New M&A Playbook, these are often the most overlooked investments. But during the quarter, when posed with the question of how to best allocate capital over the long term, I found myself tongue tied. For it’s a dynamic and reflexive question to ask. It’s easy to see what to do right now, and where to build in the next few years. But sound capital allocation is a function of the opportunities that present themselves. It is also about creating new possibilities, particular ones that competitors don’t see. At CTT, with defensive, problem-solving actions becoming less of a focus, attention can now turn to offense. What that looks like in the near term, at least to me, should be continued progress and convergence on the strategy to become the Shopify of Iberia. With Portugal e-commerce order frequency at very small fractions of neighboring Spain, we believe it is CTT’s responsibility to make itself the most convenient and most cost effective way of conducting commerce. Through more parcel lockers, better digital tools, while maintaining or improving on best-in-class quality of service, we believe much of the responsibility to make online the most convenient commerce channel in Portugal will fall on CTT’s shoulders. Going further with online shop enabling, more cost effective payments tools, and an integrated fulfillment offer, that continues through to returns and customer service, it has every tool it needs to enable this digital transition. This convergence is happening at the same time EU recovery stimulus dollars will be directed towards digitalizing the economy. Case studies like Kaspi, which started as a bank, evolved into a payments company, then launched an e-commerce marketplace and then further expanded into logistics, provide more inspiration than any company in the logistics industry. This reminds me of Google’s earliest days, when its managers encouraged their teams to ignore the traditional competitors and instead go where other competitors hadn’t dared to venture- into the unknown. We believe CTT has greater competitive advantages than some “new economy” companies playing throughout the same e-commerce value chain, often trading at significantly higher valuation multiples. Whether we’re talking about fulfillment services, parcel lockers, or alternative purchase financing, it’s the customer relationship that differentiates and builds competitive advantages. That is why one of the first priorities of the new management was to improve customer satisfaction. And while some analysts that cover the company still use traditional methods to frame the opportunity, the shareholder base has largely transitioned away from income-oriented investors. More like-minded shareholders, aligned with management, can enable the team to build something truly great. Building Great Companies “The urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” DaVinci What started for us as an approach to separate the bank from the industrial company, and achieve a sum of parts valuation, has been upgraded to that of building a great compound machine. As Exor articulated in 2019, its purpose to “build great companies,” is an aspirational philosophy for us. While we certainly aren’t doing the building here, perhaps through setting the right strategic priorities, incentives, and providing timely and right information, we can assist in the build underway. Exor has provided an exemplary model of how to enable its teams to build greater value by dividing, conquering, and then often later combining with more synergistic peers. Just like Anil Seth described, the whole must be greater than the sum of the parts in a highly conscious organization. When a company’s sum of the parts is greater than the total, the organization is not conscious, and therefor not capable of adding material value. Just as Exor has executed masterfully in its portfolio companies over the past decade, the path forward is one of both dividing and one of conquering. Extending the business and commerce services that CTT provides is a natural offense-oriented positioning that further reinforces the strength of the whole. But there are other parts of this organization that aren’t adding as much to the sum total- those can, and should be separated to pursue their own offense playbooks in a more focused and agile manner. Such an approach goes well beyond ESG, and it goes well beyond most other broker-oriented management teams. It is a highly conscious capitalist approach, aligned with long term value creation and sustainability. And that process should result in considerable returns as an effect, not as a goal. As owner operators’ short, medium, and long term benchmark outperformance demonstrates, this strong alignment between management and ownership is a championship-winning combination. Exhibit 2: Owner Operators’ Stock Index Outperformance Source: GreenWood Investors In the months ahead, we anticipate thoroughly engaging with the management and board of the target at the Builders Fund II. This company is mirroring CTT’s current posture, in that it is in the process of finishing nearly a decade of defense-oriented actions. After years of strategic actions focused on fixing problematic areas, contracts or business dynamics, most of these reactive or defensive actions are increasingly passing into the rearview mirror. It is entering a new phase of life in a position to also divide and conquer, and it has exceptional assets. With both coinvestments representing a substantial portion of our net exposure, we move forward with conviction. While this quarter was a lesson that we, nor our companies, can lose sight of a strong defense strategy, we are increasingly looking forward to our portfolio pressing offense strategies moving forward. Committed to deliver, Steven Wood, CFA GreenWood Investors Updated on Nov 24, 2021, 4:37 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 24th, 2021

Did Zillow’s $300 Million Flop Prove Me Wrong?

Every homeowner loves browsing Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ:ZG)… Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Zillow is America’s go-to website to look at homes for sale. And we’ve all checked out “Zestimate,” which estimates how much your house is worth. But a few years ago, Zillow jumped into a new business… The business of […] Every homeowner loves browsing Zillow Group Inc (NASDAQ:ZG)… if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Zillow is America’s go-to website to look at homes for sale. And we’ve all checked out “Zestimate,” which estimates how much your house is worth. But a few years ago, Zillow jumped into a new business… The business of buying and selling homes instantly, sight unseen. iBuying vs Flipping Houses I’m talking about “iBuying”… Imagine selling your home without listing it on the market? No open houses… no negotiation… no waiting months for the buyer to come up with the money. And all with a few taps on your smartphone. That was Zillow’s vision. Just type your address into Zillow’s app… submit a few photos… and Zillow would make you an offer within a couple of days. Zillow jumped headfirst into iBuying back in 2018… And estimated it would be buying 5,000 homes a month by 2024. Instead Zillow failed… and it’s slinking away from iBuying with its tail between its legs. In short, Zillow couldn’t make money “flipping” houses. It lost an average of $29,000 a home in Phoenix, for example. Zillow’s stock has cratered 30% since announcing its iBuying exit: I’m on record saying: “iBuying will transform how we buy and sell homes over the next decade.” Does Zillow’s blowup mean I’ve got it all wrong? Is iBuying a terrible business? NO. Opendoor's Revenues Surged 90% Just look at Opendoor Technologies Inc (NASDAQ:OPEN)… Opendoor pioneered iBuying in 2013. And just last week it achieved record results. Revenues surged 90% to $2.3 billion. It sold almost 6,000 homes and turned a profit on the average sale. As I mentioned, Zillow bled almost $30k on each house it flipped in Phoenix. Opendoor is in Phoenix too. Yet it’s raking in an average profit of $4,000 on each sale. How did Opendoor succeed when Zillow failed? Zillow is the place you go to see photos of your neighbor’s house. It’s the website you visit when you want to check how much your home is worth. But the company had no experience buying or selling homes. It dived into a business it knew nothing about. Opendoor was built from day one to value a home… buy it… and sell it for a profit. In other words, it was laser-focused on iBuying from Day 1. What can investors learn from Zillow’s blowup? It pays to bet on industry pioneers like Opendoor. But it’s just as important to avoid the “copycats.” Zillow is the latest example of a company jumping into a business it knew nothing about and failing. The Electric Cars Market For example, Ford Motor Company (NYSE:F) and General Motors Company (NYSE:GM) have been trying to make electric cars for decades. Remember Ford’s battery-powered Ranger from the late ‘90s? It sold a measly 1,500 trucks before scrapping the idea. GM released the EV1 in 1996. It cost $35,000… had a max range of 60 miles… and took four hours to charge. It only lasted three years. Problem was… automakers that spent 100 years perfecting engines and gearboxes had no expertise in building battery-powered cars. Then Tesla Inc (NASDAQ:TSLA) burst onto the scene with one goal in mind: building affordable EVs that drove hundreds of miles on a single charge. Tesla is now worth more than Ford, GM, and the next seven largest automakers, combined. Or do you remember Google’s attempt at creating a social network? Google’s social media arm, called “Google+,” was supposed to topple Facebook’s (NASDAQ:FB) stranglehold on social media. Instead… according to Google, the average user abandoned Google+ after just five seconds of use. Google Search is one of the greatest products in history. But social networks are a whole different ball game. Google wasn’t built to run one. Zillow’s Blowup Zillow’s blowup is all over the news right now. It’s convinced folks iBuying is a terrible, money-losing business. But remember: This isn’t an iBuying problem… it’s a Zillow problem. Opendoor is firing on all cylinders. It launched in five new markets in the past few months. Homeowners in 44 locations across America can now sell their homes by clicking a few buttons on Opendoor. Opendoor will buy your house sight unseen. And it’ll wire the cash into your bank account in as little as three days. Compare that to the traditional route, which averages two months from listing to closing. Unlike Zillow, Opendoor has been doing this from the beginning. And I don’t see its business slowing down anytime soon. Now is a great opportunity to invest in iBuying. Real estate is one of America’s biggest, most lucrative markets. Over $1.7 trillion worth of US real estate changes hands every year. The company that takes iBuying mainstream has the potential to be worth $1 trillion. Opendoor pioneered this business and is the clear leader. Have you dealt with iBuyers or traditional realtors recently? I want to hear your stories at Stephen@riskhedge.com. The Great Disruptors: 3 Breakthrough Stocks Set to Double Your Money" Get my latest report where I reveal my three favorite stocks that will hand you 100% gains as they disrupt whole industries. Get your free copy here. Article By Stephen McBride, Mauldin Economics Updated on Nov 23, 2021, 3:39 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 23rd, 2021

Millennials Collaborating to Attain the American Dream of Homeownership

The affordability issues in the housing market aren’t going away for younger buyers. The financial challenges hindering millennial homeownership have been well documented between overwhelming student loan debt and record-level home prices. However, some within the cohort are carving their own path to the American dream through teamwork. “Affordability is a key issue for young […] The post Millennials Collaborating to Attain the American Dream of Homeownership appeared first on RISMedia. The affordability issues in the housing market aren’t going away for younger buyers. The financial challenges hindering millennial homeownership have been well documented between overwhelming student loan debt and record-level home prices. However, some within the cohort are carving their own path to the American dream through teamwork. “Affordability is a key issue for young buyers or first-time homebuyers entering into the market with limited housing inventory, so pooling incomes with a roommate becomes a really good solution for many buyers to be able to enter into the housing market,” says Jessica Lautz, vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights for National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). Recent data from ATTOM Data Solutions, reported by the Wall Street Journal, suggests that the number of home and condo sales across the country by co-buyers has soared since millennials became the largest share of homebuyers in the U.S. in 2014. The number of co-buyers with different last names increased by 771% between 2014 and 2021, according to ATTOM. Like other market trends, the pandemic accelerated the trend, according to Lautz, who also suggests that declining marriage rates among younger generations have also contributed. Despite the generational lull in nuptials, that hasn’t kept buyers, particularly millennials, from pursuing homeownership. Based on NAR’s recently released 2021 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers report, for the third consecutive year, the share of unmarried couples that purchased a home accounted for 9% of the buyer pool. According to NAR’s data, the share of first-time buyers who were unmarried couples rose slightly to 17%. Navigating the Trend While co-buying isn’t a novel concept in real estate, experts and agents told RISMedia that it’s a worthwhile trend to keep an eye on, as affordability issues and student loan debt plague millennials—the largest cohort of buyers in the market. Along with working as an agent, Nicholas Ritacco is also a co-buyer. The New York-based Corcoran agent teamed up with his roommate to buy their first home during the pandemic to escape renting. Looking at the numbers, Ritacco says low mortgage rates since 2008—and record lows during the pandemic—presented an opportunity to finally tap into homeownership while living in or near more major metro areas. “The affordability is in our favor, and it is time-sensitive, whether it’s two, three or five years down the line, no one can predict, but I can tell you every point we go up is pricing out somebody,” he says. Compared with traditional buyer scenarios, Lautz suggests that agents work with their co-buying clients to identify long-term intentions for the property they are looking to buy and how they will address any life changes. “If someone gets a job on the other side of the country, are you going to rent the room that the roommate has been living in?” Lautz asks. Discussion over income between the clients is also essential, as Lautz notes that will become an issue when it comes time to divvy up the down payment and closing costs in very similar ways, so they are earning equity in the same way. “Questions like that may get into the nitty-gritty, but I do think it’s important for keeping that relationship and the home-buying transaction on track as well about what is realistic and what may not be realistic.” Having gone through it himself, Ritacco says that he also started working with friends that want to partner up to buy a home. Part of his guidance strategy is helping his clients identify their “exit strategy” before going into a co-buying partnership. This typically involves determining how long they intend to live in the property and how they want to approach selling or renting it out when one or more parties is ready to move. “You have to understand what your options are and what your rights are,” he says, noting that he gets “granular” with his clients when working out the details so that each party is comfortable entering into the deal from the beginning. “It’s really about understanding every step of the process and what is expected of everybody,” Ritacco says. “It’s a joint venture. You’re just changing it from that typical investment-focused agreement to adopting it for a joint venture for a primary.” According to agent Kate Wright at Better Home and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers in Atlanta, Georgia, taking a deep dive into buyer goals and expectations during an opening consultation is a helpful tool to mitigate future issues. “That way, I know what they are looking for and what their goals are, and I can direct them toward the best avenue for pursuing the purchase,” Wright says, adding that her market has been popular among millennial buyers because of its affordability. Wright’s pool of millennial co-buyers have already bought their first home and have joined friends to start investing in other properties. While she admits that her pool of first-time buyers co-buying is negligible in her market, broker Shonna Peterson at the Warmack Group with Keller Willams in Seattle says that the trend is popular with the millennial investment group. Peterson notes that investor buyers’ motivation focuses more on the numbers and turning a profit rather than living in the home primarily. Despite the difference in approaches and desired outcomes, Peterson indicates that managing emotions is essential to navigating millennial investors. “While they have a great grasp on the numbers, there does still tend to be an emotional component just because it’s human nature to get somewhat competitive when you know that the competition is stiff,” Peterson says. Legal Protection While the trend of co-buying opens doors to homeownership, it’s not without its challenges, which is why agents told RISMedia that they encourage their clients in co-buying situations to speak with legal experts. Real estate attorney Edwin Farrow recommends hashing things out in writing before closing on a home when it comes to co-buying partnerships. “What they’ve done is create a partnership, and partnerships can go bad,” Farrow says. “You need to know what happens in the event the partnership is dissolved, keeping in mind the fact that the bank doesn’t care that you’re friends and agreed to whatever you agreed to.” Farrow’s co-buying clientele typically consists of unmarried couples and family members teaming up to buy homes together. He indicates that getting a better understanding of the risks and benefits of teaming up to buy a property together is vital for any buyers looking to take this route toward homeownership. Eric Smith, a real estate attorney with Timoney Knox in Fort Washington, Pennsylvania, echoed similar sentiments, adding that the biggest problem that he notices among co-buyers is that many tend to bypass getting a written agreement before closing on their home. If the partnership doesn’t end amicably, Smith says a written agreement could save buyers “tens of thousands of dollars in attorney fees” if their friendship or relationship dissolves and they end up selling the property. “In the end, it will be costly to prove that the person who paid the down money is entitled to get it all back or any of it back,” he says. By default, Smith says tenants in common (TIC) is the route that clients take. The option gives each property owner an “undivided interest of the whole thing in equal shares.” “It essentially means that each owns a slice of the pie,” Smith says, adding that shares can be passed on to an heir in the event of a death. A joint tenancy with the right of survivorship is another route, Smith explains, noting that each partner owns the whole property together, and the last of them to die would keep everything. “You could also imagine a circumstance where you might have a number of people who buy a piece of property as legitimate business partners,” Smith says. He thinks the best option is to buy with an entity—like a limited liability company—so parties can have an operating agreement for the property. “It just makes it easier to manage,” Smith opines. Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jgrice@rismedia.com. The post Millennials Collaborating to Attain the American Dream of Homeownership appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaNov 23rd, 2021

How JPMorgan is battling to beat fintechs at their own game

Here's the latest news on JPMorgan's fintech partnerships and acquisition strategy, top tech leaders, and CEO Jamie Dimon's views on the competition. Jamie Dimon has been CEO of JPMorgan since 2005.Jim Watson/AFP via Getty Images JPMorgan, headed up by CEO Jamie Dimon since 2005, is the biggest US bank by assets. Dimon has said the bank will spend as necessary to compete with threats like buy now, pay later. The bank has also been on a spree of buying and partnering with fintechs.  Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. JPMorgan is the biggest US bank by assets and a bellwether for the global financial system — so when the firm's senior leaders talk, Wall Street pays attention. On the bank's third-quarter earnings call in October, analysts asked leaders how JPMorgan was responding to the threat posed by fintechs and buy now, pay later players like Affirm and Klarna. CEO Jamie Dimon said the firm would spend "whatever it takes" to beat the competition, adding that as companies expand beyond just BNPL into other offerings like debit cards, they become even more of a threat. "These are all different forms of competition which we have to respond to," Dimon said. The bank has taken steps in this direction through several consumer-facing acquisitions so far in 2021. That buying spree included a deal for The Infatuation, a restaurant-review website that owns Zagat, which will be incorporated into the bank's cards-rewards business. And JPMorgan has a $12 billion annual budget for internal tech development.Read more about JPMorgan's battle with fintechs:JPMorgan is still on the hunt for more fintechs, but valuations are getting so crazy it's trying to find 'niche' deals overseasJPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon is willing to spend whatever it takes to battle the buy now, pay later threatJPMorgan's Marianne Lake said buy now, pay later has a 'natural ceiling' when it comes to acquiring new customersJPMorgan is scooping up startups. Here's a rundown of what the bank's buying — and why.JPMorgan is buying restaurant-site The Infatuation, as Wall Street battles for big spenders on dining and travelJPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon wants to win the war against fintechs, expecting 'tough, brutal' competition in the next 10 yearsInside JPMorgan's massive tech org Lori Beer, JPMorgan's global chief information officerEric Kayne/AP Images for JPMorgan Chase & Co.JPMorgan has a $12 billion annual tech budget, employs 53,000 technologists, and houses 500 petabytes of data. Underpinning all of that is Lori Beer, JPMorgan's global chief information officer, and her team of top tech brass.Beer joined JPMorgan in 2014 as the CIO of corporate and investment banking. In 2017 she was named global CIO and joined the bank's operating committee, reporting directly to Jamie Dimon, the CEO and chairman.Insider mapped out the key tech executives at JPMorgan who report to Beer and help her lead the bank's massive tech org. Many on her team are focused on specific business lines. There are chief information officers appointed to divisions like corporate and investment banking, asset and wealth management, and consumer and community banking. Some executives work across the bank, focusing on areas like employee experience and technology architecture.Keep reading: Inside JPMorgan's multi-cloud strategy: Here's why the bank's global infrastructure CIO says it's the 'winning' approach even as rivals pick primary cloud providersHow JPMorgan organizes its massive tech org: Global CIO Lori Beer's 8 key execs helping her manage the firm's $12 billion tech budget.A leadership reshuffle puts Allison Beer in the spotlight.Allison Beer is the the new CEO of Chase's card business.Allison BeerJPMorgan announced in September that Alison Beer would take over as CEO of cards for Chase, its consumer-banking division. She's the third woman in a row to run the bank's cards business, and she stepped into the role after Marianne Lake was promoted this spring to co-lead the firm's massive consumer and community banking business alongside Jennifer Piepszak. Most recently, Beer was Chase's chief product officer, and she's held multiple roles since joining the firm in 2017: head of customer experience and digital; head of corporate development for banking and payments; and head of payments partnerships for Chase digital.Her promotion comes after months of leadership reshuffling at the firm, which kicked off with the promotion of Lake and Piepszak this spring. The pair took over running CCB from Gordon Smith, who is retiring at the end of the year from his roles as co-president and co-chief operating officer of the firm and CEO of CCB, leaving Dan Pinto to be JPMorgan's sole president and COO.All had been rumored to be potential CEO successors to Dimon, who at 65 is Wall Street's longest-serving CEO of a big bank. JPMorgan this summer granted Dimon a big stock award that pays off as the firm's shares rise, and he has to stay around five more years to collect it. Dimon's long-term stewardship, management-succession planning, and JPMorgan's strong performance since 2005 were some of the factors considered in granting the award, the bank said in a filing. Read more: JPMorgan's CIO for commercial banking will now head up product for the division as the bank elevates more tech leaders to business rolesThe battle to be JPMorgan's next CEO is heating up. Here are 5 people in the running to succeed Jamie Dimon.JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon has another reason to stick around. Here's what it means for retirement planning and succession.JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon says he intends to stay in his role for a 'significant amount of time' despite a recent leadership shake up hinting at his succession planJPMorgan just named 2 new co-heads of consumer banking, and the leadership shakeup gives clues to who could eventually take over from CEO Jamie DimonOther recent JPMorgan news:A JPMorgan tech banker is jumping ship to Zoom to lead M&A strategy as the videoconferencing giant hunts for deals to keep its explosive growth going post-pandemicCiti just nabbed a JPMorgan exec to lead its new e-commerce sales team as the space booms. Read the full memo sent to employees.JPMorgan's private-bank CEO is gearing up to go on a hiring spree to add 1,500 advisors. Here's why he's targeting talent in Florida and California.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 22nd, 2021

Learning From James Dyson

When you look back in history at some of mankind’s greatest achievements, one of the things that stands out in almost every case is that those successes came with a lot of blood, sweat and tears and an incredible amount of persistence. Often what appeared on the surface to be an “overnight success’’ actually took […] When you look back in history at some of mankind’s greatest achievements, one of the things that stands out in almost every case is that those successes came with a lot of blood, sweat and tears and an incredible amount of persistence. Often what appeared on the surface to be an “overnight success’’ actually took years to achieve. Henry Ford and his self-propelled vehicle, Walt Disney and his animated pictures, Alexander Bell and his telephone and even the Wright Brothers and their aeroplane; all were examples of people who failed many, many times before they eventually succeeded, often facing distressing financial hardship along the way. 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 Our Icahn eBook! Get our entire 10-part series on Carl Icahn and other famous investors in PDF for free! Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet or print it! Sign up below. NO SPAM EVER (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more But if you were one of these people and were inventing something that could be potentially momentous and change things forever, at what point would you give up after encountering multiple failures? After 10 attempts? 50? What about 1,000? You’d have to think you were on a road to nowhere if you had failed that many times. So how about 5,127 times? How does that grab you? Incredibly, that’s the number of hand-made prototypes James Dyson built over a four year period before he finally achieved success with his cyclonic vacuum cleaner. Labouring through trial and error, Dyson overcame a brutal patent abuse, endless rejections from both venture capitalists and the world’s leading appliance manufacturers whilst managing an ever expanding overdraft he didn’t extinguish until the age of forty-eight. Contrast that with today, Sir James Dyson is the UK’s fourth richest resident with a net worth of c.US$9.7 billion. Dyson struck on the idea of a cyclonic vacuum from his experience manufacturing his first product, the ‘Ballbarrow.’ Applying paint to the metal frame created havoc in the factory - excess waste and mess. Seeking a solution, Dyson asked around the trade and eventually arrived at a cyclonic separator. He recalled, ‘I found the centrifuge dust extraction principle of the cyclonic separator utterly fascinating.’ James Dyson’s recently published memoir, ‘James Dyson - Invention: A Life,’ is a tale of constant innovation, incredible challenges overcome and the deep resilience required to create one of today’s leading technology companies. One of my favourite insights from the book relates to the opportunity set afforded Dyson by the vacuum industry’s incumbent players. Hamilton Helmer labelled this power ‘Counter-Positioning’ in his best-selling book on competitive strategy, ‘7 Powers.’ The opportunity arises when a newcomer adopts a new, superior business model which the incumbent doesn’t mimic due to anticipated damage to their existing business. In the case of vacuum cleaners, the incumbents were making billions selling replacement bags to their customers. Why create a product which puts at risk that perpetual revenue stream? If there’s one thing I’ve noticed about successful business founders, it’s that there is no straight line to success. Without perseverance and resilience beyond the scope of all but the rarest of people, these businesses would die on the vine. I’ve included some of my favourite extracts below. Failure and 'Trial & Error' “This might sound boring and tedious to the outsider. I get that. But when you have set yourself an objective that, if reached, might pioneer a better solution to existing technologies and products, you become engaged, hooked and even one-track-minded. Folklore depicts invention as a flash of brilliance. That eureka moment! But it rarely is, I’m afraid. It is more about failure than ultimate success. I even thought about calling this book ‘James Dyson: Failure’, but was talked out of it because it might give the wrong impression.” “The failures began to excite me. ‘Wait a minute, that should have worked, now why didn’t it?’” “Research is about conducting experiments, accepting and even enjoying failures, but going on and on, following a theory garnered from observing the science. Invention is often more about endurance and patient observation than brainwaves.” “Learning by trail and error, or experimentation, can be exciting, the lessons learned deeply ingrained. Learning by failure is a remarkably good way of gaining knowledge. Failure is to be welcomed, rather than avoided. It should not be feared by the engineer or scientist or indeed by anyone else.” “The Ballbarrow - my first consumer product, my first solo effort - was a failure but one from which I learned valuable lessons. There was a lesson about assigning patents, another about not having shareholders. I learned the importance of having absolute control of my company and not undervaluing it.” “One of the really important principles I learned to apply was changing only one thing at a time to see what difference that one change made. People think that a breakthrough is arrived by a spark of brilliance or even a eureka thought in the bath. I wish it were for me. Eureka moments are very rare. More usually, you start off by testing a particular set-up, and by making one change at a time you start to understand what works and what fails. By that empirical means you begin the journey towards making the breakthrough, which usually happens in an unexpected way.” “I worked on the [production] line for two weeks to understand how to make the vacuum cleaner more efficiently and have watched all of our lines ever since .. I learned which components were difficult to assemble and encouraged our engineers to visit lines frequently. Most importantly, this experience helped me look as all our subsequent products to understand where production inefficiencies fell.” “Of the 5,127 prototypes I made in the coach house of the cyclone technology for my first vacuum cleaner, all but the very last one were failures. And yet, as well as painstakingly solving a problem, I was also going through a process of self-education and learning. Each failure taught me something and was a step towards a working model. I have been questioning things and learning every day ever since.” “Learning by doing, Learning by trial and error. Learning by failing. These are all effective forms of education.” “When I was trying, unsuccessfully, to raise capital to start my vacuum cleaner business, all the venture capitalists turned me down, with one even saying that they might consider the opportunity if I had someone heading up the company from the domestic appliance industry. This was at a time when that industry was vanishing from Britain because, taken as a whole, its products were uncompetitive.” Life Lessons “Every day is a form of education.” “It was playing games, however, that taught me the need to train hard and to understand teamwork and tactics. The planning of surprise tactics, and the ability to adapt to circumstance, are vital life lessons. These virtues are unlikely to be learned from academic life and certainly not from learning by rote.” “Long-distance running taught me to overcome the pain barrier: when everyone else feels exhausted, that is the opportunity to accelerate, whatever the pain, and win the race. Stamina and determination along with creativity are needed in overcoming seemingly impossible difficulties in research and other life challenges.” “Doing things with my hands, often as an autodidact and with an almost absence of fear, became second nature. Learning by making things was as important as learning by the academic route. Visceral experience is a powerful teacher. Perhaps we should pay more attention to this form of learning. Not everyone learns in the same way.” Creativity & Invention “In order to stay ahead we need to focus increasingly on our creativity.” “At Dyson, we don’t particularly value experience. Experience tells you what you ought to do and what you’d do best to avoid. It tells you how things should be done when we are much more interested in how things shouldn’t be done. If you want to pioneer and invent new technology you need to step into the unknown and, in that realm, experience can be a hindrance.” “[You] need to listen to your customers, aiming to improve products wherever necessary and, if you are an inventor, simply for improvements sake. This is not to say we at Dyson ask our customers what they want and build it. That type of focus-group-led designing may work inn the very short term, but not for long.” “I still find myself saying and putting into practice some of the same things Jeremy Fry [an early mentor/employer] said and did when I worked for him half a century ago. As an inventor, engineer and entrepreneur, he believed in taking on young people with no experience because this way he employed those with curious, unsullied and open minds.” “The inventing mind knows instinctively that there are always further questions to be asked and new discoveries to be made.” “The Land Rover, the Swiss Army penknife, the Citroen 2CV, the Bell 47 helicopter and Alec Issigoni’s Mini - what I liked so much about these machines - and my affection for them remains undimmed - is their ingenuity and the fact that the power of invention invested in them made for designs that re-imagined and revolutionised their market sectors and even created wholly new markets. And yet, for all their functionality, each is a highly individual product with a character and charm of its own. What is equally interesting is that these radical machines made use of pre-existing ideas and components.” “A design might be considered ahead of its time and, sometimes because of this, even ridiculous. The hugely successful Sony Walkman was dismissed when first launched because who could possibly want a tape recorder that couldn’t record. And it was received knowledge, until Volkswagen and, later, Honda crossed the Atlantic with the Beetle and the Accord that Americans were wedded resolutely to big cars.” “The Sony Walkman is another fascinating success story because, at first, its design appeared to defy common sense. Priced at $150, the compact silver and blue Walkman wasn’t cheap, while within Sony it was controversial and brave because it was unable to record, and no one made a ‘tape recorder’ that wouldn’t do so before… With lightweight foam headphones and no function other than playback, the Walkman emerged. The press lampooned it. Even the name was ridiculous. The Japanese press was wrong, although the market hadn’t known it wanted a tiny personal stereo. When it saw the attractive little device, and heard it in action, it fell in love with it… By the mid-1980’s, the word had entered the Oxford English Dictionary. Sony’s Masura Ibuka - one of the Japanese company’s founders - hoped to sell 5,000 Walkmans a month. He sold 50,000 in the first two months. By the time production ended in Japan in 2010, more than 400 million had been sold worldwide.” “Without entrepreneurship, an inventor may not be able to bring their radical or revolutionary products to the marketplace or at least not under their own control. Without becoming an entrepreneur, they have to licence their technology, putting them at the mercy of other companies that may or may not have a long-term commitment to a particular new idea or way of thinking about the future.” “The idea [for the cyclonic vacuum cleaner] had been in my head since welding up the giant metal cyclone for the Ballbarrow factory. Now it made increasing sense. Here was a field - the vacuum cleaner industry - where there has been no innovation for years, so the market ought to be ripe for something new. And, because houses need cleaning throughout the year, a vacuum cleaner is not, like my Ballbarrow, a seasonal product. It is also recession proof. Every household needs one. It seemed to tick all the boxes. In any case, I’d used one since childhood and knew from experience that there had to be a better vacuum cleaner.” “If you believe you can achieve something - whether as a long distance runner or maker of a wholly new type of vacuum cleaner - then you have to give the project 100% of your creative energy. You have to believe that you’ll get there in the end. You need determination, patience and willpower.” “Bio-mimicry is clearly a powerful weapon in an engineer’s armoury.” “It’s a part of the Dyson story that I made 5,127 prototypes to get a model I could set about licensing. This is indeed the exact number. Testing and making one change after another was time-consuming. This, though, was necessary as I needed to follow up and prove or disprove every theory I had. And, however frustrating, I refused to be defeated by failure. All of the 5,126 I rejected - 5,126 so-called failures - were part of the process of discovery and improvement before getting it right on the 5,127th time. Failure, as I had already begun to learn with my experience with the Ballbarrow business is very important. I find it important to repeat that we do, or certainly should, learn from our mistakes and we should be free to make them.” “Every judgement in science stands on the edge of error and is personal… I have long had great admiration for engineers like Alec Issigonis [designed the Mini] and Andrew Lefebvre of Citroen .. they questioned orthodoxy, experimented, took calculated risks, stood on the edge of error and got things right. And when they got there, they continued to ask questions.” “One of the ways we made Dyson distinctive is by not allowing ourselves to rest on our laurels.” “A jet engine spins at 15,000 rpm, a Formula 1 engine at 19,000 rpm and a conventional vacuum cleaner motor at 30,000 rpm. Why go very much faster? Although at the time we were neither designers nor manufacturers of electric motors, we wanted to come up with a breakthrough in their design, creating a quantum leap in performance: many times faster, much lighter and smaller, brushless for a longer life and no emissions, more electrically efficient and above all controllable for speed, power and consumption.. The turbine speed we initially aimed for was 120,000 rpm.. Today, Dyson pioneers the world’s smallest high-speed motors. These have enabled us to reinvent the vacuum cleaner again with a pioneering new Dyson format. They have also allowed us to improve products in wholly new areas.” “People often ask if we would supply other companies with our motors. Although it might be profitable to do so, we supply no one other than ourselves. This is because I want Dyson engineers to be 100% focused on our next exciting motor development and not retrofitting our motors to someone else’s product.” “With each new motor we aimed to double its power output and halve it’s weight.” “We had been experimenting for some time with blades of air and working with sophisticated computational fluid-dynamics models for a project that remains secret… We had accidentally developed a new form of hand dryer. What’s more it didn’t need a heater… It has a carbon footprint six times smaller than that of paper towels… Despite our inroads, the paper towel industry retains 90% of the hand-drying market, worth billions of dollars each year. The big players want to defend a highly lucrative status quo.” “As often happens, our observations during the development of the Dyson Airblade hand dryer led us to the principles used in other products, like our Air Multiplier fans and, in turn, to heaters, humidifiers and air purifiers.” “For me, [the hairdryer] was another of those products, used frequently by hundreds of millions of people, stuck in a technological time warp. Existing hairdryers were heavy and uncomfortable to use.” “Ever since the Industrial Resolution, inventions had tended to compound inventions.” “It is hard for other people to understand or get excited about an entirely new idea. This requires self-reliance and faith on part of the inventor. I can also see that it is hard for an outsider to understand the challenge and thrill of inventing new technology, designing and manufacturing the product then selling it to the world.” “After the event, a revolutionary new idea can look so obvious - surely no one could possibly have doubted it? At their conception, though, new ideas are not blindingly obvious. They are fragile things in need of encouragement and nurturing against doubting Thomases, know-it-alls and so-called experts. Just as Frank Whittle discovered, it is easy for people to say ‘no,’ to dismiss new ideas and to be stick-in-the-muds, pessimists, or even cynics. It is much harder to see how something unexpected might be a success.” “We certainly have taken big risks, with the digital electric motors, the washing machine, the electric car and our research into solid-state batteries. Not all have been commercially successful. That is the point. By its very nature, pioneering will not always be successful, otherwise it would be all too easy. We don’t start these ventures with the inevitability of success - we are all to aware we may well fail.” Obliquity “Inventors rarely set out to make money per se, and if they do theirs is more often than not a pipe dream.” “I didn’t work on those 5,127 vacuum cleaner prototypes or even set up Dyson to make money. I did it because I had a burning desire to do so. And as do my thousands of colleagues, I find inventing, researching, testing, designing and manufacturing both highly creative and deeply satisfying.” Focus Groups & Experts “Just before the launch of the Mini car, Austin Morris did indeed consult a focus group, and nobody wanted this tiny car with small wheels. So they cut the production lines down to one. When the public saw it on the street, they were most enthusiastic for it. Austin Morris never caught up with demand, missing out on serious profits.” “The bestselling British car of all time is the Mini - If market research had ruled Alec Issigoni’s roost at BMC, it would never had existed… Alec’s view [was] that ‘market research is bunk’ and that one should ‘never copy the opposition.’” “I am cautious of experts .. Experts tend to be confident that they have all the answers and because of this trait, they can kill new ideas. But when you are trying to break new ground, you have no interest in getting stuck in engineering conventions or intellectual mud.” “Venture capitalists proved to be no help. [Six] venture capitals turned me down.” “I had been warned that at £200, or at least three times as expensive as most other vacuum cleaners, the DC01 would prove to be too expensive. It sold really well.” “The marketing team, who I listened to, said to me, ‘If you make it £200 cheaper you will sell a lot more [Dyson washing machines],’ and I believed them. We made it £200 cheaper and sold exactly the same number at £899.99 as we had a £1,089 and ended up losing even more money. I had made a classic mistake. This might sound counter-intuitive, but I should have increased the price. The Contrarotator was not meant to be a low cost washing machine.” “Although there is no guarantee of success, disruptive ideas can revolutionise a company and its finances through intuition, imagination and risk-taking as opposed to market research, business plans and strategic investment.” “Early on in our story, the [Dyson vacuum cleaner’s] clear bin was another ‘clear’ example of going our own way regardless. Trusting our own instincts, we decided to ignore the research and the retailers. Pete and I had been developing the vacuum cleaner and we loved seeing the dust and the dirt. We didn’t want to hide all the hard work the machine had done. Going against established ‘experts’ was a huge risk. No one could confirm that what we were doing was a good idea. Everyone, in fact, confirmed the reverse. The data were all against it. If, however, we had believed ‘the science’ and not trusted our instincts, we would have ended up following the path of dull conformity.” Innovation, Constant Improvement & Change “I greatly admire Soichiro Honda for his addiction to the continuous improvement of products. and Takeo Fujisawa. Their genius was to think against the grain while focusing on continuous improvement. The company [Honda] continues to invest a sizeable chunk of its income into R&D, aiming for constant improvement and innovation.” “Rather like the way some sharks have to keep moving to stay alive, innovative engineering-led manufacturers need continuous innovation to stay competitive. Striving for new and better products is often what defines such companies. At Dyson, we never stand still. In a quarter of a century, we have gone from making a revolutionary vacuum cleaner to prototypes of a radical electric car. Invention tends to compound invention and companies need to be set up for this.” “What was exciting is that, although our main focus was the vacuum cleaner, our thinking was that of a tech company. How else could we evolve cyclonic technology? What other uses could we put it to?” “Investment in new technologies requires many leaps of faith and huge financial commitment over long periods.” “I believe that it is critical to keep on improving and never to relax with a product that appears to be selling well. Permanently dissatisfied is how an engineer should feel.” “Our product development process is now truly a twenty-four hours a day process.” “What I can say is that if you came back to see what Dyson’s up to in five, ten, twenty or a hundred years from now, whether with our products or through our farms, things will be very different indeed. It’s all tremendously exciting and we should have cause for optimism.” “Every day is an adventure and a response to the unexpected. Even if things appear to be in some kind of stasis, a company must move on. It has to get better, evolve and improve in order to survive. There is no greater danger than satisfaction.” “What we do know is that companies always have to change to get better at what they do, plan to do and even dream of doing in the future. The adage that the only certainty is change is true, and this means not being afraid of change even if, for a company, it means dismantling what you have built in order to rebuild it stronger or killing your own successful product with a better one, as we did with our new format battery vacuum cleaners.” Counter-Positioning “Anyone watching me at work might reasonably have wondered why Electrolux and Hoover weren’t making and selling a vacuum cleaner like mine. With all their resources, surely they could have leaped ahead of me - one man and his dog, as it were, in a rural coach house - and cornered the market between them. There were though, at least three good reasons why they didn’t even think of pursuing a similar path to me. One, which went without saying, was that the ‘No Loss of Suction’ vacuum cleaner had yet to be invented. The second was that the vacuum cleaner bag replacement business was highly profitable. And the third, to my surprise, was that well established electrical goods companies seemed remarkably uninterested in new technology. With no outside challenges, they could afford to rest on their laurels. For the moment at least.” “I went to see Electrolux, Hotpoint, Miele, Siemens, Bosch, AEG, Philips - the lot - and was rejected by every one of them. Although frustrating, what I did learn is that none of them was interested in doing something new and different. They were, as I had already understood, more interested in defending the vacuum cleaner bag market, worth more than $500 million in Europe alone at the time. Here, though was an opportunity. Might consumers be persuaded to stop spending so much on replacement bags, which, by the way, are made of spun plastic and are not biodegradable, and opt for a bag-less vacuum cleaner that offered constant suction instead? If so, I might stand a chance against these established companies.” Multi-Disciplinary Approach “I loved my time at the Royal College of Art not least because of its lively and inventive cross-disciplinary approach. Here, as I progressed, I realised that art and science, inventing and making, thinking and doing could be one and the same thing. I dared to dream that I could be an engineer, designer and manufacturer at one and the same time.” Commerciality & The ‘Art of Selling’ “Inventions, though, no matter how ingenious and exciting, are of little use unless they can be translated through engineering and design into products that stimulate or meet a need and can sell.” “Even the most worthwhile and world changing inventions, from ballpoint pen to the Harrier Jump Jet, need to be a part of the process of making and selling to succeed.” “Selling goes with manufacturing as wheels do with a bicycle. It is far more than flogging second-hand cars or contraband wristwatches. Products do not walk off shelves and into people’s homes, And when a product is entirely new, the art of selling is needed to explain it. What it is. How it works. Why you might need and want it.” “Jeremy Fry taught me not to try to pressure people into buying but to ask them lots of questions about what they did, how they worked and what they might expect of a new product. Equally, I learned that most people don’t really know exactly what they want, or if they do it’s only from what they know , what is available or possible at the time. As Henry Ford said, famously if he asked American farmers what they wanted in terms of future transport, they would have answered ‘faster horses.’ You need to show them new possibilities, new ideas and new products and explain these as lucidly as possible. Dyson advertising focuses on how our products are engineered and how they work, rather than on gimmicks and snappy sales lines.” “Word of mouth and editorial remain the best way to tell people what you have done. It is far more believable than advertising and a real compliment when intelligent journalists want to go off and talk about your product on their own free will. If you have new technology and a new product, a journalist’s opinion and comment is far more important and believable than an advertisement.” “Within eighteen months, the DC01 vacuum cleaner was the biggest seller in the UK market. Our first sales were through hefty mail order catalogues. These devoted a few pages to vacuum cleaners. We were among the last pages, at the bottom, with a small, square picture of the DC01… Ours was the most expensive in these catalogues by some margin and they were not the sort of place you would expect expensive items to be sold. Both we and the buyers at the catalogue were, in fact, astonished that DC01 did so well through their pages, with repeat orders coming in. I have never, though, believed that someone’s income is a bar to them wanting to buy the best product and a vacuum cleaner is an important purchase.” “We decided to highlight the Achilles’ heel of other vacuums - the bag and its shortcomings.” “I love the fact we tackled prosaic products, making the vacuum cleaner into a high-performance machine.” “From the beginning we decided that we would create our own publicity materials and advertising. We would not use outside agencies. This is because we want to talk fearlessly about technology, which, of course is what had driven Dyson into being. Since we have developed the technology, we should know how to explain it to others.” “I didn’t want anyone to buy our vacuum cleaner through slick advertising. I wanted them to buy it because it performed. We could be straightforward in what we said, explaining things simply and clearly.” “I believe that trustworthiness and loyalty come from striving to develop and make high performing products and then looking after customers who have bought them. I am not a believer in the theory that great marketing campaigns can replace great products. What you say should be true to who you are.” Manufacturing “Experience taught me that, ideally, a manufacturer - Dyson certainly - should aim to source as little as possible from outside the company. Those of us who drove British cars made in the 1970’s know pretty much exactly why. Poor assembly aside, what often let these cars down were components sourced from poor-quality external suppliers. Electrical failures were legion.” “Obviously at Dyson we cannot make absolutely everything on own own, but we work with suppliers so that they are in tune with us, with our manufacturing standards and our values. Because what we’re doing is special and different, we can’t go to a company like Foxconn, for example. which makes well known American, Canadian, Chinese, Finnish & Japanese electronic products. Those products are mostly made from off-the-shelf components. We design our own components. We don’t buy them off the shelf.” “You can manufacture good-quality, pioneering technology much more readily when you sit side by side with your suppliers rather than 10,000 miles away in a different time zone.” “We build close relationships with owners of factories so we can build our machines in their premises. The tooling, assembly lines and test stations are ours and we control the purchasing and quality. We don’t approach a sub-contractor and say, ‘Make me a product of this or this design.’ We tend to go to outfits which have never made vacuum cleaners before or hairdryers, robots, fans and heaters or purifiers or lights, and we teach their people to make things using our production methods. It’s a heavily engaged and involved process of learning and improvement.” “We need other factories because, expanding at the rate of 25% each year, we simply couldn’t cope with the planning and building of new factories even in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philiipines.” Going Global “I knew that if Dyson was to be a successful technology company, rather than just a British vacuum cleaner manufacturer, we couldn’t be Little Englanders. We needed to become global, and quickly. England, and the rest of the United Kingdom, is simply not a big enough market on its own to sustain the constant and huge investment technology requires.” “In 2004, we took the DC12 cylinder vacuum to Japan, calling it the ‘Dyson City.’ It was engineered specifically for the tiny, perfectly formed homes of Japan. We were amazed by its success. Within three months it had captured 20% of the Japanese market.” “Dyson has become as much an Asian business as a British one: our products are sold in eighty-three countries around the world, so we are arguably a truly global company. Having started in Britain and consistently grown in Britain, we, for some time now, sell over 95% of our products in our global markets.” Acquisitions “We are not in the business of buying up other companies. It may be a quick way to acquire technology or a business that would augment a company, but it can be difficult to assimilate the people and their ways of doing things. Usually, I feel, it’s better to start your own research project or your own business, which, although slower to begin with, develops organically and is stronger for it.” Dyson Electric Car “Because of the shifting commercial sand, we made the decision to pull out of production [of our electric car] at the very last minute. N526 was a brilliant car. Very efficient motors. Very aerodynamic. Wonderful to drive and be driven in. We just couldn’t ever have made money from it, and for all our enthusiasm for the project we were not prepared to risk the rest of Dyson.” “Fortunately, we were able to stomach the £500 million cost and survive. We did, though, push ourselves to learn a great deal in areas including batteries, robotics, air treatment, and lighting. We also learned more about virtual engineering as a tool in the design process and how, we would be able to make products more quickly and less expensively. These were all valuable lessons for the future.” Private Company & Long Term Thinking “Today, Dyson is a global company. I own it, and this really matters to me. It remains a private company. Without shareholders to hold back, we are free to take long-term and radical decisions. I have no interest in going public with Dyson because I know that this would spell the end of the company’s freedom to innovate in the way it does.” “When you own the whole company, and especially if you are free of debt, from the early days and for better or worse, all decisions are your own. So you take these very seriously and follow your own view of risk balanced, hopefully, with reward. This certainly sharpens the mind.” “We’re one family-owned company following its interest and passions.” “The advantages of a family business are that they can think in the very long term, and invest in the long term, in ways public companies are unable to do. I also believe that family-owned enterprises have a spirit, conscience and philosophy often lacking in public companies.” Win-Win & ESG “In our first year in Currys [retailer], Mark Souhami, one of the bosses alongside the founder Stankley Kalms, invited me to lunch with them both. They explained that because of Dyson they were now making a profit in their vacuum cleaner section and he wanted more Dyson products.” “I have always loathed companies that use ‘greenwash’ as part of their marketing. I would rather reduce our environmental impact quietly and by action. We were, and remain, a company primarily of engineers and because of this we have sought from the outset to use as little energy or materials as possible to solve or complete one particular task. Lean engineering is good engineering.” “For me, as for all Dyson engineers, lightness - lean engineering and material efficiency - is a guiding principle. Using less material means using less energy in the process of making things. It also means lighter products that need less energy to power them and are easier to handle and so more pleasurable to use.” “Dyson has always focused on making long-lasting machines that use fewer resources while achieving higher performance. Lighter machines resulting from developing new technology and reinventing the format, consumer less energy and are not only better for the planet but also more pleasurable to use. Our cord-free vacuum cleaners, for instance, are a fraction of the weight and use a fraction of the electricity than their predecessors did. This has come about by taking an entirely different approach and developing new technology, motors and batteries, from the ground up.” “We must move ever closer to a culture whereby we minimise the use of materials through lean engineering along with the recycling of products at the end of their lives. It’s not just okay to politely offset our carbon footprint. We have to deal with it at source.” “As Dyson, we are trying at every turn to touch the ground lightly in everything we do, to make more from less and to create a circular system through which we aim to recycle everything we use.” Removing Middlemen “Over the past three years we had been striving to sell more products direct to our customers ourselves, either online or through Dyson Demo stores. By early 2021 we had 356 Dyson stores. We have been opening them around the world so that customers can try our Dyson products in the best possible way. There are two reasons for this. First, we like to have a direct relationship with our customers, who are buying our product for which we are responsible, and we want to know how we can help them. Secondly, retailers around the world are declining in numbers and sales. They are nothing like the force they were, due of course to the decline of the high street and the rise of internet shopping. If you want to buy from a website, why not buy from the Dyson website! Why not deal directly with the manufacturer?’” “When I started out with the vacuum cleaner business, wholesales and retailers made most of the money .. which is why today a lot of our sales at Dyson are direct.” “Cutting out the middleman, and those who add no value, ought to be a popular national campaign. It would mean a possibility of profit for risk takers and producers, and lower prices for consumers.” Listen to Customers “Listening to what our users say is gold dust and I really enjoy reading or hearing about complaints. We devised a system of reporting all remarks heard by customers in stores or by store salespeople from all over the world, so that everyone in the company can see this priceless intelligence.” Optimism “I have great faith that science and technology can solve problems, from more sustainable and efficient products to the production of more and better food, and a more sustainable world. It is technological and scientific breakthroughs, far more than messages of doom, that will lead to this world. We need to go forwards optimistically into the future as if into the light, and with bright new ideas rather than darkness and end to human ingenuity portrayed by doomsayers.” “The depressing thing is that harbingers of doom and gloom get far more attention than optimists and problem solvers. I feel very strongly that progress should be embraced and encouraged, and it is a duty of governments and companies to catalyse the ideas of the progressive and harness them to achieve good ends.” Summary Most people would consider someone who’d failed 5,126 times and succeeded just once, a failure. Yet, that’s exactly what James Dyson did. That one success was the acorn that grew into a $US10 billion dollar fortune (talk about asymmetric returns!) There’s a myriad of lessons for inventors, investors and entrepreneurs in the pages of this book. Many of the lessons are equally applicable to each endeavour; maintaining focus, taking a long term view, continuously learning, challenging conventional wisdom and adopting a multi-disciplinary mindset. As you delve into the story an investment case emerges and the pieces of the puzzle start to fit together. An inventive fanatic full of passion, tenacity, resilience and self-belief recognises a prosaic industry that’s been neglected by technology and ripe for disruption. The target market is huge and somewhat immune from the vagaries of the economic cycle. A kernel of inventive insight, a variant perception on consumers preparedness to pay more for quality products and constant iteration leads to the development of a revolutionary product. Driven by a purpose beyond wealth accumulation (obliquity), a ‘technology’ business emerges. Full control of the ecosystem and intellectual property become further competitive attributes difficult to challenge. As technology compounds (a’la Brian Arthur) the barriers to competition widen. The tone is set from the top - a culture of continuous innovation and rejecting the status quo flourishes. Risk taking on a scale where failure is tolerable (a’la Palchinsky principle) is encouraged, creating new possibilities. Private ownership and low debt affords a long term view - no one is watching the quarterly shot clock. While there is no spreadsheet or financial model, there is a full scale mental model, or theory, developing. The component mental models, together, shed light on the Dyson company’s extraordinary success. My contention is this latter model will prove more useful in determining whether Dyson will continue to prosper in the future. Let’s not forget however, that without James Dyson, there would be no Dyson. Like many of the great businesses we’ve studied, it started with a fanatic. Source: ‘James Dyson - Invention: A Life,’ James Dyson, Simon & Schuster, 2021. Further Learning: ‘James Dyson - Invention: A Life - Interactive Portal.’ Follow us on Twitter : @mastersinvest * NEW * Visit the Blog Archive Article by Investment Masters Class Updated on Nov 22, 2021, 3:44 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkNov 22nd, 2021

Transcript: Edwin Conway

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS:… Read More The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, man, I have an extra special guest. Edwin Conway runs all of alternatives for BlackRocks. His title is Global Head of Alternative Investors and he covers everything from structured credit to real estate hedge funds to you name it. The group runs over $300 billion and he has been a driving force into making this a substantial portion of Blackrock’s $9 trillion in total assets. The opportunity set that exists for alternatives even for a firm like Blackrock that specializes in public markets is potentially huge and Blackrock wants a big piece of it. I found this conversation to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my conversation with Blackrock’s Head of Alternatives, Edwin Conway. MALE VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Edwin Conway. He is the Global Head of Blackrock’s Alternative Investors which runs about $300 billion in assets. He is a team of over 1,100 professionals to help him manage those assets. Blackrock’s Global alternatives include businesses that cover real estate infrastructure, hedge funds private equity, and credit. He is a senior managing director for BlackRock. Edwin Conway, welcome to Bloomberg. EDWIN CONWAY, GLOBAL HEAD OF ALTERNATIVE INVESTORS, BLACKROCK: Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: So, you’ve been in the financial services industry for a long time. You were at Credit Suisse and Blackstone and now you’re at BlackRock. Tell us what the process was like breaking into the industry? CONWAY: It’s an interesting on, Barry. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of Ireland. And the breakthrough to the industry was one of more coincident as opposed to purpose. I enjoyed the game of rugby for many years and through an introduction while at the University, in University College Dublin in Ireland, had a chance to play rugby at a quite a – quite a decent level and get to know people that were across the industry. It was really through and internship and the suggestion, I’ve given my focus on business and financing things that the financial services sector may be a great place to traverse and get to know. And literally through rugby connections, been part of a good school, I had an opportunity to really understand what the service sector, in many respects, could provide to clients and became absolutely intrigued with it. And what – was it my primary ambition in life to be in the financial services sector? I can definitively say no, but through the circumstance of a game that I love to play and be part of, I was introduced to, through an internship, and actually fell in love with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And alternative investments at Blackrock almost seems like a contradiction in terms. Most of us tend to think of Blackrock as the giant $9 trillion public markets firm best known for ETFs and indices. Alternatives seems to be one of the fastest-growing groups within the firm. This was $50 billion just a few years ago, it’s now over 300 billion. How has this become such a fast-growing part of BlackRock? CONWAY: When you look at the various facets which you introduced at the start, Barry, we’ve actually been an alternatives – will be of 30 years now. Now, the scale, as you know, which you can operate on the beta side of business, far surpasses that on the alpha side. For us, throughout the years, this was very much about how can we deliver investment excellence to our clients and performance? Therefore, going an opportunity somewhere else to explore an alpha opportunity in alternatives. And I think being so connected to our clients understanding, that this pivots was absolutely taking place at only 30 years ago but in a very pronounced way today, you know, we continue to invest in this business to support those ambitions. They’re clearly seeing this as the world of going through a tremendous amount of transformation and with some of the challenges, quite frankly, in the traditional asset classes, being able to leverage at BlackRock, the Blackrock muscle to really explore these alpha opportunities across the various alternative asset classes that in our mind wasn’t imperative. And the imperative, really, is from the firm’s perspective and if you look at our purpose, it’s to serve the client. So the need was coming from them. The necessity to have alternatives and their whole portfolio was very – was very much growing in prominence. And it’s taken us 30 years to build this journey and I think, Barry, quite frankly, we’re far from being done. As you look at the industry, the demand is going to continue to grow. So, I think you could expect to see from us a continued investment in the space because we don’t believe you can live without alternatives in today’s world. RITHOLTZ: That’s really – that’s really interesting. So let’s dive a little deeper into the product strategy for alternatives which you are responsible for at BlackRock. Our audiences is filled with potential investors. Tell them a little bit about what that strategy is. CONWAY: So we’re – I think as you mentioned, we’re in excess of 300 billion today and when we started this business, it was less about building a moat around private equity or real estate. I think Larry Fink’s and Rob Kapito’s vision was how do we build a platform to allow us to be relevant to our clients across the various alternative asset classes but also within the – within the confines of what they are permitted to do on a year-by-year basis. So, to always be relevant irrespective of where they are in their journey from respect of liabilities, demand for liquidity, demand for returns, so we took a different approach. I think, Barry, to most, it was around how do we scale into the business across, like you said, real estate equity and debt, infrastructure equity and debt. I mean, we think of that as the real assets platform of our business. Then you take our private equity capabilities both in primary investing, secondary et cetera, and then you have private credits and a very significant hedge fund platforms. So we think all of these have a real role and depending on clients liquidities and risk appetite, our goal was, to over the years, really build in to this to allow ourselves for this challenging needs that our clients have. I think as an industry, right, and over the many years alternatives have been in existence, this is been about return enhancement initially. I think, fundamentally, the changes around the receptivity to the role of alternatives in a client’s portfolio has really changed. So, we’ve watched it, Barry, from this is we’re in the pursuit of a very total return or absolute return type of an objective to now resilience in our portfolio, yield an income. And so things that probably weren’t perceived as valuable in the past because the traditional asset classes were playing a more profound role, alternatives have stepped up in – in many respects in the need to provide more than just total return. So, we’re taking the approach of how do you have a more holistic approach to this? How do we really build a global multi-alternatives capability and try to partner and I think that’s the important work for us. Try to partner with our clients in a way that we can deliver that outperformance but delivered in a way that probably our clients haven’t been used to in this industry before. Because unfortunately, as we know, it has had its challenges with regard to secrecy, transparency, and so many other aspects. We need to help the industry mature. And really that was our ambition. Put our client’s needs first, build around that and really be relevant in all aspects of what we’re doing or trying to accomplish on behalf of the people that they support and represent. RITHOLTZ: So, we’ll talk a little bit about transparency and secrecy and those sorts of things later. But right now, I have to ask what I guess is kind of an obvious question. This growth that you’ve achieved within Blackrock for nonpublic asset allocation within a portfolio, what is this coming at expense of? Are these dollars that are being moved from public assets into private assets or you just competing with other private investors? CONWAY: It’s really both. What – what you are seeing from our clients – if I take a step back, today, the institutional client community and you think about the – the retirement conundrum we’re all facing around the world. It’s such an awful challenge when you think how ill-prepared people are for that eventual stepping back from the workplace and then you know longevity is your friend, but can also be a very, very difficult thing to obviously live with if you’re not prepared for retirement. The typical pension plan today are allocating about 25 percent to 28 percent in alternatives. Predominantly private market. What they’re telling us is that’s increasing quite substantially going forward. But you know, the funding for that alpha pursue for that diversification and that yield is coming from fixed-income assets. It’s coming from equity assets. So there’s a real rebalancing that’s been taking place over the past number of years. And quite frankly, the evolution, and I think the innovation that’s taken place particularly in the past 10 years, alternatives has been really profound. So the days where you just invest in any global funds still exist. But now you can concentrate your efforts on sector exposure, industry exposures, geographic exposures, and I think the – the menu of things our clients can now have access to has just been so greatly enhanced at and the benefit is that but I think in some – in some respects, Barry, the next question is with all of those choices, how do you build the right portfolio for our client’s needs knowing that each one of our client’s needs are different? So, I would say it absolutely coming from the public side. We’re very thankful. Those that had a multiyear journey with us in the public side are now allocating capital to is now the private side to because I do think the – the industry given that change, given that it evolution and given the complexity of these private assets, our clients are looking to, quite frankly, do more with fewer managers because of the complexion of the industry and complexity that comes with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): And attention RIA’s. Are your clients asking for crypto? At interactive brokers, advisers can now offer crypto to their clients and you could trade stocks, options, futures currencies, bonds and more from the same platform. Commissions on crypto are just 12-18 basis points with no hidden spreads or markups and there are no ticket charges, custody fees, minimums platform or reporting fees. Learn more at IBKR.com/RIA crypto. RITHOLTZ: And I – it’s pretty easy to see why large institutions might be rotating away from things like treasuries or tips because there’s just no yield there. Are you seeing inflows coming in from the public equity side also? The markets put together a pretty good string of years. CONWAY: Yes. It absolutely has. And many respects, I think, we’ve had a multiyear where there was big questions around the alpha that can be generated, for example, from active equities? The question was active or passive? I think what we’ve all realized is that at times when volatility introduces itself which is frequent even independent of what’s been done from a fiscal and monetary standpoint, that these Alpha speaking strategies on the traditional side still make a lot of sense. And so, as we think about what – what’s happening here, the transition of assets from both passive and active strategies to alternative, it – it’s really to create better balance. It’s not that there’s – there’s a lack of relevance anymore in the public side. It’s just quite frankly the growth of the private asset base has grown so substantially. I moved, Barry, to the U.S. in 1998. And it’s interesting, when you look back at 1998 to today, you start to recognize the equity markets and what was available to invest in. The number of investable opportunities has shrunk by 40 plus percent which that compression is extraordinarily high. But yet you’ve seen, obviously, the equity markets grow in stature and significance and prominence but you’re having more concentration risk with some of the big public entities. The converse is true, though on the – on the private side. There’s this explosion of enterprise and innovation, employment creation, and then I believe opportunities has been real. So, I look at the public side, the investable universe is measured in the thousands and the private side is measured in the millions. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And I think part of the – part of the part of the thing our clients are not struggling with but what we’re really recognizing with – with enterprises staying private for longer, if not forever, and with his growth of the opportunities that open debt and equity in the private market side, you really can’t forgo this opportunity. It has to be part of your going forward concerns and asset allocation. And I think this is why we’re seeing that transformation. And it’s not because equities on fixed income just aren’t relevant anymore. They’re very relevant but they’re relevant now in a total portfolio or a whole portfolio context beside alternatives. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s discuss this opportunity set of alternatives where you guys at Blackrock scene demand what sectors and from what sorts of clients? Is this demand increasing? CONWAY: We’re very fortunate, Barry. Today, there isn’t a single piece of our business within – within Blackrock alternatives that isn’t growing. And quite frankly too, it’s really up to us to deliver on the investment objectives that are set forth for those clients. I think in the back of strong absolute and relative performance, thankfully, our clients look to us to – to help them as – as they think about what they’re doing and as they’re exploring more in the alternatives areas. So, as you know, certainly, the private equity and real estate allocations are quite mature in many of our client’s portfolios but they’ve been around for many decades. I think that the areas where we’re seeing – that’s called an outside demand and opportunity set, just but virtue of the small allocations on a relative basis that exist today is really around infrastructure, Barry, and its around private credits. So, to caveat that, I think all of the areas are certainly growing, and thankfully, for us that’s true. We’re looking at clients who we believe are underinvested, we believe they’re underinvested in those asset classes infrastructure both debt and equity and in private credit. And as you think about why that is, the attributes that they bring to our client is really important and in a world where your correlation and understanding those correlations is important that these are definitely diversifying assets. In a world where you’re seeing trillions of dollars, quite frankly, you’re providing little to no or even there’s negative yield. Those short falls are real and people need yield than need income. These assets tend to provide that. So the diversification, it comes from these assets. The yield can come from these assets and because of the immaturity of the asset classes, independence of the capital is flowing in, we still consider them relatively white space. You’re not crowded out. There’s much room for development in the market and with our client’s portfolios. And to us, that’s exciting because it presents opportunities. So, at the highest level, they’re the areas where I believe are most underdeveloped in our clients. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about both of those areas. We’ll talk about structured credit in a few minutes. I think everybody kind of understands what – what that is. What – when you see infrastructure as a sector, how does that show up as an investment are – and obviously, I have infrastructure on the brink because we’re recording this not too long after the giant infrastructure bill has been passed, tell us a little bit about what alternative investments in infrastructure looks like? CONWAY: Yes. It’s really in its infancy and what the underlying investments look like. I think traditionally, you would consider it as – and part of the bill that has just been announced, roads, bridges, airports. Some of these hard assets, some of the core infrastructure investments that have been around for actually some time. The interesting thing is the industry has evolved so much and put the need for infrastructure. It’s so great across both developed and emerging economies. It’s become something that if done the right way, the attributes we just spoke of can really have a very strong effect on our client’s portfolios. So, beyond the core that we just mentioned, well, we’ve seen a tremendous demand as a result of this energy transition. You’re really seeing a spike in activity and the necessity transition industry to cleaner technologies, a movement, not away completely from fossil fuel but integrating new types of clean energy. And as a result, you’ve seen a lot of demand on a global basis for wind and solar. And quite frankly, that’s why even us at BlackRock, albeit, 10-12 years ago, we really established a capability there to help with that transition to think about how do we use these technologies, solar panels, wind farms, to generate clean forms of energy for utilities where in some cases they’re mandated to procure this type of this type of – this type of power. And when you think about pre-contracting with utilities for long duration, that to me spells, Barry, good risk mitigation and management and ability to get access to clean forms of energy that throw off yield that can be very complementary to your traditional asset classes but for very long periods of time. And so, the benefits for us of these – these assets is that they are long in duration, they are yield enhancing, they’re definitely diversifying. And so, for us, where – we’ve got about, let’s call this 280 assets around the world that we’re managing that literally generate this – this clean electricity. I think to give the relevance of how much, I believe today, it’s enough to power the country of Spain. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And that’s really that’s really changing. So you’re seeing governments – so from a policy standpoint, you’re seeing governments really embracing new forms of energy, transitioning out of bunker fuels, for example, you know, burning diesels which really spew omissions into the – into the into the environment. But it’s really around modernizing for the future. So, developed and emerging economies alike, want to retain capital. They want to attract new capital and by having the proper infrastructure to support industry, it’s a really, really important thing. Now, on the back of that too, one things we’ve learned from COVID is that the necessity to really bring e-commerce into how you conduct your business is so important and I think from the theme of digitalization within infrastructure to is a huge part. So, it’s not just the energy transition that you’re seeing, it’s not just roads and bridges, but by allowing businesses to connect to a global consumer, allowing children be educated from home, allowing experiences that expand geographies and boundaries in a digital form is so important not just for commerce but in so many other aspects. And so, you think about cable, fiber optics, if you think about all the other things even outside of power, that enable us to conduct commerce to educate, there are many examples where, Barry, you can build resilience into your portfolio because that need is not measured in years. Actually, the shortfall of capital is measured in the trillions so which means this is – this is a multi-decade opportunity set from our vantage point and one of which our clients should really avail of. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And I mentioned in passing, structured credit, tell us a little bit about what that opportunity looks like. I think of this as a space that is too big for local banks but too small for Wall Street to finance. Is that an oversimplification? What is going on in that space. CONWAY: I probably couldn’t have set it better, Barry. It’s – if we go back to just the even the investable universe, in the tens of thousands of companies, just if we take North America that are private, that have great leadership that really have strategic vision under – at the – in some cases, at the start of their growth lifecycles are even if they maintain, they have a very credible and viable business for the future they still need capital. And you’re absolutely right. With the retreat of the banks from the space to various regulations that have come after the global financial crisis, you’re seeing the asset managers in many respects working behalf of our clients both wealth and institutional becoming the new lenders of choice. And – and when we – when we think about that opportunity set, that is really understanding the client’s desire for risk or something maybe in a lower risk side from middle-market lending or midmarket enterprises where you can support that organization through its growth cycle all the way to some higher-yielding, obviously, with more risk assets on the opportunistic or even the special situations side. But it – it expands many things. And going back of the commentary around the evolution of the space, private credit today and what you can do has changed so profoundly, it expands the liquidity spectrum, it expands the risk spectrum. And the great news is, with the number of companies both here and abroad, the opportunities that is – it’s being enriched every single day. And were certainly seeing, particularly going back to the question are some of these assets coming from the traditional side, the public side. When we think of private credit, you are seeing private credit now been incorporated in fixed-income allocations. This is a – it’s a yelling asset. This is – these are debt instruments, these are structures that we’re creating. We’re trying to flexible and dynamic with these clients. But it really is an area where we think – it really is still at its – at its infancy relevant to where it can potentially be. RITHOLTZ: That’s really quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): It’s Rob Riggle. I’m hosting Season 2 of the iHeart radio podcast, Veterans You Should Know. You may know me as the comedic actor from my work in the Hangover, Stepbrothers or 21 Jump Street. But before Hollywood, I was a United States Marine Corps officer for 23 years. For this Veterans Day, I’ll be sitting down with those who proudly served in the Armed Forces to hear about the lessons they’ve learned, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and the life-changing impact of their service. Through this four-part series, we’ll hear the inspiring journeys of these veterans and how they took those values during their time of service and apply them to transition out of the military and into civilian life. Listen to Veterans You Should Know on the iHeart radio app, Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcast. RITHOLTZ: Let’s stick with that concept of money rotating away from fixed income. I have to imagine clients are starved for yields. So what are the popular substitutes for this? Is it primarily structured credit? Is it real estate? How do you respond to an institution that says, hey, I’m not getting any sort of realistic coupon on my bonds, I need a substitute? CONWAY: Yes. It’s all of those in many respects. And I think to the role, even around now a time where people have questions around inflation, how do substitute this yield efficiency or certainly make up for that shortfall, how do you think about a world where increasingly seeing inflation, not of the transitory thing it feels certainly quasi-permanent. These are a lot of questions we’re getting. And certainly, real estate is an is important part of how they think about inflation protection, how client think about yield, but quite frankly too, we’ve – we’ve gone through something none of us really had thought about a global pandemic. And as I think about real estate, just how you allocate to the sector, what was very heavily influenced with retail assets, high street, our shopping behaviors and habits have changed. We all occupied offices for obviously many, many years pre the pandemic. The shape of how we operate and how we do that has changed. So, I think some of the underlying investment – investments have changed where you’ve seen heavily weighted towards office space to leisure, travel in the past. Actually, now using a rotation in some respects out of those, just given some of the uncertainties around what the future holds as we come – come through a really difficult time. But the great thing about this sector is between senior living, between student housing, between logistics and so many other parts, there are ways in real estate to capture where there’s – where there’s demand. So still a robust opportunity set and it – and we do think it can absolutely be yield enhancing. We mentioned infrastructure. Even if you think about – and we mention OECD and non-OECD, emerging and developed, when I think about Asia, in particular, just as a subset of the world in which we’re living in, that is a $2.6 trillion alternative market today growing at a 15 percent CAGR. And quite frankly, the old-growth is driven by the large economic growth in the region. So, even from a regional perspective, if we pivot, it houses 57 percent of the world’s population and yet delivers 47 percent of the world’s economic growth. So, think of that and then with regard to infrastructure and goes back to that, this is truly a global phenomenon. So if we just even take that sector, Barry, you’ll realize that the way to maintain that type of growth, to attract capital, to keep capital, it really requires an investment of significant amount of money to be able to sustain that. And when you have 42 million people in a APAC migrating to cities in the year going back to digitalization, that’s an important thing. So, when I say we’re so much at the infancy in infrastructure, I really mean it. It can be water, it can be sewer systems, it can be digital, it can be roads, there’s so much to this. And then even down to the regional perspective, it’s a – it’s a need that doesn’t just exist in the U.S. So, for these assets, this tend to be long in duration. There’s both equity and debt. And on the debt side, quite frankly, very few outside of our insurance clients and their general account are taking advantage of the debt opportunity. And – and as we both know, to finance these projects that are becoming more plentiful every single day, across the world, including like, I said, in APAC in scale, there’s an opportunity in both sides. And I think that’s where the acid mix change happen. It’s recognizing that the attributes of these assets can have a role, the attributes of these assets can potentially replace some of these traditional assets and I think you’re going to see it grow. So, infrastructure to us, it’s really equity and debt. And then on the credit side, like I mentioned, again, too, it’s a very, very big and growing market. And certainly, the biggest area today from our vantage point is middle-market lending from a scale opportunity standpoint. So, we think much more to come in all of those spaces. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. And let’s just stay with the concept of public versus private. That line is kind of getting blurred and the secondary markets is liquidity coming to, for lack of a better phrase, pre-public equities, tells little bit about that space. Is that an area that is ripe for growth for BlackRock? CONWAY: Yes. We absolutely think it is and you’re absolutely correct. The secondary market is – has grown quite substantial. If you even look at just the private equity secondary market and what will transact this year, I think it will be potentially in excess of 100 billion. And that’s what were clear, not to mention what will be visible and what will be analyzed. And that speaks to me what’s really happening and the innovation that we mentioned earlier. It’s no longer about just primary exposure. It’s secondary exposure. When we see all sort of interest and co-investment opportunities as well, I think the available sources of alpha and the flexibility you can now have, albeit if directed and advised, I believe the right way, Barry, can be very helpful and in the portfolio. So, your pre-IPO, it is a big part of actually what we do and we think about growth equity. There is – it’s a significant amount of capital following that space. Now, from our vantage point, as one of the largest investors in the public equity market and now obviously one of the largest investors and they in the private side, the bridge between – between private to public – there’s a real need. IPOs are not going away. And I think smart, informed capital to help with this journey, this journey is really – is really a necessity and a need. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about this recent restructuring. You are first named Global Head of Blackrock Alternative Investors in April 2019, the entire alternatives business was restructured, tell us a little bit about how that restructuring is going? CONWAY: Continues to go really well, Barry. When you look at the flow of acid from our clients, I think, hopefully, that’s speaks to the performance we’ve been generating. I joined the firm, as you know, albeit, 11 years ago and being very close to the alternative franchise as a critical thing for me and running the institutional platform. To me, when you watched this migration of asset towards alternatives, it was obviously very evident for decades now that this is a critical leg of the stool as our clients are thinking about their portfolios. We’re continuing to innovate. We’re continuing to invest, and thankfully, we’re continuing to deliver strong performance. We’re growing at about high double digits on an annual basis but we’re trying to purposeful too around where that growth is coming from. I think the reality is when you look at the competitive universe, I think the last number I saw, it was about 38,000 alternative asset managers out there today, obviously, coming from hedge funds all the way to private credits and private equity. So, competition is real and I do think the outcomes for our clients are starting to really grow. Unfortunately, some – in some cases, obviously, very good, and in some cases, actually not great. So our focus, Barry, is really much on how can we deliver performance, how can we be a partner? And I think we been rewarded with a trust and the faith our clients have in us because they’re seeing something different, I think, from us. Now, the scale of the business that you mentioned earlier really gives us tentacles into the market that I believe allows us to access what I think is the new alpha which is in many respects, given the heft of competition sourcing and originating new investments is certainly harder but for us, sitting in or having alternative team, sitting in 50 offices around the world, really investing in the markets because that – the market they grew up with and have relationships within, I think this network value that we have is something that’s quite special. And I think in the world that’s becoming increasingly competitive, we’re going to continue to use and harness that network value to pursue opportunities. And thankfully, as a result of the partnership we’ve been pursuing with her clients, like, we’ve – we’re certainly looking for opportunities and investments in our funds. But because of the brand, I think because of the successes, opportunities seeks us as much as we seek opportunity and that has been something that we look at an ongoing basis and feel very privileged to actually have that inbound flow as well. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. There was a quote of yours I found while doing some prep for this conversation that I have to have you expand on. Quote, “The relationship between Blackrock’s alternative capabilities and wealth firms marked a large opportunity for growth in the coming years.” This was back in 2019. So, the first part of the question is, was your expectations correct? Did you – did you see the sort of growth you were hoping for? And more broadly, how large of an opportunity is alternatives, not just for BlackRock but for the entire investment industry? CONWAY: Yes. It’s been very much an institutional opportunity set up until now. And there’s so much to be done, still, to really democratize alternatives and we certainly joke around making alternatives less alternative. Actually, even the nomenclature we use and how we describe it doesn’t kind of make sense anymore. It’s such a core – an important allocation to our clients, Barry, that just calling it alternative seems wrong. Just about the institutional clients. It ranges, I think, as I mentioned on our – some of our more conservative clients which would be pension plans which really have liquidity needs on a monthly basis because of the liabilities they have to think about. At about 25 plus percent in private markets, to endowments, foundations, family offices, going to 50 percent plus. So, it’s a really important part and has been for now many years the institutional client ph communities outcomes. I think the thing that we, as an industry, have to change is alternatives has to be for the many, not for the few. And quite frankly, it’s been for the few. And as we talked about some of the attributes and the important attributes of these asset classes to think that those who have been less fortunate in their careers can’t access, things they can enrich their future retirement outcomes, to me, is a failing. And we have to address that. That comes from regulation changes, it comes from structuring of new products, it comes from education and it comes from this knowledge transmission where clients in the wealth segment can understand the role of alternatives and the context of what can do as they invest in equities and fixed income too. And we think that’s a big shortfall. So, the journey today, just to give you a sense, as we look at her clients in Europe on the wealth side, on average, as you look from what we would call the credited investors all the way through to more ultra-high-net worth individuals, their allocation to alternatives, we believe, stands at around two to three percent of their total portfolio. In the U.S., we believe it stands at three to five. So, most of those intermediaries, we speak to our partners who were more supporting and serving the wealth channel. They have certainly an ambition to help their clients grow that to 20 percent and potentially beyond that. So, when I look at that gap of let’s call it two to three to 20 percent in a market that just given the explosion in wealth around the world, I think the last numbers I saw, this is a $65 trillion market. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: That speaks to the shortfall relative to the ambition. And how’s it been going? We have a number of things and capabilities we’ve set up to allow for this market to experience, hopefully, private equity, hedge funds, credit, and an infrastructure in ways they haven’t in the past. We’ve done this in the U.S., we’re doing it now in Europe, but I will say, Barry, this is still very much at the start of the journey. Wealth is a really important part of our future given our business, quite, frankly is 90 plus percent institutional today, but we’re looking to change that by, hopefully, democratizing these asset classes and making it so much more accessible in that of the past. RITHOLTZ: So, we hinted at this before but I’m going to ask the question outright, how significant is interest rates to client’s risk appetites, how much of the current low rate environment are driving people to move chunks of their assets from fixed income to alternatives? CONWAY: It’s really significant, Barry. I think the transition of these portfolios is quite profound, So you – and I think the unfortunate thing in some respects as this transition happens that you’re introducing new variables and new risks. The reason I say it’s unfortunate and that I think as an industry, this goes back to the education around the assets you own, understanding the role, understanding the various outcomes. I think it’s so incredibly important and that this the time where complete transparency is needed. And quite frankly, we’re investing capital that’s not ours. As an industry, we’re investing our client’s assets and they need to know exactly the underlying investments. And in good and bad times, how would those assets behave? So certainly, interest rates are driving a flow of capital away from these traditional assets, fixed-income, and absolutely in towards real estate, infrastructure, private creditors, et cetera, in the pursuit of this – this yield. But I do – I do think one of the things that’s critically important for the institutional channel, not just the wealth which are newer entrants is this transmission of education, of data because that’s how I think you build a better balanced portfolio and that’s a – that’s a real conundrum, I think, that the industry is facing and certainly your clients too. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So let’s talk a little bit about the differences between investing in the private side versus the public markets, the most obvious one has to be the illiquidity. When you buy stocks or bonds, you get a print every microsecond, every tick, but most of these investments are only marked quarterly or annually, what does this illiquidity do when you’re interacting with clients? How do you – how do you discuss this with them in and how do perceive some of the challenges of illiquid investments? CONWAY: Over the – over the past number of decades, I think our clients have largely held too much liquidity in their portfolios. Like, so what we are finding is the ability to take on illiquidity risk. And obviously, in pursuit of that premium above, the traditional markets, I mean, I think the sentiment they are is it an absolute right one. That transition towards private market exposure, we think is an important one just given the return objectives, the majority of our clients’ need but then also again, most importantly now, with geo policy, with uncertainty, with interest rate uncertainty, inflation uncertainty, I mean, the – going back to the resilience point, the characteristics now by introducing these assets into the mix is important. And I think that’s – that point is maybe what I’ll expand on. As were talking to clients, using the Aladdin systems, and as you know, we bought eFront technologies, albeit a couple of years ago, by allowing, I think, great data and technology to help our clients understand these assets and the context of how they should own them relative to other liquidity needs, their risk tolerances, and the return expectations are really trying to use tech and data to provide a better understanding and comprehension of the outcomes. And as we continue to introduce these concepts and these approaches, by the way, that there is, as you know, so used to in the traditional side, it – it gives them more comfort around what they should and can expect. And that, to me, is a really important part of what we’re doing. So, we’ve released recently new technology to the wealth sector because, quite frankly, we mentioned it before, the 60-40 portfolio is a thing of the past. And that introduction of about 20 percent into alternatives, we applaud our partners who are – who are suggesting that to their clients. We think it’s something they have to do. What we’re doing to support that is really bringing thought leadership, education, but also portfolio construction techniques and data to bear in that conversation. And this goes back to – it’s no longer an alternative, right? This is a core allocation so the comprehension of what it is you own, the behavior of the asset in good and bad times is so necessary. And that’s become a very big thing with regard to our activities, Barry, because your clients are looking to understand better when you’re talking about assets that are very complex in their nature. RITHOLTZ: So, 60-40 is now 50-30-20, something along those lines? CONWAY: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. So, what are clients really looking for these days? We talked about yield. Are they also looking for downside protection on the equity side or inflation hedges you hinted at? How broad are the demands of clients in the alternative space? CONWAY: Yes. It ranges the gamut. And even – we didn’t speak to even hedge funds, we’ve had differing levels of interest in the hedge fund world for years and I, quite frankly, think some degree of disappointment too, Barry, with regard to the alpha, the returns that were produced relevant to the cost. RITHOLTZ: It’s a tough space to say the very least exactly. CONWAY: Exactly right. But when you start to see volatility introducing itself, you can really see where skill plays a critical factor. So, we are absolutely seeing, in the hedge fund, a resurgence of interest and demand by virtue of those who really have honed in on their scale, who have demonstrated an up-and-down markets and ability to protect and preserve capital, but importantly, in a low uncorrelated way build attractive risk-adjusted returns. We’re starting to see more activity there again too. I think with an alternatives, you’ve really seen a predominant demand coming from privates. These private markets, like a set of growths so extraordinarily fast and the opportunities that is rich, the reality too on the public side which is where our hedge funds operate, they continue to, in large part, do a really good job. The issue with our industry now with these 38,000 managers is how do you distill all the information? How do you think about your needs as a client and pick a manager who can deliver the outcomes? And just to give you a sense, the difference now between a top-performing private equity manager, a top quartile versus the bottom quartile, the difference can be measured in tens of percent. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: Whereas if you look at the public equity side, for example, a large cap manager, top quartile versus bottom quartile is measured in hundreds of basis points. So, there is definitely a world that has started where the outcomes our clients will experience can be great as they pursue yield, as they pursue diversification, inflation protection, et cetera. I think the caveat that I would say is outcomes can vary greatly. So manager underwriting and the importance of it now, I think, really is this something to pay attention to because if you do have that bottom performing at the bottom quartile manager, it will affect your outcomes, obviously. And that’s what we collectively have to face. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about real estate. There are a couple of different areas of investment on the private side. Rent to own was a very large one and we’ve seen some lesser by the flip algo-driven approaches. Tell us what Blackrock is doing in the real estate space and how many different approaches are you bringing to bear on this? CONWAY: Yes, we think it’s both equity and debt. Again, no different to the infrastructure side, these projects need to be financed. But on the – as you think about the sectors in which you can avail of the opportunity, you’ve no doubt heard a lot and I mentioned earlier this demand for logistics facilities. The explosion of shopping online and having, until we obviously have the supply chain disruption, an ability to have nearly immediate satisfaction because the delivery of the good to your home has become so readily available. It’s a very different consumer experience. So the explosion and the need for logistics facilities to support this type of behavior of the consumer is really an area that will continue to be of great interest too. And then you think about the transformation of business and you think about the aging world. Unfortunately, you can look at various economies where our populations are decreasing. And quite frankly, we’re getting older. And so, were you’re thinking of the context of that senior living facilities, it becomes a really important part, not just as part of the healthcare solution that come with it, but also from living as well. So, single-family, multifamily, opportunities continue to be something that the world looks at because there is really the shortfall of available properties for people to live in. And as the communities evolve to support the growing age of the population, tremendous opportunity there too. But we won’t give up on office space. It really isn’t going away. Now, if you even think about our younger generation here in BlackRock, they love being in New York, they love being in London, they love being in Hong Kong. So, the shape and the footprint may change slightly. But the necessity to be in the major financial centers, it still exists. But how we weighed the risks has definitely changed, certainly, for the – for the short-term and medium-term future. But real estate continues to be, Barry, a critical part of how we express our thought around the investment opportunity set. But clients largely do this themselves too. The direct investing from the clients is quite significant because they too see this as still as a rich investment ground, albeit, one that has changed quite a bit as a result of COVID. RITHOLTZ: Well, I’m fascinated by the real estate issue especially having seen some massive construction take place in cities pre-pandemic, look over in Manhattan at Hudson Yards and look at what’s taking place in London, not just the center of London but all – but all around it and I’m forced to admit the future is going to look somewhat different than the past with some hybrid combination of collaborative work in the office and remote work from home when it’s convenient, that sort of suggests that we now have an excess of capacity in office space. Do you see it that way or is this just something that we’re going to grow into and just the nature of working in offices is changing but offices are not going away? CONWAY: Yes. I do think there’s – it’s a very valid point and that in certain cities, you will see access, in others we just don’t, Barry. And quite frankly, as a firm, too, as you know, we have adopted flexibility with our teams that were very fortunate. The technologies in which we created at BlackRock has just become such an amazing enabler, not just to help us as we mention manage the portfolios, help us a better portfolio construction, understand risks, but also to communicate with our clients. I think we’ve all witnessed and experienced a way to have connectivity that allows them to believe that commerce can exist beyond the boundaries of one building. However, I do look at our property portfolios and even the things that we’re doing. Rent collections still being extraordinarily high, occupancy now getting back up to pre-pandemic levels, not in all cities, but in many of the major ones that have reopened. And certainly, the demand for people to just socialize, that the demand for human connectivity is really high. It’s palpable, right? We see it here too. The smiles on people’s faces, they’re back in the office, conversing together, innovating together. When people were feeling unsafe, unquestionably, I think the question marks around the role of office space was really brought to bear. But as were coming through this, as you’ve seen vaccine rates change, as you’ve seen the infection rates fall, as you’ve seen confidence grow, the return to work is really happening and return to work to office work is really happening, albeit, now with degrees of flexibility. So, going back to the – I do believe in certain areas. You’re seeing a surplus. But in many areas you’re absolutely seeing a deficit and the reason I say that, Barry, is we are seeing occupancy in certain building at such a high level. And frankly, the demand for more space being so high, it’s uneven and this goes back to then where do you invest our client’s capital, making sense of those trends, predicting where you will see resilience versus stress and building that into the portfolio of consequences as you – as you better risk manage and mitigate. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And so, we are seeing this transition across a lot of different segments of investing, are you seeing any products that were or – or investing styles that was once thought of as primarily institutional that are sort of working their way towards the retail side of things? Meaning going from institutional to accredited to mom-and-pop investors? CONWAY: Well, certainly, in the past, private equity was really an asset class for institutional investors. And I think that’s – that has changed in a very profound way. I mentioned earlier are the regulation has become a more adaptive, but we also have heard, in many respects, in providing this access. And I think the perception of owning and be part of this illiquid investment opportunity set was hard to stomach because many didn’t understand the attributes and what it could bring and I think we’ve been trying to solve for that and what you’re seeing now with – with regulators, understanding that the difference between if we take it quite simply as DD versus DC, the differences between the options you as a participant in a retirement plan are so vastly different that – and I think there’s a broad recognition now that there needs to be more equity with regard to what happens there. And private equity been a really established part of the alternatives marketplace was once, I think, really believed to be an institutional asset class, but albeit now has become much more accessible to wealth. We’ve seen it by structuring activities in Europe working with the regulators. Now, we’re able to provide private equity exposure to clients across the continent and really getting access to what was historically very much an institutional asset class. And I do think the receptivity is extraordinarily high just throughout people’s careers, they have seen wealth been created as a result of engineering a great outcome with great management teams integrate business. And I do believe the receptivity towards private equity is high as an example. In the U.S., too, working with the various intermediaries and being able to wrap now private equity in a ’40 Act fund, for example, is possible. And by being able to deliver that to the many as opposed to the few, we think has been a very good success story. And I think, obviously, appreciated by our clients as well. So, I would look at that were seeing across private equity as well as private credit and quite frankly infrastructure accuracy. You’re seeing now regulation that’s becoming more appreciative of these asset classes, you’re seeing a more – a greater level of openness and willingness to allow for these assets to be part of many people’s experiences across their investment portfolio. And now, with innovation around structures, as an industry, were able to wrap these investments in a way that our clients can really access them. So, think across the board, it probably speaks the innovation that’s happening but I do think that accessibility has changed in a very significant way. But you’ve really seen it happen in private equity first and now that’s expanding across these various other asset classes. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. I know I only have you for a relatively limited period of time, so let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests. Starting with tell us what you’ve been streaming these days. Give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime shows. CONWAY: That is an interesting question, Barry. I don’t a hell of a lot of TV, I got to tell you. I am – I keep busy with three wonderful children and a beautiful wife and between the sports activities. When I do watch TV, I have to tell you I’m addicted to sports and having – I may have mentioned earlier, growing up playing rugby which is not the most common sport in the U.S., I stream nonstop the Six Nations that happens in Europe where Ireland is one of those six nations that compete against each other on an annual basis. Right now, they’re playing a lot of sites that are touring for the southern hemisphere. And to me, the free times I have is either enjoying golf or really enjoying rugby because I think it’s an extraordinary sport. Obviously, very physical, but very enjoyable to watch. And that, that truly is my passion outside of family. RITHOLTZ: Interesting stuff. Tell us a bit about your mentors, who helped to shape your early career? CONWAY: Well, it even goes back to some of the aspects of sports. Playing on a team and being on a field where you’re working together, there’s a strategy involved with that. Now, I used to really appreciate how we approach playing in the All-Ireland League. How we thought about our opponents, how we thought about the structure, how we thought about each individual with on the rugby field and the team having a role. They’re all different but your role. And actually, even starting from an early age, Barry, thinking about, I don’t know, it’s sports but how to build a great team with those various skills, perspective, that can be a really, really powerful combination when done well. And certainly, from an early age, that allowed me to appreciate that – actually, in the work environment, it’s not too different. You surround yourself with just really great people that have high integrity that are empathetic and have a degree of humility that when working together, good things can happen. And I will say, it really started at sports. But I think of today and even in BlackRock, how Larry Fink thinks about the world and I think Larry, truly, is a visionary. And then Rob Kapito who really helps lead the charge across our various businesses. Speaking and conversing with them on a daily basis, getting their perspectives, trying to get inside your head and thinking about the world from their vantage point. To me, it’s a huge thing about my ongoing personal career and development and I really enjoy those moments because I think what you recognize is independent of how much you think you know, there’s so much more to know. And this journey is an ever evolving one where you have to appreciate that you’ll never know everything and you need to be a student every single day. So, I’d probably cite those, Barry, as certainly the two most important mentors in my life today, professionally and personally quite frankly. RITHOLTZ: Really. Very interesting. Let’s talk about what you’re reading these days. Tell us about some of your favorite books and what you’re reading currently? CONWAY: Barry, what I love to read, I love to read history, believe it or not. From a very small country that seems to have exported many, many people, love to understand the history of Ireland. So, there’s so many books. And having three children that have been born in the U.S. and my wife is a New Yorker, trying to help them understand some of their history and what made them what they are. I love delving into Irish history and how the country had moments of greatness and moments of tremendous struggle. Outside of that, I really don’t enjoy science fiction or any of these books. I love reading, you name any paper and any magazine on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I wake at about 4:30, 5 o’clock every day. I spent my first two hours of the day just consuming as much information as possible. I enjoy it. But it’s all – it’s really investment-related magazines, not books. It’s every paper that you could possibly imagine, Barry, and I just – I have a great appreciation for certainly trying to be a student of the world because that’s what we’re operating in an I find it just a very interesting avenue to get an appreciation to for the, not just the opportunities, but the challenges we’re collectively facing as a society but also as a business. RITHOLTZ: I’m with you on that mass consumption of investing-related news. It sounds like you and I have the same a morning routine. Let’s talk about of what sort of advice you would give to a recent college graduate who was interested in a career of alternative investments? CONWAY: Well, the industry has – it’s just gone through such extraordinary growth and the difference, when I’ve started versus today, the career opportunity set has changed so much. And I think I try to remind anyone of our analysts who come into each one of our annual classes, right, as we bring in the new recruits. I think about how talented they are for us, Barry, and how privileged we all are to be in this industry and work for the clients that we do. It’s just such an honor to do that. But I kind of – I try to remind them of that. At the end of the day, whether you’re supporting an institution, that institution is the face of many people in the background and alternatives has really now become such an important part of their experience and we talked about earlier just this challenge of retirement, if we do a good job, these institutions that support the many, they can have, hopefully, a retirement that involves dignity and they can have an ability to do things they so wanted to do as they work so hard over their lives. Getting that that personal connection and allowing for those newbies to understand that that’s the effect that you can have, an alternatives whether it’s private equity, real estate, infrastructure, private credit, hedge funds, all of these now, with the scale at which they’re operating at can allow for a great career. But my advice to them is always don’t forget your career is supporting other people. And that comes directly to how we intersect with wealth channel, it comes indirectly as a result of the institutions. And it’s such a privilege to do that. I didn’t envision when I grew up, as I mentioned, my first job, milking cows and back in a small town in the middle of Ireland that I would be one day leading an alternatives business within BlackRock. I see that as a great privilege. So, for those who are joining afresh, hopefully, try to remind them that it is for all of us and show up with empathy, dignity, compassion, and do the best you can, and hopefully, these people be sure will serve them well. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what you know about the world of alternative investing today you wish you knew 25 years or so ago when you were first getting started? CONWAY: I think if we had invested much more heavily as an industry in technology, we would not be in the position we are today. And I say that, Barry, from a number of aspects. I mentioned in this shortfall of information our clients are dealing with today. They’re making choices to divest from one asset class to invest in another. To do that and do that effectively, they need great transparency, they needed real-time in many respects, it can’t be just a quarterly line basis. And if we had been better prepared as an industry to provide the technology and the data to help our clients really appreciate what it is they own, how we’re managing the assets on their behalf, I think they would be so much better served. I think we’re very fortunate at this firm to have built a business on the back of technology for albeit 30 plus years and were investing over $1 billion a year in technology as I’m sure you know. But we need to see more of that in the industry. So, the client experience is so important, stop, let’s demystify alternatives. It’s not that alternative. Let’s provide education and data and it’s become so large relative to other asset classes, the need to support, to educate, and transmit information, not data, information, so our client understand it, is at a paramount now. And I think it certainly as an industry, things have to change there. If I knew how big the growth would have been and how prominent these asset classes were becoming, I would oppose so much harder on that front 30 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Thank you, Edwin, for being so generous with your time. We’ve been speaking with Edwin Conway. He is the head of Blackrock Investor Alternatives Group. If you enjoy this conversation, please check out all of our prior discussions. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast at. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@Bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at Bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter, @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Mohammed ph is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my head of research, Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2021

Bear Of The Day: Shopify (SHOP)

Shopify e-com platform for digitalizing retailer has been a success story for the history books in the past few years but it might be time to start pulling profits Shopify SHOP has been one of the hottest stocks in the e-commerce boom we've seen in recent years, with the pandemic proliferating this digital retail transformation. It might be time to pull some profits on this clear-cut COVID winner after reaching all-time highs on Friday (11/19). Analysts are beginning to rein in their overzealous EPS estimates after a disappointing Q3 report pushing the stock into a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell).SHOP failed to materially break above $1,700 a share after an over 400% 2-year rally on the back of a 3,800% 5-year moonshot. The stock is now trading at an excessive 35.4x price to sales multiple (nearly 500x P/E), which can't be justified by the company's decelerating growth, especially when coupled with this rising interest rate environment.The BusinessLet me start by saying that this is an incredible business model that has exhibited unbelievable operational performance with an amazing profitable growth narrative. However, it looks like euphoric investors have pushed SHOP alittle too far too fast.Shopify is the biggest threat to Amazon's AMZN omnipresence in the e-com space as it digitalizes Main Street and breathes life into start-ups and dying brick-and-mortar retailers. Shopify's expanding platform has become a one-stop cloud-based shop for all commerce needs for enterprises of every shape and size.Shopify's platform powers over 1.7 million businesses' online and in-store commerce from fresh start-ups to household names like Kraft Heinz KHC, General Mills GIS, and Logitech LOGI.Final ThoughtsLast year, Shopify's push into sudden profitability (initially thought to be years out) exhilarated market participants, and FOMO-ridden momentum has continued to propel this next-generation stock into the stratosphere. It's only a matter of time until gravity inevitably brings this rocket ship back down to reality.Its significant growth deceleration on top of the Fed's move towards monetary tightening (rising interest rates) will inevitably compress SHOP's excessive valuation multiple.Consider pulling some profits here as SHOP soars past many analysts' price targets. I like this stock, just not at this crazy valuation. I would be a buyer of this stock on a pullback. $1,300 or lower will be the re-entry price I am looking for with SHOP. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Logitech International S.A. (LOGI): Free Stock Analysis Report General Mills, Inc. (GIS): Free Stock Analysis Report The Kraft Heinz Company (KHC): Free Stock Analysis Report Shopify Inc. (SHOP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 22nd, 2021

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

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

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021