Interesting SAP Put And Call Options For November 19th

Stock Options Channel.....»»

Category: topSource: redinewsNov 15th, 2021

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

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 In recent years, it has felt outdated to think about a career in terms of working long hours for many years in a single job and climbing the career ladder in the same profession you chose as a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

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 3rd, 2022

TINA, BOGO & FOMO"s Engines Are Stuttering

TINA, BOGO & FOMO's Engines Are Stuttering Authored by Peter Tchir via Academy Securities, The Last Thing I Wanted to Write about is Omicron          I really didn’t want to have to start another weekend T-Report thinking about COVID. I would much rather have pointed you towards the excellent Around the World – Geopolitical Surprises, published Friday. I’d much prefer to jump into today’s themes, but it is difficult to talk about markets, the economy, or inflation without at least attempting to address what is going on with COVID. What we “seem” to know so far: Omicron is highly transmissible. The spread seems rapid and it seems to be able to infect people who have been vaccinated, who have had boosters, or who have had other variants. The symptoms seem relatively mild. That seems to be the case for those who have been vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated. From what I can tell it is more severe for the unvaccinated, but even then, nowhere close to what we were seeing when COVID initially burst onto the scene. We have likely gotten far better at dealing with COVID. Knowing those most at risk presumably helps them be more cautious when necessary. Treatment options now exist unlike back in early 2020. We should be able to manage this much better. Have the politician’s gotten better at dealing with COVID? While I believe that the population at large actually has a decent understanding of the risks and is taking precautions as they see fit, the wildcard is what governments do with the latest variant. We are seeing countries in Europe revert to lockdowns. China, if it maintains its zero-tolerance policy, will see lockdowns as well. On Tuesday, President Biden is set to give a speech detailing our plans. As far as I can tell, lockdowns have become politically dangerous here. There seems to be (at least from everything I can tell) a large portion of the population that has done all the vaccinations and followed all the rules and doesn’t seem to believe that a lockdown is necessary given what we know about this variant. What politicians do may be more dangerous than the Omicron variant for markets and the economy. Several people that I find to be very good have expressed this view, and I agree with it. I think on Tuesday, President Biden will be cautious but avoid anything too disruptive. COVID Modelling  On Twitter, there is an interesting thread about COVID modelling that is worth reading. @NateSilver538 weighed in on the discussion, which is what caught my eye, as he is an expert at modelling. The original thread started with @FraserNelson (Editor of the Spectator, which I don’t know much about, and would have ignored, if not for Nate weighing in). The other participant is @GrahamMedley, professor of infectious disease modelling and chair of the SPI-M, a sub-group of SAGE, which seems to be responsible for the modelling that the U.K. government relies on. What is interesting is that the modelling focuses on what could be considered “worst-case” scenarios, certainly those where the population does little to curtail the spread. I am not sure what side of the argument I come out on (my bias is certainly towards probability weighted scenario analysis), but I’m not sure what the right approach is on this topic. Having said that, I found this thread fascinating and intend to dig deeper as it gives a little insight into the “science” and how politicians use (or even drive) the “science.” I am not sure what to make of this subject, and maybe it is nothing, but it caught my eye enough that I figured that I’d point it out to you as I suspect it will be a topic that gets addressed going forward giving us more insight into models and policy response. TINA, BOGO & FOMO’s Engines Are Stuttering Now we can focus on a few things that will be in play in the coming weeks. Year-end is always a difficult time to think about market direction as people are out of the office, liquidity is thin, people have positions to defend or push in an environment that makes it easier to push. And, this year, we have the impact of Omicron, and how politicians choose to respond to that. This week’s piece follows up on a few recent pieces: The Markets Love the FOMC – For Now. The Training Wheels are Off. To a lesser extent, Inflation, Like Greed, Is Good, which got a boost this past week with the Senate cracking down on slave labor in the Xinjiang Province of China. We are at the early stages of supply chain scrutiny, driven by ESG, and that will reshape the global economy. BOGO vs Quality Buy One, Get One free, or BOGO seems to be running rampant right now. If I check my emails, I think there are sales that started as Black Friday sales (on the Monday before Thanksgiving) that turned into Cyber Monday sales and are somehow “still” available today. It reminds me of the “going out of business” sales which would hit late night TV, where the seller seemed to be going out of business for years, despite creating an urgency on Saturday nights at 1 am. I think that there are a few important things to take away from this: There was a time, not that long ago, that if you slapped a big enough sale price on something, people would buy it. Now, and this is more anecdotal, but no one wants to buy things in “that color” or with those design “features” at a discount if no one wanted to buy them at regular price. Whether there is less care about owning the label rather than something that looked good, I am seeing/hearing about the trend towards quality. That extends, to some degree, not just to the product but to the procurement of that product. I believe that we will continue to see this trend towards “quality”, where people will pay more for the product they want, which will include factors such as country of origin, sustainability, and other potentially “intangible” factors that affect the perceived quality of a good or service. Capturing this shift will allow companies to drive sales and earnings. This phenomenon also seems to be hitting the stock market. Even as the S&P 500 and Nasdaq hover near all-time highs, there are a large number of stocks that are 50% below their peaks. Everywhere I turn, I see articles about the lack of breadth. How unusual it is for indices to be up 23% (S&P 500) year to date, with so many laggards. I highlight this, because as a contrarian, I naturally gravitate to these types of stocks. These, in theory, are stocks that could be ripe for huge bounces, possibly even short squeezes, and I’m finally inclined to get on that bandwagon. But (and this remains a big but) quality matters and half off sales now don’t attract buyers in stocks or goods. Maybe it is too early for some of these, despite the discounts? Fundamentals vs Technicals This little rant follows directly from the BOGO comments. The number of interviews I’ve watched or listened to recently where the pundit or stockpicker mentions that the recent 10%, or 25%, or even 50% pullback had nothing to do with fundamentals and has everything to do with technicals has reached a peak. It is driving me nuts! (I am sure that some of my comments on media drive people nuts as well, but that is a topic for another day). I am completely willing to accept that the drops are not associated with fundamentals per se. I am biased, so I do think broad shifts in the economy impact future fundamentals, but my main issue is that no one seems to believe that any of the 50% rises, or doublings, or even triplings, had anything to do with technicals and things out of their control. I can completely agree that a stock dropping 50% in a couple of months had more to do with positioning and other factors (which is why I love exploring those other factors). But I also believe that stocks that doubled or even quadrupled in a quarter or two likely weren’t being completely driven by fundamentals and other factors (like performance chasing, thin floats, etc.) impacted the upside. Not sure why this one bothers me so much, but I suspect that until there is more acceptance that these factors work both ways, there will be people holding positions that could be in for more downside. TINA vs There Is An Alternative Not sure what a good antonym for TINA would be and TIAA is already taken, but maybe someone will come up with a good one (or send me a good antonym if it already exists). While the Fed hasn’t hiked and interest rates across the globe remain low, Central Banks are gradually pumping less money into the economy. The “threat of hikes” is real. While today, I can’t say that there is an alternative, we are headed down a path to where there will be alternatives which should offer opportunities and add to some existing risks. FOMO’s Engines are Stuttering While FOMO’s engines may not stall, that is increasingly a big risk. I’ve had a lot of interesting discussions about FOMO in the past week or two. There is the obvious driver of FOMO, which is higher prices. Higher prices create the atmosphere where the fear of missing out becomes prevalent. But let’s spend less time on that obvious one and spend a bit of time on things that aren’t discussed quite as much and could be the death knell for some of the biggest FOMO trades (with a focus on crypto). For many assets the “average” investor is already likely to be under water on their investments. Early buyers are still way up because they bought cheap. Investors who came late to the party have born the brunt of the pullback. For many assets, the in-flows accelerate as prices rise, so that when they fall, the “average” investor is now staring at losses. There is a correlation between “weak” hands and losses. Almost by definition, FOMO means that an investor eventually succumbs to their fear of missing out and buys the asset. So, when we get the pullbacks, the people with losses are the ones who were least interested in being involved in the first place. The early adopters told the story, the 2nd wave believed it, and spread it to the 3rd wave, etc. The latest wave of buyers is far less likely to be successful in generating a next wave (what forces someone in once the music may have stopped). Complexity aids FOMO, but also encourages doubt. The more complex something is, the easier it is to overcome fear, because maybe people do know a lot more than you. After all, Bitcoin is always pictured as a cute gold coin, so it must be a coin or currency of some sort? Sorry, for being a bit too sarcastic with that one, but I did start 2021 bullish crypto. It is very difficult to convince someone to buy a generic $1 bill for $5. It is much easier to find a buyer for something that is truly difficult to comprehend. As that doubt sets in, and starts infiltrating the conversations, you have a real risk of “rolling” back the waves. Each successive wave was more reluctant than the prior wave and their performance has been disappointing. The sheer number of coins, NFTs, tokens, etc. were always a bit of a head scratcher when things were going up, but raises some concerns as things are going down. I’ve read some great papers about coins that will do well in the metaverse for example, but during FOMO, this competition added to the opportunity set and now it may make many wonder why there are so many and if they are all useful. El Salvador, Bitcoin Bonds, and Bitcoin City. This may work in the end, but if I was good at GIFS, I’d have a good “how it started” and “how it is going” GIF. This could have been inspirational (and it may yet be), but it may also further detract from the “use” case, which is the way I’m leaning at the moment. Volatility is a requirement of FOMO. This may sound a bit weird, but volatility is required to create FOMO. If something can jump 10% in a day, then you better buy it today because it might be too expensive tomorrow. In a world where I’ve seen the term “non-permanent losses” used to describe what pullbacks do to your holdings, you need that hope of a huge swing. In stocks, TQQQ, a triple leveraged Nasdaq 100 play, is all the rage, and in London, a 5x version was launched (along with 3x versions of various ARK funds). If prices merely stabilize, FOMO will decrease. Gambling is the most fun when you get instant gratification. Heck, maybe even instant results, as gamblers keep coming back. If the market is heavily skewed by “gamblers”, let’s call them people who are heavily leveraged, enjoy the weekly option trading game, etc., then a decrease in volatility (especially for the weekly options players) immediately impacts their participation. While a bit of a non-sequitur, I have been thinking a lot about David Tepper’s interview on CNBC from September 2010. It is quite famous as he used a colloquialism to describe his positioning which turned out to be spot on. What most people forget, is at the end of that interview, he is asked by Kernen if he has any questions. While it seems to have been edited out of the clips I can find, I will do my best to paraphrase what happened next. Tepper asked Kernen about what drives their business (the business of financial media). Kernen swept his arm, broadly indicating the set and said that even with the fancy new studio and all the new graphics, whether markets went up or whether they went down, none of it mattered, because what mattered was volatility. Why do people tune in en masse? Because there is volatility and I think that fits the narrative that FOMO and volatility go hand in hand. Do Diamond Hand, HODLers Ever Run Out of Money? Buy the dip. Buy the dip. How much money do people have if they never sell? The diamond hands/HODLer seems to apply more to crypto than to stocks, though I think you could easily argue that it has filtered into the meme stocks and maybe some specific areas (think back to BOGO). There have been record inflows into stocks this year. How much more money is available? How much leverage is being employed? That really scares me as leverage is the biggest step towards forced selling. Bottom Line On the equity side of things, I’m leaning heavily towards: Companies and cash flows that are relatively easy to understand Valuations that are compelling on “traditional” metrics (probably a convoluted way of saying value). Dividend payers The plumbing. Anything that makes the economy work. Logistics. Companies that benefit from building factories and infrastructure domestically. Real estate probably falls into this category. Mexico, then Latin America, and Canada. As supply chains shift, the “repatriation” will be to those that we are closer to, both in terms of proximity and in terms of political ideology. Cyclicals. On the fixed income side of things: I’d like to bet on slightly higher long-end yields and steeper curves, but the Fed seems to be intent on saying things that the market is interpreting as policy mistakes. Credit is fine. When you look at what I like in equities, that encompasses the vast majority of the credit market, especially high yield, from a sector standpoint. Own credit, including high yield and leveraged loans. Delve into structured products. While TINA might be fading in equities, I think it will still exist in credit and will be where to pick up incremental yield and is worth the risk. Digging into structured products will be key. While reaction to Omicron will drive the direction at the start of the week, I think quality will overwhelm FOMO in the coming weeks. Tyler Durden Sun, 12/19/2021 - 18:35.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 19th, 2021

I flew 19 hours on Emirates from Dubai to New York via Italy and wouldn"t hesitate to do it again over the 14-hour non-stop flight

It cost the same to fly non-stop to New York as it did to make a stop in Italy but I was able to break up the trip and have an Italian picnic in Milan. Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/Insider Emirates is the leading carrier flying between New York and Dubai, with two daily non-stop flights and a third through Milan, Italy.  Connecting through Milan increases the journey time to nearly 19 hours as opposed to a 14-hour non-stop flight.  But the long way affords benefits that the non-stop cannot, including an opportunity to get off of the plane for a few hours to break up the long trip.  When flying from Dubai to New York, there's no way around taking long flights.Flying on an Emirates A380 from New York to Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates, the unofficial flag carrier of Dubai, offers two daily non-stop flights from its hub at Dubai International Airport to New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport, each with scheduled flight times exceeding 14 hours.Flying on an Emirates Airbus A380 from New York to Dubai.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut there are some Emirates routes that don't touch Dubai at all. They're called "fifth-freedom" routes and are when an airline flies between two countries other than its own, the UAE in Emiates' case.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe New York area sees two of these routes, namely between Milan, Italy and New York as well as between Athens, Greece and Newark. Both flights originate and ultimately terminate in Dubai after the European stops and passengers can get on or off at any point.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe Dubai-Milan-New York route, as a result, is the option for those looking for an alternative to the 14-hour non-stop flights. And that's exactly what I did on the way home from a trip to the Dubai Airshow in November.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderHere's what it was like flying the 19-hour journey from Dubai to New York via Milan on Emirates.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI arrived at Dubai International Airport at 6:35 a.m. ready for a long day of travel starting with a 9:05 a.m. flight to Milan. The total journey time for this routing is 18 hours and 55 minutes so that meant more than 24 hours of total travel time when factoring in airport check-in and transfers.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderDubai International is Emirates' main hub and consistently ranks as one of the best airports in the world. I was particularly excited to check it out after not spending much time there on my arrival.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe check-in area is quite massive and little did I know that the arrivals and departure hall is located underneath the tarmac with aircraft taxing right above our heads. But check-in was the first hurdle of this day-long trip.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI first went to the check-in area for US-bound flights as my flight was ultimately terminating in New York. After waiting in line for around 10 minutes, I was told that I couldn't check in there because my first stop was Milan.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI walked over to one of the other check-in lines and joined the queue at around 6:55 a.m. It took roughly 25 minutes to get to the front of the line when I departed from New York on the way out to Dubai and I was hoping this wouldn't take much longer.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI ultimately reached the front 45 minutes later then checked in my bags and received my boarding pass. The moral of that story is to arrive extra early when departing from Dubai, especially when checking bags.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderTicket in hand, I wasted no time in getting to the gate as I wanted to arrive before boarding began. The first stop was the automated passport control gates for leaving the UAE, in which all I had to do was scan my passport and boarding pass, as well as submit to a quick photograph.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe security checkpoint was similarly easy to navigate and I was through all of the formalities in less than 10 minutes, if that. Now, all that was left to do was head to the gate.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI didn't have too much time to spend exploring the terminal but I was impressed with what I saw. There was no shortage of eateries and high-end shopping available so I could plainly see that this would be a nice airport in which to spend a long layover.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIt's not as modern-looking as newer airports in the region and lacked my favorite amenity, a moving walkway, as I headed to the far end of the concourse.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI arrived at the gate just as boarding began and immediately joined the line for economy class. Emirates boards its first class, business class, and elite frequent flyer passengers first on three-cabin aircraft, followed by economy class passengers.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBoarding took quite longer than usual as gate agents once again checked COVID-19 tests and the required documents to enter Italy for those doing so.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA long escalator immediately followed the gate and I realized that we'd be boarding the plane via a remote gate, meaning we'd have to take a bus across the airport.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBoarding a plane via a bus is never ideal, especially when the plane is located on the other side of the airport. And with a plane the size of ours, it was almost assuredly going to result in a delay.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderOur bus left at 8:45 a.m. and took 15 minutes to get to the awaiting plane. We arrived five minutes before the scheduled departure time and we weren't even the last bus to arrive.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI was starting to regret taking the long way home but was delighted when I saw our awaiting aircraft, a Boeing 777-300ER. Emirates typically uses the Airbus A380 on this route but on this day, it was operated using the second-largest plane in the airline's fleet.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAnd the upside to boarding at a remote stand is climbing up the airstairs to board. It allows for a better look at the aircraft and one last look at Dubai from outside an airplane.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEmirates' Boeing 777-300ER in this configuration seats 354 passengers including eight first class suites, 42 business class seats, and 304 economy class seats.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFirst class suites are arranged in a 1-2-1 configuration while the business class cabin has a peculiar 2-3-2 configuration with no direct aisle access for window or middle seats.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe bulk of the seats, however, are in economy class that takes up two and a half sections of the airplane. Seats are arranged in a standard 10-abreast, 3-4-3 configuration across 32 rows.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMy seat for the flight was 42K, a window seat toward the back of the plane.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAdvance seat selection was surprisingly not complimentary for my economy class fare and I paid $33 to reserve my seat. I normally object to paying for seat assignments but did not want to risk being assigned a middle seat for the long journey.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderStandard economy class seats offer 32 inches of pitch and 17 inches of width, as well as an abundance of amenities.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSource: SeatGuruStandard features at every seat include an adjustable headrest, USB charging port, seat-back entertainment screen, cup holder, and touch-screen remote, as well as a pair of headphones and pillow and blanket kit that's left on top of each seat.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe seat was virtually identical to my seat on the flight out to Dubai on Emirates' Airbus A380 aircraft. I quickly got settled in and flight attendants distributed hygiene kits complete with a face mask and hand sanitizer.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI took a 12-hour Emirates flight from New York to Dubai on the Airbus A380 and it was the glamorous experience I had hoped for, even in economy classWe pushed back from the remote stand around 25 minutes after our scheduled departure time and made our way towards the runway. A short taxi of 20 minutes had us in the air just before 10 a.m. bound for Milan.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe flight time to Milan was a reasonable six hours and 10 minutes, around the time it takes to fly from New York to Los Angeles. Although I'd have an eight-hour flight to contend with afterward, I preferred taking two shorter flights than one 14-hour flight.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI was immediately validated in my seat choice after seeing the views of downtown Dubai just off the side of the airplane. The Burj Khalifa was in plain view followed by other sights that are best seen from the air.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFlight attendants began the meal service around an hour after departure and I was surprised to see Emirates taking a different approach than usual for the morning flight. On the menu, which was accessible via PDF through the in-flight WiFi, was a cold breakfast pastry accompanied by a selection of cold and hot beverages.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe Danish strawberry roll was incredibly tasty and I wanted to ask for another one because I thoroughly enjoyed it. It does make sense to serve a simple cold option as it was quite early in the morning to be eating a full hot meal.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderWe made landfall over Kuwait and three countries came into view at once including Kuwait, Iraq, and Iran. It was quite the interesting routing and although it wasn't the first time I'd flown over Iraq, I still find it interesting every time I do.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderWe crossed Iraq and sidestepped briefly to avoid Syrian airspace. From there, it was pretty much a straight shot over Turkey, Bulgaria, and southeast Europe to Milan.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderLunch was served around an hour and a half before landing with choices including grilled chicken medallions with rosemary jus, broccoli, and mashed potatoes with mustard and beef with mushroom gravy with creamy polenta and green beans. Both were served with orzo salad as an appetizer and vanilla mousse for dessert.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI opted for the grilled chicken medallions, which also came with a dinner roll and cheese and crackers. It was a highlight of the flight and I had no problem cleaning my tray.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe last minutes of this flight were spent gazing out of the window at Northern Italy below, from Trieste all the way to Milan. It was aerial sightseeing at its best and sights that I probably would not have been able to see had I chosen the non-stop flight.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMilan itself was covered in clouds making the city center and nearby Lake Como completely hidden from view. We managed to land a few minutes early, making up for extra the time spent boarding in Dubai.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderWith the first leg of the trip complete, I now only needed to conquer a layover of two hours and 30 minutes plus an eight-hour flight to New York. This was my first time at Milan Malpensa Airport and I wasn't quite sure what to expect.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA sign directed passengers towards transfers and passport control. But my heart sank when I turned a corner and saw a seemingly never-ending line in the direction I needed to go.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThere was absolutely no guidance on connecting flights and I knew if I stuck around in the line, I would probably miss my flight. So, I started making my way towards the front using the high school-level Italian that I knew to explain the situation.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut I wasn't getting far and it wasn't easy to convey that I was only looking to make a transfer and not cut the line to enter Italy.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI was vindicated once I reached the end of the line and found an Emirates worker holding up a sign for the New York flight. There was, in fact, a separate area for transfer passengers but the airport did a terrible job of notifying passengers that they didn't have to wait in the long line.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAll I had to do was go through another security screening and I was in the departures section of the terminal. Instead of going straight to the gate, however, I went to a lounge.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderMalpensa Airport has quite a few premium lounges that are part of the Priority Pass program and the Sala Montale was the closest to my gate.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe lounge menu didn't have the Italian pizza and pasta offering for which I was secretly hoping. But there were some Italian favorites including Caprese salad, mozzarella and tomato paninis, focaccia bread, and more.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI made myself a little Italian picnic and watched the arriving and departing planes as I got some work done before the flight to New York. The two-hour reprieve from flying made the stop in Milan all the more worth it compared to the non-stop flight home.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI headed down to the gate around 45 minutes before the scheduled departure time of 3:40 p.m. It was a short walk through the terminal and I had enough time on the way to make a quick phone call home.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut while I thought I was giving myself enough time to get to the gate before boarding began, the aircraft was pretty much ready to go when I arrived.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderA gate agent just needed to see my passport and ask me some security questions before issuing me a new boarding pass and sending me on my way. They didn't quite close the door behind me but I was surprised at how efficiently the plane was boarded so early before departure.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderEconomy class was once again quite crowded, as was expected since this flight took place just two weeks after the US has opened its borders to European tourists.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI had the same seat assignment as I did on the flight from Dubai but a flight attendant came over just before departure to ask if I wanted to move to an empty row on the other side of the plane. It did so with pleasure and it felt as if I had just been upgraded to first class.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI got settled in my new seat, 43A, and prepared for the eight-hour and 10-minute flight to New York. Eight hours seemed like a milk run after the already 10 hours of traveling I conquered that day.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderDeparting from Milan's Runway 35L started the clock on the last leg home. This was going to be the longest flight I've ever taken from Europe to New York in economy class.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe first hour or so of the flight was spent gazing out of the window once more. The low layer of clouds gave the appearance of a blanket of snow that was made even more dramatic with the Italian Alps bursting through them.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThen, it was time to eat once again as flight attendants began the meal service. I was the furthest from hungry but had to at least try the Italian catering to see how it was different from New York and Dubai catering.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderSelections on the dinner menu consisted of seared chicken with pepper butter served with orzo risotto and peperonata and braised beef with vegetables served with sliced potatoes, bechamel, and cheese. Both options came with an appetizer of sweetcorn and barley salad and dessert of chocolate delice.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI opted for the beef dish and while I couldn't finish everything, what I was able to eat tasted delicious nonetheless. Needless to say, I was full up for the rest of the flight.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderAnd while I expected a normal flight over to New York, flight attendants then came around and offered to take Polaroid pictures of passengers at their seats as souvenirs. It was a really nice treat that I'd never seen before in my travel.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe flight attendants, who saw my camera, also called me over whenever they saw something interesting out of the window. The views of the Alps were particularly stunning.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderThe French Atlantic Coast and the Bay of Biscay came into view with around seven hours left to go.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderI opted to purchase the in-flight WiFi for a generously inexpensive $19.99 and used it at the beginning of the flight to send texts, photos, and Slack messages to coworkers. But it quickly stopped working as we flew over the Atlantic and I wasn't able to use it for the rest of the flight.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBy now, I was an expert in how to use the in-flight entertainment system and began to watch a movie while enjoying a post-meal cup of wine. This was the last stretch of a six-day trip to Dubai and I was intent on sitting back and relaxing all the way to New York.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderIt didn't take much to get to sleep and the pillow and blanket kit certainly helped make the journey more comfortable. I woke up around an hour and 30 minutes before landing as we were just south of Halifax, Canada.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderFlight attendants came around for the final meal service that started with a cream cheese and cucumber sandwich and ended with a chocolate brownie. I was still full from the four other meals I had that day so it wasn't hard to say "no, thank you" to this meal.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderLanding in New York marked the end of the 19-hour journey and it went by quicker than expected. But had I booked the non-stop flight, I would have already been at home and in bed.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderBut I truly didn't mind the stop in Milan as I got a chance to stretch my legs and get out of an airplane for a few hours. Plus, splitting the journey into two flights helped me mentally prepare for the experience, which is vital when flying in economy class.Flying on an Emirates Boeing 777-300ER from Dubai to New York via Milan, Italy.Thomas Pallini/InsiderRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 18th, 2021

From blacksmith to baseball coach to an R.E.M. tribute band, senior congressional staffers are putting their nonpolitical talents to work off Capitol Hill

Insider found senior Capitol Hill staffers with fun side hustles in music, crafts, and sports. They shared advice for others pursuing side hustles. Congressional aides moonlight as musicians and coaches.Courtesy Josh Bell/Jennifer Stillerman Congressional staffers have some pretty interesting side gigs. Whether it's on a sports team or in a band, they've gone beyond the policy and politics world. They told us how they got involved and shared advice for others pursuing side hustles. Senior congressional staffers have jobs that require deep expertise. They work grueling hours on Capitol Hill and are embedded in policy and politics. They support members of Congress on everything from bill writing to meeting with lobbyists and even helping with paperwork and technology. But many of them somehow find time to do even more work on top of their time serving the public. As part of the exhaustive Conflicted Congress project, Insider reviewed thousands of financial-disclosure reports for top-ranking staffers. That analysis turned up roughly four dozen senior Capitol Hill staffers with intriguing outside jobs. In general, having a second part-time job isn't terribly uncommon. A Zapier survey of 2,000 US adults conducted in January found that 34% of respondents said they had a side hustle and that nearly one-third of these second jobs started in 2020 as the COVID-19 pandemic gripped the nation. Another 24% said they were planning on starting one in 2021.Eight senior staffers spoke with Insider about their work balancing their congressional jobs with other gigs. All made at least $100,000 a year or more from their work on Capitol Hill. That's a far greater salary than what junior staffers get paid but not as competitive as wages in the private sector, where lobbyists, lawyers, and the like can earn well into the six-figure range. The interviews showed that these congressional staffers' side hustles were more about tapping into a passion, creative endeavor, or hobby than they were about earning extra cash — though some of the jobs scored them an added four figures annually.Scroll down to meet them.Josh Bell, upright bass player for Tornado RoseJosh Bell plays the upright bass (L) with his band, Tornado Rose. His wife, Brooke, is singing and playing the autoharp.Courtesy Josh Bell.Bell, 42, didn't start out as a musician. He was a football player in high school and college who didn't learn the upright bass until 15 years ago, just before he got married.His then-fiancée, now his wife, is a vocalist who also plays the autoharp and was in a band."I went to her shows and was inspired by her and thought I could learn — and I did. And we started a band together," he said.It started out as a rock band, but Bell told Insider he fell in love with bluegrass music after going to the Walnut Valley Festival in Winfield, Kansas. When he and his wife got to Washington, DC, they made friends at local bluegrass jams and put together a five-piece band with a mandolin, banjo, and guitar. They also sometimes play with a drummer.Their band, Tornado Rose, plays about once a month at DC-area breweries and bars. "It was a lot of fun at first to be able to play in a band, and I have been working on becoming a better musician ever since," Bell said.Bell's day job is chief of staff to Rep. Ron Estes, a Republican of Kansas who won his seat during a special election when Mike Pompeo went to lead the CIA as part of the Trump administration. Bell earns a little money on the side from his band, but he mostly does it because it's enjoyable, he said. His personal-financial disclosure filed with the US House showed he earned $400 in 2020."There was a joke during the pandemic that thousands of shows were canceled for musicians and hundreds of dollars were lost," he said.During the pandemic, while many people stayed home following lockdown orders, Bell played music even more, taking virtual bass lessons, and even learning the guitar. He said playing an instrument was a "great outlet" that allowed him to "just focus on what is in front of me and being in the moment." Bell often plays music with his wife for an hour after work or plays the guitar in his office during late nights on the Hill. He recommends others who want to take up an instrument put whatever time they can into it, even if it's just 15 minutes some days.He is also in a group called Musicians on Call, for which he goes to veterans' and children's hospitals to play for people receiving medical care. "I believe there is a healing power of music," he said. Kevin Bishop, vaccine test subjectAn aide to Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina was part of a COVID-19 vaccine trial.Karoly Arvai/ReutersWhile the rest of the country was up in arms about masking and social distancing, Bishop, a Senate GOP staffer, was busy taking shots — placebos, it turned out. But that's what scientists conducting the phase III clinical trial of Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine needed last summer: selfless volunteers and actionable data."I did it — not for the money — but simply because someone had to do it," Bishop, who pocketed $750 for rolling up his sleeve in August 2020, said.The communications director for Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Insider his foray into vaccine trials was born mostly out of frustration."I had grown impatient waiting on the world to get back to normal," he said. "I knew our hospitals, doctors, and other medical professionals were struggling and being overwhelmed. This was something I could do to help."Bishop said he completed the trial, only to discover that he'd been in the control group. But participating in the program earned him preferential treatment once the preliminary rollout began. As luck would have it, even that was too late."I actually had COVID in January, just after the vaccine was released," Bishop said.He added that his was an asymptomatic case and that getting sick didn't weaken his resolve one bit."I donated convalescent plasma (COVID antibodies) as well after recovery," Bishop said of his contributions to beating back the pandemic. Chuck Eaton, bassist for R.E.M. tribute band Dead Letter OfficeThis one goes out to something the Democratic staffer Eaton loves: indie rock. The district chief of staff for Democratic Rep. Brian Higgins of New York may devote his days to congressional business, but he moonlights as the bassist for the R.E.M. tribute band Dead Letter Office.  A post shared by Dead Letter Office (DLO) (@deadletterofficeremtribute)  The nearly decade-old musical group exclusively plays R.E.M. tunes, recreating the songs that propelled the college-radio darlings who helped put Athens, Georgia, on the map to international stardom. Eaton's group borrowed the name Dead Letter Office from the collection of outtakes and B-sides R.E.M. released in 1987.Though he's hardly making a mint from the sporadic gigs — Eaton reported making about $130 from touring — the project has paid dividends in other ways.Eaton and his bandmates have gotten to jam with half of R.E.M.'s original lineup, rocking out with the R.E.M. bassist Mike Mills during a show in Buffalo, New York, and the R.E.M. guitarist Peter Buck during a performance in San Francisco.  There's no word on when R.E.M.'s original front man, Michael Stipe, might hop on stage with them to buzz through the tongue-twisting Gen X anthem "It's the End of the World as We Know It" one last time.For now, Eaton and company will have to make do with making fellow '80s-music fans happy. They'll take another whack at it just after the new year, when they're joined by the Smiths and Morrissey tribute band Caligula Blushed for a show in Winchester, Virginia.Jackie Greco, girls' baseball coachJackie Greco coaches DC Force, the only girls’ baseball program in the region for girls 18 and younger.Courtesy Jennifer StillermanGreco, 34, has been coaching girls baseball since 2017. The team, DC Force, is the only girls baseball program in the region for girls 18 and younger. They practice for two hours every Sunday and travel nationally to compete in tournaments.Greco told Insider that she coached to create a safe environment for girls who desperately want to compete with their female peers but are constantly told baseball is a "boy's sport.""At different times in my life, someone told me I couldn't do something, that I wouldn't be better at a sport or that I couldn't get the job I wanted," she said. "These girls get told all the time they don't belong on the baseball team."Without teams like DC Force, girls who love baseball otherwise have to play on coed teams or switch to softball.Greco, who is originally from St. Louis, has been playing on the field since her tee-ball days. She started playing softball at 8 and continued with the sport through college. She told Insider that while she had a blast playing softball, she probably would have played baseball instead if there had been the opportunity."That's all these girls are asking for is the opportunity," she said. "They want to play with their peers in the same way counterpart males want to do."Greco also pitches and plays shortstop on the Virginia Fury, which is part of the Eastern Women's Baseball Conference. The EWBC is the longest-standing women's baseball league in the nation.On the Hill, Greco works as a financial administrator for the US House, managing finances and personnel for 10 Democratic members. The responsibilities include maintaining a budget for members, processing reimbursements, managing office credit cards, overseeing inventory, and handling the internship program.According to her financial disclosure from 2020, the coaching job pays $6,000.She said being a coach and an athlete taught her that people have different ways of being a leader, whether it be through giving people the room to excel or leading by example. "You don't have to be the loudest person in the room to lead," she said. It also taught her that "failure isn't everything," that people can fail at school, at work, or at bat on the field but that they can continue to fail and get better."Failure isn't a defining moment for you always," she said. "It might be at that time, but it's not the end of your story."Michael Hermann, professional cellistPan American Symphony Orchestra.Pan American Symphony Orchestra.For more than 32 years, Hermann has played the cello. He has also mastered how to play the electric cello, electric bass, and keyboard. He's performed with a funk band and two cover bands.Hermann is a Democratic congressional staffer on the House Armed Services Committee. He serves as a professional staff member on the Cyber, Innovative Technologies, and Information Systems Subcommittee.But outside Capitol Hill, he is also a member of the Pan American Symphony Orchestra and a principal cellist for the Avanti Orchestra, which is affiliated with the Friday Morning Music Club. He got paid $450 for his music in 2020, according to his financial disclosure.  Since 2011, he has been playing with the Pan American Symphony Orchestra, which Hermann said happened by "accident.""I reached out blindly to ask for an audition and got asked to show up to a rehearsal. That's when I realized it was a tango orchestra, not classical," he said. "And I both absolutely loved the music and had no idea how to play it properly. I've been fortunate enough to be with them ever since."Hermann grew up as a classical musician and received a bachelor's degree in music performance from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He told Insider he primarily moved to Washington to chase a job as music librarian at the Kennedy Center but it didn't work out.What he enjoys most about performing is the people he works with — and being immersed in the world of tango."We have been fortunate enough to play with Latin Grammy winners, Tony winners, an EGOT winner, and a huge spectrum of amazing artists, and the orchestra itself was just nominated for the Latin Grammy for best tango album for its latest album," he said.Christian Hoehner, US Ski & Snowboard Alpine Ski Racing Coach and RefereeHoehner is on the slopes when he's not working for the House's watchdog committee.PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP via Getty ImagesHoehner said the most enjoyable part about teaching kids how to ski at the Whitetail Resort in Pennsylvania was interacting with families from different backgrounds and experiences."We have a lot of international families, especially from Europe, involved in the program," he said. "They bring a very different perspective to what the sport is about, and it's kind of a fun way to have just a little bit of a break from the DC chaos."Hoehner began to ski when he was 8 years old and continued to ski competitively in high school before joining a ski club at the University of Virginia. After he graduated from college and moved to Washington to begin working, he wanted to find a way to still be involved in the sport."I just really was excited to do something where I could keep my skills current but also kind of give back to the next generation of racers," he said.He works as a policy director for the House Oversight and Reform Committee under Republican Rep. James Comer of Kentucky, the ranking member. He has made nearly $1,300 from his side hustle, according to a financial-disclosure form.Hoehner treks two hours to and from the ski resort on the weekends when the sport is in season. He has been coaching kids for more than 11 years and enjoys teaching children from ages 12 to 14 the most.Tara Rountree operates a family owned business on EtsyTara Rountree's business began amid the pandemic.Tara Rountree.Rountree is the chief of staff for Rep. Donald McEachin, a Democrat of Virginia. In her free time, she sells homemade jewelry and other coastal-themed items that she makes primarily with sea glass and shells she finds in North Carolina's Outer Banks.Rountree started her side business with her best friend amid the pandemic. Flexible hours from working at home and spending time at her mother's house in North Carolina made it easier for her to go to the beach and collect sea glass."I have always thought sea-glass jewelry was beautiful but rarely my style. I wanted to create something a little different than what is already on the market," she said.Rountree began working for McEachin in 2016, when he was running for office. She said working on her business and collecting sea glass allowed her to "use another part of my brain that I typically do not get to use working in Congress.""It is nice to have a creative and fun outlet to escape the stress that comes with a job in politics," she added.She and her business partner have made about $1,000 from their business, Rountree said. "I love my full-time job and don't plan on leaving that. The Etsy shop is just for fun," she added.Ryan Ringel, former co-owner of MyDaddyPuzzlesAn orca from MyDaddyPuzzles.Courtesy Ryan Ringel.On Capitol Hill, Ringel works for Sen. Dan Sullivan, a Republican of Alaska, and travels to the Last Frontier several times a year for work.Until recently, Ringel used to spend many at-home hours in the woodshop of his garage making puzzles in the shapes of dragons, orcas, frogs, seahorses — you name it.He told Insider he created his puzzle business over 15 years ago after his son told him that he wanted a "fish puzzle." Ringel looked online, but his son didn't like any of the options that popped up. Ringel's son drew a picture of a fish and asked him to make a puzzle of it in his woodshop."I had a scroll saw and old piece of pine, and I made it and he loved it," he said. His son asked him to make a race car next, then a lamb, lion, and camel. People they knew seemed to like them, too. They made more suggestions for puzzles, so he started making more and more of them. Then, he started selling puzzles regularly at street fairs in Alexandria, Virginia. Ringel and his wife called the business "MyDaddyPuzzles" because his son used to call him "my daddy" instead of just "daddy."When Ringel started the business, he had two sons. He now has three. Often, his sons would be with him in the workshop. Ringel, 47, estimated that he cut, sanded, and painted 3,000 to 4,000 puzzles."I saw children grow up as they came through the booth and talked about how they enjoyed it," he said.He told Insider that early on in the business, he was making between $7,000 to $15,000 a year on the puzzles. In the past five years, he said he would do only one event a year, which brought in less than $2,000."It was never a huge moneymaker, mostly a labor of love," he said.As time passed and the demands of the business became increasingly time-consuming, he wanted to spend less time in the woodshop and more time with his sons, who were heavily involved in athletics."When it got to the point where I was missing a football game or scout campout because I was at a puzzle event, I had to refocus and remember what was important," he said. He made his last puzzle right before the coronavirus pandemic and has now retired from the business."I don't regret setting it down at all," he said. "The time that I spent with my kids is priceless. No amount of success can make up for it."Jeff Rothblum, bespoke blacksmithIf he'd gotten into metallurgy to make a living, Rothblum, a Senate staffer, probably would have starved by now. "I think the most we've ever made in a year might be like 400 bucks," the cofounder of the custom blacksmith shop Hammermen of DC told Insider, equating the coin collected from his passion project with "beer money — in a good year."  A post shared by HammermenOfDc (@hammermenofdc)  Rothblum, who works on cybersecurity for the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he and his business partner, Sal, originally bonded over the art of manipulating metal during weekend trips to the Blacksmiths' Guild of the Potomac. The 40-year-old nonprofit group hosts biweekly meetings at a communal forge tucked inside Gulf Branch Nature Center in neighboring Arlington, Virginia."People teach each other different techniques, work on stuff, and have fun blacksmithing," Rothblum said of the community. The best part about putting a few hours in at the forge is that it's nothing like his 9-to-5."The thing that's so great about it is there's no computers, right? It's working with your hands," Rothblum said. "You get to create a physical thing at the end of the day or the end of the project. That's really rewarding."  A post shared by HammermenOfDc (@hammermenofdc) Some of the items he's produced include custom bottle openers, a monogrammed wedding gift for his sister, and an 11-inch dinner triangle with a striker designed to summon family members to the table.He said he had brushed off a few would-be gladiators pining to wield personalized swords and axes. And then there was the person in need of a deluxe fire-pit cover — for a 6-foot-wide hearth. "Think a little smaller," Rothblum told the ambitious client, suggesting novelties "more along the lines of wedding-cake knives."Pre-pandemic, Rothblum said he'd visit the forge several times a month to pound out offerings for their Etsy store. Quarantine slowed things down. And the baby he welcomed in March has definitely shifted his attention elsewhere.While he's still enamored with bending iron to his will, Rothblum doesn't plan on trekking over to the shop this winter — for purely selfish reasons."The building is not insulated," he said. "And as much as you're standing over a fire … it gets cold in there."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 17th, 2021

Turning The Corner In Style

S&P 500 bulls delivered, and the revival in risk-on is increasingly getting legs as HYG rebounded sharply. The sharply increasing participation is counterbalanced by still compressing yield curve, but yields finally rose yesterday. Finally, we saw a truly risk-on positioning in the credit markets – and that won‘t be without (positive) consequences. Q3 2021 hedge […] S&P 500 bulls delivered, and the revival in risk-on is increasingly getting legs as HYG rebounded sharply. The sharply increasing participation is counterbalanced by still compressing yield curve, but yields finally rose yesterday. Finally, we saw a truly risk-on positioning in the credit markets – and that won‘t be without (positive) consequences. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Still, it pays to be ready for the adverse scenario that I‘ve described in yesterday‘s key analysis, in connection with which I have received an interesting question. It‘s essentially a request to dig in some more so that my thinking can‘t be interpreted as being on the verge of immediately flipping bearish: Q: Your analysis of today: "Downside risks having sharply increased since Thanksgiving. Not only for stocks, where we might not be making THE correction's low, but also for commodities, cryptos and precious metals". I am not sure if I am interpreting this right (English is not my native language). Are you saying that the market might turn down spectacular, even for precious metals? A: it's specifically the market breadth for larger than 500 stock indices that tells me we possibly aren't out of the woods yet - no matter the technical improvements that I looked for us to get yesterday, and that are likely to continue thanks not only to solid HYG performance. What I'm saying is that unless there is broader participation in the unfolding S&P 500 rally (and in the rally of other indices), we're in danger of a more significant move to the downside than we saw already (those few percents down). You can also watch for the sensitivity to Fed pronouncements - on one hand, we have the taper, even accelerated one on the table, yet through Nov, total assets grew by practically $100bn, and it was only the 7-day period preceding Dec 01 that marked balance sheet contraction. This sensitivity to hawkish statements would show in downside hits to risk-on assets (cyclicals), and also in VIX spikes. There, my mid-session Friday call made on Twitter for VIX to better reverse from its highs for Friday's close, came true. So, should a sharper decline happen (as said, the risks thereof haven't disappeared), it would (at least initially) influence precious metals too, and not remain limited to stocks and commodities. Having answered, let‘s move on. I like the strength returning to energy – both oil and natural gas as I tweeted yesterday. While financials are taking their time, and consumer discretionaries lagged hugely on a daily basis behind staples, I look for more strength to return to cyclicals at expense of interest rate sensitive sectors (that includes utilities also). Rising yields (however slowly) would underpin commodities, and it‘s showing already. Precious metals continue needing the newfound Fed hawkishness image to start fracturing, or causing inordinate level of trouble in the real economy. The latter would take time as manufacturing is pretty much firing on all cylinders, which is why I‘m not looking for overly sharp gold and silver gains very soon. Let‘s move right into the charts (all courtesy of S&P 500 and Nasdaq Outlook S&P 500 bears were more than a bit tired, and Friday‘s candle being unable to break below preceding day‘s lows while not too much stood in the way, was telling. What can‘t go down, would sooner or later go up. Credit Markets HYG upswing is a pleasant sight for the bulls – half of the prior decline has already been erased. Quite some more still needs to happen, and the lack of volume yesterday is a sign that patience could very well be required (let‘s temper our expectations while still being positioned bullishly). Gold, Silver and Miners Precious metals are still looking stable, and are waiting for the Fed perceptions to fade a little. CPI inflation hasn‘t peaked neither in the U.S. nor around the world (hello, Europe), neither have energy prices or yields – so, get ready for the upswing to continue at its own pace. Crude Oil Crude oil confirmed the bullish turn, and the modest volume isn‘t an issue for it indicates lack of sellers willing to step in. Plenty of positioning anticipating the upswing happened in the days before, I think. Copper Copper prices are taking the turn alongside the CRB Index – it‘s starting to lean as much as APT in the direction of no economy choking response to Omicron that would necessitate further GDP downgrades. I‘m looking for the red metal to continue gradually favoring the bulls even more. Bitcoin and Ethereum Bitcoin and Ethereum attempt base building, but both cryptos (Bitcoin somewhat more) remain vulnerable. There are a few good explanations for that, and the most credible ones in my view revolve around stablecoins backing. Summary S&P 500 reversal higher is looking increasingly promising, and the signs range from sharply broadening market breadth to encouraging HYG performance. Commodities aren‘t being left in the cold, and I‘m looking for their own reversal to gradually spill over into precious metals – depending upon the evolving Fed perceptions, of course. The odds of us having seen the worst in this correction have considerably improved, and while positioned appropriately, I‘m not yet sounding the analytical all clear of blue skies ahead. Thank you for having read today‘s free analysis, which is available in full at my homesite. There, you can subscribe to the free Monica‘s Insider Club, which features real-time trade calls and intraday updates for all the five publications: Stock Trading Signals, Gold Trading Signals, Oil Trading Signals, Copper Trading Signals and Bitcoin Trading Signals. Thank you, Monica Kingsley Stock Trading Signals Gold Trading Signals Oil Trading Signals Copper Trading Signals Bitcoin Trading Signals All essays, research and information represent analyses and opinions of Monica Kingsley that are based on available and latest data. Despite careful research and best efforts, it may prove wrong and be subject to change with or without notice. Monica Kingsley does not guarantee the accuracy or thoroughness of the data or information reported. Her content serves educational purposes and should not be relied upon as advice or construed as providing recommendations of any kind. Futures, stocks and options are financial instruments not suitable for every investor. Please be advised that you invest at your own risk. Monica Kingsley is not a Registered Securities Advisor. By reading her writings, you agree that she will not be held responsible or liable for any decisions you make. Investing, trading and speculating in financial markets may involve high risk of loss. Monica Kingsley may have a short or long position in any securities, including those mentioned in her writings, and may make additional purchases and/or sales of those securities without notice. Updated on Dec 7, 2021, 12:05 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkDec 7th, 2021

44 sentimental gifts that"ll make anyone feel loved, from a family cookbook heirloom to an astrological birth chart

Thoughtful mementos are a way to show someone they're valued and loved. Here are 44 sentimental gifts to make them feel extra special. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Birthdate co. For those feeling extra softhearted this year, we put together a list of sentimental gift ideas. From personalized gifts to meaningful flowers, you're sure to find inspiration for anyone. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. If you always give generic gifts, select something off a wishlist, or just send a gift card, you're not alone. It can be difficult to think beyond the practical to select items that will delight and surprise your giftee. If you're looking to truly impress your loved ones, you'll want to choose gifts that are custom, unique, and thoughtful. You can convey just how much you care by referencing fun memories, inside jokes, and hidden interests.We've compiled 44 sentimental gifts, which include a flower subscription, a customized puzzle, a personalized photo book, and more. Each of these gifts are sure to make your giftee feel special and remind them of loving memories and events. If you're looking for more gift ideas, be sure to check out all of our gift guides here.Below are 44 sentimental gift ideas:A personalized gift boxGreetablPersonalized Gift Box, available at Greetabl, from $19Let them know you're thinking of them with a cute custom gift box from Greetabl. Choose to a mini gift like caramels or chocolates, a gift card, and add a note and photos to be delivered to their door. A monogrammed vegan leather passport coverMark and GrahamFillmore Vegan Leather Passport Case, available at Mark and Graham, $39 ($12.50 monogram fee)For the giftee who loves to travel, a passport cover is a great gift. You can have their initials monogrammed onto the cover to add a thoughtful and special touch to the gift. A name bracelet with handwritten letteringEtsyHandwriting Bracelet, available at Etsy, $37A custom piece of jewelry is already a thoughtful gift but this handwritten bracelet from Etsy goes the extra mile. Surprise your gift recipient with a gold, sterling silver, or rose gold bracelet with words on it written in yours or a loved-ones' handwriting. A family cookbook to pass downUncommon GoodsMy Family Cookbook, available at Uncommon Goods, $30The My Family Cookbook is a sweet gift that will keep on giving. After having various family members add recipes, the book can become an heirloom gift that gets passed down to generations. A personalized children's bookAmazonGoodnight Little Me Personalized Book, available at Amazon, $39.99The Goodnight Little Me book is a sweet gift for new parents or your favorite kids. This custom bedtime book can be personalized with any child's name and includes gorgeous illustrations from the designer of the Harry Potter series' US covers. Check out our guide to the best gifts for new parents for more gift-giving ideas. A mug with handwritten wordsLittle Gem Girl/EtsyLoved Ones Handwriting Coffee Mug, available at Etsy, $29A mug with a meaningful message is a tender gift for people who may have lost a loved one or who live far away. You can customize this mug with any words you want, printed in your handwriting or someone else's.A floral paint-by-numbers kitUncommon GoodsBirth Month Flower Paint-by-Number Kit, available at Uncommon Goods, $30Inspired by the birth month of your gift recipient, this paint-by-numbers kit is a gift and a fun activity rolled into the one. The kit lets them create a painting of the flowers for their respective birth month, along with an explanation of the characteristics of each month and flower. For example, October is a marigold that represents optimism and positive energy.A monogrammed notebookPapierScallop Spine Notebook, available at Papier, $26.99Whether they love making lists or jotting down new ideas, every writer needs a durable, trusted notebook to store their notes and stories. These unique notebooks can be customized with a monogram and lined, dotted, or plain pages. The notebooks come in solid colors and several fun designs, including the brands The Pahari, Constellation, and Colourblock styles.A set of low-maintenance plantsThe SillPlant Parent Set, available at The Sill, from $48Add some greenery into their space with this set of easy-to-care-for plants from The Sill. Choose from sets of three to seven plants that change seasonally.A fresh flower subscriptionFresh SendsThe Send Bouquet, available at Fresh Sends, from $55Instead of gifting flowers solely during holidays and special occasions, send them beautiful arrangements on a more consistent basis with a subscription from Fresh Sends. Choose from three delivery frequencies and two size options for a unique bouquet every time.A calendar full of cherished personal photosArtifact UprisingPersonalized Walnut Desktop Photo Calendar, available at Artifact Uprising, from $35Photos of loved ones are an instant source of joy. Structuring your daily life around them with a calendar is a great way to fill each day with more gratitude and happiness. Artifact Uprising's desktop calendar is sustainably made from reclaimed wood and fully customizable. You can also choose the calendar's starting month, so you don't have to wait for a new year to create one.A book for your favorite astrology loverBirthdate Co.The Birthdate Book, available at Birthdate Co., $115If they know their sun, moon, and rising sign, this made-to-order astrology book will make the perfect gift. Provide their birthday and time of birth, and the company will create a 70-page book with information and insights customized from their birth chart.One Insider Reviews writer said the book felt extremely personalized, and no two books are the same.A cube of conversation-starting prompt cardsUncommon GoodsTable Topics cards, available at Uncommon Goods, $25Never experience another boring dinner again with these cards from Table Topics. Each cube comes with 135 thought-provoking topic cards to help keep your meals and relationships interesting.With six themed options ranging from card sets for families, couples, and friends, you'll give them the chance to get to know everyone in their life a little better.A customized puzzleEtsyCustomizable photo puzzle, available at Etsy, $31.49Help them stay entertained by gifting them a customized puzzle of their favorite picture. This puzzle also comes with a customized box, making this gift even more special. Choose from any image to commemorate a special event, remember a great vacation, or show love to their favorite pet.A video montage of and from their loved onesMontageA video montage of their loved ones, available at Montage, from $29Ask their friends and family to record and upload videos to be automatically compiled, scored, and delivered for a thoughtful present that's sure to bring on happy tears.An astrology necklaceMejuriA necklace with their zodiac symbol, available at Mejuri, from $75If they're into astrology, get them their zodiac sign in gold. Mejuri offers all signs in its Zodiac Collection in gold vermeil, sterling silver, and 14k yellow gold.A set of socks with their pet's face printed on themTribe SocksCustom Socks with Your Pet's Face, available at Tribe Socks, $24For dog- or cat-lovers, a pair of custom socks with their pet printed on them is a lighthearted but thoughtful gift. For more inspiration for pet-themed gifts, take a look at our guide to the best gifts for dog owners.A custom night sky star map to commemorate a birth, anniversary, or any other dayStarry MapsCustom star map print, available at Starry Maps, from $55Commemorate any special night of their (or your) life by getting it printed on museum-quality 200gsm Matte paper or on canvas.An e-gift card to GoldbellyGoldbellyAn e-gift card, available at Goldbelly, from $25Whether you spend most of your time together trying out different recipes — or they're often treating you to a delicious meal — you may want to turn your gift into a thoughtful, shared experience. Wherever they are in this big old world, they can call in any comforting favorite they please from Goldbelly.A bottle of bourbon as unique as they areReservebarJefferson's Ocean: Aged At Sea Bourbon, available at Reservebar, $79If they're bourbon drinkers, nautical lovers, or both, they might just cherish this forever.An Airbnb gift cardYou could take a coffee masterclass with a national judge in Mexico via Airbnb Online Experiences.AirbnbAn Airbnb Gift Card toward the experience of their dreams, available at Airbnb, from $50Travel might not be an option right now, but Airbnb is currently offering Online Experiences held by instructors from around the world. Treat them to a coffee master class, history lesson, or even a dance class. And in the meantime, they can daydream about their next far-flung adventure or cozy staycation. A custom map posterGrafomapCustom map poster, available at Grafomap, from $49Grafomap is a website that lets you design posters with maps of any place in the world — including their hometown, college town, or favorite travel destination. A personalized photo bookSnapfish/Business InsiderPersonalized Snapfish photo book, available at Snapfish, from $12.99Convert their pile of photos and favorite mementos into one glossy book they can showcase around the home for a cohesive, beautiful keepsake. Expertly framed memoriesFramebridgeFramed photo, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge gift card, available at Framebridge, from $25Framebridge makes custom framing for not-custom-framing prices. You can print or paint something on your own and have it framed, or have them print and frame it. You can take advantage of a team of designers to help decide what frame to get.An engraved timepieceUncommon GoodsPersonalized watch, available at Timex, from $75If you're looking for subtle and impactful, engraving a watch is a classic for a reason. They can keep it forever, wear it every day, and know how much personal significance it has without always answering questions from onlookers. It's functional, thoughtful, and timeless.A custom-made comic book telling your shared storyEtsyCustom comic book, available at Etsy, from $433.88If you have the means, few comic book nerds would turn down owning a detailed, beautifully designed comic book featuring them as the lead character or superhero or a comic book version of the story of how they met their partner.Purchase the comic, email the makers telling them the story, and send photos of the characters and event setting to make sure everything looks right. You'll see a rough draft, send back any edits you have, and they'll complete the final copy. Opt for a digital print (emailed) or get it sent to you as a canvas print.A personalized letter necklaceAUrateMini Letter Charm Pendant with White Diamonds, available at AUrate, $560AUrate offers engravings and personalized jewelry, like this necklace with a mini letter charm. Pick a letter and select from 14-karat or 18-karat white, yellow, or rose gold. Learn more about online startups making sustainable, relatively affordable fine jewelry here.A framed quoteMintedPersonalized custom quotes, available at Minted, from $38Frame one of their favorite quotes, lyrics, or sayings and customize everything from font color to matting to make it theirs.A family portrait that includes petsHappyMomentsArts/Etsy/Business InsiderCustom family portrait, available at Etsy, from $15A perfect gift for a couple or a family, you can get a digital download of a custom family portrait that includes their furry roommates.A custom pet portraitCanvasPopCustom pet portrait, available at CanvasPop, from $89If they love their pet more than pretty much anything in the world, a Pet Portrait immortalizing them is a uniquely thoughtful gesture — and decor they're unlikely to have already. You can also get them a custom painting (from $250) if that's more their style or a framed print (from $35.55) of them with their pet.A cute set of mugsUncommon GoodsPersonalized family mugs, available at Uncommon Goods, from $30Turn your family or friends or a newly engaged couple into characters that actually look like them. One side features the artists' depiction of them (personalized through your choices of skin tone, hair, and clothing color) and the mug owner's first name, while the other displays your family name and year established — for friends, this could be the year you met. Turn meaningful audio into artEtsySoundwave art print, available at Etsy, from $70Send in a song and artist or email an audio file of you or a loved one speaking, and this Etsy shop will turn it into personalized sound-wave art. This gift is particularly thoughtful for long-distance relationships or for commemorating a loved one.Long-distance touch lampsUncommon GoodsSet of two Filimin Long-Distance Touch Lamps, available at Uncommon Goods, from $85Everyone is busy these days, and it's not as easy to keep up with loved ones as we all wish. A set of paired lamps, one of which lights up when the other is touched, lets them know you're still thinking of them even when you don't have time to talk. One Insider Reviews editor uses them to keep in touch with her parents.Brightly embroidered pillows of their favorite stateUncommon GoodsHand Embroidered State Pillows, available at Uncommon Goods, $225Bring their favorite state to them with detailed and brightly embroidered pillows that pay homage to each state's cities and cultural touchpoints. A photo print of an important life momentUncommon GoodsIntersection of Love Frame, available at Uncommon Goods, from $75Commemorate the moment their paths first crossed in a sophisticated, unique design.Personalized wine labelsTopBananaPrints/Etsy/Business InsiderCustom wine labels, available at Etsy, from $4.47Celebrate a loved one's birthday, achievements, or new life stages such as a marriage with a bottle of wine and a thoughtful, personalized label they'll want to keep. The blueprint of a beloved ski resortUncommon GoodsSki resort blueprints, available at Uncommon Goods, from $75Whether they grew up on the slopes or drag friends and family along as adults, skiers can take their favorite slopes home with them with this blueprint-inspired art. 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It's small enough to stow in a purse for travel, and there are customizable features like stickers, filters, and borders to edit photos within the Polaroid app. A reel viewer filled with snapshots of old memoriesUncommon Goods/Business InsiderCreate your own reel viewer, available at Uncommon Goods, from $14.95As a kid, flipping through a reel viewer was one of life's greatest joys. Just because they're all grown up doesn't mean they won't like playing with the gadget. Fill the reel with snapshots of their most cherished memories (use the redemption code included with your viewer) for a gift that'll flood them with all sorts of nostalgia.A custom watercolor of their wedding venueJustArtinAround/EtsyCustom watercolor wedding venue illustration, available at Etsy, from $35.99For a deeply thoughtful gift for newlyweds, commission a custom watercolor of their wedding venue or location. All you'll have to do is send the artist a photo of the location, the couple's first and last names, and the wedding date. A candle that smells like homeUncommon GoodsHomesick Candles, available at Uncommon Goods, from $34It's hard to put a finger on just what makes home smell like home, but a whiff of a Homesick candle will transport them there with its nostalgia-inducing scents. Uniquely specific scents are made to capture the ethos of states and cities or memories like road trips, backyard BBQs, and cooking in Grandma's kitchen.If they're far from home, this affordable candle is a small but meaningful gesture that can bring them just a little closer. A cutting board that memorializes a meaningful recipeUncommon GoodsFamily Recipe Cutting Board, available at Uncommon Goods, $100There's something about family recipes that make them taste even better. This cutting board offers a unique way to preserve those special favorites. Ingredients and directions are engraved on solid cherry wood and can even be etched in the recipe writer's handwriting. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 3rd, 2021

Transcript: Steve Fradkin

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Steve Fradkin Northern Trust, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast… Read More The post Transcript: Steve Fradkin appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Steve Fradkin Northern Trust, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast I have a special guest. His name is Steve Fradkin, and he runs one of the larger pools of assets that you probably had no idea about. He is the President of Northern Trust Wealth Management. They run over $350 billion in client assets. They serve some of the wealthiest families in America. One in five wealthy families actually has assets with Northern Trust. They have something like 20 percent of the Forbes 400, just a very interesting perspective on how to manage through periods of uncertainty, changing tax laws, rising inflation. Also, it’s really interesting perspectives. It’s less about predicting the future, Steve tells us, then thinking in terms of planning and probabilities. And I think that was really interesting advice. He — he is about as knowledgeable as anybody is going to get in the – both wealth management business and ultra-high net worth management business. I found the conversation really intriguing, and I think you will also. So, with no further ado, my interview of Steve Fradkin of Northern Trust. VOICE-OVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My special guest this week is Steve Fradkin. He is the President of Northern Trust Wealth Management. Running about $355 billion in assets, they serve about one in five of the wealthiest families in America. Previously, Steve ran the Corporate and Institutional Services. He was Head of International Business for Northern Trust, as well as the firm’s Chief Financial Officer. Steve Fradkin, welcome to Bloomberg. FIRRMA Thank you, Barry. Great to be here. RITHOLTZ: So, you spent your entire career at Northern Trust having joined in — in 1985. How do you make the leap from really CFO to President which, to me, I think of President I think of someone who’s running like a CEO, running a — a division? What were the challenges of that transition? FRADKIN: Well, it’s a great question and, you know, careers are mysterious experiences. The — the bigger mystery really, Barry, was the move to CFO. So I joined Northern Trust as a youngster, didn’t know what I wanted to do, worked my way through a variety of entry-level jobs, ultimately culminating at that point in running our growing international business, and loving it, traveling the world to clients in Asia, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, South America, you know, really fun and interesting stuff, and was asked, at that point, to serve as CFO, which was the unnatural job. Was not a controller, was not a treasurer, and so serving as CFO of a large public company was — shall we say traumatic when they asked. But did that for six years, including through the global financial crisis. And it was, at that point, I went back to doing what I normally do, which is running businesses. I ran our Corporate and Institutional Services business, and then after that Wealth Management. So — so it wasn’t so much going from CFO to wealth management as it was ending up as CFO, if you will, by accident from my point of view. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. So — so you guys had a pretty good year in 2020. How did that carry over to this year? Is it just more of the same? What were the big success stories relative to all those challenges we soar last year? Well, you know, it’s — it’s really an interesting phenomenon, and it shows you the – in some ways, the unpredictability of what can happen. You know, if you think about COVID-19 and its impact in 2020, and if I said to you, you know, look here’s what’s going to happen, we’re — we’re going to go as a society not just Northern Trust from, you know, we all come in and we work and so forth and so on. And one day, on about the same day worldwide, everyone’s going to start working from home facetiously. What — what do you think is going to happen to the markets? I think most people have said, well, first of all, it could never happen that way. It’s not going to be true that people in Sydney, and London, and New York, and Sao Paulo are all going to be, you know, as much as one can working from home. That’s just impossible. And second of all is that where to happen on a sustained basis. Well, gee, you know, the economy is going to crater because no baseball games, no concerts, no – you know, less use of restaurants, et cetera, et cetera. I don’t think people would have said, you know, the markets would do as well as they’ve done. So look, it’s been an incredible journey. Northern Trust has navigated exceptionally well through it last year and continues to perform well today. And there are a variety of factors in that. But each and every day has been a navigation because we’re still not out of the pandemic and we’re still operating in a hybrid mode. And, you know, balancing safety of our partners, our — our employees, and the needs of our clients is a — a daily — a juggling act that we’re still working through and I suspect will be working through for a while longer here. RITHOLTZ: We’re going to talk a little more about how you guys manage doing the pandemic in a bit, but I want to stay with the success of Northern Trust. You’re one of the biggest ultra-high net worth investment managers. But relative to your size, you guys kind of fly under the radar. Why is that? FRADKIN: Well, you know, it’s — it’s an interesting question, Barry. The – so in terms of size, we’re in the top 20 banks in the country as measured by our balance sheet. But really the — the better marker of our size is the assets that we manage and the assets that we administer for clients. And we’re a very quiet company. We don’t do lots of big acquisitions. We do the same thing today that we’ve been doing since 1889, serving the same clientele, and so we’re a very focused institution. A little over half our profits come from the provision of services to wealthy families in America and around the world. And the other half come from essentially providing the same services, but to large global institutional investors, serving wealth funds, pension funds and the like. And so, we’re a quiet company that has been extraordinarily successful and consistently so for many, many years. So, we’re proud of what we’ve got, but we — we — we — we fly under the radar scream — screen intentionally to just keep a low profile and stay focused on our clients. RITHOLTZ: And — and that would make sense given the nature of your clients who are less Instagram stars and more quiet wealth. Is that a — is that a fair way to describe it? FRADKIN: Yeah. Today, we serve little over 30 percent of the Forbes 400 wealthiest Americans and, obviously, many other affluent families. And interestingly, Barry, you know, sometimes people think of Northern Trust in its wealth management business as focusing on — or serving multigenerational well-healed, you know, families. And that’s true, we certainly serve many of those. But there are many entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley, in New York, in Miami, in Dallas, in — all over the country and all over the world. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in being here is that wealth is created in a lot of mysterious ways. And so, your — your reference to Instagram and so forth, I would say our clients are definitely low profile, but where they create their wealth emanates from every segment of the economy. It’s really a — a fascinating part of the privilege of being in this — this kind of role. RITHOLTZ: Let’s stay with that because I was just involved in a conversation recently about the amount of wealth that has been created over the past couple of decades. Wherever you look, especially in the United States, it seems that people are coming up with new ideas, new technologies, new just even business processes that if you go back to the 90’s, I don’t think people could have imagined the sort of things that are generating the massive amounts of wealth that we’ve seen. And — and I’m not even talking about NFTs or things like that, I mean, businesses with clients that are just doing tens of millions of dollars of — of revenue a year. FRADKIN: Well, I think the — the fascinating thing that I think we see is that wealth can be created in a lot of different ways. And I — and I think you’re right that as the world has sped up, the wealth creation has sped up, too. You know, to caricature it, it used to be you would start a business in your garage in Louisiana and, overtime, you would, you know, build a vacuum cleaner, whatever it happened to be. And you would start selling it from a store and, you know, it would — you know, you — you’d have a second store. And — and the next thing you know, you have a — a — a big business that you never envisioned having, and you could sell that company and — and create tremendous amount of wealth. Today, that phenomenon still absolutely happens, but it also happens with the power of the Internet that the pace at which companies in some industries can grow and accelerate has — has really multiplied. So, wealth creation, in some instances, is still a slow laborious step-by-step process. But in others, I don’t want to say it’s overnight, but it happens a lot faster with digitalization in the — the pace at which the world moves today. So, we — we see both phenomena, and that’s part of the fun and excitement of the American economy. And this certainly happens elsewhere in the world as well. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So, let’s talk about how you guys had to operate during the lockdown. You mentioned this earlier. What were you doing when, you know, it became clear the country was shutting down in March of 2020? FRADKIN: It’s a great question, Barry. Well, we started like many other institutions with the safety of our clients and the safety of our employees. And it all happened relatively quickly in terms of shutting down offices to the bare minimum, getting people home, and making sure that they could function effectively from home. And if you go back to — and — and, by the way, we have 20,000 employees worldwide, so we were doing the same thing in Manila, in the Philippines as we were doing in London, as we were doing in Dublin, as we were doing in Houston, as we were doing in Las Vegas. And so I want you to think about the operational, and logistical, and infrastructural needs of pretty much all at the same time trying to get people out of the office, enable them to function effectively from home, still be able to serve our clients, and all the family and other issues that people were wrestling with. So, I would say the beginning of the pandemic was stressful. You know, we were working 24/7 trying to make sure that technology worked and people could still get cash and all those things. It has gotten to a much better, you know, I’ll call it normalcy in a strange sort of way. But the early days of the pandemic were — were challenging. We navigated through well, but it’s certainly not something that anyone had anticipated. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. So, I’m assuming you guys have your offices, more or less, reopened. What are you going to do going forward? Is it going to be a hybrid model or is everyone back in the office or people working from home? FRADKIN: Our offices are open and — and really to different extents in different geographies, you know, which makes sense. The — the infection rates, hospitalization rates, all the metrics that we track are very different in different cities and countries around the globe. You know, in terms of where it goes in the future, I think the future of work and how people work is forever changed. You know, we always had a pretty flexible workforce and the ability to work from home and, you know, people’s — people’s lives and — personal lives and business lives had crossed over long ago that, as an employer, we had to be flexible. I think that’s going to be even more so coming out of the pandemic. People have gotten used to it. The technology has gotten better. Client expectations are different. And so, I think we will be in a — you know, what we — what we think of today as a hybrid model will be a normal model tomorrow. And that doesn’t mean everyone will work from home, but it certainly means a lot more flexibility for employees to inevitably juggle the — the conflicting needs of family and work life. And we’re well prepared for that. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: So as investors, COVID was pretty much an exogenous shock. It — it came out the left field. How did the whole COVID crash and recovery compare to past crises, whether it’s 9/11 or dot-com implosion or the great financial crisis? How do you — how do you wrap your head around this one compared to ones from — from recent past? FRADKIN: You know, it’s — it’s a great question. And I think, Barry, my perspective would be that we often call events like the COVID-19 pandemic tail events or once in a lifetime events. And in some ways, they are and, in some ways, they aren’t. If — if I think about it through the prism of my career experience, we had the crash of October 1987. We’ve seen the collapses of things like Enron and WorldCom. We’ve seen September 11th. We’ve seen Bear Stearns go down. We had the global financial crisis of 2008 and, of course, the pandemic. And each time we call it a tail event, but at some point, we have to admit that there are a lot of tails. So, I want to take you back just to compare and contrast COVID-19 with 2008. I’ll give you this example. I want you to imagine it’s the end of 2007, and you’re presenting the 2008 plan for Northern Trust to our board. And you go to the board and you say, “Look, we expect our revenues to do this and our expenses to do that, and so forth and so on.” And one of the board members raises his or her hand and he says — he or she says, “Barry, that’s — that’s terrific. Sounds like a great plan for 2008.” But I — I — I just want to get your perspective. What happens if Bear Stearns collapses, Freddie, Fannie, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, Merrill Lynch, you know, et cetera, et cetera, Lehman? You know, the whole thing collapses in 2008. How will we perform? I think you’d — you know, I — I think if you had been CFO at that time, you would have said, “Well, you know, that’s just — that’s never going to happen,” but it did. And Northern Trust navigated through that exceptionally well. Not unscarred, but exceptionally well. If you take — if you fast forward from that paradigm to COVID-19, it’s very similar. You know, if — if we had been talking to our board the year before and put forward our plan, I think our board would have said, “Well, okay, you know, that sounds like a great plan. What happens if there’s a global pandemic in every office from which we operate is going to be shut down or substantially shut down? Everyone’s got to work from home on the same day globally.” And, by the way, it’s going to be for a year and a half or more. I’m quite confident you or we would have said, well, that — you know, that’s just not — you know, I don’t know what we’ll do. That’s not going to happen, but it did. And so, I think the — the lesson from these crises is that while they’re different every time, they happen a lot. And so, we have to think about our approach to business, our approach to research, our approach to preparing for the unanticipatable. And as I say, each — each of your examples, September 11th, and COVID, and 2008 are different, but they were all — they all featured substantial disruption, substantial unanticipatable disruption. And at Northern Trust and every other company around the world, you have to be prepared to be agile and adapt quickly. And — and that’s what we’ve been able to do pretty consistently over our 130 plus years of experience. RITHOLTZ: So, given that history and the fact that a big chunk of your clients are ultra-high net worth, how do you think about managing assets compared to what — I don’t know, let’s use the phrase “mass affluent,” that typical approach. Is this more about preserving wealth and it is striking at rich. These folks are, after all, already fairly wealthy. How does this specific demographic change and challenge the way you manage assets for them? FRADKIN: Well, I think, look, wherever one sits on the spectrum of wealth, they generally want to optimize their returns over time. And people have different risk preferences as you would expect. So to caricature it, if you come from nothing and you’ve done exceptionally well financially, you may — not always, but you may have a predisposition to have a stronger defensive component to your portfolio because you don’t want to end up back where you were. You know what it’s like not to have money, you have it, and you want to be defensive. On the other hand, there are people who whether they came from nothing or not, they’ve had tremendous success. They’ve seen the power of capitalism, and they want to not only do as well as they can, but keep going. So, we see things through the eyes of our clients across the continuum. What I would say is people in the ultra net — ultra-high net worth space, at least from my point of view, it’s not so much about they’re more defensive or more offensive. They have more flexibility for choice. They can be defensive because they’ve, you know, so to speak, got more than enough or they can lean in and be more aggressive because they have a bigger cushion than the rest of us. And our clientele is all ends of that spectrum. There’s no — the — the — the notion that some people have, well, once someone’s made a certain amount of money they’re — they’re just trying to preserve it. There are certainly clients that — that exhibit that behavior, but there are an equal number who want to optimize it and aren’t in a completely defensive mindset. So, it depends on the personality type. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. One of the clichés of the industry is three generations from, you know, short tales to short tales, referring that generational wealth very often gets — I don’t want to say wasted, but frittered away irresponsibly or recklessly. Some people take too much risk. How do you manage around that? Do you — do you ever have families coming to you and say, “Hey, we want to leave money to the next generation, but we want to make sure they get it and that it’s not just, you know, Ferraris and — and weekends in Vegas.” FRADKIN: Yes, all the time. Again, every family is different. Every client is different but, you know, one thing to — one thing that I think is a little bit unfair in — in — not by you, but in the characterization that you refer to is this notion, well, you know, by the third generation it is, you know, frittered away. I think you — you have to remember a couple things. First, when — when we say it’s frittered away, the comparison point is often to someone who did the extraordinary. So if I started from nothing and created $1 billion — $1 billion of wealth, it’s a little unfair to say my kids or my grandkids, you know, they’re not as smart as I am because, you know, they didn’t do it, too. You know, People who have created extraordinary wealth have done so, by definition, it’s — it’s extraordinary, and it’s not reasonable. Even if you have bright, talented, you know, high-functioning kids, it’s not reasonable to assume that each generation is just going to — you know, mom made $1 billion. Mom’s kid made $2 billion and — and mom’s grandkid made — made $4 billion. You know, it’s — mathematically, that’s not a reasonable probability. That’s sad. There is definitely an art to optimizing wealth through the generations. And, of course, it starts in the home and how you raise kids and values and, you know, what you demand of them or not. But a lot of our clients do a great job of trying to steward their wealth, trying to educate their kids, trying to make use of family governance to — to help everyone understand how things work for the family. And so, each client is different, but as with most things, the more you put into it, the more you’re likely to get out of it. And for those who believe it’s an important responsibility to steward that wealth, pass it to future generations, educate those generations, make them or trying to help them be important members of society, they tend to get better outcomes than the rest of us. It’s a — it’s a very — it’s, you know, raising kids and money are two challenging vectors, but we see some great examples of people stewarding wealth through multiple generations not just the — the founder, so to speak. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. Let’s talk a little bit about what you call Goals Driven Wealth Management. Start out with what — what exactly is that. FRADKIN: Sure. Goals Driven Wealth Management at Northern Trust is the framework that — that we’ve devised to build personalized wealth plans for clients and it focuses on helping them achieve their individual goals with confidence. It provides a big picture of their wealth and transparent steps on how to manage and optimize wealth over time. So, Barry, one way to think about it is — and I’m being a little bit facetious, but just to make the point, it used to be in this industry that the starting point for how money might be managed was a function of your outlook on the market. You think equities are going to go up, et cetera, so you allocate more to equities. Goals Driven Wealth Management comes at investing through a different lens. The starting point is not so much our call on the markets though that will be important at some point. Our starting point in Goals Driven is what are you and your family trying to accomplish. Once we understand what you’re trying to accomplish and the assets you need to accomplish it, we can, in effect, back in to how to deploy those assets — in stocks, bonds, other asset classes — to give you the best probability of achieving your life goals over time. So, it’s really just a different starting point for how to think about creating an asset allocation that is most effective for you and your family. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk about that framework. And again, the question comes back, how different is it for the ultra-high net worth than for the merely wealthy or — or is there a lot of overlapping between the two different types of planning? FRADKIN: The process is really the same no matter where you are on the wealth spectrum. You and your family have goals, and whether you have $1 million, $100 million, $1 billion, $10 billion or whatever the number is, you have something you want to achieve over time. You plan to live to age 90 or 100. This is what you need to live in the style to which you want to be accustomed, and we do a variety of work to figure out, first of all, are you asset-sufficient, meaning under reasonable scenarios, do I have enough if I steward it effectively to live my life the way I want to live it over time? And that happens whether you have, you know — again, whatever the number is, $500,000 or $10 million. The difference, Barry, comes in with the flexibility and options that you have as you create more wealth. So, the starting point is the same: understand your goals, understand your needs, and let’s figure out an asset allocation to give you the best chance to get there. What becomes different for people in the ultra-high net worth space relative to the rest of us is that they can take advantage of more planning techniques. They can take advantage of more techniques to optimize philanthropy. They can take advantage of gifting to future generations and so forth, and so the process is the same. But as you accumulate more money, in general, you have more flexibility on some other things you can do. The ultra-high net worth also have more investment optionality. They have the ability to invest in asset classes like private equity hedge fund and so forth where they may have to trade off some liquidity for a period of time. Those of us who are lower on the spectrum may not be able to endure that in a down market. Those who have more wealth can — can oftentimes weather that storm more. So, the process is the same, but you get more flexibility as your wealth grows. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: We’re going to talk more of about alternative investments in a little bit. I want to stick with a couple of interesting things I read in some Northern Trust research. One of the things that I kind of knew, but I didn’t realize it was this intense was the number of clients you see relocating to new states. It’s been a record volume. Some of that is pandemic related, some of it predates the pandemic. How does that challenge the planning process? How different is it from state-to-state when it comes to things like tax planning? You mentioned trust. You mentioned philanthropic issues. What happens when somebody picks up from one state and relocates to another state? FRADKIN: Yeah, it’s an interesting question. Look, clients relocating has always been with us. If you look at Northern Trust history, we are headquartered in Chicago in the middle of the United States. It’s cold here in the winter, lovely city, but it does get rather cold at wintertime. And often times, as people age and, you know, their kids finish school and so forth, they opt for better environments in the wintertime, so they may want to be in Florida or Arizona or Texas or California. So, one phenomenon we’ve always seen is migration from state-to-state. That phenomenon is also impacted by state tax rates, by state tax considerations. And so, both, because of the pandemic and for tax reasons and lifestyle reasons, were continuing to see movement across state lines. And so, you know, I think the — the message to urban planners is taxes do matter to people. It’s not necessarily the only factor, but even affluent people will think through where do they want to be, where do they want to live, what environment to they want to be in, and what’s the tax impact for their clients. And that phenomenon is — is alive and well. It’s always been there, but it — it does seem to be important as different states consider different policies, if you will. People — residents make their choices, and so it’s — it’s — it’s a phenomenon that’s very much at the front of mind for many of our clients. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. You mentioned taxes. There was a new administration came to town this year, and the expectations are there will be some sort of change in tax policy, potentially including increases in capital gains and increases in estate taxes and, in some cases, fairly substantial increases. How do you plan around that? And since nothing is known for certain in advance what an administration is — is going to do, how do you make decisions in — in the face of that uncertainty? FRADKIN: Yeah, I think our starting point on behalf of our clients is to prepare rather than predict. So, let me give you an example that — that you referred to. The newly proposed tax law change would change the lifetime gift and estate tax exemption amount from $11.7 million down to $5 million. And what this means for people that built up substantial wealth is that if the proposal goes forward as — as offered, you have until the end of this year if you want to make a gift to your heirs of — if you can afford to and if you want to, make a gift of $11.7 million. And again, I can’t tell you whether this will happen. But if we just think about the financial impact here, if you have enough capacity to do that and you choose to do it, you can take $11.7 million out of your estate today, get it to your kids, grandkids, whoever it happens to be tax-free as opposed to, on January 1st, if the law goes forward only as — as offered, you can only do $5 million. And what that means is the difference between — sorry to get, you know, numbers all over — but the difference between 11.7 and five, which is $6.7 million will be taxed, you know, when you die at a — at a high rate. And so we have literally thousands of clients all across the country and each one we’re working with individually to evaluate what’s their financial circumstance, what do they want to do, do they want to make the gift. And by the way, this — this — this tax law change may or may not happen, so people have to make a choice without knowing for sure whether it’s going to happen. I think the bottom line though is people are looking at this carefully. They’re studying it and they’re trying to prepare and make judgments about what might happen and what’s best for their individual circumstance. But tax law changes matter and — and we are in the business of helping our clients figure out what’s the best choice for them with the information that we have. RITHOLTZ: Quite, quite interesting. So, we talked a little bit about alternatives earlier. Let’s address that a bit. There seems to be a growing appetite for all manner of — of alternative investments given that stocks and bonds are all a little bit pricey. Let’s start with private equity. What — what sort of demand is there from your clients for private equity. And — and how do you guys respond to the question of potentially better returns in exchange for far less liquidity? FRADKIN: Sure. Look, investment has become much more granular over the decades and again, just to be facetious, you know, large-cap stocks versus high quality bonds, you know, 40 years ago. Today, clients think in terms of small-cap, mid-cap, large-cap, value, international, emerging markets, private equity, and thousands of flavors of private equity; hedge fund the same thing. So, in the quest for optimizing returns, clients and their professional money managers, Northern Trust included, have searched for different asset classes to combine together to give people the best chance to — to achieve their objectives. Private equity clearly has been in the aggregate — there are winners and losers in private equity, but has been a asset class that has done well for many. There are tradeoffs with private equity, particularly in terms of liquidity. But I would say amongst our clientele, the appetite for private equity and private equity, as a more normalized asset class, continues to grow. It’s not the right asset class for every client, but for clients who have the capacity, the risk tolerance and so forth, it — it definitely can play an important role in a client’s portfolio. And increasingly, we’re seeing more use of private equity today than we did say 10 years ago. RITHOLTZ: What about venture capital or hedge funds, two totally different entities from both each other in private equity, what’s the demand like for those products? FRADKIN: Demand exists for venture capital and for hedge funds as well. Again, the devil is in the detail, not all hedge funds are created equally. The — the — the fees that they charge, the performance that they’ve delivered can differ substantially, but there is again this same notion of I want to diversify my portfolio. I want a — a range of options and so-called alternative investments. Whether you call it private equity, venture capital, hedge funds seem to continue to be growing in appeal to our clientele. RITHOLTZ: What about crypto and things like blockchain and Ethereum? There seems to be a lot of real interest in the space. Are — are you finding your client bases crypto-curious? FRADKIN: I would say the demand for crypto is more muted amongst our clientele than some of what you read in the public press. And that doesn’t mean we have examples of clients who have invested in crypto and done exceptionally well in a right time. But I would say, in general, if I had to caricature it, I would say that crypto is still an evolving asset class that is misunderstood by many. And I think most are treating it carefully. And the ones that are making crypto investments are viewing it more as a — more as a roll of the dice than a rational analytical view of what crypto is trading at today and what it’s going to trade it tomorrow. They view it as a bit of a roll the dice. They may jump in a little bit, but they understand that what goes up can also go down. So, I would say amongst our clientele overall, crypto is still not widely in use. RITHOLTZ: So, we mentioned briefly the market is certainly pricier than it was five or 10 years ago. How do you manage around stocks and bonds neither of which are inexpensive? FRADKIN: Yeah, look, I think for many of our clients, the market does go up, the market got does go down. And one of the great features of our — the goals-driven methodology that we use for clients is that we build a portfolio such that after a lot of analytical work to evaluate their goals and so forth that enables them to endure and not have to sell in a down market. We — we create something that’s called a portfolio reserve. I would liken it to the moat around your castle. Some people like a wide deep moat, some people need a narrower and less deep mode, but think of that as a high-quality fixed income. If the stock market goes down, your — your bonds are still fine. You can still pay your mortgage. Life is good. You can wait until the market goes up or — or returns to normal. So, the one thing we know on behalf of our clients is markets go up and down, and so you have to plan and prepare for that. And so, it’s very difficult to know. You know, again using the COVID-19 example, I think they’re a lot of people who might have argued the markets are going to crash, you know, everyone’s working from home and we can’t get the essentials, and people don’t want to go to the grocery store, and yet the market went up dramatically. So, we try and take a long-stewarded view and help our clients plan and prepare themselves so that when the market does go down, they can get through and — and not have to take adverse steps and sell in dire circumstance. And that’s been very helpful for our clients. RITHOLTZ: So, in terms of forward return expectations, does that — and historically low-bond yields, high equity prices tend to suggest low returns going forward, does that work its way into the planning process or is that really more of an academic theory? FRADKIN: No, it absolutely works its way into the planning process because our starting point is what needs does a client have over the near-term for financial resources. We — we got to make sure they can buy their groceries, and pay their mortgage, and we have to deploy assets against those goals. But once, in working with a client, we figured out the right mix of assets to — to enable them to — to afford those goals over a reasonable period of time, we then have to deploy the rest of the portfolio toward so-called risk assets, equities, private equity, hedge funds, venture — whatever the asset class. And in so doing, we have to bring our judgment about risk and return expectations for each of those asset classes. So, our view of asset classes and what they’re likely to bring over the relatively short-term is still an important part of the process. RITHOLTZ: So, what do you tell investors who say, “You know, I’m really not happy with my muni bond portfolio. It’s barely thrown off two or 2.5 percent.” Investors are always seen to be looking for more yield. How do you respond to that group of clients? FRADKIN: Yeah, I think it — my — our response is really you have to remember what you’re trying to do with that muni bond portfolio. No one is saying it’s a great high returning asset class, but that’s not its role. Its role is to be — I’m making this up, Barry, but generally, the role of that muni bond portfolio is to provide you with certainty, security, confidence, and not have to worry about the other part of your portfolio, let’s just call that equities gyrating up and down. So, of course, people want their muni bonds or their high-quality fixed income to return as much as it can, and it’s our job to try and help people achieve that. But I think you always have to come back to what role is this trying to play. And for most clients, it’s trying to play a role of stability, and reliability, and consistency, and that’s the paramount feature. And in providing that consistency and — and stability and predictability, they give up a little bit of return on that asset class, but they’re trying to get that elsewhere with their equities, private equity, and so forth. So, you had — you had discussed previously, hey, you know, it’s up to us to make the most of a low rate environment. What does that mean? Get — how does one make the most of a low rate environment? FRADKIN: Well, I think, you know, low — low rates create — low interest rates create challenges and opportunities. Maybe two simple ways to think about it are, one, on the challenge side, if you’re living on a fixed income as assets reprice to — and you’re reliant on bonds — your bonds to provide income, the lower rates make the yield on those bonds lower, and so that’s bad from, you know, how much cash flow I have to — to fill my needs. The flipside to that is that when rates are very low, if you want to, if it’s appropriate, if it’s thoughtfully done, you can use credit rather than liquidating stocks to — you know, if you want to buy a new toy, so to speak, a boat, whatever it happens to be, one way to do that is to sell stocks in your portfolio and buy the — you know, whatever it is you want to buy. Another way is to let those stocks keep working on your behalf and, because rates are so low, take advantage of credit. Take a loan, buy that boat and — or whatever it happens to be and pay it back over time. So low interest rates, you know, how can have different conflicting phenomenon, opportunities on the credit side and headwinds on the bond investment site. RITHOLTZ: So — so how do you incorporate all this inflation chatter to — to your planning? We’ve started to see rates tick up the 10-year as — as recording this just about 1.5 percent. And I know there’s an irony in saying that rates are all the way up to 1.5 percent, which historically is incredibly low. How do you figure inflation into your modeling and — and thinking about the future? FRADKIN: Yeah, well, we use multi-scenario modeling. The — the reality is no one knows and so you have to, you know, the — the prognosticators will — will have a view. Some — some believe inflation is here and is going to continue. Others argue it’s so-called transitory. And the truth is we don’t know. We’ll — we’ll find that out tomorrow, so to speak. And so as we work through planning with our clients, we generally are running multiple scenarios, low inflation, medium inflation, high inflation. And we’re trying — as we — as we help clients make decisions, we’re trying to make the best judgment we can at a given point in time. But that’s why you — you really have to — be you have to plan for multiple scenarios and bring agility to your process because we don’t know whether the stock market is going up or down. We don’t know whether inflation will be higher or lower. We have a view. We can have probabilities. But as we’ve seen, whether it was with 2008 or COVID, we — everyone can be wrong. And so, you have to plan and adapt and leave yourself a buffer for when you are wrong, and hopefully it’s not — not catastrophic. RITHOLTZ: So, I know I only have you for a little bit of time. Let me jump to my favorite questions that I ask all of my guests, starting with tell us what you’re streaming these days, what’s keeping you entertained at home, either on Netflix or Amazon Prime or — or wherever. FRADKIN: Well, I’ve — I’ve been working hard so I — I can’t say I’ve — I’ve made great use of Netflix. But what I have just started and this will show you, Barry, how far behind I am is I’ve just started Ted Lasso. So I’m behind the rest of the world, but that’s what I’m on right now. RITHOLTZ: All right. Well, well, you’ll — I could tell you this much, you will enjoy it and — and enjoy catching up with us. What about mentors? Who helped to shape your career? FRADKIN: You know, I’ve had a lot of mentors at Northern Trust over the years, people who were senior to me and people who weren’t, but I learned from everyone. I think when I think about mentors, for me, it’s less about people with whom I work and maybe it’s my interest in history. But I try and learn from people who have overcome insurmountable odds, the Mahatma Gandhis, the Martin Luther Kings, the Winston Churchills, the Vaclav Havels, the Abraham Lincoln. And there’s so much wisdom that I see in people like that because they really faced incredible circumstances and worked through them generally to good outcomes. And so there — those great thinkers are probably the people I’ve learned the most from as I wouldn’t call them mentors to me, but I’ve certainly read about all of them and — and learned a lot from each of them. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about books. What are you reading right now and what — what are some of your favorites? FRADKIN: You know, I think in keeping with that theme of mentors over periods of time that interest me, I’ve really enjoyed “The Splendid and the Vile” by Eric Larson, which is about Churchill and the blitz of World War II. And — and again, it — it helps you — it helps me to see just how dire the circumstances were and what he and others had to navigate through. The other book that I’ve dusted off recently, I read some time ago, but I think in view of the pandemic, it seemed interesting to me was “The Hot Zone” by Richard Preston, which has nothing to do with the pandemic, but there are parallels to what we’re dealing with, and it was sort of a gripping — a gripping book if you have time for a good read. RITHOLTZ: Sounds interesting. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who is interested in a career in either investment management or finance? FRADKIN: Yeah, I think, Barry, I’d offer a — a — a couple of themes on this. And I — I don’t know that I narrowed these themes to an interest in investments or finance, although I think they do overlap. But I’d start by saying, it probably be easiest place to get my view there would be to go to YouTube and I — I gave a commencement address at the University of Illinois Chicago and tried to formulate those themes for — for young people. But a — but a few that come to mind at least through my lens are comfort is the enemy of accomplishment. If you want to be the best you can be, you can never be satisfied with where you are. You’ve got to push, push, push and make yourself better each and every day in everything you touch. I think a couple of the other themes that would come to me would be in — in the same vein, we see this in Northern Trust all the time. Excellence is not a part-time job. For people who want to be excellent, who want to do the best job for our clients and our shareholders, you can’t be excellent only when it’s convenient, only when you want to do it or only when you feel like it. You’ve — you’ve got to — excellence is an all-in phenomenon. And then probably the — the — the last thing that comes to my mind is persevere beyond your accomplishments. It’s not what you did yesterday, it’s — you can be proud of what you’ve accomplished. But again, you want to be better going forward. And so be proud of who you are, be proud of your grades, and your — your school, and your degrees, and all that sort of stuff, but those are what you did, you know, two years ago, five years ago, 10 years ago whatever it happens to be, keep pushing forward to be the best you can be. So, persevere beyond your accomplishments. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of investing today you wish you knew 35 years ago when you were first starting with Northern Trust? FRADKIN: That is a long list, Barry, but I think what I would say is you don’t have to be right on everything and sometimes being right is more about luck and timing than it is about specific analytical acumen. Uninspiring choices in a bull market can turn out just fine, and well-reasoned ideas in a down market can turn out to be not so good. So, get the direction right more often than not and you’ll be just fine. RITHOLTZ: Really good advice. Thank you, Steve, for being so generous with your time. We’ve been speaking with Steve Fradkin. He is the President of Northern Trust Wealth Management. If you enjoy this conversation, well, be sure and check out any of the other 388 prior discussions we’ve had over the past seven years. You can find those wherever you normally find your favorite podcast, iTunes, Spotify, wherever. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at You can sign up for my daily suggested reading list at Check out my regular column at Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack that helps put these conversations together each week. Paris Wald is my Producer. Michael Batnick is my Head of Research. Atika Valbrun is our Project Manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Steve Fradkin appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 29th, 2021

Blain: Biggest "Omicron" Risk Is Margin Calls Triggering Something Deeper

Blain: Biggest 'Omicron' Risk Is Margin Calls Triggering Something Deeper Authored by Bill Blain via, “When all around are losing their heads..” The Omicron Variant dominates the headlines, but will likely prove a short-term market factor. No doubt a renewed round of panicked responses, lockdowns, travel bans and Christmas threats will occur, but markets should take these in their stride – the biggest risk is margin calls triggering something deeper. So many things to think about this week: The New Covid: I thought Omicron was a Doctor Who villain…? The New Germany: What might the new traffic light government mean for Europe..? The New Market: What will generate Alpha returns in a post-equity market? The New Turkey: Lessons to be learnt across the globe The European Weather Outlook: Just how bad is the shortage of gas likely to prove? And, all the same old stuff like ESG excesses, bitcoin thinking, etc etc.. I will try to get to all these topics at some stage this week.. and if I don’t, just email or call me for a swift brain dump… The problem is finding time to scribble down my thoughts! This morning, Omicron – or should I say B.1.1.529 – is getting all the attention. How I would have giggled if they’d name it Xi! (Which, apparently nearly happened..) Last week the market assumed the worst: a vaccine-dodging, more-infectious, less-traceable, super-fast, doubleplusbad dangerously deadly variant about that is about to scupper economic recovery, and pull down financial markets burdened by $1 trillion of leverage and long to the ying-yang on wrong-side options. (What was very satisfying was the concurrent risk-off rally in Treasuries, exactly as I predicted would happen in crisis a few weeks ago.) We can see the result in markets, the panicked reaction by certain governments, and the fact the evil corrupt politically connected  b******s who’ve managed to grab the Covid Testing monopolies here in the UK are hiking their prices… Whoa. The Omicron crash is about unsubstantiated fear. None of the Omicron worries are facts. (Yet…..) Last week’s market tumble on the new Covid variant highlights just how fraxious and nervous markets are. With the media tripping over itself to scare us over Covid and turning every scratch into a life threatening sepsis case, concerns about how massively overpriced the market is(*), geopolitical uncertainty, bad news already in the air with new European lockdowns announced last week, and suddenly every player looking for the excuse to sell ahead of the pack decided to run. It’s no surprise there was a rush for the exit door, during a US holiday shortened thin trading week. There are bound to be further supply chain problems as nations again WFH and borders close. It’s happening already… but remember Blain’s Market Mantra no 6: “Things are never as bad as you think they are, but seldom as good as you hope..” The question – is it the end of the Covid rally that’s been running since March 2020? Probably not. All the conditions to sustain it remain in place: the expectation of economies reopening, ultra-low rates, supportive Central Banks, and governments willing to print to avoid meltdown. One leading investment bank said: “This mutation is unlikely to be more malicous; there is no reason for portfolio changes.” Let’s wait and see if they are right. Cheap stocks are cheap stocks. Buy ’em while they are! On the downside, there are reasons to be concerned. The consequences clearly arising from what Covid has done to the global economy are significant. Supply chain disruption may be temporary, but it has triggered long-term cost-push and wage inflation. Over the next few years I think we will be surprised at just how much its changed society and the way we approach work – but these are all medium term effects. Will we ever fly the way we used to? Covid and Climate Change together may change more than we expect. In the short-term I have a couple of reasons to be positive. The first is the virus itself. Back in October I warned about renewed Covid effects on the market, and how it’s not going away anytime soon: “Covid Multiplies the Economic Threat.”  The bottom line is the new variant confirms Covid is likely to remain a long-term source and threat of destabilisation in markets and economies. Get used to it. We should be concerned, but not in the least surprised by a new, more virulent mutation of the virus. The goal of any virus is to survive and thrive – which means it constantly mutates to become optimal. To be successful, the optimal path for a mutating virus does not mean becoming more dangerous – less lethal is better for us and the virus! The less harm it does, the easier it reproduces, and more successful it becomes. This one may well be more infectious (a genetic win for the virus), but over the weekend the South Africans were on the wires saying cases are generally mild. The peculiar mutations on the Omicron virus spike protein (which apparently build on the Delta mutations) are cited as the reason this new variant is more infectious and will become the dominant version of the virus. However, apparently it can still be identified by current PCR and Lateral Flow tests, and there is no published evidence yet its more deadly. Interesting this mutation also comes from a developing nation – confirming fears the virus is blooming where vaccination rates are low. There is a risk its increased transmission comes with other mutations creating greater lethality, but for all the ballyhoo about immediate lockdowns, renewed travel sieges, mask wearing, and the need to vaccinate the unvaccinated – we really don’t know if this variant is more dangerous or not, or if the 80% of Brits and other westerners already double vaccinated are suddenly at risk again. Over the next few days we’ll learn more. Whatever the outcome, all the anecdotal evidence coming out of hospitals suggests it’s the unvaccinated who are taking up hospital beds. That’s likely to remain the case. My second area to be positive on is markets. We’ve quickly learnt to see past the headlines and trade on the support given to markets. Every previous virus spike – like Delta during the summer, produced a sharp downturn that was reversed in days. I’m going to hazard a guess that markets will post a swift recovery this week. New record levels anyone? What is of more concern is some of the fundamental weaknesses thrown up by this Covid spike. Its exposing the frailty of markets fuelled by margin (nearly $1 trillion according to one report I saw), and the levels at which retail investors have gone all-in. If they have to pull back, then that’s a lot of froth out the game – meaning cheap stocks will be cheaper for anyone with the wherewithal still to play. Next few weeks will remain interesting in terms of opportunities! Tyler Durden Mon, 11/29/2021 - 08:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 29th, 2021

Transcript: Edwin Conway

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

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2021

Inside Frances Haugen’s Decision to Take on Facebook

Blowing the whistle against a multibillion-dollar tech company is no small feat Frances Haugen is in the back of a Paris taxi, waving a piece of sushi in the air. The cab is on the way to a Hilton hotel, where this November afternoon she is due to meet with the French digital economy minister. The Eiffel Tower appears briefly through the window, piercing a late-fall haze. Haugen is wolfing down lunch on the go, while recalling an episode from her childhood. The teacher of her gifted and talented class used to play a game where she would read to the other children the first letter of a word from the dictionary and its definition. Haugen and her classmates would compete, in teams, to guess the word. “At some point, my classmates convinced the teacher that it was unfair to put me on either team, because whichever team had me was going to win and so I should have to compete against the whole class,” she says. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Did she win? “I did win,” she says with a level of satisfaction that quickly fades to indignation. “And so imagine! That makes kids hate you!” She pops an edamame into her mouth with a flourish. “I look back and I’m like, That was a bad idea.” She tells the story not to draw attention to her precociousness—although it does do that—but to share the lesson it taught her. “This shows you how badly some educators understand psychology,” she says. While some have described the Facebook whistle-blower as an activist, Haugen says she sees herself as an educator. To her mind, an important part of her mission is driving home a message in a way that resonates with people, a skill she has spent years honing. Photograph by Christopher Anderson—Magnum Photos for TIME It is the penultimate day of a grueling three-week tour of Europe, during which Haugen has cast herself in the role of educator in front of the U.K. and E.U. Parliaments, regulators and one tech conference crowd. Haugen says she wanted to cross the Atlantic to offer her advice to lawmakers putting the final touches on new regulations that take aim at the outsize influence of large social media companies. The new U.K. and E.U. laws have the potential to force Facebook and its competitors to open up their algorithms to public scrutiny, and face large fines if they fail to address problematic impacts of their platforms. European lawmakers and regulators “have been on this journey a little longer” than their U.S. counterparts, Haugen says diplomatically. “My goal was to support lawmakers as they think through these issues.” Beginning in late summer, Haugen, 37, disclosed tens of thousands of pages of internal Facebook documents to Congress and the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The documents were the basis of a series of articles in the Wall Street Journal that sparked a reckoning in September over what the company knew about how it contributed to harms ranging from its impact on teens’ mental health and the extent of misinformation on its platforms, to human traffickers’ open use of its services. The documents paint a picture of a company that is often aware of the harms to which it contributes—but is either unwilling or unable to act against them. Haugen’s disclosures set Facebook stock on a downward trajectory, formed the basis for eight new whistle-blower complaints to the SEC and have prompted lawmakers around the world to intensify their calls for regulation of the company. Facundo Arrizabalaga—EPA/EFE/ShutterstockHaugen leaves the Houses of Parliament in London on Oct. 25 after giving evidence to U.K. lawmakers. Facebook has rejected Haugen’s claims that it puts profits before safety, and says it spends $5 billion per year on keeping its platforms safe. “As a company, we have every commercial and moral incentive to give the maximum number of people as much of a positive experience as possible on our apps,” a spokesperson said in a statement. Although many insiders have blown the whistle on Facebook before, nobody has left the company with the breadth of material that Haugen shared. And among legions of critics in politics, academia and media, no single person has been as effective as Haugen in bringing public attention to Facebook’s negative impacts. When Haugen decided to blow the whistle against Facebook late last year, the company employed more than 58,000 people. Many had access to the documents that she would eventually pass to authorities. Why did it take so long for somebody to do what she did? Read More: How Facebook Forced a Reckoning by Shutting Down the Team That Put People Ahead of Profits One answer is that blowing the whistle against a multibillion-dollar tech company requires a particular combination of skills, personality traits and circumstances. In Haugen’s case, it took one near-death experience, a lost friend, several crushed hopes, a cryptocurrency bet that came good and months in counsel with a priest who also happens to be her mother. Haugen’s atypical personality, glittering academic background, strong moral convictions, robust support networks and self-confidence also helped. Hers is the story of how all these factors came together—some by chance, some by design—to create a watershed moment in corporate responsibility, human communication and democracy. When debate coach Scott Wunn first met a 16-year-old Haugen at Iowa City West High School, she had already been on the team for two years, after finishing junior high a year early. He was an English teacher who had been headhunted to be the debate team’s new coach. The school took this kind of extracurricular activity seriously, and so did the young girl with the blond hair. In their first exchange, Wunn remembers Haugen grilling him about whether he would take coaching as seriously as his other duties. “I could tell from that moment she was very serious about debate,” says Wunn, who is now the executive director of the National Speech and Debate Association. “When we ran tournaments, she was the student who stayed the latest, who made sure that all of the students on the team were organized. Everything that you can imagine, Frances would do.” Haugen specialized in a form of debate that specifically asked students to weigh the morality of every issue, and by her senior year, she had become one of the top 25 debaters in the country in her field. “Frances was a math whiz, and she loved political science,” Wunn says. In competitive debate, you don’t get to decide which side of the issue you argue for. But Haugen had a strong moral compass, and when she was put in a position where she had to argue for something she disagreed with, she didn’t lean back on “flash in the pan” theatrics, her former coach remembers. Instead, she would dig deeper to find evidence for an argument she could make that wouldn’t compromise her values. “Her moral convictions were strong enough, even at that age, that she wouldn’t try to manipulate the evidence such that it would go against her morality,” Wunn says. When Haugen got to college, she realized she needed to master another form of communication. “Because my parents were both professors, I was used to having dinner-table conversations where, like, someone would have read an interesting article that day, and would basically do a five-minute presentation,” she says. “And so I got to college, and I had no idea how to make small talk.” Today, Haugen is talkative and relaxed. She’s in a good mood because she got to “sleep in” until 8:30 a.m.—later than most other days on her European tour, she says. At one point, she asks if I’ve seen the TV series Archer and momentarily breaks into a song from the animated sitcom. After graduating from Olin College of Engineering—where, beyond the art of conversation, she studied the science of computer engineering—Haugen moved to Silicon Valley. During a stint at Google, she helped write the code for Secret Agent Cupid, the precursor to popular dating app Hinge. She took time off to undertake an M.B.A. at Harvard, a rarity for software engineers in Silicon Valley and something she would later credit with helping her diagnose some of the organizational flaws within Facebook. But in 2014, while back at Google, Haugen’s trajectory was knocked off course. Haugen has celiac disease, a condition that means her immune system attacks her own tissues if she eats gluten. (Hence the sushi.) She “did not take it seriously enough” in her 20s, she says. After repeated trips to the hospital, doctors eventually realized she had a blood clot in her leg that had been there for anywhere between 18 months and two years. Her leg turned purple, and she ended up in the hospital for over a month. There she had an allergic reaction to a drug and nearly bled to death. She suffered nerve damage in her hands and feet, a condition known as neuropathy, from which she still suffers today. “I think it really changes your priorities when you’ve almost died,” Haugen says. “Everything that I had defined myself [by] before, I basically lost.” She was used to being the wunderkind who could achieve anything. Now, she needed help cooking her meals. “My recovery made me feel much more powerful, because I rebuilt my body,” she says. “I think the part that informed my journey was: You have to accept when you whistle-blow like this that you could lose everything. You could lose your money, you could lose your freedom, you could alienate everyone who cares about you. There’s all these things that could happen to you. Once you overcome your fear of death, anything is possible. I think it gave me the freedom to say: Do I want to follow my conscience?” Once Haugen was out of the hospital, she moved back into her apartment but struggled with daily tasks. She hired a friend to assist her part time. “I became really close friends with him because he was so committed to my getting better,” she says. But over the course of six months, in the run-up to the 2016 U.S. presidential election, she says, “I just lost him” to online misinformation. He seemed to believe conspiracy theories, like the idea that George Soros runs the world economy. “At some point, I realized I couldn’t reach him,” she says. Soon Haugen was physically recovering, and she began to consider re-entering the workforce. She spent stints at Yelp and Pinterest as a successful product manager working on algorithms. Then, in 2018, a Facebook recruiter contacted her. She told him that she would take the job only if she could work on tackling misinformation in Facebook’s “integrity” operation, the arm of the company focused on keeping the platform and its users safe. “I took that job because losing my friend was just incredibly painful, and I didn’t want anyone else to feel that pain,” she says. Her optimism that she could make a change from inside lasted about two months. Haugen’s first assignment involved helping manage a project to tackle misinformation in places where the company didn’t have any third-party fact-checkers. Everybody on her team was a new hire, and she didn’t have the data scientists she needed. “I went to the engineering manager, and I said, ‘This is the inappropriate team to work on this,’” she recalls. “He said, ‘You shouldn’t be so negative.’” The pattern repeated itself, she says. “I raised a lot of concerns in the first three months, and my concerns were always discounted by my manager and other people who had been at the company for longer.” Before long, her entire team was shifted away from working on international misinformation in some of Facebook’s most vulnerable markets to working on the 2020 U.S. election, she says. The documents Haugen would later disclose to authorities showed that in 2020, Facebook spent 3.2 million hours tackling misinformation, although just 13% of that time was spent on content from outside the U.S., the Journal reported. Facebook’s spokesperson said in a statement that the company has “dedicated teams with expertise in human rights, hate speech and misinformation” working in at-risk countries. “We dedicate resources to these countries, including those without fact-checking programs, and have been since before, during and after the 2020 U.S. elections, and this work continues today.” Read More: Why Some People See More Disturbing Content on Facebook Than Others, According to Leaked Documents Haugen said that her time working on misinformation in foreign countries made her deeply concerned about the impact of Facebook abroad. “I became concerned with India even in the first two weeks I was in the company,” she says. Many people who were accessing the Internet for the first time in places like India, Haugen realized after reading research on the topic, did not even consider the possibility that something they had read online might be false or misleading. “From that moment on, I was like, Oh, there is a huge sleeping dragon at Facebook,” she says. “We are advancing the Internet to other countries far faster than it happened in, say, the U.S.,” she says, noting that people in the U.S. have had time to build up a “cultural muscle” of skepticism toward online content. “And I worry about the gap [until] that information immune system forms.” In February 2020, Haugen sent a text message to her parents asking if she could come and live with them in Iowa when the pandemic hit. Her mother Alice Haugen recalls wondering what pandemic she was talking about, but agreed. “She had made a spreadsheet with a simple exponential growth model that tried to guess when San Francisco would be shut down,” Alice says. A little later, Frances asked if she could send some food ahead of her. Soon, large Costco boxes started arriving at the house. “She was trying to bring in six months of food for five people, because she was afraid that the supply lines might break down,” Alice says. “Our living room became a small grocery store.” After quarantining for 10 days upon arrival, the younger Haugen settled into lockdown life with her parents, continuing her work for Facebook remotely. “We shared meals, and every day we would have conversations,” Alice says. She recalled her daughter voicing specific concerns about Facebook’s impact in Ethiopia, where ethnic violence was playing out on—and in some cases being amplified by—Facebook’s platforms. On Nov. 9, Facebook said it had been investing in safety measures in Ethiopia for more than two years, including activating algorithms to down-rank potentially inflammatory content in several languages in response to escalating violence there. Haugen acknowledges the work, saying she wants to give “credit where credit is due,” but claims the social network was too late to intervene with safety measures in Ethiopia and other parts of the world. “The idea that they don’t even turn those knobs on until people are getting shot is completely unacceptable,” she says. “The reality right now is that Facebook is not willing to invest the level of resources that would allow it to intervene sooner.” A Facebook spokesperson defended the prioritization system in its statement, saying that the company has long-term strategies to “mitigate the impacts of harmful offline events in the countries we deem most at risk … while still protecting freedom of expression and other human rights principles.” What Haugen saw was happening in nations like Ethiopia and India would clarify her opinions about “engagement-based ranking”—the system within Facebook more commonly known as “the algorithm”—that chooses which posts, out of thousands of options, to rank at the top of users’ feeds. Haugen’s central argument is that human nature means this system is doomed to amplify the worst in us. “One of the things that has been well documented in psychology research is that the more times a human is exposed to something, the more they like it, and the more they believe it’s true,” she says. “One of the most dangerous things about engagement-based ranking is that it is much easier to inspire someone to hate than it is to compassion or empathy. Given that you have a system that hyperamplifies the most extreme content, you’re going to see people who get exposed over and over again to the idea that [for example] it’s O.K. to be violent to Muslims. And that destabilizes societies.” In the run-up to the 2020 U.S. election, according to media reports, some initiatives proposed by Facebook’s integrity teams to tackle misinformation and other problems were killed or watered down by executives on the policy side of the company, who are responsible both for setting the platform’s rules and lobbying governments on Facebook’s behalf. Facebook spokespeople have said in response that the interventions were part of the company’s commitment to nuanced policymaking that balanced freedom of speech with safety. Haugen’s time at business school taught her to view the problem differently: Facebook was a company that prioritized growth over the safety of its users. “Organizational structure is a wonky topic, but it matters,” Haugen says. Inside the company, she says, she observed the effect of these repeated interventions on the integrity team. “People make decisions on what projects to work on, or advance, or give more resources to, based on what they believe is the chance for success,” she says. “I think there were many projects that could be content-neutral—that didn’t involve us choosing what are good or bad ideas, but instead are about making the platform safe—that never got greenlit, because if you’ve seen other things like that fail, you don’t even try them.” Being with her parents, particularly her mother, who left a career as a professor to become an Episcopal priest, helped Haugen become comfortable with the idea she might one day have to go public. “I was learning all these horrific things about Facebook, and it was really tearing me up inside,” she says. “The thing that really hurts most whistle-blowers is: whistle-blowers live with secrets that impact the lives of other people. And they feel like they have no way of resolving them. And so instead of being destroyed by learning these things, I got to talk to my mother … If you’re having a crisis of conscience, where you’re trying to figure out a path that you can live with, having someone you can agonize to, over and over again, is the ultimate amenity.” Haugen didn’t decide to blow the whistle until December 2020, by which point she was back in San Francisco. The final straw came when Facebook dissolved Haugen’s former team, civic integrity, whose leader had asked employees to take an oath to put the public good before Facebook’s private interest. (Facebook denies that it dissolved the team, saying instead that members were spread out across the company to amplify its influence.) Haugen and many of her former colleagues felt betrayed. But her mother’s counsel had mentally prepared her. “It meant that when that moment happened, I was actually in a pretty good place,” Haugen says. “I wasn’t in a place of crisis like many whistle-blowers are.” Read More: Why Facebook Employees ‘Deprioritized’ a Misinformation Fix In March, Haugen moved to Puerto Rico, in part for the warm weather, which she says helps with her neuropathy pain. Another factor was the island’s cryptocurrency community, which has burgeoned because of the U.S. territory’s lack of capital gains taxes. In October, she told the New York Times that she had bought into crypto “at the right time,” implying that she had a financial buffer that allowed her to whistle-blow comfortably. Haugen’s detractors have pointed to the irony of her calling for tech companies to do their social duty, while living in a U.S. territory with a high rate of poverty that is increasingly being used as a tax haven. Some have also pointed out that Haugen is not entirely independent: she has received support from Luminate, a philanthropic organization pushing for progressive Big Tech reform in Europe and the U.S., and which is backed by the billionaire founder of eBay, Pierre Omidyar. Luminate paid Haugen’s expenses on her trip to Europe and helped organize meetings with senior officials. Omidyar has also donated to Whistleblower Aid, the nonprofit legal organization that is now representing Haugen pro bono. Luminate says it entered into a relationship with Haugen only after she went public with her disclosures. Haugen resigned from Facebook in May this year, after being told by the human-resources team that she could not work remotely from a U.S. territory. The news accelerated the secret project that she had decided to begin after seeing her old team disbanded. To collect the documents she would later disclose, Haugen trawled Facebook’s internal employee forum, Workplace. She traced the careers of integrity colleagues she admired—many of whom had left the company in frustration—gathering slide decks, research briefs and policy proposals they had worked on, as well as other documents she came across. Read more: Facebook Will Not Fix Itself While collecting the documents, she had flashbacks to her teenage years preparing folders of evidence for debates. “I was like, Wow, this is just like debate camp!” she recalls. “When I was 16 and doing that, I had no idea that it would be useful in this way in the future.” Jabin Botsford—Getty ImagesHaugen testifies on Oct. 5 before the U.S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation. In her Senate testimony in early October, Haugen suggested a federal agency should be set up to oversee social media algorithms so that “someone like me could do a tour of duty” after working at a company like Facebook. But moving to Washington, D.C., to serve at such an agency has no appeal, she says. “I am happy to be one of the people consulted by that agency,” she says. “But I have a life I really like in Puerto Rico.” Now that her tour of Europe is over, Haugen has had a chance to think about what comes next. Over an encrypted phone call from Puerto Rico a few days after we met in Paris, she says she would like to help build a grassroots movement to help young people push back against the harms caused by social media companies. In this new task, as seems to be the case with everything in Haugen’s life, she wants to try to leverage the power of education. “I am fully aware that a 19-year-old talking to a 16-year-old will be more effective than me talking to that 16-year-old,” she tells me. “There is a real opportunity for young people to flex their political muscles and demand accountability.” I ask if she has a message to send to young people reading this. “Hmm,” she says, followed by a long pause. “In every era, humans invent technologies that run away from themselves,” she says. “It’s very easy to look at some of these tech platforms and feel like they are too big, too abstract and too amorphous to influence in any way. But the reality is there are lots of things we can do. And the reason they haven’t done them is because it makes the companies less profitable. Not unprofitable, just less profitable. And no company has the right to subsidize their profits with your health. Ironically, Haugen gives partial credit to one of her managers at Facebook for inspiring her thought process around blowing the whistle. After struggling with a problem for a week without asking for help, she missed a deadline. When she explained why, the manager told her he was disappointed that she had hidden that she was having difficulty, she says. “He said, ‘We solve problems together; we don’t solve them alone,’” she says. Never one to miss a teaching opportunity, she continues, “Part of why I came forward is I believe Facebook has been struggling alone. They’ve been hiding how much they’re struggling. And the reality is, we solve problems together, we don’t solve them alone.” ShutterstockFacebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg recently announced the company was rebranding as Meta. It’s a philosophy that Haugen sees as the basis for how social media platforms should deal with societal issues going forward. In late October, Facebook Inc. (which owns Facebook, Whats App and Instagram) changed its name to Meta, a nod to its ambition to build the next generation of online experiences. In a late-October speech, CEO Mark Zuckerberg said he believed the “Metaverse”—its new proposal to build a virtual universe—would fundamentally reshape how humans interact with technology. Haugen says she is concerned the Metaverse will isolate people rather than bring them together: “I believe any tech with that much influence deserves public oversight.” But hers is also a belief system that allows for a path toward redemption. That friend she lost to misinformation? His story has a happy ending. “I learned later that he met a nice girl and he had gone back to church,” Haugen says, adding that he no longer believes in conspiracy theories. “It gives me a lot of hope that we can recover as individuals and as a society. But it involves us connecting with people.” —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Nik Popli.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 22nd, 2021

Futures Rise As Usual, Approaching All Time High

Futures Rise As Usual, Approaching All Time High US equity futures resumed their upward climb (after Goldman quadrupled down on its call for a massive, year-end meltup driven by $15BN in inflows every single day) as major technology stocks advanced, and as investors awaited a slew of retail earnings and economic data this week to gauge the health of consumer spending while keeping an eye on runaway inflation. Better-than-estimated profit growth has led to a rally in markets, helping ease recent concerns over the hottest U.S. inflation in 30 years. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 94 points, or 0.26%. S&P 500 e-minis were up 9 points, or 0.20% and about 20 points from their all time high around 4,711; while Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 30.5 points, or 0.19%. The three major Wall Street indexes had fallen between 0.3% and 0.7% last week when the S&P 500 also snapped its longest winning streak since August 2020, amid concerns over high inflation and weakening consumer sentiment. Investors had begun pivoting into economically resilient sectors, mainly technology, towards the end of the week. Market-heavy GAMMA (fka FAAMG) stocks rose between 0.1% and 0.8% in premarket trade, with Meta Platforms Inc leading gains. On the other end, Tesla shares fell as much as 2.6% in U.S. premarket session after Elon Musk suggested over the weekend that he would sell even more stock after offloading almost $7 billion worth of shares over the past week. Tesla's declines follow a steep 15.4% drop last week after Musk offloaded a combined $6.9 billion worth of shares in the electric-car maker. Meanwhile, blank-check company Gores Guggenheim rose as much as 25% as the stock was touted among retail traders. Rivian shares were down about 2.7% in U.S. premarket trading after the electric-truck maker surged following its IPO last week. Dollar Tree Inc added 5.4% after activist investor Mantle Ridge LP revealed a 5.7% stake in the discount retailer. Strong corporate earnings are helping drive investors into stocks and overshadowing fears about the hottest U.S. inflation print in three decades. The sentiment found its way into calmer bond markets, where these fears had played out in the highest volatility since the onset of pandemic.   “Central banks may be becoming less accommodative, but they will be anxious not to derail the recovery or financial markets,” according to Cesar Perez Ruiz, chief investment officer at Pictet Wealth Management and head of asset alloaction Christophe Donay. “Q3 results have offered further proof of corporate strength.” Focus this week will be on earnings reports from several major retailers including Walmart Inc, Target Corp, Home Depot and Macy's. Their results will round off an upbeat third-quarter earnings season, which pushed Wall Street to new highs. Retail sales data for October is also due on Tuesday, and is expected to show the impact of inflation on consumer spending. Looking ahead not everyone is euphoria: in its 2022 forecast, Morgan Stanley strategists warn that inflationary headwinds may become a bigger force against U.S. stocks next year; they prefer peers in Europe and Japan. They forecast the S&P 500 will end 2022 at 4,400 -- some 6% below current levels. For bonds, they expect 10-year yields to rise to 2.10% by the end of next year on improving growth and higher real rates, up from 1.54% on Monday. “One reason we like equities in Europe and Japan is that we think inflationary challenges there are much less daunting than elsewhere,” strategists led by Andrew Sheets wrote Sunday. They also cited “more reasonable valuations, limited central bank tightening and less risk from higher taxes” vis-a-vis the U.S. In Europe, Stoxx 600 Index was little changed near a record high as rising earnings estimates supported the region’s stocks. Travel and leisure and retailers led the gains, while miners slumped. Here’s the latest on what analysts are saying about European equities: EasyJet cut to reduce from hold at Kepler Cheuvreux due to deteriorating traffic trends and a risk that it has to incentivize demand with fare discounts. Alfen Beheer loses its only buy rating as Berenberg downgrades to hold on limited near- term upside, even after last week’s sell-off in the shares. Direct Line cut to hold and Admiral raised to buy at Berenberg with the broker switching preferences in its U.K. non- life insurer coverage. B&M European is cut to underperform from sector perform at RBC with growth set to become harder to deliver for the discount retailer and better value seen elsewhere in the sector. Wood’s strategic review of its built environment business could unlock “meaningful value,” Citi writes in note upgrading the energy-services firm to buy. Earlier in the session, shares fluctuated in Hong Kong and dipped in China, where traders weighed stronger-than-expected retail sales and industrial output, central bank liquidity support and a drop in home prices. Beijing’s crackdown on real-estate leverage is among the headwinds for the world’s second-largest economy. That said, Asian equities rose for a third day as the strength in U.S. technology heavyweights Friday helped ease market worry over global inflation, reigniting appetite for growth stocks.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 0.6%, with TSMC, Tencent Holdings and Samsung Electronics among the largest contributors to the gauge’s rise. South Korea’s Kospi was the top performer among the region’s benchmarks, adding 1%.  Futures on the Nasdaq 100 climbed in Asia after the underlying measure added 1% on Friday. U.S. equities rose led by technology and communication services, with share prices remaining near all-time highs after a strong corporate earnings season.  Overall, the positive mood from last week is extending to today’s trading, said Naoki Fujiwara, chief fund manager at Shinkin Asset Management. “Chip-related stocks are doing pretty well following the earnings season, which is also backing gains for the market.” The regional benchmark capped its second straight week of gains on Friday, helped by positive earnings readings. Price data from the U.S. and China remain in focus as traders fear elevated inflation could lead to tighter monetary policy. U.S. consumer sentiment unexpectedly collapsed in early November as Americans grew increasingly concerned about inflation. Japanese stocks rose after the Nikkei newspaper reported on Friday that the government plans to compile an economic stimulus package of more than 40 trillion yen ($351 billion) in fiscal measures. “Economic stimulus had been expected to be about 30 trillion yen, but a new figure of 40 trillion yen is likely to be cheered by investors,” said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute Co.  The Topix index rose 0.4% to close at 2,048.52 in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 advanced 0.6% to 29,776.80. Toyota Motor contributed the most to the Topix’s gain, increasing 1.1%. Out of 2,180 shares in the index, 1,051 rose and 1,029 fell, while 100 were unchanged. India’s benchmark index ended flat after wholesale prices surged higher-than-expected in October, weighing on metal and financial stocks. The S&P BSE Sensex was little changed at 60,718.71 in Mumbai, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index was flat at 18,109.45. Both gauges gained as much as 0.6% earlier on the back of an earnings season in which a majority of Nifty 50 companies reported results that beat expectations.  Both indexes, however, failed to hold onto their initial advance after wholesale prices rose 12.5% in October, more than economists’ consensus of a 11.1% advance, led by a rise in manufactured products as well as fuel and power prices. Nine of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by gauges of metal and basic materials companies.  India will release monthly trade figures after market hours. The corporate earnings season for the three months ended September finished last week with 29 of the Nifty 50 companies beating analyst estimates. Three companies made their trading debut on Monday, with chemical maker Sigachi Industries rising 267% over its IPO price. One97 Communications Ltd., the operator of digital payments app Paytm which raised $2.5b in India’s biggest IPO, is slated for Thursday. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index slipped with the greenback weaker against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Commodity currencies, led by Norway’s krone, were the best performers. The Treasury curve bull flattened, with yields falling by up to 2bps. The euro hovered around $1.1450; the French presidential election next year is the scheduled event carrying the highest risk for the common currency, according to options gauges. The pound steadied as traders await clues on monetary policy from BOE Governor Andrew Bailey during parliamentary testimony later Monday. U.K. economists expect a rate increase to 0.25% next month, according to a Bloomberg survey. U.K. economists have become more hawkish over the past month and now expect the Bank of England to increase interest rates in December as concerns about inflation intensify. Sweden’s krona inched up after inflation accelerated more than forecast in October. Meanwhile, the Australian dollar rose on data that China’s economy performed better than expected in October. The nation’s sovereign bonds also extended opening gains after China home prices fell again, sapping real-estate shares. Japan’s super-long government bonds underperformed amid concerns that supply may increase to finance government spending. The yen consolidated In rates, Treasury yields broadly within a basis point of Friday’s close, the curve fractionally steeper. The front-end and belly outperform, following bigger gains for Aussie front-end, which attracted buyers during Asia session. Stocks supported, with S&P 500 futures above Friday’s high.  Treasury yields were richer from front-end out to 10-year sector, which trades around 1.55%, outperforming gilts and bunds by ~1bp; long-end cheapens slightly on the day, steepening 5s30s by ~1bp.  Euro- area bonds gained, led by the periphery, following comments on inflation by ECB Chief Economist Philip Lane over the weekend. ECB’s Lane said recent price inflation is “really part of the pandemic” and people should not panic, in an interview with RTE on Saturday. The Fed begins tapered purchase schedule released Friday; schedule departed slightly from Nov. 3 plan by leaving target size of operations in 10- to 22.5-year sector unchanged while trimming 22.5- to 30-year more, which spurred outperfomance by 20-year sector In commodities, crude futures drifted lower with focus on U.S. energy policy and commentary from OPEC speakers. WTI is down 0.6%, trading either side of $80; Brent drops through Asia’s worst levels before running into support near $81. Spot gold fades Asia’s weakness to trade flat near $1,863/oz. Most base metals are in the red with LME nickel underperforming; copper trades flat.  Looking at today's calendar, it's quiet on the news front with just the US November Empire State manufacturing survey on deck. Biden will meet virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday. Tensions between the two countries have been building over issues including Taiwan and restrictions on sales of U.S. technology to China. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.1% to 4,685.00 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 487.13 MXAP up 0.4% to 200.95 MXAPJ up 0.4% to 656.76 Nikkei up 0.6% to 29,776.80 Topix up 0.4% to 2,048.52 Hang Seng Index up 0.2% to 25,390.91 Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,533.30 Sensex up 0.1% to 60,771.98 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.4% to 7,470.11 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,999.52 Brent Futures down 0.9% to $81.46/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,860.89 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.09 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.27% Euro little changed at $1.1447 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg  Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis President Neel Kashkari said the U.S. central bank shouldn’t overreact to elevated inflation even as it causes pain for Americans, because it is likely to prove temporary A reduction in China’s reserve requirement ratio looks increasingly unlikely after the authorities rolled over all policy loans coming due and data surprised on the upside, suggesting that bonds will have little room to gain China’s industrial output rose 3.5% in October from a year earlier, while retail sales growth accelerated to 4.9%, beating economists’ forecasts Japan’s gross domestic product contracted at an annualized pace of 3% in the three months through September from the previous quarter, the Cabinet Office reported Monday. Economists had forecast a 0.7% decline Bank of Japan Governor Haruhiko Kuroda said financial stress from the pandemic is limited to certain sectors of the economy, potentially signaling the BOJ is planning to scale back its Covid-era funding program European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde doubled down on her assessment that euro-area inflation will ease as economies rebound, falling back below the 2% target in the medium term. Yet analysts see itfaster than previously thought this year and next A short-lived reprieve for emerging- market carry trades funded in dollars looks to be over, with an upsurge in U.S. inflation making the outlook increasingly treacherous The U.K. is expanding its Covid-19 booster program to younger people as the country seeks to head off another wave of infections this winter. A third vaccine dose will be available to people aged 40 to 49 starting six months after their second shot, the government said Monday Oman said there was no need for OPEC+ to accelerate oil-production increases, signaling at least some members of the group will continue to resist U.S. pressure for more crude   A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets began the week with a lack of firm direction as the region digested varied tier-1 economic releases including better than expected Chinese activity data and miss on Japanese GDP, with attention also on a slew of earnings results and corporate updates. ASX 200 (+0.4%) and Nikkei 225 (+0.6%) both opened higher and took impetus from last Friday’s gains on Wall Street but with upside in Australia capped as financials and energy lagged, while Japanese participants weathered the weak GDP data which showed a wider than expected quarterly contraction during Q3, when the economy was still mired by widespread state of emergency declarations in key areas including Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures. Nonetheless, Japanese stocks have taken the disappointing economic growth within their strides as it justifies the incoming stimulus package which was said to have been increased to over JPY 40tln in fiscal spending and with Japan reportedly to resume its Go To Travel campaign in mid-January. Conversely, Hang Seng (+0.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.2%) were initially moderately pressured despite stronger than forecast Industrial Production and Retail Sales data from China, as well as the PBoC’s CNY 1tln MLF announcement which matched this month’s expiring MLF loans and further dampened prospects of PBoC easing. Today also saw the launch of the Beijing Stock Exchange which aims to help SMEs raise capital and included 81 companies in the first batch of listings, while participants await the Biden-Xi virtual meeting which is set to take place Monday evening at 19:45EST or Tuesday morning in Asia and with US Treasury Secretary Yellen and Secretary of State Blinken set to join in on the call. Finally, 10yr JGBs are higher as they tracked a marginal rebound in T-notes and following the disappointing Japanese GDP release, but with gains capped as stocks in Tokyo remained afloat and amid the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today. Top Asian News Cathay Crew Who Flew From Frankfurt Doing 21-Day Quarantine Duterte Runs for Philippine Senate, Avoids Clash With Daughter Greenland Jumps in Bond Market After Classification Change Chinese Startup Meicai Is Said to Pick Banks for Hong Kong IPO European equities (+0.1%) trade with minor gains which have nudged the Stoxx 600 to a high of 487.21 in what has been a quiet start to the week. The desk will continue to monitor further lockdown restrictions across the region, however, updates from the Netherlands and Austria have done little to dent sentiment thus far. The handover from the APAC region was a mixed one as the soft GDP data from Japan was overshadowed by forthcoming stimulus efforts whilst Chinese equities were unable to garner much upside from stronger than forecast Industrial Production and Retail Sales data. Participants were also awaiting the Biden-Xi virtual meeting which is set to take place Monday evening at 19:45EST or Tuesday morning in Asia. Stateside, futures are trading with gains of a similar magnitude to their European counterparts (ES +0.1%) with not a great deal on the docket beyond the NY Fed Manufacturing print at 13:30GMT/08:30EST. Back to Europe, sectors are relatively mixed with Travel & Leisure top of the leaderboard amid gains in Deutsche Lufthansa (+1.7%) after the Co. was upgraded to neutral from sell at UBS. Oil & Gas names have been granted some reprieve following the selling pressure seen towards the latter half of last week. To the downside, Basic Resources is the standout laggard amid underlying price action in the metals space. In terms of individual movers, Ahold Delhaize (+2.4%) is one of the best performers in the Stoxx 600 after announcing a EUR 1bln buyback as of 2022, accelerated its growth/investment plan and will explore an IPO of Shell (+1.8%) is seen higher on the session after announcing that it is looking to implement a simplified structure and move its tax residency to the UK from the Netherlands. To the downside, Philips (-12.1%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 as concerns continue to mount over its ventilator recall issues in the US. Finally, BBVA (-3.7%) is seen lower on the session after launching a tender offer to acquire the remaining 50.2% of Turkiye Garanti Bankasi. Top European News U.K. Expands Covid-19 Booster Program to People in Their 40s Austria Locks Down Unvaccinated as Europe Tightens Covid Curbs Cathay Crew Who Flew From Frankfurt Doing 21-Day Quarantine Telefonica Launches Tender Offer for Hybrid Notes In FX, the Aussie and Kiwi are outperforming their major peers, or making the most of ongoing Greenback consolidation off last week’s new y-t-d highs, with the former also gleaning encouragement from Chinese data overnight as ip and retail sales beat consensus. Aud/Usd is back above 0.7350 and Nzd/Usd has reclaimed 0.7050+ status as the Aud/Nzd cross hovers in the low 1.0400 zone and eyes an unusually large 1 bn option expiry at the round number. Similarly, the Norwegian and Swedish Krona are both firmer vs a somewhat leggy/lethargic Euro, but with assistance from macro releases in the form of trade and inflation respectively. Eur/Nok is probing 9.9200 and Eur/Sek is testing bids and support around 10.0000 compared to peaks near 9.9600 and 10.0330. CAD/DXY - No lasting support from crude prices for the Loonie as WTI retreats through Usd 80/brl from Usd 81.20 at best, but Usd/Cad has reversed from 1.2550+ ahead of Canadian manufacturing sales and wholesale trade that are out alongside the more timely Empire state survey. Meanwhile, the index is meandering either side of 95.000 within a 95.152-94.963 band having ‘topped out’ at 95.266 in wake of US CPI and a far from well received new 30 year issue. GBP/EUR/CHF/JPY - All narrowly mixed against the Buck and seemingly awaiting clearer direction from their US counterpart or independently, as Cable continues to straddle a key Fib level (1.3412) in advance of testimony from the BoE on the latest MPR and top tier UK data from tomorrow. Eur/Gbp is sitting even tighter around 0.8530 before talks intensify to try and resolve differences on NI Protocol, while Eur/Usd is pivoting 1.1450, Usd/Chf is rotating around 0.9200 and Usd/Jpy is holding mostly below 114.00. Note, the Euro has ECB speakers to digest (see Headline Feed at 10.01GMT for remarks from President Lagarde) and look forward to, while the Franc has not really responded to small rises in weekly Swiss sight deposits and the Yen has largely brushed aside much weaker than expected Japanese GDP and a draft document saying that the government and BoJ share a strong sense of urgency about supply shortages, whilst maintaining an appropriate combination of monetary and fiscal policies. In commodities, WTI and Brent are softer this morning, with losses in excess of 1.0% on the session thus far. Such pressure stems from demand-side updates in the wake of further COVID-19 measures being announced/implemented, most recently that Austria is entering a lockdown for the un-vaccinated and the Netherlands is to reimpose social distancing from Saturday. Furthermore, given the surge in cases seen in Germany in recent weeks the three-parties in coalition discussions intend to put forward proposals to Parliament on Thursday for renewed measures, which will reportedly include contact restrictions. On the other hand, the supply-side of the equation is cognisant of the looming imposition of further restrictions on Belarus by the EU, particularly as Leader Lukashenko last week said they would respond to any sanctions and suggested closing gas/goods transit through Belarus. Additional sanctions are, currently, scheduled to be announced this afternoon. Separately, and perhaps adding pressure, is commentary from various oil ministers the most pertinent of which has seen the UAE representative announce they are to increase production to over 5mln BPD from the current 4mln by 2030, alongside expecting a Q1-2022 oil surplus. Currently, the benchmarks are in proximity to the sessions trough which resides around USD 0.10/bbl below Friday’s low of USD 79.78/bbl in WTI, for instance. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver have been grinding higher throughout the European morning but are yet to retrace the downside seen overnight in-spite of the stronger Chinese data though this failed to spur regional or base-metal performance either. In terms of bank views, the Head of Energy Research at Goldman Sachs predicting the precious metal is set for a boom to the USD 2k level. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Nov. Empire Manufacturing, est. 22.0, prior 19.8 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap This morning I’ve just put out a short note which I hope will win the catchiest research title of the year award. It’s called “If you think real yields are low, look at these charts…”. See here for the link. Regular readers will know my view that inflation will be structurally higher going forward and that for the rest of my career developed market real yields will likely stay negative even if nominal yields climb. This is because with debt so high, history suggests that heavy financial repression will be necessary to manage this. However, nothing could have prepared me for 2021 so far with US CPI at 6.2% YoY in October and 10-year US yields stuck below 1.6%. On a spot basis real yields are c.-4.6% and at around 70-year lows. If you think real yields are low, however, take a look at the 200-year graphs in the note to see that whenever debt has spiked historically, real yields have moved a lot lower than even today’s levels, albeit through inflation around or above 20%. These are extreme times but history offers even more extreme examples. Staying with inflation DB’s Francis Yared and I did a webinar on inflation last week and the recording can be viewed here. You’ll need Francis’s slides at hand on Regime Shifts in Inflation (link here) and mine (link here) on what history can tell us about inflation and what it means for asset prices in the future. I thought it was a really good webinar but I am slightly biased. Maisie and mum came back from a week in hospital at the weekend. Mum slept for 18 hours on Saturday leaving me to work out how the wheelchair folds up and reopens and delivering what I hoped was the right dose of morphine. It’s going to be tough living with a wheelchair for the next year as Maisie’s hip bone tries to regrow but after hearing many stories from my wife about children in the ward with life threatening conditions you realise that you’re actually pretty lucky. Before you think I’ve gone all zen, I did nearly throw the wheelchair across the room when it wouldn’t unfold. I’d missed a small lever under the seat. After a tiring last week at home and in the markets it’s a quieter week ahead in terms of the calendar, though market attention will continue to focus on the question of who might be appointed as the next Fed Chair, as well as the latest inflation statistics from a number of countries, including the UK (Wednesday). There is a reasonable amount of Fedspeak so it’ll be especially interesting to hear those on the transitory side to see if last week’s shocking print has impacting their thinking. Otherwise, geopolitics will be in focus, with today’s virtual meeting between US President Biden and Chinese President Xi, alongside continued speculation about whether the UK might trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol even if tensions have eased a touch in the last few days. Starting with today’s virtual meeting between President Biden and President Xi, it is set to take place at 7:45 PM Washington time, which will be 8:45 AM on Tuesday in Beijing. While both the presidents spoke over the phone twice this year, this is the first time it is being dubbed as a summit. There is some thought that tariff reductions could be on the agenda, especially given current US inflation levels but it might be a bit early for that in any relationship rebuild. We’ll know more in time for tomorrow’s EMR. The monthly Chinese data dump came in better than expected overnight with industrial output +3.5% yoy (vs. 3% expected), retail sales 4.9% yoy (vs 3.7% expected) but fixed-asset investment slightly missing at 6.1% (vs 6.2% expected). There is some discussion that the retail sales beat may be led by higher prices and also higher food sales as consumers prepare for the possibility of winter virus restriction. Asian stocks are trading mixed with the KOSPI (+1.04%) and the Nikkei (+0.48%) trading in the green while the Hang Seng (-0.08%), Shanghai Composite (-0.29%) and CSI (-0.29%) trading lower. In Japan GDP shrank by -0.8% from the last quarter (-0.2% consensus and +0.5% previous) augmenting expectations of a stimulus package by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida, which is expected to be announced at the end of this week. The Nikkei reported last Friday that the stimulus could top 40 trillion yen ($350 bn). Futures are pointing to a muted start in US & Europe with S&P 500 futures (-0.01%) and DAX futures (-0.08%) both fairly flat. Moving onto the rest of the week, there are a few decisions from EM central banks over the week ahead, including Turkey, South Africa and Indonesia (all Thursday). However, the main focus for investors will be the speculation about who might be the next Fed Chair, particularly in light of the news out last week that both incumbent Fed Chair Powell and Governor Brainard had been interviewed for the position. Powell’s current four-year term comes to an end in February, and whoever’s nominated would require senate confirmation for another term. At this point 4, 8 and 12 years ago, the announcement of who’d be nominated had already been made, but we still don’t have a date for when we might get the news. However, it may not be too far away, with President Biden saying in Glasgow on November 2 that it would be “fairly quickly”. On the data side, there’ll be an increasing amount of hard data out of the US for October, including retail sales, industrial production (both Tuesday) and housing starts (Wednesday). Meanwhile, there’ll also be some important UK data as the Bank of England mulls over their monetary policy settings ahead of their meeting next month. On Tuesday, there’s the latest employment report, and then on Wednesday, we’ll get the latest CPI reading for October. Turning to politics, it’s worth keeping an eye out for any developments on Brexit, with speculation rising that the UK government could trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol. Over the last 3 or 4 days the mood music has moved a little towards compromise so we’ll see if this gathers some momentum. Lastly on the earnings front, it’s the tail end of the season now, but there are still a few major companies left to report. Tomorrow we’ll hear from Walmart and Home Depot, before Wednesday brings reports from Nvidia, Cisco, Lowe’s and Target. Then on Thursday, we’ll hear from Intuit, Applied Materials and TJX. Recapping last week now and inflation had a strong stranglehold on the market narrative, as much higher-than-expected US CPI data drove Treasury yields higher, led by the belly of the curve. Global sovereign yields increased in sympathy. Quickly recapping the highlights from the pivotal CPI data: year-over-year headline CPI of 6.2% and core CPI of 4.6% were each the highest readings since the early 1990s and we’re generally getting to levels last seen consistently at the start of the 40yr disinflationary trend in the early 1980s. Price gains were shared across a broad range of components, which prompted some rabble rousing out of Democratic politicians, including President Biden. Five-year Treasury yields increased +13.5 bps as investors brought forward the expected timing of increases to the fed funds rate. Markets are pricing the first Fed rate hike by the July FOMC and 2.5 hikes through 2022. This compares with a September FOMC lift-off and fewer than 2 hikes in 2022 a week before. All told, 2yr, 5yr, and 10yr Treasury yields increased +11.7bps (+0.5bps Friday), +17.1bps (+1.0bps Friday), and +11.9bps (+2.1bps Friday) on the week. 10yr inflation breakevens hit their highest levels on record, finishing the week at 2.72%. Real yields were the only rates declining on the week, with 10yr real Treasury yields retreating -6.6bps (+0.8bps Friday) to end the week at -1.17%, just above all-time lows. Other developed sovereign bond yields followed Treasuries higher, with ten-year yields in Germany, UK, France, and Italy increasing +2.1bps (-2.8bps Friday), +6.9bps (-0.6bps Friday), +3.5bps (-2.8bps Friday), +7.8bps (-0.8bps Friday) on the week. The spectre of higher inflation and concomitant monetary policy tightening put an end to the recent S&P 500 win streak. After posting eight straight days of record highs by Tuesday, the S&P 500 retreated -0.31% this week, including -0.82% on Wednesday alone following the inflation data, but made a heroic effort to reclaim lost ground Friday, gaining +0.72%. Mega cap stocks were notable laggards, due to the increase in discount rates, with FANG+ stocks down -0.49% (+1.00% Friday). The index was also hit by a -15.44% collapse in Tesla stocks following news that Elon Musk would liquidate some of his holdings, which he duly did. European stocks proved more resilient, with the STOXX 600 (+0.68% on the week, +0.30% Friday), DAX (+0.25%, +0.07%), and CAC 40 (+0.72%, +0.45%), again posting new all-time highs to finish the week. On the virus front, Pfizer requested regulatory approval for all US adults to be eligible to receive the company’s Covid-19 booster shot, while climbing cases in Europe have prompted renewed lockdown measures and enhanced vaccination efforts across the continent. Federal Vice Chair for Supervision Quarles announced he would resign at the end of the year, as was widely anticipated. There was a steady leak of news on the impending nomination for Fed Chair, but neither Chair Powell nor Governor Brainard, the two favorites for the position, saw their chances much changed following the news. The Fed also released its bi-annual Financial Stability Report and concluded that asset prices remain vulnerable to deteriorating investor risk sentiment, virus progress, or economic recovery. Geopolitical tensions bubbled in Europe. Threats from Belarussian President Lukashenko to cut the transit of natural gas from Russia to Europe, and reports of potential Russian plans for further military excursions into Ukraine, drove European natural gas prices higher in the second half of the week. President Putin apparently warned the US and its allies that Moscow would not tolerate expansion of Western military influence in Ukraine. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/15/2021 - 07:59.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 15th, 2021

As Elon Dumped Billions, Tesla Stock Soared?

As Elon Dumped Billions, Tesla Stock Soared? Update: One of the most interesting things about the price action in Tesla shares this week is that when the massive sales from Elon Musk occurred (Monday and Wednesday), TSLA shares miraculously surged as the wave of Musk selling hit. And yet collapsed on Tuesday - which as far as the filings are concerned saw no Musk sales...  SpotGamma explains below, that once again, it was the manipulation of the options market that enabled $5 billion of TSLA stock to be dumped into a 'rising' market... The News After registering to sell shares, over the weekend, Tesla (TSLA) Inc CEO Elon Musk polled Twitter on whether to follow through. His followers voted “Yes” to him selling 10% of its stake. The Sale Process While we are not provided the timestamps linked to the execution, you can extrapolate the timing by reviewing the execution prices filings.  The sale execution started on Monday, November 8th and we will provide analysis of the trading activity yesterday, on November 10th.  The Price Action The resulting movement of the stock, alongside the $5 billion in total stock sales, is quite interesting. The stock rallied on each of the big Musk selling waves... while it plunged on Tuesday when there were no reported sales. The Options Impact One might imagine that while the CEO is selling a large block of stock, the price would continue declining.  However, this was not the case yesterday, and it would be incredibly helpful to have a system that helps analyze the movements and identify the real driver. During these times, HIRO – SpotGamma’s proprietary indicator that analyzes the options market, is a gamechanger.  HIRO analyzes all options trades and applies SpotGamma’s proprietary algorithms to assess direction and magnitude, and tells us if options drove the stock.  Here, we feel confident that options drove the stock price despite Elon selling stock. To illustrate this fact, here are three points during the day and how options pushed the stock: Period one: In the morning, you can see large call buying and/or put selling took place based on HIRO, and the stock subsequently moved 8pct higher.  As per ZeroHedge (above), this is when Elon sold the bulk of his shares, while the stock rose. Period two: In the mid-afternoon, you can see large put buying and/or call selling took place based on HIRO, and the stock subsequently moved 6pct lower. Period three: In the late-afternoon, you can see large call buying and/or put selling took place based on HIRO, and the stock subsequently moved 6pct higher.  Looking Forward Based on the volumes promised to his Twitter followers, Elon is not yet done selling stock, and we believe the options market will remain a critical factor in determining the near term stock price. *  *  * HIRO is currently available through our partner Bookmap, and we will be launching HIRO directly through in the coming weeks.  We will be offering limited access at first, so if you’re interested in joining our waitlist, please fill out the form below and be one of the first people to know when access to HIRO opens up. Update (2200ET): Just hours after the world's richest person filed to show a 934,000 ($1.1 billion) share sale (on Monday) to cover tax liabilities on the exercise of over 2 million options, a second set of filings (here, here, and here) showed an ever more massive sale of another 3.6 million shares for an average price of about $1,070 in the following two days (or around $3.9 billion). Combined, the transactions this week represent about $5 billion, or 3%, of Musk's overall stake.  Elon still owns roughly 167 million Tesla shares. This is only the third time Musk has sold Tesla stock since the company went public on the Nasdaq exchange in 2010—and it's easily his biggest transaction. In July 2010, Musk sold slightly more than 1.4 million shares for $24 million, and in 2016, he sold another 2.7 million shares for about $593 million. Elon's huge sales of TSLA shares this week follow his brother Kimbal Musk - a Tesla board member - sold 15% of his stake on November 5th. That sale of 88,500 shares totalled $109 million. This sale came days before Elon's now infamous tweet about whether he should sell 10% of his own stake. *  *  * As we detailed earlier, having somewhat hinted at his actions over the weekend - given the tweet poll's comments: “much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock.” And almost 58% of the 3.5 million votes were cast in favor of a sale. It is now clear that Elon Musk was indeed selling (though not 10% of his holdings) and was thus responsible for Tesla's big tumble early this week after exercising his options and dumping some of the shares to cover his tax liability. In fact, on Monday, Musk exercised his options which were struck at the extraordinarily low price of $6.24, receiving 2,154,572 shares... The last time TSLA traded at $6.24 was Nov 2012... He then sold a large number of them to cover his tax liability. As per the Form 4: “The shares of common stock were sold solely to satisfy the reporting person’s tax withholding obligations related to the exercise of stock options to purchase 2,154,572 shares” And as the following table shows, Musk was left with 1,220,481 shares from that options exercise. Therefore he sold 934,081 shares (or 43.4% of the exercised options) - or around $1.1 billion. Given the price levels from Form 4, the following chart shows when the sells were made. Thanks perhaps to the magic of 'gamma' manipulation, TSLA shares exploded higher during the first hour of trading as Musk's 934k shares were dumped on 'diamond hands'... ...and in the end, the selling pressure took TSLA stock down 16% in two days (one has to wonder just who or what was holding the stock up all day on Monday, only to let it all come crashing down on Tuesday after the sale was complete)... It’s the billionaire’s first sale since 2016, when he last exercised stock options and liquidated some of his newly acquired shares to cover about $590 million of income taxes. However, there is one awkward thing. It appears the whole premise of the poll was a lie since Musk has pre-arranged this sale on September 14th: "AUTOMATICALLY EFFECTED PURSUANT TO A RULE 10B5-1 TRADING PLAN PREVIOUSLY ADOPTED ON SEPTEMBER 14, 2021" The problem that TSLA shareholders have is two-fold - if a 934k lot sparks such a significant drop in the stock... and Musk has 170 million shares left... What happens every year when Elizabeth Warren's wealth tax comes due? Tyler Durden Thu, 11/11/2021 - 13:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 11th, 2021

ETFs in Trouble as Tesla Takes the Hit of Musk"s Twitter Poll

Take a look at some ETFs with strong exposure to Tesla after Musk's contentious Twitter poll. The world’s richest man and CEO of arguably the hottest company in the world, Tesla’s TSLA Elon Musk is again making headlines with his Nov 6 tweet. This time it was a bizarre Twitter poll that read “Much is made lately of unrealized gains being a means of tax avoidance, so I propose selling 10% of my Tesla stock. Do you support this?” Musk, who has a massive fan-following of around 62.5 million on Twitter, even pledged to adhere to the poll results. Coming to results where around 3,519,252 people responded, 57.9% voted “Yes.” Now, it will be interesting to watch if Musk actually follows through.Since the tweet, shares of Tesla have lost nearly 5% and 12% on Nov 8 and 9, respectively. In fact, the billionaire has lost about $50 billion in wealth following the contentious poll. Going by a Bloomberg Wealth report, Tesla’s latest plunge is the biggest two-day decline recorded in the history of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index (as mentioned in The Independent article).Despite the two-day-long plunge, Tesla has returned 45% this year. The company recently entered the exclusive $1-trillion market capitalization club, joining bigwigs like Apple AAPL, Microsoft MSFT, Amazon AMZN and Google GOOGL. The electric carmaker also received an order for 100,000 electric vehicles from rental-car icon Hertz Global. The vehicles will be delivered by the end of 2022.Leading to the strong run this year, the electric carmaker has also posted impressive third-quarter earnings, wherein it surpassed earnings and revenues estimates. Tesla posted record revenues and one of the strongest profit margins in the group's history.ETFs Under the HeatHere we mention some ETFs with a double-digit allocation to Tesla that could bear the brunt of its plunge:Simplify Volt RoboCar Disruption and Tech ETF VCARThis is an actively-managed ETF seeking concentrated exposure to the leader of autonomous driving technology and enhancing the concentrated exposure with options. It is heavily exposed to the Tesla stock and Tesla call options at 21.2% share. The fund seeks to boost its performance during extreme moves in Tesla, charging investors 0.95% in annual fees. It has accumulated $7.30 million in its asset base (read: Top-Performing ETFs of Last Week).The Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR Fund XLYThis product offers exposure to the broad consumer discretionary space by tracking the Consumer Discretionary Select Sector Index. It is the largest and most popular product in this space with AUM of $23.90 billion. Holding 63 securities in its basket, Tesla takes the second spot with 18.4% of assets. The fund charges 12 basis points (bps) in annual fees (read: Consumer Discretionary ETFs to Gain as COVID-19 Situation Improves).ARK Autonomous Tech. & Robotics ETF ARKQThis is an actively-managed ETF seeking long-term capital appreciation by investing in companies that benefit from the development of new products or services as well as technological improvement and advancements in scientific research related to energy, automation and manufacturing, materials and transportation. This approach results in a basket of 30-50 stocks, with Tesla occupying the top spot with an 11% share. The product has accumulated $2.75 billion in its asset base and charges 75 bps in fees per year (read: 6 ETFs to Ride on Tesla's Trillion-Dollar Market Cap).ARK Next Generation Internet ETF ARKWThis is an actively-managed fund focusing on companies expected to benefit from the shift in technology infrastructure to cloud, enabling mobile, new and local services. The fund holds about 35-55 stocks in its basket, with Tesla occupying the top position at 10.2%. The ETF has amassed $5.58 billion in its asset base and charges 79 bps in annual fees (read: Follow Cathie Wood With These Stocks & ETFs).ARK Innovation ETF ARKKThis is an actively-managed fund investing in companies that benefit from developing new products or services, technological improvements and advancements in scientific research in fields like Automation, Robotics, and Energy Storage, Fintech Innovation and others. In total, the fund holds about 35-55 securities in its basket, with Tesla occupying the top position, accounting for a 9.7% share. The product has gathered $21.18 billion in its asset base and charges 75 bps in fees per year from investors.MicroSectors FANG+ ETNs FNGSThis ETN is linked to the performance of the NYSE FANG+ Index, which is an equal-dollar weighted index designed to provide exposure to a group of highly traded growth stocks of next-generation technology and tech-enabled companies. It holds 10 equal-weighted stocks in its basket, with Tesla accounting for a 10% share. The product has accumulated $83.3 million in its asset base and charges 58 bps in annual fees (read: ETFs in Focus as Big Tech Q3 Earnings Start to Unfold). Want key ETF info delivered straight to your inbox? Zacks’ free Fund Newsletter will brief you on top news and analysis, as well as top-performing ETFs, each week.Get it free >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Apple Inc. (AAPL): Free Stock Analysis Report Microsoft Corporation (MSFT): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report Consumer Discretionary Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLY): ETF Research Reports ARK Next Generation Internet ETF (ARKW): ETF Research Reports ARK Autonomous Technology & Robotics ETF (ARKQ): ETF Research Reports ARK Innovation ETF (ARKK): ETF Research Reports MicroSectors FANG ETN (FNGS): ETF Research Reports Simplify Volt Robocar Disruption and Tech ETF (VCAR): ETF Research Reports To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 10th, 2021

The 23 best western books, from cowboy classics to feminist reimaginings

From classics like "Lonesome Dove" to new bestsellers like "Outlawed," here are some of the best western books. Some of the best westerns include "Lonesome Dove," "The Gunslinger," and "How Much of These Hills Is Gold." Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/Insider When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Westerns are usually categorized as stories of cowboys during the 18th and 19th centuries. This list has classic and contemporary books for western fans. Want more books? Check out the best historical fiction books. Westerns are classically known as stories about cowboys, outlaws, and shoot-outs brought to life in desert towns. Newer westerns, however, explore the untold stories of Native Americans defending their communities, outlawed women on the run, and unlikely romances set on desolate ranches. To gather this list of the best western book recommendations, we looked at bestseller lists on Amazon and Bookshop, award-winning westerns, and favorites from Goodreads reviewers. So whether you're a "Lonesome Dove" fan or completely new to the genre, here are 20 of the best western books. The 23 best western books to read in 2021: A Pulitzer Prize-winning western Amazon "Lonesome Dove" by Larry McMurtry, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.69The winner of the 1986 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction, "Lonesome Dove" is a western classic and the most popular Western, according to Goodreads members. The story follows Captain Woodrow F. Call and Captain Augustus McCrae, two retired Texas Rangers who live in a small Texas town and drive a cattle herd from Texas to Montana, exploring themes of friendship, resilience, and loss during their epic journey. A western about a community coming together to face frontier violence Amazon "Cherokee America" by Margaret Verble, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.59This western is set in 1875 in the Cherokee Nation West as several stories unravel around Check, a wealthy farmer, mother, and soon-to-be widow. In this book loosely based on the stories told by the author's ancestors, a series of violent events intertwine in Check's life, pushing her and her neighbors to come together to protect the community, no matter the cost.  A western about rebellious female outlaws Amazon "Heresy" by Melissa Lenhardt, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.99Hattie LaCour and Margaret Parker are partners in crime, outlaw women running a gang of underdog outlaws who pull off a series of heists across the West, evading suspicion as no one imagines women could be capable of such elaborate crimes. When a rival male gang chases them down, determined to end their reign, the women must finish one last job to protect their outlaw family.  A western set during the Gold Rush Amazon "How Much of These Hills Is Gold" by C Pam Zhang, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99"How Much of These Hills Is Gold" is a new western set during the American gold rush about two newly orphaned immigrant siblings who flee their mining town shortly after their father's death. As they set off to bury their father, they encounter tiger paw prints, buffalo bones, and the unforgiving landscape while uncovering their family secrets — and their future.  A coming-of-age western Amazon "Fools Crow" by James Welch, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.49Written by revered Native American author James Welch and set just after the Civil War, "Fools Crow" is a 1986 western coming-of-age novel set in Montana. White Man's Dog is a young Blackfeet Native American whose community is being invaded by white settlers, forcing his band to either assimilate or fight to maintain their way of life.  A popular 2021 western Amazon "Outlawed" by Anna North, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $16.40Ada is a midwife in 1894 who loves her husband and her job but is struggling to do the only thing that seems to really matter in society: Have a child of her own. When Ada still can't get pregnant after a year of marriage, she flees her life under the threat of being tried as a witch and joins the Hole in the Wall Gang as an outlaw, determined to create a safe haven for women who have been cast out from society.  A classic western about a vengeful daughter Amazon "True Grit" by Charles Portis, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.35Mattie Ross was 14 when she began to seek vengeance for her father's murder, who was gunned down by a handyman named Tom Chaney. Joined on her mission by a US Marshal and a Texas Ranger, Mattie heads west to hunt down the outlaw and retells her epic journey 50 years later.  A western set during the Mexican Revolution Amazon "El Paso" by Winston Groom, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99From the author who wrote "Forrest Gump," "El Paso" is a historical fiction novel that wraps history around fictional and nonfictional characters during the Mexican Revolution. This story follows Pancho Villa, a revolutionary and feared outlaw who kidnaps a railroad tycoon's grandchildren in this thrilling western full of gunfights, armies, and an epic bullfight.  A western adventure novel Amazon "News of the World" by Paulette Jiles, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.65After the end of the Civil War, Captain Jefferson Kyle Kidd was traveling through Northern Texas delivering news of the world to small communities when he was offered $50 in gold to deliver a 10-year-old orphan girl to her remaining family in San Antonio. Raised in a Kiowa tribe and recently reclaimed by the US Army, Johanna has forgotten English, continually tries to escape, and is more than reluctant to make the 400-mile journey with a stranger. An award-winning western Amazon "All the Pretty Horses" by Cormac McCarthy, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.29Cormac McCarthy is known for his profound and gripping westerns like "All the Pretty Horses," which won the National Book Award in 1992 and the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1993. This western follows John Grady Cole, the youngest in a long line of Texas Rangers, who was primarily raised by a Mexican family that worked on his grandfather's ranch. When his grandfather passes away and he discovers that the ranch is to be sold, John takes off for the Mexican border with his best friend to find work as a cowboy.  An adventurous modern western Amazon "The Sisters Brothers" by Patrick deWitt, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.19"The Sisters Brothers" is an adventurous and delightful western about the Sisters brothers named Charlie and Eli, assassins for hire who have been set on a mission to kill Hermann Kermit Warm. Though both brothers are disillusioned by the brutality of their work, Eli dreams of a calmer and simpler life as the two set off for gold-mining Sacramento in this novel loved for its compelling dialogue.  The first in Stephen King's western series Amazon "The Gunslinger" by Stephen King, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.83The first of Stephen King's "The Dark Tower" series, "The Gunslinger" introduces readers to Roland of Gilead, The Last Gunslinger, who has spent years chasing the man in black. Blending traditional western themes with elements of fantasy, science fiction, and horror, this series grips readers from the first installment as Roland meets new and interesting characters on his quest. A collection of western short stories Amazon "Close Range: Wyoming Stories" by Annie Proulx, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.39Nominated for the 2000 Pulitzer Prize, this western short story collection about Wyoming ranchers is told with Annie Proulx's profoundly wise yet dark tone. This collection contains the short story "Brokeback Mountain," which was later adapted to the 2005 film of the same name.  A Nebraskan western classic from 1918 Amazon "My Ántonia" by Willa Cather, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $4.99Published in 1918, "My Ántonia" follows Jim Burden, an orphaned boy, and Ántonia Shimerda, the eldest daughter in a family of Czech immigrants. Brought to Nebraska on the same train, Jim and Ántonia are both brought to the midwest to pioneer the land, navigating the challenging and affecting first year in the brutal west. A fantasy western set during the gold rush Amazon "Walk on Earth a Stranger" by Rae Carson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.99Nominated for a National Book Award, "Walk on Earth" is an epic adventure that mixes fantasy and western elements to tell the story of Lee Westfall, a girl with a special power to sense gold anywhere around her. When her life changes completely, she sets off for California- where gold has just been discovered- in the hopes that she can finally be herself amongst those lost in the gold rush.  A thrilling, newly-released western Amazon The Thousand Crimes of Ming Tsu by Tom Lin, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $13.99Ming Tsu is the son of Chinese immigrants but was raised by the leader of a California crime syndicate and trained as a deadly enforcer. When Ming's wife is kidnapped in a violent raid, Ming partners with a bling clairvoyant, traveling across the west to settle long-buried scores and rescue his wife in this thrilling contemporary western.  A multi-generational western Amazon "The Son" by Philipp Meyer, available at Amazon, from $10.99"The Son" is a Pulitzer-Prize nominated western about Eli McCullough who was 13 when he was taken captive by Comanche natives and adopted as the chief's son, becoming part of the tribe. Years later, when armed Americans destroy Eli's tribe, he's left alone in the world and must make his own way in this multi-generational novel that spans from the 1800s to the oil booms in the 20th century.  A magical, genre-bending western Amazon "The Devil's Revolver" by V.S. McGrath, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $21.95This fantastical western begins with a tense shooting competition and takes off after a double murder and kidnapping, setting 17-year-old Hettie on a mission for revenge. Joined by her crew of underdogs, Hettie sets out with her father's revolver, cursed to take a year off Hettie's life each time she fires it.  A steamy queer western romance Amazon "Long Winter" by Rachel Ember, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.87Robbie lives alone on Riverside Ranch, braving the harsh winter with his cats and horses to care for and keep him company. When he gets a call to pick up his little brother's best friend from jail, old flames reignite as another snowfall traps the men in Robbie's one-room hayloft apartment.  A gripping western mystery novel Amazon "The Cold Dish" by Craig Johnson, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.48Craig Johnson is known for his thrilling western mysteries and "The Cold Dish" is one of his most popular novels —  and the first in his "Walt Longmire" starring crime-solving Wyoming sheriff Walt Longmire. When Cody Pritchard is found dead two years after he and his friends assaulted a Northern Cheyenne girl, Walt considers this may be an act of vengeance, a theory solidified after a second boy from the assault is murdered. A contemporary western cowboy romance Amazon "Cowboy Rising" by Mia Hopkins, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $7.09Georgia Meyers is a journalist writing an article about MacKinnon Ranch (a last-ditch effort to save her job at the newspaper) when she meets Daniel MacKinnon, the cattleman's son who recently turned down a promising oil career to take over his family's farm. Though fifth in the "Cowboy Cocktail" series, "Cowboy Rising" can absolutely be read as a standalone novel, as the one-night-stand between Georgia and Daniel takes off to become so much more.  An equally funny and serious satirical western Amazon "Little Big Man" by Thomas Berger, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $15.64Narrated by the 111-year-old Jack Crabb, this satirical western is about a white man who was raised by the Cheyenne Native Americans and describes his life in the west. As Jack Crabb encounters a cast of famous characters from Buffalo Bill to General Custer, he continually leaves and returns to the Cheyenne community as he considers the entirety of his identity.  A classic western children's book Amazon "Little House on the Prairie" by Laura Ingalls Wilder, available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $8.27"Little House on the Prairie" is a classic 1935 children's book about Laura Ingalls, who moves from Wisconsin to Kansas as her father builds their family a little house and a new life. This nostalgic and beloved book follows Laura as she and her family explore their challenging new life in the midwest.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 8th, 2021

Shocked Goldman Trader Admits "I Could Never Imagine Typing These Large Numbers"

Shocked Goldman Trader Admits "I Could Never Imagine Typing These Large Numbers" Three weeks ago, when stocks were holding on to dear life - and key support levels - amid a wave of bearish sentiment which threatened to drag risk below its July lows, Goldman took the other side of the trade and said it expected a huge market meltup in the coming weeks, a call which it doubled down on one week later. In retrospect, the vampire squid was absolutely correct, with the S&P soaring by 400 points in the past month... ... in the process demolishing the wall of worry, even if the meltup was widely missed by professional speculators - many of them crushed by the turmoil in bond markets - who according to Bloomberg, were going risk-off in stocks, cutting leverage at the fastest pace in months as many bearish bets backfired. To be sure, the past months has been one for the history books; just consider these statistics: The S&P 500 ended October at 32.5 times profits, according to Leuthold Group that uses a five-year normalized earnings estimate; such a multiple was seen only once before this year - during the dot-com era. And yet, the S&P 500 is already 7% above the highest year-end target in a Bloomberg survey of Wall Street strategists that was conducted in January. Stocks rose for a fifth week for their longest rally in 14 months. After taking off amid robust third-quarter earnings, equities got a further boost from a string of dovish pivots from central banks. the Nasdaq 100 just scored two perfect weeks in a row, something that has happened only once before - in 2017. That year also marked the last time when the gauge posted gains in all but two sessions over an 18-day stretch. On that count, the S&P 500 just notched its best run since 1990.  the Nasdaq 100 is up in 16 of the past 18 days - an extremely rare advance, and missing out is costly. And yet, similar runs have come in dismal years for equities - 2007 and 1999, specifically - suggesting to some that a crash may be dead ahead. And yet, it is this temptation to overthink a market by Wall Street veterans who have never seen a meltup such as this one, that has held kept Wall Street pros on the sidelines and is enabling a continued meltup in stocks. “While I turned a bit more cautious at the start of the week, the trend remains your friend,” said Chris Weston, head of research at Pepperstone Financial Pty. “It becomes more of a FOMO trap into year-end.” “Global central bankers recommit to the bubble,” Senyek said. “There’s probably a good bit of performance chasing going on as well. We see more upside from now to year-end.” “Is it time to pull the rip cord or is this what the market is trying to do in order to suck in every last dollar out?” said Alon Rosin, Oppenheimer & Co.’s head of institutional equity derivatives. These are the “things that make you go ‘hmmmm,’ but in the meantime, there is just too much speculation across asset classes that is working and FOMO is fully on here into the year-end chase.” And yet, while institutional investors have mostly sat the recent rally out as Bloomberg describes in "As Stock Markets Set News Records, Hedge-Fund Managers Aren't Buying the Frenzy", the same can not be said for retail investors. Oppenheimer's Alon Rosin,  had the first-hand experience with the retail euphoria. His older sister, who has never traded a stock, just asked about how to buy Tesla shares online. And that made him wonder how far this bull market can go. Today, courtesy of Goldman, we may have the answer, because the same Goldman flow trader - Scott Rubner - who said in mid-October that the meltup is just starting, has a stunning update for what is in stock. And it appears that at this point, going simply on technicals and flows, a 5,000 target on the S&P is not unreasonable. * * * Writing that "the number #1 question to hit my IB this week: Why did retail traders return into the US stonx market like its 1999 this week when stimulus checks have run out?  And “how high (the S&P) actually go before year-end”?", Rubner's answer is - in a word or two - much, much higher. Noting that US Households now own 38% of the $75 Trillion US corporate equity market... .... or 12x the size of the market cap owned by hedge funds... ... and after becoming the largest owner of the stock market, retail is now also the largest trader of stocks as "everyone in the now in the pool" in what may be the biggest distribution phase in human history. What does this mean in quantitative terms? Here is the stunning explanation: I have roughly $15B of non-fundamental US equity demand every day of November and I might be understating the money flows, not including YOLO. In the last two weeks, option trading in the USA has never been greater! After following the retail trading community for the last 18 years, I could never imagine typing these large numbers. Here is the punchline: single stock option notional (140%) now exceeds single stock shares notional, 72% of options traded have an expiry of two-weeks or less (think 2-3-4 days), and activity on the message boards is as high as it has been all year. Here is a breakdown from Rubner of daily single stock option notional traded in the last two-weeks "as we enter the Metaverse" Mon 25-Oct $657bn – TSLA day = +12.66%. This was the retail yolo inflection. Tue 26-Oct $680bn - This is largest single stock option notional traded on a Tuesday. Wed 27-Oct $694bn - This is largest single stock option notional traded on a Wednesday. Thu 28-Oct $711bn Fri 29-Oct $894bn - This is largest single stock option notional traded on a Friday. Mon 01-Nov $664bn - This is largest single stock option notional traded on a Monday. Tue 02-Nov $582bn Wed 03-Nov $655bn – In terms of # of contracts, Wednesday saw the 7th largest number of calls (31.60M) traded in history, going back to 1992. This is where things became broad based. Thur 04-Nov $904bn - This is largest single stock option notional traded of all time. Yesterday saw the 3rd largest number of calls (32.78M)  traded (exceeding January 28/29th). This was not even an expiry today. I expect volumes massive today. What was special about Thursday, a non-expiry day? Nothing. There will be massive volume going through at the close today. A more detailed breakdown of the total single stock option volume on Thursday: (Retail has pivoted into calls on the biggest stocks, which drive the index higher). $234bln TSLA $231bln AMZN $ 71bln NVDA $ 54bln GOOGL $ 25bln AAPL $ 20bln AMD $ 20bln FB $ 16bln GOOG $ 12bln MSFT $ 12bln MRNA $209bln All other underlyings ... or a grand total of $904BN, just shy of $1 trillion in notional option volume! So what comes next? According to Rubner, when he looked at GS Tactical Flow of Funds from November 2020, "it looks like retail activity spiked aggressively into Thanksgiving holidays, “What trades have you made during Thanksgiving Dinner” convo."  In short, the 400 points meltup over the past month is just the beginning; what comes next will blow everyone away (at least until Gartman turns bullish). But wait there's more, because in addition to this epic retail inflow frenzy, November and December have long been the two best months for stocks... ... and as Rubner notes below, we are facing an absolute waterflow of new inflows into year end. For the reasons listed below reveal, the Goldman flow trader is looking for an unloved FOMO led rally From November 1st to “Thanksgiving”, which will add to the already stunning statistics of 2021: S&P has recorded 58th ATH last night which is already the 4 most ever ATH’s recorded in a single full year (77x in 1995, 62x in 1964, and 62x in 2017), that 1 new ATH for every 3.58x trading days this year. So without further ado, here is why Goldman expects nothing but levitating until the end of the month: 1. Corporate Buybacks – November 1st, Monday, re-opens the buyback window and November plus December opens the best two-month period of the year for buyback executions or $~4B per day to close out 2021. Best corporate authorizations on record. a. 11/1 is the GS official start to the buyback window (65% of corporates are in the open window). The GS buyback desk forecasts $887B worth of executions for 2021. This would be the second highest year on record (after 2018). b. There are 42.5 trading days in November and December including major vacation weeks and low liquidity. c. In Q4, the GS buyback desk estimates +$230B repurchases, this is broken down by +$70B in October during the blackout window using 10b5-1 plans and +$160B in November and December. d. The breakdown of executions per quarter is as follows: Q1 - $203B (actual), Q2 - $234B (actual), Q3 - $220B forecast, Q4 - $230B forecast.   e. The $160B of repurchases in the last two months of the year is ~$3.80B per day, every day. This is significantly front loaded into November (and should pace above >$4B). Buybacks by month... Generation Investor ("Gen I") – there is clear evidence that the WFH trader (look at SHIB for example) has returned back into the equity market and time to pay for X-mas gifts. There is a MASSIVE return (and pivot) of retail traders and weekly call options: f. US households own 38% of the $75 Trillion US corporate equity market. This is a 200bp increase since the start of the year. (was 36% on 1/1/21) g. US households increased their equity market cap by 200bps or $1.5 Trillion YTD. This increase is nearly the full size of the HF industry, 300bps. Community meets capital in 2021. h. Retail investors added +$5.6B worth of equity fund demand every day last week, making $28 Billion and accelerating. The single stock numbers are even more staggering. Retail has pivoted into mega-cap tech (TSLA, MSFT) and out of speculative #YOLO (GME, AMC). 3. New month = New inflows. November monthly inflows are massive and have overshoot historical estimates in each of the last 8 months. i. Over the last 30 years, +20bps of new money comes to the market every November, on $28 Trillion in assets, this is >$56 Billion of new $ ~3B per day. 4. 2021 Passively allocated – you give me money = I buy. You ask for money = I sell. Flows have been one-way all year and I expect this to continue. j. Global equities have logged $1.1 Trillion worth of inflows during the last 52 weeks. This is 4x larger than any 1-year period in history. k. I get asked a lot about this market structure dynamic. USA fund assets are now tilting passive with 52% AUM passive vs. 48% AUM active. l. Globally active funds (54% of AUM) still exceed passive funds (46%). The last 4 year have averaged a 150bp change into passive, so in roughly ~2 years, global active and passive should be 50% vs. 50%. 5.  Index Construction is key. Bad Breadth? Here is an ETF example. m) If I allocate $1 into the SPY ETF: This is what happens - 6.3 cents to MSFT, 6 cents to AAPL, 4.4 cents to GOOG/L, 4 cents to AMZN, 2 cents to TSLA, 2 cents to FB/MVRS, 25 cents every $1 “Equity Allocation” goes into these 6 stocks. n) If I allocate $1 into the QQQ ETF: This is what happens - 11 cents to AAPL, 11 cents to MSFT, 8 cents to GOOG/L, 8 cents to AMZN, 6 cents to TSLA, 4 cents to FB/MVRS, 48 cents every $1 “Spicy Growth Equity Allocation” goes into these 6 stocks. ATH's for both SPX and NDX last night. o). Both Mutual Funds and HF get more underweight as these big 6 charge higher. Here is a chart from Goldman's prime services team (the bank is working on the new "FAAMG" acronym, our advice of course is GAMMA) 6. Goldman is calling this “the last dance” data point – Flows follow performance in typical “boo-ya Jim CNBC fashion”. 2022 will be crazy hard. There is some ground needed to catch-up to benchmark performance in the last 2 months here.   p. There have been 15 times since 1928, that the S&P is up >20% or more through October. The median return for the rest of the year (last two months only) is +5.92%, with an 80% hit rate. 2021 would be the 16th time. q. This was the best start to the year since 2013 (taper tantrum time?), +23.16%. There is also some positive follow through in January/Q1. 7. Seasonals are the best of the year. “You are here” and hard to find a better hit rate. Seasonals are also very good during year 1 of the presidential cycle. q. We are entering the strongest month (and best two month period) of the year with a median return of 2.1% and positive hit rate of 71% going back to 1985. 8. There have been a lot of weird moves in micro world during Mutual Fund year-end. In addition, pension Fund selling is now behind us and month-end fears were another “wall-of-worry” removed. r. 801 Equity Mutual Funds report their fiscal year-end today representing +$925B in assets. 24% the number of funds or 18% of AUM. Year-end statements go out to "mom and pop". There have been some random micro moves this week. Selling pressure looked to accelerate in names that were down big on the year before mutual fund year-end. This could be seen in China ADRs for example. s. As of yday's close, our GS model estimates $24bn of US equities to SELL before month end. This ranks in the 64th %ile in absolute $ value over the past 3yrs (89th %ile since Jan 2000), from GS Sales and Trading colleague, Gillian Hood. 9. While the systematic non-fundamental demand impulse has faded, it is still net positive and adds to the daily buying every day t. GS systematic strats team models +$21B to buy over the next 1-week assuming a flat tape or $4.2B of non-fundamental demand per day. 10. #TINA. Happy Trails to Bond Inflows. Happy Trails Cash on the sidelines earning a negative real yield. "Great Rotation" return? u. GS Wedge (+FI + Cash - Equity) = $4 Trillion. Despite the record run into equity funds, the real story has been fixed income inflows. At what level in yields does this slow / stop / reverse? Great-rotation-y. So while it is clear that Goldman expects a historic meltup for at least the next few weeks, the answer what that means quantitatively comes from Goldman managing director Bernhard Rzymelka who notes that the emini has once again broken back inside the wedge as expected: "This opens the market for material upside if it can break above the wedge (currently 4720 but rising daily)." Bottom line: according to Rzymelka, The "late cycle" meltup has started: the chart below shows the inverted S&P on the right axis (orange, log) versus the implied volatility of a 2m 4700 call (blue, left). Vols have started to notably outperform spot and suggesting growing risk of an accelerating melt up higher.  Finally, looking at Monday's action, Rubner writes that "I anticipate a huge activity day on Monday as well from the retail trading community. This is interesting. Prior retail herding events have occurred late in the month, this time it is at the start of the month. What is the duration of activity this time around?  Stay tuned." Tyler Durden Mon, 11/08/2021 - 06:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 8th, 2021

Bond Market Volatility Surges To 18-Month-Highs Ahead Of Fed Taper Talk

Bond Market Volatility Surges To 18-Month-Highs Ahead Of Fed Taper Talk As LongTail Alpha's founder, Vineer Bhansali, notes, pension fund managers have started asking him for guidance on how to best protect their portfolios against interest-rate volatility. “That tells you they are getting worried,” he says. At some point, he adds, “markets are just going to break in some parts. It will be a fun time to trade.” Nowhere is that fear more evident currently than in Treasury bond options markets. The MOVE Index, akin to the VIX index on Treasuries, is spiking, signaling investors are increasingly worried about immediate risk surrounding tomorrow's Fed announcement, most specifically Powell's potential plans to taper bond purchases. (The MOVE Index is a yield-curve weighted index of the normalized implied volatility on 1-month Treasury options. It incorporates the weighted average of vols on the current 2Y, 5Y, 10Y, & 30Y bond.) The spike in the index to the highest levels since April 2020 suggests some front-running in Treasuries is taking place, brokers told Bloomberg's Alyce Andres (but it could also be linked to major dislocations and low liquidity in the back end of the curve). Meanwhile, the VIX Index, pricing expected volatility of the S&P 500, trades around 16. In April 2020, when the MOVE Index was near current levels, the VIX was trading at almost 50. Interestingly, MOVE has normalized back to pre-COVID levels relative to VIX here... Bloomberg also notes that last week's massive cheapening in the 20Y bond (and inversion to the 30Y) continues to see aftershocks (reportedly forcing relative-value and hedge funds to liquidate paper, brokers confirm). The 5s30s curve has collapsed... And 20s30s is inverted for the first time ever... Bear Traps recently summarized this dynamic perfectly: For much of the last two years, price discovery across global government bond yield curves has been suppressed. As we stressed in recent months, "Adam Smith's hands are being tied behind his back." Free markets have not existed in a covid world.  Now central banks are pulling away and the moves across the front and long-end of yield curves are colossal. It's ALL ABOUT the rate of change. In macro rates, the body bags are piling up this week. The losses are enormous across this section of the hedge fund community. As one large whale gets stopped out, he takes the smaller players with him / her. There is a lot more risk out there than meets the eye. In US rates, the 20 and 30-year bonds both yield 1.77%, we touched inversion today. We are NOT seeing real economic growth, bonds are telling us real demand destruction is here. Inflation has already hiked rates 200bps for the Fed. So what happens next? We recently put it all together: The liquidity in what is supposed to be the deepest, most liquid market in the world, is collapsing. In a time when the Fed is still injecting $120BN in liquidity every month, we just observed an event that has only happened on prior previous occasions - Oct 2nd 2017, Aug 19th 2020 and Feb 25th 2021. One can only imagine what happens to liquidity when the Fed begins to taper. As liquidity evaporates, rate vol is accelerating and dislocations across the yield curve accelerate, with bond vol surging while equity vol is completely ignoring the turmoil in the bond market. Eventually equity vol catches up to rates. Some extremely levered multistrat hedge funds are reprising LTCM and piling into treasury/futures basis trades - the same trades that blew up spectacularly in Sept 2019 and March 2020. As hedge funds pile into new flattener basis trades, others are liquidating basis steepeners, in some cases at huge margin call inducing losses, which force them to liquidate other performing assets. A positive feedback loop emerges as liquidity shrinks further while volatility rises as the basis trade funnel gets wider, and more enter while those hoping to exit hold off until the last moment. We hit a tipping point where all basis trades are no longer viable as there is simply not enough liquidity to put new trades on. That's the moment everyone starts rushing for the exits, and as Sept 2019 and March 2020 showed us, that's precisely the catalyst for a cross-asset crash, as basis trading funds scramble to boost liquidity while repo markets lock up. The result is a surge in volatility in underlying assets (TSYs), but also a freeze in the funding pathways (i.e. repo) that are used by the funds to fund said trades. Eventually, Fed steps in to bail out some of the world's richest hedge fund managers, usually under the guise of some social calamity, like - for example - a viral pandemic. We are currently toward the end of step 6 of this checklist. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/02/2021 - 10:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 2nd, 2021

15 Alexa-enabled tech gifts that are perfect for anyone building a smart home

These tech gifts ideas are ideal for anyone who loves the convenience of Alexa and is always tinkering to create the most seamless smart home setup. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Headphones, thermostats, and smart speakers are all available with Alexa support. Amazon; Gilbert Espinoza/Business Insider Many brands, like Bose and Ecobee, sell various smart devices with Alexa. These Alexa-enabled products make great gifts thanks to their built-in voice control. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. Voice assistants make products smarter and easier to use, enabling hands-free control and other helpful features. Amazon's Alexa is one of the most popular options on the market right now, letting customers create an ecosystem of smart home devices.Alexa is primarily known for living inside Amazon devices, like the Echo Dot, the Echo Buds, and Fire TV Stick. That said, you don't actually have to own an Echo product to use Alexa. Many everyday devices like headphones and thermostats from non-Amazon brands have Alexa built-in, giving you access to all the same voice commands you would get with an Amazon device.These products all make perfect gifts for anyone who loves the convenience of Alexa around their house or even in their car.Check out these 15 cool Alexa-enabled devices: A smart speaker with high-quality sound Sonos/Instagram Sonos One Smart Speaker (Gen 2), $219, available from SonosIf your main priority is a good music-listening experience, splurge for this smart speaker, which fills your room with clear, rich sound. You can use Alexa to play and control your music without ever lifting a finger, and you can also use it to control the other smart home devices in your home.As an added bonus, this model also allows buyers to use Google Assistant instead of Alexa if they prefer. A pair of wireless headphones Best Buy Bose 700 Wireless Headphones, $379, available at AmazonBose's flagship headphones feature impressive noise cancellation to cut out surrounding noise so you can focus completely on your music. This model also includes Alexa voice control. Just ask Alexa to turn down the volume, add to your to-do list, and tell you about tomorrow's weather without skipping a beat.Buyers looking for Alexa-enabled headphones on a budget should also consider the Bose QC 35 II. They're an older, less advanced model, but they still deliver good performance for the money. A showerhead that can play music Amazon/Insider Kohler Moxie Alexa-enabled Showerhead, $251.55, available at AmazonYou can skip out on a waterproof speaker and install this showerhead with a built-in speaker, instead. The Kohler Moxie Alexa-enabled Showerhead is a rechargeable device that adjusts its volume to the acoustics around you.After you install the showerhead, you can ask Alexa to listen to the news, play new songs, or add products to your cart. One charge will give you up to six hours of playback on the device. A pet camera and treat dispenser in one Amazon/Insider Petcube Bites 2 Wi-Fi Pet Camera with Treat Dispenser, $249, available at AmazonThe Petcube Bites 2 Wi-Fi Pet Camera doubles as both a safety measure and a way to keep your pets happy. The camera offers high definition video that you can see by tapping into the Petcube Bites 2 app. The camera lets you view rooms with a 160 degree view, zoom in by four times, talk to your pets, and view them at night. Alexa is even built right into the device, so you can ask it to give treats to your pets via voice command. A soundbar with immersive audio Amazon Sonos Beam (Gen 2) Smart Soundbar, $449, available at SonosThis advanced soundbar is compact and smart. Despite its relatively small size, the device delivers an engaging movie- and TV-watching experience.This second-generation model even supports simulated Dolby Atmos audio. The effect isn't as convincing as it is on systems with multiple speakers, but it delivers a wider and taller sense of surround sound. The Alexa integration offers added convenience for hands-free voice control and digital assistant functions, and you can even opt for Google Assistant if you prefer.Note: The black model is currently out of stock, with an expected ship date of November 12. A smart thermostat that responds to your voice Amazon Ecobee Smart Thermostat (includes SmartSensor), $248.64, available at AmazonThe included SmartSensor measures room occupancy and temperature, then signals to the thermostat whether to adjust to a comfortable temperature or switch to energy-saving mode, a cool feature that can save homeowners on their annual bills. Of course, you can adjust the temperature yourself, too, through the app and Alexa voice commands.  A handy fitness tracker Fitbit Fitbit Versa 3, $215.45, available at AmazonIn addition to tracking all types of health and fitness information, including heart rate, sleep quality, and steps walked, Fitbit's powerful smartwatch can now tell you the weather, set timers, change your music, and more with the help of Alexa.This model offers built-in GPS, added support for Google Assistant, and other improved features. For shoppers looking for a more affordable option, the Fitbit Versa 2 is available for $180, though you'll lose out on the improved battery life and special features like blood oxygen tracking. Compact noise-cancelling earbuds Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider Sony WF-1000XM4 True Wireless Earbuds, $248.00, available at AmazonThe WF-1000XM4 are our pick for the best premium wireless earbuds you can buy. Though they're a little pricey, they deliver impressive sound quality, long battery life, IPX4 water resistance, and noise cancellation. Alexa voice control is supported as well, though you do need to activate it with a button press. A smoke and carbon monoxide detector Amazon First Alert Onelink Safe & Sound Smart Hardwired Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Alarm, $181.84, available at AmazonFirst Alert has been making home safety devices for decades, but the Onelink Safe & Sound could be its most innovative one yet. It's a reliable smoke sensor and carbon monoxide detector with a 10-year battery backup, as well as an Alexa-enabled speaker. It's also compatible with Apple HomeKit.  A powerful smart speaker with a helpful display Amazon Bose Home Speaker 500, $349, available at AmazonOne advantage of this Home speaker over the Sonos One, is that this Bose model has a small, integrated LCD screen. It's not a full-fledged smart display by any means, but it can show you the album art and name of the song currently playing.With a custom-designed eight-microphone array, The Bose Home speaker can hear your commands even if you're way across the room or speaking over the music. There are also six presets so multiple users can customize their experiences with the speaker.  A car USB charger with extra smarts Amazon Roav Viva by Anker USB Car Charger, $17.99, available at B&HQuickly charge up your devices with Anker's signature PowerIQ tech, your indispensable car ride companion. At the same time, you can get directions to your destination, listen to an audiobook to make the drive more interesting, and call your friends while keeping your eyes on the road. This bundle even includes a magnetic car mount.  A smart alarm clock to sit by your bed Amazon/Insider iHome iAVS16 Bedside Speaker, $79.90, available at AmazonThe iHome iAVS16 Bedside Speaker brings smart features to an alarm clock. Thanks to built-in Alexa support, you'll be able to get news, weather, and other updates without getting out of bed.The device also lets you stream music from popular streaming services such as Spotify, Amazon Music, and more. The iHome has a number of ways to wake you up, as well, including a gentle wake-up option with light prior to the alarm's sound. A budget-friendly phone with hands-free Alexa Amazon Moto G7 with Alexa Hands-Free (Unlocked, 64 GB), $299.99, available at AmazonThis Amazon-centric phone comes pre-installed with all the necessary apps: Shopping, Music, Audible, and hands-free Alexa. Some highlights of this affordable device include a 12MP and 5MP dual camera, fingerprint sensor and facial recognition, and TurboPower charging, which gives you nine hours of power from just 15 minutes of charging.  A smart light switch Amazon Ecobee Switch+ Smart Light Switch, $39.30, available at AmazonGet this smart switch for all your lighting needs. In addition to Alexa support, it has integrated motion and ambient light detection so you can set it to turn the lights on and off automatically whenever you enter and leave the room, or activate outdoor lights when sunset arrives.  A smartphone mount for your car dash or windshield Amazon iOttie Easy One Touch Connect Pro Dash Mount, $59.99, available at AmazonThis handy mount for your car dash or windshield does much more than just hold your smartphone in place — it brings full hands-free Alexa support to your vehicle. The device uses dual microphones to pick up your voice commands so you can search for directions, check the weather, and stream music without lifting a finger. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 1st, 2021

Futures Meltup To New All Time High As November Begins With A Bang

Futures Meltup To New All Time High As November Begins With A Bang US futures and European stocks rose to a new record high to start the historically stellar month of November... ... and Asian markets jumped amid positive earnings surprises and as concerns of a global stagflation and central bank policy error faded for a few hours (they will return shortly). TSLA melted up by another $35BN in market cap "because gamma." S&P 500 futures climbed 0.4% after the cash index posted the biggest monthly gain since last November. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen expressed confidence in the continuing recovery from the pandemic, helping spur gains in equity markets. Health-care shares rallied in Europe. The dollar and Treasury yields advanced as investors awaited this week’s Federal Reserve meeting to announce the start of tapering (which will then lead to rate hikes next July according to Goldman). Oil rebounded on fresh supply concerns. In addition to the now absolutely batshit insane meltup in Tesla, which won't end until the SEC cracks down on gamma squeeze manipulation, other mega-cap technology stocks such as Google, Meta, Microsoft, Amazon.and Apple, aka oddly enough GAMMA, traded mixed. Exxon and Chevron added about 0.7% each as JP Morgan raised its price target on the oil majors following their strong quarterly results last week. Major Wall Street banks gained between 0.2% and 0.8%. The broader S&P 500 financials sector slipped last week, breaking a three-week winning streak. Lucid Group Inc. rose 4.8% in premarket, extending its advance from last week, after the new U.S. tax plan included a proposal to make EV tax credits more widely available. Harley-Davidson Inc jumped 8.2% after the European Union removed retaliatory tariffs on U.S. products including whiskey, power boats and company’s motorcycles. Here are the most notable pre-market movers: Tesla shares rise 2.3% in U.S. premarket trading after their biggest monthly gain in almost a year in October ABVC BioPharma jumps more than 700% as thelittle known biotechnology company garners attention from retail traders on social media Ocugen and Zosano (ZSAN US) are some other top gainers among retail trader stocks in premarket A largely upbeat earnings season has helped investors look past a mixed-macro economic picture, with the benchmark S&P 500 and the tech-heavy Nasdaq recording their best monthly performance since November 2020 in October. Of the 279 S&P 500 companies that have reported quarterly results, 87% have met or exceeded estimates. Among members of Europe’s Stoxx 600 index, 68% surpassed expectations. On the economic data front, readings on October factory activity data from IHS Markit and ISM are due after market open, followed by non-farm payrolls on Friday. Focus is now on the Fed’s two-day policy meeting which concludes at 2pm on Nov 3, where the central bank will announce the tapering of its $120 billion monthly bond buying program by $15 billion. With recent U.S. data showing inflation pressures building, the market has also started pricing in rate hikes next year. November and December tend to be among the strongest months for stocks and any hawkish tilt in the Fed’s message could catch equities by surprise.  Meanwhile, Biden’s economic agenda seemed to be on track as Democratic lawmakers worked to overcome their differences on a $1.75 trillion social-spending plan. “Depending on where you are looking, you are getting very different stories on the outlook for global markets,” Kerry Craig, global market strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “If you look at equities and the rally you are seeing, you think everything is OK. If you look at the bond market and how yields are moving, there’s obviously a lot more concern around inflation and policy normalization.” European stocks hit the afterburner out of the gate with the Euro Stoxx 50 adding as much as 1% before drifting off best levels. FTSE MIB and IBEX outperform, FTSE 100 lags slightly. Banks, construction and travel are the strongest sectors; tech the sole Stoxx 600 sector in the red. Barclays Plc fell 1.5%. Chief Executive Officer Jes Staley stepped down amid a U.K. regulatory probe into how he characterized his ties to the financier and sex offender Jeffrey Epstein. Asian stocks were poised to snap a three-day decline thanks to a rally in Japanese equities, which got a boost from an election victory for the country’s ruling party and Prime Minister Fumio Kishida.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index advanced as much as 0.6%, while Japan’s benchmark Topix and the blue-chip Nikkei 225 Stock Average each added more than 2%. Sony Group, Toyota Motor and Tokyo Electron were among the single-largest contributors to the regional measure’s rise. By sector, industrials and information-technology companies provided the biggest boosts.  Japan’s ruling Liberal Democratic Party defied worst-case scenarios to secure a majority by itself in a closely-watched election Sunday. Analysts said the outcome signals political stability, paving the way for economic stimulus to be executed as anticipated (see Street Wrap).  “Indicators of market activity show that there will be a positive market impact to the election, as although it was not greatly different than expectations, the LDP clearly surpassed some of the more dire polls of last week and there will not likely be any party shake-up in the intermediate-term,” John Vail, Tokyo-based chief global strategist at Nikko Asset Management wrote in a note.  The market is also “reacting positively” to Friday’s share-price gains in the U.S., Vail said. Futures on the S&P 500 rose during Asian trading hours after the underlying gauge added 0.2%.  Asia’s regional benchmark capped a weekly drop of 1.5%, its worst such performance since early October, as disappointing results weighed on big technology stocks. More than half of the companies on the MSCI Asia Pacific Index have reported results for the latest quarter with about 37% posting a positive surprise, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.6% to 7,370.80, recouping some losses after Friday’s 1.4% plunge. Health and consumer discretionary stocks contributed the most to the benchmark’s gain. WiseTech was among the top performers, snapping a four-day losing streak. Westpac was the worst performer after the bank delivered a smaller share buyback than some had expected. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 13,030.31. In rates, fixed income trades heavy with gilts leading the long end weakness. Treasuries were slightly cheaper on the long-end of the curve as S&P 500 futures exceed last week’s record highs. Yields are cheaper by 2bp to 2.5bp from belly out to long-end, with front-end slightly outperforming and steepening 2s10s spread by 1.7bp; 10-year yields around 1.58% with gilts underperforming by 1.1bp, Italian bonds by 3.5bp. Gilts and Italian bonds lag, with Bank of England rate decision due Thursday. In the U.S., weekly highlights include refunding announcement and FOMC Wednesday and Friday’s October jobs report. Bund and gilt curves bear steepen with gilts ~1bps cheaper to bunds. Peripheral spreads swing an early tightening to a broad widening to core with Italy the weakest performer. Overnight futures and options flows included block seller in 5-year note futures (3,900 at 3:09am ET) and a buyer of TY Week 1 129.00 puts at 3 on 10,000, says London trader. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar index held a narrow range. SEK and CHF top the G-10 score board, GBP lags with cable snapping below 1.3650. TRY outperforms EMFX peers. The BBDXY inched up and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers, with many of the risk-sensitive currencies leading gains The pound retraced some losses against the dollar, after dipping earlier in the European session. The yield on 2-year gilts hit the highest since May 2019. Financial markets are almost fully pricing in a 15-basis point increase in the Bank of England’s benchmark lending rate on Nov. 4, while economists increasingly share that view, even as they see the decision as a far closer call. A record share of U.K. businesses are expecting to increase prices, adding to the inflationary pressures confronting Bank of England policy makers ahead of their meeting on Thursday Australian bonds extended opening gains as traders positioned for the Reserve Bank’s policy decision Tuesday. The Aussie fell, tracking losses in iron ore prices following a weak China PMI, which showed signs of further weakness in October The yen fell for a second day after the ruling Liberal Democratic Party retained its outright majority in a lower-house election, reinforcing bets for fiscal stimulus and reforms. Hedge funds boosted net short positions on the yen to the most since January 2019, raising the risk of a squeeze should risk appetite deteriorate suddenly and demand for havens rise The Turkish lira edged higher after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he had “positive” talks with U.S. President Joe Biden In commodities, crude futures drift higher. WTI adds 40c to trade near $84; Brent rises ~1% near $84.50. Spot gold is quiet near $1,786/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME nickel and tin outperform, zinc lags. Looking at today's calendar, earnings continue on Monday with PG&E and ON Semiconductor reporting pre-market, and NXP Semiconductors post-market. We also get the latest Mfg PMI print and the October Mfg ISM print. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,612.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 479.40 MXAP up 0.4% to 198.04 MXAPJ down 0.3% to 645.49 Nikkei up 2.6% to 29,647.08 Topix up 2.2% to 2,044.72 Hang Seng Index down 0.9% to 25,154.32 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,544.48 Sensex up 1.3% to 60,079.40 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6% to 7,370.78 Kospi up 0.3% to 2,978.94 Brent Futures up 0.3% to $83.95/bbl Gold spot down 0.0% to $1,783.20 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.14 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.091% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1571 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg House Democratic leaders are pushing hard to get Biden’s package finalized, with votes on both that bill and a smaller infrastructure plan this week -- the latest in a string of self- imposed deadlines. The Senate, which already approved the public-works bill, is likely to vote on the larger package later in the month Leaders of the Group of 20 countries agreed on a climate deal that fell well short of what some nations were pushing for, leaving it to negotiators at the COP26 summit in Glasgow this week to try to achieve a breakthrough The U.K. said it will trigger legal action against France within 48 hours unless a dispute over post-Brexit fishing rights is resolved, as the growing spat threatens to overshadow the United Nations’ climate summit Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she believes Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell has taken “significant action” in the wake of revelations over the personal investments of U.S. central-bank policy makers; Yellen dismissed recent moves in the bond market that have signaled concern about monetary policy makers squelching economic growth, and expressed confidence in the continuing recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic The U.S. and the European Union have reached a trade truce on steel and aluminum that will allow the allies to remove tariffs on more than $10 billion of their exports each year Asia-Pac bourses traded mostly higher amid tailwinds from last Friday's fresh record highs in the US where Wall St. topped off its best monthly performance YTD, but with some of the advances in the region capped as participants digested mixed Chinese PMI data and ahead of this week’s slew of key risk events including crucial central bank policy announcements from the RBA, BOE and FOMC, as well as the latest NFP jobs data. ASX 200 (+0.8%) was led higher by the consumer-related sectors amid a reopening play after Australia permitted fully vaccinated citizens to travel internationally again and with several M&A related headlines adding to the optimism including the Brookfield-led consortium acquisition of AusNet Services and Seven West Media’s takeover of Prime Media. Conversely, the largest weighted financials sector failed to join in on the spoils with Westpac shares heavily pressured following its FY results which fell short of analyst estimates despite more than doubling on its cash earnings. Nikkei 225 (+2.5%) was the biggest gainer with the index underpinned by favourable currency flows and following the general election in which the ruling LDP maintained a majority in the lower house although won fewer seats than previously for its slimmest majority since 2012, while the KOSPI (+0.4%) was kept afloat but with upside limited by slightly softer than expected trade data. Hang Seng (-1.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) were subdued amid a slew of earnings releases and following mixed Chinese PMI data in which the official Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMIs disappointed analysts’ forecasts with the former at a second consecutive contraction, although Caixin Manufacturing PMI was more encouraging and topped market consensus. Finally, 10yr JGBs initially declined amid gains in stocks and recent pressure in T-notes due to rate hike bets with analysts at Goldman Sachs bringing forward their Fed rate hike calls to July 2022 from summer 2023 citing inflation concerns, although 10yr JGBS then recovered despite the mixed results from the 10yr JGB auction which showed a higher b/c amid lower accepted prices and wider tail in price. Top Asian News Japan’s Kishida Mulls Motegi for LDP Secretary General: Kyodo Home Sales Slump; Another Bond Deadline Looms: Evergrande Update Two Thirds of China’s Top Developers Breach a ‘Red Line’ on Debt Hedge Fund Quad Sells Memory Stocks Citing Demand Uncertainty European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.6%) have kicked the week off on the front-foot with the Stoxx 600 printing a fresh all-time-high. The handover from the APAC session was a largely constructive one with the Nikkei 225 (+2.6%) the best in class for the region amid favourable currency flows and the fallout from the Japanese general election which saw the ruling LDP party maintain a majority in the lower house. Elsewhere, performance for the Shanghai Composite (-0.1%) and Hang Seng (-0.9%) was less impressive amid a slew of earnings releases and mixed Chinese PMI data in which the official Manufacturing and Non-Manufacturing PMIs disappointed analysts’ forecasts. US equity index futures are trading on a firmer footing (ES +0.5%) ahead of Wednesday’s FOMC announcement and Friday’s NFP data. The latest reports from Washington suggest that House Democrats are hoping to pass the social spending and bipartisan infrastructure bills as soon as Tuesday. Back to Europe, a recent note from JPM stated that Q3 European earnings “are coming in well ahead of expectations in aggregate”, adding that results are healthy when considering the “trickier operating backdrop”. Sectors in the region are higher across the board with Auto names top of the leaderboard. Renault (+3.3%) sits at the top of the CAC 40 with the name potentially gaining some reprieve from agreement to resolve the US-EU steel and aluminium trade dispute (something which the Co. has previously noted as a negative). Also following the resolution, Thyssenkrupp (+2.8%) and Salzgitter (+4.5%) are both trading notably higher. Barclays (-2.0%) shares are seen lower after news that CEO Staley is to step down with immediate effect following the investigation into his relationship with sex offender Jeffrey Epstein; Barclays' Global Head of Markets, Venkatakrishnan is to take over. UK homebuilders (Persimmon -2.1%, Taylor Wimpey -1.9%, Barratt Developments -1.9%, Berkeley Group -1.7%) are softer on the session amid concerns that the sector could fall victim to higher mortgage rates given the shape of the UK yield curve. Ryanair (+1%) shares are higher post-earnings which saw the Co. continue its recovery from the pandemic, albeit still expects a loss for the year. Furthermore, the board is considering the merits of retaining its standard listing on the LSE. Finally, BT (+4.2%) is the best performer in the Stoxx 600 ahead of earnings on Thursday with press reports suggesting that the Co. could announce that its GBP 1bln cost savings target will be met a year earlier than the guided March 2023. Top European News SIG Proposed Offering for EU300m Senior Secured Notes Due 2026 Delivery Hero’s Turkey Unit CEO Nevzat Aydin to Step Down Goldman Sachs Says ‘Lost Decade’ Is Looming for 60/40 Portfolios URW Sells Stake in Paris Triangle Tower Project to AXA IM Alts In FX, the Greenback is holding above 94.000 in index terms and gradually ground higher after pausing for breath and taking some time out following its rapid resurgence last Friday to eclipse the 94.302 month end best at 94.313 before waning again. Hawkish vibes going into the FOMC are underpinning the Dollar and helping to offset external factors that are less supportive, including ongoing strength in global stock markets on solid if not stellar Q3 earnings and economic recovery from COVID-19 lockdown or restricted levels. Hence, the DXY is keeping its head above the round number and outperforming most major peers within and beyond the basket, awaiting Markit’s final manufacturing PMI, the equivalent ISM and construction spending ahead of the Fed on Wednesday and NFP on Friday. JPY/AUD - Little sign of relief for the Yen from victory by Japan’s ruling LDP part at the weekend elections as the 261 seat majority secured is down from the previous 276 and the tightest winning margin since 2012. Moreover, Security General Amari lost his constituency and new PM Kishida concedes that this reflects the public’s adverse feelings towards the Government over the last 4 years. Usd/Jpy is eyeing 114.50 as a result and the Aussie is looking precarious around 0.7500 against the backdrop of weakness in commodity prices even though perceptions for the upcoming RBA have turned markedly towards the potential for YCT to be withdrawn following firm core inflation readings and no defence of the 0.1% April 2024 bond target. NZD/EUR/CHF/CAD/GBP - All narrowly mixed vs their US counterpart, and with the Kiwi also taking advantage of the aforementioned apprehension in the Aud via the cross, while the Euro has pared declines from just under 1.1550, but still looks top-heavy into 1.1600. Elsewhere, the Franc is pivoting 0.9160 and 1.0600 against the Euro with more attention on a rise in Swiss sight deposits at domestic banks as evidence of intervention than a fractionally softer than expected manufacturing PMI, the Loonie is keeping afloat of 1.2400 ahead of Markit’s Canadian manufacturing PMI and Sterling is striving to stay above 1.3600, but underperforming vs the Euro circa 0.8470 amidst the ongoing tiff between the UK and France over fishing rights. SCANDI/EM - Robust Swedish and Norwegian manufacturing PMIs plus broad risk appetite is underpinning the Sek and Nok, in contrast to the Cnh and Cny following disappointing official Chinese PMIs vs a more respectable Caixin print, but the EM laggard is the Zar in knock-on reaction to Gold’s fall from grace on Friday, increasingly bearish technical impulses and SA energy supply issues compounded by Eskom’s load-shedding. Conversely, the Try has pared some declines irrespective of a slowdown in Turkey’s manufacturing PMI as the CBRT conducted a second repo op for Lira 27 bn funds maturing on November 11 at 16%. In commodities, WTI and Brent are firmer this morning with gains of between USD 0.50-1.00/bbl, this upside is in-spite of a lack of fundamental newsflow explicitly for the complex and is seemingly derived from broader risk sentiment, as mentioned above. Nonetheless, Energy Ministers are beginning to give commentary ahead of Thursday’s OPEC+ event and so far Angola, Kuwait and Iraq officials have voiced their support for the planned 400k BPD hike to production in December. This reiteration of existing plans is in opposition from calls from non-OPEC members such as the US and Japan that the group should look to increase production quicker than planned, in a bid to quell rising prices. Separately, Saudi Aramco reported Q3 earnings over the weekend in which its net profit doubled given strong crude prices and sales volumes improving by 12% QQ; subsequently, some analysts have highlighted the possibility for a end-2021 special dividend. Elsewhere, base metals are mixed and fairly contained in-spite of the EU and US announcing an agreement to resolve the ongoing aluminium and steel trade dispute. While spot gold and silver are modestly firmer this morning as the yellow metal remains contained after its slip from the USD 1800/oz mark in the tail-end of last week. Currently, spot gold is pivoting its 100-DMA at USD 1786 with the 50- and 200-DMAs residing either side at USD 1780/oz and USD 1791/oz respectively. US Event Calendar 9:45am: Oct. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.2, prior 59.2 10am: Oct. ISM Manufacturing, est. 60.5, prior 61.1 10am: Sept. Construction Spending MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Welcome to November. I had three halloween parties over the weekend which is probably more than the entire number I went to before I had kids. I still have some spooky make up on this morning that I just couldn’t get off from last night. So there’s a reason alone to zoom into the call at 3pm today. As it’s the 1st of November Henry is about to publish our monthly performance review. It was a hectic month of higher inflation expectations and commodities, and also the best S&P 500 month of the year. Bonds underperformed across the board but these small negatives masked great volatility and stress under the surface, especially in the last week. See the report that should be out in the next 30-60mins. With all due respect to our readers in Australia, I’m going to open the market section this morning with a line I don’t think I’ve written in 27 years of market commentary and probably won’t again. And it’s not about England thrashing Australia at cricket on Saturday. Yes the most important event of the week could be the RBA meeting tomorrow. 2 year yields last week rose from 0.15% on Wednesday morning to 0.775% at the close on Friday as the RBA were conspicuous by their absence in defending the 0.1% target on the April 24 bond. I’ve absolutely zero idea what they are going to do tomorrow which should help you all tremendously but their absence again this morning gives a decent indication. I was taught economics in an era where central banks liked to keep an element of mystery and surprise. As such I’ve always disliked the forward guidance era as it encourages markets to pile on to much riskier, one way positions that a normally functioning market should naturally allow. But to go from forward guidance to silence (that rhymes) is a recipe for huge market turmoil if the facts change. It's unclear if the full implications of last week’s carnage at the global front end has yet been cleared out. There is lots of speculation about large unwinds, big stop losses etc. Liquidity was also awful last week. Much might depend on central banks this week. Make no mistake though there is considerable pain out there. The latest this morning in Aussie rates is that the 2y yield is down around -7bps while the 10y yield is down -19.0bps. So we wait with baited breath for tomorrow. Elsewhere in Asia, the Nikkei 225 (+2.42%) is charging ahead this morning as Japan’s Liberal Democratic Party kept its majority after lower house elections, thus boosting optimism about a potential fiscal stimulus. Elsewhere, the KOSPI (+0.43%) and the Shanghai composite (+0.07%) are outperforming the Hang Seng (-1.10%). In terms of data, China’s official manufacturing PMI fell from 49.6 to 49.2 (49.7 expected), not helped by commodities price rises and electricity shortages. The non-manufacturing PMI also fell to 52.4 from 53.2 (consensus 53). The Caixin manufacturing PMI did beat at 50.6 this morning (consensus 50). In terms of virus developments in the region, Shanghai Disneyland is closed amid recent COVID outbreaks, while Singapore is adding ICU beds in response to high levels of serious cases. The S&P 500 mini futures is up +0.23% this morning, the US 10y Treasury is at 1.56% (+1.2bps). It’s strange to have a likely Fed taper announcement on Wednesday be third billing for the week but the BoE on Thursday might be the next most important meeting as it’s still a finely judged call as to whether they hike this week or not. DB (preview here) think they will raise rates by 15bps with two 25bps hikes in February and May. They’ll also end QE a month earlier than planned. So over to the third billing, namely the Fed. They will announce a well flagged taper on Wednesday. In line with recent guidance, DB expect that the Fed will announce monthly reductions of $10bn and $5bn of Treasury and MBS purchases, respectively. With the first cut to purchases coming mid-November, this will bring the latest round of QE to a conclusion in June 2022. The Fed has some flexibility with this timetable but it will be interesting to hear how much Powell pushes back on markets that price in two hikes in 2022, including one almost fully priced for before the taper ends. If markets attacked the Fed in the same way they have the RBA the global financial system would have a lot of issues so it’s a fine balance for the Fed. They won’t want to push back too aggressively on market pricing given the uncertainty but they won’t want an outright attack on forward guidance. Moving on, a lowly fourth billing will be reserved for US payrolls on Friday. DB expect the headline gain (+400k forecast, consensus +425k vs. +194k previously) to modestly outperform that of private payrolls (+350k vs. +317k) and for the unemployment rate to fall by a tenth to 4.7% and average hourly earnings to post another strong gain (+0.4% vs. +0.6%) amidst still-elevated hours worked (34.8hrs vs. 34.8hrs). Outside of all this excitement, we have the COP26 which will dominate all your news outlets. The other main data highlight are the global PMIs (today and Wednesday mostly) which will give insight into how the economic recovery has progressed in the first month of Q4 with the surveys shedding light onto how inflation is affecting suppliers. There is lots more in store for us this week but see the day by day calendar at the end for the full run down The market also enters the second half of the 3Q earnings season. There are 168 S&P 500 and 85 Stoxx 600 companies reporting this week with 52% of the S&P 500 and 48% of the STOXX 600 having already reported. DB’s Binky Chadha published an update on earnings season over the weekend (link here). In the US, the size of the earnings beat has declined over the course of the season and is on track to hit 7%, well below the record 14-20% range post pandemic. Excluding the lumpy loan-loss reserve releases by banks, the beat is even lower at 5%, bringing it back in line with the historical norm. Quarterly earnings are on track to be down sequentially from Q2 to Q3 by -1.1% (qoq seasonally adjusted), the first drop since Q2 2020. The flat to down read of earnings is broad based across sector groups. Forward consensus estimates have fallen outside of the Energy sector. The S&P 500 nevertheless has seen one of the strongest earning season rallies on record. See much more in Binky’s piece. This week’s highlights include NXP Semiconductors, Zoom, and Tata Motors today before Pfizer, T-Mobile, Estee Lauder, BP, Mondelez, Activision Blizzard, and AP Moller-Maersk tomorrow. Then on Wednesday we’ll hear from Novo Nordisk, Qualcomm, CVS, Marriott, Albemarle, and MGM resorts. Thursday sees reports from Toyota, Moderna, Square, Airbnb, Uber, and Deutsche Post and then a busy Friday with Alibaba Group, Dominion Energy, Honda, and Mitsubishi. Looking back now and reviewing last week in numbers, it was a week of heightened intraday volatility within rates, as markets brought forward the expected timing of central bank policy actions across advanced economies while revising down growth expectations. Position stop outs almost certainly played a role as the magnitude of the moves were out of sync with macro developments while FX and equity markets were not nearly as volatile. Global front end rates started moving in earnest on Wednesday, following the Bank of Canada’s surprise decision to end net asset purchases, while bringing forward the timing of liftoff, which sent 2yr Canadian bonds more than +20bps higher. In the following days, the RBA opted not to defend their yield curve control target, and ECB President Lagarde did not use her press conference to provide much of a forceful pushback on recent repricing. All told, almost every DM economy saw their 2 yr bond selloff, including the US (+4.4 bps, +0.8 bps Friday), UK (+4.9 bps, +5.9 bps Friday), Germany (+5.2 bps, +3.2 bps Friday), Canada (+23bps) and Australia (+65bps). The long end went the other direction in the core countries, with many curves twist flattening over the week as negative growth sentiment weighed on the back end. Nominal 10yr yields declined -6.2 bps (-2.8 bps Friday) in the US, -11.1 bps (+2.5 bps Friday) in the UK, and were flat in Germany (+3.0 bps Friday). Unlike the rest of October, the decline in nominal yields coincided with declining inflation breakevens (albeit from historically high levels), with 10yr breakevens declining -5.2 bps (-0.6 bps Friday) in the US, -25.4 bps (-8.5 bps Friday) in the UK, and -16.3 bps (-11.5 bps Friday) in Germany. Note that outside the core there were some bond markets that moved higher in yield with 10yr bonds in Canada (+7bps), Australia (+30bps) and Italy (+19bps) all higher for different reasons. Some of the bond moves above don’t do the intra-day volatility any justice though. Elsewhere Crude oil prices dipped to close out what was otherwise another very good month, with Brent and WTI -1.34% (+0.07% Friday) and -0.23% (+0.92% Friday) lower. Meanwhile, equity markets marched to the beat of a different drum. The S&P 500 (+1.33%, +0.19% Friday), Nasdaq (+2.71%, +0.33% Friday), and DJIA (+0.40%, +.25% Friday) all set new all-time highs, while the STOXX 600 increased +0.77% (+0.07% Friday), cents below the all-time high set in August. Generally strong earnings relative to a worried market prior to the season again supported equity markets. Calls were replete with mentions of supply chain woes and labour shortages though, but companies sounded an optimistic note on end-user demand. Many big tech stocks reported, to more mixed results than the broader index. Alphabet and Microsoft beat on both revenue and earnings, Facebook and Apple missed analyst revenue estimates, while Amazon and Twitter missed revenue and earnings estimates. Ford and Caterpillar, two bellwethers particularly exposed to current supply chain and labour maladies, fared especially well. So far this season 279 companies have reported, with 206 beating on revenue and 237 beating on earnings Out of D.C., after prolonged negotiations within the Democratic Party, US President Biden unveiled a new social and climate spending framework, containing $1.75 trillion in spending measures as well as revenue-raising offsets. Once the text is finalized, it should enable a vote on the social spending package as well as the separately-negotiated bi-partisan infrastructure bill. More is likely to come this week. Tyler Durden Mon, 11/01/2021 - 07:59.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytNov 1st, 2021

Cover Story: Revolutionizing Home Inspection

Pillar To Post Gives Consumers What They Want, and REALTORS® What They Need The frenzied housing market of the past 18 months has seen homebuyers go to new lengths to secure the home of their dreams. From agreeing to risky contingency plans to foregoing a home inspection, today’s home sale experience has only added stress […] The post Cover Story: Revolutionizing Home Inspection appeared first on RISMedia. Pillar To Post Gives Consumers What They Want, and REALTORS® What They Need The frenzied housing market of the past 18 months has seen homebuyers go to new lengths to secure the home of their dreams. From agreeing to risky contingency plans to foregoing a home inspection, today’s home sale experience has only added stress to what many consumers already saw as an uncertain and complicated process. For real estate professionals trying to shepherd clients through this time, having the right tools and resources at the ready is no longer just a convenience, but a must. That’s why Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®’ newest suite of tech-powered products couldn’t have come at a better time. Developed almost presciently, pre-pandemic, the company’s innovative offerings provide agents with much-needed solutions, and consumers with the information and choice they’ve been craving. Designed to deliver speed, ease, convenience and transparency through a variety of virtual options, the technology based solutions are answering the call of both real estate professionals and consumers alike. The result? More confidence in the homeownership journey. “Real estate professionals and their customers need more expansive and timely information to drive smooth transactions and ultimately, confident homeownership,” explains Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® CEO Dan Steward. “Our technology platform and services have been developed to address these needs and bring an enhanced and faster experience for everyone involved in buying and selling residential real estate. We realized we could make buying a home a much better process.” Restoring Confidence in Homeownership From politics to the economy to world events, uncertainty abounds in modern times. Today’s consumers are craving confidence in their decisions, especially when it comes to buying a home, most likely the largest investment of their lives. In today’s frenetic and confusing real estate market, however, confidence is hard to come by. Just ask Brian Copeland, broker at Doorbell Real Estate and the 2021 president of the Greater Nashville Association of REALTORS®. “It’s really hard to ground sellers right now,” he reports. “Many are pushing us to put average homes on the market for above the selling price of their neighbor’s home, assuming it will fly off the shelf. On the flip side, many buyers are leathered and worn from the past 12 months of craziness. They throw out monopoly money offers only to regret them, finding any loophole they can to abandon the commitment. Many are using inspections to either get out of a deal or to demand a steep post-inspection discount based on inflated fears they have of fixing it all.” In his role as entrepreneur in residence for the National Association of REALTORS®’ Second Century Ventures, however, Jeff Turner has seen close-up how innovation can solve problems like these both for real estate professionals and their consumers. “We live in interesting times. I think we need some things to be less interesting,” says Turner. “We want more certainty and more confidence. I want to be able to trust the decision I’m making on the biggest investment in my life.” Steward and his team believe the new product suite from Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® can help that cause. By creating what they believe is the “ultimate home inspection experience,” confidence and trust can be restored to the home buying and selling process by providing customers with the information they need to make individual, custom, confident and personal decisions—where and when they want it served to them. Available in a variety of packages, the new offerings from Pillar To Post include: PTP360 Available with every Pillar To Post Home Inspection, PTP360 provides homebuyers with an interactive visual inspection summary  built into a 360° view of every room, floor to ceiling, as well as the home’s exterior. The visual report features comments from the home inspector embedded into each view of the home so that homebuyers can see them in relation to the house. The visual inspection summary also gives buyers a way to revisit the home from any device, as often as they’d like, as well as share the report with family or contractors who may be enlisted to work on the home. PTPFloorPlan With a Prestige or Premium home inspection package, homebuyers will also receive the PTPFloorPlan. This accurate, measured floor plan of the entire home can help buyers plan for furniture placement and provide contractors with exact measurements, enabling them to provide accurate estimates on painting or repairs. PTPEstimates Another significant component of the enhanced packages is PTPEstimates, which provides clients with a zip-code specific estimate of what repairs on the issues highlighted in the inspection report will cost. This serves as critical information for sellers as well when they choose to do a pre-listing inspection. PTPHomeManual Also part of the enhanced packages, PTPHomeManual is a home management app that allows homebuyers to organize, operate and maintain their home from any device. The PTPHomeManual serves as an ongoing resource for buyers throughout their life in the home, putting information about appliances and other systems right at their fingertips when a repair or replacement is needed. Virtual Open Houses Pillar To Post also helps facilitate remote transactions with its Virtual Open House options, allowing prospective buyers to tour a home at their own pace. The tours include every room, floor to ceiling, as well as the home’s entire exterior. For a nominal cost, an accurate floor plan can also be included. For Steward and his team, it’s about getting the information into the hands of the people who need it most: real estate professionals, homebuyers and home sellers. “This enhanced inspection experience puts more relevant information in the hands of buyers, sellers and their REALTORS®,” says Steward. “Put all these products together and you now have a more comprehensive picture and understanding of the home, all in fast, easy-to-use forms to build confidence for everyone involved in selling and buying the home.” Giving Consumers What They Want Pandemic aside, the virtual and visual solutions provided through Pillar To Post’s new product offering is something that consumers have demanded for some time now…yet the real estate industry hasn’t fully delivered on. Take virtual tours, for example. According to Turner, pre-pandemic, 87% of consumers said they wanted to view a virtual tour before physically seeing a home. Yet, on average, less than 5% of listings have them. “It is literally the most perfect technology that’s ever been built for showing homes, yet it’s rarely used,” says Turner. “The industry has not kept up with demand or the ubiquity of really expert technology that exists right now.” That’s why the new line-up from Pillar To Post is so critical. “These are all things that make it easier for the consumer to make decisions,” says Turner. “And that’s what consumers expect today.” Kim Cameron, founder of the Kim Cameron Group with Better Homes & Gardens Real Estate Preferred Properties in St. Louis, Missouri, has understood this for many years, and has counted on Pillar To Post to help her deliver on client expectations. “The changes at Pillar To Post over the last 15 years have been really impressive,” she says. “There’s only so much you can do to make a home inspection sexy, but Pillar To Post is always on the forefront of whatever needs to happen for the industry.” It’s no surprise then that Cameron jumped on board with PTP360 and PTPFloorPlans, especially during the pandemic. “In the past, clients would ask to get into the house one more time to see it before closing, but we couldn’t allow that as we dealt with the pandemic and lockdown,” says Cameron. “So it was a huge help to have the PTP360 Visual Inspection Summary and floor plan with the dimensions so that they could make all their plans, like furniture and paint selections. This gave the client more control.” And this is exactly what Steward has set out to do. “Our business is to serve the REALTOR® and their home-buying and -selling clients,” he says. “Our goal is to provide the right information in the right way so everyone has objective information and can make an informed decision with peace of mind. Our deep experience combined with extensive research and involvement with real estate professionals and prop-tech thought leaders all blend together and drive us to continuously improve.” Helping REALTORS® Do More Business, Better By giving consumers the experience they’ve come to expect, powered by innovative technology, real estate professionals gain an important competitive differentiation, critical in today’s market where the REALTOR®’s value proposition is increasingly under attack. And as Cameron reports, consumers are noticing. “It’s total shock and awe” when clients see the new PTP products, she says. “(Clients) think that all REALTORS® do this, but then they talk to their friends who say, ‘What, you got a floorplan? You got a 360-degree view of the entire home highlighting problem areas?’ This provides so much more than what the average REALTOR® puts into the MLS. And fewer and fewer REALTORS® have been doing 360 tours because homes are selling so quickly. We haven’t had a single client who hasn’t been thrilled.” While Pillar To Post did a better job than most in documenting a home with two-dimensional photos, nothing compares to the 360 report, says Turner. “There’s just such a different experience,” he explains. “All the cognitive dissonance that gets created when you’re trying to piece together parts of 2D photos to form a recollection of the space goes away. I no longer have to draw from memory or 2D photos. I can see everything in its full context.” Vehicles like PTP360, PTPFloorPlan and PTPHomeManual also play an invaluable role in extending the REALTOR®/client relationship beyond the transaction. “The home inspection has always been beneficial for that point in time, but with the 360 Visual Inspection Summary, it now has a life that can live past that point,” says Turner. “You’re not just providing buyers with a document that’s meant to get them into the home and then collects dust in the file cabinet—you’re giving them a living document that can help them while they live in that home.” And having access to this living document is an invaluable tool for retaining clients—and saving transactions—says Copeland. “Home inspections have historically been seen as a microscope that informs a buyer on exactly what they are buying,” he explains. “Now, many buyers view the inspection as an insurance policy to free them from a contract they jumped into in less than three hours at a price they grew to regret. Tools like PTP360 take a lot of the liability to be the consumer’s window of memory away. Having PTP360 has taken a lot of that stress and responsibility away.” According to Cameron, the PTP products also help keep the connection going between the client and the real estate professional during those several critical weeks before closing. “The gap between the inspection and the final walk-through can be quiet, so having something for them to continue looking at—to continue the connection with the home—fills a void,” she says. “This helps keep them moving forward the whole time during that lull.” “This absolutely elevates the client experience,” she adds. “We’re nurturing clients after the closing and staying in touch, and they love the fact that we have the floor plan that’s available for them to use again and again.” Living in pandemic times has only increased the value of the virtual options provided through the new PTP offerings. “When COVID hit, shelter-in-place regulations forced many to stay in their cities while inspections and due diligence was happening,” says Copeland. “The buyer was satisfied with a PDF report with, at best, sketchy photos. Now, they are wowed when within a few hours they receive a full 360, 3D scan of every inch of their potential home. This is more than just an inspection tech toy. This is a valuable tool to help consumers feel more comfortable and confident in their purchase and process.” Helping real estate professionals add value to the client experience in this way is a primary goal of Steward and his team. “Every business exists to serve its customers and grow by serving more customers better than the competition,” says Steward. “REALTORS® remain at the front line to the real estate transaction and our job is to help them and their customers—to make everyone’s home selling and home-buying journey a smooth, enjoyable and confident experience.” According to Cameron, Pillar To Post continues to deliver on this mission. “Most companies don’t want to invest in technology, but Pillar To Post has been on the forefront—and it will take a while for others to catch up,” she says. “It’s like heated car seats—once you have it, you don’t want to not have it ever again. Once you have that floorplan, you don’t ever want to not have that option again.” Building Relationships for the Future While Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® can certainly be lauded for its investment in tech innovation, they’d rather keep the focus on people, fulfilling the company’s vision to provide an unmatched customer experience and deliver on what they promise. According to Steward, this mission is more important than ever in our diverse world, and reinforces that real estate is still a people business. And products like the PTP suite of tools help real estate professionals achieve what’s ultimately most important for their future success: long-lasting, trusted relationships. As Copeland says, “My job is to empower clients with knowledge for a great decision they feel confident in. Setting myself up as a great source for quality moments helps me be the REALTOR® of choice for not only my current consumer, but the pipeline of people they send my way after the deal closes.” Turner wholeheartedly concurs that the focus should always remain on the consumer. “Pay attention to the consumer,” he advises. “What does the consumer want? Everything else is extraneous and unimportant.” And that’s exactly what Steward and his team intend to continue doing. “The hockey great Wayne Gretzky once said, ‘skate to where the puck is going to be, not where it has been.’ That aptly describes our driving force in serving REALTORS®, homebuyers and home sellers,” says Steward. “Anticipate their needs and take care of them.” For more information, please visit Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to The post Cover Story: Revolutionizing Home Inspection appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaNov 1st, 2021

We rounded up 50+ of our best 2021 holiday gift guides to help you shop for friends and family - see our top picks for the coolest, newest, and most wow-worthy gift ideas

Here is every single holiday gift guide you need to find last-minute gifts for everyone on your list. Shop by budget, interest, hobby, and more. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. To make holiday shopping easier, we broke down our gift guides by budget, interests, and the person you're gifting. Hollis Johnson/Crystal Cox/Samantha Lee/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Despite all the festive cheer and time away from work that usually comes with the holiday season, it can also be a stressful time if you plan on buying gifts for everyone in your life.Every year, Insider Reviews creates dozens of gift guides to help you find the best Christmas, Hanukkah, and general holiday gifts out there - for any budget, hobby, interest, and person. You can find all our holiday gift guides on this page, but to make it even easier on you, we've also rounded up and categorized them below. Although we still have plenty of time until the holiday season, general shipping delays and supply chain issues have encouraged us all to be proactive about holiday shopping. Consider this your ultimate cheat sheet to knock out your last-minute gift shopping for the year. Click on a link below to jump directly to all the gift guides in that category.If you're still stuck on what to buy, you can check out our all-time best products here.Gifts under $25Gifts under $50Gifts under $100Stocking stuffersGifts for herGifts for himTech giftsUnique giftsHome and kitchen giftsFood and drink giftsGifts for hobbies and interestsGifts from your favorite stores Gifts under $25 Find all the gifts pictured here, including Jason Markk sneaker spray, avocado huggers, and reusable straw sets, by clicking the image. Hollis Johnson/Crystal Cox/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Thoughtful and fun gifts under $25 that won't get regifted The elements of a good present — thoughtfulness, usefulness, and uniqueness — shouldn't be restricted to a big budget.Affordable tech gifts anyone will be happy to receive — all under $25It's tough to be a tech enthusiast when the market is full of expensive gadgets. Some of the best tech gifts, however, won't cost more than $25. Fun stocking stuffers you can still order on Amazon in time for the holidays — all under $20Stocking stuffers have a reputation for being cute but useless. These small gifts challenge that perception.Fun and practical stocking stuffers they'll actually use — all under $10Surprise your friendly neighborhood mail carrier or the cousin you only ever see at the big family holiday gathering with a thoughtful stocking stuffer. Inexpensive beauty gifts under $25 — from hydrating masks to matte lipstick sets Grab these beauty stocking stuffers from brands that are kind to their skin — and your budget. Gifts under $50 Find all the gifts pictured here, including Brightland olive oil, a Briogeo hair mask, and an Amazon speaker, by clicking the image. Hollis Johnson/Crystal Cox/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Gift cards you can deliver right to their email inbox for last-minute gifts that still feel personalLooking for a last-minute gift card to send a loved one? Here are some of our favorites to help get you started.Fun and unique gift ideas for everyone on your list — all under $50 Whether you're searching for practical, nostalgic, quirky, or sentimental, there's an under-$50 gift from brands big and small in this guide. Clever gifts from Amazon — all under $50, and many arriving before ChristmasFrom a pocket movie projector to a digital camera that instantly prints your photos, these are some of the coolest gifts on Amazon.Thoughtful and useful gifts for Mom — all under $50When it comes to gifting your own mother, the saying "it's the thought that counts" has never been more appropriate. Last-minute kitchen gifts under $50 that any home cook or baker will loveEven a simple and practical accessory like a ramekin or avocado slicer can make the foodie in your family happy.Work-appropriate gifts for your boss — all under $50A good manager isn't easy to come by. Show your appreciation with a useful, thoughtful, and work-appropriate gift.Smart and humorous gifts that your coworkers will actually be happy to receiveGift the coworker who you Slack incessantly and stick to like glue at office happy hours. Hilarious White Elephant gift ideas under $50 that are guaranteed to get a good laughGift swaps reward the niche, novel, and irreverent, with bonus points going to those who can check the boxes of funny and useful.Creative and affordable gifts for her that are all under $50Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for your sister, mom, partner, or otherwise, we've put together a list of over 50 great gifts under $50. Practical and unique gifts for Dad — all under $50The unique selection of gifts includes picks for every sort of dad, from the hapless car-key-losing fool to the history buff and the masterful (and not-so-masterful) home chef.  Gifts under $100 Find all the gifts pictured here, including LL.Bean slippers, Atlas coffee, Allbirds sneakers, and an Instax camera, by clicking the image. Hollis Johnson/Crystal Cox/Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Gift cards you can deliver right to their email inbox for last-minute gifts that still feel personalLooking for a last-minute gift card to send a loved one? Here are some of our favorites to help get you started.Gift ideas for everyone on your list — all under $100With a $100 budget, you can buy anything from a smart speaker to an educational cooking class. Thoughtful and fun tech gifts under $100 Most people automatically think cool tech has to be expensive. Wireless earbuds, fitness trackers, and smart lights prove the assumption wrong. Gift ideas for him on Amazon for less than $100Here's a double whammy: Fast Prime shipping and an under-$100 price tag. Meaningful gifts that teachers will appreciateIf you're not already one of their favorite students, you surely will be after they receive something from this list.  Stocking stuffers Getty Images Hilarious White Elephant gift ideas under $50 that are guaranteed to get a good laughGift swaps reward the niche, novel, and irreverent, with bonus points going to those who can check the boxes of funny and useful.Fun stocking stuffers you can still order on Amazon in time for the holidays — all under $20Stocking stuffers have a reputation for being cute but useless. These small gifts challenge that perception.Fun and practical stocking stuffers they'll actually use — all under $10Surprise your friendly neighborhood mail carrier or the cousin you only ever see at the big family holiday gathering with a thoughtful stocking stuffer.  Gifts for her Getty Last-minute Christmas gifts that will arrive by Christmas day and still feel thoughtfulThere's still plenty of time to find great gifts for everyone on your list. Here are last-minute Christmas gifts that can still be delivered on time.Thoughtful and useful gifts for Mom — all under $50When it comes to gifting your own mother, the saying "it's the thought that counts" has never been more appropriate.Gift ideas for women — from cult-favorite candles to a monthly book subscriptionFrom classic cashmere sweaters to monthly wine subscriptions, you'll be able to find something no matter your budget.Creative and affordable gifts for her that are all under $50Whether you're looking for the perfect gift for your sister, mom, partner, or otherwise, we've put together a list of over 50 great gifts under $50. Best tech gifts for women that she'll love this holiday seasonThese gifts are both stylish and powerful. Thoughtful and sweet gifts to give your grandma Grandma is another important person in your life who you know always has your back. Show your love with these gifts. Gifts your girlfriend will love — from a cozy robe to a cold brew coffee makerWe give you more than three dozen gift ideas that make gifting your partner infinitely easier this year. Thoughtful gifts to give your wifeYou don't need to spend a crazy amount of money or plan an extravagant gesture to show your wife your appreciation and love.The best gifts for teen girls — for every interest and budgetThis guide's author has a teen sister herself and has many fun ideas as a result. Useful tech gifts moms will enjoyAny mom, whether they're tech-savvy or not, can appreciate a good gadget that makes life easier. Gifts for him Getty Images Last-minute Christmas gifts that will arrive by Christmas day and still feel thoughtfulThere's still plenty of time to find great gifts for everyone on your list. Here are last-minute Christmas gifts that can still be delivered on time.Clever and thoughtful gifts for him — at every budgetFind the perfect gift for the man in your life, no matter what their interests or what your budget looks like.Thoughtful gifts for him that you can buy on AmazonPractically every gift you can think of, from a fidget toy to luxury sheets, can be found on Amazon. Gifts for Dad at every budgetDads always say they never want anything, but we came up with plenty of gift ideas for you anyway. Thoughtful gifts your husband will appreciateSome of these gifts for your husband might even benefit the entire family, so it's a cost-efficient, win-win situation. Tech gifts that men will love to get this holiday seasonCars, audio, fitness, games — the tech gift options are limitless, but we narrowed down the lot to the best 37. Practical and unique gifts for Dad — all under $50If you have a specific budget you're working with, you'll find affordable yet useful gifts in this guide. Gift ideas for him on Amazon for less than $100Here's a double whammy: Fast Prime shipping and an under-$100 price tag. Useful gifts for dads who travel that can be used now or on future tripsMake their travels more enjoyable, restful, and convenient with gifts like comfortable shoes and a streaming service subscription.Gifts every Disney fan will love — from a Disney+ subscription to a LEGO set from 'Steamboat Willie'The unapologetic Disney dad in your life might love a Disney Plus subscription, retro Magic Kingdom sweatshirt, or Mickey Mouse watch.  Tech gifts The purple iPhone 11’s glass back Antonio Villas-Boas/Insider Thoughtful and fun tech gifts under $100 Most people automatically think cool tech has to be expensive. Wireless earbuds, fitness trackers, and smart lights prove the assumption wrong. Best tech gifts for women that she'll love this holiday seasonThese gifts are both stylish and powerful. Tech gifts that men will love to get this holiday seasonCars, audio, fitness, games — the tech gift options are limitless, but we narrowed down the lot to the best. iPhone accessory gifts for Apple loversWhether they have the newest iPhone or are still hanging on to their iPhone 6, they'll love these small upgrades to their phone. High-tech smart home gifts for anyone looking to upgrade their lifeYou can gift something basic to introduce them to the concept of the smart home, or something more advanced to help them take their home automation to the next level. Alexa-enabled smart home and car gifts that are perfect for people who love tech"Alexa..." Listen to music, call a friend, and change the room's temperatures with these smart home products. Affordable tech gifts anyone will be happy to receive — all under $25It's tough to be a tech enthusiast when the market is full of expensive gadgets. Some of the best tech gifts, however, won't cost more than $25. Useful Android accessories and gadgets that make great giftsIn an iPhone-driven world, it's actually not as difficult as you think to gift an Android owner. Useful tech gifts moms will enjoyAny mom, tech-savvy or not, can appreciate a good gadget that makes life easier.Tech gifts for teens that that won't end up in a desk drawerIt can be hard to figure out which tech gifts teens are actually excited about. We're here to help. Unique gifts Amazon Unique subscription boxes and services that keep on givingThe best subscription services help your recipient discover something new or make their everyday life a little easier. Unique Etsy gifts that come with free shippingEtsy is a treasure trove for handmade goods. Even better, these ship for free. Hidden gems on Amazon that make thoughtful and personal gifts for anyone on your listUsing the Amazon Gift Finder tool, we found some cool gifts that make shopping on the site feel less impersonal. Last-minute gifts from Uncommon Goods they haven't seen beforeAs its name suggests, UncommonGoods is filled with non-generic and memorable gifts. You're guaranteed to find something truly unique here. Last-minute gift ideas from 'Shark Tank' that you can get from AmazonThe TV show "Shark Tank" never ceases to entertain and inspire us with its innovative products and hardworking entrepreneurs. Unique and interesting gifts you didn't know you could find on AmazonIn the place known as "the everything store," we found the most interesting gift ideas. Unique last-minute holiday gifts that still feel personalized and thoughtfulA gift isn't truly unique until it has a personalized mark on it — like a monogram, their favorite song, or their specific flavor preferences. Hanukkah gifts for everyone on your listWhile the eight-day celebration of Hanukkah isn't rooted in gifting, it's become commonplace to give gifts over the course of the holiday.Unique housewarming gifts from Amazon HandmadeThis underrated section of Amazon combines the unique product selection of sites like Etsy and UncommonGoods with the convenience of the Amazon shopping experience. Amazon gag gifts to give as pranks for the holiday seasonBeyond the usual fart jokes and political gags, there are gifts that are actually funny and memorable. The best toys and gift ideas for toddlersThe guide includes helpful labels for which age group each gift is appropriate.  Home and kitchen gifts Williams Sonoma/Insider Gifts for Mom Last-minute cookbook gifts for every type of home cookThey'll always have a meal, dessert, or drink ready on the table with one of these cookbooks in hand.Last-minute kitchen gifts under $50 that any home cook or baker will loveEven a simple and practical accessory like a ramekin or avocado slicer will make the foodie in your family happy. Last-minute cooking gifts for avid home cooks, as recommended by professional chefsThe pros tell us what to give someone who loves being in the kitchen.  They personally use these tools and appliances in their professional or home kitchens. Homesick candles smell like home and make great gifts for any occasionIn order to create its candles, Homesick Candles polled people from different states and cities to find out what home smells like to them. Gifts anyone who just moved into a new apartment will appreciateThey may still be scrambling for appliances or putting on the finishing touches to their decor. Either way, we've got you covered.Creative and thoughtful host and hostess gifts that are even better than a bottle of wineNothing says "thank you for hosting" quite like a unique gift that won't be regifted at the next housewarming party.  Food and drink gifts Goldbelly Milk Bar's delicious desserts are the perfect food gift — here's how to shopIf they have a sweet tooth, they won't be disappointed by the delectable cookies, truffles, and cake from the New York City-based Milk Bar.Goldbelly lets you send food gifts from iconic restaurants around the country — here's how it worksGoldbelly makes it possible to satisfy their most specific cravings wherever they live in the US — a cheesecake from Junior's, deep dish pizza from Lou Malnati, and more. Last-minute gifts for tea lovers — from new brews to fun teapots and moreThere's no such thing as too much tea or teapots, at least according to this guide written by our editor (and self-professed tea lady). Last-minute gift baskets for all sorts of tastes and interestsThese gift basket ideas include the usual (chocolate, cheese, and wine) and the unusual (Japanese snacks and tea "drops"). Unique chocolate gifts that go beyond the traditional box of sweetsIt's nearly impossible to go wrong when you're gifting chocolate, but if you want to give them the best of the best, your search ends here.  Hobbies and interests Target Cool last-minute gift ideas for the music lover in your lifeFuel their passion for songs, bands, instruments, and genres of all types.Magical 'Harry Potter' gifts even the most devoted Potterheads will loveArm them with the gear that they can wear to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter or decor that shows off their Gryffindor pride. The best 'Star Wars'-themed gifts for fans of all agesThis guide is filled with hands-on gift options, including a lightsaber, a huge Lego set, and a slime kit.Fun Disney gifts for kids of all agesThe top toys from ShopDisney and the Disney Store make great gifts for every kid on your list. Fun gifts that grown-up Disney and Mickey Mouse fans will loveMickey Mouse is a timeless crowd-pleaser, and we have lots of gifts that pay homage to this iconic Disney mascot. Gifts every Disney fan will love — from a Disney+ subscription to a LEGO set from 'Steamboat Willie'The unapologetic Disney dad in your life might love a Disney Plus subscription, retro Magic Kingdom sweatshirt, or Mickey Mouse watch. Great coffee table books for Disney fansThese hefty books reveal all about Disney's animation history, secrets of the theme parks, and more. Fun gifts for devoted Marvel fansWhile Marvel primarily exists in comic book and movie form, there is a thriving market of Marvel-inspired goods and merchandise.Useful gifts for dads who travel that can be used now or on future tripsMake travels more enjoyable, restful, and convenient with gifts like comfortable shoes and a streaming service subscription.Fitness gifts that'll make them look forward to breaking a sweatJumpstart their fitness goals for the new year with the appropriate gear or memberships. Baby Yoda gifts they'll absolutely love even if they haven't watched 'The Mandalorian'If they keep sharing Baby Yoda memes with you, chances are they'll get a kick out of one of these gifts.Unique and fun gifts that both dogs and their humans will loveIt's a no-brainer to give a dog owner something that has to do with dogs, but it's more difficult to give something that they (or their dog) don't already have.  Gifts from your favorite stores Urban Outfitters Hidden gems on Amazon that make thoughtful and personal gifts for anyone on your listUsing the Amazon Gift Finder tool, we found some cool gifts that make shopping on the site feel less impersonal. Clever gifts from Amazon — all under $50, and many arriving before ChristmasFrom a pocket movie projector to a digital camera that instantly prints your photos, these are some of the coolest gifts on Amazon.Unique and interesting gifts you didn't know you could find on AmazonIn the place known as "the everything store," we found the most interesting gift ideas. Cool and unique gifts that teenagers will actually appreciate — all from AmazonTeenagers are notoriously difficult to find gifts for, so skip the headache and read this guide. The best gifts for teen girls — for every interest and budgetThis guide's author has a teen sister herself and has many fun ideas as a result. Thoughtful gifts for him that you can buy on AmazonEvery gift he could ever want, from a fidget toy to luxury sheets, can be found on Amazon. Our favorite Amazon gag gifts to give as pranks for the holiday seasonBeyond the usual fart jokes and political gags, there are gifts that are actually funny and memorable. Gift ideas for him on Amazon for less than $100Here's a double whammy: Fast Prime shipping and an under-$100 price tag. Unique Etsy gifts that come with free shippingEtsy is a treasure trove for handmade goods. Even better, these ship for free.Last-minute gifts from Uncommon Goods they haven't seen beforeAs its name suggests, Uncommon Goods is filled with non-generic and memorable gifts. You're guaranteed to find something truly unique here. Last-minute gift ideas from 'Shark Tank' that you can get from AmazonThe TV show "Shark Tank" never ceases to entertain and inspire us with its innovative products and hardworking entrepreneurs. Quirky, unexpected gifts from Urban Outfitters for everyone on your listUrban Outfitters is known for its slightly kitschy but interesting accessories, home products, and tech gadgets.   Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 28th, 2021