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Illinois Gaming Board delays decision eliminating one south suburban casino contender

With hundreds of millions of dollars in investments, and millions of dollars potentially flowing to south suburban communities suffering from poverty and high unemployment, the applicants touted the creation of jobs and potential development that would spring up around casino sites.With hundreds of millions of dollars in investments, and millions of dollars potentially flowing to south suburban communities suffering from poverty and high unemployment, the applicants touted the creation of jobs and potential development that would spring up around casino sites......»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneOct 13th, 2021

Some of the best hotels in Las Vegas aren"t on the Strip - here"s where to find a great stay starting at $30

Here's where to stay off the Strip in Las Vegas, including cheap and luxury hotels near Downtown, Fremont Street, Summerlin, Henderson, and Red Rocks. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Tripadvisor The Las Vegas Strip draws millions, but locals know that's not the real heart of the city. Downtown Las Vegas, Fremont Street, and suburbs are more authentic with cheaper casinos and hotels. Some of the best Las Vegas hotels are off-Strip, from retro motels to luxury amid the Red Rocks. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyThe Las Vegas Strip is the city's glitzy, showy draw, luring millions of tourists each year. But it's hardly the sole attraction.As a Las Vegas local, I want you to know there's much more to this wonderful city than just what you'll find along Las Vegas Boulevard. And while you can (and should) enjoy time on the Strip, going off-Strip will show you a part of the city you've never experienced, one that's neighborhood-centric, artsy, outdoorsy, and filled with character.As such, the next time you're looking for a Las Vegas hotel, consider an off-Strip hotel. From historic Fremont Street hotels that lean into a vintage Vegas aesthetic to luxurious desert escapes with spas and pools, these off-Strip hotels also boast lower prices and gaming minimums than their Las Vegas Boulevard counterparts. Browse all the best off-Strip Las Vegas hotels below, or jump directly to a specific area:The best off-Strip hotels in Las VegasFAQ: Las Vegas hotelsHow we selected the best off-Strip hotels in Las VegasMore of the best places to stay in Las VegasThese are the best off-Strip hotels in Las Vegas, sorted by price from low to high. El Cortez Hotel & Casino This property dating back to 1941 is the longest continuously-running casino in Las Vegas. Tripadvisor Book El Cortez Hotel & CasinoCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: Downtown Typical starting/peak price: $30/$125Best for: Groups of friends, solo travelers, couplesOn-site amenities: 24-restaurant known for its shrimp cocktail and prime rib, bars with live entertainment, spa, beauty salon, old-school barbershop, casino, sportsbookPros: This is a very budget-friendly option in the heart of the trendy Fremont East District that will be enticing to history buffs. The 1941 era property is the longest continuously-running casino in Las Vegas.Cons: This is an older property that is showing its age. You will either find it charming or hopelessly dated. There's also no pool.Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the El Cortez and its pink neon cursive sign harken back to the early days of Las Vegas. The Spanish Colonial Revival style architecture stands out in a city increasingly defined by steel and glass.Step inside and find a dimly lit casino, a lobby bar with a live piano, and no-frills rooms. Amenities are limited. There's no pool and the retail space is just a small general store.Most people who appreciate the El Cortez do so because they either like the history or the low prices. For something more modern, book a room at the El Cortez Cabana Suites, the 64-room sister property across the street with tufted white headboards, green walls, marble bathrooms, and a fitness center.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Downtown Grand Hotel & Casino Vibrant, bright colors create a tropical look on the aptly named Citrus Pool Deck. Tripadvisor Book Downtown Grand Hotel & CasinoCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak price: $33/$217Best for: Couples, groups of friends, locals On-site amenities: Lively rooftop pool, bars, restaurants, live entertainment, meeting and event spacePros: The 3rd Street location gives easy access to stellar restaurants and the Mob Museum is just across the street. Also, the hotel's rooftop pool has dreamy views come sunset.Cons: The on-site Art Bar, which has paintings hanging from the ceiling, used to be an under-the-radar cocktail lounge, but in recent years, the resort has served continental breakfast there, which feels like a downgrade.Can't decide between the raucous Fremont Street Experience and the slightly more chill East Fremont District? Then try the Downtown Grand, which expertly straddles that line.The recently expanded property (the hotel's 495-room Gallery Tower opened in September 2020) still feels boutique despite the budget price tag. Rooms are simple but comfortable, with white walls, geometric accents, and floor-to-ceiling windows.The real highlight is the Citrus Grand Pool Deck, which was voted the best of Las Vegas' best Downtown hotel pool in 2020. When I first moved to Vegas, I whiled away many a desert afternoon at this rooftop oasis; I love the cocktail program and the city views. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Oasis at Gold Spike Known for its party scene, the pool at Gold Spike is a lively one. Booking.com Book Oasis at Gold SpikeCategory: BoutiqueNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak price: $35/$149Best for: Groups of friends, solo travelers, young professionalsOn-site amenities: Pool, bike rentals, restaurant, bar, coworking space, fitness center, backyard area with gamesPros: This hotel is vibrant and social. It's not just close to the party; this is the party. Plus, unique rooms include a solar-powered trailer and the penthouse where the 31st season of The Real World was filmed.Cons: This hotel can be very loud (especially on weekends) and rooms are small.Like a lot of things in Downtown Las Vegas, the Oasis at Gold Spike (formerly the Gold Spike Hotel & Casino) used to be a little bit seedy. Now, it's a millennial/Gen Z hangout with a vinyl soundtrack, a coworking space that turns into a house party at night, and 130 hotel rooms. Notably absent: a casino.Staying here is like staying at a deliberately cool hostel, minus the bunk beds. You'll have your own room, but it'll be small and basic, simply a place to crash after staying out all night. Then you'll wake up, grab a cocktail from the 24-hour bar, and hit the pool.The Oasis at Gold Spike is also steps from all of the bars and restaurants on Fremont Street, so there's much to explore within walking distance, although to be honest, on most nights, the best party is right here.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Plaza Hotel & Casino An iconic mural keeps watch over the pool at this equally iconic hotel. Tripadvisor Book The Plaza Hotel & CasinoCategory: BudgetNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak price: $39/$145Best for: Groups of friends, couplesOn-site amenities: Rooftop pool with pickleball court, an outdoor equestrian center that hosts rodeos, bingo, bars, restaurants including a steakhouse that was seen in the movie "Casino"Pros: This budget-friendly hotel has a prime Fremont Street location with unique amenities (name another Downtown hotel that hosts the National Finals Rodeo; you can't) and great views.Cons: The Plaza opened in 1971 and despite a $35 million renovation in 2010, the property still shows signs of wear, particularly in guest hallways and rooms. Nearly every Las Vegas local (and many a visitor) has taken a photo beneath the twinkling gold lights at the entrance to The Plaza. This backdrop, like the hotel itself, is classic Las Vegas.The 995-room property excels by leaning into the 70's vintage vibe hard. From the banana-leaf wallpaper at the coffee shop to the retro Palm Springs-inspired rooftop pool lounge, The Plaza will feel like a Killers music video if you're a young traveler (Spoiler: It was actually in a Killers music video) and you will unironically enjoy the bingo, smoky casino, and showgirl-bespeckled carpet.In some places, The Plaza feels retro in all the right ways — the steakhouse overlooking Fremont Street, the colorful pool area — in other places, such as the 325-square-foot Deluxe rooms, it feels dated and spartan. Spring for a renovated room (especially one of the Pool Patio rooms which includes a private covered patio) or request one of the newer Luxe rooms, which come with voice-activated Amazon Echoes.COVID-19 procedures are available here. M Resort Spa & Casino The 100,000 square-foot pool complex has two infinity pools including a family-friendly pool and a separate day club pool that hosts parties. Tripadvisor Book M Resort Spa & CasinoCategory: Luxury Neighborhood: HendersonTypical starting/peak price: $78/$345Best for: Families, localsOn-site amenities: Pool with summer parties, spa, fitness center, restaurants including a steakhouse and artisan bakery, lounge with UFC viewing partiesPros: M Resort has a locally-loved pool and a location that is convenient for activities in the Henderson area. Rooms are quiet and have unique views.Cons: The surrounding area isn't much of a destination — think suburban sprawl.A staycation favorite among locals, M Resort has a 100,000 square-foot pool complex with two infinity pools. There's a family-friendly pool and a separate day club pool that hosts parties that allow guests to have the option of both a party environment and a more mellow one.Because the property is located south of the Strip in the Henderson area, rooms feature unique views. They're modern and luxe, outfitted with floor-to-ceiling windows, power blinds, and raw wooden decor. On-site restaurants are also a bright spot; find everything from a deli to a steakhouse, and a Raiders-themed bar and grill, which is a popular recent addition.The M Resort is not a place to stay if you want to be close to the action of the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas, but odds are if you're choosing this hotel, a respite from the mayhem is what you're seeking.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino The pool complex here is expansive, with restaurants, bars, and even a 200,000-gallon shark tank. Tripadvisor Book Golden Nugget Hotel & CasinoCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: DowntownTypical starting/peak price: $79/$179Best for: Couples, familiesOn-site amenities: Expansive pool complex with a 200,000-gallon shark tank, wide selection of restaurants and bars, nightclub with patio overlooking Fremont Street, spa, salon, fitness center, retail shopsPros: Multiple fine dining options and comfortable rooms make this a great base, and it's also dog-friendly (not as common Downtown as it is on the Strip). Plus, the shark tank with a slide going through it in the pool area is a fun perk.Cons: Golden Nugget is not as budget-friendly as other Fremont Street hotels and the nightclub may not dazzle guests who are used to the Strip's more opulent ones.Before Circa, the Golden Nugget was the correct answer to, "where can I stay Downtown if I like the vibe of the Strip?" The property, which is in the center of the Fremont Street Experience, has marble floors, upscale restaurants, and a large casino.A large number of the rooms were recently renovated (the Carson Tower and Gold Tower rooms were renovated in 2018 and 2015 respectively) and feature neutral decor, comfortable mattresses, and lots of space. The Rush Tower rooms with California King beds and 439-square feet of space are an excellent value (expect to pay $109-$229 approximately). The pool complex is huge, and even has a shark tank with an adjacent water slide.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Signature at MGM Grand Every room here is a suite with apartment-like features. Tripadvisor Book The Signature at MGM GrandCategory: Luxury Neighborhood: Near StripTypical starting/peak price: $99/$599Best for: Business travelers, couplesOn-site amenities: Pool, spa, fitness center, lounge, cafePros: All rooms are suites with balconies, which is a real rarity in Las Vegas. It's also slightly removed from the Strip while offering easy access to it.Cons: There are very limited on-site food and drink options unless you walk to the adjacent MGM Grand.If you want to be near the Strip without being directly on the Strip, the Signature at MGM Grand is one of the best options you'll find. This non-gaming property, which is less than a mile from the Strip, is connected to the massive playground that is the MGM Grand (you won't even have to go outside to walk to it) but still feels completely separate.The lobby is tranquil and elegant, and rooms come with kitchenettes, separate living room areas, and in some cases, balconies. Upgrade to a Deluxe Balcony Suite to secure one. They also have spacious spa bathrooms with a rainfall shower, a deep soaking tub, and a TV.While sunning on your balcony, don't be surprised if the view is of a rowdy pool party at the nearby Wet Republic Ultra Pool.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino This family-friendly resort is located in one of Las Vegas' most desirable suburbs. Tripadvisor Book Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and CasinoCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: HendersonTypical starting/peak price: $99/$500Best for: Families, locals, foodiesOn-site amenities: Pool, spa, salon, arcade, restaurants, bars, fitness center, concert, event spacePros: Family-friendly and Vegas don't always go hand-in-hand, so the kid-friendly amenities such as the Cyber Quest arcade are a nice touch. Also, locally-acclaimed restaurant Pizza Rock has a location here, which is not to be missed.Cons: Guests complain about long check-in times and long distances between parking areas and rooms. The Las Vegas neighborhood of Green Valley is attractive with locals due to its safety, proximity to the Strip (about a 15-20 minute drive), and The District at Green Valley Ranch, an open-air shopping and dining area. Travelers staying at Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino, which is just a five-minute walk from The District at Green Valley Ranch, will appreciate these same things.The well-manicured property feels as big as some Strip resorts and has a similar scope of amenities too, including high-end restaurants. Italian restaurant Bottiglia offers a lively brunch with bottomless mimosas, Borracha Mexican Cantina has fresh fish tacos, and Tides Oyster Bar has an outstanding fresh seafood selection.The rooms at Green Valley Ranch Resort Spa and Casino are nothing out of the ordinary, with beige and chocolate brown accents and flat-screen televisions, but they're a good value. Just expect to pay more on weekends.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by Hilton Bright, bold rooms are stylish and new and suites are especially spacious. Virgin Hotels Book Virgin Hotels Las Vegas, Curio Collection by HiltonCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: Near StripTypical starting/peak price: $111/$500Best for: Groups of friends, couples, Hilton loyalistsOn-site amenities: Live music venue, beach club, pool, spa, fitness center, meeting and event space, sportsbook with interactive games, bars, restaurantsPros: The aesthetic throughout the property aims to please, and rooms are bright and modern with just a bit of quirkiness.Cons: Near Strip is definitely not on-Strip. Expect a 25-minute walk to Las Vegas Boulevard if you dare to go on foot. The brand new Virgin Hotels Las Vegas emerged on former the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino site in 2021 and has made a strong case for a pilgrimage away from the Strip. Though, it is a solid mile away from Las Vegas Boulevard.The hotel is colorful and inviting with jewel-toned furniture and bold accent walls. Rooms are white with pops of color and interesting, modern light fixtures. The property also scores major points for embracing its desert location. You'll be greeted with cacti at the entrance, and once inside, you're met with an infusion of color.Dining and drinking feature venues from Todd English and Nobu Matsuhisa, and as long as you aren't counting on an easy stroll to the Strip, this property will impress. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Circa Resort & Casino The epic pool complex dubbed Stadium Swim is a sight to behold. Tripadvisor Book Circa Resort & CasinoCategory: Luxury Neighborhood: Downtown Las VegasTypical starting/peak price: $139/$639Best for: Groups of friends, couples, locals on staycationOn-site amenities: Year-round pool deck with a massive outdoor screen that broadcasts live sports games, swanky 60th-floor rooftop lounge, three-story sportsbook, the longest outdoor bar on Fremont Street, restaurantsPros: Circa opened in 2020 as the first newly-built hotel-casino in Downtown Las Vegas in 40 years, and it shows. Everything feels fresh, from the art installations in the parking garage (which the resort calls Garage Mahal) to sapphire and gold accents in guest rooms. This is a hotel for people who want a luxury Strip resort but in Downtown Las Vegas.Cons: This hotel still comes with a Strip resort price tag; Circa can be pricier than nearby Fremont Street properties.Located on the former site of the Las Vegas Club, Circa dominates the Downtown Las Vegas skyline with an angular design that looks distinctly modern compared to neighboring hotels.The property, owned by locally famous Derek Stevens who also runs the nearby The D Casino and Hotel, is flashy and upscale. For example, there's a display case containing 1,000 ounces of gold on the rooftop lounge and suites come with Balmain products in the bathroom.Instead of one rooftop pool, there are six spread across three levels. Dubbed Stadium Swim, it features six temperature-controlled pools, two swim-up bars, and a 143-foot diagonal, 14-million-megapixel LED screen, always playing the day's biggest sports games and events. Like most Vegas locals, I am partial to Vegas Vickie's, the casino bar that features Vegas Vickie herself, a beloved neon cowgirl who stood watch over Fremont Street for more than three decades. In a hotel that's so intensely modern, it's nice to see this nod to the neighborhood's past. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Red Rock Casino Resort Spa Red Rock's pool complex is serene and lush, lined with palms for ample shade. Hotels.com Book Red Rock Casino Resort SpaCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: SummerlinTypical starting/peak price: $139/$600Best for: Couples, familiesOn-site amenities: lush pool, upscale restaurants, movie theater, bowling alley, spaPros: This hotel is a convenient jumping-off point for outdoor adventures in Red Rock Canyon, and is within walking distance from shops and restaurants in Downtown Summerlin. Plus, the pool is beautiful.Cons: Red Rock Resort is far from the Strip and Downtown Las Vegas. It can also be expensive.Red Rock Resort and Hotel is a true desert escape, located on the western edge of the city near the soaring cliffs of Red Rock Canyon. One could easily spend a day hiking, rock climbing, or mountain biking in the desert and then return to Red Rock for a spa treatment, a margarita by the palm-shaded pool, or fresh pasta from Osteria Fiorella.Conversely, this is also the kind of upscale hotel that makes it easy to spend an entire weekend without leaving the property. It has everything: great room service, cloud-like beds, views of the desert and the Strip, a nice selection of restaurants, and even a bowling alley and movie theater.The pool, in particular, is one of the best in the city and if you're looking for the opposite of a wild Strip pool party, this tranquil oasis is it. Should you feel inclined to wander, shops, restaurants, and even a weekly farmers market are steps away in Downtown Summerlin. COVID-19 procedures are available here. JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa The JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa offers a respite from the desert landscape with abundant greenery. Marriott Book JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & SpaCategory: LuxuryNeighborhood: SummerlinTypical starting/peak price: $163/$311Best for: Couples, business travelers, golfersOn-site amenities: Pool, spa, fitness center, golf course, restaurants, business services, meeting spacePros: The Mediterranean-inspired landscaping with trees and waterfalls is beautiful and there is a shuttle to a nearby award-winning golf course.Cons: The on-site Rampart Casino feels notably shabby compared to the high-end feel of the resort.Every time I set foot in the JW Marriott Las Vegas Resort & Spa, it's an immediate escape from the harsh desert landscape. The greenery and water features are abundant, making the resort feel like a haven.I also love the restaurants, especially Jade Asian Kitchen which is great for sushi and cocktails, and Hawthorn Grill, which has an amazing waterside patio shrouded with trees.The rooms are simple and elegant with jetted tubs and large workspace areas, making this a good hotel for business travelers. The concierge can help arrange golf reservations and the surrounding Summerlin area is similarly upscale. The nearby Italian-inspired Tivoli Village offers open-air shopping and dining. Red Rock Canyon is also close. COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Las Vegas hotels What is the best time of year to visit Las Vegas?The shoulder seasons — fall and spring — bring perfect desert weather and are the best time to visit Las Vegas. Expect pleasant, sunny days with highs in the 80s and lows in the 60s. Of these two seasons, fall tends to be quieter, with spring bringing spring break crowds.Despite the very hot weather, summer is very busy and you may see higher room rates during this time. Winter is the least busy season in Las Vegas (except for New Year's Eve) and it can also be surprisingly chilly, so you might not get that pool day.Which off-Strip neighborhood should I choose?Stay Downtown or near the Strip if you want to still experience the casinos, restaurants, bars, and delightful mayhem that makes the city so special. Or choose Downtown if you want to experience historic Las Vegas, Fremont Street, and go where the locals go. Choose near-Strip if you want access to Las Vegas Boulevard without the noise and traffic.If you are traveling for business or with young children (or are sensitive to loud noise) consider the suburbs of Henderson or Summerlin. Henderson has outdoor shopping malls, big box stores, quiet neighborhoods, and nice city parks where families picnic. Summerlin will speak to you if you're the outdoorsy type, as Red Rock Canyon is just a stone's throw away. What is there to do off-Strip in Las Vegas?There's a whole world outside of the Las Vegas Strip (not to mention a couple of million people who call Clark County home). You can browse the shops at the Downtown Container Park, catch an intimate live concert at an East Fremont Street bar, or check out First Friday in the Arts District.Dine at a neighborhood restaurant that rivals the ones on the Strip and hit the trails at Red Rock Canyon, Mt. Charleston, Lake Mead, or Valley of Fire. From art galleries, museums, boutiques and craft cocktail bars to hiking, rock climbing, and kayaking, there's much to explore in Southern Nevada.Why should I stay off-Strip?If you've visited Las Vegas a million times and only ever experience one street, you owe it yourself to see another part of the city at least once. You might also find lower rates, though not at every property. Don't expect to pay less for a room at Red Rock Casino than you would for a room at a budget Strip property like Excalibur.You may also find fewer crowds, less vehicle traffic, less noise, and less price-gouging when you shop, eat, and drink. Whether it's your first or tenth time to Vegas, if any of that appeals to you, consider going off the beaten path.Staying off Strip also balances the experience of Las Vegas Boulevard.  Hike through the stark, wild beauty of the desert complemented by a fancy dinner at a sleek steakhouse. An intimate cocktail bar in the Arts District can serve as a prelude to a crowded evening at a nightclub. Is it worth staying off-Strip in Las Vegas?You can still find all of the classic Las Vegas amenities you love such as pools and poolside bars, spas, casinos, buffets, and sportsbooks, plus other surprising extras, like movie theaters, bowling alleys, kid-focused amenities, and community events.And if you miss the Strip, it's not hard to get there. You can be as close as a half-mile away if you stay near Strip, or as far as 12-15 miles away if you stay in Henderson or Summerlin.Do off-Strip hotels have resort fees?Sadly, you would be hard-pressed to find a hotel in Las Vegas without a resort fee. Every hotel on this list with the exception of Virgin Hotels Las Vegas charges one. Some properties may waive these fees for special promotions (M Resorts is currently offering a no resort fee stay to locals on staycation), but for the most part, you can expect to shell out an extra $20 to $40 on average per night. What are current Las Vegas COVID-19 travel restrictions and protocols? Las Vegas is open, without restrictions involving capacity limits and large gatherings.However, the State of Nevada has mandated that everyone, including fully vaccinated individuals, wear a mask in public indoor settings, including resorts and casinos, restaurants, bars, showrooms, and meeting spaces. Masks are also required on public transportation.Large indoor events also have masks, testing, and vaccination requirements so check before arriving both with local Las Vegas mandates, the Nevada Health Response updates, as well as your individual hotel and destination. How we selected the best off-Strip hotels in Las Vegas As a Las Vegas local travel writer, I'm personally familiar with every hotel on this list and stand behind all of these hotels. I have either stayed at the hotel or have spent significant time exploring the property and the surrounding neighborhood. Hotels are located in desirable Las Vegas neighborhoods, including near-Strip, Downtown, Summerlin, and Henderson. Each hotel holds a TripAdvisor rating of between 3 to 4.5 (the average rating on this list is 4 out of 5) with a high volume of recent honest, unbiased reviews.Rates range between $30 and $163 to start and do not include resort fees. Las Vegas room rates fluctuate based on the season and major events usually drive up prices. Las Vegas room rates tend to fluctuate wildly. On one night a room might be below a hundred dollars, on another night it might be approaching a thousand. This is why value is so key.Standard hotel rooms at each property are known to be comfortable with classic or unique Vegas views.    The hotel features must-have Vegas amenities, such as a pool, great on-site restaurants and bars, a casino, spa, fitness center, plus entertainment offerings, and events.You don't want to stay in a quiet, spa-like environment if you've come to Vegas to party, and you don't want to stay in the middle of a party if you're traveling with small kids. We've noted who we think would enjoy each hotel, such as solo travelers, groups of friends, couples, families, business travelers, and locals on staycations.The hotel keeps guests safe by instituting COVID-19 policies in accordance with the most recent CDC guidelines. More of the best places to stay in Las Vegas Prayitno/Flickr The best Las Vegas luxury hotels on or near the StripThe best cheap hotels in Las VegasThe most incredible hotel suites in Las Vegas for every budgetThe best Las Vegas Airbnbs Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2021

Inside the World of Black Bitcoin, Where Crypto Is About Making More Than Just Money

“We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world” At the Black Blockchain Summit, there is almost no conversation about making money that does not carry with it the possibility of liberation. This is not simply a gathering for those who would like to ride whatever bumps and shocks, gains and losses come with cryptocurrency. It is a space for discussing the relationship between money and man, the powers that be and what they have done with power. Online and in person, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., an estimated 1,500 mostly Black people have gathered to talk about crypto—decentralized digital money backed not by governments but by blockchain technology, a secure means of recording transactions—as a way to make money while disrupting centuries-long patterns of oppression. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “What we really need to be doing is to now utilize the technology behind blockchain to enhance the quality of life for our people,” says Christopher Mapondera, a Zimbabwean American and the first official speaker. As a white-haired engineer with the air of a lecturing statesman, Mapondera’s conviction feels very on-brand at a conference themed “Reparations and Revolutions.” Along with summit organizer Sinclair Skinner, Mapondera co-founded BillMari, a service that aims to make it easier to transmit cryptocurrency to wherever the sons and daughters of Africa have been scattered. So, not exactly your stereotypical “Bitcoin bro.” Contrary to the image associated with cryptocurrency since it entered mainstream awareness, almost no one at the summit is a fleece-vest-wearing finance guy or an Elon Musk type with a grudge against regulators. What they are is a cross section of the world of Black crypto traders, educators, marketers and market makers—a world that seemingly mushroomed during the pandemic, rallying around the idea that this is the boon that Black America needs. In fact, surveys indicate that people of color are investing in cryptocurrency in ways that outpace or equal other groups—something that can’t be said about most financial products. About 44% of those who own crypto are people of color, according to a June survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. In April, a Harris Poll reported that while just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. (For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.) The actor Hill Harper of The Good Doctor, a Harvard Law School friend of former President Barack Obama, is a pitchman for Black Wall Street, a digital wallet and crypto trading service developed with Najah Roberts, a Black crypto expert. And this summer, when the popular money-transfer service Cash App added the option to purchase Bitcoin, its choice to explain the move was the MC Megan Thee Stallion. “With my knowledge and your hustle, you’ll have your own empire in no time,” she says in an ad titled “Bitcoin for Hotties.” Read more: Americans Have Learned to Talk About Racial Inequality. But They’ve Done Little to Solve It But, as even Megan Thee Stallion acknowledges in that ad, pinning one’s economic hopes on crypto is inherently risky. Many economic experts have described crypto as little better than a bubble, mere fool’s gold. The rapid pace of innovation—it’s been little more than a decade since Bitcoin was created by the enigmatic, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—has left consumers with few protections. Whether the potential is worth those risks is the stuff of constant, and some would say, infernal debate. Jared Soares for TIMECleve Mesidor, who founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain What looms in the backdrop is clear. In the U.S., the median white family’s wealth—reflecting not just assets minus debt, but also the ability to weather a financial setback—sat around $188,200, per the Federal Reserve’s most recent measure in 2019. That’s about eight times the median wealth of Black families. (For Latino families, it’s five times greater; the wealth of Asian, Pacific Island and other families sits between that of white and Latino families, according to the report.) Other estimates paint an even grimmer picture. If trends continue, the median Black household will have zero wealth by 2053. The summit attendees seem certain that crypto represents keys to a car bound for somewhere better. “Our digital selves are more important in some ways than our real-world selves,” Tony Perkins, a Black MIT-trained computer scientist, says during a summit session on “Enabling Black Land and Asset Ownership Using Blockchain.” The possibilities he rattles off—including fractional ownership of space stations—will, to many, sound fantastical. To others, they sound like hope. “We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world,” he says. The next night, when in-person attendees gather at Barcode, a Black-owned downtown D.C. establishment, for drinks and conversation, there’s a small rush on black T-shirts with white lettering: SATOSHI, they proclaim, IS BLACK. That’s an intriguing idea when your ancestors’ bodies form much of the foundation of U.S. prosperity. At the nation’s beginnings, land theft from Native Americans seeded the agricultural operations where enslaved Africans would labor and die, making others rich. By 1860, the cotton-friendly ground of Mississippi was so productive that it was home to more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. Government-supported pathways to wealth, from homesteading to homeownership, have been reliably accessible to white Americans only. So Black Bitcoiners’ embrace of decentralized currencies—and a degree of doubt about government regulators, as well as those who have done well in the traditional system—makes sense. Skinner, the conference organizer, believes there’s racial subtext in the caution from the financial mainstream regarding Bitcoin—a pervasive idea that Black people just don’t understand finance. “I’m skeptical of all of those [warnings], based on the history,” Skinner, who is Black American, says. Even a drop in the value of Bitcoin this year, which later went back up, has not made him reticent. “They have petrol shortages in England right now. They’ll blame the weather or Brexit, but they’ll never have to say they’re dumb. Something don’t work in Detroit or some city with a Black mayor, we get a collective shame on us.” Read more: America’s Interstate Slave Trade Once Trafficked Nearly 30,000 People a Year—And Reshaped the Country’s Economy The first time I speak to Skinner, the summit is still two weeks away. I’d asked him to talk through some of the logistics, but our conversation ranges from what gives money value to the impact of ride-share services on cabbies refusing Black passengers. Tech often promises to solve social problems, he says. The Internet was supposed to democratize all sorts of things. In many cases, it defaulted to old patterns. (As Black crypto policy expert Cleve Mesidor put it to me, “The Internet was supposed to be decentralized, and today it’s owned by four white men.”) But with the right people involved from the start of the next wave of change—crypto—the possibilities are endless, Skinner says. Skinner, a Howard grad and engineer by training, first turned to crypto when he and Mapondera were trying to find ways to do ethanol business in Zimbabwe. Traditional international transactions were slow or came with exorbitant fees. In Africa, consumers pay some of the world’s highest remittance, cell phone and Internet data fees in the world, a damaging continuation of centuries-long wealth transfers off the continent to others, Skinner says. Hearing about cryptocurrency, he was intrigued—particularly having seen, during the recession, the same banking industry that had profited from slavery getting bailed out as hundreds of thousands of people of color lost their homes. So in 2013, he invested “probably less than $3,000,” mostly in Bitcoin. Encouraged by his friend Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading crypto, he grew his stake. In 2014, when Skinner went to a crypto conference in Amsterdam, only about eight Black people were there, five of them caterers, but he felt he had come home ideologically. He saw he didn’t need a Rockefeller inheritance to change the world. “I don’t have to build a bank where they literally used my ancestors to build the capital,” says Skinner, who today runs a site called I Love Black People, which operates like a global anti-racist Yelp. “I can unseat that thing by not trying to be like them.” Eventually, he and Mapondera founded BillMari and became the first crypto company to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to lower fees on remittances, the flow of money from immigrants overseas back home to less-developed nations—an economy valued by the World Bank and its offshoot KNOMAD at $702 billion in 2020. (Some of the duo’s business plans later evaporated, after Zimbabwe’s central bank revoked approval for some cryptocurrency activities.) Skinner’s feelings about the economic overlords make it a bit surprising that he can attract people like Charlene Fadirepo, a banker by trade and former government regulator, to speak at the summit. On the first day, she offers attendees a report on why 2021 was a “breakout year for Bitcoin,” pointing out that major banks have begun helping high-net-worth clients invest in it, and that some corporations have bought crypto with their cash on hand, holding it as an asset. Fadirepo, who worked in the Fed’s inspector general’s office monitoring Federal Reserve banks and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is not a person who hates central banks or regulation. A Black American, she believes strongly in both, and in their importance for protecting investors and improving the economic position of Black people. Today she operates Guidefi, a financial education and advising company geared toward helping Black women connect with traditional financial advisers. It just launched, for a fee, direct education in cryptocurrency. Crypto is a relatively new part of Fadirepo’s life. She and her Nigerian-American doctor husband earn good salaries and follow all the responsible middle-class financial advice. But the pandemic showed her they still didn’t have what some of his white colleagues did: the freedom to walk away from high-risk work. As the stock market shuddered and storefronts shuttered, she decided a sea change was coming. A family member had mentioned Bitcoin at a funeral in 2017, but it sounded risky. Now, her research kept bringing her back to it. Last year, she and her husband bought $6,000 worth. No investment has ever generated the kinds of returns for them that Bitcoin has. “It has transformed people’s relationship with money,” she says. “Folks are just more intentional … and honestly feeling like they had access to a world that was previously walled off.” Read more: El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip She knows frauds exists. In May, a federal watchdog revealed that since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on crypto scams—12 times more scam reports than the same period the previous year. The median individual loss: $1,900. For Fadirepo, it’s worrying. That’s part of why she helps moderate recurring free learning and discussion options like the Black Bitcoin Billionaires chat room on Clubhouse, which has grown from about 2,000 to 130,000 club members this year. Jared Soares for TIMECharlene Fadirepo, a banker and former government regulator, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture There’s a reason Black investors might prefer their own spaces for that kind of education. Fadirepo says it’s not unheard-of in general crypto spaces—theoretically open to all, but not so much in practice—to hear that relying on the U.S. dollar is slavery. “To me, a descendant of enslaved people in America, that was painful,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about sovereignty, freedom from the U.S. dollar, freedom from inflation, inflation is slavery, blah blah blah. The historical context has been sucked out of these conversations about traditional financial systems. I don’t know how I can talk about banking without also talking about history.” Back in January, I found myself in a convenience store in a low-income and predominantly Black neighborhood in Dallas, an area still living the impact of segregation decades after its official end. I was there to report on efforts to register Black residents for COVID-19 shots after an Internet-only sign-up system—and wealthier people gaming the system—created an early racial disparity in vaccinations. I stepped away to buy a bottle of water. Inside the store, a Black man wondered aloud where the lottery machine had gone. He’d come to spend his usual $2 on tickets and had found a Bitcoin machine sitting in its place. A second Black man standing nearby, surveying chip options, explained that Bitcoin was a form of money, an investment right there for the same $2. After just a few questions, the first man put his money in the machine and walked away with a receipt describing the fraction of one bitcoin he now owned. Read more: When a Texas County Tried to Ensure Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations, It Didn’t Go as Planned I was both worried and intrigued. What kind of arrangement had prompted the store’s owner to replace the lottery machine? That month, a single bitcoin reached the $40,000 mark. “That’s very revealing, if someone chooses to put a cryptocurrency machine in the same place where a lottery [machine] was,” says Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, when I tell him that story. Frankel has described cryptocurrencies as similar to gambling, more often than not attracting those who can least afford to lose, whether they are in El Salvador or Texas. Frankel ranks among the economists who have been critical of El Salvador’s decision to begin recognizing Bitcoin last month as an official currency, in part because of the reality that few in the county have access to the internet, as well as the cryptocurrency’s price instability and its lack of backing by hard assets, he says. At the same time that critics have pointed to the shambolic Bitcoin rollout in El Salvador, Bitcoin has become a major economic force in Nigeria, one of the world’s larger players in cryptocurrency trading. In fact, some have argued that it has helped people in that country weather food inflation. But, to Frankel, crypto does not contain promise for lasting economic transformation. To him, disdain for experts drives interest in cryptocurrency in much the same way it can fuel vaccine hesitancy. Frankel can see the potential to reduce remittance costs, and he does not doubt that some people have made money. Still, he’s concerned that the low cost and click-here ease of buying crypto may draw people to far riskier crypto assets, he says. Then he tells me he’d put the word assets here in a hard set of air quotes. And Frankel, who is white, is not alone. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who is Black, says Bitcoin should be seen in the same framework as other low-cost, high-risk, big-payoff options. “In the end, it’s a casino,” he says. To people with less wealth, it can feel like one of the few moneymaking methods open to them, but it’s not a source of group uplift. “Like any speculation, those that can arbitrage the market will be fine,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of people that benefited right before the Great Recession, but if they didn’t get out soon enough, they lost their shirts too.” To buyers like Jiri Sampson, a Black cryptocurrency investor who works in real estate and lives outside Washington, D.C., that perspective doesn’t register as quite right. The U.S.-born son of Guyanese immigrants wasn’t thinking about exploitation when he invested his first $20 in cryptocurrency in 2017. But the groundwork was there. Sampson homeschools his kids, due in part to his lack of faith that public schools equip Black children with the skills to determine their own fates. He is drawn to the capacity of this technology to create greater agency for Black people worldwide. The blockchain, for example, could be a way to establish ownership for people who don’t hold standard documents—an important issue in Guyana and many other parts of the world, where individuals who have lived on the land for generations are vulnerable to having their property co-opted if they lack formal deeds. Sampson even pitched a project using the blockchain and GPS technology to establish digital ownership records to the Guyanese government, which did not bite. “I don’t want to downplay the volatility of Bitcoin,” Sampson says. But that’s only a significant concern, he believes, if one intends to sell quickly. To him, Bitcoin represents a “harder” asset than the dollar, which he compares to a ship with a hole in it. Bitcoin has a limited supply, while the Fed can decide to print more dollars anytime. That, to Sampson, makes some cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, good to buy and hold, to pass along wealth from one generation to another. Economists and crypto buyers aren’t the only ones paying attention. Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve have indicated that they will move toward official assessments or regulation soon. At least 10 federal agencies are interested in or already regulating crypto in some way, and there’s now a Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Representatives from the Federal Reserve and the SEC declined to comment, but SEC Chairman Gary Gensler assured a Senate subcommittee in September that his agency is working to develop regulation that will apply to cryptocurrency markets and trading activity. Enter Cleve Mesidor, of the quip about the Internet being owned by four white men. When we meet during the summit, she introduces herself: “Cleve Mesidor, I’m in crypto.” She’s the first person I’ve ever heard describe herself that way, but not that long ago, “influencer” wasn’t a career either. A former Obama appointee who worked inside the Commerce Department on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development, Mesidor learned about cryptocurrency during that time. But she didn’t get involved in it personally until 2013, when she purchased $200 in Bitcoin. After leaving government, she founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and is now the public policy adviser for the industry group the Blockchain Association. There are more men than women in Black crypto spaces, she tells me, but the gender imbalance tends to be less pronounced than in white-dominated crypto communities. Mesidor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti and uses her crypto investments to fund her professional “wanderlust,” has also lived crypto’s downsides. She’s been hacked and the victim of an attempted ransomware attack. But she still believes cryptocurrency and related technology can solve real-world problems, and she’s trying, she says, to make sure that necessary consumer protections are not structured in a way that chokes the life out of small businesses or investors. “D.C. is like Vegas; the house always wins,” says Mesidor, whose independently published book is called The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. “The crypto community doesn’t get that.” Passion, she says, is not enough. The community needs to be involved in the regulatory discussions that first intensified after the price of a bitcoin went to $20,000 in 2017. A few days after the summit, when Mesidor and I spoke by phone, Bitcoin had climbed to nearly $60,000. At Barcode, the Washington lounge, Isaiah Jackson is holding court. A man with a toothpaste-commercial smile, he’s the author of the independently published Bitcoin & Black America, has appeared on CNBC and is half of the streaming show The Gentleman of Crypto, which bills itself as the one of the longest-running cryptocurrency shows on the Internet. When he was building websites as a sideline, he convinced a large black church in Charlotte, N.C., to, for a time, accept Bitcoin donations. He helped establish Black Bitcoin Billionaires on Clubhouse and, like Fadirepo, helps moderate some of its rooms and events. He’s also a former teacher, descended from a line of teachers, and is using those skills to develop (for a fee) online education for those who want to become crypto investors. Now, there’s a small group standing near him, talking, but mostly listening. Jackson was living in North Carolina when one of his roommates, a white man who worked for a money-management firm, told him he had just heard a presentation about crypto and thought he might want to suggest it to his wealthy parents. The concept blew Jackson’s mind. He soon started his own research. “Being in the Black community and seeing the actions of banks, with redlining and other things, it just appealed to me,” Jackson tells me. “You free the money, you free everything else.” Read more: Beyond Tulsa: The Historic Legacies and Overlooked Stories of America’s ‘Black Wall Streets’ He took his $400 savings and bought two bitcoins in October 2013. That December, the price of a single bitcoin topped $1,100. He started thinking about what kind of new car he’d buy. And he stuck with it, even seeing prices fluctuate and scams proliferate. When the Gentlemen of Bitcoin started putting together seminars, one of the early venues was at a college fair connected to an annual HBCU basketball tournament attended by thousands of mostly Black people. Bitcoin eventually became more than an investment. He believed there was great value in spreading the word. But that was then. “I’m done convincing people. There’s no point battling going back and forth,” he says. “Even if they don’t realize it, what [investors] are doing if they are keeping their bitcoin long term, they are moving money out of the current system into another one. And that is basically the best form of peaceful protest.”   —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: timeOct 15th, 2021

The Elizabeth Holmes trial: Another sucker takes the stand

Steven Burd, former CEO of the supermarket chain Safeway, told the court how Elizabeth Holmes talked him into a disastrous $30 million investment in Theranos. Former Safeway CEO Steven Burd leaves the courthouse after testifying in the Theranos trial. Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters The first few alleged victims who have been called to testify in the fraud trial of Elizabeth Holmes, the founder of Theranos, might as well be called The Smartest Dupes in the Room. First came James Mattis, the retired four-star general, who testified that he invested in the failed blood-testing startup even though Holmes was his "sole source" of information about the company. And now we have Steven Burd, the former CEO of the supermarket giant Safeway, who spent yesterday on the stand explaining how he - a celebrated titan of industry - fell hard for Holmes and her high-tech schtick.Burd - a robust septuagenarian who comes across as a hard-charging, likable-enough, Business Roundtable type - oversaw Safeway's cash investment of $30 million in Theranos. As she did with Mattis and other older men, Holmes clearly made an impression on Burd. He called her charismatic and smart and conceded that she was pretty much his only contact at the company.Burd testified that he saw a big opportunity in Theranos: If Safeway customers who came to shop could be persuaded to get a blood test and then wait for the results, they would be likely to spend more on groceries. When Safeway added gas stations in its parking lots, for instance, it boosted sales by an average of 6%. And if Theranos later marketed those same blood-testing services to other supermarkets, Safeway would effectively profit twice from its initial investment.Assistant US Attorney Robert Leach used Burd's testimony to flick at several recurring themes in the government's case. Had Burd, he asked, been aware of the romantic relationship between Holmes and Theranos' president, Sunny Balwani? Burd said he had not. Did he think the relationship had any relevance? "It just raises the question of what else is hidden from view," Burd replied.Leach also placed into evidence a slide from a presentation that Holmes made to the Safeway board. It repeated the now-infamous assertion that Theranos had been "comprehensively validated over the course of the last seven years by 10 of the 15 largest pharmaceutical companies." It's a statement that's either an outright lie or a bold attempt to redefine the meaning of "comprehensively validated."You can tell a lot about either side's case by the questions most often repeated. "Did Miss Holmes ever attribute delays to technical issues?" Leach asked Burd while discussing one of several times that Theranos missed a promised milestone. In one instance, Burd said, "I was told that stacking six machines would generate a lot of heat and they were struggling with how to dissipate the heat." But when Leach asked Burd whether Holmes mentioned technical issues as excuses for the other missed deadlines, the CEO's answer was simply, "No." Holmes, Leach seemed to be suggesting, had criminally withheld from Safeway the critical fact behind all the delays: Its product didn't work.The lazy car buyer defenseThe task of cross-examining Burd fell to the defense attorney Kevin Downey, who proved to be a good deal more gentlemanly than his colleague Lance Wade, who kept the last government witness on the stand for four full days. In a relatively brisk 2 1/2 hours of questioning, Downey pushed two lines of argument on Burd. First, he suggested, Burd's due diligence sucked. Downey characterized Burd as floating above it all. Had he asked Holmes how much money she spent to develop the technology? "I don't recall." Had Robert Edwards, Safeway's chief financial officer? "I don't know." Did Burd get any insight into the capabilities of Theranos when he introduced Holmes to Jonathan Simons, an oncologist at Johns Hopkins University? "Obviously Jonathan was in no position at a dinner meeting to evaluate the technology," Burd responded. "He thought if Theranos could do this, that would be a game changer."Downey's attempt to paint Burd as a lazy car buyer who failed to properly kick the tires wasn't very convincing. If Holmes lied to Burd, after all, it doesn't matter how good a job Burd did in trying to learn the truth. The lie would still constitute criminal fraud. But Burd, like Mattis before him, did come across as oddly gullible for a man who spent decades at the pinnacle of his chosen profession.Downey had better luck with his second line of argument: that Burd and Safeway knew full well that Theranos was using traditional blood-testing devices developed by third parties, rather than its own finger sticks. At one point, for example, Burd had noted his displeasure that Theranos was sending blood samples to an offsite lab. That meant patients who got their blood drawn at Safeway wouldn't get their results while they were still at the store. One solution would have been for Theranos to install blood-analysis equipment on-site at Safeway, but that prospect didn't appeal to Holmes. "We are doing this to serve the Safeway patients," she told Burd in an email the defense produced, "but it does not make sense for us to invest in a full-service dinosaur lab." Theranos founder Elizabeth Holmes leaves the courthouse with her mother, Noel Holmes. Brittany Hosea-Small/Reuters Like so much evidence at a protracted trial, such details start to blend together after a while. It's all so dreary and slow and boring that nothing really stands out - there's no Perry Mason moment, where the witness breaks down in tears. But the defense's argument was clear: If Burd knew Theranos wasn't relying on finger-stick samples, then Holmes wasn't defrauding Safeway. Sure, the startup may not have made good on its promise to develop technology that would revolutionize blood testing. But failure, as Holmes' lawyers asserted in their opening statements, isn't a crime.'Becoming Discouraged'At least one tricky legal move was deployed during Burd's testimony. Toward the end of his time on the stand, Burd was asked by the prosecution about an email he had written to Holmes in July 2011. In it, the supermarket executive told Holmes he wanted to "maximize my return on my $275 million remodel investment."Leach asked Burd to clarify. "Was this money you gave to Theranos?""No," Burd replied. "This was money we used to remodel the stores."Unbeknownst to the jury, the subject of what Safeway spent to create spaces for Theranos blood-draw clinics had been the subject of much lawyerly squabbling over the previous two days. In arguments before Judge Edward Davila, without the jury present, the prosecution maintained that it should be allowed to present Safeway's huge remodeling expenditures to demonstrate the full scope of its losses in the Theranos debacle. The defense objected to conflating what Safeway invested in its stores - which later housed Quest Diagnostics blood-draw sites - with what it lost on its Theranos investment.The judge sided with the defense, ruling that the prosecution couldn't discuss Safeway's big-dollar remodeling. So Leach found a back-door way to introduce the subject. Spotting the 2011 email, which the defense had entered into evidence for another reason - and without objection, as the judge noted - he asked Burd about the $275 million. The jury heard the number, followed by the word "investment." Mission accomplished.Burd's appearance was dry, but it did include one intriguing moment. While explaining how the Theranos relationship went south, the government displayed a November 2012 email from Burd to Holmes with the subject line "Becoming Discouraged." Burd wrote: "I can only recall having been discouraged once in the last 62 years. That said, I am getting close to my second event.""I'm one of the most positive people you'll ever meet," Burd testified, by way of explanation. "I don't get discouraged."Which raises the question: What is the one other time in Steven Burd's long life that left him as discouraged as dealing with Elizabeth Holmes?Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report

Futures Reverse Losses Ahead Of Key CPI Report For the second day in a row, an overnight slump in equity futures sparked by concerns about iPhone sales (with Bloomberg reporting at the close on Tuesday that iPhone 13 production target may be cut by 10mm units due to chip shortages) and driven be more weakness out of China was rescued thanks to aggressive buying around the European open. At 800 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 10.25 points, or 0.24%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 58.50 points, or 0.4% ahead of the CPI report due at 830am ET. 10Y yields dipped to 1.566%, the dollar was lower and Brent crude dropped below $83. JPMorgan rose as much as 0.8% in premarket trading after the firm’s merger advisory business reported its best quarterly profit. On the other end, Apple dropped 1% lower in premarket trading, a day after Bloomberg reported that the technology giant is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units due to prolonged chip shortages. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Suppliers Skyworks Solutions (SWKS US), Qorvo (ORVO) and Cirrus Logic (CRUS US) slipped Tuesday postmarket Koss (KOSS US) shares jump 23% in U.S. premarket trading in an extension of Tuesday’s surge after tech giant Apple was rebuffed in two patent challenges against the headphones and speakers firm Qualcomm (QCOM US) shares were up 2.7% in U.S. premarket trading after it announced a $10.0 billion stock buyback International Paper (IP US) in focus after its board authorized a program to acquire up to $2b of the company’s common stock; cut quarterly dividend by 5c per share Smart Global (SGH US) shares rose 2% Tuesday postmarket after it reported adjusted earnings per share for the fourth quarter that beat the average analyst estimate Wayfair (W US) shares slide 1.8% in thin premarket trading after the stock gets tactical downgrade to hold at Jefferies Plug Power (PLUG US) gains 4.9% in premarket trading after Morgan Stanley upgrades the fuel cell systems company to overweight, saying in note that it’s “particularly well positioned” to be a leader in the hydrogen economy Wall Street ended lower in choppy trading on Tuesday, as investors grew jittery in the run-up to earnings amid worries about supply chain problems and higher prices affecting businesses emerging from the pandemic. As we noted last night, the S&P 500 has gone 27 straight days without rallying to a fresh high, the longest such stretch since last September, signaling some fatigue in the dip-buying that pushed the market up from drops earlier this year. Focus now turn to inflation data, due at 0830 a.m. ET, which will cement the imminent arrival of the Fed's taper.  "A strong inflation will only reinforce the expectation that the Fed would start tapering its bond purchases by next month, that's already priced in," said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote Bank. "Yet, a too strong figure could boost expectations of an earlier rate hike from the Fed and that is not necessarily fully priced in." The minutes of the Federal Reserve's September policy meeting, due later in the day, will also be scrutinized for signals that the days of crisis-era policy were numbered. Most European equities reverse small opening losses and were last up about 0.5%, as news that German software giant SAP increased its revenue forecast led tech stocks higher. DAX gained 0.7% with tech, retail and travel names leading. FTSE 100, FTSE MIB and IBEX remained in the red. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entra shares gain as much as 10% after Balder increases its stake and says it intends to submit a mandatory offer. Spie jumps as much as 10%, the biggest intraday gain in more than a year, after the French company pulled out of the process to buy Engie’s Equans services unit. Man Group rises as much as 8.3% after the world’s largest publicly traded hedge fund announced quarterly record inflows. 3Q21 net inflows were a “clear beat” and confirm pipeline strength, Morgan Stanley said in a note. Barratt Developments climbs as much as 6.3%, with analysts saying the U.K. homebuilder’s update shows current trading is improving. Recticel climbs 15% to its highest level in more than 20 years as the stock resumes trading after the company announced plans to sell its foams unit to Carpenter Co. Bossard Holding rises as much as 9.1% to a record high after the company reported 3Q earnings that ZKB said show strong growth. Sartorius gains as much as 5.9% after Kepler Cheuvreux upgrades to hold from sell and raises its price target, saying it expects “impressive earnings growth” to continue for the lab equipment company. SAP jumps as much as 5% after the German software giant increased its revenue forecast owing to accelerating cloud sales. Just Eat Takeaway slides as much as 5.8% in Amsterdam to the lowest since March 2020 after a 3Q trading update. Analysts flagged disappointing orders as pandemic restrictions eased, and an underwhelming performance in the online food delivery firm’s U.S. market. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks posted a modest advance as investors awaited key inflation data out of the U.S. and Hong Kong closed its equity market because of typhoon Kompasu. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose 0.2% after fluctuating between gains and losses, with chip and electronics manufacturers sliding amid concerns over memory chip supply-chain issues and Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets. Hong Kong’s $6.3 trillion market was shut as strong winds and rain hit the financial hub.  “Broader supply tightness continues to be a real issue across a number of end markets,” Morgan Stanley analysts including Katy L. Huberty wrote in a note. The most significant iPhone production bottleneck stems from a “shortage of camera modules for the iPhone 13 Pro/Pro Max due to low utilization rates at a Sharp factory in southern Vietnam,” they added. Wednesday’s direction-less trading illustrated the uncertainty in Asian markets as traders reassess earnings forecasts to factor in inflation and supply chain concerns. U.S. consumer price index figures and FOMC minutes due overnight may move shares. Southeast Asian indexes rose thanks to their cyclical exposure. Singapore’s stock gauge was the top performer in the region, rising to its highest in about two months, before the the nation’s central bank decides on monetary policy on Thursday. Japanese stocks fell for a second day as electronics makers declined amid worries about memory chip supply-chain issues and concerns over Apple’s iPhone 13 production targets.  The Topix index fell 0.4% to 1,973.83 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.3% to 28,140.28. Toyota Motor Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s loss, decreasing 1.3%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 608 rose and 1,489 fell, while 84 were unchanged. Japanese Apple suppliers such as TDK, Murata and Taiyo Yuden slid. The U.S. company is likely to slash its projected iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by as many as 10 million units as prolonged chip shortages hit its flagship product, according to people with knowledge of the matter Australian stocks closed lower as banks and miners weighed on the index. The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.1% to close at 7,272.50, dragged down by banks and miners as iron ore extended its decline. All other subgauges edged higher. a2 Milk surged after its peer Bubs Australia reported growing China sales and pointed to a better outlook for daigou channels. Bank of Queensland tumbled after its earnings release. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.2% to 13,025.18. In rates, Treasuries extended Tuesday’s bull-flattening gains, led by gilts and, to a lesser extent, bunds. Treasuries were richer by ~2bps across the long-end of the curve, flattening 5s30s by about that much; U.K. 30-year yield is down nearly 7bp, with same curve flatter by ~6bp. Long-end gilts outperform in a broad-based bull flattening move that pushed 30y gilt yields down ~7bps back near 1.38%. Peripheral spreads widen slightly to Germany. Cash USTs bull flatten but trade cheaper by ~2bps across the back end to both bunds and gilt ahead of today’s CPI release. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell by as much as 0.2% and the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers; the Treasury curve flattened, mainly via falling yields in the long- end, The euro advanced to trade at around $1.1550 and the Bund yield curve flattened, with German bonds outperforming Treasuries. The euro’s volatility skew versus the dollar shows investors remain bearish the common currency as policy divergence between the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank remains for now. The pound advanced with traders shrugging off the U.K.’s weaker-than-expected economic growth performance in August. Australia’s sovereign yield curve flattened for a second day while the currency underperformed its New Zealand peer amid a drop in iron ore prices. The yen steadied after four days of declines. In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range with WTI near $80, Brent dipping slightly below $83. Spot gold pops back toward Tuesday’s best levels near $1,770/oz. Base metals are in the green with most of the complex up at least 1%. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,346.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 459.04 MXAP up 0.2% to 194.60 MXAPJ up 0.4% to 638.16 Nikkei down 0.3% to 28,140.28 Topix down 0.4% to 1,973.83 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,561.76 Sensex up 0.8% to 60,782.71 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.1% to 7,272.54 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,944.41 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Gold spot up 0.5% to $1,768.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.23% to 94.30 German 10Y yield fell 4.2 bps to -0.127% Euro little changed at $1.1553 Brent Futures down 0.4% to $83.12/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Vladimir Putin wants to press the EU to rewrite some of the rules of its gas market after years of ignoring Moscow’s concerns, to tilt them away from spot-pricing toward long-term contracts favored by Russia’s state run Gazprom, according to two people with knowledge of the matter. Russia is also seeking rapid certification of the controversial Nord Stream 2 pipeline to Germany to boost gas deliveries, they said. Federal Reserve Vice Chairman for Supervision Randal Quarles will be removed from his role as the main watchdog of Wall Street lenders after his title officially expires this week. The EU will offer a new package of concessions to the U.K. that would ease trade barriers in Northern Ireland, as the two sides prepare for a new round of contentious Brexit negotiations. U.K. Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak is on course to raise taxes and cut spending to control the budget deficit, while BoE Governor Andrew Bailey has warned interest rates are likely to rise in the coming months to curb a rapid surge in prices. Together, those moves would mark a simultaneous major tightening of both policy levers just months after the biggest recession in a century -- an unprecedented move since the BoE gained independence in 1997. Peter Kazimir, a member of the ECB’s Governing Council, was charged with bribery in Slovakia. Kazimir, who heads the country’s central bank, rejected the allegations A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were mixed following the choppy performance stateside with global risk appetite cautious amid the rate hike bets in US and heading into key events including US CPI and FOMC Minutes, while there were also mild headwinds for US equity futures after the closing bell on reports that Apple is set to reduce output of iPhones by 10mln from what was initially planned amid the chip shortage. ASX 200 (unch.) was little changed as gains in gold miners, energy and tech were offset by losses in financials and the broader mining sector, with softer Westpac Consumer Confidence also limiting upside in the index. Nikkei 225 (-0.3%) was pressured at the open as participants digested mixed Machinery Orders data which showed the largest M/M contraction since February 2018 and prompted the government to cut its assessment on machinery orders, although the benchmark index gradually retraced most its losses after finding support around the 28k level and amid the recent favourable currency moves. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) also declined as participants digested mixed Chinese trade data in which exports topped estimates but imports disappointed and with Hong Kong markets kept shut due to a typhoon warning. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady with price action contained after the curve flattening stateside and tentative mood heading to upcoming risk events, although prices were kept afloat amid the BoJ’s purchases in the market for around JPY 1tln of JGBs predominantly focused on 1-3yr and 5-10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Edges Higher on Weaker Dollar Before U.S. Inflation Report RBA Rate Hike Expectations Too Aggressive, TD Ameritrade Says LG Electronics Has Series of Stock-Target Cuts After Profit Miss The mood across European stocks has improved from the subdued cash open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.5%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) despite a distinct lack of newsflow and heading into the official start of US earnings season, US CPI and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and trade in modest positive territory across the board, with the NQ (+0.5%) narrowly outperforming owing to the intraday fall in yields, alongside the sectorial outperformance seen in European tech amid tech giant SAP (+4.7%) upgrading its full FY outlook, reflecting the strong business performance which is expected to continue to accelerate cloud revenue growth. As such, the DAX 40 (+0.7%) outperformed since the cash open, whilst the FTSE 100 (-0.2%) is weighed on by underperformance in its heavyweight Banking and Basic Resources sectors amid a decline in yields and hefty losses in iron ore prices. Elsewhere, the CAC 40 (+0.3%) is buoyed by LMVH (+2.0%) after the luxury name topped revenue forecasts and subsequently lifted the Retail sector in tandem. Overall, sectors are mixed with no clear bias. In terms of individual movers, Volkswagen (+3.5%) was bolstered amid Handelsblatt reports in which the Co was said to be cutting some 30k jobs as costs are too high vs competitors, whilst separate sources suggested the automaker is said to be mulling spinning off its Battery Cell and charging unit. Chipmakers meanwhile see mixed fortunes in the aftermath of sources which suggested Apple (-0.7% pre-market) is said to be slashing output amid the chip crunch. Top European News The Hut Shares Swing as Strategy Day Feeds Investor Concern U.K. Economy Grows Less Than Expected as Services Disappoint Man Group Gets $5.3 Billion to Lift Assets to Another Record Jeff Ubben and Singapore’s GIC Back $830 Million Fertiglobe IPO In FX, the Dollar looks somewhat deflated or jaded after yesterday’s exertions when it carved out several fresh 2021 highs against rival currencies and a new record peak vs the increasingly beleaguered Turkish Lira. In index terms, a bout of profit taking, consolidation and position paring seems to have prompted a pull-back from 94.563 into a marginally lower 94.533-246 range awaiting potentially pivotal US inflation data, more Fed rhetoric and FOMC minutes from the last policy meeting that may provide more clues or clarity about prospects for near term tapering. NZD/GBP - Both taking advantage of the Greenback’s aforementioned loss of momentum, but also deriving impetus from favourable crosswinds closer to home as the Kiwi briefly revisited 0.6950+ terrain and Aud/Nzd retreats quite sharply from 1.0600+, while Cable has rebounded through 1.3600 again as Eur/Gbp retests support south of 0.8480 yet again, or 1.1800 as a reciprocal. From a fundamental perspective, Nzd/Usd may also be gleaning leverage from the more forward-looking Activity Outlook component of ANZ’s preliminary business survey for October rather than a decline in sentiment, and Sterling could be content with reported concessions from the EU on NI customs in an effort to resolve the Protocol impasse. EUR/CAD/AUD/CHF - Also reclaiming some lost ground against the Buck, with the Euro rebounding from around 1.1525 to circa 1.1560, though not technically stable until closer to 1.1600 having faded ahead of the round number on several occasions in the last week. Meanwhile, the Loonie is straddling 1.2450 in keeping with WTI crude on the Usd 80/brl handle, the Aussie is pivoting 0.7350, but capped in wake of a dip in Westpac consumer confidence, and the Franc is rotating either side of 0.9300. JPY - The Yen seems rather reluctant to get too carried away by the Dollar’s demise or join the broad retracement given so many false dawns of late before further depreciation and a continuation of its losing streak. Indeed, the latest recovery has stalled around 113.35 and Usd/Jpy appears firmly underpinned following significantly weaker than expected Japanese m/m machinery orders overnight. SCANDI/EM - Not much upside in the Sek via firmer Swedish money market inflation expectations and perhaps due to the fact that actual CPI data preceded the latest survey and topped consensus, but the Cnh and Cny are firmer on the back of China’s much wider than forecast trade surplus that was bloated by exports exceeding estimates by some distance in contrast to imports. Elsewhere, further hawkish guidance for the Czk as CNB’s Benda contends that high inflation warrants relatively rapid tightening, but the Try has not derived a lot of support from reports that Turkey is in talks to secure extra gas supplies to meet demand this winter, according to a Minister, and perhaps due to more sabre-rattling from the Foreign Ministry over Syria with accusations aimed at the US and Russia. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures see another choppy session within recent and elevated levels – with the former around USD 80.50/bbl (80.79-79.87/bbl) and the latter around 83.35/bbl (83.50-82.65/bbl range). The complex saw some downside in conjunction with jawboning from the Iraqi Energy Minster, who state oil price is unlikely to increase further, whilst at the same time, the Gazprom CEO suggested that the oil market is overheated. Nonetheless, prices saw a rebound from those lows heading into the US inflation figure, whilst the OPEC MOMR is scheduled for 12:00BST/07:00EDT. Although the release will not likely sway prices amidst the myriad of risk events on the docket, it will offer a peek into OPEC's current thinking on the market. As a reminder, the weekly Private Inventory report will be released tonight, with the DoE's slated for tomorrow on account of Monday's Columbus Day holiday. Gas prices, meanwhile, are relatively stable. Russia's Kremlin noted gas supplies have increased to their maximum possible levels, whilst Gazprom is sticking to its contractual obligations, and there can be no gas supplies beyond those obligations. Over to metals, spot gold and silver move in tandem with the receding Buck, with spot gold inching closer towards its 50 DMA at 1,776/oz (vs low 1,759.50/oz). In terms of base metals, LME copper has regained a footing above USD 9,500/t as stocks grind higher. Conversely, iron ore and rebar futures overnight fell some 6%, with overnight headlines suggesting that China has required steel mills to cut winter output. Further from the supply side, Nyrstar is to limit European smelter output by up to 50% due to energy costs. Nyrstar has a market-leading position in zinc and lead. LME zinc hit the highest levels since March 2018 following the headlines US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. CPI YoY, est. 5.3%, prior 5.3%; MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.3% 8:30am: Sept. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.0%, prior 4.0%; MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Sept. Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -0.9%, revised -1.4% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap So tonight it’s my first ever “live” parents evening and then James Bond via Wagamama. Given my daughter (6) is the eldest in her year and the twins (4) the youngest (plus additional youth for being premature), I’m expecting my daughter to be at least above average but for my boys to only just about be vaguely aware of what’s going on around them. Poor things. For those reading yesterday, the Cameo video of Nadia Comanenci went down a storm, especially when she mentioned our kids’ names, but the fact that there was no birthday cake wasn’t as popular. So I played a very complicated, defence splitting 80 yard through ball but missed an open goal. Anyway ahead of Bond tonight, with all this inflation about I’m half expecting him to be known as 008 going forward. The next installment of the US prices saga will be seen today with US CPI at 13:30 London time. This is an important one, since it’s the last CPI number the Fed will have ahead of their next policy decision just 3 weeks from now, where investors are awaiting a potential announcement on tapering asset purchases. Interestingly the August reading last month was the first time so far this year that the month-on-month measure was actually beneath the consensus expectation on Bloomberg, with the +0.3% growth being the slowest since January. Famous last words but this report might not be the most interesting since it may be a bit backward looking given WTI oil is up c.7.5% in October alone. In addition, used cars were up +5.4% in September after falling in late summer. So given the 2-3 month lag for this to filter through into the CPI we won’t be getting the full picture today. I loved the fact from his speech last night that the Fed’s Bostic has introduced a “transitory” swear jar in his office. More on the Fedspeak later. In terms of what to expect this time around though, our US economists are forecasting month-on-month growth of +0.41% in the headline CPI, and +0.27% for core, which would take the year-on-year rates to +5.4% for headline and +4.1% for core. Ahead of this, inflation expectations softened late in the day as Fed officials were on the hawkish side. The US 10yr breakeven dropped -1.9bps to 2.49% after trading at 2.527% earlier in the session. This is still the 3rd highest closing level since May, and remains only 7bps off its post-2013 closing high. Earlier, inflation expectations continued to climb in Europe, where the 5y5y forward inflation swap hit a post-2015 high of 1.84%. Also on inflation, the New York Fed released their latest Survey of Consumer Expectations later in the European session, which showed that 1-year ahead inflation expectations were now at +5.3%, which is the highest level since the survey began in 2013, whilst 3-year ahead expectations were now at +4.2%, which was also a high for the series. The late rally in US breakevens, coupled with lower real yields (-1.6bps) meant that the 10yr Treasury yield ended the session down -3.5bps at 1.577% - their biggest one day drop in just over 3 weeks. There was a decent flattening of the yield curve, with the 2yr yield up +2.0bps to 0.34%, its highest level since the pandemic began as the market priced in more near-term Fed rate hikes. In the Euro Area it was a very different story however, with 10yr yields rising to their highest level in months, including among bunds (+3.5bps), OATs (+2.9bps) and BTPs (+1.0bps). That rise in the 10yr bund yield left it at -0.09%, taking it above its recent peak earlier this year to its highest closing level since May 2019. Interestingly gilts (-4.0bps) massively out-performed after having aggressively sold off for the last week or so. Against this backdrop, equity markets struggled for direction as they awaited the CPI reading and the start of the US Q3 earnings season today. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and the STOXX 600 (-0.07%) had both posted modest losses as they awaited the next catalyst. Defensive sectors were the outperformers on both sides of the Atlantic. Real estate (+1.34%) and utilities (+0.67%) were among the best performing US stocks, though some notable “reopening” industries outperformed as well including airlines (+0.83%), hotels & leisure (+0.51%). News came out after the US close regarding the global chip shortage, with Bloomberg reporting that Apple, who are one of the largest buyers of chips, would revise down their iPhone 13 production targets for 2021 by 10 million units. Recent rumblings from chip producers suggest that the problems are expected to persist, which will make central bank decisions even more complicated over the coming weeks as they grapple with increasing supply-side constraints that push up inflation whilst threatening to undermine the recovery. Speaking of central bankers, Vice Chair Clarida echoed his previous remarks and other communications from the so-called “core” of the FOMC that the current bout of inflation would prove largely transitory and that underlying trend inflation was hovering close to 2%, while admitting that risks were tilted towards higher inflation. Atlanta Fed President Bostic took a much harder line though, noting that price pressures were expanding beyond the pandemic-impacted sectors, and measures of inflation expectations were creeping higher. Specifically, he said, “it is becoming increasingly clear that the feature of this episode that has animated price pressures — mainly the intense and widespread supply-chain disruptions — will not be brief.” His ‘transitory swear word jar’ for his office was considerably more full by the end of his speech. As highlighted above, while President Bostic spoke US 10yr breakevens dropped -2bps and then continued declining through the New York afternoon. In what is likely to be Clarida’s last consequential decision on monetary policy before his term expires, he noted it may soon be time to start a tapering program that ends in the middle of next year, in line with our US economics team’s call for a November taper announcement. In that vein, our US economists have updated their forecasts for rate hikes yesterday, and now see liftoff taking place in December 2022, followed by 3 rate increases in each of 2023 and 2024. That comes in light of supply disruptions lifting inflation, a likely rise in inflation expectations (which are sensitive to oil prices), and measures of labour market slack continuing to outperform. For those interested, you can read a more in-depth discussion of this here. Turning to commodities, yesterday saw a stabilisation in prices after the rapid gains on Monday, with WTI (+0.15%) and Brent Crude (-0.27%) oil prices seeing only modest movements either way, whilst iron ore prices in Singapore were down -3.45%. That said it wasn’t entirely bad news for the asset class, with Chinese coal futures (+4.45%) hitting fresh records, just as aluminium prices on the London Metal Exchange (+0.13%) eked out another gain to hit a new post-2008 high. Overnight in Asia, equity markets are seeing a mixed performance with the KOSPI (+1.24%) posting decent gains, whereas the CSI (-0.06%), Nikkei (-0.22%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.69%) have all lost ground. The KOSPI’s strength came about on the back of a decent jobs report, with South Korea adding +671k relative to a year earlier, the most since March 2014. The Hong Kong Exchange is closed however due to the impact of typhoon Kompasu. Separately, coal futures in China are up another +8.00% this morning, so no sign of those price pressures abating just yet following recent floods. Meanwhile, US equity futures are pointing to little change later on, with those on the S&P 500 down -0.12%. Here in Europe, we had some fresh Brexit headlines after the UK’s Brexit minister, David Frost, said that the Northern Ireland Protocol “is not working” and was not protecting the Good Friday Agreement. He said that he was sharing a new amended Protocol with the EU, which comes ahead of the release of the EU’s own proposals on the issue today. But Frost also said that “if we are going to get a solution we must, collectively, deliver significant change”, and that Article 16 which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures could be used “if necessary”. Elsewhere yesterday, the IMF marginally downgraded their global growth forecast for this year, now seeing +5.9% growth in 2021 (vs. +6.0% in July), whilst their 2022 forecast was maintained at +4.9%. This masked some serious differences between countries however, with the US downgraded to +6.0% in 2021 (vs. +7.0% in July), whereas Italy’s was upgraded to +5.8% (vs. +4.9% in July). On inflation they said that risks were skewed to the upside, and upgraded their forecasts for the advanced economies to +2.8% in 2021, and to +2.3% in 2022. Looking at yesterday’s data, US job openings declined in August for the first time this year, falling to 10.439m (vs. 10.954m expected). But the quits rate hit a record of 2.9%, well above its pre-Covid levels of 2.3-2.4%. Here in the UK, data showed the number of payroll employees rose by +207k in September, while the unemployment rate for the three months to August fell to 4.5%, in line with expectations. And in a further sign of supply-side issues, the number of job vacancies in the three months to September hit a record high of 1.102m. Separately in Germany, the ZEW survey results came in beneath expectations, with the current situation declining to 21.6 (vs. 28.0 expected), whilst expectations fell to 22.3 (vs. 23.5 expected), its lowest level since March 2020. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for September, while today will also see the most recent FOMC meeting minutes released. Other data releases include UK GDP for August and Euro Area industrial production for August. Central bank speakers include BoE Deputy Governor Cunliffe, the ECB’s Visco and the Fed’s Brainard. Finally, earnings releases include JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 08:13.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

Transcript: Chamath Palihapitiya

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Chamath Palihapitiya on Venture Investing, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the… Read More The post Transcript: Chamath Palihapitiya appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Chamath Palihapitiya on Venture Investing, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, man, strap yourself in. This is really one of the old-time greats. Chamath Palihapitiya, Founder of Social Capital, very successful venture capitalist, part-owner of the Golden State Warriors, and all-around insightful investor social critic, and tech wonk. If you’re interested in anything from technology to social media, to venture investing, startups, entrepreneurship, I don’t know what else to say other than strap yourself in. This is a great one. With no further ado, my conversation with Chamath Palihapitiya. VOICE-OVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’re listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio. My extra special guest this week is Chamath Palihapitiya. He is the Founder of Social Capital, one of the more interesting and successful venture capitalist out in Palo Alto. He is also an Engineer and Team Leader working at places like AOL, Facebook, and Slack. He has been known as the SPAC King for his numerous successful deals in that space. And he is also a 10 percent owner of the Golden State Warriors. Chamath Palihapitiya, welcome to Bloomberg. PALIHAPITIYA: Barry, thanks. RITHOLTZ: I’ve been looking forward to having this conversation for a while. Let’s — normally, I start with people’s backgrounds and we go chronologically, but you have some quotes that I love, and I want to ask you about them and let you run wild with them, “Starting with venture capital properly deployed can solve the biggest problems filling the void left by the shrinking scientific ambitions of governments, foundations, and international organizations. Explain. PALIHAPITIYA: Well, if you look at what’s happening in California or what’s happening at the federal level of the United States currently, there’s a really interesting thing that’s happened, which is we have effectively single-party rule. You have a, you know, elected leader that’s of one party. You have a Senate that’s of that same party, a House and then, you know, in the case of California, mayors as well, all democratic in this case. And what’s interesting is it also happens to be a moment in time where the societal problems that we’ve been facing are the worst they’ve ever been. Climate change is worse than it’s ever been. We have a water crisis. We have an impending food crisis, homelessness, crime. And you have to ask yourself, well, if a single party like — you know, when you have a typical normal, you know, political set-up, you have these two opposing forces and you have to find common ground. And each party says the exact thing, which is, well, if we had complete control, this would all be fixed. And it turns out that two examples where you have complete control, in fact, nothing gets fixed, even less gets fixed than what got fixed before. So why is that? It’s that the toolkit of policy and the toolkit of societies has changed. It’s no longer as much about laws necessarily, but it’s about technology. It’s about code. It’s about very specific inventions of science. And the problem with that then, well, then you would say, “Well, great. Well, that’s the solution to all of our problems. If we go in and figure out how to actually, you know, just have more of all of that stuff, everything will be solved.” OK, well, then — then you go in and you decompose that problem to first principles. And what you find is, for example, in places like core scientific research, people care more about citations, and papers, and research, and it’s also highly politicized and infested with all kinds of infighting. And so, foundations can’t fund the work that they used to. Universities aren’t nearly as good and actually promoting massive breakthroughs. So more and more of this responsibility gets put on for-profit enterprises, but to be very specific, they have to be for profit and they have to be technical. And when you see it that way, the venture capitalist all of a sudden has this critical role in society that they didn’t have before because they are a translator. They are, you know, in a technical meeting the smartest business person, but in a business meeting the smartest technical person. And they’re able to put these things together to solve problems. And so, that’s what I was trying to get across, which is we need more people building for-profit technical businesses, organizing resources against problems. RITHOLTZ: So — so let’s stay with the concept of — of venture capital being organized to solve problem and talk a little bit about Social Capital. Tell us about your first couple of venture investments and who were your first limited partners. PALIHAPITIYA: So, I was a Facebook at the time, and I had been doing a bunch of angel investing. And this is maybe 2008 or ’09, but I was the first solo G.P., I think, in many ways. I was putting some money to work of my own money, small checks, Barry, $10,000, $15,000. RITHOLTZ: Early seed round, right? PALIHAPITIYA: Early seed rounds in, you know, 2007 and ’08, basically all the money that I had. And I had to win. I met a guy named Rick Thompson, an amazing entrepreneur, who started a gaming company. And I jumped in with two feet. I invested my money. I spent a little bit of time there helping him, you know, sort of — I mean, as a — as a part-timer, obviously, because I was working at Facebook at the time. And the company gets bought by Disney for like 750 million bucks and I made a few million bucks. And I thought, “This is it.” I have my — I have my escape velocity. And at the time at Facebook, they were all these people that were trying to invest in the company. And Zuck basically said to me, “Hey, can you help sort out whose money we should take?” I mean, I was running Facebook platform, I was building Facebook Mobile, I was doing all of these products so — but I was like, “Yeah, sure, I guess.” And I met the guys at Tiger Global, Chase Coleman specifically, and we built a relationship and then, you know, Tiger ended up investing in the business. And along the way, you know, I said, “Hey, I’m thinking of, you know, investing a little bit of capital on the side.” And he goes, “Well, if you organize a little LLC, you know, I’m happy to kick in a, you know, a few shovels.” And so, all of a sudden, I had this little group of me and my friends, and I just organized about 11 million bucks, you know, and I was like three or four of it and like, you know, other couple of folks jumped in for 50K there, 500K there, a million there, whatever. And so, while I was a full-time employee at Facebook, I was a part-time investor. And that’s how I started and so those are my first LPs, wonderful guys, Reid Hoffman, you know, a whole list of kind of like … RITHOLTZ: Who — who’s the rest of that list because already I am loving this group? PALIHAPITIYA: The list was pretty impressive. I want to say it was like Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, Chase Coleman. I’d have to look at the slides, I can’t … RITHOLTZ: But it’s a murderous row pretty much. PALIHAPITIYA: Yeah, Dave Goldberg, you know, Zander Lurie who is the CEO of Momentum A.I., so a bunch of really great entrepreneurs, and CEOs, and investors. Anyways, I put the money to work and, you know, it was non-obvious that that fund was good. I was learning. And most of the investments I made were way too ambitious, and I was deeply undercapitalized, right? So, you — in 2008 and ’09, in hindsight, it was really dumb to make a bunch of deep tech investments. Now, some of them have come home to roost, and that fund has now (inaudible), but we got very lucky and it did very well, but it took an enormously long period of time. So, I put the money to work and I learned. I learned, hey, portfolio construction is important. I didn’t get that right. I was way undercapitalized, like, hey, wait a minute, like I needed way more reserves to defend these companies. And I had to think about duration, meaning I can’t solve 20 of your problems in a 10-year fund. I need to solve five of your problems in a 10-year fund if I want to be in the fund business. And, you know, that obviously changed in 2016 and ’17 when I just basically consolidated with my own money. But so – then I left Facebook in 2011 and I went back to these same folks. And I said, “Guys, let’s go much bigger. I think I know what I’m doing.” And we created — my first fund was 250 or 60 million bucks. I put up 60, and then it was really like, you know, John Doerr, Peter Thiel, Reid Hoffman, Li Ka-shing, you know, just — I ran the table of Jorge Paulo Lemann like incredible people. And a handful of really great institutions, Mayo Clinic, you know, folks that I was really proud to make money for. And I said, “This is like a great intersection of entrepreneurs and, you know, investors, and philanthropists, and foundations.” And, you know, I’m going to go and try to find great businesses, and that’s how it started. RITHOLTZ: So, from there, what was the subsequent funds that came out of that because that, you know, funds that run a seven or a 10-year lifespan. And some companies, some VCs will just do Fund 2, Fund 3, Fund 4, you didn’t exactly go in that direction. PALIHAPITIYA: You know, I can tell you — so like the returns as of this last quarter because I just — I had a — I had a little advisory board meeting, you know, I put about a billion one in the ground. That is worth today just a little under $5 billion. RITHOLTZ: And this was the 2016? PALIHAPITIYA: No. So, yeah, this was … RITHOLTZ: Or 2011? PALIHAPITIYA: I — I raised about $1 billion over four funds — over five funds, sorry, in the first five years basically, so a $260 million fund, another $260 million, a $500 million, and then I had a small $100 million fund and then a $30 million opportunities fund kind of — so about $1.1 billion. And, you know, so far, we’ve returned a little — almost a little under 2X of capital, so cash-on-cash, we’ve returned about two some odd billion. The curing value is a little under $5 billion. And I think that, you know, when I look in the next — in the next few years that will turn one more time. So basically, you know, one billion will turn into $10 billion and the returns are, you know, probably — well, right now they’re in the high 20’s nets. RITHOLTZ: That’s great. PALIHAPITIYA: And it’ll be in the — probably the low 30’s. That’s when it’s all … RITHOLTZ: So, as all that comes up, are you just going to roll that over into another fund or … PALIHAPITIYA: So … RITHOLTZ: … are you looking to spread this into different spaces because I am aware you are a man of many interests. You’re not just — I — I find the world … PALIHAPITIYA: Right. RITHOLTZ: … really fascinating and curious. And — and looking at what you invest in, I can tell you approach the universe the same way. PALIHAPITIYA: Right. So, along the way, I think in 2016 what I realized was running funds doesn’t accomplish my goal. And it took me some number of years to figure that out. I loved working inside of these companies. I loved trying to make some of these businesses work. I loved taking really big moon shots on technical problems that I wanted to solve. I didn’t like the constraints of a fund. I didn’t like managing L.P. relations because by that point, you know, as you know, Barry, when you’re in the fund to business, then it’s all about quantity of LPs. And so, the LPs had grown beyond my cohort of people, right, because it’s not as if their money is infinite either. RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: Right? And so, then we have fund of funds and other organizations who are in the business of, you know, being investors in these organizations. And it became very administrative. And a lot of my time was spent fundraising and managing those relationships as opposed to investing or starting companies. And so, that was one big error of judgment that I felt I needed to fix. The other one was I was looking at myself thinking like, well, am I going to be able to defend the ownership of these best companies? And think about what happens in a fund. If you make an investment and it’s working, you have all this pressure to double down. But when there’s something smaller and more technical where there’s way more asymmetric risk, it’s much harder to convince others that you should continue to invest in that as well. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stay with that a second because that’s — there’s some really interesting things. When I hear someone like you say double down, what I’m usually thinking of is, hey, we made a small investment in the seed round and now it’s the A or the B round, and we’re going to have to step-up. And $500,000 is now a $50 million or $2 million becomes $100 million. Is that what you mean by double down versus … PALIHAPITIYA: No, I mean, the following decision, which is very hard. So, let’s just say — and — and we use explicit examples because it’s easier. So, let’s just say we invested in the crypto business and the software-as-a-service start up on the same day. $10 million in each. The SaaS business has a much higher probability of short-term progress. I sold, you know, X amount of software, here’s my bookings, here’s my revenue. RITHOLTZ: High probability of modest success. PALIHAPITIYA: High probability of modest success. Most people are, you know, enraptured with that. RITHOLTZ: That’s what — well, that’s what the S&P 500 is for. If you want a high probability amount of success, go by the spiders. But I … PALIHAPITIYA: Sure. RITHOLTZ: … imagine people come to venture because — hey, I have all my … PALIHAPITIYA: No. RITHOLTZ: … conservative stuffs. PALIHAPITIYA: No, not true. RITHOLTZ: I’m looking for you to … PALIHAPITIYA: Not true. RITHOLTZ: … hit me the 100X. PALIHAPITIYA: It’s not true. It … RITHOLTZ: Really? PALIHAPITIYA: … it may be — listen. So there — there are two conundrums here. The conundrum number one is if you’re a limited partner. If you’re a limited partner right now sitting inside of a foundation or a pension fund and you have to return capital, and you have to get over your hurdle, you need an allocation into venture, but those allocations are minuscule. Nobody is getting, you know, huge allocations into Sequoia, right? RITHOLTZ: Because the capacity is that’s limited as it is. PALIHAPITIYA: Nobody — nobody is getting huge allocations in the benchmark. You know, these are $500 million funds, you know. And I — you know, in my example, I was 30 percent of all the capital, so there’s just not a lot of room for other. RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: Number one. And then the more insidious problem is actually the human capital inside the funds themselves. And what I mean by that is not that they’re bad people, they are wonderful people, but they are products of a very specific and very rigid hierarchy. You know, they typically went to a handful of schools. RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: They typically are educated in exactly the same way. They typically, you know, have the exact same kind of risk tolerance as a result of all those things. And so, when the rubber meets the road, this Harvard MBA or the Stanford MBA, they want to treat the venture capital organization as their version of the S&P 500. Very predictable, Steady Eddie. Let me make, you know, a good salary. Don’t rock the boat. So, what happens? Crypto stuff gets underfunded until it’s obvious. You know, hard tech and — and, you know, life sciences get underfunded until it’s obvious. SaaS gets overfunded until it’s obvious. And that’s the whipsaw that you face now. Now, there are a handful of organizations that have fought against that and have done it brilliantly. So, when you look, for example, like Founders Fund, I’ll pick an example. Incredible set of investors who are iconoclasts to the one. Atypical in every dimension. There’s not a single drop of real pedigree amongst them, except they are all incredible entrepreneurs. If you look at Coastal Ventures, same situation. Incredibly atypical in their intellectual makeup, and the way they think, and what they value. And to a one, they’re generally great entrepreneurs, so you see this recurring theme. So, you know, for me, what I’ve tried to do is recalibrate my time around that realization. I have a fixed amount of capital. If I surround myself with these good — they’re good people, it will lead me astray because I will get risk off. And the whole goal of this business, as you exactly well put it, is to be 100 percent massively risk on. And so, that’s how I live my life. I have a small allocation of capital in case all of this goes to zero, but otherwise 99 percent of my net worth and wealth is massive risk on. RITHOLTZ: That’s quite, quite fascinating. I — I keep wanting to go to some of my questions, but you keep saying things that make me have to respond. I’m still kind of struck by your LPs, meaning management. And what I mean by that is someone runs a successful fund. There’s a very limited amount of slots for money to come in. I just imagine it’s like here’s the deal. I have a slot for 100 for you. I’ll send you the annual updates, we’ll have an annual meeting, and I don’t want to hear from you the rest of the year. PALIHAPITIYA: You can’t take — it’s not … RITHOLTZ: It’s the approach. It doesn’t work that way? PALIHAPITIYA: … it’s not that — well, it’s not that easy even for the best organizations. You know, when you’re dealing with these large pools of capital, they are large bureaucracies. And in fairness to these bureaucracies, there’s — there’s really important guardrails of risk management, right, and legal and operational due diligence that they have to do because again, it’s the fireman’s pension, it’s the teachers’ pension, it’s the … RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: … you know, it’s the foundation. It’s the — they’re all doing good work, right? So, it’s not like, you know, they have a right to be cavalier, but it creates an infrastructure of folks that approach their job in a very specific way that, for me, didn’t make sense. For others, I think it does make a ton of sense because, you know, they — look, there’s a tradeoff. Today, that tradeoff, by the way, has rewarded them more than me. And what is the tradeoff? When you’re a successful investor, you’ll get to a fork in the road at a certain level of assets where you have to go on the path well-traveled or the path less traveled. The path less traveled is what I’ve taken. You’re alone … RITHOLTZ: Meaning …by yourself, more risk … PALIHAPITIYA:  you’re by yourself … all your own money, all risk gone. The path well-traveled says syndicate the risk, let the — let the returns decay, build an AUM machine, monetize the fee income, sell a percentage to dial or to whomever, and then eventually sell the G.P. to somebody and you’re done. And, you know, if you have enough capital at some point, you’re like, well, what do I need any more money? This is a safer route to take. RITHOLTZ: Right. PALIHAPITIYA: I am of this different view, which is I want very specific kinds of progress that will not happen unless I am a tip of the spear on a bunch of things that I want to change. And I’m using my money as a mechanism of showing the change that I want to see in the world with the idea that if free markets are ultimately efficient, other money will follow. And it will unlock and create change. SPACs are a perfect example. RITHOLTZ: We’re going to talk about SPACs in a little bit. I’m fascinated by the path less traveled. And I — I’m kind of reminded of an old joke a friend used to say, what’s the difference between having $1 billion or having $2 billion? And the answer is really nothing. PALIHAPITIYA: Nothing. RITHOLTZ: Right, there’s not — what is the difference? PALIHAPITIYA: Nothing. RITHOLTZ: So — so once you wrap your head around that, why build an AUM machine? Why take a G.P. and do all the things you don’t want to do just so you can sell it in the road? PALIHAPITIYA: Well, look, I mean — I think there’s something very valiant in building a company of any kind. I don’t care what it is because you end up hiring people, you end up creating your own little economy. You know, by hiring good people and paying them, you’re giving them a path. You’re giving them, you know, some amount of purpose in their lives. So, you know, any form of company building, I think, is heroic, the person that uses to build a company. I don’t care what it is. It could be a garbage business, an AUM business. You know, they’re all to me where I look at the founders of those things like you, and you’re in a class of hero for me. Everybody may not be with the same, you know, sometimes now founders, unfortunately, sometimes can get vilified for being an entrepreneur. But in general, I think they’re heroic. But again, that’s not what I was trying to do. My returns in society, I wanted to be expressed by a different kind of change and a different kind of purpose, which was a practical problem solved. You know, I want reforestation to be, you know, done differently. I want a gene editing solution to be so cheap and so fast the available we can eradicate, you know, the 32,000 inherited Mendelian diseases. You know, I want to figure out how to get, you know, sub $100 solar on everybody’s roof and to build a massive distributed energy utility in America. It turns out I’m doing all those things. Now, I can do that with my capital and that’s really great. That capital may go to zero … RITHOLTZ: But you’re saying … PALIHAPITIYA: … but it may not … RITHOLTZ: … you couldn’t do that if you had these institutional endowments and other … PALIHAPITIYA: Maybe not. RITHOLTZ: … large more conservative investors who are more concerned about IRR than moving the needle. PALIHAPITIYA: Short-term IRR because, you know, again they have a job to do. They have pension obligations to make. They have, you know, other things that they’re funding. They have the lifestyle they want to pay for. They have their own annual reviews and bonuses and things. So, you know, it’s not to debate the validity of it, it just exists, and I’m not willing to sign up for that because duration. And, by the way, you can see that certain funds have realized that that durational limitation doesn’t work in tech anymore, right, so now you’re seeing these 15-year funds, right? Some of these climate funds are really long-dated so that they can take huge long risk with very sticky money. I think that’s moving.....»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureOct 12th, 2021

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report

Futures Drift Before Taper-Triggering Jobs Report US equity-index drifted in a tight range overnight, in a tight range before key jobs data that could provide clues on the Federal Reserve’s policy. As noted in our preview, unless the jobs report is a disaster, it will virtually assure the Fed launches tapering in one month. Markets drifted higher on Thursday after the Senate averted the risk of an immediate default, pushing global stocks on course for their best week since early September, but a late day selloff wiped away most gains and closed spoos below the critical 4400 level. At 07:30 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 35 points, or 0.10%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 5.00 points, or 0.1%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 10.75 points, or 0.07%. Treasury Yields were 1 point higher after earlier tagging 1.60%, the highest since June. The dollar was flat while Brent topped $83 before paring gains. Bitcoin traded above $55,000. Uncertainty over the debt ceiling negotiations and a run-up in U.S. Treasury yields over elevated inflation were major concerns among investors earlier this week, injecting volatility in equity markets this week. High-growth FAAMG stocks slipped in premarket trading following sharp gains in previous session. Energy firms including Chevron Corp and Exxon Mobil gained about 0.8% tracking crude prices, while major U.S. lenders also edged up as the benchmark 10-year yield hit its highest level since June 4. Here are some of the biggest movers and stocks to watch today: Tesla (TSLA US) shares in focus after Elon Musk says a global shortage of chips and ships is the only thing standing in the way of the company maintaining sales growth in excess of 50% Sundial Growers (SNDL US) shares rise as much as 19% in U.S. premarket after the Canadian cannabis producer said it will buy liquor and pot retailer Alcanna for $276m in stock Allogene Therapeutics (ALLO US) plunges 36% in U.S. premarket trading after an early-stage study of its cell therapy was put on hold by U.S. regulators Prelude Therapeutics (PRLD US) fell in U.S. premarket trading, adding to Thursday’s 40% plunge on early- stage data for the company’s experimental cancer treatments that Barclays says came in below expectations Vaxart (VXRT US) rises 8% in U.S. premarket trading after its oral tablet vaccine candidate cut transmission of Covid-19 in animals, according to data from a study led by Duke University Faraday Future (FFIE US) slides 4% in U.S. premarket trading after J Capital says it is short on the stock. The short-seller says they don’t think the company “will ever sell a car” Codiak Biosciences (CDAK US) shares fell 6% in Thursday postmarket trading after disclosing that Sarepta Therapeutics is terminating a research license and option agreement Agile Therapeutics (AGRX US) tumbled Thursday postmarket after the women’s health-care company said that it intends to offer and sell shares of its common stock, as well as warrants to purchase shares of its common stock, in an underwritten public offering Looking to today's main event, economists expect September hiring to have surged by 500,000 jobs as the summer wave of COVID-19 infections began to subside, and as millions of Americans no longer receive jobless benefits, positioning the Fed to start scaling back its monthly bond buying.  “All roads lead to non-farm payrolls data which will decide, in the market’s minds, whether the start of the Fed taper is a done deal for December,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst at OANDA. “I do not believe that markets have priced in the Fed taper and its implications to any large degree yet. Even a weak number probably only delays the inevitable for another month.” Even “reasonably soft” payrolls and unemployment figures wouldn’t be enough to change the minds of its officials, according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “Only a shockingly low figure could do that,” she said. “The persistent rise in oil prices can only continue boosting inflation fears and the central bank hawks, limiting the upside potential in case of a further recovery in stocks.” “As soon as you start thinking about tapering it’s really hard to not then think about what that means for the Fed funds rate and when that might start to increase,” Kim Mundy, currency strategist and international economist at Commonwealth Bank of Australia in Sydney, said on Bloomberg Television. “We do see scope that markets can start to price in a more aggressive Fed funds rate hike cycle.” In Europe, tech companies led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.2%, with energy stocks and carmakers being the only industry groups with meaningful gains. Chip stocks fell, especially Apple suppliers, following a profit warning from Asian peer and fellow supplier AAC Technologies. On the other end, European travel stocks rose after U.K. confirmed the travel “red list” will be cut to just seven countries; British Airways parent IAG and TUI led the advances. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Daimler shares gains as much as 3.2%, outperforming peers, after UBS upgrades stock to buy from neutral, calling it an earnings momentum story that stands to gain from strong demand, electrification trends and its future focus on passenger cars. Adler shares rise as much as 13% after shareholder Aggregate sells a call option to Vonovia for a 13.3% stake in the German real estate investment firm at a strike price of EU14 per share. Cewe Stiftung shares jump as much as 4.2%, their best day in over three months, after the photography services firm gets a new buy rating at Hauck & Aufhaeuser. Weir shares fall as much as 6.3%, to the lowest since Nov. 13, after the U.K. machinery maker announced that a ransomware attack will affect full-year profitability; Jefferies says it’s unlikely that guidance beyond that will be revised. Zur Rose slumps as much as 9.2% after Berenberg downgrades the Swiss online pharmacy to hold from buy, citing the expected negative impact from a delay in the implementation of mandatory e-prescriptions in Germany. Czech digital-payments provider Eurowag shares slide as much as 10% as it starts trading in London, after pricing its IPO below an initial range and making its debut a day later than planned. Asian stocks rose for a second day as China’s market reopened higher and the U.S. Senate approved a short-term increase in the debt ceiling. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 1% in a rally led by consumer discretionary shares. Alibaba and Tencent were among the biggest contributors to the gauge’s climb. Shares in mainland China surged more than 1% as investors returned from the Golden Week holiday. Chinese property shares fell after a report that more than 90% of China’s top 100 property developers’ sales declined in September by an average of 36% from the same period last year, while investor concerns about developers’ liquidity rose after Fantasia bonds were suspended from trading. In mainland: CSI 300 Real Estate Index drops as much as 2%, Seazen Holdings falls as much as 5%, Poly Developments -4%. Asia’s stock benchmark is slightly down for the week, as rising bond yields weighed on tech-heavy indexes in South Korea, Taiwan and Japan. The gauge is down more than 1% this month amid an energy shortage in China and India.  “Markets may not want to commit directionally” given that we have non-farm payrolls data on the docket, making a follow-through of today’s rally suspect, said Ilya Spivak, the head of Greater Asia at DailyFX. Traders are expecting today’s U.S. employment data to provide clues on the direction of the world’s largest economy. On Thursday, the U.S. averted what would have been its first default on a debt payment. Most major benchmarks in Asia climbed, led by Japan, Indonesia and Australia. India’s central bank kept its lending rates at a record low at a policy meeting today. In Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.9% to close at 7,320.10. All industry groups edged higher. The benchmark rose 1.9% for the week, the biggest weekly gain since early August. Miners led the charge, having the best week since July, banks the best since the start of March. EML Payments tumbled after an update on its Ireland subsidiary from the country’s central bank. Chalice Mining continued its rebound, finishing the session the strongest performer in the mining subgauge.  There is a risk of excessive borrowing due to low interest rates and rising house prices, Reserve Bank of Australia said in its semiannual Financial Stability Review released Friday. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.1% to 13,086.60 In rates, Treasury futures remained under pressure after paring declines that pushed 10-year yield as high as 1.5995% during European morning, highest since June 4; the 1.60% zone is thought to have potential to spur next wave of convexity hedging. U.K. 10-year is higher by 4bp, German by 2.3bp - gilts underperformed, weighing on Treasuries as money markets continue to bring forward BOE rate-hike expectations. During U.S. session, September jobs report may seal case for Fed taper announcement in November.  In FX, the greenback traded in a narrow range versus G10 peers while 10-year Treasury yields approached 1.6%, outperforming Bunds.  Gilt yields rose 5-6bps across the curve; demand for downside protection in the pound eases this week as the U.K. currency moves off cycle lows amid money markets repricing. U.K. wage growth rose at its strongest pace on record in a survey of job recruiters, indicating strains from a shortage of workers are persisting. Turkish lira initially weakens above 8.96/USD before recouping half of its losses In commodities, oil extended a rebound, on track for a seventh weekly gain. Crude futures pushed to the best levels for the week. WTI rises 1.5% near $79.50, Brent pops back on to a $83-handle. Spot gold trades a $5 range near $1,757/oz. Base metals are mostly positive, with LME nickel gaining over 3.5%. Looking at the day ahead, the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,389.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.3% to 457.18 MXAP up 0.4% to 194.72 MXAPJ up 0.2% to 636.80 Nikkei up 1.3% to 28,048.94 Topix up 1.1% to 1,961.85 Hang Seng Index up 0.6% to 24,837.85 Shanghai Composite up 0.7% to 3,592.17 Sensex up 0.7% to 60,070.61 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.9% to 7,320.09 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,956.30 Brent Futures up 1.4% to $83.09/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,756.25 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 German 10Y yield up +3.4 bps to -0.151% Euro little changed at $1.1549 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Global talks to reshape the corporate tax landscape are set to resume on Friday after Ireland’s decision to adhere to the world consensus on a minimum rate removed one hurdle to an agreement that still hangs in the balance Germany’s Social Democrats hailed a positive start in their effort to form a government after their first meeting with the Greens and the pro-business Free Democrats A U.S. nuclear-powered attack submarine struck an object while submerged in international waters in the Indo- Pacific region last week, the Navy said, adding that no life- threatening injuries were reported China drained the most short- term liquidity from the banking system in a year on a net basis as it reduced support after a week-long holiday. Government bond futures slid by the most since August China’s central bank will continue to push for the reform of its benchmark loan rate and make deposit rates more market-based, according to a senior official India’s central bank surprised markets by suspending its version of quantitative easing, signaling the start of tapering pandemic-era stimulus measures as an economic recovery takes hold U.K. government bond yields have climbed to levels last seen before the Brexit referendum in 2016 relative to German peers, as traders brace for inflation in Britain over the next decade to far outpace the rate in Europe’s largest economy A detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly higher as the region conformed to the global upbeat mood after the agreement in Washington to raise the debt ceiling which the Senate approved, with the overnight bourses also invigorated by the return of China and strong Caixin PMI data. The ASX 200 (+0.9%) was led higher by strength in mining names with underlying commodity prices boosted as Chinese buyers flocked back to market which helped the ASX disregard a record increase in daily COVID-19 cases in Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+1.3%) was the biggest gainer and reclaimed the 28k level as exporters benefitted from a softer currency, while attention turns to PM Kishida who will outline his policy program today and is reportedly planning to present an additional budget after the election. Furthermore, there were recent comments from an ally of the new PM who suggested that capital gains tax could be raised to 25% from the current 20% without affecting stock prices, although this failed to dent the mood in Tokyo and weaker than expected Household Spending was also brushed aside. The gains for the KOSPI (-0.1%) were later reversed alongside the tentative price action in index heavyweight Samsung Electronics after its Q3 prelim. results showed oper. profit likely rose to its highest in three years but missed analysts’ forecasts. Hang Seng (+0.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.7%) were mixed with the latter jubilant on reopen from the Golden Week holiday after improved Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which both returned to expansionary territory. This helped mainland stocks overlook the recent developer default fears and largest daily liquidity drain by the PBoC since October last year, although Hong Kong initially lagged amid heavy Northbound Stock Connect trade. Finally, 10yr JGBs declined on spillover selling from T-notes and with havens shunned amid the gains across riskier assets, although downside in JGBs was limited given the BoJ’s presence in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Gold Steadies Ahead of Key U.S. Jobs Report as Yields Climb Investors Fear Tax Talk in Kishida’s ‘New Japanese Capitalism’ China Coal Prices Plunge as Producers Vow to Ease Shortages China Developer Stocks Fall After Report of Monthly Sales Drop An initially contained to marginally-firmer European cash open followed an upbeat APAC handover (ex-Hang Seng) was short-lived with bourses coming under moderate pressure; Euro Stoxx 600 -0.3%. As such, major indices are all in the red, except for of the UK FTSE 100 which is essentially unchanged and bolstered by strength in heavy-weight energy and mining names given broader price action the return of China. Sectors were initially mixed at the open, but in-fitting with the action in indices, has turned to a predominantly negative performance ex-energy. Crossing to the US, futures have directionally been following European peers, but the magnitude has been more contained, with the ES unchanged as we await the September labour market report for any read across to the Fed’s policy path; however, officials have already made it clear that it would have to be a very poor report to spark a deviation from its announced intentions, where it is expected to announce an asset purchase tapering in November. Returning to Europe, Daimler (+2.5%) stands out in the individual stocks space, firmer after a broker upgrade and notable price target lift at UBS; Marks & Spencer (+1.5%) is also supported on broker action. To the downside lies Weir Group (-3.0%) after reports of a ransomware attack. Top European News Adler’s Largest Shareholder Sells Option on Stake to Vonovia; A Controversial Tycoon Sits on Adler’s $9 Billion Pile of Debt Chip Stocks Drag Tech Gauge Lower as Asian Apple Supplier Warns European Gas Rises as Bumpy Ride Continues With Cold Air Coming Lira Weakens to Fresh Low as Rising U.S. Yields Add Pressure In FX, the Dollar is trying to regroup and firm up again after its latest downturn amidst a further rebound in US Treasury yields, more pronounced curve re-steepening, and perhaps some relief that the Senate finally passed the debt ceiling extension bill, albeit by a slender margin and only delaying the issue until early December. Looking at the DXY as a benchmark, a marginally higher low above 94.000 and lower high below 94.500 is keeping the index contained as the clock ticks down to September’s jobs report that is expected to show a recovery in hiring after the prior month’s shortfall, but anecdotal data has been rather mixed to offer little clear pointers for the bias around consensus - full preview of the latest BLS release is available via the Research Suite under the Ad-hoc Economic Analysis section. From a technical perspective, near term support for the DXY resides at 94.077 (vs the current 94.139 base) and resistance sits at 94.448 (compared to a 94.338 intraday high). TRY - A double whammy for the already beleaguered Lira as oil prices come back to the boil and ‘sources’ suggest that Turkish President Erdogan’s patience is wearing thin with the latest CBRT Governor as the Bank waited until September to cut rates. Recall, Erdogan has already ousted a CBRT chief for not loosening monetary policy in his belief that lowering the cost of borrowing will bring inflation down, and although the reports have been by a senior member of his administration there is a distinct feeling of no smoke without fire in the markets as Usd/Try remains bid having only held below 9.0000 by short distance between 8.9707-8.8670 parameters. CHF/JPY - No real surprise that the low yielders and funders are underperforming, even though broadly upbeat risk sentiment during APAC hours has not rolled over to the European session. The Franc has retreated to 0.9300 vs the Buck and Yen is trying to fend off pressure on the 112.00 handle after failing to sustain momentum through 111.50 before weaker than expected Japanese household spending data overnight. However, decent option expiry interest from 111.85-75 (1.4 bn) may weigh on Usd/Jpy pending the aforementioned US payrolls outcome. AUD - Some payback for the Aussie after Thursday’s outperformance, as Aud/Usd loses a bit more momentum following its rebound beyond 0.7300 and with hefty option expiries at 0.7335 (2.7 bn) capping the upside more than smaller size at the round number (1.1 bn) cushions the downside. In commodities, WTI and Brent remain on an upward trajectory after the mid-week pullback; as it stands, crude benchmarks are near fresh highs for the week, with WTI for November eyeing USD 80/bbl once again. Fresh news flow for the complex has been sparse, aside from substantial UK press focus on the domestic energy price cap potentially set to increase next year. More broadly, US officials have largely reiterated commentary from the Energy Department provided on Thursday around not currently intending act on energy costs with a reserve release. The session ahead has just the Baker Hughes rig count specifically for crude scheduled, though the complex may well get dragged into a broader risk move depending on the initial reaction to and analysis on NFP. For metals, spot gold and silver are contained around the unchanged mark and haven’t been affected by any significant amount by the firmer USD or elevated yield space thus far. Elsewhere, base metals are buoyed by China’s return and strong Caixin data from the region, although it is worth highlighting that the likes of LME copper are well off earlier highs. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 500,000, prior 235,000 Change in Private Payrolls, est. 450,000, prior 243,000 Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 25,000, prior 37,000 Unemployment Rate, est. 5.1%, prior 5.2% Sept. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.8% Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.8%, prior 61.7% Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.6% Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 4.6%, prior 4.3% 10am: Aug. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 0.9%, prior 2.0%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.2% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ve never quite understood why you’d go to the cinema if you’ve got a nice telly at home but such has been the nature of life over the last 19 months that I was giddy with excitement last night at booking tickets for James Bond at the local cinema next week. We’ve booked it on the same night as our first ever physical parents evening where I’ll maybe have the first disappointing clues that my three children aren’t going to be child prodigies and that maybe they’ll even have to settle for a career in finance! Markets have been stirred but not completely shaken this week and yesterday they continued to rebound thanks to the near-term resolution on the US debt ceiling alongside subsiding gas prices, which took the sting out of two of the most prominent risks for investors over the last couple of weeks. That provided a significant boost to risk appetite, and by the close of trade, the S&P 500 had recovered +0.83% in its 3rd consecutive move higher, which put it back to just -3.0% beneath its all-time high in early September, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 was also up +1.60% and closed before a later US sell-off. Attention will today focus squarely on the US jobs report at 13:30 London time, which is the last one before the Fed’s next decision in early November, where a potential tapering announcement is likely bar an extraordinarily poor number today, or an exogenous event in the next few weeks. Starting with the debt ceiling, yesterday saw Democratic and Republican Senators agree to pass legislation to raise the ceiling by enough to get to early December, meaning we won’t have to worry about it for another 8 whole weeks. The Senate voted 50-48 with no Republicans blocking the legislation to increase the debt limit by $480bn, with House Majority leader Hoyer saying that the House would convene on Tuesday to pass the measure as well. To raise it for a longer period, the chatter out of Washington made it clear that Democrats would need to need to raise the debt ceiling in a partisan manner as part of the reconciliation process. As we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, this extension means that a number of deadlines have now been punted into the year end, including the government funding and the debt ceiling (both now expiring the first Friday of December), just as the Democrats are also seeking to pass Biden’s economic agenda through a reconciliation bill containing much of their social proposals, alongside the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure package. And on top of that, we’ve also got the decision on whether Chair Powell will be re-nominated as Fed Chair, with the decision 4 years ago coming at the start of November. So a busy end to the year in DC. The other main story yesterday was the sizeable decline in European natural gas prices, with the benchmark future down -10.73% to post its biggest daily loss since August. Admittedly, they’re still up almost five-fold since the start of the year, but relative to their intraday peak on Wednesday they’ve now shed -37.5%. So nearly a double bear market all of a sudden! The moves follow Wednesday’s signal that Russia could supply more gas to Europe. However, even as energy prices were starting to fall back from their peak, the effects of inflation were being felt elsewhere, with the UN’s world food price index climbing to its highest level in a decade in September. Looking ahead, today’s main focus will be on the US jobs report for September later on. Last month the report significantly underwhelmed expectations, coming in at just +235k, which was well beneath the +733k consensus expectation and the slowest pace since January. That raised questions as to the state of the labour market recovery, and helped to complicate a potential decision on tapering, with nonfarm payrolls still standing over 5m beneath their pre-Covid peak. This month, our US economists are expecting a somewhat stronger +400k increase in nonfarm payrolls, which should see the unemployment rate tick down to a post-pandemic low of 5.1%. On the bright side at least, the ADP’s report of private payrolls for September on Wednesday came in at an above-forecast 568k (vs. 430k expected), while the weekly initial jobless claims out yesterday for the week through October 2 were beneath expectations at 326k (vs. 348k expected). Ahead of that, global equities posted a decent rebound across the board, with cyclicals leading the march higher on both sides of the Atlantic. As mentioned at the top, the S&P 500 advanced +0.83%, which was part of a broad-based advance that saw over 390 companies move higher on the day. That said the index was up as much as +1.5% in early US trading before slipping lower in the US afternoon. The pullback was partly due to new headlines that China’s central bank plans to continue addressing monopolistic actions in internet companies that operate in the payments sector. Nonetheless, Megacap tech stocks were among the big winners yesterday, with the FANG+ index up +2.08%, whilst the small-cap Russell 2000 index was also up +1.58%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+1.60%) posted its strongest daily gain since July, and the broader gains helped the STOXX Banks index (+1.61%) surpass its pre-pandemic high, taking it to levels not seen since April 2019, even as sovereign bond yields moved lower. Speaking of sovereign bonds, yesterday saw a divergent set of moves once again, with yields on 10yr Treasuries up +5.2bps to 1.573%, their highest level since June, whereas those across the European continent moved lower. The US increase came against the backdrop of that debt ceiling resolution, and there was a noticeable rise in yields for Treasury bills that mature in December, which is where the debt ceiling deadline has now been kicked to. Elsewhere in North America, the Bank of Canada’s Macklem joined the global central bank chorus and noted inflation pressures were likely to be temporary, even if they’ve been more persistent than previously expected. Meanwhile over in Europe, lower inflation expectations helped yields move lower, with those on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-1.1bps) and BTPs (-3.6bps) all moving back. Overnight in Asia, all markets are trading in the green with the Nikkei (+2.16%) leading the way, along with CSI (+1.34%), Shanghai Composite (+0.60%), KOSPI (+0.22%) and Hang Seng (+0.04%). Chinese markets reopened after a week-long holiday so the focus will again be back on property market debt, and today the PBOC injected just 10bn Yuan with its 7-day reverse repos, resulting in a net liquidity withdrawal of 330bn Yuan. That comes as the services and composite PMIs did see a pickup from August level, with the services PMI up to 53.4 (vs. 49.2 expected), moving back above the 50 mark that separates expansion from contraction. In Japan however, household spending was down -3.0% year-on-year in August (vs. -1.2% expected) which came amidst a surge in the virus there. There’s also some news on the ESG front, with finance minister Shunichi Suzuki saying that the country would introduce ESG factors when considering the finance ministry’s foreign reserves. Looking forward, S&P 500 futures (+0.06%) are pointing to a small move higher. In Germany, as talks got underway today on a potential traffic-light coalition, it was reported by DPA that CDU leader Armin Laschet had signalled his willingness to stand down, with the report citing unidentified participants from internal discussions. In televised remarks last night, Laschet said that his party needs fresh voices across the board and that new leadership will be in place soon. This moves comes as Germany’s Social Democratic Party held talks with the Greens and the Free Democratic Party to enact a new three-way ruling coalition, which would leave the CDU out of power entirely. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though German industrial production fell by -4.0% in August (vs. -0.5% expected), which follows the much weaker than expected data on factory orders the previous day. Elsewhere, the Manheim used car index increased +5.3% in September, its first positive reading in 4 months. Our US economics team points out that there tends to be around a two month lag between wholesale prices and CPI prints, so we aren’t likely to see this impact next week’s CPI print but it will likely prevent a bigger fall towards the end of the year. To the day ahead now, and the highlight will be the aforementioned September jobs report from the US. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and the ECB’s Panetta. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/08/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 8th, 2021

Europeans are finally talking about defending themselves. The US should let them do it.

Keeping 70,000 US troops in Europe is simply unnecessary in today's security environment. Washington needs to recognize this reality. French President Emmanuel Macron stands at attention during the Bastille Day parade in Paris, July 14, 2017. Christophe Archambault The US has wielded its influence to hamper moves toward an independent European military capability. But in the current environment, US should support Europe taking primary ownership of its own security. Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities. See more stories on Insider's business page. On the same day France signed a $3.4 billion deal with Greece to provide the Mediterranean country with three state-of-the-art warships, French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated a point he has made ever since he decided to run as a presidential candidate in 2017: Europe needs to stand up for itself and take more responsibility for its defense needs."Europeans must come out of their naivety," Macron said during a press conference on September 29. "We must, as Europeans, take our part in our own protection." The desire for European strategic autonomy may ruffle some feathers in Washington, but a careful assessment reveals this notion aligns with US interests.It's easy to chalk Macron's rhetoric up to traditional French Gaullism. But the sentiment for a more assertive and autonomous Europe extends well beyond French political circles to the very heart of the European Union.Writing in The New York Times in September, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell advocated for the creation of a 5,000-strong European intervention force that could be deployed in a crisis.Addressing the European Parliament weeks later, EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen stressed, "Europe can - and clearly should - be able and willing to do more on its own."Olaf Scholz, Germany's likely incoming chancellor, expressed a similar theme during the campaign, arguing that a "strong, sovereign Europe" was critical if the continent hoped to be a major geopolitical player. German soldiers board a German air force A400M at a Bundeswehr air base in Jagel, December 10, 2015. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer Unfortunately, the growing tide across Western Europe in favor of strategic autonomy has produced very little follow through. With the exception of the EU's newly released Indo-Pacific strategy promoting a renewed European role in the region and the implementation of a joint EU defense research program known as Permanent Structured Cooperation (a program plagued with delays), talk about strategic autonomy has been just that - talk.A big reason for the dilemma is honest disagreement within Europe itself. For countries like Poland and the Baltic states, situated close to Russia and dependent on US security guarantees, there is a concern that strategic autonomy could undermine NATO's purpose.But an even bigger impediment is the United States itself, which has effectively used its veto and considerable clout in European defense debates to ensure that any moves toward an independent European military capability is smothered in its crib.Because the US foreign policy establishment views retaining US primacy in Europe as a strategic imperative, successive US administrations have lectured and at times threatened European governments from doing anything that could potentially compete with NATO, an institution dominated by Washington.In May 2019, the Trump administration went as far as sending a sternly worded letter to the EU's top foreign policy official lambasting EU defense innovation as a distraction from NATO activities.In effect, the US has been hypocritical, complaining about Europe's unwillingness to invest in its own defense while simultaneously opposing moves that would make Europe a stronger player. The US remains wedded to the idea that anything short of full and complete US dominance in Europe is unacceptable. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and then-Vice President Joe Biden at the Munich Security Conference, February 7, 2015. CHRISTOF STACHE/AFP via Getty Images This, however, couldn't be further from the truth. The United States should be embracing a more sovereign, independent Europe, particularly one that takes primary ownership of its own security.It's not like Europe is short on material resources. At just over $15 trillion, the European Union's collective GDP rivals China's. Of the 10 largest economies in the world, four of them (Germany, the UK, France, and Italy) reside in Europe. At $3.8 trillion, Germany's economy alone is about two-and-a-half times larger than Russia's. The US should be cheering a bolder Europe in large measure because Europe can afford it.More importantly, however, European strategic autonomy is also in the US national security interest. Europe is no longer the center of gravity in the international system like it was during the Cold War, when Washington and Moscow were in the throes of a decades-long global competition for power and influence. Needless to say, that world no longer exists.Europe is whole, free, and at peace - and has been for decades. To the extent Europe is facing an external threat, Vladimir Putin's Russia lacks the relative strength of its Soviet predecessor. Despite Moscow's proficiency in cyberattacks and gray-zone tactics, Russia lacks the capabilities for a full-scale, conventional invasion of Europe.In short: European policymakers shouldn't be operating as if they are stuck in a 1970's time warp. With Washington spending more of its energy and bureaucratic attention on the Indo-Pacific, Europe taking primary responsibility for events in its neighborhood is a common-sense proposition - one that would help free up limited US resources from a region financially and militarily capable of doing more for itself.Of course, European policymakers could still conclude that strategic autonomy is not the way to go. Or they may not have the will to proceed. Ultimately, this is a decision only Europe can make.Yet for US policymakers back in Washington, the bottom line still stands: permanently stationing over 70,000 US troops on the continent is simply unnecessary in today's security environment. All that's left is for Washington to recognize this reality.Daniel R. DePetris is a fellow at Defense Priorities and a foreign affairs columnist for Newsweek.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

Economic Theory & Long-Wave Cycles

Economic Theory & Long-Wave Cycles Authored by Alasdair Macleod via GoldMoney.com, Investors and others are confused by the early stages of accelerating price inflation. One misleading belief is in cycles of industrial production, such as Kondratieff’s waves. The Kondratieff cycle began to emerge in financial commentaries during the inflationary 1970s, along with other wacky theories. We should reject them as an explanation for rising prices today. This article explains why the only cycle that matters is of bank credit, from which all other cyclical observations should be made. But that is not enough, because on their own cycles of bank credit do not destroy currencies - that is the consequence of central bank policies and the expansion of base money. The relationship between base money and changes in a currency’s purchasing power is not mechanical. It merely sets the scene. What matters is widespread public perceptions of how much spending liquidity is personally needed. It is by altering the ratio of currency-to-hand to anticipated needs that purchasing power is radically altered, and in the earliest stages of a hyperinflation of prices it leads to imbalances between supply and demand, resulting in the panic buying for essentials becoming evident today. Panics over energy and other necessities are only the start of it. Unless it is checked by halting the expansion of currency and credit, current dislocations will slide rapidly into a wider flight from currency into real goods - a crack-up boom. Introduction For eighteen months, the world has seen a boom in commodity prices, which has inevitably led to speculation about a new Kondratieff, or K-wave. Google it, and we see it described as a long cycle of economic activity in capitalist economies lasting 40—60 years. It marks periods of evolution and correction driven by technological innovation. Today’s adherents to the theory describe it in terms of the seasons. Spring is recovery, leading into a boom. Summer is an increase in wealth and affluence and a deceleration of growth. Autumn is stagnating economic conditions. And winter is a debilitating depression. But these descriptions did not feature in Kondratieff’s work. Van Duijan construed it differently around life cycles: introduction, growth, maturity, and decline. We must discard the word growth, substituting for it progress. Growth as measured by GDP is no more than an increase in the amount of currency and bank credit in circulation and therefore meaningless. Most people who refer to growth believe they are describing progress, or a general improvement in quality of life. Instead, they are sanctioning inflationism. There is little doubt that economic progress is uneven, but that is down to innovation. Kondratieff’s followers argue that innovation is a cyclical phenomenon, otherwise as a cyclical theory it cannot hold water. An economic historian would argue that the root of innovation is the application of technological discoveries which by their nature must be random, as opposed to cyclical, events. Furthermore, a decision must be made about how to measure the K-wave. Is it of fluctuations in the price level and of what, or of output volumes? Bear in mind that GDP and GNP were not invented until the 1930s, and all prior GDP figures are guesswork. Is it driven by Walt Rostow’s contention that the K-wave is pushed by variations in the relative scarcity of food and raw materials? Or is it a monetary phenomenon, which appeared to cease after the Second World War, when currency expansion was not hampered by a gold standard? It was an argument consistent with that put forward by Edward Bernstein, who was a key adviser to the US delegation at Bretton Woods, when he concluded that the war need not be followed by the deep post-war depression which based on historical precedent was widely expected at the time. Kondratieff’s wave theories were buried by the lack of a post-war slump, until price inflation began to increase in the 1970s and Kondratieff became fashionable again. Kondratieff maintained that his wave theory is a global capitalist phenomenon, applicable to and detected in major economies, such as those of Britain, America, and Germany. But there is no statistical evidence of a long wave in Britain’s industrial production in the first half of the nineteenth century, when Britannia ruled the economic waves. And while there were financial crises from time to time, the downward phase to complete Kondratieff’s cycle never materialised. Today, with K-waves being fundamental to so much analysis of cyclical factors and their extrapolation, the lack of evidence and rigour in Kondratieff theory should be concerning to those who believe in it. That there are variations in the pace of human progress is unarguable, and that there is a discernible cycle of them beyond mundane seasonal influences cannot be denied. But that is a cycle of credit, a factor which was at least partially understood by Bernstein, when he correctly surmised that the way to bury a post-war depression was by expanding the quantity of money. Bank credit cycles and inflation When the inflation of money supply is mostly that of bank credit, it is cyclical in nature. Its consequences for the purchasing power of the currency conforms with the cycle, but with a time lag. Furthermore, the effect is weaker in a population which tends to save than with one which tends to spend more of its income on immediate consumption. No further comment is required on this effect, other than to state that over the whole cycle of bank credit prices are likely to be relatively stable. This was the situation in Britain, which dominated the global economy for most of the period between the introduction of the gold sovereign following the 1816 Coinage Act until the First World War. Figure 1 confirms that despite fluctuating levels of bank credit, from 1822—1914 the general level of prices was broadly unchanged. The price effect of the expansion of coin-backed currency between the two dates and the increase in population offset the reduction of costs in production through a combination of improvements in production methods, technological developments, and increased volumes. What cannot be reflected in the graph is the remarkable progress made in improving the standards of living for everyone over the nineteenth century. The gold standard was abandoned at the start of the First World War, and the general level of prices more than doubled. Having seen prices rise during the war, in December 1919 the Cunliffe Committee recommended a return to the gold standard and the supply of currency was restricted from 1920 with this objective in mind. A gold bullion standard instead of a coin standard was introduced in 1925, tying sterling at the pre-war rate of $4.8665, which remained in place until 1931.[iv] From thereon, the purchasing power of the currency began its long decline as central bank money supply expanded. There is no long-term cyclicality in these changes. Following the abandonment of the gold standard, and in line with other currencies which abandoned gold convertibility in the 1930s sterling simply sank. The key to this devaluation is not fluctuations in bank credit, but the expansion of base currency. And there is no evidence of a Kondratieff, or any other long-term cycle of production. It can only be a monetary effect. The role of money in long waves It is worth bearing in mind that the so-called evidence discovered by Kondratieff was in the mind of a Marxist convinced that capitalism would fail. The downturn of a capitalist winter, or decline in growth — whatever definition is used, was baked in the anti-capitalist cake. The Marxists and other socialists were and still are all too ready to claim supposed failings of capitalism, evidenced in their eyes by periodic recessions, slumps, and depressions. Kondratieff’s economic bias may or may not have coloured his analysis — only by digging deeply into his own soul could he have answered that. But in the absence of firm evidence supporting his wave theory we should discard it. After all, there is a rich history of the religious zeal with which spurious theories in the fields of economics and money arise. The consequences of sunspot cycles and the supposed importance of anniversary dates are typical of this ouija board theme. Non-monetary cycle themes such as that devised by Kondratieff have socialism at their core. It is assumed that capitalists, bourgeois businessmen seeking through the division of labour to manufacture and supply consumer goods for profit, in their greed are reckless about commercial risks from overinvestment. This is nonsense. Fools are quickly discovered in free markets, and they are also quickly dismissed. Successful entrepreneurs and businessmen are very much aware of risk and do not embark on projects in the expectation they will be unprofitable, and it is therefore untrue to suggest that the capitalist system fails for this reason. To the contrary, markets that are truly free have been entirely responsible for the rapid improvement in the human condition, while it is government intervention that leads to periodic crises by interfering in the relationships between producers and consumers and setting in motion a cycle of interest rate suppression and currency expansion. Markets which are truly free deliver economic progress by anticipating consumer demands and deploying capital efficiently to meet them. It is no accident that economies with minimal government intervention deliver far higher standards of living than those micro-managed by governments. Hong Kong under hands-off British administration, with no natural resources and enduring floods of impoverished refugees from Mainland China stood in sharp contrast with China under Mao. Post-war East and West Germany, populated by the same ethnic people, the former communist and the latter capitalist, provides further unarguable proof that capitalism succeeds where socialism fails. Marxist socialism kills cycles by the most brutal method. It cannot entertain the economic calculations necessary to link production with anticipated demand. There is no mechanism for the redistribution of capital for its more efficient use. Consumption is never satisfied, and consumers must wait interminably for inferior products to be supplied. Any pretence at a cycle is simply suppressed out of existence. Almost all long-wave literature assumes that prices change due to supply and demand for commodities and goods alone, and never from variations in the quantity of money and credit. But even under a gold standard, the quantities of money and credit varied all the time. In Britain, and therefore in the rest of the financially developed world which adopted its banking practices, gold was merely partial backing for currency and bank deposits, which since the days of London’s goldsmiths also lubricated the creation of debt outside the banking system. While originally gold was used as coin money, since 1914 when Britain went off the gold coin standard even this role in transactions ceased. Having explained the random nature of free market capitalism, the difference from capitalistic banking must be explained. It owes its origin to London’s goldsmiths, who took in deposits to use for their own benefit, paying six per cent out of the profits they made by dealing in money. This evolved into fractional reserve banking which became the banking model for the British Empire and the rest of the world. As well as renewing the Bank of England’s charter, the Bank Charter Act of 1844 further legitimised fractional reserve banking by giving in to the Banking School’s argument that the amount of credit in circulation is adequately controlled by the ordinary processes of competitive banking. If banks acted independently from one another competing for customers and business, we might reasonably conclude that there would be from time-to-time random bank failures without cyclicality, as the Banking School argued. In capitalistic commerce, it is this process of creative destruction that ensures consumers are best served and an economy progresses to their advantage. But with banks, it is different. Each bank creates deposits which are interchanged between other banks, and imbalances are centrally cleared. Therefore, every bank has financial relations with its competitors and is exposed to its competitors’ counterparty risks, which if acted upon creates losses for themselves and other banks, risking in extremis a system-wide crisis. Banking is therefore a cartel whose members acting in their own interests tend to act in unison. In the nineteenth century his led to systemic crises, the most infamous of which were the Overend Gurney and Baring failures. It was to address this systemic risk that central banking took upon itself the role of lender of last resort, so that in future these failures would be contained. But this mitigation of risk merely strengthened the banking cartel even further, leading to the possibility of a complete banking and currency failure. And since bankers have limited liability and personally risk little more than their salary in the knowledge that a central bank will always backstop them, reckless balance sheet expansion is richly rewarded — until it fails. Fred “the shred” Goodwin, who grew a staid Royal Bank of Scotland to become the largest bank in Europe before it collapsed into government ownership was a recent example of the genre. It is these differences between banking and other commercial activities that drive a cycle of bank credit expansion and contraction while non-financial business activities cannot originate cycles. The state-sponsored structure of the banking system attempts to control it. Governments through their central banks also trigger a boom in business activity by suppressing interest rates as the principal means of encouraging the growth of currency and credit. The distortions created by these interventions and their continuence inevitably lead to a terminating crisis. As Ludwig von Mises put it: “The wavelike movement affecting the economic system, the recurrence of periods of boom which are followed by periods of depression, is the unavoidable outcome of the attempts, repeated again and again, to lower the gross market rate of interest by means of credit expansion. There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as a result of a voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved." A long period of credit expansion with relatively minor hiccups ending in such a crisis could easily be confused with a Kondratieff 40—60-year cycle. But the error is to mistake its origins. Kondratieff tried to persuade us that the boom and bust was a feature of capitalist business failings when it is a currency and credit problem. The irony is that Stalin refused to admit even to an expansionary phase in capitalism, condemning Kondratieff to the gulags, and then a firing squad in 1938. He lived as a Marxist-Leninist and was executed by the system he venerated. Having identified the source of cycles as being a combination of state action and fluctuations in currency and credit in a state-sponsored banking system and not capitalistic production for profit, we can admit that there are further cyclical consequences. Whether they exist or not is usually a matter of conjecture. Purely financial cycles, such as Elliott Wave Theory, will also owe their motive forces to cycles of credit and not business activity. The effect on commodity and consumer prices Kondratieff wave followers claim that commodity bull and bear markets are the consequence of a K-wave spring and summer followed by autumn, when it tops out, and winter when it collapses before rising into the next K-wave cycle. But we have demonstrated that the K-wave is not supported by the evidence. Instead, changes in the general level of commodity prices are a function of changes in the quantity of money. And as we have seen, there is a base component and a cyclical component of bank credit. We must now refocus our attention from the long-run UK statistics shown in Figure 1 to the contemporary situation for the US dollar, in which commodities have been priced almost exclusively since the early 1970s. The chart from the St Louis Fed below is of an index of industrial materials from 1992. We can see why the Kondratieff myth might be perpetuated, with industrial material prices more than halving between 2011 and 2016. But these swings came substantially from the dollar side of prices, whose trade-weighted index rose strongly between these dates. Between 2016—2018 the dollar weakened, before strengthening into 2020. Clearly, it was the purchasing power of the dollar driving speculative as well as commercial flows in international commodity markets. In March 2020, the Fed reduced its fund rate to the zero bound and announced QE (money-printing) of an unprecedented $120bn every month. Figure 2 below shows the consequences for the general level of commodity prices. Since late-March, the components of this ETF have almost doubled in price, and after a period of consolidation appear to be increasing again. K-wave followers might conclude that it is evidence of a new Kondratieff spring or summer, with the global economy set for a new spurt of economic “growth”. But this ignores the expansion of the Fed’s balance sheet reflected in base money, which is the next FRED chart. The monetary base has approximately doubled since the Fed’s March 2020 stimulus, additional to the post-Lehman crisis expansion. The last expansion undermined the purchasing power of the dollar to a similar extent in terms of the commodity prices shown in Figure 2. Evidential consequences of price inflation Sudden increases in the money quantity have disruptive effects on markets for goods and services and the behaviour of individuals. As well as undermining a currency’s purchasing power, supplies of essential goods become disordered by unexpected shifts in demand. Throughout history there has been evidence of these inflationary consequences, often exacerbated by statist attempts to impose price controls. The Roman emperor Diocletian with his edict on maximum prices caused starvation for citizens, who were forced to leave Rome to forage for food in the surrounding countryside. The edict made the provision of food uneconomic, leading to extreme scarcity. During the reign of Henry I in England there was a monetary crisis in 1124 from the debasement of silver coins, which combined with a poor harvest drove up the prices of staples, causing widespread famine. The French revolution has been attributed to the insensitivity of royalty and the aristocracy to the masses; but it occurred at the time of the assignat inflation, which led to aggravated discontent among the lower orders and the storming of the Bastille. And today, we have widespread disruption of essential supplies, ranging from energy to carbonated foodstuffs. The lesson from history is it has only just started. Why today’s logistics and energy disruptions have only just started The problems arise because individuals’ knowledge of the relationship between money and goods comes from the immediate past. They use that knowledge to decide what to buy for future consumption, and if they are in business, for production. In the latter case, they might change inventory policies from today’s just-in-time practices to ensure an adequate stock of components is available, driving up demand for them and creating shortages of vital factors of production. Consumers faced with shortages will alter the balance between their money liquidity and goods for which they may not have an immediate need but expect to consume at a future date. Bank account balances and credit available on credit cards will be drawn down, for example, to fill their car tanks with fuel, even though no journey is planned. And as we see in the UK today, it rapidly leads to fuel shortages and rationing at the petrol pumps. While the authorities try to calm things down, either by denying there is a supply problem or by imposing price controls, consumers are likely to see these moves as propaganda and justification for reducing money liquidity even further by purchasing yet more goods. The flight out of currency liquidity has a disproportionate effect on prices, particularly for essentials. They will simply drive prices higher until no further price rises are expected. Or put more accurately, the value of the currency continues to fall. It is worth illustrating the problem for its true context. If on the one hand everyone decides they would rather have as much cash in hand money as possible rather than goods, prices will collapse. It is, as a matter of fact, a situation which cannot occur. If alternatively, everyone decides to dispose of all their liquidity by buying everything just to get rid of the currency, then the purchasing power of the currency sinks to zero. Unlike the former case, this can and does happen, when it becomes widely recognised that the currency might become worthless. In other words, a state-issued unbacked currency then collapses. Almost no one, so far, attributes today’s logistical and economic dislocations to monetary inflation, yet as pointed out above, empirical evidence points to a clear connection. Governments and central banks also seem unaware. But they appear to sense that there is an undefinable risk of consumer panic, making fuel and other shortages even worse. So far, the blame lies with logistic failures, which seem to be getting worse. Comments from leading central bankers, currently meeting in Portugal and organised by the ECB, confirm the official position of playing popular tunes while the ship goes down. The heads of the Fed, the ECB, the Bank of England, and the Bank of Japan are quoted in the Daily Telegraph as agreeing that staff shortages, shipping chaos and surging fuel costs are likely to cause further disruption as winter draws near. Andrew Bailey, Governor of the Bank of England, warned “…that the UK’s GDP will not recover to pre-pandemic levels until early next year”. But besides the Bank keeping a close watch on inflation, he commented that monetary policy can’t solve supply side shocks. Jay Powell admitted that at the margin apparently bottleneck and supply chain problems are getting marginally worse. But all the central bankers agreed that price pressures will be temporary. We can see from these comments a desire not to rock the boat and cause further panic among consumers. More worrying is the insistence that inflation remains a temporary problem. Unless there is a move to stop the monetary printing presses, they must believe it. It is confirmation that there is no intention to change monetary policy. But these problems are not restricted to the West. This week we learn that even China, which has followed a policy of restricting monetary growth, faces an energy crisis with coal at power plants critically low, and coal prices up fourfold. Energy is being rationed with production of everything from food and animal feedstuffs to steel and aluminium plants supplying other factories, which in turn face power outages. China is the world’s manufacturing hub. The United States relies on China’s exports. There were some seventy container ships at anchor or at drift areas off San Pedro earlier this week, but after dropping slightly the numbers are expected to rise again. And in China, there are delays at ports of more than three days in Busan, Shanghai, Ningbo and Yantian. Ship charter rates have rocketed from $10,000 a day to as much as $200,000.[ix] There can be no doubt as the northern hemisphere enters its winter that the consuming nations in America and Europe will see yet more product shortages, more price rises, and continuing logistics disruption. Central banks will become increasingly desperate to discourage consumers’ from hoarding items by claiming that shortages and price increases are transitory. What they fail to realise is that the consequences of currency debasement have led to consumption goods being wrongly priced, fuelling the shortages. These shortages can only be addressed by yet higher prices, even in the absence of further monetary debasement — until no further price increases are expected by consumers. But with massive and increasing government deficits to finance, central banks have no mandate to restrict the expansion of currency. An acceleration of monetary debasement as each unit of it buys less is therefore inevitable because consumers and businesses alike will begin to understand there is no limit to prices increasing. Left to its logical conclusion, the purchasing power of a currency falls exponentially until it has no value left. The speed at which it happens depends on the time taken for acting humans to realise what is happening. Unless it is stopped, an economy experiences what in the 1920s was described as a flight into real goods, or a crack-up boom. Economists today seem unable to comprehend the instability caused by monetary inflation. They adopt their models to ignore it. As von Mises put it, “The mathematical economists are at a loss to comprehend the causal relation between the increase in the quantity of money and what they call ‘velocity of circulation’". The confusion in the minds of central bank economists renders it unlikely that they will take the actions necessary to stop their currencies sliding towards worthlessness sooner rather than later. Central to resolving the problem is maintaining confidence that the currency will retain its purchasing power. But with the advent of cryptocurrencies, there is a growing proportion of the public who understand in advance of inflationary consequences that fiat currencies are being debauched at an accelerating rate. This represents a major change from the past, when, as Keynes put it supposedly quoting Lenin, “There is no subtler, no surer means of overturning the existing basis of society than to debauch the currency. The process engages all the hidden forces of economic law on the side of destruction and does it in a manner which not one man in one million is able to diagnose”. The fact that millions now do understand the currency is being debauched is likely to make it more difficult for the state to maintain confidence in the currency in these troubled times. We should know that what is happening to commodity prices is not some long-term Kondratieff wave, or any other wave with origins in production beyond purely seasonal factors. We can say unequivocally that the cause is in changing quantities of currency and bank credit. We can also see that there are yet further effects driving prices higher from the expansion of currency so far. We can expect currency expansion to continue, so prices of commodities and consumer goods will continue to rise. Or put in a way in which it is likely to become more widely understood as the current hiatus continues, the purchasing power of the currencies in which prices are measured will continue to fall. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/04/2021 - 21:40.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 4th, 2021

Gambling Stock Roundup: MGM to Acquire The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, WYNN"s WynnBET Expands & More

MGM Resorts (MGM) enters into a definitive agreement with Blackstone to acquire the hotel operations of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Wynn Resorts' (WYNN) WynnBET receives an approval to operate in Louisiana. Apprehensions regarding the coronavirus pandemic and reports of tougher Macau casino regulations continue to plague the Gaming industry. In the past week, the industry has decreased 0.6%. In the last one month, the industry has witnessed a decline of 5.2%.Recap of Last Week’s Most Important StoriesMGM Resorts to Acquire The Cosmopolitan of Las VegasMGM Resorts International MGM recently entered into a definitive agreement with Blackstone to acquire the hotel operations of The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas for $1.625 billion. The transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals, is likely to close in the first half of 2022.Previously, The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas was acquired by Blackstone in 2014. Since then, it has gone through significant capital improvements, which have generated a unique customer base and high-quality product offerings. Although the property encountered pandemic-induced closures in-between, Blackstone revealed that The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas’ performance in second-quarter 2021 exceeded pre-COVID levels.MGM Resorts currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Wynn Resorts' WynnBET Gets Louisiana Approval, Broadens PresenceWynn Resorts, Limited’s WYNN WynnBET announced that it recently received an approval to operate in Louisiana. This marks the 17th state of its online gaming footprint expansion.In addition to Louisiana, WynnBET is currently operating in Arizona, Colorado, Indiana, Michigan, New Jersey, Tennessee and Virginia. The company has significant market presence in 17 states, covering almost 46% of the U.S. population. It is in the process of entering seven more states, which would broaden WynnBET’s footprint to nearly 77% of the U.S. adult population.Wynn Resorts currently carries a Zacks Rank #3.International Game Technology’s PlaySports Expands FootprintInternational Game Technology PLC IGT recently announced that its PlaySports platform will now be available at Angel Of The Winds Casino Resort in Arlington, WA for sports betting. The casino will leverage IGT's PlaySports turnkey solution for retail and on-premise mobile sports betting.Enrico Drago, IGT CEO Digital & Betting said, “Our proven all-in-one PlaySports technology was designed to offer maximum flexibility for operators of all sizes to seamlessly establish exciting sports betting programs.”International Game Technology has a Zacks Rank #3.Churchill Downs Announces Share Repurchase ProgramChurchill Downs Incorporated’s CHDN board of directors have declared a $500 million share repurchase program. This new program has replaced the company’s previously authorized repurchase worth $300 million, which was declared in October 2018. The company had unused authorization of $97.9 million as of Sep 29, 2021 from the $300 million repurchase program.Bill Carstanjen, CEO of Churchill Downs said, “We are excited about the future growth potential for each of our businesses and remain committed to creating long-term shareholder return through our unique pipeline of organic investments, accretive transactions, share repurchases, and annual dividends.”Churchill Downs carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of the major gambling stocks in the last week and the last six months: Image Source: Zacks Investment Research 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report International Game Technology (IGT): Free Stock Analysis Report Wynn Resorts, Limited (WYNN): Free Stock Analysis Report MGM Resorts International (MGM): Free Stock Analysis Report Churchill Downs, Incorporated (CHDN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 4th, 2021

Two applicants left vying for Waukegan casino license after another drops out

It could take more than another two years before people are able to start gambling in the new casino, according to officials of the gaming board and representatives of the applicants.It could take more than another two years before people are able to start gambling in the new casino, according to officials of the gaming board and representatives of the applicants......»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneOct 1st, 2021

Two applicants left vying for Waukegan casino license after another drops out; Opening more than two years away, officials say

It could take more than another two years before people are able to start gambling in the new casino, according to officials of the gaming board and representatives of the applicants.It could take more than another two years before people are able to start gambling in the new casino, according to officials of the gaming board and representatives of the applicants......»»

Category: topSource: chicagotribuneSep 30th, 2021

Euronet"s (EEFT) REN Payments Platform to Aid Marker Trax

Euronet's (EEFT) REN platform forms a relationship with Marker Trax to serve physical casinos, virtual casinos and the sports-betting operators. Euronet Worldwide, Inc. EEFT will license its REN payments platform to the Las-Vegas based company Marker Trax, LLC for use in the former’s cloud where it will offer transaction processing and many other features for a digital casino marker management system.The initial versions of REN-powered Marker Trax solution are expected to be done by the end of this year. This initiative obviously enhances REN’s exposure to the gaming space where casino visitors are expected to spend $516 billion across the globe and around $150 billion in the North American market this year. REN will provide various key features, such as underwriting, patron identity verifications, settlement, reporting and many more.Marker Trax is a regulatory-compliant and cashless option for the traditional casino market, which is expected to provide convenience for players. It comes with tools to handle marker underwriting and repayments, making sure that funds stay with the casino by tracking the marker.Marker Trax consists of a mobile application and website that can be used by the casino patrons to apply for a marker as well as get a credit decision. Casino patrons guests will be able to save time and effort by leveraging this new solution. People can actually use it on virtual casinos and assist the sports-betting operators apart from supporting the physical hubs.Marker Trax also got approval from the Nevada Gaming Control Board. REN will offer scalability for an expanding user base and fast speed so that users can enjoy enriched experiences.The gaming industry is the perfect market for adopting REN as it holds plenty of prospects to grow.In June, Euronet announced that its REN Connect software will allow the Bank of Philippine Islands (BPI) to take part in the region’s real-time payments network called Instapay.Last December, the company's arm Euronet India Services Pvt. Ltd migrated from the Cosmos Bank in India to the modern processing technologies of Euronet’s REN Ecosystem. The company even launched an on-demand “pay as you grow” service model for boosting the bank’s card-based and real-time account-based payment methods.By using the next-gen REN Ecosystem, the company is able to substitute the bank’s on-premise switching system with cloud-based solutions like a core processing platform. This helps catering ATM, device driving and card management services to customers.Zacks Rank & Price Performance of PeersShares of this presently Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell) company have gained 41.3% in the past year, outperforming the industry’s growth of 13.3%. The stock should continue its rally on the back of its solid EFT, epay and Money Transfer segments as well as increased digital transactions.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchStocks to ConsiderSome better-ranked stocks in the same space are  CIT Group Inc.  CIT,  XP Inc.  XP and  HoulihanLokey, Inc. HLI, earnings of which managed to deliver a trailing four-quarter surprise of 224.59%, 24.44% and 38.33%, respectively, on average. All the companies presently hold a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see  the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report CIT Group Inc. (CIT): Free Stock Analysis Report Euronet Worldwide, Inc. (EEFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Houlihan Lokey, Inc. (HLI): Free Stock Analysis Report XP Inc. (XP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 29th, 2021

The Board Game Business Is Booming, But the Global Shipping Crisis Could Be Disastrous

"It's so problematic that we're probably going to close by the end of the year" Games became an entertainment lifeline for many people hunkered down at home amid the pandemic, and many board game business owners found success pursuing their passion. But now, the board game industry is feeling the disastrous effects of the ongoing global shipping crisis, with some hurting more because demand has risen so high. As prices skyrocket for both shipping containers and space onboard overseas cargo ships, shipping delays and freight cost increases are hitting board game publishers, and particularly smaller companies, hard. Despite the fact that consumers are buying games, there’s no way for publishers to get products to their customers, says Maggie Clayton, the director of sales and marketing for Greater Than Games. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “We’ve had a container of our most popular game sitting in China since May of this year,” she tells TIME. “We’ve taken pre-orders for it so all of that product is technically sold—except for the fact that we don’t have the games or the money yet. So we’re in this weird situation where there’s high demand for our products because of the increase in people playing games during the pandemic, but we just can’t get the product over here.” A double-edged sword Due to the need for plastics and other raw materials that are usually sourced overseas, as well as the high costs of manufacturing in the U.S., smaller game companies often have no choice but to order their products abroad. Now, board game creators and publishers are trying everything from negotiating to collective action to keep their businesses afloat. Read More: Why Is Everything More Expensive Right Now? Let This Stuffed Giraffe Explain Hasbro, the company behind classics like Monopoly and Clue, reported a game sales jump of more than 20% in 2020, while market research provider Euromonitor International estimated that the value of the global games and puzzles market increased by nearly $1 billion. At Fireside Games, CEO Anne-Marie De Witt says the company’s most popular game, Castle Panic, (a cooperative tower defense board game) also saw around a 20% sales bump. Fireside GamesCastle Panic Then the supply crisis hit. “…We’re in this weird situation where there’s high demand for our products because of the increase in people playing games during the pandemic, but we just can’t get the product over here”“[W]hile we were still trying to figure out whether we should use traditional metrics to guide us for Q4, if the numbers were artificially inflated by the pandemic, we started hearing about shipping prices rising and rising,” De Witt says. “Then it was like, pencils down. We don’t have time to be precise about what our print rounds need to be. Get some product on a boat.” While shipping prices had already been climbing prior to the pandemic, they’ve ballooned out of control over the course of the past year. And a rising popularity of games usually means ordering more to keep stock on hand to sell. “Before the pandemic hit, we were seeing 20-foot containers costing about $5,000 or so, which was up from about $3,000 in years prior,” De Witt says. “[W]e were fortunate enough to get one 20-foot container out at $9,000. Then our next two were $21,000 apiece… I’ve heard about some people paying $35,000 or even $40,000 for a 20-foot container. It’s just such a crapshoot.” Collective crunch Although DUST USA co-owner Gregoire Boisbelaud says game demand was “massively better” than expected in 2020, supply chain bottlenecks have since created huge issues for the company. The company’s popular game DUST 1947 is a tactical miniatures game that incorporates aliens, zombies, “cultists-summoning monsters” and futuristic weaponry, all into an alternate World War II timeline. While DUST USA’s product normally takes five to six weeks to get from China to the company’s Georgia warehouse, Boisbelaud says that hasn’t been the case this year. “We were supposed to have a shipment from China in February, but it got stuck at the shipping hub for almost a month,” he tells TIME. “It finally left in March and was supposed to arrive in May, but it’s been stuck in port in Seattle since then. So my container is sitting somewhere in a pile of containers. It’s so problematic that we’re probably going to close by the end of the year.” “It’s so problematic that we’re probably going to close by the end of the year”DUST USA’s issues illustrate how smaller game companies are being forced to make difficult decisions that have the potential to make or break them. While some are choosing to try to absorb the costs associated with the shipping backlog, others have no choice but raise retail prices and, in doing so, risk losing customers. At Greater Than Games, their most popular product line is Spirit Island, a cooperative strategy game, where players play as spirits with elemental powers. Clayton says they’ve raised the retail price of it by around $10 per copy to account for rising shipping costs. Greater Than GamesSpirit Island “We’re kind of lucky in the sense that this product is a very heavy strategy game, so a higher price is more acceptable from a consumer standpoint because there’s a lot of components that go into it and the value is still there,” Clayton says. “But as we run into that issue with some of our smaller games, it’s going to be a tougher sell to convince people that a game that feels like it should be $20 is really worth $30.” Meanwhile, some publishers like Molly Zeff, the co-founder and CEO of Flying Leap Games, have explored creative workarounds to cope with price increases. Seeing shipping container quotes equalling five to 10 times the cost of manufacturing games like their storytelling-themed Wing It, Zeff says that she formed a collective of 11 other game publishers to try to negotiate lower manufacturing costs. Flying Leap GamesMolly Zeff playing Wing It with two customers at the Fan Boy Three game store in Manchester, England, in 2019. “I’m very cooperative minded, so I thought, I can give our company more power if I form a collective to help us negotiate,” Zeff says, noting that she contacted over 30 manufactures in 17 countries to ask them about pricing. Kickstarting supply Publishers and creators who’ve relied on Kickstarter to crowdfund projects must also factor the games they already owe to backers into their finances. This has created even more issues for publishers whose backers made the decision to fund their project before supply chain hangups were ever an issue. “There are over 50,000 units of different games, expansions and accessories that we’ve been trying to move for three months,” says Clayton. “This includes our top-selling game Spirit Island and Sentinels of the Multiverse: Definitive Edition, which over 7,000 backers are waiting on.” Kickstarter plays a huge role in the board game industry, with tabletop games reportedly raising over $146 million on the site in the first half of 2021 alone. More than 1,800 tabletop games have reportedly been funded in 2021 so far, with 28 of these games raising more than $1 million. But in order for smaller companies with crowdfunded products to survive, Zeff says that backers are going to have to be patient. “Kickstarter is a huge part of this industry,” she says. “So backers of Kickstarters and individual consumers or stores that have pre-ordered will need to realize that they’re going to be waiting on product and that since shipping costs are going up, some of that cost might be passed on to the consumer.” Read More: This Board Game Designer Isn’t Sorry About Taking a Big Risk Most of all, Clayton says she wants players to understand that smaller businesses don’t want to have to deal with these obstacles any more than they do. “Because we’re a smaller business, sometimes it feels more personal when we make a decision like increasing the retail price of a product or not having a product available in certain lines of distribution because some of our fans know us really well,” she says. “It’s a business decision—and not even one that we want to be making. It seems like a big, far off thing when you say global shipping crisis, but all industries are being affected by this in some way, shape, or form.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 28th, 2021

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge

Futures Slide On Growing Stagflation Fears As Treasury Yields Surge US index futures, European markets and Asian stocks all turned negative during the overnight session, surrendering earlier gains as investors turned increasingly concerned about China's looming slowdown - and outright contraction - amid a global stagflationary energy crunch, which sent 10Y TSY yields just shy of 1.50% this morning following a Goldman upgrade in its Brent price target to $90 late on Sunday. At 745 a.m. ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 4.75 points, or 0.1% after rising as much as 0.6%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 83 points, or 0.54% and Dow e-minis were up 80 points, or 0.23%. The euro slipped as Germany looked set for months of complex coalition talks. While the market appears to have moved beyond the Evergrande default, the debt crisis at China's largest developer festers (with Goldman saying it has no idea how it will end), and data due this week will show a manufacturing recovery in the world’s second-largest economy is faltering faster. A developing energy crisis threatens to crimp global growth further at a time markets are preparing for a tapering of Fed stimulus. The week could see volatile moves as traders scrutinize central bankers’ speeches, including Chair Jerome Powell’s meetings with Congressional panels. “Most bad news comes from China these days,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote Group Holdings, wrote in a note. “The Evergrande debt crisis, the Chinese energy crackdown on missed targets and the ban on cryptocurrencies have been shaking the markets, along with the Fed’s more hawkish policy stance last week.” Oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp rose 1.5% and 1.2% in premarket trade, respectively, tracking crude prices, while big lenders including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp gained about 0.8%.Giga-cap FAAMG growth names such as Alphabet, Microsoft, Amazon.com, Facebook and Apple all fell between 0.3% and 0.4%, as 10Y yield surged, continuing their selloff from last week, which saw the 10Y rise as high as 1.4958% and just shy of breaching the psychological 1.50% level. While growth names were hit, value names rebounded as another market rotation appears to be in place: industrials 3M Co and Caterpillar Inc, which tend to benefit the most from an economic rebound, also inched higher (although one should obviously be shorting CAT here for its China exposure). Market participants have moved into value and cyclical stocks from tech-heavy growth names after the Federal Reserve last week indicated it could begin unwinding its bond-buying program by as soon as November, and may raise interest rates in 2022. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Gores Guggenheim (GGPI US) shares rise 7.2% in U.S. premarket trading as Polestar agreed to go public with the special purpose acquisition company, in a deal valued at about $20 billion. Naked Brand (NAKD US), one of the stocks caught up in the first retail trading frenzy earlier this year, rises 11% in U.S. premarket trading, extending Friday’s gains. Among other so-called meme stocks in premarket trading: ReWalk Robotics (RWLK) +6.5%, Vinco Ventures (BBIG) +18%, Camber Energy (CEI) +2.9% Pfizer (PFE US) and Opko Health (OPK US) in focus after they said on Friday that the FDA extended the review period for the biologics license application for somatrogon. Opko fell 3.5% in post-market trading. Aspen Group (ASPU) climbed 10% in Friday postmarket trading after board member Douglas Kass buys $172,415 of shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. Seaspine (SPNE US) said spine surgery procedure volumes were curtailed in many areas of the U.S. in 3Q and particularly in August. Tesla (TSLA US) and other electric- vehicle related stocks globally may be active on Monday after Germany’s election, in which the Greens had their best-ever showing and are likely to be part of any governing coalition. Europe likewise drifted lower, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index erasing earlier gains and turning negative as investors weighed the risk to global growth from the China slowdown and the energy crunch. The benchmark was down 0.1% at last check. Subindexes for technology (-0.9%) and consumer (-0.8%) provide the main drags while value outperformed, with energy +2.4%, banks +2% and insurance +1.3%.  The DAX outperformed up 0.5%, after German election results avoided the worst-case left-wing favorable outcome.  U.S. futures. Rolls-Royce jumped 12% to the highest since March 2020 after the company was selected to provide the powerplant for the B-52 Stratofortress under the Commercial Engine Replacement Program. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today IWG rises as much as 7.5% after a report CEO Mark Dixon is exploring a multibillion-pound breakup of the flexible office-space provider AUTO1 gains as much as 6.1% after JPMorgan analyst Marcus Diebel raised the recommendation to overweight from neutral Cellnex falls as much as 4.3% to a two-month low after the tower firm is cut to sell from neutral at Citi, which says the stock is “priced for perfection in an imperfect industry” European uranium stocks fall with Yellow Cake shares losing as much as 6% and Nac Kazatomprom shares declining as much as 4.7%. Both follow their U.S. peers down following weeks of strong gains as the price of uranium ballooned For those who missed it, Sunday's closely-watched German elections concluded with the race much closer than initially expected: SPD at 25.7%, CDU/CSU at 24.1%, Greens at 14.8%, FDP at 11.5%, AfD at 10.3% Left at 4.9%, the German Federal Returning Officer announced the seat distribution from the preliminary results which were SPD at 206 seats, CDU/CSU at 196. Greens at 118, FDP at 92, AfD at 83, Left at 39 and SSW at 1. As it stands, three potential coalitions are an option, 1) SPD, Greens and FDP (traffic light), 2) CDU/CSU, Greens and FDP (Jamaica), 3) SPD and CDU/CSU (Grand Coalition but led by the SPD). Note, option 3 is seen as the least likely outcome given that the CDU/CSU would be unlikely willing to play the role of a junior partner to the SPD. Therefore, given the importance of the FDP and Greens in forming a coalition for either the SPD or CDU/CSU, leaders of the FDP and Greens have suggested that they might hold their own discussions with each other first before holding talks with either of the two larger parties. Given the political calculus involved in trying to form a coalition, the process is expected to play out over several months. From a markets perspective, the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed due to their poor performance and as such, Bunds trade on a firmer footing. Elsewhere, EUR is relatively unfazed due to the inconclusive nature of the result. We will have more on this in a subsequent blog post. Asian stocks fell, reversing an earlier gain, as a drop in the Shanghai Composite spooked investors in the region by stoking concerns about the pace of growth in China’s economy.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index wiped out an advance of as much as 0.7%, on pace to halt a two-day climb. Consumer discretionary names and materials firms were the biggest contributors to the late afternoon drag. Financials outperformed, helping mitigate drops in other sectors.  “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy.”  The Shanghai Composite was among the region’s worst performers along with Vietnam’s VN Index. Shares of China’s electricity-intensive businesses tumbled after Beijing curbed power supplies in the country’s manufacturing hubs to cut emissions. The CSI 300 still rose, thanks to gains in heavily weighted Kweichow Moutai and other liquor makers. Asian equities started the day on a positive note as financials jumped, tracking gains in U.S. peers and following a rise in Treasury yields. Resona Holdings was among the top performers after Morgan Stanley raised its view on the stock and Japanese banks. The regional market has been calmer over the past few trading sessions after being whipsawed by concerns over any fallout from China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles. While anxiety lingers, many investors expect China will resolve the distressed property developer’s problems rather than let them spill over into an echo of 2008’s Lehman crisis. Japanese equities closed lower, erasing an earlier gain, as concerns grew over valuations following recent strength in the local market and turmoil in China. Machinery and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.1%. Daikin and Bandai Namco were the largest contributors to a dip of less than 0.1% in the Nikkei 225. Both gauges had climbed more 0.5% in morning trading. Meanwhile, the Shanghai Composite Index fell as much as 1.5% as industrials tumbled amid a power crunch. “Seeing Shanghai shares extending declines, investors’ sentiment has turned weak, leading to profit-taking on individual stocks or sectors that have been gaining recently,” said Shoichi Arisawa, an analyst at Iwai Cosmo Securities Co. “The drop in Chinese equities is reminding investors about a potential slowdown in their economy. That’s why marine transportation stocks, which are representative of cyclical sectors, fell sharply.” Shares of shippers, which have outperformed this year, fell as investors turned their attention to reopening plays. Travel and retail stocks gained after reports that the government is making final arrangements to lift all the coronavirus state of emergency order in the nation as scheduled at the end of this month. Australia's commodity-heavy stocks advanced as energy, banking shares climb. The S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6% to close at 7,384.20, led by energy stocks. Banks also posted their biggest one-day gain since Aug. 2. Travel stocks were among the top performers after the prime minister said state premiers must not keep borders closed once agreed Covid-19 vaccination targets are reached. NextDC was the worst performer after the company’s CEO sold 1.6 million shares. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index. In FX, the U.S. dollar was up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. •    The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers o    Volatility curves in the major currencies were inverted last week due to a plethora of central bank meetings and risk-off concerns. They have since normalized as stocks stabilize and traders assess the latest forward guidance on monetary policy •    The yield on two-year U.S. Treasuries touched the highest level since April 2020, as tightening expectations continued to put pressure on front-end rates and ahead of debt sales later Monday •    The pound advanced, with analyst focus on supply chain problems as Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers bringing in army drivers to help. Bank of England Governor Andrew Bailey’s speech later will be watched after last week’s hawkish meeting •    Antipodean currencies, as well as the Norwegian krone and the Canadian dollar were among the best Group-of-10 performers amid a rise in commodity prices •    The yen pared losses after falling to its lowest level in six weeks and Japanese stocks paused their rally and amid rising Treasury yields   In rates, treasuries extended their recent drop, led by belly of the curve ahead of this week’s front-loaded auctions, which kick off Monday with 2- and 5-year note sales.  Yields were higher by up to 4bp across belly of the curve, cheapening 2s5s30s spread by 3.2bp on the day; 10-year yields sit around 1.49%, cheaper by 3.5bp and underperforming bunds, gilts by 1.5bp and 0.5bp while the front-end of the curve continues to sell off as rate-hike premium builds -- 2-year yields subsequently hit 0.284%, the highest level since April 2020. 5-year yields top at 0.988%, highest since Feb. 2020 while 2-year yields reach as high as 0.288%; in long- end, 30-year yields breach 2% for the first time since Aug. 13. Auctions conclude Tuesday with 7-year supply. Host of Fed speakers due this week, including three scheduled for Monday. In commodities, Brent futures climbed 1.4% to $79 a barrel, while WTI futures hit $75 a barrel for the first time since July, amid an escalating energy crunch across Europe and now China. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz In equities, Stoxx 600 is up 0.6%, led by energy and banks, and FTSE 100 rises 0.4%. Germany’s DAX climbs 1% after German elections showed a narrow victory for social democrats, with the Christian Democrats coming in a close second, according to provisional results. S&P 500 futures climb 0.3%, Dow and Nasdaq contracts hold in the green. In FX, the U.S. dollar is up 0.1%, while the British pound, Australian dollar, and Canadian dollar lead G-10 majors, with the Swedish krona and Swiss franc lagging. Base metals are mixed: LME copper rises 0.4%, LME tin and nickel drop over 2%. Spot gold gives back Asia’s gains to trade flat near $1,750/oz Investors will now watch for a raft of economic indicators, including durable goods orders and the ISM manufacturing index this week to gauge the pace of the recovery, as well as bipartisan talks over raising the $28.4 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. Congress faces a Sept. 30 deadline to prevent the second partial government shutdown in three years, while a vote on the $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill is scheduled for Thursday. On today's calendar we get the latest Euro Area M3 money supply, US preliminary August durable goods orders, core capital goods orders, September Dallas Fed manufacturing activity. We also have a bunch of Fed speakers including Williams, Brainard and Evans. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,442.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 464.54 MXAP little changed at 200.75 MXAPJ little changed at 642.52 Nikkei little changed at 30,240.06 Topix down 0.1% to 2,087.74 Hang Seng Index little changed at 24,208.78 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,582.83 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,164.70 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6% to 7,384.17 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,133.64 German 10Y yield fell 3.1 bps to -0.221% Euro down 0.3% to $1.1689 Brent Futures up 1.2% to $79.04/bbl Gold spot little changed at $1,750.88 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 93.47 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg House Speaker Nancy Pelosi put the infrastructure bill on the schedule for Monday under pressure from moderates eager to get the bipartisan bill, which has already passed the Senate, enacted. But progressives -- whose votes are likely vital -- are insisting on progress first on the bigger social-spending bill Olaf Scholz of the center-left Social Democrats defeated Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives in an extremely tight German election, setting in motion what could be months of complex coalition talks to decide who will lead Europe’s biggest economy China’s central bank pumped liquidity into the financial system after borrowing costs rose, as lingering risks posed by China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis hurt market sentiment toward its peers as well Global banks are about to get a comprehensive blueprint for how derivatives worth several hundred trillion dollars may be finally disentangled from the London Interbank Offered Rate Economists warned of lower economic growth in China as electricity shortages worsen in the country, forcing businesses to cut back on production Governor Haruhiko Kuroda says it’s necessary for the Bank of Japan to continue with large-scale monetary easing to achieve the bank’s 2% inflation target The quant revolution in fixed income is here at long last, if the latest Invesco Ltd. poll is anything to go by. With the work-from-home era fueling a boom in electronic trading, the majority of investors in a $31 trillion community say they now deploy factor strategies in bond portfolios A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded somewhat mixed with the region finding encouragement from reopening headlines but with gains capped heading towards month-end, while German election results remained tight and Evergrande uncertainty continued to linger. ASX 200 (+0.6%) was led higher by outperformance in the mining related sectors including energy as oil prices continued to rally amid supply disruptions and views for a stronger recovery in demand with Goldman Sachs lifting its year-end Brent crude forecast from USD 80/bbl to USD 90/bbl. Furthermore, respectable gains in the largest weighted financial sector and details of the reopening roadmap for New South Wales, which state Premier Berijiklian sees beginning on October 11th, further added to the encouragement. Nikkei 225 (Unch) was kept afloat for most of the session after last week’s beneficial currency flows and amid reports that Japan is planning to lift emergency measures in all areas at month-end, although upside was limited ahead of the upcoming LDP leadership race which reports noted are likely to go to a run-off as neither of the two main candidates are likely to achieve a majority although a recent Kyodo poll has Kono nearly there at 47.4% of support vs. nearest contender Kishida at 22.4%. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were varied with the mainland choppy amid several moving parts including back-to-back daily liquidity efforts by the PBoC since Sunday and with the recent release of Huawei’s CFO following a deal with US prosecutors. Conversely, Evergrande concerns persisted as Chinese cities reportedly seized its presales to block the potential misuse of funds and its EV unit suffered another double-digit percentage loss after scrapping plans for its STAR Market listing. There were also notable losses to casino names after Macau tightened COVID-19 restrictions ahead of the Golden Week holidays and crypto stocks were hit after China declared crypto activities illegal which resulted in losses to cryptoexchange Huobi which dropped more than 40% in early trade before nursing some of the losses, while there are also concerns of the impact from an ongoing energy crisis in China which prompted the Guangdong to ask people to turn off lights they don't require and use air conditioning less. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat but have clawed back some of the after-hour losses on Friday with demand sapped overnight amid the mild gains in stocks and lack of BoJ purchases in the market. Elsewhere, T-note futures mildly rebounded off support at 132.00, while Bund futures outperformed the Treasury space amid mild reprieve from this month’s losses and with uncertainty of the composition for the next German coalition. Top Asian News Moody’s Says China to Safeguard Stability Amid Evergrande Issues China’s Tech Tycoons Pledge Allegiance to Xi’s Vision China Power Crunch Hits iPhone, Tesla Production, Nikkei Reports Top Netflix Hit ‘Squid Game’ Sparks Korean Media Stock Surge Bourses in Europe have trimmed the gains seen at the open, albeit the region remains mostly in positive territory (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.4%; Stoxx 600 +0.2%) in the aftermath of the German election and amid the looming month-end. The week also sees several risk events, including the ECB's Sintra Forum, EZ CPI, US PCE and US ISM Manufacturing – not to mention the vote on the bipartisan US infrastructure bill. The mood in Europe contrasts the mixed handover from APAC, whilst US equity futures have also seen more divergence during European trade – with the yield-sensitive NQ (-0.3%) underperforming the cyclically-influenced RTY (+0.4%). There has been no clear catalyst behind the pullback since the Cash open. Delving deeper into Europe, the DAX 40 (+0.6%) outperforms after the tail risk of the Left party being involved in government has now been removed. The SMI (-0.6%) has dipped into the red as defensive sectors remain weak, with the Healthcare sector towards to bottom of the bunch alongside Personal & Household Goods. On the flip side, the strength in the price-driven Oil & Gas and yield-induced Banks have kept the FTSE 100 (+0.2%) in green, although the upside is capped by losses in AstraZeneca (-0.4%) and heavy-weight miners, with the latter a function of declining base metal prices. The continued retreat in global bonds has also hit the Tech sector – which resides as the laggard at the time of writing. In terms of individual movers, Rolls-Royce (+8.5%) trades at the top of the FTSE 100 after winning a USD 1.9bln deal from the US Air Force. IWG (+6.5%) also extended on earlier gains following reports that founder and CEO Dixon is said to be mulling a multibillion-pound break-up of the Co. that would involve splitting it into several distinct companies. Elsewhere, it is worth being cognizant of the current power situation in China as the energy crisis spreads, with Global Times also noting that multiple semiconductor suppliers for Tesla (Unch), Apple (-0.4% pre-market) and Intel (Unch), which have manufacturing plants in the Chinese mainland, recently announced they would suspend their factories' operations to follow local electricity use policies. Top European News U.K. Relaxes Antitrust Rules, May Bring in Army as Pumps Run Dry Magnitude 5.8 Earthquake Hits Greek Island of Crete German Stocks Rally as Chances Wane for Left-Wing Coalition German Landlords Rise as Left’s Weakness Trumps Berlin Poll In FX, the Aussie is holding up relatively well on a couple of supportive factors, including a recovery in commodity prices overnight and the Premier of NSW setting out a timetable to start lifting COVID lockdown and restrictions from October 11 with an end date to completely re-open on December 1. However, Aud/Usd is off best levels against a generally firm Greenback on weakness and underperformance elsewhere having stalled around 0.7290, while the Loonie has also run out of momentum 10 pips or so from 1.2600 alongside WTI above Usd 75/brl. DXY/EUR/CHF - Although the risk backdrop is broadly buoyant and not especially supportive, the Buck is gleaning traction and making gains at the expense of others, like the Euro that is gradually weakening in wake of Sunday’s German election that culminated in narrow victory for the SPD Party over the CDU/CSU alliance, but reliant on the Greens and FDP to form a Government. Eur/Usd has lost 1.1700+ status and is holding a fraction above recent lows in the form of a double bottom at 1.1684, but the Eur/Gbp cross is looking even weaker having breached several technical levels like the 100, 21 and 50 DMAs on the way down through 0.8530. Conversely, Eur/Chf remains firm around 1.0850, and largely due to extended declines in the Franc following last week’s dovish SNB policy review rather than clear signs of intervention via the latest weekly Swiss sight deposit balances. Indeed, Usd/Chf is now approaching 0.9300 again and helping to lift the Dollar index back up towards post-FOMC peaks within a 93.494-206 range in advance of US durable goods data, several Fed speakers, the Dallas Fed manufacturing business index and a double dose of T-note supply (Usd 60 bn 2 year and Usd 61 bn 5 year offerings). GBP/NZD/JPY - As noted above, the Pound is benefiting from Eur/Gbp tailwinds, but also strength in Brent to offset potential upset due to the UK’s energy supply issues, so Cable is also bucking the broad trend and probing 1.3700. However, the Kiwi is clinging to 0.7000 in the face of Aud/Nzd headwinds that are building on a break of 1.0350, while the Yen is striving keep its head afloat of another round number at 111.00 as bond yields rebound and curves resteepen. SCANDI/EM - The Nok is also knocking on a new big figure, but to the upside vs the Eur at 10.0000 following the hawkish Norges Bank hike, while the Cnh and Cny are holding up well compared to fellow EM currencies with loads of liquidity from the PBoC and some underlying support amidst the ongoing mission to crackdown on speculators in the crypto and commodity space. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures kicked the week off on a firmer footing, which saw Brent Nov eclipse the USD 79.50/bbl level (vs low 78.21/bbl) whilst its WTI counterpart hovers north of USD 75/bbl (vs low 74.16/bbl). The complex could be feeling some tailwinds from the supply crunch in Britain – which has lead petrol stations to run dry as demand outpaces the supply. Aside from that, the landscape is little changed in the run-up to the OPEC+ meeting next Monday, whereby ministers are expected to continue the planned output hikes of 400k BPD/m. On that note, there have been reports that some African nations are struggling to pump more oil amid delayed maintenance and low investments, with Angola and Nigeria said to average almost 300k BPD below their quota. On the Iranian front, IAEA said Iran permitted it to service monitoring equipment during September 20th-22nd with the exception of the centrifuge component manufacturing workshop at the Tesa Karaj facility, with no real updates present regarding the nuclear deal talks. In terms of bank commentary, Goldman Sachs raised its year-end Brent crude forecast by USD 10 to USD 90/bbl and stated that Hurricane Ida has more than offset the ramp-up in OPEC+ output since July with non-OPEC+, non-shale output continuing to disappoint, while it added that global oil demand-deficit is greater than expected with a faster than anticipated demand recovery from the Delta variant. Conversely, Citi said in the immediate aftermath of skyrocketing prices, it is logical to be bearish on crude oil and nat gas today and forward curves for later in 2022, while it added that near-term global oil inventories are low and expected to continue declining maybe through Q1 next year. Over to metals, spot gold and silver have fallen victim to the firmer Dollar, with spot gold giving up its overnight gains and meandering around USD 1,750/oz (vs high 1760/oz) while spot silver briefly dipped under USD 22.50/oz (vs high 22.73/oz). Turning to base metals, China announced another round of copper, zinc and aluminium sales from state reserves – with amounts matching the prior sales. LME copper remains within a tight range, but LME tin is the outlier as it gave up the USD 35k mark earlier in the session. Finally, the electricity crunch in China has seen thermal coal prices gain impetus amid tight domestic supply, reduced imports and increased demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.9% 8:30am: Aug. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.4%, prior 0.1% 8:30am: Aug. -Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: Aug. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.6%, prior -0.1% 10:30am: Sept. Dallas Fed Manf. Activity, est. 11.0, prior 9.0 Central Banks 8am: Fed’s Evans Speaks at Annual NABE Conference 9am: Fed’s Williams Makes Opening Remarks at Conference on... 12pm: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Economic Outlook 12:50pm: Fed’s Brainard Discusses Economic Outlook at NABE Conference DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Straight to the German elections this morning where unlike the Ryder Cup the race was tight. The centre-left SPD have secured a narrow lead according to provisional results, which give them 25.7% of the vote, ahead of Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc, which are on 24.1%. That’s a bit narrower than the final polls had suggested (Politico’s average put the SPD ahead by 25-22%), but fits with the slight narrowing we’d seen over the final week of the campaign. Behind them, the Greens are in third place, with a record score of 14.8%, which puts them in a key position when it comes to forming a majority in the new Bundestag, and the FDP are in fourth place currently on 11.5%. Although the SPD appear to be in first place the different parties will now enter coalition negotiations to try to form a governing majority. Both Olaf Scholz and the CDU’s Armin Laschet have said that they will seek to form a government, and to do that they’ll be looking to the Greens and the FDP as potential coalition partners, since those are the most realistic options given mutual policy aims. So the critical question will be whether it’s the SPD or the CDU/CSU that can convince these two to join them in coalition. On the one hand, the Greens have a stronger policy overlap with the SPD, and governed with them under Chancellor Schröder from 1998-2005, but the FDP seems more in line with the Conservatives, and were Chancellor Merkel’s junior coalition partner from 2009-13.  So it’s likely that the FDP and the Greens will talk to each other before talking to either of the two biggest parties. For those wanting more information, our research colleagues in Frankfurt have released a post-election update (link here) on the results and what they mean. An important implication of last night’s result is that (at time of writing) it looks as though a more left-wing coalition featuring the SPD, the Greens and Die Linke would not be able for form a majority in the next Bundestag. So the main options left are for the FDP and the Greens to either join the SPD in a “traffic light” coalition or instead join the CDU/CSU in a “Jamaica” coalition. The existing grand coalition of the SPD and the CDU/CSU would actually have a majority as well, but both parties have signalled that they don't intend to continue this. That said, last time in 2017, a grand coalition wasn’t expected after that result, and there were initially attempts to form a Jamaica coalition. But once those talks proved unsuccessful, discussions on another grand coalition began once again. In terms of interesting snippets, this election marks the first time the SPD have won the popular vote since 2002, which is a big turnaround given that the party were consistently polling in third place over the first half of this year. However, it’s also the worst ever result for the CDU/CSU, and also marks the lowest combined share of the vote for the two big parties in post-war Germany, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties we’ve seen elsewhere in continental Europe. Interestingly, the more radical Die Linke and AfD parties on the left and the right respectively actually did worse than in 2017, so German voters have remained anchored in the centre, and there’s been no sign of a populist resurgence. This also marks a record result for the Greens, who’ve gained almost 6 percentage points relative to four years ago, but that’s still some way down on where they were polling earlier in the spring (in the mid-20s), having lost ground in the polls throughout the final weeks of the campaign. Markets in Asia have mostly started the week on a positive note, with the Hang Seng (+0.28%), Nikkei (+0.04%), and the Kospi (+0.25%) all moving higher. That said, the Shanghai Comp is down -1.30%, as materials (-5.91%) and industrials (-4.24%) in the index have significantly underperformed, which comes amidst power curbs in the country. In the US and Europe however, futures are pointing higher, with those on the S&P 500 up +0.37%, and those on the DAX up +0.51%. Moving onto another big current theme, all the talk at the moment is about supply shocks and it’s not inconceivable that things could get very messy on this front over the weeks and months ahead. However, I think the discussion on supply in isolation misses an important component and that is demand. In short we had a pandemic that effectively closed the global economy and interrupted numerous complicated supply chains. The global authorities massively stimulated demand relative to where it would have been in this environment and in some areas have created more demand than there would have been at this stage without Covid. However the supply side has not come back as rapidly. As such you’re left with demand outstripping supply. So I think it’s wrong to talk about a global supply shock in isolation. It’s not as catchy but this is a “demand is much higher than it should be in a pandemic with lockdowns, but supply hasn't been able to fully respond” world. If the authorities hadn’t responded as aggressively we would have plenty of supply for the demand and a lot of deflation. Remember negative oil prices in the early stages of the pandemic. So for me every time you hear the phrase “supply shock” remember the phenomenal demand there is relative to what the steady state might have been. This current “demand > supply” at lower levels of activity than we would have had without covid is going to cause central banks a huge headache over the coming months. Should they tighten due to what is likely to be a prolonged period of higher prices than people thought even a couple of months ago or should they look to the potential demand destruction of higher prices? The risk of a policy error is high and the problem with forward guidance is that markets demand to know now what they might do over the next few months and quarters so it leaves them exposed a little in uncertain times. This problem has crept up fast on markets with an epic shift in sentiment in the rates market after the BoE meeting Thursday lunchtime. I would say they were no more hawkish than the Fed the night before but the difference is that the Fed are still seemingly at least a year from raising rates and a lot can happen in that period whereas the BoE could now raise this year (more likely February). That has focused the minds of global investors, especially as Norway became the first central bank among the G-10 currencies to raise rates on the same day. Towards the end of this note we’ll recap the moves in markets last week including a +15bps climb in US 10yr yields in the last 48 hours of last week. One factor that will greatly influence yields over the week ahead is the ongoing US debt ceiling / government shutdown / infrastructure bill saga that is coming to a head as we hit October on Friday - the day that there could be a partial government shutdown without action by the close on Thursday. It’s a fluid situation. So far the the House of Representatives has passed a measure that would keep the government funded through December 3, but it also includes a debt ceiling suspension, so Republicans are expected to block this in the Senate if it still includes that. The coming week could also see the House of Representatives vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill (c.$550bn) that’s already gone through the Senate, since Speaker Pelosi had previously committed to moderate House Democrats that there’d be a vote on the measure by today. She reaffirmed that yesterday although the timing may slip. However, there remain divisions among House Democrats, with some progressives not willing to support it unless the reconciliation bill also passes. In short we’ve no idea how this get resolved but most think some compromise will be reached before Friday. Pelosi yesterday said it “seems self-evident” that the reconciliation bill won’t reach the $3.5 trillion hoped for by the administration which hints at some compromise. Overall the sentiment has seemingly shifted a little more positively on there being some progress over the weekend. From politics to central banks and following a busy week of policy meetings, there are an array of speakers over the week ahead. One of the biggest highlights will be the ECB’s Forum on Central Banking, which is taking place as an online event on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the final policy panel on Wednesday will include Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda. Otherwise, Fed Chair Powell will also be testifying before the Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen, and on Monday, ECB President Lagarde will be appearing before the European Parliament’s Committee on Economic and Monetary Affairs as part of the regular Monetary Dialogue. There are lots of other Fed speakers this week and they can add nuances to the taper and dot plot debates. Finally on the data front, there’ll be further clues about the state of inflation across the key economies, as the Euro Area flash CPI estimate for September is coming out on Friday. Last month's reading showed that Euro Area inflation rose to +3.0% in August, which was its highest level in nearly a decade. Otherwise, there’s also the manufacturing PMIs from around the world on Friday given it’s the start of the month, along with the ISM reading from the US, and Tuesday will see the release of the Conference Board’s consumer confidence reading for the US as well. For the rest of the week ahead see the day-by-day calendar of events at the end. Back to last week now and the highlight was the big rise in global yields which quickly overshadowed the ongoing Evergrande story. Bonds more than reversed an early week rally as yields rose for a fifth consecutive week. US 10yr Treasury yields ended the week up +8.9bps to finish at 1.451% - its highest level since the start of July and +15bps off the Asian morning lows on Thursday. The move saw the 2y10y yield curve steepen +4.5bps, with the spread reaching its widest point since July as well. However, at the longer end of the curve the 5y30y spread ended the week largely unchanged after a volatile week. It was much flatter shortly following the FOMC and steeper following the BoE. Bond yields in Europe moved higher as well with the central bank moves again being the major impetus especially in the UK. 10yr gilt yields rose +7.9bps to +0.93% and the short end moved even more with the 2yr yield rising +9.4bps to 0.38% as the BoE’s inflation forecast and rhetoric caused investors to pull forward rate hike expectations. Yields on 10yr bunds rose +5.2bps, whilst those on the OATs (+6.3bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) increased substantially as well, but not to the same extent as their US and UK counterparts. While sovereign debt sold off, global equity markets recovered following two consecutive weeks of declines. Although markets entered the week on the back foot following the Evergrande headlines from last weekend, risk sentiment improved at the end of the week, especially toward cyclical industries. The S&P 500 gained +0.51% last week (+0.15% Friday), nearly recouping the prior week’s loss. The equity move was primarily led by cyclicals as higher bond yields helped US banks (+3.43%) outperform, while higher commodity prices saw the energy (+4.46%) sector gain sharply. Those higher bond yields led to a slight rerating of growth stocks as the tech megacap NYFANG index fell back -0.46% on the week and the NASDAQ underperformed, finishing just better than unchanged (+0.02). Nonetheless, with four trading days left in September the S&P 500 is on track for its third losing month this year, following January and June. European equities rose moderately last week, as the STOXX 600 ended the week +0.31% higher despite Friday’s -0.90% loss. Bourses across the continent outperformed led by particularly strong performances by the IBEX (+1.28%) and CAC 40 (+1.04%). There was limited data from Friday. The Ifo's business climate indicator in Germany fell slightly from the previous month to 98.8 (99.0 expected) from 99.4 on the back a lower current assessment even though business expectations was higher than expected. In Italy, consumer confidence rose to 119.6 (115.8 expected), up just over 3pts from August and at its highest level on record (since 1995). Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 08:09.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown

Futures Slide Alongside Cryptocurrencies Amid China Crackdown US futures and European stocks fell amid ongoing nerves over the Evergrande default, while cryptocurrency-linked stocks tumbled after the Chinese central bank said such transactions are illegal. Sovereign bond yields fluctuated after an earlier selloff fueled by the prospect of tighter monetary policy. At 745am ET, S&P 500 e-minis were down 19.5 points, or 0.43%, Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 88.75 points, or 0.58% and Dow e-minis were down 112 points, or 0.33%. In the biggest overnight news, Evergrande offshore creditors remain in limbo and still haven't received their coupon payment effectively starting the 30-day grace period, while also in China, the State Planner issued a notice on the crackdown of cryptocurrency mining, will strictly prohibit financing for new crypto mining projects and strengthen energy consumption controls of new crypto mining projects. Subsequently, the PBoC issued a notice to further prevent and dispose of the risks from speculating on cryptocurrencies, to strengthen monitoring of risks from crypto trading and such activities are illegal. The news sent the crypto space tumbling as much as 8% while cryptocurrency-exposed stocks slumped in U.S. premarket trading. Marathon Digital (MARA) drops 6.5%, Bit Digital (BTBT) declines 4.7%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT) -5.9%, Coinbase -2.8%. Big banks including JPMorgan, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Bank of America Corp slipped about 0.5%, while oil majors Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp were down 0.4% and 0.3%, respectively, in premarket trading.Mega-cap FAAMG tech giants fell between 0.5% and 0.6%. Nike shed 4.6% after the sportswear maker cut its fiscal 2022 sales expectations and warned of delays during the holiday shopping season. Several analysts lowered their price targets on the maker of sports apparel and sneakers after the company cut its FY revenue growth guidance to mid-single- digits. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Helbiz (HLBZ) falls 10% after the micromobility company filed with the SEC for the sale of as many as 11m shares by stockholders. Focus Universal (FCUV), an online marketing company that’s been a favorite of retail traders, surged 26% in premarket trading after the stock was cited on Stocktwits in recent days. Vail Resorts (MTN) falls 2.7% in postmarket trading after its full-year forecasts for Ebitda and net income missed at the midpoint. GlycoMimetics (GLYC) jumps 15% postmarket after announcing that efficacy and safety data from a Phase 1/2 study of uproleselan in patients with acute myeloid leukemia were published in the journal Blood on Sept. 16. VTV Therapeutics (VTVT) surges 30% after company says its HPP737 psoriasis treatment showed favorable safety and tolerability profile in a multiple ascending dose study. Fears about a sooner-than-expected tapering amid signs of stalling U.S. economic growth and concerns over a spillover from China Evergrande’s default had rattled investors in September, putting the benchmark S&P 500 index on course to snap a seven-month winning streak. Elaine Stokes, a portfolio manager at Loomis Sayles & Co., told Bloomberg Television, adding that “what they did is tell us that they feel really good about the economy.” While the bond selloff vindicated Treasury bears who argue yields are too low to reflect fundamentals, others see limits to how high they can go. “We’d expected bond yields to go higher, given the macro situation where growth is still very strong,” Sylvia Sheng, global multi-asset strategist with JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “But we do stress that is a modest view, because we think that upside to yields is still limited from here given that central banks including the Fed are still buying bonds.” Still, Wall Street’s main indexes rallied in the past two session and are set for small weekly gains. European equities dipped at the open but trade off worst levels, with the Euro Stoxx 50 sliding as much as 1.1% before climbing off the lows. France's CAC underperformed at the margin. Retail, financial services are the weakest performers. EQT AB, Europe’s biggest listed private equity firm, fell as much as 8.1% after Sweden’s financial watchdog opened an investigation into suspected market abuse. Here are some of the other biggest European movers today: SMCP shares surge as much as 9.9%, advancing for a 9th session in 10, amid continued hopes the financial troubles of its top shareholder will ultimately lead to a sale TeamViewer climbs much as 4.2% after Bankhaus Metzler initiated coverage with a buy rating, citing the company’s above-market growth AstraZeneca gains as much as 3.6% after its Lynparza drug met the primary endpoint in a prostate cancer trial Darktrace drops as much as 9.2%, paring the stock’s rally over the past few weeks, as a technical pattern triggered a sell signal Adidas and Puma fall as much as 4% and 2.9%, respectively, after U.S. rival Nike’s “large cut” to FY sales guidance, which Jefferies said would “likely hurt” shares of European peers Earlier in the session, Asian stocks rose for a second day, led by rallies in Japan and Taiwan, following U.S. peers higher amid optimism over the Federal Reserve’s bullish economic outlook and fading concerns over widespread contagion from Evergrande. Stocks were muted in China and Hong Kong. India’s S&P BSE Sensex topped the 60,000 level for the first time on Friday on optimism that speedier vaccinations will improve demand for businesses in Asia’s third-largest economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index gained as much as 0.7%, with TSMC and Sony the biggest boosts. That trimmed the regional benchmark’s loss for the week to about 1%. Japan’s Nikkei 225 climbed 2.1%, reopening after a holiday, pushing its advance for September to 7.7%, the best among major global gauges. The Asian regional benchmark pared its gain as Hong Kong stocks fell sharply in late afternoon trading amid continued uncertainty, with Evergrande giving no sign of making an interest payment that was due Thursday. Among key upcoming events is the leadership election for Japan’s ruling party next week, which will likely determine the country’s next prime minister. “Investor concerns over the Evergrande issue have retreated a bit for now,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co. in Tokyo. “But investors will have to keep downside risk in the corner of their minds.” Indian stocks rose, pushing the Sensex above 60,000 for the first time ever. Key gauges fell in Singapore, Malaysia and Australia, while the Thai market was closed for a holiday. Treasuries are higher as U.S. trading day begins after rebounding from weekly lows reached during Asia session, adding to Thursday’s losses. The 10-year yield was down 1bp at ~1.42%, just above the 100-DMA breached on Thursday for the first time in three months; it climbed to 1.449% during Asia session, highest since July 6, and remains 5.2bp higher on the week, its fifth straight weekly increase. Several Fed speakers are slated, first since Wednesday’s FOMC commentary set forth a possible taper timeline.  Bunds and gilts recover off cheapest levels, curves bear steepening. USTs bull steepen, richening 1.5bps from the 10y point out. Peripheral spreads are wider. BTP spreads widen 2-3bps to Bunds. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index climbed back from a one-week low as concern about possible contagion from Evergrande added to buying of the greenback based on the Federal Reserve tapering timeline signaled on Wednesday. NZD, AUD and CAD sit at the bottom of the G-10 scoreboard. ZAR and TRY are the weakest in EM FX. The pound fell after its rally on Thursday as investors looked ahead to BOE Governor Andrew Bailey’s sPeech next week about a possible interest-rate hike. Traders are betting that in a contest to raise borrowing costs first, the Bank of England will be the runaway winner over the Federal Reserve. The New Zealand and Aussie dollars led declines among Group-of-10 peers. The euro was trading flat, with a week full of events failing “to generate any clear directional move,” said ING analysts Francesco Pesole and Chris Turner. German IFO sentiment indeces will “provide extra indications about the area’s sentiment as  businesses faced a combination of delta variant concerns and lingering supply disruptions”. The Norwegian krone is the best performing currency among G10 peers this week, with Thursday’s announcement from the Norges Bank offering support In commodities, crude futures hold a narrow range up around best levels for the week. WTI stalls near $73.40, Brent near $77.50. Spot gold extends Asia’s gains, adding $12 on the session to trade near $1,755/oz. Base metals are mixed, LME nickel and aluminum drop ~1%, LME tin outperforms with a 2.8% rally. Bitcoin dips after the PBOC says all crypto-related transactions are illegal. Looking to the day ahead now, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,423.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.7% to 464.18 German 10Y yield fell 8.5 bps to -0.236% Euro little changed at $1.1737 MXAP up 0.4% to 201.25 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 643.20 Nikkei up 2.1% to 30,248.81 Topix up 2.3% to 2,090.75 Hang Seng Index down 1.3% to 24,192.16 Shanghai Composite down 0.8% to 3,613.07 Sensex up 0.2% to 60,031.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,342.60 Kospi little changed at 3,125.24 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $77.57/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,755.38 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.14 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg China Evergrande Group’s unusual silence about a dollar-bond interest payment that was due Thursday has put a focus on what might happen during a 30-day grace period. The Reserve Bank of Australia’s inflation target is increasingly out of step with international counterparts and fails to account for structural changes in the country’s economy over the past 30 years, Westpac Banking Corp.’s Bill Evans said. With central banks from Washington to London this week signaling more alarm over faster inflation, the ultra-stimulative path of the euro zone and some of its neighbors appears lonelier than ever. China’s central bank continued to pump liquidity into the financial system on Friday as policy makers sought to avoid contagion stemming from China Evergrande Group spreading to domestic markets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed with the region failing to fully sustain the impetus from the positive performance across global counterparts after the silence from Evergrande and lack of coupon payments for its offshore bonds, stirred uncertainty for the company. ASX 200 (-0.4%) was negative as underperformance in mining names and real estate overshadowed the advances in tech and resilience in financials from the higher yield environment. Nikkei 225 (+2.1%) was the biggest gainer overnight as it played catch up to the prior day’s recovery on return from the Autumnal Equinox holiday in Japan and with exporters cheering the recent risk-conducive currency flows, while KOSPI (-0.1%) was lacklustre amid the record daily COVID-19 infections and after North Korea deemed that it was premature to declare that the Korean War was over. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.8%) were indecisive after further liquidity efforts by the PBoC were offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds but has a 30-day grace period with the Co. remaining quiet on the issue. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower on spillover selling from global counterparts including the declines in T-notes as the US 10yr yield breached 1.40% for the first time since early-July with the pressure in bonds also stemming from across the Atlantic following a more hawkish BoE, while the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.3tln of government bonds with 1yr-10yr maturities did very little to spur prices. Top Asian News Rivals for Prime Minister Battle on Social Media: Japan Election Asian Stocks Rise for Second Day, Led by Gains in Japan, Taiwan Hong Kong Stocks Still Wagged by Evergrande Tail Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Tech Index Extends Decline to More Than 2% European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.9%) are trading on the back foot in the final trading session of the week amid further advances in global bond yields and a mixed APAC handover. Overnight, saw gains for the Nikkei 225 of 2.1% with the index aided by favourable currency flows, whilst Chinese markets lagged (Shanghai Comp. -0.8%, Hang Seng -1.6%) with further liquidity efforts by the PBoC offset by concerns surrounding Evergrande after the Co. failed to make coupon payments due yesterday for offshore bonds. As context, despite the losses in Europe today, the Stoxx 600 is still higher by some 1.2% on the week. Stateside, futures are also on a softer footing with the ES down by 0.4% ahead of a busy Fed speaker schedule. Back to Europe, sectors are lower across the board with Retail and Personal & Household Goods lagging peers. The former has been hampered by losses in Adidas (-3.0%) following after hours earnings from Nike (-4.2% pre-market) which saw the Co. cut its revenue guidance amid supply chain woes. AstraZeneca (+2.1%) sits at the top of the FTSE 100 after announcing that the Lynparza PROpel trial met its primary endpoint. Daimler’s (+0.1%) Mercedes-Benz has announced that it will take a 33% stake in a battery cell manufacturing JV with Total and Stellantis. EQT (-6.5%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after the Swedish FSA announced it will open an investigation into the Co. Top European News EQT Investigated by Sweden’s FSA Over Suspected Market Abuse Gazprom Says Claims of Gas Under-supply to Europe Are ‘Absurd’ German Sept. Ifo Business Confidence 98.8; Est. 99 German Business Index at Five-Month Low in Pre-Election Verdict In FX, the rot seems to have stopped for the Buck in terms of its sharp and marked fall from grace amidst post-FOMC reflection and re-positioning in the financial markets on Thursday. Indeed, the Dollar index has regained some poise to hover above the 93.000 level having recoiled from 93.526 to 92.977 over the course of yesterday’s hectic session that saw the DXY register a marginal new w-t-d high and low at either end of the spectrum. Pre-weekend short covering and consolidation may be giving the Greenback a lift, while the risk backdrop is also less upbeat ahead of a raft of Fed speakers flanking US new home sales data. Elsewhere, the Euro remains relatively sidelined and contained against the Buck with little independent inspiration from the latest German Ifo survey as the business climate deteriorated broadly in line with consensus and current conditions were worse than forecast, but business expectations were better than anticipated. Hence, Eur/Usd is still stuck in a rut and only briefly/fractionally outside 1.1750-00 parameters for the entire week, thus far, as hefty option expiry interest continues to keep the headline pair in check. However, there is significantly less support or gravitational pull at the round number today compared to Thursday as ‘only’ 1.3 bn rolls off vs 4.1 bn, and any upside breach could be capped by 1.1 bn between 1.1765-85. CAD/NZD/AUD - Some payback for the non-US Dollars following their revival, with the Loonie waning from 1.2650+ peaks ahead of Canadian budget balances, though still underpinned by crude as WTI hovers around Usd 73.50/brl and not far from decent option expiries (from 1.2655-50 and 1.2625-30 in 1.4 bn each). Similarly, the Kiwi has faded after climbing to within single digits of 0.7100 in wake of NZ trade data overnight revealing a much wider deficit as exports slowed and imports rose, while the Aussie loses grip of the 0.7300 handle and skirts 1.1 bn option expiries at 0.7275. CHF/GBP/JPY - The Franc is fairly flat and restrained following a dovish SNB policy review that left in lagging somewhat yesterday, with Usd/Chf and Eur/Chf straddling 0.9250 and 1.0850 respectively, in contrast to Sterling that is paring some hawkish BoE momentum, as Cable retreats to retest bids circa 1.3700 and Eur/Gbp bounces from sub-0.8550. Elsewhere, the Yen has not been able to fend off further downside through 110.00 even though Japanese participants have returned to the fray after the Autumn Equinox holiday and reports suggest some COVID-19 restrictions may be lifted in 13 prefectures on a trial basis. SCANDI/EM/PM/CRYPTO - A slight change in the pecking order in Scandi-land as the Nok loses some post-Norges Bank hike impetus and the Sek unwinds a bit of its underperformance, but EM currencies are bearing the brunt of the aforementioned downturn in risk sentiment and firmer Usd, with the Zar hit harder than other as Gold is clings to Usd 1750/oz and Try down to deeper post-CBRT rate cut lows after mixed manufacturing sentiment and cap u readings. Meanwhile, Bitcoin is being shackled by the latest Chinese crackdown on mining and efforts to limit risks from what it describes as unlawful speculative crypto currency trading. In commodities, WTI and Brent are set the conclude the week in the green with gains in excess of 2% for WTI at the time of writing; in-spite of the pressure seen in the complex on Monday and the first-half of Tuesday, where a sub USD 69.50/bbl low was printed. Fresh newsflow has, once again, been limited for the complex and continues to focus on the gas situation. More broadly, no update as of yet on the Evergrande interest payment and by all accounts we appear to have entered the 30-day grace period for this and, assuming catalysts remain slim, updates on this will may well dictate the state-of-play. Schedule wise, the session ahead eyes significant amounts of central bank commentary but from a crude perspective the weekly Baker Hughes rig count will draw attention. On the weather front, Storm Sam has been upgraded to a Hurricane and is expected to rapidly intensify but currently remains someway into the mid-Atlantic. Moving to metals, LME copper is pivoting the unchanged mark after a mixed APAC lead while attention is on Glencore’s CSA copper mine, which it has received an offer for; the site in 2020 produced circa. 46k/T of copper which is typically exported to Asia smelters. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are firmer but have been very contained and remain well-within overnight ranges thus far. Which sees the yellow metal holding just above the USD 1750/oz mark after a brief foray below the level after the US-close. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. New Home Sales MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.0% 10am: Aug. New Home Sales, est. 715,000, prior 708,000 Central Bank Speakers 8:45am: Fed’s Mester Discusses the Economic Outlook 10am: Powell, Clarida and Bowman Host Fed Listens Event 10:05am: Fed’s George Discusses Economic Outlook 12pm: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Equitable Community Development DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap WFH today is a bonus as it’s time for the annual ritual at home where the latest, sleekest, shiniest iPhone model arrives in the post and i sheepishly try to justify to my wife when I get home why I need an incremental upgrade. This year to save me from the Spanish Inquisition I’m going to intercept the courier and keep quiet. Problem is that such speed at intercepting the delivery will be logistically challenging as I remain on crutches (5 weeks to go) and can’t grip properly with my left hand due to an ongoing trapped nerve. I’m very glad I’m not a racehorse. Although hopefully I can be put out to pasture in front of the Ryder Cup this weekend. The big news of the last 24 hours has been a galloping global yield rise worthy of the finest thoroughbred. A hawkish Fed meeting, with the dots increasing and the end of QE potentially accelerated, didn’t quite have the ability to move markets but the global dam finally broke yesterday with Norway being the highest profile developed country to raise rates this cycle (expected), but more importantly a Bank of England meeting that saw the market reappraise rate hikes. Looking at the specific moves, yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +13.0bps to 1.430% in their biggest daily increase since 25 February, as both higher real rates (+7.9bps) and inflation breakevens (+4.9bps) drove the advance. US 10yr yields had been trading in a c.10bp range for the last month before breaking out higher, though they have been trending higher since dropping as far as 1.17% back in early-August. US 30yr yields rose +13.2bps, which was the biggest one day move in long dated yields since March 17 2020, which was at the onset of the pandemic and just days after the Fed announced it would be starting the current round of QE. The large selloff in US bonds saw the yield curve steepen and the long-end give back roughly half of the FOMC flattening from the day before. The 5y30y curve steepened 3.4bps for a two day move of -3.3bps. However the 2y10y curve steepened +10.5bps, completely reversing the prior day’s flattening (-4.2bps) and leaving the spread at 116bp, the steepest level since first week of July. 10yr gilt yields saw nearly as strong a move (+10.8bps) with those on shorter-dated 2yr gilts (+10.7bps) hitting their highest level (0.386%) since the pandemic began.That came on the back of the BoE’s latest policy decision, which pointed in a hawkish direction, building on the comment in the August statement that “some modest tightening of monetary policy over the forecast period is likely to be necessary” by saying that “some developments during the intervening period appear to have strengthened that case”. The statement pointed out that the rise in gas prices since August represented an upside risks to their inflation projections from next April, and the MPC’s vote also saw 2 members (up from 1 in August) vote to dial back QE. See DB’s Sanjay Raja’s revised rate hike forecasts here. We now expect a 15bps hike in February. The generalised move saw yields in other European countries rise as well, with those on 10yr bunds (+6.6bps), OATs (+6.5bps) and BTPs (+5.7bps) all seeing big moves higher with 10yr bunds seeing their biggest climb since late-February and back to early-July levels as -0.258%. The yield rise didn’t stop equity indices recovering further from Monday’s rout, with the S&P 500 up +1.21% as the index marked its best performance in over 2 months, and its best 2-day performance since May. Despite the mood at the end of the weekend, the S&P now starts Friday in positive territory for the week. The rally yesterday was led by cyclicals for a second straight day with higher commodity prices driving outsized gains for energy (+3.41%) and materials (+1.39%) stocks, and the aforementioned higher yields causing banks (+3.37%) and diversified financials (+2.35%) to outperform. The reopening trade was the other main beneficiary as airlines rose +2.99% and consumer services, which include hotel and cruiseline companies, gained +1.92%. In Europe, the STOXX 600 (+0.93%) witnessed a similarly strong performance, with index led by banks (+2.16%). As a testament to the breadth of yesterday’s rally, the travel and leisure sector (+0.04%) was the worst performing sector on this side of the Atlantic even while registering a small gain and lagging its US counterparts. Before we get onto some of yesterday’s other events, it’s worth noting that this is actually the last EMR before the German election on Sunday, which has long been signposted as one of the more interesting macro events on the 2021 calendar, the results of which will play a key role in not just domestic, but also EU policy. And with Chancellor Merkel stepping down after four terms in office, this means that the country will soon be under new management irrespective of who forms a government afterwards. It’s been a volatile campaign in many respects, with Chancellor Merkel’s CDU/CSU, the Greens and the centre-left SPD all having been in the lead at various points over the last six months. But for the last month Politico’s Poll of Polls has shown the SPD consistently ahead, with their tracker currently putting them on 25%, ahead of the CDU/CSU on 22% and the Greens on 16%. However the latest poll from Forschungsgruppe Wahlen yesterday suggested a tighter race with the SPD at 25, the CDU/CSU at 23% and the Greens at 16.5%. If the actual results are in line with the recent averages, it would certainly mark a sea change in German politics, as it would be the first time that the SPD have won the popular vote since the 2002 election. Furthermore, it would be the CDU/CSU’s worst ever result, and mark the first time in post-war Germany that the two main parties have failed to win a majority of the vote between them, which mirrors the erosion of the traditional big parties in the rest of continental Europe. For the Greens, 15% would be their best ever score, and exceed the 9% they got back in 2017 that left them in 6th place, but it would also be a disappointment relative to their high hopes back in the spring, when they were briefly polling in the mid-20s after Annalena Baerbock was selected as their Chancellor candidate. In terms of when to expect results, the polls close at 17:00 London time, with initial exit polls released immediately afterwards. However, unlike the UK, where a new majority government can immediately come to power the day after the election, the use of proportional representation in Germany means that it could potentially be weeks or months before a new government is formed. Indeed, after the last election in September 2017, it wasn’t until March 2018 that the new grand coalition between the CDU/CSU and the SPD took office, after attempts to reach a “Jamaica” coalition between the CDU/CSU, the FDP and the Greens was unsuccessful. In the meantime, the existing government will act as a caretaker administration. On the policy implications, it will of course depend on what sort of government is actually formed, but our research colleagues in Frankfurt have produced a comprehensive slidepack (link here) running through what the different parties want across a range of policies, and what the likely coalitions would mean for Germany. They also put out another note yesterday (link here) where they point out that there’s still much to play for, with the SPD’s lead inside the margin of error and with an unusually high share of yet undecided voters. Moving on to Asia and markets are mostly higher with the Nikkei (+2.04%), CSI (+0.53%) and India’s Nifty (+0.52%) up while the Hang Seng (-0.03%), Shanghai Comp (-0.07%) and Kospi (-0.10%) have all made small moves lower. Meanwhile, the Evergrande group missed its dollar bond coupon payment yesterday and so far there has been no communication from the group on this. They have a 30-day grace period to make the payment before any event of default can be declared. This follows instructions from China’s Financial regulators yesterday in which they urged the group to take all measures possible to avoid a near-term default on dollar bonds while focusing on completing unfinished properties and repaying individual investors. Yields on Australia and New Zealand’s 10y sovereign bonds are up +14.5bps and +11.3bps respectively this morning after yesterday’s move from their western counterparts. Yields on 10y USTs are also up a further +1.1bps to 1.443%. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.04% while those on the Stoxx 50 are down -0.10%. In terms of overnight data, Japan’s August CPI printed at -0.4% yoy (vs. -0.3% yoy expected) while core was unchanged in line with expectations. We also received Japan’s flash PMIs with the services reading at 47.4 (vs. 42.9 last month) while the manufacturing reading came in at 51.2 (vs. 52.7 last month). In pandemic related news, Jiji reported that Japan is planning to conduct trials of easing Covid restrictions, with 13 prefectures indicating they’d like to participate. This is likely contributing to the outperformance of the Nikkei this morning. Back to yesterday now, and one of the main highlights came from the flash PMIs, which showed a continued deceleration in growth momentum across Europe and the US, and also underwhelmed relative to expectations. Running through the headline numbers, the Euro Area composite PMI fell to 56.1 (vs. 58.5 expected), which is the lowest figure since April, as both the manufacturing (58.7 vs 60.3 expected) and services (56.3 vs. 58.5 expected) came in beneath expectations. Over in the US, the composite PMI fell to 54.5 in its 4th consecutive decline, as the index hit its lowest level in a year, while the UK’s composite PMI at 54.1 (vs. 54.6 expected) was the lowest since February when the country was still in a nationwide lockdown. Risk assets seemed unperturbed by the readings, and commodities actually took another leg higher as they rebounded from their losses at the start of the week. The Bloomberg Commodity Spot index rose +1.12% as Brent crude oil (+1.39%) closed at $77.25/bbl, which marked its highest closing level since late 2018, while WTI (+1.07%) rose to $73.30/bbl, so still a bit beneath its recent peak in July. However that is a decent rebound of roughly $11/bbl since its recent low just over a month ago. Elsewhere, gold (-1.44%) took a knock amidst the sharp move higher in yields, while European natural gas prices subsidised for a third day running, with futures now down -8.5% from their intraday peak on Tuesday, although they’re still up by +71.3% since the start of August. US negotiations regarding the upcoming funding bill and raising the debt ceiling are ongoing, with House Speaker Pelosi saying that the former, also called a continuing resolution, will pass “both houses by September 30,” and fund the government through the first part of the fiscal year, starting October 1. Treasury Secretary Yellen has said the US will likely breach the debt ceiling sometime in the next month if Congress does not increase the level, and because Republicans are unwilling to vote to raise the ceiling, Democrats will have to use the once-a-fiscal-year tool of budget reconciliation to do so. However Democrats, are also using that process for the $3.5 trillion dollar economic plan that makes up the bulk of the Biden agenda, and have not been able to get full party support yet. During a joint press conference with Speaker Pelosi, Senate Majority Leader Schumer said that Democrats have a “framework” to pay for the Biden Economic agenda, which would imply that the broad outline of a deal was reached between the House, Senate and the White House. However, no specifics were mentioned yesterday. With Democrats looking to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill early next week, negotiations today and this weekend on the potential reconciliation package will be vital. Looking at yesterday’s other data, the weekly initial jobless claims from the US for the week through September 18 unexpectedly rose to 351k (vs. 320k expected), which is the second week running they’ve come in above expectations. Separately, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index fell to 0.29 in August (vs. 0.50 expected), and the Kansas City Fed’s manufacturing activity index also fell more than expected to 22 in September (vs. 25 expected). To the day ahead now, and data highlights include the Ifo’s business climate indicator from Germany for September, along with Italian consumer confidence for September and US new home sales for August. From central banks, we’ll hear from Fed Chair Powell, Vice Chair Clarida and the Fed’s Mester, Bowman, George and Bostic, as well as the ECB’s Lane and Elderson, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Finally, a summit of the Quad Leaders will be held at the White House, including President Biden, and the Prime Ministers of Australia, India and Japan. Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

NASA"s top official says Blue Origin lawsuit could delay human return to moon

NASA wants to land astronauts on the moon in 2024, but its rocket and spacesuits are delayed. Now its head is pointing a finger at Blue Origin. NASA Administrator Bill Nelson at the 36th Space Symposium in Colorado Springs, Colorado, August 23, 2021. NASA/Bill Ingalls Blue Origin sued NASA after the agency picked SpaceX to land astronauts on the moon. NASA's administrator said this "legal wrangling" has thrown its moon-landing timeline into question. But experts already thought NASA was unlikely to meet its goal of putting boots on the moon in 2024. See more stories on Insider's business page. NASA is trying to send astronauts back to the moon for the first time since 1972, but its leader says Blue Origin might be getting in the way.The rocket company, founded by Jeff Bezos, sued NASA last month after the agency decided to award a contract to SpaceX, not Blue Origin, to build the next moon lander for astronauts. The suit alleges that SpaceX's proposal did not meet NASA's requirements, and that the decision therefore violates "fundamental tenets" of government-contract procurement law.NASA's Artemis program aims to use SpaceX's lander, a version of its Starship megarocket, to put boots on the moon in 2024. The mission plan calls for NASA to launch astronauts aboard its own Orion spaceship, which would then rendezvous with Starship in lunar orbit. Two of the astronauts would move to the SpaceX vehicle, which would then descend to the lunar surface to give the astronaut pair a week of exploring.But NASA's administrator, Bill Nelson, admitted in a press conference on Tuesday that he can no longer say when that will all happen.Associated Press reporter Marcia Dunn asked Nelson whether NASA still had a shot at a 2024 moon landing, and he replied: "You want to call the federal judge and ask him?""The answer is we don't know at this point," he said. "We're gonna move with all dispatch as soon as we know the legal realm, and then we can better answer your question." An illustration of SpaceX's Starship as a moon lander carrying NASA astronauts. SpaceX NASA subsequently confirmed to Insider that Nelson was referring to Blue Origin's lawsuit.'Legal wrangling' has frozen progress on SpaceX's lunar landerBefore NASA sends any astronauts to the moon, it plans to launch an uncrewed mission called Artemis I. That would send the Orion spaceship around the moon without passengers, and it's planned for later this year or early next year. After that, Artemis II would send an Orion spaceship on a similar flight, but with astronauts on board, in late 2023 or early 2024. Artemis III would then land astronauts on the lunar surface.NASA won't use SpaceX's vehicle until that third mission - it will proceed with the first two on its own. But SpaceX can't currently move forward in developing its moon lander until the Blue Origin lawsuit is resolved. NASA agreed to this work stoppage in exchange for an expedited schedule in court, with litigation set to conclude on November 1. Jeff Bezos. MANDEL NGAN/AFP via Getty Images Blue Origin and another aerospace company, Dynetics, were finalists for the moon-lander contract. NASA was expected to pick two winners, but it chose only SpaceX for the time being. SpaceX's $2.9 billion bid was much lower than the prices its competitors offered, according to NASA's selection statement.The US Federal Court released a redacted version of Blue Origin's lawsuit on Wednesday. In it, the company argues that SpaceX's proposal didn't meet NASA's requirements, and that "NASA inexplicably disregarded key flight safety requirements for only SpaceX," a decision the company alleges was "arbitrary, capricious, and irrational."The crux of Blue Origin's argument is that SpaceX's plan does not require it to conduct flight-readiness reviews for uncrewed Starship launches before its moon landing. In such a review, NASA and SpaceX sit down together and spend nearly a day going through their checklists and ensuring they're ready for flight. SpaceX and its founder, Elon Musk, have both said the company intends to conduct these reviews."If you have a coin, you can flip it as to what's going to happen in the legal wrangling that's going on right now," Nelson said on Tuesday."What is the federal judge going to decide?" he continued. "When is he going to decide? What is the further legal possibilities about that? And once we know better about things like that, then we can answer on Artemis III, and then after that Artemis IV."A 2024 moon landing is unlikely anywayRegardless of Blue Origin's lawsuit, many experts think a 2024 moon landing is unlikely, even impossible. SpaceX's Starship hasn't flown to orbit yet. And the rocket NASA is building to launch its Orion spaceship has faced a series of delays. Crews at Stennis Space Center lift the core stage of NASA's Space Launch System into place for a test on January 22, 2020. NASA "Just too many things have to happen for it to be feasible," John Logsdon, a former member of the NASA Advisory Council and founder of George Washington University's Space Policy Institute, told Insider.In an August report, the NASA Office of the Inspector General found that it's "not feasible" for the agency to meet the 2024 goal, largely due to delays in its spacesuit development.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 22nd, 2021

Pamper yourself at these 10 hotel spas in the US, from Arizona"s hot springs to New York"s Finger Lakes

We found the best hotels with spas in the US for self-care, from restorative treatments to guided meditation and holistic wellness. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Aman Resorts A getaway to de-stress sounds more enticing than ever. Many hotels have incredible spas rooted in helping you relax; some of the best are in the US. The best hotels with spas range from $97 to well over $1,000 - no passport required. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyMany of us are looking to finally return to travel with a focus on much-needed wellness. Fortunately, the US offers some of the best destination spas on the planet in hotels housed everywhere from urban oases in major metros to remote retreats nestled on beaches and islands.As a travel writer with an emphasis on luxury, I've experienced hotels with spas that are simply otherworldly. My top picks boast expansive facilities with soothing designs, innovative technologies, and holistic approaches like meditation and acupuncture. If you're ready to invest in some serious self-care, keep reading for the best hotels with spas in the US. Though, if you're looking for something more far-flung while keeping to a budget, we also rounded up the most affordable hotel spas around the world.Browse all the best hotels with spas below, or jump directly to a specific area here:The best hotels with spas in the USFAQ: Hotels with spasHow we selected the best hotels with spasMore of the most incredible hotelsThese are the best hotels with spas in the US, sorted by price from low to high. Resorts World Las Vegas Resorts World Las Vegas opened in June as the first integrated complex to go up on the Strip in over a decade. Tripadvisor Book Resorts World Las VegasCategory: BudgetLocation: Las Vegas, NevadaTypical starting/peak price: $97/$263Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, solo travelers, business travelersOn-site amenities: An enormous slate of dining, entertainment, nightlife, and retail options, plus pools, spa, fitness center, casinoSpa features: The theatrical Art of Aufguss experience (the first of its kind in the US), Fountain of Youth experience with six vitality pools, foot spa lounge, bodywork, facialsPros: As the newest full-scale resort-casino property on the strip, Resorts World is a buzzy new option with a full suite of amenities in addition to the next-level spa.Cons: Although it's the newest, this isn't the poshest hotel in Vegas compared with pricier, more upscale resorts with tricked-out guest rooms.The Strip's newest integrated resort (that is, a major resort property that includes a hotel, casino, entertainment, convention facilities, retail, and more) comes with a unique and Vegas-worthy spa experience: Awana Spa. The spa offers an experience not available anywhere else in the country, known as the Art of Aufguss. This unique treatment-slash-show within the spa was inspired by European saunas that provide rejuvenation and socializing with the communal goal of wellness. The spa showcases a theater-inspired heated room with aromatherapy, choreographed music, lighting, and dancing towels, and it's as avant garde as it is relaxing. Here, each "sauna meister" curates a 30-minute themed experience.The Fountain of Youth is an experience within the spa that houses a network of six vitality pools, heated crystal laconium room, tepidarium chairs, vapor-filled steam rooms, cool mist showers, and an experiential "rain walk." The huge co-ed facility features LED screens and immersive experiences that change throughout the day; when the projection transports guests to various picturesque destinations, the room's temperature and other details change to match the displayed setting. The spa also offers traditional facials and body work, and has a foot spa lounge. Resorts World is the first complex like it to be built on the Las Vegas Strip in more than a decade. The $4.3 billion property has 3,500 guest rooms and suites, gaming, more than 40 food and beverage options, and nightlife. Through its partnership with Hilton, the development includes the Las Vegas Hilton, Conrad Las Vegas, and Crockfords Las Vegas. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Inns of Aurora Inns of Aurora is a luxury lakeside boutique resort in the Finger Lakes with a 15,000-square-foot spa. Inns of Aurora Book Inns of AuroraCategory: BoutiqueLocation: Aurora, New YorkTypical starting/peak price: $187/$360Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, business travelersOn-site amenities: Multiple dining options, spa, activity center, meeting and event spaceSpa features: Indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, meditation spaces, 10 treatment rooms (4 with fireplaces), inclusive gender-neutral spacesPros: The location is dreamy and remote with stunning lake views, and the spa is new and expansive.Cons: While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, some critical reviewers noted there were limited food options.Founded in 1789, the Village of Aurora is a tiny, serene village in New York's pristine Finger Lakes region. Set on 350 acres of rolling farmland overlooking the lake, the property has five inns in all. Entry-level accommodations at the Aurora Inn have luxurious Queen beds outfitted in Frette linens, a comfortable seating area, and a writer's desk. Balconies with rocking chairs add charm in warmer months, as do gas fireplaces in the cooler ones.Known for its extensive wellness offerings, the Inns of Aurora has a 15,000-square-foot spa and healing center, The Spa at the Inns of Aurora, which takes a holistic approach to wellness. Indoor and outdoor spaces offer views of Cayuga Lake and there are six indoor and outdoor hydrotherapy pools, multiple meditation spaces, 10 treatment rooms (four outfitted with warming fireplaces), and inclusive gender-neutral spaces, along with unobstructed access to lush lavender fields for outdoor massages and relaxing strolls among nature trails. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Carillon Miami Wellness Resort At 70,000 square feet, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is the largest spa center on the Eastern seaboard. Tripadvisor Book Carillon Miami Wellness ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Miami, FloridaTypical starting/peak price: $298/$625Best for: Couples, groups of friendsOn-site amenities: Multiple dining options, spa, wellness activities, fitness classes, beach clubSpa features: 70,000-square-foot Finnish spa and wellness facility with vitality tub, steam room, foot spa, cooling "igloo" room, experiential rain showers, thermal loungers, salt float bathPros: The spa has every treatment you could imagine, including innovative and high-tech approaches. Apartment-style lodgings are large and offer homey comfort.Cons: Critical reviews say the rooms are due for a sprucing.Located on the white sands of Miami Beach, Carillon Miami Wellness Resort is the only fully dedicated wellness resort in South Florida. Indeed, the 70,000-square-foot spa is the largest on the Eastern seaboard.Everything about staying here is plush, starting with well-appointed, apartment-sized accommodations that range from one- to two-bedroom layouts, starting at 720 square feet. They feature floor-to-ceiling windows with ocean views, a separate living room, a fully equipped kitchen, and a spa-like bathroom.Wellness offerings are abundant, including a range of ultra-high-tech services and amenities such as a futuristic cabin with a height-adjustable water bed, heated water mattress, color therapy, steam bath with aromatherapy, Vichy shower with six jets, and Vibro massage.​​Carillon also recently launched a touchless wellness program meant to target a range of issues like sleep health, anxiety, muscle recovery, weight loss, respiratory health, and mental and spiritual wellness.Come here to indulge with a one-of-a-kind thermal therapy experience, or sweat it out in 65 fitness classes held each week. Traditional Chinese medicine and a medical wellness division are also offered. Just note that spa treatments are not included in the room rate.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Peninsula Chicago Peninsula Chicago has 339 guest rooms and a sleek spa with an indoor pool. The Peninsula Chicago Book Peninsula ChicagoCategory: LuxuryLocation: Chicago, IllinoisTypical starting/peak prices: $399/$720Best for: Families, couples, groups of friends, business travelers On-site amenities: Multiple restaurants, rooftop lounge, spa, fitness center, pool, event venuesSpa features: Rejuvenation lounge with fireplace, yoga room, fitness center, half-Olympic poolPros: Peninsula Chicago is known for its top-end service, luxurious accommodations, and supremely walkable location on Chicago's Michigan Mile.Cons: Among mostly glowing reviews, few critical guests expressed higher hopes for the property given other experiences with the Peninsula brand.Located on the Magnificent Mile in the heart of Chicago's premier shopping district, this 339-guest room hotel features three restaurants, a rooftop lounge, and glam rooms. Even the entry-level guest rooms are some of the most spacious accommodations in town. Facing south over Superior Street, the Superior rooms are bright and airy with sophisticated decor in muted earth tones and signature blues alongside rich wood and cream leather accents.The Peninsula Chicago's spa is an exquisite urban retreat, with an indoor half-Olympic length swimming pool surrounded by floor-to-ceiling windows for jaw-dropping views of the city from the 19th floor.This Peninsula Chicago spa is the first hotel spa destination in the city to offer ultra-posh treatments using the famously expensive and splurge-worthy Biologique Recherche. There's also a relaxation lounge with a fireplace, a fully-equipped fitness center, and a yoga room. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Lake Austin Spa Resort Lake Austin Spa Resort covers 19 lakefront acres for a wellness getaway that feels a world away. Tripadvisor Book Lake Austin Spa ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Austin, TexasTypical starting/peak prices: $525/$1,450Best for: Couples, groups of friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Spa, pool, restaurant, boutique, fitness center, water sportsSpa features: Aster Café, private couples suites, more than 100 treatments and services, day passesPros: Room rates are all-inclusive, meaning your overnight price comes with three gourmet meals per day and all the fitness classes you can handle.Cons: The all-inclusive rate isn't totally all-encompassing as spa treatments are not included.Located 30 minutes from downtown Austin and speak on 19 lakefront acres, the Lake Austin Spa Resort feels tucked far away from any urban bustle. As an all-inclusive resort, the majority of offerings are covered by the rate. While it doesn't include spa treatments, it does include three gourmet meals made from ingredients grown on-site each day, as well as morning yoga classes, water sports on the lake, and stargazing sessions with an astrologer. Think of this as an adult version of a summer camp, where the emphasis is on mindfulness and fitness.Overnight guests stay in one of 40 French country-style accommodations, which range from quaint rooms with private meditation gardens to the elaborate Lady Bird Suite with a private hot tub. Each comes with fresh-cut daily flowers, Veuve Clicquot champagne upon arrival, a De'Longhi Lattissima Pro Espresso Machine, and toiletries with the spa's signature lavender scent, created from plants grown on-site.The 25,000-square-foot LakeHouse Spa offers fresh, seasonal dining at Aster Café, private couples suites, and a range of treatments using ancient and modern therapeutic techniques in a serene setting. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara The Ritz-Carlton Bacara in Santa Barbara has the largest spa of any Ritz-Carlton in the country. Tripadvisor Book The Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa BarbaraCategory: LuxuryLocation: Santa Barbara, CaliforniaTypical starting/peak prices: $779/$1,379Best for: Couples, families, groups of friends, business travelersOn-site amenities: Pools, spa, multiple dining options, a 12,000-bottle wine collection and tasting room, event spaceSpa features: 42,000 square feet of indoor-outdoor space with fireside lounges, rooftop terrace, poolPros: The pools, beaches, and gardens here are all spectacular and the views can't be beaten. There is also a full suite of amenities and the service is exceptional.Cons: The large, sprawling property can pose a challenge for travelers with mobility issues.The Spa atThe Ritz-Carlton Bacara, Santa Barbara is a magnificent retreat, sprawling across 78 acres of lush land overlooking the Pacific. It has access to two beaches and offers three infinity-edge pools, two of which have gorgeous ocean views.Guest accommodations also have views of the sea, or the pool or garden from individual patios or balconies, and entry-level rooms start at a generous 450 square feet. The design is coastal, with dark woods and beams, Frette linens, deep soaking tubs, marble showers, and Asprey bath amenities. Newly debuted fireside garden rooms offer patios with private fire pits.The spa, however, is the standout feature, a stunning 42,000-square-foot sanctuary — and the largest out of all the Ritz-Carlton properties in the country. There are abundant indoor and outdoor spaces for relaxation, with fireside lounges, a rooftop terrace, a swimming pool, and more.The spa menu features locally inspired, luxury rituals that pay tribute to the scenic California landscape. For instance, the Hollywood facial is a decadent treatment integrating three of the industry's top-trending technologies: HydraFacialä, Nutraceuticals, and NuFace Microcurrent. Or branch out with the Spirulina Wrap, which uses live spirulina algae to revitalize the skin. Other services include acupuncture, massages, skincare, and hair and nail services.When it's time to eat, on-site restaurants Angel Oak steakhouse and 'O' Bar + Kitchen offer locally sourced cuisine and wines.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Castle Hot Springs Castle Hot Springs dates back to 1896 and was recently renovated. Tripadvisor Book Castle Hot SpringsCategory: LuxuryLocation: Morristown, ArizonaTypical starting/peak prices: $1,500/$2,100Best for: Couples, families, groups of friendsOn-site amenities: Resort pool, hot springs pools, on-property farm, Arizona's first Via Ferrata cable climbing courseSpa features: Multiple mineral pools, spa treatments in alfresco cabanas, yoga, meditationPros: Meals are included at this recently overhauled resort. Deeply steeped in history, it's all about wellness through local, natural means, such as an on-site farm operation and hot springs. Cons: While most reviews are overwhelmingly positive, critical reviewers noted spotty service compared with their expectation for the price point.Castle Hot Springs is Arizona's first luxury resort, originally founded in 1896 as a holistic wellness retreat. Situated 50 miles outside of Phoenix in the Sonoran Desert, the 34-room resort feels a world apart from the demands of urban life and incorporates ancient hot springs and a digital detox philosophy into every stay.Historically, visitors came for the minerals' cures for ailments like rheumatism, gout, arthritis, and general aches and pains, which the pools were said to relieve. More than 200,000 gallons of mineral-rich water still flow through the pools each day.All guest suites (bungalows, cottages, and cabins) feature outdoor stone tubs plumbed with hot springs water, and telescopes outside lodgings encourage stargazing. Wellness features heavily, with a slate of offerings including access to thermal waters, which cascade into three pools ranging from 96 degrees to 86 degrees. The natural waters take on colors that reflect the minerals running through them: Lithium is a deep purple shade, iron looks red, and oxidized copper is in blues and greens. Other wellness spa services, yoga, and meditation are provided in custom cabanas set along the spring water creek under palm trees for a wholly rejuvenating experience.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Miraval Arizona Resort & Spa Arizona's Miraval is known around the world as a go-to destination for wellness enthusiasts. Tripadvisor Book Miraval Arizona Resort & SpaCategory: LuxuryLocation: Tucson, ArizonaTypical starting/peak price: $1,138/$1,518Best for: Couples, groups of friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Spa, pool, fitness and wellness classes, tennis, golf, hiking on Camelback MountainSpa features: Ayurveda, energy work, traditional massage, acupuncture, multiple meditation spaces including two labyrinthsPros: Meals and activities are included, which packs the steep nightly room rate with value.Cons: Not everything is included. Expect to splash out a lot more for spa treatments and other extras. Situated on 400 acres outside Tucson, nestled in the Santa Catalina Mountains, Miraval is a well-established and world-renowned domestic wellness getaway.Guests are asked to unplug and tuck their devices away before checking into spacious suites that come with hot tubs, walk-in showers, fireplaces, dining areas, and private patios. Extra wellness-minded touches include an organic pillow menu, a Tibetan singing bowl, coloring books, a community journal, and an essential oil diffuser, available on request. Room rates also include a nightly credit, all meals, and more than 200 classes and activities. Spa treatments are not included, but shouldn't be missed at the Life in Balance Spa, which features a myriad of services including Ayurveda, energy work, traditional massage, and acupuncture.Many spaces on-site encourage reflection and meditation including two labyrinths, an outdoor kiva, and a designated quiet room with mountain views. Experiences here combine yoga, meditation, and wellness, with spiritual journeys, culinary workshops, and outdoor activities.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai offer wellness, activities, and natural beauty on the Hawaiian island. Tripadvisor Book Four Seasons Resort Lanai and Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons ResortCategory: LuxuryLocation: Lanai, HawaiiTypical starting/peak prices: $1,700/$2,585Best for: Families (Four Seasons Resort Lanai only), couples, business travelers, groups of friends, solo travelers (Sensei Lanai)On-site amenities: Pools, gardens, wellness offerings, activities (including archery and shooting range), food and drink from celebrity chef Nobu Matsuhisa Spa features: Private spa hales with steam and infrared saunas, traditional Japanese soaking tubs, outdoor showers, pools, one-on-one healing sessions like guided meditation or nutrition, couples suites, locally inspired treatmentsPros: Wellness offerings here are unparalleled, especially at Sensei where it's the focus. Airfare from Honolulu on Lanai Air is always included with Sensei Lanai. The natural beauty and service are among the world's most impeccable. Cons: Kids are not permitted at Sensei Lanai, although they are doted upon at Four Seasons Resort Lanai.This secluded 90,000-acre paradise on Hawaii's island of Lanai offers luxe accommodations at the beachfront Four Seasons Resort Lanai or wellness destination, Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort.The Four Seasons Resort Lanai is perfectly luxe with 213 guest rooms, multiple outdoor restaurants (including Nobu Lanai), Four Seasons' Kids for All Seasons kids' club, a beach and pool with seating areas tucked among tropical gardens, luxury boutiques, and an array of included classes and events.But if wellness is on your mind, and you don't have kids in tow, choose the adults-only Sensei Lanai, A Four Seasons Resort instead, set on 24 acres where spa where wellness is the top priority.Visitors select a curated well-being experience or design their own a la carte itineraries from options that include guided sessions on mindset or nutrition, as well as spa treatments, salon services, and a range of land and sea activities. Daily small-group yoga, fitness, and meditation, as well as guided hikes and weekly lectures are included.The 96-room resort offers Chef Nobu Matsuhisa's classics as well as menu selections that incorporate Sensei's nutritional philosophy created in partnership with Sensei's co-founder Dr. David Agus. The outdoor facilities include a 24-hour fitness center, movement studios, a yoga pavilion and outdoor yoga spaces, an 18-hole putting course, onsen baths, an oasis pool with lap lanes, and gardens with lush flora as well as sculpture and art. COVID-19 procedures are available here. Amangiri Amangiri is the wellness favorite for celebrities and A-listers looking to recharge in the desert. TripAdvisor/emtrip27 Book AmangiriCategory: LuxuryLocation: Canyon Point, UtahTypical starting/peak prices: $1,931/$3,500Best for: Couples, familiesOn-site amenities: Restaurant, 25,000-square-foot Aman Spa, national park tours, private air toursSpa features: Redwood-paneled treatment rooms, movement and fitness studios, 2 steam rooms, yoga, pilates, holistic Navajo-inspired therapiesPros: Amangiri is surrounded by unparalleled natural beauty and privacy. The design and service are otherworldly, equally indulgent for adventurers and luxury lovers.Cons: Though this property is close to flawless, for the over-the-top price point, guests expect impeccable service and are hyper-aware of even the smallest shortcomings.Amangiri is a celeb-adored Utah property situated on 600 acres in a protected valley, famous for sweeping views over towering mesas and dramatically stratified rock facing Grand Staircase-Escalante National Monument. The resort is built around a spectacular swimming pool defined by a jaw-dropping stone escarpment. There are 34 suites, many with private swimming pools and roof terraces. Suites are large with clean lines and natural materials, reflecting the surrounding Utah desert. Think white stone floors, concrete walls, natural timbers, and blackened steel finishings. Each suite has a fireplace and an outdoor lounge area. The Wellness Center at Amangani is a relaxing retreat with four redwood-paneled treatment rooms, movement and fitness studios and two steam rooms. Book beauty treatments and restorative therapies inspired by the holistic wellbeing traditions of the Navajo, or sign up for a day of wildlife treks, a private yoga, or a pilates session. Nourishing treatments, seasonal rituals, and holistic massages are all designed to help you unwind. In 2021, the resort introduced the Cave Peak Stairway, an installation that rises 400 feet above the ground, for outrageous views of the property. Thrill-seekers can climb the 120 steps leading from the resort's existing Cave Peak Via Ferrata Trail with just open air below.COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Hotels with spas Can I use a hotel spa without staying overnight?Whether or not you may use a hotel spa without staying overnight depends on the individual hotel and its policies. In some cases, hotels restrict the use of their spas and pool facilities to guests only in order to keep the experience intimate and private. In other cases, non-overnight guests may pay for a day pass to access the facilities, either directly through the hotel or through a third-party platform such as ResortPass, or visit simply by booking a treatment.Does spa access always come with the cost of a room night?Staying at a hotel doesn't always guarantee spa entry. In some cases, such as Awana Spa in Las Vegas, the room night might cost as low as $97 but using the spa is not included in the price, and spa access starts at $100 for hotel guests. Access is included, however, with the purchase of a 50-minute or longer treatment. Most hotels on this list have similar policiesWhere are the best hotels with spas in the US?As demonstrated by this list, there are excellent destination hotel spas throughout the United States, from urban day spas to remote retreats. Many are clustered around destinations known for wellness, such as Arizona and California, or destinations known for healing natural environments, like Hawaii. Others are simply known for providing flat-out luxury to travelers with money to spend, such as in Miami or Las Vegas.Is it safe to stay in a hotel?The CDC advises that fully vaccinated people can safely travel domestically. While hotels do provide opportunities for face-to-face interactions with staff and other guests in common spaces like check-in desks, lobbies, and dining venues, experts say guests who exercise proper precautions can stay safely in hotels. No travel is completely risk-free and we recommend following CDC current guidelines as well as all applicable local protocols at the time of travel. How we selected the best hotels with spas Hotels with spas are located throughout the US only.Each has a Trip Advisor rating of "Very Good" or above with a substantial number of reviews, and is highly rated on other trusted traveler platforms like Booking.com.We focused on amenity-rich properties at a range of price points, starting from just $97 and ranging to well over $1,000 per night for famously posh properties with lavish inclusions.We looked for hotels with spas that had extensive offerings including innovative technologies and holistic wellness approaches. We also sought spas that were large and beautifully designed.In addition to spas, we selected properties with notable amenities like pools, restaurants, and other notable features. And we focused on desirable destinations, from flashy urban to serene natural settings.Each hotel promotes rigorous COVID-19 policies and protocols to reassure and protect guests. More of the most incredible hotels Tripadvisor The best luxury hotels in the USThe most affordable spa hotels in the worldThe best hotel pools in the USThe best hotels with private plunge poolsThe most romantic hotels in the USThe best hotels with affordable overwater bungalowsThe best beach hotels in the USThe best island hotels in the US Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 22nd, 2021

The 5 best coolers of 2021

A quality cooler helps keep food and drinks chilled no matter if you're picnicking, tailgating, or camping in the woods. Here are our favorites. Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Whether you're an occasional picnicker or an itinerant outdoorsperson, a cooler is a must-own item. The best coolers should retain ice for at least 24 hours, have a durable design, and be easy to transport. Our top pick, Yeti's Tundra 75, is durable and has the best ice and temperature retention of any cooler we've tested. Buying a cooler these days can be perplexing. Type "best cooler" into Google and amidst a sea of advertisements, you'll also find reviews and recommendations praising coolers that in some cases cost more than the refrigerator in your kitchen.Before you get carried away doing that, or you find yourself convinced a bear-proof cooler is all anyone should buy, consider your intended use for it. Firstly, what are you storing? If it's just drinks and pre-made sandwiches, then there's no need to spend a fortune. For a cooler to do its job, it's most important that it's loaded correctly; a 2:1 ice-to-beverage ratio is a good rule of thumb. And it's only going to be minimally effective if it's opened every 20 minutes or so for a fresh beverage or snack.For simple day trips and regular opening and closing, know this: you'll be perfectly fine with a budget-friendly option, especially if you're not slinging it around too much.But if you go on days-long fishing expeditions with no fridge or access to power, you'll need something with thick insulation to store your catch safely. You'll also want to consider its durability as you're probably going to knock the cooler around a bit.Having been a commercial and recreational fisherman on and off throughout my life, I've purchased, wrecked, and replaced more coolers and cooler parts than I can recount - and I can't stress enough how important it is to know how to choose and effectively use a cooler. I keep a supply of no less than five coolers and regularly depend on all of them. Below are five of the best coolers I've tested, each of which excels in a certain category. I've also included some insight into how I test coolers, as well as some tips on what to keep in mind while shopping. Here are the best coolers of 2021Best overall: Yeti Tundra 75Best on a budget: Coleman Performance 48-Quart Cooler Best backpack cooler: Yeti Hopper 24Best soft cooler: Yeti Hopper M30Best budget soft cooler: AO Coolers Carbon Soft Cooler How I test coolers Owen Burke/Insider Each cooler featured in this guide went through several field tests, be it fishing, camping, lounging in the backyard at home, or at the park, to see how well they fared across these four categories: Ice retention, durability, portability, and value. Specifically, here's how each category factored into which coolers ultimately made this guide:Ice retention: Perhaps a cooler's most impactful feature is how well it's able to keep ice. Though variables such as how often you open and close the cooler, how much ice you use, and what all is in the cooler impact ice retention, the differences shouldn't be so dramatic that you're able to confuse a poorly-designed cooler for a quality one. We judged ice retention in a number of ways, though mostly used each cooler as we normally would while keeping track of how much ice or ice water was left after one, two, and three days.Durability: A cooler's durability comes down to more than just its exterior quality but also how well its hinges or zippers hold up to constant use. If the cooler you buy gets a lot of run each summer and by fall you're already thinking you'll need to upgrade next year, then durability is a major concern. This is where spending more money on a premium cooler can save you quite a lot in the long run.Portability: Coolers are inherently portable (for the most part) but some are designed far better than others. Even the most cumbersome of coolers should still offer some method for it to be easily carried (via one or two people), and if it's a small cooler like a soft cooler or a backpack cooler, then these should have portability near the top of what list of what they do exceedingly well. Value: As mentioned above, coolers aren't always an inexpensive investment — especially the premium options like what Yeti offers. But if you're able to piece together how exactly you need to use the cooler and for what activities you'd use it most, then you're able to make a better decision on a cooler's true value. Consider the three categories above, as well, and keep in mind that it's better to invest a little more in a premium product that's designed to last than to spend less money, more often on something that's second-rate. The best cooler overall Best cooler for longterm use Yeti The Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler can keep ice frozen for more than a week even if you're using it in the middle of the summer.Pros: Amazing ice retention, rugged construction, great for boating or long road tripsCons: Very expensive, very heavyTo deal with the elephant in the room first, yes, this cooler costs almost five hundred dollars. That's a lot of money to spend on a cooler, no two ways about it. But for that price, you will get one of the absolute best coolers on the market today. Let's just rattle off a few highlights, shall we?The Yeti Tundra 75 Cooler's rugged rotomolded design makes it tough enough to be certified as bear-resistant. That's right, in a fight between a bear and this cooler, the cooler will probably win. Its three-inch-thick PermaFrost insulation and ColdLock gasket allow the cooler to keep ice frozen for days on end. You can expect at least a week of sub-zero temperatures within provided you loaded it up with sufficient ice.It has a 50-can capacity and also comes with a dry goods basket that holds a selection of foodstuffs above the ice. Its BearFoot non-slip feet and AnchorPoint tie-down points help you to secure the cooler in the bed of a truck or aboard a boat. Do most people need this level of cooler? Probably not. But if you're a serious fisherman, if you're on a road trip and you want to stay self-sufficient, or if you're stocking a cabin or campsite for an extended stay, you'll be glad you have the Yeti Tundra 75 at your disposal, no buyer's remorse involved. Just note that the cooler weighs 30 pounds even when empty, so if you have trouble lifting heavier loads, you might need to look elsewhere. The best budget cooler Coleman/Facebook The Coleman Performance 48-Quart Cooler is a classic hard-shelled cooler with multi-day ice retention and an all but indestructible design.Pros: Great price, sturdy construction, large capacity, trusted legacy brandCons: Hinges on lid prone to eventual breakingIf Coleman's cooler weren't such a simple, reliable, and all-around great piece of hardware, I would have called it the best low-cost cooler instead of the best overall cooler. It costs less than thirty dollars, but it will last you thirty years or more provided you take the time to wipe it clean now and then and you don't run over it with a truck.This is the cooler your dad brought on family camping trips, it's the cooler of your childhood, and it's still an awesome buy.Coleman's 48-quart cooler can hold 63 standard 12-ounce cans and is tall enough for two-liter soda bottles to stand upright with the lid closed. It's more than sturdy enough to double as a seat, yet still light enough for one rather fit person to heft alone or for two people to easily carry down the dock, into the park, or onto the beach. Empty, the cooler weighs about seven pounds, so you can easily lift it up onto the top shelf of the garage for storage, too.The Coleman Performance 48-Quart Cooler has a drain built into the bottom so you can let out any spilled beverages or ice melt without dumping the entire contents, but for the record, there won't be much meltwater provided you keep the lid secure most of the time. This cooler offers three-day ice retention even when the mercury tops 90 degrees Fahrenheit. Oh, and this cooler is made in America, too. The best backpack cooler Yeti Yeti's known for its incredibly high-quality products and the Hopper 24 backpack cooler is no different, featuring a durable exterior, a 100% leakproof zipper, and insulation designed to keep contents cold for days.Pro: Keeps ice cold for multiple days, ergonomic shoulder straps allow for easy and comfortable transport, high-quality and durable constructionCons: ExpensiveIt should be no surprise that Yeti shows up multiple times in this guide as the company's made its name manufacturing some of the best coolers on the market. With its Hopper 24, the brand delivers the same kind of durable construction and quality design its fans have come to expect in the form of a backpack cooler. With space enough to carry roughly 20 cans of beer or soda (with ice included), or 25 pounds of ice, the Hopper 24 is at no lack for available cooler space. And don't worry about a loaded pack feeling especially heavy either. Yeti designed it so weight distributes evenly, and its removable hip belt and ergonomic shoulder straps make it comfortable to tote around, whether it's down a long trail to the beach, a short jaunt to a campsite, or a few steps to a backyard. Yeti also includes its HydroLok Zipper which helps keep any contents from spilling out (i.e. water from melted ice), and its ColdCell Insulation is capable of keeping ice for several days (something we've tested and confirmed often). Similar to many of Yeti's products, the Hopper 24 isn't cheap, sporting a price tag of $300. However, Yeti consistently exceeds standards of quality and this backpack cooler is no different — it'll be one of your favorite pieces of go-to gear for several, several years. -- Rick Stella, fitness & health editor The best soft cooler Yeti Yeti's Hopper M30 is a highly durable, tote-style soft cooler that now features a better zipper closure system that made its already quality ice retention even better. Pros: Extremely durable, keeps ice anywhere from 15 to 20 hours, large capacity, highly portableCons: Expensive, requires two hands to unzip and closeIt should be apparent at this point that Yeti's coolers are worth every bit of the recognition of nabbing three spots in this guide, as its coolers are just that damn good. And when it comes to picking the best soft cooler, the Hopper M30 is a clear choice. With the brand's patented bomb-proof construction, some impressive ice retention, and surprisingly large capacity, this is the one you want for day trips to the beach or local park.Though the Hopper M30 gets a lot right, its best feature is how well it keeps ice throughout the day. During my tests, it reliably kept ice anywhere from roughly 15 hours on up to 20 hours, depending on how hot it was outside, how often I opened it for a drink, and whether I'd remember to fully zip it up or not. But even on its lower 15-hour days, that's more than enough time to get your fill of hanging at the park or lounging on the beach (it was even a nice supplemental cooler on two-day car camping trips). You'll be surprised at how much this cooler is able to house, too. Despite often stocking it with more cans of beer than I'd know what to do with, there was still plenty of room for a couple of sandwiches, some cheese sticks, and whatever other snacks seemed fit for the outing. It also comes with a padded should strap that makes lugging the thing either from car to beach or park a comfortable experience — I've even slung it over my shoulder while riding my bike and it was completely fine. Then there's its durability. The Hopper M30 can take an utter beating, whether it's getting tossed into the back of a car, dragged down a trail, or even falling completely off my bike (this only happened once and the cooler managed to avoid taking any damage at all). Its zipper closure system also seals the cooler airtight and not even melted ice (aka water) drips out if it's tilted upside down or laying on its side. You'd be hard-pressed to find a more high-quality soft cooler, which is why the Hopper M30 is our go-to whenever I want to leave my bulky, cumbersome cooler at home. — Rick Stella, fitness & health editor The best budget soft cooler Owen Burke/Insider The AO Coolers Carbon Soft Cooler is stuffed with insulation and a thick liner that keeps things plenty cold for over 24 hours and can handle a bit of abuse.Pros: Great insulation, tough exterior and interior linings, exterior pouch, comes in 12-, 24-, 36-, and 48-can sizesCons: Not the easiest to clean, zipper isn't airtight/leakproofYou don't need to spend a fortune to buy an effective soft cooler for general use and, in fact, this is one of the coolers I tend to use most. From lighter fishing excursions to an afternoon picnic, I haven't found a handier cooler, hands down.I've also been using it for well over two years — that's two years of sea time, being left outside through every season, and countless fruitful trips home from the fishing grounds. The vinyl hasn't so much as scratched, let alone torn, and as with any cooler I get my hands on, I've mistreated this thing every way possible.Aside from more methodical testing, which proved that it could hold ice for 24 hours even with four hours of direct sunlight in the dead of summer in New York City, I've also filled it with two-thirds ice and a couple of bottles of wine, left it in my unconditioned living room for three days, and found exceptionally chilled wine and a large iceberg still floating inside.While the brand touts its use of high-density insulation, it seems to be that the large air pockets between the insulation and the inner and outer linings are what give it its best retention qualities. High-density foam (or insulation) is actually a better conductor of heat than low-density foam (or insulation), while air is one of the worst conductors. So, while the insulation may seem curiously loose against the linings, all that space is actually helping to improve ice and temperature retention.Regarding features, there are more than you'd find in your average soft cooler. First, there are briefcase-style handles that velcro together and a padded shoulder sling, buckles on either end for strapping it down and making it more compact, and there's also an outside zipper pouch in which I keep utensils, a cutting board, a folded rag, a wine key, and still have room for a couple of other odds and ends.The only room for improvement with this cooler is an airtight zipper but that would probably drive the cost up too much. It's also a bit tougher to clean than some other options in this guide, but it's nothing a sponge and some dish soap can't handle (I like to fill it with warm soapy water, zip it, and give it a shake first). How to shop for a cooler Amazon When choosing the best cooler for your needs, first consider where you'll most often use it. If a cooler is too big to bring along on a camping or fishing trip, it's useless for those outings.The same goes for if it can't retain ice well enough to keep things fresh during a weeklong stay in a cabin or camper. If its only purpose is for convenient beverage chilling in your own backyard during cookouts, that's going to have a huge impact on how much you need to spend (which should be well south of $100 in that scenario).Consider how frequently you're going to be opening and closing your cooler open, too. If it's every 20-30 minutes, it won't much matter whether you have a Coleman Performance or a Yeti Tundra (save for a price tag difference of several hundred dollars), especially on hotter days. You'll also need to think about what you'll be keeping cold, and how much of it. It's easy to judge cooler capacity as almost all coolers explicitly list their interior quart size and how many cans they're able to hold. Don't forget to review the overall size of the cooler, as some are much larger on the outside than their interior dimensions might have you think.To really keep contents cold, you'll need to keep a ratio of somewhere around 2/3 ice to reach optimal efficacy. Even a rotomolded cooler simply won't do its job without you meeting it halfway. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

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