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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis says he should have spoken out "much louder" about Trump"s stay-at-home order when COVID-19 first emerged

"I never thought in February, early March that [COVID-19] would lead to locking down the country," DeSantis said. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis addresses a joint session of the legislature, Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2022, in Tallahassee, Fla.AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack Gov. Ron DeSantis said he didn't consider lockdowns a possibility when COVID-19 first emerged. In a December interview, DeSantis declined to answer whether he's received a COVID-19 booster. During the presidency of Donald Trump, DeSantis served as one of his closest allies. On Thursday, Ron DeSantis said on conservative podcast "Ruthless" that if he could change one decision he's made as governor of Florida, he would have been "much louder" in his opposition to the stay-at-home order issued by former President Donald Trump when the coronavirus first emerged."I never thought in February, early March that [COVID-19] would lead to locking down the country," DeSantis told the hosts of the podcast. "I just didn't. I didn't think that was on the radar."DeSantis' interview follows reports from The New York Times' Maggie Haberman earlier in the week that Trump has been telling his aides that "he isn't getting the deference" from the Florida governor, one of his closest allies throughout his presidency, that he wants heading into the 2024 election.While Trump has been increasingly vocal in his support for COVID-19 vaccines in recent months, DeSantis balked at telling Fox News host Maria Bartiromo whether he has received a booster during a December interview."So I've done whatever I did. The normal shot, and that at the end of the day is people's individual decisions about what they want to do," DeSantis told Bartiromo.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

Ken Griffin Says Chicago Violence Like "Afghanistan On A Good Day", Claims Crypto Is "Jihadist" Attack On The Dollar

Ken Griffin Says Chicago Violence Like "Afghanistan On A Good Day", Claims Crypto Is "Jihadist" Attack On The Dollar Move over Jamie Dimon. There's another American billionaire financier who appears to be quietly launching a post-business political career. Or at the very least, one could be forgiven for believing Citadel founder and CEO Ken Griffin's appearance Monday at the Chicago Club of Economics was one long stump speech. Griffin's hour-plus dialogue, which received extensive coverage from the financial press, comes at an interesting time. On the Internet, "conspiracy theorists" (according to Citadel) have continued to raise questions about possible collusion (or other wrongdoings) between Citadel and Robinhood (and one Robinhood exec in particular) before RH pulled the plug on January's meme stonk mania. Meanwhile, over at the SEC, Gary Gensler has said he's looking into regulating - or possibly eliminating or greatly restricting - the practice of 'Payment for Order Flow", whereby electronic retail brokerages like Robinhood sell their customers' orders to Citadel and other market makers (but primarily Citadel). Griffin spoke with Bloomberg's Erik Schatzker about a seemingly endless list of topics, offering imminently quotable lines and thoughtful takes on everything from crypto, to political corruption in Illinois and Chicago's slow decline into anarchy, President Biden's policies, the prospect of another Trump presidency, PFOF, crypto, and of course COVID. The dialogue started with a question on vaccination rates and meandered on from there. Here's a breakdown of what Griffin said by topic. COVID When it comes to containing COVID, Griffin believes that the US's battle against the virus was lost right at the beginning. "The country lost this battle in the first attack, when we weren’t willing to do what it took to shut down America, to truly contain Covid-19. And then to get back out of the seat, and we’ve all just paid a catastrophic price as a result." When it comes to vaccination rates, Griffin believes they have plateaued at an "unacceptably low level". The Fed According to Griffing "the Fed's in a really tough box." The Fed is in "no man's land", Griffin says, and as far as being its chairman, "it is a job I would not be so grateful to have". He also noted that inflationary pressures in the US are "really unsettling." What to do? "If i were Chairman Powell, i stay the course that I'm on as unnerving as that is. to see inflation running this hot is really unsettling." It was at this point that Griffin said something really interesting about the Fed and it's credibility. It's not often that you hear the people who actually run our financial system speak frankly about how it really works. But Griffin essentially said 'the quiet part out loud' when the discussion turned to the Fed's credibility, which we have argued time and again is already in tatters - especially in the aftermath of the pandemic. "And let's be clear right now we don't have price stability. Inflation is at 5% is the highest number people here have seen in their lifetimes," Griffin said. He added that the Fed's position that these pressures are "transitory" is really just "a big bet". But regardless of the course of inflation in the future, Griffin said that the more pressing issue is protecting the Fed from being tainted by the same ugly politics that afflict Capitol Hill. The whole point of a central bank is it's supposed to be independent from politics. Whether this is actually true or not, it's the appearance of neutrality that's necessary to maintain global confidence in the dollar. "We need to maintain the belief in the separation of the Fed from the halls of Washington for the sake of a strong dollar. If you're part of the financial community...you need to push back on that". Fiscal Stimulus Griffin slammed the post-COVID stimulus for being to expansive, and claimed all those benefits are still "disincentivizing lower-wage workers". China The first question Griffin was asked about China was whether he still opposes a "decoupling" between China and the US. According to Griffin, this "decoupling" is already happening. "I think in important ways we have already decoupled." But on a day where Biden's Trade Rep Katherine Tai essentially plagiarized President Trump's tough-on-China economic policies during a major speech, Griffin insisted that there will be drawbacks to what the US is doing - including limiting access to semiconductors and software, which has further motivated Beijing to develop their own. "By restricting Chinese access to semiconductors and American software we have pushed them into a national campaign to eliminate their dependence on the west...imagine a world where there are two totally independent software stacks." When it comes to the technology arms race, Griffin warned, the US is bound to lose. "They graduate about twice as many graduates as we do half of them have stem degrees. They're producing about 5x more talented engineers per annum. The belief that we will be technologically dominant...is naive." Once China surpasses American tech, "not only will they use it in the biggest market in the world which is their own market...but they'll push it to all their trading partners, the Brazils of the world..." Ultimately, "I can imagine a world where we have been divided...and I don't like thinking about that outcome. I can picture a world in 30 to 40 years where, in some sense we have divided the world up between east to west technologically,” Griffin said. TSMC Could Beijing's lust for better semis technology accelerate their takeover of Taiwan? The tiny rogue territory has somehow emerged as a global leader in chip technology and production thanks to TSMC. "They don't have the entire solution, they still buy equipment from around the world, but talk about a powerhouse...and going back to my point earlier, China views Taiwan as part of China, there's no way they will be technologically important against American in the next 20 years. They will get there eventually." The Rust Belt That's not to say there haven't been drawbacks to the US engagement with Beijing, and according to Griffin is the fact that China's advances in manufacturing and the state support allowing their companies to be more competitive helped contribute to the hollowing out of thousands of American factory towns. In retrospect, this was a necessary sacrifice to entice the Chinese to embrace first capitalism, and then democracy. But increasingly it looks like the CCP has no intention to ever loosen its monopoly on power, meaning all those sacrifices were for nothing. "To have the most populous country in the world becoming increasingly capitalistic our belief was that them becoming capitalist would inevitably lead to them becoming a democracy. when we wrote the rules of rht road for them, we did it with the objective of making that happen." "The challenge that we underestimated is how devastating this was going to be for small towns that had its only factory shut down. It wasn't how it was going to impact NYC, Chicago or LA but how it was going to impact a small town in upstate New York. That was a terrible policy miscalculation not done in bad faith...but we didn't have the trainin or relocation strategies to help people get back on their feet." Competition Griffin believes America is facing an identity crisis, and needs to get back to its "core values." And a big part of that is embracing "competition". Enough of this 'everybody gets a trophy' bs. "We need to get back to our core values if we're going to win. What does that mean? Children need to be taught the virtue of earned success. It can't be that every time a race is won, there's two gold medal winners. and earned success is so important to the psychological success of our country. When people know they've done a job well..." there's a sense of pride. The reason why 1 in 10 Americans is severely depressed is that "when life revolves around your instagram and facebook account not how well you do on the sports field, how well you do in class...you've lost your way in life." "We need to teach our children math and science and how to write and how to compete and how to enjoy success....because we need these children to lead this country in 20 years." Griffin also complained that the scientists who developed the COVID jabs weren't properly venereated. "Why haven't we brought the scientists from Pfizer and Moderna to the White House to recognize them for the accomplishment of developing a vaccine in a year. These people are the heroes of our lifetime..." "There are no people who are children are looking up to to say 'I wanna be like her'" Griffin said. Teachers Unions One of the biggest causes of the decay in the quality of public education, according to Griffin, are the teachers unions. He relayed how former Chicago mayor Rahm Emmanuel went to bat for the schools against the unions...and lost. That's why Chicago has one of the shortest school years, and shortest school days, in the country. "Our mayor went to bat to change that and got batted over the head by the teacher's union," he said. Biden Agenda Moving on to the subject of Biden's economic agenda, which is presently the subject of a Democratic civil war in Washington, Griffin said there was plenty in the bill he liked, but also plenty he opposed, starting with the price tag. "Let's just say thank God for Sen. Manchin," Griffin said. Debt Ceiling Griffin believes the responsibility for raising the debt ceiling lies with the Dems...whether or not that means falling back on reconciliation to bypass a GOP filibuster, or not. "We've played this game of chicken before...I hope somebody blinks before they go over the cliff. I do believe the Democrats have a responsibility....to push this forward." Payment for Order Flow Finally, the big one. Are hidden costs imposed by Citadel and other market makers via payment for order flow (PFOF) helping to line Griffin's pockets at the expense of retail traders? Of course not, he insisted. In fact, if you took away PFOF, Citadel would be just fine..."from the 100,000 feet view" at least, Griffin said. Even though the practice has been a major driver of profits at his firm, Griffin tried to frame PFOF as a nuisance cost, suggesting he would rather not have to "pay" for order flow at all. "Let us hope that we maintain the status quo. brokerage firms have a duty to secure the best price for their customers. That's the premise on which we compete that's the premise on which we win." Ultimately, losing PFoF would be "a huge loss" for traders who enjoy the lowest commissions in history right now (nothing), Griffin claimed, while adding that "let us hope that in Washington, they maintain the status quo." Ken Griffin discusses PFOF (1/2)#BanPFOF #KenGriffinLied pic.twitter.com/nprGSAzT1M — Antonio Martinez (@AntonioTheMexi) October 4, 2021 Ken Griffin discusses PFOF (2/2)#BanPFOF #KenGriffinLied pic.twitter.com/PwnVVNuex5 — Antonio Martinez (@AntonioTheMexi) October 4, 2021 Whatever the SEC decides regarding PFoF, "all i want to know are the rules of the road...If i have to drive on the left I'll drive on the left...just tell me to drive." Crypto While Griffin is certainly amused by crypto, he wishes all this energy could be channeled toward something that doesn't also inadvertently undermine the American financial system. Instead, Griffin sees crypto-mania as a "jihadist call"... Griffin Sees Crypto-Mania as ‘Jihadist Call’ Against the Dollar A mania which your Robinhood subsidiary is eagerly fanning... — zerohedge (@zerohedge) October 4, 2021 ...to attack and undermine the dollar. "I wish all this passion directed at crypto was redirected at making American stronger," adding that backing bitcoin over the dollar was a "Jihadist call". He also made a crack about how terribly energy inefficient bitcoin is, repeating a longstanding criticism. While he certainly has ethical objections to crypto, Griffin says he would absolutely let Citadel to get involved in the market if it's ever regulated. "If it were regulated, I would trade it because..it would be good to have a Tier 1 firm making prices." Chicago Griffin saved most of his anger for Gov. Pritzker and other Illinois elected officials. He started with a story of a conversation between him and Pritzker where Griffin claimed the governor refused to send in the National Guard to quell violence in the city because of the political optics. Since the last time Griffin spoke at the Economic Club in 2013, the City has gotten even worse. "Since the last time I spoke in 2013, 25,000 of my fellow Chicagoans have been shot. It is a disgrace that our governor will not insert himself into the challenge of addressing crime in our city. It won't look good to have men and women on corners on Michigan Avenue with assault weapons...well, if it would save the life of one child, I don't care. We need to try and start to take the state back inch by inch from people who put their politics first and the people second." On the subject of police, Griffin said: "We need our police officers to know that they are respected and welcomed as Americans." In fact, Griffin says Citadel has already started to dial back its presence in Chicago because of the safety issue before sharing an amusing crack about Chicago being more dangerous than Afghanistan. "We aren't as much in Chicago. It's becoming ever more difficult to have this as our global headquarters, a city that has so much violence. I mean Chicago is like Afghanistan on a good day. They tried to car jack the security detail that sits outside my apartment. It just shows you how deep crime runs in this city. There is nowhere you can feel safe walking home at 2130 at night. And it's really hard to recruit people to Chicago. When they read the headlines, theey know the facts. 20 years ago, this was a great place to raise a family...I could say that and be genuine...I can't give that speech today." As for New York City, Griffin warned that many of the same things he has seen in Chicago are starting to take place in New York City. Griffin added that Citadel's next big expansion will be office space in Miami, and that the company's time of remaining headquarter in Chicago will be measured in "years not decades". The Sun Belt Moving on from the Chicago discussion, Griffin believes that across the US, coastal blue states with high taxes will start to lose their economic edge to the Sun Belt, which has more business-friendly regulations. "Conditions are Better across the sun belt states, less regulation less taxes a workforce that's generally of the ethos of 'I'm here to earn it'. Northern cities still have a considerable advantage...those schools anchor our great northern cities. the south doesn't have that yet writ large. But as universities in the south continue to get better, you're going to see the balance of power shift from the north to the south as the ease of doing business in the south trumps the ease of hiring top employees in the north." Trump Finally, the big one. When it comes to President Trump, Griffin admits his economic policies were "pretty damn good." However, when asked about the prospect of another campaign in 2020, he said that "it's time for America to move on. The 4 years under president trump were so divisive it was not constructive for the country." He also said he was "appalled" by Trump's willingness to play identity politics. * * * Griffin's speech before the Chicago Club  the first major public appearance by Griffin since the "GameStopped" hearings back in Feb. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 17:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

The Three Types of US-Led Regime Change

The Three Types of US-Led Regime Change Authored by Joe Lauria via Consortium News, Throughout the long, documented history of the United States illegally overthrowing governments of foreign lands to build a global empire there has emerged three ways Washington broadly carries out "regime change." From Above. If the targeted leader has been democratically elected and enjoys popular support, the CIA has worked with elite groups, such as the military, to overthrow him (sometimes through assassination).  Among several examples is the first CIA-backed coup d’état, on March 30, 1949,  just 18 months after the agency’s founding, when Syrian Army Colonel Husni al-Za’im overthrew the elected president, Shukri al-Quwatli.  The CIA in 1954 toppled the elected President Jacobo Árbenz of Guatemala, who was replaced with a military dictator. In 1961, just three days before the inauguration of President John F. Kennedy, who favored his release, Congolese President Patrice Lumumba was assassinated with CIA assistance, bringing military strongman Mobutu Sese Seko to power.  In 1973, the US backed Chilean General Augusto Pinochet to overthrow and kill the democratically-elected, socialist President Salvador Allende, setting up a military dictatorship, one of many U.S.-installed military dictatorships of that era in Latin America under Operation Condor.  Chilean presidential palace during U.S.-backed coup, Sept. 11, 1973. (Library of the Chilean National Congress/Wikipedia) From Below. If the targeted government faces genuine popular unrest, the U.S. will foment and organize it to topple the leader, elected or otherwise. 1958-59 anti-communist protests in Kerala, India, locally supported by the Congress Party and the Catholic Church, were funded by the CIA, leading to the removal of the elected communist government. The 1953 coup in Iran that overthrew the democratically-elected Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh was a combination of bottom-up CIA (and MI-6)-backed street protests, and top-down conservative clergy and military to destroy democracy and return a monarch to the throne. The US-backed Ukrainian coup of 2014 is the latest example of the US working with genuine popular dissent to help organize and steer the overthrow, in this case, of an OSCE-certified elected president.  Through Military Intervention.  If a coup is not feasible, the US turns to indirect or direct military intervention. One of earliest examples was the US expeditionary force that invaded Russia in 1918 during the civil war in an attempt to help overthrow the new Bolshevik government.  More recently, in 1983 the U.S. military invaded Grenada to overthrow a Marxist president; in 1989 the U.S. invaded Panama to overthrow former CIA asset Manuela Noriega. Another hybrid operation was the US bombing of Serbia in 1999 and the State Department funding of the opposition group Otpor!, which led to the ouster of Slobodan Milosevic. The most prominent recent examples of direct military invasion to overthrow governments are the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan in 2001 and Iraq in 2003. Indirect military intervention through proxies to overthrow governments happened in the 1980s Contra war against Nicaragua; and the 2011 to present jihadist war to overthrow the Syrian government.  Tanks in the streets of Teheran, 1953. (Public domain/Wikipedia.) Not From Thin Air Economic sanctions are commonly imposed by the US in advance to "soften up" the target. In non-military interventions, the US does not create regime change out of whole cloth:  it works with pre-existing dissent, whether in the population or in the military or another elite group. It will harness it, fund it, train it and organize it, but not create it.   In other words, in regime change that doesn’t involve invasion and occupation, it is not a question of either US involvement or genuine dissent. It is almost always both. And sometimes a cigar is just a cigar: there are legitimate revolts that are not taken over by the US because the uprisings are against US clients’ and Washington’s interests: for instance, the 2010 uprising in Bahrain. In such cases the US will support crushing dissent (as it is ready to do at home as well).  Kazakhstan Last week, Consortium News ran two pieces on the uprisings in Kazakhstan. The first, by Craig Murray, made the argument that the CIA was not involved and that the uprising was genuine, given the country’s economic inequality and increases in fuel prices that were quickly reversed. Murray is a former British ambassador to neighboring Uzbekistan and knows Central Asia. There is no doubt that inequality, the fuel price hikes and decades of authoritarian rule fueled the protests. But by its very covert nature, it is close to impossible to know what the CIA is up to anywhere in the world until declassification of documents usually decades later, or if a whistleblower or leak emerges earlier.  Anyway, the CIA did not need to be directly involved. It’s been known since at least a 1991 Washington Post article that the CIA is ostensibly no longer required for regime change. After the 1975 Church Committee revelations of its crimes and corruption, the CIA, facing a public backlash, resorted to new methods. The establishment of the U.S. National Endowment of Democracy in 1983 does openly what the CIA once did secretly, the Post argued. "The old era of [CIA] covert action is dead," Post columnist David Ignatius declared.  "The world doesn’t run in secret anymore. We are now living in the Age of Overt Action. … the triumph of overt action [is] a network of overt operatives who during the last 10 years have quietly been changing the rules of international politics. They have been doing in public what the CIA used to do in private — providing money and moral support for pro-democracy groups, training resistance fighters, working to subvert communist rule. And, in contrast to many of the CIA’s superannuated Cold Warriors, who tended to get tangled in their webs of secrecy, these overt operatives have been immensely successful." But as CN founder Robert Parry explained in an 2015 article republished today on Consortium News, the CIA had a direct hand in the establishment of the NED, even in the writing of the Congressional legislation that authorized the U.S. Agency for International Development to fund it with U.S. government money. The continued hand of the CIA was to be hidden in the "Age of Overt Action."  The NED in Kazakhstan Since Kazakhstan’s independence in 1990 after the breakup of the Soviet Union the country has been run by one man, Nursultan Nazarbayev. Though he formally stepped down in 2019 in favor of his hand-picked successor, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, Nazarbayev is still the power behind the throne. Nursultan, the new capital city, was named after him in 2019. Protestors setting up a yurt in Aktobe on Jan. 4. (Esetok/Wikipedia) Kazakhstan’s political system has few democratic features. Not that that matters much to the United States. In its long history of overthrowing governments abroad, the US has toppled dictators just as readily as elected democrats. It is immaterial. What matters is whether leaders are furthering or standing in the way of US interests. The lack of democracy was of no interest either to former President Bill Clinton and former Prime Minister Tony Blair, who both cozied up to Nazarbayev for lucrative paydays. London and other Western centers have little problem taking investments from undemocratic Kazakh elites. The lack of democracy in Kazakhstan could be useful to Washington. The population’s rage at being suppressed politically and economically is the kind of raw material needed to drive a coup from the bottom up.  In 2020, the NED spent $1,082,991 on 20 programs in Kazakhstan.  One was $50,000 to "promote freedom of peaceful assembly" through "strategic litigation to support activists facing repression." Another, for $65,000 was to "promote civic engagement among youth in Kazakhstan." Genuine Kazakh Revolt This money was poured into a country with pre-existing tensions that exploded from Jan. 2 to Jan. 11, leaving 227 people dead, 9,900 arrested and vast sections of city centers looted and destroyed. At the start the government tried to quell the protests by again capping fuel prices, the government resigned and Nazarbayev stepped down as chairman of the national security council. It didn’t work. Shoot to kill orders were issued against the rioters.  Ultimately, Russian troops as part of the Collective Security Treaty Organization mission restored order. In a news analysis on Jan. 6, The New York Times Eastern Europe bureau chief made an unattributed, editorial comment: "And once Russian troops arrive, they seldom, if ever, go home."  Normally the corporate media are fed such lines by unnamed US officials. In this case the US government line seemed to work in reverse. The next day U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said, "One lesson of recent history is that once Russians are in your house, it’s sometimes very difficult to get them to leave." Moscow reacted furiously, pointing out that the US should examine its history of the invasions of Vietnam and Iraq. "If Antony Blinken loves history lessons so much, then he should take the following into account: when Americans are in your house, it can be difficult to stay alive and not be robbed or raped," the foreign ministry said. The Russian and other CSTO troops left Kazakhstan on Wednesday.  US Interests in Kazakhstan  Installing a government hostile to Russia and China, which both border Kazakhstan, would be advantageous to the US It could disrupt China’s Silk Roads initiative through the country and the U.S. could put a military base in Kazakhstan. Since April the US has been trying to find a Central Asian country for a base to further the encircling pressure on Russia. There are also oil and gas deposits beckoning. Despite these interests, the second article that Consortium News ran last week advised the U.S. stay out of Kazakhstan.  Saying there was no evidence of U.S. involvement with the protests, Anatol Lieven wrote:  "If the Kazakh government collapses or is gravely weakened, it would be very surprising if hard line elements in Washington did not see this as an opportunity to use Kazakhstan as a base to undermine Chinese rule in Sinkiang — even if (as in Syria) this led them into de facto alliance with Islamist extremist forces. For America to use Kazakhstan in this way would be both a crime and a blunder, that would recall the worst aspects of U.S. policy in Africa, Asia, and Central America during the Cold War. It would in fact cast America in the role in which American commentators like to cast Russia — that of a cynical troublemaker, absolutely indifferent to the consequences of its actions for unfortunate populations on the ground." Circumstantial Evidence of the Causes  Was in fact the US not involved in the uprising, as Lieven maintains? According to Russian President Vladimir Putin, "The events in Kazakhstan are not the first and far from the last attempt to interfere in the internal affairs of our states from the outside." He told other CSTO leaders on Jan. 10: "The measures taken by the CSTO made it clear that we would not let anyone destabilize the situation at our home and implement so-called 'color revolution' scenarios." Putin speaking with other CSTO leaders, Jan. 10. (Kremlin pool) Putin also said, "Elements of force and information support of protests were actively used, and well-organized and well-controlled groups of militants were also used … including those who had obviously been trained in terrorist camps abroad." The possible presence of jihadists followed reports that a Kazakh policemen had been beheaded. The Kazakh government had a slightly different take, according to long-time Moscow correspondent Fred Weir, writing in the Christian Science Monitor:  "Kazakh leaders have offered a different explanation, pointing to high-ranking internal traitors who utilized the pretext of price increases to trigger protests, then unleashed specially trained armed units in an attempt to stage a coup d’état. At least one top former official, the recently dismissed head of the security services, Karim Masimov, has been arrested and charged with plotting against the state. Other experts note that no movement has claimed responsibility for the uprising, and no set of unified demands or discernible leaders have emerged from the turmoil. That highly unusual circumstance is hard to square with an organized rebellion, Galym Ageleulov, head of the independent human rights group Liberty, told the Monitor from Almaty on Monday. ‘I think what happened was that a peaceful civil meeting of people who are tired of authoritarian government got used by elites in their internal struggles,’ he says. ‘It was a spontaneous upsurge without leaders because there is no permitted legal opposition, and civil activism is not able to grow.’ … ‘All the elements are there: socioeconomic tensions, elements of outside interference, and a half-completed transfer of power’ from the aging autocrat Mr. Nazarbayev to his chosen successor, Mr. Tokayev, [Fyodor Lukyanov, a leading Russian foreign policy analyst] says. “’It is well known that some groups behind Nazarbayev were not happy with his choice. There is a feeling among many observers that it was not a purely spontaneous outburst.’" Normally in regime change operations, the US has a leader in exile ready to be installed. Mukhtar Ablyazov, leader of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan, is in exile in Paris. He says he has not accepted Western money, asked for Western sanctions, which have not come, and egged on what he called the revolution unfolding in his country. He claimed Russia was "occupying" Kazakhstan, only to see the uprising end and Russian troops leave.  The beheadings, the organized nature of the uprising, the seizing of the airport, the NED funding, and the leader in exile are all circumstantial evidence of possible U.S. involvement. Many commenters on social media and on this site took the view that if it walks like a duck, it must be a U.S.-backed coup.  But journalism needs to be held to a higher standard of proof. CN rightly criticizes corporate media for repeating unnamed U.S. intelligence officials without skepticism. Skepticism must also be applied when the US is accused of being involved in a coup. Circumstantial evidence is not enough.  Even in an "Age of Overt Action" a smoking gun is needed, usually arriving with the declassification of documents that has proved the history of U.S. regime change.      In 2014 in Ukraine, there was also the circumstantial evidence of NED involvement. Then U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland told the U.S.-Ukrainian Foundation on Dec. 13, 2013, that Washington had spent $5 billion over a decade to support Ukraine’s "European aspirations," in other words to pull it away from Russia. But there was also a smoking gun. It came in the form of the leaked telephone call between Nuland and the then US ambassador to Ukraine in which they discussed who the new Ukrainian leader would be, weeks before the coup occurred. In Kazakhstan, despite the circumstantial evidence, there is no smoking gun so far. Therefore the question of whether there was direct and decisive U.S. involvement in the Kazakh uprising must remain inconclusive. Tyler Durden Sat, 01/22/2022 - 15:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 22nd, 2022

After 28 Days On Ventilator, Family Loses Legal Battle To Try Ivermectin, Other Alternative Treatments, For Dying Father

After 28 Days On Ventilator, Family Loses Legal Battle To Try Ivermectin, Other Alternative Treatments, For Dying Father Authored by Nanette Holt via The Epoch Times, A Florida family fighting to give their loved one on a ventilator alternative treatments for COVID-19 have lost another battle—this time in Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. The wife and son of Daniel Pisano first squared off against Mayo Clinic Florida at an emergency hearing on Dec. 30 in Florida’s Fourth Judicial Circuit. Before that, they’d been begging the hospital to allow them to try treating Pisano—who’s been on a ventilator now for 28 days—with the controversial drug ivermectin, along with a mix of other drugs and supplements, part of a protocol recommended by the Front Line COVID-19 Critical Care Alliance (FLCCC). The family’s request for an emergency injunction to force the Mayo Clinic to allow treatments recommended by an outside doctor was denied by Judge Marianne Aho. They appealed the decision. On Jan. 14, Aho’s decision was upheld by Florida’s First District Court of Appeal. The three-judge panel deciding the case included Judge Thomas “Bo” Winokur, appointed by then-Gov. Rick Scott in 2015; Judge M. Kemmerly Thomas, appointed in 2016 by Scott; and Judge Robert E. Long, Jr., appointed in 2020, by Gov. Ron DeSantis. “An opinion of this Court explaining its reasoning will follow,” the judges stated in the order they issued.  “So we wait to see what that looks like, unless it takes too long,” said Jeff Childers, an attorney for the family.  Seventy-year-old Daniel Pisano doesn’t have unlimited time, says Eduardo Balbona, M.D., an independent doctor in Jacksonville who’s been advising the family since they reached out to him while researching other treatments that could potentially help their loved one. Daniel and Claudia Pisano moved to Florida and bought a homesite to be 20 minutes from their only two grandchildren. (Photo courtesy of Chris Pisano) Balbona, who has been monitoring Pisano’s treatment at the Mayo Clinic through an online portal, testified on behalf of the Pisano family in the first hearing. The Mayo Clinic has argued that the treatment plan doesn’t fit with the hospital’s standard protocol for treating COVID-19 patients and they don’t know what the effects of following Balbona’s recommendations would be. The hospital has told the family that Pisano has a less-than-five percent chance of survival, and all that’s left to do is wait and see if he recovers on the ventilator. The Mayo Clinic has not responded to requests for comment. The family has begged the Mayo Clinic to simply step aside and let Balbona try what he thinks could work. But the Mayo Clinic doesn’t allow outside doctors to treat patients. Since media reports mentioned his involvement in the case, particularly his confidence in recommending ivermectin, Balbona has faced a mix of hate-filled criticism and desperate cries for help. He says he’s used ivermectin along with the rest of the FLCCC protocol successfully with minor modifications, on “dozens and dozens” of seriously ill patients suffering the effects of COVID-19. Some of those patients have come to him from as far away as California. He’s not alone in his belief in ivermectin and the mix of drugs and supplements he’s suggesting. Different health care professionals across the country have spoken out over the past two years about the efficacy of using ivermectin and the FLCCC protocol to treat COVID-19. The drug has been used for 40 years and won a Nobel Prize for its creator. While ivermectin is most often used to prevent or kill parasites in animals, it has also been widely and successfully used for years to treat parasites and viruses in humans in the United States and other countries. There is an ever-growing list of peer-reviewed studies showing the drug’s efficacy in treating COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) indicates there are ongoing clinical trials investigating the use of the drug in the treatment of COVID-19 on a webpage warning people not to self-medicate with ivermectin. The FDA published a tweet in August mocking those who do. And some politicians and media outlets have railed relentlessly against those claiming ivermectin could be an effective and inexpensive way to combat COVID-19. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) shared this tweet on Aug. 21, 2021, mocking the use of the drug ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. (Photo courtesy of FDA via Twitter) “You should be embarrassed to practice medicine, to sue the Mayo Clinic to get horse medicine to a human being, because of Internet garbage,” one person seethed on a voicemail at Balbona’s office after his court testimony was mentioned in an Epoch Times article. “Your license should be revoked, you worthless piece of garbage. You are killing people, not helping them, and to harass the Mayo Clinic, because you are not good enough to be their doctor is disgusting. Disgusting. You and doctors like you should all be banned from society. Shame on you. Disgusting. Goodbye and good riddance. I hope you get COVID. Goodbye.” Balbona says he deletes messages like that and pushes on with his treatment of patients. It’s “just the intolerance and hatred that takes me by surprise,” he said, about his office communications now getting “flooded by hate.” Eduardo Balbona, M.D., completed specialty training in internal medicine at the National Naval Medical Center and served as a physician at the U.S. Capitol, caring for senators, congressmen and Supreme Court justices. (Photo courtesy of Eduardo Balbona, M.D.) “Everything I do treating COVID is directed at lowering the inflammatory response, which is out of control, and improving blood flow to the lungs, and avoiding the complications of clots,” he said. “Perhaps the biggest change I’ve made from protocols in the hospital and with FLCCC is increasing the dose of dexamethasone. The dose of dexamethasone in FLCCC is relatively low at 6 mg, and I generally increase that to 18 mg daily in more serious cases. That’s a logic change, and I realize the study support is at 6 mg.” “There’s a reason for every medicine and everything I do treating COVID with my protocol. I have to be able to defend it since I know it will be attacked. Crazy world we’re in.” Christie DeTrude, of Switzerland, Florida, feels certain that Balbona’s recommendations saved her husband, Dewey. He had just retired last spring at 59 after a long career as a pipe-fitter. At 200 pounds and 6-feet-tall, he was in the peak of health, with strong “country muscles after a lifetime of turning a wrench,” she said. Dewey and Christie DeTrude on vacation in Hawaii, before he fell ill with COVID-19. (Courtesy of the DeTrude Family) When he sought treatment for COVID-19 at an urgent-care clinic in July, he was prescribed ivermectin by a doctor there. “But what we didn’t know at the time was, it wasn’t a high enough dose, because it’s supposed to be weight-based,” Christie DeTrude said. “Theirs was a very low dose, and they discontinued it after five days and said that it would be damaging to his liver and kidneys if they continued, which isn’t true.” On his eighth day of illness, he had developed pneumonia, and the urgent-care clinic told him to go to the hospital for treatment with convalescent plasma and oxygen. The referring doctor promised he wouldn’t be admitted, Christie DeTrude said. When she dropped him off at the Mayo Clinic Florida emergency room, she was told to come back and pick him up in 4-5 hours. “Once he got to Mayo, they just completely took over, and there was no informed consent,” DeTrude said. “There was no giving him information and letting us make a decision. They made all of his decisions for him, and they follow a standard protocol.” “There were no choices, there was no discussion…they just kept upping the oxygen,” DeTrude said. The Mayo Clinic did not return requests for comment by The Epoch Times about DeTrude’s case, Pisano’s case, or COVID-19 treatment protocols, in general. DeTrude said that eventually, her husband had become so weak, he couldn’t get out of the hospital bed. She felt that the hospital’s treatments weren’t working. She wanted to take him home. The hospital wouldn’t agree to discharge him and didn’t allow her to visit, she said. Dewey DeTrude’s wife hired an attorney to help her get her husband out of the intensive care unit at Mayo Clinic Florida, so he could be treated at home with ivermectin. DeTrude, shown here on Aug. 3, 2021, spent 46 days in the hospital. (Courtesy of the DeTrude Family) Days passed. Then, weeks. She says that she could tell from their phone calls that her husband was getting weaker. His 60th birthday came and went. And still, she says the hospital wouldn’t let her visit. “I was able to get a Catholic priest to come give him Last Rites, and the priest said that my husband’s mental state was like that of a prisoner of war, that he was definitely suffering trauma from the isolation from family, from his faith, from not seeing the sun. He’d lost 35 pounds,” she said. Part of the problem was that she wasn’t allowed to bring him vegan meals, she said. “A lot of the food, my husband wasn’t interested in. And when you’re on oxygen, it does affect your appetite, and he needed assistance eating, but they wouldn’t let me be that person,” she said. After 18 days, Christie DeTrude hired an attorney to help her push the hospital to stabilize her husband so she could take him home. Meanwhile, she searched for an outside doctor who could help. With that aim, she attended a medical freedom rally in Jacksonville in August, hoping to find something or someone who could advise her. Several doctors spoke about alternative treatments for COVID-19 that hospitals weren’t using, including ivermectin. The next day, she called them all. Only Dr. Balbona came to the phone to speak with her, she said. At Christie DeTrude’s request, Balbona promised the hospital that he’d take over her husband’s care. He ordered oxygen, medication, and home-health assistance for the family, she said. As she waited for Mayo doctors to agree to discharge him, Christie DeTrude prayed every day that her husband could hang on a little longer. After 46 days at Mayo Clinic, Dewey DeTrude finally was discharged and immediately started following Dr. Balbona’s instructions, taking ivermectin, fluvoxamine to prevent blood clots, and propranolol to treat anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder from his hospital stay. He also took Vitamin C, Vitamin D, and zinc. He ate healthy food and spent time in the sunshine. Within days, it was clear her husband was on the mend, Christie DeTrude said. Now, four months later, “he’s working part-time, going to the gym,” she said. “He’s completed physical therapy and working on rebuilding his stamina and lung capacity. And if it weren’t for Dr. Balbona, I’m quite sure he would have died in the hospital.” Gene Bennett, a 77-year-old retired field engineer for IBM, tells a similar story. He was enjoying life in Bryceville, Florida helping his son clear five acres of land for a homesite when COVID-19 struck in January 2021. An ambulance transported him to Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital in Jacksonville, where he was treated with remdesivir. “They had to keep getting my oxygen higher and higher,” Bennett said. “I was finally up to the point of seven liters per minute, which is almost pure oxygen. And I knew that I wasn’t getting better. I could tell I was getting weaker and weaker. So when the doctor made his rounds on the Monday morning, I said, ‘This is my last day of remdesivir treatment and I know that I’m not improving. What’s our next step?’ “He looked at me and very calmly said, ‘Mr. Bennett, we don’t have a next step.’ He said, ‘We have done all for you that we can do. There’s nothing else we can do for you.’” Gene Bennett insisted on leaving the hospital, instead of going on a ventilator. (Courtesy of Jane Bennett) Overnight, Bennett thought a lot about the conversation. The next day, he asked the doctor, “Are you serious? There’s nothing else that this hospital can do for me?” “He said, ‘No, sir. The next step is for you to go on a ventilator.’” “Well, I’m not going to do that,” Bennett recalls saying. “I want to be released from this hospital.” He quickly learned that was no longer a decision he could make for himself. Ascension St. Vincent’s Riverside Hospital did not respond to a request for comment. “They weren’t going to release me because I was on a high level of oxygen,” he told The Epoch Times. “So finally, after I raised hell with them, to put it mildly, all day, my son picked me up” that evening. The next morning, Bennett’s wife drove him to Dr. Balbona, his physician for many years. Balbona came out to the parking lot of his office to help him out of the car. “I could barely walk with a walker without assistance — that’s how bad off I was,” Bennett said. He says Balbona told him, ” You have the most severe case of COVID that I have seen. But I have a medicine I have been using and I’ve had great success with it.” Bennett needed no convincing. “What is it? I’ll take it,” Bennett recalls saying. “I know I’m dying. I just feel it.” “He told me and my wife, ‘Most people that have COVID as severe as you do not survive. We’re behind the curve, but we’re going to try to get you over the hump. The medicine I’d like to prescribe for you is normally a heartworm medicine for dogs—that’s the most common use.’ “He said, ‘They use it all over the world. It’s been around for 40 years, and it’s dirt cheap, but very effective.’ “He said, ‘I would never, ever give a patient a medicine that I thought would be harmful to them.’ And I totally believed, and just accepted the fact he was doing what he thinks was right. “I thought, I don’t have any options. I know if I don’t take something to stop this, it’s going to kill me.” They picked up a $30 supply of ivermectin from a drug store that day. Bennett was so weak, he could barely feed himself. His wife and son later told him that they thought he was going to die. But after five days on what Dr. Balbona prescribed, including Vitamin C, Vitamin D, zinc, steroids, and a diuretic to get fluid off his lungs, he started to improve. “I’m a firm believer and I’d swear on the Bible, had I not been prescribed ivermectin, I would have died. Had I not stepped out of St. Vincent’s and checked myself out and gone to him and got the ivermectin, I wouldn’t be talking to you today. It saved my life. And for how much money? Thirty dollars!” He has since read a lot of research about the efficacy of ivermectin in the treatment of COVID-19. Gene Bennett refused to go on a ventilator when he was seriously ill with COVID-19. After leaving the hospital, his doctor treated him with ivermectin. He made a full recovery.  (Courtesy of Jane Bennett) “I can’t tell you if it is 100 percent effective for everyone, but I can tell you it was for me. I personally cannot understand why the government balks at giving these treatments. Why don’t they make the announcement that it’s available and let it be an individual’s choice?” Ivermectin has been approved for the treatment of COVID-19 in all or part of 22 countries. Over the past year, Bennett’s gotten back to full health, almost, regaining about half of the 45 pounds he lost while he was ill. His wife’s brother died in early January of COVID-19. They begged the hospital to try ivermectin. The hospital declined. His daughter-in-law’s mother died of COVID-19, too, in a Jacksonville Beach hospital, after the family begged to try ivermectin, and the hospital refused, Bennett said. An FDA spokeswoman said she would provide the number of reports of patients who had problems after self-medicating with ivermectin. Three days later, that information had not been provided to The Epoch Times. The FDA Office of Media Affairs said a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) would be required to obtain details about when ivermectin might be approved for use in treating COVID-19, and about bonafide injuries to people who’ve used ivermectin to treat the illness. “The most effective ways to limit the spread of COVID-19 include getting a COVID-19 vaccine when it is available to you and following current CDC guidance,” the FDA’s website advises. The Epoch Times spoke to a dozen people who have used ivermectin formulated for humans to treat COVID-19 at home. Most obtained prescriptions for the drug through online medical services. None reported having any side effects, even those who admitted to using ivermectin formulated for animals. Tyler Durden Sun, 01/16/2022 - 20:30.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJan 16th, 2022

Futures Tread Water With Traders Spooked By Spike In Yields

Futures Tread Water With Traders Spooked By Spike In Yields After futures rose to a new all time high during the Tuesday overnight session, the mood has been decided more muted after yesterday's sharp rates-driven tech selloff, and on Wednesday U.S. futures were mixed and Nasdaq contracts slumped as investors once again contemplated the effect of expected rate hikes on tech stocks with lofty valuations while waiting for the release of Federal Reserve minutes at 2pm today. At 730am, Nasdaq 100 futures traded 0.3% lower amid caution over the impact of higher yields on equity valuations, S&P 500 Index futures were down 0.1%, while Europe’s Stoxx 600 gauge traded near a record high. The dollar weakened, as did bitcoin, while Brent crude rose back over $80. “The sharp rise in U.S. yields this week has sparked a move from growth to value,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda Asia Pacific. “Wall Street went looking for the winners in an inflationary environment and as a result, loaded up on the Dow Jones at the expense of the Nasdaq.” Concerns related to the pandemic deepened as Hong Kong restricted dining-in, closed bars and gyms and banned flights from eight countries including the U.S. and the U.K. to slow the spread of the omicron variant. Meanwhile, a selloff in technology stocks extended to Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbled as much as 4.2%, sending the gauge toward a six-year low. Traders are now caught in a quandary over deepening fears on global growth combined with a faster tightening by the Federal Reserve. “Earlier we thought that rate hikes wouldn’t be on the table until mid-2022 but the Fed seems to have worked up a consensus to taper faster and hike sooner rather than later,” Steve Englander, head of global G-10 FX research at Standard Chartered, said in a note. “But we don’t think inflation dynamics will support continued hiking. We suspect the biggest driver of asset markets will be when inflation and Covid fears begin to ebb.” Data on Tuesday showed mixed signs on U.S. inflation. Prices paid by manufacturers in December came in sharply lower than expected. However, figures showing a faster U.S. job quit rate added to concerns over wage inflation. With 4.5 million Americans leaving their jobs in November, compared with 10.6 million available positions, the odds increased the Fed will struggle to influence the employment numbers increasingly dictated by social reasons. The data came before Friday’s monthly report from the Labor Department, currently forecast to show 420,000 job additions in December. In premarket trading, tech giants Tesla, Nvidia and Advanced Micro Devices were among the worst performers. Pfizer advanced in New York premarket trading after BofA Global Research recommended the stock. Shares of Chinese companies listed in the U.S. extended their decline after Tencent cut its stake in gaming and e-commerce company Sea, triggering concerns of similar actions at other firms amid Beijing’s regulatory crackdown on the technology sector. Alibaba (BABA US) falls 1.2%, Didi (DIDI US) -1.8%. Here are the other notable premarket movers: Shares in electric vehicle makers fall in U.S. premarket trading, set to extend Tuesday’s losses, amid signs of deepening competition in the sector. Tesla (TSLA US) slips 1.1%, Rivian (RIVN US) -0.6%. Beyond Meat (BYND US) shares jump 8.9% premarket following a CNBC report that Yum! Brands’ KFC will launch fried chicken made with the company’s meat substitute. Recent selloff in Pinterest (PINS US) shares presents an attractive risk/reward, with opportunities for the social media company largely unchanged, Piper Sandler writes in note as it upgrades to overweight. Stock gains 2.3% in premarket trading. Senseonics Holdings (SENS US) shares rise 15% premarket after the medical technology company said it expects a U.S. Food and Drug Administration decision in weeks on an updated diabetes- monitoring system. MillerKnoll (MLKN US) shares were down 3.1% in postmarket trading Tuesday after reporting fiscal 2Q top and bottom line results that missed analysts’ estimates. Annexon (ANNX US) was down 23% postmarket Tuesday after results were released from an experimental therapy for a fatal movement disorder called Huntington’s disease. Three patients in the 28- person trial discontinued treatment due to drug-related side- effects. Wejo Group (WEJO US) shares are up 34% premarket after the company said it’s developing the Wejo Neural Edge platform to enable intelligent handling of data from vehicles at scale. Smart Global (SGH US) falls 6% postmarket Tuesday after the computing memory maker forecast earnings per share for the second quarter. The low end of that forecast missed the average analyst estimate. Beyond Meat (BYND) shares surge premarket after CNBC KFC launch report UBS cut the recommendation on Adobe Inc. (ADBE US) to neutral from buy, citing concerns over the software company’s 2022 growth prospects. Shares down 2% in premarket trading. Oncternal Therapeutics (ONCT US) shares climb 5.1% premarket after saying it reached consensus with the FDA on the design and major details of the phase 3 superiority study ZILO-301 to treat mantle cell lymphoma. In Europe, the energy, chemicals and car industries led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index up 0.2% to near an all-time high set on Tuesday. The Euro Stoxx 50 rises as much as 0.6%, DAX outperforms. FTSE 100 lags but rises off the lows to trade up 0.2%. Nestle dropped 2.4%, slipping from a record, after Jefferies cut the Swiss food giant to underperform. Utilities were the worst-performing sector in Europe on Wednesday as cyclical areas of the market are favored over defensives, while Uniper and Fortum fall following news of a loan agreement.  Other decliners include RWE (-2.4%), Endesa (2.1%), Verbund (-1.3%), NatGrid (-1.2%), Centrica (-1.2%). Earlier in the session, technology shares led a decline in Asian equity markets, with investors concerned about the prospects of higher interest rates and Tencent’s continued sale of assets. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 0.6%, the most in two weeks, dragged down by Tencent and Meituan. The rout in U.S. tech spilled over to Asia, where the Hang Seng Tech Index plunged 4.6%, the most since July, following Tencent’s stake cut in Singapore’s Sea. Declines in tech and other sectors in Hong Kong widened after the city tightened rules to curb the spread of the omicron variant. Most Asian indexes fell on Wednesday, with Japan an exception among major markets as automakers offered support. The outlook for tighter monetary policy in the U.S. and higher Treasury yields weighed on the region’s technology shares, prompting a rotation from growth to value stocks.   Read: China Tech Selloff Deepens as Tencent Sale Spooks Traders Asian equities have underperformed U.S. and European peers amid slower recoveries and vaccination rates in the past year. With omicron rapidly gaining a foothold in Asia, there is a risk of “any further restriction measures, which could cloud the services sector outlook, along with disruption to supply chains,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a strategist at IG Asia Pte.  Philippine stocks gained as trading resumed following a one-day halt due to a systems glitch. North Korea appeared to have launched its first ballistic missile in about two months, just days after leader Kim Jong Un indicated that returning to stalled nuclear talks with the U.S. was a low priority for him in the coming year. India’s key equity gauges posted their longest run of advances in more than two moths, driven by a rally in financial stocks on hopes of revival in lending on the back of capex spending in the country. The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.6% to 60,223.15 in Mumbai, its highest since Nov. 16, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index advanced 0.7%. Both benchmarks stretched their winning run to a fourth day, the longest since Oct. 18. All but six of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. climbed, led by a gauge of banking firms. “I believe from an uncertain, volatile environment, the Nifty is now headed for a directional move,” Sahaj Agrawal, a head of derivative research at Kotak Securities, writes in a note. The Nifty 50 crossed a significant barrier of the 17,800 level and is now expected to trade at 19,000-19,500 level in the medium term, Agrawal added. HDFC Bank contributed the most to the Sensex’s gain, increasing 2.4%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex, 18 rose, while 12 fell In FX, Bloomberg Dollar Spot index slpped 0.2% back toward Tuesday’s lows, falling as the greenback was weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers, SEK and JPY are the best performers in G-10, CAD underperforms. Scandinavian currencies and the yen led gains, though most G-10 currencies were trading in narrow ranges. Australia’s dollar reversed an Asia-session loss in European trading. The yen rebounded from a five-year low as investors trimmed short positions on the haven currency and amid a decline in Asian stock markets. Treasuries were generally flat in overnight trading, with the curve flatter into early U.S. session as long-end outperforms, partially unwinding a two-day selloff to start the year with Tuesday witnessing a late block sale in ultra-bond futures. 10-year yields traded as high as 1.650% ahead of the US open after being mostly flat around 1.645%; yields were richer by up to 2bp across long-end of the curve while little change from front-end out to belly, flattening 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 0.5bp and 1.8bp; gilts outperformed in the sector by half basis point. Focus expected to continue on IG issuance, which has impacted the market in the past couple of days, and in U.S. afternoon session FOMC minutes will be released. IG dollar issuance slate includes EIB $5B 5-year SOFR and Reliance Ind. 10Y/30Y/40Y; thirteen borrowers priced $23.1b across 30 tranches Tuesday, making it the largest single day volume for U.S. high-grade corporate bonds since first week of September. European peripheral spreads widen to core. 30y Italy lags peers, widening ~2bps to Germany with order books above EU43b at the long 30y syndication. Ten-year yields shot up 8bps in New Zealand as its markets reopened following the New Year holiday. Aussie yields advanced 4bps. A 10-year sale in Japan drew a bid-cover ratio of 3.46. In commodities, crude futures were range-bound with WTI near just below $77, Brent nearer $80 after OPEC+ agreed to revive more halted production as the outlook for global oil markets improved, with demand largely withstanding the new coronavirus variant. Spot gold puts in a small upside move out of Asia’s tight range to trade near $1,820/oz. Base metals are mixed. LME nickel lags, dropping over 2%; LME aluminum and lead are up ~0.8%.  Looking at the day ahead, data releases include the December services and composite PMIs from the Euro Area, Italy, France, Germany and the US. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s December report of private payrolls from the US, the preliminary December CPI report from Italy, and December’s consumer confidence reading from France. Separately from the Federal Reserve, we’ll get the minutes of the December FOMC meeting. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,783.25 MXAP down 0.4% to 193.71 MXAPJ down 0.9% to 626.67 Nikkei up 0.1% to 29,332.16 Topix up 0.4% to 2,039.27 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 22,907.25 Shanghai Composite down 1.0% to 3,595.18 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,300.47 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,565.85 Kospi down 1.2% to 2,953.97 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.1% to 494.52 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.09% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1304 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $79.72/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,819.73 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.13% to 96.13 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The U.S. yield curve’s most dramatic steepening in more than three months has little to do with traders turning more optimistic on the economy or betting on a more aggressive timetable for raising interest rates The surge in euro-area inflation that surprised policy makers in recent months is close to its peak, according to European Central Bank Governing Council member Francois Villeroy de Galhau Some Bank of Japan officials say it’s likely the central bank will discuss the possible ditching of a long-held view that price risks are mainly on the downward side at a policy meeting this month, according to people familiar with the matter Turkish authorities are keeping tabs on investors who are buying large amounts of foreign currency and asked banks to deter their clients from using the spot market for hedging-related trades as they struggle to contain the lira’s slide Italy is trying to lock in historically low financing costs at the start of a year where inflationary and political pressures could spell an end to super easy borrowing conditions North Korea appears to have launched its first ballistic missile in about two months, after leader Kim Jong Un indicated he was more interested in bolstering his arsenal than returning to stalled nuclear talks with the U.S. A More detailed breakdown of overnight news from Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities traded mostly in the red following the mixed handover from Wall Street, where the US majors maintained a cyclical bias and the NDX bore the brunt of another sizeable Treasury curve bear-steepener. Overnight, US equity futures resumed trade with mild losses and have since been subdued, with participants now gearing up for the FOMC minutes (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite) ahead of Friday’s US jobs report and several scheduled Fed speakers. In APAC, the ASX 200 (-0.3%) was pressured by its tech sector, although the upside in financials cushioned some losses. The Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was kept afloat by the recent JPY weakness, whilst Sony Group rose some 4% after its chairman announced EV ambitions. The KOSPI (-1.2%) was dealt a blow as North Korea fired a projectile that appeared to be a ballistic missile, but this landed outside of Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). The Hang Seng (-1.6%) saw its losses accelerate with the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling over 4% as the sector tackled headwinds from Wall Street alongside domestic crackdowns. China Huarong Asset Management slumped over 50% as it resumed trade following a nine-month halt after its financial failure. The Shanghai Comp. (-1.0%) conformed to the mostly negative tone after again seeing a hefty liquidity drain by the PBoC. In the debt complex, the US T-note futures held a mild upside bias since the resumption of trade, and the US curve was somewhat steady. Participants also highlighted large short-covering heading into yesterday’s US close ahead of the FOMC minutes. Top Asian News Asian Stocks Slide as Surging Yields Squeeze Technology Sector China’s Growth Forecast Cut by CICC Amid Covid Outbreaks BOJ Is Said to Discuss Changing Long-Held View on Price Risks Gold Holds Gain With Fed Rate Hikes and Treasury Yields in Focus European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.1%) trade mixed in what has been a relatively quiet session thus far with the final readings of Eurozone services and composite PMIs providing little in the way of fresh impetus for prices. The handover from the APAC region was predominantly a soft one with Chinese bourses lagging once again with the Hang Seng Tech Index tumbling over 4% as the sector tackled headwinds from Wall Street alongside domestic crackdowns. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Comp. (-1%) conformed to the mostly negative tone after again seeing a hefty liquidity drain by the PBoC. Stateside, the ES and RTY are flat whilst the NQ lags once again after yesterday bearing the brunt of another sizeable treasury curve bear-steepener. In terms of house views, analysts at Barclays expect “2022 to be a more normal yet positive year for equities, looking for high single-digit upside and a broader leadership”. Barclays adds that it remains “pro-cyclical (Industrials, Autos, Leisure, reopening plays and Energy OW), and prefer Value to Growth”. Elsewhere, analysts at Citi stated that “monetary tightening may push up longer-dated nominal/real bond yields, threatening highly rated sectors such as IT or Luxury Goods. Alternatively, higher yields could help traditional value trades such as UK equities and Pan-European Financials”. Sectors in Europe are mostly higher, with auto names leading as Renault (+3.4%) sits at the top of the CAC, whilst Stellantis (+0.6%) has seen some support following the announcement that it is planning for a full battery-electric portfolio by 2028. Elsewhere, support has also been seen for Chemicals, Oil & Gas and Banking names with the latter continuing to be supported by the current favourable yield environment. To the downside, Food and Beverage is the clear laggard amid losses in Nestle (-2.6%) following a broker downgrade at Jefferies. Ocado (+5.5%) sits at the top of the Stoxx 600 after being upgraded to buy at Berenberg with analysts expecting the Co. to sign further deals with new and existing grocery e-commerce partners this year. Finally, Uniper (-2.4%) sits near the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after securing credit facilities totalling EUR 10bln from Fortum and KfW. Top European News U.K. Weighs Dropping Covid Test Mandate for Arriving Travelers German Energy Giant Uniper Gets $11 Billion for Margin Calls European Gas Extends Rally as Russian Shipments Remain Curbed Italian Inflation Hits Highest in More Than a Decade on Energy In FX, notwithstanding Tuesday’s somewhat mixed US manufacturing ISM survey and relatively hawkish remarks from Fed’s Kashkari, the week (and year) in terms of data and events really begins today with the release of ADP as a guide for NFP and minutes of the December FOMC that confirmed a faster pace of tapering and more hawkish dot plots. As such, it may not be surprising to see the Buck meandering broadly and index settling into a range inside yesterday’s parameters with less impetus from Treasuries that have flipped from a severe if not extreme bear-steepening incline. Looking at DXY price action in more detail, 96.337 marks the top and 96.053 the bottom at present, and from a purely technical perspective, 96.098 remains significant as a key Fib retracement level. JPY/EUR/AUD/GBP/NZD - All taking advantage of the aforementioned Greenback fade, and with the Yen more eager than others to claw back lost ground given recent underperformance. Hence, Usd/Jpy has retreated further from multi-year highs and through 116.00 to expose more downside potential irrespective of latest reports via newswire sources suggesting the BoJ is expected to slightly revise higher its inflation forecast for the next fiscal year and downgrade the GDP outlook for the year ending in March. Similarly, the Euro is having another look above 1.1300 even though EZ services and composite PMIs were mostly below consensus or preliminary readings and German new car registrations fell sharply, while the Aussie is retesting resistance around 0.7250 and its 50 DMA with some assistance from firm copper prices, Cable remains underpinned near 1.3550 and the 100 DMA and the Kiwi is holding mainly above 0.6800 in the face of stronger Aud/Nzd headwinds. Indeed, the cross is approaching 1.0650 in contrast to Eur/Gbp that is showing signs of changing course following several bounces off circa 0.8333 that equates to 1.2000 as a reciprocal. CHF/CAD - The Franc and Loonie appear a bit less eager to pounce on their US peer’s retrenchment, as the former pivots 0.9150 and latter straddles 1.2700 amidst a downturn in crude pre-Canadian building permits and new house prices. SCANDI/EM - Little sign of any fallout from a slowdown in Sweden’s services PMI as overall risk sentiment remains supportive for the Sek either side of 10.2600 vs the Eur, but the Nok is veering back down towards 10.0000 in line with slippage in Brent from Usd 80+/brl peaks reached on Tuesday. Elsewhere, the Zar is shrugging off a sub-50 SA PMI as Gold strengthens its grip on the Usd 1800/oz handle and the Cnh/Cny are still underpinned after another PBoC liquidity drain and firmer than previous midpoint fix on hopes that cash injections might be forthcoming through open market operations into the banking system from the second half of January to meet rising demand for cash, according to China's Securities Journal. Conversely, the Try has not derived any real comfort from comments by Turkey’s Finance Minister underscoring its shift away from orthodox policies, or insistence that budget discipline will not be compromised. In commodities, crude benchmarks are currently little changed but have been somewhat choppy within a range shy of USD 1/bbl in European hours, in-spite of limited fresh newsflow occurring. For reference, WTI and Brent reside within USD 77.26-76.53/bbl and USD 80.25-79.56/bbl parameters respectively. Updates for the complex so far include Cascade data reporting that gas flows via the Russian Yamal-Europe pipeline in an eastward direction have reduced. As a reminder, the pipeline drew scrutiny in the run up to the holiday period given reverse mode action, an undertaking the Kremlin described as ‘operational’ and due to a lack of requests being placed. Separately, last nights private inventories were a larger than expected draw, however, the internals all printed builds which surpassed expectations. Today’s EIA release is similar expected to show a headline draw and builds amongst the internals. Elsewhere, and more broadly, geopolitics remain in focus with Reuters sources reporting that a rocket attack has hit a military base in proximity to the Baghdad airport which hosts US forces. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are once again fairly contained though the yellow metal retains the upside it derived around this point yesterday, hovering just below the USD 1820/oz mark. US Event Calendar 7am: Dec. MBA Mortgage Applications -5.6%, prior -0.6% 8:15am: Dec. ADP Employment Change, est. 410,000, prior 534,000 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 56.9 9:45am: Dec. Markit US Services PMI, est. 57.5, prior 57.5 2pm: Dec. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap As you may have seen from my CoTD yesterday all I got for Xmas this year was Omicron, alongside my wife and two of our three kids (we didn’t test Bronte). On Xmas Day I was cooking a late Xmas dinner and I suddenly started to have a slightly lumpy throat and felt a bit tired. Given I’d had a couple of glasses of red wine I thought it might be a case of Bordeaux-2015. However a LFT and PCR test the next day confirmed Covid-19. I had a couple of days of being a bit tired, sneezing and being sniffly. After that I was 100% physically (outside a of bad back, knee and shoulder but I can’t blame that on covid) but am still sniffly today. I’m also still testing positive on a LFT even if I’m out of isolation which tells me testing to get out of isolation early only likely works if you’re completely asymptomatic. My wife was similar to me symptom wise. Maybe slightly worse but she gets flu badly when it arrives and this was nothing like that. The two kids had no real symptoms unless being extremely annoying is one. Indeed spending 10 days cooped up with them in very wet conditions (ie garden activity limited) was very challenging. Although I came out of isolation straight to my home office that was still a very welcome change of scenery yesterday. The covid numbers are absolutely incredible and beyond my wildest imagination a month ago. Yesterday the UK reported c.219k new cases, France c.272k and the US 1.08 million. While these are alarming numbers it’s equally impressive that where the data is available, patients on mechanical ventilation have hardly budged and hospitalisations, while rising, are so far a decent level below precious peaks. Omicron has seen big enough case numbers now for long enough that even though we’ve had another big boost in cases these past few days, there’s nothing to suggest that the central thesis shouldn’t be anything other than a major decoupling between cases and fatalities. See the chart immediately below of global cases for the exponential recent rise but the still subdued levels of deaths. Clearly there is a lag but enough time has passed that suggests the decoupling will continue to be sizeable. It seems the main problem over the next few weeks is the huge number of people self isolating as the variant rips through populations. This will massively burden health services and likely various other industries. However hopefully this latest wave can accelerate the end game for the pandemic and move us towards endemicity faster. Famous last words perhaps but this variant is likely milder, is outcompeting all the others, and our defences are much, much better than they have been (vaccines, immunity, boosters, other therapeutic treatments). Indeed, President Biden directed his team to double the amount of Pfizer’s anti-covid pill Paxlovid they order; he called the pill a game changer. So a difficult few weeks ahead undoubtedly but hopefully light at the end of the tunnel for many countries. Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted yesterday that Britain can ride out the current Omicron wave without implementing any stricter measures, suggesting that learning to live with the virus is becoming the official policy stance in the UK. The head scratcher is what countries with zero-covid strategies will do faced with the current set up. If we’ve learnt anything from the last two years of covid it is that there is almost no way of avoiding it. Will a milder variant change such a stance? Markets seem to have started the year with covid concerns on the back burner as day 2 of 2022 was a lighter version of the buoyant day 1 even if US equities dipped a little led by a big under-performance from the NASDAQ (-1.33%), as tech stocks got hit by higher discount rates with the long end continuing to sell off to start the year. Elsewhere the Dow Jones (+0.59%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (+0.82%) both climbed to new records, with cyclical sectors generally outperforming once again. Interestingly the STOXX Travel & Leisure index rose a further +3.11% yesterday, having already surpassed its pre-Omicron level. As discussed the notable exception to yesterday’s rally were tech stocks, with a number of megacap tech stocks significantly underperforming amidst a continued rise in Treasury yields, and the rotation towards cyclical stocks as investors take the message we’ll be living with rather than attempting to defeat Covid. The weakness among that group meant that the FANG+ index fell -1.68% yesterday, with every one of the 10 companies in the index moving lower, and that weakness in turn meant that the S&P 500 (-0.06%) came slightly off its record high from the previous session. Showing the tech imbalance though was the fact that the equal weight S&P 500 was +0.82% and 335 of the index rose on the day. So it was a reflation day overall. Staying with the theme, the significant rise in treasury yields we saw on Monday extended further yesterday, with the 10yr yield up another +1.9bps to 1.65%. That means the 10yr yield is up by +13.7bps over the last 2 sessions, marking its biggest increase over 2 consecutive sessions since last September. Those moves have also coincided with a notable steepening in the yield curve, which is good news if you value it as a recessionary indicator, with the 2s10s curve +11.3bps to +88.7bps over the last 2 sessions, again marking its biggest 2-day steepening since last September Those moves higher for Treasury yields were entirely driven by a rise in real yields, with the 10yr real yield moving back above the -1% mark. Conversely, inflation breakevens fell back across the board, with the 10yr breakeven declining more than -7.0bps from an intraday peak of 2.67%, the highest level in more than six weeks, which tempered some of the increase in nominal yields. The decline in breakevens was aided by the release of the ISM manufacturing reading for December, since the prices paid reading fell to 68.2, some way beneath the 79.3 reading that the consensus had been expecting. In fact, that’s the biggest monthly drop in the prices paid measure in over a decade, and leaves it at its lowest level since November 2020. Otherwise, the headline reading did disappoint relative to the consensus at 58.7 (vs. 60.0 expected), but the employment component was above expectations at 54.2 (vs. 53.6 expected), which is its highest level in 8 months and some promising news ahead of this Friday’s jobs report. Staying with US employment, the number of US job openings fell to 10.562m in November (vs. 11.079m expected), but the number of people quitting their job hit a record high of 4.5m. That pushed the quits rate back to its record of 3.0% and just shows that the labour market continues to remain very tight with employees struggling to hire the staff needed. This has been our favourite indicator of the labour market over the last few quarters and it continues to keep to the same trend. Back to bonds and Europe saw a much more subdued movement in sovereign bond yields, although gilts were the exception as the 10yr yield surged +11.7bps as it caught up following the previous day’s public holiday in the UK. Elsewhere however, yields on bunds (-0.2bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (+0.9bps) all saw fairly modest moves. Also of interest ahead of tonight’s Fed minutes, there was a story from the Wall Street Journal late yesterday that said Fed officials are considering whether to reduce their bond holdings, and thus beginning QT, in short order. Last cycle, the Fed kept the size of its balance sheet flat for three years after the end of QE by reinvesting maturing proceeds before starting QT. This iteration of QE is set to end in March, so any move towards balance sheet rolloff would be a much quicker tightening than last cycle, which the article suggested was a real possibility. As this cycle has taught us time and again, it is moving much faster than historical precedent, so don’t rely on prior timelines. Balance sheet policy and the timing of any QT will be a major focus in tonight’s minutes, along with any signals for the timing of liftoff and path of subsequent rate hikes. Overnight in Asia markets are trading mostly lower with the KOSPI (-1.45%), Hang Seng (-0.85%), Shanghai Composite (-0.81%) and CSI (-0.67%) dragged down largely by IT stocks while the Nikkei (+0.07%) is holding up better. In China, Tencent cut its stake in a Singapore based company yesterday by selling $ 4 billion worth shares amidst China's regulatory crackdown with investors concerned they will do more. This has helped push the Hang Seng Tech Index towards its lowest close since its inception in July 2020 with Tencent and companies it invested in losing heavily. Moving on, Japan is bringing forward booster doses for the elderly while maintaining border controls in an effort to contain Omicron. Futures are indicating a weaker start in DM markets with the S&P 500 (-0.25%) and DAX (-0.11%) both tracking their Asian peers. Oil prices continued their ascent yesterday, with Brent Crude (+1.20%) hitting its highest level since the Omicron variant first emerged on the scene. Those moves came as the OPEC+ group agreed that they would go ahead with the increase in output in February of 400k barrels per day. And the strength we saw in commodities more broadly last year has also continued to persist into 2022, with copper prices (+1.12%) hitting a 2-month high, whilst soybean prices (+2.49%) hit a 4-month high. Looking at yesterday’s other data, German unemployment fell by -23k in December (vs. -15k expected), leaving the level of unemployment at a post-pandemic low of 2.405m in December. Finally, the preliminary French CPI reading for December came in slightly beneath expectations on the EU-harmomised measure, at 3.4% (vs. 3.5% expected). To the day ahead now, and data releases include the December services and composite PMIs from the Euro Area, Italy, France, Germany and the US. On top of that, there’s the ADP’s December report of private payrolls from the US, the preliminary December CPI report from Italy, and December’s consumer confidence reading from France. Separately from the Federal Reserve, we’ll get the minutes of the December FOMC meeting. Tyler Durden Wed, 01/05/2022 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 5th, 2022

19 underrated part-time jobs that pay well and how to get them

If you can't find a full-time job, want to make extra income, or need schedule flexibility, part-time work is a promising option. The number of people employed part-time has skyrocketed in the past year.Getty Part-time jobs have become a popular to bring in extra cash with a low commitment. Accountants, physician assistants, and programmers are among the highest paid part-time roles. Writing, tutoring, fitness instructing, and graphic designing are also in-demand options. In recent years, it has felt outdated to think about a career in terms of working long hours for many years in a single job and climbing the career ladder in the same profession you chose as a teenager or 20-something. In particular, the COVID-19 pandemic really exploded stereotypes around how and when we do our work.Part-time jobs have expanded since the pandemic hit, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number of people employed part-time for economic reasons (because employers downgraded full-time jobs, laid people off, or otherwise had to alter their workforce) more than doubled from 4.4 million in February 2020 to 10.9 million in April 2020. And even a year into the global health crisis that number remained higher than it was pre-pandemic. As of September 2021, over 20 million people were working part-time for noneconomic reasons such as balancing school or family — an increase of more than 1.3 million year over year.Below, you'll find 19 high-paying part-time jobs covering a mix of functions, industries, and levels of experience — along with the median hourly rates and links to help you find current job openings. Each rate, pulled from the Bureau of Labor Statistics' 2020 data, is at least $20 an hour (with one exception). It's worth noting that since these are median wages, half of earners in these roles fall below and half fall above this rate. In other words, entry-level positions may pay less, but there are also opportunities to make significantly more.Why work part-time?Almost every industry has part-time jobs. These opportunities, typically requiring less than 30 hours of work per week, can give you some consistency without the demands of a full-time job. You might be able to work remotely and, depending on context and employment status, you may earn paid time off or holidays off, too.You might pursue part-time work because you can't find a full-time job, need or want to make extra income on top of your existing employment, or enjoy the flexibility or variety these positions offer. "More and more people are pursuing their passions, and this means multiple roles," said Muse career coach Jennifer Sukola. Working part-time in a competitive field also lets workers "get their foot in the door, gain experience, and find out if they will eventually want to do [the role] full-time."As someone who's been working as a freelancer for a decade, I've taken on many, many part-time jobs — sometimes simultaneously — in order to work the equivalent of one full-time job. I currently work part-time as a writer since it's a competitive field and I live in a city with few staff jobs. But I've previously held part-time roles in tutoring, administration, and marketing.I love having free time during the day, pursuing work I find interesting, working from home (as many of my part-time roles have allowed me to do), seeking out clients, being able to take on — and say no to! — assignments as I see fit, and having a multifaceted career that's not tied to one role or employer.1. WriterMedian hourly rate: $32.27A writer creates communication materials: in print, online, or both. Short-form content might include social media or blog posts, pamphlets, and email copy, while long-form content could mean articles, web content, newsletters, reports, white papers, and even books. You might be assigned to a topic, or you might pitch and create content on your own. Regardless, you may also have to conduct interviews and research and will usually work with an editor or someone who oversees the quality of your work. Some writers specialize in a particular topic or form — science or finance journalist, technical or medical writer, or grant writer, for example — while others might write more broadly. Entry-level writing gigs usually require at least one year of experience, which could be in the form of an internship.Increasingly, media companies have listed part-time writing jobs that can be done remotely — though they usually request that work be done during business hours. In 2021, I obtained a 20-hour a week writing position at Bustle, which is located in New York, and worked 20 hours a week from Boston. Don't limit yourself to just media, though; lots of organizations — from nonprofits to financial institutions and everything in between — need writers.Find writer jobs on The Muse2. Tutor(Note: BLS groups tutors with other teachers and instructors and does not provide hourly wage information.)Tutors help students — children or adults — learn a subject or skill. The material could range from more fundamental subjects like basic math to high-level content like the SAT or college-level physics. Tutoring doesn't always take place during "normal" business hours, with many clients preferring to meet after work or school hours or on the weekends. Unlike teachers, tutors don't need formal accreditation, but they do need a deep knowledge of the subject they're teaching; that usually translates to at least an undergraduate degree in the subject.Rates can vary pretty widely depending on the subject, your experience, and the location: Tutors in cities like DC and New York City can charge $50 an hour and up, for example. If you work on your own, you can charge more, but working with a tutoring agency means they help find students and take care of some of the employment paperwork. When I worked with an agency in DC, I made $33 an hour, but when I worked on my own I made at least $60 an hour and usually more.Find tutor jobs on The Muse3. Marketing specialistMedian hourly rate: $31.64A marketing specialist is responsible for promoting or selling products or services to new or existing customers — which might be individuals and/or organizations. Specialties include email marketing, market research, social media, ecommerce, and search engine marketing (SEM), but the work fundamentally centers around understanding a target audience and knowing how to reach and persuade them to take action. You may need an undergraduate degree in marketing, communications, or even journalism.Companies sometimes hire part-time marketing specialists to help with particular campaigns or to provide expertise in a particular type of marketing. Smaller organizations might only need — or have the budget for — 10 or 20 hours of marketing and communications work per week. In my case, I offered my copywriting and editing skills on a per-project basis, bidding for work based on my availability and the rate I would charge for the work ($40 and above).Find marketing specialist jobs on The Muse4. Graphic designerAverage hourly rate: $25.66A graphic designer supports a business by creating illustrations, graphics, and other visual concepts and content. Projects can vary from a short-term deliverable like a flyer that needs to be visually appealing to a large-scale project like a book or magazine. According to BLS, a college degree or equivalent coursework is usually essential for developing the necessary skill set, which may include web management if they're putting these designs online. Graphic designers can be hired with a year or less of experience, which students can bridge with an internship, summer job, or pro bono work with a club or faculty member.Part-time graphic designers can work consistently with one organization or with many clients by the project as part of an agency or as freelancers, but they usually need to have more significant experience before striking out on their own.Find graphic designer jobs on The Muse5. Exercise trainer or group fitness instructorMedian hourly rate: $19.48Fitness instructors work with individuals or groups on developing their strength, fitness, flexibility, and related skills. They can work with a variety of ages and experience levels and teach various types of classes (such as kickboxing, Zumba, pilates, or spin), depending on their own experience and training.A personal trainer certification can take several months to complete, but you only need to be 18 and have completed high school to be eligible. You may not need credentials to teach group classes, but some employers will require or encourage certifications in the specific type of fitness (for example, a yoga studio might only hire instructors who've completed a yoga teacher training program). Instructors usually teach classes or train clients part-time at gyms, studios, camps, community centers, and other locations. As a trainer, you might also work directly with clients, scheduling by the session.Find exercise trainer and fitness instructor on The Muse6. Massage therapistMedian hourly rate: $20.97A massage therapist works with clients on the muscles and soft tissues of the body to decrease pain and tightness, relieve pressure, and improve health. They can work with a variety of client types in a variety of settings, from salons to doctors' offices to hospitals. Usually massage therapists complete a program with 500 or more hours of study and hands-on training and most states require a certification or license (the exact requirements vary by location).There may be the opportunity to focus on a specialty like sports massage or deep tissue massage. Depending on the workplace, a massage therapist may work in shifts or as scheduled with clients, but there's often flexibility based on the workload and clientele.Find massage therapist jobs on The Muse7. Insurance sales agentMedian hourly rate: $25.08An insurance sales agent sells policies to prospective customers. The policies mitigate against certain types of risk: Life insurance provides financial compensation to an insured person's beneficiaries in the event of the policy holder's death, for example. Like a number of sales jobs, this type of role requires you to talk to strangers every day, identify their needs, and work with them as they complete a detailed application.The actual position could range from working a call center to meeting clients in person. You only need to have completed high school according to BLS, though employers often look for a bachelor's degree, and in any case, you'd be required to obtain a license. There might be flexibility around working from home, especially if you're selling over the phone, and working non-traditional hours.Find insurance sales agent jobs on The Muse8. Executive assistantMedian hourly rate: $30.34An assistant might be expected to handle administrative tasks in and outside of the office: managing calendars and meetings, handling expenses, greeting visitors, answering the phone, and dealing with other clerical tasks. But an executive assistant, who usually supports one or more leaders in an organization, might also do higher-level work including pulling together research, sales material, and other important information for one or more executives.Usually the more senior the executive you work for, the higher the salary. Employers usually look for an undergraduate degree in a business-related field like marketing or accounting, especially if the candidate has no prior experience.Find executive assistant jobs on The Muse9. AccountantMedian hourly rate: $35.37An accountant prepares, reviews, and files financial documents and maintains and organizes detailed tax and other records. In some cases, they might also weigh in on business decisions, suggest strategies to reduce costs or increase revenue, and make other recommendations. They can work for individuals who have complex financial needs or larger organizations, either in-house or at an accounting firm that works with multiple external clients.An accountant needs an undergraduate degree to work, and becoming a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) or getting another relevant certification can make an accountant look more attractive to employers. Many accountants do work full time, but smaller businesses might only require assistance during tax season or at the end of every quarter. If you pursue the part-time route, you may need more than one client or job to maintain regular work.Find accountant jobs on The Muse10. Real estate agentMedian hourly rate: $24.63A real estate agent is a professional who helps clients sell, buy, or rent a property. This could include a house, an apartment, a residential building, or a commercial property (and less frequently industrial or agricultural properties). Agents keep track of what's on the market, show properties, facilitate interactions and negotiations between parties, and help clients complete relevant paperwork and records to close deals. They also stay on top of trends in the market so they can advise on how much a property might be worth.You do need your real estate license to become an agent, which requires some pre-licensing courses, but besides that, you only need a high school degree. Many real estate professionals do have bachelor's degrees, so sometimes it helps, but employers look for your ability to close on a sale first and foremost. Real estate agents work odd hours (since many people can only go to open houses or viewings at night and on the weekends) but they also have a lot of flexibility to set their own schedules.Find real estate jobs on The Muse11. Physician assistantMedian hourly rate: $55.48 per hourA physician assistant (PA) works in a variety of medical settings (including hospitals and outpatient clinics) and can diagnose and treat patients as well as assist — as the name implies — doctors and other medical professionals. They can work with a doctor doing surgery, help a patient manage a treatment plan as the provider they see most often, order tests, write prescriptions, and handle a long list of other responsibilities. PAs could work in emergency medicine, trauma surgery, transplants, family medicine, pediatrics, and other specialties — meaning you can choose the area of healthcare that interests you once you decide that this career path is of interest.You'll need a master's degree to become a physician assistant. Though most PAs work full time, smaller practices can use part-time PAs, and sometimes larger clinics and hospitals only require part-time shift work (but bear in mind those shifts could be overnight or on weekends).Find physician assistant jobs on The Muse12. Computer programmerMedian hourly rate: $42.88A computer programmer makes sure that an application or software runs correctly by writing code for new software and features and/or testing and fixing code on a regular basis as bugs are discovered. A bachelor's degree is helpful, but some programmers can obtain positions with an associate's degree or no degree at all. Some companies hire part-time programmers, or you can pursue freelance or contract opportunities.Find computer programmer jobs on The Muse13. Software developerMedian hourly rate: $52.95A software developer designs applications and programs — unlike programmers, who typically execute on a plan or optimize a program, developers are more involved in the creative ideation and problem-solving when an app is in its early stages. They might analyze user needs, brainstorm ways to address those needs via an application or feature, design the various elements of that software, lay out different pieces of the project for programmers to execute on, and handle documentation.Developers are in high demand: BLS projects developer jobs will grow 22% between 2020 and 2030, much faster than the 8% average growth for all occupations. Some companies require an undergraduate degree, although it isn't essential. A developer can potentially work remotely and part-time — it just depends on the context and workload. Developers can sometimes work more flexible hours, too.Find software developer jobs on The Muse14. Occupational therapistMedian hourly rate: $41.48When someone is struggling to complete everyday tasks due to injury, illness, pain, and/or disability, an occupational therapist (OT) helps that person adapt their movement and behavior to manage those tasks more effectively. They might focus on helping people do professional work or on enabling them to simply get out of bed and dress themselves. They could work in a person's home or in a professional setting like a hospital or school.This position requires a master's degree as well as licensing. If a school only needs assistance for a few children, for example, an occupational therapist may only need to work part-time hours in that environment. Like some other medical professionals on this list, they can also manage their own businesses and set their own hours.Find occupational therapist jobs on The Muse15. Physical therapistMedian hourly rate: $43.75Like an OT, a physical therapist (PT) can help someone with an illness or injury, but in this case they're working on pain management and mobility. They're an integral part of someone's recovery after a stroke, for example, or in the wake of surgery. A PT might work with a variety of patients — from senior citizens to professional athletes — wherever those patients are, from nursing homes to hospitals to outpatient settings like sports teams or physical therapy clinics.PTs need to be licensed and complete their doctor of physical therapy degree, and some go on to do residencies or fellowships to further specialize. They can work part-time during regular business hours, on evenings and weekends, or a combination of both.Find physical therapist jobs on The Muse16. Dental hygienistMedian hourly rate: $37.06A dental hygienist assists a dentist in cleaning teeth, assessing patients for teeth and gum disease, and communicating best practices around oral health. A dental hygienist often interacts with the patient more frequently than the dentist, which means they need strong customer service and interpersonal skills as well.This role requires completion of a three-year associate's degree (instead of a bachelor's degree) as well as a licensing program. A lot of dental hygienists work part-time, coming in a few days a week, according to BLS, and some may work for more than one dentist or office.Find dental hygienist jobs on The Muse17. Speech-language pathologistMedian hourly rate: $38.69A speech-language pathologist (sometimes called a speech pathologist) helps both children and adults with communication issues. If someone has a challenge, whether it be a speech, language, swallowing, or other communication disorder — which might result from a stroke, hearing loss, developmental delay, Parkinson's disease, autism, or other causes—the pathologist can work with them to mitigate or overcome it.Some speech-language pathologists work in schools or other places where children might be present — before or after school as well as during free periods and as an alternative to their regular classwork. Others work in settings such as hospitals, assisted living centers, private practices, corporations, and the military.It varies by state, but a master's degree is essential and licensing may be required too. On the bright side, the number speech-language pathologist roles is projected to grow 29% from 2020 to 2030, so those who've completed their training and licensing are in high demand.Find speech pathologist jobs on The Muse18. Translator or interpreterMedian hourly rate: $25.16Translators and interpreters convert one language into another — translators via the written word and interpreters via spoken languages. They might assist non-English speaking patients in a hospital or work at a conference center or meeting place where individuals speaking different languages are congregating. They could also work to translate written work such as a manual or book from one language to another.It's essential to have a deep knowledge of languages in this role — with complete fluency in both (whether you grew up bi- or multilingual, majored in a foreign language in college, or otherwise gained competency). An undergraduate degree can sometimes be enough, according to BLS, but sometimes organizations look for continuing education or certifications in the case of court or medical interpreters or translators. Many translators can work remotely. Those who are self-employed tend to have variable hours.Find translator and interpreter jobs on The Muse19. PlumberMedian hourly rate: $27.08Plumbers are the professionals who install, maintain, clean, and repair water, gas, septic and other systems as well as fixtures from toilets to dishwashers. You could be working in a person's home or in a commercial or municipal building, depending on the context and your specialty. As companies work to be more sustainable, plumbers may also help with conserving water.To become a plumber, you would only need a high school degree but there's often vocational training, apprenticeship, and licensing involved. Plumbers are very much dependent on client work, so depending on your boss (and especially if you're self-employed) you can set a limit on how many clients you take on or the hours you're available to work.Find plumber jobs on The MuseEven though they're increasing in popularity, part-time jobs can sometimes be hard to find. It's estimated that up to 85% of all jobs are obtained through networking, and part-time work is no exception.So how do workers go about finding and procuring a high-paying, part-time job? "They can first identify the industries or type of work they want, and then make a list of companies within those industries," Sukola said. Then network actively and often, both with employees at the companies they're interested in to see if part-time work is available and with other part-time workers who hold the kinds of roles they'd like to get into.The key, says Sukola, is having an entrepreneurial spirit: Sometimes positions only materialize because you asked if part-time work was available and a role was adapted or created for you.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

Bob Iger: Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A New Day

Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger on CNBC today, Tuesday, December 21st. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A […] Following are excerpts from the unofficial transcript of a CNBC exclusive interview with Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) Chairman and former CEO Bob Iger on CNBC today, Tuesday, December 21st. Following is a link to video on CNBC.com: if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Pixar Deal Completed To Show Disney Employees It Was A New Day, Says Former CEO Bob Iger Part I on CNBC's "Squawk Box" DAVID FABER: Yeah, of course, he did step down as you well know Becky, at the end of let's call it February of 2020 right before the pandemic hit very hard and of course, he had three times that we thought he was going to step down as CEO only to stay on but this time is for real. He's got about 10 days left as you said on a career that’s spanned some 47-plus years at this company starting as he did in sports at ABC at 23 years of age and we did have a chance to sit down for a long period of time last week, late last week in Disneyland and talk about his career, talk about the challenges facing Disney at this point, a lot of other things that you don't typically do in a CNBC interview. But I did ask Iger whether at this moment as he looks towards the future and of course towards his past at Disney whether he's got any anxiety at all. BOB IGER: There's no anxiety about that at all. Sadness because I'm leaving people that I love working with and a company I've loved working for. But no remorse. No second guessing. No anxiety. FABER: You don't regret having left when you did and stepped down as CEO when you did? IGER: No, I think the, look, I didn't, no one knew that the pandemic was going to explode the way it did. I think the timing was unfortunate. But throwing a new CEO into, you know, that, you know, that circumstance, it was difficult. But no, I have no, no regrets about having made that decision. It was time. I didn't want people to say be going around saying, "When the heck is he gonna leave," you know? "Isn't it time?" I'd rather have them say, "Gee, did he have to leave when he's leaving? We would've liked him to stay longer." I'm getting some of that. Part II on CNBC's "Squawk Box" FABER: You know, listen, there are no shortage of challenges for Chapek and there's also been a decent amount sort of reported and written about challenges between Chapek and Iger, you know, as you’d probably expect, Iger did not want to engage too fully on it. I don't know if we have time but I did ask him if there should be any concern amongst Disney shareholders in terms of the relationship between the Bobs but at this point, of course, as you know, it is Mr. Chapek’s show and that's something that Iger agrees with. IGER: It shouldn't be a concern to Disney shareholders at all that, you know, that, that any dynamic between us is, would have an impact on the company long term. I'm leaving. He's in. It's his company. He's going to manage it as he see fit, he sees fit with the board under circumstances that are very different than existed when I was CEO and, and chairman because they're changing, as we've talked, they're changing so rapidly. And, you know, he'll make his own decisions, and, and I, you know, I hope that he's learned good lessons. I believe that he has, in terms of, you know, some of the things that I did along the way, and what worked and what didn't work. And I think the relationship I have with him is not really relevant to, you know, how he, how effective he is running the company. Part III on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: But yeah, we did sit down for a long interview that I was very happy to have an opportunity to conduct and a bit different than we typically do here at CNBC talking of course about his long career at Disney not just his time as CEO, obviously we hit on a lot of the key business questions as you might anticipate and we went over a lot of other things as well, you know, including sort of some of the things that he saw in terms of his strengths and weaknesses. And I guess I'll start there because he did sight sort of something he noticed about his own responsiveness that he said was one thing that alerted him maybe it was time to consider stepping down. Take a listen. IGER: I will say that over time, I think I started listening less than maybe with a little less tolerance of other people's opinions maybe because of getting a little bit more overconfident in my own, which is sometimes what happens when you get built up, you know, in some form or another, as you know, something special or great or whatever. I was mindful of that. FABER: Well you were introspective enough to recognize it though. A lot of leaders might not even recognize it. IGER: I think I wrote about that too. I was I became a little bit more dismissive of dissent and other people's opinions than I should have been. And that was that that was an early sign that it was time. It wasn't the reason I left but it was a contributing factor. FABER: That you just weren't, right, you just didn't have the patience any longer or you thought I've heard this all before and— IGER: Yes, a lot of all those things. You've heard all the, every argument before. I don't want to hear it again, even though it may be more valid today than it was then, times change. All the, you know, all the, that's the time, the challenges of a CEO of a large global company today in terms of managing time so you can't, so dissent has to be finite in a sense and depends on where you draw that line and when you, when do you shut dissent down. Maybe I was doing it a little bit too quickly. I felt that. Part IV on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: Back to Bob Iger and that interview we conducted late last week. Of course, Mr. Iger spending his last few days as the Chairman of Disney after what's been a 47-year career plus career at that company, 15-plus as its CEO as well in a period, as Jim noted earlier, in which the stock did extraordinarily well. We did have that chance though sort of an unusual opportunity really to talk not just about Disney and its business, but also sort of about some of the broader leadership lessons that Mr. Iger learned and perhaps could impart to others. He did some of that in a book that Jim and I of course have lauded for some time as well, but he and I did spend some time talking about that and culture and things that he would tell other potential CEOs as well. Take a listen. I'm curious as to how you think you went about changing the culture of Disney and what you would say or, you know, how quickly you can do it as a leader and where that culture is today versus then. IGER: Yeah, I think for any CEO of any particularly large company in today's world, the world throws you more and more curveballs, more and more challenges. And they now they come at you constantly and from directions that you could never anticipate, never expect. It gets really tough and I think I think one of the reasons why I think it's right for there to be change at the top sometimes is that can turn a CEO into more of a skeptical or pessimist or just because they get weary of all of those challenges. And I think we had gone through it. I know we had gone through a period of time at Disney prior to my ascending to become CEO where those challenges were numerous. They were omnipresent. There was the Comcast hostile takeover attempt. There was the share, the board member or shareholder revolt. There was the impact of technology on all of our traditional businesses. There was 9/11, there was, we can think about all of these things and I think Disney at the time had become weary of those challenges and with that came a little bit less of a belief in its future. There was a scale issue as well, were we large enough and it was intimidating, you know, faced some of those technology companies. Steve Jobs announcing “Rip. Mix. Burn.” and what was going to be the future of IP. People challenging copyrights, it was left and right and all over the place. And so, what I wanted to do when I came in was to see whether we could not ignore those challenge but put them aside and become optimists again and look to a future that we actually believed was brighter. And one thing that was important to me was embracing technology even though it was causing disruption and potential threats, I wanted to embrace it as a means of creating opportunity for us. FABER: Well you did I mean Jobs showed you the first video iPod, didn’t he? IGER: Right, so we put our television programs on it first which was a tiny, tiny deal but all of a sudden it signaled, wait a minute, maybe we could use technology to gain as opposed to, to lose. And that mentality was something I wanted to infuse in the company which is future's bright, let's view technology as opportunity versus threat and that, and that announcement actually turned out to be a big one and it has led to more serious conversations with Steve about buying Pixar too. FABER: Right, right. IGER: And I think one of the things that I was surprised at is if you if you consider pessimism about the future to be part of the company's culture, I thought it was going to take a long time to change that. It was very fast. FABER: Why do you think it was so fast? And why was that a surprise to you? IGER: Well, I think what it says something about that change in the top matters, you know, I'm not suggesting good or bad. I'm not suggesting oh in comes Bob and out goes Michael but it's, it has its it can freshen things up so to speak. And it’s happening at Disney now as well, you know, there's a change at the top and that could create a whole different outlook for the company going forward. FABER: Do you think it freshens things up, your departure as CEO? IGER: Look, the world is changing dramatically and it's important for a CEO of a company to address all of those changes rapidly. Bob is going to address them probably differently perhaps than I may have. That's neither good nor bad. I think change, I think generally speaking, change is good. Change isn't necessarily bad. FABER: Yeah. What do you see yourself doing, you know, a few days from now when you are no longer a part of this company? IGER: Step away from all of this, this dream when this dream finally ends. You know, I've worked full time, really full time since I was 23 years old and going to be 71. Working in the job that I've the jobs that I've had CEO and Chairman have, you know, were taxing from a time perspective, never in terms of my energy or my enthusiasm. It's time for me to have a blank canvas so to speak to be forced in a way to be a little bit more imaginative with my time. Not fortunate enough to have that luxury. Well, what will I do today? FABER: Do you have any hobbies though? IGER: Yeah, I have some hobbies. I don't golf. I like to sail, you don't sail and golf in the same lifetime. There just isn't enough time for that. But my wife has a full time job. My kids are out of the house— FABER: So you’re going to have to keep busy? IGER: I'll keep busy. I'm doing some selective investing. I'd like the ability to be an advisor to founders of startups because I think I've got some advice to give in that regard even though I haven't run a startup. And I've been sought after by some already. I'll probably do some of that. I plan to write another book, which is a homework assignment right now. I've got to get at that. And I'll do some speaking and I'll see where life takes me. I'm not in any rush. I've been advised by some who have stepped down from high office, including President Obama, do not, he said, “Do not make any decisions. Don't commit to anything for six months.” FABER: Six months? IGER: I’m telling you, don't do that. Yes. FABER: You know, you wrote about Eisner's departure in the book and you said it's hard to know exactly who you are without this attachment and title and role that has defined you for so long. IGER: Yes. When I wrote about tha,t I, I had developed a lot of empathy from Michael. I remember his last day at Disney. It was a Friday, last Friday in September of 2005 when his wife and one of the sons came to Disney and had lunch with him and he drove off the Disney lot after having been CEO for 21 years. And I was, at that point, I couldn't wait because I was ready to have that office and that title and that job and raring to go. And I don't think I thought long and hard at the time what that really meant to him and here I am. Yesterday was my last day on that Disney lot, you know, in this role and it was, it was an emotional experience for me. My son came to the lot, one of my sons, we had lunch together. There I walked around, took some pictures, I was feeling incredibly wistful, incredibly emotional. The ties that I've had to this company that have been so part of my life were ending and I in two weeks from now, I will not have a title and I've had a decent title since I was in my 30s. It’s a long time. But there's no anxiety about that at all. Sadness because I'm leaving people that I loved working with and a company I've loved working for, but no remorse. No second guessing. No anxiety. FABER: You don't regret having left when you did and stepped down as CEO when you did? IGER: No, I think the, look, I didn't, no one knew that the pandemic was going to explode the way it did. I think the timing was unfortunate. But throwing a new CEO into, you know, that, you know, that circumstance, it was difficult. But no, I have no, no regrets about having made that decision. It was time. FABER: It was, why? IGER: Some of the things that I've said which is believing that change at the top was good, although I will say a lot of it was very, very personal. It wasn't about the company. It was about me, you know, wanting to leave with the vitality to explore the world in different way. I thought back about a biography I read a pitcher for the Brooklyn Dodgers and the Los Angeles Dodgers named Sandy Koufax left at the top of his game and I think the biographer, Koufax’s biographer Jane Leavy said that he left walking off the field or on his own volition are, “Great athletes rarely retire on their own instead they limp off the field.” I didn't want to limp off the field. Part V on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: Well Carl, shares of Disney actually having a strong open this morning, up some almost 2.5% but for the year, the shares of the company down roughly 17%, one of the key reasons of course continuing concern about the growth of subscribers at Disney+ its key direct-to-consumer offering, and whether in fact the company can continue to add subscribers at a rate at least that investors had come to expect given quite vigorous subscriber growth certainly during the course of 2020 and early part of 2021. As you might expect in a long sit down with Disney's Chairman, he is still Chairman for another 10 days or so, Bob Iger, I did ask him about how he sees the outlook for streaming given its importance to Disney's overall business. IGER: There's guidance out there that the company has provided that I'm neither gonna update or comment too much on but obviously the company has expressed confidence in its ability to achieve the guidance that it has out there. So, I obviously supported that guidance was put out there by Bob when he was CEO and I was Chairman. Again, I think, we can't, we can't just maintain a pat hand because the world isn't staying basically the same. We have to continue to evolve and all that that means not just changing but taking advantage of opportunities aggressively. FABER: But there’s this continued question as strong as Pixar is with its audience, as strong as Star Wars is and Marvel and the incredibly deep loyalty it has, do you need to be broader in order to actually reach those kinds of numbers? IGER: I think there probably need, there probably needs more volume, there probably needs to be more dimensionality meaning more, you know, basically, more programming and more content for more people, different demographics, but Bob's aware of that. He’s addressing those issues. FABER: You seem to have that first mover advantage and gulped up a lot of assets that I'm sure many of the competitors now wish they had actually moved on. Doesn't mean that there weren't plenty of opportunities that perhaps you passed on but is everybody else sort of subscale when you look at the world as it was 16, 17 years ago? IGER: You know, I've never really spent much time thinking about how our competitors are positioned in that regard. I spent most of the time thinking about how we're positioned. So I don't know that others are scaled right or subscaled necessarily, I just think we're well scaled. Part VI on CNBC's "Squawk on the Street" FABER: All day long, we've also been sharing excerpts of interview that I did last week with Bob Iger, the longtime CEO and the current Chairman of Disney. There's a look at the performance of the stock during the period of his CEO-ship so to speak. Remember he stepped down it's it's not that far away from two years ago Bob Chapek is the CEO of the company. Chairmanship will also change as well at the end of this year. Mr. Iger ending a 47-plus year run at the company that began with his working at ABC Sports when he was a young man. When we talked about his tenure of course, as you might expect, deal making was certainly one of the keys and starting with that decision to acquire Pixar. Take a listen. IGER: I'm proud of a lot of the decisions that were made, certainly the acquisitions. I'd say of all of them probably Pixar because it was the first and it put us on a path to achieving what I wanted to achieve which is scale when it came to storytelling. That was probably the best. FABER: And you faced I mean your own board. You were uncertain whether you're going to get it passed. Eisner came back to, to say, “Don't do it.” IGER: He subsequently, we had a long conversation about that years later and he admitted that he was wrong about that. I think there was a lot of emotion at that point for him having left Disney under such strange circumstances with Steve but looking back when he reflected on it with me, he admitted that I did the right thing. FABER: Well, you know, it's funny because I remember interviewing you and Jobs that afternoon after you announced it and I was basically focused on the price. I think, man, you're paying an awfully high multiple and many people may not have understood how incredibly important it was to sort of set a new direction for the company and revitalize animation. IGER: Well, that's exactly what I wanted to do. I, what I wanted to do more than anything is I wanted to send a signal to everybody at Disney that it was a new day, that we were more open minded about expansion in particular about partnerships, that creativity was the most important strategy for the company and Pixar at that point exemplified original storytelling and quality and creativity and in its highest form. And then there was the Steve factor, which I sometimes called the cool factor, which is what Apple was, what Steve represented the fact that Steve would embrace not just Disney but me and the vote of confidence that Steve gave in me, and Steve becoming a member of the board and our largest shareholder and I was all tied up in my desire to not only grow content, but it reposition Disney to our employees, to our shareholders and to our customers. And the price you mentioned it also factored in my desire to revitalize Disney Animation, which we did. You look at “Frozen” and you look at “Moana” and you look at “Zootopia” and you look at “Wreck-It Ralph” and you look at “Tangled,” and the number of Academy Awards and the box office success and all of the IP that that created, generated and what how basically we're going to mine that IP for Disney+, you know, it all was tied really everything that we've done at Disney Animation since then, was tied to the Pixar acquisition. FABER: Do you think it was something unique about you that allowed you to convince all of these founders to part with their “babies?” IGER: In all cases, I developed a trust with them and that I convinced them would serve them well if they sold to us meaning, in Steve's case, he, he owned half of Pixar publicly traded company and converted his ownership of Pixar into all Disney. That by the way, wasn't the motivation behind him doing and it wasn't about growing his personal wealth at all. But more importantly, with Steve, I created a trust in him that the assets of Pixar and its people would be in the right hands. And so I think in terms of your question, what was it about me that convinced them. First of all, it was me meaning it was singular in terms of I didn't do the deal myself. It was singular in terms of the pursuit. One on one in some cases, being as candid as I possibly could be and I think as authentic as I could be in developing a relationship, even if we've developed over a relatively brief period of time and not disappointing him either. FABER: What does that mean? IGER: He was never disappointed. Once we did the deal, in fact, in the months before he died he came to, he and his wife, Laurene, came to our house. And Laurene and Steve and Willow and I sat down at a dinner and he toasted to the deal we had done some years earlier, convinced that it was the right thing to do for Disney and for Pixar. And I remember it was, it was very heartfelt and tears came to our eyes, four of us at the dinner table crying, in part dreading what was potentially in store for him which is the end of his life but in part reflecting on what we had done together and truly appreciating it. So. I think again, it's development of a relationship, different in some ways but similar in others. It was me going to New York spending months trying to figure out getting a meeting with him, sitting with him one on one once and then twice a couple of days later and convincing him that it was the right thing to do for the Marvel shareholders, publicly traded company and the people at Marvel and I think he was intrigued with the notion of, of investing in Disney plus Marvel and it worked out extremely well. FABER: And became a large shareholder. I assume you heard from him frequently as well after he became a Disney shareholder. IGER: I heard from Ike, yeah, I heard from Ike a lot over the years. FABER: Yes, that’s what I heard. IGER: We weren't, we weren't always— FABER: In sync? IGER: Complete agreement on things. But that's neither here nor there. I think it's turned out extremely well for him and certainly for the shareholders of Marvel. It's turned out I think they got Disney shares somewhere in the neighborhood of $28 a share. I know we were up around 200 even if you look at it today in that 150 range, that's a pretty good return on investment and George's case was also singular in many ways. I had breakfast with him at Disney World. Talked to him about the future of Lucasfilm and broached the subject. He was close with Steve Jobs and don't forget Pixar was owned at one point by George. Steve bought it from George. And there was a real connection although Steve had passed when I first sat down with George and George was impressed with how we had managed Pixar and assimilated Pixar into the company. He was very, very concerned about Lucasfilm many respects his baby, his legacy, and there was a trust there too that I think we demonstrated that we could be trusting in terms of how we had already managed the Marvel assets and the Pixar assets and I think he was looking to some extent for either long term wealth preservation or long term wealth creation. FABER: You know, you mentioned in the book, the idea that if Steve had lived, Disney and Apple might have become one. Did you guys ever really talk about Apple buying? IGER: No, Steve and I never did. What we did talk about and he was public about at one point at one of his late Apple product presentations, he stood in front of a street sign with an intersection I think one said liberal arts and one said technology. That's what made his heart sing. I think that's how we put it that intersection. So what we talked about a lot was what happens when great technology meets great creativity. He thought that means that to him was the secret sauce for almost everything. And if you, if you project that into how the world was changing and you think of a world where suddenly the opportunity to use that technology to create new experiences for people in terms of how they access content, the natural thing would have been for Apple to have the great content that Disney creates applied or used on their platform. And I know I'm pretty convinced we would have had that discussion. And you know, that was maybe someone wistful of me when I wrote that, but I just knew of his passion for everything we did and everything Apple did and then his deep, deep belief that nothing would be more powerful than that combination. I think we would have gotten there. Part VII on CNBC's "TechCheck" FABER: Yeah, of course Julia, and something you've been very focused on as well as your coverage of the company, direct-to-consumer certainly being a such an important component overall of their strategy. I know we can both remember back in what was it August of 2015 on that earnings conference call when for the first time Iger addressed potential sub erosion at the giant cash flowing property ESPN. Since then, of course, it's no secret that the linear ecosystem has been in decline, and certainly Iger acknowledges that as well. IGER: I think you're seeing a migration to more digital, direct-to-consumer forms of entertainment distribution. And being in that business at a larger scale, which because I think that will provide more growth for the company than the traditional media platforms would've and just the migration, the erosion of the traditional media platforms and the growth of the new ones. We're playing in that new space much more aggressively than we would have obviously without Disney+, without Hulu as well. I think people are consuming things in much more different ways. App-based entertainment in the home has, is replacing the linear channel consumption in the home. So, when you go back to the question you asked about the future of that business, it's not bright at all. It's, it's actually eroding right before our eyes. FABER: And it continues to erode before our eyes You know, it was a long interview and opportunity to talk to Iger about so many different things, best decisions in which he sort of talked about the decision to buy Pixar and worst decisions as well where YouTube came up. IGER: I remember when YouTube was sold. One of the things I always rued, because when YouTube emerged, it was the, we didn't see that first. I'm the one who put “America's Funniest Videos” on ABC in 1989, which was user-generated content. It's kinda funny, which YouTube really started as. It's evolved tremendously. Why didn't I think of that? FABER: Yeah. Why, yeah. IGER: I don't know, I, I missed that one— FABER: You missed that one. Worth, it's worth about $300 billion now, by the way, based on its revenue if you— IGER: Well, YouTube would've been smart. FABER: It would've been. All right, so that gets me to worst decision. Is there one that comes to mind in terms of just a really bad decision you made over those 16-plus years? IGER: I made some bad decisions. Fortunately, they weren't monumental or they woulda, brought me, me down. So I can't really think of, like, the worst decision. I made some bonehead creative decisions along way, you know, greenlit some things that I probably shouldn't have. I mean— FABER: All right, yeah, but saying yes-- IGER: But that's kinda easy. FABER: To Cop Rock is not exactly the worst decision you're gonna make. IGER: You know, I’m, I'm, there's, that's actually, it's interesting, I try to be honest and candid, both in terms of assessment and myself. I definitely made a bunch of bad decisions. Sometimes people, sometimes product, nothing gigantic. FABER: Nothing gigantic? IGER: No. FABER: And nothing comes to mind at all that you can share? IGER: A buncha little things. FABER: Just little things. IGER: Yeah. FABER: So I guess that's a pretty good tenure then, if it's a buncha little things-- IGER: Well, I lasted a long time, so I guess, I suggest I didn't make any really bad, any big, bad decisions. Updated on Dec 21, 2021, 12:33 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: valuewalkDec 21st, 2021

She Made Jeans for Americans. When They Stopped Shopping, She Turned to Sex Work

This piece is published in partnership with The Fuller Project. After Anna tucks her five children into bed each weeknight, she walks out the door to a grass patch behind her home. The former seamstress searches for the flat, heavy stone under which she’s buried her uniform for tonight: a camouflage miniskirt. For five years,… This piece is published in partnership with The Fuller Project. After Anna tucks her five children into bed each weeknight, she walks out the door to a grass patch behind her home. The former seamstress searches for the flat, heavy stone under which she’s buried her uniform for tonight: a camouflage miniskirt. For five years, the 30-year-old mother stitched Levi’s jeans at a garment factory in Lesotho, a small landlocked country within South Africa. The salary wasn’t much; she occasionally had sex with a male colleague for an extra $20 a month to support her family. But as the garment industry, one of the country’s largest employers, crumbled during the coronavirus pandemic, she found herself on the end of mass layoffs. In April of this year, management announced that the factory would be closing, due to reduced orders from U.S. brands and other pandemic-related issues. She was let go in August. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] A week later, she turned to sex work full time. “I don’t want my husband to know, so I leave home dressed normally, and then I change into a short skirt that shows my thighs,” she says. “My children don’t have clothes; I don’t have food. I have to do this.” Anna, who asked to be identified by her middle name only for safety reasons, is one of over 6,000 garment workers who recently lost a job with the Nien Hsing group. The Taiwanese company—Lesotho’s largest garment sector employer—owns five major factories, three of which have closed in the past 16 months. Nien Hsing has been a major supplier to Levi’s, Kontoor Brands (owners of Wrangler) and the Children’s Place, but the company has reduced production amid COVID-19 pandemic headwinds. In a country whose faltering economy relies heavily on the garment sector, the U.S. is the largest recipient of Lesotho’s clothing exports. A mostly female workforce—roughly 90% are women—once stitched denim for some of America’s most famous brands. Many are single parents and their families’ main breadwinners. Globally, garment workers like Anna face continued pandemic-era fallouts from disrupted financial markets, upended supply chains and clogged ports. As the virus kept consumers at home and shuttered shops, people bought less, and Western fashion brands canceled or delayed billions of dollars’ worth of orders. At garment factories around the world, staffers, the majority of whom, like Nien Hsien’s staff, are female, were laid off or sent home without pay. Since the start of the pandemic, some 1.6 million garment workers have lost their jobs in seven Asian countries, including Bangladesh, India and Myanmar, according to the Clean Clothes Campaign. After plunging to historic lows last year, U.S. clothing sales have since hit record highs. Apparel stores took the biggest hit, with a 78% drop in April 2020, according to the U.S. Commerce Department. Eighteen months later, October sales at clothing and accessory stores were up 25.8% from the same point in 2020. More from TIME Read More: Exclusive: Workers in Factory That Makes Kate Hudson’s Fabletics Activewear Allege Rampant Sexual and Physical Abuse Retail markets may have begun to bounce back, but for already low-paid and vulnerable workers in factories in Lesotho and larger garment-producing countries such as India and Cambodia, those gains can take time to trickle down. Ongoing disruptions continue to cause havoc in a period when retailers remain uncertain about the future. With few alternatives, women already working in an already unstable industry face abject poverty, spiraling debt and scant job prospects, industry experts say. “The clothing supply chain is run on a knife edge,” says Neil Saunders, managing director at research firm GlobalData Retail. “Margins are so thin because of this continual pattern of deflation and consumers wanting to pay less in Western markets. There’s just no room for error. You can’t say, ‘We’ll take a hit, it’ll be fine.’” In India, there is still a “great deal” of uncertainty about orders in Chennai, an industrial hub on the southeastern coast, says Sujata Mody, president of the Garment and Fashion Workers Union. She estimates that 10% of the multibillion-dollar industry’s approximately 200,000 workforce in Chennai are still unemployed. Many factories remain closed, she adds, while those still working face longer hours, higher expected targets and increased incidents of violence. DeLovie Kwagala for TIMEDuring the day, the streets in the heart of Maseru, Lesotho’s capital, boom with business. At night, women wait patiently among the empty market stalls. DeLovie Kwagala for TIME India makes up about 16% of textile imports to the U.S. and about 5% of apparel and accessories, according to an analysis of U.S. International Trade Commission data by the Peterson Institute for International Economics. “The women who work in these industries are very marginalized. They are dependent on their incomes and really vulnerable. And so nobody really bothers about them,” says Mody. “These women are not just invisible—it’s like they don’t exist.” Female garment workers over 40 have been hit particularly hard, she adds. Viewed as less productive, they were targeted when factory owners downsized during the pandemic, says Mody, who has spoken to hundreds of women who reached out to the union. Some have been able to find temporary low-paid cleaning work, while others are struggling to find anything at all, she says. For Sam Phary, a 40-year-old garment worker in Cambodia, her soaring debts are keeping her awake at night. A single parent to three children, she owes $10,000 to a microfinance lender. As COVID-19 infections rose in mid-April of this year, Cambodia once again shut clothing factories, leaving thousands of workers without income. While she was unemployed, Phary borrowed money from relatives to make her monthly $350 payments. She is back sewing at a factory in Phnom Penh, the capital, but earns less due to reduced orders, she says, and is concerned she’ll lose her home if she continues to default on her repayments. Last year, Cambodia’s $7 billion garment sector, the country’s largest employer with roughly one million (mostly female) workers, was dealt a double blow by the pandemic and by European Union tariffs imposed over human rights abuses. By mid-May of this year, an estimated 102 garment factories in Cambodia had permanently closed, said Heng Sok, Secretary of State of Industry, Science and Innovation, in an interview with local media. Nearly three-quarters went bankrupt because of a lack of orders or suspensions, he added. Lesotho’s garment industry has also long been ravaged with problems. In May, TIME and the Fuller Project reported on vast sexual abuse and harassment taking place at Hippo Knitting, another Taiwanese company in Lesotho’s capital, Maseru. The factory predominantly supplied one brand, Fabletics, a popular U.S. athletic apparel line co-founded by actor Kate Hudson. After a three-month pause, the brand resumed production in August while taking steps to improve workers’ rights. But roughly 600 workers are reportedly expected to be permanently laid off early next year, according to Sam Mokhele, general secretary of the National Clothing, Textile & Allied Workers’ Union in Lesotho. When asked about a reduction in orders at Hippo Knitting, Fabletics said in an emailed statement that orders over the last few months have been greater than or equal to those placed last year. The factory owners declined to comment on looming job cuts. DeLovie Kwagala for TIMEThe Taiwanese company Nien Hsing owns five major factories in Lesotho, three of which have closed in the past 18 months. DeLovie Kwagala for TIME “The workers are free of harassment,” says one seamstress who asked to remain anonymous due to job security concerns. “But we’ve already gone on Christmas break, and we don’t know what’s going to happen when we come back. Our jobs are hanging in the balance.” Less than four miles away, thousands of women from the Nien Hsing factories already face this stark reality. In a matter of months, the company’s estimated 10,000-strong workforce dropped by more than half and lost over $50 million this past year, according to Louis Rouillon, Nien Hsing’s former social responsibility director. He says that in addition to Wrangler and the Children’s Place cutting orders by roughly 30% this year, rising transport costs, recent wage protests in Lesotho and fluctuating Covid infection rates have all played roles in the company’s decline. In an emailed statement, a spokesperson for the Children’s Place said Nien Hsing informed the retailer earlier this year that it was “scaling back operations,” and that the terms of their relationship “did not fit” the Taiwanese company’s new business model. Levi’s said the brand had maintained—and at times increased—its order volume with the Nien Hsing group over the past year.Wrangler did not respond to multiple requests for comment. Each month at the factory, Anna was paid less than the price of two pairs of Levi’s—about $133—but it wasn’t enough to cover her family’s basic costs, she says. No one at the factory knew about her arrangement with her male colleague, she adds. When he was let go, her monthly income dropped. Now, sex work nets Anna roughly $6 to $19 per night. Her family thinks she has found a cleaning job. She’s vague on the details, but worries that her husband has suspicions. “My husband is quite thin,” she explains. “Maybe he’s not gaining weight because he’s harboring all these emotions. When he confronts me about his suspicions, I sometimes leave the house, go to the outside toilet and cry. It’s really painful for me, seeing my husband like that.” Given the company’s three-decade history in Lesotho, Ricky Chang, Nien Hsing’s administration manager, says he remains hopeful some factories will reopen next year. “But it’s hard to tell,” he said. “Look at what just happened in South Africa [with the Omicron variant]—people are in panic again … If the environment does not allow you to stay, you have to seek something else. Right now, ​I am concerned about the entire future of Lesotho’s garment industry.” Anna, meanwhile, has spent five months looking for customers in the dark—five months of feeling in constant danger, she says. Asked what he would like to say to women in her position, Rouillon doesn’t know quite how to answer. “It breaks my heart,” he says. At 4 a.m., Anna jumps into a taxi to return home. The work she does now takes a toll, she says. She gave birth earlier this year. Several months ago, her cesarean wound became so painful she needed to rest for two weeks to recover. “I couldn’t believe it was me doing that,” Anna recalls of her first night of sex work, her voice soft. “I have dreams.” Once home, she slips back into her jeans. She carefully replaces the miniskirt under the flat, heavy stone, ready for tomorrow night. With additional reporting by Sineat Yon in Cambodia.....»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 15th, 2021

Futures Drift Lower In Illiquid Session As Virus Fears Resurface

Futures Drift Lower In Illiquid Session As Virus Fears Resurface After three days of torrid gains, US futures and European markets fell as concerns about economic risks from restrictions to control the new variant outweighed optimism about the efficacy of vaccines after a study from Japan found that the omicron variant is 4.2 times more transmissible (as largely expected) in its early stage than delta. Both S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures dropped around -0.4% as traders awaited earnings from Broadcom, Oracle and Costco after the market close and tomorrow's key CPI print, while European equities drifted lower in quiet trade with little fresh news flow to drive price action. Uncertainty about monetary policy could keep stocks “significantly volatile,” according to Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades in London. “Investors are likely to remain cautious and keep on monitoring the macro outlook, especially today’s U.S. initial jobless claims, in order to gather more clues on what and when could be the Fed’s next move,” said Veyret. In Asia, China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. officially defaulted on their dollar debt, while the People’s Bank of China raised its foreign currency reserve requirement ratio for a second time this year after the yuan climbed to the highest since 2018. Among individual moves, CVS Health Corp. jumped in pre-market trading after saying it would buy back shares and raise dividends. Drugmakers including Pfizer rose, while travel companies and airlines declined. European stocks erased gains of as much as 0.3% with the Stoxx 600 trading -0.1% in the red as investors weigh new economic restrictions prompted by the omicron variant against earlier optimism. The real estate subgroup was best performer, up 0.7%; energy company shares lead declines with a drop of 1.2%. The Euro Stoxx 50 is down 0.25%, reversing a modest push into the green at the open. Other cash indexes trade either side of flat. Oil & gas and retail names are the weakest sectors. UniCredit SpA rose after saying it will return at least 16 billion euros ($18.1 billion) to shareholders by 2024. Meanwhile, Electricite de France SA fell with the government considering a cap on regulated power tariffs to help curb soaring electricity prices. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: LPP shares rose as much as 12% after its 3Q earnings beat expectations. The figures confirm a rebound of sales in traditional stores and stronger margins, according to analysts. UniCredit shares gain as much as 8.4%, the most since November 2020, after the Italian lender unveiled its new strategic plan that includes the distribution of at least EU16b to shareholders by 2024. Société Marseillaise du Tunnel Prado Carénage (SMTPC) shares rise as much as 5.5% after Vinci Concessions and Eiffage said they reached a pact to act in concert for a tender offer at EU27/share. Zur Rose drops as much as 7.3% in Zurich after an offering of 650,000 shares priced at CHF290 apiece, representing a 12% discount to the last close. Neste Oyj shares slid as much as 5.7% as investors digested the unexpected resignation of Chief Executive Officer Peter Vanacker from the helm of the world’s biggest maker of renewable diesel. FirstGroup shares fall as much as 5.9% after 1H results, with Chairman David Martin saying the U.K.’s work-from- home edict will “clearly have an impact” on commuter trips. There are potential downside risks to estimates in the short term, if Covid restrictions tighten, according to Liberum (buy). Dr. Martens released solid 1H results, but there’s “nothing material to flag” and unlikely to be upgrades to FY Ebitda estimates, Morgan Stanley says in a note. Shares drop as much as 5.2% after initially gaining 8.9%. Electricite de France shares fall as much as 5.1% after Le Figaro said the French government is considering taking additional steps to keep electricity prices from rising too much amid a spike in energy costs. The global equity rally will be tested as traders expect volatility until there’s more clarity on omicron’s threat to the economy, and ahead of U.S. consumer inflation numbers this week and a Federal Reserve meeting next week that may provide clues on the pace of tapering and interest rate increases. “We are looking to potentially have a rise in volatility even if the market continues higher around those events next week,” said Frances Stacy, Optimal Capital portfolio strategist, on Bloomberg Television. “Many of the catalysts that gave us this boom out of Covid are slowing. And then you have the Fed potentially tapering into a decelerating economy.” Geopolitical tensions are also adding to investor concerns. Germany’s new foreign minister Annalena Baerbock doubled down on warnings from western politicians to Russia over Ukraine, saying that Moscow would pay a high price if it went ahead with an invasion of its neighbor. Separately, the U.S. said it will place SenseTime Group Inc. on an investment blacklist Friday, accusing the artificial intelligence startup of enabling human rights abuses. That’s after the U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation designed to punish China for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in the country’s Xinjiang province. Asian stocks rose for a third day as investors reassessed concerns over the new virus strain and factored in the possibility that the Federal Reserve will accelerate the end of its quantitative easing.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index added as much as 0.5%, extending its advance since Tuesday to almost 3%. Information technology and communication services were the sectors providing the biggest support to the climb, with benchmarks in China and Hong Kong among the region’s best performers. The CSI 300 Index gained 1.7% as consumer stocks rallied.   “The market had been initially wary of the Fed’s hawkish tilt in their stance, and a change in how they view inflation, but investors don’t seem too worried about it anymore,” said Tetsuo Seshimo, a fund manager at Saison Asset Management Co. “But this isn’t a theme that’s going away in the short term.”  Asia’s benchmark headed for its highest since Nov. 25, set to erase losses since the omicron variant was detected during the U.S. Thanksgiving holidays, but still in negative territory for 2021. The S&P 500 Index is up 25% this year, after gaining Wednesday on announcements by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE that early lab studies showed a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine neutralizes the omicron variant. “Funds are flowing into growth stocks with high estimated profit growth and ROE levels, a continuation of moves seen from yesterday,” said Takashi Ito, an equity market strategist at Nomura Securities in Tokyo. “But there could be some profit taking after the market rose for a few consecutive sessions.” Japanese stocks fell, cooling off after a two-day rally as investors weighed the potential impact of the omicron variant on the global economy. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.6%. Fanuc and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 0.5% loss in the Nikkei 225 Indian stocks ended higher, after swinging between gains and losses several times through the session, as traders shifted their focus to key economic data globally and at home in the days ahead.  The S&P BSE Sensex rose 0.3% to close at 58,807.13 in Mumbai, after falling as much as 0.5% earlier in the day. The gauge has gained 3.6% in the last three sessions, its biggest three-day advance in over a seven-month period, on optimism the economic recovery will be resilient despite the spread of the new Covid variant, with the RBI continuing its policy support intact.  The NSE Nifty 50 Index also advanced by similar magnitude on Thursday. Reliance Industries Ltd. contributed the most to the Sensex gain, rising 1.6%. Out of 30 shares in the Sensex index, equal number of stocks rose and fell. Fifteen of 19 sectoral indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. gained, led by a gauge of capital goods companies. The Reserve Bank of India kept borrowing costs at a record-low on Wednesday and voted 5-1 to retain its accommodative policy stance for as long as is necessary, reflecting its bias to support economic growth. The RBI expects the economy to expand 9.5% expansion in the year ending March, one of the fastest paces among the major growing world economies.  Markets’ focus will now shift to U.S. inflation data this week and a Federal Reserve meeting next week, which may provide clues on the pace of tapering and policy tightening. India will release its factory output data on Friday and consumer-price inflation on Monday.  “All eyes will be on crucial macro data (CPI & IIP) outcome which may further provide some direction to the markets,” Ajit Mishra, vice-president research at Religare Broking Ltd., wrote in a note. “The focus will remain on the global cues and updates regarding the new variant. We reiterate our cautious yet positive stance on the markets and suggest traders to focus on managing risk.” Australian stocks edged lower as miners, consumer shares retreated. The S&P/ASX 200 Index fell 0.3% to close at 7,384.50, snapping a four-day winning streak. Miners and consumer discretionary shares contributed the most to the benchmark’s decline. Redbubble was the worst performer, dropping the most since Oct. 14. Sydney Airport was among the top performers after regulators cleared a proposed takeover of the company. The stock also joined a global rally in travel shares after Pfizer and BioNTech said initial lab studies show a third dose of their Covid-19 vaccine may be effective at neutralizing the omicron variant. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.8% to 12,771.83 In rates, Treasury yields were mostly lower, led by the long end of the curve, while underperforming German bunds. 10Y TSY yields are lower by ~2bp at 1.4973%, trailing declines of 3bp-5bp for most European 10-year yields but remaining above 200-DMA, which it closed above Wednesday for first time since Nov. 29. Treasury futures trade near session highs, with cash yields lower by 3bp-4bp from the 5-year sector to the long end, inside Wednesday’s bear-steepening ranges. European bond markets lead the move, led by Ireland which cut 2022 issuance plans, as virus concerns weighed on most equity markets. U.S. auction cycle concludes with $22b 30-year reopening at 1pm ET, following two Fed purchase operations. Wednesday’s 10Y reopening auction drew 1.518%, tailing by about 0.4bp; Tuesday’s 3Y, which drew 1.000%, also trades at a profit, yielding 0.989% The WI 30Y yield 1.865% is below auction stops since January as sector has benefited from expectations that Fed rate increases beginning next year may strain the economy, as well as from strong equity-market performance driving increased allocation to bonds In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index resumed its ascent, climbing 0.2% as the dollar advanced versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen. TRY and ZAR are the weakest in EMFX.  The euro retreated, nearing the $1.13 handle and after touching a one-week high yesterday. One-week volatility for euro and sterling has risen to multi-month highs, with meetings by the Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank and the Bank of England in focus. The British pound fell as Goldman Sachs Group Inc. pushed back its forecast for a U.K. rate hike and business groups called for government support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions to curb the spread of the variant, which Bloomberg Economics estimates could cost the economy as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) a month. A study found omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages.   The pound hovered near its lowest level in more than a year against the dollar as fresh coronavirus restrictions weighed on the U.K.’s economic outlook. Expectations that the Bank of England will raise interest rates next Thursday continue to wane, with markets pricing less than six basis points of hikes. Goldman pushed back its forecast for a U.K. rate hike and business groups called for government support after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced restrictions to curb the spread of the variant, which Bloomberg Economics estimates could cost the economy as much as 2 billion pounds ($2.6 billion) a month. A study found omicron is 4.2 times more transmissible than the delta variant in its early stages. Norway’s krone led losses among G-10 currencies as it snapped a three-day rally that had taken it to an almost three-week high against the greenback. In commodities, Crude futures drift lower. WTI slips back near $72 having stalled near $73 during Asian trade. Brent dips 0.5%, finding support just above $75. Spot gold trades flat near $1,782/oz Looking at the day ahead now, and it’s a quiet one on the calendar, with data releases including the US weekly initial jobless claims, as well as the German trade balance for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 4,691.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 478.52 MXAP up 0.4% to 195.63 MXAPJ up 0.7% to 638.47 Nikkei down 0.5% to 28,725.47 Topix down 0.6% to 1,990.79 Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 24,254.86 Shanghai Composite up 1.0% to 3,673.04 Sensex up 0.3% to 58,839.03 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,384.46 Kospi up 0.9% to 3,029.57 Brent Futures down 0.3% to $75.58/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,783.15 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.20% to 96.09 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1318 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg European Central Bank governors are to discuss a temporary increase in the Asset Purchase Program with limits on the size and time of the commitment at a Dec. 16 meeting, Reuters reports, citing six people familiar with the matter Hungary raised interest rates for a fifth time in less than a month as policy makers try to rein in the fastest inflation in 14 years. The central bank hiked the one-week deposit rate by 20 basis points on Thursday to 3.3%, broadly matching the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey China’s central bank has signaled a limit to its tolerance for the yuan’s recent advance by setting its reference rate at a weaker-than-expected level China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings were downgraded to restricted default by Fitch Ratings, which cited missed dollar bond interest payments in Evergrande’s case and failure to repay a $400 million dollar bond in Kaisa’s. Evergrande Group’s inability to meet its obligations will be dealt with in a market-oriented way, the head of the nation’s central bank said PBOC is exploring interlinking the e-CNY, as the digital yuan is known, system into the Faster Payment System in Hong Kong, says Mu Changchun, head of the Chinese central bank’s Digital Currency Institute Money managers have shown some tentative signs that they may be willing to start buying more Chinese dollar bonds again, after demand for the securities plunged to a 27-month low in November Greece plans to early repay the total amount of IMF’s bailout loan to the country in the first quarter of 2022, Finance Minister Christos Staikouras says in a Parapolitika radio interview The omicron variant of Covid-19 is 4.2 times more transmissible in its early stage than delta, according to a study by a Japanese scientist who advises the country’s health ministry, a finding likely to confirm fears about the new strain’s contagiousness Pfizer will have data telling how well its vaccine prevents infections with the omicron variant before the end of the year A detailed look at global markets courtesy of newsquawk Asian equity markets eventually traded mixed as the early tailwinds from the US gradually waned despite the recent encouragement on the vaccine front. All major US indices were underpinned in which the S&P 500 reclaimed the 4,700 level and approached closer to its ATHs, while Apple extended on record levels and moved closer to USD 3tln valuation. The ASX 200 (-0.3%) was initially kept afloat by resilience in defensives, although upside was restricted amid weakness in tech alongside concerns of a further deterioration in ties with China after Australia’s decision to boycott the Beijing Winter Olympics. The Nikkei 225 (-0.5%) was rangebound with the Japanese benchmark stalled by resistance ahead of the 29k level, although the downside was cushioned by recent currency weakness and a modest improvement in the Business Survey Index. The Hang Seng (+1.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.0%) outperformed after China’s NDRC pledged support measures to boost consumption in rural areas and with some chatter regarding the possibility of another RRR cut in Q1 next year according SGH Macro citing a senior Chinese official. Furthermore, participants digested mixed inflation data from China including firmer than expected factory gate prices. CPI Y/Y was softer than forecast but it still registered the fastest pace of increase since August last year. Finally, 10yr JGBs briefly declined below the 152.00 level following the bear steepening stateside in which T-notes tested 130.00 to the downside and following a somewhat tepid US 10yr offering in which the b/c increased from prior but remained short of the six-auction average, while the results of the 5yr JGB auction were mixed and failed to spur prices with higher accepted prices offset by a weaker b/c. Top Asian News Evergrande Declared in Default as Massive Restructuring Looms China Dollar Junk Bonds Up After Fitch Move on Kaisa, Evergrande Gold Steady as Traders Assess Virus Risk Before Inflation Data China’s Credit Growth Rebounds After Slowing for Almost a Year Stocks in Europe trade have drifted lower in recent trade, giving up the modest gains seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.5%, Stoxx 600 -0.2%), and following the mixed lead from APAC and amidst a lack of fresh fundamental catalysts. US equity futures are also subdued, with a relatively broad-based performance seen across the ES (-0.3%), NQ (-0.4%), YM (-0.3%) alongside some mild underperformance in the RTY (-0.6%). Markets are awaiting tomorrow’s US CPI metrics, but more importantly, are gearing up for next week’s blockbuster FOMC confab. Desks have attributed this week’s rebound to several factors working in unison, including a milder Omicron variant (thus far), Chinese policy easing, FOMO, buybacks/upbeat corporate commentary alongside the widely telegraphed hawkish Fed pivot. On the last note, it’s also worth keeping in mind that the rotating voters next year on the FOMC will be more hawkish with the addition of George, Mester and Bullard as voters, albeit some empty spots remain – namely Brainard’s spot as she takes over the Vice-Chair position. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly in the green but portray a defensive bias – with Healthcare, Telecoms, Food & Beverages and Personal & Household Goods at the top of the bunch, whilst Oil & Gas, Retail and Travel & Leisure resides on the other end of the spectrum. In terms of individual moves, UniCredit (+7.8%) shot up to the top of the Stoxx 600 after unveiling its 2024 targets – with the Co. looking to return at least EUR 16bln via dividend and buybacks between 2021-24. Sticking with banks, Deutsche Bank (-2.1%) is pressured after the US DoJ reportedly told Deutsche Bank it may have violated a criminal settlement, due to failures in alerting authorities about internal complaints at its asset management unit, according to sources. Elsewhere, AstraZeneca (+1.0%) is supported as its long-acting antibody combination received emergency use authorisation in the US for COVID-19 prevention in some individuals. Finally, Rolls-Royce (-3.7%) slipped despite an overall positive trading update. Top European News Rolls-Royce Sinks as Omicron Clouds Outlook for 2022 Comeback Harbour Energy Plans Dividend But Pushes Back Tolmount Again Toxic U.K. Tory Press Is Flashing Warning Sign for Boris Johnson Credit Suisse Chairman Horta-Osorio Broke Quarantine Rules In FX, the Greenback remains rangy amidst undulating US Treasury yields and a fluid flow of Omicron related headlines that are filling the void until this week’s main macro release arrives tomorrow in the form of CPI data. However, the index is drifting down in almost ever decreasing circles having retreated a bit further from peaks to a marginally deeper sub-96.000 trough on Wednesday, at 95.848, and forming a fractionally firmer base currently to stay within contact of the psychological level within a narrow 96.154-95.941 band, thus far. Ahead, latest jobless claims updates and the last refunding leg comprising Usd 22 bn long bonds after a reasonable 10 year outing, overall. CHF/EUR/CAD - No obvious reaction to Swiss SECO forecasts even though supply bottlenecks and stricter COVID-19 measures are putting a strain on the economy internationally in winter 2021/22, according to the Government affiliated body. Similarly, ECB sources reporting that views on the GC are converging on a limited, temporary increase of the APP at December’s policy meeting, via an envelope or time specified increase with more frequent reviews, hardly impacted the Euro, as Eur/Usd remained towards the bottom of a 1.1346-16 range and Usd/Chf continued to straddle 0.9200, albeit mostly on the weaker side. Meanwhile, the Loonie has also slipped to the back of the major ranks following yesterday’s largely non BoC event against the backdrop of softer crude prices and an indifferent risk tone, with Usd/Cad hovering mainly above 1.2650 between 1.2645-80 parameters. JPY/GBP/NZD/AUD - All sticking to tight confines against their US peer, as the Yen rotates around 113.50 again and Pound pivots 1.3200 in limbo awaiting top tier UK data on Friday that might shed more light on what is gearing up to be another tight BoE rate call next week. Moreover, Usd/Jpy looks pretty well and heavily flanked by option expiry interest either side and in between its 113.81-35 extremes given large amounts running off at the NY cut - see 6.59GMT post on the Headline Feed for full details. Elsewhere, the pendulum has swung down under in favour of the hitherto underperforming Kiwi, as Nzd/Usd popped over 0.6800 and Aud/Nzd stalled ahead of 1.0550 alongside a pull back in Aud/Usd from 0.7185+ at best to test support into 0.7150 in wake of comments by RBA’s Harker and the RBNZ rebalancing its TWI. In short, the former said Australia’s economy can run hot while dodging the runaway inflation that’s plaguing much of the world, signaling monetary policy will stay ultra-loose for some time yet, while the latter culminated in a bigger Cny contribution at 27% from 23.5%. SCANDI/EM - Another day and more appreciation for the Cnh and Cny, at least in early hours, with validation via the PBoC setting a sub-6.3500 midpoint fix for the onshore Yuan vs Buck. However, the offshore then re-weakened past 6.3500 per Dollar after the Chinese central bank opted to raise the FX RRR by 2ppts - effective 15th Dec. Meanwhile, the Nok gives back after midweek gains as Brent slips with WTI to the detriment of the Rub and Mxn as well. Conversely, the Huf has a further 20 bp 1 week repo hike from the NBH to lean on and the Brl got a boost from 150 bp tightening on top of the BCB signalling the same again when COPOM delivers its next SELIC rate call. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures have drifted lower from their best levels printed overnight, which saw WTI Jan briefly mount USD 73.00/bbl and Brent Feb eclipse 76.50/bbl. The complex was unfazed by WSJ source reports suggesting the Biden administration is said to be moving to tighten enforcement of sanctions against Iran, whilst US officials say if there is no progress in the nuclear talks. This comes ahead of the resumption of nuclear talks today, albeit the US delegation will only travel to Vienne over the weekend. With the likelihood of an imminent deal somewhat slim, participants will be eyeing any further deterioration in relations alongside additional demand/sanctions. Aside from that, price action will likely be dictated by the overall market tone in the absence of macro catalysts. Elsewhere, reports suggested the Marathon pipeline has been shut due to a crude oil leak estimated to be around 10 barrels from the 20-inch diameter Illinois pipeline, but again the headlines failed to spur the oil complex. Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways and remains under that cluster of DMAs which today sees the 100 at 1,790/oz, 200 and 1,792.50/oz and 50 and 1,795/oz. LME copper meanwhile has been drifting lower since the end of APAC trade, but the contract remains north of USD 9,500/t. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 220,000, prior 222,000; Continuing Claims, est. 1.91m, prior 1.96m 9:45am: Dec. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 51.0 10am: Oct. Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 2.2%, prior 2.2%; Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.1% 12pm: 3Q US Household Change in Net Wor, prior $5.85t DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap On the theme of advertising, here’s a final reminder about our special monthly survey for 2022, which will be closing today at 1pm London time. We ask about rates, equities, and the path of Covid-19 in 2022, amongst other things, and also return to a festive question we asked in 2019, namely your favourite ever Christmas songs. The link is here and it’s your last chance to complete. All help filling in very much appreciated. Following the strongest 2-day equity performance so far this year, yesterday saw the rally begin to peter out amidst growing concern that another round of restrictions over the coming weeks could set back the economic recovery. Ultimately the issue from a health perspective is that even if Omicron does prove to be less severe, which the initial indications so far have pointed to, a rise in transmissibility could offset that, and ultimately mean that more people are in hospital as a much bigger number of people would actually get Covid-19, even if a lower proportion of them are severely affected. We’ll start with the good news, and one new piece of information yesterday was that Pfizer and BioNTech announced the results from an initial study showing that three doses of their vaccine neutralised the Omicron variant of Covid-19. President Biden tweeted that the new data was “encouraging” and said it reinforced the point that boosters offer the highest protection, whilst Pfizer’s chief executive said that the final verdict would be the real-world efficacy data, which they expect to see toward the end of this year. We also had an update from the EU’s ECDC, who said that of the 337 Omicron cases reported in the EU/EEA so far, all of them were either asymptomatic or mild where severity was available, and that no deaths had yet been reported. Obviously, these sample sizes aren’t big enough to come to concrete conclusions yet, but if things continue this way that’s clearly a promising sign. On the other hand, the spread of infections has continued in South Africa, and the country reported 19,482 cases, which is the highest number since Omicron was first reported. That comes as a study from a Japanese scientist advising the health ministry in Japan said that Omicron was 4.2 times more transmissible than delta in its early stage. That hasn’t been peer-reviewed yet but would certainly back up all the other indications that this is a much more transmissible variant than seen before. These growing warning signs have led governments to keep toughening up restrictions, and here in the UK, the government announced they’d be moving to “Plan B” in England, which will see the reintroduction of guidance to work from home from Monday, and an extension of face masks to most public indoor venues. They will also be making Covid-19 passes mandatory for nightclubs and venues with large crowds, though a negative test will also be sufficient. That comes as cases have continued to rise, with the 7-day average now above 48,000 and at its highest level since January. Separately in Denmark, the government said that schools would close early for the Christmas break, amongst other restrictions. Equities struggled against this backdrop, with Europe’s STOXX 600 down -0.59%, although the S&P 500 managed to pare back its earlier losses to eke out a +0.31% gain. Cyclicals underperformed, but we did see volatility continue to subside, with the VIX down to its lowest closing level since Omicron emerged, at 19.9pts. In addition, there was an outperformance from tech stocks, with the NASDAQ (+0.64%) and the FANG+ index (+0.62%) seeing solid gains. The increasing risk-off tone didn’t bother oil prices either, with Brent crude (+0.50%) and WTI (+0.43%) continuing their run of gains this week, including further gains overnight, whilst European natural gas futures (+5.86%) closed above €100 per megawatt-hour for the first time in nearly 2 months. Over in sovereign bond markets, yields moved higher on both sides of the Atlantic for the most part, with those on 10yr Treasuries up +4.8bps to 1.52%, though this morning they’re down by -1.2bps. That’s the first time they’ve closed back above 1.5% since the session just before Thanksgiving, ahead of the news emerging about the Omicron variant. In Europe, there was an even bigger sell-off, with yields on 10yr bunds (+6.3bps), OATs (+6.9bps) and BTPs (+10.4bps) all moving higher, alongside a further widening in peripheral spreads. This more mixed performance has continued overnight in Asia, with a number of indices trading higher including the CSI (+1.76%), the Shanghai Composite (+1.03%), Hang Seng (+0.89%), and the KOSPI (+0.37%). However, both the Nikkei (-0.27%) and Australia’s ASX 200 (-0.28%) lost ground. On the data front, China’s inflation numbers this morning showed that CPI rose to +2.3% year-on-year in November, slightly lower than forecast +2.5%, albeit still the highest since last August. The PPI readings remained much stronger, but did fall back from a 26-year high last month to +12.9% year-on-year (vs. +12.1% forecast). Looking ahead, futures are indicating a mixed start in the US & Europe with S&P 500 (-0.13%) and DAX (+0.12%) seeing modest moves in either direction. Overnight we also heard from President Biden on Russia, who said that he hoped to announce high-level talks by tomorrow where they would discuss Russian concerns about NATO, and that this would include at least four major NATO allies. President Biden said the meeting was an explicit attempt to “bring down the temperature along the eastern front” that’s ramped up over recent days and weeks. Nevertheless, President Biden reinforced that the US was ready to implement severe economic sanctions should Russia invade Ukraine, telling reporters that he said to Putin there would be “economic consequences like none he’s ever seen”. Back to yesterday, and the Bank of Canada kept policy on hold at their meeting, as was expected. The bank reinforced their expectation for the 2 percent inflation target to be sustainably achieved in the “middle quarters of 2022”. Like other DM central banks, they are focused on persistently elevated inflation, which they tied to supply constraints that will take some time to alleviate. We had some rate hikes elsewhere, however, yesterday with Brazil’s central bank taking rates up by 150bps to 9.25%, whilst Poland’s hiked rates by +50bps to 1.75%. The main data of note yesterday were the US job openings for October, which rose to 11.033m (vs. 10.469m expected) after 2 successive monthly declines. Notably the quits rate, which is a good indicator of labour market tightness, saw its first monthly decline since May as it came down to 2.8%, from an all-time record of 3.0%. To the day ahead now, and it’s a quiet one on the calendar, with data releases including the US weekly initial jobless claims, as well as the German trade balance for October. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/09/2021 - 07:55.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 9th, 2021

84 great gifts for your girlfriend no matter her interests, from astrology jewelry to an REI co-op membership

We rounded up 84 thoughtful gifts to give your girlfriend, from keepsake jewelry under $100 to helpful tech and fitness accessories. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Gift your girlfriend a thoughtful, custom keepsake.Framebridge Giving your girlfriend a meaningful gift doesn't have to require hours of research. Below is a list of thoughtful gifts for your girlfriend, from accessories and tech to home decor. Still looking for gifts? Find more gift guides broken down by interest, budget, and occasion here. Giving gifts as a couple can be a lot of fun. You know your partner: What they love, what rituals they enjoy, what small daily annoyances you could possibly solve with a thoughtful gift. You also know how much they'll appreciate the gift when it comes from you.Odds are you want to give them something wonderful — whatever your price range is. All most of us need is a little direction and a few great options to pick from, so we put together a list of our favorite gift ideas for girlfriends of all personalities and interests to help guide you.Check out all 84 gifts for your girlfriend:This list includes a Sponsored Product that has been suggested by Vuori. It also meets our editorial criteria in terms of quality and value.*The best Apple Watch we've triedAppleApple Watch Series 7, available on Amazon and Apple, from $379If you're looking for a great gift and not concerned about staying in an under-$200 budget, we'd recommend the Apple Watch Series 7.Currently, we think it's the best Apple Watch. The Series 7 can charge up to 80% in 45 minutes, and it's the most advanced version with features such as blood oxygen saturation measuring and an electrocardiogram scanner to detect abnormalities in the heart's rhythm. Earrings made with her birthstoneMejuriAmethyst Flat Sphere Studs, available on Mejuri, $180If your girlfriend wears jewelry, birthstone earrings that she can keep forever are a thoughtful, personalized gift she'll wear often.  Delicious sweets from a famous NYC bakeryMilk BarMilk Bar Treats, from $22If your girlfriend has a sweet tooth, send her Milk Bar — the company delivers its iconic and decadent cakes, cookies, and truffles to her doorstep.A pass to get into a bunch of boutique fitness classesClasspassClassPass Gift Card, from $15Boutique fitness classes are expensive, which can make trying new workouts — either for variety or to figure out what we like — less appealing. ClassPass solves both issues. It's relatively affordable, and members can access a neverending catalog of great workouts with small class sizes. If your partner is getting back into fitness after over a year of at-home workouts, we'd highly recommend a gift card here for whenever they're ready to use it.Leggings fit for workouts and lounge sessionsVuoriVuori Daily Legging, from $50Vuori is known for its smooth, soft fabrics and flattering fits — and the Daily Legging is no exception. Combining the leisure and comfort of a jogger with the function and stretch of a legging, your girlfriend can wear these for both workouts and weekend lounging. *Sponsored by VuoriA disposable camera that doesn't take you out of the momentGamesgamer024 The gamer/YouTubeDisposable camera, $42.49Interested in preserving memories without taking yourself out of them? A good disposable camera or a film camera can take the pressure away from perfection so you and your girlfriend can focus on just savoring experiences together.The best electric toothbrushColgateElectric toothbrush, $39.99If your girlfriend is more interested in gifts she needs as well as wants, an electric toothbrush is a good option. We've tested our fair share of electric toothbrushes, and we think Colgate's Hum is the best value. It cleans thoroughly and offers advanced features and modern design for $70 — which is considerably more affordable than options with fancy features you may not use enough. A planned trip for the two of you to take togetherAirbnbAirbnb Gift Card, available at Airbnb, from $25If you want to gift an experience you and your girlfriend can enjoy together, grab a card, a gift card to Airbnb, and come up with a few location ideas to choose from. You can also book a hotel in your city on Booking.com or Expedia for a sweet staycation. *This gift can be saved and used at a later date.A versatile Exercise DressOutdoor VoicesThe Exercise Dress, available on Outdoor Voices, $100Given the popularity of the Exercise Dress, we wouldn't be surprised if this was on your girlfriend's wish list. The Exercise Dress is comfortable, versatile, and cute — which has made it a cult-favorite item. If she's a fan of dresses, outdoor voices, or clothes she can wear all day long, this may be a good option. Her favorite specialty food straight from the sourceGoldbelly/InstagramOrder her favorite specialty foods using Goldbelly, from $28Goldbelly makes it possible to satisfy your girlfriend's most specific and nostalgic cravings no matter where they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Browse the iconic gifts section for inspiration. A streaming bundle that checks off all the boxesHulu/Disney+/ESPN+/Business InsiderHulu, Disney+ ESPN+ Bundle, available at Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu, from $13.99 per monthIf canceled sporting events or trips to Disney have you feeling down, you can gift Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu together to ensure the next few months include plenty of entertainment options. If your partner is not too fond of ads, this bundle can also be purchased with the ad-free version of Hulu.A small skincare tool that removes 99.5% of dirt, oil, and makeup residueAmazonForeo Luna Play Plus 2, available at Foreo, $59In the category of things your girlfriend may love but hasn't asked for yet: Foreo facial brushes. Our team swears by these gentle yet effective cleansing devices. They have hygienic silicone bristles and come in five different models for different skin types. The Luna is small enough to bring on the go, so your partner can maintain their skincare routine while traveling. A thoughtful book she'll loveAmazon"Tiny Beautiful Things: Advice on Love and Life from Dear Sugar" by Cheryl Strayed, available on Amazon, $12.42Pick up one of your all-time favorite books that you think she'd like, or browse some of the books we love to gift. This collection of Dear Sugar advice columns is a heartfelt favorite. Its topics are diverse, its letters to Dear Sugar are intimate and relatable, and Cheryl Strayed's responses are both witty and extraordinarily compassionate.A membership to a huge outdoor co-opREIREI Co-Op Lifetime Membership, $20, available at REIAn REI membership offers a lifetime of benefits for a one-time purchase. That includes 10%-back dividends, special offers, access to in-store REI Garage sales, and special pricing on REI classes and events. If your girlfriend loves the outdoors, this is an option she can enjoy solo and with you. A Dutch oven to elevate their bread gameLodge mfgEnameled Cast Iron Dutch Oven, available at Walmart, $79.90Did your girlfriend get into baking bread and, miraculously, stay committed to it? If so, a really nice Dutch oven can help elevate her experience. You can get something great for under $100, or you can splurge on a beautiful Le Creuset. Other meaningful upgrades include a cooling rack, according to the famous baker Apollonia Poilâne.A subscription that sends her a six-month world tour of teasAtlas Tea ClubAtlas Tea Club 6 Month Subscription, available on Atlas Tea Club, $94This subscription sends your girlfriend single-origin teas from the best tea-growing regions in the world for six months. She'll get two delicious options sent to her home each month.Festive matching underwear from one of the internet's favorite startupsMeUndiesMatching Underwear, available at MeUndies, $42Get yourself and your girlfriend festive matching underwear — which also happen to be some of the most comfortable pairs we've ever found. MeUndies gives you the options to create your own personalized set — two styles listed for women, two styles listed for men, a mix, and whichever length or cut you and your partner prefer. A standing desk for a home office upgradeFullyJarvis Bamboo Standing Desk, available at Fully, from $569If she's working from home, your girlfriend might love a home office upgrade the most. We ranked the Fully Jarvis the best standing desk; it provides the right blend of features and reliable performance. Its customizations for style, height, and accessories make it adaptable to pretty much any need. A framed keepsake of a favorite memoryFramebridgeFramed photo, available at Framebridge, from $45Gift Card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing a bit more affordable. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it, and you can take advantage of the team of designers for help deciding what frame to get. The best socks she'll ever wearBombasBombas Women's Performance Running Ankle Sock 3-Pack, $49.50Bombas makes the best socks we've ever tried, and they're a gift we find ourselves giving every year to loved ones. They're lightweight, moisture-wicking, and built to circumvent annoyances like uncomfortable seams and heel slipping.A powerful, customizable massage gunTheragunTheragun PRO, available at Therabody, $599This is the best massage gun we've tested — though it's also on the higher end of what you would expect to pay. We loved it in part due to its two-year warranty, adjustable massage arm, customizable speeds, 60 lbs of no-stall force, six different heads, an extra battery, and how easy it is to use. If you can't give your girlfriend an unlimited pass to professional massages, this is a nice in-between option. A nice gold vermeil and sapphire zodiac sign necklaceMejuriAquarius Necklace, available at Mejuri, $395Mejuri is a Canadian startup created in 2015 to make fine jewelry affordable to buy — and it has racked up waitlists with more than 40,000 people before. Their popular Zodiac Necklace is cool, minimalist, and something she can wear every day. It's made in gold vermeil with AAA quality white sapphires. Mejuri's affordable pricing means the estimated traditional retail price of the same necklace elsewhere would be closer to $235.  The best bathrobe that money can buySnoweBathrobe, available at Snowe, $100Snowe's unisex bathrobe has been called the best and most absorbent terry robe on the market, and I'm just one more fervent believer. The cotton fiber traps air for extra absorbency and is soft and plush, and the unisex sizing means it will feel like a blanket-turned-robe. Perfect functionality, and extra points for coziness.A tracker for finding cell phones and wallets quicklyAmazonTile Pro, available at Amazon, $34.99When your girlfriend can't find her phone, all she has to do is click the Tile button to make her phone ring, even if it's on silent. We've found them especially useful lately. A monogrammed jewelry case from a minimalist fashion startupCuyanaLeather Jewelry Case, available at Cuyana, $85 (+ $15 for monogram)Keeping track of tiny and delicate jewelry is difficult — but jewelry cases are a pretty and useful solution. This is a thoughtful and personalized gift, especially if you've gotten your girlfriend jewelry in the past, or plan to in the future. It's made from premium leather, comes in many colors, and can be monogrammed with her initials. Cuyana is a cool leather bag startup she may have already heard of. A pair of blue light-blocking glasses that look good enough to wear outside of the houseFelix GrayFaraday Glasses, available at Felix Gray, from $95If she's ever complained about strain from constant screens, you can help mitigate it with a pair of blue-light-blocking glasses. They might even help with sleep.The convenience of Apple AirPodsHollis Johnson/Business InsiderApple AirPods, available at Best Buy, $119.99When it comes to convenience, truly wireless earbuds are the best. And Apple's AirPods are very popular with iPhone and Android users alike. They look subtle compared to other bigger options, and they're easy to use. For the latest option, you can pick up AirPods Pro for $189.99. A 215-piece art kit for creative projectsAmazonArt 101 215-Piece Wood Art Set, available at Amazon, $49.34If your girlfriend loves to create art, this 215-Piece art kit includes everything she'll need for projects: crayons, colored pencils, oil pastels, fine line markers, watercolor cakes, and acrylic paint.A year-long MasterClass membership to learn about things she's passionate aboutMasterClassAnnual Membership, available at MasterClass, from $180/yearIf your dinner table conversations often include talk of photography, or tennis, or screenwriting, or another passion, consider getting your girlfriend a gift that helps her spend time with her hobbies. We love MasterClass because it kind of feels like entertainment. Classes are short, there's no homework, and she can listen to the audio like its a podcast or watch the videos. The site hosts classes taught by well-known celebrities and industry leaders — from Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching Scientific Thinking and Communication to Malcolm Gladwell on Writing, Shonda Rhimes on Writing for Television, and Bob Iger on Business Strategy and Leadership. You can read our full review here.A one-size-fits-all lid that instantly declutters the cabinetsMade InSilicone Universal Lid Kit, available at Made In, $59This was one of the gifts that professional chefs recommended to us for avid home cooks. If your girlfriend loves to cook and has a plethora of differently sized pots and pans with all the corresponding lids, having one universal lid can declutter and streamline their space in one move. A convenient phone sanitizerPhoneSoapPhoneSoap 3 Smartphone UV Sanitizer, available at PhoneSoap, $79.95This small, easy-to-use device uses UV-C light to sanitize a phone, killing 99.9% of common household germs.A bottle (or two) of wineMcBride SistersMcBride Sisters Black Girl Magic Wine, starting at $19.99As the largest black-owned wine company in the United States, the McBride Sisters Collection is the perfect place to find a wine gift for your girlfriend. The Black Girl Magic collection in particular is inspired by the resilience of black women and includes varieties from Rosé to Merlot. The new Sonos Move portable speakerAmazonSonos Move, available at Best Buy, $399.99The Sonos Move is one of the best speakers on the market. It's powerful, can be controlled by voice or an app, and has Amazon Alexa built-in so on WiFi you can play music, check the news, set alarms, get your questions answered, and more, without much effort.A stylish, savvy carry-on with an external battery packAwayCarry-On, available at Away, from $225Away's hyper-popular suitcases deserve their hype. Their hard shell is lightweight but durable, their 360° spinner wheels make for seamless traveling, and the external (and ejectable and TSA-compliant) battery pack included can charge a smartphone five times over so she never has to sit behind a trash can at the airport for access to an outlet again. It's also guaranteed for life by Away. Find our full review here.16 highly-rated sheet masksAmazon/Business InsiderSheet Mask Set, available at Amazon, $22.99Grab 39 sheet masks to make it easier for your girlfriend to have a frequent and well-deserved "treat yourself" day. These are highly-rated and have both vitamin E and collagen included for healthy, happy skin.   A weighted blanket for better restAmazonYnM Weighted Blanket, available at YnM, from $49.80Weighted blankets help create more restful sleep by "grounding" the body, and YnM makes some of the most popular and affordable weighted blankets on the internet. There are multiple sizes and weights for the ideal fit and width (they recommend picking whichever is about 10% of your body weight), and the segmented design allows you to move around without displacing all the weighted beads inside. A mini multipurpose toolAmazonMini Multitool Knife 12 in 1, available on Amazon, $9.99This lightweight multitool has a knife, pliers, screwdrivers, wire cutters, scissors, and a bottle opener — so it's nine times as many opportunities for being useful as your average gift. A sleek fitness tracker that includes heart rate monitoringFitbitFitbit Inspire 2, available at Best Buy, $69.95Fitbit's affordable Inspire 2 tracker has no shortage of useful features to keep someone informed about their physical activity — tracking calorie burn, resting heart rate, and heart rate zones.An 8-in-1 pan that helps to declutter your homeOur PlaceAlways Pan, available at Our Place, $145If you're spending more time at home cooking together — or re-organizing the kitchen — she may appreciate a good 8-in-1 cookware hack.The Always Pan from startup Our Place is a frying pan, saute pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest in the space of a single pan. In other words, a clever generalist that's extremely convenient for small spaces or minimalist cooks. You can read our review here.A video message from someone she loves almost as much as youCameo/Business InsiderCameo Video Messages, available at Cameo, from $15Whether it's your girlfriend's favorite actor, comedian, or athlete, you're likely to find someone she admires on Cameo. Cameo allows celebrities to send custom video messages to recipients for nearly any occasion, and a personalized video is a gift that she'll never forget. Personalized cartoon couple mugsShelley KleinPersonalized Family Mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30These cute mugs can be personalized for what you're like as a couple, making for a special weekend morning coffee routine or just a nice reminder in the kitchen cabinet. On the back, you can add a family name and the year the couple was established if you'd like. Silky, breathable leggingsEverlaneEverlane Leggings, $68Everlane's Perform Leggings are some of our all-time favorites — they're breathable and silky, like a slightly less expensive version of Alo leggings. You can read a full review of the Everlane Perform Leggings and see pictures of them here.Beautiful candles from a cool startupOtherlandOtherland Candles, available at Otherland, $36Otherland is a candle company started by Abigail Cook Stone, a former art buyer for Ralph Lauren. If you want to give your girlfriend a candle that burns for 55 hours, looks beautiful, and comes from a startup that she's probably seen (or coveted) before, this is a great option. Find our full review here.The last weekend bag you'll ever need to buy herRothy'sRothy's The Weekender, available at Rothy's, $550With its large, padded top handles and roomy interior, Rothy's The Weekender might be the last overnight bag your partner ever needs. It's got multiple pockets and a sturdy insert that helps it maintain its shape. You'll be shocked by how much you can fit in this bag — definitely enough for a long weekend. It's made of recycled plastic pulled from the ocean and is machine washable.  The "world's most comfortable shoes"AllbirdsWomen's Wool Runners, available at Allbirds, $98The classic Wool Runners make a great gift for the uninitiated, though we'd also highly recommend the brand's casual cup sole Wool Piper for everyday wear if that's more your partner's style. You can find our full review of the Runners here, and the Wool Pipers here.A customized map of her favorite placeGrafomapCustom Map Poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap lets you design custom maps of anywhere in the world — like the first place you met, the best trip you ever took together, or the hometown she couldn't wait to show you. It's unique, thoughtful, and pretty inexpensive.  You can find our full review here.A gift card to a popular wine subscription clubWincGift Card, available at Winc, from $29.95Winc is a personalized wine club — and we think it's the best one you can belong to overall. Members take a wine palate profile quiz and then choose from the personalized wine suggestions. Each bottle has extensive tasting notes and serving recommendations online, and makes it easy to discover similar bottles. Gift her a Winc gift card, and she can take a wine palate profile quiz and get started with her own customized suggestions. An exercise bike for staying active indoorsNordicTrackCommercial S22i Studio Cycle, available at NordicTrack, $1,499If money is of no object and your partner is trying to figure out how to exercise while staying indoors, an exercise bike is a particularly thoughtful and useful gift right now. We like the NordicTrack option the most overall, but we also like and recommend options that are under $200. A large print on fine art paper of a favorite memoryArtifact Uprising/Business InsiderLarge Format Prints, available at Artifact Uprising, from $22Artifact Uprising makes luxury prints at accessible prices — and they make especially thoughtful gifts that look like they should cost much more. Get one of their favorite photos printed on archival fine art paper for $20 and up, or thoughtful cards for as little as $1 per custom card. You can also make a color series photo book for $22, a set of prints for $9, and a personalized calendar on a handcrafted wood clipboard for $30.A mug that keeps hot drinks hot for up to six hours straightHydro FlaskHydro Flask Mug, 12 oz, available at Hydro Flask, from $24.95This mug is a common desk companion for the Insider Reviews team. The 12-ounce coffee mug has the company's proprietary TempShield insulation that made its water bottles famous. This mug will keep hot drinks hot for up to six hours, and cold drinks cold up to 24 hours. Read our full review of it here.A gift card for delicious, healthy meals she can make in about 30 secondsDaily HarvestGift Card, available at Daily Harvest, from $50Daily Harvest is a food startup that makes it possible to eat healthy, delicious meals for less than $10 each even if you only have 30 seconds to spare for prep time. Meals are pre-portioned, delicious, and designed by both a chef and a nutritionist to make sure they're tasty and good for you. It addressed most of my healthy eating roadblocks. The best hair dryer ever inventedDyson/FacebookDyson Blow Dryer, available at Ulta, $399.99This gift may seem inexplicably expensive, but the Dyson blow dryer is lauded as the best one ever invented, making it a cult favorite. It prevents hair damage by measuring air temperature 20 times per second, has a specially designed Dyson motor for fast drying, and reduces static, breakage, and makes hair look smooth and shiny.Comfy, high-end sheets at the best price on the marketBrooklinenLuxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle, available at Brooklinen, from $240Brooklinen is one of our favorite companies, point-blank. We think they make the best high-end sheets at the best price on the market, and most of the Insider Reviews team uses Brooklinen on their own beds.The Luxe Hardcore Sheet Bundle comes in plenty of colors and patterns, and you can mix and match them to suit your taste. Grab a gift card if you want to give her more freedom. If you opt for a sheet bundle, she'll receive a core sheet set (fitted, flat, two pillowcases), duvet cover, and two extra pillowcases in soft, smooth 480-thread-count weave.This cozy loungewear set that she'll never want to take offKnixKnix Cozzzy Track Pants, available at Knix, $46.75Cozy and warm, the Cozzzy Track Pants from Knix are comfortable enough to wear around the house while also being cute enough to wear to the market. The ultra-soft fabric feels like the softest terry cloth washcloth you've ever used, and its slouchy fit is modern and luxe. She'll love the joggers with cuffed legs that are sleek without being overly tight. Comes in cream and gray.The internet's favorite olive oilBrightlandAwake Olive Oil, available at Brightland, $37Brightland's olive oils make great gifts for cooks and anyone else who loves to entertain. The white bottles protect the EVOO from light damage and look nice displayed on a countertop. Find a full review here. A high-tech towel that keeps her from slipping around during yoga classesMandukaManduka Yogitoes Yoga Mat Towel, from $42.50Manduka is known for making the best yoga products, and their Yogitoes towel is one of the most loved. It has tiny 100% silicone nubs on one side that grab yoga mats and keep yogis from slipping around during the exercise. Having a good towel can make a big difference. It also comes in 19 great colors and gets eco-friendly points. Each Yogitoes towel is made from eight recycled plastic water bottles, and made with dyes free of azo, lead, or heavy metal. A card game that's meant to deepen personal connectionsUrban OutfittersWe're Not Really Strangers Card Game, available at Urban Outfitters, $30This card game, from the popular Instagram account We're Not Really Strangers, is designed to enhance connections between people with different levels: perceptions, connection, and reflection. Not only is it a card game you haven't played before, but it's also a thoughtful activity you can enjoy with your girlfriend.A cooking class from one of the nation's top chefsCozymeal/InstagramGift Card, available at Cozymeal, from $50With a Cozymeal class, you and your girlfriend can learn how to make anything from fresh pasta to Argentinian staple dishes from the nation's top chefs. In addition to cooking classes, Cozymeal offers food tours in various cities (when it's safe to do so). A satin-lined beanieAndrea Bossi / Business InsiderKink & Coil Satin-Lined Beanie, $36Most people with naturally curly hair avoid wearing hats to reduce frizz, but Kink and Coil's satin-lined beanie solves that issue. Just like a silk pillowcase or a bonnet, the inside of the beanie is designed to protect your hair from frizz and damage. On top of that, the pom-pom can be removed, if she'd prefer to wear the hat without it.We spoke with a trichologist to learn more about how satin- and silk-lined beanies can benefit anyone with curly or high-porosity hair. Rihanna's bestselling Fenty skincare setFenty BeautyFenty Skin Start'rs Full-Size Bundle, $75Rihanna's bestselling skincare bundle from her brand Fenty includes everything she'll need to maintain healthy skin. The kit includes a facial cleanser, toner, and two-in-one sunscreen moisturizer. Read our full review of the Fenty skincare set here.A cashmere crew from Everlane that she'll own foreverEverlaneThe Cashmere Crew, available at Everlane, from $120For a closet staple she'll own for years to come, Everlane's $120 Cashmere Crew (available in various colors) is about the safest choice you can make. Everlane has plenty of great gifts (you can find the Everlane basics we wear repeatedly here), so you can't really go wrong. A small cold brew coffee makerAmazonAirtight Cold Brew Iced Coffee Maker, available at Walmart, $34.99This small cold brew maker (available in 1-liter and 1.5-liter options) makes coffee's less acidic, smoother cousin cold brew in 12 hours in the fridge, so there's minimal hassle and always a treat ready in the morning on your girlfriend's way out the door to work. A stylish leather makeup pouch that's thoughtful and easy to travel withDagne DoverHunter Toiletry Bag, available at Dagne Dover, from $40Dagne Dover is quickly becoming one of the best women's handbag companies to know, and its toiletry pouches are a great and relatively affordable gift. The small size holds a handful of go-to toiletries, and the large should have enough space for all of the grooming essentials.A comfy zip-up for the months aheadPatagoniaBetter Sweater, available at Patagonia, from $139Patagonia makes our favorite athleisure options overall, and that definitely includes the Better Sweater. It works in pretty much any environment — in the office, at home, on a hike, or on a casual night out — and has zippered pockets to keep hands warm in the cold months. We're also big fans of the 1/4 Zip option.A new waterproof Kindle Paperwhite for reading anywhereAmazonKindle Paperwhite, available at Amazon, $129.99If your girlfriend is a reader, we'd suggest looking at Amazon's new Kindle Paperwhite; it's the company's thinnest and lightest yet, with double the storage. Perhaps the best features are that it's waterproof and has a built-in adjustable light for the perfect reading environment indoors or outdoors, day or night. If she loves a nice, relaxing bath, pair this with a caddy, bath bombs, and a glass of wine for a relaxing night in that you've already taken care of.A cult-favorite hair towel that reduces damage and cuts drying time by 50%AquisAquis Rapid Dry Hair Towel, available at Anthropologie, from $30Aquis' cult-favorite hair towels can cut the amount of time it takes for her hair to dry in half — a claim we're happy to report holds up. The proprietary fabric also means there's less damage to wet hair while it dries. A fun, unique local dateAirbnb/Business InsiderAirbnb Experiences, available at Airbnb, from $10Airbnb started offering experience programming online. You can book from thousands of experiences that range from workouts with Olympic athletes over Zoom to cooking classes with chefs you'd normally have to hop on a flight to meet. We tested a a tango class and a Moroccan cooking class.It's also an under-utilized part of Airbnb, making it a thoughtful and unusual gift — and one you may keep using with your girlfriend for out-of-the-box date nights in the future. As states and countries slowly begin reopening, Airbnb listings and in-person activities are becoming options again, but you can still participate in online activities from home if you're not ready to travel yet or just want a fun activity. A houseplant that arrives already potted and is easy to care forLeon & GeorgeSilver Evergreen, available at Leon & George, from $149Leon & George is a San Francisco startup that will send beautiful plants — potted in stylish, minimalist pots — to your girlfriend's door. All she has to do is to occasionally add water. Flowers are wonderful, but houseplants have a much longer shelf life, and most of Leon & George's options are very easy to care for. We'd also recommend checking out Bloomscape for small plant trios under $70.  Beautiful earrings she'll own foreverStone and StrandSparkle Diamond Cluster Huggies, available at Stone and Strand, $395They're solid gold, conflict-free, and made locally. Plus, the style is versatile enough that your girlfriend can wear them every day.A membership to a popular skincare and makeup subscription that sends new, cool, and bestselling products once per monthConnie Chen/Business InsiderBirchbox Gift Subscription, available at Birchbox, from $45Birchbox is a skincare and makeup subscription that sends tons of samples of new and cult-favorite products to subscribers so they can find products they love without much commitment or cost upfront. Makeup and skincare products can be expensive, so this is a particularly helpful service. A funny and unique cardLoveFromCo/EtsyYou Take My Breath Away, available at Etsy, from $4.09You can pick up a card from Walgreens on your way to exchange gifts, but it'll mean more if you think just a few days ahead. Etsy has great options for cheap, unique, handmade gifts that are cool and thoughtful. This one is perfect for a couple who appreciates a "The Office" deep cut. A streaming stick that gives you access to hundreds of thousands of movies and TV episodesAmazonRoku Streaming Stick +, available at Best Buy, $44.99Roku's Streaming Stick+ is exceptional for its 4K, HDR, and HD streaming, and long-range wireless receiver. Installing it is an easy process and starts by plugging the stick into his TV.A great foam rollerTB12Vibrating Pliability Roller, available on TB12, $160If your girlfriend is very physically active, a foam roller is a nice gift to aid in her workout recovery and soreness. This one is our favorite because it has four levels of vibration, a pattern that targets muscle groups, and a durable exterior. But, if your budget doesn't fit a $160 foam roller, never fear — we like some under-$20 options too. A subscription to a book club that sends her great hardcovers once per monthBook of the Month Instagram3-Month Subscription, available at Book of the Month, $49.99If she's a bookworm, Book of the Month is an especially thoughtful and unique gift — it's a book club that has been around since 1926, and it's credited with discovering some of the most beloved books of all time ("Gone with the Wind" and "Catcher in the Rye" to name a couple). If you gift her a subscription, she'll receive a hardcover book delivered to her door once a month. Books are selected by a team of experts and celebrity guest judges.If she's really more into audiobooks or e-reading now rather than hardcovers, check out a gift subscription to Scribd (full review here).Fancy popcorn and a movie nightWilliams SonomaAmish Popcorn Gift Set, available at Williams Sonoma, $29.95Make a reservation at a nice outdoor restaurant, stock up on your girlfriend's favorite movie candy and some fun drinks ahead of time (wrap them for an extra wow-factor), and create your own in-house cinema experience. Or, perhaps even better, order a bunch of take-out from your favorite local restaurants.A gift set of a dozen decadent bath bombsAmazonBath Bomb Gift Set, available at Walmart, $34.53This bath bomb gift set comes with 12 handcrafted bath bombs that range from mango-papaya to lavender in scent, and some of which include flower petals. They're a great addition to a long bath, as is a bamboo bathtub tray. A subscription to a coffee service that sends coffees specifically for her taste preferencesDriftaway Facebook3-Month Subscription, available at Driftaway Coffee, from $75If your girlfriend loves coffee, she'll probably love to try Driftaway. It's a gourmet coffee subscription that gets smarter the longer you use it, remembering your preferences and steering you towards increasingly accurate brews for your specific tastes. The first shipment will be a tasting kit with four coffee profiles, which she'll rate online or in the app to start getting personalized options.A book of love letters written by history's great menAmazonLove Letters of Great Men, available at Amazon, $13.95It can be hard to do yourself justice in words — whether they're spoken or written in a card. This compilation of love letters written by great men can help you say it without actually technically saying it. Bonus points if you write your own, or mark the ones in the book that most closely resemble your own feelings.  A beautiful diamond necklace she'll have foreverAUrateDiamond Bezel Necklace, available at AUrate, from $320A diamond necklace doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, as fine jewelry startups like AUrate are proving. This necklace is something she can keep and wear forever, and both the solid gold and conflict-free diamonds are of the highest quality. Lush, subtly scented body washNecessaireNecessaire — The Body Wash, available at Sephora, $25New startup Necessaire formulates its body care products with nourishing vitamins and clean ingredients. The subtly scented Body Wash will leave her skin feeling clean, soft, and nourished. Hand sanitizer that smells goodTouchlandTouchland Power Mist Hand Sanitizer, available at Touchland, $9Many of us are using hand sanitizer a lot these days. Why not pick one they'd enjoy using? This version from Touchland is a little moisturizing and doesn't smell like alcohol or make hands sticky. Read our full review here.A stylish weekender to keep her organized on the goCaraa SportCaraa Studio Tote Large, available at Caraa, $250Caraa Sport makes some of the most functional and best-looking gym bags on the market. This one can transition from tote to backpack by adding straps. It also has a hidden shoe compartment and a waterproof and antimicrobial lining.An award-winning at-home facialSephoraDrunk Elephant T.L.C. Sukari Babyfacial, available at Sephora, $80This is an award-winning mask with a big following in the beauty and skincare community. It's $80, but it's an at-home pro-quality facial your girlfriend can use anytime — which is a fraction of the price required for regular facials.Kitchen towels that rate wines by how well they pair with certain foodsUncommon GoodsWine Pairing Towel, available at Wolf & Badger, $19If your girlfriend loves having a nice glass of wine and/or cooking, she'll appreciate the thought behind this unique wine pairing towel. Grab a bottle and some corresponding ingredients for a fun night in for the two of you.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytDec 8th, 2021

How Migrant Surge At The Border Fuels Massive American OD"s From Tiny Grains of This Killer Drug

How Migrant Surge At The Border Fuels Massive American OD's From Tiny Grains of This Killer Drug By Vince Bielski, published originally in RealClearInvestigations.com On a September afternoon, Allyssia Solorio wondered why her energetic young brother hadn’t emerged from his bedroom in their Sacramento, Calif., home. When she opened his door, she saw 23-year-old Mikael leaning back on his bed with his legs dangling over the side. She rushed to her brother and shook him, but to no avail. He was dead. A counterfeit pharmaceutical pill laced with illicit fentanyl had killed him. Mikael Tirado was one of an estimated 93,331 overdose fatalities in the United States last year – an all-time high. Nearly five times the murder rate, the deadly overdose toll was primarily caused by fentanyl, a highly lethal synthetic opioid. It’s manufactured mostly by Mexican cartels with ingredients imported from China, and then smuggled over the southwestern U.S. border. Fentanyl has been arriving in larger quantities each year since at least 2016. The cartels are taking advantage of law enforcement weaknesses and policy failures to smuggle record amounts of the lethal drug into the United States, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former drug and immigration agents. While a lack of screening technology to find contraband at ports of entry and an inept U.S-Mexico campaign to cripple the cartels are longstanding issues, there’s also a new one: the flood of migrants across the border that the Biden administration has done little to stop. Former law enforcement officials say the cartels are orchestrating the surge, overwhelming the capacity of agents to pursue drug smugglers. They can freely enter Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California carrying fentanyl while agents are diverted to the time-consuming duty of apprehending and processing migrants. Frustrated border agents and their union have been calling on Congress to send reinforcements. But help is not on the way. The administration’s upcoming budget request doesn’t include funding for more Customs and Border Protection agents. In September, tensions boiled over after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris lashed out at agents on horseback in response to videos showing them blocking Haitians crossing the border. Harris compared the incident to the mistreatment of slaves, an inflammatory accusation that the union strongly denied, saying no migrants were hit or hurt. The administration is pivoting away from law enforcement and embracing a public health approach to the fentanyl crisis. It has proposed spending $11.2 billion – a huge increase over last year – to expand substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services. Fewer addicts would mean fewer deaths from fentanyl. But curbing opioid addiction is very challenging. The vast majority of substance abusers avoid treatment, according to researchers, and only about one-third of those receiving long-term medical care fully recover. These success stories, however, will be offset if the supply of fentanyl continues to boom and fuel more addiction. “Drug treatment is very important, but you can’t treat someone in the morgue who just died from fentanyl poisoning. It’s too late,” says Derek Maltz, the former director of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s special operations division, which primarily targets cartels. “We have to vigorously attack the production labs in Mexico and increase border security on our side.” Cartels have turned to fentanyl because the super-potent powder is cheap to produce, making it more profitable than heroin, says Eric Triana, an assistant special agent in charge at the DEA division in New York. Two of Mexico’s most powerful crime groups – the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels – manufacture the synthetic drug in rustic clandestine labs. In the U.S., the powder is mixed with heroin to stretch supplies. To boost sales, cartels have more recently increased production of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. They are made with fentanyl but labeled to look exactly like legitimate medications such as Percocet, Vicodin and Xanax. Cartels are increasing production of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Above, a seized pill press. Flickr/DEA The fake pills, which are promoted and sold on social media platforms as real pharmaceuticals, are priced to sell at a discounted rate of about $20 each. They have brought the dangers of fentanyl to mainstream America, with victims belonging to every age, class and racial group. Nationwide, DEA agents seized an unprecedented 9.5 million fake pills -- some portion of that total in every U.S. state in the first nine months of 2021, or more than the last two years combined. That prompted the agency to issue a rare public safety alert in September. Fentanyl’s potency – at 50 times the strength of heroin – is what makes it so deadly. Two milligrams, which can fit on the tip of a pencil, can kill. But cartels don’t take precautions to make sure the pills aren’t lethal. DEA analysis found that 40% of the seized pills had a potentially deadly dose. “I saw the devastation that heroin brought to Baltimore as a young police officer,” Triana says. “But fentanyl is a more potent deadly threat. It’s frightening.” Crime groups have gained complete control of the Mexican side of the 1,950-mile border, directing the flow of both migrants and drugs. The Gulf Cartel runs the region around Brownsville, Texas, and moving west to California, the Cartel of the Northeast, Juarez Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel have staked out turf, says Victor Avila, a former supervisory special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement who specialized in human and narcotics trafficking. Diversion Game at the Border They operate openly as if they were the Mexican military. Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which has recently expanded operations, even slaps a “CJNG” logo in big letters on its military-style trucks and uniforms as part of a show of force. The Jalisco cartel increasingly operates like a military force. (Above, a purported convoy.)  Twitter/@jaeson_jones The surge of migrants that began in 2019 and accelerated after Biden took office has been a boon to these violent enterprises. The migrants are coming from Eastern Europe and Africa as well as Central and South America, lured partly by the administration’s policy that allows unaccompanied children and families to stay in the states while they apply for asylum, according to border agents who have interviewed them. In addition to paying cartels between about $2,000 and $9,000 each to cross, migrants are also used as decoys in drug smuggling operations. Equipped with encrypted communications and satellite technologies, crime organizations are precisely orchestrating the timing and location of the border crossings of large migrant groups as part of a diversion tactic, several officers say. Dozens of agents are forced to leave their posts guarding many miles of the border and at checkpoints on roads to assist with apprehensions of the groups. The cartels work with spotters in the Halcon network to identify these wide security gaps along the border and send drug smugglers on foot through them undetected. A Call for More Agents “The illegal alien flows are so big that the Border Patrol has to leave hundreds of miles of border unprotected,” says Avila. “This absolutely means more fentanyl has been entering the country in the last few years.” The smugglers make their way across tough terrain to one of hundreds of stash houses located near roads in the border region. The drugs are then placed in cars and driven through often unguarded checkpoints and across the country. Rather than pursue these smugglers, many Border Patrol agents are handling the crush of migrants entering the U.S. They apprehended more than 1.7 million this fiscal year, or six times the 2017 number. (That doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands who got away, according to Border Patrol estimates.) Agents deport most of the single adults. But they have to assist in transporting, processing, housing and feeding the unaccompanied children and families who are placed in border patrol facilities for weeks before they are released into the U.S. to pursue asylum claims. In the busiest border areas, such as Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio, as many as 30% of agents are pulled from the frontlines to deal with the migrant overflow, says Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council. Texas is trying to fill the security void by deploying hundreds of state troopers and the National Guard in Operation Lonestar, a $1.8 billion effort. They have seized 127 pounds of fentanyl this year through early September. The Trump administration was able to tamp down the number of migrants crossing the border by forcing them to remain in Mexico while they applied for asylum. Biden ended that program, calling it inhumane, and the administration is now fighting a court order to reinstate it. Judd says as long as Biden’s asylum policy is in place, the Border Patrol, which has about 14,000 field agents covering both coasts and both land borders, needs thousands more to help secure the Southwest flank. Pleas to congressional leaders for help, made by Judd’s union and former Border Patrol chiefs, have gone unheeded.   “If you are not going to change the policy, then give me more manpower to stop the drugs,” Judd says. “But Democrats control Congress, and while some of them are fairly good on border security, it isn’t a priority for a majority of them.” So far this year, CBP has redeployed 400 agents from the northern and coastal areas to the southern border – not nearly enough to fill the gaps, Judd says. In a statement to RealClearInvestigations, a CBP spokesperson said the agency continues to evaluate the need for more agents and pointed to drug busts as evidence of strong enforcement. Border and customs agents seized 10,000 pounds of fentanyl this fiscal year, according to agency data. That’s five times the catch in 2018. But agents say more seizures actually indicates that more of the deadly drug is entering the country since they have only been capturing an estimated 10% to 15% of the total. Most of the fentanyl is pouring over the Southwest border at the U.S. ports of entry, particularly in California, a favorite route for smugglers. The challenge for customs agents at the controlled inspection ports in four states is very different than the cat-and-mouse pursuits of the Border Patrol: How to find illegal contraband in vehicles without slowing trade with Mexico worth hundreds of billions of dollars each year. The San Ysidro port in California between San Diego and Tijuana is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere. The 70,000 vehicle passengers headed north every day through the port have to wait in long lines of traffic for an hour, on average. Nearby, the thousands of commercial trucks that go through the Otay Mesa port daily have even longer waits. Legal trade and travel occupy patrols at ports of entry like San Ysidro (above), which smugglers exploit. AP Photo/Gregory Bull Customs agents are in a fix. They are under pressure to efficiently clear trucks from Mexico carrying fruits, vegetables, electronics and other goods for entry into the U.S. But that priority to avoid costly commercial delays is in constant conflict with the need to stop and search the vehicles for illicit goods. More often than not, smugglers get waved through without a search. “Transnational criminal organizations take advantage of the chaos and clutter at the ports of entry that are dealing with so much legitimate trade and travel,” says Victor Manjarrez, a former Border Patrol supervisor and now a security expert at the University of Texas at El Paso. Cartels have the confidence to go big at the border. In August, a Mexican tractor-trailer driver attempted to cross at Otay Mesa with 2.8 tons of methamphetamine and fentanyl hidden among plastic household goods. Agents scanned the cargo using an X-ray-like machine and saw what they described as “anomalies” inside the trailer. Then a canine team sniffed out narcotics worth $13 million. It was the largest ever meth bust along the border. Customs agents would arrest more smugglers if they were equipped with basic scanning technology used in the huge Otay Mesa seizure. It helps them quickly make better decisions about which vehicles to inspect manually, a process that can take hours. CBP says it has been deploying more large-scale scanners at ports of entry in the last two years. Remarkably, only 15% of trucks were scanned at Southwest ports of entry in 2019, according to a CBP report. And less than half of them received any formal inspection because customs agents have to move too rapidly through the snarl of waiting traffic, says Manjarrez. Many of the 328 U.S. ports also need to be expanded and modernized to reduce wait times to allow for more inspections. The Biden administration is asking Congress for $660 million for upgrades, or enough to improve only a handful of the old ports. Otay Mesa’s $144 million expansion plan alone would absorb almost a quarter of this new funding. “It’s really only a down payment for what is needed,” Manjarrez says. ‘Hugs, Not Bullets’ in Mexico More agents and technology would “absolutely make a bigger dent” in the flow of fentanyl over the border, Manjarrez says, but not stop it. Agents say Mexico also has to begin targeting the hundreds of cartel production labs to further cut the supply. “Destroying the labs has to be a top priority because, without them, the cartels can’t continue to kill our kids,” says Maltz, the former DEA organized crime specialist. But President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ended Mexico’s military campaign against cartel leaders two years ago. Soldiers captured and killed many kingpins, but the crackdown also unleashed a reign of violence that Lopez Obrador pledged to blunt. The populist president is pushing his “hugs, not bullets” agenda to reduce poverty in the hope that it will eventually curb the appeal of drug smuggling. Meanwhile, the cartels, facing little government resistance, have continued to expand their hold on territory and corrupt lawmakers, according to Vanda Felbab-Brown, a scholar focusing on nonstate armed actors at the Brookings Institution. The clout of the cartels was made clear in 2020 when U.S. agents arrested a former Mexican defense secretary for taking bribes to protect the ultraviolent H-2 Cartel. Outraged officials pressured the U.S. to return Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda to Mexico where prosecutors promptly exonerated him. The more lasting damage to drug enforcement came when Mexico passed a law in response to Cienfuegos’ arrest. Maltz says it froze DEA’s operations in Mexico by requiring agents to pass sensitive intelligence through a central foreign affairs office that they believe is corrupt.   “The cartels control Mexico. All of it,” says Avila, the former ICE agent who survived gunshot wounds in an ambush with a cartel. “They are running a parallel government.” The U.S. Plays Nice With the U.S. drug enforcement imperiled, Felbab-Brown has called on the Biden administration to “get tough” with Mexico. In January she urged the administration to use financial support as leverage to compel Mexico to target mid-level cartel operatives and their corrupt government protectors to avoid the bloodshed that comes with taking down bosses. But the State Department is taking a conciliatory position, essentially backing Lopez Obrador’s economic development strategy in an agreement between the two countries announced in early October. The Biden administration has been conciliatory toward Mexico, but not its own mounted agents. AP Photo/Felix Marquez At a joint press conference, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the countries had relied too much on security forces to try to weaken the cartels. Over the past decade the U.S. has spent $3 billion to arm and train the Mexican military and police as part of the Merida Initiative. During that time, drug trafficking into the U.S. increased. A new agreement will replace Merida, making job creation in poor communities and drug treatment and prevention top priorities, Blinken said. The countries did agree to pursue the cartels, particularly by curtailing the illegal supply of U.S. arms into Mexico and money laundering activities. But the prosecution of cartel members isn’t the priority. Mexico Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said the success of the agreement won’t be measured by how many drug lords go to jail.   The administration’s strategy has plenty of backers in the criminal justice and public health professions. “I'm sympathetic to the argument that Mexico is on the border with the largest consumer of fentanyl and cocaine in the world,” says Bryce Pardo, a drug policy specialist at Rand Corp. “We could do more to reduce our insatiable appetite for drugs.” In the meantime, more fentanyl smuggled into the U.S. means more deaths. Triana, the DEA special agent, estimates that the number of overdose fatalities this year will either be on par with or exceed 2020’s. Allyssia Solorio, the sister of the Sacramento man who died from fentanyl, has become an activist to raise awareness of the dangers of the illicit drug. The former postal worker says law enforcement must play a larger role. “President Biden can do a lot more to shut down the smuggling of fentanyl over the Mexican border,” she says. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 23:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 3rd, 2021

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial

Victim Hopes For Justice In Ghislaine Maxwell Trial Authored by Charlotte Cuthbertson via The Epoch Times, Jeffrey Epstein molested her and she didn’t tell a soul for 17 years. Teresa Helm was 22, and she had already patched her life back together after being sexually abused by a close family member, starting at age 8. “I really suffered in silence,” Helm told The Epoch Times’ “Insight” magazine. As a child, she had told her mother about the abuse in the hope that she’d make it stop. Instead, her mother told her not to tell anyone, and it continued for 3 1/2 years. “I just didn’t get help, even though I kept asking for it. And so after what happened with Jeffrey, I suffered in silence, just like I had always kind of done,” she said. In 2002, Helm had moved to California from Ohio and was attending a massage therapy school, positive of a bright future. It became even more exciting when a fellow student, a year ahead of her, approached her about an opportunity for a traveling massage therapist job. Helm was interested and was connected with another young woman, whom she subsequently met at Santa Monica to discuss the potential job. “We looked similar, we were at a similar age, so I connected with her,” Helm said. “I never felt like anything she was saying to me wasn’t legitimate, or I never felt fearful.” Teresa Helm at age 21. (Courtesy of Teresa Helm) Helm said the woman painted a phenomenal picture of what life would be like as “Miss Maxwell’s” personal traveling massage therapist—private jets, top chefs, access to the best education all over the world. “So I’d say that she did her job very well. Because in an hour or so of walking around the boardwalk, I was like, ‘Wow. This is really great. I’m so lucky, this is meant to be.'” Wanting to grasp the incredible opportunity, Helm told the woman she was interested, and was informed that she’d need to fly to New York City and meet Maxwell for the final interview. Two weeks later, Helm’s travel to New York City had been arranged—flights, driver, an Upper East Side apartment to stay in, a gift basket waiting. “I go meet with Miss Maxwell. I was expecting to give a massage because that’s what the interview was pertaining to. And everything with Ghislaine Maxwell was legitimate and pleasant, and she was very polite. Her home was stunning,” Helm said. “I was super impressed with her because she’s this very well-spoken woman, and she’s clearly successful because of her beautiful home, and she has photos on the wall of ex-president Bill Clinton. And I’m thinking: ‘Wow, she’s really something special, she’s worked hard. She’s accomplished a lot in her life.'” Helm spent a couple of hours in the home before Maxwell told her she was next going to meet up with Maxwell’s partner, Jeffrey. It was the first time Helm had heard of a partner, but nothing had indicated she should feel alarmed or that she was in any kind of danger. Any red flags, she realized in hindsight, had been easily normalized and explained away. Even when Maxwell told her to “give Jeffrey whatever he wants” during his massage because he “always gets what he wants,” Helm thought Maxwell clearly must mean, “Do a good job, because he’s had a lot of professional massages.” “Because of my trust with [Maxwell]—she was able to create that trusting bond within me in a matter of hours—I literally walked myself to the man of the house who was going to assault me,” Helm said. “I took myself there, because those three women did their job perfectly well and I didn’t suspect a darn thing. When I look back at the fact that three women set me up to be assaulted, it’s just disgusting. It’s a different level of betrayal.” Helm said Epstein sexually assaulted her in his office during the interview and threatened her as she ran out of the house, her world shaking and head spinning. Shocked to the core and full of shame, Helm returned to California the following day. (Photo and illustration by The Epoch Times) “The shame was overwhelming, it was paralyzing,” she recalled. “I was just so ashamed to say anything.” Her life spiraled down, and three months later she broke her lease, dropped out of school, and returned to Ohio. For the next five years, Helm fell into a destructive pattern. But just weeks before her 28th birthday, she found out she was pregnant, and life shifted again—this time toward the positive. “That’s what really saved my life and turned my life around,” she said. “It was the first time I really valued myself. It was like that sense of purpose. And knowing that I was going to protect my child the way that I was never protected. “Then after having him, I was so honored to be his mom. And then it really actually dug up, it was like, almost hatred toward my mom and Jeffrey. That first year of my son’s life was a lot of emotional processing for me. And I just wanted to kind of remove myself from the world and just be a mom. And that’s what I did.” Helm’s son has just turned 14, and she also has a daughter who is 7. She is the full-time caregiver for both. ‘The World Shifted’ Helm, who had moved to Florida, was folding laundry one Thursday evening in July 2019 when she went online and saw a headline about Epstein after he’d been arrested for sex trafficking. She clicked the link to open the article and came face-to-face with her abuser. In that instant, she realized “Jeffrey” was Epstein. Stunned, she sat down and googled Ghislaine Maxwell and Jeffrey Epstein. “It was life changing, just in that moment. It was like retraumatization, No. 1. No. 2, it was like the world shifted and changed all over again. It’s been different ever since that moment, like the world changed yet again, in that moment and it has not gone back. Nor will it,” Helm said. “Because I didn’t know there were others. I didn’t know that this was this huge thing with these people.” The following day, after a regular yoga class, Helm sat in her car and sobbed as the emotions swirled. She decided it was time to break her silence. The opportunity to speak out presented itself quickly. Epstein was found dead in his cell at the Metropolitan Correctional Center on Aug. 10, 2019, one month after his arrest. A medical examiner ruled it a suicide by hanging nine days later. The New York judge, Richard Berman, would be forced to dismiss the charges against Epstein—which included the sex trafficking of dozens of minors from as early as 1995—but not before he allowed survivors to speak. Twenty-three women spoke in the courthouse on Aug. 27 about being sexually abused by Epstein, either in person or through a lawyer. “I’m coming forward because it is time to bring light to that darkness, and it’s time to replace that darkness with light,” Helm said that day. She had only decided that morning to speak out and use her name publicly. Another survivor, “Jane Doe 9,” said she was 15 when she met Epstein, in 2004. “I flew on Jeffrey Epstein’s plane to Zorro Ranch, where I was sexually molested by him for many hours.” she said through a lawyer. “What I remember most vividly was him explaining to me how beneficial the experience was for me and how much he was helping me to grow. Yikes.” Epstein’s Zorro Ranch is in New Mexico. He also owned multimillion dollar properties in New York, Florida, and France, and his own islands in the Caribbean, Little St. James Island and Great St. James Island. Epstein has been linked with a veritable who’s who of the fashion and political worlds. Attorney Gloria Allred (R) and her client Teala Davies, who claims to have been a victim of sexual abuse by Jeffrey Epstein when she was a minor, at a press conference to announce a lawsuit against Epstein’s estate, in New York on Nov. 21, 2019. (TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP via Getty Images) Chauntae Davies also spoke in the courtroom. She said she was recruited by Maxwell while doing a massage apprenticeship. “Upon my first meeting her, I wouldn’t know I had been recruited until many years later, when I would read it in a headline,” Davies said. She said Maxwell and Epstein took her in, sent her to school, and gave her a job. “They flew me around the world, introduced me to a world I had only dreamt of and made me feel as though I had become a part of their family—another thing I was desperately searching for,” Davies said. “But on my third or fourth time meeting them, they brought me to Jeffrey’s island for the first time.” Davies said a knock on her door late at night indicated that Epstein was ready for another massage, so she hesitantly went to his villa. As Epstein began his assault on her, Davies said she told him, “No, please stop.” “But that just seemed to excite him more. He continued to rape me, and when he was finished, he hopped off and went to the shower.” Davies said she ran out of the villa, cried herself to sleep, and then spent two weeks in a Los Angeles hospital throwing up from a neurological disorder that manifests into violent vomiting attacks, largely triggered by stress. “Jeffrey’s abuse would continue for the next three years, and I allowed it to continue because I had been taken advantage of my entire life and had been conditioned to just accept it.” A protestor holds up a sign of Jeffrey Epstein in front of the federal courthouse in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Stephanie Keith/Getty Images) Maxwell on Trial Helm had finally broken her silence, and it was a watershed moment. She didn’t get to see Epstein face his charges, but she’s eager to be in court to see Maxwell face hers. FBI agents arrested Maxwell at her New Hampshire estate on July 2, 2020. She has been in a Brooklyn jail since. Bail has been denied several times, with Judge Alison Nathan ruling that she is a flight risk. The trial was originally set for July, but was delayed until Nov. 29 and is expected to last six weeks. Jury selection began on Nov. 16. Maxwell is charged with sex trafficking children, perjury, and the enticement of minors while she was a close associate of Epstein, according to a superseding indictment filed in the Southern District of New York on March 29. “In particular, from at least in or about 1994, up to and including at least in or about 2004, Maxwell assisted, facilitated, and contributed to Jeffrey Epstein’s abuse of minor girls by, among other things, helping Epstein to recruit, groom, and ultimately abuse victims known to Maxwell and Epstein to be under the age of 18,” the indictment alleges. “Moreover, in an effort to conceal her crimes, Maxwell repeatedly lied when questioned about her conduct, including in relation to some of the minor victims described herein, when providing testimony under oath in 2016.” Virginia Giuffre (formerly Virginia Roberts), one of Epstein’s most well-known accusers, claimed in a 2016 deposition that she was directed by Maxwell to have sex with a number of rich and powerful men, including “foreign presidents,” a “well-known” prime minister, and “other world leaders.” None of the men Giuffre named in the documents have been charged, and all have denied the claims. A court officer stands outside a Manhattan courthouse where media have gathered for the arraignment hearing of Ghislaine Maxwell in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images) Maxwell, often described as a British socialite, maintains her innocence on all charges and in a 2016 deposition claimed she had no idea Epstein abused young girls. During the deposition, Maxwell was asked: “Did Jeffrey Epstein have a scheme to recruit underage girls for sexual massages? If you know.” She replied: “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” according to the transcript. “I never saw any inappropriate underage activities with Jeffrey ever.” Maxwell acknowledged that former President Bill Clinton traveled on Epstein’s plane, but denied introducing Britain’s Prince Andrew to underage sex partners. “I’m ready for this trial to start,” Helm said. “I really aim to be there and look at her right in her face, and equally as important is for her to see me.” Helm isn’t named in the indictment and won’t be testifying, but that doesn’t matter. “I’m hopeful that there will be justice in this, that she will finally be held accountable and finally be sentenced for crimes that she has committed and for the lives that she has just willingly stepped in and ruined. This is a woman that changed the entire trajectory of my life and not for the better.” Helm said she hopes Maxwell is found guilty on all charges and receives the maximum penalties. “I don’t think for a moment that she deserves to be on the outside of a jail cell,” she said. “I and other girls, we’re on the outside of these bars, and yet we haven’t fully regained our freedom back. So I hope she gets the maximum sentence. She doesn’t deserve any less than that.” Helm said she often gets asked if she thinks Epstein’s death means Maxwell is now a scapegoat and is being punished for his crimes. “No, I do not. She knew what she was doing. She didn’t think twice about doing it. She did it countless times. She did it … very masterfully, very successfully,” she said. “You don’t help facilitate and run and orchestrate one of the largest sex trafficking rings on this globe, on this earth, without knowing what you’re doing and intentionally doing it.” An exterior view of the Metropolitan Detention Center in New York City on July 14, 2020. (Arturo Holmes/Getty Images) The indictment alleges that Maxwell befriended some of Epstein’s minor victims prior to their abuse, including by asking the victims about their lives, their schools, and their families. Other times, Maxwell and Epstein would take the victim shopping or to the movies, or pay travel or education expenses. “Having developed a rapport with a victim, Maxwell would try to normalize sexual abuse for a minor victim by, among other things, discussing sexual topics, undressing in front of the victim, being present when a minor victim was undressed, and/or being present for sex acts involving the minor victim and Epstein,” the court document states. The indictment goes on to say that in order to “maintain and increase his supply of victims,” Epstein, Maxwell, and other Epstein employees also paid certain victims to recruit additional girls to be similarly abused by Epstein. Helm said she has tried to understand what would cause a woman such as Ghislaine to intentionally set girls up to be forever traumatized. She said she has read how Ghislaine lost her father, whom she was very close to, and met Epstein not long afterwards. Helm said she lost her own father unexpectedly almost seven years ago. “I still to this very day miss him incredibly, and I am not out there hurting people,” she said. “There’s no grievance, or there’s no tragedy that justifies you turning around becoming literally a monster.” Maxwell’s lawyers didn’t respond to a request for comment by Insight. Epstein avoided criminal charges for years, raising questions about being protected by the rich and powerful. In September 2007, he entered into a nonprosecution agreement that gave him immunity against prosecution for numerous federal sex crimes in the Southern District of Florida. As part of the deal, in 2008, Epstein ultimately pled guilty to state charges of procuring a minor for prostitution and was registered as a sex offender. He spent 13 months in jail but was granted work release for 12 hours a day, six days a week. The Grooming Process Grooming and recruitment are critical steps in the sex trafficking industry. “If you don’t have a successful grooming process, you don’t have the abuse, because it just doesn’t make it that far,” Helm said. Jennifer Hill, assistant executive director of the Children’s Assessment Center in Houston, said her organization sees 5,000 children a year who’ve been sexually abused, both by family members or through trafficking. And that’s just the children who have spoken up. “I think most people never, ever tell. And that’s what’s tragic,” she said. Hill said it’s hard to discern how many children don’t report abuse, but statistics show that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused before they’re 18. Common events—the divorce of parents, a breakup, bullying, or the death of a family member—can all make a child vulnerable. Many trafficked children come from the foster care system. But sexual abuse is the most common source of vulnerability for sex-trafficked children—70 to 90 percent of these children have a history of sexual abuse, according to anti-trafficking organization Path2Freedom. Hill said the grooming and recruitment process takes different forms, but involves getting access to the intended victim and gaining their trust so that eventually they’ll be willing to listen to that person, and that person has some control over their behavior. For children, it can include buying gifts, listening to their problems, or helping them in some way. These days, a lot of grooming occurs online through messaging apps or social media and gaming platforms. Post-abuse, children can be threatened to stay silent. Hill said she hopes the Maxwell trial will spur other victims of trafficking and sexual abuse to come forward. As a former prosecutor of child sex abuse cases, she said a lot of abusers are teachers or trusted adults in the community, which can be intimidating for victims. Her organization conducts awareness trainings for law enforcement, medical professionals, mental health professionals, teachers, and the community on recognizing and reporting trafficking. Helm said so many lessons can be taken from the Maxwell case, “like the fact that it can be a woman.” “That woman groomed me precisely well, beautifully. And that grooming process is so crucial for parents to identify that this is what’s happening to their children. Or for a child to think I think this might be happening to me. Because that grooming process is such a transfer of power [and] a gatekeeper to the abuse.” During 2019, the National Human Trafficking hotline received reports of 11,500 human trafficking cases, representing more than 22,000 victims. California, Texas, and Florida are identified as the worst three states for human trafficking. In Texas alone, more than 79,000 children are being trafficked for sex, according to a study by the University of Texas at Austin. “There’s not one single zip code in this nation, not one that is exempt from trafficking,” Helm said. “It happens in the wealthiest of the wealthiest, to the most impoverished, and everything in between. It has exploded online.” A residence belonging to Jeffrey Epstein on East 71st St. on the Upper East Side of Manhattan in New York City on July 8, 2019. (Kevin Hagen/Getty Images) The Threat Online Fifty-five percent of domestic sex-trafficking survivors who entered the life in 2015 or later met their trafficker for the first time using a mobile app, website, or text, said Tammy Toney-Butler, an anti-human trafficking consultant for Path2Freedom. Predators ramped up their sexual enticement of minors and the posting of child sexual abuse material as schools closed and kids worked online from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The number of reports of online child sexual abuse materials reported to the NCMEC during the first six months of 2020 surged 90 percent to more than 12 million, the center reported. Reports of predators enticing minors went up 93 percent to more than 13,200. Facebook was used for most (59 percent) of the online recruitment in active sex trafficking cases in 2020, according to the Human Trafficking Institute’s annual trafficking report. That makes Facebook “by far the most frequently referenced website or app in public sources connected with these prosecutions, which was also true in 2019,” the report found. In June, the Texas Supreme Court ruled that Facebook could be held liable if sex traffickers use the platform to prey on children, arguing the social media website isn’t a “lawless no-man’s-land.” The ruling was made following three Houston-area lawsuits involving teenage trafficking victims who alleged that they met their abusers through Facebook’s messaging service. Prosecutors also said that Facebook was negligent by not doing more to block sex traffickers from using the site. The court said the victims can move forward with their lawsuits against Facebook. They claimed that the company violated the Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code, which was approved in 2009. Toney-Butler said the income traffickers can make from one victim can be close to $400,000 a year, and survivors have reported being forced to have sex more than 20 times a day while being six to seven months pregnant. And once a woman is over 18, she’s often seen by society as “a drug-addicted prostitute” rather than a victim of sex trafficking, she said. A child, after being pulled into sex trafficking, “only lives for seven years before they succumb to the environment,” Toney-Butler said. Suicide, drug overdose, and violence are often the killers. Teresa Helm (R) with three other sex-trafficking survivors, (L–R) Cathy Hoffman, Sabrina Lopez, and Nissi Hamilton, in Houston on April 24. (Kathleen O. Ryan) The Future Now 41, Helm is hopeful. Aside from looking after her children, she’s a fierce advocate and mentor to other survivors and a consultant to organizations and politicians to ensure laws and programs are victim-centered. “Helping others is the ultimate payback. That I didn’t completely break forever. I’ve been broken and I have repaired myself stronger,” she said. She referred to the old Japanese art form called kintsukuroi, or “to repair with gold,” which is the practice of repairing broken ceramics with gold, making them stronger and more beautiful than before. “And I definitely kind of view myself as that, in the fact that I can turn around and leverage this pain into purpose and help others—that’s the ultimate thing for me, to be able to be strong enough to go out and help others, help them change their lives, help them recover their lives and recover their power.” For Help The National Human Trafficking Hotline is confidential, toll-free, and available 24/7 in more than 200 languages. Call: 1-888-373-7888 Text: “Help” or “Info” to 233733 Chat: humantraffickinghotline.org Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 23:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Black Friday Turns Red On "Terrible News" - Global Markets Crater On "Nu Variant" Panic

Black Friday Turns Red On "Terrible News" - Global Markets Crater On "Nu Variant" Panic The Friday after thanksgiving is called black Friday because that's when retailers finally turn profitable for the year. Not so much for market, however, because this morning it's red as far as the eye can see. The culprit: the same one we discussed late last night - the emergence of a new coronavirus strain detected in South Africa, known as B.1.1.529, which reportedly carries an "extremely high number" of mutations and is “clearly very different” from previous incarnations, which may drive further waves of disease by evading the body’s defenses according to South African scientists, and soon, Anthony Fauci. British authorities think it is the most significant variant to date and have hurried to impose travel restrictions on southern Africa, as did Japan, the Czech Republic and Italy on Friday. The European Union also said it aimed to halt air travel from the region. "Markets have been quite complacent about the pandemic for a while, partly because economies have been able to withstand the impact of selective lockdown measures. But we can see from the new emergency brakes on air travel that there will be ramifications for the price of oil," said Chris Scicluna, head of economic research at Daiwa. As a result, what was initially just a 1% drop in US index futures, has since escalated to a plunge of as much as 2% with eminis dropping the most since September, at one point dropping below 4,600 after closing on Wednesday above 4,700 as a post-Thanksgiving selloff spread across global markets amid mounting concerns the new B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant - which today will be officially called by the Greek lettter Nu - could derail the global economic recovery.  Russell 2000 contracts sank as much as 5.4%. Technology shares may be caught in the net too as Nasdaq 100 futures slid. The VIX increased as much as 9.4 vols to 28, it's biggest jump since January. It was last seen up 7.4 points, or the biggest increase since February. Adding to the pain, there is nothing on today's macro calendar and the US market closes early which will reduce already dismal liquidity even more, exacerbating some of the moves throughout the session. Headlines are likely to center on various nations preventing travel from South Africa whilst potentially imposing more stringent COVID measures domestically, as well as which countries "find" the Nu variant. Amid the panicked flight to safety, 10Y TSY yields tumbled as traders slashed bets on monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve (just hours after Goldman predicted that the Fed would double the pace of its taper and hike 3 times in 2022, oops) ... ... as did oil amid fears new covid lockdowns will lead to a collapse in crude demand (they will also certainly force OPEC+ to put on pause their plans to keep hiking output by 400K every month). Paradoxically, even cryptos are tumbling, which is surprising since even the dumbest algos should realize by now that a new covid outbreak means more dovish central banks, no tightening, and if nothing else, more QE and more liquidity which is precisely what cryptos need to break out to new all time highs. Cruise ship operator Carnival slumped 9.1% in premarket trading and Boeing slid 5.8% as travel companies tumbled worldwide. Stay-at-home stocks such as Zoom Video rallied.  Didi Global shares fell after Chinese regulators reportedly asked the ride-hailing giant to delist from U.S. bourses. Here are some of the other big premarket movers: Airlines and other travel stocks slumped in premarket trading on growing concern about a new Covid-19 variant identified in southern Africa. The European Union is proposing to halt air travel from several countries in the area and the U.K. will temporarily ban flights from the region. United Airlines (UAL US) fell 8.9%, Delta Air (DAL US) -7.9%, American Airlines (AAL US) -6.7%; cruiseline-operator Carnival (CCL US) -12%; hotelier Marriott (MAR US) -6.1%; lodging company Airbnb (ABNB US) -6.9%. Stay-at-home stocks that benefit from higher demand in lockdowns rose in premarket, with Zoom Video (ZM US) gaining 8.5% and fitness equipment group Peloton (PTON US) +4.7%. Vaccine stocks surged in premarket, while Pfizer and BioNTech got an added boost after their coronavirus shot won European Union backing for expanded use in children. Moderna (MRNA US) rose 8.8%, Novavax (NVAX US) +6.2%, Pfizer (PFE US) +5.1%, BioNTech (BNTX US) +6.4%. Small biotech stocks gained in premarket as investors sought havens. Ocugen (OCGN US) added 22%, Vir Biotechnology (VIR US) +7.8%, Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE US) +5%. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks fell as Bitcoin dropped as investors dumped risk assets. Marathon Digital (MARA US) declined 9%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -8.8%, Coinbase (COIN US) -4.6%. Didi Global (DIDI US) declined 6% in premarket after Chinese regulators were said to have asked the ride-hailing giant to delist from U.S. bourses. Selecta Biosciences (SELB US) dropped 13% in Wednesday’s postmarket ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving closure, after saying the U.S. FDA placed a clinical hold on a trial. Quotient Technology (QUOT US) gained 3.9% in Wednesday’s postmarket on news that a board member bought $150,000 of shares. What happens next will matter and so, all eyes are on the opening bell for the U.S. markets, set to return from the holiday for a shortened trading session. Tumbling futures and a soaring VIX signaled that the rout in Asia and Europe won’t spare New York equities, while lack of liquidity will only make the pain worse. The Japanese yen emerged as the main haven currency of the day, with the dollar languishing. “Every trader in New York will be rushing to the office now,” said Salm-Salm & Partner portfolio manager Frederik Hildner, adding that news of the new variant could mean the end of the inflation and tapering debate. The worsening pandemic poses a dilemma for central banks that are preparing to tighten monetary policy to curb elevated price pressures, according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “It’s terrible news,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, said in emailed comments. “The new Covid variant could hit the economic recovery, but this time, the central banks won’t have enough margin to act. They can’t fight inflation and boost growth at the same time. They have to choose.” “We now have a new Covid variant that’s ‘very’ different from the ones we knew so far, a rising inflation, and a market bubble,” she said.  “The only encouraging news is the easing oil prices, which could tame the inflationary pressures and give more time to the central banks before pulling back support.” In the meantime, the World Health Organization and scientists in South Africa were said to be working “at lightning speed” to ascertain how quickly the B.1.1.529 variant can spread and whether it’s resistant to vaccines. The new threat adds to the wall of worry investors are already contending with in the form of elevated inflation, monetary tightening and slowing growth. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index headed for the biggest drop in 13 months plunging 2.7%; travel and banking industries led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down as much as 3.7%, the biggest intraday drop since June 2020. Airbus slumped 8.6% in Paris and British Airways owner IAG tumbled 12% in London, while food-delivery stocks gained.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Stay-at-home stocks and Covid testing firms such as TeamViewer and DiaSorin are among the biggest gainers as worries over a new Covid variant send the Stoxx 600 tumbling on lockdown fears TeamViewer and DiaSorin rise as much as 6% and 7%, respectively On the down side, travel and leisure stocks plunge, with the likes of IAG, Lufthansa and Carnival posting double- digit falls IAG drops as much as 21% Software AG shares rise as much as 9.5% after Bloomberg reported that the firm is exploring strategic options, including a potential sale, with Morgan Stanley saying the company’s biggest headwinds are behind it. Evolution gains as much as 4.6%, recouping part of Thursday’s 16% plunge, with Bank of America saying the share price’s “crazy time” amounts to a good buying opportunity. Skistar rises as much as 3.7%, bucking steep declines for travel and leisure stocks, after Handelsbanken upgraded the stock, saying bookings for the Scandinavian ski resort operator are “set to surge.” Telecom Italia climbs as much as 2.8% following a Bloomberg report that private equity firms KKR and CVC are considering teaming up on a bid for the company. ING Groep falls as much as 11% after Goldman Sachs analyst Jean-Francois Neuez cut his recommendation to neutral from buy. Getlink drops as much as 6% as French fishermen start protests aimed at stepping up pressure on the U.K. in a post-Brexit fishing dispute. Earlier in the session, MSCI's index of Asian shares outside Japan fell 2.2%, its sharpest drop since August. Casino and beverage shares were hammered in Hong Kong, while travel stocks dropped in Sydney and Tokyo. Japan's Nikkei skidded 2.5% and S&P 500 futures were last down 1.8%. Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM, a brokerage, said the closure of the U.S. market for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday had exacerbated moves. "We need to see how transmissible this variant is, is it able to evade the vaccines - this is crucial," Coghlan said. "I expect this story to drag on for a few days until scientists have a better understanding of it." Indian stocks plunged as the detection of a new coronavirus strain rattled investor sentiment globally, raising concerns over a likely setback to the nascent economic recovery.  The S&P BSE Sensex lost 2.9%, the most since mid-April, to 57,107.15 in Mumbai, taking its loss this week to 4.2%, the biggest weekly drop since January. The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined by a similar magnitude on Friday. Reliance Industries was the biggest drag on both measures and declined 3.2%.  “There is fear of this new variant spreading to other countries which might again derail the global economy,” said Hemang Jani, head of equity strategy at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.   Of the 30 shares in the Sensex index, 26 fell and 4 gained. All but one of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. retreated, led by a index of realty companies. The S&P BSE Healthcare index was the only sub-index to gain, surging 1.2%. While researchers are yet to determine whether the new virus variant is more transmissible or lethal than previous ones, authorities around the world have been quick to act. The European Union, U.K., Israel, and Singapore placed emergency curbs on passengers from South Africa and the surrounding region. Travel stocks were among the hardest hit. InterGlobe Aviation Ltd. fell 8.9%, Spicejet Ltd. slipped 6.7% and Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. plunged 11.2%, the most since March 2020.  “Nervousness on the new variant of coronavirus and expectations of the U.S. Fed increasing the pace of tapering have led to recent market weakness,” Amit Gupta, fund manager for portfolio management services at ICICI Securities Ltd. said. “This trend may take some time to recover as the WHO meeting on the new mutant variant impact and hospitalization rates in US and Europe will be watched by the market very closely.” Crude oil to emerging markets completed this picture of mayhem. In rates, fixed income was firmly bid as Treasuries extended their advance led by the belly of the curve, outperforming bunds, while money markets pared rate-hike bets amid fears that a new coronavirus strain may spread globally, slowing economic growth. Cash Treasuries outperformed, richening 12-14bps across the short end, with Thursday’s closure exacerbating the optics. As shown above, 10Y Treasury yields shed as much as 10 basis points while the Japanese yen jumped the most since investors’ March 2020 rush for safety. Yields across the curve are lower by more than 8bp at long end, 13bp-15bp out to the 7-year point, moves that if sustained would be the largest since at least March 2020 and in some cases since 2009. Short-term interest rate futures downgraded the odds of Fed rate increases. Gilts richened 10-11bps across the curve, outperforming bunds by 4-5bps. Peripheral and semi-core spreads widen. In FX, JPY and CHF top the G-10 scoreboard with havens typically bid. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier touching a fresh cycle high, and the greenback was mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers as the yen and the Swiss franc led gains while the Canadian dollar and Norwegian krone were the worst performers as commodity prices plunged. Traders pushed back the timing of a 25-basis-point rate increase by the Federal Reserve to July from June, with only one further hike expected for the remainder of 2022. It’s a similar story in the U.K. where the Bank of England is now expected to tighten policy in February instead of next month. Wagers that the ECB will raise its deposit rate by the end of next year have also been slashed, with only a six basis-point increase priced in, half of that seen earlier this week. The European Union is proposing to follow the U.K. in halting air travel from southern Africa after the new Covid-19 variant was identified there. The yen is at the epicenter of skyrocketing currency volatility as the new virus variant shakes markets. The cost of hedging against swings in the Japanese currency over the next week, which captures the release of the next U.S. payrolls report, is the most expensive in more than a year. In commodities, crude futures are hit hard. WTI drops over 7% before finding support near $73, Brent drops over 5% before recovering near $78. Spot gold grinds higher, adding $21 to trade near $1,809/oz. Base metals are sharply offered with much of the complex off as much as 3%. Looking at the otherwise quiet day ahead, data releases include French and Italian consumer confidence for November, as well as the Euro Area M3 money supply for October. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos, and the ECB’s Visco, Schnabel, Centeno, Panetta and Lane, and BoE chief economist Pill. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.9% to 4,607.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 2.8% to 468.04 MXAP down 1.8% to 193.33 MXAPJ down 2.2% to 628.97 Nikkei down 2.5% to 28,751.62 Topix down 2.0% to 1,984.98 Hang Seng Index down 2.7% to 24,080.52 Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,564.09 Sensex down 2.7% to 57,234.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.7% to 7,279.35 Kospi down 1.5% to 2,936.44 Brent Futures down 5.8% to $77.46/bbl Gold spot up 0.9% to $1,805.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.33% to 96.46 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro up 0.4% to $1.1259 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The European Union is proposing to halt air travel from southern Africa over growing concern about a new Covid-19 variant that’s spreading there, as the U.K. said it will also temporarily ban flights from the region Those close to the Kremlin say the Russian president doesn’t want to start another war in Ukraine. Still, he must show he’s ready to fight if necessary in order to stop what he sees as an existential security threat: the creeping expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in a country that for centuries had been part of Russia Bitcoin tumbled 20% from record highs notched earlier this month as a new variant of the coronavirus spurred traders to dump risk assets across the globe Germany’s Greens tapped their two co- leaders to run the foreign ministry and take charge of an influential portfolio overseeing economy and climate protection in the country’s next government under Social Democrat Olaf Scholz A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets declined and US equity futures were also on the backfoot on reopen from the prior day’s Thanksgiving lull with markets spooked by new COVID variant concerns related to the B.1.1.529 variant in South Africa that was first detected in Botswana. The new variant showed a high number of mutations and was said to be the most evolved strain ever which spurred fears it could be worse than Delta and is prompting both the UK and Israel to halt flights from several African nations. ASX 200 (-1.7%) was negative with heavy losses in energy and broad underperformance in cyclicals leading the downturn across all sectors, while the much better than expected Australian Retail Sales data was largely ignored. Nikkei 225 (-2.5%) underperformed and gave up the 29k status as selling was exacerbated by detrimental currency inflows and with SoftBank shares among the worst hit on reports that China is said to have asked Didi to delist from US exchanges on security fears, which doesn't bode well for SoftBank given that its Vision Fund is the top shareholder in the Chinese ride hailing group with a stake of more than 20%. Hang Seng (-2.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.7%) conformed to the risk aversion with the mood not helped by ongoing geopolitical concerns after a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson noted they are ready to crush Taiwan independence bid "at any time”, while China also said it opposes US sanctions on its companies and will take all necessary measures to firmly defend the rights of Chinese companies. Beijing interference further contributed to the headwinds amid the request by China for Didi to delist from US which reports stated regulators could backtrack on and with Tencent subdued after some Chinese state-run companies restricted the use of Tencent's messaging app. Top Asian News Stocks in Asia Set for Worst Day Since March on Virus Woes Mizuho CEO Steps Down After Regulator Hit on System Issues Meituan 3Q Revenue Meets Estimates Japan’s Kishida Delivers $316 billion Extra Budget for Recovery European equities are trading markedly lower (Stoxx 600 -2.9%) with losses in the Stoxx 600 extending to 3.8% WTD. Sentiment throughout the week has been hampered by various lockdown measures imposed across the region with the latest leg lower accelerated by new COVID variant concerns related to the B.1.1.529 variant in South Africa. The new variant has shown a high number of mutations and is said to be the most evolved strain so far. This has spurred fears it could be worse than Delta and has prompted multiple nations to halt flights from several African nations.The handover from the overnight session was an equally downbeat one with the Nikkei 225 (-2.5%) dealt a hammer blow by the risk environment and unfavourable currency flows. Stateside, futures are lower across the board with the RTY the clear laggard with losses of 4.2% compared to the ES -1.8%, whilst the tech-heavy NQ is faring better than peers but ultimately still lower on the session to the tune of 1.6%. Note, early closures in the US and subsequent liquidity conditions could exacerbate some of the moves throughout the session. With the macro calendar light, focus for the session is likely to centre on various nations preventing travel from South Africa whilst potentially imposing more stringent COVID measures domestically. Any further clarity on the spread of the variant and its potential to evade vaccines will be of great interest to the market and likely be the main driving force of price action today. Sectors in Europe are lower across the board with the Stoxx 600 Banking (-5.1%) sector bottom of the pile amid the declines seen in global bond yields as markets scale back expectations of central bank tightening (e.g. pricing now assigns a 63% chance of a 15bps hike by the BoE next month vs. 93% a week ago). Oil & Gas names (-4.8%) are suffering on account of the declines in the crude space with WTI crude in freefall with losses of 6.7% given the potential impact of travel restrictions on demand. Travel restrictions on South Africa (from UK, Israel, EU et al) and the potential for further announcements has crushed the Travel & Leisure sector (-5.7%) with airline names dealt a hammer blow; IAG (-13.5%), easyJet (-11%), Deutsche Lufthansa (-12%), Air France (-9.5%). Elsewhere, there are a whole raft of other laggards which are very much in-fitting with the March 2020 playbook but there are simply too many to list for the purpose of this report. Defensives and Tech are faring better than peers but ultimately still lower on the session to the tune of 1% and 1.9% respectively. Finally, for anyone wanting some positivity from today’s session, the potential for further lockdowns has proved to be beneficial for the likes of HelloFresh (+3.2%), Ocado (+2.1%) and Delivery Hero (+1.9%). Top European News Airlines Skid on South Africa Travel Bans Tied to Variant German Coalition Proposes a Combustion-Car Ban Without Saying So Putin Pushes Confrontation With NATO as Hardliners Prevail Siemens Is Said to Kick Off Sale of Postal Logistics Business In FX, the index has been under pressure in the risk-averse environment amid a slump in yields and gains in its basket components – namely the JPY, CHF, EUR (see below) – and with liquidity also thinned by Thanksgiving. From a technical perspective, the index has declined from its 96.787 overnight high, through the 96.500 mark, to a low of 96.332 – with the weekly trough at 96.035. Ahead, the US calendar is once again light, with the US also poised for an early Thanksgiving closure; thus, impulses will likely be derived from the macro environment. JPY, CHF, EUR - Haven FX JPY and CHF are the clear outperformers as a function of risk-related inflows. USD/JPY has retreated from a 115.37 peak and fell through its 21 DMA (114.15) to a base around 113.66 - with the current weekly low around 113.64. USD/CHF retreated from 0.9360 to 0.9260 – with the 50 and 100 DMAs seen at 0.9234 and 0.9219, respectively, ahead of 0.9200. EUR/USD meanwhile gains on what is seemingly an unwind of the carry trade amid a spike in volatility. EUR/USD found support near 1.1200 before rebounding to a current 1.1288 peak. AUD, NZD, CAD, GBP - The non-US Dollar risk currencies bear the brunt of the latest market downturn, with losses across industrial commodities not helping. The Loonie has taken the spot as the biggest G10 loser as hefty COVID-induced losses in the oil complex keep the currency suppressed. USD/CAD trades towards the top of a current 1.2647-2774 range. AUD is also weighed on by softer base metal prices – AUD/USD fell from a 0.7200 overnight high to a current low at 0.7110. On that note, Westpac sees AUD/USD pushed down to 0.7000 by Jun 2022 (prev. 0.7700) amid rate differentials with the US; Westpac made significant changes to its FOMC policy forecast and now expect consecutive increases in the fed funds rate in Jun, Sept, and Dec 2022. NZD/USD is slightly more cushioned amid smaller exposure to commodities, and as the AUD/NZD cross takes aim at 1.0450 to the downside. GBP, meanwhile, was initially among the losers amid its high-beta status but thereafter nursed losses in a move that coincided with EUR/GBP rejecting an upside breach of its 21 DMA at 0.8475. EM - The ZAR is the standout laggard given the new South African COVID variant - B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant (expected to be named Nu) – which is said to be the most evolved strain so far and thus prompted several countries to halt travel to the country of origin. USD/ZAR currently trades within a 15.9375-16.3630 intraday band. Meanwhile, the downturn oil sees USD/RUB north of 75.00 and closer to 76.00 from a 74.2690 base. The Lira also feels some contagion despite the lower oil prices (Turkey being a large net oil importer) – USD/TRY is back on a 12.00 handle and within 11.92-1226 parameters at the time of writing. In commodities, the crude complex has been hit by compounding COVID fears which in turn triggered various travel restrictions and subsequently took its toll on global crude demand prospects. The new and more evolved South African variant prompted the UK, Singapore, and Israel to expand their travel red lists to include some African nations (Israel reported its first case of the new COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.529). Japan also imposed tighter border restrictions. China’s Shanghai city see flights impacted by its own outbreak. Europe also tackles its surge in daily cases - German Green Party's Baerbock (incoming Foreign Minister) does not rule out a German lockdown, according to Spiegel. EU Commission President von der Leyen is also to propose activation of the emergency air brake, to halt travel from southern Africa due to the B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant. Losses in oil have exacerbated - with WTI Jan and Brent Feb now under USD 74/bbl (vs high 78.65/bbl) and USD 77/bbl (vs high 80.42/bbl), -6.0% and -5.0% respectively. This comes ahead of the OPEC+ confab next week, whereby OPEC watchers have suggested that oil prices will be a large contributor to the final decision. It is difficult to see how OPEC+ will increase output to the levels the US et al. will be content with, with the latest COVID downturn building the case for a pause in planned output hikes. Elsewhere, haven demand sees spot gold extend on gains above USD 1,800/oz after topping the 100 DMA (1,792.95/oz), 200 DMA (1,791.38/oz), 50 DMA (1,790.13/oz) overnight. Base metals are softer across the board amid the risk aversion. LME copper posts losses of around 3% at the time of writing, as prices threaten a more convincing downside breach of USD 9,500/t. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Things have escalated on the covid front quite rapidly over the last 12 hours. Yesterday new covid variant B.1.1.529 was slowly starting to gather increasing attention but overnight it has begun to dominate markets and has caused a notable flight to quality with 10 year USTs -8bps lower. It was originally identified in Botswana and is starting to spread rapidly in Africa. The South African Health Minister has said it is "of serious concern". Almost 100 cases have already been identified in South Africa and the UK moved to put the country back (along with 5 other African nations) on a reinstated red travel list last night with others following this morning. The variant is said to be the most heavily mutated version yet and the WHO will meet today to decide if it is a variant of interest or a variant of concern. So a lot of eyes will be on how severe it is and whether it completely evades vaccines. At this stage very little is known. Mutations are often less severe so we shouldn’t jump to conclusions but there is clearly a lot of concern about this one. Also South Africa is one of the world leaders in sequencing so we are more likely to see this sort of news originate from there than many countries. Suffice to say at this stage no one in markets will have any idea which way this will go. Overnight in Asia all benchmarks are trading lower on the news with the Shanghai Composite (-0.50%), CSI (-0.64%), KOSPI (-1.27%), Hang Seng (-2.13%) and the Nikkei (-2.90%) all lower. Airlines and other travel stocks have obviously fallen heavily. Hong Kong has detected two confirmed cases of the new variant just as Hong Kong and China were considering quarantine-free travel. S&P 500 (-0.93%) and DAX (-1.82%) futures are also much weaker. Elsewhere, in Japan, CPI rose +0.5% year-on-year (+0.4% consensus and +0.1% previously), on the back of 16-month high fuel prices. With the US out on holiday for Thanksgiving, there wasn’t much going on yesterday after a very quiet day in markets. The variant news was only slowly creeping into the news flow so it hardly impacted trading. But in keeping with the theme of recent days, both inflation and the latest covid wave in Europe remained very much in the picture as jitters continue to increase that we could see further lockdowns as we move towards Christmas. Starting with the headline moves, European equities did actually show signs of stabilising yesterday, with the STOXX 600 up +0.42% thanks to a broad-based advance across the continent. In fact that’s actually the index’s best daily performance in over three weeks, although that’s not reflecting any particular strength, but instead the fact the index inched steadily but persistently towards a record high before selling off again a week ago. Other indices moved higher across the continent too, with the FTSE 100 (+0.33%), the CAC 40 (+0.48%) and the DAX (+0.25%) all posting similar advances. These will all likely reverse this morning. One piece of news we did get came from the ECB, who released the account of their monetary policy meeting for October. Something the minutes stressed was the importance that the Governing Council maintain optionality in their policy settings, with one part acknowledging the growing upside risks to inflation, but also saying “it was deemed important for the Governing Council to avoid an overreaction as well as unwarranted inaction, and to keep sufficient optionality in calibrating its monetary policy measures to address all inflation scenarios that might unfold.” Against this backdrop, 10yr bond yields moved lower across multiple countries, with those on bunds (-2.3ps), OATs (-2.3bps) and BTPs (-1.9bps) all declining. There was also a flattening in all 3 yield curves as well, with the 2s10s slope in Germany (-3.0bps), France (-3.7bps) and Italy (-2.8bps) shifting lower. And the moves also coincided with a continued widening in peripheral spreads, with both the Spanish and the Greek spreads over 10yr bund yields widening to their biggest levels in over a year. Of course, one of the biggest concerns in Europe right now remains the pandemic, and yesterday saw a number of fresh measures announced as policymakers seek to get a grip on the latest wave. In France, health minister Veran announced various measures, including the expansion of the booster rollout to all adults, and a reduction in the length of time between the initial vaccination and the booster shot to 5 months from 6. Meanwhile in the Czech Republic, the government declared a state of emergency and approved tighter social distancing measures, including the closure of restaurants and bars at 10pm. And in Finland, the government have said that bars and restaurants not using Covid certificates will not be able to serve alcohol after 5pm. All this came as the European Medicines Agency recommended that the Pfizer vaccine be approved for children aged 5-11, which follows the decision to approve the vaccine in the US. Their recommendation will now go to the European Commission for a final decision. There wasn’t much in the way of data at all yesterday, though German GDP growth in Q3 was revised down to show a +1.7% expansion (vs. +1.8% previous estimate). Looking at the details, private consumption was the only driver of growth (+6.2%), with government consumption (-2.2%), machinery and equipment (-3.7%) and construction (-2.3%) all declining over the quarter. To the day ahead now, and data releases include French and Italian consumer confidence for November, as well as the Euro Area M3 money supply for October. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos, and the ECB’s Visco, Schnabel, Centeno, Panetta and Lane, and BoE chief economist Pill. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/26/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 26th, 2021

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

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

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 22nd, 2021

Days Into Lockdown For The Unvaccinated, Austria COVID Cases Hit Record High

Days Into Lockdown For The Unvaccinated, Austria COVID Cases Hit Record High As the debate rages over the effectiveness of lockdowns in combatting the spread of Covid-19, Austria is experiencing its biggest surge to date, hitting a record high number of confirmed infections three days into its government-imposed total 'quarantine for the unvaccinated'.  Daily infections surpassed 14,000 for the first time since the start of the pandemic. On Wednesday health authorities recorded 14,416 new infections, a fresh record, according to Reuters. This is compared to the peak from a year ago of just under 10,000 daily infections.  "Papers please!" Austrian police check citizens' vaccination status, Getty Images Austria has recently reported that about 65% of its population is now fully vaccinated. At the start of this week the government enacted a ban on any unvaccinated person going outside their home for reasons other than getting food, going to work, or attending health appointments - and even then they are subject to testing.  In recent days images and footage have emerged of police literally patrolling streets and department stores asking random citizens for proof of vaccination. Those under the stay at home order number at least a couple million unvaccinated Austrians. Reuters details that despite being days in to the draconian lockdown measures, hospitals in many regions are at capacity: The situation is worst in two of Austria's nine provinces, Upper Austria and Salzburg, where hospitals are coming under increasing strain. Salzburg has said it is preparing for a triage situation when the number of people needing intensive care beds exceeds supply, though that stage has not yet been reached. Austrian police demand people show proof of vaccination as they shop in one of Vienna’s busiest shopping streets Mariahilferstraße pic.twitter.com/Rs6Fu4gX6S — Richard Medhurst (@richimedhurst) November 16, 2021 It remains to be seen whether the Austrian government's plan to essentially "punish" the unvaccinated will actually allay the rapidly rising case numbers. As we previously detailed based on disturbing emerging videos of police in action: Those caught outside without proof of vaccination face fines of up to $1,660. Last week, Austria’s Chancellor Alexander Schallenberg said the lockdown was designed to make the unvaccinated “suffer” as everyone else had done during earlier lockdowns. Whether these draconian patrols will continue remains to be seen. Austrian police hunt for The Unvaccinated, who have been confined to their homes and face fines of $1660 for being in public (except when working). And the human rights industry, the EU, US and much of the int’l left are silent, if not quietly approving. pic.twitter.com/Wc26Eh09EC — Max Blumenthal (@MaxBlumenthal) November 16, 2021 Recall too that Israel was early on among the "most vaxxed nations", and yet this summer the country experienced a huge surge as the Delta variant spread. Israel even had 'Covid green passes' - or what amounted to a "vaccine passport" to control the movements of the populace, particularly the unvaxxed, which similar to Austria now were barred from restaurants, hotels, and other public venues.  Tyler Durden Thu, 11/18/2021 - 02:45.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytNov 18th, 2021

The pandemic"s housing crisis splintered the American Dream into 4 different versions. Say goodbye to the white picket fence.

After 75 years of wanting a white picket fence, COVID changed it all. The American Dream home comes in four shapes now and so do attitudes about life. The pandemic has created four different versions of the American Dream: a suburban, exurban, urban, and mobile lifestyle. At the core of each is the idea of a better life. Marianne Ayala/Insider Bye, bye white picket fence. Remote work and the housing crisis splintered the postwar American Dream into four different versions. Americans are realizing a better life on their own terms: in the suburbs, exurbs, cities, or on the go. It's what the American Dream was originally about, anyway. It's been 13 months, 15 bids, and two signed contracts, but Ashley Nader still isn't a homeowner.The 27-year-old product manager began house-hunting in October 2020 after she moved from the Bay Area back to her South Florida hometown during the pandemic. She'd been bouncing between the two coasts until her workplace reclassified her as a Florida employee and she began enjoying the tax perks of the Sunshine State, inspiring her to invest in a house.After going into contract the first time, the seller ghosted her. The second one forced her out and threatened her escrow funds. "I can write a book on all the horrors of first-time home buying," she told me.Nader is looking for the "good life" that many Americans have been seeking since the 1950s, when the US emerged as an economic superpower and a house, yard, and white picket fence emerged as the ideal lifestyle.This 20th-century fantasy has had a lot of ups and downs in the 21st. First, the dream of homeownership curdled for millions during the Great Recession. And then, after a long and slow economic recovery, the pandemic untethered people from the city and the office, providing workers with freedom and flexibility to chase the dream again. But this boom morphed into a historic housing shortage that has boxed many aspiring first-time homeowners out of the market.In hopes of upping her homebuying odds, Nader expanded her search from Florida to Colorado, North Carolina, Washington, and California. She said she put in offers without even seeing some of the houses in person. "That's how competitive the market is."Larry Samuel, the founder of Age Friendly Consulting and author of "The American Dream: A Cultural History" told me that homeownership was never what the American Dream was about anyway. "While considerable numbers of folks are still convinced that having the proverbial white picket fence will signify they've achieved the American Dream, many others are realizing there are other perfectly valid interpretations of the concept," he said. A healthy 59% of Americans still aspire to be homeowners, a sign of the lingering allure of the post-World War II vision. But in 2021, it turns out that instead of one alluring dream of a better kind of life, Americans now have four of them. Version 1: An exclusive suburbia for those with postwar dreamsSuburbia became a pandemic-era utopia, as outdoor access and spacious rooms for remote work appealed to a locked-down nation. But the number of Americans snapping up their piece of the pie proved no match for a market that had been underbuilding since the Great Recession. America began running out of houses. The suburbs became ground zero for bidding wars as competition sizzled. Boomers with equity and wealthier millennials emerged victorious with all-cash offers. The losers were often everyday millennials, like Nader, for whom a second housing crisis was just the latest in a long line of economic bad luck. Nader said she originally wanted to buy a house under $400,000 so she could pay it off quickly and "actually own it," but the lack of starter homes caused her to up her budget by $200,000. "It's really a cash buyer market," she said. "If you have the cash, you can buy whatever you want right now." Houses have become so overpriced that suburbs have become exclusive. GeorgePeters/Getty Images Alyssia Cinami thought she'd have more cash to house-hunt after paying off her student loans. The licensed family therapist has been looking in northeast Connecticut for the past 14 months. She says the "insane" market has left her exhausted and discouraged as a first-time buyer. Over the course of five bids, she increased her original maximum budget of $260,000 by $20,000, and even added an additional $20,000 to some bids. "Looking for a house is like another part-time job," she told me.The suburbs are now mostly attainable for the wealthy, becoming less accessible to the 68% of millennials who have their sights set on homeownership. That's created other versions of the house with the picket fence, somewhere farther out or farther in. Version 2: Finding affordable housing in the exurbs Cinami is hoping to buy her starter home in Woodstock, Connecticut, a relatively rural town offering privacy, good schools, and safety. It's a good example of the rural idyll that some have embraced because of remote work, a trend that encompasses the "exurb," a rural community that is distantly commutable to a big city.Americans moving from urban areas to the exurbs marked the biggest population shift in the pandemic, Jefferies analysts said in an August note, citing USPS mail-forwarding data. In May through June, 40,000 Americans exited cities and suburbs for the exurbs. While pandemic population shifts have been waning, exurbs and rural areas were the only regions to add households in those months.Urbanist Richard Florida told me that the rural fringe has seen a "real, new growth spurt" as the pandemic opened up rural areas that bridge to existing metros, like the Hudson to New York City. Driving the trend is what Florida has long called the creative class. Some Americans are seeking more rural pastures. Getty Images/Cavan Images As he explains it, this cohort of young knowledge workers once sought a "real authentic, urban experience" in big cities, but as big box and chain stores moved in, many of those experiences have disappeared. Now, they're finding that authenticity in the rural fringe. It's become an endpoint for a new type of American Dream."The new picket fence is a farm," Florida said.To solve the housing shortage, builders should focus on these areas, Ali Wolf, chief economist at homebuilding prop tech company Zonda, told Insider. They should "move further to the outskirts, or start additional building in parts of the country with more developable land," she said. As homes are built farther from downtown, she added, amenities will likely improve, creating new gathering places and hotspots.Version 3: Reviving cities as places of connection, not workFor all the migration to the suburbs and exurbs, cities are not dead. Bank of America Research said the narrative of an urban exodus was more myth than reality, and a Zillow report found that of people who moved, 19% moved within their metro area, and nearly 40% stayed in the same city but switched neighborhoods. Consider NYC, where USPS data found that more Manhattanites moved to Brooklyn than anywhere else between March 2020 and February 2021.In fact, rents are skyrocketing and 60% of wealthy millennials plan to buy a home in a big city within the next year. As prominent economist Enrico Moretti recently told Bloomberg, remote work gave urbanites the freedom to live in the part of the metro area they'd rather be in while still reaping the fun of city life. So really, when zooming out to consider the whole metro area, these thriving urban cities just got larger. People who live in cities live there because they want to, not for work. Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images What the pandemic did, Florida explained, was accentuate a demographic divide among urbanites by accelerating pre-pandemic behaviors: young families headed to the 'burbs as cities became less attractive to them, while starry-eyed young professionals flocked back as soon as they could, continuing a trend that began in the 2010s. Plus, some pre-pandemic homeowners who profited from the housing boom, can now afford to trade their small-town digs for city living.That means many city residents today are living there because they want to, not because they need to for work. It's ushered in a new era for cities, one no longer centered around an office but instead on personal interaction that facilitates spontaneity and creativity."I think we've mistaken cities as containers for people to work," Florida said. "That's not what cities are. Cities are connectivity machines with new generations of connections and meeting spaces."Version 4: A lifestyle on the goFinally, not everyone wants to stay put. Alternative lifestyles that flourished during the past decade, like #vanlife and digital nomads, boomed during the pandemic. Tiny house sales skyrocketed in 2020. In 2018, 53% of Americans said they would consider living in one, according to a National Association of Homebuilders survey. By late 2020, 56% of Americans said the same in a poll conducted by financial company IPX 1031. More Americans also decided to try out life on the road. Makers of camper vans, RVs, and travel trailers have been updating on existing builds or creating new floor plans to accommodate the growing market. Van sales for Mercedes-Benz US increased by 22.5% in 2020, even as the brand's overall sales fell by 8.9%. Alternative living boomed during the pandemic. picture alliance / Getty Khanna, a globalization expert and author of "Move: The Forces Uprooting Us," said he's seen elevated youth mobility during remote work. "The picket fence is, 'Hey, look at my view, when I'm in Seattle,' and 'look at the one where I'm in Boise,' or 'I've got my tiny home and now I'm in Tahoe,'" he said.The demographics fueling these trends sit at two different ends of the spectrum. Some buyers are digital nomads, with the means and desire to live a more mobile lifestyle. This growing movement is hopping from locale to locale for extended periods of time, giving rise to the "workcation," in which people move to some of the world's most remote places and turn Airbnbs into office spaces. For others, the upfront cost of a van or a tiny house is a more affordable alternative to the housing crisis. "Even before the current housing crisis, many millennials were bypassing debt-based home ownership in order to pursue a more present-focused, mobile lifestyle," Samuel, the generational consultant, said. "Given the cost of buying a home, that lifestyle has gained even greater cultural currency, further eroding the postwar version of the American Dream." Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 14th, 2021

Buy These Growth-Focused Stocks Before Earnings and Hold for Years?

Today, we explore a few new-age retailers trading well below their highs heading into their upcoming earnings reports. The stocks also happen to trade between $20 to $35 a share... Stocks bounced back in the last two sessions after the market finally snapped its winning streak during the week of November 8. Wall Street took profits after a month-plus rally sent all three major U.S. indexes to new records to start the second month of the fourth quarter.Many have pointed to continuing inflation, and rightfully so after it hit a 30-year high in October. Investors are now left to decide if the hot CPI data will force the Fed to start lifting rates sooner than projected.The central bank has started to taper its bond-buying program and it plans to conclude its stimulus-focused purchases by June, with it set to keep it core interest rate at its current rock-bottom levels at least until then.But the market’s quick rebound could mean Wall Street remains sanguine even in the face of rising prices, persistent supply chain bottlenecks, and a struggle to fill open jobs.It’s worth pointing out that the current surge in prices have yet to show up in the S&P 500 margins outlook for FY22 or FY23, even though they are impacting things in the near-term (also read: What's Going on with Earnings in Q4 and Beyond).Uncertainty and headwinds remain, but investors likely want to stay on the hunt for strong stocks, especially if they are long-term buyers. Today, we explore a few new-age retailers trading well below their highs heading into their upcoming earnings reports. The stocks also happen to trade between $20 to $35 a share…Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchTraeger, Inc. COOKTraeger helped pioneer the wood pellet grill that it calls a “versatile and easy to use outdoor cooking system.” The company’s pellet grills use all-natural hardwood fuel and aim to provide 6-in-1 versatility in order to grill, smoke, bake, roast, braise and barbecue. Traeger has caught fire as part of a wave of new-age, high-end brands popular among a younger generation of consumers.COOK went public at the end of July and climbed nearly 25% on its debut as Wall Street continued to jump on IPOs. Traeger’s first quarter as a public firm saw it post 39% revenue growth, with grills up 40%, consumables 28% higher, while accessories surged 65%. It did face earnings pressure amid supply chain setbacks, but its adjusted EPS of $0.15 a share easily topped our $0.04 estimate.Zacks estimates call for COOK’s fiscal 2021 revenue to climb 40% to $764.6 million and then jump over 25% higher in FY22 to start closing in on $1 billion in sales ($958.7 million). Meanwhile, it is projected to post adjusted full year earnings of $0.56 a share this year and then see its EPS pop 35% to $0.76 in 2022.Traeger executives believe it has the “potential to deliver approximately 20% annual revenue growth and 20% adjusted EBITDA margins” over the long term as it continues to expand. These plans include its newly launched (Nov. 2) Traeger Provisions meal-kit style food delivery service to help make a variety of meals on the grill.COOK has fallen over 35% from its early August highs and is currently trading just under $20 a share. Yet, its Zacks consensus price target of $31.57 a share marks over 50% upside. Traeger lands a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) heading into Q3 financial release on Monday, November 15. And seven of the eight brokerage recommendations Zacks has are “Strong Buys,” with the other at a “Buy.”Sonos, Inc. SONOSonos is a home audio firm that specializes in wireless and multi-room sound systems. It competes against Bose and others in the higher-end home speaker space. The firm sells a range of sleek, connected speakers, subwoofers, soundbars for TVs, and more, with packages that run up to nearly $2,000. Earlier this year, Sonos entered the popular portable smart speaker space with its $179 mass-market Roam speaker.The company has benefited from the larger shift to modern, connected devices and it’s poised to gain as more people spend on home-based upgrades. The firm is also boosted its non-speaker space, with an ad-free streaming tier of its music service dubbed Sonos Radio HD. The offering costs $7.99 a month and competes against Spotify and various other streaming music platforms.Sonos revenue climbed 11% in FY19 and 5% last year. Zacks estimates call for its 2021 (year ended October 2) sales to surge 29% to $1.71 billion, with FY22 projected to jump another 11% higher to come in at $1.90 billion. And it’s expected to swing from an adjusted loss of -$0.18 a share last year all the way to +$1.11 in FY21, with FY22 set to climb another 6% higher.The speaker company’s strong management team helped it rip off four-straight massive quarterly earnings beats. This included posting adjusted earnings of +$0.27 a share last quarter vs. the Zacks consensus that called for a -$0.17 loss. Plus, the most recent Q4 EPS estimate—which Zacks calls the most accurate—comes in at +$0.07 a share, compared to the overall consensus of an adjusted loss of -$0.07. This could mean Sonos is due for another huge beat.Sonos is scheduled to report its Q4 results on Wednesday, November 17 and its recent earnings revisions help it land a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) right now. Sonos also grabs an “A” grade for Growth in our Style Scores system and its Audio Video Production space ranks in the top 13% of our 250 Zacks industries.The audio firm’s shares soared off their covid lows of under $10 to over $40 in April 2021. SONO is still up 50% this year, but it trades 20% beneath its highs at around $34 a share right now. Plus, its current Zacks consensus price target represents nearly 25% upside to Friday’s levels. And Sonos just recently popped above its 50-day moving average and it trades near its year-long lows at 26.7X forward earnings. Tech IPOs With Massive Profit Potential In the past few years, many popular platforms and like Uber and Airbnb finally made their way to the public markets. But the biggest paydays came from lesser-known names. For example, electric carmaker X Peng shot up +299.4% in just 2 months. Think of it this way… If you had put $5,000 into XPEV at its IPO in September 2020, you could have cashed out with $19,970 in November. With record amounts of cash flooding into IPOs and a record-setting stock market, this year’s lineup could be even more lucrative.See Zacks Hottest Tech IPOs Now >>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 Sonos, Inc. (SONO): Free Stock Analysis Report Traeger, Inc. (COOK): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 12th, 2021

Futures Flat Ahead Of Historic Taper Announcement, China Warns Of "Downward Pressure" On Economy

Futures Flat Ahead Of Historic Taper Announcement, China Warns Of "Downward Pressure" On Economy US stock futures were flat ahead of today's Fed meeting, where the central bank is widely expected to announce the reduction of asset purchases with a majority of analysts expecting the Fed reducing its monthly purchases of Treasuries by $10 billion and mortgage- backed securities by $5 billion. Nasdaq 100 futures climbed 0.1% while S&P 500 and Dow Jones futures were little changed. Oil fell as the U.S. ramped up pressure on OPEC+ to boost supplies (which will bear zero results). The two-year Treasury yield was steady, while the 30-year rate shed two basis points. European stocks struggled for direction and the dollar fell less than 0.1%.   Despite turmoil in the bond market which sent the MOVE (or bond VIX) index to post-covid highs... ... stocks remain complacent and are likely not under stress “because we all think we know what will come out from today’s meeting: a gradual start of the tapering of the bond purchases program,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. A "taper announcement will likely be seamless, what may be less seamless is the rate discussion," she wrote in a note.  In recent weeks, policy makers have come under pressure to reassess their assessment of inflation being transitory, with bond and currency markets pricing in faster-than-expected rate hikes. “The big question will be whether they will signal anything about when the rate hikes will start,” Jeanette Garretty, chief economist at Robertson Stephens Wealth Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “I think they are going to try and avoid that.” Wall Street has also largely shrugged off concerns around rising price pressures and mixed economic growth, boosted by a stellar third-quarter earnings season and an upbeat commentary about growth going forward. In fact, there is absolutely nothing that can dent the ongoing market meltup which according to Morgan Stanley will continue until just around Thanksgiving. "Anything suggesting that the Fed is confident to keep withdrawing monetary policy support following a start today may allow equity investors to buy more," said Charalambos Pissouros, head of research at JFD group. "After all, they may have already digested the idea that interest rates will start rising at some point soon." Meanwhile, Chinese equities drifted lower after what Bloomberg called was a "dour warning" from Premier Li who cautioned about “downward pressure” for the economy. Hang Seng falls as much as 1.2% after tech shares resume slide. Here are some of the most notable premarket moves: Lyft rose after its third-quarter results showed a continued improvement in key metrics for the ride-sharing company. Zillow dropped as the decision to shut its home-flipping business raised questions about its ability to deliver growth. Shale oil producer Devon Energy rose 4.8% in premarket trading on topping earnings estimates as oil prices hit multi-year highs. Mondelez International added 1.9% after the Oreo maker raised its annual sales forecast, helped by price increases and strong demand from emerging markets. T-Mobile gained 3.4% after the U.S. wireless carrier beat third-quarter estimates for adding monthly bill paying phone subscribers. Activision Blizzard tumbled 12.0% after the videogame publisher delayed the launch of two much-awaited titles, as its co-leader Jen Oneal decided to step down from her role On the economic data front, October readings on ADP private payrolls, IHS Markit composite PMI and ISM non-manufacturing activity is due later in the day. Meanwhile, European stocks were flat as losses in energy stocks offset gains in basic resources shares.  Italy's FTSE MIB outperforms, rising as much as 0.3% while Spain's IBEX underperforms. Oil & gas, retail and utilities are the weakest Stoxx 600 sectors; miners and autos outperform. Asia’s equity benchmark was little changed as traders await the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve’s policy meeting, with an announcement expected on tapering amid concerns about elevated inflation. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index traded in a narrow range, with Alibaba Group, AIA Group and Samsung Electronics the biggest drags and Tencent among the winners. South Korea’s Kospi tumbled 1.3% on mounting selling by foreign funds. Hong Kong’s benchmark Hang Seng Index declined for a seventh day, extending its longest losing streak since July. The earnings season has failed to boost Asian shares, with the regional benchmark down more than 10% from a February peak as supply-chain and inflation worries persist. Traders will focus on the Fed’s policy move on Wednesday for cues at a time volatility in the bond market has heightened. “U.S. monetary policy has a very direct impact on the Asian market, especially with their plethora of dirty U.S. dollar pegs,” Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. Philippine stocks were among the top gainers, advancing for a second day after local Covid-19 cases fell to fewest since March. Stocks in Australia also rose after the country’s central bank scrapped a bond-yield target on Tuesday and said there’s still some time to go for rate hikes. Iron ore’s rebound on Wednesday also bolstered the mining sector. Japan’s equity market was closed for a holiday. Chinese stocks dripped after Premier Li Keqiang said China’s economy faces new downward pressures and has to cut taxes and fees to address the problems faced by small and medium-sized companies. Li did not specify the extent of the new “downward pressure” or its cause, but the phrase is generally used by Chinese officials to refer to a slowing economy. He has used the phrase before, including several times in 2019. The economy needs “cross-cyclical adjustments” to continue in a proper range, Li said during a visit to China’s top market regulator, state broadcaster CCTV reported. That phrase is associated with a more conservative fiscal and monetary approach that focuses more on the long-term outlook instead of immediate economic performance. “There are no obvious growth drivers now, so the government is looking for one,” said Bruce Pang, head of macro and strategy research at China Renaissance Securities Hong Kong Ltd. “Small businesses’ investment can provide a source of healthier, longer-term growth, compared with government or property investment.” In rates, 10-year Treasury note futures are at the top of Tuesday’s range, gaining over Asia session while eurodollar futures are up 1-2 ticks in red and green packs as shares declined in China and Hong Kong ahead of today’s FOMC decision and after Premier Li’s warning of downward pressures to the economy. Treasury 10-year yields richer by 1.8bp on the day, flattening 2s10s spread with front-end yields unchanged -- bunds and gilts trade slightly cheaper vs. Treasuries. Cash Treasuries resumed trading in London after being closed in Tokyo for a Japanese holiday --curve has flattened with long-end yields richer by as much as 2bp. Focus on U.S. session includes ADP employment and durable goods data, refunding announcement before 2pm ET Fed rate decision. In Europe, Bunds bull flattened, helped in part by dovish comments from ECB’s Lagarde and Muller while peripheral spreads tightened with 10y Bund/BTP narrowing 3bps near 120bps. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched lower as the dollar fell versus most of its Group-of-10 peers and Treasury yields fell by up to 3 basis points, led by the long end of the curve. The euro gradually climbed toward the $1.16 handle while European government bonds yields fell and curves flattened. New Zealand’s dollar was among the top G-10 performers, and rose from a two- week low after the unemployment rate dropped more than economists predicted; the Kiwi and Aussie were also boosted by leveraged short covering. The pound inched up from a three-week low against the dollar before a speech by Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey. Hedging the pound on an overnight basis is the costliest since March as traders focus on the upcoming meetings by the Federal Reserve and the BOE. In commodities, crude futures extend Asia’s softness; WTI drops over 2%, stalling near $82, Brent drops a similar magnitude to trade near $83. Spot gold drifts around Asia’s worst levels near $1,783/oz. Most base metals are up over 1% with LME aluminum and tin outperforming Looking at the day ahead the highlight will be the aforementioned Fed's policy decision along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Other central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, alongside the ECB’s Elderson, Centeno, de Cos and Villeroy. Data releases include the final October services and composite PMIs from the UK and the US, and other US data includes the ISM services index for October, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for October and factory orders for September. Finally, earnings today include Qualcomm, Booking Holdings, Fox Corp and Marriott International. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,622.00 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 479.79 MXAP little changed at 197.87 MXAPJ little changed at 645.10 Nikkei down 0.4% to 29,520.90 Topix down 0.6% to 2,031.67 Hang Seng Index down 0.3% to 25,024.75 Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,498.54 Sensex little changed at 59,993.78 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 7,392.73 Kospi down 1.3% to 2,975.71 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.18% Euro little changed at $1.1587 Brent Futures down 1.8% to $83.23/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,782.83 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.05 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The Federal Reserve is widely expected to announce the reduction of asset purchases at the conclusion of its policy meeting Wednesday, which Chair Jerome Powell will likely say is not a step toward raising interest rates any time soon Traders have had a mixed view for most of this year about when emerging-Asia central banks will begin to normalize policy. Suddenly though, they are rushing to price in rate-hike bets across the region. The hawkish shift is most evident in South Korea and India, where markets are now anticipating at least a quarter-point increase in the next three months, while they are also building in Malaysia and Thailand over a two-year horizon China’s economy faces new downward pressures and has to cut taxes and fees to address the problems faced by small and medium-sized companies, according to the country’s Premier Li Keqiang More provinces in China are fighting Covid-19 than at any time since the deadly pathogen first emerged in Wuhan in 2019 The likelihood that elevated inflation will become entrenched is increasing, according to European Central Bank Governing Council member Bostjan Vasle A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed despite another encouraging handover from Wall Street where all major indices notched fresh record closing highs for the third consecutive day, and the DJIA breached the 36k level amid a slew of earnings and absence of any significant catalysts to derail the recent uptrend. Gains in APAC were also capped by holiday-thinned conditions with Japan away for Culture Day and as the FOMC announcement draws closer (full Newsquawk preview available in the Research Suite). The ASX 200 (+0.9%) outperformed amid a resurgence in the top-weighted financials sector as AMP shares were boosted after it announced to divest a 19.1% stake in Resolution Life Australasia for AUD 524mln and with CBA also higher as Australia’s largest bank is to offer customers the ability to conduct crypto transactions via its app. Conversely, the KOSPI (-1.3%) lagged after its automakers posted weak October sales stateside and following comments from South Korean PM Lee that they cannot afford additional cash handouts right now, while there was also attention on Kakao Pay which more than doubled from the IPO price on its debut. The Hang Seng (-0.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.2%) were lacklustre and failed to benefit from the improvement in Chinese Caixin Services and Composite PMI data, amid ongoing concerns related to the energy crunch and with tech subdued after Yahoo pulled out of China due to a challenging business and legal environment. Furthermore, reports also noted that the Chinese version of Fortnite will close in mid-November, while a slightly firmer PBoC liquidity operation failed to spur Chinese markets as its efforts still resulted in a substantial net drain. Aussie yields continued to soften after the RBA affirmed its dovish tone at yesterday’s meeting and with the central bank also present in the market today for AUD 800mln in semi-government bonds which is in line with its regular weekly purchases, while a softer b/c at the 10yr Australian bond auction failed to unnerve domestic bonds and T-notes futures were steady overnight amid the looming FOMC. Top Asian News State Bank of India Profit Tops Estimates on Lower Provisions Chinese Copper Smelters Boost Exports to Ease Historic Squeeze China’s PBOC Says Digital Yuan Users Have Surged to 140 Million Malaysia Holds Rates on Recovery, ‘Benign’ Inflation Outlook European majors have adopted a similarly mixed performance (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.1%; Stoxx 600 Unch) as seen during the APAC session, as markets and participants count down to the FOMC policy decision, with the BoE and NFPs also on the docket for the rest of the week. US equity futures are also mixed but have been drifting mildly higher in European trade thus far, vs a flat overnight session. Back to Europe, there isn’t anything major to report in terms of under/outperformers among European majors, although Spain’s IBEX (-0.7%) lags in the periphery amidst losses in sector heavyweights. Sectors in Europe are mixed with no overarching theme. Basic Resources top the charts in a slight reversal of yesterday’s underperformance and amid a bounce in base metal prices. Travel & Leisure is propped up by Deutsche Lufthansa (+5.0%) post-earnings. Oil & Gas names are pressured by the decline across the crude complex in the run-up to tomorrow’s OPEC+ confab, whilst Banks are lacklustre as yields lose ground. In terms of individual movers, Vestas Wind System (-9.0%) is at the bottom of the Stoxx 600 after cutting guidance. BMW (+0.4%) is choppy after-earnings which saw EBIT top forecasts and targets confirmed, although the group noted that the rise in raw material prices have also had an impact on earnings, but they do not expect short-term magnesium shortage to affect production. Finally, Pandora (+0.8%) reported improvements on their metrics but warned that APAC performance, including China, remains weak and heavily impacted by COVID-19, with China expected to remain a drag on performance for the remainder of the year. Top European News BMW Muscles Through Chip Shortage With Profit Jump Nexans Drops as Morgan Stanley Says 3Q Results Were Weak Russia’s Biggest Alcohol Retailer Seeks $1.3 Billion in IPO LSE Boss Expects London Will Keep EU Clearing Role Post-Brexit In FX, far from all change, but the Kiwi has reclaimed 0.7100+ status against the Greenback and a firmer grasp of the handle in wake of significantly stronger than expected NZ labour market metrics via Q3’s HLFS update overnight, including jobs growth coming in five times higher than forecast and the unemployment rate falling sharply irrespective of a rise in participation. Nzd/Usd is hovering around 0.7135 and the Aud/Nzd cross is under 1.0450 even though the Aussie has regained some composure after its post-RBA relapse to retest 0.7450, albeit with assistance from the Buck’s broad pull-back rather than mixed PMIs and much weaker than anticipated building approvals. Indeed, the Franc has also rebounded from circa 0.9150 with no independent incentive and cognisant that the SNB will be monitoring moves as Eur/Chf meanders within its 1.0604-1.0548 w-t-d range. DXY/JPY/EUR/GBP/CAD - The Dollar index has drifted back down from a fractional new high compared to Tuesday’s best between 94.144-93.970 parameters vs a 94.136-93.818 range yesterday, and for little apparent reason aside from pre-FOMC tinkering and fine-tuning of positions it seems. Nevertheless, DXY components are mostly taking advantage of the situation, albeit in typically tight ranges seen on a Fed day, with the Yen holding above 114.00 on Japanese Culture Day, the Euro just under 1.1600 and amidst more decent option expiry interest (1.1 bn from 1.1585 to the round number), Sterling still trying to retain 1.3600+ status and also close to a fairly big option expiry (821 mn at the 1.3615 strike) and the Loonie striving to contain declines beneath 1.2400 against the backdrop of retreating oil prices. Note, some upside in the Pound via upgrades to UK services and composite PMIs, but limited and Eur/Gbp remains over 0.8500 in advance of the showdown between Britain and France on fishing tomorrow when the BoE also delivers its eagerly anticipated November policy verdict. SCANDI/EM - Not much adverse reaction to a slowdown in Sweden’s services PMI for the Sek, while the Nok is taking the latest downturn in Brent crude largely in stride on the eve of the Norges Bank meeting that is widely seen cementing rate hike guidance for next month. However, scant respite or solace for the Try from sub-consensus Turkish CPI as the near 20% y/y print means more divergence relative to the CBRT’s 1 week repo, and PPI accelerated again to heighten the build up of pipeline price pressures. Conversely, the Cnh and Cny are nudging back above 6.4000 after an encouraging Chinese Caixin services PMI and the Zar is on a firm footing awaiting results of SA local elections. RBNZ said the financial system is well placed to support economic recovery despite uncertainty and risks, while the more recent Delta outbreak is creating stress for some industries and regions, particularly in Auckland. RBNZ also noted that with the risk of global inflation heightened, already stretched asset prices are facing headwinds from rising global interest rates and that supply chain bottlenecks and inflation are adding to stresses in some sectors. Furthermore, they intend to increase the minimum CFR requirement to its previous level of 75% on 1st January 2022, subject to no significant worsening in economic condition, while capital requirements for banks are to progressively increase from 1st July 2022 and it is encouraging to see them increasing ahead of these requirements. (Newswires) In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are softer and in proximity to USD 82/bbl and USD 83/bbl respectively with losses today also potentially a function of the downbeat China COVID updates seen overnight. As a reminder, China's most recent COVID-19 outbreak is reportedly the most widespread since Wuhan with infection in 19 of 31 provinces, according to a major newswires article. It was also reported that around half the flights to and from Beijing city’s two airports were cancelled Tuesday, according to aviation industry data site VariFlight. Further, yesterday’s Private Inventory data was also bearish, printing a larger-than-expected build of 3.6mln bbl vs exp. +2.2mln, ahead of today’s DoEs which will take place 1hr earlier for those in Europe. Looking ahead to tomorrow’s OPEC+, markets expect a continuation of the current plan to ease output curbs by 400k BPD/m. Outside calls have been getting louder for the producers to open the taps more than planned amid inflationary feed-through to consumers and company margins, although ministers, including de-factor heads Saudi and Russia, have been putting weight behind current plans, with no pushback seen from members within OPEC+ thus far. Further, the COVID situation in China is deteriorating, hence ministers will likely express a cautious approach. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are flat within overnight ranges, as is usually the case before FOMC. Base metals are staging a recovery with LME copper back above USD 9,500/t, whilst Chinese thermal coal futures rose some 10% following 10 days of declines US Event Calendar 8:15am: Oct. ADP Employment Change, est. 400,000, prior 568,000 9:45am: Oct. Markit US Services PMI, est. 58.2, prior 58.2 Oct. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 57.3 10am: Sept. Durable Goods Orders, est. -0.4%, prior -0.4% Sept. -Less Transportation, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4% Sept. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.8% Sept. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, prior 1.4% 10am: Sept. Factory Orders, est. 0.1%, prior 1.2% Sept. Factory Orders Ex Trans, est. 0%, prior 0.5% 10am: Oct. ISM Services Index, est. 62.0, prior 61.9 2pm: FOMC Rate Decision DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap So after much anticipation we’ve finally arrived at the Fed’s decision day, where it’s widely anticipated (including by DB’s US economists) that they’ll announce a tapering in their asset purchases. Such a move has been increasingly anticipated over recent months, not least with the repeated upgrades to inflation forecasts over the course of 2021, and the FOMC themselves flagged this at their September meeting, where their statement said that “if progress continues broadly as expected … a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted.” In terms of what our economists are expecting, their view is that the Fed will announce monthly reductions of $10bn and $5bn in the pace of Treasury and MBS purchases respectively, with the first cut to purchases coming in mid-November. They see this bringing the latest round of QE to an end in June 2022, though this would also offer some flexibility to respond to any changes in the economic environment over the coming eight months should they arise. On the question of rate hikes, they think lift-off won’t take place until December 2022, but don’t see Chair Powell actively pushing back on current market pricing (a full hike nearly priced in by mid-year 22) given the elevated uncertainty about the outlook, particularly on inflation. You can see more details in their preview here. Of course since the Fed’s last meeting, many inflationary pressures have only grown, particularly given the fresh surge in energy prices that’s taken WTI oil up to $83/bbl, having been at just $72/bbl at the time of their September meeting. In turn, this has taken market expectations of future inflation up as well, with the 10yr breakeven now standing at 2.52%, up from 2.28% following Powell’s September press conference. And market pricing has also shifted significantly since the last meeting, with investors having gone from expecting less than one full hike by the December 2022 meeting to more than two. Ahead of all that, global risk assets continued to perform strongly and a number of major indices climbed to fresh all-time highs yesterday. The S&P 500 (+0.37%), the NASDAQ (+0.34%), the Dow Jones (+0.39%) and Europe’s STOXX 600 (+0.14%) all hit new records, whilst France’s CAC 40 (+049%) exceeded its previous closing peak made all the way back in 2000. Positive earnings news helped bolster those indices, with 27 of 29 S&P 500 reporters beating earnings estimates during trading, and 16 of 20 after-hours reporters beating earnings estimates. This included Pfizer during the day, which raised its full-year forecasts on the back of strong vaccine demand and noted it had the capacity to produce as much as 4 billion shots next year. However, the big winner yesterday (the biggest in the small-cap Russell 2000 yesterday) was Avis Budget Group (+108.31%) even if its performance actually marked a fall from its intraday high when the share price had more than tripled. Those moves occurred after Avis posted strong earnings driven by better-than-expected demand. Their CEO said they’d add more electric cars, whilst the stock also got attention on the WallStreetBets forum on Reddit, which readers may recall was behind some big moves at the start of the year in various "meme stocks” like GameStop. The banner day added $8.5bn to its market cap, which helped it leap frog fellow meme stock AMC to become the second biggest company in the Russell 2000 from third slot yesterday. In other such popular retail stocks, Tesla retreated -3.03% after Elon Musk cast some doubt the previous evening over the recently announced deal to sell 100,000 cars to rental car company Hertz. That said, the automaker has still added over $300 billion in market cap over the last month. Sovereign bonds were another asset class that put in a decent performance ahead of the Fed, with yields falling throughout the curve across a range of countries following the relatively dovish tone vs heightened expectations from the RBA yesterday morning. By the close, those on 10yr Treasuries were down -1.4bps to 1.54%, whilst their counterparts in Europe saw even steeper declines, including those on 10yr bunds (-6.3bps), OATs (-8.5bps) and BTPs (-14.1bps). BTPs were the biggest story and the move seemed to coincide with a reappraisal of ECB hike expectations, as pricing through December 2022 declined -6.5 bps, down from c.20 bps of expected tightening priced as of Monday. So a big decline. In Asia, the Shanghai Composite (-0.57%), the Hang Seng (-0.93%) and the KOSPI (-1.23%) are all trading lower. Japan’s markets are closed due to the Culture Day, meaning also that cash treasuries are not trading in the region. In data releases, the Caixin Services PMI for China rose to 53.8 versus 53.1 expected. However, Premier Li’s remarks about new “downward pressure” on China’s economy and latest COVID outbreak, which is now the most widespread since the first emergence of the virus, are weighing down on the sentiment. Meanwhile, China and Hong Kong are discussing reopening of the shared border. The S&P 500 futures (-0.01%) is pretty flat this morning. Aussie yields are again lower especially at the front end with the infamous April 24 bond around -7bps as we type. As we go to print the Associated Press have called the Virginia as a victory for the GOP Youngkin with New Jersey equivalent also looking likely to go to the GOP. So a big blow to the Democrats. Of those, Virginia was being more closely watched. As recently as the Obama years it was a fiercely contested battleground, but it’s trended Democratic over the last few cycles, with Biden’s 10 point margin of victory last year well exceeding his 4.4 point margin nationally. So this will not be good news for the Dems ahead of next year’s mid-terms. It will also increase the odds of legislative and fiscal gridlock after that - although the latter has been increasingly expected. Staying with US Politics, President Biden indicated in a news conference that he was getting closer to announcing whether or not he would re-nominate Fed Chair Powell for another term as head of the central bank, or if he would appoint a new Chair. He said an announcement will come “fairly quickly”. In terms of the latest on the pandemic, the US CDC’s advisory committee on immunization practices met and backed the Pfizer vaccine for 5-11 year olds, joining the FDA who gave the vaccine the green light for the same age group. There wasn’t much in the way of data releases yesterday, though we did get the final manufacturing PMIs from Europe, where the Euro Area PMI for October was revised down two-tenths from the flash estimate to 58.3. Germany also saw a downward revision to 57.8 (vs. flash 58.2), but Italy outperformed expectations with a 61.1 reading (vs. 59.6 expected). To the day ahead now, and the highlight will be the aforementioned policy decision from the Fed, along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Other central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, alongside the ECB’s Elderson, Centeno, de Cos and Villeroy. Data releases include the final October services and composite PMIs from the UK and the US, and other US data includes the ISM services index for October, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for October and factory orders for September. Finally, earnings today include Qualcomm, Booking Holdings, Fox Corp and Marriott International. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/03/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 3rd, 2021

Brands like White Claw and Truly changed the way Americans drink. But a crowded market and changing consumer behavior may have officially ended the hard seltzer craze.

While hard seltzer sales may have boomed in 2020 during the pandemic, that momentum has ended in 2021. Richa Naidu/Reuters Hard seltzer is here to stay, experts say, but the craze that swept the nation is officially over. Hard seltzers like White Claw became hugely popular in 2019, leading major brands to follow suit. But now, the category has become oversaturated and only a handful of brands rule the market. After roughly three years of hard-seltzer domination, Americans' love of the canned beverage may be fizzling out. Molson Coors has nixed Coors Seltzer. Truly's parent company is dumping "millions of cases" of the hard seltzer. And beverage industry experts are warning that the seltzer craze is on the way out as sales wane across the sector. It's a cool-down for a category that took over the alcohol industry as recently as 2018, spurring major investment from beer companies and inspiring almost too many upstart seltzer brands to count. And while hard seltzer sales may have boomed in 2020 as the pandemic kept people either at home or outdoors, that momentum is waning in 2021. Here's where the seltzer craze began - and why it's appears to be over.Seltzer goes from struggling upstart to nationwide crazeHard seltzers have been around for years - Bon & Viv launched in 2013 and even White Claw and Truly have been on the market since 2016.But it wasn't until 2018 that the seltzer craze took off, due in large part to people posting about White Claw on social media. The hashtag "#ClawLife" was born, and then, in 2019, YouTuber Trevor Wallace made a parody video dubbing 2019 "White Claw summer" and cementing the catch-phrase "ain't no laws when you're drinking Claws." -Trevor Wallace (@TrevWall) June 26, 2019Sales of seltzer skyrocketed, and White Claw sales alone quadrupled, from $154.8 million in 2018 to $627.2 million in 2019, according to Bloomberg. By the end of summer 2019, White Claw was in short supply, leading its parent company, Mark Anthony Brands, to invest $250 million ramping up production. The seltzer craze had officially swept the nation, luring everyone from fraternity bros to the gluten-free. Analysts were predicting that sales of Truly would grow threefold by 2021 and the brand's parent company, Boston Beer Company, inked a deal with the National Hockey League. By October 2019, Truly announced it was overhauling its flavors in an attempt to snatch some market share from White Claw. At the same time, Natural Light and PBR announced plans to roll out affordable hard seltzers of their own, and Four Loko promised a hard seltzer with a staggering 14% ABV.UBS estimated at the time that hard seltzer could grow to be a $2.5 billion beverage category by 2021.2020 brings about new seltzer brands - and heavier drinking Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images) By the first quarter of 2020, the seltzer market was officially saturated. Constellation Brands - the owner of Corona, Kim Crawford wines, and Svedka vodka - launched Corona Seltzer, spending $40 million on marketing alone, CNBC reported. Anheuser-Busch InBev debuted Bud Light Seltzer, which immediately took off, becoming the third-most-popular seltzer in the US weeks after launching, CNN reported, citing Nielsen data. And in September 2020, Molson Coors launched Coors Seltzer in four flavors: black cherry, grapefruit, lemon lime, and mango. And then there were a slew of smaller players that launched between 2018 and 2020: Malibu Splash, High Noon, Arctic Summer, Wild Basin, and a dozen more.By the time the pandemic hit, the hard seltzer market was ready. Trapped at home as the virus surged, Americans started drinking - a lot. One study published in September 2020 found that drinking in the US was up 14% from the onset of the pandemic, with hard seltzer helping to fuel the trend.Hard seltzer has a promising start to 2021 Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images The hard seltzer category saw $4.5 billion in sales from May 2020 to May 2021 with White Claw and Truly combined making up 75% of the market share, according to NielsenIQ data shared with Insider's Mary Meisenzahl.Bud Light Seltzer remained in third, and in February, AB InBev said its "beyond beer" category, which includes seltzer, had topped $1 billion, The Wall Street Journal reported. In March, rapper Travis Scott partnered with AB InBev to launch Cacti, which sold out its inventory in only 12 hours after an ad aired during this year's Grammys. And Vizzy and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer, both owned by Molson Coors, started to make gains, particularly after the company said it would increase it seltzer production capacity by 400%.Ahead of the summer, analysts and business-owners predicted it was going to be "a big summer for hard seltzer," and White Claw launched Surge, a new seltzer with 8% alcohol instead of the standard 5%.Signs of a slow-down emerged halfway through 2021 Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images But by July, it seemed that seltzer's popularity was beginning to fade. Boston Beer founder Jim Koch warned in the company's second-quarter earnings that the "hard seltzer category and overall beer industry were softer than we had anticipated."Bloomberg Intelligence data showed that hard seltzer sales had slowed to a crawl during the summer, and data from Jefferies and Nielsen found the same: Sales growth slowed to about 30% by July 2021, down from 165% in 2020, Insider's Alex Bitter reported.Phil Lempert, a food analyst and founder of SupermarketGuru.com, told Insider at the time that a return to restaurants and bars was the likely culprit, with drinks like cocktails seeming like a more interesting option than a hard seltzer.Even White Claw sales began slumping: White Claw sales dipped 12.8% during the first two weeks of September, Wine Business reported, citing data from Evercore ISI.Molson Coors discontinued Coors Seltzer in the US after less than a year on the marketCoors Seltzer met its demise in July after only a few short months on shelves. Molson Coors said at the time that it didn't think seltzer brands that were an offshoot of an existing beer brand performed well, according to Beverage Daily, and would opt instead to focus on two other seltzer brands in its portfolio: Vizzy and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer."We launched a number of hard seltzers in the US market and got two clear winners in Vizzy and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer," Molson Coors CEO Gavin Hattersley told CNBC at the time. "In order to prioritize focus, and put all our investments and efforts behind our two clear winners, that led us to the decision."Since then, Vizzy has become one of the top-four seltzer brands in the US and Topo Chico Hard Seltzer will rollout across the US next year, according to Forbes.Truly's parent company dumps "millions of cases" of the hard seltzer Monica Schipper/Getty Images for NYCWFF Boston Beer's Koch told CNBC this month that the company overestimated the popularity of hard seltzers, getting overly "aggressive" about buying raw materials like flavors and cans and adding extra capacity to produce Truly, Koch said during an interview on "Closing Bell." "Frankly, we overbought," he said. "And when the growth stopped, we had more of all those things than we were going to be able to use, because there is a shelf life."Now, Boston Beer plans to throw away the excess cases rather than sell them at a discount. Koch told CNBC that the company would rather eat the product than run the risk of selling customers stale Trulys.But Boston Beer isn't the only company taking a hit when it comes to seltzers: Constellation Brands said in its most recent earnings that it has excess inventory of hard seltzers "resulting from a slowdown in the overall category in the US." The craze has fizzled out, but seltzers are here to stay Bethany Biron/Business Insider It would be oversimplifying it to say that the hard seltzer category as a whole is on the decline, or that the world has moved on from hard seltzer.But it's safe to say that the craze is over, due in large part to how big the category gotten - Brandy Rand, an analyst with research firm IWSR, told Bloomberg earlier this year that "the larger the category, the harder it is to achieve double and triple-digit growth." Plus, the bigger players with large distribution networks are likely to edge out the seltzer upstarts still trying to gain a foothold in the market. "The winners are going to be the ones that have the best distribution," Lempert of SupermarketGuru.com told Insider in July. "That's No. 1."At this point, the brands that will succeed will need to have "a clear point of difference," Molson Coors' CEO Hattersley said during the company's most recent earnings call."We have been saying for more than a year now that (hard seltzers) couldn't continue to grow at the pace they were at," he said. "But they are now a part of the alcohol space, and they are here to stay."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 30th, 2021

Is The Establishment Hiding Mass Resistance To Vaccine Mandates With The "Striketober" Farce?

Is The Establishment Hiding Mass Resistance To Vaccine Mandates With The "Striketober" Farce? Authored by Brandon Smith via Alt-Market.us, It is perhaps a sign of the waning influence of the mainstream media that even though they have been incessantly pumping the concept of “Striketober” for the past month, the majority of Americans rarely mention it. What we do deal with on a regular basis, though, are the constant labor shortages across multiple sectors of the economy as well as the growing supply chain disruptions and stagflationary retail price hikes. The media notion of “labor regaining its power” is a background narrative that they are still struggling to plant in the public subconscious while the majority of people try to adapt to more serious concerns. That said, the establishment doesn’t really care if the propaganda takes hold, only that they have a useful cover for the very real collapse of the US economy. It’s a kind of vicious perversion of the “fake it until you make it” strategy. Striketober, like BLM, Antifa, and numerous other Marxist or Cultural Marxist movements has been created from thin air by a combination of news hype and globalist foundation funding. It’s important to first recognize that none of these leftist organizations would have ever been formed had it not been for the ample support of institutions like the Ford Foundation and George Soros’ Open Society Foundation. BLM, for example, was founded by openly Marxist leaders and got its start using millions of dollars in funding from the Ford Foundation and Open Society Foundation. Many of the “workers unions” involved in various elements of Striktober also enjoy direct or indirect funding from globalist foundations. The Food Chain Workers Alliance, for example, receives funding from the Ford Foundation, and the National Domestic Workers Foundation gets ample money from the Ford Foundation, Open Society Foundation and Rockefeller Foundation. As I have said many times in the past, all the evil people are on the side of the political left. All the billionaire elites and corporations they claim to hate are feeding them endless cash. Leftist labor strikes only exist because globalists want them to exist. Of course, leftist strikes are actually a minimal problem. In fact, I suspect they are a deliberately fabricated theater meant to obscure the very REAL labor strikes among conservatives over the covid vaccine mandates. Let me explain… We are all familiar with sensationalist worker walkouts like the Netflix protest over Dave Chappelle’s special “The Closer” which dares to make jokes about trans activists, a highly protected minority of people at the top of the leftist oppression totem pole. Most people have also heard about the workers strike among McDonalds employees over #metoo claims even though there is little to no evidence to support the accusations. What we don’t hear much about is that the Netflix walkout was actually only a handful of real employees mixed with a mob of career activists that were bused in from elsewhere. We also don’t hear about the fact that the #metoo claims made against McDonalds are actually from back in 2018, and they are now being conveniently dredged up again as the country faces a labor shortage crisis. These high profile strikes and walkouts are starting to eclipse media coverage of the true culprits behind the labor crisis – Namely the Biden Administration and blue state governments enacting global mandates, vaccine controls and covid stimulus. The source of worker shortages, supply chain bottlenecks and a lot of our stagflationary issues can be traced directly back to the government’s covid restrictions and the covid welfare programs. Get rid of the restrictions, the mandates and the covid checks and over time the crisis will disappear. It really is that simple. However, the establishment does not want you to see it that way. Marxist/Socialist groups are working feverishly to make hay with the covid protests and employee strikes in an attempt to attribute them to “worker discontent” over low wages and “mistreatment” rather than the covid mandates. This is nonsense. First and foremost, wages have been rising exponentially in the past year for what I would call “zero skill workers” in the retail and service industries. When a potential employee with no valuable skills can walk into almost any chain restaurant or retail outlet and get $15 or more an hour on top of a signing bonus of hundreds of dollars just for showing up on the first day, there is no unfair disparity for the working class. When the average minimum wage across the states is around $9 and most service workers are making nearly double that, there is no legitimate problem for Marxists to complain about. So, they have to make things up. To be sure, $15 an hour is not enough to buy a home or start a family on a single income, but people aren’t automatically entitled to home ownership and no intelligent person expects to launch a career in food service or retail. That’s why decades ago these jobs were filled by teenagers, not people in their 20s or older. Doubling the minimum wage only accomplished one thing int he long run: Much higher prices for everyone. Workers might feel like they are being abused, but it’s not their paychecks under attack or their managers making sexual advances. These are petty concerns compared to the bigger issue at hand – Their individual civil liberties. As noted, there are two major factors in worker shortages: The Biden vaccine mandates and state and federal covid stimulus programs which pay people more to stay at home than they would make on the job. THESE are the reasons for worker shortages and anyone that claims otherwise is ignorant or has an agenda. Federal covid checks are not done yet. Contrary to popular belief the cash is still flowing through various programs including child credit programs. Also, most states continue to pump out covid financial aid on top of existing unemployment benefits. This is essentially Universal Basic Income and it’s not over by a long shot. Businesses cannot find enough labor because the government has bribed millions of workers to stay home. The socialists don’t like to address this problem because it conflicts with their Striketober fantasy, so they deny it exists. The establishment is well aware that these actions are destabilizing the labor market and I believe the goal is to destroy the small business sector specifically. Small businesses cannot compete with corporations backed by trillions in central bank stimulus. They don’t have the resources to double wage rates for zero-skill workers or to offer large signing bonuses. They also don’t have the resources to police their own employees and customers to ensure these people are complying with vaccine passports and booster shots. Within a year the solid small business foundation of the US will be a hollow shell. With the death of small businesses, all that will remain are international conglomerates that WILL enforce the mandates and threaten people with poverty and starvation if they refuse the vax. All other legal alternatives will be removed and that is exactly what the elites want. Without defiant small businesses there’s nowhere left for you to work or shop without the vax passport. Corporate monopolies are the tool governments are using to circumvent constitutional protections for individuals. But as this process plays out the resistance grows. And, as they say, the resistance will not be televised. The entire premise of Striketober and the rise of the “oppressed proletariat” is a farce, but there is a different kind of revolution brewing. The latest narrative does at least represent something new in the agenda to derail the US economy. For the most part we have been dealing with astroturf protests from Cultural Marxists in the form of crazed social justice warriors funded by globalist foundations. The focus is usually on exploiting cultural taboos or non-existent racism or sexism. The Striketober development is a much more classic rendition of old school Marxist sabotage, and it appears that it was slapped together haphazardly by establishment elites in order to diminish the VERY REAL conservative worker walkouts. That is to say, from now on expect that if you walk out of a job or get fired from a job for non-compliance on the experimental covid vax you might be lumped in with a fake leftist movement and no one will mention the real reasons for your sacrifice. But what is the point of this psy-op? Don’t the globalists want to identify and demonize the millions of conservatives refusing the vax? I am reminded of a story I read when I was a child about a conversation between an ancient Roman General and a Roman Senator. The senator tells the general that something needed to be done about separating and delineating the slave class from the free Roman citizens because often they all looked alike and were sometimes dressed alike. The senator suggested that the slaves be forced to wear black arm bands so they could be easily identified. The general disagreed, pointing out that if the slaves were given the arm bands they would finally see how many of them there were, and realizing the sheer size of their population the slaves might then be encouraged to revolt against the empire. Now, I don’t know if this tale is historically accurate but I treat it as a parable. In the case of the vaccine mandates and the massive worker strikes among airlines, hospitals, police and emergency services, etc., the more the establishment tries to squeeze the US population with forced vaccination efforts the more liberty minded people slip through their fingers and fight back. If mass walkouts and strikes are attributed to conservatives and patriots standing against the mandates, then all the other “slaves” might realize they are actually legion. This would be bad for the globalists and their Reset agenda. So, they are attempting to co-opt the vaccine walkouts and rewrite history in real time by creating a fake workers movement through Striketober. And no, it will not end in October, the media will be promoting this idea from now on. That way the resistance becomes convoluted and confused and the mainstream media can say the great number of striking workers are actually on the side of the political left battling the “capitalist machine”, not conservatives and patriots on the side of truth and freedom. We are not supposed to know our numbers. By instituting a two tier society through vax mandates the establishment has made an error. They obviously assumed there would be far less rebellion against the passports. They obviously assumed that there would be a vast majority of support and the 10% or less of the population refusing to comply would be overwhelmed and surrounded by the covid cult. They figured we would be compelled by peer pressure and the fear of standing out, and that we would naturally fall in line. Instead, 30% to 50% of the population depending on the state or city or industry is in revolt and we are starting to see how many of us there really are across the country. There are three things the covid authoritarians are predominantly afraid of: Liberty groups recognizing their true numbers. Those same groups organizing at the local and state level across the country. And, losing the mainstream narrative that they are the “good guys” and that we are the “evil insurrectionists”. Striketober is just another desperate attempt by the power elites to manage optics in the face of unexpected opposition. Their efforts to terrorize people that refuse to become guinea pigs for a barely tested mRNA cocktail is backfiring. Eventually, worker strikes due to forced vaccination will culminate in greater acts of rebellion against the system. And, with each escalation of resistance the establishment will strain their weak think-tank brains trying to create new narratives to obscure what is really happening. *  *  * If you would like to support the work that Alt-Market does while also receiving content on advanced tactics for defeating the globalist agenda, subscribe to our exclusive newsletter The Wild Bunch Dispatch.  Learn more about it HERE.   Tyler Durden Thu, 10/28/2021 - 23:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 29th, 2021

Haunted houses that were once worth over $1 million

Despite their murderous or paranormal reputations, many haunted homes are listed for millions when they're put on the market. The Pillars Estate in Albion, New York. Steve Shoemaker/Amity Photos Some haunted houses have been put on the market in recent years, and the prices may surprise you. Despite their eerie reputations, some haunted homes are listed for millions when they go on sale. However, some have sold for much less, perhaps due to their reputations or just dilapidation. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. A common horror movie plotline involves innocent folks believing they're getting an incredible deal on a new home, only to discover the place is haunted. A haunted house. Vladimir Mulder/Shutterstock What if that were to happen in real life?Many homes are made only more valuable due to their haunted reputations. Some haunted houses have become tourist attractions or even the subjects of big Hollywood horror franchises, attracting fans from across the world to their doors. However, other haunted houses have only been sold after dramatic price cuts. We consulted Zillow records to determine the price history of some of America's most notorious haunted houses. While they were all priced at more than $1 million at one point, they are all now worth considerably less, either due to changing housing markets, dilapidation, or perhaps even paranormal occurrences scaring away buyers. Here are seven haunted houses that were once listed for millions, but are now worth much less.  The Amityville Horror House in Long Island, New York, has a reputation for being haunted. The Amityville Horror House in Long Island, New York. Paul Hawthorne/Getty Images Popularly known as the Amityville Horror House, 112 Ocean Avenue still stands and is remembered as the site of a mass murder in which six people were killed. According to Biography.com, on the night of November 13, 1974, 23-year-old Ronald J. DeFeo Jr. shot and murdered his entire family while they slept. Those murdered included DeFeo's two parents and his four siblings. A little over a year after the murders, the Lutz family purchased the home for a reduced price of $80,000, on account of the house's sinister reputation. They only lasted 28 days before moving out of the house, citing paranormal happenings like strange odors, green slime oozing out of the walls and keyholes, and cold spots appearing throughout the house.Stepfather George Lutz also reported waking up at 3:15 a.m. every night, around the time DeFeo carried out the murders. Perhaps the strangest and most terrifying instances of all, the family claimed wife Kathy and sons Daniel and Christopher levitated off their beds.The home, which underwent renovations and an address change in order to deter investigators or horror fans from visiting the property, was listed for $1.15 million in 2010. However, it sold for $950,000. In 2017, it sold for $605,000. It has been repeatedly cited as one of the most haunted places in America.  Charming Forge Mansion in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania, has reportedly been the site of multiple paranormal occurrences. Charming Forge Mansion in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania. Google Maps Built in 1784 and restored in 1994, this Georgian-style mansion has seven bedrooms, four bathrooms, seven working fireplaces, and original Colonial-era details and woodwork. Described by Realtor.com as the perfect home for "thrill-seekers," the Charming Forge Mansion in Womelsdorf, Pennsylvania, has been the site of multiple reported paranormal occurrences. Ghost stories include reports of a woman heard crying in the hallways, sightings of a man in the house's backyard, and various noises reportedly sounding like German prisoners of war circa the American Revolution. The mansion was originally listed for $2,500,000 in 2009 but it has been on and off the market for the past ten years. Its most recent listing was for $695,000 but it sold for $650,000 in 2019, according to Zillow.  Franklin Castle in Cleveland, Ohio, has a seriously spooky history. Franklin Castle in Cleveland, Ohio. Seph Lawless Considered one of the most haunted places in Ohio, Franklin Castle in Cleveland has quite the paranormal history. According to Atlas Obscura, the Victorian-style home was originally built in the 1880s by grocer-turned-banker Hannes Tiedemann. Many of Tiedemann's close relatives died in the house, including his 15-year-old daughter, his mother, his wife, and three other of his infant children. After Tiedemann died in 1908, it spent many years as a German cultural center and base for the German Socialist Party. However, throughout the 1960s, tales surfaced of paranormal activity within the castle walls. Visitors have claimed they've experienced electrical surges, heard crying babies, and even saw a mysterious woman emerging from black steam.According to Cleveland.com, rumors of heinous acts, like multiple murders and a mass shooting motivated by Nazi politics in the basement, have emerged. However, many of these claims are unsubstantiated. Regardless, people have claimed to see apparitions such as Tiedemann's illegitimate daughter, who is rumored to have been hanged by her father, and his mistress, who he also allegedly killed with an axe. In early 1984, Michael DeVinko, an actor and the last husband of Judy Garland, purchased Franklin Castle. DeVinko spent close to $1 million renovating Franklin Castle before selling, according to Cleveland.com. However, fires occurred over the years that damaged the home. In 2011, it sold for a mere $260,000, down from its $350,000 selling price in 1999. The home has since been converted into apartments. The LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the most notoriously haunted homes in the country. The LaLaurie Mansion in New Orleans, Louisiana. DMBrooks/Shutterstock Located at 1140 Royal St in New Orleans, Louisiana, the LaLaurie Mansion has six bedrooms, seven bathrooms, and one horrifying history. Originally built for visiting French royalty, the mansion dates back to the 1800s.According to New Orleans Historical, in 1832, Madame Delphine LaLaurie moved into the mansion. Many lavish parties were thrown in the residence, and LaLaurie established herself as a member of New Orleans' elite class. However, rumors and accusations surfaced of LaLaurie's mistreatment of her slaves.When a fire broke out at the residence in 1834, firefighters attempting to contain the blaze discovered "seven horribly mutilated slaves who had been imprisoned in the house for some time," according to Atlas Obscura. An angry mob descended on the house, destroying as much as they could get their hands on. Madame LaLaurie then fled to Paris, where she lived out the rest of her days. The house is still featured on many New Orleans ghost tours, as people speculate the souls of the slaves mistreated within its walls still haunt the premises. However, no one is allowed inside as the home is now a private residence. In 2020, Zillow valued the property at an estimated $910,527, compared to its $2,100,000 selling price in 2010. The Pillars Estate in Albion, New York, was once worth millions. The Pillars Estate in Albion, New York. Steve Shoemaker/Amity Photos The Pillars Estate in Albion, New York, was built in 1878 and has six bedrooms, six bathrooms, and many antique and original details that seemingly transport you back in time to another era.According to Realtor.com, members of the household staff have said they've heard footsteps following them as they walk up the stairs. Cora Goyette, hired by owner Tony McMurtrie to help him care for the historic home he bought in 2006, claims to have heard the piano located in the parlor being played when no one was in the room. Apparitions like a woman in a white dress have also been spotted by McMurtrie throughout the house.In 2015, the Pillars Estate was listed for $1,000,000. However, the price of the home has lowered over the years. In July 2020, the home sold for $450,000.  The Sallie House in Atchison, Kansas, has been investigated by multiple ghost hunters. The Sallie House in Atchison, Kansas. Visit Atchison/Atchison Area Chamber of Commerce According to a post by Visit Atchison, one residence in the small Kansas town has quite the paranormal reputation. Built around the 1900s, the home served as the place of business for an Atchison physician.According to legend, a 6-year-old girl was brought to the doctor's office, believed to be experiencing appendicitis. The doctor reportedly began operating on the young girl before the anesthesia took full effect. She died on the operating table, and her spirit is said to haunt the house, reportedly causing strange scratches to appear on visitors' bodies, objects to move, unexplained fires, and cold spots being felt in what used to be the operating room. The home's listing on Zillow actually calls attention to the home's ghostly reputation, saying it "is the internationally known home of Sallie the Heartland ghost," and that the home has a "record of $400 per night with word of mouth only," encouraging potential owners to actually rent out the house to investigators and fans of the paranormal.In February 2016, it was listed for $1,000,000. By August of that same year, the asking price had lowered to $499,900. In November 2017, the three-bedroom, two-bath residence went off the market. However, visitors are able to take self-guided tours or even stay a night in the Sallie House in the hope of catching a real ghost on tape. Highland Cottage in Ossining, New York, once served as a mental hospital. Highland Cottage (The Squire House) in Ossining, New York. Google Maps The Highland Cottage, or Squire House, has quite the eerie history. Built as a single-family home in 1872, the Swiss-inspired home has been owned by multiple people over the years. The estate is located in Ossining, New York, home to the infamous Sing Sing prison.In 1905, the home was bought by Sing Sing's chief physician, Dr. Amos Osborne Squire, who reportedly witnessed more than 138 executions during his time working at the prison. Around 1912, Squire converted the home into a privately run psychiatric facility, giving the home a creepy and even haunted reputation, according to local legend.The extravagant and beautifully constructed home was once listed for $1.25 million but sold in 2018 for $925,000. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 24th, 2021