Advertisements



Peter Morici: Biden’s deficits are creating a sugar-high economy

Democrats' ambitious plans collide with reality of supply constraints, higher costs, and reduced incentives to invest.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchMay 26th, 2021

Peter Morici: Biden’s deficits are creating a sugar-high economy

Democrats' ambitious plans collide with reality of supply constraints, higher costs, and reduced incentives to invest.....»»

Category: topSource: marketwatchMay 26th, 2021

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con

"Immunity As A Service" - The Snake-Oil Salesmen & The COVID-Zero Con Authored by Julius Ruechel via Julius Ruechel.com, The Snake-Oil Salesmen and the COVID-Zero Con: A Classic Bait-And-Switch for a Lifetime of Booster Shots (Immunity as a Service) If a plumber with a lifetime of experience were to tell you that water runs uphill, you would know he is lying and that the lie is not accidental. It is a lie with a purpose. If you can also demonstrate that the plumber knows in advance that the product he is promoting with that lie is snake oil, you have evidence for a deliberate con. And once you understand what's really inside that bottle of snake oil, you will begin to understand the purpose of the con. One of the most common reasons given for mass COVID vaccinations is the idea that if we reach herd immunity through vaccination, we can starve the virus out of existence and get our lives back. It's the COVID-Zero strategy or some variant of it. By now it is abundantly clear from the epidemiological data that the vaccinated are able to both catch and spread the disease. Clearly vaccination isn't going to make this virus disappear. Only a mind that has lost its grasp on reality can fail to see how ridiculous all this has become.  But a tour through pre-COVID science demonstrates that, from day one, long before you and I had even heard of this virus, it was 100% inevitable and 100% predictable that these vaccines would never be capable of eradicating this coronavirus and would never lead to any kind of lasting herd immunity. Even worse, lockdowns and mass vaccination have created a dangerous set of circumstances that interferes with our immune system's ability to protect us against other respiratory viruses. They also risk driving the evolution of this virus towards mutations that are more dangerous to both the vaccinated and the unvaccinated alike. Lockdowns, mass vaccinations, and mass booster shots were never capable of delivering on any of the promises that were made to the public.  And yet, vaccination has been successfully used to control measles and even to eradicate smallpox. So, why not COVID? Immunity is immunity, and a virus is a virus is a virus, right? Wrong! Reality is far more complicated... and more interesting. This Deep Dive exposes why, from day one, the promise of COVID-Zero can only ever have been a deliberately dishonest shell game designed to prey on a lack of public understanding of how our immune systems work and on how most respiratory viruses differ from other viruses that we routinely vaccinate against. We have been sold a fantasy designed to rope us into a pharmaceutical dependency as a deceitful trade-off for access to our lives. Variant by variant. For as long as the public is willing to go along for the ride.  Exposing this story does not require incriminating emails or whistleblower testimony. The story tells itself by diving into the long-established science that every single virologist, immunologist, evolutionary biologist, vaccine developer, and public health official had access to long before COVID began. As is so often the case, the devil is hidden in the details. As this story unfolds it will become clear that the one-two punch of lockdowns and the promise of vaccines as an exit strategy began as a cynical marketing ploy to coerce us into a never-ending regimen of annual booster shots intentionally designed to replace the natural "antivirus security updates" against respiratory viruses that come from hugs and handshakes and from children laughing together at school. We are being played for fools.  This is not to say that there aren't plenty of other opportunists taking advantage of this crisis to pursue other agendas and to tip society into a full-blown police state. One thing quickly morphs into another. But this essay demonstrates that never-ending boosters were the initial motive for this global social-engineering shell game ― the subscription-based business model, adapted for the pharmaceutical industry. "Immunity as a service".  So, let's dive into the fascinating world of immune systems, viruses, and vaccines, layer by layer, to dispel the myths and false expectations that have been created by deceitful public health officials, pharmaceutical lobbyists, and media manipulators. What emerges as the lies are peeled apart is both surprising and more than a little alarming. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” - Sherlock Homes”  - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle Table of Contents:     Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication     SARS: The Exception to the Rule?     Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity     Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses     Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection     Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly     Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu     Leaky Vaccines, Antibody-Dependent Enhancement, and the Marek Effect     Anti-Virus Security Updates: Cross-Reactive Immunity Through Repeated Exposure     The Not-So-Novel Novel Virus: The Diamond Princess Cruise Ship Outbreak Proved We Have Cross-Reactive Immunity     Mother Knows Best: Vitamin D, Playing in Puddles, and Sweaters     The Paradox: Why COVID-Zero Makes People More Vulnerable to Other Viruses     Introducing Immunity as a Service - A Subscription-Based Business Model for the Pharmaceutical Industry (It was always about the money!)     The Path Forward: Neutralizing the Threat and Bullet-Proofing Society to Prevent This Ever Happening Again. *  *  * Viral Reservoirs: The Fantasy of Eradication Eradication of a killer virus sounds like a noble goal. In some cases it is, such as in the case of the smallpox virus. By 1980 we stopped vaccinating against smallpox because, thanks to widespread immunization, we starved the virus of available hosts for so long that it died out. No-one will need to risk their life on the side effects of a smallpox vaccination ever again because the virus is gone. It is a public health success story. Polio will hopefully be next ― we're getting close.  But smallpox is one of only two viruses (along with rinderpest) that have been eradicated thanks to vaccination. Very few diseases meet the necessary criteria. Eradication is hard and only appropriate for very specific families of viruses. Smallpox made sense for eradication because it was a uniquely human virus ― there was no animal reservoir. By contrast, most respiratory viruses including SARS-CoV-2 (a.k.a. COVID) come from animal reservoirs: swine, birds, bats, etc. As long as there are bats in caves, birds in ponds, pigs in mud baths, and deer living in forests, respiratory viruses are only controllable through individual immunity, but it is not possible to eradicate them. There will always be a near-identical cousin brewing in the wings. Even the current strain of COVID is already cheerfully jumping onwards across species boundaries. According to both National Geographic and Nature magazine, 40% of wild deer tested positive for COVID antibodies in a study conducted in Michigan, Illinois, New York, and Pennsylvania. It has also been documented in wild mink and has already made the species jump to other captive animals including dogs, cats, otters, leopards, tigers, and gorillas. A lot of viruses are not fussy. They happily adapt to new opportunities. Specialists, like smallpox, eventually go extinct. Generalists, like most respiratory viruses, never run out of hosts to keep the infection cycle going, forever. As long as we share this planet with other animals, it is extremely deceitful to give anyone the impression that we can pursue any scorched earth policy that can put this genie back in the bottle. With an outbreak on this global scale, it was clear that we were always going to have to live with this virus. There are over 200 other endemic respiratory viruses that cause colds and flus, many of which circulate freely between humans and other animals. Now there are 201. They will be with us forever, whether we like it or not. SARS: The Exception to the Rule? This all sounds well and good, but the original SARS virus did disappear, with public health measures like contact tracing and strict quarantine measures taking the credit. However, SARS was the exception to the rule. When it made the species jump to humans, it was so poorly adapted to its new human hosts that it had terrible difficulty spreading. This very poor level of adaptation gave SARS a rather unique combination of properties: SARS was extremely difficult to catch (it was never very contagious) SARS made people extremely sick. SARS did not have pre-symptomatic spread. These three conditions made the SARS outbreak easy to control through contact tracing and through the quarantine of symptomatic individuals. SARS therefore never reached the point where it circulated widely among asymptomatic community members.  By contrast, by January/February of 2020 it was clear from experiences in China, Italy, and the outbreak on the Diamond Princess cruise ship (more on that story later) that the unique combination of conditions that made SARS controllable were not going to be the case with COVID. COVID was quite contagious (its rapid spread showed that COVID was already well adapted to spreading easily among its new human hosts), most people would have mild or no symptoms from COVID (making containment impossible), and that it was spreading by aerosols produced by both symptomatic and pre-symptomatic people (making contact tracing a joke). In other words, it was clear by January/February 2020 that this pandemic would follow the normal rules of a readily transmissible respiratory epidemic, which cannot be reined in the way SARS was. Thus, by January/February of 2020, giving the public the impression that the SARS experience could be replicated for COVID was a deliberate lie - this genie was never going back inside the bottle. Fast Mutations: The Fantasy of Control through Herd Immunity Once a reasonably contagious respiratory virus begins circulating widely in a community, herd immunity can never be maintained for very long. RNA respiratory viruses (such as influenza viruses, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV), rhinoviruses, and coronaviruses) all mutate extremely fast compared to viruses like smallpox, measles, or polio. Understanding the difference between something like measles and a virus like COVID is key to understanding the con that is being perpetrated by our health institutions. Bear with me here, I promise not to get too technical. All viruses survive by creating copies of themselves. And there are always a lot of "imperfect copies" — mutations — produced by the copying process itself. Among RNA respiratory viruses these mutations stack up so quickly that there is rapid genetic drift, which continually produces new strains. Variants are normal. Variants are expected. Variants make it virtually impossible to build the impenetrable wall of long-lasting herd immunity required to starve these respiratory viruses out of existence. That's one of several reasons why flu vaccines don't provide long-lasting immunity and have to be repeated annually ― our immune system constantly needs to be updated to keep pace with the inevitable evolution of countless unnamed "variants."  This never-ending conveyor belt of mutations means that everyone's immunity to COVID was always only going to be temporary and only offer partial cross-reactive protection against future re-infections. Thus, from day one, COVID vaccination was always doomed to the same fate as the flu vaccine ― a lifelong regimen of annual booster shots to try to keep pace with "variants" for those unwilling to expose themselves to the risk of a natural infection. And the hope that by the time the vaccines (and their booster shots) roll off the production line, they won't already be out of date when confronted by the current generation of virus mutations.  Genetic drift caused by mutations is much slower in viruses like measles, polio, or smallpox, which is why herd immunity can be used to control these other viruses (or even eradicate them as in the case of smallpox or polio). The reason the common respiratory viruses have such rapid genetic drift compared to these other viruses has much less to do with how many errors are produced during the copying process and much more to do with how many of those "imperfect" copies are actually able to survive and produce more copies.  A simple virus with an uncomplicated attack strategy for taking over host cells can tolerate a lot more mutations than a complex virus with a complicated attack strategy. Complexity and specialization put limits on how many of those imperfect copies have a chance at becoming successful mutations. Simple machinery doesn't break down as easily if there is an imperfection in the mechanical parts. Complicated high-tech machinery will simply not work if there are even minor flaws in precision parts. For example, before a virus can hijack the DNA of a host cell to begin making copies of itself, the virus needs to unlock the cell wall to gain entry. Cellular walls are made of proteins and are coated by sugars; viruses need to find a way to create a doorway through that protein wall. A virus like influenza uses a very simple strategy to get inside ― it locks onto one of the sugars on the outside of the cell wall in order to piggyback a ride as the sugar is absorbed into the cell (cells use sugar as their energy source). It's such a simple strategy that it allows the influenza virus to go through lots of mutations without losing its ability to gain entry to the cell. Influenza's simplicity makes it very adaptable and allows many different types of mutations to thrive as long as they all use the same piggyback entry strategy to get inside host cells. By contrast, something like the measles virus uses a highly specialized and very complicated strategy to gain entry to a host cell. It relies on very specialized surface proteins to break open a doorway into the host cell. It's a very rigid and complex system that doesn't leave a lot of room for errors in the copying process. Even minor mutations to the measles virus will cause changes to its surface proteins, leaving it unable to gain access to a host cell to make more copies of itself. Thus, even if there are lots of mutations, those mutations are almost all evolutionary dead ends, thus preventing genetic drift. That's one of several reasons why both a natural infection and vaccination against measles creates lifetime immunity ― immunity lasts because new variations don't change much over time.  Most RNA respiratory viruses have a high rate of genetic drift because they all rely on relatively simple attack strategies to gain entry to host cells. This allows mutations to stack up quickly without becoming evolutionary dead ends because they avoid the evolutionary trap of complexity.  Coronaviruses use a different strategy than influenza to gain access to host cells. They have proteins on the virus surface (the infamous S-spike protein, the same one that is mimicked by the vaccine injection), which latches onto a receptor on the cell surface (the ACE2 receptor) ― a kind of key to unlock the door. This attack strategy is a little bit more complicated than the system used by influenza, which is probably why genetic drift in coronaviruses is slightly slower than in influenza, but it is still a much much simpler and much less specialized system than the one used by measles. Coronaviruses, like other respiratory viruses, are therefore constantly producing a never-ending conveyor belt of "variants" that make long-lasting herd immunity impossible. Variants are normal. The alarm raised by our public health authorities about "variants" and the feigned compassion of pharmaceutical companies as they rush to develop fresh boosters capable of fighting variants is a charade, much like expressing surprise about the sun rising in the East. Once you got immunity to smallpox, measles, or polio, you had full protection for a few decades and were protected against severe illness or death for the rest of your life. But for fast-mutating respiratory viruses, including coronaviruses, within a few months they are sufficiently different that your previously acquired immunity will only ever offer partial protection against your next exposure. The fast rate of mutation ensures that you never catch the exact same cold or flu twice, just their closely related constantly evolving cousins. What keeps you from feeling the full brunt of each new infection is cross-reactive immunity, which is another part of the story of how you are being conned, which I will come back to shortly.  Blind Faith in Central Planning: The Fantasy of Timely Doses But let's pretend for a moment that a miraculous vaccine could be developed that could give us all 100% sterilizing immunity today. The length of time it takes to manufacture and ship 8 billion doses (and then make vaccination appointments for 8 billion people) ensures that by the time the last person gets their last dose, the never-ending conveyor belt of mutations will have already rendered the vaccine partially ineffective. True sterilizing immunity simply won't ever happen with coronaviruses. The logistics of rolling out vaccines to 8 billion people meant that none of our vaccine makers or public health authorities ever could have genuinely believed that vaccines would create lasting herd immunity against COVID. So, for a multitude of reasons, it was a deliberate lie to give the public the impression that if enough people take the vaccine, it would create lasting herd immunity. It was 100% certain, from day one, that by the time the last dose is administered, the rapid evolution of the virus would ensure that it would already be time to start thinking about booster shots. Exactly like the flu shot. Exactly the opposite of a measles vaccine. Vaccines against respiratory viruses can never provide anything more than a temporary cross-reactive immunity "update" ― they are merely a synthetic replacement for your annual natural exposure to the smorgasbord of cold and flu viruses. Immunity as a service, imposed on society by trickery. The only question was always, how long between booster shots? Weeks, months, years?  Feeling conned yet? Spiked: The Fantasy of Preventing Infection The current crop of COVID vaccines was never designed to provide sterilizing immunity - that's not how they work. They are merely a tool designed to teach the immune system to attack the S-spike protein, thereby priming the immune system to reduce the severity of infection in preparation for your inevitable future encounter with the real virus. They were never capable of preventing infection, nor of preventing spread. They were merely designed to reduce your chance of being hospitalized or dying if you are infected. As former FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, who is on Pfizer’s board, said: "the original premise behind these vaccines were [sic] that they would substantially reduce the risk of death and severe disease and hospitalization. And that was the data that came out of the initial clinical trials.” Every first-year medical student knows that you cannot get herd immunity from a vaccine that does not stop infection.  In other words, by their design, these vaccines can neither stop you from catching an infection nor stop you from transmitting the infection to someone else. They were never capable of creating herd immunity. They were designed to protect individuals against severe outcomes if they choose to take them - a tool to provide temporary focused protection for the vulnerable, just like the flu vaccine. Pushing for mass vaccination was a con from day one. And the idea of using vaccine passports to separate the vaccinated from the unvaccinated was also a con from day one. The only impact these vaccine passports have on the pandemic is as a coercive tool to get you to roll up your sleeve. Nothing more. Antibodies, B-Cells, and T-Cells: Why Immunity to Respiratory Viruses Fades So Quickly There are multiple interconnected parts to why immunity to COVID, or any other respiratory virus, is always only temporary. Not only is the virus constantly mutating but immunity itself fades over time, not unlike the way our brains start forgetting how to do complicated math problems unless they keep practicing. This is true for both immunity acquired through natural infection and immunity acquired through vaccination. Our immune systems have a kind of immunological memory ― basically, how long does your immune system remember how to launch an attack against a specific kind of threat. That memory fades over time. For some vaccines, like diphtheria and tetanus, that immunological memory fades very slowly. The measles vaccine protects for life. But for others, like the flu vaccine, that immunological memory fades very quickly. On average, the flu vaccine is only about 40% effective to begin with. And it begins to fade almost immediately after vaccination. By about 150 days (5 months), it reaches zero. Fading immunity after flu shot (Science, April 18th, 2019) The solution to this strange phenomenon lies in the different types of immune system responses that are triggered by a vaccine (or by exposure to the real thing through a natural infection). This has big implications for coronavirus vaccines, but I'll get to that in a moment. First a little background information... A good analogy is to think of our immune system like a medieval army. The first layer of protection began with generalists - guys armed with clubs that would take a swing at everything - they were good for keeping robbers and brigands at bay and for conducting small skirmishes. But if the attack was bigger, then these generalists were quickly overwhelmed, serving as arrow fodder to blunt the attack on the more specialized troops coming up behind them. Spearmen, swordsmen, archers, cavalry, catapult operators, siege tower engineers, and so on. Each additional layer of defense has a more expensive kit and takes ever greater amounts of time to train (an English longbowman took years to build up the necessary skill and strength to become effective). The more specialized a troop is, the more you want to hold them back from the fight unless it's absolutely necessary because they are expensive to train, expensive to deploy, and make a bigger mess when they fight that needs to be cleaned up afterwards. Always keep your powder dry. Send in the arrow fodder first and slowly ramp up your efforts from there. Our immune system relies on a similar kind of layered system of defense. In addition to various non-specific rapid response layers that take out the brigands, like natural killer cells, macrophages, mast cells, and so on, we also have many adaptive (specialized) layers of antibodies (i.e. IgA, IgG, IgM immunoglobulin) and various types of highly specialized white blood cells, like B-cells and T-cells. Some antibodies are released by regular B-cells. Others are released by blood plasma. Then there are memory B-cells, which are capable of remembering previous threats and creating new antibodies long after the original antibodies fade away. And there are various types of T-cells (again with various degrees of immunological memory), like natural killer T-cells, killer T-cells, and helper T-cells, all of which play various roles in detecting and neutralizing invaders. In short, the greater the threat, the more troops are called into the fight. This is clearly a gross oversimplification of all the different interconnected parts of our immune system, but the point is that a mild infection doesn't trigger as many layers whereas a severe infection enlists the help of deeper layers, which are slower to respond but are much more specialized in their attack capabilities. And if those deeper adaptive layers get involved, they are capable of retaining a memory of the threat in order to be able to mount a quicker attack if a repeat attack is recognized in the future. That's why someone who was infected by the dangerous Spanish Flu in 1918 might still have measurable T-cell immunity a century later but the mild bout of winter flu you had a couple of years ago might not have triggered T-cell immunity, even though both may have been caused by versions of the same H1N1 influenza virus. As a rule of thumb, the broader the immune response, the longer immunological memory will last. Antibodies fade in a matter of months, whereas B-cell and T-cell immunity can last a lifetime. Another rule of thumb is that a higher viral load puts more strain on your immune defenses, thus overwhelming the rapid response layers and forcing the immune system to enlist the deeper adaptive layers. That's why nursing homes and hospitals are more dangerous places for vulnerable people than backyard barbeques. That's why feedlot cattle are more vulnerable to viral diseases than cattle on pasture. Viral load matters a lot to how easily the generalist layers are overwhelmed and how much effort your immune system has to make to neutralize a threat. Where the infection happens in the body also matters. For example, an infection in the upper respiratory tract triggers much less involvement from your adaptive immune system than when it reaches your lungs. Part of this is because your upper respiratory tract is already heavily preloaded with large numbers of generalist immunological cells that are designed to attack germs as they enter, which is why most colds and flus never make it deeper into the lungs. The guys with the clubs are capable of handling most of the threats that try to make through the gate. Most of the specialized troops hold back unless they are needed. Catching a dangerous disease like measles produces lifetime immunity because an infection triggers all the deep layers that will retain a memory of how to fight off future encounters with the virus. So does the measles vaccine. Catching a cold or mild flu generally does not.  From an evolutionary point of view, this actually makes a lot of sense. Why waste valuable resources developing long-lasting immunity (i.e. training archers and building catapults) to defend against a virus that did not put you in mortal danger. A far better evolutionary strategy is to evolve a narrower generalist immune response to mild infections (i.e. most cold and flu viruses), which fades quickly once the threat is conquered, but invest in deep long-term broad-based immunity to dangerous infections, which lasts a very long time in case that threat is ever spotted on the horizon again. Considering the huge number of threats our immune systems face, this strategy avoids the trap of spreading immunological memory too thin. Our immunological memory resources are not limitless - long-term survival requires prioritizing our immunological resources. The take-home lesson is that vaccines will, at best, only last as long as immunity acquired through natural infection and will often fade much faster because the vaccine is often only able to trigger a partial immune response compared to the actual infection. So, if the disease itself doesn't produce a broad-based immune response leading to long-lasting immunity, neither will the vaccine. And in most cases, immunity acquired through vaccination will begin to fade much sooner than immunity acquired through a natural infection. Every vaccine maker and public health official knows this despite bizarrely claiming that the COVID vaccines (based on re-creating the S-protein spike instead of using a whole virus) would somehow become the exception to the rule. That was a lie, and they knew it from day one. That should set your alarm bells ringing at full throttle. So, with this little bit of background knowledge under our belts, let's look at what our public health officials and vaccine makers would have known in advance about coronaviruses and coronavirus vaccines when they told us back in the early Spring of 2020 that COVID vaccines were the path back to normality. From a 2003 study [my emphasis]: "Until SARS appeared, human coronaviruses were known as the cause of 15–30% of colds... Colds are generally mild, self-limited infections, and significant increases in neutralizing antibody titer are found in nasal secretions and serum after infection. Nevertheless, some unlucky individuals can be reinfected with the same coronavirus soon after recovery and get symptoms again." In other words, the coronaviruses involved in colds (there were four human coronaviruses before SARS, MERS, and COVID) all trigger such a weak immune response that they do not lead to any long-lasting immunity whatsoever. And why would they if, for most of us, the threat is so minimal that the generalists are perfectly capable of neutralizing the attack. We also know that immunity against coronaviruses is not durable in other animals either. As any farmer knows well, cycles of reinfection with coronaviruses are the rule rather than the exception among their livestock (for example, coronaviruses are a common cause of pneumonia and various types of diarrheal diseases like scours, shipping fever, and winter dysentery in cattle). Annual farm vaccination schedules are therefore designed accordingly. The lack of long-term immunity to coronaviruses is well documented in veterinary research among cattle, poultry, deer, water buffalo, etc. Furthermore, although animal coronavirus vaccines have been on the market for many years, it is well known that "none are completely efficacious in animals". So, like the fading flu vaccine profile I showed you earlier, none of the animal coronavirus vaccines are capable of providing sterilizing immunity (none were capable of stopping 100% of infections, without which you can never achieve herd immunity) and the partial immunity they offered is well known to fade rather quickly. What about immunity to COVID's close cousin, the deadly SARS coronavirus, which had an 11% case fatality rate during the 2003 outbreak? From a 2007 study: "SARS-specific antibodies were maintained for an average of 2 years... SARS patients might be susceptible to reinfection >3 years after initial exposure."  (Bear in mind that, as with all diseases, re-infection does not mean you are necessarily going to get full-blown SARS; fading immunity after a natural infection tends to offer at least some level of partial protection against severe outcomes for a considerable amount of time after you can already be reinfected and spread it to others - more on that later.) And what about MERS, the deadliest coronavirus to date, which made the jump from camels in 2012 and had a fatality rate of around 35%? It triggered the broadest immune response (due to its severity) and also appears to trigger the longest lasting immunity as a result (> 6yrs) Thus, to pretend that there was any chance that herd immunity to COVID would be anything but short-lived was dishonest at best. For most people, immunity was always going to fade quickly. Just like what happens after most other respiratory virus infections. By February 2020, the epidemiological data showed clearly that for most people COVID was a mild coronavirus (nowhere near as severe than SARS or MERS), so it was virtually a certainty that even the immunity from a natural infection would fade within months, not years. It was also a certainty that vaccination was therefore, at best, only ever going to provide partial protection and that this protection would be temporary, lasting on the order of months. This is a case of false and misleading advertising if there ever was one. If I can allow my farming roots to shine through for a moment, I'd like to explain the implications of what was known about animal coronaviruses vaccines. Baby calves are often vaccinated against bovine coronaviral diarrhea shortly after birth if they are born in the spring mud and slush season, but not if they are born in midsummer on lush pastures where the risk of infection is lower. Likewise, bovine coronavirus vaccines are used to protect cattle before they face stressful conditions during shipping, in a feedlot, or in winter feed pens. Animal coronavirus vaccines are thus used as tools to provide a temporary boost in immunity, in very specific conditions, and only for very specific vulnerable categories of animals. After everything I've laid out so far in this text, the targeted use of bovine coronavirus vaccines should surprise no-one. Pretending that our human coronavirus vaccines would be different was nonsense.  The only rational reason why the WHO and public health officials would withhold all that contextual information from the public as they rolled out lockdowns and held forth vaccines as an exit strategy was to whip the public into irrational fear in order to be able to make a dishonest case for mass vaccination when they should have, at most, been focused on providing focused vaccination of the most vulnerable only. That deception was the Trojan Horse to introduce endless mass booster shots as immunity inevitably fades and as new variants replace old ones.  Now, as all the inevitable limitations and problems with these vaccines become apparent (i.e. fading of vaccine-induced immunity, vaccines proving to only be partially effective, the rise of new variants, and the vaccinated population demonstrably catching and spreading the virus ― a.k.a. the leaky vaccine phenomenon), the surprise that our health authorities are showing simply isn't credible. As I have shown you, all this was 100% to be expected. They intentionally weaponized fear and false expectations to unleash a fraudulent bait-and-switch racket of global proportions. Immunity on demand, forever. Manufacturing Dangerous Variants: Virus Mutations Under Lockdown Conditions — Lessons from the 1918 Spanish Flu At this point you may be wondering, if there is no lasting immunity from infection or vaccination, then are public health officials right to roll out booster shots to protect us from severe outcomes even if their dishonest methods to get us to accept them were unethical? Do we need a lifetime regimen of booster shots to keep us safe from a beast to which we cannot develop durable long-term immunity? The short answer is no.  Contrary to what you might think, the rapid evolution of RNA respiratory viruses actually has several important benefits for us as their involuntary hosts, which protects us without the benefit of broad lifelong immunity. One of those benefits has to do with the natural evolution of the virus towards less dangerous variants. The other is the cross-reactive immunity that comes from frequent re-exposure to closely related "cousins". I'm going to peel apart both of these topics in order to show you the remarkable system that nature designed to keep us safe... and to show you how the policies being forced on us by our public health authorities are knowingly interfering with this system. They are creating a dangerous situation that increases our risk to other respiratory viruses (not just to COVID) and may even push the COVID virus to evolve to become more dangerous to both the unvaccinated and the vaccinated. There are growing signs that this nightmare scenario has already begun.  “In this present crisis, government is not the solution to our problem; government is the problem."  - President Ronald Reagan in 1981. Let's start with the evolutionary pressures that normally drive viruses towards becoming less dangerous over time. A virus depends on its host to spread it. A lively host is more useful than a bedridden or dead one because a lively host can spread the virus further and will still be around to catch future mutations. Viruses risk becoming evolutionary dead ends if they kill or immobilize their hosts. Plagues came, killed, and then were starved out of existence because their surviving hosts had all acquired herd immunity. Colds come and go every year because their hosts are lively, easily spread the viruses around, and never acquire long-lasting immunity so that last year's hosts can also serve as next year's hosts ― only those who have weak immune systems have much to worry about. In other words, under normal conditions, mutations that are more contagious but less deadly have a survival advantage over less contagious and more deadly variations. From the virus' point of view, the evolutionary golden mean is reached when it can easily infect as many hosts as possible without reducing their mobility and without triggering long-term immunity in most of their hosts. That's the ticket to setting up a sustainable cycle of reinfection, forever. Viruses with slow genetic drift and highly specialized reproductive strategies, like polio or measles, can take centuries or longer to become less deadly and more contagious; some may never reach the relatively harmless status of a cold or mild flu virus (by harmless I mean harmless to the majority of the population despite being extremely dangerous to those with weak or compromised immune systems). But for viruses with fast genetic drift, like respiratory viruses, even a few months can make a dramatic difference. Rapid genetic drift is one of the reasons why the Spanish Flu stopped being a monster disease, but polio and measles haven't. And anyone with training in virology or immunology understands this!  We often speak of evolutionary pressure as though it forces an organism to adapt. In reality, a simple organism like a virus is utterly blind to its environment — all it does is blindly produce genetic copies of itself. "Evolutionary pressure" is actually just a fancy way of saying that environmental conditions will determine which of those millions of copies survives long enough to produce even more copies of itself.  A human adapts to its environment by altering its behaviour (that's one type of adaptation). But the behaviour of a single viral particle never changes. A virus "adapts" over time because some genetic copies with one set of mutations survive and spread faster than other copies with a different set of mutations. Adaptation in viruses has to be seen exclusively through the lens of changes from one generation of virus to the next based on which mutations have a competitive edge over others. And that competitive edge will vary depending on the kinds of environmental conditions a virus encounters. So, fear mongering about the Delta variant being even more contagious leaves out the fact that this is exactly what you would expect as a respiratory virus adapts to its new host species. We would expect new variants to be more contagious but less deadly as the virus fades to become just like the other 200+ respiratory viruses that cause common colds and flus.  That's also why the decision to lock down the healthy population is so sinister. Lockdowns, border closures, and social distancing rules reduced spread among the healthy population, thus creating a situation where mutations produced among the healthy would become sufficiently rare that they might be outnumbered by mutations circulating among the bedridden. Mutations circulating among the healthy are, by definition, going to be the least dangerous mutations since they did not make their hosts s.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 25th, 2021

Here"s Why You Should Hold Citizens Financial (CFG) Stock Now

While acquisitions to beef up the presence and strengthen the banking business will enhance Citizens Financial's (CFG) balance sheet, shirking margins and rising expenses are worrisome. Citizens Financial Group CFG has been making inorganic moves to diversify its presence and businesses. This is backed by the company’s decent liquidity position. However, continued cost escalations are limiting its bottom-line growth, while the low interest rate environment is affecting the net interest margin (NIM).In early September, the company clinched a definitive merger agreement with JMP Group LLC JMP in an all-cash transaction. This marks the company’s fourth purchase since May. The company also closed the acquisition of Willamette Management Associates, which is expected to amplify Citizens Financial’s corporate financial advisory competencies.As part of its depository acquisitions advance strategy, In July, Citizens Financial announced a definitive agreement to acquire Investors Bancorp, Inc., ISBC, and entered an agreement to acquire 80 East Coast branches and the national online deposit business from HSBC Bank U.S.A, N.A — the America subsidiary of the U.K.-based HSBC Holdings plc HSBC — in May. The acquisitions of Investors combined with HSBC create a strong franchise in the greater New York City and the Philadelphia Metro areas, and New Jersey by adding 234 branches. Apart from this, the move is expected to add $29 billion of deposits and $24 billion of loans, creating a strong foundation for revenue growth.The company’s organic growth measures also remain encouraging. Citizens Financial’s loans and deposits witnessed a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.4% and 7.6%, respectively, over the last five years (2016-2020). We believe that it is well-positioned to grow further, backed by gradually improving the U.S. economy.Citizens Financial also remains on track for the execution of its revenue and efficiency initiatives. The most recent “Tapping Our Potential” (TOP) program — TOP 6 — is expected to deliver $400-$425 million in pre-tax run-rate benefit by 2021 end. Identifying better transformational efficiency opportunities, it is now developing the TOP 7 Program. These efforts are likely to result in expense savings and alleviate the bottom-line pressure.Shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have rallied 26.9% over the past six months compared with the industry’s growth of 15.2%.You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research However, the company’s NIM has been shrinking due to the decline in the interest rates to the near-zero level in 2019 and 2020 in order to protect the economy from the coronavirus-led mayhem. Notably, the declining trend continued in the first six months of 2021. Despite decent loan demand, NIM is expected to continue being impacted in the near term due to the Federal Reserve’s accommodative policy stance.A significant portion of Citizens Financial’s loan portfolio comprises majorly commercial and real estate loans (72% of loans and leases and loans held for sale as of Jun 30, 2021). Such lack of diversification and high exposure can be risky for the company if the real estate sector weakens.Lastly, Citizens Financial’s non-interest expenses witnessed a CAGR of 4.5% over the last five years (2016-2020), with an increasing trend in the first six months of this year. Costs are likely to remain elevated due to investments in newer technologies and building fee income capabilities organically. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report JMP Group LLC (JMP): Free Stock Analysis Report Investors Bancorp, Inc. (ISBC): Free Stock Analysis Report HSBC Holdings plc (HSBC): Free Stock Analysis Report Citizens Financial Group, Inc. (CFG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Ford (F) Teams Up With Redwood for EV Battery Recycling

The collaboration between Ford (F) and Redwood is aimed at amalgamating battery recycling into the auto biggie's domestic battery strategy in order to bring down costs of EVs. Ford F recently announced that it is partnering with Redwood Materials, a leading battery materials company, to make electric vehicles (EVs) more sustainable and economical for customers by building a domestic battery supply chain for EVs, creating recycling options for the end-of-life vehicles and enhancing battery production.Based in northern Nevada, Redwood recycles scrap from battery cell production and consumer electronics like cell phone batteries and laptop computers. The company then processes these discarded goods, extracting materials like cobalt, nickel and lithium that are typically mined, and supplied back to its customers.The collaboration between Ford and Redwood aims to amalgamate battery recycling into the auto biggie’s domestic battery strategy. Redwood’s recycling technology can recover most of the key elements,critical to manufacturing EV battery packs, which can be reused by Ford in a closed-loop system for future battery production. By using locally-produced, recycled battery materials, Ford can bring down costs, and reduce its reliance on imports and mining of raw materials. This approach will help ensure that the valuable materials in the end-of-life batteries re-enter the supply chain and do not get wasted. It will also reduce Ford’s dependence on the existing supply-chain network.Additionally, Redwood is creating a circular supply chain for batteries, and aiding its partners by providing processes and technologies to reuse and remanufacture lithium-ion batteries. Creating a U.S. circular supply chain is a crucial step toward making battery-powered EVs viable and cheaper for more customers.Ford is highly optimistic about this partnership. Accelerating the production of batteries and their materials through domestic recycling can help the automaker fortify its U.S. manufacturing foothold of lithium-ion batteries, decrease the cost of EVs and in turn, speed up the domestic adoption of EVs. The collaboration with Redwood will help ensure the right infrastructure is in place to cost-effectively recycle the end-of-life Ford batteries to create a solid pool of domestic raw materials and thus, make EVs economical.Ford has invested $50 million into Redwood to support the latter’s expansion in the United States, and further scale up the relationship between the two companies.Amid the heightening climate change concerns, investors are intrigued by automakers that provide green transportation solutions. Automakers like Tesla TSLA, General Motors GM and Volkswagen VWAGY are leaving no stone unturned to step up their EV game. Thus, amid the intensified competition, the development of batteries used to power EVs has become crucial in order to decarbonize the global economy. This has also forced automakers to increasingly focus on the enhancing the life cycle of EV batteries and make them more cost-effective.The latest agreement is an evidence that automakers are taking significant steps to address the supply and cost of raw materials needed to manufacture batteries for electric vehicles, in order to make EVs more pocket friendly.The deal comes when Ford is adding more electric vehicles to its product menu, including the upcoming F-150 Lightning pick-up truck, the first-ever all-electric F-Series truck designed for commercial customers. The latest agreement also builds on Ford’s previously-announced plans to boost battery production through multiple BlueOvalSK battery plants in North America commencing mid-decade.Dearborn-based Ford is committed toward its goal of providing completely carbon-free transportation in the upcoming years and is boosting the company’s electrification efforts to attain this target. The company has always been at the forefront of the automotive revolution and is focused on its vision of an all-electric future, including providing fifth-generation lithium ion batteries as well as preparing for the transition to solid-state batteries, which warrant longer ranges, reduced costs and safer EVs for customers. The automaker has committed to invest more than $30 billion by 2025 for the electrification of its commercial and retail fleet by capitalizing on its strength, starting with the EV versions of the company’s most popular models.Ford currently carries a Zacks Rank of 3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ford Motor Company (F): Free Stock Analysis Report General Motors Company (GM): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Volkswagen AG (VWAGY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Fed Taper to Start in November? 7 ETFs to Buy

The Fed may start tapering in November. These ETFs could prove to be winning picks. Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said the central bank could start scaling back asset purchases as soon as November and finish the process by mid-2022. Several officials are even interested to hike interest rates next year.The announcement of the Fed QE taper may come in the policy gathering on Nov 2-3. However, the Fed chair Powell left the door open to waiting longer should the need be and stressed that tapering is not directly corelated with the timing of rate liftoff.Investors should note that the Fed held interest rates near zero since last year and have been buying $80 billion in Treasuries and $40 billion in mortgage-backed securities every month until “substantial further progress” is seen on employment and inflation goals.Inflation is running high, which may compel the Fed to taper QE. Jobs market has also improved a lot. The U.S. unemployment rate dropped to 5.2% in August, well below the April 2020 peak of 14.8%, but still higher than the 3.5% rate recorded in February 2020, just before the pandemic started.If the Fed starts the QE taper soon and rates rise, there could be sell-offs in the bond market. Against this backdrop, below we highlight a few ETFs that could be winning picks.ETFs in Focus Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF UUPThe U.S. dollar strengthened lately versus a basket of major currencies as market watchers on Fed taper talks despite a surge in COVID-19 cases. Plus, the spread of the Delta variant of COVID-19 is another concern, which may slow down global growth further. It appears to be a win-win situation for the greenback as the global health crisis has not dissipated yet. This fact provides support to the safe-haven trades.iShares U.S. Regional Banks ETF IATAs regional banks fare well in a steepening yield curve environment, IAT has chances of gaining ahead. As banks seek to borrow money at short-term rates and lend at long-term rates, a steepening yield curve will earn more on lending and pay less on deposits, thereby leading to a wider spread. This will expand net margins and increase banks’ profits.iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF IWNSmall-caps stocks tend to outperform in a growing domestic economy. Rapid vaccination and stimulus rollout are great positives for the segment. Honing in on the value spectrum in the small-cap segment would be a great idea amid taper tantrum. Value stocks tend to perform in a rising rate environment. This is especially true given the fund IWN is heavy on Financials – a sector that is a great beneficiary of rising rates.Invesco Senior Loan ETF BKLNSenior loans are floating rate instruments and thus pay a spread over the benchmark rate like LIBOR, which help in eliminating interest rate risk. This is because when interest rate rises, coupons on senior loans increase while the value of the bonds decline, keeping investments stable. Since these loans are issued by companies with below investment grade credit ratings, they usually pay yields to compensate for the risk.Given this, senior loans and the related ETFs offer higher yields along with protection against any interest rate rise, making these ideal investments. Further, they carry lower credit risk than most other assets, with a similar level of yield and have low correlations with the other asset classes. Hence, investors can definitely play BKLN, which yields 3.19% annually.iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF FLOTFloating rate notes are investment grade bonds that do not pay a fixed rate to investors but have variable coupon rates that are often tied to an underlying index (such as LIBOR) plus a variable spread depending on the credit risk of issuers.Since the coupons of these bonds are adjusted periodically, they are less sensitive to an increase in rates compared to traditional bonds. FLOT has an effective duration of 0.10 years and thus presents minimal interest rate risks.Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF VYMWith the 10-year Treasury yield (1.32% as on Sep 22, 2021) rising, income-loving investors would definitely look for other better options. VYM yields 2.90% currently. Plus, the dividend payout scenario has also improved within corporate America.iShares Preferred And Income Securities ETF PFFPreferred securities as an asset class are hybrid securities, having traits of both equity shares as well as fixed income securities. These are classified as shares having a fixed rate of dividend on their face value (par value). The fund yields 4.45% annually, which is pretty higher as compared with the benchmark U.S. treasuries as of Sep 22.   More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (UUP): ETF Research Reports iShares Russell 2000 Value ETF (IWN): ETF Research Reports Vanguard High Dividend Yield ETF (VYM): ETF Research Reports iShares U.S. Regional Banks ETF (IAT): ETF Research Reports iShares Preferred and Income Securities ETF (PFF): ETF Research Reports iShares Floating Rate Bond ETF (FLOT): ETF Research Reports Invesco Senior Loan ETF (BKLN): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Make the Most of Soaring Natural Gas Prices with These 5 Plays

Soaring energy prices and cheap valuations make this group attractive. Natural gas prices have been rising this year. The reason, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA) is a warmer-than-usual summer that boosted electricity consumption for air conditioning, increased liquid natural gas (LNG) exports and flat production, which in combination led to a lower inventory build for the winter. The fact that hurricane Ida disrupted production in August also didn’t help.The other contributing factor was that natural gas prices typically rise in times of economic expansion, because of its use in the commercial sector, as well as processing in several industrial segments like chemicals, fertilizers, paper and glass. And we know how rapidly the economy has turned around.It’s now expected that prices will remain elevated through the winter because of the low inventories and increased demand from consumer, commercial and industrial users. And that is despite electric power consumption dropping an estimated 8.3% this year as the sector shifts some consumption to coal (the usual fallback when prices continue to rise). The electric power sector is the largest end-use case for natural gas, and it’s highly sensitive to prices. Less elastic demand comes from things like lease and plant fuel, pipeline and distribution use, and vehicle use and these segments are likely to see steady growth through 2022.The EIA estimates that despite increased production, natural gas inventories will be 5% below the 5-year average at the end of the 2021 injection season (October-end). Next year, demand from electricity suppliers will fall further, as additional clean energy sources come online.Important NumbersHenry Hub spot prices in August were $1.77 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) higher than in August 2020.U.S. consumption of natural gas will average 82.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) in 2021, down 0.9% from 2020, remaining more or less steady at 82.6 Bcf/d in 2022.Residential and commercial natural gas consumption combined will rise by 1.2 Bcf/d, industrial consumption will rise by 0.6 Bcf/d and the electric power sector’s consumption will drop by 2.7 Bcf/d, or 8.3% in 2021.Dry natural gas production will average 92.7 Bcf/d in the U.S. during 2H21—up from 91.7 Bcf/d in 1H21—and then rise to 95.4 Bcf/d in 2022.U.S. natural gas inventories ended August 2021 at about 2.9 trillion cubic feet (Tcf); inventories will end the 2021 injection season (end of October) at almost 3.6 Tcf, which would be 5% below the five-year average.LNG ExportsSince the U.S. is more or less replete in natural gas resource, the domestic market is well-developed with consumption balancing production more often than not, leading to low and steady prices. But the last few years have seen increased recognition across the world of LNG as a clean fuel and countries like China have made it part of their clean energy strategy. The high demand in Europe and Asia has sent global prices soaring, which in turn has encouraged U.S. manufacturers to export. The expansion of the domestic LNG market is changing the operating dynamics with the potential for prices to rise and stay higher in the future (because of increased international demand).Most players are involved in both natural gas and crude operations, although there’s an increased focus on natural gas of late.Let’s consider a few cases-Cheniere Energy, Inc. LNGHouston, TX-based Cheniere Energy is primarily engaged in businesses related to liquefied natural gas (or LNG) through its two business segments: LNG terminal and LNG and natural gas marketing. The company, through its controlling interest in Cheniere Energy Partners L.P., owns and operates the Sabine Pass LNG terminal in Louisiana – North America’s first large-scale liquefied gas export facility. Furthermore, Cheniere Energy owns and operates the 94-mile Creole Trail Pipeline – an interconnect between the Sabine Pass receiving terminal and the downstream markets – through its subsidiary.Cheniere Energy intends to construct up to six trains at Sabine Pass with each train expected to have a capacity of about 4.5 million tons per annum. While Trains 1, 2, 3 and 4 are functional; Train 5 is undergoing commissioning. Train 6 is being commercialized and has secured the necessary regulatory approvals.Cheniere Energy Partners is also developing a liquefaction and export terminal in Corpus Christi, TX. Train 1 commissioning is complete, Train 2 is under construction and Train 3 is commercialised with necessary approvals in place. The facility came online in 2019. Cheniere Energy intends to develop seven midscale liquefaction trains adjacent to the Corpus Christi Liquefaction facility (CCL). The company has initiated the regulatory approval process. The total production capacities for these trains are expected to be approximately 9.5 Mtpa.Additionally, Cheniere Energy is involved in LNG and natural gas marketing activities through its subsidiary, Cheniere Marketing LLC.Global LNG demand is likely to continue growing for the next few years. Cheniere Energy, the U.S.’s only listed LNG export pure play, foresees the fundamentals of LNG to be favorable in the long run, considering the secular shift to the cleaner burning fuel for power generation worldwide and in the Asia-Pacific region in particular. While the increasing demand for gas in the European power sector will be a key factor driving near-term LNG supply, longer-term consumption is set to come from Asian importers like China, India, South Korea and Pakistan.Being in the expansion phase of a capital-intensive business isn’t easy and the company has acquired a significant amount of debt. At the same time, its long-term contracts ensure steady cash flow and provide excellent visibility into the future.It’s therefore particularly encouraging that Cheniere’s expected earnings growth of 976.5% this year and 119.7% next year are significantly higher than its expected revenue growth of 46.4% and 13.6%. After a correction 30 days ago, its estimates are again on the rise.The shares carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and at 16.1X P/E, they’re trading below their median level over the past year. Definitely worth considering.Range Resources Corp. RRCBased in Fort Worth, TX, Range Resources is an independent oil and gas company engaged in the exploration, development and acquisition of oil and gas properties, primarily in the Appalachian Basin and North Louisiana. It is among the top 10 natural gas producers in the U.S. and is among the top NGL producers in the domestic market.The Appalachian Basin incorporates prolific acreages in Marcellus, Utica and Upper Devonian shale formations. In the Marcellus formation of the basin, it has a multi-decade inventory of premium drilling locations. Of the 3,100 undrilled wells in the region, 2,600 wells are liquids-rich and the rest have a natural gas predominance. Following the merger with Memorial Resource Development Corporation a few years back, Range Resources created a core acreage position in North Louisiana comprising 140,000 net acers with multiple formations of productive oil and natural gas.The company primarily sells its produced natural gas to midstream firms, utilities, marketing companies and industrial users. It also sells natural gas liquids (NGLs) and crude oil.As of Dec 31, 2020, total proved reserves were 17.2 trillion cubic feet equivalent (Tcfe), almost flat year over year. Around 95% of the company’s total proved reserves are located in the Marcellus region. Of the total proved reserves, roughly 57% was developed.Despite its considerable liquid resources, the company has been focusing on natural gas production because of growing global demand for clean energy. In 2020, its total production averaged 2.23 million cubic feet equivalent per day, of which 69.4% was natural gas. A similar trend is seen this year.Range Resources’ revenue is expected to grow 38.9% in 2021 and 3.6% in 2022. Earnings are expected to increase 2000% and 45.5%, respectively in the two years. Estimates for both years have been rising steadily: the 2021 estimate increased 47.4% in the last 90 days while the 2022 estimate increased 93.0%.The shares carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). At 8.7X P/E, they’re trading below their median level over the past year, making them really cheap at these levels.Continental Resources, Inc. CLROklahoma City, OK-based Continental Resources is an explorer and producer of oil and natural gas. The company operates premium resources in the North Dakota Bakken and Montana Bakken (among the country’s largest onshore oilfields) in northern U.S., the SCOOP and STACK plays of Oklahoma in southern U.S. and undeveloped leasehold acreage in eastern U.S. It also has strategic water assets in Bakken and Oklahoma.Given its presence in prolific regions, the company expects oil equivalent production growth of 8-10% CAGR from 2019 to 2023 which is expected to translate to average annual free cash flow of $3.5-$4 billion over the five-year period.At the end of 2020, the company’s estimated proved reserves were 1,103.8 MMBoe. During 2020, the company produced 300,090 barrels of oil equivalent per day (Boe/d), lower than 340,395 Boe/d in the year-ago quarter. Of the total production, oil accounted for nearly 58.2%.The company’s 2021 revenue and earnings are currently expected to grow 101.9% and 436.8%, respectively. While analysts still expect 2022 growth to be negative, estimates for both years continue to increase substantially (from $2.35 to $3.94 in 2021 and from $1.97 to $3.68 in 2022). The stronger pricing this year is clearly driving the numbers.The shares of this Zacks Rank #1 company are currently trading at a P/S of 2.99X, which is between their median and high values over the past year, although much lower than the S&P 500. While not cheap, they can’t be considered expensive either.Goodrich Petroleum Corp. GDPHouston, Texas-based Goodrich Petroleum is an exploration and production company. It primarily holds interests in the Haynesville Shale Trend in northwest Louisiana and East Texas; Tuscaloosa Marine Shale Trend located in southwest Mississippi and southeast Louisiana; and the Eagle Ford Shale Trend in South Texas. The company owns interests in 189 producing oil and natural gas wells located in 37 fields in six states of the United States.As of December 31, 2020, it had estimated proved reserves of approximately 543 billion cubic feet equivalent, which included 540 billion cubic feet of natural gas and 0.5 million barrels of crude oil or other liquid hydrocarbons of oil and condensate.The company’s revenues are expected to grow 60.5% this year and another 22.4% in the next. Its earnings are expected to grow 1676.2% this year followed by 25.3% growth in the next. Estimates for both years are galloping ahead. In the past 90 days, they’ve gone from $2.17 to 3.73 for 2021 and from 2.74 to 4.67 for 2022.Shares of this Zacks Rank #1 stock currently trade at 4.9X P/E, which is below their median level over the past year, and of course much lower than the S&P. They’re a steal at these levels.Magnolia Oil & Gas Corp. MGYMagnolia Oil & Gas is an independent upstream operator engaged in the exploration, development and production of natural gas, crude oil and natural gas liquids. Headquartered in Houston, TX, the firm is focused on the high-quality Eagle Ford Shale and Austin Chalk formations in South Texas.In South Texas, Magnolia’s position consists of more than 460,000 net acres, of which around 23,500 net acres are located in the highly productive Karnes County and nearly 440,000 net acres in the re-emerging Giddings Field.At Dec 31, 2020, Magnolia's total estimated proved reserves were 49.3 million barrels ((MMBbls) of oil, 28.5 MMBbls of natural gas liquids (“NGL”) and 207.6 billion cubic feet (Bcf) of natural gas, totaling 112.3 million barrels of oil-equivalent (MMboe) — 69% liquids, 76% developed.The company focuses on growth through a combination of acquisitions and active drilling. Since its inception in 2018, Magnolia has spent around 60% of operating cash flow on capital expenditures, 26% on acquisitions, 8% on stock buybacks, while preserving the remaining 6% as cash. In particular, Magnolia is focused on returning significant cash to its shareholders: it aims to repurchase 1% of its total scrips outstanding each quarter and introduce a semi-annual cash dividend in 2021.Given the COVID-related disruption in 2020, it’s understandable that revenue and earnings are expected to jump 88.7% and 10050% this year. But the 6.7% revenue growth and flattish earnings slated for the following year are particularly encouraging.The Zacks Rank #1 shares are trading cheap at 8.23X earnings (below median level of 12.09X over the past year). One-Month Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment Research More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Range Resources Corporation (RRC): Free Stock Analysis Report Cheniere Energy, Inc. (LNG): Free Stock Analysis Report Continental Resources, Inc. (CLR): Free Stock Analysis Report Goodrich Petroleum Corporation (GDP): Free Stock Analysis Report Magnolia Oil & Gas Corp (MGY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Nike, Costco Report Better Earnings than Expected

Both Nike and Costco beat bottom-line estimates in their subsequent quarters, but struggled to match on the top-line. Markets have filled in the gaps admirably this week from Monday’s deep crevasse, aka -2% selloff. The Dow, though off its intraday high +621 points, still finished up 507, +1.48% — its best single trading day since July 20. The Nasdaq closed back up over 15K again, adding 155 points or +1.04%. The S&P split the difference between those two indexes, +1.21% on the day. Once again, the small-cap Russell 2000 beat the field, +1.82%, and is now outperforming the Dow, year to date.This happened even as the stubbornly low 10-year bond yield finally came unsnagged and climbed to +1.43% on the day, its highest level since late June. The Dow is now trading in positive territory for the week, with only the Real Estate and Utilities sectors on the S&P slightly in the red today. Only cryptocurrencies have yet to make a meaningful jump in value from the lows we saw to start the trading week.Flash Markit PMI for both Manufacturing and Services came in a bit below consensus estimates, at September headlines of 60.5 and 54.4, respectively, from expectations of 61.7 and 54.9, respectively. These both depict solid growth, if milder than had been anticipated for both sides of the domestic economy coin. It was the slowest Manufacturing print in five months, well off the record-high 63.4 reported in July. For Services, it was the slowest period since July 2020.Nike NKE has reported fiscal Q1 earnings results of $1.16 per share after the bell this afternoon, a 4-cent improvement on the Zacks consensus and notably better than the 95 cents per share reported in the year-ago quarter. Revenues of $12.23 billion, however, were light estimates of $12.54 billion in the quarter, though still up double-digits year over year. Shares are selling off -2% in late trading; the global retailer is underperforming major indexes year to date.North America grew by a less-than-expected +15%, while China countered with a better-than-thought +11%. Gross margins were also improved over expectations to +46.5%, led partly by Digital sales gaining +29%. Inventories were flat year over year, illustrating the problem major retailers are seeing in supply chains. The company does not give guidance in the earnings release; we expect to get a forward look on the conference call.Zacks Rank #2 (Buy)-rated Costco COST easily surpassed earnings expectations for its fiscal Q4 to $3.76 per share from the $3.55 Zacks consensus.  Revenues of $62.68 billion in the quarter amount to roughly a 17% gain year over year. Comps came in at +15.5% for the quarter, on +11.2% growth in e-commerce. Again, we await discussion on the conference call to find out about supply chain issues at the company.Finally, advisors for the Center for Disease Control (CDC) formally recommended a Pfizer PFE/BioNTech BNTX booster shot for nursing home residents, nursing home workers and anyone at or over the age of 65, as well as people between 19 and 49 years of age with underlying medical conditions. Because the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine was the first to market under Emergency Use Authorization (EUA), it’s the first to be reviewed for a potential booster shot.Questions or comments about this article and/or its author? Click here>> More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report NIKE, Inc. (NKE): Free Stock Analysis Report Pfizer Inc. (PFE): Free Stock Analysis Report Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST): Free Stock Analysis Report BioNTech SE Sponsored ADR (BNTX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

3 Promising MedTech Stocks to Snap Up in Second-Half 2021

Backed by robust long-term prospects, investors can add three lucrative MedTech stocks, MMSI, ITGR and OFIX, to their watchlist. After a volatile 2020, economies globally exhibited signs of sustained recovery in the first half of 2021. Although there are concerns regarding the highly-transmissible Delta variant in some parts of the United States and the world, case counts have been on the decline. However, certain states are grappling with rise in the variant cases as the country heads toward fall season and colder weather.Nevertheless, with 70% of adults in the United States having received at least one shot of a COVID-19 vaccine (according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data), the optimism is palpable.The MedTech sector has shown tremendous strength since the beginning of this year. It has been exhibiting recovery and gaining traction on the back of economy rebounding and normalization based on mass vaccinations.The lingering effects of the pandemic might impact the MedTech space in both positive and negative ways in 2021. It is worth mentioning that the sector showed considerable strength last year despite the pandemic-induced disruption. Therefore, it would be a prudent decision to capitalize on the MedTech space. Let us delve deeper.MedTech Space Gaining SteamAlthough companies involved in diagnostic testing experienced high demand during the peak of the pandemic, these players saw a substantial decline in demand for COVID-19 testing due to the changing testing landscape on account of a significant reduction in coronavirus cases and the rollout of vaccines globally.The Delta variant, however, has brought about changes as President Joe Biden announced a new mandate on Sep 9 aimed at curbing the surge in COVID-19 infections, which signals a sharp rise in testing. The President’s plan on the diagnostic side of the mandate calls for the government to work on ramping up test supply. According to a Reuters report, QIAGEN QGEN has already shown support for this mandate. At the same time, Abbott ABT stated that it is rapidly working to scale up manufacturing of its BinaxNOW and ID NOW test kits, and hiring additional employees.Apart from this, digital health will continue to gain immensely on the back of last year’s momentum. This year is likely to see companies involved in telemedicine and artificial intelligence make necessary technological advancements to better serve patients.The pandemic led to a change in the business models with companies leaning toward virtualized, remote-operated business models for medical care, which in turn, have helped the companies recover and attain pre-COVID-19 levels.With the increasing dependence on self-monitoring tools, the wearable devices space continues to show strength, thereby instilling further optimism in investors.Elective procedures, although, are expected to remain under pressure this year. J.P. Morgan analysts projected (as published in a MedTech Dive report) that vaccination might help in driving volumes but procedure comebacks are not likely to be seen until the second half of 2021.3 Lucrative PicksGiven the MedTech space’s resilience and prevailing prospects, investors can choose to invest in MedTech stocks that have shown tremendous promise despite challenging market conditions and are fundamentally strong. To narrow down the list, we have selected three stocks with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and a VGM Score of B. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Merit Medical Systems, Inc. MMSI: In the second quarter of 2021, Merit Medical displayed considerable strength with better-than-expected results. The company saw revenue growth not only in both its segments but also across all product categories within its Cardiovascular unit. Strong execution and improving customer demand trends owing to the gradual business recovery fueled the overall top-line performance. The company stands to benefit from the execution of its global growth and profitability plan. A robust product line and other internally developed products raise investors’ optimism on the stock. Expansion of both margins bodes well. A raised financial outlook for the full year also augurs well. The company’s long-term earnings growth rate is projected at 12.7%.Shares of the company gained 76.7% in the past year, compared with the industry’s growth of 36.9%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchInteger Holdings Corporation ITGR: Integer Holdings exited the second quarter of 2021 with better-than-expected results. Robust segmental performances and strength in the majority of the product lines are impressive. Continued business recovery, despite U.S. labor constraints and global supply chain disruptions, is encouraging. Expansion of both margins also bodes well for the stock. A raised financial outlook raises our optimism. Management, during the second-quarter 2021 earnings call in July, reiterated its stance of sustained investment in the execution of its strategy to drive above-market top-line growth and continued margin expansion. For 2021, the company’s earnings growth rate is projected at 43.7%.In the past year, shares of the company appreciated 57.3% compared with the industry’s rally of 21.8%.  Orthofix Medical Inc. OFIX: Orthofix Medical exhibited robust second-quarter 2021 results, wherein it delivered top-line growth on a year-over-year basis and above pre-COVID levels. The company saw significant improvement in U.S. Spinal Implant net sales, and solid performance from its U.S. M6-C artificial cervical disc and FITBONE limb lengthening system with about $9 million in combined sales. A raised 2021 revenue outlook buoys optimism in the stock. For 2021, the company’s earnings growth rate is projected at 200%.In the past year, shares of the company climbed 37.6% compared with the industry’s rise of 21.8%. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Abbott Laboratories (ABT): Free Stock Analysis Report ORTHOFIX MEDICAL INC. (OFIX): Free Stock Analysis Report QIAGEN N.V. (QGEN): Free Stock Analysis Report Merit Medical Systems, Inc. (MMSI): Free Stock Analysis Report Integer Holdings Corporation (ITGR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Eni"s (E) Versalis Acquires Full Ownership of Finproject

The Finproject acquisition will fortify Eni's (E) chemical company Versalis' position in a volatile chemical industry. Eni SPA’s E chemical company, Versalis, recently inked a deal to acquire the remaining 60% of the Marche, Italy, based industrial group Finproject. In July, 2020, Versalis had bought 40% of Finproject, which operates in the compounding sector and produces ultralight products.The subsidiary of Eni exercised the purchase option, the transaction of which is likely to close in the fourth quarter of this year. The move is anticipated to make Versalis a major player in the high-performance formulated polymers spectrum. Products from Finproject are used for making consumer goods. It markets the ultralight expanded materials under the XL EXTRALIGHT® brand.The acquisition will strengthen Versalis’ position in the volatile chemical industry. It is likely to boost the company’s global market reach. Integrating Versalis’ innovative technological solutions to Finproject’s prospects will enable the company to serve sectors like renewable energy, construction, automotive, and fashion and designing. Renewable and recycled raw materials are used in Finproject, which is in line with Eni’s drive toward a sustainable and circular economy.Eni’s petrochemical product sales are improving. In fact, it increased 12% year over year to 1.14 million tons for the second quarter of 2021. As demand for energy products is expected to further rise in the second half of 2021 and beyond, the Finproject buyout is likely to enable Eni to generate higher profits from chemicals.Price PerformanceEni’s shares have increased 59.8% in the past year compared with the industry’s rise of 50.7%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks Rank & Other Key PicksThe company currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Some other top-ranked stocks from the energy space include Cheniere Energy, Inc. LNG, Kinder Morgan, Inc. KMI and Royal Dutch Shell plc (RDS.A), each having a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Cheniere Energy’s bottom line for 2021 is pegged at $2.98 per share, indicating a massive improvement from the year-ago loss of 34 cents.Kinder Morgan’s bottom line for 2021 is expected to rise 47.7% year over year.The consensus mark for Shell’s earnings for 2021 stands at $5.07 per share, indicating a major increase from the year-ago figure of $1.24. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A): Free Stock Analysis Report Eni SpA (E): Free Stock Analysis Report Cheniere Energy, Inc. (LNG): Free Stock Analysis Report Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Hyatt (H) Boosts Ziva Portfolio With New Hotel in Mexico

Hyatt (H) joins hands with Playa Hotels & Resorts for the launch of Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun in Mexico. In a bid to strengthen its Ziva portfolio across Mexico, Hyatt Hotels Corporation H, in collaboration with Playa Hotels & Resorts PLYA, recently announced the opening of Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun. The property will be operated by Playa Hotels & Resorts.Located between the crystalline waters of the Caribbean Sea and the lagoon of Bahia Petempich, the 438-room resort showcases dramatic ambiance, vibrant cuisine, local culture, and state-of-the-art amenities. The resort comprises luxurious suites, spa-like bathrooms, hot tubs, turndown service and high-tech entertainment offerings. It also comes with a restaurant, a bar, lounges, swimming pools and a fitness centre. The resort features 51,000 square feet of total function space, which includes meeting and event spaces as well as dining options.With respect to the opening, Frank Lavey, senior vice president of Global Operations, Hyatt, stated, “We’re thrilled that Hyatt Ziva Riviera Cancun is welcoming guests and World of Hyatt members to experience the Hyatt Ziva brand in Mexico, a key leisure destination this year. This addition to the Hyatt Ziva portfolio offers a sophisticated, multi-generational stay in the exciting Riviera Cancun region.”Improved Demand Bodes WellAs the economy is opening up, signs of improvement can be witnessed in the United States and Mainland China. The upside can be primarily attributed to rise in leisure transient demand, widespread vaccine availability and reduced travel restrictions. During second-quarter 2021, RevPAR in the regions came in at 80% of the pre-pandemic levels. Notable markets that contributed to increased RevPAR include the Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The company witnessed recovery in properties in Mexico and certain parts of the Caribbean on a year-over-year basis. Going forward, it expects the momentum to continue, subject to successful vaccination rollouts as well as leniency in travel restrictions.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIn the past year, shares of Hyatt have gained 43.8% compared with the industry’s 36.1% growth.Zacks Rank & Key PicksHyatt currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Some better-ranked stocks in the Zacks Consumer Discretionary sector are Crocs, Inc. CROX and Civeo Corporation CVEO. Crocs sports a Zacks Rank #1, while Civeo carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).Crocs’ 2021 earnings are expected to surge 114%.Civeo Corporation has a three-five year earnings per share growth rate of 10%. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Hyatt Hotels Corporation (H): Free Stock Analysis Report Crocs, Inc. (CROX): Free Stock Analysis Report Civeo Corporation (CVEO): Free Stock Analysis Report Playa Hotels & Resorts N.V. (PLYA): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Retailers jostle over cut-price space as Brooklyn market looks for solid ground

The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the City’s leading real estate trade association, today released its Summer 2021 Brooklyn Retail Report which highlights steady leasing in the Brooklyn retail market as tenants capitalize on market opportunities in select trade areas. According to the report, demand is being driven primarily by... The post Retailers jostle over cut-price space as Brooklyn market looks for solid ground appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the City’s leading real estate trade association, today released its Summer 2021 Brooklyn Retail Report which highlights steady leasing in the Brooklyn retail market as tenants capitalize on market opportunities in select trade areas. According to the report, demand is being driven primarily by retailers taking fully built spaces, while recently increased activity among national retailers and e-commerce firms supplemented activity in select corridors. Despite the sustained leasing during the last six months, rents continue to slide lower in nearly all corridors. REBNY reported that asking retail rents throughout Brooklyn declined in 11 of the 17 reported corridors, with rents continuing to adjust amid New York City’s ongoing recovery from the pandemic. Average asking price per square foot (PPSF) rents throughout Brooklyn’s retail corridors fell by 10% or more in 10 retail corridors. DUMBO was the retail corridor with the largest year-over-year decline, experiencing a 23% decline in average asking rents in that time period. Corridors with a strong residential base, such as Cobble Hill and Park Slope, have fared better in the current market. A Park Slope corridor, for example, experienced a 10% increase in average asking rent year-over-year. “We continue to see the market adjust, creating new opportunities for both tenants and owners, as well as posing some challenges as we work to rebuild the City’s economy,” said REBNY President James Whelan. “It’s critical the public sector stay laser focused on the City’s recovery by adopting smart policies that drive strong economic development and increased business activity.” Top brokers in Brooklyn noted the marked intensification in tenant lease commitments throughout the spring and summer. Retailers continued to focus on second-generation space. While this was a key driver of leasing, national retailers and some e-commerce firms have also started to jump into the market in a few corridors. During 2020, an unprecedented amount of second-generation space was added along Brooklyn’s prime retail corridors. In 2021, the take-up of this fully built space was the key driver of steady leasing momentum. Realizing an opportunity to capture significant savings on build out-costs, particularly in locations that rarely come available, retailers started to commit to space early this year. This momentum continued throughout the summer. Recent openings include Aldama (91 S 6th St.); Harlem Shake (119 5th Ave); Sup Crab (664 Manhattan Ave); Ninety Nine Franklin (99 Franklin St) Mitzi Flexer “Brooklyn is comprised of many residential neighborhoods and is a melting pot. Since the pandemic, we have seen a proactive movement of leasing in these areas by national brands, who, preceding the pandemic, never looked at Brooklyn as a possibility for their flagship NYC brick and mortar,” said Mitzi Flexer, Senior Director of Brokerage at Cushman and Wakefield. “Though retail prices hit a bottom very early in the year, the softening of prices over the past few years has allowed a lot of local operators to take prime high street space again, as landlords accept softer terms without rigid credit standards,” said Peter Schubert, Managing Director, Commercial Leasing at TerraCRG. “Brooklyn-based retailers have really led the market back, reversing the trend of the last 10 years.” While the findings suggest a continued recovery in Brooklyn’s retail markets, brokers noted that the rebound is still in its early stages. The surging Delta variant of COVID-19, coupled with uncertainty over City and State government changes, could stem the progress. The continued decline in asking rents makes it clear that the market recovery is just starting – retailers may curb their appetite for space if external conditions deteriorate. REBNY’S Biannual Brooklyn Retail Report is a joint effort by the REBNY Brooklyn Retail Advisory Group and the REBNY team. The report provides a snapshot of major retail corridors in the borough based on available ground-floor retail asking rent information. All data is sourced from the respective firms of each REBNY Brooklyn Retail Advisory Group member. The report includes the average price per square foot, median price per square, the lowest price per square foot and highest price per square foot for each of the 17 retail corridors tracked. Download the complete Summer 2021 Brooklyn Retail Report here. The post Retailers jostle over cut-price space as Brooklyn market looks for solid ground appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 23rd, 2021

Time To Say Goodbye To The Everything Bubble

Time To Say Goodbye To The Everything Bubble Authored by Egon von Greyerz via GoldSwitzerland.com, Will the autumn of 2021 be the end of the everything bubble? Are investment markets very soon coming to the end of market insanity? Since there is very little sanity left in markets or the in the world economy, we have now reached a point where we must accept madness as sanity, as George Bernard Shaw said: “When the world goes mad, one must accept madness as sanity; since sanity is, in the last analysis, nothing but the madness on which the whole world happens to agree.” George Bernard Shaw Investment markets today are all about instant gratification and getting rich quick. “Stocks always go up” and so does property in the everything bubble. Even the normally boring bond market has had a 40 year rise. And then we have the supercharged tech stocks, many of which have gained 1000s of percent in this century And we mustn’t forget the SPAC stocks (Special Purpose Acquisition Companies) or Blank Cheque Companies where shell companies are used to acquire existing companies to inflate their share price. None of these things are new of course. During the South Sea Bubble in the 1720s for example, companies were formed and capital raised with just the purpose of “Making Money”. We mustn’t forget the cryptocurrencies which are now worth valued at $2 trillion. They were just over $1 billion 8 years ago. Is that the bubble of the century like tulip bulbs in the 1600s or is it the money of the future. Well, most readers know or can guess my opinion on this! VALUE INVESTING & WEALTH PRESERVATION IS FOR “WIMPS” In a world where everything is based on “get rich quick” neither value investing nor wealth preservation enters the equation. Why worry about preserving your wealth when you could have made 14x your money on the Nasdaq since 2009 or 5,000x your investment on Bitcoin since 2011. Calling tops is a mug’s game. Some of us who look at risk have been worried about the everything bubble economy for quite a while. To us, since the end of the Great Financial Crisis in 2009, the world economy and asset markets have been an illusion. It is as if we are watching a virtual reality game in which some people automatically increase their wealth by millions or even billions of dollars every time they pass GO. But as the rich are getting richer, the masses are just getting poorer and more indebted. Although we see the wealth that has been acquired by many as an illusion that will soon evaporate, for the ones who have benefited, this is all very real. Anyone who believes that these gains are real and sustainable will have the shock of a lifetime in coming years. As I showed in a recent article about the End of the US Empire, the wealth of the 400 richest Americans has gone from 2% of GDP to 18% in the last 40 years. This concentration of wealth is of course spectacular but also very dangerous for the world. Trees can always grow taller but they never grow to heaven! AT THE END OF AN ERA – FALLS OF 90% So as Shaw said, we are now in “the madness on which the whole world agrees”. As I have often stated, I believe that we are at the end of a very major economic cycle. Not only are markets insane, but so are deficits, debts and currency debasements. But also moral and ethical values have now vanished into thin air and been replaced by lies, deceit and the golden calf. We are now in a very critical period for the world since excesses of the magnitude we are now seeing must be corrected. Exponential moves in one direction are always corrected. And the corrections will be of a similar magnitude to the rise but happen much quicker. We are talking about falls of 90% or more in all major asset and debt markets. Nobody believes such moves are possible with central banks and governments standing by with unlimited money printing combined with new Central Bank Digital Currencies that will save the world. ILLUSIONS ARE JUST ILLUSIONS We must understand that illusions cannot rescue the world economy.  This despite whatever concoctions central banks or Schwab (World Economic Forum) and his billionaire cronies come up with. Virtual illusions in the form of fake money or empty promises can never repay debt, nor can they change the laws of nature. Clearly all these “evil forces” will use their power to orchestrate fake resets to “save the world” in an attempt to tighten their grip on the world economy and the financial system. But a heavily indebted and fake system can never be reset in an orderly manner. In my view, any artificial or fake reset will only have a very limited effect. It is just not possible to solve a debt problem with more debt whatever way the PTB (Powers That Be) try to dress it in sheep’s clothing. So an orderly reset is bound to fail very quickly. A new digital Fiat and thus fake currency will not solve the world’s debt problem. Writing off the debt is just another illusory act. If you write off the debt, the assets on the opposite side of the balance sheet will also implode in value. And since the debt is leveraging the assets, they will have a very long way to fall. This is why asset implosions of 90-100% are very likely. Few people believe this to be possible but with debt collapsing so will the bubble assets which are all inflated by worthless debt. We must remember that the big stock market crash in 1929-32 saw the Dow lose 90% of its value. It then took 25 years for the Dow to get above the 1929 high. And today 92 years after that peak, debts, deficits, and asset bubbles are far greater than at the end of the 1920s. Below are a number of graphs that all point to the everything bubble. THE BUFFETT INDICATOR So there we have it, incontrovertible proof that this is the mother of all bubbles. But as we have learnt in this century, bubbles can always grow bigger and especially if we are looking at the end of a major super cycle which could be as big (or long) as 2,000 years. Nevertheless, the evidence keeps mounting of an epic asset bubble. In addition to the charts above that point to illusions never seen before in markets, we have a number of technical indicators that all point to the end of the everything bubble. In the chart below, the RSI (Relative Strength Index) momentum indicator for example topped in 2017 and the major rise in the Dow since then has not been confirmed by the indicator. This is a very bearish sign albeit not a short term indicator. Many other technical indicators including Elliott wave or Dow Theory all point to that a top to the everything bubble is imminent. Whether that means a top next week (which is possible), or in the next few months, time will tell. Some important cycle indicators point to potential turns between now and Sep 24. SURVIVING THE EVERYTHING BUBBLE IS ALL ABOUT PROTECTING FROM RISK But what is much more important than pinpointing the exact timing of the top is to understand the risk involved. If, as we believe, we are now at the end of the everything bubble, nobody needs to time it. Investors should understand the upside might be 10% and the downside 90%+. Who is foolish enough to accept such a risk? Maybe a 10% move up but a more certain 90% fall. We are talking about a fall in real terms. If we get hyperinflation stocks and other assets can rise in nominal terms but fall in real terms when measured in stable purchasing power, like gold. Well, that question is easy to answer. The whole investment world which has been spoilt by tens of trillions of dollars of fake money to fuel the Epic Everything Bubble will expect much more of the same in coming months or years. Yes, much more money will be created but this time it will have very little effect. Instead the dollar, euro, yen etc will accelerate the falls that we have seen since 1913. They have all fallen 98-99% since then and by similar percentages since 1971 when Nixon closed the gold window. The final 1-2% fall will soon start and take most currencies to their intrinsic value of ZERO. But don’t forget that this final fall is 100% from here. Remember that measuring your assets in for example dollars is a futile exercise in self indulgence. You are just flattering your investment skills when you measure your performance in a currency that has lost 98% since 1971 and 84% since 2000. If you use the same method in coming years, your paper wealth might look ok but be worthless in real terms. Just ask anyone who has lived in a hyperinflationary economy like Yugoslavia, Argentina or Venezuela.  So what is a Sleeping Beauty investment. Not difficult to guess. It is an investment that you can forget about for 100 years and when you wake up, it will have maintained its purchasing power. GOLD If we get the expected stock market crash, it is possible that gold and the precious metals continue to correct a bit further like in 2008. As opposed to today, gold had then had a major bull run from $250 in 1999 to $1,000 in 2008. Weak gold hands then needed to get liquidity against a crashing stock market and the everything bubble. Gold has now been in consolidation for years and there are a lot fewer speculative  investors compared to 2008. Therefore I expect a much smaller and shorter correction, if any. Coming back to the Sleeping Beauty, there is one investment which you could safely put away and forget about for 100 years. It is of course physical gold, safely stored. As long as you store gold in a safe place and safe country, you know that it will maintain  its REAL value as it has for 5,000 years.  Yes, there are fluctuations, but gold’s history tells us that it is not just the only money which has survived but also the only money which has maintained real purchasing power.  Gold today at $1,750 is as UNLOVED AND UNDERVALUED as in 1971 at $35 and in 2000 at $288.  I will continue to show the chart below until that situation is rectified. This reminds me of the Roman Senator Cato during the Punic Wars (around 150 BC) who finished every speech in the senate with “Furthermore I consider that Carthage must be destroyed”. In the end Cato got his way as Carthage was destroyed. I have no doubt that gold will soon rectify the current undervaluation and reach levels that few can imagine. This is what both technicals and fundamentals are clearly indicating. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 06:30.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 23rd, 2021

Three Key Takeaways From The Fed Meeting

Three Key Takeaways From The Fed Meeting Confirming what we said in "It's Official: Tapering To Begin In November, End In July", the FOMC today paved the way for a taper start in two months when it said "the Committee judges that a moderation in the pace of asset purchases may soon be warranted." Furthermore, the projected path for the policy rate in the Summary of Economic Projections (SEP) showed an even split among FOMC members between zero and one hike in 2022, slightly above the OIS implied rate. Additionally, the median projection implied three additional hikes each in 2023 and 2024 (for six and half total by end-2024). As shown in the chart above, the market - which is pricing in just 1% Fed Funds rate in 2024 - will have an uphill climb to catch up to the Fed. Curiously, in its commentary on the FOMC, Goldman appears to be hinting at a bit of a mutiny inside the Fed: according to Goldman's Jan Hatzius "our best guess is that Chair Powell did not project a hike in 2022." Is Powell about to cede control to the far more hawkish regional Feds? In its post-mortem of the FOMC, BofA chief economist Michelle Meyer said that on the whole, the Fed meeting was  another move in the "more hawkish direction." even if the bank clarified that "this is still a very dovish Fed that is highly committed to achieving higher inflation and a hot economy. But in the face of supply side constraints and growing signs of persistent inflation, it appears that those objectives could be met earlier." This may explain why Goldman was wildly off in its forecast: as Hatzius notes, "the median dot implied three additional hikes in 2023 and three more in 2024, implying three and half total hikes through end-2023 (vs two in June; we expected two at this meeting) and six and half hikes through end-2024 (not reported in June; we expected five at this meeting)." There were three key takeaways from the meeting: 1. As noted above, taper on track to be announced in November and be completed by mid-year. While the taper signal in the statement was vague – “may soon be warranted” – Chair Powell clarified in the press conference that they could be ready in the upcoming meeting (in November). Hence absent a significant disappointment in the employment data or financial market disruption, this confirms what we said two weeks ago, that tapering will begin in November and end in July. 2. Committee members are edging toward higher rates: As the Fed's updated dot plot showed, the Committee is now evenly split between the first hike in 2022 or 2023, which brought the median up to 0.25%. The consensus is now for 3 hikes in both 2023 and 2024, leaving rates at the end of the forecast horizon at 1.75%. As Chair Powell noted, this is still decently below the long-run funds rate of 2.5%, which means policy is still accommodative; meanwhile with 2024 OIS still pegged at 1% the market's verdict is no way the Fed can achieve this. 3. The case of higher inflation is building due to greater supply side constraints: Forecasts were boosted for core inflation modestly and Powell noted that the supply side is constrained and creating challenges for inflation. As BofA notes, "the Fed has become more concerned about persistent price pressures, although the critical test will be long-run inflation expectations, which remain well anchored. Monitoring the supply side developments will be critical:; the supply side remains constrained for both goods and labor. Market reaction The rates market interpreted Fed communications as hawkish, with the yield curve flattening, 5Y rates 2bps higher & 30Y rates 2bp lower. This according to BofA, was driven by changes to the dot-plot and communication about tapering. Meanwhile, the US dollar initially sold off following release of the statement but subsequently rallied sharply during Chair Powell’s press conference, finishing the day higher, with lower beta FX (emphasis: EUR) underperforming. A strong probability of a November taper and, in particular, the new hawkish dot plot are likely continue to support USD in the weeks ahead, unless fears about a big policy mistake - one which potentially could force the Fed to proceed with QE - re-emerge as they did in June. On the November Taper While the statement was somewhat vague, Chair Powell was clear in the press conference. He noted that the criterion for substantial further progress for price stability has been met and has “all but been met” for employment, even if some cynics pointed out that is hardly the case. File Under Not “Substantial Further Progress” Mr. Powell... Americans on Food Stamps vs Population 2021: 42m vs. 333m 2001: 16m vs. 285m *2013 high was 47m vs. 36m in 2019. #USDA US Census, NYT #SNAP data — Lawrence McDonald (@Convertbond) September 22, 2021 Powell said he would need to see a “good” but not exceptional jobs report in September to feel comfortable announcing tapering at the upcoming meeting in November. Powell was also specific on the path for tapering, noting that the Committee expects to finish tapering by the middle of the year, indicating a preference for a monthly pace for tapering, translating into $15bn every month. Hiking is (not) tapering Similar to 2013, Powell reiterated that the decision to taper is different from the decision to hike, stating that when tapering starts, we will be “well away from satisfying the liftoff test.” Despite similar rhetoric in 2013, it took the bond market months to agree with this take. However, what is clear - at least according to the Fed - is that at the end of the forecast horizon in 2024, rates will still be below the long-run rate forecast, suggesting that policy will be supportive into 2025; one can only imagine what inflation will be then. Powell also emphasized the importance of long-run inflation expectations, arguing that they are higher but mostly back to 2013 levels and not particularly troubling. He reiterated that the goal of FAIT was to push up inflation expectations, which is what has been done. He also mentioned the Fed Board’s Common Inflation Expectations (CIE) measure are at reasonable levels that are consistent with the FOMC’s inflation target. Transitory inflation is (not) permanent Powell attributed the sharp upward revisions to inflation to greater supply bottlenecks, which may be “with us for the next few months and into the next year.” It was unclear what will happen if they are with us well into 2022, especially since the supply side remains constrained for both goods and labor, something FedEx made abundantly clear in its earnings call last night when it slashed its EPS outlook due to soaring labor and operational costs. This, according to BofA, must be a concern for the Fed, as it threatens to keep inflation more elevated  than they had been expecting. The speed by which the supply side constraints ease will be extremely important to inflation risks and the timing of the first hike. Rate market interpretation According to BofA, the rates market interpreted Fed communications as hawkish although this is somewhat suspect in line of the sharp curve flattening; in fact one could almost argue that the rates market indicated the Fed is engaging in another policy error.The hawkish interpretation was driven by the Fed’s dot plot and taper communications. The Fed’s dot plot signaled a pace of hikes that is in line with the market for end ’22, 10bps above the market for end ’23, and roughly 60bps above the market for end ’24. For the Fed to be credible, the market will have to move sharply higher, a move which will have adverse consequences on risk assets. The Fed communication also suggests a clearer bias for 5s30s curve flattening in coming months. The announcement of taper at the Nov FOMC should have a limited impact on spreads given the US Treasury is likely to announce coupon cuts on the same day. BofA continues to favor wider swap spreads across the curve in the months ahead due to these UST coupon cuts and ongoing steps to improve UST market structure. Finally, on a day when the Fed's overnight reverse repo facility hit an all time high of just under $1.3 trillion, the Fed announced an increase in their overnight reverse repo (ON RRP) per counterparty cap from $80bn to $160bn. We flagged this possibility in August due to increased money fund utilization of ON RRP, and the increase can be interpreted as a preemptive measure by the Fed to ensure abundant money fund & GSE access to the Fed at September quarter end and in case there is a substantial flight to quality due to debt limit concerns. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 18:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021

Fossil Fuel Companies Say Hydrogen Made From Natural Gas Is a Climate Solution. But the Tech May Not Be Very Green

But the tech may not actually be very green As a committee of climate scientists and environmental officials deliberated over how to drastically cut New York State’s carbon footprint last summer, natural gas industry representatives were putting forward a counterintuitive pitch: hydrogen, made from fossil fuels. The concept was simple, explained natural-gas proponents serving on the state’s climate-action council. Industrial hydrogen suppliers had long used a process called steam methane reforming (SMR) to produce what the industry calls “gray” hydrogen from natural gas—a system that accounts for 95% of all current hydrogen production, but releases large amounts of carbon emissions. Emissions-free “green” hydrogen can be produced using water and renewable electricity, but that tends to be more expensive than making gray hydrogen. The solution, gas-industry representatives said, was to pursue a kind of carbon compromise. Instead of making expensive green hydrogen, industrial gray hydrogen facilities could be outfitted with carbon capture systems that buried their emissions underground. Voila: A new color in the hydrogen rainbow—safe, clean, abundant “blue” hydrogen to power the economy of the future. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] Bob Howarth, a Cornell University climate scientist serving on the N.Y. State carbon-drawdown committee, decided to look into the gas industry’s arguments. “I’m not surprised that people in the natural gas industry are trying to suggest ways that they keep their industry alive,” he says. “But I was skeptical.” Together with Mark Jacobson, an atmospheric scientist at Stanford University, Howarth set out to document the full emissions picture arising from blue hydrogen production. The results, published Aug. 12 in Energy Science and Engineering, were striking. According to Howarth and Jacobson’s calculations, capturing SMR carbon emissions uses so much energy and results in so much extra leakage of methane—another greenhouse gas that has many times more warming potential than carbon dioxide—that any possible CO2 emissions benefit is nearly canceled out, leaving in place a process that produces about 90% of the emissions of making grey hydrogen. Blue hydrogen is so dirty, in fact, that it’s worse for the climate than burning natural gas for heat in the first place, the researchers found. But in the meantime, blue hydrogen’s proponents were hard at work. Backed up by industry-funded reports, lobbyists had been pushing blue hydrogen to governments around the world, and the governments were listening. The E.U. released a strategy last summer that proposed expanding blue hydrogen production over the next decade. In the U.K., bureaucrats were crafting a national “hydrogen strategy,” released last month, that gives ample support to blue hydrogen development. In the U.S., legislators are currently negotiating a trillion-dollar infrastructure package that, in its current form, would allocate $8 billion to develop so-called “clean” hydrogen, much of it using fossil fuels. To some extent, Howarth’s work had come too late. “Industry marketing is way out ahead of scientific research and policy sometimes,” he says. That’s nothing new. From claims that natural gas could be a “bridge” to lower emissions, to promises of decarbonization through “clean coal,” pie-in-the-sky propositions from the fossil-fuel industry have been a feature of climate policy discussions for years. Now, with worldwide political will finally coalescing around an urgent imperative to draw down carbon emissions, natural-gas producers like Shell and BP and distributors like Engie have allied themselves with companies like Air Liquide that have long produced SMR hydrogen to promote blue hydrogen—which looks clean from certain angles, but from others, appears as CO2-intensive as other fossil fuels—as the future of the energy industry. Industry groups say blue hydrogen will be critical to meeting the world’s climate goals, and can be part of a broad strategy to reduce the world’s greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. But some scientists and experts say the hydrogen industry’s real purpose is to preserve the value of its natural-gas resources and distribution systems under the cover of climate stewardship, locking the world into a technology that will release yet more methane and CO2 emissions for decades to come. For those of us who have gotten used to seeing hydrogen in the context of sleek concept cars, it can be surprising to learn that large-scale hydrogen production has been around for more than a century. Hydrogen became particularly useful after the early 20th century invention of the Haber process, which combines the gas with nitrogen in the atmosphere to produce ammonia, a compound valuable for its use in fertilizer and explosives. U.S. fossil-fuel companies began operating SMR plants to make hydrogen from natural gas in the 1930s, and the industry grew over the following decades. Oil refineries also use hydrogen to remove sulfur from crude oil, with many refineries currently producing their own hydrogen on-site from natural gas. About 6% of the world’s natural gas (and 2% of coal, through another carbon-intensive process) is currently used to produce hydrogen, emitting 830 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year, according to the International Energy Agency. In all, hydrogen production accounts for about 2% of all the world’s carbon emissions. But when used as a fuel, hydrogen has an environmental advantage over fossil fuels: burning hydrogen releases nothing but water vapor. Amid rising public concern over climate change in the early 2000s, hydrogen underwent a PR renaissance. No longer was it just a dirty industrial feedstock—now it was the fuel of the future. Though most hydrogen at the time was produced using SMR, experts knew large amounts of it could, in theory, be extracted from water using solar or wind power. And though the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow, the hydrogen fuel made using those resources could be transported anywhere and used any time, essentially acting like a portable battery to store renewable energy. “Hydrogen fuel cells represent one of the most encouraging, innovative technologies of our era,” said U.S. President George W. Bush in 2003 while announcing a $1.2 billion federal initiative to launch a fledgling hydrogen sector. Promises of a “hydrogen economy” that would see fossil fuels phased out in favor of the lightest element to power everything from stove-top burners to trucks abounded. But hydrogen’s golden hour, particularly in the automotive sector, was to be short lived. In 2009, the new Obama Administration energy secretary and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Steven Chu publicly lambasted the idea of a fleet of hydrogen-powered cars, saying the technology wasn’t progressing fast enough, and tried to cut government research funding. Congress restored those funds, though the Energy Department succeeded in making deep hydrogen cuts two years later. The next decade saw hydrogen’s prospects further decline. While hydrogen-powered vehicles from the likes of Toyota were beset by cost problems and difficulties building out fueling infrastructure, the battery-electric sector took off, with industry newcomers like Tesla selling half a million cars a year by the end of the next decade. Seeing which way the wind was blowing, other automakers like GM and Nissan quietly backed off hydrogen passenger car projects (though GM has continued to invest heavily in fuel cells for larger commercial vehicles). But hydrogen stalwarts weren’t going down without a fight. In the late 2010s, fossil-fuel companies, automakers, natural-gas grid operators and legacy SMR hydrogen companies, among others, began promoting a new narrative: Hydrogen, they said, was essential to a green-energy transition. “Green” hydrogen made from renewable energy would supply some of the power demand. The “blue” variety, made from natural gas, would make up the rest, with carbon-capture-and-storage technologies mitigating its emissions. That blue hydrogen narrative is largely descended from previous industry hype cycles around so-called “clean coal,” says Jan Rosenow, European Programme Director for the Regulatory Assistance Project, a nonprofit that helps governments implement green-energy goals. Those projects, launched in the 2010s, were largely based on the notion that coal-fired power plants would use carbon-capture equipment to bury their emissions underground—but they ultimately foundered, resulting in costly, federally-funded failures within a few years. After that, Rosenow says, industry switched tack to promoting natural gas as a low-carbon transition fuel, a push that drew environmental outcry over methane leaks along the gas-supply chain. Fossil-fuel companies, Rosenow says, needed a new option. “That’s where the whole discussion around hydrogen comes from,” he says. As China began to cash in on a green-tech manufacturing boom in the late-2010s, European governments eager to dominate a nascent hydrogen sector proved a receptive audience for industry pitches. In 2020, the non-profit watchdog group Corporate Europe Observatory released a report pointing out what it said were worrying signs of industry influence in the E.U. hydrogen strategy. “The bodies being created by the E.U. like the European Clean Hydrogen Alliance are completely industry dominated and industry driven,” says Pascoe Sabido, a researcher at Corporate Europe Observatory. “I don’t know if I’d even call it lobbying—this is the E.U. putting industry in the driving seat.” He frames the hydrogen push as an attempt by fossil fuel companies to shift a coming green energy transition to suit their own interests, pointing to their involvement in hydrogen industry groups like the Hydrogen Council and Hydrogen Europe. The secretariats of both organizations were previously managed by FTI Consulting, a consulting firm that garnered controversy last year over its role in setting up groups like Texans for Natural Gas and the Main Street Investors Coalition as part of a fossil fuel industry influence campaign. Then Bob Howarth and Mark Jacobson came out with their report last month, further sandbagging the blue hydrogen airship. Industry groups representing SMR producers, fossil-fuel companies and other hydrogen players contest their findings, pointing to their own reports, which argue that the technology can produce energy at an emissions cost 80% to 90% lower than pure fossil fuels. Daryl Wilson, executive director of the Hydrogen Council, an industry consortium, argues that Howarth’s blue hydrogen report would have come up with lower methane leakage rates if it had looked only at wells that were following industry best practices. But Howarth says there is little evidence that many in the industry actually operate that way. (Satellite imaging in recent years has found alarming gas leakage from wells and pipelines around the world.) In their calculations, he and Jacobson used the average methane leakage rate across the U.S. natural gas industry, a number they say better reflects real-world conditions. Right now, there are only a handful of blue-hydrogen facilities around the world, but governments are preparing subsidies and investments that, if enacted, will lead to the construction of many more. Chris Jackson, a green-hydrogen entrepreneur who resigned as chair of the U.K. Hydrogen and Fuel Cell Association earlier this month over the group’s inclusion of blue-hydrogen proponents, worries that fossil-fuel companies have once again hijacked the green-energy conversation. “Is it really appropriate and right that limited government resources from the public, which are meant to be supporting genuine net-zero technologies, should instead be spent on essentially allowing oil and gas companies to continue to operate the way they do today?,” Jackson says. Plans for new blue-hydrogen facilities, he says, don’t make sense from either an environmental or economic perspective. “You’re putting in infrastructure that’s going to take you five years to build and going to be there for 20 years. Everyone should be asking themselves: ‘if this is an asset…in the middle of 2040, [is it] still going to make sense to be running?’ And if not, you have to ask the question right now: ‘why are you building it?'” Even some with optimistic views of blue hydrogen don’t see why the public should support new facilities. Dolf Gielen, director of the International Renewable Energy Agency’s Innovation and Technology Centre in Bonn, Germany, generally supports blue hydrogen, but disagrees on the question of government assistance. “If blue hydrogen means you add some [carbon-capture equipment] to an existing [methane] reformer facility, why not?” says Gielen. “It’s a different question whether governments should subsidize new blue hydrogen.” Others say it makes little sense to invest limited government funds in a technology that only promises to reduce carbon emissions, rather than eliminate them completely. “We’re talking about 100% reductions in emissions to get to net zero,” says Rosenow, of the Regulatory Assistance Project. “In that context, there isn’t any space for just an 80% reduction. And that’s what blue hydrogen would probably deliver.” In the massive, unthinkably complex task of replacing every boiler, automobile, locomotive, cargo ship, and airplane with a carbon-free alternative—indeed, of tearing out just about every piece of machinery installed over the past hundred years—planners, corporations, governments and citizens generally have two options for what sort of system should take their place: hydrogen or electric. Hydrogen has a high-energy density, which means it would theoretically be lighter, making it good for airplanes, long-haul trucks, and for creating especially high temperatures, like those needed to produce essential materials like steel. But because you lose a lot of energy converting electricity into green hydrogen, and because it requires new infrastructure, electricity is better for smaller scale uses like heating buildings and powering cars. But some industry players are still trying to make hydrogen happen for all sorts of energy uses. Toyota, for instance, has continued what some green energy analysts consider to be a quixotic quest to popularize hydrogen cars, even going so far as to lobby against fuel efficiency rules and gasoline car phase-out requirements around the world that would benefit its battery-electric rivals. European gas companies have sought to show the world that homes can be heated with hydrogen, while industry consortiums push a vision of continent-wide hydrogen distribution networks both to supply gas for industry, and to replace natural-gas home-heating systems. Wilson says such initiatives have a place in an overall decarbonization strategy, and that they could be supplied by both blue and green hydrogen. “The optimized answer for transport and heating will vary region to region,” he says. “There is no ‘one size fits all’ answer here.” Of course, it’s hard to know for sure; a clear idea about the benefits of blue hydrogen would require spending a few decades and many billions of dollars building the infrastructure necessary to test it. But if blue hydrogen doesn’t pan out, we might be wishing we could go back in time and think a bit harder about investing in that technology now. As for the vast new hydrogen economy it’s intended to supply, many experts say hydrogen-fuel-cell cars are a dead end, with insurmountable cost barriers compared to battery cars, and opponents have characterized hydrogen-based home-heating plans as a gambit intended to extend the life of the gas industry through a vast expenditure of public resources. “The science demands that we keep fossil fuels in the ground,” says Sabido, of the Corporate Europe Observatory. “If we started from that point, [fossil-fuel companies] wouldn’t have a business model. So they’re doing whatever they can to ensure…that the assets they currently have on their books still have value.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 22nd, 2021

Southern California hasn"t had a big earthquake since 1857. Here"s what would happen if a mega earthquake hit California.

The San Andreas fault is overdue for a major earthquake also known as "The Big One." Here's what experts say could happen when it hits the West Coast. California is located in a hot-zone of fault lines that can rupture without warning. Parts of the San Andreas fault have not ruptured in over 200 years, meaning it's overdue for a high-magnitude earthquake commonly referred to as "The Big One." Here's what experts say could happen in seconds, hours, and days after the Big One hits the West Coast. See more stories on Insider's business page. Following is a transcript of the video.Narrator: Catastrophic earthquake scenarios have played out on the silver screen for decades, terrifying viewers with quakes that can collapse skyscrapers or topple entire cities. Here's what will happen if the big one hits the West Coast.Narrator: On July 4, 2019, Ridgecrest, California, was hit with a 6.4 magnitude earthquake and then a 7.1 just one day later. But neither of these compare to the long-awaited big one, which scientists predict will eventually rattle the golden coast. But when it hits, what will that actually look like? Here's what experts say could happen in the seconds, hours, and days after the big one.Narrator: While experts can't know exactly when a quake will occur, they have a pretty good idea of where. California is located in a hot zone of fault lines, the most notorious of them the San Andreas Fault.John Vidale: You know, here in California you have dangers from a number of different kinds of earthquakes. The major danger is from the earthquakes on the San Andreas Fault system.Narrator: On average, the San Andreas Fault ruptures every 150 years. The southern parts of the fault have remained inactive for over 200 years.Vidale: We haven't had a big earthquake in Southern California really since 1857.Narrator: In other words, we're overdue for a major shake. According to a 2008 federal report, the most likely scenario is a 7.8 magnitude quake that would rupture a 200-mile stretch along the southernmost part of the fault.Vidale: It's basically moving the ground several yards over an area of 50 square miles. So the power of a magnitude 7.8 earthquake is probably close to the power used in the whole state for a year. Basically something that we as a civilization have trouble creating, short of, like, a nuclear explosion.Narrator: If you are near the epicenter of the earthquake, it will be nearly impossible to stand.Vidale: People have this idea of running out of bed, out of their buildings, and that's a terrible idea, because a lot of what we see in earthquakes is people with broken legs and people who've run through glass. The best thing to do, like we always say, is duck, cover, and hold. Get under some piece of furniture. The main point is to protect your head and chest.Narrator: During and immediately following the shaking, buildings could collapse.John Wallace: The number of buildings that were constructed before about 1980 is really significant, and most of these buildings are very vulnerable to damage and collapse.Narrator: In this time-lapse video, you can see how building components would hold up in a high-magnitude earthquake.Wallace: 'Cause the San Andreas will produce the kind of long-period shaking which would be very damaging to very tall buildings, say, in downtown LA, and Century City, and Long Beach, and so forth. Older steel buildings, the connections in them have not necessarily been designed to withstand the maximum forces that actually can be generated.Narrator: Unreinforced structures are the least stable, but even buildings up to code could crumble.John Stewart: The building code, with its minimum requirements, does not ensure that the building will be serviceable after an earthquake. It's intended to not kill anybody. There's a sense that if it's modern, code-designed, it's earthquake-proof and everything should be great, but that's not the reality.Narrator: Five steel high-rises could collapse completely, while 10 others will be red-tagged, or unsafe to enter. And, no, the quake would not cause a tsunami, despite what movies would have you believe.Vidale: To trigger a tsunami, it takes an earthquake that moves the ocean floor, and most of the San Andreas is on land, so there would be a little bit of waves generated from a San Andreas earthquake, but nothing that would be dangerous.Narrator: The quake could kill about 1,800 people and leave 50,000 or more with injuries. While people could die from falling debris and collapsed structures, the highest death toll would be from fires.Vidale: Historically, the biggest hazard from earthquakes has been fire. In the 1906 earthquake there were 3,000 or 4,000 people who were just caught in that wave of fire that swept through the city.Narrator: The aftermath of the big one will wreak havoc on infrastructure and the economy.Scott Brandenberg: Below our streets and our buildings is this really complicated network of infrastructure that could be damaged, and a lot of the things we take for granted every day won't be available anymore, right? Like water, electricity, being able to drive where you need to drive.Narrator: Parts of the San Andreas Fault intersect with 39 gas and oil pipelines. This could rupture high-pressure gas lines, releasing gas into the air and igniting potentially deadly explosions.Stewart: So, if you have natural-gas lines that rupture, that's how you can get fire and explosions.Narrator: And after the fires burn out, one of the biggest concerns in a major earthquake is access to fresh water. The major aqueduct networks that pump water into Southern California all cross the San Andreas Fault and could be seriously damaged.Stewart: So we would be without the lifelines that bring in imported water to the region. They cross through tunnels, cross through aqueducts near the surface. All of these would be ruptured, and so we would be losing 60% of our water supply. Many of these distribution lines for water are near sewer lines, which would also be broken, so now you have a situation where contaminants are potentially getting into the water supply. Narrator: Experts say you should keep at least a two-week supply of water in your home.Narrator: As the ground shakes and sediments shift, there will be landslides throughout Ventura and Western Los Angeles County.Brandenberg: There could be thousands of landslides. There have been earthquakes that have produced thousands. Landslides definitely can cause fatalities, property damage. We have a lot of people who live up in the hills. Right? So that's the location where you would be likely to see landslides affecting people.Narrator: And finally, the big one will severely impact the economy. Major transportation networks, like highways and railways, could be unusable for weeks and even months.Brandenberg: Some bridges may not be passable after an earthquake. We've had bridges collapse during past earthquakes.Stewart: You might start seeing key industries leave, population loss, and this could have, you know, devastating long-term impacts for the region. Narrator: The estimated financial cost of the big one is a whopping $200 billion, with $33 billion in building damages and $50 billion in lost economic activity. This all sounds pretty bad, but keep in mind that this is based off of a worst-case scenario. The true impact of a major earthquake is based on a range of unknowable factors. Also, smaller earthquakes on faults directly beneath major population centers are a serious concern.Vidale: But the worst-case earthquakes are hard to predict. You know, that earthquake in Japan in 2011, their cost almost entirely came because their nuclear power plant melted down. It's very hard to predict what's gonna fail in a big earthquake.Narrator: So, how can Californians prepare for the big one? Brandenberg: Really have a plan in place. You know, where are you going to meet? What are you going to do? Have water ready. I have a 55-gallon drum full of water. There's some chemical additive I put in it so it's potable for five years. Fifty-five gallons is the right amount for my... I have a family of four. That'll last us for two weeks. Canned food. You know, you have to be ready. I would say it's best just to plan to stay sort of where you are. Getting out of LA is bad enough without an earthquake, right? Traffic's already terrible. If roads are closed and people are all trying to leave, it's gonna really be bad.EDITOR'S NOTE: This video was originally published in August 2019. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2021

Blow up your Instagram with these 10 over-the-top hotels in the US

Here are 10 cool, photogenic US hotels to post about on Instagram, with over-the-top decor, dramatic architecture, and eccentric rooms. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. The Saguaro When choosing a hotel, social media-minded travelers place a high value on a visual appeal. Many hotels design with Instagram in mind, with decor ranging from highly curated to eccentric. We found the most photogenic hotels across the US with options for all budgets and travelers. Table of Contents: Masthead StickyThe saying goes, "pics or it didn't happen," and when it comes to travel, that is especially true. After all, vacation visuals that get posted to social media serve as photogenic proof that you had an incredible time away, inspiring others' travel decisions, and perhaps even a bit of travel envy.Whether or not you're an influencer commanding a major social media presence, it's nice to visit somewhere that is visually appealing, both on and off the 'Gram. That's why we rounded up some of the most Instagram-worthy hotels across the United States, each catering to a variety of aesthetics.You can be sure that each and every hotel on this list has gorgeous decor that'll photograph perfectly, even if you're relatively inexperienced behind the camera.Browse all the most Instagrammable hotels in the US below, or jump directly to a specific area here.The most Instagrammable hotels in the USFAQ: Instagrammable hotelsHow we selected the most Instagrammable hotelsMore photogenic accommodationsThese are the most Instagrammable hotels in the US, sorted by price from low to high. The Roxbury This suite is inspired by the tale of "Cinderella" with a bathroom entrance fashioned out of her pumpkin carriage. Roxbury Hotel Book The RoxburyCategory: Budget Location: Roxbury, NYTypical starting/peak prices: $95/$138Best for: Couples, families, friendsOn-site amenities: Pool, spa, hiking trails (to a waterfall!)Pros: Between the property's two hotels, there are about two dozen room themes, meaning there's something to tickle everyone's fancy.Cons: There's no on-site restaurant, but daily breakfast is included. Guests are charged to use the pool (a one-time, not daily fee), which eliminates the need for a resort fee.When it comes to themed hotel rooms, no one does them quite like The Roxbury in New York's Catskills region.Made up of two hotels, the Roxbury Motel and the Roxbury at Stratton Falls, there are 28 whimsical rooms and suites. Entry-level rooms are fairly traditional, though still bold in colors, but it's the suites and cottages that really dazzle.Themes range from Maryann's Coconut Cream Pie, where the ceiling looks as if it's coated in undulating meringue; and The Wizard's Emeralds, a riff on "The Wizard of Oz" complete with a yellow brick (or, in this case, yellow tile) road and a glittering green bedspread worthy of the Emerald City. Additionally, the Tower Cottages are standalone duplex suites with themes like the Faerie Forest, where interiors resemble whimsical woods plucked out of a fairy tale, with flowers, ferns, mushrooms, and gnarled tree branches adorning every inch.The Roxbury also has a pool with a spa that appears warped to create the illusion that it's defying gravity, alongside a hot tub, dry sauna, and treatment rooms. There are also hiking trails, one of which leads to a 50-foot waterfall.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Saguaro Palm Springs The colorful Saguaro is one of Palm Springs' most recognizable hotels. Tripadvisor Book The Saguaro Palm SpringsCategory: BudgetLocation: Palm Springs, CATypical starting/peak prices: $129/$350Best for: Couples, friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Pool, restaurants, bars, gym, spaPros: The pool is the place to see and be seen — and to take your Instagrams. Pool parties are particularly boisterous, and the rainbow backdrop of the hotel brightens up any photographs.Cons: There's a mandatory $38 (plus tax) resort fee, which makes seemingly affordable room rates less appealing.Palm Springs is a desert oasis primarily known for two things: amazing midcentury architecture and a raucous party scene, particularly at its hotels. The Saguaro Palm Springs is no exception to either.The hotel was built in 1971 but underwent a major renovation in 2012 by the same group behind the ultra-hip Ace Hotels. That refurbishment brought about the brightly painted exterior with a gradient rainbow effect for which the hotel is best known. These vibrant, cheerful colors carry throughout the entire property, most notably in the courtyard pool area. Paired with swaying palm trees, bright yellow umbrellas, and the cool blue of the pool, and it's positively photogenic.  That pool area, by the way, is one of the hotel's biggest draws. Lively parties are thrown regularly and often spill over into the Saguaro's restaurants and bars. Be sure to reserve a cabana in advance for the best spot for photos.Inside, guest rooms are similarly colorful with lemon yellow walls, royal purple carpets, and furniture done up in lime green, hot pink, or electric orange alongside technicolor striped bedspreads.COVID-19 procedures are available here. TWA Hotel Built into an old airline terminal, the TWA hotel offers a retro feel infused with heavy doses of '60s glam and nostalgia. TWA Hotel/David Mitchell Book TWA HotelCategory: BoutiqueLocation: New York, NYTypical starting/peak prices: $200/$280Best for: Couples, families, friends, solo travelers, aviation and design enthusiastsOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, gym, rooftop pool, event space, museums displays, ice/roller rinkPros: The main building is legendary among aviation geeks and architecture lovers, but anyone who appreciates funky design will enjoy the hotel. Don't miss the cocktail bar inside an old airplane. And, of course, if you're flying out of JFK, it doesn't get more convenient than staying here.Cons: The rooms are pretty small, even the suites. Mixed reviews cite cleanliness issues, too. You're far better off hanging out in the public spaces, which are more visually interesting anyway.As the only hotel within John F. Kennedy International Airport, the TWA Hotel is, of course, a place for those who need a place to rest pre- or post-flight. But it's also so much more, as a design-forward gem that feels like a slice of preserved history with front-row views of airplanes taking off and landing.Designed by midcentury architecture icon Eero Saarinen in 1962 (originally as a flight center for Trans World Airlines), the TWA hotel has jaw-dropping interiors. The main building, which houses the front desk, restaurants, and bars, features soaring, curved white ceilings that are not unlike a Jetsons-style spaceship with bright red carpets, classic midcentury furniture, and an old-school departures/arrivals board. Throughout the hotel and in some guest rooms, enjoy iconic views of the runway as planes land and depart, a boon for aviation enthusiasts. Rooms are small, but feel like you've stumbled onto the set of "Mad Men" with bright red Saarinen-designed Womb chairs, retro TWA travel posters, dark wood paneling, and brass accents on furniture, including a martini bar.Visiting this hotel is a lot like, walking into a time capsule, especially when you enter the hotel's cocktail bar housed within an actual 1958 Constellation airplane.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Madonna Inn The Floral Fantasy is one of 110 over-the-top themed rooms. Tripadvisor Book Madonna InnCategory: BoutiqueLocation: San Luis Obispo, CATypical starting/peak prices: $220/$580Best for: Families, friends, couplesOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, bakery, pool, spa, gym, dance floor, boutique, tennis, basketballPros: Every room is unique, meaning you can stay 110 times and have an entirely different experience for each visit. Cons: The decor is undoubtedly kitschy and even borderline gauche, which may not appeal to some guests. For others, it's the entire reason they're here.When it opened in 1958, the Madonna Inn in the midst of San Luis Obispo's wine country, had just 12 rooms. Today, it has 110, from economy kings to three-bedroom suites, and each one has its own absolutely one-of-a-kind, at times tacky, but highly memorable decor.In the Fabulous 50s room, teal walls are framed by pink trim, while gilded mirrors form a focal point in the bathroom. In the Victorian Gardens room, a four-post bed is matched with floral wallpaper, pink walls, and pink-velvet chairs and sofas. And in the Caveman room, the ceiling, walls, and floors are all made with rough-hewn rock, while furnishings are upholstered with animal print to complete the prehistoric theme.The rooms are spread across a 1,000-acre resort, which includes basketball and tennis courts, a pool, a retro gas station (a nod to the hotel's roots as a classic road trip stop, though today you'll find Tesla Superchargers there), a spa, a bakery, and several restaurants and bars.The eclectic decor doesn't stop in the rooms, either. Alex Madonna's Gold Rush Steak House is decked out in topsy-turvy pink and gold colors that recall either the Mad Hatter's tea party or the "Be Our Guest" scene in Beauty and the Beast." Hot pink circular banquettes are trimmed with gold, while a pink floral carpet provides punchy patterns. An organic, tree-like candelabra rises in the center of the room, its golden tendrils supporting dozens of electric candles. COVID-19 procedures are available by phone at 805-543-3000. The Greenbrier Bright colors mix heavily with punchy prints. The Greenbrier Book The GreenbrierCategory: ResortLocation: White Sulphur Springs, WVTypical starting/peak prices: $240/$425Best for: Families, couples, friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, casino, shopping, pool, tennis, golf, spa, ropes course, bowling, art studio, Cold War bunkerPros: Everything you could possibly want to do at a mountain resort, you can do here, whether falconry or jewelry making. It's almost shocking how many activities are offered.Cons: Some might find the decor a bit too traditional — there are lots of florals — but there's no denying it makes for a great Instagram post.Opened in 1778, the Greenbrier is an iconic American resort in West Virginia, having hosted 27 presidents throughout its history. Naturally, there have been many changes to the property over the centuries, but perhaps the most dramatic was a 1946 redecoration by lauded interior designer Dorothy Draper, who introduced lurid colors and punchy patterns into the historic buildings.Take the Greenbriar Avenue lobby, where black-and-white houndstooth club chairs sit atop bright red carpet, surrounded by teal-and-white striped columns, tropical-print wallpaper, and black-and-white checkered floors. Then in the Victorian Writing Room, rainbow-colored floral armchairs and drapes contrast with forest green walls and a bright red carpet.The guest rooms feature similar idiosyncratic decor, though perhaps not as in-your-face. Entry-level rooms all feature floral wallpaper with floral drapes to match, while higher room tiers have slightly more vibrant approaches to interior design. In the Windsor Club Rooms, you'll likely find brighter pink wallpaper, whole beds are covered by canopies, and furniture and carpets feature gingham or plaid patterns. The Greenbrier is also known for its many on-site activities, ranging from sports facilities, studios, and workshops for creative types to a casino, more than a dozen dining options, and plenty of shopping on the 11,000-acre grounds. But its most unusual amenity is a formerly secret Cold War-era bunker designed to house Congress. It's now declassified and open for tours.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Urban Cowboy Catskills Room designs are a feast for the eyes. Urban Cowboy Catskills Book Urban Cowboy CatskillsCategory: BoutiqueLocation: Big Indian, NYTypical starting/peak prices: $250/$500Best for: Couples, friends, solo travelersOn-site amenities: Restaurant, bar, games room, libraryPros: Despite being a wilderness lodge, there's very strong Wi-Fi for the WFH (or can't-be-disconnected) crowd.Cons: There are often minimum stay requirements, usually two to three nights on weekends.In New York's Catskills region, a popular weekend trip for city dwellers, the Urban Cowboy sits on 68 forested acres with plenty of outdoor recreation, but we wouldn't blame you if you wanted to spend your entire stay indoors.That's because the hotel's 28 accommodations feature super cool decor that focuses on quintessential rustic elements like deer antlers, live-wood furniture, rough-hewn wood beams, and outdoorsy accent pieces like snowshoes or oars. Colorful Native American pattern work covers the ceilings, beds, chairs, and rugs, creating a visual cacophony that feels high-design. And then there's the matter of the absolutely gorgeous copper soaking tubs set in front of big picture windows.This rugged-chic mountain style continues in public spaces, especially in the bar with a massive stone fireplace and columns that look like trees. The vibrant patterns make an appearance, too, from the walls to the sofas to the rugs.COVID-19 procedures are available here. Faena Hotel Miami Beach An attractive pool scene sets a sleek tone. Booking.com Book Faena Hotel Miami BeachCategory: LuxuryLocation: Miami Beach, FLTypical starting/peak prices: $445/$1,350Best for: Couples, friends, familiesOn-site amenities: Restaurants, bars, gym, spa, beach club, kids' clubPros: Despite its opulent, perhaps frenzied look, this is actually a surprisingly family-friendly hotel. Cons: It's 10 blocks north of South Beach, so you're not right in the heart of the action. However, there's plenty to do on-site.If it feels like Faena Hotel Miami Beach is some sort of phantasmagoric movie set, that's because it basically is. Filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and production and costume designer Catherine Martin, a husband-wife team, spearheaded the design of this Mid-Beach property, and they went all out.Public spaces are filled with sumptuous colors, dazzling metallics, and all manners of prints and patterns, from leopard spots to Art Deco geometry. Even the spa, a typically soothing space, is filled with bright colors, a neon-colored pom-pom chandelier, and bird-filled, floral landscape wallpaper.In fact, public areas are absolutely buzzing with visual elements, with a gold-covered woolly mammoth skeleton by the pool (a Damien Hirst artwork) that takes center stage.Guest rooms, however, are a bit more subdued, with white walls and wood floors to keep things grounded, accented by red and turquoise furnishings. Bits of animal print are thrown in for good measure and as subtle reminders of your larger surroundings. COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Inn of the Five Graces Guest rooms, spaces, and even bathrooms are bursts of colors, prints, and international influences. Tripadvisor Book The Inn of the Five GracesCategory: BoutiqueLocation: Santa Fe, NMTypical starting/peak prices: $715/$1,175Best for: Couples, friendsOn-site amenities: Bar, spa, gymPros: A made-to-order breakfast is included, as is a wine and cheese reception on Fridays. The spa's Tibetan-style treatment room is beautiful.Cons: There's no true on-site restaurant, but in-room dining is available via the restaurant next door.From the outside, the Inn of the Five Graces is just another (450-year-old) adobe dwelling in Santa Fe. But inside, it's a global journey along the Silk Road.Public spaces and all 24 rooms burst with colors and patterns, whether from mosaic tiles, Central Asian textiles, or South Asian works of art. The look is definitely maximalist, but the blend of international styles is somehow never overwhelming thanks to the smooth and soothing adobe walls that serve as a calming backdrop. Natural elements like wood-beamed ceilings and stone hearths also provide simple contrast.The boutique property is limited on amenities, though it has an exceptional spa treatment room inspired by Tibetan tradition (both in decor and in therapies), a gym, and in-room dining provided by a neighboring restaurant.The Inn of the Five Graces is a five-minute walk from downtown Santa Fe, but thanks to its global influences, it seems to transport you to the other side of the world.COVID-19 procedures are available here. The Villa Casa Casuarina Gianni Versace's former mansion is now a luxury hotel showcasing his ostentatious style. TripAdvisor Book The Villa Casa CasuarinaCategory: LuxuryLocation: Miami Beach, FLTypical starting/peak prices: $750/$1,400Best for: CouplesOn-site amenities: Pool, restaurant, barPros: The hotel's old-world-inspired grandeur truly is unmatched in Art Deco-filled South Beach.Cons: Because this is a major tourist site in Miami, there can be many people around snapping photos at all hours. Diners at the restaurant are loud, and noise can reach the rooms.Italian fashion designer Gianni Versace was tragically murdered in 1997, but his lavish Miami Beach mansion was preserved to pay homage to his life, and now, operates as a luxury hotel. Today it's called the Villa Casa Casuarina, and was inspired by the Alcázar de Cólon in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The Spanish-style mansion, built in 1930, captivated Versace, who bought it in 1992 and renovated it to suit his extravagant taste. It's still exquisitely over the top.The hotel's suites feature ostentatious decor in various themes. In the Azure Suite, blue-and-white decor abounds with Roman-inspired architectural details, like the medallion-inlaid pediments above the windows in the bedroom and the tromp l'oeil "plasterwork" in the bathroom. In the Signature Suite, however, there's a far more sultry vibe, with animal print upholstery, a sumptuous warm-tone marble bathroom, and gilded furnishings.But the visual highlight of the entire property is the Million Mosaic Pool, which is comprised of thousands of 24-karat gold tiles. COVID-19 procedures are available by phone at 305-908-1462​​. Amangiri Utah's luxury Amangiri resort is a favorite with celebrities. Amangiri Book AmangiriCategory: LuxuryLocation: Canyon Point, UtahTypical starting/peak prices: $1,931/$3,500Best for: CouplesOn-site amenities: Spa, restaurant, bar, poolPros: This is desert minimalism at its finest — the hotel blends perfectly into its landscape with earth-toned decor. The luxury service is unmatched.Cons: This is not the easiest property to get to, as the closest major airports are more than four hours away. But the remote location is one of the many reasons why people visit.Arguably one of the most exclusive resorts in the US, Amangiri is a lesson in understated elegance. Architecturally, the sleek hotel is designed to blend in with the stark, rocky landscape surrounding its 600 desert acres in Utah, with color palettes that match near perfectly.Despite the indulgent luxury price tag, everything here is understated. Furnishings are made of sinuous wood or matte concrete with white upholstery to maximize the natural surroundings, which are often framed by views so beautiful, they appear like a work of art. With so many clean lines, use the sky for color and take pictures at different times of day to create variation. Though it'd be easy to rest in your luxurious suite all day long, you'll want to spend time in the dramatic Aman Spa, which covers 25,000 square feet. With looming concrete walls, it can at times feel cavernous, akin to the deep canyons found just a few miles away. While expensive, the rate covers all meals (sans alcohol), some activities, and some spa treatments, too. Stunning nature, hiking, horseback riding, or climbing, are all activities that await. COVID-19 procedures are available here. FAQ: Instagrammable hotels What are other unique hotels in the US?For unusual hotels, consider the Dog Bark Park Inn in Cottonwood, Idaho, where the main building is shaped like a beagle; ​​The Inn at Christmas Place in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee, where Christmas is celebrated year-round; and the Railroad Park Resort in Dunsmuir, California, where guests sleep in converted train cars.How do I find cool hotels to stay in?If you're looking for an Instagrammable hotel, head to Instagram to get inspired by other travelers. Search hashtags like #beautifulhotels or #coolhotels. Or trust the experts, like us!What makes a hotel Instagrammable?Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Styles that some might consider Instagram-worthy might not be quite right for the aesthetic of your feed. But in general, bold interior design is key or a stunning setting. And bold doesn't necessarily mean maximalist. A stark, minimalist interior can be visually dynamic in photographs, too.What are some of the most photogenic hotels in the world?There's no shortage of beautiful hotels in the world, whether you're looking for the classic Italian style of Villa d'Este on Lake Como, the over-the-top safari lodge Ol Jogi in Kenya's Laikipia region, or the futuristic ME by Meliá Dubai, designed by Zaha Hadid. How we selected the most Instagrammable hotels in the US As a travel writer who focuses on architecture and design, I determined that every hotel has photo-worthy design elements, whether in the guest rooms, public spaces, or exterior areas.Each property on the list is highly rated on traveler review sites like TripAdvisor, Booking.com, and Expedia.High-design hotels range greatly in budget. We've selected properties from each end of the spectrum; they cost anywhere from $95 to $$3,500 per night.Tastes vary, so we've picked a selection of decor styles. There's everything from kitschy-themed suites to magazine-worthy interior design.While COVID-19 policies vary from state to state, these hotels still have strict health and safety policies in place to protect both guests and staff. More photogenic hotels The Setai Miami Beach The best luxury hotels in the USThe best themed hotel suites for familiesThe best bucket-list Airbnbs in the US Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 21st, 2021

Inflation Is Killing The Recovery

Inflation Is Killing The Recovery Authored by Daniel Lacalle, This week, Ned Davis Research published a note titled “turns out, growth looks like it was transitory – inflation is more sticky”. There are many factors that show us that consumers and salaries are being eaten away by inflation, leading to an abrupt halt in the recovery. Autos and new home sales plunged, real disposable personal income has plummeted, and real median wage growth is lower than inflation. Policymakers have pushed inflation at any cost with the most aggressive monetary policy in decades and it took a normal recovery after the re-opening to prove why inflation is always a monetary phenomenon: In 2020 G7 central banks increased money supply well above demand and faster than ever since 2009. This led to massive inflation spikes in essential goods and services. The rhetoric of “transitory” inflation and “supply chain disruptions” has been rapidly debunked. We have seen three CPI (consumer price index) prints after the so-called base effect ended and prices continued to rise. Furthermore, the price of commodities where there is overcapacity has risen as fast as others. Inflation is always more money chasing scarce assets and that is the reason why we see shipping or aluminium rise to all-time highs when there is ample capacity in the segment, even excessive capacity. Monetary history shows that policymakers always resort to the same excuses when it comes to printing money and monetary mismanagement: First, say there is no inflation, second, say it is transitory, third, blame businesses, fourth, blame consumers for overspending, and finally present themselves as the “solution” with price controls, which ultimately devastates the economy. In the United States median wage growth has been more than offset by inflation, and in the eurozone wage growth plummeted in July. In fact, the risk in the eurozone is higher as average hourly wages fell in year-on-year terms in the second quarter. Consumers see the prices of the goods and services they buy every day rise significantly faster than the official CPI shows and this, in turn, derails the economic recovery that was supposed to come from a less-than-likely consumption boom and services boost to above-trend growth in 2021. None of those Keynesian miracles happened. As policymakers continue to implement massive financial repression measures, the problem is likely to get worse into winter. No government or central bank seems willing to reduce the speed of fiscal or monetary imbalances because they benefit from rising inflation. Does anyone believe there will be strong policies to reduce inflation from the same central banks that have pushed trillions into the economy to attract inflation and the same governments that would benefit from inflation to dissolve a bit of their rising debt? We are now in the step where governments blame businesses. Biden blamed rising gas prices on “profiteering” and one of his main economic advisors at the National Economic Council Brian Deese said pork, chicken and beef prices rose faster than normal because four companies controlled the supply. In Spain, the government blamed electricity producers for a rise in power prices that came from higher CO2 costs -a tax from which European governments will collect around 20 billion euro in 2021-, thus the government was effectively profiting from the rise in CO2 prices and at the same time blaming businesses for it. This was also part of the heated debate in Germany. Power prices soared due to high natural gas and CO2 prices and political parties blamed speculation and power companies. This is what will likely intensify into the third quarter; Governments blaming businesses for causing the inflation that policymakers have fuelled. Then, present themselves as the solution and impose price controls, destroying the business fabric, particularly small enterprises. Keynesian policies always destroy what they pretend to protect. In this case, middle classes, real wages, and small businesses are being wiped out by the inflation tax and the increase in other taxes, as governments reap the benefit of inflationary policies increasing the size of the public sector on the way in, deficits and QE, and on the way out, inflation and taxes. Tyler Durden Tue, 09/21/2021 - 14:10.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 21st, 2021

Google buying St John’s Terminal building for $2.1B

Google today announced its intent to purchase the St. John’s Terminal development that it currently leases for $2.1 billion in Q1 2022.  Google’s decision to exercise its option to purchase St. John’s Terminal further builds upon its existing plans to invest more than $250 million this year in its New... The post Google buying St John’s Terminal building for $2.1B appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Google today announced its intent to purchase the St. John’s Terminal development that it currently leases for $2.1 billion in Q1 2022.  Google’s decision to exercise its option to purchase St. John’s Terminal further builds upon its existing plans to invest more than $250 million this year in its New York campus presence. Google’s 1.7 million-square-foot Hudson Square campus spans three buildings: 315 Hudson Street, 345 Hudson Street and St. John’s Terminal at 550 Washington Street. Google’s spaces in the two Hudson Street buildings are now completed, and the St. John’s Terminal anchor site is expected to open by mid 2023 as the new NYC headquarters for Google’s Global Business Organization. “New York’s energy, creativity and world-class talent are what keep us rooted here and why we’re deepening our commitment with plans to purchase St. John’s Terminal,” said Ruth Porat, Alphabet and Google CFO. “We look forward to continuing to grow along with this remarkable, diverse city.” “This announcement from Google is yet another proof point that New York’s economy is recovering and rebuilding. We are creating jobs, investing in emerging industries, lifting up New Yorkers, and together, we are writing our comeback story,” said Governor Kathy Hochul. “Google’s historic investment in New York City marks an enormous step for our recovery,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The purchase of St. John’s Terminal will ensure New York remains a global leader in technology as well as a place that people are excited to live and work in.” The St John’s Terminal site was acquired for $700 million in 2017 by Oxford Properties, the project’s lead developer, and is a joint venture with Canada Pension Plan Investment Board. The 12-story, 1.3 million-square-foot St. John’s Terminal site encompasses two entire city blocks adjacent to Hudson River Park’s Pier 40 and is currently under construction.  “When we acquired the St. John’s Terminal site in 2017, we saw an incredible opportunity to rethink the modern workplace and bring that vision to New York,” said Dean Shapiro, Head of US Developments at Oxford Properties. “From day one of our partnership on the project, it was clear that Oxford and Google’s vision for the future of work were fully aligned. Today showcases our deeply shared commitment to the future of the office, and the great city of New York, as we drive innovation and creativity in the heart of NYC.” The former freight terminal is being reimagined into a highly sustainable, adaptable and connected building, with its biophilic design adding numerous outdoor open spaces and reconnecting the Hudson Square neighborhood to the waterfront. The building will also offset 100% of its carbon in support of Google’s carbon goals, in addition to pursuing LEED Platinum and ILFI (International Living Future Institute) Zero Carbon certifications. “St. John’s Terminal gave us the opportunity to design a healthy, high-performance building for Google that will connect Hudson Square to Hudson River Park with new public greenspaces and pathways, honor the industrial history of the area, and serve as a model for the sustainable future of New York City,” said Rick Cook, Founding Partner of COOKFOX Architects. As part of investing in its long-term campus footprint in New York City, construction is also proceeding at Pier 57 where Google will occupy about 320,000 s/f office space. Once completed next year, the site will also include a public food hall, community space, galleries, the city’s largest public rooftop space, and educational and environmental programs run by the Hudson River Park Trust.  Pier 57 rendering Google has had a presence in New York for more than 20 years, with 12,000 full-time employees in the state as Google’s largest office outside of California. The company’s campus investments will provide the capacity to grow its workforce in the city to more than 14,000 employees in the coming years. As part of its previously announced racial equity commitments, Google also plans to continue expanding the number of employees in diverse communities including New York that contribute to a high quality of life for Black+ Googlers. Google remains focused on helping local communities, organizations and people emerge stronger from the pandemic. Since 2005, Google has provided over $170 million in grant funding to nonprofits in New York. In the Hudson Square neighborhood, the company is supporting the new Jackie Robinson Museum opening next year with a grant to help deliver new educational programming for students. Google also provided grant funding to the Children’s Museum of the Arts to help launch new digital programming for childhood arts education, and to God’s Love We Deliver to offer free nutritious meals and services for those living with HIV/AIDS, cancer and other serious illnesses.  Jackie Robinson Museum rendering via Gensler Google also continues to invest in growing the next generation of tech talent. Its Grow with Google programs are helping to create new pathways to in-demand, good paying tech jobs for people most impacted by the pandemic. Through Google’s skilling programs, more than 3,800 New Yorkers have completed a certificate program to date. Google is also working with select CUNY/SUNY Schools to add Google Certificates to their curriculum as part of the SUNY for All free online training program. “We are excited to see Google expand its footprint here in New York City bringing opportunities for thousands of tech and related good-paying jobs. It is a true commitment to the City’s economic recovery and the future of the workplace, proving New York City is a thriving vital place in the global tech landscape,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO Rachel Loeb. “The announcement by Google today reinforces what we’ve known all along: that New York is a great home for the tech industry,” said Bill Rudin, CEO and Co-Chairman of Rudin Management Company. “Google has been a great partner to this city and their continual investment and growth here is a strong demonstration of their commitment to New York and of the strength of our economic future.” St. John’s Terminal renderings all via COOKFOX Architects The post Google buying St John’s Terminal building for $2.1B appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 21st, 2021

Late Rally Saves Week for S&P, Dow

Late Rally Saves Week for S&P, Dow The market’s weekly performance ended up looking a lot better than was expected just this afternoon, as stocks snapped their three-day losing streak with a sharp rally on Friday that pulled two of the major indices into the green. The Dow was up 1.8% for the week, while the S&P managed a 0.8% advance. The NASDAQ still slipped by 2.1%. However, all of these indices were lower over the previous four days heading into Friday, especially deficits of 1.1% and 3.7% for the S&P and NASDAQ, respectively.     These performances offer a glimpse into one of the major themes of this past week. Money has been moving out of technology and into recovery names, underscoring the disparity between the Dow and NASDAQ. The big story on Friday was the government employment situation report, which turned out much better than expected with the economy adding 379,000 jobs. The forecasts were for somewhere between 175,000 and 210,000. And for a little icing, the unemployment rate dipped to 6.2% instead of staying put at 6.3%. This reading suggests the economic recovery may be faster and stronger than investors’ already lofty expectations. It also raises concern of overheating. The market’s immediate reaction to the jobs report was for the 10-year Treasury yield to jump to the dreaded 1.6%, sending stocks sharply lower. However, the yield pulled back and the selling pressure was exhausted, leading to a sharp late-day rally. The S&P finished the session higher by 1.95% to 3841.94, while the Dow was up 1.85% (or about 572 points) to 31,496.30. The beleaguered NASDAQ jumped 1.55% (or about 196 points) to 12,920.15, which means it’s again barely in the green for 2021 after sliding into negative territory yesterday. What a crazy week! It was bookended with a couple of nice rallies and a rough three-day losing streak right in the middle. What will next week have in store for us? Today's Portfolio Highlights: Value Investor: There's a couple positions in the portfolio that Tracey wanted to sell now while she could still get a nice profit. Atlas Air Worldwide (AAWW) continues having great quarters as its able to charge a premium due to high demand. However, the market seems to think this freighter aircraft company is purely a pandemic play that will come back to earth when we return to normal. Whether that’s true or not, the editor doesn’t want to take any chances. She sold AAWW on Friday for a 16.3% return in about seven months. Meanwhile, cabinet manufacturer American Woodmark (AMWD) is facing inflationary cost pressures for things like wood and labor, which is likely to get worse moving forward. Tracey also sold AMWD today for a 6.3% return in about six months. Read the full write-up for more specifics on these moves. By the way, this portfolio had a top performer today as Penske Automotive Group (PAG) rose 8.8%. TAZR Trader: With the NASDAQ barely positive for the year after a double-digit correction, Kevin is getting ready for the bounce once all the weak hands have been flushed out. On Friday, he added more to payment processor Square (SQ). The editor first added this name back in November and it has climbed more than 13% in the portfolio since then. However, SQ is expected to continue growing even after the pandemic. Plus, its still at a great price. Read the full write-up for more on this move. Counterstrike: Don’t expect Jeremy to sell into this tech dump, because he thinks it’s a huge overreaction. Instead, the editor decided to “nibble” on a name that has really pulled back in the last week. Rocket Companies (RKT) consists of personal finance and consumer service brands. Despite the pullback, this stock is still a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) that beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 37% in late February. The editor added a small, 4% allocation in RKT on Friday. Get a lot more details on this move in the full write-up.  Surprise Trader: Shares of Purple Innovation (PRPL) got shellacked yesterday after its quarterly report, but Dave decided to stick with this mattress, pillow and cushions maker. He didn’t think the report was that bad and considers the selloff to be a complete overreaction. Well, the editor’s patience was the right move because PRPL bounced by nearly 28% on Friday, which made it the top performer of the day among all ZU names. Headline Trader: "I believe that tech's correction is only a temporary reaction to the surging bond yields and reflation trade. "The S&P 500 and the Dow remain buoyant in the first two months of 2021 trading, with energy and financials leading the rally.   "COVID winners are getting the foam blown off the top of their frothy valuations, and it is time to start picking up those niche tech players that will continue to thrive in the new normal economy." -- Dan Laboe Have a Great Weekend! Jim Giaquinto Recommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021

Precarious Market Action

Precarious Market Action Dan Laboe here, Editor of the Headline Trader portfolio. I am covering for the acclaimed Jim who will be back in action tomorrow. The market is growing increasingly cautious as we enter post-earnings season action. This precarious market posture was apparent in today's dicey trade. Stocks were buoyant for most of the day (trading right around even) until the last hour of the session, where indecisiveness turned into panic, causing all the major averages to spill into the close. We are entering a seasonally weak period for the public equity market (September & October have been the worst months for stocks in the past decade), where down days are expected. Market participants are increasingly taking on the mindset that this may be as good as it gets, which could cause further short-term volatility. This is the second consecutive down day for all the major averages, with the S&P 500 and Dow Jones slipping 1.07% & 1.08%, respectively. The growth-driven Nasdaq 100 was punished marginally less because of its larger decline yesterday but still experienced a 0.97% decline. The VIX broke above its 200-day moving average for just the 3rd time since early March, and its 50-day turned into a support today. This may be an indication that volatility will remain with us for a time. Consumer discretionary, the biggest laggard yesterday following weak retail sales data, was the only market sector to close in the green today. This morning, robust earnings from Lowe's (LOW) and TJX (TJX) drove fresh hope back into the retail space. Fed Minutes July's Fed Minutes were published this afternoon, and the markets had an immediate knee-jerk reaction to the Fed's focus on the potential impact of the Delta-variant, causing the US 10 Year yield to plummet and equity indexes to jump in the 5 minutes that followed its release. This move quickly reversed with an exaggerated move in the opposite direction, which inevitably led to the end of session sell-off. Today's released Fed Minutes were stale. The Fed in last month's FOMC meeting is not the same Fed that we have today. Since the exceptional July jobs report earlier this month, members of the Fed have changed their stance on the tapering timeline. In the last couple of weeks, several Central Bankers have come out and said that it would be prudent to start paring its $120 billion in asset purchases sooner rather than later. The markets are now pricing in a September announcement (FOMC meeting September 21-22) to start tapering in October and complete its asset purchasing program in mid-2022. This morning, St. Louis Fed president James Bullard discussed the risks of delaying monetary tightening, stating that if the Fed's inflation projections are wrong, they may be forced to implement abrupt and potentially "very disruptive" policy changes. He declared that "every indication is that labor markets are about as tight as they ever get." Bullard wants the Fed to be done tapering by the first quarter of next year so that the Central Bank would have the flexibility to begin liftoff (first Fed Funds rate hike) as soon as possible. Every day it seems that the Fed gets more hawkish, but if the Delta-variant does begin to impact the economy, this narrative will quickly reverse.  Is This As Good As It Gets? Market participants are taking on a 'this is as good as it gets' mentality with peak earnings growth, ultra-low interest rates, peak consumer demand, and accommodative monetary/fiscal policies, all now ostensibly in the rearview mirror. Investors still have their mouths open as we round out a jaw-dropping Q2 earnings season. This was one of the best earnings seasons in history, with 88% of companies beating EPS estimates by an average of 17.5% while exhibiting record profit margins averaging 13.6%. Earnings and revenues are up an unprecedented 103% & 28% year-over-year, respectively. Despite the exceptionally weak Q2 2020 EPS comps, earnings are still up over 30% from pre-pandemic levels. Now investors are looking at decelerating earnings growth in the coming quarters, forcing market participants to reevaluate the market's rich valuation multiples. Since the pandemic lockdowns began, the Fed-induced ultra-low interest rate environment has provided a nice tailwind for high-growth stocks. Record low cost of capital (driven by low yields) provided nascent innovation-powered companies with an almost endless upside in the equity market. Analysts were able to catapult the value of growth businesses' projected future earnings, justifying some of the crazy valuation multiples we saw earlier this year. Most of the over euphoric valuations on unprofitable growth stocks have been compressed by the rising yields in anticipation of liftoff. Consumer spending took off in the first 4 months of 2021 as the economic reopening drove an unparalleled tidal wave of pent-up demand on Main Street. The pandemic lockdowns and resulting record levels of savings/wealth in the US ($19 trillion increase in wealth, 26% increase in net wealth) propelled our society's propensity to spend as storefronts reopened across the country. This effect has decelerated since April, causing investors to question if peak consumer spending is in the past. With back-to-school shopping and the holiday season around the corner, I find this notion unlikely. The unprecedented level of accommodation provided by record monetary (Federal Reserve) and fiscal (Federal Government) spending amid the pandemic is the only reason that our economy has been able to not only recover at such a speed but come out the other side better than ever. The PPP loans, COVID checks, and unemployment benefits provided by the Federal government provided the economy with enough liquidity to do a little better than survive last year and now thrive during the recovery. The Fed's swift action of dropping Fed Fund rates to 0-0.25% and its subsequent $120 billion monthly asset purchases (aka quantitative easing) allowed the equity market to take off after the initial pandemic sell-off. The accommodative monetary and fiscal policies are beginning to phase out. Still, I expect the aforementioned positive impacts will continue to echo in our economy for quarters to come. The best is yet to come. We are reentering the Roaring 20s with ambition. Technological advancements are accelerating faster than ever, pushing our economy to do the same. I expect to see growing annual stock market returns as prolifically advancing tech thrusts valuations to continuously new highs. A Technical Omen That Could Spell Trouble For Investors A Hindenburg Omen, a technical indicator that signals an elevated probability of a market crash, has been reached by this precarious market. This indicator looks for an elevated number of new 52-week highs and lows that surpasses 2.2% of all securities traded that day (the number of highs cannot be more than double the number of lows), along with an upward trending 50-day moving average, and negatively shifting market sentiment (indicated by the McClellan Oscillator or MCO). This indicator generally implies that market participants are tentative and uncertain. The Hindenburg Omen almost always precedes a stock market downturn but is only about 25% accurate when it is seen. Investors have been positioning themselves defensively as post-earnings price action commenced. These defensive investors are buying stocks in low beta sectors like health care, utilities, consumer staples, and real estate, which have led over the past week of trading. All of the previously mentioned sectors have lagged the broader market over the past 52-weeks, so it's only natural for weakness chasing money managers to rotate into these segments even if an index level correction (10%+ decline from recent highs) isn't coming. I'm not running for the hills quite yet, with trillions of bullish capital still waiting to be deployed on even the most immaterial dips. I am also not adding many new positions to my portfolio. I don't think we will experience a full correction, but I do believe that some consolidation may be in order over the next few months.  Cathie Wood vs. The Big Short's Michael Burry Expected interest rate growth and overzealous valuation multiples on ultra-high-growth stocks have some investors betting against Cathie Wood's Ark Innovation ETF (ARKK). 'Big Short' investor, Michael Burry, who is famous for predicting and profiting from the 2008 financial crisis, revealed a $31 million put position against ARKK, along with a $731 million bet against Tesla (TSLA), which happens to be Cathie's largest holding, in his latest 13-F filing (institutional investment managers' SEC required quarterly report). The actively traded ARKK fund has become the benchmark for high-growth 'market-disruptors,' and Cathie Wood has become an investing icon. Her innovation-driven ETF saw an impressive bull run during the pandemic, exhibiting a 384% 11-month rally from its March 2020 lows to its peak in mid-February, but has recently fallen out of market favor. Soaring yields forced investors to reevaluate the extreme growth multiples in Cathie's 4th Industrial Revolution focused holdings. Cathie Wood fired back at the press surrounding Burry's notable position against her ETF with a tweet saying, "I do not believe that he (Michael Burry) understands the fundamentals that are creating explosive growth and investment opportunities in the innovation space." Burry doesn't have a vendetta against Cathie Wood but sees a short-term trading opportunity. He is making a relatively small bet in his over $2 billion Scion Asset Management portfolio (ARKK put up just 1.5% of total assets under management). Burry believes that the current fundamentals of ARKK's high growth holdings are out of whack in this rising interest rate environment, and he is not alone with this thinking. A record 13.5% of outstanding ARKK shares are currently held short (24.87 million shares), and a Short ARKK ETF, which will trade under the ticker SARK, is awaiting SEC approval. ARKK is looking at a days-to-cover short ratio (number of shares held short divided by daily volume) of 4.6, which isn't exactly a concerning level yet, but it is growing. I personally love how Cathie Wood views this rapidly advancing market and focuses on long-term profitability instead of short-term volatility. I perceive Cathie's pandemic success as a reflection of her savvy ability to recognize market-disrupting innovators, and it finally paid off after more than 5 years of flying under the radar (relatively speaking). That being said, I still utilize her ETF for put option opportunities when they reveal themselves because of the speed at which ARKK moves. Cathie Wood remains one of if not the most influential players in the market today. "The Cathie Wood Effect" has replaced "The Warren Buffett Effect" in this rapidly progressing and digitalizing economic/market environment. ARKK is undoubtedly a long-term hold for the commencing 4th Industrial Revolution, which is already changing the world in which we live.  Today’s Portfolio Highlights Options Trader: Following some of this week's precarious price action, Kevin is pulling profits on the September call option in Nasdaq, Inc (NDAQ), after almost two months of holding. The NDAQ September 180 call contracts crossed the 30 days till expiration threshold, and Kevin doesn't want to lose that time premium baked into these options. This exchange has been an excellent trade for the Options Trader portfolio this year, with NDAQ providing three separate profit-driving trades since April. According to Kevin: "First one was a $892 gain on 4/16. Second one was a $906 gain on 6/24. Looks like we'll get approx. $435 on this one." NDAQ has been on an absolute tear so far this year, rallying over 40% year-to-date (more than doubling the S&P 500s performance). Kevin stated that he would likely jump back into this trade as he still sees further upside potential. Stocks Under $10: The health care sector has led the broader market over the past month of trading, with Moderna (MRNA) and Pfizer (PFE) leading the pack. Brian is taking advantage of this sector's momentum with the addition of Immunovant (IMVT) on this down day for the market. IMVT and its development of monoclonal antibodies for the treatment of autoimmune diseases are developing an early treatment for those with COVID. Brian expects this stock to get a Delta-variant catalyzed boost, and most analysts seem to agree with him with every price target showing a sizable increase from current price levels. Surprise Trader:  Car manufacturers are struggling to keep up with demand as chip shortages continue to plague the space, causing used/old cars to stay on the road longer. Dave is taking advantage of this notion with a read-through trade, adding Advanced Auto Parts (AAP) to the Surprise Trader portfolio. More old cars on the road means more tune-ups and breakdowns that will require vehicle parts. The company is reporting before open next Tuesday, and Dave believes that it has some strong upside potential that the markets are yet to price in. Happy Wednesday! DanRecommendations from Zacks' Private Portfolios: Believe it or not, this article is not available on the Zacks.com website. The commentary is a partial overview of the daily activity from Zacks' private recommendation services. If you would like to follow our Buy and Sell signals in real time, we've made a special arrangement for readers of this website. Starting today you can see all the recommendations from all of Zacks' portfolios absolutely free for 7 days. Our services cover everything from value stocks and momentum trades to insider buying and positive earnings surprises (which we've predicted with an astonishing 80%+ accuracy). Click here to "test drive" Zacks Ultimate for FREE >>  Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 21st, 2021