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Judge sides with CytoDyn against activist shareholder group mounting proxy fight

The court found that the dissident shareholders who are trying to remake the board played "fast and loose" in responses to key inquiries......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsOct 13th, 2021

Tesla probably won"t have to pay the full $137 million to an ex-worker who won a racial harassment case, but it"s still a big blow to the company

One attorney said Tesla's response to the racial harassment verdict - publishing a blog post outlining flaws in the decision - was "very unusual." Workers at Tesla's Fremont factory. David Butow/Corbis News via Getty Images Tesla was ordered to pay $137 million to a former worker in a racial harassment lawsuit on Tuesday. Two employment attorneys told Insider the figure will likely be cut if Tesla appeals. Tesla's response to the verdict was to publish a blog that seemed to undermine the jury's decision. Tesla was ordered by a jury in San Francisco on Tuesday to pay $137 million to Owen Diaz, a man who worked as an elevator operator in its Fremont factory in 2015. Diaz said that while working as an agency staffer, he was racially harassed.The jury decided on $130 million in punitive damages, plus $6.9 million for emotional distress - but two employment lawyers said Tesla probably won't have to pay Diaz the full amount."Despite the shock value associated with this large jury verdict, it is unlikely that this amount will withstand judicial scrutiny, and Tesla will likely not have to pay the full amount awarded by the jury," Jessica Roe, an attorney at Roe Law Group, told Insider.She said many laws set maximum damages caps for specific claims. "Tesla will likely argue that the $130 million awarded in punitive damages far exceeds the damage caps in play here," Roe said.Helene Hechtkopf, partner at Hoguet Newman Regal & Kenney, also told Insider the final payout to Diaz is likely to be cut down. Arizona State University law professor Michael Selmi told Bloomberg the sum could be cut by as much as 50%."Based on the size of the award, the jury was likely attempting to send a message to Tesla that what happened here was not OK," Roe said.Tesla's response to Tuesday's verdict indicates it is ready to fight. The company's VP of people, Valerie Capers Workman, published a blog post in which she appeared to try and undermine the jury's verdict using details from the case.One example of a detail presented by Workman was that Diaz had recommended to his son and daughter that they came to work with him at Tesla.Tesla's reaction was "very unusual," Hechtkopf told Insider.She said: "The jury is the ultimate 'finder of fact' in a case like this - and the jury found that the facts support a finding of liability. So Tesla's internal view of the facts is just not relevant at this point."Many large companies would have just published a generic statement of their intent to appeal, she added. Roe did not view Tesla's response as particularly extraordinary, however, and said it signaled that the company will likely appeal.In an email to Insider, Diaz's attorney J. Bernard Alexander III said: "Tesla's response was to thumb its nose at the verdict, despite a unanimous jury finding against them and a substantial punitive damage award."He added: "Tesla's tone-deaf response to the jury verdict is precisely the tone that resulted in the punitive damage award."Tesla did not respond when contacted by Insider for comment and has not yet issued a statement on whether it will appeal.Color of Change, a nonprofit civil rights advocacy group, said the blog post was an example of Tesla failing Black employees.Jade Magnus Ogunnaike, the group's senior campaigns director, told Insider: "Tesla's attempt to discredit and undermine Owen Diaz's experiences of racism and discrimination is typical behavior from a billion-dollar company that has continuously failed to support its Black employees and contracted workers.""Tesla's leadership has refused to take responsibility for the company's anti-Black and hostile work environment," Ogunnaike said.There are countless Black employees who have experiences similar to Diaz, according to Ogunnaike. She added that their "voices go unheard because corporations like Tesla use a two-tiered system and hire contracted workers who do not receive the same benefits or protections as full-time staff."Diaz is not the only Black worker to have brought a racial harassment lawsuit against Tesla. In August, the company was ordered to pay $1 million to a Black former employee, who alleged he was called racial slurs in 2015.Even if Tesla successfully gets Diaz's payout cut, the verdict has been damaging for the company. It was cited by investors on its annual shareholder call on Thursday as a reason why its employment practices need greater transparency."After this week's headlines and many other employee allegations of racial discrimination, we, as investors, need a look under the hood," Dr. Kristin Hull, CEO at activist shareholder Nia Impact Capital, said on the call.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 10th, 2021

Another Tempestuous Balkan Pot Is Boiling

Another Tempestuous Balkan Pot Is Boiling Authored by Stephen Karganovic via The Strategic Culture Foundation, As relations between major geopolitical players steadily deteriorate the Balkans are acquiring increasing importance for NATO powers for exactly the same reasons that they were essential to Nazi Germany in the early forties... As elections approach, the political atmosphere in the Republika Srpska, Russia’s tiny Balkan ally, is heating up. For at least the last ten years, color revolution turbulence has been the normal accompaniment of every electoral cycle there. It began initially in 2014 as the Serb autonomous entity within Bosnia and Herzegovina, as it was constituted under the Dayton peace agreement in the wake of the 1992 – 1995 civil war, approached its parliamentary and presidential elections. The consensus within the Euro-Atlantic alliance (the coalition of states roughly co-extensive with NATO and the EU) unmistakably was that the assertive local authorities headed by President Dodik and his political party were unacceptable and that a “regime change” operation should be engineered to replace them with a compliant cast of characters. Local agents quickly set to work to reproduce the satisfactory results previously obtained with relative ease in other “color revolution” episodes. The usual set of grievances was improvised. They were dramatised through a combination of fake “NGOs” and a relentless propaganda barrage conducted through the media, which was partly owned by Western interests and partly susceptible to their emoluments. A major television station in the city of Bijeljina, with country-wide coverage, was suborned to relentlessly spew the color revolution party line, in the confident expectation of a certain electoral triumph. But there was an unexpected hitch. The Republika Srpska government and ruling coalition supporting it nearly lost their heads when faced with mounting street agitation, but a group of local citizens supported by allies with international experience in these matters marshalled their limited resources to counter the onslaught. In spite of overwhelming odds they succeeded, the Balkan Maidan never materialised, and the coup de grâce planned for Republica Srpska was temporarily delayed. The next opportunity to fine tune the scenario came just before the 2018 elections in Republika Srpska. The galvanising spark was the mysterious death of a young man by the name of David Dragicevic, the responsibility for which without any firm evidence was attributed to the authorities, or the “regime” in the parlance of the color revolution phalanx. All the usual mechanisms were again activated to generate a cause célèbre designed to discredit the government and dishearten its supporters. The coup almost succeeded. President Dodik squeaked through with barely an 8,000 vote margin, but the ruling coalition failed to win in Parliament a clear majority necessary to form a government. The matter was resolved in the tried and tested Balkan way – a couple of opposition legislators were generously rewarded to switch sides and the status quo ante was successfully restored. With predictable regularity, the identical pattern is beginning to repeat itself as the country approaches the 2022 electoral season. New factors have emerged to complicate the political and social landscape. One is the Covid crisis, which has hit the Serbian portion of Bosnia relatively hard. The other is the grave constitutional crisis provoked two months ago by the outgoing EU High representative Valentin Incko. He arbitrarily ordered that a “genocide denial law” – clearly targeting all who question the Srebrenica “genocide” narrative, which is by now sacrosanct almost everywhere but in the Republika Srpska – be inserted in the Criminal Code, prescribing harsh punishment for unbelievers of up to five years. Since practically the entire population of Republika Srpska consists of religious sceptics and outright heretics in this regard, the country might as well be encircled with barbed wire and machine-gun turrets for at least the next five years. While primarily designed to bring external pressure and internal demoralisation, “Incko’s law,” as it is popularly known, also acted as a cohesive factor by temporarily uniting the government and its opposition against it. But the pact which Western-supported elements of the opposition concluded largely for PR reasons is already seriously fraying and the Serbian political scene is returning to its old fragmented “normal.” Emerging at the heart of the Incko controversy is the issue of whether the High representative, set up by the Dayton agreement to play a balancing role between the former warring parties (his official job is to “interpret” the peace agreement when the local parties fail to arrive at a common understanding of its provisions), has the authority to expand his powers to the point of imposing laws and altering constitutional arrangements. Banja Luka constitutional law professor Milan Blagojevic has argued forcefully and cogently that he does not. In a series of incisive analyses in his newspaper columns and television appearances he has expounded the view that the micro-managing authority claimed by a succession of High representatives is in reality an insolent bluff, unsupported by any of the provision of the peace agreement that established his office. In protest against what he has harshly denounced as “criminal abuse,” Prof. Blagojevic did something utterly unique in that part of the world. He resigned his parallel job as a District Court judge stating that his conscience forbade him to perform judicial duties in the milieu of lawlessness created by the illegal encroachment of the country’s foreign overlord. Hopefully he will impress other public servants by modelling a sacrificial example of professional integrity for their edification, but realistically no one should hold their breath. Propelled by unanimous public rejection of what is justifiably perceived as the High representative’s tyrannous act, and perhaps also inspired by the upcoming elections, the government has ratcheted up its rhetoric to the point of openly raising a heretofore taboo topic – possible secession from Bosnia and Herzegovina. Simultaneously, in an evident bow to Prof. Blagojevic’s insistent arguments, it has mentioned the possibility of asking Parliament to annul all previous similarly illicit decrees issued by the High representative, going back at least twenty years. To top off the listed examples of disobedience, former President Dodik, who is now the Serb member of Bosnia’s rotating Presidency, refuses to recognize the legitimacy of the appointment of Incko’s successor, German politician Christian Schmidt, or even meet with him, because he was selected by a committee of NATO governments and not by the UN Security Council, as international legal norms prescribe. In that he has the firm support of the governments of the Russian Federation and China. So now we come round to the emerging scenario for this season’s color revolution in the Republika Srpska. Clearly, something needs to be done and order must be imposed. The initial plan that was thought up by the Tavistock brain trust is the currently raging oxygen affair. Gene Sharp must be smiling in his grave. Briefly, upon the public spirited complaint filed by Transparency International, a solicitous outfit financed by USAID, alleging that a hospital in the town of Trebinje was using industrial instead of human grade oxygen for the treatment of Covid patients, health inspectors swarmed from Sarajevo (where Republika Srpska can scarcely expect to get any breaks) to determine that indeed there was something fishy about the oxygen formula being used. Gaining traction now are vague and non-evidence based assertions (recall the David Dragicevic affair) that the uncaring “regime” had a corrupt deal with the oxygen provider. The public, who predominantly do not consist of chemists, are being bombarded with highly technical and also politically condimented “information” about grave health risks (on top of the already existing pandemic) posed by the deliberately substituted inferior oxygen. Oddly, no proof of Covid fatalities or testimony of injuries accompanies these accounts of appalling official corruption. Readers with longer memories will remember the staged poisoning affair in Kosovo in 1990, when Albanian school children were instructed to complain of dizziness and stomach cramps provoked by nefarious substances injected in their lunch food by Serb authorities. They all miraculously recovered as soon as foreign correspondents had left. In Trebinje so far no spectacular performances to showcase the government’s public health malfeasance have been organised for the benefit of the international press, but surprises may be in store as the spin continues. As relations between major geopolitical players steadily deteriorate the Balkans are acquiring increasing importance for NATO powers for exactly the same reasons that they were essential to Nazi Germany in the early forties, to the extent that it was willing to postpone the attack on the Soviet Union and divert its resources in order to first bring the entire area in its orbit. The Serb half of Bosnia is a major piece of the contemporary version of a very similar geopolitical jigsaw puzzle. Russian policy meanderings over the years in that part of the world merit at most a mixed assessment, and that is putting it charitably. Russia cannot afford to further degrade its regional position and security interests by losing Republika Srpska, not to speak of Serbia itself. All the more so because it is not really necessary to be a rocket scientist to figure out how to keep them both firmly and beneficially in its fold Tyler Durden Sat, 10/02/2021 - 07:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 2nd, 2021

P&G Faces The Wrath Of Its ESG-Minded Investors

The 2022 proxy season is basically upon us but the momentum of 2021 ensures there will be no shortage of talking points. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Our Proxy Voting Season Snapshot 2021, released earlier this week by Proxy Insight Online (but free to download by all Insightia readers, subscriber or not), distills […] The 2022 proxy season is basically upon us but the momentum of 2021 ensures there will be no shortage of talking points. .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Ray Dalio Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Ray Dalio in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Our Proxy Voting Season Snapshot 2021, released earlier this week by Proxy Insight Online (but free to download by all Insightia readers, subscriber or not), distills some of the seismic changes that we saw last year. Support For ESG Increases Among these, ESG ranked most prominent. On average, support for environmental proposals from all institutional investors disclosing their voting increased by 4.2 percentage points. But for the five largest investors, the average increase was over 13 percentage points, led by BlackRock at nearly 38 percentage points and Vanguard on 24 percentage points. Similarly, support for shareholder proposals on the hottest social topic of the past year, diversity and equal employment opportunity, were up by 30 percentage points. If you've been following our coverage – or any ESG commentary over the past few months – you'll know how hot these topics have been and how keen most institutional investors have been to talk about them. You may not have known exactly how these investors voted at each company, although if you subscribe to Proxy Insight Online you now will. Where your proxy solicitors will really earn their keep is on some of the more traditional resolutions. Three of the five largest investors were tougher on director elections and "say on pay" resolutions. Four of the five showed less alignment on director elections with proxy voting adviser Institutional Shareholder Services this year – the three passive investors below 90%. The Growing Sophistication Of Proxy Voting Voting against compensation or director resolutions has become a more complex affair, as investors incorporate board composition, sustainability metrics, and the impact of the pandemic which have affected a large number of companies, each in their own way. Since most investors have only recently begun incorporating more complicated considerations, it seems logical that their criteria will continue to evolve. And for the activists and their ilk, the data on proxy contest support rates will be worth investigating. Vanguard, State Street, and JPMorgan supported more activist slates on the back of higher volume. BlackRock and Fidelity were tougher on dissidents. As we go into policy update season, where investors communicate their intentions for 2022, the data for the 2021 season will highlight how the growing sophistication of proxy voting works in practice. Expect investors and issuers alike to pore over this data intently. Josh Black, Editor-in-Chief, Insightia Procter & Gamble Faces The Wrath Of Its ESG-Minded Investors Concerns about the fate of individual directors in the path of the ESG juggernaut have been heightened after a director targeted by a group of environmental activists declined to stand for re-election. Procter & Gamble Co (NYSE:PG) is the latest company to face the wrath of its ESG-minded investors, with a coalition urging shareholders to vote against the re-election of director Angela Braly, who has been deemed responsible for "human rights and environmental violations." The campaign, announced August 26 by climate advocacy group Stand.Earth, expressed concern with the "environmental destruction" driven by the S&P 500 consumer goods company's supply chain practices, along with allegations of forced labor and land conflicts. "P&G's operations continue to drive environmental destruction, land grabbing, and human rights violations in its supply chains from Canada to Indonesia," said shareholder activist James McRitchie, in a statement. "Alarmingly, its leadership has shown no sign of making these continued failings a priority. This is why members of P&G's board have to go." P&G's lead director, Angela Braly, and governance and public responsibility committee chair, James McNerney, came under fire for "failing to take responsibility" for these issues, despite a shareholder proposal that sought reporting on efforts to limit deforestation winning 67.7% support at P&G's 2020 annual meeting. The campaign has already made waves, with P&G announcing that McNerney will not stand for re-election at its upcoming October 12 annual meeting. Investors are now focussing their efforts on encouraging fellow shareholders to vote against the re-election of Braly but whether these efforts will bear fruit has yet to be seen. Investors Are Typically Hesitant To Vote Against Directors Despite both environmental concerns and human rights abuses being priority concerns for investors this proxy season, history would suggest that investors are typically hesitant to vote against directors as a way to express their discontent. So far this year, only 0.06% of directors up for election at U.S.-listed companies have failed to win majority support, compared to 0.04% and 0.05% throughout 2019 and 2020, respectively, according to Proxy Insight Online data. Braly's membership of the Exxon Mobil board, although she was not targeted for removal by hedge fund Engine No. 1 in a heavily ESG-flavored proxy contest, has opened her up to attacks by association. "Her past position as chair of a key ExxonMobil committee shows how comfortable she is putting profits over people, and upholding the oil and gas industry's long-running climate denial efforts," Tyson Miller, forest programs director at Stand.Earth, told Insightia in an interview. "It is no surprise Braly has also utterly failed to help P&G address the human rights and environmental violations in its supply chains, despite clear direction from shareholders to address those concerns." Shareholders have kickstarted many similar campaigns this year, urging investors to oppose directors due to ongoing governance failings, which have been subject to mixed results. McDonald's And Electronic Arts In April, the New York City Comptroller and SOC Investment Group urged McDonald's investors to vote against selected directors who failed to implement a "zero reward" policy in cases of sexual misconduct, following former CEO Steve Easterbrook's dismissal for "inappropriate fraternizing" with a subordinate. Despite a formidable number of investors joining the cause, McDonald's board chair Enrique Hernandez and compensation committee chair Richard Lenny still won sufficient support for re-election, receiving 70.2% and 79.5% support, respectively, at the company's May 21 annual meeting, according to Proxy Insight Online data. More recently, in July, SOC Investment Group urged investors to oppose Electronic Arts' (EA) compensation committee members and "say on pay" proposal, citing concerns regarding the excessive use of special awards for executives. EA shareholders had no qualms with voting against the S&P 500 multimedia company's remuneration report, which won just 41.9% support, but compensation committee members Luis Ubiñas (the committee chair) and Leonard Coleman won 79.3% and 86.5% support, respectively. It may be the case that P&G investors are also hesitant to vote against directors, choosing to instead direct their opposition toward executive remuneration, as shareholders in similar circumstances have elected to do in the past. Regardless of the strategy investors choose to implement, the message is clear; shareholders expect companies to demonstrate sufficient oversight of ESG concerns, otherwise voting action will steadily escalate. Rebecca Sherratt, Corporate Governance Editor, Insightia Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 3:43 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

EQT"s largest shareholder sides with Rice nominees in proxy fight

Natural gas producer EQT Corp's largest shareholder on Monday extended its support for the nominees of Toby and Derek Rice, the two brothers who sold their company to EQT more than a year ago and are pressing for changes to its board......»»

Category: topSource: reutersJul 1st, 2019

The 20 best books of 2021, according to Book of the Month readers

Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Every year, Book of the Month crowns the best book of the year in November. Here are all the 2021 nominees, based on readers' favorites. Amazon; Bookshop; Alyssa Powell/Insider Book of the Month sends great books from emerging authors directly to subscribers. At the end of each year, readers vote for their favorite books they read through the service. Here are the 20 most loved BOTM selections of 2021. The winner will be announced on November 11. Book of the Month sends new and noteworthy books - often before they become popular - to subscribers each month. In the past, the company has picked hits such as "The Great Alone" by Kristin Hannah, "Pachinko" by Min Jin Lee, and "The Girl With the Louding Voice" by Abi Daré to bring to its readers.Membership (small)At the end of the year, the club's thousands of subscribers vote on the best books they read through the service, making it a more curated version of Goodreads' best books of the year. For example, the 2020 winner was "The Vanishing Half" by Brit Bennett, which also won the 2020 Goodreads award for Best Historical Fiction.Below, you'll find a reading list of the top 20 books of 2021 according to Book of the Month readers. Book of the Month will announce the best book of 2021 on November 11, awarding the winning author a $10,000 prize. The 20 best books picked by Book of the Month in 2021, according to its readers:Descriptions are provided by Amazon and edited lightly for length and clarity. "Things We Lost To The Water" by Eric Nguyen Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When Huong arrives in New Orleans with her two young sons, she is jobless, homeless, and worried about her husband, Cong, who remains in Vietnam. As she and her boys begin to settle into life in America, she sends letters and tapes back to Cong, hopeful that they will be reunited and her children will grow up with a father.But with time, Huong realizes she will never see her husband again. While she attempts to come to terms with this loss, her sons, Tuan and Binh, grow up in their absent father's shadow, haunted by a man and a country trapped in their memories and imaginations. As they push forward, the three adapt to life in America in different ways: Huong gets involved with a Vietnamese car salesman who is also new in town; Tuan tries to connect with his heritage by joining a local Vietnamese gang; and Binh, now going by Ben, embraces his adopted homeland and his burgeoning sexuality. Their search for identity — as individuals and as a family — threatens to tear them apart, un­til disaster strikes the city they now call home, and they are suddenly forced to find a new way to come together and honor the ties that bind them. "Imposter Syndrome" by Kathy Wang Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.59Julia Lerner, a recent university graduate in computer science, is living in Moscow when she's recruited by Russia's largest intelligence agency in 2006. By 2018, she's in Silicon Valley as COO of Tangerine, one of America's most famous technology companies. In between her executive management (make offers to promising startups, crush them and copy their features if they refuse); self-promotion (check out her latest op-ed in the WSJ, on Work/Life Balance 2.0); and work in gender equality (transfer the most annoying females from her team), she funnels intelligence back to the motherland. But now Russia's asking for more, and Julia's getting nervous.Alice Lu is a first-generation Chinese-American whose parents are delighted she's working at Tangerine (such a successful company!). Too bad she's slogging away in the lower echelons, recently dumped, and now sharing her expensive two-bedroom apartment with her cousin Cheri, a perennial "founder's girlfriend." One afternoon, while performing a server check, Alice discovers some unusual activity, and now she's burdened with two powerful but distressing suspicions: Tangerine's privacy settings aren't as rigorous as the company claims they are, and the person abusing this loophole might be Julia Lerner herself. The closer Alice gets to Julia, the more Julia questions her own loyalties. Russia may have placed her in the Valley, but she's the one who built her career; isn't she entitled to protect the lifestyle she's earned? Part page-turning cat-and-mouse chase, part sharp and hilarious satire, "Impostor Syndrome" is a shrewdly-observed examination of women in tech, Silicon Valley hubris, and the rarely fulfilled but ever-attractive promise of the American Dream. "The Lost Apothecary" by Susan Penner Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99Hidden in the depths of 18th-century London, a secret apothecary shop caters to an unusual kind of clientele. Women across the city whisper of a mysterious figure named Nella who sells well-disguised poisons to use against the oppressive men in their lives. But the apothecary's fate is jeopardized when her newest patron, a precocious 12-year-old, makes a fatal mistake, sparking a string of consequences that echo through the centuries.Meanwhile, aspiring historian Caroline Parcewell spends her 10th wedding anniversary alone in present-day London, running from her own demons. When she stumbles upon a clue to the unsolved apothecary murders that haunted London 200 years ago, her life collides with the apothecary's in a stunning twist of fate — and not everyone will survive. "This Close To Okay" by Leese Cross-Smith Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $15.62On a rainy October night in Kentucky, recently divorced therapist Tallie Clark is on her way home from work when she spots a man precariously standing at the edge of a bridge. Without a second thought, Tallie pulls over and jumps out of the car into the pouring rain. She convinces the man to join her for a cup of coffee, and he eventually agrees to come back to her house, where he finally shares his name: Emmett. Over the course of the emotionally charged weekend that follows, Tallie makes it her mission to provide a safe space for Emmett, though she hesitates to confess that this is also her day job. What she doesn't realize is that Emmett isn't the only one who needs healing — and they both are harboring secrets.Alternating between Tallie and Emmett's perspectives as they inch closer to the truth of what brought Emmett to the bridge's edge — as well as the hard truths Tallie has been grappling with since her marriage ended — "This Close to Okay" is an uplifting, cathartic story about chance encounters, hope found in unlikely moments, and the subtle magic of human connection. "We Are the Brennans" by Tracey Lange Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.49When 29-year-old Sunday Brennan wakes up in a Los Angeles hospital, bruised and battered after a drunk driving accident she caused, she swallows her pride and goes home to her family in New York. But it's not easy. She deserted them all — and her high school sweetheart — five years before with little explanation, and they've got questions.Sunday is determined to rebuild her life back on the east coast, even if it does mean tiptoeing around resentful brothers and an ex-fiancé. The longer she stays, however, the more she realizes they need her just as much as she needs them. When a dangerous man from her past brings her family's pub business to the brink of financial ruin, the only way to protect them is to upend all their secrets — secrets that have damaged the family for generations and will threaten everything they know about their lives. In the aftermath, the Brennan family is forced to confront painful mistakes — and ultimately find a way forward together. "The Maidens" by Alex Michaelides Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.78Edward Fosca is a murderer. Of this, Mariana is confident. But Fosca is untouchable. A handsome and charismatic Greek tragedy professor at Cambridge University, Fosca is adored by staff and students alike ― particularly by the members of a secret society of female students known as The Maidens.Mariana Andros is a brilliant but troubled group therapist who becomes fixated on The Maidens when one member, a friend of Mariana's niece Zoe, is found murdered in Cambridge.Mariana, who was once herself a student at the university, quickly suspects that behind the idyllic beauty of the spires and turrets, and beneath the ancient traditions, lies something sinister. And she becomes convinced that, despite his alibi, Edward Fosca is guilty of the murder. But why would the professor target one of his students? And why does he keep returning to the rites of Persephone, the maiden, and her journey to the underworld?When another body is found, Mariana's obsession with proving Fosca's guilt spirals out of control, threatening to destroy her credibility as well as her closest relationships. But Mariana is determined to stop this killer, even if it costs her everything ― including her own life. "Razorblade Tears" by S.A. Cosby Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.10Ike Randolph has been out of jail for 15 years, with not so much as a speeding ticket in all that time. But a Black man with cops at the door knows to be afraid.The last thing he expects to hear is that his son Isiah has been murdered, along with Isiah's white husband, Derek. Ike had never fully accepted his son but is devastated by his loss.Derek's father, Buddy Lee, was almost as ashamed of Derek for being gay as Derek was ashamed of his father's criminal record. Buddy Lee still has contacts in the underworld, though, and he wants to know who killed his boy.Ike and Buddy Lee, two ex-cons with little else in common other than a criminal past and a love for their dead sons, band together in their desperate desire for revenge. In their quest to do better for their sons in death than they did in life, hardened men Ike and Buddy Lee will confront their prejudices about their sons and each other as they rain down vengeance upon those who hurt their boys. "Malibu Rising" by Taylor Jenkins Reid Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $16.80Malibu: August 1983. It's the day of Nina Riva's annual end-of-summer party, and anticipation is at a fever pitch. Everyone wants to be around the famous Rivas: Nina, the talented surfer and supermodel; brothers Jay and Hud, one a championship surfer, the other a renowned photographer; and their adored baby sister, Kit. Together, the siblings are a source of fascination in Malibu and the world over — especially as the offspring of the legendary singer Mick Riva.The only person not looking forward to the party of the year is Nina herself, who never wanted to be the center of attention, and who has also just been very publicly abandoned by her pro tennis player husband. Oh, and maybe Hud — because it is long past time for him to confess something to the brother from whom he's been inseparable since birth.Jay, on the other hand, is counting the minutes until nightfall, when the girl he can't stop thinking about has promised she'll be there.And Kit has a couple of secrets of her own — including a guest she invited without consulting anyone.By midnight the party will be entirely out of control. By morning, the Riva mansion will have gone up in flames. But before that first spark in the early hours before dawn, the alcohol will flow, the music will play, and the loves and secrets that shaped this family's generations will all come rising to the surface. "Four Winds" by Kristin Hannah Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.49Texas, 1921. A time of abundance. The Great War is over, the land's bounty is plentiful, and America is on the brink of a new and optimistic era. But for Elsa Wolcott, deemed too old to marry in a time when marriage is a woman's only option, the future seems bleak. Until the night she meets Rafe Martinelli and decides to change the direction of her life. With her reputation in ruin, there is only one respectable choice: Marriage to a man she barely knows.By 1934, the world has changed; millions are out of work, and drought has devastated the Great Plains. Farmers are fighting to keep their land and their livelihoods as crops fail and water dries up and the earth cracks open. Dust storms roll relentlessly across the plains. Everything on the Martinelli farm is dying, including Elsa's tenuous marriage; each day is a desperate battle against nature and a fight to keep her children alive.In this uncertain and perilous time, Elsa ― like so many of her neighbors ― must make an agonizing choice: Fight for the land she loves or leave it behind and go west, to California, in search of a better life for her family. "The People We Keep" by Alison Larkin Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $22.99Little River, New York, 1994: April Sawicki is living in a motorless motorhome that her father won in a poker game. Failing out of school, picking up shifts at Margo's diner, she's left fending for herself in a town where she's never quite felt at home. When she "borrows" her neighbor's car to perform at an open mic night, she realizes her life could be much bigger than where she came from. After a fight with her dad, April packs her stuff and leaves for good — setting off on a journey to find her own life.Driving without a chosen destination, she stops to rest in Ithaca. Her only plan is to survive, but as she looks for work, she finds a kindred sense of belonging at Cafe Decadence, the local coffee shop. Still, somehow, it doesn't make sense to her that life could be this easy. The more she falls in love with her friends in Ithaca, the more she can't shake the feeling that she'll hurt them the way she's been hurt.As April moves through the world, meeting people who feel like home, she chronicles her life in the songs she writes and discovers that where she came from doesn't dictate who she has to be. "The Heart Principle" by Helen Hoang Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $13.99When violinist Anna Sun accidentally achieves career success with a viral YouTube video, she finds herself incapacitated and burned out from her attempts to replicate that moment. And when her longtime boyfriend announces he wants an open relationship before making a final commitment, a hurt and angry Anna decides that if he wants an open relationship, then she does, too. Translation: She's going to embark on a string of one-night stands — the more unacceptable the men, the better.That's where tattooed, motorcycle-riding Quan Diep comes in. Their first attempt at a one-night stand fails, as does their second and their third, because being with Quan is more than sex — he accepts Anna on an unconditional level that she has just started to understand. However, when tragedy strikes Anna's family, she takes on a role that she is ill-suited for until the burden of expectations threatens to destroy her. Anna and Quan have to fight for their chance at love — but to do that, they also have to fight for themselves. "Instructions for Dancing" by Nicola Yoon Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.40Evie Thomas doesn't believe in love anymore. Especially after the strangest thing occurs one otherwise ordinary afternoon: She witnesses a couple kiss and is overcome with a vision of how their romance began… and how it will end. After all, even the greatest love stories end with a broken heart, eventually.As Evie tries to understand why this is happening, she finds herself at La Brea Dance Studio, learning to waltz, fox-trot, and tango with a boy named X. X is everything that Evie is not: Adventurous, passionate, daring. His philosophy is to say yes to everything — including entering a ballroom dance competition with a girl he's only just met.Falling for X is definitely not what Evie had in mind. If her visions of heartbreak have taught her anything, it's that no one escapes love unscathed. But as she and X dance around and toward each other, Evie is forced to question all she thought she knew about life and love. In the end, is love worth the risk? "Once There Were Wolves" by Charlotte McConaghy Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $20.99Inti Flynn arrives in Scotland with her twin sister, Aggie, to lead a team of biologists tasked with reintroducing 14 gray wolves into the remote Highlands. She hopes to heal not only the dying landscape but Aggie, too — unmade by the terrible secrets that drove the sisters out of Alaska.Inti is not the woman she once was, either, changed by the harm she's witnessed ― inflicted by humans on both the wild and each other. Yet, as the wolves surprise everyone by thriving, Inti begins to let her guard down, even opening herself up to the possibility of love. But when a farmer is found dead, Inti knows where the town will lay blame. Unable to accept that her wolves could be responsible, Inti makes a reckless decision to protect them. But if the wolves didn't make the kill, then who did? And what will Inti do when the man she is falling for seems to be the prime suspect? "People We Meet On Vacation" by Emily Henry Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $9.98Poppy and Alex. Alex and Poppy. They have nothing in common. She's a wild child; he wears khakis. She has insatiable wanderlust; he prefers to stay home with a book. And somehow, ever since a fateful car share home from college many years ago, they are the very best of friends. For most of the year, they live far apart — she's in New York City, and he's in their small hometown — but every summer, for a decade, they have taken one glorious week of vacation together.Until two years ago, when they ruined everything. They haven't spoken since.Poppy has everything she should want, but she's stuck in a rut. When someone asks when she was last truly happy, she knows, without a doubt, it was on that ill-fated, final trip with Alex. And so, she decides to convince her best friend to take one more vacation together — lay everything on the table, make it all right. Miraculously, he agrees.Now she has a week to fix everything. If only she can get around the one big truth that has always stood quietly in the middle of their seemingly perfect relationship. What could possibly go wrong? "The Inheritance of Orquídea Divina" by Zoraida Cordove Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $21.49The Montoyas are used to a life without explanations. They know better than to ask why the pantry never seems to run low or empty or why their matriarch won't ever leave their home in Four Rivers — even for graduations, weddings, or baptisms. But when Orquídea Divina invites them to her funeral and to collect their inheritance, they hope to learn the secrets that she has held onto so tightly their whole lives. Instead, Orquídea is transformed, leaving them with more questions than answers.Seven years later, her gifts have manifested differently for Marimar, Rey, and Tatinelly's daughter, Rhiannon, granting them unexpected blessings. But soon, a hidden figure begins to tear through their family tree, picking them off one by one as it seeks to destroy Orquídea's line. Determined to save what's left of their family and uncover the truth behind their inheritance, the four descendants travel to Ecuador — to the place where Orquídea buried her secrets and broken promises and never looked back. "Damnation Spring" by Ash Davidson Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $19.81Colleen and Rich Gundersen are raising their young son, Chub, on the rugged California coast. It's 1977, and life in this Pacific Northwest logging town isn't what it used to be. For generations, the community has lived and breathed timber; now, that way of life is threatened. Colleen is an amateur midwife. Rich is a tree-topper. It's a dangerous job that requires him to scale trees hundreds of feet tall — a job that both his father and grandfather died doing. Colleen and Rich want a better life for their son — and they take steps to assure their future. Rich secretly spends their savings on a swath of ancient Redwoods. Colleen, desperate to have a second baby, challenges the logging company's use of herbicides that she believes are responsible for the many miscarriages in the community — including her own. The pair find themselves on opposite sides of a budding conflict that threatens the very thing they are trying to protect: Their family. "The Star-Crossed Sisters of Tuscany" by Lori Nelson Spielman Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $10.95Since the day Filomena Fontana cast a curse upon her sister more than 200 years ago, not one second-born Fontana daughter has found lasting love. Some, like second-born Emilia, the happily single baker at her grandfather's Brooklyn deli, claim it's an odd coincidence. Others, like her sexy, desperate-for-love cousin Lucy, insist it's an actual hex. But both are bewildered when their great-aunt calls with an astounding proposition: If they accompany her to her homeland of Italy, Aunt Poppy vows she'll meet the love of her life on the steps of the Ravello Cathedral on her 80th birthday — and break the Fontana Second-Daughter Curse once and for all.Against the backdrop of wandering Venetian canals, rolling Tuscan fields, and enchanting Amalfi Coast villages, romance blooms, destinies are found, and family secrets are unearthed — secrets that could threaten the family far more than a centuries-old curse. "The Last Thing He Told Me" by Laura Dave Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $12.92Before Owen Michaels disappears, he smuggles a note to his beloved wife of one year: Protect her.Despite her confusion and fear, Hannah Hall knows exactly to whom the note refers — Owen's 16-year-old daughter, Bailey. Bailey, who lost her mother tragically as a child. Bailey, who wants absolutely nothing to do with her new stepmother. As Hannah's increasingly desperate calls to Owen go unanswered, as the FBI arrests Owen's boss, as a US marshal and federal agents arrive at her Sausalito home unannounced, Hannah quickly realizes her husband isn't who he said he was. And that Bailey just may hold the key to figuring out Owen's true identity — and why he disappeared.Hannah and Bailey set out to discover the truth. But as they start putting together the pieces of Owen's past, they soon realize they're also building a new future — one neither of them could have anticipated.You can read our interview with author Laura Dave here. "The Office of Historical Corrections" by Danielle Evans Bookshop; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $17.49Danielle Evans is known for her blisteringly smart voice and X-ray insights into complex human relationships. With "The Office of Historical Corrections," Evans zooms in on particular moments and relationships in her characters' lives in a way that allows them to speak to larger issues of race, culture, and history. She introduces us to Black and multiracial characters experiencing the universal confusions of lust and love and getting walloped by grief — all while exploring how history haunts us, personally and collectively. Ultimately, she provokes us to think about the truths of American history — about who gets to tell them and the cost of setting the record straight. "Infinite Country" by Patricia Engel Amazon; Lauren Arzbaecher/Insider Available at Amazon and Bookshop from $14.80I often wonder if we are living the wrong life in the wrong country.Talia is being held at a correctional facility for adolescent girls in the forested mountains of Colombia after committing an impulsive act of violence that may or may not have been warranted. She urgently needs to get out and get back home to Bogotá, where her father and a plane ticket to the United States are waiting for her. If she misses her flight, she might also miss her chance to finally reunite with her family.How this family came to occupy two different countries — two different worlds — comes into focus like twists of a kaleidoscope. We see Talia's parents, Mauro and Elena, fall in love in a market stall as teenagers against a backdrop of civil war and social unrest. We see them leave Bogotá with their firstborn, Karina, in pursuit of safety and opportunity in the United States on a temporary visa, and we see the births of two more children, Nando and Talia, on American soil. We witness the decisions and indecisions that lead to Mauro's deportation and the family's splintering — the costs they've all been living with ever since. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

The Elizabeth Holmes trial: The defense gets smacked down twice in one day

Attorneys for the Theranos founder tried - and failed - to ban the reporter John Carreyrou from the trial. Plus: jurors are eyeing the exits. Attorneys for the Theranos founder tried - and failed - to bar the reporter John Carreyrou from the trial. Gilbert Carrasquillo/Getty Images; Michael Loccisano/Getty Images; Samantha Lee/Insider Prosecutors and defense attorneys are battling over Elizabeth Holmes in her fraud trial, but the news media is also an active litigant in the proceedings. Journalists and their publications have argued three separate matters before the court, reflecting both the high-profile nature of the case and the prominent role that journalism played in the demise of Theranos.The best-known journalist by far on all things Theranos is John Carreyrou, the former Wall Street Journal reporter who broke the story about its deceptions and then wrote the best-selling "Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup." Carreyrou is a central figure in the saga. He was a thorn in the side of the company before its collapse. In his podcast, "Bad Blood: The Final Chapter," he is an unapologetic antagonist of Holmes, focusing on the voluminous evidence of her guilt and her efforts to evade accountability.In return, Holmes' lawyers have exacted a bit of revenge on Carreyrou. By adding him to their list of possible witnesses, they subjected him to a gag order that prevented him from discussing the case with anyone but his lawyer and barred him from even attending the trial when other "fact witnesses" are testifying. That was a bitter pill for a reporter who was missing out on the coda of his career-defining story.But Carreyrou, always pugnacious in his reporting, fought back in court as well. He filed a motion requesting an exemption from the gag order and his courtroom ban, based on his First Amendment rights as a journalist. His lawyer's brief noted that Carreyrou was the only reporter on the Holmes witness list, and that the defense hadn't subpoenaed him to testify. Citing page after page of case law, the brief sniped at Holmes: "Other courts, when faced with such a cynical ruse, have rightly rejected it in favor of reporters' First Amendment interests."It's plainly laughable that Holmes' lawyers would call Carreyrou to testify. Whatever question marks they might hope to place on his reporting would pale in comparison with the mountain of embarrassing evidence the prosecution would elicit from him on cross-examination. A magistrate judge, Nathanael Cousins, held a hearing yesterday to settle the issue. He tried to seek a compromise, asking both sides to consider declaring Carreyrou an "expert witness" rather than a fact witness, which would permit him to attend the trial. But the defense refused to change its position.In the end, Carreyrou won a resounding victory. In his ruling from the bench, Cousins noted Carreyrou's "centrality" to the case and praised him for "providing a public service" with his reporting. He lifted both the gag order and the courtroom ban, allowing Carreyrou to attend the proceedings as he sees fit.The other journalist who filed a motion with the court is Roger Parloff, who wrote a flattering cover story about Theranos in Fortune magazine in 2014, a year before Carreyrou's exposé. (I was Parloff's colleague when he published his article but played no role in the piece.) Later, Parloff admirably published an extensive story documenting how he had been misled by Holmes. Parloff's articles have become a major plank in the government's case - prosecutors plan to call him as a witness, to demonstrate that Holmes lied to him to mislead investors.Parloff's case is different from Carreyrou's. Parloff already has provided notes and transcripts of his interview with Holmes to both the prosecution and the defense. And he plans to testify. What he objected to is that Holmes has subpoenaed him to present interview notes with other sources - a move his lawyer called a fishing expedition that violated Parloff's reporter's privilege.At yesterday's hearing, the magistrate also ruled in Parloff's favor. He specifically agreed with Parloff's fishing-expedition charge, calling the details Holmes was seeking to unearth "faux specificity." The score now stands at The Media 2, Holmes 0. Carreyrou, taking to Twitter, declared total victory. "I'm allowed back in the courtroom to cover the Elizabeth Holmes trial," he wrote, noting that Parloff also won his motion. "All in all, a good day for the press!"Jurors are eyeing the exitsThe third journalistic matter before the court was brought by a group called The Media Coalition, consisting of ABC News, Dow Jones, The New York Times, and other media outlets. The coalition has asked the court to unseal the written questionnaires provided by the jurors and alternate jurors in the trial. During a hearing over Zoom on September 30, the group's lawyer, Steven Zansberg, argued that Judge Edward Davila was wrong to offer the jurors confidentiality, with a few exceptions regarding privacy and safety. The questionnaires, he insisted, are public information, and the public has a right to see them.The hearing wasn't particularly notable from a legal perspective. But it offered a rare opportunity to see the faces of all the principals in the case. In court, the judge wears a mask except when he's sipping from his coffee mug; the lawyers, who take off their masks when speaking, generally face away from those of us seated on the wooden benches behind them.Zansberg, who told the judge he was attending the hearing from an in-person gathering of the Media Law Conference, proudly held up a black mask with the slogan, "These are the only gag orders we support." Davila acknowledged that Zansberg had made his point. The conversation then digressed into a discussion about who is and isn't a reporter, from a legal perspective. "Who's a journalist?" the judge asked. "Does someone with a cellphone and a blog become a journalist?"Zansberg neatly sidestepped the issue by reminding the judge that his clients "are not appearing as the press" but "are appearing as the people." Indeed, there's no special treatment of the press in Davila's courtroom. Were he to allow media accreditation and reserve seats for reporters - as the US Supreme Court did in its first oral arguments of the coronavirus pandemic - we wouldn't have to queue up along with everyone else. (End of disgruntled aside.)After a ridiculous amount of back-and-forth, Davila met in his chambers with jurors who expressed qualms about their questionnaire being unsealed. Then he announced he would solicit additional briefs on the matter and hold yet another hearing in five to six weeks.The judge has every reason to delay his decision as long as possible. He has already excused two of the original 12 jurors since the trial began - one because serving conflicted with her work schedule, and another because she said that as a Buddhist, her commitment to love and forgiveness would make it impossible for her to punish Holmes. That leaves only three remaining alternates. The loss of additional jurors who feel spooked about the questionnaires could lead to a mistrial.Last week, another juror approached the judge about being excused. The woman, who appeared to be a professional in her 30s or 40s, offered two reasons to dismiss her. First, she said, she was in anguish over the possibility of sending Holmes to prison. "She's so young," she told Davila. "It's her future. I don't know if I'm 100% ready to participate in something like this." Second, she said, she didn't feel that her command of English was up to the responsibility. "Being English not my first language," she said, "I could make a mistake or something." The judge reminded her that any punishment Holmes received would be his job, not hers. She is required only to decide, based on the facts, whether Holmes is guilty of the charges she faces. It also became clear from their conversation that the juror's command of the English language was quite strong. She agreed to stay, and neither side asked for her to be excused. But prosecutors couldn't have been thrilled to hear of her sympathy for Holmes. If "she's so young" is what the jury is thinking at this point, it could presage a punishment-free future for the defendant.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 15th, 2021

CytoDyn activist investors react to court decision that didn"t go their way

A Delaware judge dealt a blow to the group's attempt to remake the board......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsOct 14th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising US equity-index futures erased earlier declines, rebounding from a loss of as much as 0.8% helped by the start of the European session and easing mounting concerns about stagflation from rising energy prices, signs of widening regulatory scrutiny by China, and the upcoming third-quarter earnings which is expected to post a sharply slower pace of growth and beats than recent record quarters. At 730am ET, Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.16%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 46.75points, or 0.31%. Oiil rose 0.3% to $83.86/bbl while the dollar dipped and 10Y yield drifted back under 1.60%. Gains in tech stocks kept Nasdaq futures afloat on Tuesday, while energy names rose as Brent resumed gains, trading around $84/bbl on expectations that a power crisis from Asia to Europe will lift demand and tighten global balances. Higher oil prices and supply chain disruptions have set off alarm bells for businesses and consumers ahead of the third-quarter reporting season that kicks off on Wednesday with JPMorgan results.  "We believe that market participants could stay concerned over high energy prices translating into further acceleration in inflation, and thereby faster tightening by major central banks," said Charalambos Pissouros, head of research at JFD Group. In the pre-market, Tesla rose 0.7% after data showed the electric vehicle maker sold 56,006 China-made vehicles in September, the highest since it started production in Shanghai about two years ago. Oil firms including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp gained 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively, as Brent crude hit a near-three year high on energy crunch fears. Here are the notable movers: China’s Internet sector is one of the “most undervalued” in Morningstar’s coverage, says Ivan Su, an analyst, adding that Tencent (TCEHY US) and Netease (NTES US) are top picks MGM Resorts (MGM US) rises 2% in U.S. premarket trading after stock was upgraded to outperform from neutral and price target more than doubled to a Street-high $68 at Credit Suisse Quanterix (QTRX US) jumped 20% in Monday postmarket trading after the digital-health company announced that its Simoa phospho-Tau 181 blood test has been granted breakthrough device designation by the U.S. FDA as an aid in diagnostic evaluation of Alzheimer’s disease Relay Therapeutics (RLAY US) fell 7% in Monday postmarket trading after launching a $350 million share sale via Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Cowen, Guggenheim Securities Westwater Resources (WWR US) rose as much as 26% in Monday postmarket trading after its board of directors approved construction of the first phase of a production facility in Alabama for battery ready graphite products TechnipFMC (FTI US) in focus after co. was awarded a substantial long-term charter and services contract by Petrobras for the pipelay support vessel Coral do Atlântico Fastenal, which was one of the first companies to report Q3 earnings, saw its shares fall 2.4% in premarket trading on Tuesday, after the industrial distributor said the Covid-related boost was fading. The company said growth in the quarter was slightly limited by either slower expansion or contraction in sales of certain products related to the pandemic, when compared to the previous year quarter. While there was an uptick in sales of certain Covid-related supplies, the unit price of many products was down significantly, the company said in a statement.  Third-quarter sales and profit were in line with the average analyst estimate "While investors want to believe the narrative that stock markets can continue to move higher, this belief is bumping up against the reality of how the continued rise in energy prices, as well as supply-chain pressures, are likely to impact company profit margins,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London. In Europe, losses led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks, pulling the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.1%. Metals miner Rio Tinto was among the worst performers, dropping 2.7%. European equities climbed off the lows having lost over 1% in early trade. Euro Stoxx 600 was down -0.35% after dropping as much as 1.3% initially, led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks. The DAX is off 0.3%, FTSE 100 underperforms in a quiet morning for news flow. Miners, banks and autos are the weakest sectors after China reported a sharp drop in auto sales; utilities, tech and real estate post modest gains. European tech stocks slide, with the Stoxx Tech Index dropping as much as 1.4% in third straight decline, as another broker downgrades TeamViewer, while Prosus and chip stocks come under pressure. TeamViewer shares fall as much as 5.1% after Deutsche Bank downgrades the remote software maker to hold from buy following recent guidance cut. Asian stocks fell, halting a three-day rally as uncertainty over earnings deepened amid elevated inflation, higher bond yields and the risk of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 1.2%, led by technology and communication shares. Alibaba plunged 3.9% following a rally over the past week, while Samsung Electronics tumbled to a 10-month low after at least five brokers slashed their price targets, as China’s power crisis is seen worsening supply-chain disruptions. “Given the run-up in tech so far, it’s not difficult for investors to harvest profits first before figuring out if techs can maintain their growth when yields rise,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. Shares in Hong Kong and the mainland were among the worst performers after Chinese authorities kicked off an inspection of the nation’s financial regulators and biggest state-run banks in an effort to root out corruption. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down 12% from a February peak, with a global energy crunch lifting input prices and the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group weighing on the financial sector. Investors are waiting to see how this impacts earnings, according to Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia.  “Increasing concerns on inflation potentially being more persistent have started to show up,” he said. “This comes along with the global risk-off mood overnight, as investors look for greater clarity from the earnings season on how margins are holding up, along with the corporate economic outlook.” Japan’s Topix index also fell, halting a two-day rally, amid concerns about a global energy crunch and the possibility of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The Topix fell 0.7% to 1,982.68 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.9% to 28,230.61. SoftBank Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s drop, decreasing 2.4%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 373 rose and 1,743 fell, while 65 were unchanged. “Market conditions were improving yesterday, but pushing for higher prices got tough when the Nikkei 225 approached its key moving averages,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.  The Nikkei’s 75-day moving average is about 28,500 and the 200-day moving average is about 28,700, so some investors were taking profits, he said. Japan’s spot power price increased to the highest level in nine months, as the global energy crisis intensifies competition for generation fuel before the winter heating season. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an overnight gain as the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Risk sensitive Scandinavian currencies led gains, followed by the New Zealand and Australian dollars. The pound was little changed while speculators ramped up wagers on sterling’s decline at the fastest rate in more than two years, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show, further breaking the link between anticipated rate increases and currency gains. The yen steadied after three days of declines. The Turkish lira extended its slide to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at a possible military offensive into neighboring Syria. Fixed-income was quiet by recent standards: Treasury futures were off lows of the day, improving as S&P 500 futures pare losses during European morning, and as cash trading resumed after Monday’s holiday. The 10Y yield dipped from 1.61% to 1.59% after hitting 1.65% based on futures pricing on Monday, but the big mover was on the front end, where 2-year yields climbed as much as 4bps to 0.35% the highest level since March 2020 reflecting increased expectations for Fed rate hikes, as Treasury cash trading resumed globally. Two coupon auctions during U.S. session -- of 3-and 10-year notes -- may weigh on Treasuries however.  Treasury and gilt curves bull-flatten with gilts outperforming at the back end. Bunds have a bull-steepening bias but ranges are narrow. Peripheral spreads tighten a touch with long-end Italy outperforming peers. In commodities, Crude futures drift higher in muted trade. WTI is up 0.25% near $80.70, Brent trades just shy of a $84-handle. Spot gold remains range-bound near $1,760/oz. Base metals are mixed with LME lead and nickel holding small gains, copper and aluminum in the red. Looking at the day ahead, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September which came in at 99.1, below last month's 100.1. The IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,351.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.6% to 454.90 MXAP down 0.9% to 194.41 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 635.42 Nikkei down 0.9% to 28,230.61 Topix down 0.7% to 1,982.68 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,546.94 Sensex little changed at 60,149.85 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,280.73 Kospi down 1.4% to 2,916.38 German 10Y yield fell 6 bps to -0.113% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1565 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $84.01/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,757.84 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 Top Overnight Headlines from Bloomberg The EU drew record demand for its debut green bond, in the sector’s biggest-ever offering. The bloc registered more than 135 billion euros ($156 billion) in orders Tuesday for a sale of 12 billion euros of securities maturing in 2037 Investors are dumping negative-yielding debt at the fastest pace since February as concerns about inflation and reduced central bank stimulus propel global interest rates higher French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a 30-billion-euro ($35 billion) plan to create the high-tech champions of the future and reverse years of industrial decline in the euro area’s second-largest economy British companies pushed the number of workers on payrolls above pre-coronavirus levels last month, an indication of strength in the labor market that may embolden the Bank of England to raise interest rates. As the Biden administration and governments around the world celebrate another advance toward an historic global tax accord, an obscure legal question in the U.S. threatens to tear it apart Chinese property developers are suffering credit rating downgrades at the fastest pace in five years, as a recent slump in new-home sales adds to concerns about the sector’s debt woes German investor confidence declined for a fifth month in October, adding to evidence that global supply bottlenecks and a surge in inflation are weighing on the recovery in Europe’s largest economy Social Democrat Olaf Scholz’s bid to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor is running into its first test as tensions emerge in talks to bridge policy differences with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats A more detailed breakdown of global markets from Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly lower following the indecisive mood stateside where the major indices gave back initial gains to finish negative amid lingering inflation and global slowdown concerns, with sentiment overnight also hampered by tighter Beijing scrutiny and with US equity futures extending on losses in which the Emini S&P retreated beneath its 100DMA. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was subdued as weakness in energy, tech and financials led the declines in Australia and with participants also digesting mixed NAB business survey data. Nikkei 225 (-0.9%) was on the backfoot after the Japan Center for Economic Research noted that GDP contracted 0.9% M/M in August and with retailers pressured after soft September sales updates from Lawson and Seven & I Holdings, while the KOSPI (-1.4%) was the laggard on return from holiday with chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix subdued as they face new international taxation rules following the recent global minimum tax deal. Hang Seng (-1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.3%) adhered to the downbeat picture following a continued liquidity drain by the PBoC and with Beijing scrutinising Chinese financial institutions’ ties with private firms, while default concerns lingered after Evergrande missed yesterday’s payments and with Modern Land China seeking a debt extension on a USD 250mln bond to avoid any potential default. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked minimal gains amid the weakness in stocks but with demand for bonds limited after the recent subdued trade in T-note futures owing to yesterday’s cash bond market closure and following softer results across all metrics in the 30yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Alibaba Stock Revival Halted on Concerns of Rising Bond Yields Iron Ore Rally Pauses as China Steel Curbs Cloud Demand Outlook China’s Star Board Sees Rough Start to Fourth Quarter: ECM Watch Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ European bourses kicked the day off choppy but have since drifted higher (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.4%; Stoxx 600 Unch) as the region remains on standby for the next catalyst, and as US earnings season officially kicks off tomorrow – not to mention the US and Chinese inflation metrics and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and reside in relatively flat territory at the time of writing, with broad-based performance seen in the ES (Unch), NQ (+0.2%), RTY (-0.2%), YM (Unch). From a technical standpoint, some of the Dec contracts are now hovering around their respective 100 DMAs at 4,346 for the ES, 14,744 for the NQ, whilst the RTY sees its 200 DMA at 2,215, and the YM topped its 21 DMA at 34,321. Back to Europe, cash markets see broad-based downside with the SMI (-0.1%) slightly more cushioned amid gains in heavyweight Nestle (+0.6%). Sectors kicked off the day with a defensive bias but have since seen a slight reconfiguration, with Real Estate now the top performer alongside Food & Beverages, Tech and Healthcare. On the flip side, Basic Resources holds its position as the laggard following yesterday's marked outperformance and despite base metals (ex-iron) holding onto yesterday's gains. Autos also reside at the bottom of the bunch despite constructive commentary from China's Auto Industry Body CAAM, who suggested the chip supply shortage eased in China in September and expected Q4 to improve, whilst sources suggested Toyota aims to make up some lost production as supplies rebound. In terms of individual movers, GSK (+2.3%) shares spiked higher amid reports that its USD 54bln consumer unit has reportedly attracted buyout interest, according to sources, in turn lifting the FTSE 100 Dec future by 14 points in the immediacy. Elsewhere, easyJet (-1.9%) gave up its earlier gains after refraining on guidance, and despite an overall constructive trading update whereby the Co. sees positive momentum carried into FY22, with H1 bookings double those in the same period last year. Co. expects to fly up to 70% of FY19 planned capacity in FY22. In terms of commentary, the session saw the Germany ZEW release, which saw sentiment among experts deteriorate, citing the persisting supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products. The release also noted that 49.1% of expects still expect inflation to rise further in the next six months. Heading into earnings season, experts also expect profits to go down, particularly in export-tilted sectors such a car making, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. State-side, sources suggested that EU antitrust regulators are reportedly likely to open an investigation into Nvidia's (+0.6% Pre-Mkt) USD 54bln bid from Arm as concessions were not deemed sufficient. Top European News Soybeans Near 10-Month Low as Supply Outlook Expected to Improve EasyJet Boosts Capacity as Travel Rebound Gathers Pace Currency Traders Are Betting the BOE Is About to Make a Mistake Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ In FX, the Buck has reclaimed a bit more lost ground in consolidatory trade rather than any real sign of a change in fundamentals following Monday’s semi US market holiday for Columbus Day and ahead of another fairly light data slate comprising NFIB business optimism and JOLTS. However, supply awaits the return of cash Treasuries in the form of Usd 58 bn 3 year and Usd 38 bn 10 year notes and Fed commentary picks up pace on the eve of FOMC minutes with no less than five officials scheduled to speak. Meanwhile, broad risk sentiment has taken a knock in wake of a late swoon on Wall Street to give the Greenback and underlying bid and nudge the index up to fresh post-NFP highs within a 94.226-433 band. NZD/AUD - A slight change in fortunes down under as the Kiwi derives some comfort from the fact that the Aud/Nzd has not breached 1.0600 to the upside and Nzd/Usd maintaining 0.6950+ status irrespective of mixed NZ electric card sales data, while the Aussie takes on board contrasting NAB business conditions and confidence readings in advance of consumer sentiment, with Aud/Usd rotating either side of 0.7350. EUR/CAD/GBP/CHF/JPY - All rangy and marginally mixed against their US counterpart, as the Euro straddles 1.1560, the Loonie meanders between 1.2499-62 with less fuel from flat-lining crude and the Pound tries to keep sight of 1.3600 amidst corrective moves in Eur/Gbp following a rebound through 0.8500 after somewhat inconclusive UK labour and earnings data, but hardly a wince from the single currency even though Germany’s ZEW survey missed consensus and the institute delivered a downbeat assessment of the outlook for the coming 6 months. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to hold within rough 0.9250-90 extremes and the Yen is striving to nurse outsize losses between 113.00-50 parameters, with some attention to 1 bn option expiries from 113.20-25 for the NY cut. Note also, decent expiry interest in Eur/Usd and Usd/Cad today, but not as close to current spot levels (at the 1.1615 strike in 1.4 bn and between 1.2490-1.2505 in 1.1 bn respectively). SCANDI/EM - The Nok and Sek have bounced from lows vs the Eur, and the latter perhaps taking heed of a decline in Sweden’s registered jobless rate, but the Cnh and Cny remain off recent highs against the backdrop of more Chinese regulatory rigour, this time targeting state banks and financial institutions with connections to big private sector entities and the Try has thrown in the towel in terms of its fight to fend off approaches towards 9.0000 vs the Usd. The final straw for the Lira appeared to be geopolitical, as Turkish President Erdogan said they will take the necessary steps in Syria and are determined to eliminate threats, adding that Turkey has lost its patience on the attacks coming from Syrian Kurdish YPG controlled areas. Furthermore, he stated there is a Tal Rifaat pocket controlled by YPG below Afrin and that an operation could target that area which is under Russian protection. However, Usd/Try is off a new ATH circa 9.0370 as oil comes off the boil and ip came in above forecast. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are choppy and trade on either side of the flat mark in what is seemingly some consolidation and amid a distinct lack of catalysts to firmly dictate price action. The complex saw downticks heading into the European cash open in tandem with the overall market sentiment at the time, albeit the crude complex has since recovered off worst levels. News flow for the complex has also remained minimal as eyes now turn to any potential intervention by major economies in a bid to stem the pass-through of energy prices to consumers heading into winter. On that note, UK nat gas futures have been stable on the day but still north of GBP 2/Thm. Looking ahead, the weekly Private Inventory data has been pushed back to tomorrow on account of yesterday's Columbus Day holiday. Tomorrow will also see the release of the OPEC MOMR and EIA STEO. Focus on the former will be on any updates to its demand forecast, whilst commentary surrounding US shale could be interesting as it'll give an insight into OPEC's thinking on the threat of Shale under President Biden's "build back better" plan. Brent Dec trades on either side of USD 84/bbl (vs prev. 83.13-84.14 range) whilst WTI trades just under USD 81/bbl after earlier testing USD 80/bbl to the downside (USD 80-80.91/bbl range). Over to metals, spot gold and silver hold onto modest gains with not much to in the way of interesting price action, with the former within its overnight range above USD 1,750/oz and the latter still north of USD 22.50/oz after failing to breach the level to the downside in European hours thus far. In terms of base metals, LME copper is holding onto most of yesterday's gains, but the USD 9,500/t mark seems to be formidable resistance. Finally, Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures retreated after a four-day rally, with traders citing China's steel production regaining focus. US Event Calendar 6am: Sept. SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM 99.1,  est. 99.5, prior 100.1 10am: Aug. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 11m, prior 10.9m 11:15am: Fed’s Clarida Speaks at IIF Annual Meeting 12:30pm: Fed’s Bostic Speaks on Inflation at Peterson Institute 6pm: Fed’s Barkin Interviewed for an NPR Podcast DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It’s my wife’s birthday today and the big treat is James Bond tomorrow night. However, I was really struggling to work out what to buy her. After 11.5 years together, I ran out of original ideas at about year three and have then scrambled round every year in an attempt to be innovative. Previous innovations have seen mixed success with the best example being the nearly-to-scale oil portrait I got commissioned of both of us from our wedding day. She had no idea and hated it at the closed eyes big reveal. It now hangs proudly in our entrance hall though. Today I’ve bought her a lower key gamble. Some of you might know that there is a US website called Cameo that you can pay famous people to record a video message for someone for a hefty fee. Well, all her childhood heroes on it were seemingly too expensive or not there. Then I saw that the most famous gymnast of all time, Nadia Comăneci, was available for a reasonable price. My wife idolised her as a kid (I think). So after this goes to press, I’m going to wake my wife up with a personalised video message from Nadia wishing her a happy birthday, saying she’s my perfect ten, and praising her for encouraging our three children to do gymnastics and telling her to keep strong while I try to get them to play golf instead. I’m not sure if this is a totally naff gift or inspired. When I purchased it I thought the latter but now I’m worried it’s the former! My guess is she says it’s naff, appreciates the gesture, but calls me out for the lack of chocolates. Maybe in this day and age a barrel of oil or a tank of petrol would have been the most valuable birthday present. With investor anticipation continuing to build ahead of tomorrow’s CPI release from the US, yesterday saw yet another round of commodity price rises that’s making it increasingly difficult for central banks to argue that inflation is in fact proving transitory. You don’t have to be too old to remember that back in the summer, those making the transitory argument cited goods like lumber as an example of how prices would begin to fall back again as the economy reopened. But not only have commodity aggregates continued to hit fresh highs since then, but lumber (+5.49%) itself followed up last week’s gains to hit its highest level in 3 months. Looking at those moves yesterday, it was a pretty broad-based advance across the commodity sphere, with big rises among energy and metals prices in particular. Oil saw fresh advances, with WTI (+1.47%) closing above $80/bbl for the first time since 2014, whilst Brent Crude (+1.53%) closed above $83/bbl for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile, Chinese coal futures (+8.00%) hit a record after the flooding in Shanxi province that we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, which has closed 60 of the 682 mines there, and this morning they’re already up another +6.41%. So far this year, the region has produced 30% of China’s coal supply, which gives you an idea as to its importance. And when it came to metals, aluminium prices (+3.30%) on the London Metal Exchange rose to their highest level since the global financial crisis, whilst Iron Ore futures in Singapore jumped +7.01% on Monday, and copper was also up +2.13%. The one respite on the inflation front was a further decline in natural gas prices, however, with the benchmark European future down -2.73%; thus bringing its declines to over -47% since the intraday high that was hit only last Wednesday. With commodity prices seeing another spike and inflation concerns resurfacing, this proved bad news for sovereign bonds as investors moved to price in a more hawkish central bank reaction. Yields in Europe rose across the continent, with those on 10yr bunds up +3.0bps to 0.12%, their highest level since May. The rise was driven by both higher inflation breakevens and real rates, and leaves bund yields just shy of their recent post-pandemic closing peak of -0.10% from mid-May. If they manage to surpass that point, that’ll leave them closer to positive territory than at any point since Q2 2019 when they last turned negative again. It was a similar story elsewhere, with 10yr yields on OATs (+2.6bps), BTPs (+3.9bps) and gilts (+3.1bps) likewise reaching their highest level in months. The sell-off occurred as money markets moved to price in further rate hikes from central banks, with investors now expecting a full 25 basis point hike from the Fed by the end of Q3 2022. It seems like another era, but at the start of this year before the Georgia Senate race, investors weren’t even pricing in a full hike by the end of 2023, whereas they’re now pricing in almost 4. So we’ve come a long way over 2021, though pre-Georgia the consensus CPI forecast on Bloomberg was just 2.0%, whereas it now stands at 4.3%, so it does fit with the story of much stronger-than-expected inflation inducing a hawkish response. Yesterday’s repricing came alongside a pretty minimal -0.15% move in the Euro versus the dollar, but that was because Europe was also seeing a similar rates repricing. Meanwhile, the UK saw its own ramping up of rate hike expectations, with investors pricing in at least an initial 15bps hike to 0.25% happening by the December meeting in just two months’ time. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading in the red with the KOSPI (-1.46%), Shanghai Composite (-1.21%), Hang Seng (-1.20%), the Nikkei (-0.93%) and CSI (-0.82%) all trading lower on inflation concerns due to high energy costs and aggravated by a Wall Street Journal story that Chinese President Xi Jinping is increasing scrutiny of state-run banks and big financial institutions with inspections. Furthermore, there were signs of a worsening in the Evergrande debt situation, with the firm missing coupon payments on a 9.5% note due in 2022 and a 10% bond due in 2023. And there were fresh indications of a worsening situation more broadly, with Sinic Holdings Group Co. saying it doesn’t expect to pay the principal or interest on a $250m bond due on October 18. Separately in Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that he will raise pay for public workers and boost tax breaks to firms that boost wages to try and improve the country’s wealth distribution. Back to yesterday, and the commodity rally similarly weighed on thin-volume equity markets, though it took some time as the S&P 500 had initially climbed around +0.5% before paring back those gains to close down -0.69%. Before the late US sell-off, European indices were subdued, but the STOXX 600 still rose +0.05%, thanks to an outperformance from the energy sector (+1.49%), and the STOXX Banks Index (+0.13%) hit a fresh two-year high as the sector was supported by a further rise in yields. On the central bank theme, we heard from the ECB’s chief economist, Philip Lane, at a conference yesterday, where he said that “a one-off shift in the level of wages as part of the adjustment to a transitory unexpected increase in the price level does not imply a trend shift in the path of underlying inflation.” So clearly making a distinction between a more persistent pattern of wage inflation, which comes as the ECB’s recent forward guidance commits them to not hiking rates “until it sees inflation reaching two per cent well ahead of the end of its projection horizon and durably for the rest of the projection horizon”, as well as having confidence that “realised progress in underlying inflation is sufficiently advanced to be consistent with inflation stabilising at two per cent over the medium term”. Turning to the political scene, Brexit is likely to be in the headlines again today as the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost gives a speech in Lisbon where he’s expected to warn that the EU’s proposals on the Northern Ireland Protocol are insufficient. That comes ahead of a new set of proposals that are set to come from the EU tomorrow, with the two sides disagreeing on the extent of border controls required on trade from Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK. Those controls were put in place as part of the Brexit deal to prevent a hard border being put up between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, whilst also preserving the integrity of the EU’s single market. But the UK’s demands for adjustments have been met with opposition by the EU, and speculation has risen that the UK could trigger Article 16, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, if the protocol’s application “leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”. On the data front, there wasn’t much data to speak of with the US holiday, but Italy’s industrial production contracted by -0.2% in August, in line with expectations. To the day ahead now, andcentral bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September. In Europe, there’s also UK unemployment for August and the German ZEW Survey for October. Lastly, the IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook.     Tyler Durden Tue, 10/12/2021 - 07:56.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 12th, 2021

Futures Slide As Soaring Oil Nears $85

Futures Slide As Soaring Oil Nears $85 While cash bonds may be closed today for Columbus Day, which may or may not be a holiday - it's difficult to know anymore with SJW snowflakes opinions changing by the day - US equity futures are open and they are sliding as soaring oil prices add to worries over growing stagflation (Goldman and Morgan Stanley both slashed their GDP estimates over the weekend even as they both see rising inflation), fueling concern that a spreading energy crisis could hamper economic recovery (as a reminder, yesterday we had one, two, three posts on stagflation, showing just how freaked out Wall Street suddenly is). Rising raw material costs, labor shortages and other supply chain bottlenecks have raised concerns of elevated prices hammering corporate profits while rising rates are suggesting that a tidal wave of inflation is coming. And while cash bonds may be closed, one can easily extrapolate where they would be trading based on TSY futures which are currently trading at a 1.65% equivalent. But while cash bonds may be closed, the big mover on Monday was oil, with WTI surging nearly 3% and touched a seven-year high as an energy crisis gripping the major economies showed no sign of easing. Meanwhile, Brent rose just shy of $85, rising to the highest since late 2018 when the Fed abruptly reversed tightening course. Over in China, coal futures reached a record as flooding shuttered mines. The surge in oil lifted shares of Chevron Corp, Exxon Mobil Corp and APA Corp between 1.2% and 3% in premarket trading. At the same time, rising rates hit FAAMGs, with Apple, Microsoft and Amazon all falling between 0.6% and 0.8%. The surge above 1.6% for 10-year Treasury yields is intensifying debate among strategists over how to position investor portfolios amid anxiety over whether transitory inflation is transitioning into stagflation. Lucid Group rose 2.2% and Occidental Petroleum climbed 3.1%, leading gains in the U.S. premarket session. Here are some of the biggest movers and stocks to watch today: U.S.-listed Chinese tech stocks soar 2% to 5% in premarket trading, extending their recent rebound. Rally supported by Beijing slapping a smaller-than-expected fine on food delivery giant Meituan and last week’s news that U.S. President Joe Biden was planning to meet with Xi Jinping before the end of the year. Alibaba (BABA US +5%) leads gains, while JD.com (JD US) and Baidu (BIDU US) rise 2% apiece Watch U.S. energy stocks as oil surges past $80 a barrel as the global power crunch rattled a market in which OPEC+ has only been restoring output at a modest pace. Exxon Mobil (XOM US +1.1%), Chevron (CVX US +1%) and Occidental (OXY US +3.1%) among top risers in premarket trading. Robinhood (HOOD US) dropped 2%; the company was under pressure in U.S. premarket trading as a looming share sale by early investors and a toughening regulatory environment for cryptocurrencies are adding to the headwinds in the stock market for the darling of the U.S. retail trading mania. ChemoCentryx (CCXI US) up 2% in U.S. premarket trading, adding to Friday’s massive gains after the drug developer won U.S. approval for Tavneos as a treatment for a rare autoimmune disorder Cloudflare (NET US) slides 1.8% in U.S. premarket trading after Piper Sandler downgraded stock to neutral Akerna Corp. (KERN US) gained in Friday postmarket trading after Matthew Ryan Kane, a board member, bought $346,032 of shares, according to a filing with the U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission. “We see rising risks to global growth and evidence of more persistent inflation, which makes us more cautious on the outlook for global markets overall,” Salman Ahmed, global head of macro and strategic asset allocation at Fidelity International, wrote in a note to clients. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index fell 0.2%, led by declines in travel and property firms. Miners and energy stocks were the two strongest-performing sectors in Europe on Monday on rising prices for iron ore and oil. The Stoxx 600 Basic Resources Index climbed as much as 2.4%, while the Energy Index gains as much as 1.5% to the highest since Feb. 24, 2020. European banking stocks also advanced on Monday, following four weeks of gains, and traded about 1.3% below pre-pandemic high. The sector has gained 36% ytd, is the best performer among 20 European sectors in 2021. Up 0.7% today, outperforming a slightly weaker broader Stoxx 600 Index and as investors tilt toward cyclical sectors. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks jumped, buoyed by Hong Kong-listed technology shares including Meituan, which was consigned a lower-than-expected regulatory fine. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index climbed as much as 0.9%, driven by the consumer-discretionary and communication sectors. Alibaba and Meituan were the top contributors to the gauge, each surging about 8% in the first trading in Hong Kong after the food-delivery giant was handed a $533 million fine for violating anti-monopolistic practices.  The result of the investigation into Meituan is “a relief and likely to provide closure to the share price overhang,” Citigroup analysts wrote in a note Friday, when the penalty was announced.  Hong Kong’s stock gauge was among the top performing in the region. Japan’s benchmarks also climbed as the yen weakened to an almost three-year low against the dollar and new Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said he’s not considering changes to the country’s capital-gains tax at present. Improved sentiment in China is providing much-needed support to Asian equities, which declined for four straight weeks amid uncertainty circling global markets. Power shortages in China and India, supply-chain woes, inflation risks and rising bond yields are all on the radar as the earnings season kicks off. “We are still in a market that is very, very concerned about the growth outlook,” said Kyle Rodda, market analyst at IG Markets. These sort of rallies that appear almost inexplicable are “symptomatic of the market still trying to piece together all pieces of the puzzle,” he added. Australia The S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.3% to close at 7,299.80, with most subgauges taking a hit. Miners advanced, posting gains for a third session, offsetting losses in healthcare and consumer discretionary stocks.  Star Entertainment was the worst performer after a report saying the company had enabled suspected money laundering, organized crime and fraud at its Australian casinos for years. Fortescue surged after the company said it plans to build a green energy factory to rival China.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index dropped 0.5% to 13,019.37. In FX, the pound crept higher to touch an almost 2-week high versus the dollar and the Gilt curve shifted higher, led by the front-end, after the Bank of England’s Michael Saunders, one of the most hawkish members of the Monetary Policy Committee, suggested in remarks published Saturday that investors were right to bring forward bets on rate hikes. Hours earlier, Governor Andrew Bailey warned of a potentially “very damaging” period of inflation unless policy makers take action. Australia’s dollar led gains among G-10 currencies on the back of increases in oil, natural gas and iron ore prices and as Sydney emerges from a 15- week lockdown on Monday. Iron ore futures extended gains as improved rebar margins at Chinese steel mills buoyed demand prospects. The yen dropped against the dollar, with analysts forecasting more weakness ahead as the nation’s yield differentials widen. As noted above, treasury futures slumped in U.S. trading Monday, with the cash market closed for Columbus Day; they implied a yield of 1.65% on the 10Y. 10-year note futures price is down 8+/32, a price change equivalent to a yield increase of about 3bp. Benchmark 10-year yield ended Friday at 1.615%, its highest closing level since June, as investors focused on the inflationary aspects in mixed September employment data. China's10-year government bond futures declined to a three-month low while the yuan advanced as the central bank’s latest liquidity draining weakened expectations of fresh monetary policy easing. Futures contracts on 10-year notes fall 0.4% to 99.14, the lowest level since July 12. It dropped 0.4% on Friday. 10-year sovereign bond yields rose 5bps, the biggest gains in two months, to 2.96%. Looking ahead, upcoming reports on third-quarter company profits which start this week are seen as the next potential pressure point in a market already under siege from slowing global growth, sticky inflation and tighter monetary policies. Global earnings revisions are sliding - an omen for U.S. stocks that have taken their cue from rising earnings estimates all year. “The coming earnings’ season in the U.S. will be heavily scrutinized for pricing power, margins and clues on the shortage situation, as well as wage pressures,” according to Geraldine Sundstrom, a portfolio manager at  Pacific Investment Management Co. in London. “Already a number of large multinationals have issued warnings about production cuts and downgraded their Q3 outlook due to supply chain and labor shortages.” Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,371.25 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.2% to 456.41 German 10Y yield up 1.5 bps to -0.135% Euro little changed at $1.1568 MXAP up 0.8% to 196.45 MXAPJ up 0.7% to 642.13 Nikkei up 1.6% to 28,498.20 Topix up 1.8% to 1,996.58 Hang Seng Index up 2.0% to 25,325.09 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,591.71 Sensex up 0.5% to 60,358.30 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,299.79 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,956.30 Brent Futures up 1.9% to $83.98/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,755.02 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.11% to 94.17 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The U.S. labor market will see “ups and downs” as the pandemic lingers, but it’s premature to judge that the recovery is in peril, said San Francisco Federal Reserve President Mary Daly Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she expects Congress to take action soon to bring the U.S. into line with a global minimum tax agreed on last week by 136 countries Chinese builders are looking to payment extensions or debt exchanges to avoid default on imminent bond obligations as liquidity conditions tighten for the real estate sector Austria will get a new chancellor, though the career diplomat stepping into Sebastian Kurz’s shoes is a close ally of the departing conservative leader who resigned over a corruption scandal Just because pandemic inflation is transitory doesn’t mean it’s going away anytime soon. That’s the awkward conclusion that policy makers and investors are arriving at, as prices accelerate all over the world. European natural gas has climbed 25% in two weeks, and oil topped $80 for the first time since 2014. Fertilizers hit a record on Friday, which means food prices -- already at a 10- year peak -- will likely rise even higher A more detailed summary of overnight news from Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mostly positive but ended the day somewhat mixed after having shrugged off the early weakness stemming from last Friday’s lacklustre performance stateside and disappointing NFP jobs data. Note, markets in Taiwan and South Korea were closed. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was the laggard with underperformance in tech, consumer stocks and defensives overshadowing the gains in commodities and with Star Entertainment the worst hit with losses of more than 20% after media outlets alleged that it enabled suspected money laundering, organised crime, fraud and foreign interference which the Co. said were misleading reports. However, downside for the index was limited as New South Wales businesses reopened from the lockdown that lasted for over three months. Nikkei 225 (+1.6%) reversed opening losses as exporters cheered a weaker currency and with the government mulling over JPY 100bln financial support for chip factory construction. Hang Seng (+2.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) were both positive following talks between China's Vice Premier Liu He and USTR Tai on Saturday in which China was said to be negotiating for a cancellation of tariffs and sanctions. The advances in Hong Kong were led by tech stocks including Meituan despite the Co. being fined CNY 3.4bln by China’s market regulator for monopolistic behaviour, as the amount was seen to be a slap on the wrist, while the gains in the mainland were only mild as participants also reflected on the substantial liquidity drains by the PBoC totalling a net CNY 510bln since Saturday. Finally, 10yr JGBs were pressured amid the gains in Japanese stocks and lack of BoJ purchases in the market, while price action was also not helped by the continued weakness in T-note futures amid the semi-holiday conditions in US for Columbus Day in which the NYSE and the Nasdaq will open but bonds trading will remain shut. Top Asian News Australian IPOs Heading for Biggest Haul Since 2014: ECM Watch Syngenta’s Shanghai IPO Proposal Suspended For Earnings Update China Junk-Rated Dollar Bond Rout Deepens Amid Builder Worries China’s 10-Year Bond Yield Jumps By The Most Since August Bourses in Europe are mostly but modestly lower (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.1%, Stoxx 600 -0.2%) whilst the FTSE 100 (+0.2%) bucks the trend, owing to firm performances in its heavyweight sectors. US equity futures meanwhile trade within tight ranges with broad-based losses of some 0.3-0.4%. Fresh fundamental catalysts have remained light, although inflation and stagflation remain on traders' minds heading into this week's US and Chinese inflation metrics and against the backdrop of rising energy prices. Thus, the sector configuration sees Basic Resources, Oil & Gas and Banks at the top of the bunch, whilst the downside sees Travel & Leisure, Real Estate and Retail, with no overarching theme to be derived. Basic Resources is the marked outperformer as base metals are bolstered in what seems to be a function of the coal shortage in Asia, with iron ore contracts also surging overnight and copper following suit, in turn boosting the likes of Rio Tino (+3.2%), Antofagasta (+3.1%), Glencore (+3.1%), BHP (+2.8%). The top of the Stoxx 600 is dominated by metal names. In terms of individual movers, Carrefour (-2.2%) is softer after sources stated that exploratory talks over a Carrefour-Auchan tie-up ended due to the complexity of the deal. Evotec (+0.7%) holds onto gains as it seeks a Nasdaq listing. Roche (+0.6%) and Morphosys (+3.7%) underpin the health sector after the Cos received Breakthrough Therapy Designation from the US FDA for gantenerumab for the treatment of Alzheimer's disease. Top European News BOE Officials Double Down on Signals of Imminent Rate Hike Brexit Clash on Northern Ireland Means Headaches for Johnson Asos CEO Beighton Steps Down as Sales Growth Slows Adler Shares Flounder After Asset Disposal Plan, Past M&A Report In FX, the Aussie has secured a considerably firmer grip of the 0.7300 handle vs its US rival as COVID-19 restrictions are relaxed in NSW and base metals tread water after a mostly positive APAC equity session overnight. However, Aud/Usd is also firmer on the back of ongoing Greenback weakness and long liquidation from what some are calling ‘stretched’ levels of IMM positioning going in to Friday’s NFP release, while the Aud/Nzd cross has rebounded further above 1.0550 in wake of a rise in NZ virus cases that has prompted the PM to keep Auckland on level 3 alert for another week pending review. Hence, Nzd/Usd is capped around 0.6950 and continues to lag on the unwinding of Kiwi longs built up in advance of last week’s universally anticipated 25 bp RBNZ hike. Back to the Buck, but looking at the index in relation to where it was before and after the latest BLS report, 94.000 is providing some underlying support on Columbus Day that is not a full US market holiday, but will see cash Treasuries remain closed. Moreover, the DXY is gleaning momentum within a narrow 94.028-214 range via marked Yen underperformance amidst the latest rout in bonds and more pronounced technical impulses as Usd/Jpy extends beyond 112.50 and sets yet another 2021 peak around 112.95. GBP - Sterling is taking up post-payrolls Dollar slack as well, but firmer in its own right too as comments from BoE Governor Bailey and MPC member Saunders add to the growing expectation that rate hikes may be delivered sooner than had been expected before the former revealed that policy-setters were evenly divided at 4-4 in August on the subject of minimum criteria being achieved for tightening. Cable is hovering under 1.3650 and Eur/Gbp is sub-0.8500 in response, with the latter not really fazed by the UK-EU rift on NI protocol. CAD/NOK - The Loonie remains firm against its US peer after the stellar Canadian jobs data and Usd/Cad continues to probe support/bids at 1.2450 against the backdrop of strength in oil prices that is also keeping the Norwegian Krona afloat and Eur/Nok eyeing deeper sub-10.0000 lows irrespective of marginally mixed vs consensus inflation metrics. CHF/EUR/SEK - All rather rangy, aimless and looking for inspiration or clearer direction as the Franc straddles 0.9275 vs the Greenback, but remains firmer against the Euro above 1.0750 following only a faint rise in Swiss domestic bank sight deposits. Meanwhile, the Euro is pivoting 1.1575 vs the Buck and looks hemmed in by decent option expiry interest just outside the range given.1 bn rolling off between 1.1540-50 and 1.6 bn from 1.1590-1.1600 at the NY cut. Elsewhere, the Swedish Crown is slipping on risk-off grounds towards 10.1250 having tested resistance circa 10.1000. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures continue the upward trajectory seen during the APAC session, with the complex underpinned heading into the winter period and against the backdrop of higher gas prices. The gains have been more pronounced in the US counterpart vs the global benchmark with no clear catalysts behind the outperformance, although this may be a continuation of the unwind seen after reports suggested a release of the US SPR (Strategic Petroleum Reserve) is unlikely. For context, reports of such a release last week took the WTI-Brent arb to almost USD 4.2/bbl vs USD 2.7/bbl at the time of writing. Furthermore, there have also been reports of lower US production under President Biden's "build back better" initiative, which puts more weight on renewable energy, with some energy analysts also suggesting that OPEC+ sees less of a threat from a "shale boom" as a result. Back to price action, WTI has been in the limelight after topping the USD 80/bbl overnight and extending gains to levels north of USD 81.50/bbl (vs low 79.55/bbl), whilst the Brent Dec contract topped USD 84.00/bbl (vs low USD 82.50/bbl). In terms of other news flow, sources suggested the fire at Lebanon's Zahrani fuel tank has been put out after the energy minister suggested the fire was contained – the cause of the fire is not yet known. Gas prices also remain elevated with UK nat gas futures relatively flat on the day but still north of GBP 2/Thm vs GBP 1/Thm mid-August and vs GBP 4/Thm last week, whilst the Qatari Energy Minister said he is unhappy about gas prices being high amid negative follow-through to customers. Over to metals, spot gold and silver are somewhat lacklustre, but with magnitudes of price action contained, with the former meandering just north of USD 1,750/oz and the latter above USD 22.50/oz heading into this week's key risk events. Overnight, iron ore futures were bolstered some 10% in Dalian and Singapore Exchanges amid fears of coking coal supply shortages - coking coal is an essential input to produce iron and steel. Traders should also be cognizant of the Chinese metrics released this week as another elevated PPI metric could see the release of more state reserves, as had been the case over the recent months. Using the Caixin PMIs as a proxy for the release, the PMI suggested sharp increases in both input costs and output prices – largely owed to supply chain delays, with the "rate of inflation was the quickest seen for four months, amid reports of greater energy and raw material costs. This, in turn, led to a solid increase in prices charged". The measure for output prices its highest in three months, whilst "the pressure of rising costs was partly transmitted downstream to consumers, as the demand was not weak." US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that it’s Columbus Day today where US bond markets are closed. Equity markets are open but expect it to be quiet. Ahead of this, this morning we have published our latest monthly survey results covering over 600 global market participants. See here for more. For the first time since June, the biggest perceived risk to markets is now higher yields and inflation, whilst direct Covid-19 risks are out of the top 3 for the first time. A further equity correction before YE remains the consensus now. 71% expect at least another 5% off equities at some point before YE (68% correctly suggested that last month). A very overwhelming 84% thought the next 25bps move in 10yr US Treasury yields would be up. Of some additional interest is that the definition of stagflation is varied but that the majority think it’s a high or very high risk for the next 12 months. The extreme of this view surprised me. While I’ve long thought the market has underestimated the inflation risks I would still say there is enough of a growth cushion for 2022. However it’s clear the risks have built. Anyway, lots more in the survey. Thanks for filling it in and see the results for details. The week ahead will centre around the US CPI release on Wednesday but it might be a touch backward looking given that energy has spiked more recently and that used car prices are again on the march after a late summer fall that will likely be captured in this week’s release. Elsewhere, we’ve got a potentially more challenging US earnings season than that seen over the last year will commence with the big financials from Wednesday. In addition minutes from the last FOMC will give clues to the latest taper thinking on Wednesday as well. The IMF/World Bank meetings will generate plenty of headlines this week with their latest world outlook update tomorrow the highlight. The best of the rest data wise consists of JOLTS (Tuesday),which we think is a better labour market indicator than payrolls albeit a month behind, US PPI (Thursday) which will give a scale of building pipeline price pressures, US retail sales and UoM consumer sentiment (Friday), and China’s CPI and PPI (Thursday). With all that to look forward to, markets have started the week on a strong note, with equity indices including the Hang Seng (+2.02%), Nikkei (+1.57%), CSI (+0.32%) and Shanghai Composite (+0.32%) all moving higher, whilst the Kospi (-0.11%) has seen a slight decline. Japanese stocks have been buoyed by comments from new PM Kishida over the weekend that he isn’t currently considering changes to the country’s capital-gains tax. That comes with just 20 days remaining until the country’s general election. Separately in China, the country’s energy woes continue with 60 of 682 coal mines closed in the Shanxi province due to heavy floods, with Chinese coal futures up +8.00% this morning. And the property market issues are continuing to persist, with a new Chinese developer Modern Land seeking a 3 month extension to a $250 million dollar bond due to mature on October 25. By the end of last week, a Bloomberg index of Chinese junk-rated dollar bonds had seen yields climb to a decade-high above 17%, so clearly one to still look out for. Unlike in Asia, equity futures are pointing lower in the US and Europe this morning, with those on the S&P 500 down -0.21%. In terms of the main highlight it’s clearly US CPI mid-week. Given my views that inflation risks have been massively understated this year I’ve been saying for months that these reports have potentially been the most important monthly data we have seen for years. But since they mostly come and go with a “meh… mostly transitory” and a relative whimper, I’ve clearly been wrong to over hype them. So ignore me when I say that this month’s report might not be that interesting. With energy soaring over the last month and signs of inflation pressures continuing to build elsewhere then I’m not sure we can read too much into this month’s figures. Take used cars. Given the 2-3 month lag between actual prices and their CPI impact, this month will more than likely reflect a softening of prices in the summer. However September saw prices rise +5.4% so this will probably show up towards the end of the year along with the recent rise in energy costs. Our economists expect a +0.41% headline (vs. +0.27% previously) and +0.27% core (vs. +0.10%) mom rate. This is a bit above consensus and would take the yoy rate to 5.4% (up a tenth) and 4.1% (unch) respectively. Speaking of inflationary pressures, this morning has seen energy prices take a further leg higher, with WTI oil (+1.90%) moving back above $80/bbl for the first time since late 2014, whilst Brent crude (+1.42%) has moved above $83/bbl. European natural gas prices will continue to be an important one to follow amidst the astonishing price surge there, but the declines at the end of last week mean prices finished the week down by more than -45% since their intraday peak on Wednesday, before the comments from Russian President Putin that brought down prices. The rest of the day-by-day calendar is at the end as usual but although it’s a second tier release normally, tomorrow’s JOLTS will be interesting in as far as it might confirm that the main labour problems in August were a lack of supply rather than demand. The report’s full value is reduced by it being a number of weeks out of date but there’s a reasonable argument for saying that this is a better gauge of the state of the labour market than the payroll release. We go through Friday’s mixed report at the end when looking back at last week. Outside of data, it’s that time again as earnings season gets going, with a number of US financials kicking things off from mid-week. In terms of the highlights, we’ll hear from JPMorgan Chase, BlackRock and Delta Air Lines on Wednesday. Then on Thursday, we’ll get UnitedHealth, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, US Bancorp and Walgreens Boots Alliance. Finally on Friday, we’ll hear from Charles Schwab and Goldman Sachs. For more info on the upcoming earnings season, you can read DB’s equity strategists Q3 S&P 500 preview here. Back to markets, it was interesting over the weekend that the BoE’s Saunders chose to endorse market expectation of an earlier start to the hiking cycle in the UK rather than push back against it. He is on the more hawkish end of the spectrum but it was an important statement. Earlier, Governor Bailey suggested that there could potentially be a very damaging period of higher inflation ahead if policy makers didn’t react. Interestingly our survey showed that the market thinks the BoE is likely to make a policy error by being too hawkish so a battle seems likely to commence over policy here in the UK over the coming weeks and months. The November meeting appears live. Those comments have helped to support the pound this morning, which is up by +0.16% against the US Dollar. Looking back to last week now, risk sentiment was supported in the first full week of Q4 by easing European energy prices and a cease fire on the debt ceiling that avoided disaster and bought Washington lawmakers 8 weeks to find a more permanent solution. Global equity indices thus gained on the week: the S&P 500 picked up +0.79%, with a slight -0.19% pullback on Friday, and European equities kept pace with the STOXX 600 rallying +0.97% (-0.28% on Friday). Cyclical stocks led the way on both sides of the Atlantic; energy stocks were among the best performers whist financials benefitted from higher yields and a steeper curve. Speaking of which, US 10yr Treasury yields gained a punchy +14.1bps to close the week at 1.603%, their highest levels since early June. The benchmark gradually increased 3.0bps after Friday’s employment data. Inflation compensation continued to drive rate increases, as US 10yr breakevens gained +13.5 bps to finish the week at 2.515%. We need to go back to May to find higher levels. The sovereign yield increases were global in nature, with German bunds gaining +7.3bps and UK gilts +15.6bps higher. German 10yr breakevens gained +3.9bps while UK breakevens were +12.0bps higher. US nonfarm payrolls increased +194k in September, well below consensus expectations of a +500k gain, though private payrolls increased +317k and net two month revisions were up +169k. The unemployment rate ticked down to a post-pandemic low of 4.8% on the back of a declining labour force participation rate. Average hourly earnings were robust, increasing +0.6% mom (+0.4% expected). Taken in concert, the print likely cleared the (admittedly low) bar to enable the FOMC to announce tapering at the November meeting, whilst also feeding the creeping stagflation narrative (see survey results). Elsewhere, building on a preliminary July deal, the OECD said 136 nations have signed up to implement a 15% minimum global tax rate to address adequate taxation of multinational tech firms. As part of the deal, countries agreed not to impose any additional digital services taxes.       Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 11th, 2021

Why Whitney Isn’t Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense

Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I’m Not Persuaded By Facebook’s Defense 1) In yesterday’s e-mail, I shared Facebook’s (FB) defense to the […] Whitney Tilson’s email to investors discusing why he is not persuaded by Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB)’s defense; responses to his letter to Sheryl Sandberg; other reader feedback and his comments. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Why I'm Not Persuaded By Facebook's Defense 1) In yesterday's e-mail, I shared Facebook's (FB) defense to the latest charges of bad behavior by whistleblower and former employee Frances Haugen, as articulated by founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg, as well as a friend who knows the company well. My take: I'm not buying what they're selling... Zuckerberg's post is laughably bad. In the face of Haugen's compelling testimony and her release of thousands of pages of damning internal company documents – which has led to overwhelming, bipartisan criticism – Zuckerberg's 16-paragraph, 1,316-word post doesn't once acknowledge any problem, much less any contrition, much less any indication that he and his company might need to do even a few things differently. His tone deafness is matched only by his arrogance. My friend, on the other hand, at least acknowledges that "there is a huge problem," but says, "I disagree Facebook is blind to it." (Quick correction: I misquoted him yesterday here: "This extends to idiots on Facebook's board as well by the way." Here's what he wrote: "I have no opinion on FB's board – I was referring to board members at other companies who try to tell the CEO how to run a company when they have no idea what is really happening. That is why a board's role is to hire and fire the CEO, not to run the company.") In most of his response, however, he criticizes Haugen, saying that she: ... had no direct reports, never met a senior executive at Facebook, started with extreme bias, and then only found/extracted information that confirmed it. She never worked in the areas she is "so knowledgeable about" – like teens – so has no idea what Facebook is trying to do... ... she is basically as knowledgeable as a tabloid – at best. It's like the janitor telling Zuckerberg how to run Facebook... She's an idiot looking for five minutes of fame. Industry veterans are cringing. I couldn't disagree more. First, Haugen was hardly the "janitor." She's a Harvard Business School graduate with more than 10 years of experience in the social media sector, nearly two years of which was at Facebook (from 2019 to 2021 – see her LinkedIn profile) – plenty of time to see what was going on. As for the argument that she wasn't a C-suite executive and therefore wasn't in the loop for high-level decisions, I'd argue the opposite... She was perfectly positioned to be a whistleblower both because of the group she was in – the Civic Integrity unit, which was responsible for preventing the spread of election misinformation and addressing other bad behavior – as well as her level: as a Product Manager, she was senior enough to see what was really happening, but not so high up that she wouldn't know the details. Moreover, Haugen's testimony, to both 60 Minutes and Congress, was compelling. I've been watching 60 Minutes since I was a kid in the 1970s, and she was one of the most impressive people I've ever seen on the show. And my opinion is widely shared: Senators on both sides of the aisle praised her, as did Mike Isaac of the New York Times, who wrote: We're moving into hour three of Ms. Haugen's testimony and she hasn't shown any signs of flagging. Confident, poised, and accurate, for my money she is one of the most impressive critics of Facebook I've seen appear on Capitol Hill. Lastly, Haugen's testimony is corroborated by: a) thousands of pages of internal company documents she copied... b) the long, sordid history of Zuckerberg and Facebook, dating back to the very founding of this company (for more on this, read this shocking article: How Facebook Was Founded) – also, note that my friend wrote that Haugen "said nothing we all didn't already know"... and c) many other former company insiders. For example, here's an op-ed in yesterday's New York Times by Roddy Lindsay, a former Facebook data scientist: I Designed Algorithms at Facebook. Here's How to Regulate Them. Excerpt: Washington was entranced Tuesday by the revelations from Frances Haugen, the Facebook product manager-turned-whistle-blower. But time and again, the public has seen high-profile congressional hearings into the company followed by inaction. For those of us who work at the intersection of technology and policy, there's little cause for optimism that Washington will turn this latest outrage into legislative action. Even more damning are the comments of Alex Stamos, the director of the Stanford Internet Observatory and a former head of security at Facebook: Brazen Is the Order of the Day at Facebook. Excerpt: I think the overall theme of the leaked documents and the Wall Street Journal series is that since 2016 Facebook has built teams of hundreds of data scientists, social scientists and investigators to study the negative effects of the company's products. Unfortunately, it looks like the motivational structure around how products are built, measured and adjusted has not changed to account for the evidence that some Facebook products can have a negative impact on users' well-being, leading to a restive group of employees who are willing to leak or quit when the problems they work on aren't appropriately addressed. I agree with Stamos' recommendation: I think Zuckerberg is going to need to step down as CEO if these problems are going to be solved. Having a company led by the founder has a lot of benefits, but one of the big problems is that it makes it close to impossible to significantly change the corporate culture. It's not just Zuckerberg; the top ranks of Facebook are full of people who have been there for a dozen years. They were part of making key decisions and supporting key cultural touchstones that might have been appropriate when Facebook was a scrappy upstart but that must be abandoned as a global juggernaut. It is really hard for individuals to recognize when it is time to change their minds, and I think it would be better if the people setting the goals for the company were changed for this new era of the company, starting with Zuckerberg. With new leadership, you could see the company adopting safety countermetrics on the same level as engagement and satisfaction metrics, and building a product management culture where product teams are not only celebrated for their success in the marketplace but held accountable for the downstream effects of their decisions. Zuckerberg is, of course, never going to step down voluntarily, and given that he controls 58% of the voting shares, how could he ever be removed? Here's how: the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC") – which, thanks to Haugen, is now investigating Facebook for misleading investors – could force him out. I don't think it's likely – but it's not impossible. I think there's a 25% chance that Zuckerberg is no longer CEO within two years... Responses To My Letter To Sheryl Sandberg 2) I received huge amounts of feedback in response to my open letter to Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. Below is some of it, with my responses in some cases... "Instead of lambasting Sheryl and Mark (unfairly in my eyes), you should have sent your letter to Congress. Congress (and then the courts) has full responsibility for regulating our communication systems. All best (& I love reading your newsletter – I really do & enjoy pics also)." – Paul B. My reply: Thanks for your feedback, Paul. In fact, I sent my letter to a dozen members I know in the House and Senate, one of whom replied: "Wow, wow, wow. Thanks for sharing. I hope it is read." Another replied: "A powerfully written letter. I agree with every word of it, although I doubt that Facebook will find the wisdom to follow your advice. I am going to sign up for your newsletter "I agree with your assessment of Facebook (and your letter to Sheryl Sandberg), but your recommendation for them to rehire Haugen will never happen. She is considered a traitor by Facebook and they will never rehire a traitor. Based on Zuckerberg's reply, I'm skeptical that they are willing to address and fix the issues until the government force them to do so." – Sid My reply: I agree. "I'm so glad you compared them to the Sacklers. I hope this wakes them up." – Alex B. [But another reader disagreed...] "Good email but would recommend not equating people with Sacklers in the future unless they are literally killing people by knowingly promoting something dangerous (like Oxycontin). To me, the Sacklers fall into a group of historical miscreants that can only be used narrowly for an analogy – otherwise, it's overkill and can dilute from your point. Sandberg may read your email and dismiss it, saying to herself, 'We are not the Sacklers.' You could also substitute Hitler for the Sacklers and you can see my point. I'd only use Hitler as an analogy for a leader who is mass killing people, like Pol Pot. My two cents. Always enjoy your daily email!" – Bruce Z. My reply: Hi Bruce, to be clear, I didn't say they currently are equivalent to the Sacklers, but rather they "are on a trajectory to have legacies that rival the Sacklers." To understand why I say this, read the following articles: Facebook Admits It Was Used to Incite Violence in Myanmar Sri Lanka: Facebook apologizes for role in 2018 anti-Muslim riots Hate Speech on Facebook Is Pushing Ethiopia Dangerously Close to a Genocide NGO: Facebook approved ads inciting violence in N Ireland Bangladesh: Fake news on Facebook fuels communal violence When Social Media Fuels Gang Violence Civil rights leaders condemn Zuckerberg, Facebook for fueling racial hatred and violence Domestic violence and Facebook: harassment takes new forms in the social media age "I really do not understand what the fuss is about. If I hear or see something on radio or TV that I find to be dangerous or offensive I turn the channel. Nobody is forced to use Facebook or Instagram, or Snapchat or any of the other social media platforms. Just delete the apps. If you don't want your children to use them, then delete them from their phones. Take some personal or parental responsibility. I truly do not want someone else deciding what I can listen to or watch. Let me decide." – T. H. My reply: Hi T.H., in a perfect, rational world, I'd agree with you. But in the real, messy world, I can't. "I have found it very hard to get anyone who works at Facebook to engage openly about anything at the company, even in a social/casual off the record context. I can't think of another company whose employees are so unwilling to speak off the record. It makes me wonder if they really know deep down how bad what they are doing is." – B.B. "Thank you Whitney for sharing a BIG story of our time. I agree with some of the defensive remarks – the issue of 'bad actors,' misinformation, and hate speech on social media is not unique to FB, but FB is certainly guilty of providing a platform that has allowed all of the above to be promoted on its platform. "It took the World Jewish Congress five years of complaining to FB to finally get them via Sheryl Sandberg to put in more strict algorithms regarding Holocaust denial and misinformation on FB – five years of effort! Now, FB users are directed to factual information when they make up falsehoods about it. But this only pertains to the U.S. and U.K., so the fight continues with FB to get them to implement this in Arabic and other languages and countries. This is incredibly frustrating and hurtful. "Why are the Mullahs in Iran permitted to use Twitter (TWTR) to spread Islamist and hate speech, for example? So as much as I dislike government interference into business practices, I do see a necessity given the extent of damage being done. "Thanks for all you do to share carefully researched information that provide opportunities to empower our lives." – Andrea L. "I spent 15 years in the Valley, much of it in the same orbits as the leadership at Facebook (I'm being vague purposefully). I actually can't say for sure they are well-intentioned." – Matty G. "Thanks Whitney on behalf of the multitudes who have truly mixed feelings about Facebook. We're thrilled about the connections we relish with wonderful people, but deplore the damage it has done to our society and body politic." – Andrew S. "I'm on board with [your] evaluation and solution 100%. Let's hope they both have the courage to right the ship. The country that I love and have fought for is losing its grip. Let's show some respect. Thank you very much." – Ken J., former Ranger "Zuck and the rest knew what they were doing. They were complicit in all of it in order to rake in ad revenue. Wall Street Capitalism only measures 'good' in terms of money. I think you are right: they will do a PR apology tour and that's all." – Grant P. "Isn't Zuck a bit too narcissistic to care? The company was born in betrayal. Ironic that such a complete asocial person is in charge of the way we socialize in this country. I think he'll do anything he can get away with and is too arrogant to think there will be consequences." – Leigh S. "Hello Whitney... I am one of those folks who believes when someone does something good, it should be recognized. You and I are very different in our perspectives about most subjects. I read your letter to Facebook just a few minutes ago. "Your letter to the COO was simply and completely what they needed to hear. Although I still have a FB account, I have not actively used FB in over three years. It seemed the vitriol just got worse and worse, regardless of the subject matter, but especially politically. I decided I would not be a part of that, as it can consume you, if you allow it to take up your time. You have to realize that every person has a viewpoint, and it is not likely you will be successful in changing someone's mind, although it does happen on an infrequent basis. "I commend you for reaching out to them, as I am sure others will do. I have a concern that the size of this organization will make government intervention likely. I am not a fan of big government, big brother, as it were, but this situation, if they do not turn it around on their own, government may be the only answer. All the best." – Larry F. "You said everything I was thinking, but ever so much better. I will hope the letter is taken to heart and sweeping changes made so FB can continue to be the great business that it COULD be but has failed so badly to be." – Stacey G "I think you nailed it, my friend! Well, reasoned and direct, to the point, your letter will hopefully bring the FB team and Ms. Haugen together again to make a better, stronger company that serves our social interactions in an honest and forthright manner." – Chuck M. "After reading Zuckerberg's lengthy response I am more convinced that he and the FB team know exactly what they are doing and the harm they are causing. A CEO that wants to be regulated rather than taking the necessary steps to clean up their business strategies is only creating cover for themselves. Unfortunately FB is not only damaging to young girls but to our society as a whole. Through their technology and algorithms they easily manipulate the masses of uniformed customers to be persuaded in any direction they chose. Unfortunately this is like leading blind sheep to slaughter. Yes FB needs to be regulated but not in a way Zuckerberg would approve of. He knows Congress isn't capable of passing any type of regulation to make FB clean up its act and this gives him plenty of cover to continue their unethical business practices." – David L. Other Reader Feedback 3) Lastly, here is one reader's response to Zuckerberg's post: Here are some questions that came to mind when I read Zuckerberg's message: He wrote: Many of the claims don't make any sense. My reply: Which ones don't make any sense? And which ones do make sense? He wrote: If we wanted to ignore research, why would we create an industry-leading research program to understand these important issues in the first place? My reply: Because you need to do the research to maximize 'engagement.' This is clearly consistent with profit maximization. He wrote: If we didn't care about fighting harmful content, then why would we employ so many more people dedicated to this than any other company in our space – even ones larger than us? My reply: Is this demonstrably true? What companies in your space are larger? He wrote: If we wanted to hide our results, why would we have established an industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting on what we're doing? My reply: What is this "industry-leading standard for transparency and reporting?" Where can I learn more about these standards? If FB transparency standard is so high, then where are the reports of your research? He wrote: And if social media were as responsible for polarizing society as some people claim, then why are we seeing polarization increase in the U.S. while it stays flat or declines in many countries with just as heavy use of social media around the world? My reply: Which countries are not becoming more polarized? Excluding authoritarian regimes, are there any? Just saying things doesn't make them true – though if we've learned anything in recent years, it's that saying things over and over again can convince large numbers of people that they are true. Prime examples – claiming rampant election irregularities when none exist; vaccines are the government's plots to control the population; pizza-gate. – Randy J. Thank you, as always, to my readers for sharing their insightful and provocative thoughts! Best regards, Whitney P.S. I welcome your feedback at WTDfeedback@empirefinancialresearch.com. P.P.S. My colleague Enrique Abeyta is looking to hire a junior analyst to help him launch his upcoming newsletter, Empire Elite Crypto, later this fall. If you geek out on cryptos and enjoy writing, we'd like to hear from you. Send us your résumé and a one-page write-up of your favorite crypto investment idea right here. Updated on Oct 7, 2021, 2:11 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 7th, 2021

Anthony Fauci says one line from "The Godfather" has shaped his career

In the documentary "Fauci," Dr. Anthony Fauci reveals that a line from "The Godfather" shaped his career: "It's not personal. It's strictly business." The line "It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business," comes from the 1972 film "The Godfather." IMDb/Paramount Pictures In a new documentary, called "Fauci," Dr. Anthony Fauci reveals that a line from the movie "The Godfather" has guided his career. It's a classic quote: "It's not personal. It's strictly business." See more stories on Insider's business page. "It's not personal, Sonny. It's strictly business."The deadpan line, delivered by a young Al Pacino in the iconic 1972 film "The Godfather," has been a guiding principle for a different type of leader: Dr. Anthony Fauci. Fauci, an even-keeled public servant, leads the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and has served under six presidents, including Joe Biden and Donald Trump. He explains why "The Godfather" line has stuck with him in a new National Geographic documentary, titled "Fauci," which is now streaming on Disney Plus. Dr. Anthony Fauci during an interview at the NIH in Bethesda, Maryland. National Geographic for Disney+/Visko Hatfield "When someone attacks, I don't immediately fight back. That's not my style. You don't get into the fray," Fauci says in the film. "And over the years, which became decades, that became the mantra, using 'The Godfather' as the great book of philosophy: 'It's nothing person, it's strictly business.'" Anthony Fauci has served under six US presidents. AP Photo/Alex Brandon Fauci's long tenure in Washington may be a testament to his mantra's power."Tony Fauci doesn't come in the Oval Office to say, 'I'm going to make you look good politically.' He's not a politician," former President George W. Bush explains in the documentary. "Tony Fauci says, 'I think we can solve this problem. Here are the facts. And here's my recommendation for a way forward.'" President Joe Biden receives a briefing from Fauci on February 11, 2021, at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Maryland. Official White House Photo by Adam Schultz During Fauci's 50-plus-year career, he has worked on infectious-disease threats including Ebola, Zika, and anthrax, as well as the epidemic that first put him in the crosshairs of activists in the 1980s and 1990s: HIV/AIDS.The documentary depicts how, as deaths mounted during the HIV/AIDS crisis, Fauci met with representatives from the group Act Up to hear their concerns. The activists peppered Fauci with targeted questions about the slow pace of scientific research into HIV/AIDS treatment and accused him of causing their friends' deaths. Members of the activist group Act Up march through Times Square in New York on April 6, 1992. AP Photo/Andrew Savulich "The criticism, the hostility, it didn't really seem to faze him," David Barr, an AIDS activist, recalls in the documentary.Peter Staley, an AIDS activist and early member of Act Up, adds: "My first impression is that we're dealing with Brooklyn here. He got a complete grilling and continued the conversation."The documentary shows footage from those early meetings, in which Fauci responds to the accusations from Barr, Stanley, and others."This is where I disagree with you," Fauci told them at the time. "This is nothing personal, strictly business."In reflecting on that moment, present-day Fauci says in the film: "We didn't agree on everything in that first meeting. But their instincts were right, and that started a series of dialogues that did not stop the demonstrations." Fauci sits behind his desk in his office in Bethesda, Maryland, 1988. Leif Skoogfors/Corbis via Getty Images Archival footage shows what those demonstrations looked like. Protestors surrounded the NIH - Fauci's workplace - with signs and banners, shouting, "Typical day at the NIH, watching people die!" and "The NIH is lying. Women with AIDS are dying!" "I started to feel - and my staff thought I was completely nuts - almost an affinity to them," Fauci recalls of the demonstrators."I started to put myself into their shoes," he adds. People with AIDS were being told they had months to live, but scientific research was expected to take years. Fauci summed up the activists' point of view about the slow pace of research as, "Thank you very much, but I'm going to be dead." Fauci lectures President Ronald Reagan (left) and other members of the President's Commission on AIDS. Photo by Diana Walker/Getty Images The documentary also shows how Fauci brought scientists and AIDS activists together to work on clinical research and drug development, forging a patient-scientist relationship that has since extended beyond AIDS research.In a speech Fauci gave at the time, which is depicted in the film, he said: "Activists are mistaken when they assume that scientists do not care about them. This is devastating to a physician scientist who has devoted years to AIDS research, particularly when they themselves see so many of their own patients suffering and dying. On the other hand, scientists cannot dismiss activists merely on the basis of the fact that they are not trained scientists ... We must join together."Fauci watches footage of that speech in the documentary."During that speech, I'm saying something and you have the activists clap. Then then I say something, and the scientists clap. The beauty of it is that at the end of it, everybody was clapping," he says.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 7th, 2021

Bernie Sanders refused to sign a statement condemning the protestors who harassed Sinema in the bathroom, report says

According to Axios, Sanders wanted more criticism of Sinema's political position in a statement defending her from harassment. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., and Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in the Capitol on Wednesday, July 29, 2020. Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Bernie Sanders declined to join in condemning protestors who confronted Kyrsten Sinema in a bathroom, Axios reported. He wanted to include criticism of Sinema's political position in the statement, the report said. Tensions between Democrats are mounting over President Biden's stalled spending bills. See more stories on Insider's business page. Bernie Sanders refused to sign a statement condemning protestors who followed Kyrsten Sinema into a bathroom, a report from Axios said.Sanders were close to signing, the report said, but backed out when other senators refused to amend the statement to criticize Sinema's political position.The development comes amid escalating tensions between the progressive and moderate wings of the Democratic caucus. Video posted on Twitter Sunday by an activist group showed protestors confronting Sinema, a Democratic senator from Arizona, on the campus of Arizona State University, where she teaches.The protesters objected to Sinema's opposition to President Joe Biden's $3.5 trillion spending bill. The bill has led to a flare up between Democratic moderates, who want it scaled back or oppose it, and progressives, who want it passed in its current form. Axios reported Wednesday that Senate Democratic aides were close to getting Sanders to sign a statement condemning the protesters.The document called their actions "plainly inappropriate and unacceptable." But, per the report, Sanders refused to join.According to Axios, the sticking point was that the the statement would not include a condemnation of Sinema's political views by adding the text "While we hope Senator Sinema will change her position on prescription drug reform and support a major [budget] reconciliation bill...."The proposed edit was ruled out by Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, who organized the statement.Insider has contacted Sanders' office for comment on the report. The development illustrates the tense stand-off between moderates and progressives in Congress that is imperiling Biden's domestic agenda. Biden himself offered only partial condemnation of the protestors in remarks Monday. He said that, while the tactics were not appropriate, "it happens to everybody" not assigned Secret Service protection. Owing to the extremely narrow majority that Democrats have in the Senate, they need all of their 50 senators to vote in favour of the reconciliation bill in order to pass it.But Sinema and fellow moderate Sen. Joe Manchin are balking at its scope. At the same time, progressives in the House of Representatives are refusing to approve Biden's $1.2 trillion infrastructure bill, that was passed by the Senate in August, until the reconciliation bill is passed.They believe that if they let the smaller bill pass, then the larger one will be watered down or even abandoned, so are reluctant to give up their leverage from blocking the $1.2 trillion package.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 7th, 2021

Social media was once a neutral battleground. Now, both Republicans and Democrats have demonized them to drive political agendas.

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become punching bags on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers accusing them of both censorship and turning a blind eye to hate speech and lies. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become targets on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers using them to push their agendas. Google; Twitter; Instagram; Facebook; Samantha Lee/Insider Lawmakers have weaponized tech firms and their content moderation decisions to drive agendas. It's the culmination of a slew of factors, like the post-2016 techlash and the Trump administration. Experts say tech animosity has become "a core Republican tenet," and progressives want more rules. See more stories on Insider's business page. Tech companies haven't had an easy time lately, with lawsuits and critique lobbed at them.But the platforms have also been dragged into a new war in recent years: lawmakers using them and the decisions they make as punching bags to drive their political agendas. Experts told Insider it's the product of the post-2016 election realization that online platforms were not all benign, a Trump-era political marketing test, internet platforms' shift from their historical hands-off approach to content moderation, and mounting polarization in a country where a political tug-of-war was growing ever nastier."We've always seen polarization in the US," Ari Lightman, professor of digital media at Carnegie Mellon and social media expert, told Insider. "Social media companies just escalate that."Republicans and Democrats want Big Tech reined in - for very different reasons Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a Senate hearing in 2018. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images One of the first major instances of Trump accusing a tech company of anti-conservative bias was in August 2018, when he said Google was promoting former President Barack Obama's speeches ahead of his own in search results."Politicians are always looking for successful marketing, and he was testing the idea," John Samples - a vice president of the CATO Institute and a member of Facebook's Oversight Board - told Insider.It worked, and from that point on, every decision that companies made around what to flag, remove, or keep up on their sites became another data or talking point to support a cause.For conservatives, that cause was the belief that internet platforms are hellbent on silencing them. And for progressives, the argument that tech platforms don't do enough to crack down on false facts and hate speech dates back to Obama-era scholars, Samples said.Once the 2016 US presidential election came around, it didn't just spawn the "techlash" - it produced a president whose favorite messengers were the very internet platforms he would end up crusading against, and "antipathy toward social media elites became a core Republican tenet," Samples said.The divisive tone on social media became even more pronounced by the 2020 election cycle. Republicans repeated Trump's unfounded claims that the election was stolen, riling up a base that was already heated after a year of pandemic-driven safety protocols. Democrats had to use their platforms to repeat that it was the most secure election in history. Both sides were shouting into a void of followers who already believed what they were saying.And through it all, members of Congress began pouncing on opportunities to grill tech CEOs, which often devolved into political theater, even though some of tech's biggest critics in Washington happily use the platforms to their advantage to win elections. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Sen. John Kennedy at a November hearing in 2020. Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images After Zuckerberg reportedly said he'd "go to the mat and fight" threats to break up the company, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that his comments signaled he was against keeping corporate power and monopolies in check.Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted last month that "no company should be too big to be held accountable for spreading misinformation" after the Wall Street Journal reported an algorithm change favored divisive false content.-Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 17, 2021Republican Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are some of the loudest voices posting about alleged censorship.Cruz in January tweeted that "Big Tech's PURGE, censorship & abuse of power is absurd & profoundly dangerous," after platforms began suspending Trump following the January 6 Capitol insurrection.-Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 9, 2021 "Some of that is just politics, some of that is a general reaction," Paul Barrett, a deputy director at NYU's Stern Center, told Insider. Barrett was among the NYU researchers who published a report that disproved conservatives' claims of anti-right discrimination online.Social media companies and the rules they enforce are now inextricably subject to vicious political judgment.Zuckerberg "went from being angelic to being Satan, and it happened in three or four years," Samples said. "But it's really tied up in the politics of the country."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 6th, 2021

US PE Lags On Carbon Reporting – But COP26 May Change That

The COP26 summit is just over a month out, and Pre-COP Milan just wrapped up. According to recent research from the global financial services provider, Apex Group, US PE funds and their investors that haven’t already started to take action to report and wrangle their carbon footprints need to get a move on – and […] The COP26 summit is just over a month out, and Pre-COP Milan just wrapped up. According to recent research from the global financial services provider, Apex Group, US PE funds and their investors that haven’t already started to take action to report and wrangle their carbon footprints need to get a move on – and fast – if they want to remain competitive in the wake of COP26, including Pre-COP, and the growing push for climate-first business goals. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get Our Activist Investing Case Study! Get the entire 10-part series on our in-depth study on activist investing in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or print it out to read anywhere! Sign up below! (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more But how will regulations, both in the US and from global task forces like COP26, affect the expectations put on funds? What are investors looking for? How can funds make sure they’re reporting what’s expected – and preparing for even more? I’m wondering if you’d like to connect with Andy Pitts-Tucker, Head of Apex ESG and the person who helped analyze these results, to discuss these questions and the larger implications of the report. Report Highlights The survey of over 350 PE executives found that US funds’ carbon reporting majorly lags behind those in other parts of the world – something that will almost certainly come to hurt them as investors look for more climate-conscious funds and COP26 increases awareness of the need to take more actionable steps towards net zero. Specific US highlights include: Only 58 percent of US respondents think that their funds and portfolio companies should take greater responsibility for their carbon footprint. For comparison, over 80 percent of UK & Ireland, France, Benelux, and Germany respondents agreed on this need. Less than half of US respondents currently measure the footprints of their firms, suppliers or investments. On a more positive note, 56 percent of US respondents said they plan to measure carbon footprints in the next year – and over half have a process in motion already to be carbon neutral. What Is Private Equity Doing In The Fight Against Climate Change? There is little doubt that climate change is a ‘hot’ topic of discussion the world over. Young activists, NGOs and politicians have all played their part in ensuring the issue is firmly on the media agenda and at the forefront of people’s minds. Among politicians, the ratification of the Paris Agreement has made it a focal point for many governments, all pledging to play their part in keeping the mean global temperature to below 1.5ºC above pre-industrial levels. It is becoming increasingly clear however, that more needs to be done to meet those targets, with plenty of evidence to support that. A recent report by the BBC shows that the number of days where temperatures have exceeded 50ºC (122ºF) has doubled since 1980, with the knock-on effect of that being felt in many places. US President Joe Biden, commenting on the wildfires that rocked California this summer, said it was clear those were “being supercharged by climate change”. A shocking scientific study suggests that even the Amazon rainforest is now a net contributor to warming the planet. As scientists from the independent research group Climate Action Tracker concluded: “The gap between where we want to be and where we are currently is huge.” The financial sector has a key role in addressing these Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) issues – not just by looking inward at its own carbon footprint, but in terms of where it directs capital flows. Pressure to invest more sustainably, into businesses which support people and planet, has been mounting for several years, and regulators are taking steps to ramp up that pressure further. The first stage of the European Union’s Sustainable Finance Disclosure Regulation (SFDR) was introduced in March (2021), with the aim of improving disclosures among fund managers on the adverse impacts of investment decisions and on sustainability features of financial products, while stamping out so-called ‘greenwashing’ of ESG funds. A further step is to be introduced by the EU next year – the SFDR’s Regulatory Technical Standards – which will require asset managers investing in the region to produce far more comprehensive reports, with quantitative ESG metrics around their investments. It will include carbon emission data points. Regulators in the US and the UK are also now looking to push through similar rules. But are these regulatory measures and societal pressures having an impact? Is the financial sector facing up to its responsibilities and ‘putting its money where its mouth is’ when it comes to climate change? We commissioned some global research to find out just that. Market Research: How Is The Private Equity Market Responding? Apex’s research, caried out by an independent research consulta ncy in September 2021, involved questioning decision-makers responsible for ESG policies and in vestments at Private Equity firms across the UK & Ireland (UK&I), France, Germany, Benelux ( Belgium, The Netherlands and Luxembourg), the US, Singapore and Australia on their approach to climate change and also how they are quantifying and reducing their emissions. Among the 358 Private Equity leaders who took part, an overwhel ming majority globally (90%) agreed that climate change is an urgent issue for the world. Those most vocal on this were participants from Germany, where 98 percent agreed, compared to 78 percent among those based in Australia. When it comes to accountability, four-fifths globally (81%) said their company and their portfolio companies should be taking greater responsibility for their carbon footprint. Respondents from Germany again proved to be most vocal (90%), significantly higher than their US counterparts, where only 58 percent agreed on the need. Despite that strong recognition that the alternative investment class needs to take more responsibility, less than half of all Private Equity firms curre ntly measure their own carbon footprint (44%), or that of their suppliers (48%), and only 50 percent measure the carbon footprint of their investments. The research however, showed some significant geographical variations. Those based in Germany (69%) and the Benelux countries (52%) are most likely to already be measuring their carbon emissions, with those in France (23%) and the US (38%) the least. German firms are also most likely to measure the carbon footprint of their suppliers (71%), almost double that of UK&I Private Equity firms (37%). However, UK&I Private Equity funds are most likely to measure the carbon footprint of their investments (58%), whilst those in Singapore the least (32%). Making Strides With Carbon Footprints Encouragingly, there is a greater commitment to measurement in the future, perhaps prompted by the knowledge that tighter regulations are coming. Over half (57%) of respondents globally said they intend to measure carbon footprints next year. That commitment is particularly high among German firms (82%), compared to those at the other end of the scale, in Singapore and the UK&I, which appear to be more reticent to commit to this. Interestingly, BlackRock, announced recently that it is asking its portfolio companies to disclose their plans to achieve net-zero emissions, and is now threatening to sell its shares in the worst polluters. It’s Chief Executive, Larry Fink, in a letter to CEOs, wrote: “No issue ranks higher than climate change on our clients’ lists of priorities.” Positive On Carbon Neutrality On a further positive note, carbon neutrality is seen as an ach ievable goal by nearly all the ESG decision-makers who took part in our research. Over half (55%) said they already have a welldefined process in place to be carbon neutral – with those in th e US leading the charge (68%) – and 44 percent globally saying they have aspirations to achieve carbon neutrality, but don’t have those plans underway quite yet. When it comes to the impact on corporate reputations, three qua rters agreed or strongly agreed (75%) that a carbon reduction plan is seen as ‘advantageous’ by key stakeholders, like their employees and clients. That figure was particularly high among U S (92%), Benelux (85%) and Singapore respondents (82%). Only 7% overall believe that a car bon reduction plan is not seen as important or beneficial among stakeholders that matter. The research revealed that nearly half (49%) of Private Equity firms currently offset their emissions through a verified carbon offsetting project, with a fu rther 42 percent planning to do so in the future. Existing commitments to that is strongest in the US, Australia and Singapore; UK&I firms remain the most sceptical with 17 percent said they don’t offset their emissions and have no plans to do so. While the research focused primarily on understanding how Private Equity firms around the world are performing in terms of addressing their own carbon footprints, and that of their investments, it also asked for their views on how well climate change is being tackle from a wider perspective. The majority (86%) said they think their government or relevant local regulatory bodies are doing enough to tackle climate change. Respondents from the UK&I were most critical, with a quarter saying more needs to be done in their countries. These findings perhaps highlight that there is a disconnect between the views of those within the financial sector and the opinions around climate change in other circles. Many scientists argue that not enough is being done, with analysis carried out by Climate Action Tacker, highlighting that only one country, Gambia, is currently taking enough action to meet the world’s aspiration of limiting global heating to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels. Andy Pitts-Tucker, Managing Director, Apex ESG Ratings & Advisory, commenting on the findings, said: “Private Equity firms, along with the investment community, have a pivotal role in addressing climate change, not just from a moral perspective, but also from an economic one, ensuring sustainability is at the centre of any investment strategies. “Recognition of that obligation is widespread among firms worldw ide, which is encouraging, but there appears to be a significant gap between that acknowledgmen t and their commitments to bringing about change. Less than half are measuring their own carbon footprints, and only half are measuring that of their portfolio companies. “All firms should also remember that if they put a neutrality pl an in place, they must commit to it, and one of the first steps in the process is to conduct a carbon footprint assessment. Those who prioritise marketing over action in their carbon neutrality effo rts will increase their exposure to accusations of greenwashing. “Having accurate and meaningful data to track and monitor ESG p erformance levels is central to creating an action plan that ensures Private Equity firms can pl ay their part in building a more sustainable future.” Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 2:20 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Camber Energy: What If They Made a Whole Company Out of Red Flags? – Kerrisdale

Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake […] Kerrisdale Capital is short shares of Camber Energy Inc (NYSEAMERICAN:CEI). Camber is a defunct oil producer that has failed to file financial statements with the SEC since September 2020, is in danger of having its stock delisted next month, and just fired its accounting firm in September. Its only real asset is a 73% stake in Viking Energy Group Inc (OTCMKTS:VKIN), an OTC-traded company with negative book value and a going-concern warning that recently violated the maximum-leverage covenant on one of its loans. (For a time, it also had a fake CFO – long story.) Nonetheless, Camber’s stock price has increased by 6x over the past month; last week, astonishingly, an average of $1.9 billion worth of Camber shares changed hands every day. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Is there any logic to this bizarre frenzy? Camber pumpers have seized upon the notion that the company is now a play on carbon capture and clean energy, citing a license agreement recently entered into by Viking. But the “ESG Clean Energy” technology license is a joke. Not only is it tiny relative to Camber’s market cap (costing only $5 million and granting exclusivity only in Canada), but it has embroiled Camber in the long-running escapades of a western Massachusetts family that once claimed to have created a revolutionary new combustion engine, only to wind up being penalized by the SEC for raising $80 million in unregistered securities offerings, often to unaccredited investors, and spending much of it on themselves. But the most fascinating part of the CEI boondoggle actually has to do with something far more basic: how many shares are there, and why has dilution been spiraling out of control? We believe the market is badly mistaken about Camber’s share count and ignorant of its terrifying capital structure. In fact, we estimate its fully diluted share count is roughly triple the widely reported number, bringing its true, fully diluted market cap, absurdly, to nearly $900 million. Since Camber is delinquent on its financials, investors have failed to fully appreciate the impact of its ongoing issuance of an unusual, highly dilutive class of convertible preferred stock. As a result of this “death spiral” preferred, Camber has already seen its share count increase 50- million-fold from early 2016 to July 2021 – and we believe it isn’t over yet, as preferred holders can and will continue to convert their securities and sell the resulting common shares. Even at the much lower valuation that investors incorrectly think Camber trades for, it’s still overvalued. The core Viking assets are low-quality and dangerously levered, while any near- term benefits from higher commodity prices will be muted by hedges established in 2020. The recent clean-energy license is nearly worthless. It’s ridiculous to have to say this, but Camber isn’t worth $900 million. If it looks like a penny stock, and it acts like a penny stock, it is a penny stock. Camber has been a penny stock before – no more than a month ago, in fact – and we expect that it will be once again. Company Background Founded in 2004, Camber was originally called Lucas Energy Resources. It went public via a reverse merger in 2006 with the plan of “capitaliz[ing] on the increasing availability of opportunistic acquisitions in the energy sector.”1 But after years of bad investments and a nearly 100% decline in its stock price, the company, which renamed itself Camber in 2017, found itself with little economic value left; faced with the prospect of losing its NYSE American listing, it cast about for new acquisitions beginning in early 2019. That’s when Viking entered the picture. Jim Miller, a member of Camber’s board, had served on the board of a micro-cap company called Guardian 8 that was working on “a proprietary new class of enhanced non-lethal weapons”; Guardian 8’s CEO, Steve Cochennet, happened to also be part owner of a Kansas-based company that operated some of Viking’s oil and gas assets and knew that Viking, whose shares traded over the counter, was interested in moving up to a national exchange.2 (In case you’re wondering, under Miller and Cochennet’s watch, Guardian 8’s stock saw its price drop to ~$0; it was delisted in 2019.3) Viking itself also had a checkered past. Previously a shell company, it was repurposed by a corporate lawyer and investment banker named Tom Simeo to create SinoCubate, “an incubator of and investor in privately held companies mainly in P.R. China.” But this business model went nowhere. In 2012, SinoCubate changed its name to Viking Investments but continued to achieve little. In 2014, Simeo brought in James A. Doris, a Canadian lawyer, as a member of the board of directors and then as president and CEO, tasked with executing on Viking’s new strategy of “acquir[ing] income-producing assets throughout North America in various sectors, including energy and real estate.” In a series of transactions, Doris gradually built up a portfolio of oil wells and other energy assets in the United States, relying on large amounts of high-cost debt to get deals done. But Viking has never achieved consistent GAAP profitability; indeed, under Doris’s leadership, from 2015 to the first half of 2021, Viking’s cumulative net income has totaled negative $105 million, and its financial statements warn of “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going concern.”4 At first, despite the Guardian 8 crew’s match-making, Camber showed little interest in Viking and pursued another acquisition instead. But, when that deal fell apart, Camber re-engaged with Viking and, in February 2020, announced an all-stock acquisition – effectively a reverse merger in which Viking would end up as the surviving company but transfer some value to incumbent Camber shareholders in exchange for the national listing. For reasons that remain somewhat unclear, this original deal structure was beset with delays, and in December 2020 (after months of insisting that deal closing was just around the corner) Camber announced that it would instead directly purchase a 51% stake in Viking; at the same time, Doris, Viking’s CEO, officially took over Camber as well. Subsequent transactions through July 2021 have brough Camber’s Viking stake up to 69.9 million shares (73% of Viking’s total common shares), in exchange for consideration in the form of a mixture of cash, debt forgiveness,5 and debt assumption, valued in the aggregate by Viking at only $50.7 million: Camber and Viking announced a new merger agreement in February 2021, aiming to take out the remaining Viking shares not owned by Camber and thus fully combine the two companies, but that plan is on hold because Camber has failed to file its last 10-K (as well as two subsequent 10-Qs) and is thus in danger of being delisted unless it catches up by November. Today, then, Camber’s absurd equity valuation rests entirely on its majority stake in a small, unprofitable oil-and-gas roll-up cobbled together by a Canadian lawyer. An Opaque Capital Structure Has Concealed the True Insanity of Camber’s Valuation What actually is Camber’s equity valuation? It sounds like a simple question, and sources like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance supply what looks like a simple answer: 104.2 million shares outstanding times a $3.09 closing price (as of October 4, 2021) equals a market cap of $322 million – absurd enough, given what Camber owns. But these figures only tell part of the story. We estimate that the correct fully diluted market cap is actually a staggering $882 million, including the impact of both Camber’s unusual, highly dilutive Series C convertible preferred stock and its convertible debt. Because Camber is delinquent on its SEC filings, it’s difficult to assemble an up-to-date picture of its balance sheet and capital structure. The widely used 104.2-million-share figure comes from an 8-K filed in July that states, in part: As of July 9, 2021, the Company had 104,195,295 shares of common stock issued and outstanding. The increase in our outstanding shares of common stock from the date of the Company’s February 23, 2021 increase in authorized shares of common stock (from 25 million shares to 250 million shares), is primarily due to conversions of shares of Series C Preferred Stock of the Company into common stock, and conversion premiums due thereon, which are payable in shares of common stock. This bland language belies the stunning magnitude of the dilution that has already taken place. Indeed, we estimate that, of the 104.2 million common shares outstanding on July 9th, 99.7% were created via the conversion of Series C preferred in the past few years – and there’s more where that came from. The terms of Camber’s preferreds are complex but boil down to the following: they accrue non- cash dividends at the sky-high rate of 24.95% per year for a notional seven years but can be converted into common shares at any time. The face value of the preferred shares converts into common shares at a fixed conversion price of $162.50 per share, far higher than the current trading price – so far, so good (from a Camber-shareholder perspective). The problem is the additional “conversion premium,” which is equal to the full seven years’ worth of dividends, or 7 x 24.95% ≈ 175% of face value, all at once, and is converted at a far lower conversion price that “will never be above approximately $0.3985 per share…regardless of the actual trading price of Camber’s common stock” (but could in principle go lower if the price crashes to new lows).6 The upshot of all this is that one share of Series C preferred is now convertible into ~43,885 shares of common stock.7 Historically, all of Camber’s Series C preferred was held by one investor: Discover Growth Fund. The terms of the preferred agreement cap Discover’s ownership of Camber’s common shares at 9.99% of the total, but nothing stops Discover from converting preferred into common up to that cap, selling off the resulting shares, converting additional preferred shares into common up to the cap, selling those common shares, etc., as Camber has stated explicitly (and as Discover has in fact done over the years) (emphasis added): Although Discover may not receive shares of common stock exceeding 9.99% of its outstanding shares of common stock immediately after affecting such conversion, this restriction does not prevent Discover from receiving shares up to the 9.99% limit, selling those shares, and then receiving the rest of the shares it is due, in one or more tranches, while still staying below the 9.99% limit. If Discover chooses to do this, it will cause substantial dilution to the then holders of its common stock. Additionally, the continued sale of shares issuable upon successive conversions will likely create significant downward pressure on the price of its common stock as Discover sells material amounts of Camber’s common stock over time and/or in a short period of time. This could place further downward pressure on the price of its common stock and in turn result in Discover receiving an ever increasing number of additional shares of common stock upon conversion of its securities, and adjustments thereof, which in turn will likely lead to further dilution, reductions in the exercise/conversion price of Discover’s securities and even more downward pressure on its common stock, which could lead to its common stock becoming devalued or worthless.8 In 2017, soon after Discover began to convert some of its first preferred shares, Camber’s then- management claimed to be shocked by the results and sued Discover for fraud, arguing that “[t]he catastrophic effect of the Discover Documents [i.e. the terms of the preferred] is so devastating that the Discover Documents are prima facie unconscionable” because “they will permit Discover to strip Camber of its value and business well beyond the simple repayment of its debt.” Camber called the documents “extremely difficult to understand” and insisted that they “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder. … Only after signing the documents did Camber and [its then CEO]…learn that Discover’s reading of the Discover Documents was that the terms that applied were the strictest and most Camber unfriendly interpretation possible.”9 But the judge wasn’t impressed, suggesting that it was Camber’s own fault for failing to read the fine print, and the case was dismissed. With no better options, Camber then repeatedly came crawling back to Discover for additional tranches of funding via preferred sales. While the recent spike in common share count to 104.2 million as of early July includes some of the impact of ongoing preferred conversion, we believe it fails to include all of it. In addition to Discover’s 2,093 shares of Series C preferred held as of February 2021, Camber issued additional shares to EMC Capital Partners, a creditor of Viking’s, as part of a January agreement to reduce Viking’s debt.10 Then, in July, Camber issued another block of preferred shares – also to Discover, we believe – to help fund Viking’s recent deals.11 We speculate that many of these preferred shares have already been converted into common shares that have subsequently been sold into a frenzied retail bid. Beyond the Series C preferred, there is one additional source of potential dilution: debt issued to Discover in three transactions from December 2020 to April 2021, totaling $20.5 million in face value, and amended in July to be convertible at a fixed price of $1.25 per share.12 We summarize our estimates of all of these sources of potential common share issuance below: Might we be wrong about this math? Absolutely – the mechanics of the Series C preferreds are so convoluted that prior Camber management sued Discover complaining that the legal documents governing them “were drafted in such a way as to obscure the true terms of such documents and the total number of shares of common stock that could be issuable by Camber thereunder.” Camber management could easily set the record straight by revealing the most up- to-date share count via an SEC filing, along with any additional clarifications about the expected future share count upon conversion of all outstanding convertible securities. But we're confident that the current share count reported in financial databases like Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance significantly understates the true, fully diluted figure. An additional indication that Camber expects massive future dilution relates to the total authorized shares of common stock under its official articles of incorporation. It was only a few months ago, in February, that Camber had to hold a special shareholder meeting to increase its maximum authorized share count from 25 million to 250 million in order to accommodate all the shares to be issued because of preferred conversions. But under Camber’s July agreement to sell additional preferred shares to Discover, the company (emphasis added) agreed to include proposals relating to the approval of the July 2021 Purchase Agreement and the issuance of the shares of common stock upon conversion of the Series C Preferred Stock sold pursuant to the July 2021 Purchase Agreement, as well as an increase in authorized common stock to fulfill our obligations to issue such shares, at the Company’s next Annual Meeting, the meeting held to approve the Merger or a separate meeting in the event the Merger is terminated prior to shareholder approval, and to use commercially reasonable best efforts to obtain such approvals as soon as possible and in any event prior to January 1, 2022.13 In other words, Camber can already see that 250 million shares will soon not be enough, consistent with our estimate of ~285 million fully diluted shares above. In sum, Camber’s true overvaluation is dramatically worse than it initially appears because of the massive number of common shares that its preferred and other securities can convert into, leading to a fully diluted share count that is nearly triple the figure found in standard information sources used by investors. This enormous latent dilution, impossible to discern without combing through numerous scattered filings made by a company with no up-to-date financial statements in the public domain, means that the market is – perhaps out of ignorance – attributing close to one billion dollars of value to a very weak business. Camber’s Stake in Viking Has Little Real Value In light of Camber’s gargantuan valuation, it’s worth dwelling on some basic facts about its sole meaningful asset, a 73% stake in Viking Energy. As of 6/30/21: Viking had negative $15 million in shareholder equity/book Its financial statements noted “substantial doubt regarding the Company’s ability to continue as a going ” Of its $101.3 million in outstanding debt (at face value), nearly half (48%) was scheduled to mature and come due over the following 12 months. Viking noted that it “does not currently maintain controls and procedures that are designed to ensure that information required to be disclosed by the Company in the reports it files or submits under the Exchange Act are recorded, processed, summarized, and reported within the time periods specified by the Commission’s rules and forms.” Viking’s CEO “has concluded that these [disclosure] controls and procedures are not effective in providing reasonable assurance of compliance.” Viking disclosed that a key subsidiary, Elysium Energy, was “in default of the maximum leverage ratio covenant under the term loan agreement at June 30, 2021”; this covenant caps the entity’s total secured debt to EBITDA at 75 to 1.14 This is hardly a healthy operation. Indeed, even according to Viking’s own black-box estimates, the present value of its total proved reserves of oil and gas, using a 10% discount rate (likely generous given the company’s high debt costs), was $120 million as of 12/31/20,15 while its outstanding debt, as stated above, is $101 million – perhaps implying a sliver of residual economic value to equity holders, but not much. And while some market observers have recently gotten excited about how increases in commodity prices could benefit Camber/Viking, any near-term impact will be blunted by hedges put on by Viking in early 2020, which cover, with respect to its Elysium properties, “60% of the estimated production for 2021 and 50% of the estimated production for the period between January, 2022 to July, 2022. Theses hedges have a floor of $45 and a ceiling ranging from $52.70 to $56.00 for oil, and a floor of $2.00 and a ceiling of $2.425 for natural gas” – cutting into the benefit of any price spikes above those ceiling levels.16 Sharing our dreary view of Viking’s prospects is one of Viking’s own financial advisors, a firm called Scalar, LLC, that Viking hired to prepare a fairness opinion under the original all-stock merger agreement with Camber. Combining Viking’s own internal projections with data on comparable-company valuation multiples, Scalar concluded in October 2020 that Viking’s equity was worth somewhere between $0 and $20 million, depending on the methodology used, with the “purest” methodology – a true, full-blown DCF – yielding the lowest estimate of $0-1 million: Camber’s advisor, Mercer Capital, came to a similar conclusion: its “analysis indicated an implied equity value of Viking of $0 to $34.3 million.”17 It’s inconceivable that a majority stake in this company, deemed potentially worthless by multiple experts and clearly experiencing financial strains, could somehow justify a near-billion-dollar valuation. Instead of dwelling on the unpleasant realities of Viking’s oil and gas business, Camber has drawn investor attention to two recent transactions conducted by Viking with Camber funding: a license agreement with “ESG Clean Energy,” discussed in further detail below, and the acquisition of a 60.3% stake in Simson-Maxwell, described as “a leading manufacturer and supplier of industrial engines, power generation products, services and custom energy solutions.” But Viking paid just $8 million for its Simson-Maxwell shares,18 and the company has just 125 employees; it defies belief to think that this purchase was such a bargain as to make a material dent in Camber’s overvaluation. And what does Simson-Maxwell actually do? One of its key officers, Daryl Kruper (identified as its chairman in Camber’s press release), describes the company a bit less grandly and more concretely on his LinkedIn page: Simson Maxwell is a power systems specialist. The company assembles and sells generator sets, industrial engines, power control systems and switchgear. Simson Maxwell has service and parts facilities in Edmonton, Calgary, Prince George, Vancouver, Nanaimo and Terrace. The company has provided its western Canadian customers with exceptional service for over 70 years. In other words, Simson-Maxwell acts as a sort of distributor/consultant, packaging industrial- strength generators and engines manufactured by companies like GE and Mitsubishi into systems that can provide electrical power, often in remote areas in western Canada; Simson- Maxwell employees then drive around in vans maintaining and repairing these systems. There’s nothing obviously wrong with this business, but it’s small, regional (not just Canada – western Canada specifically), likely driven by an unpredictable flow of new large projects, and unlikely to garner a high standalone valuation. Indeed, buried in one of Viking’s agreements with Simson- Maxwell’s selling shareholders (see p. 23) are clauses giving Viking the right to purchase the rest of the company between July 2024 and July 2026 at a price of at least 8x trailing EBITDA and giving the selling shareholders the right to sell the rest of their shares during the same time frame at a price of at least 7x trailing EBITDA – the kind of multiples associated with sleepy industrial distributors, not fast-growing retail darlings. Since Simon-Maxwell has nothing to do with Viking’s pre-existing assets or (alleged) expertise in oil and gas, and Viking and Camber are hardly flush with cash, why did they make the purchase? We speculate that management is concerned about the combined company’s ability to maintain its listing on the NYSE American. For example, when describing its restruck merger agreement with Viking, Camber noted: Additional closing conditions to the Merger include that in the event the NYSE American determines that the Merger constitutes, or will constitute, a “back-door listing”/“reverse merger”, Camber (and its common stock) is required to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American, pursuant to the applicable guidance and requirements of the NYSE as of the Effective Time. What does it take to qualify for initial listing on the NYSE American? There are several ways, but three require at least $4 million of positive stockholders’ equity, which Viking, the intended surviving company, doesn’t have today; another requires a market cap of greater than $75 million, which management might (quite reasonably) be concerned about achieving sustainably. That leaves a standard that requires a listed company to have $75 million in assets and revenue. With Viking running at only ~$40 million of annualized revenue, we believe management is attempting to buy up more via acquisition. In fact, if the goal is simply to “buy” GAAP revenue, the most efficient way to do it is by acquiring a stake in a low-margin, slow- growing business – little earnings power, hence a low purchase price, but plenty of revenue. And by buying a majority stake instead of the whole thing, the acquirer can further reduce the capital outlay while still being able to consolidate all of the operation’s revenue under GAAP accounting. Buying 60.3% of Simson-Maxwell seems to fit the bill, but it’s a placeholder, not a real value-creator. Camber’s Partners in the Laughable “ESG Clean Energy” Deal Have a Long History of Broken Promises and Alleged Securities Fraud The “catalyst” most commonly cited by Camber Energy bulls for the recent massive increase in the company’s stock price is an August 24th press release, “Camber Energy Secures Exclusive IP License for Patented Carbon-Capture System,” announcing that the company, via Viking, “entered into an Exclusive Intellectual Property License Agreement with ESG Clean Energy, LLC (‘ESG’) regarding ESG’s patent rights and know-how related to stationary electric power generation, including methods to utilize heat and capture carbon dioxide.” Our research suggests that the “intellectual property” in question amounts to very little: in essence, the concept of collecting the exhaust gases emitted by a natural-gas–fueled electric generator, cooling it down to distill out the water vapor, and isolating the remaining carbon dioxide. But what happens to the carbon dioxide then? The clearest answer ESG Clean Energy has given is that it “can be sold to…cannabis producers”19 to help their plants grow faster, though the vast majority of the carbon dioxide would still end up escaping into the atmosphere over time, and additional greenhouse gases would be generated in compressing and shipping this carbon dioxide to the cannabis producers, likely leading to a net worsening of carbon emissions.20 And what is Viking – which primarily extracts oil and gas from the ground, as opposed to running generators and selling electrical power – supposed to do with this technology anyway? The idea seems to be that the newly acquired Simson-Maxwell business will attempt to sell the “technology” as a value-add to customers who are buying generators in western Canada. Indeed, while Camber’s press-release headline emphasized the “exclusive” nature of the license, the license is only exclusive in Canada plus “up to twenty-five locations in the United States” – making the much vaunted deal even more trivial than it might first appear. Viking paid an upfront royalty of $1.5 million in cash in August, with additional installments of $1.5 and $2 million due by January and April 2022, respectively, for a total of $5 million. In addition, Viking “shall pay to ESG continuing royalties of not more than 15% of the net revenues of Viking generated using the Intellectual Property, with the continuing royalty percentage to be jointly determined by the parties collaboratively based on the parties’ development of realistic cashflow models resulting from initial projects utilizing the Intellectual Property, and with the parties utilizing mediation if they cannot jointly agree to the continuing royalty percentage”21 – a strangely open-ended, perhaps rushed, way of setting a royalty rate. Overall, then, Viking is paying $5 million for roughly 85% of the economics of a technology that might conceivably help “capture” CO2 emitted by electric generators in Canada (and up to 25 locations in the United States!) but then probably just re-emit it again. This is the great advance that has driven Camber to a nearly billion-dollar market cap. It’s with good reason that on ESG Clean Energy’s web site (as of early October), the list of “press releases that show that ESG Clean Energy is making waves in the distributive power industry” is blank: If the ESG Clean Energy license deal were just another trivial bit of vaporware hyped up by a promotional company and its over-eager shareholders, it would be problematic but unremarkable; things like that happen all the time. But it’s the nature and history of Camber/Viking’s counterparty in the ESG deal that truly makes the situation sublime. ESG Clean Energy is in fact an offshoot of the Scuderi Group, a family business in western Massachusetts created to develop the now deceased Carmelo Scuderi’s idea for a revolutionary new type of engine. (In a 2005 AP article entitled “Engine design draws skepticism,” an MIT professor “said the creation is almost certain to fail.”) Two of Carmelo’s children, Nick and Sal, appeared in a recent ESG Clean Energy video with Camber’s CEO, who called Sal “more of the brains behind the operation” but didn’t state his official role – interesting since documents associated with ESG Clean Energy’s recent small-scale capital raises don’t mention Sal at all. Buried in Viking’s contract with ESG Clean Energy is the following section, indicating that the patents and technology underlying the deal actually belong in the first instance to the Scuderi Group, Inc.: 2.6 Demonstration of ESG’s Exclusive License with Scuderi Group and Right to Grant Licenses in this Agreement. ESG shall provide necessary documentation to Viking which demonstrates ESG’s right to grant the licenses in this Section 2 of this Agreement. For the avoidance of doubt, ESG shall provide necessary documentation that verifies the terms and conditions of ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group, Inc., a Delaware USA corporation, having an address of 1111 Elm Street, Suite 33, West Springfield, MA 01089 USA (“Scuderi Group”), and that nothing within ESG’s exclusive license with the Scuderi Group is inconsistent with the terms of this Agreement. In fact, the ESG Clean Energy entity itself was originally called Scuderi Clean Energy but changed its name in 2019; its subsidiary ESG-H1, LLC, which presides over a long-delayed power-generation project in the small city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (discussed further below), used to be called Scuderi Holyoke Power LLC but also changed its name in 2019.22 The SEC provided a good summary of the Scuderi Group’s history in a 2013 cease-and-desist order that imposed a $100,000 civil money penalty on Sal Scuderi (emphasis added): Founded in 2002, Scuderi Group has been in the business of developing a new internal combustion engine design. Scuderi Group’s business plan is to develop, patent, and license its engine technology to automobile companies and other large engine manufacturers. Scuderi Group, which considers itself a development stage company, has not generated any revenue… …These proceedings arise out of unregistered, non-exempt stock offerings and misleading disclosures regarding the use of offering proceeds by Scuderi Group and Mr. Scuderi, the company’s president. Between 2004 and 2011, Scuderi Group sold more than $80 million worth of securities through offerings that were not registered with the Commission and did not qualify for any of the exemptions from the Securities Act’s registration requirement. The company’s private placement memoranda informed investors that Scuderi Group intended to use the proceeds from its offerings for “general corporate purposes, including working capital.” In fact, the company was making significant payments to Scuderi family members for non-corporate purposes, including, large, ad hoc bonus payments to Scuderi family employees to cover personal expenses; payments to family members who provided no services to Scuderi; loans to Scuderi family members that were undocumented, with no written interest and repayment terms; large loans to fund $20 million personal insurance policies for six of the Scuderi siblings for which the company has not been, and will not be, repaid; and personal estate planning services for the Scuderi family. Between 2008 and 2011, a period when Scuderi Group sold more than $75 million in securities despite not obtaining any revenue, Mr. Scuderi authorized more than $3.2 million in Scuderi Group spending on such purposes. …In connection with these offerings [of stock], Scuderi Group disseminated more than 3,000 PPMs [private placement memoranda] to potential investors, directly and through third parties. Scuderi Group found these potential investors by, among other things, conducting hundreds of roadshows across the U.S.; hiring a registered broker-dealer to find investors; and paying numerous intermediaries to encourage people to attend meetings that Scuderi Group arranged for potential investors. …Scuderi Group’s own documents reflect that, in total, over 90 of the company’s investors were non-accredited investors… The Scuderi Group and Sal Scuderi neither admitted nor denied the SEC’s findings but agreed to stop violating securities law. Contemporary local news coverage of the regulatory action added color to the SEC’s description of the Scuderis’ fund-raising tactics (emphasis added): Here on Long Island, folks like HVAC specialist Bill Constantine were early investors, hoping to earn a windfall from Scuderi licensing the idea to every engine manufacturer in the world. Constantine said he was familiar with the Scuderis because he worked at an Islandia company that distributed an oil-less compressor for a refrigerant recovery system designed by the family patriarch. Constantine told [Long Island Business News] he began investing in the engine in 2007, getting many of his friends and family to put their money in, too. The company held an invitation-only sales pitch at the Marriott in Islandia in February 2011. Commercial real estate broker George Tsunis said he was asked to recruit investors for the Scuderi Group, but declined after hearing the pitch. “They were talking about doing business with Volkswagen and Mercedes, but everything was on the come,” Tsunis said. “They were having a party and nobody came.” Hot on the heels of the SEC action, an individual investor who had purchased $197,000 of Scuderi Group preferred units sued the Scuderi Group as well as Sal, Nick, Deborah, Stephen, and Ruth Scuderi individually, alleging, among other things, securities fraud (e.g. “untrue statements of material fact” in offering memoranda). This case was settled out of court in 2016 after the judge reportedly “said from the bench that he was likely to grant summary judgement for [the] plaintiff. … That ruling would have clear the way for other investors in Scuderi to claim at least part of a monetary settlement.” (Two other investors filed a similar lawsuit in 2017 but had it dismissed in 2018 because they ran afoul of the statute of limitations.23) The Scuderi Group put on a brave face, saying publicly, “The company is very pleased to put the SEC matter behind it and return focus to its technology.” In fact, in December 2013, just months after the SEC news broke, the company entered into a “Cooperative Consortium Agreement” with Hino Motors, a Japanese manufacturer, creating an “engineering research group” to further develop the Scuderi engine concept. “Hino paid Scuderi an initial fee of $150,000 to join the Consortium Group, which was to be refunded if Scuderi was unable to raise the funding necessary to start the Project by the Commencement Date,” in the words of Hino’s later lawsuit.24 Sure enough, the Scuderi Group ended up canceling the project in early October 2014 “due to funding and participant issues” – but it didn’t pay back the $150,000. Hino’s lawsuit documents Stephen Scuderi’s long series of emailed excuses: 10/31/14: “I must apologize, but we are going to be a little late in our refund of the Consortium Fee of $150,000. I am sure you have been able to deduce that we have a fair amount of challenging financial problems that we are working through. I am counting on financing for our current backlog of Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) projects to provide the capital to refund the Consortium Fee. Though we are very optimistic that the financial package for our PPA projects will be completed successfully, the process is taking a little longer than I originally expected to complete (approximately 3 months longer).” 11/25/14: “I am confident that we can pay Hino back its refund by the end of January. … The reason I have been slow to respond is because I was waiting for feedback from a few large cornerstone investors that we have been negotiating with. The negotiations have been progressing very well and we are close to a comprehensive financing deal, but (as often happens) the back and forth of the negotiating process takes ” 1/12/15: “We have given a proposal to the potential high-end investors that is most interested in investing a large sum of money into Scuderi Group. That investor has done his due-diligence on our company and has communicated to us that he likes our proposal but wants to give us a counter ” 1/31/15: “The individual I spoke of last month is one of several high net worth individuals that are currently evaluating investing a significant amount of equity capital into our That particular individual has not yet responded with a counter proposal, because he wishes to complete a study on the power generation market as part of his due diligence effort first. Though we learned of the study only recently, we believe that his enthusiasm for investing in Scuderi Group remains as strong as ever and steady progress is being made with the other high net worth individuals as well. … I ask only that you be patient for a short while longer as we make every effort possible to raise the monies need[ed] to refund Hino its consortium fee.” Fed up, Hino sued instead of waiting for the next excuse – but ended up discovering that the Scuderi bank account to which it had wired the $150,000 now contained only about $64,000. Hino and the Scuderi Group then entered into a settlement in which that account balance was supposed to be immediately handed over to Hino, with the remainder plus interest to be paid back later – but Scuderi didn’t even comply with its own settlement, forcing Hino to re-initiate its lawsuit and obtain an official court judgment against Scuderi. Pursuant to that judgment, Hino formally requested an array of documents like tax returns and bank statements, but Scuderi simply ignored these requests, using the following brazen logic:25 Though as of this date, the execution has not been satisfied, Scuderi continues to operate in the ordinary course of business and reasonably expects to have money available to satisfy the execution in full in the near future. … Responding to the post- judgment discovery requests, as a practical matter, will not enable Scuderi to pay Hino any faster than can be achieved by Scuderi using all of its resources and efforts to conduct its day-to-day business operations and will only serve to impose additional and unnecessary costs on both parties. Scuderi has offered and is willing to make payments every 30 days to Hino in amounts not less than $10,000 until the execution is satisfied in full. Shortly thereafter, in March 2016, Hino dropped its case, perhaps having chosen to take the $10,000 per month rather than continue to tangle in court with the Scuderis (though we don’t know for sure). With its name tarnished by disgruntled investors and the SEC, and at least one of its bank accounts wiped out by Hino Motors, the Scuderi Group didn’t appear to have a bright future. But then, like a phoenix rising from the ashes, a new business was born: Scuderi Clean Energy, “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group, Inc. … formed in October 2015 to market Scuderi Engine Technology to the power generation industry.” (Over time, references to the troubled “Scuderi Engine Technology” have faded away; today ESG Clean Energy is purportedly planning to use standard, off-the-shelf Caterpillar engines. And while an early press release described Scuderi Clean Energy as “a wholly owned subsidiary of Scuderi Group,” the current Scuderi/ESG Clean Energy, LLC, appears to have been created later as its own (nominally) independent entity, led by Nick Scuderi.) As the emailed excuses in the Hino dispute suggested, this pivot to “clean energy” and electric power generation had been in the works for some time, enabling Scuderi Clean Energy to hit the ground running by signing a deal with Holyoke Gas and Electric, a small utility company owned by the city of Holyoke, Massachusetts (population 38,238) in December 2015. The basic idea was that Scuderi Clean Energy would install a large natural-gas generator and associated equipment on a vacant lot and use it to supply Holyoke Gas and Electric with supplemental electric power, especially during “peak demand periods in the summer.”26 But it appears that, from day one, Holyoke had its doubts. In its 2015 annual report (p. 80), the company wrote (emphasis added): In December 2015, the Department contracted with Scuderi Clean Energy, LLC under a twenty (20) year [power purchase agreement] for a 4.375 MW [megawatt] natural gas generator. Uncertain if this project will move forward; however Department mitigated market and development risk by ensuring interconnection costs are born by other party and that rates under PPA are discounted to full wholesale energy and resulting load reduction cost savings (where and if applicable). Holyoke was right to be uncertain. Though its 2017 annual report optimistically said, “Expected Commercial Operation date is April 1, 2018” (p. 90), the 2018 annual report changed to “Expected Commercial Operation is unknown at this time” – language that had to be repeated verbatim in the 2019 and 2020 annual reports. Six years after the contract was signed, the Scuderi Clean Energy, now ESG Clean Energy, project still hasn’t produced one iota of power, let alone one dollar of revenue. What it has produced, however, is funding from retail investors, though perhaps not as much as the Scuderis could have hoped. Beginning in 2017, Scuderi Clean Energy managed to sell roughly $1.3 million27 in 5-year “TIGRcub” bonds (Top-Line Income Generation Rights Certificates) on the small online Entrex platform by advertising a 12% “minimum yield” and 16.72% “projected IRR” (based on 18.84% “revenue participation”) over a 5-year term. While we don’t know the exact terms of these bonds, we believe that, at least early on, interest payments were covered by some sort of prepaid insurance policy, while later payments depend on (so far nonexistent) revenue from the Holyoke project. But Scuderi Clean Energy had been aiming to raise $6 million to complete the project, not $1 million; indeed, this was only supposed to be the first component of a whole empire of “Scuderi power plants”28 that would require over $100 million to build but were supposedly already under contract.29 So far, however, nothing has come of these other projects, and, seemingly suffering from insufficient funding, the Holyoke effort languished. (Of course, it might have been more investor-friendly if Scuderi Clean Energy had only accepted funding on the condition that there was enough to actually complete construction.) Under the new ESG Clean Energy name, the Scuderis tried in 2019 to raise capital again, this time in the form of $5 million of preferred units marketed as a “5 year tax free Investment with 18% cash-on-cash return,” but, based on an SEC filing, it appears that the offering didn’t go well, raising just $150,000. With funding still limited and the Holyoke project far from finished, the clock is ticking: the $1.3 million of bonds will begin to mature in early 2022. It was thus fortunate that Viking came along when it did to pay ESG Clean Energy a $1.5 million upfront royalty for its incredible technology. Interestingly, ESG Clean Energy began in late 2020 to provide extremely detailed updates on its Holyoke construction progress, including items as prosaic as “Throughout the week, ESG had met with and continued to exchange numerous e-mails with our mechanical engineering firm.” With frequent references to the “very fluid environment,” the tone is unmistakably defensive. Consider the September update (emphasis not added): Reading between the lines, we believe the intended message is this: “We didn’t just take your money and run – honest! We’re working hard!” Nonetheless, someone appears to be unhappy, as indicated by the FINRA BrokerCheck report for one Eric Willer, a former employee of Fusion Analytics, which was listed as a recipient of sales compensation in connection with the Scuderi Clean Energy bond offerings. Willer may now be in hot water: a disclosure notice dated 3/31/2021 reads: “Wells Notice received as a preliminary determination to recommend disciplinary action of fraud, negligent misrepresentation, and recommendation without due diligence in the sale of bonds issued by Scuderi Holyoke,” with a further investigation still pending. We wait eagerly for additional updates. Why does the saga of the Scuderis matter? Many Camber investors seem to have convinced themselves that the ESG Clean Energy “carbon capture” IP licensed by Viking has enormous value and can plausibly justify hundreds of millions of dollars of incremental market cap. As we explained above, we find this thoroughly implausible even without getting into Scuderi family history: in the end, the “technology” will at best add a smidgen of value to some generators in Canada. But track records matter too, and the Scuderi track record of failed R&D, delays, excuses, and alleged misuse of funds is worth considering. These people have spent six years trying and failing to sell power to a single municipally owned utility company in a single small city in western Massachusetts. Are they really about to end climate change? The Case of the Fictitious CFO Since Camber is effectively a bet on Viking, and Viking, in its current form, has been assembled by James Doris, it’s important to assess Doris’s probity and good judgment. In that connection, it’s noteworthy that, from December 2014 to July 2016, at the very start of Doris’s reign as Viking’s CEO and president, the company’s CFO, Guangfang “Cecile” Yang, was apparently fictitious. (Covering the case in 2019, Dealbreaker used the headline “Possibly Imaginary CFO Grounds For Very Real Fraud Lawsuit.”) This strange situation was brought to light by an SEC lawsuit against Viking’s founder, Tom Simeo; just last month, a US district court granted summary judgment in favor of the SEC against Simeo, but Simeo’s penalties have yet to be determined.30 The court’s opinion provided a good overview of the facts (references omitted, emphasis added): In 2013, Simeo hired Yang, who lives in Shanghai, China, to be Viking’s CFO. Yang served in that position until she purportedly resigned in July 2016. When Yang joined the company, Simeo fabricated a standing resignation letter, in which Yang purported to “irrevocably” resign her position with Viking “at any time desired by the Company” and “[u]pon notification that the Company accepted [her] resignation”…Simeo forged Yang’s signature on this document. This letter allowed Simeo to remove Yang from the position of CFO whenever he pleased. Simeo also fabricated a power of attorney purportedly signed by Yang that allowed Simeo to “affix Yang’s signature to any and all documents,” including documents that Viking had to file with the SEC. Viking represented to the public that Yang was the company’s CFO and a member of its Board of Directors. But “Yang never actually functioned as Viking’s CFO.” She “was not involved in the financial and strategic decisions” of Viking during the Relevant Period. Nor did she play any role in “preparing Viking’s financial statements or public filings.” Indeed, at least as of April 3, 2015, Yang did not do “any work” on Viking’s financial statements and did not speak with anyone who was preparing them. She also did not “review or evaluate Viking’s internal controls over financial reporting.” Further, during most or all of the Relevant Period, Viking did not compensate Yang despite the fact that she was the company’s highest ranking financial employee. Nevertheless, Simeo says that he personally paid her in cash. Yang’s “sole point of contact” at Viking was Simeo. Indeed Simeo was “the only person at Viking who communicated with Yang.” Thus many people at Viking never interacted with Yang. Despite the fact that Doris has served as Viking’s CEO since December 2014, he “has never met or spoken to Yang either in person or through any other means, and he has never communicated with Yang in writing.” … To think Yang served as CFO during this time, but the CEO and other individuals involved with Viking’s SEC filings never once spoke with her, strains all logical credulity. It remains unclear whether Yang is even a real person. When the SEC asked Simeo directly (“Is it the case that you made up the existence of Ms. Yang?”) he responded by “invoking the Fifth Amendment.”31 While the SEC’s efforts thus far have focused on Simeo, the case clearly raises the question of what Doris knew and when he knew it. Indeed, though many of the required Sarbanes-Oxley certifications of Viking’s financial statements during the Yang period were signed by Simeo in his role as chairman, Doris did personally sign off on an amended 2015 10-K that refers to Yang as CFO through July 2016 and includes her complete, apparently fictitious, biography. Viking has also disclosed the following, which we believe pertains to the Yang affair (emphasis added): In April of 2019, the staff (the “Staff”) of the SEC’s Division of Enforcement notified the Company that the Staff had made a preliminary determination to recommend that the SEC file an enforcement action against the Company, as well as against its CEO and its CFO, for alleged violations of Section 17(a) of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and Rule 10b-5 thereunder [laws that pertain to securities fraud] during the period from early 2014 through late 2016. The Staff’s notice is not a formal allegation or a finding of wrongdoing by the Company, and the Company has communicated with the Staff regarding its preliminary determination. The Company believes it has adequate defenses and intends to vigorously defend any enforcement action that may be initiated by the SEC.32 Perhaps the SEC has moved on from this matter and will let Doris and Viking off the hook, but the fact pattern is eyebrow-raising nonetheless. A similarly troubling incident came soon after the time of Yang’s “resignation,” when Viking’s auditing firm resigned, withdrew its recent audit report, and wrote a letter “advising the Company that it believed an illegal act may have occurred” – because of concerns that had nothing to do with Yang. First, Viking accounted for the timing of a grant of shares to a consultant in apparent contradiction of the terms of the written agreement with the consultant – a seemingly minor issue. But, under scrutiny from the auditor, Viking “produced a letter… (the version which was provided to us was unsigned), from the consultant stating that the Agreement was invalidated verbally.” Reading between the lines, the “uncomfortable” auditor suspected that this letter was a fake, created just to get him off Viking’s back. In another incident, the auditor “became aware that seven of the company’s loans…were due to be repaid” in August 2016 but hadn’t been, creating a default that would in turn “trigger[] a cross-default clause contained in 17 additional loans” – but Viking claimed it “had secured an oral extension to the loans from the broker-dealer representing the lenders by September 6, 2016” – after the loans’ maturity dates – “so the Company did not need to disclose ‘the defaults under these loans’ after such time since the loans were not in default.” It’s easy to see why an auditor would object to this attitude toward financial disclosure – no need to mention a default in August as long as you can secure a verbal agreement resolving it by September! Against this backdrop of disturbing behavior, the fact that Camber just dismissed its auditing firm three weeks ago on September 16th, even with delisting looming if the company can’t become current again with its SEC filings by November, seems even more unsettling. Have Camber and Viking management earned investors’ trust? Conclusion It’s not clear why, back in 2017, Lucas Energy changed its name to “Camber” specifically, but we’d like to think the inspiration was England’s Camber Castle. According to Atlas Obscura, the castle was supposed to help defend the English coast, but it took so long to build that its “advanced design was obsolete by the time of its completion,” and changes in the local environment meant that “the sea had receded so far that cannons fired from the fort would no longer be able to reach any invading ships.” Still, the useless castle was “manned and serviced” for nearly a century before being officially decommissioned. Today, Camber “lies derelict and almost unheard of.” But what’s in a name? Article by Kerrisdale Capital Management Updated on Oct 5, 2021, 12:06 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 5th, 2021

Legal experts demand ethics investigation into Trump lawyer who proposed "coup cloaked in legal language"

John Eastman drafted a six-page memo that argued former Vice President Mike Pence could effectively overturn the results of the 2020 election. Chapman University law professor John Eastman, next to U.S. President Donald Trump's personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani, gestures as he speaks while Trump supporters gather ahead of his speech to contest the certification by the U.S. Congress of the results of the 2020 U.S. presidential election in Washington, U.S, January 6, 2021. REUTERS/Jim Bourg John Eastman is a senior fellow at the conservative Claremont Institute. Prior to January 6, he drafted memos to justify overturning the 2020 election results. See more stories on Insider's business page. A bipartisan group of legal experts has written to the California State Bar to demand that an ethics investigation be opened into a conservative lawyer who advised the Trump administration on how to overturn the results of the 2020 election.In a six-page memo obtained by Insider last week, John Eastman, a senior fellow at The Claremont Institute, argued that Vice President Mike Pence could unilaterally reject votes for President Joe Biden and secure a second term for former President Donald Trump - what constitutional law expert Kermit Roosevelt termed "a proposed coup cloaked in legal language."In offering that advise to Trump's legal team, some believe Eastman violated his professional responsibilities as an attorney."Lawyers, particularly those who represent elected and appointed officials, have a solemn duty to the public to advise their clients within the four corners of the law, and to ensure that they do not allow themselves to become the tools by which those officials seek to undermine democratic governance," states a complaint filed by the States United Democracy Center, a nonpartisan group that advocates for election integrity.In particular, the complaint notes that Eastman "assisted in Mr. Trump's dangerous efforts to prevent or disrupt the counting of electoral votes" and urged former Vice President Pence "to violate his legal obligations."Christine Todd Whitman, a Republican who served in the cabinet of the Bush administration, said the complaint was an effort to ensure "democracy prevails even in the face of unprecedented disinformation and attempts to overturn a free, fair election.""It is essential that policymakers and legal experts from both sides of the aisle stand up and fight against these anti-democratic actions taken by John Eastman and his peers," Whitman said in a statement.Eastman asserted that the complaint is "politically motivated" and told Insider he looks forward to "responding in full" if it advances.Have a news tip? Email this reporter: cdavis@insider.comRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 4th, 2021

The activist hedge fund that took on Exxon announced a stake in GM, putting its weight behind the car maker"s EV vision

Engine No. 1 sees value in investing in General Motors, which has been increasing investment in its electric vehicle initiatives. GM CEO Mary Barra. GM Activist investment fund Engine No. 1 said Monday it has a stake in General Motors. The hedge fund's founder Chris James says GM is embracing the future by focusing on electric vehicles. The hedge fund previously won a proxy fight against oil giant Exxon. See more stories on Insider's business page. Engine No. 1, an activist hedge fund that won seats on oil giant Exxon's board in a historic proxy fight, has taken a stake in General Motors as the largest automaker in the US furthers its focus on producing zero-emissions vehicles."General Motors is an industry is going through a transition. Of course, Exxon [is] going through the energy transition. That's really where the analogy stops. GM has taken with the support of a really strong management team, a great board, has decided that they're going to embrace the future," Chris James, founder of Engine No. 1, said in an interview on CNBC on Monday. He did not disclose the size of its stake in GM.Shares of General Motors shares rose as much as 3.1% to $54.80 then pared the rise to 2.5%.General Motors earlier this year unveiled Ultium, a new electric-battery design, and said it would roll out in nearly two dozen electric vehicle models by 2023."By investing in a new platform, by going all in [into battery EVs], we think that they can be successful in this transition," James told CNBC. "In most cases, incumbents tend to protect their legacy business first and in doing so end up being very slow in the adoption of new technologies."The stake disclosure arrives ahead of General Motors is set to meet with investors on Wednesday. The company is planning to position itself as a technology platform company focused on software as well as on making electric vehicles, sources told Reuters.The hedge fund won three climate-focused seats on Exxon's board earlier this year. The contentious proxy battle centered around green energy initiatives, diversification of Exxon's fossil fuel business, and executive pay. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 4th, 2021

Insider"s Capitol Hill reporter breaks down the Democrats" infrastructure fight, the fate of Biden"s $3.5 trillion spending, and why the House had 2 Thursdays

Economics reporter Joseph Zeballos-Roig, who spent the week reporting on Capitol Hill, explains where Congress goes from here after a wild week. U.S. President Joe Biden talks to reporters as Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi watches after the president met with Democratic lawmakers at the U.S. Capitol to promote his bipartisan infrastructure bill on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., October 1, 2021. REUTERS/Tom Brenner Democrats in Congress are facing hurdles as they try to raise the debt limit and push forward Biden's social spending package. Senior editor Sarah Gray called up one of Insider's Capitol Hill reporters, Joseph Zeballos-Roig, to get some clarity on where things stand. Below is a lightly edited conversation to get you up to speed as we gear up for a new week. See more stories on Insider's business page. Sarah Gray: It's Friday, October 1, today, and this has been a crazy crazy week for you - and Congress.Joseph Zeballos-Roig: It's extremely hard to nail down where everybody is right now. So that's been the challenge.We started this week with worries that the government might shut down. And then there's also the reconciliation bill and there's the bipartisan infrastructure bill and the looming debt ceiling crisis. From Monday to Friday afternoon, how did we get here?Congress had a very big to-do list, and Democrats, in particular, going into the week. The one thing they manage to clear from the to-do list was the short-term government funding bill. So that's going to keep the government funding until December 3rd, but this is basically just punting to what's going to be a big end-of-year spending battle.In terms of infrastructure, I think that there is a little bit more clarity to what some moderates want, The infrastructure bill, a vote was yanked, but I think it also serves to start negotiations and talks on another, on the bigger part of Joe Biden's domestic agenda, which is the reconciliation package. I think overall Democrats are slowly but surely making progress on what they want to do, but it's definitely going to be playing out very messy and public for quite a while.To the best of your knowledge, do you have a sense of where Democrats are right now with their priorities?Yeah, so I think the easiest way to explain this is to go over the warring factions: moderates are insisting on a smaller bill, um, with fewer tax hikes. Progressives want a much larger bill to fund, you know, sweeping priorities like initiatives to fight climate change, and affordable childcare, and the expanded child tax credit, expanded Medicaid and Medicare. These are the priorities that a lot of Democrats favor, but they have a really wide bridge to gap between both sides.Progressives aren't holding the line on $3.5 trillion. They're starting to signal that they could go lower, but they're not going to go as low as Sen. Joe Manchin's $1.5 trillion. It seems like we're entering the new phase of negotiations, in which you're going to try and hammer down a compromise amount. But it's going to require a lot of Democrats to make some tough sacrifices on a lot of their priorities.(Editor's note: This conversation took place before a meeting between President Joe Biden and Democrats, where the president floated a $2 trillion spending package.)It's going to be a lot of horse-trading and the next couple of weeks and perhaps months, honestly when it comes to progressives you know, they've been very clear that they want this to be a big bill to fight climate change because a lot of the country has undergone climate emergencies or last couple of months - wildfires, deadly hurricanes. And when it comes to the human infrastructure aspect they're going to have to make a lot of cuts to appease the centrists who just clearly just want a smaller bill at this point.It felt like progressives were kind of holding the line Thursday night by delaying the vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill. It is interesting to hear that they might be at a place where they're ready to make some concessions.I think a progressive are willing to making concessions, but moderates have not indicated as much willingness up to now. That's been the problem that progressives complain about: on the Senate side, Senators Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema have been pretty enigmatic about what they want in the bill. Manchin just laid out yesterday ahead of what was supposed to be a scheduled vote on the bipartisan infrastructure goal that he wants $1.5 trillion. But I think there's still a lot of Democratic complaints, at least that I've heard on the Democratic side that Sinema has not been anywhere near as clear.When do you think we will see any movement or any votes on this? It felt like things were really moving during the summer. And then we had this artificial deadline to vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, and now it's possibly going to take months of negotiation, and next year is a midterm election year...That's definitely been a huge focus of Democrats. They want to wrap up the reconciliation bill as soon as possible so that they can provide tangible improvements in people's lives. For example, Sanders is really pushing a Medicare expansion so that it would provide dental, vision, and hearing coverage for seniors. Some of those initiatives could take years to set up, but for example, he wants to provide these types of voucher cards that seniors could start using up to a thousand dollars so that they can start feeling these improvements in their lives ahead of midterms.So that's definitely been a focus, but a problem they're already running into is a Manchin is insisting that be a long-drawn-out process. He's repeatedly called for a strategic pause so that Democrats can get their economic priorities in order. Um, and you know, Manchin is a key vote in the 50-50 Senate, they can't afford to lose anybody. A reconciliation bill for Biden's domestic agenda is basically dead in the water until he decides that he can support it, which could very well be November, December.So where are the Republicans in all of this? It's two parts when it comes to Republicans on the bipartisan infrastructure bill, which was focused on popular voter stuff like improving roads and bridges enhancing or broadband connections. There was Republican support for this in the Senate: 19 Senate Republicans voted to back the bipartisan infrastructure bill, including Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But in the House, it's a different story where Trump still has a lot of sway among House Republicans. On the larger reconciliation package, Republicans are united in opposition.They have assailed it as a huge government expansion that will intrude on people's lives; it will be financed with all these job-killing tax hikes. These are the arguments they are using to oppose the package.A lot of these investments are popular with voters, childcare, community college, raising taxes on the rich. It's not the same story among Republicans, so they're just lining up in opposition, and quite frankly, trying to block many of these popular initiatives from becoming a law, because it would derail Democratic odds of holding onto Congress and furthering Biden's domestic agenda.The Republican talking point on the debt ceiling has been trying to connect the $3.5 trillion reconciliation bill with why they won't raise the debt ceiling, but the debt ceiling has to do with borrowing for bills that the government already owes. So it'd be a lot of the debt and a lot of the spending from the past administrations, including Trump's right?That's correct. The debt ceiling needs to be raised this year regardless of spending plans. Republicans are insisting Democrats you'd do it alone and reconciliation it's technically possible, but experts that I've talked to say it could take at least two weeks if everything goes right, probably three and we're already in October 1st, so there's very little time to do it and then there's a very narrow margin of error for Democrats. Republicans are just not going for a debt limit hike, even though they approve it three times under the Trump administration and both parties accrued nearly $8 trillion in debt.So raising the debt ceiling also doesn't authorize new spending. And it needed to be done this year, regardless of Democratic spending plans.Woody Harrelson was on the Hill this week. There was also the congressional baseball game, which felt totally out of place given all of the negotiations. Pelosi was down there on her cell phone...Pelosi back in August faced a rebellion from a small group of House moderates, who demanded a vote on the bipartisan infrastructure bill before advancing the larger social spending plan. So she struck a deal with them for a late September vote. And, you know, obviously, that hasn't happened. The vote was pulled in the face of strong progressive resistance. So in a bid to try and keep her promise to these moderates, she essentially warped time last night.The House didn't gavel out, so basically it's second Thursday in the House right now. The legislative calendar is still frozen on September 30. It underscores the procedural length of she'll go in order to pacify the potent faction of her moderate wing. And I think it pretty much summarizes how wild this week was.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 3rd, 2021

How tech platforms were dragged into America"s polarized political tug-of-war

Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become punching bags on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers using them to drive their own political agendas. Facebook, Google, Twitter, and others have become targets on Capitol Hill, with lawmakers using them to push their agendas. Google; Twitter; Instagram; Facebook; Samantha Lee/Insider Lawmakers have weaponized tech firms and their content moderation decisions to drive agendas. It's the culmination of a slew of factors, like the post-2016 techlash and the Trump administration. Experts say tech animosity has become "a core Republican tenet," and progressives want more rules. See more stories on Insider's business page. Tech companies haven't had an easy time lately, with lawsuits and critique lobbed at them.But the platforms have also been dragged into a new war in recent years: lawmakers using them and the decisions they make as punching bags to drive their political agendas. Experts told Insider it's the product of the post-2016 election realization that online platforms were not all benign, a Trump-era political marketing test, internet platforms' shift from their historical hands-off approach to content moderation, and mounting polarization in a country where a political tug-of-war was growing ever nastier."We've always seen polarization in the US," Ari Lightman, professor of digital media at Carnegie Mellon and social media expert, told Insider. "Social media companies just escalate that."Republicans and Democrats want Big Tech reined in - for very different reasons Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg at a Senate hearing in 2018. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images One of the first major instances of Trump accusing a tech company of anti-conservative bias was in August 2018, when he said Google was promoting former President Barack Obama's speeches ahead of his own in search results."Politicians are always looking for successful marketing, and he was testing the idea," John Samples - a vice president of the CATO Institute and a member of Facebook's Oversight Board - told Insider.It worked, and from that point on, every decision that companies made around what to flag, remove, or keep up on their sites became another data or talking point to support a cause.For conservatives, that cause was the belief that internet platforms are hellbent on silencing them. And for progressives, the argument that tech platforms don't do enough to crack down on false facts and hate speech dates back to Obama-era scholars, Samples said.Once the 2016 US presidential election came around, it didn't just spawn the "techlash" - it produced a president whose favorite messengers were the very internet platforms he would end up crusading against, and "antipathy toward social media elites became a core Republican tenet," Samples said.The divisive tone on social media became even more pronounced by the 2020 election cycle. Republicans repeated Trump's unfounded claims that the election was stolen, riling up a base that was already heated after a year of pandemic-driven safety protocols. Democrats had to use their platforms to repeat that it was the most secure election in history. Both sides were shouting into a void of followers who already believed what they were saying.And through it all, members of Congress began pouncing on opportunities to grill tech CEOs, which often devolved into political theater, even though some of tech's biggest critics in Washington happily use the platforms to their advantage to win elections. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and Sen. John Kennedy at a November hearing in 2020. Bill Clark-Pool/Getty Images After Zuckerberg reportedly said he'd "go to the mat and fight" threats to break up the company, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted that his comments signaled he was against keeping corporate power and monopolies in check.Sen. Elizabeth Warren tweeted last month that "no company should be too big to be held accountable for spreading misinformation" after the Wall Street Journal reported an algorithm change favored divisive false content.-Elizabeth Warren (@SenWarren) September 17, 2021Republican Reps. Madison Cawthorn and Marjorie Taylor-Greene and Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz are some of the loudest voices posting about alleged censorship.Cruz in January tweeted that "Big Tech's PURGE, censorship & abuse of power is absurd & profoundly dangerous," after platforms began suspending Trump following the January 6 Capitol insurrection.-Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) January 9, 2021 "Some of that is just politics, some of that is a general reaction," Paul Barrett, a deputy director at NYU's Stern Center, told Insider. Barrett was among the NYU researchers who published a report that disproved conservatives' claims of anti-right discrimination online.Social media companies and the rules they enforce are now inextricably subject to vicious political judgment.Zuckerberg "went from being angelic to being Satan, and it happened in three or four years," Samples said. "But it's really tied up in the politics of the country."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 2nd, 2021

Elon Musk keeps attacking Jeff Bezos over the billionaires" rival space companies. Here"s a history of the Tesla CEO"s weirdest beefs, including with Azealia Banks and Pablo Escobar"s brother.

Musk has got into spats and even long-running feuds with an eclectic bunch of people, often over his preferred medium of Twitter. Tesla CEO Elon Musk has a history of strange spats. Getty Images Elon Musk has a habit of getting into bizarre fights. Recently he's been attacking Jeff Bezos over the billionaires' rival space companies. Bezos is one of an eclectic bunch of people Musk has feuded with, including rapper Azealia Banks. See more stories on Insider's business page. Elon Musk has a serious combative streak.The Tesla and SpaceX CEO is famously unpredictable as chief executives go, a personality trait which has sometimes landed him in trouble - particularly with the US Securities and Exchange Commission.But Musk's combative side doesn't just express itself in skirmishes with government bodies. The Tesla billionaire has ended up in bizarre spats with a strange array of people - from fellow billionaires to artists to rescue divers - and often via his preferred medium of Twitter.Recently, he has repeatedly attacked Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, whose space exploration company Blue Origin has been a thorn in the side of Musk's rival company SpaceX.The twists and turns in the stories of Musk's various battles are often baffling, and it can be hard to remember all the different ways Musk has squared up to various public figures and regular citizens.We've catalogued his weirdest fights. In May 2020 Musk challenged Alameda County officials to arrest him for reopening the Tesla factory during the coronavirus pandemic. AP Photo Reports surfaced in May 2020 that Tesla was asking workers in its California factory to return to work despite Alameda County's shelter-in-place order forbidding the factory from re-opening as only essential businesses are allowed to operate in California due to the coronavirus pandemic.Musk confirmed the reports on May 11 in a tweet. "Tesla is restarting production today against Alameda County rules, I will be on the line with everyone else. If anyone is arrested, I ask that it only be me." Tesla threatened to sue Alameda County. The view of Tesla Inc's US vehicle factory in Fremont, California Reuters Tesla's suit hinged around the fact that California Gov. Gavin Newsom said manufacturers in the state would be allowed to reopen, but Alameda County extended its shelter-in-place order only allowing essential businesses to open.Tesla's suit argued that Alameda County's forced shutdown ignored an order from California Gov. Gavin Newsom allowing businesses from "16 crucial infrastructure industries" to remain open, one of which is transportation.The fight prompted Musk to leave California altogether. "Frankly, this is the final straw. Tesla will now move its HQ and future programs to Texas/Nevada immediately. If we even retain Fremont manufacturing activity at all, it will be dependen on how Tesla is treated in the future. Tesla is the last carmaker left in CA," Musk tweeted in May 2020.This prompted California Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez to tweet: "F--- Elon Musk."Musk confirmed in December 2020 he had moved to Texas. Alameda County gave the Tesla factory the go-ahead to reopen on May 13, 2020. Alameda County officials said on May 13 Tesla would be allowed to reopen its Fremont factory so long as it implemented robust safety plans for its workers, and a Tesla executive sent a letter to employees saying it would resume "full production" the following week.Tesla dropped its lawsuit against Alameda County the same week it resumed production. Musk picked numerous fights over the severity of the coronavirus. Elon Musk speaks during the Satellite 2020 at the Washington Convention Center on March 9, 2020, in Washington, DC. Brendan Smialowski / AFP via Getty Images Musk has consistently espoused the theory that the threat posed by the coronavirus is overblown, and tweeted misinformation about the virus including that children are "basically immune."He has also been openly hostile towards state lockdowns, calling them "fascist," and questioned the official death count as it includes people with underlying health conditions.As Business Insider's Dave Mosher and Aylin Woodward write, Musk's rhetoric is dangerously misguided. Scientific evidence overwhelmingly suggests lockdowns help curb the spread of the virus and slow the death rate, and underlying health conditions make people more vulnerable to the virus, and so should not be discounted from death tolls. Musk's frustrations were tied to Tesla's fortunes. A worker descends from the top deck of a car carrier trailer carrying Tesla electric vehicles at Tesla's primary vehicle factory after CEO Elon Musk announced he was defying local officials' coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions by reopening the plant in Fremont, California on May 11, 2020. REUTERS/Stephen Lam Musk said during Tesla's Q1 2020 earnings call that the forced closure of the Tesla factory posed a "serious risk" to business."I should say we are a bit worried about not being able to resume production in the Bay Area, and that should be identified as a serious risk," Musk said.During the same call, Musk went on a tirade against lockdowns in general. "I would call it forcibly imprisoning people in their homes against all their constitutional rights. That's my opinion, and breaking people's freedoms in ways that are horrible and wrong and not why people came to America or built this country — what the f---. Excuse me, the outrage. It's just outrage," Musk said. In 2018 Musk called a complete stranger "pedo guy." British caver Vernon Unsworth looks to Tham Luang cave complex during a search for members of an under-16 soccer team and their coach, in the northern province of Chiang Rai, Thailand, June 27, 2018 REUTERS/Soe Zeya Tun Vernon Unsworth is a British diver who participated in the rescue of 12 Thai boys and their soccer coach from a flooded cave system in June 2018. It was a difficult, complex operation and the boys were successfully rescued after being trapped for 17 days by international divers and Thai Navy SEALs. Unsworth, an experienced cave explorer, was asked by Thai officials to aid in the rescue.He had never met Elon Musk, but would go on to spend most of 2019 locked in a legal battle with the Tesla billionaire.Musk had inserted himself into the Thai rescue operation and offered to build a mini-submarine to fetch the boys. The idea never materialized.Unsworth was asked about Musk's submarine in an interview with CNN, and described it in unflattering terms, describing it as a PR stunt. He added that Musk could "stick his submarine where it hurts."That angered Musk, who subsequently wrote a post on Twitter calling Unsworth a "pedo guy." When a Twitter user challenged him over it, he replied "bet ya a signed dollar it's true."His remarks immediately triggered headlines around the world, despite the fact he provided no proof for the "pedo" claim. Musk doubled down on the allegation by emailing BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac and calling Vernon Unsworth a "child rapist", with no evidence. Brendan McDermid/Reuters Censured by critics for using the slur, Musk deleted his tweet and apologised, but he didn't leave it there. A month later he responded to a Twitter user who criticised him. "You don't think it's strange he hasn't sued me? He was offered free legal services," Musk tweeted, referring to Unsworth.Then in September 2018, he doubled down. BuzzFeed reporter Ryan Mac emailed Musk asking for comment on a legal threat made by Unsworth's lawyer. Musk replied, suggesting Unsworth was a "child rapist" and "I hope he fucking sues me." Musk prefaced the email to Mac with "off the record," but the journalist had never agreed to go off the record, and published the entire exchange. Documents later revealed Musk called himself a "fucking idiot" for sending the email to Mac in the first place.A few weeks after Mac's article was published Unsworth sued Musk for defamation. Court filings revealed Musk hired a detective to investigate Unsworth - but the PI turned out to be a conman. Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel listens to engineer and tech entrepreneur Elon Musk of The Boring Company talks about constructing a high speed transit tunnel at Block 37 during a news conference on June 14, 2018 in Chicago, Illinois. Joshua Lott/Getty Images The case threw up some bizarre findings.Court filings revealed that Musk paid a man named James Higgins-Howard $50,000 to investigate Unsworth and relay reports to Musk's family office.Higgins-Howard emailed Musk out of the blue following the initial "pedo guy" tweet to offer his services as a private detective. "You may want to dig deep into Mr. Unsworth['s] past to prepare for his defamation claim," Higgins-Howard wrote, adding "no smoke without fire!"Higgins-Howard didn't find any evidence, however, and BuzzFeed's Ryan Mac later reported that the would-be PI had previously been convicted of fraud. Musk admitted in a deposition that he later realised Higgins-Howard was "just taking us for a ride."In depositions Musk has also argued that by calling Unsworth "pedo guy" he wasn't literally accusing him of being a pedophile because the term was used to be synonymous with "creepy old man" when he was growing up in South Africa. He also claimed he was genuinely worried Unsworth could be "another Jeffrey Epstein."The trial began on December 3, 2019.   On December 6, 2019, Elon Musk won the defamation case. Elon Musk arriving at court in California. AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill After a four-day trial in California, the jury found Musk not guilty of defamation.The jury took less than half an hour to reach their decision, which reportedly hinged on the fact that Musk did not identify Unsworth in his tweet, according to the Times of London.The foreman also said that Unsworth's lawyers had made the case too emotive. "The failure probably happened because they didn't focus on the tweets... I think they tried to get our emotions involved in it. In a court of law you have to prove your case, which they did not prove," said foreman Joshua Jones, per The Guardian."My faith in humanity is restored," Musk said following the verdict.Unsworth's lawyer Lin Wood said in a tweet that his team would "explore legal options" for challenging the verdict.  In June 2018, Musk took a liking to some farting unicorn art but didn't pay for it, leading to a copyright dispute with a potter. Tom Edwards' farting unicorn mug. Tom Edwards, Wallyware  Musk locked horns with another unlikely member of the public in June 2018.Colorado-based potter Tom Edwards caught Musk's attention with a mug. The mug carried a painting of a unicorn farting rainbows to power an electric car. Musk tweeted a picture of a mug in February 2017 calling it "maybe my favorite mug ever." Two months later friends of Edwards' told him they had seen the same farting unicorn image used as an icon on Tesla screens, and the image was later used on Tesla's company Christmas cards.The Christmas card spurred Edwards into action. "I decided to make it my New Year's resolution to pursue getting compensation, because artists are always seeing their work just taken, and it happens all the time," he told Insider in June 2018.In later-deleted tweets Musk attacked Edwards, saying taking legal action would be "kinda lame.""If anything, this attention increased his mug sales," he said. Musk also claimed (also in subsequently deleted tweets) to have offered to pay for the work twice. Edwards said he'd had no contact from Musk or Tesla at that point. Despite Musk's protestations, the two eventually settled. Brendan McDermid/Reuters A month after the farting unicorn argument erupted on Twitter, Musk and Edwards came to a settlement. The terms of the settlement were not made public, but Edwards posted on his blog that it "resolves our issues in a way that everyone feels good about.""It's clear there were some misunderstandings that led to this escalating, but I'm just glad that everything has been cleared up," he added.Musk for his part tweeted a link to the blog accompanied by three emojis: a unicorn, a gust of wind, and a peace symbol.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 21, 2018  Azealia Banks waded into Tesla's regulatory troubles in August 2018. Rapper Azealia Banks became embroiled in Elon Musk's infamous "funding secured" saga. Getty On August 7, 2018, Elon Musk sent his infamous "funding secured" tweet, in which he claimed to be taking Tesla private at $420 a share.Tesla did not go private, and Musk landed himself with a $20 million fine from the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for the tweet. He lost his position as chairman of Tesla's board, leading to long-running bad blood with the agency.It triggered another unlikely feud with rapper Azealia Banks.A week after Musk sent his fateful Tweet, Banks wrote on her Instagram that she had been at Musk's house at the time when he'd sent it. She had visited to collaborate with Musk's then-partner Grimes (real name Claire Boucher), and claimed she had been annoyed when the crisis caused by "funding secured" dominated Grimes' time."I waited around all weekend while grimes coddled her boyfriend," Banks wrote, and compared the weekend to the horror film "Get Out.""I saw him in the kitchen tucking his tail in between his legs scrounging for investors to cover his ass after that tweet," Banks told Insider at the time.   Banks accused Musk of taking her phone. Getty Images On August 20, Banks was back on Instagram, tagging Elon Musk. Banks posted "@elonmusk you need to contact me. ASAP." and "I need my phone back now.  @elonmusk," on her Instagram story — she later deleted the posts.Banks then shared a screenshot with Insider that appeared to show a text from Grimes saying the choice of share price ($420) was a weed reference. "He just got into weed cuz of me and he's super entertained by 420 so when he decided to take the stock private he calculated it was worth 419$ so he rounded up to 420 for a laugh and now the sec is investigating him for fraud," the text read.Musk told The New York Times that he rounded up the price because $420 had better "karma" than $419, and denied using weed. Musk didn't really respond publicly to Banks except to say he had never met her. Reuters / Rebecca Cook Musk told Gizmodo that he hadn't met Banks "or communicated with her in any way," but confirmed to the New York Times that he had seen her at his house."I saw her on Friday morning, for two seconds at about a 30-foot distance as she was leaving the house... I'd just finished working out. She was not within hearing range. I didn't even realize who it was. That's literally the only time I've ever laid eyes on her," he told the Times. The Banks-Musk feud dragged on for months after the story blew up. Isaiah Trickey/FilmMagic In January 2019, a court granted a motion to subpoena Banks, Grimes, and publications including Insider.In July 2021 Grimes posted in a Discord chat that she'd written a song, called "100% Tragedy," which was about "having to defeat Azealia Banks when she tried to destroy my life."Musk announced in September 2021 that he and Grimes had broken up after three years together. Banks responded to the news on her Instagram, saying: "Ok girl, can we finally make those darn songs now that apartheid Clyde is out of the way?"The nickname "Apartheid Clyde" is an apparent reference to Musk's South African upbringing. Musk was accused of stealing an idea from Pablo Escobar's brother in July 2019. Roberto Escobar (left). YouTube Musk ended up in a spat with Roberto Escobar, brother of deceased Colombian drug kingpin Pablo Escobar, over an accusation of intellectual property theft.TMZ first reported that Escobar had accused Musk of stealing his idea for a flamethrower when Musk's venture The Boring Company announced its "Not-A-Flamethrower" flamethrower in January 2018, beating Escobar's own flamethrower to market.Escobar claimed to TMZ that one of Musk's engineers had stolen the idea while visiting an Escobar family compound in 2017. "It's not a flamethrower, Mr. Escobar." iJustine/YouTube/Joe Rogan Experience Elon Musk responded to the story in classic Muskian style — on Twitter.Musk tweeted a link to the TMZ story accompanied by the words, "It's not a Flamethrower, Mr. Escobar," a tongue-in-cheek reference to the device's name.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 11, 2019In a follow-up tweet he added he stole the idea from the comedy movie "Spaceballs." Musk has traded jibes with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos about which parts of space to conquer. Jeff Bezos unveils Blue Moon, a lunar lander designed by his spaceflight company, Blue Origin, on May 9, 2019. Blue Origin Jeff Bezos owns a space exploration company called Blue Origin, a rival to Musk's own space exploration company SpaceX.Bezos and Musk have sporadically interacted about their companies' successes, sometimes applauding each other, but more often locking antlers.When Blue Origin unveiled its new lunar lander Blue Moon in May 2019 Bezos reportedly took a swipe at SpaceX's plans to colonize Mars during his presentation, saying that the moon was a much more realistic prospect. According to Bloomberg, Bezos showed a slide with a picture of Mars accompanied by the labels "Round-trip on the order of years" and "No real-time communication."Musk responded by mocking the lander's name."Competition is good. Results in a better outcome for all... But putting the word "Blue" on a ball is questionable branding," Musk said in a pair of tweets on May 10, 2019. Musk also called Bezos a "copycat" over his plan to launch thousands of satellites. Clodagh Kilcoyne/Reuters In April 2019, Amazon announced its plan to launch 3,236 satellites with the aim of providing broadband to communities without high-speed internet, nicknamed Project Kuiper.The project bears some resemblance to a SpaceX project called Starlink, which won FCC approval in November 2018 to launch almost 12,000 satellites into orbit. CNBC also reported that Amazon hired a former SpaceX executive to head up Kuiper.After news of Project Kuiper broke, Musk tagged Bezos and tweeted the word "copy" followed by a cat emoji.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 9, 2019Bezos did not respond.  Musk tweeted in June 2020 that Amazon should be broken up after it de-listed a book written by a coronavirus skeptic. AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais When Amazon's Direct Kindle Service refused to publish a book called "Unreported Truths about COVID-19 and Lockdowns," it caught Musk's eye.The author of the book, Alex Berenson, is a former New York Times reporter who has written claiming the threat posed by the coronavirus has been overblown.Musk, who has also been vocal in his opinion that the virus was not dangerous enough to warrant lockdown measures (despite evidence to the contrary) spotted a tweet by Berenson presenting the email he got from Amazon saying his book did not comply with its guidelines."This is insane @JeffBezos. Time to break up Amazon. Monopolies are wrong!" Musk tweeted.—Elon Musk (@elonmusk) June 4, 2020 Amazon later confirmed to Business Insider the book had been removed in error and would be reinstated.  In mid-2021 Musk started attacking Bezos repeatedly claiming the Amazon founder retired so he could sue SpaceX. Blue Origin CEO Jeff Bezos (left) and SpaceX CEO Elon Musk. Joe Raedle/Getty Images/Axel Springer On August 26, Elon Musk tweeted saying Bezos had "retired in order to pursue a full-time job filing lawsuits against SpaceX."Musk repeated the joke on September 1, and during an interview at the Code Conference on September 28 said he can't "sue your way to the moon."These attacks were prompted by both Amazon and Blue Origin mounting challenges against SpaceX.Amazon filed a protest letter with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) in August 2021 urging it to block SpaceX's Starlink from putting up more satellites.Blue Origin also sued NASA in August after the agency granted an exclusive moon-lander contract to SpaceX.While Bezos tends not to engage personally in his feud with Musk, Amazon and Blue Origin have openly criticized Musk's companies. Amazon sent an unprompted 13-page list to The Verge of all the legal actions SpaceX has taken stretching back as far as 2004, claiming it showed SpaceX is just as litigious as itself. In a complaint submitted to the FCC on September 8 Amazon also said: "The conduct of SpaceX and other Musk-led companies makes their view plain: rules are for other people, and those who insist upon or even simply request compliance are deserving of derision and ad hominem attacks." Musk has a long-running animosity towards David Einhorn, a billionaire short seller he loves sending short shorts to. Greenlight Capital president David Einhorn. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid Musk has a pretty well-documented hatred for short sellers, tweeting in October 2018 "what they do should be illegal."One short seller, in particular, has drawn Musk's ire. David Einhorn is president of Greenlight Capital, and is typically pretty scathing in his notes about Tesla and Musk.When Einhorn blamed Tesla's good performance in the first half of 2018 for denting Greenlight's hedge fund, Elon Musk promised to send him a box of "short shorts" — and he followed through.—David Einhorn (@davidein) August 10, 2018In November 2019, Musk renewed the offer of short shorts after Einhorn published a damning note on Tesla's Q3 results, drawing attention to a shareholder's lawsuit against Tesla, which alleges that Musk acquired his cousin's company SolarCity at an inflated value to bail it out.Musk posted an incredibly sarcastic note on Twitter following Einhorn's letter, addressing him as "Mr. Unicorn." Einhorn is German for unicorn. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 1st, 2021