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Fintech Focus For May 26, 2021

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Category: blogSource: benzingaMay 25th, 2021

Pelosi said she may not hold vote on infrastructure bill on Monday as planned if it doesn"t have the votes

"I'm never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn't have the votes," Pelosi said after previously committing to a vote Monday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Monday she may hold a vote on the infrastructure bill scheduled for Monday. ABC News/This Week House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Sunday she may not hold a vote on the infrastructure bill on Monday. Pelosi said she wouldn't hold a vote on the legislation unless she was sure it would pass. "I'm never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn't have the votes," she said. See more stories on Insider's business page. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Sunday said she wasn't sure if she'd hold a vote for the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill on Monday as previously planned because it may not have enough votes to pass."Let me just say we're going to pass the bill this week," said Pelosi, a Democrat from California, during an appearance on ABC's "This Week." "I promised that we would bring the bill to the floor."But Pelosi said she wasn't in favor of bringing the bill to a vote on an "arbitrary date" if she did not believe there was enough support to pass it. The September 27 date was set after the bill easily passed the Senate in August."I'm never bringing a bill to the floor that doesn't have the votes," she said Sunday. "Remember when the Republicans said they were going to overturn the Affordable Care Act on the anniversary of the Affordable Care Act? I knew right then and there they were doomed." Republicans in 2017 failed to pass a measure that would've repealed the Affordable Care Act, which passed in March 2o10. The late GOP Sen. John McCain and two other Republican senators - Susan Collins of Maine and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska - voted against the bill, resulting in a 49-51 vote.-This Week (@ThisWeekABC) September 26, 2021 "You can't choose the date," Pelosi said. "You have to go when you have the votes in a reasonable time. And we will." Pelosi previously told reporters the bill would receive a vote on Monday, though progressive lawmakers have said the bill will not have the votes to make it through. "It cannot pass," Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington and the head of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said Friday, according to The Hill. "I don't bluff, I don't grandstand. We just don't have the votes for it."While these Democrats don't oppose the nature of the bipartisan infrastructure bill, some lawmakers say they will refuse to put their support behind it until the House takes up President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion social spending package, which includes investments in several sectors, including healthcare, childcare, and climate change.Democrats plan to pass the social spending packing in the Senate through a process known as reconciliation, which would allow them to avoid the use of the filibuster by Republicans."It's not going to give us any comfort to pass a bill that then the Senate [defeats]," Jayapal said, per The Hill. "That doesn't satisfy our requirements.""It can only come to the floor once everyone's agreed and once the Senate has voted on it," she added.But every Democrat in the Senate needs to vote in favor of the bill for it to pass, putting the focus on moderate Democrat Sens. Joe Manchin of West Virginian and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona."It's an eventful week," Pelosi said Sunday. "We have to make sure we keep the government open and we will." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider15 hr. 8 min. ago

How We Know Bitcoin Is A Force For Good

How We Know Bitcoin Is A Force For Good Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com, Cryptos are the antidote to repressive Central Bank Digital Currencies Yesterday I wrote up why I don’t think any kind of China-style ban on Bitcoin and cryptos would be tenable in (so-called) liberal democracies here in the West. It referenced an earlier piece that described the threefold governance structure I see competing for relevance over the coming decades. Somebody linked to those in the comments from a Tom Luongo piece (which I rather enjoyed enough to subscribe to his newsletter) but when I read through some of the other comments around Bitcoin, how it’s a globalist Trojan horse for surveillance capitalism and social credit I realized I needed to get a piece out to speak specifically to this aspect of future governance. I cover this a lot in The Crypto Capitalist Letter, in fact it’s a pillar of our macro economic thesis (which you can download free here). It all comes down to the differences between real crypto currencies like Bitcoin, Ethereum, Dash, Monero, et al and coming Central Bank Digital Currencies (CBDCs), like China’s Digital Yuan, like the coming FedCoin, and anything else that will be issued by central banks, directly from governments or even in conjunction with Big Tech platforms. There are the two main types of digital money that will co-exist in the future. Each type of digital money corresponds to a governance mode of the future. Which type of this money you make your own or your business’ financial centre of gravity will have an outsized impact on whether you live in the future as a neo-Feudal serf or as a sovereign individual. Each one has its own fundamental architecture, and the governance and economics that result from those architectures reflect the governance models of the mode that is built on them. This is critical and builds on what I’ve been writing about for  years now, drawing on the work of relatively obscure commentators like Vincent Locascio and Steven Zarlenga. The latter who wrote in his Lost Science of Money, whoever controls the monetary system, controls society. “a main arena of human struggle is over the monetary control of societies and that control has been and is now exercised through obscure theories about the nature of money. If it had to be summarized in one sentence, it is that by misdefining the nature of money, special interests have often been able to assume the control of society’s monetary system, and in turn, the society itself. ”. It is because of how fundamentally the monetary architecture is reflected in the governance stack that sits atop of it that I can make the case with rather high confidence that Bitcoin and cryptos are not Trojan horses for globalist control. They are the opposite – they are the mechanisms through which people, all people, any person, the masses – can reclaim their own economic autonomy and become self-ruling and free. The defining feature that makes them so is simply that a liberating crypto-currency is designed such that the blockchain is decentralized anybody can take part in validating the blockchain the possessor controls the private keys to the units he or she owns This is Bitcoin. These are cryptos in general. They may also contain other features that confer a “sound money” status on them, like Bitcoin’s 21 million unit hard cap or Ethereum’s EIP 1559 protocol. But it is these three attributes, especially the last one, of holding one’s own private keys, that make them emancipatory monetary technologies. The crypto folks have an expression: “Not your keys, not your coins”. I expect this to be the defining feature that demarcates the difference between a bona fide crypto currency that empowers its holders and centralized digital cash (tokens) that governments and central banks run to control the populace. Those skeptical of Bitcoin, who suspect a globalist, Davos-inspired regimen of surveillance and social credit are correct about digital cash being the conduit for those, but they’ve simply conflated all forms of digital money and view Bitcoin as typical or a test-run of them. This misconception arises simply from not knowing or understanding the differentiators between a crypto like Bitcoin and a Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC), like a coming “FedCoin”. CBDCs will very much be tools of elitists to implement top-down command-and-control economics and even Great Reset-style social management through monetary policy. CBDCs will in all likelihood not be designed to put the private keys over the currency units into the hands of its possessor. Digital “cash” under CBDCs will be centrally programmable and implemented without end-user consent across all national governance and Davos-inspired initiatives. CBDCs will be the rails of all manner of economic programs (like UBI and MMT) and social policy objectives which simply are not possible, or desirable under cryptos: Expiry dates on “cash” in your wallet Negative interest rates if you try to save any of it Social credit objectives (no jab / no stimmie) Instant taxation on transactions and payments Social justice pricing (cup of coffee costs 10X if you’re in a higher tax bracket) Built-in climate tariffs Capital controls Infinitely inflatable, issue on demand If you thought the Federal Reserve was suffering from mission creep now that they’ve decided to tackle climate change and social justice, just wait until they get the ability to program what you can do with your monthly stimmie after it already in your wallet. (Anybody remember the original Robocop?) That is what we’re looking at with CBDCs and if that’s your dystopian vision of what digital cash means, you’re not wrong. You’re just misdirecting your apprehensions if you think that’s what Bitcoin means. This is because it and most of the other digital currencies are the antidote to CBDCs. Which is why they are subject to such hostility from policy makers, the corporate press and elites. This will be a battle. A never-ending tension between these two digital money systems – crypto currencies, which are actually fungible, inelastic, deflationary (purchasing power increases over time) and which gives their holders economic autonomy in this new era. On the other side we’ll have these centrally issued, programmable digital tokens. Which side of the ledger the majority of your economic activity happens on will govern your future status as a Neo-Serf or an autonomous Sovereign Individual. If the dynamic becomes extreme it could even result in a kind of monetary Apartheid. The good news is that today, at this moment in time, it’s still largely self-selecting. I’ve written many times, that crypto’s (real cryptos, not CBDCs or even stablecoins) are all about optionality. Crypto’s like Bitcoin confer options on their holders (HODL-ers), while the coming CBDCs will be all about limiting them. *  *  * I cover this dynamic extensively in The Crypto Capitalist Letter, a long with a tactical focus on publicly traded crypto stocks. Get the overall investment / macro thesis free when you subscribe to the Bombthrower mailing list, or try the premium service for a month with our fully refundable trial offer. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 12:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge15 hr. 40 min. ago

NYPD Seize Illicit Camper Vans Used For Airbnb Rentals In Manhattan

NYPD Seize Illicit Camper Vans Used For Airbnb Rentals In Manhattan Authorities in Manhattan seized seven illegally documented camper vans that have served as Airbnb rentals for the last two years.  According to NBC New York, deputies from the sheriff's office and NYPD officers jointly impounded seven of the vans last week.  Sheriff Joseph Fucito said the vans were parked on streets throughout Chelsea and the East Village and used as Airbnb rentals. He said all vans had New Jersey license plates. Three vans had expired registration, while others had plates that didn't match the vehicle. The seventh van wasn't registered.  Fucito went on to say the investigation began when a YouTuber posted a video of his experience of sleeping in one of the vans overnight in the East Village. He didn't say which video was in focus, but we found a recent YouTuber who reviewed his stay in one van for $97 per night.  "I was shocked when I saw an RV show up on Airbnb during my trip to New York. I figured, I would try it. The price with fees and taxes was $97 per night to sleep in the van in East Village," YouTube handle "Uptin" said in the description of the video.  The van listing appears to be removed from the Airbnb platform, but one boasted about "glamping in a spacious camper Van in NYC."  The one significant concern guests had was no bathroom accommodations were included in the stay, and they were told by the host to use facilities at local bars and restaurants.  Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 11:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge16 hr. 8 min. ago

The "Great Game" Moves On

The 'Great Game' Moves On Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Following America’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, her focus has switched to the Pacific with the establishment of a joint Australian and UK naval partnership. The founder of modern geopolitical theory, Halford Mackinder, had something to say about this in his last paper, written for the Council on Foreign Relations in 1943. Mackinder anticipated this development, though the actors and their roles at that time were different. In particular, he foresaw the economic emergence of China and India and the importance of the Pacific region. This article discusses the current situation in Mackinder’s context, taking in the consequences of green energy, the importance of trade in the Pacific region, and China’s current deflationary strategy relative to that of declining western powers aggressively pursuing asset inflation. There is little doubt that the world is rebalancing as Mackinder described nearly eighty years ago. To appreciate it we must look beyond the West’s current economic and monetary difficulties and the loss of its hegemony over Asia, and particularly note the improving conditions of the Asia’s most populous nations. Introduction Following NATO’s defeat in the heart of Asia, and with Afghanistan now under the Taliban’s rule, the Chinese/Russian axis now controls the Asian continental mass. Asian nations not directly related to its joint hegemony (not being members, associates, or dialog partners of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) are increasingly dependent upon it for trade and technology. Sub-Saharan Africa is in its sphere of influence. The reality for America is that the total population in or associated with the SCO is 57% of the world population. And America’s grip on its European allies is slipping. NATO itself has become less relevant, with Turkey drawn towards the rival Asian axis, and its EU members are compromised through trading and energy links with Russia and China. Furthermore, France is pushing the EU towards establishing its own army independent of US-led NATO — quite what its role will be, other than political puffery for France is a mystery. It is against this background that three of the Five Eyes intelligence partnership have formed AUKUS – standing for Australia, UK, and US — and its first agreement is to give Australia a nuclear submarine capability to strengthen the partnership’s naval power in the Pacific. Other capabilities, chiefly aimed at containing the Chinese threat to Taiwan and other allies in the Pacific Ocean, will surely emerge in due course. The other two Five Eyes, Canada and New Zealand, appear to be less keen to confront China. But perhaps they will also have less obvious roles in due course beyond pure intelligence gathering. The US, under President Trump, had failed to contain China’s increasing economic dominance and its rapidly developing technological challenge to American supremacy. Trump’s one success was to peel off the UK from its Cameron/Osbourne policy of strengthening trade and financial ties with China by threatening the UK’s important role in its intelligence partnership with the US. For the UK, the challenge came at a critical time. Brexit had happened, and the UK needed global partners for its future trade and geopolitical strategies, the latter needed to cement its re-emergence onto the world stage following Brexit. Trump held out the carrot of a fast-tracked US/UK trade deal. The Swiss alternative of neutrality in international affairs is not in the UK’s DNA, so realistically the decision was a no-brainer: the UK had to recommit itself entirely to the Anglo-Saxon Five-Eyes partnership with the US, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand and turn its back on China. But gathering intelligence and building naval power in the Pacific won’t defeat the Chinese. All simulations show that the US, with or without AUKUS, cannot win a military conflict against China. But AUKUS is not a formal model on NATO lines which commits its members by treaty to aggression against a common enemy. While Taiwan remains a specific problem, the objective is almost certainly to discourage China from territorial expansion and protect and give other Pacific nations on the Asian periphery the security to be independent from the SCO behemoth. The trade benefits of closer relationships with these independent nations are also an additional reason for the UK to join the CPTPP — the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership. It qualifies for membership through its sovereignty over the Pitcairn Islands. And that is why China has also applied to join. Therefore, AUKUS’s importance is in the signal sent to China and the whole Pacific region, following the abandonment of land-based operations in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The maritime threat to China is a line which must not be crossed. We are entering a new era in the Great Game, where the objective has changed from dominance to containment. Having lost its position of ultimate control in the Eurasian land mass America has selected its partners to retain control over the high seas. And the UK has found a new geopolitical purpose, re-establishing a global role now that it is independent from the EU. The French cannot join the CPTPP being bound into the common trade policies of the EU. Seeing the British escape the strictures of the EU and rapidly obtain more global influence than France could dream of has touched a raw nerve. Mackinder vindicated The father of geopolitics, Halford Mackinder, is frequently quoted and his theories are still relevant to the current situation. Much has been written about Mackinder’s prophecies. His concept of the World Island was first mentioned in his 1904 presentation to the Royal Geographic Society in London: “a pivot state, resulting in its expansion over the marginal lands of Euro-Asia”. In 1943 he updated his views in an article for the Council on Foreign Relations, adding to his heartland theory. Written during the Second World War, his commentary reflected the combatants and their positions at that time. But despite this, he made a perceptive comment relative to the situation today and AUKUS: “Were the Chinese for instance organised by the Japanese to overthrow the Russian Empire and conquer its territory they might constitute the yellow peril to the world’s freedom just because they would add an oceanic frontage to the resources of the great continent.” When Mackinder wrote his article the Japanese had already invaded Manchuria, but their subsequent defeat removed them from an active geopolitical role, and in place of a Soviet defeat China has entered a peaceful partnership with Russia that extends to all its old Central Asian soviet satellites. It is the focus on the ocean frontage that matters, upon which the maritime silk road depends. The article brings into play another aspect mentioned by Mackinder, and that is the Heartland’s tremendous natural resources, “…including enough coal in the Kuznetsk and Krasnoyarsk basins capable of supplying the requirements of the whole world for 300 years”. And: “In 1938 Russia produced more of the following food stuffs than any other country in the world: wheat, barley, oats, rye, and sugar beets. More manganese was produced in Russia than in any other country. It was bracketed with United States in the first place as regards iron and it stood second place in production of petroleum”. Through its partnership with Russia all these latent resources are available to the Chinese and Russian partnership. And the real potential for industrialisation, held back by communism and now by Russian corruption, has barely commenced. After presciently noting that one day the Sahara may become the trap for capturing direct power from the sun (foreseeing solar panels), Mackinder’s article ended on an optimistic note: “A thousand million people of ancient oriental civilisation inhabit the monsoon lands of India and China [today 3 billion, including Pakistan]. They must grow to prosperity in the same years in which Germany and Japan are being tamed to civilisation. They will then balance that other thousand million who live between the Missouri and the Yenisei [i.e., Central and Eastern America, Britain, Europe and Russia beyond the Urals]. A balanced globe of human beings and happy because balanced and thus free.” Both China and now India are rapidly industrialising, becoming part of a balanced globe of humanity. While the West tries to hang on to what it has got rather than progressing, China and India along with all of under-developed Asia are moving rapidly in the direction of individual freedom of economic choice and improvements in living conditions, to which Mackinder was referring. Obviously, there is some way for this process yet to go, displacing western hegemony in the process. America particularly has found the political challenges of change difficult, with its deep state unable to come to terms easily with the implications for its military and economic power. We must hope that Mackinder was right, and the shift of economic power is best to be regarded as the pains of geopolitical evolution rather than conditions for escalating conflict. But in pursuing its green agenda and eschewing carbon fuels, the West is unwittingly handing a gift to Mackinder’s Heartland, because despite diplomatic noises to the contrary China, India and all the SCO membership will continue to use cheap coal, gas, and oil which Asia has in abundance while Western manufacturers are forced by their governments to use expensive and less reliable green energy. Green obsessions and global trade Meanwhile, the West has gone green-crazy. Banning fossil fuels without there being adequate replacements must be a new definition of insanity, for which the current fuel crises in Europe attest. With over 95% of European logistics currently being shifted by diesel power, switching to battery power or hydrogen by 2030 by banning sales of new internal combustion engine vehicles is a hostage to fortune. While it is hardly mentioned, presumably the Western powers think that by banning carbon fuels they will take the wind out of Russia’s energy quasi-monopoly, because including gas Russia is the largest exporter of fossil fuels in the world. Instead, the West is creating an energy shortage for itself, a point driven home by Gazprom withholding gas flows through its pipelines to Europe, thereby driving up Europe’s energy costs sharply and ensuring a far more severe energy crisis this winter. Even if Russia turns on the taps tomorrow, there is insufficient gas storage in reserve for the winter months. And Europe and the UK have got ahead of themselves by decommissioning coal and gas-fired electricity. In the UK, a massive undersea gas storage facility off the Yorkshire coast has been closed, leaving precious little national storage capacity. As we have seen with the post-covid supply chain chaos, energy problems will not only become acute this winter, but are likely to persist through much of next year. And even that assumes Russia relents and moderates its energy stance to European customers. By way of contrast, though its partnership with Russia China is gifted unlimited access to all carbon fuels. She is still building coal-fired electricity power stations at an extraordinary rate — according to a BBC report there are 61 new ones being commissioned. A further 51 outside China are planned. As a sop to the West China has only said she won’t finance any more outside her territory. And India relies on coal for over two-thirds of its electrical energy. While Europe and America through their green obsessions are denying themselves the availability and technologies that go with carbon fuels, the Russian/Chinese axis will continue to reap the full benefits. The West’s response is likely to be to decry Chinese pollution and its contribution to global warming, but realistically there is little it can do. Demand for Chinese-manufactured goods will continue because China now has a quasi-monopoly on global manufacturing for export. In the unlikely event western consumers become avid savers while their governments continue to run massive budget deficits, their trade deficits will rise even more, allowing Chinese exporters to increase prices for consumers and intermediate goods without losing export sales. While there is nothing it can do about China’s production methods, AUKUS members will undoubtedly lean on other exporting CPTPP members to comply with global green policies. But they will be competing with China, and while they may pay lip service to the climate change agenda, in practice they are unlikely to implement it without holding out for unrealistic subsidies from the western nations driving the climate change agenda. Under current circumstances, it seems unlikely that China’s CPTPP application will lead to membership, given the CPTPP requirement for China’s central government to relinquish ownership of its SOEs and to permit the free flow of data across its borders. In any event, China is focused on developing its Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), a free trade agreement with ratification signed so far by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand. It will come into effect when ratified by ten out of the fifteen signatories, likely to be in the first half of 2022, and in terms of population will be two and a half times the size of the EU and the US/Mexico/Canada (USMCA) trade agreements combined. With four out of five of the signatories being American allies, RCEP demonstrates that the AUKUS defence partnership is an entirely separate issue from trade. While the US may not like it, if RCEP goes ahead freer trade will almost certainly undermine a belligerent stance in due course. Despite hiccups, the progression of trade dealing in the Pacific region promises to prove Mackinder right about the prospect of a more balanced world. All being well and guaranteed by a balance of naval capabilities between AUKUS and China, a free-trading Pacific region will render the European and American trade protectionist policies an anachronism. But the threat is now from another direction: financial instability, with western nations pulling in one direction and China in another. Since the Lehman collapse and the ensuing financial crisis, China has been careful to prevent financial bubbles. Figure 1 shows that the Shanghai Composite Index has risen 82% since 2008, while the S&P500 rose 430%. While the US has seen financial asset values driven by a combination of QE and investor speculation, these factors are absent and discouraged in China. Government debt to GDP is about half that of the US. It is true that industrial debt is high, like that of the US. But the difference is that in China debt is more productive while in America there has been a growing preponderance of debt zombies, only kept solvent by zero interest rate policies. China’s policy of ensuring that the expansion of bank credit is invested in production and not speculation differs fundamentally from the US approach, which is to deliberately inflate financial assets to perpetuate a wealth effect. China avoids the destabilising potential of speculative flows unwinding because it lays the economy open to the possibility that America will use financial instability to undermine China’s economy. In a speech to the Chinese Communist Party’s Central Committee in April 2015, Major-General Qiao Liang, the People’s Liberation Army strategist, identified a cycle of dollar weakness against other currencies followed by strength, which first inflated debt in foreign countries and then bankrupted them. Qiao argued it was a deliberate American policy and would be used against China. In his words, it was time for America to “harvest” China. Drawing on Chinese intelligence reports, in early 2014 he was made aware of American involvement in the “Occupy Central” movement in Hong Kong. After several delays, the Fed announced the end of QE the following September which drove the dollar higher, and “Occupy Central” protests broke out the following month. To Qiao the two events were connected. By undermining the dollar/yuan rate and provoking riots, the Americans had tried to crash China’s economy. Within six months the Shanghai stock market began to collapse with the SSE Composite Index falling from 5,160 to 3,050 between June and September 2015. One cannot know for certain if Qiao’s analysis was correct, but one can understand the Chinese leadership’s continued caution based upon it. For this and other reasons, the Chinese leadership is extremely wary of having dollar liabilities and the accumulation of unproductive, speculative money in the economy. It justifies their strict exchange control regime, whereby dollars are not permitted to circulate in China, and all inward capital flows are turned into yuan by the PBOC. Furthermore, domestic monetary policy appears deliberately different from that of America and other western nations. While everyone else has been inflating their way through covid, China has been restricting domestic credit expansion and curtailing shadow banking. The discount rate is held up at 2.9% with market rates slightly lower at 2.2%, and the only reason it is that low is because alternative dollar rates are at zero and EU and Japanese rates are negative. It is this restrictive monetary policy that has led to the current crisis in property developers, with the very public difficulties of Evergrande. Far from being a surprise event, with cautious monetary policies it could have been easily foreseen. Moreover, the government has a sensible policy of not rescuing private sector businesses in trouble, though it is likely to take steps to limit financial contagion. In their glass houses, Western critics continually throw stones at China. But at least her policy makers have attempted to avoid contributing to the global inflation cycle. With prices beginning to rise at an accelerating pace in western currencies, a new global financial crash is in the making. China and her SCO cohort would be adversely affected, but not to the same extent. The fruits of China’s policies of restricting credit expansion are showing in the commodity prices she pays, which in her own currency have increased by ten per cent less than for dollar-based competition, judging by the exchange rate movements since the Fed reduced its funds rate to the zero bound and instigated monthly QE of $120bn on 19-23 March 2020 (see Figure 2). And while both currencies have moved broadly sideways since January, there is little doubt that the fundamentals point to an even stronger yuan and weaker dollar. The domestic benefits of a relatively stronger yuan outweigh the margin compression suffered by China’s exporters. It is worth noting that as well as moderating credit demand, China is attempting to increase domestic consumer spending at the expense of the savings rate, so consumer demand will begin to matter more than exports to producers. It is in line with a long-term objective of China becoming less dependent on exports, and exporters will benefit from domestic sales growth instead. Furthermore, with China dominating global exports of intermediate and consumer goods and while western budget deficits are increasing and leading to yet greater trade deficits, Chinese exporters should be able to secure higher prices anyway. There can be little doubt that the budget deficits financed by monetary inflation in America, the EU, Japan and the UK, plus central bank stimulus packages are now undermining the purchasing power of all the major currencies. The consequences for their purchasing powers are now becoming apparent and attempts to calm markets and consumers by describing them as transient cuts little ice. In terms of their purchasing powers, these currencies are now in a race to the bottom. Not only are the costs of production rising sharply, but following a brief pause of three months, commodity and energy prices look set to rise sharply. Figure 3 shows the Invesco commodity tracker, which having almost doubled since March 2020 now appears to be attempting a break out on the upside. Since global competitiveness is no longer a priority, China would be sensible to let its yuan exchange rate rise against western currencies to help keep a lid on domestic prices and costs. It is, after all, a savings driven economy, with the sustainable characteristics of a strong currency relative to the dollar. Conclusions Having failed in their land-based military objectives, America’s undeclared tariff and financial wars against China are also coming to an end, to be replaced by a policy of maritime containment through the AUKUS partnership. Attempts to stem strategic losses in Asia have now ended with the withdrawal from Afghanistan and from other interventions.The change in geopolitical policy is not yet widely appreciated. But the parlous state of US finances, dollar market bubbles, persistent and increasing price inflation and the inevitability of interest rate increases will make a policy backstop of maritime containment the only geostrategic option left to America. By pursuing more cautious monetary policies, China is less exposed to the inevitable consequences of global monetary inflation. While yuan currency rates are managed instead of set by markets, it is now in China’s interest to see a stronger yuan to contain domestic price and cost inflation. Even though fiat currencies could be destroyed by imploding asset bubbles, these factors contribute to a set of circumstances that appear to lead to a more peaceable outcome for the world than appeared likely before America and NATO withdrew from Afghanistan. There’s many a slip between cup and lip; but it was an outcome forecast by Halford Mackinder nearly eighty years ago. Let us hope he was right. Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 08:10.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt18 hr. 56 min. ago

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

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

Category: worldSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

"Not Satisfied" - USAF Signals Hypersonic Weapon Program In Limbo

"Not Satisfied" - USAF Signals Hypersonic Weapon Program In Limbo Hypersonic weapon development is among the highest priorities of global superpowers as a great-power competition rages between the US and China.  China is rapidly developing hypersonic weapon systems and has fielded some of these superfast weapons to its southeast coast and or militarized islands in the South China Sea - challenging the US' air dominance in the Indo-Pacific region.  The problem is that for decades the US has been lightyears ahead of other countries in developing and fielding anti-ship cruise and ballistic missiles but, for some reason, is having difficulty fielding hypersonic weapons.  On Monday, at the annual Air Force Association Air, Space & Cyber conference, USAF Secretary Frank Kendall told reporters that he is reassessing the USAF's hypersonic program, according to Breaking Defense. "I'm not satisfied with the pace," he said. "We're making some progress on the technology; I would like to see it be better." Kendall said he is "not satisfied with the degree to which we have figured out what we need for hypersonics — of what type, for what missions." "The target set that we would want to address, and why hypersonics are the most cost-effective weapons for the US, I think it's still, to me, somewhat of a question mark," he said. "I haven't seen all the analysis that's been done to justify the current program." Gen. Arnold Bunch, the head of Air Force Materiel Command, told reporters on Tuesday that "there are certain aspects, attributes that [have] not performed the way we need to," while acknowledging the hypersonic program has hit obstacles.  "We are going to have to continue to put our focus there, and we will continue to take what are called educated risks as we move forward so that we can get a capability out in the field as quickly as possible," Bunch said. While China and Russia have fielded hypersonic weapons, the US has not and recently experienced a failed air-launch test of a missile that can travel at Mach 5, or about 3,836 mph.  In terms of funding, the push for hypersonic weapon development occurred under the Trump administration and has continued under Biden.  America is trying to reassert its air dominance worldwide, but it's having trouble developing hypersonic weapons as other superpowers soar ahead.  Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 22:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

Hedge Fund Net Leverage At All Time Highs As No Dips Are Sold

Hedge Fund Net Leverage At All Time Highs As No Dips Are Sold Two weeks ago, JPMorgan's prime desk wrote about 2 main themes among the hedge fund community: elevated leverage levels and low exposure to cyclicals/value that tend to do better when rates are rising. However, over the past week, both of these things have come into sharper focus as US equities suffered one of their larger pullbacks in a while and rates globally jumped higher towards the end of this week.  So what has the largest bank's prime brokerage desk seen in the past week?  According to the latest weekly Positioning Intelligence report published by the bank, at a high level, it seems that HFs are not that concerned about the broader market (nor is anyone else for that matter) with the bank finding that over the past few months, there’s been limited willingness to sell dips.  In line with this, the bank saw neutral flows globally over the past week with small buying on Monday, alongside retail BTFDers, even as professional sentiment tracked by AAII turned the most bearish since last October... ... followed by small selling on Thursday.  But more generally, net flows globally have remained neutral to skewed towards buying in the past 2 weeks with Asia the only region to see some selling. Furthermore, as has been the case for much of 2011, net leverage remains near highs with little change in the past few weeks—net at 98th percentile (of all time) across All Strategies. While gross leverage has come down a little to the 76th percentile, that appears to be more derivatives related and there could be an element of Quadruple Witching that might be impacting this as the largest gross leverage reductions were among Multi-Strat funds. According to JPM, one reason why leverage and flows among HFs might be more neutral this month is that performance has held in relatively well MTD: long-short spreads have been improving over the past few months.  Looking at this month, longs are holding up well, while shorts are down in line with the market. This leaves HFs up slightly MTD, according to JPM estimates. Back to the topic of leverage, FINRA just came out with its latest statistics on Margin Debt which showed them at a new ATH. Given it is up almost 60% since the start of 2020, it begs the question Bank of America asked one month ago: should we be concerned? Not surprisingly, JPM dismisses this indicator and thinks "this alone is not something that is concerning when one breaks down the changes and behavior to account for how the market has been performing." Furthermore the JPM prime desk notes that "this appears to be very different from the peaks in 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt rose about 50% faster than the S&P 500 over a 12-month period." Instead, to JPM the recent moves seem more reminiscent to what happened in the early 90s. At a more micro level, cyclicals / value / inflation / travel related stocks have all been doing better recently as COVID are falling once more, some travel restrictions are getting lifted, and rates are rising globally.  In line with this, JPM continued to see buying of NA Financials, something that has been noted over the past few weeks, but this week JPM saw Banks getting bought (vs. more Insurance and Div. Fins in prior weeks).  COVID recovery stocks have also been bought but there’s room for more to go as positioning and valuations remain low in many cases (especially among the US COVID – Domestic Recovery basket, JPAMCRDB).  EMEA Travel & Leisure stocks saw strong buying in the past week as the US prepares to drop its ban for transatlantic travel, and net positioning is getting a bit elevated vs. history; however, EMEA Airlines still has low positioning.  Finally, not everything cyclical is getting bought—HFs have continued to sell Energy into strength - despite the recent surge in oil and all other commodities - and have also sold Materials.  Below we share some more details on each of these core themes Main theme #1: Global Flows and Leverage: HFs Don’t Seem Too Concerned While markets have been volatile over the past week, due to the myriad concerns, HF flows remained quite calm.  The reason is that hedge funds have been reluctant to sell dips and that appeared to be the case again last Fri/this Mon as global flows were quite neutral.  However, at the same time, HFs are also not chase the rally as the JPM Prime net flows were fairly neutral on Wed and skewed towards selling on Thurs when markets rallied back. A notable observation is that there appears to be some strategy differences in the past 2 weeks as Equity L/S and Quant funds have been buyers while Multi-Strats have been net sellers across JPM prime.  The selling among Multi-Strats comes as gross and net leverage have started to pull back from peak levels.  The gross reductions among some Multi-Strat funds have been the main driver of the broader “All Strategies” gross leverage figure lower WoW.  However, net leverage was basically unchanged. Furthermore, it appears derivative positions might be driving some of the changes as notional LMV and SMV increased WoW while delta adjusted LMV and SMV fell.   Among Equity L/S funds, who have been moderate net buyers of equities most days MTD, net leverage actually rose slightly WoW and it’s now at the 93rd %-tile since Mar 2017.   #2:  US Margin Debt: New ATHs at End of Aug…Should We Be Concerned? FINRA just released the latest monthly stats on “Margin Debt” which showed a fairly large increase, following a decrease in July.  As Margin Debt is at new All-Time-Highs and is now up almost 60% since the start of 2020, it’s worth asking -as BofA did one month ago -  if this is something we should be concerned about.   In order to answer this, we’ve looked at the relationship between Margin Debt and the markets over time, augmenting the data FINRA has on it’s website with NYSE Margin Debt data that goes back to 1959.  What this shows is that while there is a very big increase recently, it is 1) in line with the markets and 2) seems to be following the general pattern of the past 60+ years.   Similar to discussions of rate-driven VaR shocks, JPM argues that it’s not so much the level of Margin Debt that one should be focused on, but rather the rate of change. On this point, the bank measured the 12M change in Margin Debt and the S&P 500 over the past ~60 years and what this shows is that there is typically a fairly strong correlation over time. In particular, this correlation has been very strong since the GFC, but there were a couple notable divergences in 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt rose much faster than the market. In its attempt to mitigate concerns about record margin debt, JPM then notes that increases in Margin Debt (i.e. investors taking on more leverage) that exceed the market returns by a wide margin could indicate greater potential for future stress because it might suggest that investors are adding leverage at market highs, but not actually making much money while doing so. Thus, when markets start to pull back, the recent investments start to lose money more quickly than if they had been added when the markets weren’t at highs. Addressing this point, JPM notes that when looking at what’s happened in the past 2 years, we have seen Margin Debt increase faster than the markets on a 12M rolling basis with the difference reaching +28% at its recent high.  However, the recent high in the 12M difference metric was reached in January of this year (perhaps due to the fact that HFs had performed very well in 2020 and had been adding risk throughout 2H20 in particular). Thus, this difference has been falling for much of the past 7 months.  Furthermore, the recent rise follows a period when Margin Debt had generally lagged the market increases; since the start of 2018, margin debt is only up ~40% vs. the S&P up ~70% in price terms. When it looks back even further, JPM notes that there were periods in the 70s-80s when large increases in Margin debt were followed by market weakness, suggesting this isn’t only a 2000 and 2007 phenomenon (left chart below).  Furthermore, one could reasonably ask why the relatively large increase in the early 90s didn’t result in a market pullback.  While there are likely other contributing factors as well, one thing to note about Margin Debt was that it had gone through a period of relatively slower growth in the late 80s, so the rise in the early 90s was somewhat of a “catch-up” period for it.  Similarly, JPM argues that the rise into Jan of this year could also be considered a bit of a “catch-up” period, which appears to be different from 2000 and 2007 when Margin Debt was reaching new highs, even when measuring it relative to the S&P changes.   In light of the above it's hardly a surprise that JPM thinks that while there are many potential reasons one could cite for market caution, "the level and changes in Margin Debt do not appear to be setting us up for extreme market drawdowns like we saw in 2000 and 2007." #3:  Reopening/Recovery Trades Back in Focus? With COVID cases appeared to be on the decline globally, and travel restrictions getting lifted in some places, reopening/recovery themes have been more topical as they’ve started to perform better. On the HF side, JPM Prime has seen net buying over the past 2-3 weeks in both the Domestic Recovery basket (JPAMCRDB) and the International Recovery Basket (JPAMCRIB).  Positioning in both groups remains low on a YTD basis and very low on a multi-year basis for the Domestic basket.  In addition, JPM’s U.S. Equity Research Strategist, Dubravko, recently wrote about this in a recent note where he showed that the COVID Recovery – Domestic basket had seen relative valuations fall back to multi-year lows while COVID Beneficiaries were back near highs. In a similar vein, Travel & Leisure stocks have seen strong performance this week in both N. America and EMEA, along with HF buying as the US said it would remove its ban on EU travel for vaccinated passengers starting in November. The recovery in performance, relative to the market, still has more to go before getting back to  where we were earlier this year. In terms of where the recent buying and outperformance leaves HF positioning, net exposures are nearing average levels among US Travel & Leisure stocks, but are a bit closer to highs in EMEA. Where there appears to be more potential upside for positioning in EMEA is among the Airlines stocks where net exposures is still about 1z below average and JPM has yet to see shorts covered in the group, after persistent additions for the past 6 months. Among US stocks, the rise in rates was accompanied by further buying of Inflation Winners and Rising Bond Yield Winners. Despite the recent buying, net exposure to the Inflation winners remains quite low with net exposures about 1 std dev below average and for the Rising Bond Yield Winners, the net exposure is still slightly below average.   Similarly, a couple weeks ago JPM wrote about how positioning and flows in Value vs. Growth had done a “180” in the past few months as Value had underperformed. Perhaps not surprisingly, US Value seems to be getting a revival recently as the Value factor has been bought in the past 2 weeks. This is coming from both Value Longs getting bought and Value Shorts being sold/shorted.  In line with this, Growth stocks have seen some selling. #4:  Performance – HFs Holding Well in Sep With a risk-on backdrop of cyclicals outperforming defensives, small caps rallying, and rising rates this week (Rising Bond Yield Winners up +5% WTD), Hedge Funds find themselves in the rare position of outperforming broader equity market indices MTD. And with WSB's short squeeze hunts fading, shorts are not detracting from performance as they are generally down in-line with the market; whereas, longs have fared better and protected to the downside.  Among Global Equity L/S funds, net returns continue to track positively with gains of +60-70bps MTD, outperforming MSCI ACWI (which is down -1.2%). The long-short spread has continued to improve since mid-August, driven more recently by shorts selling off faster in September than the market (down -1.3% on wgtd avg basis) and longs holding up relatively well (only down -15bps MTD). Non-Equity L/S funds are also up MTD and outperforming global equity indices, up between +30-85bps. In terms of alpha, longs have outperformed shorts throughout most of September (some reversion over the past 2 days). At a regional level, N. America L/S funds are flat to slightly up MTD, up around +0-30bps and are thus outpacing the SPX. The long-short spread has continued to improve steadily since mid-August but slowed yesterday as shorts outperformed. In EMEA, net returns among L/S funds are positive MTD, gaining around +0.5-1.3% and outperforming the headline European index. Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 20:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

Just How Many Containers Of Cargo Are Stuck Off California"s Coast?

Just How Many Containers Of Cargo Are Stuck Off California's Coast? By Greg Miller of American Shipper, With around 70 container ships loaded with cargo now waiting at anchor or drifting off the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, how deep of a hole are the terminals actually in? To answer that question, American Shipper analyzed data from the Marine Exchange of Southern California on exactly which ships are out there and how much cargo they can carry. While the numbers fluctuate from day to day, there were 70 container ships in the queue on Monday with total capacity of 432,909 twenty-foot equivalent units. To put the enormity of that number in perspective, that’s more than the inbound container volume the Port of Long Beach handled in the entire month of August. It’s roughly what Charleston handles inbound in four months and what Savannah handles in two. The combined import throughput of both Los Angeles and Long Beach in August was 893,118 TEUs. Assuming ships waiting offshore are effectively full and capacity is a good proxy for volume, and that terminals are able to process vessels at the same pace they did in August, the anchorages and drift areas could only be completely cleared if no ships arrived for 14 days straight days. Not only would that never happen, but there is no letup in arrivals in sight. Vessel-positioning data from MarineTraffic confirms that a steady stream of container ships remains en route across the Pacific, destined for Los Angeles. Container ship en route to the Port of Los Angeles as of Tuesday (Map: MarineTraffic) How long ships wait for berths The Port of Los Angeles publishes the average waiting period for a ship to reach one of its berths. On Tuesday, that number rose to an all-time high of nine days (calculated on a 30-day rolling average basis). To gauge how much capacity has been stuck waiting for how long, American Shipper looked at aggregate TEUs by arrival date. Thirty-six ships with a total capacity of 230,803 TEUs arrived in port waters in the seven days through Monday. That’s 54% of the total TEU capacity waiting offshore. Another 27 ships with total capacity of 176,892 TEUs arrived between one and two weeks prior to Monday, representing a further 42%. The remaining few ships arrived in late August and early September. Arriving ships have gotten smaller A significant change over the course of this year’s congestion crisis is that the average capacity of ships calling in Los Angeles/Long Beach has decreased, meaning that terminals handle more ships to move the same throughput. In the current peak season, new trans-Pacific services have been introduced that use smaller vessels, pulling the average size down. The primary reason: Virtually no larger container ships have been available for sale or lease in recent months; operators are adding capacity via smaller ships by necessity, even if it means chartering them for short periods at astronomical day rates. During the congestion peak reached earlier this year, on Feb. 1, there were 40 container ships at anchor in San Pedro Bay, which at the time seemed enormous but now seems middling. The total cargo capacity of anchored ships then was 322,721 TEUs. Of ships at anchor on Feb. 1, 15 were 10,000 TEUs or larger, or 38% of the vessel count. The average capacity in the Feb. 1 queue was 8,068 TEUs. Several larger container ships have suffered waits of beyond one week. The 13,092-TEU Maersk Elba arrived Sept. 7; the 11,142-TEU MSC Avni on Sept. 9; the 11,356-TEU CMA CGM Callisto on Sept. 11; the 10,055-TEU Hyundai Neptune and 14,036-TEU MSC Livorno on Sept. 12; and the 14,026-TEU ONE Blue Jay on Sept. 13. In contrast, as of Monday, there were 17 ships larger than 10,000 TEUs at anchor or drifting, representing only 24% of the total ship count. The average capacity of all ships in the queue was down to 6,184 TEUs — 24% below the average ship size on Feb. 1. The change in ship size helps put the growth of the offshore queue in context. The news headlines focus on the total number of ships waiting for berths, which has risen from 40 in February to around 70 currently, an increase of 75%. Yet the aggregate capacity of ships in the offshore “parking lot” — a proxy for delayed cargo — has only risen by 34% over the same timeframe, because of the declining size of ships in the queue. Tyler Durden Sat, 09/25/2021 - 16:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 25th, 2021

Texas launches audit into 2020 election results after pressure from Donald Trump

Although Donald Trump won the state of Texas in 2020, the audit will focus on counties Joe Biden won. Former President Donald Trump in Texas. Brandon Bell/Getty Images The Texas Secretary of State's office said they will audit the results of the 2020 election in four counties. The move comes after former President Donald Trump pressured the governor to start an audit. Although Trump won the state in 2020, the audit primarily focuses on counties where Joe Biden won. See more stories on Insider's business page. Texas officials have said they will launch a "forensic audit" of the results of the 2020 election in its four largest counties, following pressure from former President Donald Trump.Despite winning the state in the 2020 election, Trump wrote to Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on Thursday and pushed him to audit the results."Despite my big win in Texas, I hear Texans want an election audit," the former president said in a statement. "You know your fellow Texans have big questions about the November 2020 Election.Late on Thursday, the Texas Secretary of State's office confirmed that they would audit the results of four counties; Houston, Dallas, Tarrant, and Collin, local news outlet NBC DFW reported.Houston and Dallas typically lean Democrat, and although Tarrant has traditionally voted Republican, Joe Biden won the county in 2020.There was little further information on how the audit would be carried out.The statement was attributed to Sam Taylor, a spokesman for the office, as the position of Secretary of State has been vacant since May.Texas Republicans have been pushing to audit the election results in Texas's largest counties, most of which went to Joe Biden.Democrats and election officials said that Republicans had demonstrated no evidence of widespread fraud in the state and that there was no need for an audit.Critics say that the decision to start an audit indicates that Texas officials have bowed to pressure from the former president.-Lina Hidalgo (@LinaHidalgoTX) September 24, 2021"Donald Trump ordered Gov. Abbott to audit the 2020 Texas election and, like clockwork, TX just initiated an audit of Harris County voters," Harris County's Judge Lina Hidalgo wrote on Twitter. "Democracy isn't a game. These fake audits are an affront to all voters, & pure pandering to the kinds of extremists that stormed our Capitol."Local newspaper The Fort Worth Star-Telegram wrote in an editorial board opinion that Texans now have "a clear picture of who's in charge of election law in this state"- and it's not the governor or secretary of state, "it's Donald Trump."On Friday, the results of Arizona's audit of the 2020 presidential election confirmed that Joe Biden won the state.The controversial GOP-led audit resulted in Trump losing 261 votes, and Biden gaining 99.Although Donald Trump and his allies have filed dozens of lawsuits challenging the results of the 2020 election, all of them have failed.The Justice Department said it found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in the election.Despite this, the former president continues to promote widely disproved conspiracy theories about the election being rigged.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

Wedding planners and florists say there"s a massive flower shortage as weddings boom: "We"ve never had demand like this"

Demand for flowers continued to grow during the last two years while florists and flower farmers grappled with poor weather and lack of workers. The flower supply chain is in chaos. Photo by Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images) Florists say demand for flowers is skyrocketing while they become harder to source. A lack of workers earlier in the pandemic led to shortages of plants to harvest now. Climate change is also impacting growing seasons around the world. See more stories on Insider's business page. Wedding and event planners across the US are scrambling to find flowers as a combination of surging demand, lack of workers, and unfavorable weather roils the floral industry."It's not just that there's a shortage in product, it's that everybody has events at the same time," Kelly Shore, owner of Petals by the Shore floral design business in Washington, DC and the website Floral Source, which connects US flower farmers with florists, told Insider. "We've never had demand like this."Teresa Eoff, the owner of Figure Eight Events in Fontana, California, is seeing the same thing."Everyone's fighting over flowers right now," she said.An explosion in weddings is happening across the US. The Wedding Report is forecasting 1.93 million US weddings in 2021 and 2.47 million in 2022 - up from 1.3 million weddings in 2020. The forecasters also said that 20% of 2020 weddings were rescheduled for 2021."The wedding boom is absolutely real," Daulton Van Kuren, owner of The Refined Host event planning in Georgia, told Insider. As soon as events were allowed again, "my phone line and email inbox went nuts," he said.Demand is so great that buyers can't ask for specific flowers or even colors, just a general color palette, said Val Foote, a florist and owner of Sungrove Blossoms in Rochester, New York. "We're past asking for specifics."White flowers, in particular, are nearly impossible to get."You used to be able to find a white rose no matter what," Marisa Guerrero, vice president of Debbie's Bloomers in El Paso, Texas, said. "Now they're in super high demand because everybody decided to get married." Fewer plantings disrupted supplyWhen COVID-19 first hit the US in spring 2020, the floral industry was hit hard.As a result, flower farms destroyed hundreds of tons of flowers, according to Jackie Trejo, the owner of Jackie Trejo Floral Design in Houston, Texas.Some flower farms laid off workers and others closed down altogether. In December 2020, US floral industry employment was at 5.64 million, its lowest level in seven years according to the National Association of Wholesale Distributors, down 247,717 jobs from the same period in 2019.As a result, fewer flowers were planted and properly harvested for upcoming seasons, some florists and flower farmers said."We have four times the demand for flowers, but half the stock," Foote said. "It's a disaster."When demand started to pick up again, some flower farms had trouble finding workers. Shore said some commercial farms she visited recently didn't have enough workers to bundle flowers and load them into trucks for storage in coolers. The harvested flowers were left to die in the heat, she said."We had issues finding workers this year," Gretel Adams, owner of Sunny Meadows Flower Farm in Columbus, Ohio told Insider. When she couldn't find enough local workers, she hired temporary workers through a visa program with Mexico, she said. Poor weather has hurt supply, florists say "The weather has been terrible, with horrible growing conditions," for flower farms in South America, where most US flowers are sourced from, Foote said. Colder nights and heavier annual rainfall impacts the health of the plants and when they're ready to harvest, according to Florists Supply.US farms are also facing weather-related problems. California, which is responsible for three-quarters of US cut flower sales, has contended with historic droughts, unpredictable rain patterns, and fires."We had wildfire come right up to the border of the farm. We were working in smoke for approximately four weeks," Dru Rivers of Fully Belly Farm in Guinda, California told Slow Flowers Society. Rivers says her farm has also shifted to focus on sunflowers, zinnias, and other flowers that can thrive in hot weather.For Adams in Ohio, she's feeling the impacts of warm weather coming earlier in the spring recently."In May it gets really hot and everything starts to sprout," but then there's a late frost or freeze that kills the budding flowers. "We've lost our peonies the last two years," she said."Local farms [in New York] had a terrible spring and planted a month late," Foote said. Dahlias and roses, popular wedding flowers, are both growing behind their normal schedule, with some traditional summer blooms not ready until fall- an issue she attributed to changing weather. US flower farms are already spread thin as people increasingly rely on them with imported flowers failing to arrive, Foote said.Do you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at mmeisenzahl@businessinsider.com.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 25th, 2021

Why The West Can"t Ban Bitcoin The Way China Did

Why The West Can't Ban Bitcoin The Way China Did Authored by Mark Jeftovic via BombThrower.com, Only a complete “dictatorship of the proletariat” can kill Bitcoin Evergrande is being called China’s “Lehman moment” and overnight the PBC closed the loop on their clampdown on crypto with a total ban on virtual currency transactions. For those paying attention, however, China isn’t just moving against crypto, they’ve been bringing their entire technology sector to heel. They also stated that it is time to redistribute wealth from the top tier of the nations wealth holders to the rest of the peasant class. This isn’t a return to their Communist roots as much as it is a move of self-preservation against rising internal powers. In the words of my friend Charles Hugh Smith via some correspondence we’ve been having this week “Xi has set out to crush the Network State”. I said in my earlier Network State Primer about the coming tension between Nation States and Network States: the former will go down swinging. The power structures of the nation states won’t go gently into the dustbin of history. They will go down swinging, over a transitional era that may span decades or longer, similar to the centuries long tensions between monarchs and the Papacy that shaped the transition from the Middle Ages into the Renaissance. China has decided to make their last stand of the Nation State, now. Here at this moment in time. They will not bail out Evergrande, they will allow their side of the Everything Bubble to pop, and they will use the economic crash to make a final sweep of consolidation of their power. They will make sure their Big Tech knows who is in charge and that it is not them. Over here in the West, recent regulatory jabs at crypto seem almost enfeebled by comparison. The SEC forcing Coinbase to cancel a program they hadn’t launched yet (so it makes no difference to their bottom line), while bickering with the CFTA over who gets to regulate crypto. The subtext to all this is we shall now see, and be forced to choose, a path forward in the digital networked age: Behind door #1 we keep the nation state format of centralized, top down control and escalating interference into both the economic and private lives of its subjects. Behind door #2 is the coming tension between nation states, network states and crypto-claves that I outlined previously. Neither path will produce a serene and stable gilded age. They will both be chaotic and volatile, Fourth Turning style transitions. The former in the course of implementing then maintaining a totalitarian dictatorship by force. The latter in the interplay and jockeying between three disparate organizational dynamics, each with it’s own centre of gravity (power), source of wealth and interdependencies with the others. China may be able to make option #1 work there, at least for awhile, but would a China style technocratic dictatorship actually fly and sustain in the West? At first glance one may think so. The zeitgeist today seems to be one clamouring for authoritarianism and collectivism. But upon deeper examination this may only be the vocal minority of academia, media pundits and Social Justice Inc. The majority of the population may just be keeping silent out of pragmatism and sheer exhaustion from the never-ending elitist sanctimony and cultural Marxism. But the pushback against COVID authoritarianism, now made acute by forced vaccinations and the ongoing threats of never-ending lockdowns may finally be getting hints of non-compliance through to policy-makers in the West. Australia has officially abandoned their Zero Covid policy and vaccine passport mandates are incurring revolts and in some places are abandoned. What would it take for Western governments to ban crypto, reign in ascendant tech platforms and more permanently abrogate all property rights? Western governments would have to go “Full China” My worry under lockdowns was that Western governments pined for China-style autocracy. And let’s call it for what it is: for a couple years since all this started, they certainly tried it. To varying degrees they continue to cling to the hope that they can remain relevant in a 21st century world using technocratic methods developed out of 20th century industrialism. Most policy makers are still trapped in a mindset learned from an era of assembly lines and cubicles. They think the only difference is it’s now digitized. But the more I started thinking about this the more I realized how unlikely this is in the realms of erstwhile liberal democracies. For one thing, decentralized crypto currencies have already changed the game  in the West in a way where there is no going back. It is estimated that by 2024, there will one billion Bitcoin HODLers, and that makes them a real constituancy. Another reason is that we are at least nominally democracies, with elections. That means our societal fabric has a particular architecture very different from China’s. While elections have become largely ceremonial ratifications of homogenous policy tracks, contested between insular factions within political monocultures, they at least show the overlords where the boundaries of their powers are. Take for example the recent Canadian election, where Justin Trudeau’s gambit to secure a majority failed and he’s stuck with another minority government. The rising right-wing PPC party won no seats, and yet, secured 5% of the popular vote, up from 1.62% in 2019, the year that party formed. They blew out the Green Party at 2.6% and who has been around for 35 years. Their performance caused much pearl clutching from the MSM and there will be more going forward, especially should the incumbent government continue with its post-national, woke, collectivist aspirations. The Chinese peoples have never been free. There’s never been a liberty inspired revolution there, only a cultural (Marxist) one. People in China have no constitutionally guaranteed rights, they aren’t even citizens. They’re subjects. They will take it, at least for now, because they’ve always taken it. As Charles put it in his emails to me, their history is replete with “one bloody purge after another, of someone consolidating power and then unleashing a Cultural Revolution to eliminate rivals, etc. If crashing China’s bubble is the nuclear option, Xi is quite confident he can push the pain level to 11 and most will accept it, those who don’t will enjoy treatment as an honorary Uyghur.” That’s not the case here in the West where there have been at least two revolutions fuelled directly out of an impulse for liberty: The French and the American. Even though the former went off the rails a lot quicker than the latter did, it still happened and it is a stark reminder of where things go when wealth inequality gets so out of whack and the elites become so detached from reality (Charles thinks this is where things are headed in the US, he may not be wrong). For cryptos to be hit with a China-style ban, in their entirety here in the West, governments would have to go Full China, complete with total control over every aspect of every citizen’s life (China just set limits on how much time you’re allowed to spend on Tik Tok, they have social credit systems which meter your alcohol consumption, the list goes on and is getting longer). How long would that last here in the West? Either the citizenry would move straight into the final hyper-normalization phase seen in the Soviet Union before it collapsed (paraphrasing: “They pretend to govern us and we pretend to obey”), or, the pitchforks and torches come out almost immediately. Countries break up. Secessionists abound. At least a few people face some Mussolini moments if not full on Storming of the Bastille and a French Revolution style purging of perceived elites. It would get ugly. I’m not saying this is what would happen if Western governments banned crypto, I’m saying it could happen in response to the kind of dictatorship that would have to be imposed in order to ban crypto. That also doesn’t mean that cryptos can’t go “risk off” (to use Charles’ description) for awhile, even in lieu of a ban. Especially if China allows the economic chips to fall as they may and that ripples across the global economy (perhaps China is unleashing yet another global contagion…. on purpose). The way I see it, the tension in liberal democracies between nation states and network states will be played out through their respective monetary systems. The nation state’s fiat money will be digitized into CBDCs, which will be specifically constructed to preclude wealth formation or savings and almost certainly be the rails of Westernized social credit systems, The network state stable coins (like Facebook’s Diem), which may endeavour to extend the lifespan of fiat currencies and fuse with CBDCs And crypto currencies founded on hard money principles that catalyzed the entire decentralized revolution. These will exist out of default because in the absence of total dictatorship and owing to the demands of optionality, capital pools will have to go here (among other places) out of self-preservation. *  *  * I cover this dynamic extensively in The Crypto Capitalist Letter, a long with a tactical focus on publicly traded crypto stocks. Get the overall investment / macro thesis free when you subscribe to the Bombthrower mailing list, or try the premium service for a month with our fully refundable trial offer. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 16:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

DHS Touts Counter-Domestic Extremism Plan; Rights Groups Cite Threats To Civil Liberties

DHS Touts Counter-Domestic Extremism Plan; Rights Groups Cite Threats To Civil Liberties Authored by Ken Silva via The Epoch Times (emphasis ours), Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas is touting a raft of new programs aimed to combat domestic extremism—many of which are raising red flags among interest groups across the political spectrum. Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas testifies before a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs hearing on terror threats to the United States in the Dirksen Senate Office Building in Washington on Sept. 21, 2021. (Jim Lo Scalzo-Pool/Getty Images) The new DHS plans follow a March intelligence community report that deems white supremacy and violent domestic extremism as the most dangerous terror threat to the homeland. Mayorkas made similar statements at a Sept. 21 Senate Homeland Security Committee hearing on counterterrorism. “Today, U.S.-based lone actors and small groups, including homegrown violent extremists and domestic violent extremists—who are inspired by a broad range of ideological motivations—pose the most significant and persistent terrorism-related threat to our country,” he said. These “broad range of ideological motivations” include “racial bias, perceived government overreach, conspiracy theories promoting violence, and false narratives about unsubstantiated fraud in the 2020 presidential election,” He didn’t elaborate on what he meant by “perceived government overreach” or “conspiracy theories promoting violence.” He did, however, assure lawmakers that his department is working hard to combat these perceived threats. One of the major programs touted by Mayorkas is the newly branded DHS Center for Prevention Programs and Partnerships (CP3), formerly known as the Office for Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention. In conjunction with that, the DHS is in the midst of a $77 million grant program aimed to provide state and local institutions with tools to counter extremism. The DHS first announced CP3 in May along with a new dedicated domestic terrorism branch within the Department’s Office of Intelligence & Analysis (I&A). Mayorkas told the Homeland Security panel that CP3 is helping expand the department’s ability to prevent terrorism and targeted violence “through the development of local prevention frameworks.” “Through CP3, we are leveraging community-based partnerships and evidence-based tools to address early-risk factors and ensure individuals receive help before they radicalize to violence,” he said. However, Mayorkas didn’t offer details about other elements of CP3—elements that various interest groups say pose a threat to liberty. Among the details that weren’t discussed are what CP3 says on its own site—that it “leverages behavioral threat assessment and management tools, and addresses early-risk factors that can lead to radicalization to violence.” According to human rights activist Ed Hasbrouck, consultant to the nonprofit Identity Project, this mission amounts to a pre-crime program. “CP3’s attempts to predict future crimes are to be based on behavioral patterns— i.e., profiling—and on encouraging members of the public to inform on their families, friends, and classmates,” Hasbrouck wrote when CP3 was first announced. “The problem, of course, is that the law does not permit prosecution based solely on patterns of lawful behavior,” he wrote. “With good reason: ‘precrime’ prediction is a figment of the imagination of the creators of a dystopian fantasy movie, ‘Minority Report.’” The Brennan Center for Justice has expressed similar concerns. Far from a conservative group, the Brennan Center agrees with the DHS and FBI that domestic extremism is a rising threat. “Over the past five years, from Charlottesville to Pittsburgh to El Paso, attacks by people who reject our multiracial democracy have shaken our country to its core and sparked conversation about how best to address far-right violence,” the group stated in a June report. “The Trump administration, which stoked the flames of white supremacy, ended with the ransacking of the U.S. Capitol as Congress was certifying Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory.” But the Brennan Center said CP3 and the Biden administration’s overall approach to countering domestic extremism—enhanced surveillance, profiling, and the like—are the same draconian tactics government used against Muslims post-9/11. “At a time when jurisdictions around the country are considering how to reduce law enforcement involvement in mental health and social issues, CP3 prevention activities take the opposite approach. They create structures to bring a broad range of concerns about mental health and socioeconomic conditions to the attention of law enforcement as indicators of criminality without normal safeguards,” the Brennan Center stated in its June 69-page report on the issue. Not only are the DHS-Biden plans a threat to civil liberties; they’re also proven to be ineffective, the Brennan Center said. The Brennan Center report paid particular focus to DHS “fusion centers”—law enforcement compounds scattered throughout the United States that seek to integrate federal, state, and local intelligence. The goal of fusion centers is to create partnerships between varying agencies and the private sector to share intelligence on threats to public safety so law enforcement has the whole picture and can “connect the dots.” Citing congressional reports from 2012, the Brennan Center stated that these fusion centers have proven to be ineffective. Those reports found that the DHS spent $289 million to $1.4 billion in public funds to support state and local fusion centers since 2003, with little results to show. “Instead of looking for terrorist threats, fusion centers were monitoring lawful political and religious activity. That year, the Virginia Fusion Center described a Muslim get-out-the-vote campaign as ‘subversive,’” the Brennan Center stated in its June report. “In 2009, the North Central Texas Fusion Center identified lobbying by Muslim groups as a possible threat.” Seemingly little has improved since then. Earlier in September, NBC News revealed an investigation into fusion centers. The report starts with an anecdote of Mike Sena, the president of the National Fusion Center Association, bragging that the Northern California Regional Intelligence Center (NCRIC) helped stop a mall shooting attack in Santa Clara. NBC News found that Sena was apparently stretching the extent to which his fusion center helped. “We don’t have any information showing that NCRIC was involved,” said Steven Aponte, a San Jose Police Department spokesperson. The Brennan Center stated in its June report that the Biden administration is inappropriately involving law enforcement in social problems and should focus on “community investment, not criminalization.” “Communities around the United States should not need to sign up for a counterterrorism program to get resources for their schools, universities, places of worship, or social institutions,” the Brennan Center stated. “Government commitments should directly address these as social problems rather than treat those experiencing them as potential violent criminals, and should wall off programs addressing social ills from law enforcement across levels of government.” Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 18:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Containers Quickly Pile Up At US Rail Terminals, Add To Port Strains

Containers Quickly Pile Up At US Rail Terminals, Add To Port Strains The US continues to face an unprecedented shipping crisis as logjams at ports and railyards continue to worsen with no relief in sight.  The increasing volume of containers, combined with a labor shortage of dockworkers and truck drivers, rail and storage capacity, have left shipping networks with huge congestion problems that continue to increase. Currently, more than 100 container ships are waiting to enter US ports from coast to coast. Some of the largest congestion is in San Pedro Bay off the port of Los Angeles, with more than 61 vessels waiting to enter. Dwell time for vessels is six days, the wait time for on-dock rail is nearly 16 days, and then it takes an additional week to move the container on the street to warehouses.  What's caught our attention is import congestion at railyards. Using data from Hapag-Lloyd AG, one of the world's top shippers, we find that container dwell time at 11 major railroad terminals averages 9.8 days this month, up from 6.7 days in May and 5.9 days in February.  Source: Bloomberg Noted above, the port of Los Angeles has the highest wait times out of all railyards. Delays are also increasing in Charleston and Detroit.  We recently said port officials had extended operating hours at truck gates to reduce a massive backlog of containers piling up retail, manufacturing, and agricultural supply chains.  Hapag-Lloyd said the delays at Los Angeles and Long Beach ports are the most extreme and would "continue for the remainder of the year."  Bloomberg points out that increasing demand for imports mixed with labor shortages of truck drivers is a very severe issue plaguing major companies' supply chains, such as packaged good giant General Mills Inc. "So we have hundreds of disruptions in our supply chain literally, and it really changes on a daily and weekly basis," said Jonathon Nudi, group president of North America retail at General Mills. "The bulk of our discussions right now with retailers are really around service and making sure that we can ship the product that our consumers are ultimately looking for." Import congestion appears to be worsening, and the focus is now on railyards.  Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 19:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Heckler"s Veto: 66% Of College Students Say Stopping Speech Is Free Speech

Heckler's Veto: 66% Of College Students Say Stopping Speech Is Free Speech Authored by Jonathan Turley, We have previously discussed the worrisome signs of a rising generation of censors in the country as leaders and writers embrace censorship and blacklisting. The latest chilling poll was released by 2021 College Free Speech Rankings after questioning a huge body of 37,000 students at 159 top-ranked U.S. colleges and universities. It found that sixty-six percent of college students think shouting down a speaker to stop them from speaking is a legitimate form of free speech.  Another 23 percent believe violence can be used to cancel a speech. That is roughly one out of four supporting violence. Faculty and editors are now actively supporting modern versions of book-burning with blacklists and bans for those with opposing political views. Others are supporting actual book burning. Columbia Journalism School Dean Steve Coll has denounced the “weaponization” of free speech, which appears to be the use of free speech by those on the right. So the dean of one of the premier journalism schools now supports censorship.Free speech advocates are facing a generational shift that is now being reflected in our law schools, where free speech principles were once a touchstone of the rule of law. As millions of students are taught that free speech is a threat and that “China is right” about censorship, these figures are shaping a new society in their own intolerant images. The most chilling aspect of this story is how many on left applaud such censorship. A prior poll shows roughly half of the public supporting not just corporate censorship but government censorship of anything deemed “misinformation.” Perhaps the same citizens and academics will embrace the Chinese model on social scoring and praise actions that the reported move by Chase bank. We discussed this issue recently with regard to a lawsuit against SUNY. It is also discussed in my forthcoming law review article, Jonathan Turley, Harm and Hegemony: The Decline of Free Speech in the United States, 45 Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy (2021). This has been an issue of contention with some academics who believe that free speech includes the right to silence others.  Berkeley has been the focus of much concern over the use of a heckler’s veto on our campuses as violent protesters have succeeded in silencing speakers, even including a few speakers like an ACLU official.  Both students and some faculty have maintained the position that they have a right to silence those with whom they disagree and even student newspapers have declared opposing speech to be outside of the protections of free speech.  At another University of California campus, professors actually rallied around a professor who physically assaulted pro-life advocates and tore down their display.  In the meantime, academics and deans have said that there is no free speech protection for offensive or “disingenuous” speech.  CUNY Law Dean Mary Lu Bilek showed how far this trend has gone. When conservative law professor Josh Blackman was stopped from speaking about “the importance of free speech,”  Bilek insisted that disrupting the speech on free speech was free speech. (Bilek later cancelled herself and resigned after she made a single analogy to acting like a “slaveholder” as a self-criticism for failing to achieve equity and reparations for black faculty and students). We previously discussed the case of Fresno State University Public Health Professor Dr. Gregory Thatcher recruited students to destroy pro-life messages written on the sidewalks and wrongly told the pro-life students that they had no free speech rights in the matter.  A district court has now ordered Thatcher to pay $17,000 and undergo First Amendment training.  However, Thatcher remained defiant and the university appeared complicit in his actions by the lack of disciplinary action. The pro-life students had written messages on the sidewalk like “You CAN be pregnant & successful” and “Unborn lives matter” to “Women need love, NOT abortion.”  Thatcher got students from his 8 a.m. class to help remove the anti-abortion messages and that their chalk was taken away to write pro-choice slogans on the sidewalk. The students seem entirely unconcerned that they are censoring speech and engaging in a grossly intolerant act.  Instead, they refer to their teacher as telling them that they should do so.  Thatcher then walked up.    Thatcher invoked the controversial restriction of free speech to “zones” and says that there is no free speech right for this type of writing outside of that zone.  When the students explain that they have permission, he then proceed to rub out their messages and declared “you have permission to put it down — I have permission to get rid of it.” Thatcher is arguing that same Orwellian “Stopping free speech is free speech” position. A few years ago, I debated NYU Professor Jeremy Waldron who is a leading voice for speech codes. Waldron insisted that shutting down speakers through heckling is a form of free speech. I disagree. It is the antithesis of free speech and the failure of schools to protect the exercise of free speech is the antithesis of higher education. The added increase in embracing violence is particularly chilling. A quarter of those polled supported violence to prevent others from speaking. This is the core of the philosophy of the Antifa movement. It is at its base a movement at war with free speech, defining the right itself as a tool of oppression. That purpose is evident in what is called the “bible” of the Antifa movement: Rutgers Professor Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. Bray emphasizes the struggle of the movement against free speech: “At the heart of the anti-fascist outlook is a rejection of the classical liberal phrase that says, ‘I disapprove of what you say but I will defend to the death your right to say it.’” Indeed, Bray admits that “most Americans in Antifa have been anarchists or antiauthoritarian communists…  From that standpoint, ‘free speech’ as such is merely a bourgeois fantasy unworthy of consideration.” It is an illusion designed to promote what Antifa is resisting “white supremacy, hetero-patriarchy, ultra-nationalism, authoritarianism, and genocide.” Thus, all of these opposing figures are deemed fascistic and thus unworthy of being heard. Antifa has a long and well-documented history of such violence. Bray quotes one Antifa member as summing up their approach to free speech as a “nonargument . . . you have the right to speak but you also have the right to be shut up.” Notably, when George Washington University student and self-professed Antifa member Jason Charter was charged as the alleged “ringleader” of efforts to take down statues in Washington, D.C., Charter declared the “movement is winning.” He is right and this poll shows the success. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 19:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

The Great Exponential Blind Spot

Every human eye has a blind spot. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The optic nerve, which carries visual data from the eye to the brain, exits the rear of the eye. And that tiny exit contains no light receptors. A blind spot. We are unaware of our twin blind spots because the […] Every human eye has a blind spot. 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 Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss 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); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more The optic nerve, which carries visual data from the eye to the brain, exits the rear of the eye. And that tiny exit contains no light receptors. A blind spot. We are unaware of our twin blind spots because the brain interpolates missing detail from the opposite eye. And fools us into thinking we receive a complete image from each eye when, in fact, each eye is partly blind. You can prove it to yourself. Just look at the plus sign below. Notice the zero to the right. But focus on the plus sign. Now close the left eye. Slowly move closer to the screen. But never look away from the plus sign. The zero will disappear. That is your blind spot. +                                                                                                                       0 Shocked? Don’t be. We have many perceptual and cognitive blind spots of which we are unaware. Compared to our dogs we are almost smell-blind, though we take little notice. Most aging men have poorer hearing than most aging women, but most men don’t notice it. (“Yes, dear.”) And most people don’t think as clearly as they believe they do. Especially the people who think least clearly. The Dunning-Kruger effect. Or as Mark Twain folksily put it: “It ain’t so much the things that people don’t know that makes trouble in this world, as it is the things that people know that ain’t so.” One thing people know that ain’t so is that things’ll go on pretty much as they’ve been. Rather than constantly change, as they plainly do. Most changes are hard to predict. Though armies of TV pundits make a good living predicting them. Usually erroneously. Yet one form of change is highly predictable: Exponential Growth And Decay You learned exponents in grade school. Powers. Two to the third power is 2 x 2 x 2 = 8. Two to the twenty-fifth power is 33,554,432. But you weren’t taught to apply exponents in everyday life, where they really work! Exponential growth and decay are oddly invisible to us. So we barely notice inflation at 2% per annum. Even though after 50 years a dollar isn’t worth a dime. And we don’t pay attention to a virus infecting a half-dozen people on the other side of the world. Until a few months later it’s killing our relatives, neighbors, coworkers and friends. Physicist, Albert Allen Bartlett, taught: “The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function.” For a mind-blowing class on the exponential function, taught by the great professor himself, go to: The Blind Spot in Investing Here are three ways the exponential blind spot can undermine your investment strategy: Focusing on day-to-day market fluctuations instead of long-term exponential growth! As Charlie Munger teaches: “The big money is not in the buying and selling, but in the waiting.” Media love the immediate and eye-catching: Hot stocks and big movers are news. Hard work and compound interest are not. Have you ever seen a financial story about hard work? Or more than a brief nod to compound interest? Even though hard work and compound interest pave the slow and certain road to wealth. But they don’t put asses in the seats or glue eyeballs to the screens. Paying a 1 or 2% annual fee to a money manager without realizing the true cost! As Warren Buffett teaches: “If returns are going to be 7 or 8% and you’re paying 1% for fees that makes an enormous difference in how much money you’re going to have in retirement.” If you invested $10,000 per annum in a nontaxable retirement account and earned 8% as in Warren Buffett’s example you would have $3,140,862 after 40 years. Surrender just 1% per annum in fees to a money manager, your nest egg shrinks to $2,348,307! A quarter of your retirement lost to the exponential blind spot! Failing to appreciate Albert Einstein’s “Eighth Wonder of the World!” Albert Einstein reputedly said: “Compound interest [exponential growth] is the Eighth Wonder of the World. He who understands it, earns it. He who doesn’t, pays it.” If you began investing, as Warren Buffett did, at age 11, and put $1000 annually in a tax-sheltered index fund, earning 8%, as in Warren’s example, and lived to Warren’s current age of 91, your $80,000 investment would have grown to roughly $7,000,000! The downside of Einstein’s pronouncement: The innocents forever burdened by credit card balances who are sucker-punched monthly by double-digit interest, late fees and penalties to keep them poor and indebted for the rest of their lives. As Tennessee Ernie Ford sang, “I owe my soul to the company store.” To grasp the full weight of Ford’s ballad of poverty and indebtedness go to: That said, we must ask ourselves the pointed question raged at every baseball umpire who ever made a bum call: "Are You Blind?" The painful answer is: yes, we are all blind. In spots. Now you know one of those spots. About the Author Mark Tobak, MD, is a general adult psychiatrist in private practice. He is the former chief of inpatient geriatric psychiatry and now an attending physician at St. Vincent’s Hospital in Harrison, NY. He graduated the University at Buffalo School of Medicine and Columbia University School of General Studies. Dr. Tobak also has a law degree from Fordham University School of Law and was admitted to the NY State Bar. His work appears in the American Journal of Psychiatry, Psychiatric Times, and American Journal of Medicine and Pathology. He is the author of Anyone Can Be Rich! A Psychiatrist Provides the Mental Tools to Build Your Wealth, which received high praise from Warren Buffett. Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 2:24 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: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

3 Tips To Help Junior Partners Avoid Lifestyle Creep

Lifestyle creep, or lifestyle inflation – when expenses rapidly rise to match newfound income – ensnares countless newly minted partners. Often there are underlying social pressures from peers or colleagues to keep up with new levels of conspicuous consumption. New indulgences and one-time splurges quickly become everyday necessities. It may begin innocently enough with a […] Lifestyle creep, or lifestyle inflation – when expenses rapidly rise to match newfound income – ensnares countless newly minted partners. Often there are underlying social pressures from peers or colleagues to keep up with new levels of conspicuous consumption. New indulgences and one-time splurges quickly become everyday necessities. It may begin innocently enough with a new car, a small remodel to an existing home, or a generous contribution to one’s alma mater, but it can quickly snowball into completely spending bonus checks before they have even been deposited. 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); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more So, who cares? After all, you have sacrificed a lot to get where you are today and rewarding yourself for a job well done is your right. However, many junior partners have not considered what they are giving up by having their expenses match their income – namely, true financial freedom or the ability to say no. It is difficult to downshift your lifestyle, especially if you have no resources to fall back on other than your future earning potential. Make sure you do not find yourself in this situation by following these tips. Prepare for Lumpy Cash Flow It is important to be fiscally prepared for lumpy cash flow – expenses like estimated tax payments, firm capital commitments, and new firm sponsorship contributions, just to name a few, can potentially catch you off-guard. Without adequate planning and forethought, you can find yourself flat-footed at a very inopportune moment. The first step to addressing lifestyle creep is to be prepared. Create a short-term cash strategy to help you avoid common cashflow missteps. Start by identifying what your major outstanding liabilities will likely be for the next 12 months. After you have identified these cash needs find a ready source of liquidity to cover them. When reviewing your cash strategy look for potential mismatches between liabilities and cash flow, consider all your options. Be prepared to cover an unexpected expense in addition to the ones you identified. Remember alternative sources of potential liquidity that you could use to smooth over any cash crunches, such as: A margin loan against assets held in investment accounts. A cash reserve built up over the course of time specifically for these types of surprise liquidity events. Short term financing solutions offered by the firm. If you do not research your options in advance, it is difficult to know in the moment what your best options is. Sometimes the terms of short-term margin loans are equal or better than terms offered to new partners from other sources sometime not – having options in place and knowing what they are is paramount to helping you address your need when it arises. Preparing a short-term cash strategy will give you a better sense of what to hold in reserves for future expenditures, what you can spend on your current lifestyle needs, and what to invest for long-term growth – allowing you to avoid the trap of lifestyle inflation. Identify Your Goals and Values Making conscious decisions about what is important to you is one of the most crucial steps in combating lifestyle inflation. You may really like the idea of: Having the option to slow down when you want to. Buying a vacation home to spend quality time with family. Providing meaningful philanthropic support to a cause you believe in. Being able to offer monetary support to aging parents. There are no right or wrong choices, but you should make a choice. One of my favorite quotes is, “If you don’t know where you are going, you might wind up someplace else.” Not having your long-term goals well-defined makes it easier to succumb to lifestyle creep, potentially leaving you someplace you didn’t intend to be. Balancing short-term needs with long-term goals is a lifelong pursuit, so it is vital not to focus solely on one or the other at any given time. Clearly outlining your goals and having a financial plan in place to achieve them will help you feel comfortable living the life you want today, knowing you are going to end up where you truly want to be. Create a Financial Roadmap Without knowing what you are aiming at, you can miss your target and let other seemingly pressing things drain your ability to accomplish what you really want. After identifying what matters most to you, the next step is to create a financial roadmap to help guide you to your destination. This is done through a comprehensive financial plan that considers not only your resources and liabilities, but also incorporates an in-depth cash flow and investment return projection as well. Having your plan in place will help guide you towards your goals and remind you to maintain focus on them. To create a financial roadmap, you should gather and review information regarding: Partner Benefits: 401(k), deferred compensations plans, etc. Investment Assets: taxable and retirement accounts, physical assets, etc. Liabilities: existing mortgages, home equity lines of credit (HELOCs), credit cards, student loans, etc. Insurance: personal and group benefits – disability, life, property & casualty, etc. Estate Plan: current wills, Powers of Attorney (POAs), revocable and irrevocable trusts, etc. Tax Returns: recent returns from your accountant for reviewing income, expenses, deductions, etc. These data points allow you to create a more meaningful individual guide to help you stay on track to reach your financial goals. As assets and income projections change, risk profiles are modified, and other aspects of your personal and financial life develop with time, you should revisit and adjust your financial roadmap to reflect your new situation and goals. Your financial roadmap is a living document that will always be there to reorient you, helping to combat lifestyle creep. Conclusion Some level of lifestyle inflation is inevitable and necessary, continuing to live like you are a first-year associate is not the answer to preventing lifestyle creep. As with most things in life, the key is moderation. The transition to partner can be a challenging one – creating a comprehensive financial roadmap that takes your personal and professional situation and goals into consideration is the best way to develop and implement a plan that will help you avoid the kind of overextension that could materially impact your ability to achieve what you really want – whatever you decide that is. About the Author Eric Dostal, J.D., CFP®, Vice President at Wealthspire Advisors, works extensively with clients to help them feel in control of their financial lives. Eric has demonstrated a high degree of skill developing and overseeing the investment, insurance, retirement, tax and estate planning strategies of his clients. He seeks to understand a clients’ unique financial circumstances, get them organized and on the path to financial independence. Wealthspire Advisors LLC is a registered investment adviser and subsidiary company of NFP Corp. Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards, Inc. (CFP Board) owns the certification marks CFP®, Certified Financial Planner, and CFP® (with plaque design) in the United States, which it authorizes use of by individuals who successfully complete CFP Board’s initial and ongoing certification requirements. This information should not be construed as a recommendation, offer to sell, or solicitation of an offer to buy a particular security or investment strategy. The commentary provided is for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon for accounting, legal, or tax advice. While the information is deemed reliable, Wealthspire Advisors cannot guarantee its accuracy, completeness, or suitability for any purpose, and makes no warranties with regard to the results to be obtained from its use. ©2021 Wealthspire Advisors. Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 4:05 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: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

The 6 best treadmills of 2021

An at-home treadmill allows you to improve your cardio, keep fit, and stay healthy. Here are the best treadmills we've tested this year. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Treadmills offer an excellent way to increase or maintain your routine cardio and keep fit. The most important qualities to look for in a treadmill are its power, reliability, and run comfort. Our top pick, the ProForm Pro 2000, features iFit workouts, has a cushioned tread, and easily folds up. Few exercise machines have endured the changing landscape of at-home fitness like the treadmill. Not only do they work well for anyone maintaining cardio fitness but they also help runners prepare for things like 5Ks or half marathons. They can even complement a weekly workout routine, especially for those who don't have time to run outside.Treadmills are also simple to use. You simply run or walk on the belt and a motor moves it under your feet at whatever speed you select. Some offer high-tech features like touchscreen displays and live-streamed classes, while others offer a more basic, just-hop-on-and-run experience.As a frequent gym-goer and the Insider Reviews fitness editor, I've run more miles than I can count on treadmills advanced, basic, or otherwise. For every mile logged on something like NordicTrack's Commercial 2950 or ProForm's Pro 2000, I've logged an equal amount (if not many more) on the standard treadmills found at a local gym - i.e. one without an interactive screen attached to it.I leaned on this experience to comb through and test a number of high-quality treadmills currently available. The following guide features a range of treadmill types at various price points in hopes of helping you find the best option for your fitness needs.You'll also find answers to a selection of treadmill FAQs, as well as some insight into how I tested treadmills featured in this guide. Here are the best treadmills 0f 2021 Best overall: ProForm Pro 2000 TreadmillBest smart treadmill: NordicTrack Commercial 2950Best on a budget: Horizon Fitness T101-04 TreadmillBest upright folding model: LifeSpan TR3000i Folding TreadmillBest compact: Cubii ProBest for quiet workouts: 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill How I test treadmills Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Each treadmill featured in this guide went through a series of extensive tests (i.e. I ran on them a lot) to see how well they compared across these four categories: Performance, features, quality, and value. Here's how the categories specifically factored into which treadmills made the cut:Performance: How a treadmill performs comes down to a few basic aspects, including how comfortable it is to run on (and how shock absorbing it is), if it's able to avoid sounding like you're loudly pounding the ground with each step, what its tread feels like underfoot, and how wide the running area is. Though not all treadmills reliably check each of these boxes, a healthy combination of at least three of those often translates to high quality. Features: Some modern treadmills, like those from NordicTrack or ProForm, feature a built-in interactive screen that streams workouts, tracks output metrics, and improves the treadmill's performance. For models that don't have a screen, I looked at how intuitive it was to increase and decrease the treadmill's speed and whether it offered an incline or decline mode. Even those that aren't decked out with the ability to stream workouts are still feature-heavy enough to warrant a spot in your home gym.Quality: If used often, treadmills can take a consistent beating, mostly due to a runner pounding on it step after step after step. This means the best treadmills should feature a sturdy and durable tread, a high-quality design that won't become compromised even after a full year or more of use, and that features an interface or series of buttons and dials that can avoid popping off or being unusable. Value: The value of a treadmill is less about its sticker price and more so the combination of the three categories above compared to its initial (and sometimes recurring) investment. I factored in everything when selecting treadmills across each featured category and often feel that it's worth it to spend a little more money on a product that's designed to last than to spend less, more often on something inferior.  The best treadmill overall ProForm The ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill is a race-trainers dream that's versatile enough for the casual runner, too. Pros: Good motor, large running belt of 22 by 60 inches, includes both an incline and a decline setting, offers good interval training features, has access to iFit workoutsCons: Customer service may be disappointing if you have problems, very heavy treadmillRunners looking for a treadmill with good all-around training capabilities and a host of useful features will like the reasonably-priced ProForm Pro 2000 Treadmill. It has a 3.5-horsepower motor, which allows it to stand up to daily use, and it boasts a belt deck that measures 22 by 60 inches, which is perfect for most runners. When you're training for races with hills, you'll appreciate this treadmill's ability to reach a 15% incline and a 3% decline, which better simulates hills than most other treadmills — it's easy to adjust it both up and down, too, even while running. The ProForm Pro 2000 also has a number of tech features, including a 7-inch screen that streams iFit's interactive workouts, a music port for iPods, and a built-in fan that works well to keep you (somewhat) cool as you run. Its tread features what the brand calls ProShox Cushioning, which is designed to lessen the impact on your feet and knees while running. Though a true, long-term test of this would better judge its viability, even a handful of runs on it showed that this made a difference (even if it was minimal). What truly makes this treadmill stand out is its inclusion of the above-mentioned iFit workouts. Not only are these excellent ways to keep motivated, but the platform offers some genuinely unique workouts. One day you could be running through France and the next through Vietnam. The globe-spanning locales add a level of quality to the workouts you'd have a hard time finding elsewhere.Another perk of the iFit workouts is how the trainers leading the runs entirely control the incline, decline, and speed, allowing you to focus strictly on running. This is something that's incredibly welcome as fumbling with a treadmill's controls while in a full stride isn't always the most fun (and can easily mess with your cadence). The ProForm Pro 2000 comes with one free year of iFit, too, so you won't have to worry about shelling out a monthly payment for at least 12 months.Its price is also in the range of what you'd expect to pay for a full-featured treadmill. Most interactive workout machines run in the $2,000 range, and the fact this undercuts that average by a few hundred dollars makes it an appealing choice for anyone looking to add a treadmill to their home gym. The best smart treadmill NordicTrack NordicTrack's Commercial 2950 is a highly versatile treadmill that offers automatic incline control, an HD 22-inch touchscreen, and a deep library of interactive classes from iFit. Pros: Now features automatically adjusting resistance and speed, the iFit library offers a wide range of in-studio classes and runs through real-world locales, offers Bluetooth connectivity and WiFi supportCons: ExpensiveThe Commercial 2950 treadmill from NordicTrack is one of the most full-featured machines I've tested, coming with everything from automatic incline control and Bluetooth connectivity to Google Maps integration and personalized workout stats. My favorite feature, however, is its access to iFit's expansive library of interactive workouts. With iFit, you're able to run essentially anywhere, yet still from the comfort of your home. The service's roster of trainers offers a wide range of run types that aren't just confined to a studio or their home (where they do film some of the classes). Rather, you could be running through real-world locales that offer a breath of fresh air from standard treadmill routines. I found this to be a welcome deviation from the tediousness of normal running. Though iFit does cost $39 per month, a free year of the service comes standard with the purchase of all new treadmills.In addition to those workouts, the rest of the 2950 is a premium. The automatically adjusting resistance feature mentioned above is a game-changer, and, as the name suggests, allows the trainers to fully control the incline, decline, and speed of the treadmill as you run along. All you have to worry about is just running — which does well to keep you focused and motivated instead of worrying about fumbling with controls. One nitpick could be that the iFit interface can be a little clunky and slow to use sometimes, and the service occasionally crashed mid-workout (though did tend to load right back up in the exact same spot I was running). This didn't happen enough to be concerning, nor did it detract from my overall experience. What holds the 2950 back from nabbing the top spot in this guide is its price, which is roughly double the cost of the ProForm Pro 200. It's hard for treadmills that have as much as the 2950 in terms of features and available workouts to cost much less than $2,500, so this is still a worthwhile investment for anyone who  certainly isn't cheap but few treadmills with this much to offer both in terms of features and available workouts will necessarily be "affordable." Still, it's worth the investment for those who want access to a huge library of interactive classes and a premium-built treadmill.  The best budget treadmill Horizon Fitness Compared to other budget fold-up treadmills, the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill has nice features and good performance.Pros: Very good price point for an entry-level treadmill, will save space with a fold-up design, runs quieter than most budget-priced treadmills, works better for walkers and light runnersCons: Only a 55-inch belt length, not really made for high-end running workouts, longevity is questionableSaving space with a fold-up treadmill is a great idea for a lot of people. However, most fold-up treadmills don't offer a lot of power.With those natural limitations of fold-up treadmills in mind, you'll like the Horizon Fitness T101-04 Treadmill, which works well for walkers and anyone on a budget (and isn't really made for runners looking for high-end workouts). Think of it as like an entry-level treadmill, or something that can be a complement to a wider range of at-home equipment. It has a 55-inch belt length, a maximum 10 mph speed, and a 2.25-horsepower motor. The T101-04 treadmill is easy to fold up for storage, which is great for anyone with minimal space in their home or apartment.You can't beat the value, too. If you want something simple, straightforward, and cost-effective that has the basic features necessary for just running and walking, the T101-04 from Horizon Fitness is the treadmill you need. The best upright folding treadmill LifeSpan The LifeSpan TR3000i uses an extensive shock absorption system to take some pressure off your joints while running.Pros: Good price for a mid-range treadmill, unit folds up to save storage space, extensive shock absorption system, good feature set versus other models in this price rangeCons: Not really designed for high-end workouts, build quality of treadmill is questionableSome people dislike working out on a treadmill because of the pressure it places on their joints. The LifeSpan TR3000i attempts to alleviate some of this pressure by using a shock absorption system in the treadmill's deck.It has a 20 x 56-inch running surface, 15 incline levels, and a 6-inch LCD screen that shows your time, calories, distance covered, steps, heart rate, speed, and incline. The eight shock absorber elements in the deck ensure that it remains both stable and comfortable to run on. As mentioned on other models, long-term testing would be a better indicator of just how well the shock-absorbing works, but it's easy to notice the difference in the TR3000i compared to others. If you at all have foot, knee, or joint issues, you'll want to at least consider this one when shopping.Beyond its shock-absorbing capabilities, the TR3000i has a number of fun features to give you variety in your workouts, too, including a tablet holder, a USB charging port, and compatibility with iPods. It also has built-in speakers, folds up for easy storage, and physical console buttons that are sometimes easier to use when making adjustments than only relying on the touchscreen. The best compact treadmill Cubii The Cubii Pro is an easy-to-use, under desk exercise machine that's more of an elliptical than a treadmill but still allows you to log some quality cardio no matter if you're sitting down for lunch or powering through a backlog of emails. Pros: Small, easy-to-use machine that delivers an effective cardio workout, has up to eight different resistance settings, offers companion app supportCons: Not strictly a treadmill, might not be as intense for hardcore fitness buffsThough the Cubii Pro isn't exactly a treadmill in the traditional sense (and is more of an elliptical style machine than anything else), its unobtrusive nature makes it a convenient addition to anyone's home gym. The machine simply sits on the floor, be it under a desk, next to a coffee table, or literally anywhere around the house, and lets you pedal away for as long as you like. The machine delivers low-impact cardio that may benefit those unable to run on a treadmill due to sore joints, and its quiet operation even allows it to be used while watching TV, talking on the phone, or listening to music. With eight different levels of resistance, it affords as easy or as difficult a workout as you like, too. A companion smartphone application lets you keep track of all your logged workouts and lets you set weekly and monthly goals or share your progress with friends. The app is also compatible with services like Fitbit or Apple HealthKit, so if you prefer the interface of those, all workout data can easily sync to them.At $349, it's certainly not a drop in the bucket but it is far cheaper than even the budget model on this list. For convenient, low-impact cardio exercise, the Cubii Pro is as versatile and easy to use as it gets.  The best treadmill for quiet workouts 3G Cardio The 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill delivers excellent performance and runs quieter than most treadmills.Pros: Strong steel frame that will support a lot of weight, unit runs quieter than most treadmills, large treadmill belt area for tall runners, includes a large motor to compare favorably to gym treadmillsCons: Extremely high price point, very heavy equipment that is difficult to move aroundFew treadmills made for use at home will deliver the kind of quiet performance that the 3G Cardio Elite Runner Treadmill delivers. It's made for tall or heavy runners looking for a tough workout, but you'll pay more than $3,000 for the kind of quality that this 3G Cardio unit delivers.It has an Ortho Flex Shock suspension system to minimize the stress of impact for runners, and the 22 by 62-inch platform is perfect for running.The 3G Cardio comes with many pre-programmed workouts and a fitness level test. You have access to speed and elevation settings, heart rate control, and workout customization.  This treadmill also has a 4.0 horsepower motor and 3-inch rollers for great performance.As you would expect with a treadmill with such a high price point, the 3G Cardio Elite consists of thick steel tubing in the frame. It's also rather expensive, so this is really only for serious runners who want a treadmill that will last a lifetime. What treadmills I'm testing next Technogym MyRun ($2,980): Technogym's lineup of cardio machines offers a quality experience on par with the likes of NordicTrack and ProForm, though instead of having iFit workouts, it has its own streaming platform called Technogym Live. The classes on the MyRun tread allow users to run with a trainer, take to a digital beach, or develop a set of goals to work toward. Its full-color display not only streams the content in high-definition but also supplies helpful analytic data that inform how well the workout is going. Matrix Fitness Treadmill TF30 XR ($2,999): A premium-priced treadmill, Matrix Fitness' Treadmill TF30 XR is the entry-level version of the TF30 lineup, but it still offers a quality run experience. This model comes with a built-in screen, speeds up to 12.5 miles per hour, and an incline up to 15%. It also folds up to nearly 90-degrees, making it easy to store. Since I live in a small Brooklyn apartment, this one is very intriguing. Sole Fitness F80 Treadmill ($1,599): Sole's F80 tread looks like some sort of Swiss Army Knife of treadmills, as it has a number of visible bells and whistles. There's an on-board screen that tracks distance run and calories burned (among other stats), handle grips for heart rate monitoring, and a tablet holder (for when you'd rather stream Netflix than watch your mileage slowly tick up). This is close to the kinds of treadmills you'd find at your local gym, so I'm curious as to how it'd function as an at-home option.  FAQs What types of treadmills are there?Basic: The most basic type of treadmill only works for walkers. They will have simple tracking features, such as speed, distance, and time. Most basic units will have a short bed that works better for a walker's stride than for running.And you'll find limited shock absorption features here, which isn't great for runners. Such treadmills will fold up for easy storage (although some more expensive treadmills also can fold up for storage).Mid-range: These treadmills will work for walkers or runners. For walkers, a mid-range treadmill should have longer support arms, allowing you to balance yourself easier. The belt bed will be a bit longer than the basic treadmill but those with longer running strides may still struggle.You'll see better tech features in this price range, including a heart rate monitor worn on the chest or pre-set training programs.Top-end: The highest quality of treadmills will contain long belt beds with good shock absorption, making them perfect for runners. To gain these features, such treadmills rarely will fold up for storage, meaning they require a lot of free space. They will deliver greater maximum speed levels and greater levels of incline, too.These treadmills consist of the highest-quality materials. You'll receive Wi-Fi connectivity and extensive pre-set exercise programs with these models.What are some key treadmill features?Interactive exercise programs: Treadmills may have pre-programmed workouts that can help you with weight loss, cardiovascular performance, speed workouts, or hills training. These programs will allow you to set the length of exercise time, but they will automatically change the speed of the treadmill and the incline to match the parameters of the pre-programmed workout.The ability to incline, decline, and adjust the speed: To help with training for running on hills or for additional calorie burn, the treadmill needs to offer an incline. Most treadmills can reach at least a 12% incline grade. Some treadmills even give you a simulation of running downhill with a decline grade of around 3%.You should be able to adjust the incline, speed, and program in use through the touchscreen monitor. The screen also gives you information on the time elapsed, calories burned, distance traveled, your heart rate, and more. Are there different size treadmill belts?Yes, there are, and it differs for what runners need versus walkers. Runners need a treadmill belt bed of roughly 55-60 inches long, while walkers can use one closer to 45-50 inches long. Taller people will need an even longer belt bed. Remember that the length of the treadmill isn't the same as the length of the bed.The treadmill length (and width, for that matter) must accommodate the base portion of the unit that doesn't move, as well as the bed's motor housing at the front of the unit.A treadmill belt bed should be at least 22 inches wide for runners which provides plenty of space in case you have a misstep. Walkers can successfully use a narrower bed than runners, such as 18 or 20 inches.Are treadmills safe? Many treadmills contain a safety line that hooks into the unit and clips to your shirt. Should you stumble, the safety line disconnects from the treadmill, causing it to shut down immediately. This is a helpful safety feature and it prevents situations where the person using the treadmill falls and gets launched into a wall. It's also recommended that you unplug your treadmill when not in use for added safety. This assures it won't accidentally turn on if a child or pet is around it. Do treadmills have a weight limit? Based on the size of the motor and the shock absorption capabilities, a treadmill may give you a maximum user weight recommendation. You should be able to find this listed in its online user's manual or listed on its specifications sheet.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

The 22 best board games to bring to game night, from beloved classics to new favorites

Playing a good board game is a great way to bring friends and family together. Here are the 22 best board games to try at your next game night. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. The classic Clue is one of our favorite board games to play in 2021. Amazon Playing board games is a fun activity that brings family and friends together. The best board games range from silly party tricks to brain crunchers that require strategy. These 22 popular board games guarantee a great bonding experience with new friends and old. Board games have evolved over the years, but the best usually all share the same attributes - bringing out your competitiveness and strategic side while creating memorable bonding experiences. By no means is this list definitive, but through our research, crowdsourcing with colleagues, and personal experience, we've narrowed down the 22 best board games, from turn-based strategies to laugh-out-loud party games.We took some liberty with the term "board game" since some of these are card games or don't involve physical boards. Some can even be played virtually over the computer or by phone, so even those who can't join at the dining room table can still partake.Here are the 22 best board games to try with friends and family: Updated on 9/24/2021. This guide was originally published 10/24/2017. We chose new options based on experience playing them in addition to researching what's popular and crowdsourcing Insider Reviews team. This list is not definitive, so expect new options to be added. Monopoly Ariel Tilayoff/Business Insider Available at Amazon, $20.99Players: 2- 8 "One reason for Monopoly's staying power is because it has the elements of what makes a great board game: It involves strategy, negotiation, secrecy, manipulation. My family loves to play the game a lot. In fact, our version at home is from my mom's college days. It's missing one card, which my mom had replaced with a piece of cardboard and wrote the information on by hand. It's one part game, one part heirloom.This game has also evolved into numerous modern remakes, like the Disney edition, Cheaters edition, and Voice Banking Edition (currently sold out), which put a spin on the classic gameplay. My family also owns these, but it's mom's original that we still go to." — Ariel Tilayoff, Former Story Production Fellow Clue Amazon Available at Amazon, $9.84Players: 3-6 "Another classic alongside Monopoly, Clue uses your investigative and memory skills, as well as abilities to read other players' expressions to figure out that Mrs. Peacock did it with the wrench. Or, was it Colonel Mustard and the candlestick? Like Monopoly, this game also has different editions, such as the Las Vegas version seen here with my dad and me.Some of my have friends tried to use a mathematical formula to solve the mystery, but it never works. I find just looking at people's expressions can give certain things away. To make it more personal, you can create your own version of the gameplay with your friends as the suspects." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow Pictionary Amazon Available on Amazon, $19.99Players: 2 or more"Pictionary is another classic game that can get wildly competitive. If you're good at drawing under a time crunch, then this is the game for you. And if you can't draw very well, that makes this game all the more fun." — Anna Popp, Home and Kitchen Fellow Sorry! Amazon Available at Amazon, $9.84Players: 2-4"I never knew how competitive Sorry! could be until I played with several of my friends. An oldie but a goodie, Sorry! is a game everyone should have in their home." — Anna Popp, Home and Kitchen Fellow  Catch Phrase Anna Popp/Insider Players: 2- 8 "One reason for Monopoly's staying power is because it has the elements of what makes a great board game: It involves strategy, negotiation, secrecy, manipulation. My family loves to play the game a lot. In fact, our version at home is from my mom's college days. It's missing one card, which my mom had replaced with a piece of cardboard and wrote the information on by hand. It's one part game, one part heirloom.This game has also evolved into numerous modern remakes, like the Disney edition, Cheaters edition, and Voice Banking Edition, which put a spin on the classic gameplay. My family also owns these, but it's mom's original that we still go to." — Ariel Ti layoff, Story Production Fellow  Codenames Ariel Tilayoff/Business Insider Available at Amazon, $11.41Players:  4-8 "If you haven't guessed, my friends and I love game nights, preferably played alongside some wine and cheese. Codenames is a guessing game that revolves around two teams, and the goal is to guess all the words they were given based on word association clues given by each team's "spymaster."Our description is a bit simplistic but it's far more challenging when played. It's a game for wordsmiths — besides that other game." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow Exploding Kittens Party Amazon Available on Amazon, $24.99Players: 2-10"The most important rule of the game Exploding Kittens is that you want to be prepared for getting an Exploding Kitten card which can terminate your part in the game if you are prepared. This game can get pretty competitive, especially when you can sabotage other players with Exploding Kitten cards." — Anna Popp, Home and Kitchen Fellow Hearing Things Amazon Available at Amazon, $11.48Players: 2-4 "This game is about reading lips. Each player puts on a pair of noise-isolation headphones and tries to guess what someone is saying. As you would expect, there's a lot of wrong answers while hilarity ensues. My friends and I would forego the included headphones — we could still hear each other with them — and, instead, use Beats wireless headphones while playing some music to drown out the noise. The person or team that guesses the most phrases within a certain time frame wins. This game is good to play with family or a small group of friends but it can't be pushed beyond four people due to its setup." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow Goat on a Boat Amazon Available at Amazon, $18.36Players: 2-20"A game of rhyming, charades, and decoding phrases, Goat on a Boat is a hilarious team card game where you have to guess the rhyme or clues to a full phrase before the time runs out." — Anna Popp, Home and Kitchen Fellow  Anomia Party Edition Amazon Available at Amazon, $21.93Players: 3-6"If you enjoy word games, I'd recommend trying Anomia. Cards have symbols and words on them, and you have to race an opponent to name things that fall into the card's category — for example, categories could be rodent, dinosaur, male tennis player, etc." — Mara Leighton, Senior Education and Personal Development Reporter Heads Up! Amazon Available at Amazon, $18.18Players: 2- 6 "Also known as the "Ellen Degeneres game," Heads Up! originally started as a popular smartphone app. The board game version follows the same tactics: The player has to guess what's on the card hidden from their view (it's on their head), based on clues given by other players. There is a time limit and it moves fast.Watching people attempt to act out some of the clues is hilarious and what makes it enjoyable. The game also has different expansion packs to keep things fresh." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow Midnight Taboo: Ariel Tilayoff/Business Insider Available at Amazon, $19.99Players: 4-8 "This is the after-dark version of the classic game Taboo. Like the original, one player is the clue giver and the others have to guess the word. The person giving clues is only given a minute to explain the words — like "booze," "lick," and "suck" — while someone hovers over with a buzzer in case they say the forbidden word. In this adults-only version, the descriptions are hilarious and risque. If you want to play with family or kids, stick with the regular Taboo game." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow Pandemic Sarah Saril/Insider Available at Amazon, $43.58Players: 2-4"For groups with stellar teamwork, Pandemic is for you. It can be played with two to four players, all of whom must collaborate to quash the spread of a virus. My friends and I have never beaten this game, but it's so fun, we will not stop trying." — Sarah Saril, Tech Deals and Streaming Reporter Ticket to Ride Ariel Tilayoff/Business Insider Available at Amazon, $43.99Players: Up to 5 "Ticket to Ride is an award-winning European-style board game that requires you to think ahead before you make a move. The point of the game is to run trains and decide routes between iconic cities — the longer the route, the more points you gain, but it is more complex when played. A fun feature this game has is you can include your Amazon Alexa device. If you tell Alexa, "Play Ticket to Ride," it will start up the game, teach you how to play, add fun sound effects, and keep track of your scores. It is extremely fun for all ages and does not take much time to learn." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow Catan Amazon Available at Amazon, $43.67Players: 3-4 "Catan is a strategy game and the goal is to collect resources to expand your settlement. You'll have to barter with other players, strategize the best way to gain points, and fight off thievery. The game is so popular that there are Catan tournaments around the world.The classic version Catan is the favorite although there are also Seafarers, Junior, and even a Game of Thrones version. This game is suitable for players ages 10 or older, but plan to dedicate a few hours." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow  Trivial Pursuit Amazon Available at Amazon, $17.76Players:  2- 6 "If you like trivia, you'll love this game. Another classic that remains popular, Trivial Pursuit tests your knowledge in a variety of categories, including sports, entertainment, and history. You have to answer a question right in each category to win; it's simple if you know your obscure facts.There are also special editions that focus on specific topics, like US history and "Star Wars" movies. Even if you lose, you'll gain some new insights." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow  Wingspan Amazon Available at Amazon, $50.50Players: 1-5"Nature lovers and bird watchers will enjoy playing Wingspan. From the Mountain Chickadee to the Western Meadowlark, you collect unique bird cards and try to lay as many eggs as possible. Wingspan has a solo mode and can be played by up to five people." — Reece Rogers, Streaming Fellow Mastermind for Kids Macy's Available at Macy's, $12.99Players: 2 "My brother and I used to play this game on long family road trips. Taking turns, one player would set up a code while the other tries to solve it, and vice versa. This kids' version teaches problem-solving skills, which they can then apply to the adult version of the game or their studies." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow All Bad Cards Jake Lauer Available for free at All Bad CardsPlayers: 1-12 "Inspired by the popular Cards Against Humanity, All Bad Cards is the online card game not for prudes. Like CAH, ABC involves a deck of (virtual) cards and from those cards, players fill in the blanks to create hilarious, highly NSFW sentences. It's Mad Libs for adults.I recently played with friends from my study-abroad program — all you need is a computer or phone and then create a shareable link to send to your friends. We spent about two hours playing and laughing, and it was a great way for us to reconnect after not seeing each other for a while. There is also a family-friendly version called (Not) All Bad Cards that's more appropriate to play with kids. Another fun game for the family is the classic Apples to Apples." — Ariel Tilayoff, Former Story Production FellowHere's how to play All Bad Cards Sequence Amazon Available at Amazon, $17.97Players: 2-12 "This game is all about the luck of the draw. The point is to be the first to make a sequence — having five of the same color marker chip in a line, whether it be vertical, horizontal, or diagonal — and the number of sequences will depend on how many teams are playing.This game requires strategy, speed, and teamwork to win. It's a great game to play either with a friend or a large group of people." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow  Disney Sketchy Tales Walmart Available at Walmart, $20Players: 4-8 "The one thing my friends and family will never outgrow is our love of all things Disney, which is why this drawing game is a perfect way to channel our fandom. Sadly, our attempts at drawing Disney characters won't get us jobs as animators, but they are fine for a good laugh." — Ariel Tilayoff, Story Production Fellow   Peppa Pig Chutes and Ladders Anna Popp/Insider Available at Amazon, $10.99Players: 2-4"Chutes and Ladders is always a fun game of chance and hoping to avoid the chutes. This Peppa Pig addition is not only adorable for kids, but adults can enjoy the board game as well." — Anna Popp, Home and Kitchen Fellow  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 24th, 2021

MoneyGram (MGI) Gains on Constant Strength on Digital Platform

MoneyGram's (MGI) progress on digital platform hugely bumps up its revenues. MoneyGram International, Inc. MGI is witnessing strong growth in its business, led by its digital channel named MoneyGram Online (MGO).The company’s online services are in high demand because of its ease of use via the MoneyGram mobile app. It enables fund transfer on a real-time basis. This convenience and speed in turn, lead to high customer retention.MoneyGram’s digital platform is therefore growing at a breakneck speed.Monthly Active Users, which show the number of people using its mobile app, have been on a rise for the past many months. Its partnership with Visa, which helps the company’s customers to send money via Visa Direct, a real-time push payments platform, drove cross- border transactions.At the end of June, digital transactions accounted for 33% of all the money transfer transactions, reflecting an increase of 18% from the prior-year reading. The company expects to continue reporting double-digit growth rates across the MGO channel, considering the consumers’ shift toward adopting digital transactions and receiving money in their accounts directly. It remains optimistic that the digital business will reflect above 50% of all money transfer transactions in 2024.The company began laying the groundwork for its digital transformation five years ago to embrace the rapid changes brought about by the integration of technology in the remittance industry.The remittance space was invaded by many fintech players with the likes of TransferWise, Green Dot Corporation GDOT, WorldRemit, PayPal Holdings, Inc. PYPL and many others jostling for space.The company’s revenues declined every year from 2017 to 2020 and the only way to stay afloat in this rapidly-changing remittance realm was to change the way it maintained its traditional business set-up. Its close peer Western Union Co. WU is also facing the same rivalry and has been chasing technological investments over time to lead the pack.Of its agent locations in 200 plus countries and territories, 94 are now digitally enabled. The transition from once solely brick-and-mortar format to a hybrid combo of online and physical existence is slowly paying off. An amalgamation of its cash and digital capabilities will make it stand out from the queue of digital-only competitors who are unable to serve a significant portion of the remittance market that relies on cash alone.After remaining under pressure, revenues are finally showing up and already grew 6.5% in the first quarter of 2021. We now expect topline growth to continue.Via its digital business, MoneyGram is exploring uncharted geographies and continuously wooing a completely new customer base. Digital business is a key to customer wins and reaping incremental profits.Investment in mobile apps and integrations with mobile wallets plus account deposit services will drive its digital business.Other than its proprietary use, MoneygGram is monetizing its wide API-driven digital network by enabling other companies to access its leading global money transfer network. Called MoneyGram as a Service, the business provides a new revenue source and was launched in March this year.The new business line represents a significant growth opportunity for MoneyGram as it enters a market estimated to be valued at $17 billion in 2024, seeing a CAGR of about 24% over the forecast period.Year to date, the stock has rallied 52.9% compared with its industry’s growth of 21.1%. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMoneyGram carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present.  You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report MoneyGram International Inc. (MGI): Free Stock Analysis Report The Western Union Company (WU): Free Stock Analysis Report Green Dot Corporation (GDOT): Free Stock Analysis Report PayPal Holdings, Inc. (PYPL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Charging Up Your Portfolio with Electric Vehicles

Whether its the government, Wall Street investors or even traditional automakers; everybody is seeing tremendous potential in EVs. Ben Rains will show you how to capitalize on this burgeoning space, which grew over 160% worldwide in the first half of 2021. The U.S. Senate passed a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill in early August, with billions set to flow into various sectors, from more traditional areas such as roads to modern green energy initiatives. The clean energy efforts are part of a larger push within the U.S and other wealthy nations to speed up the transition away from fossil fuels throughout every corner of the economy.The green energy age isn’t complete without electric vehicles (EVs) dominating streets and highways, and the U.S. still has miles of road to travel in order to get there.Washington’s Focus on EVs The White House and Washington have put a spotlight on electric vehicles as part of a longer-term greener movement. President Biden signed an EV-focused executive order in August that hopes to spur rapid adoption. The non-binding goal aims to have all-electric, hydrogen-fuel cell, and plug-in hybrid vehicles make up 50% of U.S. sales by 2030.In order to reach this voluntary benchmark, automakers called for federal support for EV charging stations, various consumer tax incentives, and other pro-electric initiatives. Elsewhere, the Senate’s $1 trillion bill allots $7.5 billion for states and municipalities to build EV charging stations. The legislative effort also includes over $6 billion in grants for battery production, development, and recycling.The projected funding is less than President Biden called for in March when his administration set a goal of building 500,000 public chargers by 2030. There are currently roughly 48,000 public EV charging stations and over 120,000 charging ports in the U.S., according to U.S. Department of Energy data.These levels don’t come close to supporting rapid EV adoption. Federal, state, and local governments must work with automakers, charger technology companies, and various other stakeholders in order for EVs to start driving American automotive sales anytime soon.Despite all of the hype, the U.S. and the world has barely scratched the EV surface. The nascent nature provides plenty of profitable investment opportunities if you know where to look...Continued . . .------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------Zacks’ Top Infrastructure Picks (Grab These for Q4 and Beyond)Our research has identified 5 stocks that are set to surge due to the massive new infrastructure bill. This is the largest bill of its kind in decades, giving investors a chance at tremendous gains.Zacks’s just-updated special report, How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure, is designed to help you profit from the most promising “American Upgrade” stocks. Some infrastructure stocks have recently soared as much as +81%... +150%... even +248%.¹ The stocks in this report could be just as lucrative. Don't delay: this Special Report is only available until Sunday, September 26.See 5 Top Infrastructure Stocks Now >>------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------The Current EV Market Gasoline-powered vehicles remain by far the most popular means of transportation. Electric vehicles made up only 2% of U.S. sales last year and expanded to a little over 3% in recent months. Limited market share is part of the reason why Wall Street is excited even if the electric/hybrid space doesn’t get close to 50% market share by 2030.Tesla proved there’s demand for EVs in the U.S. and its success on the road and in the stock market forced every established auto company to go all-in on electric. Plus, plenty of newcomers, some of which are publicly traded, are ramping up production on sleek new EVs of all shapes and sizes. It will be difficult to recreate Tesla’s meteoric run, but a few standout startups are starting to make their case.Most major automakers plan to offer many of their current models as EVs within the next decade, while rolling out EV-only cars, SUVs, and trucks. Established auto titans, perhaps ambitiously, aim to generate upwards of 50% of global sales from EVs by 2030.One historic firm is revamping its entire business around EVs. The company said earlier this year it aims to have 40% of its global volume be all electric by 2030 and it expects to spend more than $30 billion on electrification during this stretch. The firm’s early efforts have already paid off in terms of actual sales and its surging stock price.Auto giants in both luxury and mass markets will start eating away at Tesla’s current dominance. There are plenty of reasons to believe this could happen somewhat quickly. A few select stocks will capture a budding corner of the EV market Tesla has little chance of controlling. The ability to meet the coming demand from commercial customers such as contractors, construction companies, police departments, and other government fleets is set to boost a few well-known companies in particular.Where’s the Money  New light-vehicle sales in the U.S. are set to climb around 13% to reach 16.3 million in 2021. EV sales are projected to blow away the broader industry-wide expansion. For instance, global EV sales already skyrocketed over 160% in the first half of 2021 against a pandemic-hit period.Tesla led the charge, accounting for about 14% of the global market during this stretch, but its share slipped compared to last year. A few global automakers are already in Elon Musk’s rearview mirror despite the huge head start, while smaller, highly affordable brands are dominating EV sales in China and other Asian nations.Along with investing in pure-play electric vehicle companies, Wall Street and the industry are pouring money into the technology side of the business. This is vital since EVs rely heavily on interconnected technology, remote software updates, high-tech touch screens, and much more. One firm in September poached a former Tesla executive from Apple—which has its own EV aspirations—because EVs are closer to supercomputers on wheels than traditional cars.EVs will also provide automakers with more consistent revenue streams, via remote monitoring, constant software updates, and other futuristic maintenance necessities. And it’s hardly just the automakers who stand to benefit. Smaller tech companies are already profiting from advanced radar navigation and more, and many are hot acquisition targets. Batteries and Chargers  EV motors are clearly essential cogs, but high-tech batteries are perhaps the most vital components. Continued progress on the energy storage and range fronts will help determine how quickly the market can grow.Wall Street is also laser-focused on lithium, with the commodity making a case to become a “new oil.” Lithium-ion batteries are already used in most portable consumer electronics such as smartphones, and nearly all electric vehicles run on rechargeable lithium-ion batteries.From startups to Tesla, companies are working on next-generation battery technologies, including solid-state batteries and new cell formats. Like many cutting-edge industries, there are likely game-changing batteries coming down the pike soon that few will have imagined possible.Alongside batteries, an EV-heavy future is only possible if consumers can drive anywhere they normally would or make that same big road trip, without needing to plan their route around chargers. EV chargers are often classified in three categories: Level 1, Level 2, and Level 3 or DC fast chargers. The first two are common for home-based charging, while the fittingly named Level 3 fast chargers require as much as $100,000 or more per station in upfront capital.There are over 100 EV charging companies in North America alone. Firms able to create faster chargers that mimic speeds closer to filling up a tank of gas will be surefire superstars, while companies able to roll out the most chargers, akin to gas stations, could become stable green energy players for decades.5 Stocks to Electrify Your Portfolio Electric vehicles and EV-related technologies are some of the most promising spaces investors can target for long-term gains. Consumers are demanding more electric options and manufacturers are rising to the occasion.And as discussed above, the government is driving hard toward a clean energy future. The infrastructure bill passed by the Senate last month could earmark billions of dollars to make EVs even more accessible – and you might be surprised at which stocks might benefit most.To help you make the most of this opportunity, Zacks has just updated our special report, How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure.The report reveals 5 stocks primed for big price moves, including an EV stock no one is thinking about. The company has a new CEO, a new focus on cutting edge tech and earnings that are projected to skyrocket 300%.I encourage you to check out the 5 stocks right away. The infrastructure bill could be a powerful catalyst, but these companies are strong enough to deliver significant gains on their own.Don’t delay. This Special Report is only available until Sunday, September 26.Click here to claim your copy of How to Profit from Trillions in Spending for Infrastructure >>Good Investing,Ben RainsStock Strategist¹ The results listed above are not (or may not be) representative of the performance of all selections made by Zacks Investment Research's newsletter editors and may represent the partial close of a position.  Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021