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PlayNitride aims to reach monthly break-even operation at end of 2023

PlayNitride, a Taiwan-based microLED chip maker, aims to have its business operation break even on a monthly basis at the end of 2023 and generate handsome operating profit in 2024, according to company founder and CEO Charles Li at a June 23 investor conference......»»

Category: topSource: digitimesJun 24th, 2022

Futures Flat As Yen Discombobulation Extends To Record 13th Day

Futures Flat As Yen Discombobulation Extends To Record 13th Day After some jerky rollercoaster moves in Monday's illiquid trading session, which jerked both higher and lower before closing modestly in the green, US futures resumed their volatility and at last check were trading flat after earlier in the session rising and falling; Nasdaq futures retreated 0.1%. as investors weighed the risks to economic growth from hawkish Federal Reserve comments. Stocks in Europe dropped as markets reopened after the Easter holiday, while bonds around the globe slumped as investors weighed the prospect of aggressive policy action to curb inflation. Asian stocks also dropped as did oil, while the dollar extended its gains .  Treasuries extended declines, with the 10-year yield hitting a fresh three-year peak north of 2.90%. German and U.K. 10-year yields climbed to the highest since 2015 as bonds across Europe plunged. The grotesque farce that is MMT came one step closer to total collapse as the yen dropped for a record 13th day, its longest-losing streak in at least half a century with the credibility of the BOJ - that central bank that launched MMT, QE and NIRP - now hanging by a thread. It wasn't all bad news however, because with the yen losing more of its purchasing power, Japanese stocks gained. Disruptions to supply chains from China’s lockdowns and to commodity flows from the war are keeping pressure on central banks to rein in runaway prices at a time when global growth is tipped to slow. The World Bank cut its forecast for global economic expansion this year on Russia’s invasion. Meanwhile, investors - already betting on an almost half-point Federal Reserve rate increase next month - continue monitoring comments from policy makers as prospects of monetary tightening weigh on the sentiment. St Louis Fed President James Bullard said the central bank needs to move quickly to raise interest rates to around 3.5% this year with multiple half-point hikes and that it shouldn’t rule out rate increases of 75 basis points. The last increase of such magnitude was in 1994. “The Bullard comments really encapsulate the quandary that many of the world’s central banks have found themselves in,” said Jeffrey Halley, a senior markets analyst at Oanda. “Luckily, they have plenty of excuses in the shape of the pandemic and the Ukraine war. Central banks can now play catchup, hike aggressively and run the risk of recessions. Getting the pain over and done may be the least worst option.” Over in Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said Monday that Russian forces had begun the campaign to conquer the Donbas region in Ukraine’s east. Here are all the latest news and headlines over Ukraine: Russia's Belgorod provincial Governor said a village near the Ukrainian border was struck by Ukraine, according to RIA. However, Sputnik noted that no casualties were reported. Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov says another stage of its operation is beginning Russian Defence Ministry is calling on Ukrainian and foreign fighters to leave the metallurgical plant in Mauripol without arms and ammunition today, via Reuters; adding, the US and other Western countries do everything to drag out the Ukrainian military operation. White House said US President Biden will hold a call with allies and partners on Tuesday to discuss continued support for Ukraine and efforts to hold Russia accountable, according to Reuters. French Finance Minister Le Maire says an embargo on Russian oil is being worked on, adds that we have always said with President Macron that we want such an embargo, via Reuters; aims to convince the EU on such an embargo in the coming weeks. Russia's Gazprom has not booked gas transit capacity via Yamal-Europe pipeline for May. In premarket trading, Zendesk rose 4.1% in premarket trading after a report about the software company hiring a new adviser to explore a potential sale. NXP Semiconductors dropped 2.5% in premarket trading after Citi cut the stock to neutral from buy, saying in note that its thesis on margin expansion has played out. Other notable premarket movers include: Amazon (AMZN US) could be active as Barclays analyst Ross Sandler is upbeat on it heading into 1Q results and sees gross merchandise value (GMV) accelerating on a 1-yr basis in 2Q. Netgear (NTGR US) dropped 11% in extended trading Monday after reporting preliminary net revenue for the first quarter that trailed the average analyst estimate. Super Micro Computer (SMCI US) climbed 15% after the maker of server and storage systems reported fiscal 3Q preliminary profit and sales that beat the average analyst estimate. Acadia (ACAD US) shares declined in postmarket after it said Phase 2 clinical trial of the efficacy and safety of ACP-044 for acute pain following bunion removal surgery didn’t meet the primary endpoint. WeWork (WE US) advanced in postmarket trading Monday as coverage starts with an overweight rating and $10 price target at Piper Sandler, which highlights that the co-working company is on track to achieve profitability by late 2023 or early 2024. European stocks slumped with the Stoxx 600 dropping 1.1% led lower by healthcare and media shares as traders returned from a lengthy Easter holiday, with technology stocks also underperforming; the energy sub-index the only sector gaining in Europe in Tuesday trading as investors digest the recent rally in crude prices. Meanwhile in Russia equities fell for a second day with the benchmark MOEX Index dropping as Russia’s military pressed on with its offensive in southern and eastern Ukraine, with President Volodymyr Zelenskiy saying Moscow had launched a new campaign focused on conquering the Donbas region. The MOEX dropped as much as 3.2%, adding to declines of 3.4% on Monday with Lukoil, Sberbank and Gazprom leading losses. Here are some of Europe's biggest movers: TotalEnergies rises as much as 3.6% to the highest level since the end of last month after reporting higher refining margins, as well as better liquids and gas prices Spectris gains as much as 6.3% after the firm said it will sell its Omega Engineering business to Arcline Investment Management for $525m, and also announced a GBP300m buyback program Carrefour climbs as much as 3% as Berenberg upgrades to buy from hold, saying that higher inflation is making the food retail sector more challenging, but will also reveal outperformers Virbac advances as much as 11% after the French maker of veterinary products raised the top end of its sales growth forecast. Oddo upgraded the stock to outperform. Food delivery shares lead European tech lower as U.S. Treasury yields touch new highs following a hawkish comment from a Federal Reserve President, Just Eat Takeaway -4.5%; Delivery Hero -2.5% European consumer staples and luxury stocks fall as markets reopen after a 4-day break, with higher inflation and looming interest-rate hikes at the forefront of investor worries L’Oreal, which reports 1Q sales after the market close today, slumps as much as 4.1%; LVMH decreases as much as 1.9%, Hermes down as much as 4% Wizz Air drops as much as 6.1% after being downgraded to reduce at HSBC, with the broker saying the low-cost airline’s decision to not hedge its fuel prior to the outbreak of the Ukraine war could bite Adevinta falls as much as 9.8% after Bank of America downgraded to underperform from neutral on Thursday, due to the classifieds business’s large exposure to the automotive sector Elior and SSP Group shares retreat after both are downgraded to hold from buy at Deutsche Bank on downside risks; Elior down as much as 3.7%, SSP as much as 6.1% Earlier in the session, Hong Kong technology names declined on ongoing concerns over regulation. China dropped as investors assessed measures to tackle economic headwinds from Covid-led lockdowns. Asian stocks declined for a third day, as continued concerns over China’s regulatory crackdowns and the prospect of aggressive monetary-policy tightening by the Federal Reserve weighed on sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 0.6%, with Chinese technology shares including Tencent and Alibaba the biggest drags after Beijing announced a “clean-up” of the video industry. Hong Kong stocks were the worst performers around the region as trading resumed after Easter holidays, while equities rose in Japan and South Korea. The People’s Bank of China on Monday announced measures to help businesses hit by Covid-19, as the latest economic data started to show the impact of extended lockdowns. Investors are awaiting further easing with the release of China’s loan prime rates on Wednesday, after the central bank last week announced a smaller-than-expected cut in the reserve requirement for banks. Whether policy support measures will “flow significantly into the economy will be on watch,” and market participants may “want to see signs of recovery before taking on more risks in that aspect,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a strategist at IG Asia Pte. Hawkish Fed member James Bullard raised the possibility of a 75 basis-point hike in interest rates. Concerns of inflation and moves by the Fed and other central banks to fight it have driven the recent global equity selloff, with the Asian benchmark down about 11% this year. In China, markets are also awaiting the release of banks’ benchmark lending rates on Wednesday after the People’s Bank of China reduced the reserve requirement ratio for most banks Friday but refrained from cutting interest rates. The latest policy measures “have really highlighted easing is required,” Gareth Nicholson, Nomura chief investment officer and head of discretionary portfolio management, said on Bloomberg Television. “The markets don’t believe enough has been done and they’re going to have to step it up.” Japanese equities gained, rebounding after two days of losses as the continued weakening of the yen bolstered exporters. Electronics and auto makers were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which rose 0.8%. Tokyo Electron and Advantest were the largest contributors to a 0.7% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen extended declines to a 13th straight day, its longest losing streak on record, falling through 128 per dollar. Australian stocks also advanced, with the S&P/ASX 200 index rising 0.6% to close at 7,565.20 as trading resumed following Easter holidays. The energy and materials sectors gained the most.  Cleanaway was among the biggest gainers, climbing the most since April 2021 after a media report said KKR has been preparing an offer for the Australian waste management company. City Chic Collective was the biggest decliner, falling to its lowest since December 2020. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.5% to 11,835.88. In rates, Treasuries slipped, with yields rising by as much as 6bps in the long end of the curv, however they traded off session lows reached during European morning as those markets reopened after a four-day holiday. Yields beyond the 5-year are higher by 3bp-4bp, 10-year by 3.3bp at 2.89% after rising above 2.90% earlier; U.K. and most euro-zone 10-year yields are higher by at least 5bp, correcting spreads vs U.S. created Monday when those markets were closed. The yield curve continues to steepen; 7- to 30-year yields reached new YTD highs, nearly 3% for 30-year. Japanese government bonds were mixed. Focal points for U.S. session are corporate new-issue calendar expected to include more financial offerings and comments by Chicago Fed President Evans. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed, after earlier rising to its highest since July 2020, and the dollar fell against almost all of its Group-of-10 peers. Commodity-related currencies and the Swedish krona were the best performers while the Japanese currency fell versus all of its G-10 peers. The yen extended its longest-losing streak in at least half a century, and touched 128.45 per dollar, its weakest level since May 2002, amid concerns over further widening in yield differentials. The euro reversed an Asia session loss even amid another round of bearish option bets in the front-end due to political risks. Bunds extended a slump, underperforming Treasuries, before a five-year debt sale and as money markets increased ECB tightening wagers. The Australian dollar surged against the yen to levels last seen almost seven year ago. RBA minutes said quicker inflation and a pickup in wage growth have moved up the likely timing of the first interest-rate increase since 2010. The New Zealand dollar also advanced; RBNZ Governor Orr reiterated the central bank’s aggressive rate stance. The pound was little changed and gilts slid, sending the U.K. 10-year yield to the highest since 2015 as money markets bet on a faster BOE policy tightening path. In commodities, crude futures declined. WTI trades within Monday’s range, falling 1.5% to trade around $106. Brent falls 1.5% to ~$111. Most base metals trade in the green; LME copper rises 1.4%, outperforming peers. Spot gold is down 0.1% to $1,977/oz. Bitcoin was flat and holding steady at the bottom of the sessions USD 40.6-41.2k parameters. Looking at the day ahead, data is light with US March building permits, housing starts, and Canada March existing home sales. The IMF will also release their 2022 World Economic Outlook. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,401.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 456.07 MXAP down 0.4% to 171.55 MXAPJ down 0.3% to 570.60 Nikkei up 0.7% to 26,985.09 Topix up 0.8% to 1,895.70 Hang Seng Index down 2.3% to 21,027.76 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,194.03 Sensex up 0.5% to 57,438.93 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.6% to 7,565.21 Kospi up 1.0% to 2,718.89 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.91% Euro up 0.2% to $1.0808 Brent Futures down 0.7% to $112.40/bbl Brent Futures down 0.7% to $112.40/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,979.91 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 100.73 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Record numbers of U.K. business leaders expect operating costs to soar this year as inflation proves more sticky than thought, according to a survey by Deloitte French President Emmanuel Macron led his rival Marine Le Pen 55.5% to 44.5% ahead of the run-off presidential election set for April 24, according to a polling average calculated by Bloomberg on April 19. The gap between them has widened from the 8.2 percentage points recorded on April 15 Nationalist leader Marine Le Pen never led in the three campaigns she’s run for France’s top job, but a protectionist stance on economic issues in recent years has allowed her to reach some voters who traditionally backed left- wing candidates China’s central bank announced a spate of measures to help an economy which has been hit by lockdowns to control the current Covid outbreak, but the focus on boosting credit likely means the chances for broad-based easing are shrinking A more detailed breakdown courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks saw a mixed performance as more markets reopened and trade picked up from the holiday lull. ASX 200 gained on return from the extended weekend, led by strength in commodity-related sectors and top-weighted financials. Nikkei 225 briefly reclaimed the 27k level as continued currency depreciation underscored the Fed and BoJ policy divergence. Hang Seng was pressured as it took its first opportunity to react to the PBoC’s underwhelming policy decisions and with tech hit after Shanghai's market regulator summoned 12 e-commerce platforms including Meituan on price gouging during COVID outbreaks. Shanghai Comp was choppy as participants mulled over the latest virus-related developments including an increase in Shanghai deaths and the lockdown of five districts in the steel producing hub of Tangshan, although policy support pledges from the PBoC and NDRC ultimately provided a cushion. Top Asian News Japan’s Stepped-Up Warnings Fail to Stem Yen’s Slide Past 128 China’s Promises to Support Covid-Hit Economy Fail to Impress China Tech Stocks Slump on Didi Delisting Plan, Regulation Woes Sri Lanka Officially Requests Rapid IMF Funds Amid Crisis European bourses are negative on the session but were choppy and rangebound for much of the morning before dropping further amid renewed yield upside, Euro Stoxx 50 -1.4%. Stateside, US futures have given up their initial positive performance and are now lower across the board, ES -0.3%, and the NQ -0.4% lags given yield action; session is focused on Fed speak and earnings with NFLX due. Truist Financial Corp (TFC) Q1 2022 (USD): Adj. EPS 1.23 (exp. 1.10), Revenue 5.32bln (exp. 5.47bln) Top European News Stellantis Idles One of Russia’s Last Auto Plants Left Running Commodities Trader Gunvor Doubled Profits on Hot Gas Market European Gas Falls to Lowest Since Russian Invasion of Ukraine Credit Suisse’s Top China Banker Tu Steps Aside for New Role FX: USD/JPY breezes through more option barriers and disregards more chat from Japanese officials about demerits of Yen weakness; pair pulls up just pips shy of 128.50. DXY tops 101.000 in response before pulling back as Europeans return from long Easter break. Aussie outperforms as RBA minutes highlight more recognition about inflationary environment externally and internally. Kiwi next best G10 currency as RBNZ Governor Orr underlines that policy is being weighted towards anchoring inflation expectations; AUD/USD hovers under 0.7400 and NZD/USD around 0.6750 Euro trying to hold near 1.0800 where 1.3bln option expiry interest rolls off at the NY cut, Pound regains 1.3000 plus status and Loonie pivots 1.2600 on the eve of Canadian CPI. Yuan close to 6.4000 ahead of Chinese LPR rate verdict on Wednesday amidst heightened easing expectations. Fixed income: EU bonds correct lower after long Easter holiday weekend then pick up the baton to push US Treasuries even lower; Bunds giving up 154.00 and dropping to a 153.58 trough in short order and USTs lower to the tune of 7 ticks. Decent demand for German Bobls, but high price in terms of yield and a larger retention - limited relief seen in the benchmark, given broader action. Benchmark 10 year cash rates approaching new psychological marks of 1.0%, 2.0% and 3.0% in Bunds, Gilts and T-notes respectively. Commodities Crude benchmarks are softer after yesterday's firmer session, which was driven by Libya supply concerns, currently moving in tandem with broader equity performance awaiting fresh geopolitical developments. Currently, WTI and Brent are modestly above session lows which reside sub USD 106/bbl and USD 111/bbl respectively. OPEC+ produced 1.45mln BPD below targets during March, via Reuters citing a report; compliance 157% (132% in February). Spot gold and silver are contained with the yellow metal pivoting USD 1975/oz while copper derives further impetus from Peru protest activity. MMG said protesters at the Las Bambas copper mine alleged a failure to comply with social investment commitments, while it rejected the allegations and noted that Las Bambas will be unable to continue copper output as of April 20th. US Event Calendar 08:30: March Building Permits MoM, est. -2.4%, prior -1.9%, revised -1.6% 08:30: March Housing Starts MoM, est. -1.6%, prior 6.8% 08:30: March Building Permits, est. 1.82m, prior 1.86m, revised 1.87m 08:30: March Housing Starts, est. 1.74m, prior 1.77m Central Bank Speakers 12:05: Fed’s Evans Speaks to Economic Club of New York DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap Welcome back to another holiday-shortened week for many markets. What it lacks in tier one data releases, it makes up for with heavy hitting central bank speakers and a core European Presidential election. We’re also wading into the thick of earnings season, while the on-running war in Ukraine has the potential to tip markets in any direction at the speed of a headline. Starting with the central bankers, President Lagarde and Chair Powell will sit on an IMF panel to discuss the global economy in the last Fed communications before their May meeting blackout period. The Fed has primed markets for a +50bp hike in May, and pricing has obliged, with futures placing a 98.1% probability of a +50bp rise, along with +246bps of tightening for the entire year. Governor Bailey won’t miss out on the action and is also delivering an address Thursday. Other Fed regional Presidents will speak throughout the week, with the Fed’s Beige Book due Wednesday. The IMF, meanwhile, will release their global outlook later today. As a reminder, DB Research updated our World Outlook earlier this month, where we are calling for recessions in the US and the euro area within the next two years. Plenty more in the link here. US earnings season will diversify beyond the financials-heavy slate from last week. Today is a nice microcosm of the change up, showcasing earnings from Johnson & Johnson, Halliburton, Hasbro, Lockheed Martin, Netflix, and IBM. On data the rest of the week, we’ll receive German PPI and Canadian CPI Wednesday, along with global PMIs Friday. US housing data dot the rest of the week, as we unravel the competing threads of tight inventories, heightened demand, and supply constraints, against higher mortgage rates on housing activity. Finally, the second round of the French Presidential election is this coming Sunday. Politico’s latest polling aggregates still have incumbent President Macron outpacing Marine Le Pen by around 9% in Sunday’s runoff. Our Europe team has their takeaways from the first round here. The ECB’s April meeting garnered top billing during the EMR’s long weekend (our Euro econ team’s full review here). Overlaid on an inflationary backdrop, the Governing Council is weighing the downside risk to growth against the upside risk to inflation stemming from the recent conflict. While uncertainty pervades, the latter risks are more pressing, which drove their decision to signal net APP purchases would end in Q3, paving the way for policy rate liftoff later this year. Our economists expect the last APP net purchases will occur in July, with the risk skewed toward June, with a +25bp liftoff in September. Markets have +11.8bps of hikes priced by July, +35.6bps by September, and +64.4bps of hikes through 2022. There was no new tool to address market fragmentation, though the ECB signaled imperfect policy transmission would not stand in the way of lifting rates and a new tool would be created if need be. 10yr BTP spreads were -5.0bps tighter to bunds over the week, and +3.3bps wider the day of the meeting. Elsewhere, as mentioned, a suite of US financials reported. Looking through the releases, it seems most FICC trading desks benefitted from the quarter of volatility and higher rates are set to improve margins. However, the prospect of an economic slowdown or potential exposures to war fallout cloud the outlook. S&P 500 financials were -2.65% lower on the week. Taking a longer view of last week, sovereign yields marched higher on the back of tighter expected monetary policy, and the yield curve’s recent sharp steepening continued. 10yr Treasury and bund yields respectively increased +12.8bps (+12.9bps Thursday, +2.5bps yesterday) and +13.5bps (+7.6bps Thursday) with continued heightened volatility. Real yields drove most of the gains in the US (+10.2bps for the week, +4.6bps Thursday, -1.0bps yesterday), ending the week at -0.09%, the highest level since early 2020. 10yr real yields are now +101.7bps higher this year, having had their climb only briefly interrupted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The 2s10s Treasury curve steepened +19.1bps (+2.5bps Friday, +2.9bps yesterday). There were not many positives to hang onto in Ukraine last week. Negotiation progress turned sour, President Biden labeled Russia’s invasion a ‘genocide’, and the US upped the provision of heavy weaponry to Ukraine, which was met with a diplomatic warning from Russia. The EU also pledged additional aid, while Finland began the process of applying for NATO membership and Sweden is reportedly considering the same. On the ground, Russian forces continued their eastern offensive, surrounding Ukrainian defenders of the port city Mariupol. Along with the drag on sentiment, the International Energy Agency warned the full disruption to Russian oil supply had yet to bind, with as much as 3 million barrels of oil per day coming offline starting in May. Brent crude futures therefore climbed +8.7% (+2.68% Thursday, +1.31% yesterday), and closed yesterday at $113.16/bbl, their highest level in three weeks. The S&P 500 fell -2.13% (-1.21% Thursday, -0.02% yesterday in a very quiet session) while the STOXX 600 managed to lose just -0.2% after a +0.7% rally Thursday into the holiday. In the S&P, energy (+3.53%) outperformed given the oil spike, while large cap stocks underperformed on the valuation hit wrought by rising yields, with FANG+ falling -4.81% (-3.16% Thursday, +0.25% yesterday). Asian equity markets are ambivalent about returning after a long holiday, with the Hang Seng (-2.80%) leading regional losses. Mainland Chinese stocks are faring better, with the CSI dipping -0.38% while the Shanghai Composite is -0.03% lower. This, following the PBOC announcing yesterday increased financial support for industries, businesses, and people affected by Covid-19. Elsewhere, the Nikkei (+0.12%) and the Kospi (+0.90%) are up. Outside of Asia, S&P 500 (+0.20%) and Nasdaq (+0.28%) futures are both trading higher. The RBA minutes overnight signaled they are not too far from joining the global tightening cycle, as they expect inflation to further increase above target. The yen extended its depreciation streak against the US dollar, falling -0.58% to 127.73 per dollar, the weakest level since May 2002, as diverging monetary policy paths take their toll. Oil prices and 10yr Treasury yields are little changed overnight; brent futures are +0.19% higher, while 10yr Treasury yields are -1.5bps lower. To the day ahead, data is light on top of the aforementioned earnings, with US March building permits, housing starts, and Canada March existing home sales. The IMF will also release their 2022 World Economic Outlook. Tyler Durden Tue, 04/19/2022 - 08:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 19th, 2022

Futures Rise Boosted By JNJ Split As Treasuries, Dollar Slide

Futures Rise Boosted By JNJ Split As Treasuries, Dollar Slide U.S. equity index futures were slightly up at the end of a volatile week, trading in a narrow 20 point range for the second day in a row, while Treasuries resumed declines in response to the recent shock inflation data from the world’s largest economies. Contracts on the three main U.S. gauges were higher, with Johnson & Johnson rising in premarket trading after saying it will split into two companies, while tech stocks again led gains at the end of a week scarred by deepening concerns over prolonged inflation. All the major U.S. indexes were set for a more than 1% weekly drop, their first since the week ended Oct. 1, as hot inflation numbers sapped investor sentiment and halted an earnings-driven streak of record closing highs. At 7:15 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 106 points, or 0.3%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 8.5 points, or 0.18%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 40.25points, or 0.25%. The same bullish sentiment that lifted US futures pushed European shares up as luxury shares gained after Cartier owner Richemont posted better-than-forecast earnings, offsetting a drop in travel stocks. Asian shares also climbed, helped by a rally in Japan. At the same time, Treasuries resumed a selloff after a trading holiday Thursday, with this week’s shock US inflation figures still reverberating through the bond market. Five-year notes led losses on concern the price pressure will force the Federal Reserve to raise rates earlier than anticipated. A gauge of the yield curve flattened to the least since March 2020. While global stocks are set for their first weekly drop since early October, their swings have been muted compared with the gyrations in the bond market. Investor focus on a strong earnings season has tempered worries about higher inflation. “Inflation could remain elevated in the coming months, and each inflation release that comes in above expectations has the potential to cause volatility in rate and equity markets, but we still don’t expect inflation to derail the equity rally,” Mark Haefele, chief investment officer at UBS Global Wealth Management, wrote in a note. In US premarket trading, Johnson & Johnson jumped 4.7% in premarket trading after the drugmaker said it is planning to break up into two companies focused on its consumer health division and the large pharmaceuticals unit. Shares of the GAMMA giga techs (fka as FAAMG) also inched up. Tesla’s boss Elon Musk sold even more shares of the electric car maker, regulatory filings showed, after offloading about $5 billion worth of stock following a poll he posted on Twitter. The sale news naturally pushed TSLA stock price higher.  A gauge of U.S.-listed Chinese stocks jumped more than 5%, helped by Alibaba’s blowout Singles’ Day shopping festival and a report that Didi is getting ready to relaunch its apps. Rivian shares gain as much as 5% in U.S. premarket trading, extending the surge for the EV maker seen since its IPO this week which has sent its market value over $100b. Rivian trading at $122.99 in at 5am in New York, compared to IPO price of $78 Rising price pressures across the globe have been a top concern for market participants, with focus now shifting towards how consumer spending would fare as the holiday shopping season approaches. “The risk-on trading stance remains,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at ActivTrades in London. “However, markets are likely to remain volatile as investors will need to have more clues on where both the economy and monetary policies are going.” In Europe, gains for consumer and retail stocks balanced out declines for mining and energy companies. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index fluctuated as Bank of America strategists predicted a fall of at least 10% for the continent’s equities by early next year. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Richemont shares jump as much as 9.8% to a record high, with analysts seeing scope for earnings estimates to be upgraded after the company reported first-half results that Citigroup described as “stellar.” Peer Swatch also bounced. Renault shares gain as much as 4.6% after Morgan Stanley upgraded the French automaker to overweight, saying it should have a stronger 2022 if it can raise production levels from a currently low base. Deutsche Telekom rises as much as 3% with analysts highlighting a good revenue performance and upgraded earnings and cash flow guidance as key positives from its earnings. Intertrust shares surge as much as 40% after the trust and corporate-services firm entered talks to be acquired by private-equity firm CVC. AstraZeneca falls as much as 5.9% after the drugmaker’s 3Q results missed estimates, with analysts noting a big miss for cancer drug Tagrisso. Wise shares sink as much as 8.8% after the money-transfer company won’t be added to an MSCI index in the latest rejig as some investors had expected. JDE Peet’s, Atos and Investor AB also all moved after the MSCI review. Fortum shares decline as much as 3.6% after the Finnish utility’s 3Q sales missed estimates. Uniper, in which Fortum owns a 75% stake, also slid after Fortum said it stopped share purchases in the German group in July owing to high prices. Avon Protection plummet as much as 44% after it warned of testing failures for some body-armor plates ordered by the U.S. military. SimCorp shares drop as much as 7.1% after the financial software and services company’s 3Q earnings, with Handelsbanken calling the quarter “weak,” and saying it raises doubts for the 2022 outlook Earlier in the session, Asia’s regional benchmark advanced, on track for a second day of gains, after sales in the Singles’ Day shopping festival boosted optimism. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index rose as much as 0.9%, with materials and communication stocks driving the benchmark. Tencent climbed 1.6%, after it bought a Japanese game studio and sold HengTen Networks shares. JD.com gained 5.2% after it received record Singles’ Day orders. Adding to sentiment were the mandate for China’s President Xi Jinping to potentially rule for life, which may mean policy continuity and fewer regulatory surprises and Goldman Sachs’ upgrade of offshore China stocks. A report that Didi Global is getting ready to relaunch apps in China further fueled optimism. “Investors are hoping that greenshoots of a loosening of reforms are upon us,” said Justin Tang head of Asian research at United First Partners. It’s clear “tech shares got a little boost from Singles’ Day and the anointing of Xi as forever leader.” JD.com Shines in Muted Singles Day After Sales Beat: Street Wrap South Korea and Japan benchmarks posted the top gains in the region. Australia’s shares also advanced, boosted by mining stocks. Japanese equities also rose, following gains in U.S. peers, erasing virtually all of their losses from earlier in the week. Electronics makers and telecoms were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which gained 1.3%. All 33 industry groups were in the green except energy products. Tokyo Electron and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.1% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen has weakened more than 1% against the dollar since Tuesday. “It’s a favorable environment for risk-taking thanks to China,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JP Morgan Asset Management in Tokyo, referring to Evergrande’s latest interest payment. Rising U.S. yields and a weaker yen “may serve as a trigger for foreign investors to re-evaluate Japanese equities and shift their focus to stocks here.” Indian stocks also rose, snapping three sessions of declines, boosted by gains in software exporter Infosys. The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 1.3% to 60,686.69 to a two-week high and completed a second successive week of gains with a 1% advance. The NSE Nifty 50 Index increased 1.3% on Friday. All 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. rose, led by a measure of technology companies. In earnings, of the 45 Nifty 50 companies that have announced results so far, 29 have either met or exceeded consensus analyst expectations, 15 have missed estimates, while one couldn’t be compared. Oil & Natural Gas Corp. and Coal India are among those scheduled to announce results today.  Expectations of the U.S. Fed raising interest rates earlier than expected after a surge in inflation weighed on most emerging markets this week. In India, consumer prices probably quickened for the first time in five months in October, according to economists in a Bloomberg survey. The data will be released on Friday after market hours.   In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed, even as the dollar added to gains versus most its Group-of-10 peers, and Treasury yields rose across the curve on concern that rising U.S. inflation would warrant earlier rate hikes. The euro hovered around a more than a one-year low of $1.1450. The pound extended an Asia session advance and was the best performer among G-10 peers; the currency still heads for a third week of losses, having touched its lowest level since Christmas and options suggest the move may have legs to follow. Australian and New Zealand dollars are headed for back-to-back weekly declines as rising Treasury yields stoke further demand for the greenback; A 60% drop in the price of iron ore signals a blow to the Australian government’s efforts to stabilize the fiscal position following massive spending to support the economy through the coronavirus pandemic.Meanwhile, the ruble extended its losses, tracking a decline in Brent crude, as tensions flared up between Russia and Western nations over energy supplies and migrants. The currency tumbled as much as 1.1% to 72.4375 per dollar after the U.S. sounded out its EU allies that Russia may invade Ukraine. That made the ruble the worst performing currency in emerging markets.  In rates, Treasuries were off session lows, but cheaper by 2bp-3bp across belly of the curve which underperforms as reopened cash market catches up with Thursday’s slide in futures. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.566%, cheaper by 2bp on the day, while 5-year topped at 1.262% in early Asia session; curve is flatter amid belly-led losses, with 5s30s spread tighter by ~1bp on the day after touching 63.7bp, lowest since March 2020. On the 2s5s30s fly, belly cheapened 3.5bp on the day, re-testing 2018 levels that were highest since 2008. Bunds advanced, led by the front end, while Italian bonds slid across the curve, pushing the 10-year yield above 1% for the first time since Nov. 4, as money markets held on to aggressive ECB rate-hike bets. The Asia session was relatively calm, while during the European morning, Italian bonds lagged as futures continue to price in aggressive ECB policy. Treasury options activity in U.S. session has included downside protection on 5-year sector, where yields reached YTD high.     In commodities, crude futures dip to lowest levels for the week: WTI drops 1.4% before finding support near $80, Brent dips 1% back onto a $81-handle. Spot gold drifts lower near $1,852/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME aluminum, nickel and tin post modest gains, copper and zinc lag. Looking at the day ahead, data releases from the US include the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for November, as well as the JOLTS job openings for September. In the Euro Area, there’ll also be industrial production for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from New York Fed President Williams, ECB Chief Economist Lane, and the BoE’s Haskel. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,646.50 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 485.18 MXAP up 0.8% to 199.85 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 653.35 Nikkei up 1.1% to 29,609.97 Topix up 1.3% to 2,040.60 Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 25,327.97 Shanghai Composite up 0.2% to 3,539.10 Sensex up 1.3% to 60,697.82 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.8% to 7,443.05 Kospi up 1.5% to 2,968.80 Brent Futures down 1.3% to $81.83/bbl Gold spot down 0.5% to $1,853.43 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 95.20 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.23% Euro little changed at $1.1441 Top Overnight News From Bloomberg Inflation is soaring across the euro area, but it’s also diverging by the most in years in a further complication for the European Central Bank’s ongoing pandemic stimulus The White House is debating whether to act immediately to try to lower U.S. energy prices or hold off on dramatic measures in the hope markets settle, as President Joe Biden’s concern about inflation runs up against climate, trade and foreign policy considerations Reports U.S. is concerned that Russia may be planning to invade Ukraine are “empty and unfounded efforts to exacerbate tensions,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov says on conference call Financial problems faced by institutions like China Evergrande Group are “controllable” and spillovers from the nation’s markets to the rest of the world are limited, a former central bank adviser said Hapag-Lloyd AG warned that a crunch in global container shipments could persist into next year, with labor negotiations, environmental pressures and disruptive weather combining to hamper goods flows Japan’s government plans to compile an economic stimulus package of more than 40 trillion yen ($350 billion) in fiscal spending, according to the Nikkei newspaper President Xi Jinping appeared more certain than ever to rule China well into the current decade, as senior Communist Party officials declared that the country had reached a new “historical starting point” under his leadership Italian President Sergio Mattarella tried to quash speculation that he could stay on for a second term, leaving Prime Minister Mario Draghi as the top contender for the role early next year A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly higher heading into the weekend as the region attempted to build on the somewhat mixed performance stateside, where price action was contained amid Veterans Day and with US equity futures also slightly picking up from the quasi-holiday conditions. ASX 200 (+0.8%) was lifted in which mining stocks and the tech industry spearheaded the broad gains across sectors aside from healthcare as Ramsay Health Care remained pressured after it recently announced a near-40% decline in Q1 net profit. Nikkei 225 (+1.1%) was underpinned with Japanese exporters benefitting from recent favourable currency flows and with the biggest stock movers influenced by a deluge of earnings. Hang Seng (+0.3%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) were indecisive with Hong Kong tech stocks encouraged after e-commerce retailers Alibaba and JD.com posted record Singles Day sales, despite a deceleration in revenue growth from the shopping festival to its slowest annual pace since its conception in 2009 amid a toned-down event due to Beijing’s tech crackdown and emphasis on common prosperity. Conversely, mainland bourses were indecisive following a neutral liquidity operation by the PBoC and after US President Biden recently signed the Secure Equipment Act which prevents companies deemed as security threats from receiving new equipment licences from US regulators, which comes ahead of Monday’s potential Biden-Xi virtual meeting. Finally, 10yr JGBs were lower due to a lack of momentum from US treasuries as cash bond markets were closed for the federal holiday, with demand for JGBs also hampered by the gains in stocks and lack of BoJ purchases in the government debt market. Top European News Macron and Draghi Have Plans to Fill the Void Left by Merkel Johnson Burns Through Political Capital Built Up With Tory MPs JPMorgan Hires Zahn as Head of DACH Equity Capital Markets Hapag-Lloyd CEO Says Global Shipping Crunch Could Extend in 2022 European equities (Stoxx 600 -0.1%) have seen a relatively directionless start to the session with the Stoxx 600 set to close the week out with modest gains of around 0.4%. Macro updates have been particularly sparse thus far with today’s data docket also relatively light (highlights include US JOLTS and Uni. of Michigan sentiment). The handover from the APAC region was a predominantly positive one as Japanese equities benefited from favourable currency dynamics and Chinese markets focused on the fallout from Singles Day which saw record sales for Alibaba and JD.com. Stateside, futures are also relatively directionless (ES -0.1%) ahead of aforementioned US data points and Fedspeak from NY Fed President Williams (voter), who will be speaking on heterogeneity in macroeconomics. The latest BofA Flow Show revealed USD 7.3bln of inflows for US equities, whilst tech stocks saw outflows of USD 1.6bln; the largest outflow since June. In Europe, equities saw their largest outflows in seven weeks with USD 1.7bln of selling. In a separate note, BofA projects 10+% of downside by early next year for European stocks amid weakening growth momentum and rising bond yields. Sectors in Europe are mixed with outperformance seen in Personal & Household Goods with Richemont (+8.6%) shares boosted following better-than-expected Q3 results. LVMH (+1.4%) also gained at the open following reports that the Co. could consider opening duty-free stores in China. Telecom names are firmer with Deutsche Telekom (+2.6%) one of the best performers in the DAX after posting solid results and raising guidance. To the downside, commodity-exposed names are lagging peers with Basic Resources and Oil & Gas names hampered by price action in their underlying markets. FTSE-100 heavyweight AstraZeneca (-4.4%) sits at the foot of the index after Q3 profits fell short of expectations. Finally, Renault (+4.3%) is the best performer in the CAC after being upgraded to overweight from equalweight at Morgan Stanley with MS expecting the Co. to have a better year next year. Top Asian News JPMorgan Japan Stocks Downgrade Shows Doubts Before Stimulus Japan Stimulus Package to Top 40 Trillion Yen, Nikkei Reports Hon Hai Warns Chip Shortage Will Outweigh IPhone Boost to Sales AirAsia X Gets Over 95% Support From Creditors for Revamp In FX, it would be far too premature to suggest that the Buck’s winning streak is over, but having rallied so far in relatively short order some consolidation is hardly surprising, especially on a Friday in between a semi US market holiday and the weekend. Hence, the index is hovering just above 95.000 within a 95.078-266 range after a minor extension from yesterday’s peak to set a new 2021 best, and the Dollar is on a more mixed footing vs basket components plus other G10 and EM counterparts, awaiting the return of those not in on Veteran’s Day, JOLTS, preliminary Michigan sentiment and Fed’s Williams for some fresh or additional impetus and direction. GBP/CAD - The Pound and Loonie are flanking the major ranks even though the latest retreat in Brent and WTI is pretty uniform from a change on the day in Usd terms perspective, so it seems like Sterling is getting a boost from a downturn in the Eur/Gbp cross ahead of the UK-EU showdown on Brexit and Article 16, while Usd/Cad remains bullish on technical impulses before the BoC’s Q3 Senior Loan Officer Survey. Cable has bounced from just over 1.3350 to retest 1.3400 with Eur/Gbp probing 0.8550 to the downside, but Usd/Cad is probing 1.2600 irrespective of the Greenback stalling. AUD/JPY - Both fractionally firmer as the Buck takes another breather, though the Aussie is also deriving some traction from favourable Aud/Nzd tailwinds again. Aud/Usd has pared losses sub-0.7300 as the cross hovers around 1.0400, while Usd/Jpy has retreated from around 114.30 towards 1.9 bn option expiries at the 114.00 strike amidst reports that the Japanese Government's economic stimulus package will increase to Yen 40+ tn in fiscal spending, according to the Nikkei citing sources. EUR/NZD/CHF - The Euro is still hanging in following its close below a key technical level for a second consecutive session and fall further from the psychological 1.1500 mark, especially as better than forecast Eurozone ip has not prompted any upside, However, option expiry interest at 1.1450 (1.2 bn) may keep Eur/Usd afloat if only until the NY cut. Similarly, the Kiwi has not gleaned anything via a decent pick-up in NZ’s manufacturing PMI as Nzd/Usd clings to 0.7000+ status and the Franc remains under 0.9200 regardless of an acceleration in Swiss import and producer prices. SCANDI/EM - More transitory inflation remarks from Riksbank Governor Ingves are not helping the Sek fend off another dip through 10.0000 vs the Eur. but the Nok is getting protection from weaker oil prices via unusually large option expiries spanning the same big figure given 1.2 bn at 9.7500, 1.7 bn on the round number and 1 bn at 10.2000. Conversely, the Rub is underperforming as tensions rise around the Russian/Ukraine border and the Kremlin aims blame at the feet of the US alongside NATO, while the Try only just survived the latest assault on 10.00000 against the Usd in wake of below forecast Turkish ip and CBRT survey-based CPI projections for year end rising again. Elsewhere, the Mxn is softer following confirmation of a 25 bp Banxico hike on the basis that the verdict was not unanimous and some were looking for +50 bp, but the Zar retains an underlying bid after Thursday’s supportive SA MTBS and with Eskom reporting no load shedding at present, while the Cnh and Cny are holding gains in advance of the virtual Chinese/US Presidential meeting scheduled for Monday. In commodities, WTI and Brent are pressured in the European morning, experiencing more pronounced downside after a gradual decline occurred in APAC hours. However, the magnitude of today’s performance is comparably minimal when placed against that seen earlier in the week and particularly on Wednesday; in-spite of the earlier pronounced movements, benchmarks are currently set to end the week with losses of less than USD 1.00/bbl – albeit the range is in excess of USD 5.00/bbl. Newsflow this morning has been minimal and thus yesterday’s themes remain in-focus where a firmer USD likely continues to factor but more specifically COVID-19 concerns, with Germany’s Spahn on the wires, and geopolitics via Russia drawing attention. On the latter, tensions are becoming increasingly inflamed as the US said they are concerned that Russia could attack Ukraine and in response Russia said they are not a threat to anyone, but, says US military activity is aggressive and a threat. Moving to metals, spot gold and silver are softer on the session, but remain notably firmer on the week given the CPI-induced move. On this, UBS highlights the risk of additional inflation strength next year which could stoke further gold demand. Elsewhere, base metals are, broadly speaking, marginally softer given tentative APAC performance and the aforementioned COVID concerns, particularly those pertinent for China. In terms of associated bank commentary, SocGen looks for copper to average USD 9.2k/T and USD 8.0k/T in 2021 and 2022 respectively. US Event Calendar 10am: Sept. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 10.3m, prior 10.4m 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.9%, prior 4.8%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 72.5, prior 71.7; Current Conditions, est. 77.2, prior 77.7; Expectations, est. 68.8, prior 67.9 DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap there wasn’t much to speak of in markets yesterday as US bond markets were closed for Veterans Day and investors elsewhere continued to digest the bumper CPI print from the previous session. We did see a bit of residual concern at the prospect of a faster tightening in monetary policy, and implied rates on Eurodollar futures continued to climb, gaining between +4bps and +8bps on contracts maturing through 2023. However, on the whole equities were relatively unfazed on both sides of the Atlantic, and the S&P 500 (+0.06%) stabilised after 2 successive declines thanks to a bounceback among the more cyclical sectors. Looking at those moves in more depth, interest-sensitive tech stocks were a big outperformer yesterday as both the NASDSAQ (+0.52%) and the FANG+ index (+0.98%) of megacap tech stocks moved higher. Material stocks in the S&P (+0.85%) were another sectoral winner, and the VIX index of volatility (-1.07pts) ticked down from its 4-week high on Wednesday. In Europe, the advance was even more prominent, where the STOXX 600 (+0.32%), the DAX (+0.10%) and the CAC 40 (+0.20%) all reached fresh records. Indeed, for the STOXX 600, that now marks the 13th advance in the last 15 sessions, with the index having risen by over +6% in the space of a month. As mentioned, it was a quieter day for sovereign bond markets with the US not trading, but the sell-off continued in Europe as yields on 10yr bunds (+1.7bps), OATs (+1.4bps) and BTPs (+2.7bps) all moved higher. We didn’t get any fresh news on the Fed officials either given the US holiday, but a Washington Post article yesterday said that officials from the White House had stayed in touch with Governor Brainard since her meeting with President Biden last week, albeit still emphasising that no final decision had yet been made. Separately, Bloomberg reported that senior Biden advisors did not view the recent trading scandal at the Federal Reserve as disqualifying Chair Powell. US Treasury markets have reopened overnight, with 10yr yields following their European counterparts higher, moving up +1.4bps to 1.563%. That’s been driven by a +2.4bps rise in the real yield, though 10yr real yields still remain close to their all-time lows since TIPS started trading back in 1997. Otherwise in Asia, markets are mostly trading higher with the KOSPI (+1.48%), Nikkei (+1.07%) and Hang Seng (+0.22%) all advancing, though the Shanghai Composite (-0.01%) is basically unchanged whilst the CSI (-0.31%) is trading lower. Data showed further signs of inflationary pressures in the region, with South Korea’s import price index up +35.8% in October on a year-on-year basis, the highest since 2008. Elsewhere in India, Prime Minister Modi is expected to announce an opening up of the sovereign bond market to retail investors today, which comes amidst rising inflation concerns as well. Looking ahead, futures are indicating a positive start in the US and Europe with those on the S&P 500 (+0.16%) and the DAX (+0.15%) pointing higher. Turning to the geopolitical scene, it was reported by Bloomberg that US officials had briefed their counterparts in the EU about a potential Russian invasion of Ukraine. It follows a build-up in Russian forces near the Ukrainian border that have been reported more widely, and echoes a similar situation back in the spring. The Russian ruble weakened -0.57% against the US dollar yesterday in response, with the declines occurring after the report came out. This comes amidst a number of broader tensions in the region, and natural gas prices in Europe were up +6.66% yesterday after Belarus’ President Lukashenko threatened to cut the transit of gas if the EU placed additional sanctions on his regime. Meanwhile on Brexit, there were potential signs of compromise in the dispute over Northern Ireland, with the Telegraph reporting that the EU was prepared to improve its offer when it came to reducing customs checks. However, the report also said that this would be contingent on the UK ending its demands to remove the European Court of Justice’s role in overseeing the agreement. There has been growing speculation in recent days that the UK could be about to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures if the deal was causing serious issues. This would risk EU retaliation that could in theory even led to a suspension of the entire trade deal agreed last year, which is an option that has been talked up in recent weeks. For those wanting further reading on the issue, DB’s FX strategist Shreyas Gopal put out a note on Tuesday (link here) looking at the issues surrounding Article 16 and its implications for sterling. Another important thing to keep an eye on over the coming weeks will be any further signs of deterioration in the Covid-19 situation. Cases have been ticking up at the global level for around 4 weeks now, and a number of European countries (including Germany) have seen a major surge over the last few days. In the Netherlands, they actually set a record for the entire pandemic yesterday, and Prime Minister Rutte is due to hold a press conference today where it’s been speculated he’ll announce fresh restrictions. Separately in Austria, Chancellor Schallenberg said that a lockdown for the unvaccinated was “probably unavoidable”, and said that “I don’t see why two-thirds should lose their freedom because one-third is dithering”. On the data front, the only major release was the UK’s Q3 GDP reading yesterday, which surprised on the downside with growth of +1.3% (vs. +1.5% expected), even though Covid-19 restrictions were much easier in Q3 relative to Q2. To be fair, the monthly reading for September did surprise on the upside, with growth of +0.6% (vs. +0.4% expected), but it came as July and August saw downward revisions. On a monthly basis, the September reading meant the UK economy was just -0.6% beneath its pre-pandemic size in February 2020. To the day ahead now, and data releases from the US include the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for November, as well as the JOLTS job openings for September. In the Euro Area, there’ll also be industrial production for September. From central banks, we’ll hear from New York Fed President Williams, ECB Chief Economist Lane, and the BoE’s Haskel. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/12/2021 - 07:48.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 12th, 2021

3 Bets on an Ecommerce Industry That Remains in the Doldrums

Valuation still lags the tougher comps and therefore, relatively weaker prospects in the Electronic Commerce industry. The need for social distancing has become less of a driver for the ecommerce segment, which includes pureplays as well as traditional retailers with ecommerce capabilities. Accordingly, ecommerce sales in the last quarter were 6.6% above 1Q21 (up 2.4% sequentially), with total retail sales increasing 10.9% (up 3.7% sequentially). Ecommerce accounted for around 14.3% of total U.S. retail sales, a slight deceleration from each of the four preceding quarters. As these estimates from the Commerce Department indicate, some of the traffic that moved online during the initial months of the pandemic is moving back to stores. So there are difficult comps. Ecommerce continues to grow strongly off a small base, but with the reopening, physical retail is growing faster. Ecommerce continues to benefit from the race to digitization, consumer habits altering for good and supply chains adjusting to help the two sides meet.   Valuation, although still elevated, is still short of reflecting the relatively weaker prospects. But there are a number of smaller players that still look attractive. We’ve picked TZOO, DTC and JTKWY.About The IndustryInternet - Commerce continues to evolve as the technologies driving it advance.On the one side are increasingly powerful and capable user devices. On the other are sophisticated, AI-enabled software platforms facilitating transactions that are thereby, more capable of delivering user satisfaction. Social commerce and chatbots are further facilitating things.Differentiation comes from better technology for improved showcasing, easier navigation and payment, speedier delivery and returns, brand building, comparison shopping, loyalty, etc. which generally tip the scales in favor of larger players. Particularly because there is fierce price competition necessitating deep discounting, which keeps prices down.Amazon AMZN dominates, traditional retailers are rapidly digitizing and new players continue to emerge.Current Trends Driving The Internet-Commerce IndustryThe industry is seeing difficult comps as markets continue to open up after the pandemic-driven surge in sales over the last couple of years. While purchasing trends haven’t reversed entirely, the effect of more sales moving back to stores was only to be expected. Rising inflation, followed by rate hikes and an impending recession are also not the greatest thing to happen to retailers. And the supply chain and labor issues that started the crisis in the first place continue to drive up costs. Nobody really knows for sure when these issues will be resolved. Additionally, retailers have hugely bult up their digital infrastructure in order to deal with the surging demand, and idling this will add to costs. On a positive note, the importance of having a digital presence has never been greater. As American companies like Amazon and Walmart continue their march to conquer the world, it’s relevant for this outlook to include data that goes beyond the borders. Accordingly, global retail ecommerce grew around 16% in 2021. In 2022, most of the strength is expected to come from the Philippines, India, Indonesia and Brazil growing the fastest, by at least 22%. Total retail sales growth is expected to go from +9.7% in 2021 to +5.0% in 2022. Ecommerce will grow its share of total global retail sales from an estimated 21% this year to 24.5% by 2025. The top five ecommerce markets are China, U.S., UK, Japan and South Korea. Amazon’s share of U.S. ecommerce (expected to grow 16.1% this year according to Insider Intelligence) is around 40%, and the leading retailer is expected to grow 15.3% this year. Traditional retailers’ focus on digital initiatives including click and collect, cashierless checkout, contactless payment and digital signage should continue, despite customers returning to stores. Online retailers’ focus remains on social commerce, grocery sales and the buy-now-pay-later option. Both ecommerce pureplays and traditional retailers are balancing ecommerce sales with a physical presence because it is only proximity to a consumer that can facilitate quick delivery. So a hybrid/omnichannel model has become commonplace, allowing customized, quick and convenient delivery (BOPIS, curbside pickup) through apps. Self-driven delivery vehicles and drones are already on the horizon to deal with logistics problems and make deliveries smoother and cheaper.  Also, data mining has never been easier. Because of the many details involved in satisfying a customer, data mining has grown in importance over the years, with the party controlling the customer’s data being best positioned to identify and service demand while also delivering the desired experience. Most of the big ecommerce players are also into payments processing, which gives them further insight into a customer’s tastes, preferences and buying habits. As machines read and process this data, they can create programs and processes to maximize customer satisfaction and drive sales. Artificial intelligence such as that used by companies like Amazon already decides how competitive a player is. But as time goes by, more and more retailers are jumping on board and harnessing big data that has become imperative for survival. All said, companies moving online and existing players utilizing more advanced tools and analytics to increase their return on investment remain positives for the industry. At the same time, profitability could come in for some pressure (for some) as companies invest heavily in building out infrastructure to support the next leg of growth and deal with continued supply chain issues.Zacks Industry Rank Reflects Weak Near-Term GrowthThe Zacks Internet - CommerceIndustry is a rather large group within the broader Zacks Retail And WholesaleSector. It carries a Zacks Industry Rankof #210, which places it in the bottom 16% of more than 250 Zacks industries.Our research shows that the top 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries outperforms the bottom 50% by a factor of more than 2 to 1. So the group’s Zacks Industry Rank, which is basically the average of the Zacks Rank of all the member stocks, indicates weak near-term prospects.The industry’s positioning in the bottom 50% of the Zacks-ranked industries is the result of its relative performance versus others. As far as aggregate estimate revisions are concerned, it appears that analysts expect earnings to decline by 51.3% this year and by 68.4% in the next. The decline continues, as a lot of the sales that moved online because of the pandemic continues to move back to stores. Supply chain and labor issues are also increasing the cost of operation while amortization and other charges ride higher on the increased infrastructure buildup over the past few years.Before we present a few stocks that you may want to consider for your portfolio, let’s take a look at the industry’s recent stock-market performance and valuation picture.Industry Lags On Shareholder ReturnsThe Zacks Electronic - Commerce Industry has traded at a discount to both the broader Zacks Retail and Wholesale Sector as well as the S&P 500 index over the past year.So we see that the stocks in this industry have collectively lost 44.2% of their value over the past year, compared to the broader Zacks Retail and Wholesale Sector, which lost 31.5% and the S&P 500, which lost just 9.5%.One-Year Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIndustry's Current ValuationOn the price-to-forward 12 months’ earnings (P/E) basis, the industry still looks grossly overvalued (38.00X) with respect to both the S&P 500 (16.71X) and the broader retail sector (21.14X).On the basis of forward sales (P/S) however, the industry trades at its annual low of 1.48X, which trails the S&P 500’s 3.68X although it remains understandably higher than the sector’s 1.24X. Over the past year, the industry has traded as high as 2.70X, as low as 1.48X and at the median of 2.37X, as the chart below shows.Forward 12 Month Price-to-Sales (P/E) RatioImage Source: Zacks Investment Research3 Stocks Worth ConsideringWhile things don’t look exciting for the industry overall and its valuation is still too expensive, there are quite a large number of stocks to choose from. That’s because of the significant variety that exists in this industry in terms of lines of business, business model, location, and so forth. Here are a few that are worth buying today:Travelzoo (TZOO): New York- based Travelzoo provides travel, entertainment and local deals from travel and entertainment companies, as well as local businesses in Europe and North America (it is exiting the Asia Pacific business). It serves airlines, hotels, cruise lines, vacations packagers, tour operators, destinations, car rental companies, travel agents, theater and performing arts groups, restaurants, spas, and activity companies.Travelzoo has amassed around 30 million members that the company describes as being affluent, active and open to new experiences. This is a strong positive in an environment that continues to open up to travel. In the last quarter, Travelzoo reported North America revenue growth of 19% and Europe revenue growth of 66%.Analysts are extremely positive about its prospects both in 2022 and 2023. They currently expect Travelzoo’s revenue and earnings to grow a respective 27% and 622% in 2022and at strong double-digit rates in 2023 as well. The Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) company’s estimates are also moving up. The 2021 estimate is up 51.2% in the last 30 days.The shares are down 47.2% over the past year.Price & Consensus: TZOOImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSolo Brands, Inc. (DTC): Texas-based Solo Brands started out as a digitally native platform selling stoves and fire pits under the Solo Stove brand. Last year, it acquired three more outdoor lifestyle brands (Oru, ISLE and Chubbies) that significantly expanded its product range. The Oru brand brought kayaks, the ISLE brand brought paddle boards and the Chubbies brand brought swim trunks, casual shorts, sport products, polos, shirts and lounge products. Thus, the company became Solo Brands and launched its IPO in 2021. While it has a global supply chain, its products are sold in the U.S. And given the nature of its products, it enjoys seasonal strength in the second and fourth quarters.The pandemic has been both good and bad for Solo Brands. Bad because it necessitated social distancing, which made word-of-mouth referrals difficult. Since this is a primary driver of sales for the direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform, there was a certain negative impact. Word-of-mouth referrals for example had dropped to 26% of solostove.com orders in Mar 2020, but they recovered to 45% of orders in Mar 2021. Another negative was the supply chain, which increased freight and container shipping costs while also impacting product availability. But the pandemic was also positive because it increased consumer interest in outdoor living and outdoor recreation while also necessitating that they do their shopping online (which is how the company’s products are sold).Right now, Solo Brands is seeing very difficult comps in its direct-to-consumer business, but wholesale revenues and contribution from acquisitions are helping results. After the seasonally strong second quarter, it has some new product launches planned for the second half, which may be expected to support sales. As a result, the company reaffirmed its 2022 guidance.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the 2022 EPS is up 21.3% in the last 60 days. The Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) stock is down 73.1% since it started trading.Price & Consensus: DTCImage Source: Zacks Investment Research Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. (JTKWY): Amsterdam, the Netherlands-based Just Eat operates an online food delivery marketplace, connecting consumers and restaurants through its platforms. It has operations across most European countries, Australia, New Zealand and the U.S. (through its Grub Hub acquisition last year that is now looking to sell either partially or fully). In 2021, it had 580,000 restaurants in its network that generated 1.1 billion orders (up 33% over the prior year).Just Eat’s aggressive expansion drive has added a large number of restaurants to its network, thus expanding restaurant selection for its customers. In an environment where customer churn is set to increase (it added 20 million new customers since the pandemic started) the broader base of restaurants can be a deterrent. Without it, orders would most likely have been significantly lower in the first quarter instead of just flattish. Encouragingly, management continues to expect average monthly order frequency and returning consumers to remain above pre-pandemic and pandemic levels.The increasing level of regulatory scrutiny is a bit of a concern. In the U.S., some state regulators are looking to cap the fees that delivery companies can charge restaurants, mandating the sharing of customer details like names, phone numbers, mailing addresses and purchase histories when requested by restaurants and requiring delivery companies to break down their charges for consumers. The EU Commission's proposals to improve conditions for workers and help them access social protections is also a potential headwind.Management expects profitability on an EBITDA basis to be a 2023 phenomenon as the company is seeing very difficult comps this year in lieu of the strong demand during the pandemic. It has also put GrubHub on sale as the deal has not lived up to expectations. But profitability remains a focus point.The aggressive expansion is telling on this Zacks Rank #2 stock’s estimates as is the lowered expectations from GrubHub. The estimates therefore don’t look too encouraging at the moment. The expected loss for 2022 has dropped just a couple of cents over the last 60 days to 98 cents a share. The 2023 loss dropped a penny to 68 cents.The shares are down 79.4% since Jun 2021.Price Performance: JTKWYImage Source: Zacks Investment Research 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Travelzoo (TZOO): Free Stock Analysis Report Solo Brands, Inc. (DTC): Free Stock Analysis Report Just Eat Takeaway.com N.V. Sponsored ADR (JTKWY): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacks22 hr. 9 min. ago

Exxon CEO Warns That Consumers Will Pay For Hasty Energy Transition

Exxon CEO Warns That Consumers Will Pay For Hasty Energy Transition Authored by Tsvetana Paraskova via OilPrice.com, Exxon CEO Woods: consumers foot the bill of rushed energy transition. Exxon CEO: All new cars sold in the U.S. will be electric in 2040. Several years of low investment in supply have made energy markets vulnerable to price shocks. ExxonMobil expects all new cars sold two decades from now to be electric vehicles. But the U.S. supermajor also believes that people will “pay a high price” in this rush to renewables without providing the energy the society currently needs, Exxon’s chief executive Darren Woods told CNBC’s David Faber in an interview last week.  Exxon joins many other oil producers who say that governments and policymakers need to balance the drive to lower carbon emissions with the people’s current need for affordable energy. The recent underinvestment in traditional energy sources is a blow to energy supplies, which leads to high prices and record-high gasoline prices, Exxon’s CEO told CNBC. That’s the latest warning from the oil industry that policymakers should look at the short-term energy needs while planning for a low-carbon future.   Sure, it’s not unheard of for a large oil corporation to warn against a rushed transition. Still, the current global energy crisis with record-high gasoline prices vindicates all those executives and officials from Middle East’s oil-producing countries who have been warning for over a year that reduced investment in oil and gas would come back to bite consumers and governments.  After the first COVID lockdowns, many industry analysts predicted that this was the end of the global oil demand growth and that we would never again see oil demand as high as it was in 2019. But people did return to travel, and demand is on track to exceed pre-COVID levels next year, analysts say. Even the International Energy Agency (IEA), which said last year that no investment in new supply should be made if the world wants to reach net-zero by 2050, predicted in its latest monthly report that global demand would average a record 101.6 million barrels per day (bpd) and exceed pre-COVID levels in 2023. Moreover, the market turmoil due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine could even lead to supply struggling to keep pace with demand next year, as sanctions on Russia would curtail more supply when they officially enter into force at the end of this year.  The industry says the supply struggle is not only the result of the forever-changed global oil market with the Russian war in Ukraine and the Western sanctions against Russia’s oil exports. It’s also the result of several years of low investment in supply, and this is Exxon’s view, too.  The record-high gasoline prices in America are a source of renewed confrontation between the U.S. Administration and the oil industry.  Earlier this month, President Joe Biden called out Exxon and other oil companies for making excessive profits, saying that “Exxon made more money than God this year.” President Biden wants companies to produce more gasoline and lower gasoline bills for American consumers. “At a time of war, refinery profit margins well above normal being passed directly onto American families are not acceptable,” President Biden said in a letter to the industry.  Exxon said in response to the letter that in the short term, the U.S. government could enact measures often used in emergencies following hurricanes or other supply disruptions, such as waivers of Jones Act provisions and some fuel specifications to increase supplies.  “Longer term, government can promote investment through clear and consistent policy that supports U.S. resource development, such as regular and predictable lease sales, as well as streamlined regulatory approval and support for infrastructure such as pipelines,” the U.S. supermajor said.  Michael Wirth, CEO at the other supermajor in America, Chevron, replied to President Biden’s letter saying that notwithstanding Chevron’s efforts to boost oil and gas production over the past year, “your Administration has largely sought to criticize, and at times vilify, our industry. These actions are not beneficial to meeting the challenges we face and are not what the American people deserve.”  Looking beyond the short-term challenges—which the industry says could be avoided in future if the U.S. Administration changed tack and stopped pointing the finger at oil firms and choking its willingness and ability to invest in supply—even Exxon thinks all new car sales in 2040 would be EVs. This, however, is not expected to significantly hit Exxon’s business as chemicals and industrial fuels will be primary drivers of oil demand going forward, Exxon’s Woods told CNBC.    Referring to the advance of EVs, Woods said, “That change is going to come at some pace but that’s not going to make or break this business or this industry quite frankly.”   Tyler Durden Tue, 06/28/2022 - 13:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJun 28th, 2022

Inside a nuclear tomb: The underground store that"s humanity"s first attempt to dispose of nuclear waste for 100,000 years

The world's first large-scale underground nuclear waste disposal site has just finished construction. Tons of waste will be buried over 100 years. I visited Onkalo, the world's first commercial underground nuclear waste depository, which has just finished its construction in Finland.Marianne Guenot/Insider Radioactive waste from nuclear plants is stored in temporary facilities around the world. Finland has a different idea: burying the waste forever, 1,400 ft underground encased in metal. Insider visited the site near the Baltic Sea, which is opening soon. Here's what we saw. The world has a nuclear waste problem — hundreds of thousands of tonnes have been produced with no good place to put it.It typically goes in temporary facilities. Experts agree that a safe, permanent solution is needed.Finland is on the cusp of turning that into reality, beating countries like China, the US, and the UK to produce the world's first forever home for radioactive waste.Insider visited the site, called Onkalo, to see what it was like. Insider covered the costs of the trip, in line with our reporting policies.It took me further underground than I've ever been, into a facility that will soon be brimming with nuclear waste.Onkalo is a sprawling site, with 31 miles of tunnels that reach 1,300 feet under the ground.This is what Onkalo will look like when it is full.Posiva OyThe concept is simple: put the waste someplace far from people, where it can decay undisturbed.But this can take 100,000 years — and humans have never before had to plan for something to last remotely that long.The result is the Onkalo plant, the product of almost 20 years of work that will be in operation for another 100 years and will cost an estimated 3.5 billion euros ($3.7 billion) once it is full.   An annotated aerial view of the site.TVO/Insider.Here is what's at the site: A preparation plant, where the nuclear waste is encased in canisters made of iron and copper to protect it.3 miles of human access tunnels that spiral down to about 1,300 ft.An elevator shaft running straight down about 1,500 ft.A hive of sub-tunnels, where the waste will be sealed away forever.The facility aims to hold about 3,250 of these massive canisters, which are about 10 ft long or longer. In the end, it will store about 6,500 tonnes of the spent nuclear fuel in total.Posiva, the company that operates Onkalo, estimates that the tunnels will be full in about 100 to 120 years. Here is the way in to the access tunnels, seen from above.This slopped entrance leads to the entrance of the service tunnels.Tapani Karjanlahti/TVO/InsiderWe drove down in a van, deeper and deeper.This is what the entrance of the tunnel looks like.Marianne Guenot/InsiderThe trip took around 20 minutes.The tunnel was just wide enough for one vehicle. I was aware I'd never been this deep underground before.The tunnel seen from inside the van as we go down into Onkalo.Marianne Guenot/InsiderSigns at regular intervals reminded us how far we'd come — this green one marks 3.1 km, or 1.9 miles, to the surface.Here we're about 3 km (about 1.8 miles) down the tunnels, as shown by the green sign.Marianne Guenot/Insider.We got a bunch of gear to keep us safe underground.The tunnels are an active construction site, so safety gear is paramount.Marianne Guenot/InsiderI was given personal protective equipment like heavy protective boots and a flashlight that I had to wear at all times. My helmet was equipped with a tracking device that allowed security officers to know how many people are in the tunnels.   This is the bottom. These heavy metal doors mark the beginning of the area where the nuclear waste will be held.Through these doors is the beginning of the zone that will be sealed off for contamination.Marianne Guenot/InsiderAfter the century-long storage operations are over, these tunnels will be sealed and the site closed forever. Around me were thousands and thousands of feet of rock like this — migmatite with veins of granite.The wall of the storage tunnel in Onkalo is made of migmatite, a hard rock with granite veinsMarianne Guenot/InsiderA big reason the site is here is because of the rock."You essentially want an area of rock that isn't gonna change for millions of years," said Lewis Blackburn, a materials scientist from the University of Sheffield in the UK. Blackburn researches ways to make nuclear waste safer. He wasn't involved in the making of Onkalo. Geologists need to be sure that the storage facility is not going to crack, erode, or be split apart by an earthquake.For that, you need rock that is either very soft or, like in Onkalo, very hard.The rocky chamber will be the final home for nuclear fuel roads like these — metal poles embedded with chunks of refined uranium.A replica fuel assembly, made of multiple rods. A real fuel rod would contain refined uranium.Marianne Guenot/InsiderSome 250 to 500 half-inch-long pellets of uranium, refined and treated with a process that turns the fuel into a type of ceramic, go into a single rod. Dozens of these rods are brought together to make a single fuel assembly. Each assembly contains between 370 and 1200 lb of uranium, depending on which reactor they are going to.   The rods spent their working life stacked by the thousand in a reactor core, making heat that will be turned into electricity. This is me in a (replica!) reactor, with a wall of rods behind.This is what it would look like if you could step inside a nuclear reactor. The silver rods are fuel rods.Marianne Guenot/InsiderThe fuel is only mildly radioactive before it is put in the reactor. After it is taken out of the reactor, it is at its most radioactive.If a human were directly exposed to the raw fuel at that point, it could be lethal. But the fuel is carefully packaged and handled to prevent any exposure. The rods come out spent, hot, and highly radioactive. Their first stop is 40 years in nearby cooling ponds.Olkiluoto nuclear power plant stores all of its spent nuclear fuel on site in the cooling ponds.Marianne Guenot/InsiderThe pools have two purposes: the water cools down the fuel and acts as a barrier against the radiation.At the Onkalo site, the pools are right next to the reactor. All the waste the plant has produced is still here. Other facilities take the nuclear waste out into huge concrete vats above ground. Both techniques are safe but require constant maintenance.    Posiva has a plan after the pool phase. The spent rods — which haven't been in a reactor for 40 years — will go in huge metal tubes like this.The waste is first encased in a cast-iron tube, which is then sealed into a copper tube.Marianne GuenotBy this point, the fuel has lost 99.9% of its radioactivity at the point of unloading from the reactor, but still needs to be kept away from people. The inner gray tube is thick cast iron and the outer layer is copper.The iron is to protect the rods from pressure or other unexpected forces, while the copper is resistant to corrosion.Water is the main enemy of long-term storage and with enough time will seep into anything, so it must be kept away from the spent fuel for as long as possible. It would take a very long time for the water to eat through the canisters and the ceramic uranium pellets. To avoid water getting to the canisters, the next defense is a special type of clay called bentonite.Bentonite is a friable clay.Marianne Guenot/InsiderEvery canister gets wrapped in bentonite.Antii Mustonen, a geologist and research manager who has been working at Onkalo for 16 years said the material swells up on contact with water, creating a tight seal around the canister. "It's like self-healing," he said. After being fully sealed, the waste canister will enter an elevator here to be taken down to permanent storage.The opening to the elevator shaft is shown in this pictureMarianne Guenot/Insider.This is the other end of the elevator shaft.The waste arrives here, 1300ft underground.Marianne Guenot/InsiderAfter the canister arrives, it can be buried for good in the hive of side tunnels, a process that is almost entirely automated.This video explains how it works: An automated digging machine goes along each tunnel to make a shaft for each canister, like in this animation.A remote-controlled machine digs a canister-sized hole in a disposal tunnel.Posiva Oy/YoutubeThis is a prototype of a real-life hole-drilling machine.This is what the tunnel drilling machine looks like (prototype).PosivaAnother machine lines the hole with bentonite to protect the canister from water.The machine is also remote-controlled.Posiva Oy/YoutubeThis is one of the deposition tunnels in real life. The canisters will be buried into the floor.The tunnel felt like it was going on for miles.Marianne Guenot/InsiderFive of these tunnels have been built to date, waiting for the signoff from the Finnish government for the first waste to be buried. A third machine — also automated — picks up a canister from a short-term storage room like this.This machine is also remote controlled.Posiva Oy/The machine carried each canister in a temporary extra radiation shield during transport, in case a human operator needs to get close.And takes it to the prepared hole, lined with bentonite, where it deposits it.This machine is about to deposit the canister in the hole.Posiva Oy/YoutubeHere is a real-life prototype of the canister-moving machine.This is a prototype of the remote-controlled machinery that will bury the spent nuclear fuel.Tapani Karjanlahti/TVOThe shaft is then sealed.This is how big the holes will be where the fuel will be depositedMarianne Guenot/InsiderThe finished shafts will look a bit different from this, the holes will be backfilled with a bentonite layer to complete the seal.As each hole is filled, another machine comes and fills the entire thing with more bentonite.This machine is also remote-controlled.Posive Oy/YoutubeEach finished tunnel will be sealed further with a massive concrete plug, like this.This is what a sealed tunnel will look like.Marianne Guenot/InsiderThe photo shows the end of a tunnel that was used with dummy canisters to test the process.Humans will still need to work on the site until it is closed, sometime around 2120.Workers, here carrying out tests on a tunnel, will keep working on the site for up to a century.PosivaPosiva is contracted to run this site until it is filled with the refuse from Finland's two current active nuclear plants. Waste will be buried in batches and each batch will be quickly sealed away. But people will still need to access the tunnel complex to oversee the process and to blast out new tunnels.The cave complex comes with bathrooms, showers, and a cafeteria where workers can take a break.This is the worker's cafeteria, which is 1300 ft underground.Marianne Guenot/InsiderThe workers spend between 8 and 12 hours underground in one go. Asked whether this was difficult, Mustonen said it wasn't"I don't think any special character is needed here because it's like a normal parking hall in the city," he said. It is more annoying to go down in the tunnels on a warm summer's day like the one when I was visiting, but less so when it is cold and dreary outside during the short winter days, he said. There is a fully-stocked cafeteria for the workers. Pea soup, a traditional Finnish dish, is on the menu every Thursday.The workers don't have parties down there... yet!I asked Mustonen if there had been any parties in the tunnels."No. Not yet!" he replied jokingly.  He said, however, that there have been events. Every time a tunnel is finished, he said, the miner's tradition dictates you lather the end of the tunnel with tar and have a little ceremony. Posiva also organized a concert at the bottom of the elevator shaft in honor of a music festival. Operatic bass singer Mika Kares took advantage of the amazing acoustics of the room on the occasion, as can be seen here.  Engineers are confident they've thought about every feasible possibility.Mustonen, the Onkalo geologist, says people probably don't realize how much work has gone into future-planning the site against every eventuality. "Maybe they ask: have they thought of this?" he saidThe answer, he said confidently, is: "Yes, we have." Asked if he was concerned that a volcano or earthquake could bring the waste back to the surface, Mustonen simply said: "We have seen that happening in movies." But he says "something like that just doesn't happen," he said. In terms of geological events, Mustonen says the next big predicted event is an ice age — about 50,000 years from now. This could put pressure on the system by flooding the ground with more water and causing earthquakes. But even then, the geologists' work suggests that the site will not be substantially affected. And even in the unlikely event the particles are released into the environment, Posiva's calculations suggest that by then, the risk to humans and the environment will remain very small. How is Onkalo future-proofing against accidental human exposure? Not with radioactive cats or nuclear warding religious cults, Posiva says.The idea of how to future-proof nuclear waste storage has been on scientists' minds for a while. From the 1970s scientists proposed a range of wacky ideas, from genetically engineered cats that changed colors when exposed to radiation to elaborate nuclear-based sects, to building Stonehenge-like religious monuments to scare pious future humans away, as can be seen in the video below.But Janne Mokka, CEO of Posiva, dismissed these plans as excessive. Ultimately, he said, Posiva is only responsible for the site until it is closed, that is for the next 100 years.But "of course, we have thought about this," he said.For Mokka, it is hard to conceive that humans would lose every record of the repository and accidentally stumble upon the buried waste.Even then, by the time this would happen, the radioactivity would already have substantially diminished, he said."We are saying that this concept is safe, it doesn't need any continuous guarding or measuring," he said. The world will be looking at Onkalo for inspiration.The US investigated a plan to buried the spent nuclear fuel under the Yucca mountains in Nevada. Here, a research tunnel is pictured in 2014. The project has since been scrapped.Courtesy of the Department of Energy.Onkalo could be a model for nuclear waste deposition for the rest of history. "Regardless of what people think about nuclear power, the waste is there, and there's a lot of it," Blackburn said. "It's an expensive problem. And it's a problem that should have probably been thought out a lot more in the early days of nuclear power," he said.Many other countries have been trying to build their own site. China recently started testing whether they could build a geological disposal facility in the Gobi desert by 2050.Blackburn said that the US and the UK are about 20 to 30 years behind Finland because they haven't even selected a site yet. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 27th, 2022

Everybody"s Guilty: To The Police State, We"re All Criminals Until We Prove Otherwise

Everybody's Guilty: To The Police State, We're All Criminals Until We Prove Otherwise Authored by John W. Whitehead & Nisha Whitehead via The Rutherford Institute, “In a closed society where everybody's guilty, the only crime is getting caught.” - Hunter S. Thompson The burden of proof has been reversed. No longer are we presumed innocent. Now we’re presumed guilty unless we can prove our innocence beyond a reasonable doubt in a court of law. Rarely, are we even given the opportunity to do so. Although the Constitution requires the government to provide solid proof of criminal activity before it can deprive a citizen of life or liberty, the government has turned that fundamental assurance of due process on its head. Each and every one of us is now seen as a potential suspect, terrorist and lawbreaker in the eyes of the government. Consider all the ways in which “we the people” are now treated as criminals, found guilty of violating the police state’s abundance of laws, and preemptively stripped of basic due process rights. Red flag gun confiscation laws: Gun control legislation, especially in the form of red flag gun laws, allow the police to remove guns from people “suspected” of being threats. These laws, growing in popularity as a legislative means by which to seize guns from individuals viewed as a danger to themselves or others, will put a target on the back of every American whether or not they own a weapon. Disinformation eradication campaigns. In recent years, the government has used the phrase “domestic terrorist” interchangeably with “anti-government,” “extremist” and “terrorist” to describe anyone who might fall somewhere on a very broad spectrum of viewpoints that could be considered “dangerous.” The ramifications are so far-reaching as to render almost every American an extremist in word, deed, thought or by association. In the government’s latest assault on those who criticize the government—whether that criticism manifests itself in word, deed or thought—the Biden Administration has likened those who share “false or misleading narratives and conspiracy theories, and other forms of mis- dis- and mal-information” to terrorists. This latest government salvo against consumers and spreaders of “mis- dis- and mal-information” widens the net to potentially include anyone who is exposed to ideas that run counter to the official government narrative. In other words, if you dare to subscribe to any views that are contrary to the government’s, you may well be suspected of being a domestic terrorist and treated accordingly. In this way, government and corporate censors claiming to protect us from dangerous, disinformation campaigns are, in fact, laying the groundwork now to preempt any “dangerous” ideas that might challenge the power elite’s stranglehold over our lives. Government watch lists. The FBI, CIA, NSA and other government agencies have increasingly invested in corporate surveillance technologies that can mine constitutionally protected speech on social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram in order to identify potential extremists and predict who might engage in future acts of anti-government behavior. Where many Americans go wrong is in naively assuming that you have to be doing something illegal or harmful in order to be flagged and targeted for some form of intervention or detention. In fact, all you need to do these days to end up on a government watch list or be subjected to heightened scrutiny is use certain trigger words (like cloud, pork and pirates), surf the internet, communicate using a cell phone, limp or stutter, drive a car, stay at a hotel, attend a political rally, express yourself on social media, appear mentally ill, serve in the military, disagree with a law enforcement official, call in sick to work, purchase materials at a hardware store, take flying or boating lessons, appear suspicious, appear confused or nervous, fidget or whistle or smell bad, be seen in public waving a toy gun or anything remotely resembling a gun (such as a water nozzle or a remote control or a walking cane), stare at a police officer, question government authority, or appear to be pro-gun or pro-freedom. Thought crimes. For years now, the government has used all of the weapons in its vast arsenal—surveillance, threat assessments, fusion centers, pre-crime programs, hate crime laws, militarized police, lockdowns, martial law, etc.—to target potential enemies of the state based on their ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that might be deemed suspicious or dangerous. It’s not just what you say or do that is being monitored, but how you think that is being tracked and targeted. There’s a whole spectrum of behaviors ranging from thought crimes and hate speech to whistleblowing that qualifies for persecution (and prosecution) by the Deep State. It’s a slippery slope from censoring so-called illegitimate ideas to silencing truth. Security checkpoints and fusion centers. By treating an entire populace as suspect, the government has justified wide-ranging security checkpoints that subject travelers to scans, searches, pat downs and other indignities by the TSA and VIPR raids on so-called “soft” targets like shopping malls and bus depots by black-clad, Darth Vader look-alikes. Fusion centers, which represent the combined surveillance efforts of federal, state and local law enforcement, track the citizenry’s movements, record their conversations, and catalogue their transactions. Surveillance, precrime programs. Facial recognition software aims to create a society in which every individual who steps out into public is tracked and recorded as they go about their daily business. Coupled with surveillance cameras that blanket the country, facial recognition technology allows the government and its corporate partners to warrantlessly identify and track someone’s movements in real-time, whether or not they have committed a crime. Rapid advances in behavioral surveillance are not only making it possible for individuals to be monitored and tracked based on their patterns of movement or behavior, including gait recognition (the way one walks), but have given rise to whole industries that revolve around predicting one’s behavior based on data and surveillance patterns and are also shaping the behaviors of whole populations. With the increase in precrime programs, threat assessments, AI algorithms and surveillance programs such as SpotShotter, which attempt to calculate where illegal activity might occur by triangulating sounds and images, the burden of proof has been turned on its head by a surveillance state that renders us all suspects and overcriminalization which renders us all lawbreakers. Mail surveillance. Just about every branch of the government—from the Postal Service to the Treasury Department and every agency in between—now has its own surveillance sector, authorized to spy on the American people. For instance, the U.S. Postal Service, which has been photographing the exterior of every piece of paper mail for the past 20 years, is also spying on Americans’ texts, emails and social media posts. Headed up by the Postal Service’s law enforcement division, the Internet Covert Operations Program (iCOP) is reportedly using facial recognition technology, combined with fake online identities, to ferret out potential troublemakers with “inflammatory” posts. The agency claims the online surveillance, which falls outside its conventional job scope of processing and delivering paper mail, is necessary to help postal workers avoid “potentially volatile situations.” Threat assessments and AI algorithms. The government has a growing list—shared with fusion centers and law enforcement agencies—of ideologies, behaviors, affiliations and other characteristics that could flag someone as suspicious and result in their being labeled potential enemies of the state. Before long, every household in America will be flagged as a threat and assigned a threat score. It’s just a matter of time before you find yourself wrongly accused, investigated and confronted by police based on a data-driven algorithm or risk assessment culled together by a computer program run by artificial intelligence. No-knock raids. No-knock, no-announce SWAT team raids are what passes for court-sanctioned policing in America today, and it could happen to any one of us. Nationwide, SWAT teams routinely invade homes, break down doors, kill family pets (they always shoot the dogs first), damage furnishings, terrorize families, and wound or kill those unlucky enough to be present during a raid. No longer reserved exclusively for deadly situations, SWAT teams are now increasingly being deployed for relatively routine police matters such as serving a search warrant, with some SWAT teams being sent out as much as five times a day. Police carry out tens of thousands of no-knock raids every year nationwide. Militarized police. America is overrun with militarized cops—vigilantes with a badge—who have almost absolute discretion to decide who is a threat, what constitutes resistance, and how harshly they can deal with the citizens they were appointed to “serve and protect.” It doesn’t matter where you live—big city or small town—it’s the same scenario being played out over and over again in which government agents, trained to act as judge, jury and executioner in their interactions with the public, ride roughshod over the rights of the citizenry. This is how we have gone from a nation of laws—where the least among us had just as much right to be treated with dignity and respect as the next person (in principle, at least)—to a nation of law enforcers (revenue collectors with weapons) who treat “we the people” like suspects and criminals. Constitution-free zones. Merely living within 100 miles inland of the border around the United States is now enough to make you a suspect, paving the way for Border Patrol agents to search people’s homes, intimately probe their bodies, and rifle through their belongings, all without a warrant. Nearly 66% of Americans (2/3 of the U.S. population, 197.4 million people) now live within that 100-mile-deep, Constitution-free zone. Asset forfeiture schemes. Americans no longer have a right to private property. If government agents can invade your home, break down your doors, kill your dog, damage your furnishings and terrorize your family, your property is no longer private and secure—it belongs to the government. Hard-working Americans are having their bank accounts, homes, cars electronics and cash seized by police under the assumption that they have been associated with some criminal scheme. As libertarian Harry Browne observed, “Asset forfeiture is a mockery of the Bill of Rights. There is no presumption of innocence, no need to prove you guilty (or even charge you with a crime), no right to a jury trial, no right to confront your accuser, no right to a court-appointed attorney (even if the government has just stolen all your money), and no right to compensation for the property that's been taken.” Vehicle kill switches. Sold to the public as a safety measure aimed at keeping drunk drivers off the roads, “vehicle kill switches” could quickly become a convenient tool in the hands of government agents to put the government in the driver’s seat while rendering null and void the Constitution’s requirements of privacy and its prohibitions against unreasonable searches and seizures. As such, it presumes every driver potentially guilty of breaking some law that would require the government to intervene and take over operation of the vehicle or shut it off altogether. The message: we cannot be trusted to obey the law or navigate the world on our end. Bodily integrity. The government’s presumptions about our so-called guilt or innocence have extended down to our very cellular level. The debate over bodily integrity covers broad territory, ranging from forced vaccinations, forced cavity searches, forced colonoscopies, forced blood draws and forced breath-alcohol tests to forced DNA extractions, forced eye scans, and forced inclusion in biometric databases: these are just a few ways in which Americans continue to be reminded that we have no real privacy, no real presumption of innocence, and no real control over what happens to our bodies during an encounter with government officials. The groundwork being laid with these mandates is a prologue to what will become the police state’s conquest of a new, relatively uncharted, frontier: inner space, specifically, the inner workings (genetic, biological, biometric, mental, emotional) of the human race. “Guilt by association” has taken on new connotations in the technological age. Yet the debate over genetic privacy—and when one’s DNA becomes a public commodity outside the protection of the Fourth Amendment’s prohibition on warrantless searches and seizures—is really only beginning. Get ready, folks, because the government has embarked on a diabolical campaign to create a nation of suspects predicated on a massive national DNA database. Limitations on our right to move about freely. We think we have the freedom to go where we want and move about freely, but at every turn, we’re hemmed in by laws, fines and penalties that regulate and restrict our autonomy, and surveillance cameras that monitor our movements. For instance, license plate readers are mass surveillance tools that can photograph over 1,800 license tag numbers per minute, take a picture of every passing license tag number and store the tag number and the date, time, and location of the picture in a searchable database, then share the data with law enforcement, fusion centers and private companies to track the movements of persons in their cars. With tens of thousands of these license plate readers now in operation throughout the country, police can track vehicles and run the plates through law enforcement databases for abducted children, stolen cars, missing people and wanted fugitives. Of course, the technology is not infallible: there have been numerous incidents in which police have mistakenly relied on license plate data to capture suspects only to end up detaining innocent people at gunpoint. The war on cash and the introduction of digital currency. Digital currency provides the government and its corporate partners with a mode of commerce that can easily be monitored, tracked, tabulated, mined for data, hacked, hijacked and confiscated when convenient. This push for a digital currency dovetails with the government’s war on cash, which it has been subtly waging for some time now. In recent years, just the mere possession of significant amounts of cash could implicate you in suspicious activity and label you a criminal. The rationale (by police) is that cash is the currency for illegal transactions given that it’s harder to track, can be used to pay illegal immigrants, and denies the government its share of the “take,” so doing away with paper money will help law enforcement fight crime and help the government realize more revenue. A cashless society—easily monitored, controlled, manipulated, weaponized and locked down—plays right into the hands of the government (and its corporate partners). The Security-Industrial Complex. Every crisis—manufactured or otherwise—since the nation’s early beginnings has become a make-work opportunity for the government to expand its reach and its power at taxpayer expense while limiting our freedoms at every turn. What this has amounted to is a war on the American people, fought on American soil, funded with taxpayer dollars, and waged with a single-minded determination to use national crises, manufactured or otherwise, in order to transform the American homeland into a battlefield. As a result, the American people have been treated like enemy combatants, to be spied on, tracked, scanned, frisked, searched, subjected to all manner of intrusions, intimidated, invaded, raided, manhandled, censored, silenced, shot at, locked up, denied due process, and killed. These programs push us that much closer towards a suspect society where everyone is potentially guilty of some crime or another and must be preemptively rendered harmless. The ramifications of empowering the government to sidestep fundamental due process safeguards are so chilling and so far-reaching as to put a target on the back of anyone who happens to be in the same place where a crime takes place. The groundwork has been laid for a new kind of government where it won’t matter if you’re innocent or guilty, whether you’re a threat to the nation, or even if you’re a citizen. What will matter is what the government—or whoever happens to be calling the shots at the time—thinks. And if the powers-that-be think you’re a threat to the nation and should be locked up, then you’ll be locked up with no access to the protections our Constitution provides. In effect, you will disappear. As I make clear in my book Battlefield America: The War on the American People and in its fictional counterpart The Erik Blair Diaries, our freedoms are already being made to disappear. Tyler Durden Fri, 06/24/2022 - 23:00.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytJun 24th, 2022

Ormat (ORA) 3rd BESS Facility Starts Operation in California

Ormat Technologies (ORA) commences the operation of its 5 MW/20 MWh Tierra Buena facility in California, thus further boosting its energy storage portfolio. Ormat Technologies, Inc. ORA recently announced that its 5-megawatt (MW)/20 megawatt-hour (MWh) Tierra Buena Battery Energy Storage System (“BESS”) facility in California has commenced its operations. With this facility in operation, Ormat finally excels in taking its portfolio of energy storage to 88 MW/196 MWh. This, in turn, should boost ORA’s revenue generation prospects through the next-generation source of energy.Details of the FacilityThe BESS facility, which is expected to be earnings accretive for the company from the onset of July 2022, aims to offer local resource adequacy under 10-year agreements to two Community Choice Aggregators, namely Redwood Coast Energy Authority and Valley Clean Energy, comprising 2.5 MW each.Also, the facility will offer ancillary services and energy optimization facilities through participation in merchant markets run by the California Independent System Operator.Against this backdrop, it can be said that Ormat continuously strives to use its capabilities to provide the best-in-class projects for its customers and use its efficiency for proper grid performance and reliability. Hence, such an emphasis has enabled the company to open its third operating BESS facility in California.Ormat’s Battery Storage StrategiesOrmat is expanding its dominion in Energy Storage. In 2021, the company commissioned one energy storage facility with a total of 10MW/40MWh in California and started the development and construction of six energy storage projects with a total capacity of 89 MW/124 MWh in California, Texas, New Jersey and Ohio.The company aims to enhance its current 83 MW portfolio of energy storage by an additional 230 to 290 MW or 550 to 660 MWh by year-end 2023. This addition will enable Ormat to reach a total storage portfolio of 313 to 373 MW by 2023.Such initiatives will enable ORA to boost its long-term growth in the Energy Storage segment market, thus allowing it to establish a leading position in the U.S. energy storage market.U.S. Battery Energy Storage System Market BoomThe rapidly increasing clean energy adoption is providing an edge for alternate energy companies to expand their footprint in the battery energy storage market. Per the Grand View Research, the U.S. battery energy storage system market is expected to witness a CAGR of 23.9% from 2020 to 2027.Such growth projections provide substantial growth opportunities for companies like Ormat. A few alternate energy companies that may enjoy the perks of the expanding battery energy storage market are Ameresco AMRC, Fluence Energy FLNC and Brookfield RenewableBEPC.In May 2022, Ameresco announced that it signed a long-term non-exclusive purchasing framework agreement for Powin to supply Ameresco with 2,500 MWh of its modular battery energy storage system Stack750 product as part of its Centipede hardware platform.Amerescoboasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 25.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for AMRC’s 2022 sales indicates a growth rate of 53.3% from the prior-year reported figure.In April 2022, Fluence Energy announced that it and TECO Group had been awarded the 60 MW battery-based energy storage system for Taiwan Power Company’s Taoyuan Longtan ultra-high voltage substation.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Fluence Energy’s 2022 sales indicates a growth rate of 66.3% from the prior-year reported figure. FLNC shares have appreciated 3.3% in the past month.In January 2022, Brookfield Renewable announced the acquisition of the clean power developer, Urban Grid, and its high-quality pipeline of projects comprising approximately 13,000 MW of utility-scale solar and 7,000 MW of energy storage capacity for $650 million.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Brookfield’s 2022 sales indicates a growth rate of 12.3% from the prior-year reported figure. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for BEPC’s 2022 earnings suggests a growth rate of 37.7% from the prior-year reported figure.Price PerformanceIn the past year, shares of Ormat have surged 8% against the industry’s decline of 11.2%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankOrmat currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Free: Top Stocks for the $30 Trillion Metaverse Boom The metaverse is a quantum leap for the internet as we currently know it - and it will make some investors rich. Just like the internet, the metaverse is expected to transform how we live, work and play. Zacks has put together a new special report to help readers like you target big profits. The Metaverse - What is it? And How to Profit with These 5 Pioneering Stocks reveals specific stocks set to skyrocket as this emerging technology develops and expands.Download Zacks’ Metaverse Report now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ameresco, Inc. (AMRC): Free Stock Analysis Report Ormat Technologies, Inc. (ORA): Free Stock Analysis Report Brookfield Renewable Corporation (BEPC): Free Stock Analysis Report Fluence Energy, Inc. (FLNC): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 17th, 2022

Mitt Romney introduces new plan to send most families up to $350 monthly checks per kid

Romney wants a $10,000 income requirement for families to qualify for the full direct payments. He's seeking to revive interest for checks to parents. Republican Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah at a hearing on Capitol Hill on January 11, 2022.Greg Nash/Pool/AFP via Getty Images Romney rolled out a measure to provide up to $350 monthly checks to most families with kids. Only families earning at least $10,000 annually would qualify for the full cash payments. It's unlikely to reach Biden's desk anytime soon due to bipartisan resistance. Sen. Mitt Romney introduced a new version of a proposal on Wednesday that would issue up to $350 monthly checks per kid to most American families in an effort to revive interest in Congress for a cash payment program during a stretch of painful inflation.The updated measure would provide a $350 direct payment each month for most parents with children age 5 and under ($4,200 annually) while issuing $250 to families with kids between age 6 and 17 ($3,000 each year). "We must do better to help families meet the challenges they face as they take on the most important work any of us will ever do — raising our society's children," Romney said in a statement. "This proposal proves that we can accomplish this without adding to the deficit or creating another new federal program without any reforms."However, households would only qualify for the full cash benefit if they earned at least $10,000 every year. Families making less than $10,000 would recieve a proportional share of the total benefit based on how close they are to that income target.That would shut out the poorest 6% of households from getting larger checks under the Romney program, according to data from the Census bureau. It's a break from Romney's earlier plan that would have provided checks to families who earned no taxable income.Romney unveiled the plan along with Sens. Richard Burr of North Carolina and Steve Daines of Montana. It would be paid for by modifying programs like the Earned Income Tax Credit and eliminating a federal tax break for state and local taxes commonly used by wealthier Americans.Scott Winship, director of poverty studies at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute, wrote on Twitter that the measure would reduce poverty along with achieving conservative aims of stronger work and marriage incentives.It's unlikely to reach President Joe Biden's desk anytime soon. Democrats are likely to balk at the plan's income threshold for families to qualify, a sharp change from the Biden child tax credit that was briefly in place last year. That program expired due to resistance from Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, who sided with Republicans in opposing an extension.The measure also falls far short of gaining 10 Senate Republican backers, the amount needed for the plan to advance under the Senate's 60-vote supermajority threshold. Many GOP senators remain wary of providing advance payments to families with children.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 15th, 2022

Futures Rise As ECB Panics And Fed Looms

Futures Rise As ECB Panics And Fed Looms After five days of non-stop losses, US index futures finally bounced modestly along with stocks in Europe as the ECB announced it would hold an emergency meeting to undo the damage done by its meeting from last week, and ahead of the Fed which today will hike by 75bps, the most since 1994, and will then scramble to undo the damage from pushing the US into a recession in coming days and weeks. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 posted modest gains, rising 0.8% and 1% respectively, ahead of the Fed, with markets fully pricing in the biggest rate hike since 1994 amid worries about the outlook for the economy. Europe's Stoxx Europe 600 index jumped more than 1%, snapping a six-day losing streak, while the euro strengthened and the region’s bonds advanced as the European Central Bank’s Governing Council started an emergency meeting. Treasury yields dipped and the dollar retreated from a two-year high. In premarket trading, major technology and internet stocks are higher in premarket trading along with US stock futures ahead of Wednesday’s Federal Reserve announcement, with investors expecting a 75 basis-point increase in rates. Bank stocks were also higher in premarket trading. Here are some other notable premarket movers: Spotify (SPOT US) shares gain 2.2% in premarket trading as Wells Fargo upgraded the stock to equal-weight, saying the music streaming firm’s recent investor day laid out a more profitable company than the brokerage has modeled historically. Chinese tech stocks are mostly higher in US premarket trading, with education shares continuing their winning streak since peer Koolearn’s livestreaming hit went viral. Alibaba (BABA US) +1.9%, Baidu (BIDU US) +3.6%, Pinduoduo (PDD US) +2.3%, New Oriental Education (EDU US) +8.4%, TAL Education (TAL US) +4.5%. iQIYI (IQ US) shares decline 3.9% in US premarket trading as Baidu is in talks to sell its majority stake in the streaming service in a deal that could value all of iQIYI at $7 billion, Reuters reported, citing people with knowledge of the matter. Cryptocurrency-related stocks fell in premarket trading on Wednesday as Bitcoin and Ethereum tumbled. MicroStrategy (MSTR US) -7.6%, Marathon Digital Holdings (MARA US) -7.6%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -7%, Coinbase (COIN US) -6.6%. Apple (AAPL US) and other consumer computer-hardware stocks may be in focus today as Morgan Stanley cut its price targets for such shares due to risks related to a potential slowdown in consumer spending. Moderna’s (MRNA US) shares rose 1.2% in US after-hours trading on Tuesday, while analysts said that the unanimous verdict from an FDA panel, which supported the biotech firm’s Covid vaccine for children, came as no surprise. Qualcomm (QCOM US) stocks could be in focus after the company won a European Union court bid to topple a 997 million-euro antitrust fine for allegedly pressuring Apple to only buy its 4G chips. Fears of stagflation have driven stocks into a bear market and triggered a stunning selloff in bonds in recent days. Uncertainty is elevated heading into the Fed decision: increments of 50 basis points, 75 basis points and even 100 basis points have all been chewed over by commentators. Parts of the US yield curve remain inverted, signaling concerns that restrictive monetary policy will lead to an economic downturn. Today's main event is of course the Fed decision which is expected to include a 75bp rate hike, with latest forecasts released at the same time. Swaps market is currently pricing in around 70bp of rate hikes for the meeting with a combined 202bp of additional hikes priced for the June, July and September meetings. From the forecasts, focus will be on revisions to the Fed’s long-term rate; swaps market is currently pricing a rate peak at around 3.90% by the middle of next year (full preview here). “Markets are poised for aggressive rate hikes, but what of US economic growth?” said Nema Ramkhelawan-Bhana, an economist at Rand Merchant Bank in Johannesburg. “It might not be in recessionary territory just yet, but the landing is not going to be as soft as the Fed predicates. Anything less than 75 basis points or at least a strong willingness to make more significant adjustments will likely turn the market on its head, eroding total returns of global bonds and equities even further.” European equities trade well but off session highs. FTSE MIB outperforms, rallying as much as 3.3% before stalling. Stoxx 600 rises as much as 1.2% with travel, banks and insurance names doing much of the heavy lifting, while the euro strengthened and the region’s bonds advanced as the European Central Bank’s Governing Council started an emergency meeting. While new stimulus may not be on the agenda, officials will discuss a crisis strategy and the reinvestment of bond purchases conducted under the now-halted pandemic emergency program, Bloomberg reported. Here are the biggest European movers: Rate-sensitive sectors such as financials and technology gained in Europe as the ECB holds an ad hoc meeting to discuss market conditions and the Fed concludes its two-day policy meeting. Finecobank shares rise as much as 8.4%, Intesa Sanpaolo +7.5%, Assicurazioni Generali +5.3%. Europe auto stocks are among outperforming sectors in the wider equity gauge, led by French part suppliers Faurecia and Valeo, and carmaker Renault. Faurecia shares gain as much as 8.7%, Valeo +6.5%, Renault +5.6% Whitbread shares rise as much as 6.4% after the hotel operator reported quarterly sales, with Barclays noting the company’s “upbeat tone.” Gerresheimer shares rise as much as 17% after a Bloomberg report that the German maker of packaging for drugs and cosmetics rejected an informal takeover approach from Bain Capital in recent weeks. Nordic and European forestry and paper mill companies’ shares rebound, breaking sharp declines triggered after brokers cut their  respective outlooks for the sector in the past week. Smurfit Kappa stock rises as much as 5.3%, BillerudKorsnas +4.8%, Huhtamaki +5.6% H&M shares drop as much as 6.4% with uncertainty about the margin outlook and ongoing cost pressures overshadowing the apparel retailer’s 2Q sales beat. Getinge shares fall as much as 18% after the medical technology firm lowered guidance, projecting flat organic sales growth for the year. Nordea and JPMorgan downgraded their recommendations. Elia Group shares fell as much as 12% after the electricity transmission company laid out plans for a rights offering. Autoneum shares drop as much as 5.2% after the car- parts maker warned on profits. Vontobel analyst Arben Hasanaj noted the firm’s difficulty in passing on higher costs, along with further likely delays in car production recovery. Voltalia slumps as much as 9.1% after Oddo downgrades to neutral in note as it questions what level of growth is possible after 2023. “The ECB is between rock and a hard place, like most other central banks,” said Marija Veitmane, a senior strategist at State Street Global Markets. “Inflation is very high and shows little signs of quickly declining, while the economy is increasingly fragile, particularly with the war in Europe and ever-rising energy costs. So anything the ECB can announce to reduce systemic risk is very welcome.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks posted modest declines as sentiment improved from earlier in the week, with Chinese shares rising after domestic economic data showed pockets of recovery. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.4% as of 6:07 p.m. in Singapore, as losses in regional tech hardware shares offset advances in China’s internet giants. South Korea and the Philippines led declines, while Japanese stocks fell ahead of a central bank policy meeting this week. Gains in China and Hong Kong helped offset losses elsewhere as data showed the country’s industrial production unexpectedly increased in May. Meanwhile the nation’s central bank kept a key policy rate unchanged, avoiding further policy divergence as the Federal Reserve tightens. “A more accommodative policy and fiscal environment together with stronger corporate fundamentals should be positive for Chinese equity assets,” said Jessica Tea, an investment specialist at BNP Paribas Asset Management. The MSCI Asia gauge dropped almost 4% over the previous two sessions as inflation data from the US fueled bets of a 75-basis-point rate hike by the Fed at Wednesday’s meeting. Still, the index has outperformed a measure of global peers this year, with the latter now in a bear market. Japanese stocks dropped ahead of a Federal Reserve rate decision. A Bank of Japan review on Friday is also on the radar.  The Topix Index fell 1.2% to close at 1,855.93 while the Nikkei gauge declined 1.1% to 26,326.16. Keyence Corp. contributed the most to the Topix Index’s decline, decreasing 3.9%. Out of 2,170 shares in the index, 288 rose and 1,829 fell, while 53 were unchanged. “The sharp decline in JGBs is also contributing to the drop in stock prices as uncertainty mounts ahead of the BOJ meeting,” said Hajime Sakai, chief fund manager at Mito Securities Co Indian stocks fell after swinging between gains and losses for the most part of the session, as concerns over higher inflation and likely tighter monetary policy measures weighed on sentiment.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.3% to close at 52,541.39 in Mumbai to its lowest level since July 28. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also slipped by a similar magnitude. Reliance Industries Ltd. posted its longest run of losses in more than a month and was the biggest drag on the Sensex, which had 17 of 30 member stocks trading lower. Ten of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd fell, led by a gauge of power stocks. Retail inflation in India held above the central bank’s target in May, while wholesale prices accelerated for a third-straight month as input costs continue to rise, hurting company earnings.  “Commodity prices continue to remain elevated and despite passing on the costs to consumers, India Inc. is still facing margin pressures,” Mitul Shah, head of research at Reliance Securities wrote in a note.   Australia's S&P/ASX 200 index fell 1.3% to close at 6,601.00, the fourth straight day of declines. All sectors finished lower, with mining stocks and banks the biggest drags on the index. During early trade, Australia’s industrial relations umpire raised the minimum wage by 5.2% from July 1, a larger-than-expected increase, affirming speculation of faster tightening by the central bank.  Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 10,635.92., after entering a bear market Tuesday. The gauge has shed more than 20% from its January 2021 peak. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the greenback weakened against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Canadian dollar. Risk-sensitive Scandinavian currencies and the Aussie dollar lead gains. The euro rose by as much as 0.9% to 1.0508, and the yield on 10-year Italian bonds fell as much as 30bps after the ECB announced the Governing Council would hold an ad-hoc meeting on Wednesday “to discuss current market conditions.” ECB officials will be invited to sign off on the reinvestment of bond purchases conducted under the now-halted pandemic emergency program, a crisis response that they flagged in their decision last week, according to people familiar with the matter. Three-month euribor fixes higher by the most in more than two years, climbing to the highest since April 2020 as funding rates seek to mirror ECB rate hike expectations. Japanese bond futures drop most since 2013 as traders ramp up bets BOJ will give in to tweak policy. Australian bonds slumped with three-year yields posting steepest two-day climb since 1994. The Aussie extended an advance after the Fair Work Commission said the minimum wage will be increased by 5.2%. Earlier, the RBA said it “will do what’s necessary” to bring inflation back down to its 2-3% target as Goldman sees three more half-point hikes. In rates, Treasuries pared a recent drop, with yields falling up to 8bps led by shorter maturities amid a TSY rally in Asia and early European sessions, leaving yields richer by as much as 12.5bp across front-end leading into US session.  Markets are pricing in 73bps worth of hikes from the Fed today. US 10-year yields around 3.36%, richer by 10bp on the day while front-end outperformance steepens 2s10s, 5s30s spreads by 3bp and 6.5bp respectively. Curve steepens as long-end lags front-end rally and some rate hike premium eases out the swaps market ahead of 2pm ET Fed policy decision. European bonds rallied after ECB announces emergency meeting to discuss market conditions, with French and UK outperforming along with Italy and other peripherals. In commodities, crude futures drop back toward the lows for the week. WTI falls 1.2% near $117.50. Most base metals trade in the green; LME tin rises 2.3%, outperforming peers. Spot gold rises roughly $16 to trade near $1,825/oz Looking to the day ahead, the main highlight will likely be the aforementioned FOMC decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. There’s also an array of ECB speakers, including President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Holzmann, Nagel, Centeno, Muller, De Cos, Panetta and Knot. Otherwise, data releases include Euro Area industrial production for April, US retail sales for May, the NAHB housing market index for June and the Empire State manufacturing survey for June. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.8% to 3,768.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.2% to 412.15 MXAP down 0.4% to 159.27 MXAPJ little changed at 529.71 Nikkei down 1.1% to 26,326.16 Topix down 1.2% to 1,855.93 Hang Seng Index up 1.1% to 21,308.21 Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3,305.41 Sensex up 0.2% to 52,797.58 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.3% to 6,601.03 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,447.38 Brent Futures down 0.2% to $120.90/bbl Gold spot up 0.6% to $1,818.80 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.56% to 104.93 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.77% Euro up 0.6% to $1.0479 Brent Futures down 0.2% to $120.90/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell, who’s carefully telegraphed interest rate hikes over four years, looks likely to abandon gradualism and move more forcefully to stamp out inflation along with growing concerns that it will persist The European Central Bank’s Governing Council is ready to step in if it considers moves in government bond markets to be unjustified, according to Belgium’s Pierre Wunsch, as the ECB prepared for an emergency meeting on recent euro-zone bond turbulence The European Union is restarting infringement proceedings against the UK and will launch two new legal actions after London proposed legislation to override part of the Brexit withdrawal agreement, according to an EU official The first batch of a Chinese offshore yuan sovereign bond sale saw the strongest demand in nearly two years, defying a recent stream of outflows at a time when the global debt market is showing deepening levels of stress Even after central banks recognized they got their inflation calls wrong last year, they’ve continued to flub their policy guidance, threatening greater damage to their credibility, roiling markets and undermining the pandemic recovery A more detailed look at markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed amid cautiousness heading into the FOMC with markets pricing in a more than 90% chance of a 75bps rate hike, while the region also digested better-than-expected Chinese activity data. ASX 200 was led lower by energy, resources and tech, despite a 5.2% national minimum wage increase. Nikkei 225 failed to benefit from strong Machinery Orders data amid the ongoing currency-related jitters. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were positive with encouragement from the latest activity data that showed surprise growth in Industrial Production and a narrower than feared contraction in Retail Sales, while attention was also on the PBoC which rolled over CNY 200bln through its 1-year MLF with the rate unchanged. Top Asian News PBoC injected CNY 200bln via 1-year MLF vs. CNY 200bln maturing with the rate kept at 2.85%, as expected. China's stats bureau said the main indicators show marginal improvement and the economy shows good recovery momentum, but added that the economic recovery still faces many difficulties and challenges. Furthermore, it said policies to stabilise economic growth gained traction and it expects economic performance to improve further in June due to policy support, but noted recovery is still at an initial stage and main indicators are at low levels, according to Reuters. Hong Kong reports 1047 new COVID cases. Appears to be the first time since early April that cases have surpassed the 1k mark. European equities are firmer across the board ahead of the impromptu ECB meeting, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.0%; unsurprisingly,  periphery-nation indexes are outperforming, FTSE MIB +3.0%, given upside in banking names. As such, the Banking sector outperforms with most of its peers also in the green, though the Energy sector lags amid benchmark pricing. Stateside, futures are firmer across the board deriving impetus from European performance, but with overall action somewhat more contained ahead of the Fed and uncertainty around 75bp, ES +0.3%. Baidu (BIDU) is in discussions with potential suitors to offload its 53% stake in video-streaming name Iqiyi, according to Reuters sources. +3.8% in the pre-market. Top European News UK PM Johnson is reportedly determined to reverse Chancellor Sunak's planned GBP 15bln tax raid on business as he tries to firm up support following last week's confidence vote, according to The Times. UK PM Johnson is understood to have told his cabinet to 'de-escalate' the Northern Ireland Protocol stand-off with the EU, according to The Telegraph. UK exports to the EU during H1 of last year fell by 15.6% amid Brexit frictions, according to a study by Aston University cited by FT. Swiss SECO Forecasts (summer): Inflation: 2022 2.5% (prev. 1.9%), 2023 1.4% (prev. 0.7%). GDP: 2022 2.8% (prev. 3.0%), 1.6% (prev. 1.7%) Central Banks BoJ offers an additional emergency bond buying operation; to buy unlimited amounts of 10yr JGBs on June 16th & 17th at 0.25%. Fall in JGB futures has triggered a circuit breaker at the Tokyo stock exchange, via Japan Exchange Group. Japan's Securities Dealer Association's Morita says the JPY may have weakened too much, via Reuters. 8/9 members (vs. 3/9 at the May meeting) of the Times' shadow MPC believe that the BoE should raise rates by 50bps at its policy meeting tomorrow, according to the Times. FX Buck backs off from best levels into FOMC and US data awaiting confirmation of the hawkish hype or half point hike signalled pre-hot CPI; DXY slips from 105.650 peak on Tuesday into 105.380-104.700 range. Aussie rebounds on risk grounds and more aggressive RBA tightening calls, AUD/USD reclaims 0.6900+ status. Yen takes note of latest verbal intervention and Hong Kong Dollar supported by more physical HKMA buying to keep it pegged; USD/JPY sub-134.50 vs 135.50+ overnight. Euro extends recovery rally as ECB holds ad hoc meeting to discuss fragmenting debt markets and Wunsch contends that gradualism does not rule out larger than 25 bp moves; EUR/USD pops over 1.0500 from just below 1.0400 yesterday. Yuan gleans impetus from better than expected or feared Chinese industrial production and retail sales, USD/CNH nearer 6.7200 than 6.7600, USD/CNY close to 6.7100 and not far from 21 DMA at 6.6965 today. Fixed Income Decent bear market retracement in debt approaching the FOMC. Bunds up to 143.79 at best vs new 143.25 cycle low, Gilts towards top of 112.48-111.88 band and 10 year T-note closer to 115-06 than 114-10. BTPs markedly outperform after near 3 full point bounce from Tuesday close in anticipation of an anti-fragmentation tool from the ECB as GC meets for crisis talks. Commodities Currently, WTI and Brent are lower by circa. USD 1.00bbl but reside within comparably narrow ranges of around USD 2.00bbl vs, for instance, yesterday’s USD +6.00/bbl parameters. Curtailed amid COVID updates from China and Hong Kong alongside Biden's reported push for an explanation from producers over why supply isn't increasing. US President Biden has demanded an explanation from oil companies over why they are refraining from putting additional gasoline on the market and wants concrete ideas as to how they can increase supplied, according to a letter seen by Reuters. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude +0.7mln (exp. -1.3mln), Cushing -1.1mln, Gasoline -2.2mln (exp. +1.1mln), Distillates +0.2mln (exp. +0.3mln) US DoE announced contract awards and issued the fourth emergency sale of crude oil from SPR (as previously announced), in which contracts were awarded to nine including Chevron (CVX), Exxon (XOM) and Marathon Petroleum (MPC). Kazakhstan has capped wheat exports at 550k tonnes and wheat flour at 370k tonnes until September 30th, according to the Agriculture Ministry, via Reuters. Spot gold derives impetus from the USD’s retreat and is now back above USD 1820/oz but still shy of yesterday’s USD 1831/oz best and the subsequent 200-, 10- & 21-DMAs ahead at USD 1842, 1843 & 1845 respectively. US Event Calendar 07:00: June MBA Mortgage Applications +6.6%, prior -6.5% 08:30: May Import Price Index YoY, est. 11.9%, prior 12.0%;  MoM, est. 1.1%, prior 0% May Export Price Index YoY, prior 18.0%; MoM, est. 1.3%, prior 0.6% 08:30: May Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.9% May Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.6% May Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0.3%, prior 1.0% 08:30: June Empire Manufacturing, est. 2.2, prior -11.6 10:00: April Business Inventories, est. 1.2%, prior 2.0% 10:00: June NAHB Housing Market Index, est. 67, prior 69 14:00: June FOMC Rate Decision 16:00: April Total Net TIC Flows, prior $149.2b DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap In these crazy days for markets, I'm willing to stake my reputation that I've done something in the last 24 hours that no-one else reading this did. Yes, after a business trip to Europe yesterday, I watched the original Top Gun on my iPad on the plane ride home for the very first time, some 36 years after it came out. My wife wants to watch the sequel, so I thought I ought to see what all the fuss was about. She's seen it around 20 times and always asks what I was doing in my teenage years that's made me miss all the films of her youth. The truth is I was either studying or playing cricket or golf. Not much else. My review is that it was a decent film, but Mavericks' courting technique doesn't really age very well. I'm not sure Maverick and Goose would have been able to get out of the tight spot that the Fed are in at the moment very easily. After the astonishing price action over the previous 2 business days, markets have settled somewhat over the last 24 hours, but overall have continued to struggle as they await today’s all-important Federal Reserve decision. Up until the CPI report last Friday, that decision seemed like a lock in favour of a second consecutive 50bp hike, not because that was the right move, but because the Fed had firmly guided us to such an outcome. The CPI report raised doubts as to whether they could hold that line over the summer, but the WSJ article on Monday night broke the levee as a 75bps move tonight is now suddenly pretty much consensus. Our economics team agrees and have now updated their previously street leading view to have a +75bp hike tonight followed by another +75bp increase in July. The team believes fed funds will reach 3.5% by the end of the year, and hit a terminal rate of 4.1% in Q1 2023, sooner than they thought before the WSJ story. See their full updated call, available here. As we hit this big day, markets now fully price in a 75bps hike today. Indeed, 76.3bps is priced, so that actually incorporates a small risk of 100bps, something former New York Fed President Bill Dudley was openly considering yesterday, which may have contributed to the sentiment that drove the next leg of the selloff in the New York afternoon. A total of 289bps worth of rate hikes by year-end is now priced. So quite the turnaround from a few weeks back when some were even floating the strange idea of a “pause” in September. Clearly the 75bp call is mostly based on a WSJ article so we can't be certain but you would have thought the Fed would have tried to leak out a rebuttal if that wasn't what they wanted to guide the market towards. We will see. Whilst the size of any rate hike will be the focal point, today also brings the latest dot plot from the FOMC and offers an insight into the potential pace of rate hikes over the months ahead. Our US economists expect that to undergo substantial revisions, with the median dot likely rising to 3.5% and 3.8% for 2022 and 2023 respectively. Meanwhile on the economic projections, they think they’ll also show further movements towards a “softish landing”, with growth revised lower throughout the forecast, albeit stopping short of anticipating a recession. Ahead of all that, US equities slipped to fresh lows yesterday with the S&P 500 (-0.37%) falling to its lowest closing level since January 2021. Tech stocks outperformed, in contrast to the recent trend, with the NASDAQ (+0.18%) and the FANG+ Index (+1.97%) bouncing off of recent lows. Small-caps fared less well today and the Russell 2000 (-0.39%) fell to its lowest closing level since November 2020. Over in Europe, equities similarly fell to fresh lows and the STOXX 600 (-1.26%) likewise fell to levels unseen since March 2021. Rates sold off by a smaller magnitude than the previous two sessions (low bar to clear), but an initial rally gave way to a selloff in the European afternoon that continued to gather pace into the New York close. Yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +11.3bps to a fresh post-2011 high of 3.47%, supported by a further rise in the 10yr real yield (+13.7bps) that took it up to a 3-year high of 0.82 The 2s10s curve just about clambered out of inversion territory where it’d closed on Monday, steepening by +3.8bps to end the day at just 3.6bps. But even the Fed’s preferred yield curve measure of the near-term forward spread fell to its flattest level in 3 months, even if it’s still well out of inversion territory for now. This spread will likely collapse in the months ahead. As we go to press, yields on 10yr USTs (-4.63 bps) are moving lower to 3.42% with 2yrs -5.6bps. Today’s focus may be on the Fed, but over at the ECB we had Isabel Schnabel of the Executive Board give a significant speech last night about policy fragmentation. Recall, one of the key takeaways from last week’s ECB meeting was the apparent lack of progress on anti-fragmentation tools, shining a spotlight on Schnabel’s remarks last night. As our European economists emphasised last week, Schnabel argued that any tool would be reactionary, that is in response to more spread widening. She did not offer new details of any potential tool last night, instead echoing President Lagarde that PEPP purchase flexibility would be used to ensure smooth policy transmission in the interim. However, Schnabel also re-emphasised the ECB’s commitment to ensure smooth policy transmission. That Schnabel, a relative hawk on the committee and one that has expressed trepidation about a new facility in the past, so willingly supported the idea of doing what was needed to support policy implementation was an important shift for the ECB. The language Schnabel used last night may support the notion that the spread widening seen to date may already be approaching levels inconsistent with smooth policy transmission. It may not take much more pressure for the ECB to act but we are still in the dark on how they will. Earlier in the day, Dutch central bank governor Knot made some incredibly hawkish comments, saying that if “conditions remain the same as today, we will have to raise rates by more than 0.25 points” in September, and that “our options are not necessarily limited” to a 50bps move, so openly floating the potential to move by even more, which hasn’t been something discussed by the ECB to date. European sovereign bonds sold off significantly against that backdrop, with fresh multi-year highs seen for yields on 10yr bunds (+11.9bps), OATs (+13.7bps) and BTPs (+14.9bps). Peripheral spreads hit new post-Covid highs too, with the gap between Italian and German 10yr yields widening to 241bps. And there were some significant milestones on the credit side as well, with iTraxx Crossover widening +10.4bps to a fresh 10 year high of 544bps outside of 2-months around peak covid, and in North America we saw the CDX IG spread move above 100bps in trading for the first time since April 2020, before settling back at 99.0bps. In Asia markets are mixed with the Hang Seng (+1.44%) trading up boosted by technology stocks following the Nasdaq's overnight gain. Likewise, stocks in mainland China are also higher in early trade with the Shanghai Composite (+1.41%) and CSI (+1.57%) edging higher as the economy showed a slightly better than expected recovery in May (see below). However, the Nikkei (-0.73%) and the Kospi (-1.54%) are trading lower, extending earlier session losses. Outside of Asia, US equity futures are reversing losses this morning with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.38%) and NASDAQ 100 (+0.59%) trading up. Early this morning, data released showed that China’s industrial production unexpectedly rebounded +0.7% y/y in May (v/s -0.9% expected), against a drop of -2.9% in April, whilst retail sales slid -6.7% in the period, less than -7.1% projected decline and slightly better than April’s -11.1% plunge. Meanwhile, Fixed-asset investment grew +6.2% in the first 5 months of the year (v/s +6.0% expected). Elsewhere, Japan’s core machinery orders strongly beat at +10.8% m/m in April, its fastest pace in 18 months (v/s -1.3% market consensus and +7.1% in March). Yesterday we also heard that the Bank of Japan had bought a record ¥2.2tn in government notes through its fixed-rate operation as they seek to defend their yield curve target and keep 10-year JGB yields beneath their stated limit of 0.25%. This has continued to put pressure on the Yen however, which fell to a closing level of 135.47 per dollar yesterday, thus moving beneath its 2002 closing low of 134.71 and leaving it at levels unseen since 1998. We're at just above 135 this morning after a small rally back. Speaking of currencies under pressure, Bitcoin fell to a 17-month low of $21,966 yesterday, having been trading around $30,000 just prior to the CPI release on Friday. This morning it's at $21,100. Elsewhere, brent crude and WTI futures reversed mid-day gains of near 2% to close -0.90% and -1.65% lower, respectively, following reports that the Biden Administration may pose a surtax on oil company profit margins, as another sign Biden is looking high and low for potential actions to curb oil gains into this year’s mid-terms. The big moves were seen in natural gas however, where US futures were down -16.5% and European futures were up +16.12% after the operator Freeport LNG said that they aiming for a partial resumption of operations at one of their Texas export terminals in 90 days, and that full operations wouldn’t return until late 2022. That’s a longer delay than was expected, and by keeping gas in the US led to that decline in US futures and the rise in European ones. Looking at yesterday’s data, the Fed got a fresh reminder about inflation pressures from the PPI release for May, where the monthly headline gain in prices rose to +0.8% in line with expectations, up from +0.4% in April. That left the year-on-year measure at +10.8% (vs. +10.9% expected), which does mark a second consecutive decline in that measure from its peak of +11.5% in March. One positive for the Fed ahead of today’s meeting is that elements that comprise a larger share of core PCE, such as healthcare, showed some softness, but time will tell. Separately, the UK employment data saw the number of payrolled employees in May grow by +90k (vs. +70k expected), but unemployment ticked up to 3.8% in the three months to April (vs. 3.6% expected). Finally, the ZEW survey from Germany saw an improvement relative to May’s readings, with expectations up to -28.0 (vs. -26.8 expected), and the current situation up to -27.6 (vs. -31.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will likely be the aforementioned FOMC decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. There’s also an array of ECB speakers, including President Lagarde, as well as the ECB’s Holzmann, Nagel, Centeno, Muller, De Cos, Panetta and Knot. Otherwise, data releases include Euro Area industrial production for April, US retail sales for May, the NAHB housing market index for June and the Empire State manufacturing survey for June. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/15/2022 - 07:53.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJun 15th, 2022

Libya"s Fragile Peace Is A Major Oil Market Risk

Libya's Fragile Peace Is A Major Oil Market Risk Authored by Simon Watkins via OilPrice.com, The relentless oil price is causing economic havoc around the world, and Libya represents a major supply risk that could send prices even higher. The recent failed attempt by Bashagha to take power in Tripoli has heightened tensions in the country and could lead to significant supply outages. Until there is genuine progress on the issue of fair distribution of oil revenues within the country, this risk of major supply outages will continue to plague markets. The economic pain for many countries being caused by still-high crude oil (and gas) prices may be exacerbated by another extensive series of blockades of key oil facilities in Libya. This follows the very recent failed attempt by Fathi Bashagha – appointed prime minister of the ‘alternative government’ in the east of the country three months ago – to take over power in Tripoli. Bashagha, and the Nawasi Brigade militia who accompanied him, were eventually driven out of the city by various other of many factions fighting there. This occurred amid the ongoing refusal of the Government of National Unity’s (GNU) Prime Minister, Abdul Hamid Dbeibah - who was appointed through a United Nations (U.N.)-led process in 2021 - to hand over power until such a time as a properly elected government is voted into office by the people of Libya. Bashagha, who has led three such coup attempts in three months, is unlikely to stop his current attempts to seize power, given the distinct possibility that talks held in Egypt at the behest of U.N. envoy Stephanie Williams to reach an agreement on a new constitutional framework and a timeline for elections might see him sidelined.  Even if Bashagha is successfully removed from any legal or quasi-legal basis of power and accepts the decision, the fault lines that run through Libya, and permeate into its oil sector, are too deep and broad to just disappear with him. Since the removal of long-time leader, Muammar Gaddafi, in 2011, as analyzed in-depth in my new book on the global oil markets, the multi-factional civil conflict that has ensued found genuine relief only in the September 2020 agreement signed between Khalifa Haftar, the commander of the rebel Libyan National Army (LNA), and elements of Tripoli’s U.N.-recognised Government of National Accord (GNA). However, even back then, a key part of this deal was an in-principle agreement to look into establishing a commission not only to determine how oil revenues across Libya are distributed but also to consider the implementation of a number of measures designed to stabilize the country’s perilous financial position. Just prior to the September 2020 agreement, there had been yet another series of long-running oil blockades that had cost the country an estimated US$9.8 billion in lost hydrocarbon revenues.  Both before this 2020 agreement and after it began to break down, Libya’s oil sector has been subject to various-scale blockades of its key oil facilities, and even now around half or slightly more of Libya’s oil production is offline, according to various estimates. Prior to this, following the National Oil Company (NOC) declaring a legal state of ‘force majeure’ because “it is impossible to implement its commitments towards the oil market,” Libyan crude oil production had seen an extended loss of around 550,000 bpd of its oil production as a result of blockades on major fields and export terminals. These included the closure of the Zueitina port, whose crude loadings average around 90,000 bpd, with production also stopped at Abuatufol, Al-Intisar, Anakhla, and Nafura. Just prior to this, the Sharara field in the west of the country, which can pump around 300,000 bpd, was also shut down, and just prior to this the El Feel oil field, which produces 70,000 bpd, was closed, as was the 60,000 bpd Brega operation. These sites are key suppliers of mostly high-quality light, sweet crude oil, notably including the Es Sider and Sharara export crudes. It is easy to forget that before Gaddafi’s removal in 2011, Libya had been easily able to produce around 1.65 million bpd of mostly high-quality light, sweet crude oil. Production had additionally been on a rising production trajectory, up from about 1.4 million bpd in 2000, albeit well below the peak levels of more than 3 million bpd achieved in the late 1960s. This said, the NOC had plans in place before 2011 to roll out enhanced oil recovery (EOR) techniques to increase crude oil production at maturing oil fields. Even up until the most recent major production blockades of its western fields and eastern ports ended, Libya had been producing around 1.2 million bpd. From that level, there still appeared scope to increase this to the 2.1 million bpd targeted by Libya’s Oil Ministry, and to hit the informal interim targets of 1.45 million bpd by the end of 2022, and 1.6 million bpd by the end of 2023. It is apposite to remember at this point that Libya still has around 48 billion barrels of proved crude oil reserves – the largest in Africa.  Given this potential, there was, and to some degree still is, the prospect of major international participation in Libya’s oil sector. Earlier this year, the Oil Ministry had begun discussing exploration and development options with several international oil companies, with an agreement of sorts being struck with TotalEnergies. This saw the French firm commit to continue with its efforts to increase oil production from the giant Waha, Sharara, Mabruk, and Al Jurf oil fields by at least 175,000 bpd and to make the development of the Waha-concession North Gialo and NC-98 oil fields a priority, according to the NOC. The Waha concessions – in which TotalEnergies took a minority stake in 2019 – have the capacity to produce at least 350,000 bpd together, according to the NOC. The second deal was the approval by Libya’s GNU of the sale of the 8.16 percent stake in the country’s giant Waha oil concessions held by the U.S.’s Hess Corporation to the remaining stakeholders – again, TotalEnergies (with a 16.3 percent share), and also ConocoPhillips (also 16.3 percent), each of which was offered first refusal on half of Hess’s stake. At the core of Libya’s short-, medium-, and long-term crude oil production outlook, though, and again reiterated behind the scenes in the very recent Cairo talks by the U.S., is that there must be genuine progress on the issue of fair distribution of oil revenues, the promise of which had successfully underpinned the 2020 agreement for longer than anyone expected. According to a Washington-based legal source spoken to by OilPrice.com at the time of the September 2020 agreement and reiterated recently, the NOC had been working on “alternative banking arrangements for the oil revenues that may or may not involve the input on final dispersal of more players.” Part of this process would be the creation of technical committees with representatives drawn from all sides of the civil conflict. These separate committees would deal with field awards, in tandem with the oil and gas ministry, and the dispersal of oil and gas revenues, in tandem with the ministry and the Central Bank of Libya (in which the revenues are physically held). As it stands, neither the GNA nor the Central Bank of Libya has publically and unequivocally agreed to its core principles as yet, and during the last major series of blockades of Libya’s oil infrastructure, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Richard Norland, urged the country’s central bank to safeguard oil revenue from misappropriation. Tyler Durden Wed, 06/15/2022 - 05:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytJun 15th, 2022

Duke Energy (DUK) Arm Rolls Out GreenEdge in North Carolina

Duke Energy's (DUK) subsidiary, Piedmont Natural Gas, introduces the GreenEdge program to enable its customers to buy green blocks voluntarily from it, with each block at $3. Duke Energy’s DUK subsidiary, Piedmont Natural Gas, recently launched GreenEdge, a self-funding carbon-reducing program, for its North Carolina customers. This takes Duke Energy one step ahead in reaching its target of enabling renewables to become the company’s largest source of energy by 2050, making up more than 40% of its generation capacity.Details of the ProgramThe GreenEdge program will enable Piedmont Natural Gas’ residential and commercial customers to buy green blocks voluntarily from it, with each block at $3. Each of these green blocks represents the environmental attributes of renewable natural gas and carbon offsets and is equivalent to 12.5 therms of natural gas usage.Hence, by purchasing these green blocks, Piedmont Natural Gas’ customers in North Carolina can effectively reduce their natural gas usage, with each block equivalent to 25% of the average household’s monthly natural gas usage. This, in turn, should promote clean energy adoption in the region.Duke Energy’s Renewable InitiativesDuke Energy has been taking multiple initiatives to expand its renewable asset base and aims to reach its target of net-zero carbon emissions from electric generation by 2050. DUK already lowered its carbon emissions in 2021 by more than 44% since 2005 and is now expanding its 2050 net-zero goals to include Scope 2 and certain Scope 3 emissions. Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from the power the company purchases from others to use at its facilities, while Scope 3 includes indirect emissions that arise from others in the company’s value chain.Moreover, it developed innovative Integrated Resource Plans in multiple jurisdictions and updated the enterprise capital plan through 2026 to increase planned investments to $52 billion, with more than 80% of this capital plan funding investments in the grid and clean energy transition.Of its latest efforts to promote clean energy, the significant ones are the increment of clean energy output by 10% at Duke Energy’s Markland Hydroelectric Station in Indiana and the commencement of the construction of the 120-megawatt (MW) Jackpot Solar project in Twin Falls County, ID. The launch of the GreenEdge program is yet another initiative adopted by the company to duly meet its renewable goals.Utilities’ Adoption of Renewable EnergyUtilities are adopting renewable energy sources to produce electricity to mitigate the deadly effects of climate change in the United States. Per the latest forecast made by the U.S. Energy Information Administration, electricity generation from renewable energy sources is expected to rise from 20% in 2021 to 23% in 2022 and 24% in 2023, primarily driven by projected additions to the wind and solar energy generating capacity.Apart from Duke Energy, a few utilities have pledged net-zero carbon emissions to achieve a carbon-free environment to benefit from growing renewable generation opportunities.For instance, DTE Energy DTE is committed to reducing carbon emissions from electric utility operations by 32% by 2023, 50% by 2030 and 80% by 2040 from the 2005 levels. To meet carbon-reduction goals in the near term, DTE Electric plans to put in service a natural gas-fueled combined-cycle generation facility in 2022.DTE Energy boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 6%. DTE came up with a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 8.97%.American Electric Power’s AEP intermediate goal is an 80% reduction from the 2000 CO2 emission levels from its generating facilities by 2030. The long-term goal is net-zero CO2 emissions from its generating facilities by 2050. Its 2022-2026 capital investment forecast includes $9.9 billion in a regulated renewable plan.American Electric boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 6.2%. AEP has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 2.40%, on average.Ameren Corporation AEE targets to expand its renewable portfolio by adding 3,100 MW of renewable generation by the end of 2030 and a total 5,400 MW of renewable generation by 2040. Apart from investing in renewable projects, Ameren is also closing its coal-fired plants to reduce CO2 emissions and promote green energy.Ameren boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.2%. AEE came up with a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 0.36%.Price MovementIn a year's time, shares of DUK have rallied 5.9% compared with the industry’s growth of 5.1%.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankDuke Energy currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top picks for the entirety of 2022? From inception in 2012 through 2021, the Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolios gained an impressive +1,001.2% versus the S&P 500’s +348.7%. Now our Director of Research has combed through 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank and has handpicked the best 10 tickers to buy and hold. Don’t miss your chance to get in…because the sooner you do, the more upside you stand to grab.See Stocks Now >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Ameren Corporation (AEE): Free Stock Analysis Report Duke Energy Corporation (DUK): Free Stock Analysis Report DTE Energy Company (DTE): Free Stock Analysis Report American Electric Power Company, Inc. (AEP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksJun 10th, 2022

Check out these 45 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startupsNeepa Patel, Themis' founder and CEOThemisWhen Themis founder and CEO Neepa Patel set out to build a new compliance tool for banks, fintech startups, and crypto companies, she tapped into her own experience managing risk at some of the nation's biggest financial firms. Having worked as a bank regulator at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and in compliance at Morgan Stanley, Deutsche Bank, and the enterprise blockchain company R3, Patel was well-placed to assess the shortcomings in financial compliance software. But Patel, who left the corporate world to begin work on Themis in 2020, drew on more than just her own experience and frustrations to build the startup."It's not just me building a tool based on my personal pain points. I reached out to regulators. I reached out to bank compliance officers and members in the fintech community just to make sure that we're building it exactly how they do their work," Patel told Insider. "That was the biggest problem: No one built a tool that was reflective of how people do their work."Check out the 9-page pitch deck Themis, which offers pay-as-you-go compliance for banks, fintechs, and crypto startups, used to raise $9 million in seed fundingDeploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Helping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Johnson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersHelping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Guto Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo Parejo.KaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed round 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series A Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounder.GleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingBetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay Davis.AtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Data science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of Counterpart.CounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BCrypto staking made easyEthan and Eric Parker, founders of crypto-investing app Giddy.GiddyFrom the outside looking in, cryptocurrency can seem like a world of potential, but also one of complexity. That's because digital currencies, which can be traded, invested in, and moved like traditional currencies, operate on decentralized blockchain networks that can be quite technical in nature. Still, they offer the promise of big gains and have been thrusted into the mainstream over the years, converting Wall Street stalwarts and bankers.But for the everyday investor, a fear of missing out is settling in. That's why brothers Ethan and Eric Parker built Giddy, a mobile app that enables users to invest in crypto, earn passive income on certain crypto holdings via staking, and get into the red-hot space of decentralized finance, or DeFi."What we're focusing on is giving an opportunity for people who otherwise couldn't access DeFi because it's just technically too difficult," Eric Parker, CEO at Giddy, told Insider. Here's the 7-page pitch deck Giddy, an app that lets users invest in DeFi, used to raise an $8 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceRetirement accounts for cryptoTodd Southwick, CEO and co-founder of iTrustCapital.iTrustCapitalTodd Southwick and Blake Skadron stuck to a simple mandate when they were building out iTrustCapital, a $1.3 billion fintech that strives to offer cryptocurrencies to the masses via dedicated individual retirement accounts."We wanted to make a product that we would feel happy recommending for our parents to use," Southwick, the CEO of iTrustCapital, told Insider. That guiding framework resulted in a software system that helped to digitize and automate the traditionally clunky and paper-based process of setting up an IRA for alternative assets, Southwick said. "We saw a real opportunity within the self-directed IRAs because we knew at that point in time, there was a fairly small segment of people that was willing to deal with the inconvenience of having to set up an IRA" for crypto, Southwick said. The process often involved phone calls to sales reps and over-the-counter trading desks, paper and fax machines, and days of wait time.iTrustCapital allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using tax-advantaged IRAs with no monthly account fees. The startup provides access to 25 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin — charging a 1% transaction fee on crypto trades — as well as gold and silver.iTrustCapital, a fintech simplifying how to set up a crypto retirement account, used this 8-page pitch deck to raise a $125 million Series AA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 17th, 2022

Gulf State OPEC Members Sound Alarm About Dwindling Global Energy Capacity

Gulf State OPEC Members Sound Alarm About Dwindling Global Energy Capacity Authored by Bryan Jung via The Epoch Times, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates warned earlier this week that their spare energy capacity is decreasing in all energy sectors as key producers reduce investment in fossil fuels, pushing oil,  diesel, and natural gas to trade at near-record highs. Brent oil was trading at around $102 a barrel as they spoke. “I am a dinosaur, but I have never seen these things,” said Saudi energy minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman to Bloomberg on May 10, at an OPEC conference in Abu Dhabi. The prince was referring to the surge in prices for refined oil products, in particular in the United States, where gas and diesel prices are hitting a record high, causing problems for the Biden administration. “The world needs to wake up to an existing reality. The world is running out of energy capacity at all levels,” said the Saudi minister. Suhail al Mazrouei, the UAE’s energy minister, said to Bloomberg at the same conference, that without additional global investment, OPEC+ would not be able to guarantee sufficient supplies of oil for its customers as the world economy fully recovers from the pandemic. “We’ve been warning about the lack of investment,” said al Mazrouei, and “that lack of investment is catching up with a lot of countries.” The two ministers also hit back at new U.S. congressional legislation intended to target the oil cartel and regulate energy output, claiming that the bill would bring greater chaos to already strained energy markets. Of the major producers, Saudi Arabia and the UAE are among the few producers investing in greater output and together, are spending billions of dollars to boost crude capacity by 2 million barrels a day by the end of this decade. The other producers are struggling with investments, as Western shareholders and governments push for a transition from fossil fuels to “green” energy. OPEC+ announced a 432,000 barrel-a-day increase for June at its meeting on May 5, but it’s struggling to reach even that monthly target, as many members are producing below their quotas. The 23-nation energy alliance fell short of its production quotas by 2.59 million barrels per day in April, according to the latest OPEC+ survey by S&P Global Commodity Insights. The UAE minister still believes that there is no serious market crisis at the moment and that OPEC has little urgency to boost oil production. However, several key importers disagree, especially the EU, U.S., and Japan, which have been demanding a more rapid increase in output from OPEC+ since last year. The same nations have at the same time imposed sanctions on Russia a lead OPEC member, after its invasion of Ukraine at the end of February. The EU has recently announced an even more punitive ban on Russian energy imports this month. Crude prices have risen more than 35 percent this year to a high of around $105 a barrel since sanctions were placed on Moscow over Ukraine. The G7 nations have lobbied OPEC+ to punish Russia, but the Saudis and the UAE reiterated that the cartel would not allow geopolitics to affect its decisions. Al Mazrouei blamed the politicization of the oil market for the latest rise in prices and declared that OPEC+ was unified and that all members have pledged not to hike output on there own. “We are together,” he said. “Trust me. No one can unilaterally increase production unless they’re intending to break the alliance,” said the UAE minister. “We are getting a fraction of what the companies and governments are making from those extra taxes,” he said. The minister said that it was wrong to blame crude oil producers and that high taxes in consuming nations were to blame for skyrocketing fuel prices. He also told CNBC that the revival of a proposed bill in Washington could push oil prices by as much as 300 percent. Top OPEC ministers have hit back at new U.S. legislation intended to regulate oil output and that OPEC was being unfairly targeted over the energy crisis, saying that such efforts would bring chaos to energy markets. A U.S. Senate Committee greenlighted the new bipartisan No Oil Producing and Exporting Cartels (NOPEC) bill on May 5 with a 17-4 majority, the first step towards passage of the decades-old proposal. It now needs to be passed by the full Senate and the House, before being signed into law by the president. The proposed bill aims to protect U.S. consumers and businesses over the manipulation of energy prices and would allow the U.S. government to open an antitrust suit against OPEC over its control of the majority of the world’s oil supply and prices. “If you hinder that system, you need to watch what you’re asking for, because having a chaotic market you would see … a 200 percent or 300 percent increase in the prices that the world cannot handle,” said Al Mazrouei to CNBC at the World Utilities Congress in Abu Dhabi. “We, OPEC+, cannot compensate for the whole 100 percent of the world requirement,” he said. “How much we produce, that is our share. And, actually, I would bet that we are doing much more.” The UAE and Saudi energy ministers issued a joint statement, saying that both OPEC and non-OPEC members should work together to handle the ongoing energy crisis. “I’m very concerned about the holistic energy system existing today,” said Prince bin Salman, who added that “the world needs to work collectively, responsibly, comprehensively in providing us and salvaging the world economy.” Tyler Durden Thu, 05/12/2022 - 09:28.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 12th, 2022

These 3 small business owners started their companies during the pandemic. Here are the books they read to do it, from self-help bestsellers to concrete management guides.

Covering everything from forming a business plan to overcoming challenges, these are the best books for aspiring or current small business owners. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.Covering everything from forming a business plan to overcoming challenges, these are the best books for aspiring or current small business owners.Amazon; Rachel Mendelson/InsiderWhen you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Starting a small business can seem complicated, overwhelming, and stressful. Books can help us learn more about starting and running a business. We talked to 3 successful small business owners to get their book recommendations. Turning your passion or idea into a small business can seem complicated, overwhelming, and too stressful to attempt. Luckily, books can help us learn more about starting and running a small business as well as motivate us to keep going through the hardest days. A record-breaking 9.8 million new small businesses opened in 2020 and 2021, so we spoke to three successful small business owners who started their businesses during the pandemic and read books to guide their entrepreneurial journeys. Their recommendations range from traditional business books to motivational self-help books and inspirational memoirs, so if you're considering starting a small business, here are some reads that may help you along the way:Getting startedOvercoming challenges Improving your business planGetting started"Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life" by Bill Burnett and Dave EvansAmazon"Designing Your Life: How to Build a Well-Lived, Joyful Life," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.99During the pandemic, many people began to think differently about their careers and aspirations. This book helps readers apply Bill Burnett and Dave Evans' "Life Design" method to their own lives with real-world examples and practical techniques to create a life that works for you and fits your purpose.  "No matter where you are or how old you are, it's never too late to design a life you want to live," says Shekeitha Jeffries, founder of My Pretty Girl Notes, a stationery company that uplifts and honors Black women. "This book is dedicated to helping you find your purpose with questions about life and how you see yourself in the world."You can also take an online class led by Burnett and Evans on the same topic."Year of Yes: How to Dance It Out, Stand in the Sun and Be Your Own Person" by Shonda RhimesAmazon"Year of Yes," available on Amazon and Bookshop, from $10.32Shonda Rhimes is the creator of the hit TV shows "Grey's Anatomy" and "Scandal." But in her memoir, "Year of Yes," she addresses how her introverted side often kept her away from opportunities like media appearances and interviews. This book is about her commitment to saying "yes" for one year and the ways it changed her life. "[This book] is a reminder to say yes to the things you're most afraid of," says Jeffries. "It's hard to start a business, it's hard to have the confidence when even your family or friends might not see your vision. Say yes to yourself... Do it even if you're scared."Legend PlannerAmazon"Legend Planner," available at Amazon, $24.99While technically a book you write in, a guided planner can become an indispensable tool in starting a small business."If you're running a business, you need to learn how to get organized and you need to do it quickly." That's why Darwin Alford, founder of the sustainable streetwear brand Reclaimed DNA, recommends finding a great planner that works for you. She finds the layout of the Legend Planner most helpful for her handmade, made-to-order sustainable clothing business. "You can write out your monthly and weekly schedule, but the layout includes a section for your goals, habit tracking, separate work, and personal to-do lists, [as well as] space to identify your wins for the week and improvements for next week."  You can also read our picks for the best planners here."The Fashion Business Manual: An Illustrated Guide to Building a Fashion Brand" by FashionaryAmazon"The Fashion Business Manual," available at Amazon, $37.04As a fashion business owner, Alford recommends "The Fashion Business Manual" to anyone looking to start a business specifically in the fashion industry."This is an amazing overview of what is it to run a fashion business," says Alford, who notes it "covers everything from forming an idea, finding a production team, marketing, taking stock, accounting.""It's fully illustrated so it's an easy read, but it does give you an idea of the weight you'll take on when you start your business and how to get prepared to manage all the aspects you may not have thought about yet," adds Alford.Overcoming challenges"The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph" by Ryan HolidayAmazon"The Obstacle Is the Way: The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $14.99One big hurdle in starting a small business is learning to adjust to unanticipated challenges. "Especially as an entrepreneur, there are going to be so many things that we are not prepared for. This book helped me shift my mindset to understand that there are going to be obstacles in your life and that is okay," says Ruth Sherrill, founder of Ruth Sherrill Marketing Services and Director of The Black Girl Initiative. Written by Ryan Holiday (of "The Daily Stoic" fame), "The Obstacle Is the Way" is a philosophy book that offers a formula to help readers turn obstacles into opportunities. "It's a book that's helpful for business, relationships, and the ups and downs we go through so we can understand obstacles will happen and learn how to better handle them," says Sherrill."Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway" by Susan Jeffers, PhDAmazon"Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.49Small business owners often deal with fear and imposter syndrome but "Feel the Fear and Do it Anyway" helped Alford move forward nonetheless. "Imposter syndrome is there, it's going to be there, but move with it and do it anyway." With practical techniques such as Susan Jeffers' 10-Step Positive Thinking Process, this book can help readers overcome passivity and negativity, even on the most challenging days."You're never going to feel fully prepared, no matter what Instagram shows you of others that seem to have it all together," says Alford. "Have faith in yourself.""Staying Power: A 30-Day Guide To Commanding The Boardroom, Branding Yourself, And Finding Your Higher Calling" by Liz Nolley TillmanAmazon"Staying Power," available at Amazon, $19.95Recommended by Jeffries, "Staying Power" is an action-oriented guide that helps readers identify their purpose, articulate their value, and market themselves effectively to guide their business journey with purpose."There's not always going to be someone in the room who looks like you and that can create insecurities, [but] you need to come in commanding the attention and the recognition you deserve," says Jeffries, who credits the book with providing "advice so you can become more visible and be heard.""Push beyond your insecurities, fear, and the stereotypes you face," she says. "As a business owner, you have to be confident in who you are and the products and services you provide — you have to be the voice of your business.""The Mountain Is You: Transforming Self-Sabotage Into Self-Mastery" by Brianna WiestAmazon"The Mountain Is You," available at Amazon, $16.19This self-help recommendation aims to help readers learn new skills to step out of their own way and reach their greatest potential by looking insightfully at their most damaging habits, building emotional intelligence, and releasing past experiences that may be damaging their confidence. "This book helps you reflect inward, look at your self-saboteur, and find empowerment," says Sherrill. "When things don't go your way as a small business owner, it's easy to blame yourself, but we need to get out of our own way to be successful."Improving your business plan"The Go-Giver: A Little Story About a Powerful Business Idea" by Bob Burg and John David MannAmazon"The Go-Giver," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $11.90"The Go-Giver" is an anecdotal business book that uses the story of an ambitious go-getter to teach readers that shifting their focus from "getting" to "giving" can add value to our lives and ultimately help them get more in return. "This is a great business book because it helped me find new ways to appreciate my clients and value our relationship," says Sherrill. "It's not about what you're trying to get from people, but what you're trying to give to them.""The 12 Week Year: Get More Done in 12 Weeks than Others Do in 12 Months" by Brian P. Moran and Michael LenningtonAmazon"The 12 Week Year," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $12.59Recommended by Sherrill, "The 12 Week Year" is a self-help business book that redefines your "year" as 12 weeks in order to help you be more productive and reach goals faster."Whatever your goal is, this book can help you break it into bite-sized pieces," says Sherrill. "I always have so many things to work on for my clients, but I need to work on bettering my business, too. It helped me set my goals, manage them, and see them objectively.""Yes!: 50 Scientifically Proven Ways to Be Persuasive" by Noah J. Goldstein, Steve J. Martin, and Robert CialdiniAmazon"Yes!," available at Amazon and Bookshop, from $9.29Backed by over 60 years of research into the psychology of persuasion, "Yes!" offers insightful tips in short chapters that can help readers become more persuasive in their personal and professional lives. These tactics can help small business owners clarify their message, differentiate themselves, and capture consumer interest. "Like so many other business owners, I follow so many marketing experts, but every great idea I've had came from what I learned in this book," says Alford. "It covers a different way of understanding how we get connected to things so we can better understand our consumers.""Sustainable Marketing: How to Drive Profit with Purpose" by Michelle Carvill, Gemma Butler, and Geraint EvansAmazon"Sustainable Marketing," available at Amazon, $25"Sustainable Marketing" is an inclusive guide that uses case studies, academic research, and professional examples of how to implement and maintain sustainable marketing practices that will positively influence your brand and customer loyalty. "It's nice to find a book that talks about the constructs of having a sustainable business," says Alford. "This book gives you a basis to understand that you are a business and you do need a profit, but you can find a balance where growth can benefit you, the planet, and other people."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMay 5th, 2022

The 6 coolest new electric cars at the New York auto show, from a 250-mph supercar to a Chevy pickup

New and upcoming electric cars, trucks, and SUVs stole the show at this year's New York auto show. The Volkswagen ID.Buzz.Tim Levin/Insider The 2022 New York auto show is packed with interesting electric vehicles.  Some models go on sale soon, while others are only in concept form.  We saw Chevy's electric pickup, VW's quirky minivan, and a 2,200-horsepower supercar.  Chevrolet Silverado EVThe Chevrolet Silverado EV.Tim Levin/InsiderChevrolet debuted its electric Silverado pickup at CES in January and aims to start selling it in 2023. The truck starts at $39,900 for the most basic Work Truck model. The RST First Edition, which hits the market later in 2023, starts at $105,000. The Chevrolet Silverado EV.Tim Levin/InsiderThe star of the show was the Silverado EV's ingenious bed, which features a large pass-through to the cab, allowing people to haul objects that are almost 11 feet long. Deus VayanneDeus Vayanne.Tim Levin/InsiderAustria-based EV startup Deus debuted a "production-oriented concept" of its inaugural model, the Vayanne. The company claims its supercar will put out a positively outrageous 2,200 horsepower and 1,475 pound-feet of torque. For comparison, the $3.3 million Bugatti Chiron only offers 1,500 horses or so. The Deus Vayanne.Tim Levin/InsiderThe Vayanne, according to Deus, will have a top speed of 248 mph and can hit 60 mph in less than two seconds. Impossibly low to the ground and sculpted, the Vayanne also looks the part. Deus says its rear is inspired by the infinity symbol. The Deus Vayanne is limited to 99 examples, and deliveries are set to begin in 2025. Kia EV9 conceptThe Kia EV9.Tim Levin/InsiderKia took the opportunity to show off its EV9 concept, which previews a large SUV to slot above the compact EV6. Boxy and imposing, the EV9 concept looks like a futuristic take on Kia's popular Telluride SUV. Kia says the EV9 will have more than 300 miles of range when it hits US dealerships in 2023. We hope the SUV looks a lot like this concept when it comes to life, but some of the EV9's most interesting design elements — like its suicide doors — probably won't make it into production. Indi OneIndi EV Indi OneTim LevinYou'd be forgiven for not being aware of Indi EV, given the sheer number of electric-vehicle startups trying to make a name for themselves at this very moment. Los Angeles-based Indi was founded in 2017 and kicked off preorders for its first model, an SUV called the Indi One, at the auto show. Here's how Indi is different from other upstarts: It included a powerful computer in the Indi One that it calls the "Vehicle Integrated Computer." Indi EV Indi One.Tim Levin/InsiderThis, Indi says, will allow people to play video games, make video calls for work, use social media, and do other things normally reserved for a regular computer. Indi says pricing starts at $45,000, and deliveries will start next year. Vinfast VF8 and VF9Vinfast VF8Tim Levin/InsiderVietnamese carmaker Vinfast showed off two electric models that are heading to the US this year: the VF8 midsize SUV and VF9 full-size SUV. Despite coming from a company — and a country — that's never sold cars of any kind stateside, they blend right in with the electric and gas SUVs on the market.The Vinfast VF9.Tim Levin/InsiderIt'll undoubtedly be difficult for a new brand to break into the American market. But the large VF9 hits a segment that has barely any electric options at the moment. There are several compact and medium-sized electric SUVs to choose from, but only a couple with a third row like the VF9. To keep costs down, Vinfast is having customers lease their batteries for a monthly fee. The company guarantees it will replace a vehicle's battery if its capacity drops below 70%.Volkswagen ID.BuzzThe Volkswagen ID.Buzz.Tim Levin/InsiderThe Volkswagen ID.Buzz doesn't arrive on US shores until 2024, but we got an early glimpse at the funky minivan in New York. And we can report that it looks great in person. It's weird in all the right ways and just puts a smile on your face. The Volkswagen ID.Buzz.Tim Levin/InsiderThe ID.Buzz on display was the European model. For the US, VW will stretch the van slightly to make room for third-row seating. The Euro ID.Buzz already has plenty of interior space and headroom, and adjustments for the US should make it even more practical. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 19th, 2022

Check out these 44 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Deploying algorithms and automation to small-business financingJustin Straight and Bernard Worthy, LoanWell co-foundersLoanWellBernard Worthy and Justin Straight, the founders of LoanWell, want to break down barriers to financing for small and medium-size businesses — and they've got algorithms and automation in their tech arsenals that they hope will do it.Worthy, the company's CEO, and Straight, its chief operating and financial officer, are powering community-focused lenders to fill a gap in the SMB financing world by boosting access to loans under $100,000. And the upstart is known for catching the attention, and dollars, of mission-driven investors. LoanWell closed a $3 million seed financing round in December led by Impact America Fund with participation from SoftBank's SB Opportunity Fund and Collab Capital.LoanWell automates the financing process — from underwriting and origination, to money movement and servicing — which shaves down an up-to-90-day process to 30 days or even same-day with some LoanWell lenders, Worthy said. SMBs rely on these loans to process quickly after two years of financial uncertainty. But the pandemic illustrated how time-consuming and expensive SMB financing can be, highlighted by efforts like the federal government's Paycheck Protection Program.Community banks, once the lifeline to capital for many local businesses, continue to shutter. And demands for smaller loan amounts remain largely unmet. More than half of business-loan applicants sought $100,000 or less, according to 2018 data from the Federal Reserve. But the average small-business bank loan was closer to six times that amount, according to the latest data from a now discontinued Federal Reserve survey.Here's the 14-page pitch deck LoanWell used to raise $3 million from investors like SoftBank.Helping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Johnson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersHelping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Guto Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo Parejo.KaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed round 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series A Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounder.GleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingBetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay Davis.AtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Data science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of Counterpart.CounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BCrypto staking made easyEthan and Eric Parker, founders of crypto-investing app Giddy.GiddyFrom the outside looking in, cryptocurrency can seem like a world of potential, but also one of complexity. That's because digital currencies, which can be traded, invested in, and moved like traditional currencies, operate on decentralized blockchain networks that can be quite technical in nature. Still, they offer the promise of big gains and have been thrusted into the mainstream over the years, converting Wall Street stalwarts and bankers.But for the everyday investor, a fear of missing out is settling in. That's why brothers Ethan and Eric Parker built Giddy, a mobile app that enables users to invest in crypto, earn passive income on certain crypto holdings via staking, and get into the red-hot space of decentralized finance, or DeFi."What we're focusing on is giving an opportunity for people who otherwise couldn't access DeFi because it's just technically too difficult," Eric Parker, CEO at Giddy, told Insider. Here's the 7-page pitch deck Giddy, an app that lets users invest in DeFi, used to raise an $8 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceRetirement accounts for cryptoTodd Southwick, CEO and co-founder of iTrustCapital.iTrustCapitalTodd Southwick and Blake Skadron stuck to a simple mandate when they were building out iTrustCapital, a $1.3 billion fintech that strives to offer cryptocurrencies to the masses via dedicated individual retirement accounts."We wanted to make a product that we would feel happy recommending for our parents to use," Southwick, the CEO of iTrustCapital, told Insider. That guiding framework resulted in a software system that helped to digitize and automate the traditionally clunky and paper-based process of setting up an IRA for alternative assets, Southwick said. "We saw a real opportunity within the self-directed IRAs because we knew at that point in time, there was a fairly small segment of people that was willing to deal with the inconvenience of having to set up an IRA" for crypto, Southwick said. The process often involved phone calls to sales reps and over-the-counter trading desks, paper and fax machines, and days of wait time.iTrustCapital allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using tax-advantaged IRAs with no monthly account fees. The startup provides access to 25 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin — charging a 1% transaction fee on crypto trades — as well as gold and silver.iTrustCapital, a fintech simplifying how to set up a crypto retirement account, used this 8-page pitch deck to raise a $125 million Series AA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 18th, 2022

Futures, Yields And Oil All Rise On Last Day Of Turbulent Week

Futures, Yields And Oil All Rise On Last Day Of Turbulent Week After several extremely volatile days, US equity futures are ending the week in the green (for now) with European equities snapping two days of declines sparked by the Federal Reserve’s plan for aggressive monetary-policy tightening, and Asian stocks trading higher. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 futures trimmed earlier gains to trade 0.3% higher as traders weighed the latest developments about the war in Ukraine. Contracts on U.S. stock benchmarks trim earlier gains as traders weigh developments about the war in Ukraine.Nasdaq 100 futures flat; S&P 500 futures +0.1%; Dow Jones futures +0.2%. The dollar rose for a 7th consecutive week and US Treasuries sold off across the curve; gold and bitcoin were flat. Oil was steady after three days of losses stoked by plans to release millions of barrels of crude from strategic reserves and China’s demand-sapping virus outbreak. Markets had a subdued session yesterday after sinking more than 4% in the previous two days as hawkish signals from the Federal Reserve sent Treasury yields surging. Among notable premarket moves, Robinhood slid 3% after Goldman Sachs, not too long ago the lead underwriter on the company's IPO, cut their rating on the stock to sell, saying softening retail engagement levels and profitability concerns will likely limit any outperformance. Some other notable premarket movers: Alcoa (AA US) is 1.2% lower as Credit Suisse analyst Curt Woodworth trims his recommendation to neutral as he views LME aluminum prices near peak levels. Quidel (QDEL US) gained in extended trading Thursday after it posted preliminary revenue for the first quarter that beat the average analyst estimate. CrowdStrike (CRWD US) advanced 4.1%. Analysts responded positively after management set a framework to reach $5 billion in annual recurring revenue (ARR) by 2026, during the cybersecurity company’s investor briefing. WD-40 (WDFC US) is poised to gain after producing a “solid” beat in the second quarter, Jefferies said, adding that an increased market share and new product launches would support volume growth of 3% in 2022. Kura Sushi (KRUS US) shares rose in postmarket trading after the restaurant chain reported a year-over-year jump in quarterly sales. ACM Research (ACMR US) edged lower in extended trading Thursday after saying in a release its first quarter revenue would be “significantly below” expectations, but reiterated full-year revenue guidance for 2022. U.S. stocks are on course to snap a three-week winning streak with investors shedding risk assets following indications from the Fed of a faster-than-expected pace of tightening in monetary policy. Concerns are also growing about the impact of high inflation and slowing economic growth on corporate earnings. The two-year Treasury yield rose five basis points and the 10-year yield climbed one point, reversing some of the curve steepening seen in the wake of the Fed minutes Wednesday, which outlined plans to pare the central bank’s balance sheet by more than $1 trillion a year alongside interest-rate hikes. Global equities are nursing losses for the week as markets grapple with the Fed’s campaign against elevated price pressures, Russia’s grinding war in Ukraine and China’s Covid travails. The lockdown in Shanghai -- which recorded more than 21,000 new daily virus cases -- has become one of President Xi Jinping’s biggest challenges. Expectations are growing that China will take steps to support its economy. “Stocks have had a little bit of a harder time this week digesting the fact that interest rates are going to be higher” amid a major shift in expectations around monetary policy, Anthony Saglimbene, global market strategist at Ameriprise Financial Inc., said on Bloomberg Television. Still, U.S. equities saw a second straight week of inflows at $1.5 billion, with large-cap and growth stocks outperforming small-cap and value sectors, according to Bank of America strategists. Marija Veitmane, a senior strategist at State Street Global Markets, also said stocks still appeared to be the safest option. “Cash gives you nothing with 7% inflation, bonds just had one of the worse quarters in history, and then if you look at stocks, we still have decent earnings outlook, and to me the biggest attraction is really strong balance sheets,” she said on Bloomberg TV. In the latest news out of Ukraine, dozens were killed Friday morning as Russian troops allegedly bombed civilians waiting at a train station to be evacuated from the Donetsk region. Meanwhile, U.S. officials warned that the war may last for weeks, months or even years, as Kyiv’s foreign minister pleaded for urgent military assistance. Here are the latest Ukraine war developments: Ukraine intends to establish up to 10 humanitarian corridors on Friday, those leaving Mariupol will need to use private vehicles. Ukrainian advisor Podolyak says negotiations with Russia continue online constantly, but the mood changed after Bucha events, via Reuters. Kremlin says it does not understand EU concerns about European countries paying for Russian gas in RUB, adds Commission President von der Leyen probably needs more information. On planned EU ban of Russian coal, says coal is in high demand. Special operation in Ukraine could be completed in the foreseeable future, given aims are being achieved and work is being carried out by peace negotiators and the military. EU ready to release EUR 500mln for arms to Ukraine, according to AFP citing EU chief. Russia says it has destroyed a training centre for foreign mercenaries within Ukraine, was located north of Odesa, via Tass. Japan's Industry Ministry plans to reduce Russian coal imports gradually while looking for alternative suppliers, according to Reuters. Ukraine PM says they have large stocks of grain, cereals and vegetable oil. Are able to provide themselves with food; this year's harvest will be 20% less YY. Ukraine gas grid warns that Russian actions could impact gas flows to Europe, via Reuters. On Thursday, St Louis Fed president James Bullard said he prefers boosting the policy rate to 3%-3.25% in the second half of 2022. Chicago Fed President Charles Evans and his Atlanta counterpart Raphael Bostic said they favor raising rates to neutral while monitoring the economy’s performance. The steepening in the Treasury yield curve contrasts with the flattening and inversions that have vexed markets this year. The two-year rate topped the 10-year last week for the first time since 2019, a possible warning of recession. “We’re seeing a tactical re-steepening right now but the curve is going to continue to flatten,” Kelsey Berro, fixed income portfolio manager at JPMorgan Asset Management, said on Bloomberg Television. “That’s because the Fed has told us, we’d like to get to neutral expeditiously. On top of that, they may need to tighten beyond neutral. Front-end yields can still go higher.” In Europe, Euro Stoxx 50 rallies over 1.8% before stalling while the Stoxx 600 index climbed 1.2% but drifted off best levels as investors took advantage of beaten-down stock valuations with energy, banks and autos the strongest-performing sectors. Banks outperformed as Banco BPM SpA surged after Credit Agricole SA bought a 9.2% stake in the Italian lender. An Asia-Pacific share index eked out a small increase.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Scout24 shares rise as much as 17%, the most intraday since December 2018, after a report that Hellman & Friedman, EQT and Permira have discussed taking the firm private. Banco BPM shares rise as much as 17% after Credit Agricole bought a 9.2% stake in the Italian lender, with Bank of America saying the deal is a reminder that real value should be based on fundamentals. Sodexo shares jump as much as 7.4%, their biggest single-day gain in a month, after RBC Capital Markets upgrades the French caterer to outperform from sector perform. K+S gains as much as 10% after JPMorgan double-upgraded the shares to overweight from underweight, seeing a very positive environment for fertilizers amid supply disruptions and high energy prices. Atlantia shares rise as much as 4.5% following a report in a Italian newspaper that the Benetton family and Blackstone may start their takeover offer for Atlantia at more than EU22 per share. Saab rise as much as 5% as SEB upgrades the shares to buy from hold on the Swedish defense firm’s sales potential in the coming decade in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Moncler shares rise as much as 4.2% after Barclays upgrades the Italian luxury company to overweight, citing an “attractive” defensive profile in the current environment. Genmab fall as much as 10%, the most since September 2020, after saying a tribunal decided in favor of Janssen Biotech over two issues surrounding the cancer drug daratumumab (Darzalex). Ahead of this weekend's French election, Macron's lead is shrinking: the current President led his rivals in the April 10 election with 26.2% support, down from 27.2% a day earlier, according to a polling average calculated by Bloomberg on April 8. Macron was 3.5 percentage points ahead of second-placed Marine Le Pen, down from 4.1 points. Asian stocks edged higher on Friday, poised to snap three days of declines as traders assessed the prospect of policy easing by Beijing.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index erased early losses of as much as 0.4% to climb 0.2%. Chinese property and infrastructure-related stocks surged on hopes for fiscal as well as monetary easing as the government seeks to prop up growth.   For the week, the Asian benchmark was down 2% as investors turned cautious on risk assets after latest comments from the Federal Reserve suggested aggressive tightening lies ahead. Tech shares were hit hard in particular, with the MSCI Asia-Pacific Information Technology Index losing 4% this week, on track for its worst performance since end-January. “There appears to be speculation that monetary easing by the PBOC might be imminent,” said Kazutaka Kubo, senior economist at Okasan Securities. There are also expectations that once lockdowns are over, the economy could be supported by pent-up demand, he added.  Chinese authorities have repeatedly vowed to support the economy and markets in thet past few weeks, as rising Covid-19 infections and lockdowns darken the outlook for growth. The pledges have spurred bets that some form of monetary easing may come soon.  Movements in most national benchmarks in the region were modest on Friday, gaining less than 1%. Stocks in the Philippines and Indonesia outperformed, while Singapore shares fell.  Indian stocks gained after the Reserve Bank of India kept borrowing costs at a record low, while India’s 10-year bond yield hit 7% - the highest since 2019 - as the nation’s central bank boosted an inflation forecast. The central bank also announced the start of policy normalization as the pandemic’s impact fades. The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.7% to 59,447.18 in Mumbai to complete a second week of gains, while the NSE Nifty 50 Index rose 0.8%. Gauges of small- and mid-sized companies gained 1% and 0.9%, respectively. The Reserve Bank of India’s monetary policy panel held the benchmark rate at 4%, in line with predictions of all 36 economists surveyed by Bloomberg. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das said the central bank will start focusing on withdrawal of banking liquidity accommodation to target inflation but such a move would be “multi-year” and carried out without disrupting the markets. “Equity markets will like the RBI’s continued focus on growth and its commitment to an accommodative stance,” said Abhay Agarwal, a fund manager at Mumbai-based Piper Serica Advisors Pvt.  The RBI’s commentary means adequate flow of liquidity will continue and immediate beneficiaries will be consumers who are borrowing to purchase real estate and autos, he added. All but one of 19 sectoral sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a gauge of power companies. Reliance Industries Ltd. was a key gainer on the Sensex, which saw 22 of its 30 components advance. The RBI has comforted markets by refraining from being aggressive, unlike its global peers, and by ensuring that the liquidity withdrawal will be gradual, Yesha Shah, head of equity research at Samco Securities wrote in a note.  “On the growth front, one can assume that the central bank expects private investment to ramp up now that capacity utilization has improved further,” she said, adding the policy lays the framework for a possible rate increase in coming reviews. Australian stocks advanced - the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.5% to close at 7,478.00 - supported by materials and industrial stocks. GrainCorp shares surged to a record high, after the firm upgraded its FY22 earnings guidance as high levels of rain in Australia lay a path for a bumper crop.  Platinum Asset plunged to an all-time low after the company reported net outflows of A$222 million in March. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 12,066.27. In rates, Treasuries fell across the curve, with the front-end of the Treasuries curve pressured lower, flattening 2s10s spread by ~5bp as 2-year yields trade more than 7bp cheaper on the day at ~2.54%. S&P 500 futures near top of Thursday’s range, following bigger advance for European stocks after three straight declines. Yields across long-end of the curve are little changed on the day, as flattening extends out to 5s30s spread which is tighter by ~4bp; 10-year yields around 2.683%, cheaper by 2.5bp vs Thursday close; bunds and gilts outperform by 1bp-2bp in the sector. Bunds reversed opening gains, adding to a three-day run of declines; French debt underperformed bunds ahead of presidential elections beginning Sunday. The German curve bull-flattens, richening 2bps across the back end. Peripheral spreads widen to core with Italy underperforming. In FX, Bloomberg dollar index advanced a seventh consecutive day and neared the strongest level since July 2020 as the greenback advanced against all of its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Norwegian krone. The euro pared losses after touching a one-month low against the dollar in early London trading. The pound fell to the lowest in more than three weeks as bets for aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve boost the dollar. Gilts rose across the curve as U.S. Treasury yields stabilized following the recent selloff. The Australian and New Zealand dollars were the worst-performing G-10 currencies; Australia’s yield curve steepened following a similar move in Treasuries on Thursday. Most Japanese government bonds rose, thanks to support from the central bank’s regular purchase operations. The yen briefly reversed early an Asia session loss after an ex-BOJ official said there’s likelihood of a policy shift as soon as this summer. Bitcoin is contained and unable to derive traction either way from the broader risk tone. Strike payment platform launches Shopify (SHOP) integration, which allows merchants to accept Bitcoin (BTC), according to Bloomberg. In commodities, crude futures trade within Thursday’s range; WTI holds above $96, Brent stalls near $102. Spot gold holds steady near $1,930/oz. Most base metals trade well: LME zinc and lead outperforming, tin lags. To the day ahead now. Central bank speakers include the ECB’s de Cos, Centeno, Panetta, Stournaras, Makhlouf and Herodotou. Italian retail sales for February and Canadian employment for March round out this week’s data. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.5% to 4,517.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 1.4% to 461.27 MXAP up 0.2% to 176.33 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 584.66 Nikkei up 0.4% to 26,985.80 Topix up 0.2% to 1,896.79 Hang Seng Index up 0.3% to 21,872.01 Shanghai Composite up 0.5% to 3,251.85 Sensex up 0.9% to 59,558.63 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.5% to 7,477.99 Kospi up 0.2% to 2,700.39 Brent Futures up 1.2% to $101.76/bbl Gold spot down 0.0% to $1,931.38 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 99.89 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.68% Euro down 0.1% to $1.0865 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The Bank of Russia delivered a surprise cut in its key interest rate Friday, reversing some of the steep increase it made after the invasion of Ukraine as the ruble recovered. The central bank lowered the rate to 17% from 20% and said further cuts could be made at upcoming meetings if conditions permit EU countries agreed to ban coal imports from Russia, the first time the bloc’s sanctions have targeted Moscow’s crucial energy revenues. Japan is also looking to curb imports, in what could be a shift in policy from one of the world’s largest energy buyers The EU is aiming to lock in progress on trade and technology disputes with the U.S. during President Joe Biden’s first term amid concerns that any gains could otherwise be easily reversed The relationship between Australia’s equities and currency has become the closest in a decade as commodity prices surge. The 180-day correlation between the country’s stock benchmark and the Australian dollar has climbed to the highest level since late 2011, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. The strengthened ties come as rallies in materials from oil to iron ore have boosted both the nation’s equities and the Aussie The ECB will look past threats to economic growth from the war in Ukraine, ending asset purchases in the summer and setting the stage for a first interest-rate increase in more than a decade in December, according to a survey of economists Junk bond sales across Europe are experiencing their longest drought in more than 10 years, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the prospect of rising interest rates neuter risk appetite A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk: Asia-Pacific stocks were choppy and eventually conformed to a mixed picture; some weakness was seen shortly after the Chinese cash open. ASX 200 bucked the trend and was propped up by its energy and gold names. Nikkei 225 was choppy and moved in tandem with action in USD/JPY whilst the KOSPI was weighed on by its chip and telecoms sectors. Hang Seng remained pressured by losses across its large constituents - Alibaba and JD.com. Shanghai Comp swung between gains and losses but overall remained supported by reports from China's Securities Journal which noted of a potential PBoC RRR in Q2. Top Asian News Hong Kong Tycoons Heed China, Endorse John Lee to lead City Chinese Tech Stocks Fall as Tencent Shuts Game Streaming Site Abu Dhabi’s IHC Invests $2 Billion in Billionaire Adani’s Empire ADDX Rolls Out Private Market Services for Wealth Managers European bourses are firmer across the board, Euro Stoxx 50 +1.5%, bouncing in a morning of quiet newsflow with the broader tone modestly risk-on. Albeit, benchmarks are still negative on the week and some way from earlier WTD peaks; unsurprisingly, sectors are all in the green with defensive-bias names lagging. Stateside, futures are similarly in the green, ES +0.2%, though magnitudes are more contained ahead of a limited US schedule to round off the week. Top European News U.S. Sanctions Russian Miner Producing 30% of World’s Diamonds Atlantia Gains After Reports of Offer Price Above EU22/Share Generali CEO Says He Won’t Change Plan Challenged by Investors Baader Downgrades Six Chemical Firms, Citing Ukraine War In FX: DXY touches 100.000 as US Treasury yields continue to soar and curve steepen, but unable to break barrier. Kiwi underperforms awaiting NZIER Q1 survey, while Aussie holds up better after hawkish warning in RBA FSR; NZD/USD around 0.6950, AUD/USD nearer 0.7460. Yen sub-124.00 as Japanese export supply is absorbed, Euro supported by bids circa 1.0850 and Sterling treading water above 1.3000. Rouble relatively resilient in the face of 300 bp CBR rate reduction as it remains above pre-conflict highs. Fixed income: Choppy trade in bonds approaching the end of another very bearish week. Bunds and Gilts nurse losses mostly above par around 157.00 and 120.00 handles vs fresh cycle lows of 156.40 and 119.83. US Treasuries most seeing red, but curve less steep in correction after hawkish FOMC minutes and Fed commentary, via Brainard and Bullard especially Central Banks: RBA Financial Stability Review: important that borrowers are prepared for an increase interest rates; global asset markets are vulnerable to larger-than-expected rate increases, via Reuters. RBI leave rates unchanged as expected, retains "accommodative" stance as expected; will focus on withdrawing accommodation going forward. RBI is to restore LAF corridor to 50bps and floor to be constituted by SDF, according to Reuters. CBRT April survey sees Turkish End-Year CPI at 46.44% (prev. 40.47%) CNB Minutes (March): Dedek and Michl voted in the minority for stable rates. Board assessed risks and uncertainties of winter forecast as being markedly inflationary, particularly in short-term CBR cuts its Key Rate to 17.00% (prev. 20.00%) as of April 11th; holds open the prospect of further key rate reduction at its upcoming meetings. In commodities, WTI and Brent are bolstered amid broader sentiment, though crude/geopolitical specific developments have been limited In-fitting with equities, the benchmarks are negative on the week and some way shy of best levels as such. New York will suspend the state gas tax from June 1st to December 31st, according to Reuters. Barclays raises oil forecasts by USD 7-8/bb assuming no material disruption in Russian supplies beyond Q2 2022, according to Reuters. Spot gold is marginally firmer, but, remains drawn to USD 1930/oz after marginally eclipsing the level overnight; base metals bid in-line with sentiment. US Event Calendar 10:00: Feb. Wholesale Trade Sales MoM, est. 0.8%, prior 4.0% 10:00: Feb. Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 2.1%, prior 2.1% DB's Henry Allen concludes the overnight wrap Yesterday’s ECB minutes reinforced what we learned from the March FOMC minutes and soon-to-be Vice Chair Brainard earlier this week – there are no doves in fox holes – by casting doubt on the likelihood of inflation returning to target this year. We also heard from St. Louis Fed President Bullard, the hawk leading the charge, who called for a fed funds rates above 3% this year. That would beckon a faster pace of hikes along with more aggregate tightening. Regional Presidents Bostic and Evans, non-voters each, meanwhile, want to get rates to neutral. The tighter path of global policy continued to drive sovereign yields higher and equity indices lower. Market-implied ECB policy rates by the end of the year increased +6.0bps to +62.3bps, the highest level this cycle. Sovereign yields rose to multi-year highs of their own, with those on 10yr bund (+3.4bps), OATs (+4.4bps) and BTPs (+3.5bps) moving higher, with 10yr breakevens falling in Germany (-1.9bps) and France (-0.7bps) for the first time in five days, while Italian breakevens were essentially flat (+0.2bps). Meanwhile, fed funds futures by end-2022 staged a slight retreat, falling -1.2bps to 2.50%, albeit +10bps higher than a week ago. While the probability of a +50bp hike in May remained steady at 85.4%. 2yr yields fell in line, declining -1.2bps, while 10yr Treasuries gained +6.0bps, leaving the curve at +19.2bps. If you’re up on the yield curve discourse, you’ll know the Fed discounts the signal coming from 2s10s, instead preferring shorter-dated measures of the yield curve, which wound up flattening yesterday. Yesterday’s yield curve steepening should not be viewed in a vacuum. The 2s10s curve has taken a 58.3bp round trip over the last two weeks, falling from +23.1bps two weeks ago, to -8.0bps last Friday, to +19.2bps at yesterday’s close. The fundamental outlook hasn’t changed dramatically over that time span. Instead, this likely reflects the elevated rates volatility environment we currently sit in. This, all before QT has even begun. Real Treasury yields continue to march higher in the back end, with 10yr real yields gaining +5.3bps to -0.19%, their highest level since March 2020, having gained +25.1bps this week alone, and +91.3bps YTD. Despite higher rates and more restrictive language, the S&P 500 ended the day +0.43% higher, after losing -2.21% the previous two sessions. The S&P 500 is now -5.58% YTD following the massive repricing of Fed expectations, while the Bloomberg Financial Conditions index is just a hair tighter than the post-2010 average. Monetary policy may need to adjust tighter yet to engineer the demand slowdown commensurate with a return of inflation to target. European equities were modestly lower, with the STOXX 600 slipping -0.21% and the DAX down -0.52%. The CAC (-0.57%) underperformed the STOXX 600 for the seventh consecutive session, on the back of growing Presidential election jitters. Polls between President Macron and his closest rival, Marine Le Pen, tightened. In particular, one poll (caveat emptor) from Atlas actually put Le Pen marginally ahead of Macron in a head-to-head runoff for the first time, by 50.5%-49.5%. The news immediately saw the French 10yr spread over bund yields widen in response, ending the day at 54.2bps, its widest since March 2020. While one poll a race does not make, it’s worth noting the broader poll narrowing over the last month. That has seen Macron’s lead in the first round over Le Pen go from 30%-17% a month ago (according to Politico’s average), to just 27%-22% now. In the second round, polls are likewise pointing to a tight contest, with Macron ahead of Le Pen by 52-48% (Ifop) and 53%-47% (Ipsos). For those looking for more details on the presidential race, DB’s Marc de-Muizon put out a guide yesterday (link here), where he looks at the current state of play in the election, the main aspects of both Macron and Le Pen’s programmes, as well as some potential challenges for both candidates. Back to the US, in a rare show of bi-partisanship, the Senate voted 100-0 to discontinue normal trade relations with Russia and Belarus and to ban Russian oil imports. Brent crude prices fell below $100/bbl for the first time since mid-March intraday, ultimately falling -0.48% to close at $100.58/bbl. The EU also moved to include a Russian coal embargo in its fifth round of sanctions. The opprobrium was global, with the UN General Assembly voting to suspend Russia from the Human Rights Council following its human rights violations, the first such suspension since Libya in 2011. On the ground, the Kremlin admitted to enduring heavy troop losses, and while the locus of the war still seems set to shift eastward, Ukrainian commanders have their guard up for a renewed assault on Kyiv. Elsewhere, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson was confirmed to the Supreme Court. It’s expected the Senate will now turn to approving President Biden’s nominations for the Fed Board of Governors later this month, which will still have one empty seat following Sarah Bloom Raskin withdrawing her nomination. Asian equity markets this morning aren’t matching Wall Street’s resilience from yesterday. The Hang Seng (-0.57%) is leading the moves lower with the Nikkei (-0.08%), Kospi (-0.10%), Shanghai Composite (-0.06%) and CSI (-0.10%) all slightly on the wrong foot. Along with tighter global monetary policy, China’s Covid outbreak is worsening and dragging on sentiment. US stock futures are unperturbed, with S&P 500 and Nasdaq futures virtually unchanged. Meanwhile, the aforementioned rates volatility continues to rear its head, with the curve snapping back flatter as we go to press, with 2yr Treasuries +4.2bps higher and the 10yr a bit softer at -0.5bps. Oil prices are extending their decline this morning with Brent futures (-0.74%) sliding below $100/bbl. On the data side, Japan’s current account swung back to surplus in February to +¥1.6 trillion, following a -¥1.2 trillion deficit in January - the second-biggest deficit on record. The main release yesterday came from the US weekly initial jobless claims, which fell to their lowest level since 1968, with just 166k initial claims in the week through April 2 (vs. 200k expected). In addition, the previous week was revised down to 171k from 202k, which left the smoother 4-week moving average at 170k, the lowest ever in the entire data series going back to 1967. Euro Area retail sales grew by +0.3% in February (vs. +0.5% expected), and German industrial production grew by +0.2% that same month, in line with expectations. To the day ahead now. Central bank speakers include the ECB’s de Cos, Centeno, Panetta, Stournaras, Makhlouf and Herodotou. Italian retail sales for February and Canadian employment for March round out this week’s data. Tyler Durden Fri, 04/08/2022 - 07:51.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 8th, 2022

Check out these 43 pitch decks fintechs disrupting trading, investing, and banking used to raise millions in funding

Looking for examples of real fintech pitch decks? Check out pitch decks that Qolo, Lance, and other startups used to raise money from VCs. Check out these pitch decks for examples of fintech founders sold their vision.Yulia Reznikov/Getty Images Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech.  Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders sold their vision. See more stories on Insider's business page. Fintech funding has been on a tear.In 2021, fintech funding hit a record $132 billion globally, according to CB Insights, more than double 2020's mark.Insider has been tracking the next wave of hot new startups that are blending finance and tech. Check out these pitch decks to see how fintech founders are selling their vision and nabbing big bucks in the process. You'll see new financial tech geared at freelancers, fresh twists on digital banking, and innovation aimed at streamlining customer onboarding. Helping small businesses manage their taxesComplYant's founder Shiloh Johnson wants to help people be present in their bookkeeping.ComplYantAfter 14 years in tax accounting, Shiloh Johnson had formed a core philosophy around corporate accounting: everyone deserves to understand their business's money and business owners need to be present in their bookkeeping process.She wanted to help small businesses understand "this is why you need to do what you're doing and why you have to change the way you think about tax and be present in your bookkeeping process," she told Insider. The Los Angeles native wanted small businesses to not only understand business tax no matter their size but also to find the tools they needed to prepare their taxes in one spot. So Johnson developed a software platform that provides just that.The 13-page pitch deck ComplYant used to nab $4 million that details the tax startup's plan to be Turbotax, Quickbooks, and Xero rolled into one for small business ownersHelping LatAm startups get up to speedKamino cofounders Gut Fragoso, Rodrigo Perenha, Benjamin Gleason, and Gonzalo Parejo.KaminoThere's more venture capital flowing into Latin America than ever before, but getting the funds in founders' hands is not exactly a simple process.In 2021, investors funneled $15.3 billion into Latin American companies, more than tripling the previous record of $4.9 billion in 2019. Fintech and e-commerce sectors drove funding, accounting for 39% and 25% of total funding, respectively.  However, for many startup founders in the region who have successfully sold their ideas and gotten investors on board, there's a patchwork of corporate structuring that's needed to access the funds, according to Benjamin Gleason, who was the chief financial officer at Groupon LatAm prior to cofounding Brazil-based fintech Kamino.It's a process Gleason and his three fellow Kamino cofounders have been through before as entrepreneurs and startup execs themselves. Most often, startups have to set up offshore financial accounts outside of Brazil, which "entails creating a Cayman [Islands] holding company, a Delaware LLC, and then connecting it to a local entity here and also opening US bank accounts for the Cayman entity, which is not trivial from a KYC perspective," said Gleason, who founded open-banking fintech Guiabolso in Sao Paulo. His partner, Gonzalo Parejo, experienced the same toils when he founded insurtech Bidu."Pretty much any international investor will usually ask for that," Gleason said, adding that investors typically cite liability issues."It's just a massive amount of bureaucracy, complexity, a lot of time from the founders. All of this just to get the money from the investor that wants to give them the money," he added.Here's the 8-page pitch deck Kamino, a fintech helping LatAm startups with everything from financing to corporate credit cards, used to raise a $6.1M pre-seed round 'A bank for immigrants'Priyank Singh and Rohit Mittal are the cofounders of Stilt.StiltRohit Mittal remembers the difficulties he faced when he first arrived in the United States a decade ago as a master's student at Columbia University.As an immigrant from India, Mittal had no credit score in the US and had difficulty integrating into the financial system. Mittal even struggled to get approved to rent an apartment and couch-surfed until he found a roommate willing to offer him space in his apartment in the New York neighborhood Morningside Heights.That roommate was Priyank Singh, who would go on to become Mittal's cofounder when the two started Stilt, a financial-technology company designed to address the problems Mittal faced when he arrived in the US.Stilt, which calls itself "a bank for immigrants," does not require a social security number or credit history to access its offerings, including unsecured personal loans.Instead of relying on traditional metrics like a credit score, Stilt uses data such as education and employment to predict an individual's future income stability and cash flow before issuing a loan. Stilt has seen its loan volume grow by 500% in the past 12 months, and the startup has loaned to immigrants from 160 countries since its launch. Here are the 15 slides Stilt, which calls itself 'a bank for immigrants,' used to raise a $14 million Series A Saving on vendor invoicesHoward Katzenberg, Glean's CEO and cofounder.GleanWhen it comes to high-flying tech startups, headlines and investors typically tend to focus on industry "disruption" and the total addressable market a company is hoping to reach. Expense cutting as a way to boost growth typically isn't part of the conversation early on, and finance teams are viewed as cost centers relative to sales teams. But one fast-growing area of business payments has turned its focus to managing those costs. Startups like Ramp and established names like Bill.com have made their name offering automated expense-management systems. Now, one new fintech competitor, Glean, is looking to take that further by offering both automated payment services and tailored line-item accounts-payable insights driven by machine-learning models. Glean's CFO and founder, Howard Katzenberg, told Insider that the genesis of Glean was driven by his own personal experience managing the finance teams of startups, including mortgage lender Better.com, which Katzenberg left in 2019, and online small-business lender OnDeck. "As a CFO of high-growth companies, I spent a lot of time focused on revenue and I had amazing dashboards in real time where I could see what is going on top of the funnel, what's going on with conversion rates, what's going on in terms of pricing and attrition," Katzenberg told Insider. See the 15-slide pitch deck Glean, a startup using machine learning to find savings in vendor invoices, used to raise $10.8 million in seed fundingBetter use of payroll dataAtomic's Head of Markets, Lindsay Davis.AtomicEmployees at companies large and small know the importance — and limitations — of how firms manage their payrolls. A new crop of startups are building the API pipes that connect companies and their employees to offer a greater level of visibility and flexibility when it comes to payroll data and employee verification. On Thursday, one of those names, Atomic, announced a $40 million Series B fundraising round co-led by Mercato Partners and Greylock, alongside Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and ATX Capital. The round follows Atomic's Series A round announced in October, when the startup raised a $22 million Series A from investors including Core Innovation Capital, Portage, and Greylock.Payroll startup Atomic just raised a $40 million Series B. Here's an internal deck detailing the fintech's approach to the red-hot payments space.Data science for commercial insuranceTanner Hackett, founder and CEO of Counterpart.CounterpartThere's been no shortage of funds flowing into insurance-technology companies over the past few years. Private-market funding to insurtechs soared to $15.4 billion in 2021, a 90% increase compared to 2020. Some of the most well-known consumer insurtech names — from Oscar (which focuses on health insurance) to Metromile (which focuses on auto) — launched on the public markets last year, only to fall over time or be acquired as investors questioned the sustainability of their business models. In the commercial arena, however, the head of one insurtech company thinks there is still room to grow — especially for those catering to small businesses operating in an entirely new, pandemic-defined environment. "The bigger opportunity is in commercial lines," Tanner Hackett, the CEO of management liability insurer Counterpart, told Insider."Everywhere I poke, I'm like, 'Oh my goodness, we're still in 1.0, and all the other businesses I've built were on version three.' Insurance is still in 1.0, still managing from spreadsheets and PDFs," added Hackett, who also previously co-founded Button, which focuses on mobile marketing. See the 8-page pitch deck Counterpart, a startup disrupting commercial insurance with data science, used to raise a $30 million Series BCrypto staking made easyEthan and Eric Parker, founders of crypto-investing app Giddy.GiddyFrom the outside looking in, cryptocurrency can seem like a world of potential, but also one of complexity. That's because digital currencies, which can be traded, invested in, and moved like traditional currencies, operate on decentralized blockchain networks that can be quite technical in nature. Still, they offer the promise of big gains and have been thrusted into the mainstream over the years, converting Wall Street stalwarts and bankers.But for the everyday investor, a fear of missing out is settling in. That's why brothers Ethan and Eric Parker built Giddy, a mobile app that enables users to invest in crypto, earn passive income on certain crypto holdings via staking, and get into the red-hot space of decentralized finance, or DeFi."What we're focusing on is giving an opportunity for people who otherwise couldn't access DeFi because it's just technically too difficult," Eric Parker, CEO at Giddy, told Insider. Here's the 7-page pitch deck Giddy, an app that lets users invest in DeFi, used to raise an $8 million seed roundAccess to commercial real-estate investing LEX Markets cofounders and co-CEOs Drew Sterrett and Jesse Daugherty.LEX MarketsDrew Sterrett was structuring real-estate deals while working in private equity when he realized the inefficiencies that existed in the market. Only high-net worth individuals or accredited investors could participate in commercial real-estate deals. If they ever wanted to leave a partnership or sell their stake in a property, it was difficult to find another investor to replace them. Owners also struggled to sell minority stakes in their properties and didn't have many good options to recapitalize an asset if necessary.In short, the market had a high barrier to entry despite the fact it didn't always have enough participants to get deals done quickly. "Most investors don't have access to high-quality commercial real-estate investments. How do we have the oldest and largest asset class in the world and one of the largest wealth creators with no public and liquid market?" Sterrett told Insider. "It sort of seems like a no-brainer, and that this should have existed 50 or 60 years ago."This 15-page pitch deck helped LEX Markets, a startup making investing in commercial real estate more accessible, raise $15 millionHelping streamline how debts are repaidMethod Financial cofounders Jose Bethancourt and Marco del Carmen.Method FinancialWhen Jose Bethancourt graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in May 2019, he faced the same question that confronts over 43 million Americans: How would he repay his student loans?The problem led Bethancourt on a nearly two-year journey that culminated in the creation of a startup aimed at making it easier for consumers to more seamlessly pay off all kinds of debt.  Initially, Bethancourt and fellow UT grad Marco del Carmen built GradJoy, an app that helped users better understand how to manage student loan repayment and other financial habits. GradJoy was accepted into Y Combinator in the summer of 2019. But the duo quickly realized the real benefit to users would be helping them move money to make payments instead of simply offering recommendations."When we started GradJoy, we thought, 'Oh, we'll just give advice — we don't think people are comfortable with us touching their student loans,' and then we realized that people were saying, 'Hey, just move the money — if you think I should pay extra, then I'll pay extra.' So that's kind of the movement that we've seen, just, everybody's more comfortable with fintechs doing what's best for them," Bethancourt told Insider. Here is the 11-slide pitch deck Method Financial, a Y Combinator-backed fintech making debt repayment easier, used to raise $2.5 million in pre-seed fundingSmarter insurance for multifamily propertiesItai Ben-Zaken, cofounder and CEO of Honeycomb.HoneycombA veteran of the online-insurance world is looking to revolutionize the way the industry prices risk for commercial properties with the help of artificial intelligence.Insurance companies typically send inspectors to properties before issuing policies to better understand how the building is maintained and identify potential risks or issues with it. It's a process that can be time-consuming, expensive, and inefficient, making it hard to justify for smaller commercial properties, like apartment and condo buildings.Insurtech Honeycomb is looking to fix that by using AI to analyze a combination of third-party data and photos submitted by customers through the startup's app to quickly identify any potential risks at a property and more accurately price policies."That whole physical inspection thing had really good things in it, but it wasn't really something that is scalable and, it's also expensive," Itai Ben-Zaken, Honeycomb's cofounder and CEO, told Insider. "The best way to see a property right now is Google street view. Google street view is usually two years old."Here's the 10-page Series A pitch deck used by Honeycomb, a startup that wants to revolutionize the $26 billion market for multifamily property insuranceRetirement accounts for cryptoTodd Southwick, CEO and co-founder of iTrustCapital.iTrustCapitalTodd Southwick and Blake Skadron stuck to a simple mandate when they were building out iTrustCapital, a $1.3 billion fintech that strives to offer cryptocurrencies to the masses via dedicated individual retirement accounts."We wanted to make a product that we would feel happy recommending for our parents to use," Southwick, the CEO of iTrustCapital, told Insider. That guiding framework resulted in a software system that helped to digitize and automate the traditionally clunky and paper-based process of setting up an IRA for alternative assets, Southwick said. "We saw a real opportunity within the self-directed IRAs because we knew at that point in time, there was a fairly small segment of people that was willing to deal with the inconvenience of having to set up an IRA" for crypto, Southwick said. The process often involved phone calls to sales reps and over-the-counter trading desks, paper and fax machines, and days of wait time.iTrustCapital allows customers to buy and sell cryptocurrencies using tax-advantaged IRAs with no monthly account fees. The startup provides access to 25 cryptocurrencies like bitcoin, ethereum, and dogecoin — charging a 1% transaction fee on crypto trades — as well as gold and silver.iTrustCapital, a fintech simplifying how to set up a crypto retirement account, used this 8-page pitch deck to raise a $125 million Series AA new way to assess creditworthinessPinwheel founders Curtis Lee, Kurt Lin, and Anish Basu.PinwheelGrowing up, Kurt Lin never saw his father get frustrated. A "traditional, stoic figure," Lin said his father immigrated to the United States in the 1970s. Becoming part of the financial system proved even more difficult than assimilating into a new culture.Lin recalled visiting bank after bank with his father as a child, watching as his father's applications for a mortgage were denied due to his lack of credit history. "That was the first time in my life I really saw him crack," Lin told Insider. "The system doesn't work for a lot of people — including my dad," he added. Lin would find a solution to his father's problem years later while working with Anish Basu, and Curtis Lee on an automated health savings account. The trio realized the payroll data integrations they were working on could be the basis of a product that would help lenders work with consumers without strong credit histories."That's when the lightbulb hit," said Lin, Pinwheel's CEO.In 2018, Lin, Basu, and Lee founded Pinwheel, an application-programming interface that shares payroll data to help both fintechs and traditional lenders serve consumers with limited or poor credit, who have historically struggled to access financial products. Here's the 9-page deck that Pinwheel, a fintech helping lenders tap into payroll data to serve consumers with little to no credit, used to raise a $50 million Series BA new data feed for bond tradingMark Lennihan/APFor years, the only way investors could figure out the going price of a corporate bond was calling up a dealer on the phone. The rise of electronic trading has streamlined that process, but data can still be hard to come by sometimes. A startup founded by a former Goldman Sachs exec has big plans to change that. BondCliQ is a fintech that provides a data feed of pre-trade pricing quotes for the corporate bond market. Founded by Chris White, the creator of Goldman Sachs' defunct corporate-bond-trading system, BondCliQ strives to bring transparency to a market that has traditionally kept such data close to the vest. Banks, which typically serve as the dealers of corporate bonds, have historically kept pre-trade quotes hidden from other dealers to maintain a competitive advantage.But tech advancements and the rise of electronic marketplaces have shifted power dynamics into the hands of buy-side firms, like hedge funds and asset managers. The investors are now able to get a fuller picture of the market by aggregating price quotes directly from dealers or via vendors.Here's the 9-page pitch deck that BondCliQ, a fintech looking to bring more data and transparency to bond trading, used to raise its Series AA trading app for activismAntoine Argouges, CEO and founder of Tulipshare.TulipshareAn up-and-coming fintech is taking aim at some of the world's largest corporations by empowering retail investors to push for social and environmental change by pooling their shareholder rights.London-based Tulipshare lets individuals in the UK invest as little as one pound in publicly-traded company stocks. The upstart combines individuals' shareholder rights with other like-minded investors to advocate for environmental, social, and corporate governance change at firms like JPMorgan, Apple, and Amazon.The goal is to achieve a higher number of shares to maximize the number of votes that can be submitted at shareholder meetings. Already a regulated broker-dealer in the UK, Tulipshare recently applied for registration as a broker-dealer in the US. "If you ask your friends and family if they've ever voted on shareholder resolutions, the answer will probably be close to zero," CEO and founder Antoine Argouges told Insider. "I started Tulipshare to utilize shareholder rights to bring about positive corporate change that has an impact on people's lives and our planet — what's more powerful than money to change the system we live in?"Check out the 14-page pitch deck from Tulipshare, a trading app that lets users pool their shareholder votes for activism campaignsThe back-end tech for beautyDanielle Cohen-Shohet, CEO and founder of GlossGeniusGlossGeniusDanielle Cohen-Shohet might have started as a Goldman Sachs investment analyst, but at her core she was always a coder.After about three years at Goldman Sachs, Cohen-Shohet left the world of traditional finance to code her way into starting her own company in 2016. "There was a period of time where I did nothing, but eat, sleep, and code for a few weeks," Cohen-Shohet told Insider. Her technical edge and knowledge of the point-of-sale payment space led her to launch a software company focused on providing behind-the-scenes tech for beauty and wellness small businesses.Cohen-Shohet launched GlossGenius in 2017 to provide payments tech for hair stylists, nail technicians, blow-out bars, and other small businesses in the space.Here's the 11-page deck GlossGenius, a startup that provides back-end tech for the beauty industry, used to raise $16 millionPrivate market data on the blockchainPat O'Meara, CEO of Inveniam.InveniamFor investors in publicly-traded stocks, there's typically no shortage of company data to guide investment decisions. Company financials are easily accessible and vetted by teams of regulators, lawyers, and accountants.But in the private markets — which encompass assets that range from real estate to private credit and private equity — that isn't always the case. Within real estate, for example, valuations of a specific slice of property are often the product of heavily-worked Excel models and a lot of institutional knowledge, leaving them susceptible to manual error at many points along the way.Inveniam, founded in 2017, is a software company that tokenizes the business data of private companies on the blockchain. Using a distributed ledger allows Inveniam to keep track of who is touching the data and what they are doing to it. Check out the 16-page pitch deck for Inveniam, a blockchain-based startup looking to be the Refinitiv of private-market dataHelping freelancers with their taxesJaideep Singh is the CEO and co-founder of FlyFin, an AI-driven tax preparation software program for freelancers.FlyFinSome people, particularly those with families or freelancing businesses, spend days searching for receipts for tax season, making tax preparation a time consuming and, at times, taxing experience. That's why in 2020 Jaideep Singh founded FlyFin, an artificial-intelligence tax preparation program for freelancers that helps people, as he puts it, "fly through their finances." FlyFin is set up to connect to a person's bank accounts, allowing the AI program to help users monitor for certain expenses that can be claimed on their taxes like business expenditures, the interest on mortgages, property taxes, or whatever else that might apply. "For most individuals, people have expenses distributed over multiple financial institutions. So we built an AI platform that is able to look at expenses, understand the individual, understand your profession, understand the freelance population at large, and start the categorization," Singh told Insider.Check out the 7-page pitch deck a startup helping freelancers manage their taxes used to nab $8 million in funding Shopify for embedded financeProductfy CEO and founder, Duy Vo.ProductfyProductfy is looking to break into embedded finance by becoming the Shopify of back-end banking services.Embedded finance — integrating banking services in non-financial settings — has taken hold in the e-commerce world. But Productfy is going after a different kind of customer in churches, universities, and nonprofits.The San Jose, Calif.-based upstart aims to help non-finance companies offer their own banking products. Productfy can help customers launch finance features in as little as a week and without additional engineering resources or background knowledge of banking compliance or legal requirements, Productfy founder and CEO Duy Vo told Insider. "You don't need an engineer to stand up Shopify, right? You can be someone who's just creating art and you can use Shopify to build your own online store," Vo said, adding that Productfy is looking to take that user experience and replicate it for banking services.Here's the 15-page pitch deck Productfy, a fintech looking to be the Shopify of embedded finance, used to nab a $16 million Series AReal-estate management made easyAgora founders Noam Kahan, CTO, Bar Mor, CEO, and Lior Dolinski, CPO.AgoraFor alternative asset managers of any type, the operations underpinning sales and investor communications are a crucial but often overlooked part of the business. Fund managers love to make bets on markets, not coordinate hundreds of wire transfers to clients each quarter or organize customer-relationship-management databases.Within the $10.6 trillion global market for professionally managed real-estate investing, that's where Tel Aviv and New York-based startup Agora hopes to make its mark.Founded in 2019, Agora offers a set of back-office, investor relations, and sales software tools that real-estate investment managers can plug into their workflows. On Wednesday, Agora announced a $9 million seed round, led by Israel-based venture firm Aleph, with participation from River Park Ventures and Maccabee Ventures. The funding comes on the heels of an October 2020 pre-seed fund raise worth $890,000, in which Maccabee also participated.Here's the 15-slide pitch deck that Agora, a startup helping real-estate investors manage communications and sales with their clients, used to raise a $9 million seed roundCheckout made easyBolt's Ryan Breslow.Ryan BreslowAmazon has long dominated e-commerce with its one-click checkout flows, offering easier ways for consumers to shop online than its small-business competitors.Bolt gives small merchants tools to offer the same easy checkouts so they can compete with the likes of Amazon.The startup raised its $393 million Series D to continue adding its one-click checkout feature to merchants' own websites in October.Bolt markets to merchants themselves. But a big part of Bolt's pitch is its growing network of consumers — currently over 5.6 million — that use its features across multiple Bolt merchant customers. Roughly 5% of Bolt's transactions were network-driven in May, meaning users that signed up for a Bolt account on another retailer's website used it elsewhere. The network effects were even more pronounced in verticals like furniture, where 49% of transactions were driven by the Bolt network."The network effect is now unleashed with Bolt in full fury, and that triggered the raise," Bolt's founder and CEO Ryan Breslow told Insider.Here's the 12-page deck that one-click checkout Bolt used to outline its network of 5.6 million consumers and raise its Series DHelping small banks lendCollateralEdge's Joel Radtke, cofounder, COO, and president, and Joe Beard, cofounder and CEO.CollateralEdgeFor large corporations with a track record of tapping the credit markets, taking out debt is a well-structured and clear process handled by the nation's biggest investment banks and teams of accountants. But smaller, middle-market companies — typically those with annual revenues ranging up to $1 billion — are typically served by regional and community banks that don't always have the capacity to adequately measure the risk of loans or price them competitively. Per the National Center for the Middle Market, 200,000 companies fall into this range, accounting for roughly 33% of US private sector GDP and employment.Dallas-based fintech CollateralEdge works with these banks — typically those with between $1 billion and $50 billion in assets — to help analyze and price slices of commercial and industrial loans that previously might have gone unserved by smaller lenders.On October 20th, CollateralEdge announced a $3.5 million seed round led by Dallas venture fund Perot Jain with participation from Kneeland Youngblood (a founder of the healthcare-focused private-equity firm Pharos Capital) and other individual investors.Here's the 10-page deck CollateralEdge, a fintech streamlining how small banks lend to businesses, used to raise a $3.5 million seed round Quantum computing made easyQC Ware CEO Matt Johnson.QC WareEven though banks and hedge funds are still several years out from adding quantum computing to their tech arsenals, that hasn't stopped Wall Street giants from investing time and money into the emerging technology class. And momentum for QC Ware, a startup looking to cut the time and resources it takes to use quantum computing, is accelerating. The fintech secured a $25 million Series B on September 29 co-led by Koch Disruptive Technologies and Covestro with participation from D.E. Shaw, Citi, and Samsung Ventures.QC Ware, founded in 2014, builds quantum algorithms for the likes of Goldman Sachs (which led the fintech's Series A), Airbus, and BMW Group. The algorithms, which are effectively code bases that include quantum processing elements, can run on any of the four main public-cloud providers.Quantum computing allows companies to do complex calculations faster than traditional computers by using a form of physics that runs on quantum bits as opposed to the traditional 1s and 0s that computers use. This is especially helpful in banking for risk analytics or algorithmic trading, where executing calculations milliseconds faster than the competition can give firms a leg up. Here's the 20-page deck QC Ware, a fintech making quantum computing more accessible, used to raised its $25 million Series BSimplifying quant modelsKirat Singh and Mark Higgins, Beacon's cofounders.BeaconA fintech that helps financial institutions use quantitative models to streamline their businesses and improve risk management is catching the attention, and capital, of some of the country's biggest investment managers.Beacon Platform, founded in 2014, is a fintech that builds applications and tools to help banks, asset managers, and trading firms quickly integrate quantitative models that can help with analyzing risk, ensuring compliance, and improving operational efficiency. The company raised its Series C on Wednesday, scoring a $56 million investment led by Warburg Pincus with support from Blackstone Innovations Investments, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic. Blackstone, PIMCO, and Global Atlantic are also users of Beacon's tech, as are the Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Shell New Energies, a division of Royal Dutch Shell, among others.The fintech provides a shortcut for firms looking to use quantitative modelling and data science across various aspects of their businesses, a process that can often take considerable resources if done solo.Here's the 20-page pitch deck Beacon, a fintech helping Wall Street better analyze risk and data, used to raise $56 million from Warburg Pincus, Blackstone, and PIMCOInvoice financing for SMBsStacey Abrams and Lara Hodgson, Now cofounders.NowAbout a decade ago, politician Stacey Abrams and entrepreneur Lara Hodgson were forced to fold their startup because of a kink in the supply chain — but not in the traditional sense.Nourish, which made spill-proof bottled water for children, had grown quickly from selling to small retailers to national ones. And while that may sound like a feather in the small business' cap, there was a hang-up."It was taking longer and longer to get paid, and as you can imagine, you deliver the product and then you wait and you wait, but meanwhile you have to pay your employees and you have to pay your vendors," Hodgson told Insider. "Waiting to get paid was constraining our ability to grow."While it's not unusual for small businesses to grapple with working capital issues, the dust was still settling from the Great Recession. Abrams and Hodgson couldn't secure a line of credit or use financing tools like factoring to solve their problem. The two entrepreneurs were forced to close Nourish in 2012, but along the way they recognized a disconnect in the system.  "Why are we the ones borrowing money, when in fact we're the lender here because every time you send an invoice to a customer, you've essentially extended a free loan to that customer by letting them pay later," Hodgson said. "And the only reason why we were going to need to possibly borrow money was because we had just given ours away for free to Whole Foods," she added.Check out the 7-page deck that Now, Stacey Abrams' fintech that wants to help small businesses 'grow fearlessly', used to raise $29 millionInsurance goes digitalJamie Hale, CEO and cofounder of Ladder.LadderFintechs looking to transform how insurance policies are underwritten, issued, and experienced by customers have grown as new technology driven by digital trends and artificial intelligence shape the market. And while verticals like auto, homeowner's, and renter's insurance have seen their fair share of innovation from forward-thinking fintechs, one company has taken on the massive life-insurance market. Founded in 2017, Ladder uses a tech-driven approach to offer life insurance with a digital, end-to-end service that it says is more flexible, faster, and cost-effective than incumbent players.Life, annuity, and accident and health insurance within the US comprise a big chunk of the broader market. In 2020, premiums written on those policies totaled some $767 billion, compared to $144 billion for auto policies and $97 billion for homeowner's insurance.Here's the 12-page deck that Ladder, a startup disrupting the 'crown jewel' of the insurance market, used to nab $100 millionEmbedded payments for SMBsThe Highnote team.HighnoteBranded cards have long been a way for merchants with the appropriate bank relationships to create additional revenue and build customer loyalty. The rise of embedded payments, or the ability to shop and pay in a seamless experience within a single app, has broadened the number of companies looking to launch branded cards.Highnote is a startup that helps small to mid-sized merchants roll out their own debit and pre-paid digital cards. The fintech emerged from stealth on Tuesday to announce it raised $54 million in seed and Series A funding.Here's the 12-page deck Highnote, a startup helping SMBs embed payments, used to raise $54 million in seed and Series A fundingAn alternative auto lenderDaniel Chu, CEO and founder of Tricolor.TricolorAn alternative auto lender that caters to thin- and no-credit Hispanic borrowers is planning a national expansion after scoring a $90 million investment from BlackRock-managed funds. Tricolor is a Dallas-based auto lender that is a community development financial institution. It uses a proprietary artificial-intelligence engine that decisions each customer based on more than 100 data points, such as proof of income. Half of Tricolor's customers have a FICO score, and less than 12% have scores above 650, yet the average customer has lived in the US for 15 years, according to the deck.A 2017 survey by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation found 31.5% of Hispanic households had no mainstream credit compared to 14.4% of white households. "For decades, the deck has been stacked against low income or credit invisible Hispanics in the United States when it comes to the purchase and financing of a used vehicle," Daniel Chu, founder and CEO of Tricolor, said in a statement announcing the raise.An auto lender that caters to underbanked Hispanics used this 25-page deck to raise $90 million from BlackRock investorsA new way to access credit The TomoCredit team.TomoCreditKristy Kim knows first-hand the challenge of obtaining credit in the US without an established credit history. Kim, who came to the US from South Korea, couldn't initially get access to credit despite having a job in investment banking after graduating college. "I was in my early twenties, I had a good income, my job was in investment banking but I could not get approved for anything," Kim told Insider. "Many young professionals like me, we deserve an opportunity to be considered but just because we didn't have a Fico, we weren't given a chance to even apply," she added.Kim started TomoCredit in 2018 to help others like herself gain access to consumer credit. TomoCredit spent three years building an internal algorithm to underwrite customers based on cash flow, rather than a credit score.TomoCredit, a fintech that lends to thin- and no-credit borrowers, used this 17-page pitch deck to raise its $10 million Series AAn IRA for alternativesHenry Yoshida is the co-founder and CEO of retirement fintech startup Rocket Dollar.Rocket DollarFintech startup Rocket Dollar, which helps users invest their individual retirement account (IRA) dollars into alternative assets, just raised $8 million for its Series A round, the company announced on Thursday.Park West Asset Management led the round, with participation from investors including Hyphen Capital, which focuses on backing Asian American entrepreneurs, and crypto exchange Kraken's venture arm. Co-founded in 2018 by CEO Henry Yoshida, CTO Rick Dude, and VP of marketing Thomas Young, Rocket Dollar now has over $350 million in assets under management on its platform. Yoshida sold his first startup, a roboadvisor called Honest Dollar, to Goldman Sachs' investment management division for an estimated $20 million.Yoshida told Insider that while ultra-high net worth investors have been investing self-directed retirement account dollars into alternative assets like real estate, private equity, and cryptocurrency, average investors have not historically been able to access the same opportunities to invest IRA dollars in alternative assets through traditional platforms.Here's the 34-page pitch deck a fintech that helps users invest their retirement savings in crypto and real estate assets used to nab $8 millionConnecting startups and investorsHum Capital cofounder and CEO Blair Silverberg.Hum CapitalBlair Silverberg is no stranger to fundraising.For six years, Silverberg was a venture capitalist at Draper Fisher Jurvetson and Private Credit Investments making bets on startups."I was meeting with thousands of founders in person each year, watching them one at a time go through this friction where they're meeting a ton of investors, and the investors are all asking the same questions," Silverberg told Insider. He switched gears about three years ago, moving to the opposite side of the metaphorical table, to start Hum Capital, which uses artificial intelligence to match investors with startups looking to fundraise.On August 31, the New York-based fintech announced its $9 million Series A. The round was led by Future Ventures with participation from Webb Investment Network, Wavemaker Partners, and Partech. This 11-page pitch deck helped Hum Capital, a fintech using AI to match investors with startups, raise a $9 million Series A.Payments infrastructure for fintechsQolo CEO and co-founder Patricia Montesi.QoloThree years ago, Patricia Montesi realized there was a disconnect in the payments world. "A lot of new economy companies or fintech companies were looking to mesh up a lot of payment modalities that they weren't able to," Montesi, CEO and co-founder of Qolo, told Insider.Integrating various payment capabilities often meant tapping several different providers that had specializations in one product or service, she added, like debit card issuance or cross-border payments. "The way people were getting around that was that they were creating this spider web of fintech," she said, adding that "at the end of it all, they had this mess of suppliers and integrations and bank accounts."The 20-year payments veteran rounded up a group of three other co-founders — who together had more than a century of combined industry experience — to start Qolo, a business-to-business fintech that sought out to bundle back-end payment rails for other fintechs.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that provides payments infrastructure for other fintechs used to raise a $15 million Series ASoftware for managing freelancersWorksome cofounder and CEO Morten Petersen.WorksomeThe way people work has fundamentally changed over the past year, with more flexibility and many workers opting to freelance to maintain their work-from-home lifestyles.But managing a freelance or contractor workforce is often an administrative headache for employers. Worksome is a startup looking to eliminate all the extra work required for employers to adapt to more flexible working norms.Worksome started as a freelancer marketplace automating the process of matching qualified workers with the right jobs. But the team ultimately pivoted to a full suite of workforce management software, automating administrative burdens required to hire, pay, and account for contract workers.In May, Worksome closed a $13 million Series A backed by European angel investor Tommy Ahlers and Danish firm Lind & Risør.Here's the 21-slide pitch deck used by a startup that helps firms like Carlsberg and Deloitte manage freelancersPersonal finance is only a text awayYinon Ravid, the chief executive and cofounder of Albert.AlbertThe COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the growing preference of mobile banking as customers get comfortable managing their finances online.The financial app Albert has seen a similar jump in activity. Currently counting more than six million members, deposits in Albert's savings offering doubled from the start of the pandemic in March 2020 to May of this year, from $350 million to $700 million, according to new numbers released by the company. Founded in 2015, Albert offers automated budgeting and savings tools alongside guided investment portfolios. It's looked to differentiate itself through personalized features, like the ability for customers to text human financial experts.Budgeting and saving features are free on Albert. But for more tailored financial advice, customers pay a subscription fee that's a pay-what-you-can model, between $4 and $14 a month. And Albert's now banking on a new tool to bring together its investing, savings, and budgeting tools.Fintech Albert used this 10-page pitch deck to raise a $100 million Series C from General Atlantic and CapitalGRethinking debt collection Jason Saltzman, founder and CEO of ReliefReliefFor lenders, debt collection is largely automated. But for people who owe money on their credit cards, it can be a confusing and stressful process.  Relief is looking to change that. Its app automates the credit-card debt collection process for users, negotiating with lenders and collectors to settle outstanding balances on their behalf. The fintech just launched and closed a $2 million seed round led by Collaborative Ventures. Relief's fundraising experience was a bit different to most. Its pitch deck, which it shared with one investor via Google Slides, went viral. It set out to raise a $1 million seed round, but ended up doubling that and giving some investors money back to make room for others.Check out a 15-page pitch deck that went viral and helped a credit-card debt collection startup land a $2 million seed roundBlockchain for private-markets investing Carlos Domingo is cofounder and CEO of Securitize.SecuritizeSecuritize, founded in 2017 by the tech industry veterans Carlos Domingo and Jamie Finn, is bringing blockchain technology to private-markets investing. The company raised $48 million in Series B funding on June 21 from investors including Morgan Stanley and Blockchain Capital.Securitize helps companies crowdfund capital from individual and institutional investors by issuing their shares in the form of blockchain tokens that allow for more efficient settlement, record keeping, and compliance processes. Morgan Stanley's Tactical Value fund, which invests in private companies, made its first blockchain-technology investment when it coled the Series B, Securitize CEO Carlos Domingo told Insider.Here's the 11-page pitch deck a blockchain startup looking to revolutionize private-markets investing used to nab $48 million from investors like Morgan StanleyE-commerce focused business bankingMichael Rangel, cofounder and CEO, and Tyler McIntyre, cofounder and CTO of Novo.Kristelle Boulos PhotographyBusiness banking is a hot market in fintech. And it seems investors can't get enough.Novo, the digital banking fintech aimed at small e-commerce businesses, raised a $40.7 million Series A led by Valar Ventures in June. Since its launch in 2018, Novo has signed up 100,000 small businesses. Beyond bank accounts, it offers expense management, a corporate card, and integrates with e-commerce infrastructure players like Shopify, Stripe, and Wise.Founded in 2018, Novo was based in New York City, but has since moved its headquarters to Miami. Here's the 12-page pitch deck e-commerce banking startup Novo used to raise its $40 million Series ABlockchain-based credit score tech John Sun, Anna Fridman, and Adam Jiwan are the cofounders of fintech startup Spring Labs.Spring LabsA blockchain-based fintech startup that is aiming to disrupt the traditional model of evaluating peoples' creditworthiness recently raised $30 million in a Series B funding led by credit reporting giant TransUnion.Four-year-old Spring Labs aims to create a private, secure data-sharing model to help credit agencies better predict the creditworthiness of people who are not in the traditional credit bureau system. The founding team of three fintech veterans met as early employees of lending startup Avant.Existing investors GreatPoint Ventures and August Capital also joined in on the most recent round.  So far Spring Labs has raised $53 million from institutional rounds.TransUnion, a publicly-traded company with a $20 billion-plus market cap, is one of the three largest consumer credit agencies in the US. After 18 months of dialogue and six months of due diligence, TransAmerica and Spring Labs inked a deal, Spring Labs CEO and cofounder Adam Jiwan told Insider.Here's the 10-page pitch deck blockchain-based fintech Spring Labs used to snag $30 million from investors including credit reporting giant TransUnionDigital banking for freelancersJGalione/Getty ImagesLance is a new digital bank hoping to simplify the life of those workers by offering what it calls an "active" approach to business banking. "We found that every time we sat down with the existing tools and resources of our accountants and QuickBooks and spreadsheets, we just ended up getting tangled up in the whole experience of it," Lance cofounder and CEO Oona Rokyta told Insider. Lance offers subaccounts for personal salaries, withholdings, and savings to which freelancers can automatically allocate funds according to custom preset levels. It also offers an expense balance that's connected to automated tax withholdings.In May, Lance announced the closing of a $2.8 million seed round that saw participation from Barclays, BDMI, Great Oaks Capital, Imagination Capital, Techstars, DFJ Frontier, and others.Here's the 21-page pitch deck Lance, a digital bank for freelancers, used to raise a $2.8 million seed round from investors including BarclaysDigital tools for independent financial advisorsJason Wenk, founder and CEO of AltruistAltruistJason Wenk started his career at Morgan Stanley in investment research over 20 years ago. Now, he's running a company that is hoping to broaden access to financial advice for less-wealthy individuals. The startup raised $50 million in Series B funding led by Insight Partners with participation from investors Vanguard and Venrock. The round brings the Los Angeles-based startup's total funding to just under $67 million.Founded in 2018, Altruist is a digital brokerage built for independent financial advisors, intended to be an "all-in-one" platform that unites custodial functions, portfolio accounting, and a client-facing portal. It allows advisors to open accounts, invest, build models, report, trade (including fractional shares), and bill clients through an interface that can advisors time by eliminating mundane operational tasks.Altruist aims to make personalized financial advice less expensive, more efficient, and more inclusive through the platform, which is designed for registered investment advisors (RIAs), a growing segment of the wealth management industry. Here's the pitch deck for Altruist, a wealth tech challenging custodians Fidelity and Charles Schwab, that raised $50 million from Vanguard and InsightPayments and operations support HoneyBook cofounders Dror Shimoni, Oz Alon, and Naama Alon.HoneyBookWhile countless small businesses have been harmed by the pandemic, self-employment and entrepreneurship have found ways to blossom as Americans started new ventures.Half of the US population may be freelance by 2027, according to a study commissioned by remote-work hiring platform Upwork. HoneyBook, a fintech startup that provides payment and operations support for freelancers, in May raised $155 million in funding and achieved unicorn status with its $1 billion-plus valuation.Durable Capital Partners led the Series D funding with other new investors including renowned hedge fund Tiger Global, Battery Ventures, Zeev Ventures, and 01 Advisors. Citi Ventures, Citigroup's startup investment arm that also backs fintech robo-advisor Betterment, participated as an existing investor in the round alongside Norwest Venture partners. The latest round brings the company's fundraising total to $227 million to date.Here's the 21-page pitch deck a Citi-backed fintech for freelancers used to raise $155 million from investors like hedge fund Tiger GlobalFraud prevention for lenders and insurersFiordaliso/Getty ImagesOnboarding new customers with ease is key for any financial institution or retailer. The more friction you add, the more likely consumers are to abandon the entire process.But preventing fraud is also a priority, and that's where Neuro-ID comes in. The startup analyzes what it calls "digital body language," or, the way users scroll, type, and tap. Using that data, Neuro-ID can identify fraudulent users before they create an account. It's built for banks, lenders, insurers, and e-commerce players."The train has left the station for digital transformation, but there's a massive opportunity to try to replicate all those communications that we used to have when we did business in-person, all those tells that we would get verbally and non-verbally on whether or not someone was trustworthy," Neuro-ID CEO Jack Alton told Insider.Founded in 2014, the startup's pitch is twofold: Neuro-ID can save companies money by identifying fraud early, and help increase user conversion by making the onboarding process more seamless. In December Neuro-ID closed a $7 million Series A, co-led by Fin VC and TTV Capital, with participation from Canapi Ventures. With 30 employees, Neuro-ID is using the fresh funding to grow its team and create additional tools to be more self-serving for customers.Here's the 11-slide pitch deck a startup that analyzes consumers' digital behavior to fight fraud used to raise a $7 million Series AAI-powered tools to spot phony online reviews Saoud Khalifah, founder and CEO of Fakespot.FakespotMarketplaces like Amazon and eBay host millions of third-party sellers, and their algorithms will often boost items in search based on consumer sentiment, which is largely based on reviews. But many third-party sellers use fake reviews often bought from click farms to boost their items, some of which are counterfeit or misrepresented to consumers.That's where Fakespot comes in. With its Chrome extension, it warns users of sellers using potentially fake reviews to boost sales and can identify fraudulent sellers. Fakespot is currently compatible with Amazon, BestBuy, eBay, Sephora, Steam, and Walmart."There are promotional reviews written by humans and bot-generated reviews written by robots or review farms," Fakespot founder and CEO Saoud Khalifah told Insider. "Our AI system has been built to detect both categories with very high accuracy."Fakespot's AI learns via reviews data available on marketplace websites, and uses natural-language processing to identify if reviews are genuine. Fakespot also looks at things like whether the number of positive reviews are plausible given how long a seller has been active.Fakespot, a startup that helps shoppers detect robot-generated reviews and phony sellers on Amazon and Shopify, used this pitch deck to nab a $4 million Series ANew twists on digital bankingZach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradleyHMBradleyConsumers are getting used to the idea of branch-less banking, a trend that startup digital-only banks like Chime, N26, and Varo have benefited from. The majority of these fintechs target those who are underbanked, and rely on usage of their debit cards to make money off interchange. But fellow startup HMBradley has a different business model. "Our thesis going in was that we don't swipe our debit cards all that often, and we don't think the customer base that we're focusing on does either," Zach Bruhnke, cofounder and CEO of HMBradley, told Insider. "A lot of our customer base uses credit cards on a daily basis."Instead, the startup is aiming to build clientele with stable deposits. As a result, the bank is offering interest-rate tiers depending on how much a customer saves of their direct deposit.Notably, the rate tiers are dependent on the percentage of savings, not the net amount. "We'll pay you more when you save more of what comes in," Bruhnke said. "We didn't want to segment customers by how much money they had. So it was always going to be about a percentage of income. That was really important to us."Check out the 14-page pitch deck fintech HMBradley, a neobank offering interest rates as high as 3%, used to raise an $18.25 million Series ARead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderMar 28th, 2022

3 Stocks to Focus on With MedTech M&A Scaling New Heights

MedTech stocks like Owens & Minor (OMI), Thermo Fisher (TMO) and Medtronic (MDT) are prudent investment choices given their long-term growth potential with recent M&A deals. Changes in consumer demand due to the pandemic and technological shifts continue to test the MedTech industry. This has created opportunities as well as challenges for existing business models, growth projections, and financial performance of Medical device industry players. To withstand the continued pandemic-led transformation, several of them are altering their business models, adding new segments through acquisitions to stay relevant in the current scenario.Historically as well, MedTech companies have looked to mergers and acquisitions (M&A) as a key strategic lever to address the industry changes and drive financial performance.  After slowing down M&A activities in early 2020 amid the COVID-19-induced chaos, acquisition-focused MedTech companies have reverted to their old pace. Per a report by EY, MedTech companies executed 288 deals across the sector from June 2020 to June 2021, the highest annual number since it began following MedTech M&A in 2007.Here we have discussed three companies, Owens & Minor, Inc. OMI, Thermo Fisher Scientific, Inc. TMO and Medtronic plc MDT, which we think will gain enormously from the recent M&A deals.MedTech’s M&A Frenzy ContinuesWhen other major industries were and are still in a survival mode during the pandemic, MedTech has been seen taking no break from the sector’s core strategy of expansion through channels of high-synergy acquisitions. Various reports suggest that though the pace of M&A slowed down during the initial months of the pandemic, it still remains the key growth driver in the U.S. MedTech space.According to KPMG, the volume and value of medical device deals rose 13% and 65%, respectively, in 2021 from 2020. The increase in diagnostic deal volumes and value climbed 64% and 265%, respectively, versus 2020.According to a PwC report, healthcare services saw growth in both deal value and deal volume. Through mid-November, deal volume was up 57% year over year and deal value was up 227%. Moreover, diagnostics deals played a large role in the MedTech sector's M&A wave in 2021, fueled by buyers generating more revenues from the expansion of COVID-19 testing.Rationale Behind MedTech M&AMedTech companies continue to leverage M&A to drive growth and profitability. Mergers and acquisitions allow them to achieve financial and operational stability to become more focused and innovative. The need for optimizing portfolios, committing capital to achieve growth agendas, finding ways to unlock value in a high-multiple deal environment and safely navigating through regulatory uncertainties is further going to drive more deals within the sector.MedTech players, in particular, are motivated to gain scale as a defense against reimbursement pressure and to accelerate revenue generation by investing in high-growth areas. Per an article by MEDTECHDIVE, Becton, Dickinson and Company BDX aims to spend $2 billion annually on tuck-in acquisitions that will help it expand in hot areas such as connected care devices.In 2020 and 2021, BDX closed 13 deals and deployed close to $1 billion for M&A deals. The stepped-up activity led Becton, Dickinson and Company to expect M&A to add $200 million to sales in 2022.Going by an article by Real Money, in 2022, MedTech M&A investments are expected to reach $350 billion to $400 billion, driven by all subsectors.Stocks in Focus With Recent DealsHere we have listed three stocks from the MedTech space that have recently announced M&A activities and might turn out to be prudent investment choices given their long-term growth potential.A global healthcare solutions company, Owens & Minor is our first choice. In January 2022, OMI entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Apria for a total transaction value of around $1.60 billion (one of the sector’s biggest investments, according to GlobalData’s deals database). The transaction, subject to customary closing conditions, is expected to close during the first half of 2022. The acquisition will enable Owens & Minor to better serve the entire patient journey and will position the company as a leader in the home healthcare market. The buyout will further expand OMI’s patient direct platform with access to over 90 % of insured healthcare customers in the United States.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchOwens & Minor’s long-term expected earnings growth rate is pegged at 8.8%. Year to date, OMI has gained 17.6% against the industry’s 17% fall. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).Renowned scientific instrument maker and a world leader in serving science, Thermo Fisher, is the next stock investors can look at. In December 2021, Thermo Fisher completed the $17.4-billion acquisition of PPD, a provider of clinical research and laboratory services to pharma and biotech companies. Notably, PPD will become part of Thermo Fisher's laboratory products and services unit. With the addition of PPD, Thermo Fisher will offer a comprehensive suite of world-class services across the clinical development spectrum — from scientific discovery to assessment of safety, efficacy, and healthcare outcomes of the product being developed to the management of clinical trial logistics, and development and manufacturing of the drug product.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchTMO’s long-term expected earnings growth rate is pegged at 14%. Year to date, TMO has gained 29.2% against the industry’s 1.8% fall. The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3.The renowned medical-device company, Medtronic, is our third pick. In January 2022, Medtronic made a major investment to advance in the prospering field of electrophysiology (“EP”). The company entered into a definitive agreement to acquire Boston, MA-based privately held medical technology company, Affera, which is working on the rapidly growing demands for cardiac arrhythmia treatment. The acquisition is expected to expand Medtronic’s portfolio of cardiac ablation products and accessories that targets a growing patient population. With this acquisition, Medtronic, which has an established footprint in the cardiac ablation space, will be able to enter into additional EP technology segments, such as mapping and navigation. Medtronic expects the acquisition to close in the first half of the company’s fiscal 2023, subject to the satisfaction of certain customary closing conditions.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchMedtronic’s long-term expected earnings growth rate is pegged at 7.6%. Year to date, MDT has lost 8.9% compared with the industry’s 17% fall.  The stock carries a Zacks Rank #3. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Just Released: Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 In addition to the investment ideas discussed above, would you like to know about our 10 top buy-and-hold tickers for the entirety of 2022? Last year's 2021 Zacks Top 10 Stocks portfolio returned gains as high as +147.7%. Now a brand-new portfolio has been handpicked from over 4,000 companies covered by the Zacks Rank. Don’t miss your chance to get in on these long-term buysAccess Zacks Top 10 Stocks for 2022 today >>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 Becton, Dickinson and Company (BDX): Free Stock Analysis Report Medtronic PLC (MDT): Free Stock Analysis Report Owens & Minor, Inc. (OMI): Free Stock Analysis Report Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksMar 24th, 2022

Futures Fade As Yields Soar, Oil Slides And China Stocks Crater

Futures Fade As Yields Soar, Oil Slides And China Stocks Crater US equity futures held on to modest gains overnight as the market desperately clung on to hope that the latest ceasefire talks between Russia and Ukraine which started on Monday, may yield results (clearly forgetting how the rug was pulled from under the market on Friday in an identical setup), which initially sent stocks higher especially in Europe, despite a surge in 10Y TSY yields to 2.10%, the highest since July 2019, two days ahead of the first Fed rate hike, and a complete collapse in Chinese stocks. And while U.S. index futures were still pointing to a positive open around 8am ET this gain is fading fast, with spoos now up just 0.5% after rising 1% earlier... ... as headlines from the Kremlin suggested that a ceasefire is the last thing on Putin's mind. *KREMLIN: RUSSIA WILL REALIZE ALL ITS PLANS IN UKRAINE OPERATION *KREMLIN: UKRAINE OPERATION WILL BE COMPLETED ON SCHEDULE *KREMLIN: RUSSIA DIDN'T REQUEST CHINA MILITARY AID FOR OPERATION *KREMLIN: RUSSIA HAS RESOURCES NEEDED TO COMPLETE UKRAINE ACTION And while futures would normally be deep in the red by now, and will be shortly now that AAPL is at LOD... APPLE FALLS TO SESSION LOW, DROPS 1.6% IN PREMARKET TRADING ... this morning algos are confused by the drop in oil which has emerged as an inverse barometer for peace, however the reason oil is down today is due to the unprecedented lockdown of China's Shenzhen, announced over the weekend, and which the market is worried may spread to the rest of the market and lead to another Chinese shutdown (spoiler alert: it won't, but it will cripple US-facing supply chains as the Russia-China alliance makes itself felt). Meanwhile, and as previewed last night, in addition to the latest surge in covid cases and Shenzhen lockdown, Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong had their worst day since the global financial crisis, as concerns over Beijing’s close relationship with Russia and renewed regulatory risks sparked panic selling. The Hang Seng index dropped more than 4%, sliding below 20,000 to the lowest level since 2015... ... while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index closed down 7.2% on Monday, the biggest drop since November 2008. The Hang Sang Tech Index tumbled 11% in its worst decline since the gauge was launched in July 2020, wiping out $2.1 trillion in value since a year-earlier peak, after the southern city of Shenzhen, a key tech hub near Hong Kong, was placed into lockdown to contain rising Covid-19 infections. The broader Hang Seng Index lost 5%. “If the U.S. decides to impose sanctions on China in total or on individual Chinese companies doing business with Russia, that would be a concern,” said Mark Mobius, who set up Mobius Capital Partners after more than three decades at Franklin Templeton Investments. “The whole story is still up in the air in this case.” In premarket trading, U.S.-listed Chinese stocks resumed a steep selloff on Monday, following an 18% rout last week, as concerns about Beijing’s close relationship with Russia added to losses spurred by a Chinese crackdown on tech giants and the growing risk of U.S. delistings. Alibaba (BABA US), JD.com (JD US) both fall 5%. U.S. casinos stocks are also lower in premarket, with multiple headwinds weighing on the sector, including inflation, while listed names with exposure to Macau face additional pressure from surging Covid cases in China’s Guangdong province and in Hong Kong. Wynn Resorts (WYNN US) -1.8%; Las Vegas Sands (LVS US) and MGM Resorts (MGM US) also down in thin trade. Meanwhile, Apple is down 1.6% after supplier Foxconn announced it was halting operations at its Shenzhen sites, one of which produces iPhones, in response to a government- imposed lockdown on the tech-hub city. Apple +0.2% in premarket. Besides all the geopolitical chaos, this week’s main focus will be on the Fed’s policy meeting, with traders expecting a quarter percentage-point rate hike. “There is little a central bank can do about commodity prices -- Fed Chair Powell can hardly dig an oil well in the middle of Washington D.C.,” said Paul Donovan, chief economist at UBS Global Wealth Management. “The concern will be about second-round effects -- prices encouraging higher wage costs.” In Europe, the Stoxx 600 was 1.7% higher with automakers and banks leading gains, while miners and energy stocks underperformed.  Tech investor Prosus falls as much as 11% in Amsterdam, the most since March 2020 and touching a record low, following a continued selloff in Chinese technology shares as concerns about Beijing’s close relationship with Russia added to worries over regulatory headwinds. Naspers, which holds a 29% stake in Chinese online giant Tencent through Prosus, slides as much as 15% in Johannesburg, the steepest plunge since November 2000. Here are some of the biggest European movers today: VW preference shares jump as much as 8.7% in Frankfurt and are among the top performers in a buoyant Stoxx 600 Automobiles & Parts Index after the carmaker pre-released results late Friday. Stifel called it a strong fourth quarter and a “surprisingly confident” outlook. Uniper gains as much as 11%; the power plant operator might benefit from the U.K. government’s potential plans to extend the life of coal-fired power plants, RBC says. Telecom Italia shares rise as much as 9.7% after the firm agreed to a deeper review of KKR’s takeover proposal and said it will ask the private equity giant for more details about its business plan. Phoenix Group shares rise as much as 3.7% after reporting full-year results, with Peel Hunt saying the insurer’s cash generation was “better than expected.” Danone rises as much as 5.6% after Bernstein says the French yogurt maker “seems to be doing everything right” under new management. The brokerage raises its recommendation on Danone and downgrades Reckitt and Unilever. Prosus shares fall as much as 11% in Amsterdam, the most since March 2020, following a continued selloff in Chinese technology shares as concerns about Beijing’s close relationship with Russia added to worries over regulatory headwinds Sanofi slumps as much as 6.2% after the French drugmaker says its mid- stage trial for amcenestrant in breast cancer didn’t meet the primary endpoint. Basic resources shares drop in Europe as commodity prices decline, underperforming the benchmark Stoxx Europe 600, which is gaining on Monday. Rio Tinto falls as much -4.2%, Glencore -4.5%, Anglo American -5.3% lead drop in the Stoxx Europe 600 basic resources sub-index. As noted above, Asian stocks plunged, led by a record 11% plunge in Chinese tech shares as a lockdown in Shenzhen added to woes including Beijing’s crackdown on the sector and mounting concerns about the economic fallout from sanctions on Russia. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 1.5% to reach a low last seen September 2020, with heavyweights Alibaba and Tencent diving 11% and 9.8%, respectively. The Hang Seng Tech Index plunged 11% after the southern city of Shenzhen, a key tech hub near Hong Kong, was placed into lockdown to contain rising Covid-19 infections. The broader Hang Seng Index lost 5%. “The latest coronavirus outbreak is raising uncertainties over the Chinese economic outlook while high commodity prices are a drag for the Chinese economy no less than for many other countries, limiting the room for monetary easing,” said Aw Hsi Lien, a strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research. “There’re rising perceptions that this year’s growth target of 5.5% is becoming difficult to achieve.”    Investors also remain on edge over risks for Chinese companies stemming from U.S. actions due to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Sentiment was also rattled late last week as U.S. regulators identified Chinese companies that could be kicked off exchanges if they fail to open their books to U.S. auditors. While the delisting risk has been known since last year, the Securities and Exchange Commission’s list served as a “wake up call,” said Willer Chen, an analyst at Forsyth Barr Asia Ltd. “I see no way to solve the dispute” between the U.S. and China under current policies, he said.  The historic sell-off in China also drove many peer Asian equity gauges into the red. Still, shares in resource-rich Australia gained and Japan’s Topix climbed amid expected benefits for exporters from the yen’s fall to a five-year low near 118 per dollar. Japanese equities climbed, rebounding after last week’s losses, as a weaker yen bolstered the outlook for exporters and a decline in oil provided a respite amid recent inflation concerns. Auto makers and banks were the biggest boosts to the Topix, which gained 0.7%. Tokyo Electron and Advantest were the largest contributors to a 0.6% rise in the Nikkei 225. The yen approached 118 per dollar, extending its loss after weakening more than 2% last week.  The Nikkei 225 dropped 3.2% last week, its worst since November, while the Topix fell 2.5%. In addition to developments on Russia’s war in Ukraine, investors this week will be monitoring monetary-policy decisions from the Bank of Japan and Federal Reserve. “As Japan’s economy and wage growth are more subdued than in the U.S., and, thus, the BOJ will be slower to tighten than the Fed, the yen may well trend weaker, although any move beyond 120 would not be encouraged by officials,” Nikko Asset Management strategist John Vail wrote in a note. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index inched inched lower and the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers. European currencies, lead by the Swedish krona and Norwegian krone, were the best performers while the Australian and New Zealand dollars, as well as the yen, fell. Sweden’s krona rallied as much as 1.8% as sentiment improved and as economists expect the country’s central bank to make a policy U-turn later this year, after inflation reached a new 28-year high last month and as price increases are seen accelerating on the fallout from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine The pound was steady after falling to November 2020 lows on Friday, while gilts slumped. Focus this week will be on the Bank of England, which is expected to raise interest rates for a third time in a bid to control inflation. The yen fell to a five-year low against the dollar as traders boosted bets on the pace of the Federal Reserve’s rate hikes this year amid accelerating U.S. inflation and as risk reversals backed a less-favorable outlook for the Japanese currency. Australia’s dollar dropped for a second day as oil and iron ore lead commodity prices lower, while sliding Chinese equities weighed on risk sentiment. In rates, as noted above, Treasuries sold off, led by the belly, following wider losses across bunds as core European rates aggressively bear-steepen. Treasuries and the 5-year Treasury yield topped 2% for the first time since May 2019 while the yield on 10-year Treasuries rose to 2.10%, the highest since July 2019, before easing back to 2.06%. The US front-end slightly outperforms, steepening 2s5s and 2s10s spreads by 1.7bp and 1.3bp. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far; volumes projected for the week are around $30b, following one of the busiest weeks on record In commodities, WTI drifts ~5% lower to trade at around $103. Brent falls more than 4% to the $107 level. Spot gold falls roughly $27 to trade near $1,962/oz. Spot silver loses 2.6% near $25. Most base metals trade in the red; LME aluminum falls 3.6%, underperforming peers. Bitcoin was initially subdued beneath USD 38,000 ahead of an EU vote on environmental sustainability standards measure that could lead to a ban on Bitcoin, but later recovered with support also seen following a tweet from Elon Musk. Elon Musk tweeted "I still own & won’t sell my Bitcoin, Ethereum or Doge fwiw". Japan demanded that cryptocurrency transactions be blocked if they are sanctions related. Besidesall that, it is a quiet start to thge week with no macro news on today's calendar. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.5% to 4,223.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.4% to 433.05 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.31% Euro up 0.4% to $1.0952 MXAP down 1.4% to 168.91 MXAPJ down 2.1% to 549.22 Nikkei up 0.6% to 25,307.85 Topix up 0.7% to 1,812.28 Hang Seng Index down 5.0% to 19,531.66 Shanghai Composite down 2.6% to 3,223.53 Sensex up 1.2% to 56,207.96 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.2% to 7,149.40 Kospi down 0.6% to 2,645.65 Brent Futures down 2.7% to $109.60/bbl Gold spot down 0.8% to $1,971.65 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.21% to 98.92 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The U.S. and China plan to hold their first high-level, in- person talks since Moscow’s invasion on Monday. The meeting comes after China rejected accusations by U.S. officials that Russia had asked it for military equipment to support the invasion of Ukraine Chinese stocks listed in Hong Kong had their worst day since the global financial crisis, as concerns over Beijing’s close relationship with Russia and renewed regulatory risks sparked panic selling Global bond markets are flirting with a 10% drawdown for the first time in over a decade as surging inflation forces yields higher. The Bloomberg Global Aggregate Index, a benchmark for government and corporate debt, has fallen about 9.9% from a high in early 2021, the biggest decline from a peak since 2008, the data show Already pivoting to tightening monetary policy amid the fastest consumer price gains in four decades, Fed Chair Jerome Powell and colleagues now have to deal with the economic fallout of the war, which threatens to deliver the twin blows of weaker growth and even-quicker inflation ECB Governing Council member Martins Kazaks says “it’s very possible that the bond-buying program will end in the third quarter” Germany’s coronavirus infection rate hit a record for the third straight day on Monday, with the renewed surge prompting the country’s top health official to issue a grim warning Leveraged fund net short aggregate Treasuries bets across the curve have hit the highest in over a year, the latest CFTC data show. The U.S. Treasury market just endured one of its worst weeks of the past decade, with yields propelling toward their highest levels of the past year thanks to worsening inflation and the imminent expected shift in policy The yen’s plunge to a five-year low shows no signs of easing as surging commodity prices have worsened the outlook for Japan’s trade balance and put pressure on the currency’s haven credentials. The nation is a net importer of a long list of raw materials from crude oil and grains to metals, exposing it to higher costs as prices of all these have risen due to sanctions imposed on Russia over its invasion of Ukraine Russia has already lost access to almost half of its reserves and sees more risks to President Vladimir Putin’s war chest due to increased pressure from the West on China, said Finance Minister Anton Siluanov Nickel’s 250% price spike in little more than 24 hours plunged the industry into chaos, triggering billions of dollars in losses for traders who bet the wrong way and leading the London Metal Exchange to suspend trading for the first time in three decades. It marked the first major market failure since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine jolted global markets, showing how the removal of one of the world’s largest exporters of resources from the financial system in the space of weeks is having ripple effects across the world A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of newsquawk Asia-Pacific stocks were somewhat mixed as participants digested varied geopolitical headlines ahead of key risk events. ASX 200 was underpinned by strength in its largest-weighted financial sector and encouragement from M&A related headlines. Nikkei 225 benefitted from further currency weakness but failed to hold above the 25,500 level. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp. were pressured amid several headwinds, including COVID-19 concerns with the technology hub of Shenzhen under a one-week lockdown, which pressured tech and weighed on Macau casino names, as well as dragged the Hong Kong benchmark beneath the 20K level for the first time since 2016 Top Asian News Developers Sink After Weak Home Mortgage Data: Evergrande Update Marcos Keeps Big Lead in Philippine Presidential Survey Funds Managing $130 Trillion Target Lobbying in Climate Plan Hang Seng China Stock Gauge Sinks 7.2%, Most Since Nov. 2008 China Locks Down Shenzhen, Entire Jilin Province as Covid Swells European bourses are firmer, Euro Stoxx 50 +2.1%, following a mixed APAC handover amid conflicting headlines as we await details of the latest Ukrainian-Russia talks. Stateside, US futures are firmer across the board but with magnitudes more contained, ES +0.9%, ahead of multiple risk events. Sectors in Europe are mostly firmer though some of the more defensive names are lagging modestly, Autos outperform post-Volkswagen Top European News European Gas Slumps as Russia, Ukraine to Hold Further Talks British Airways-Operator Comair Still Grounded in South Africa Funds Managing $130 Trillion Target Lobbying in Climate Plan ECB’s Kazaks: ‘Very Possible’ Net Bond-Buying Will End in 3Q U.S.-Listed Chinese Stocks Sink Again as China-Russia Ties Weigh In FX, Aussie bears the brunt of reversal in commodity prices; AUD/USD hovering around 0.7250 ahead of RBA minutes tomorrow. Yen extends decline on yield and BoJ policy divergence towards 118.00 vs the Dollar. Euro rebounds with risk appetite amidst hopes of constructive Russian-Ukrainian dialogue; EUR/USD finds support around 1.0900 where 1.84bln option expiries reside to trade above 1.0960. Rouble firmer on the premise that positive words will speak louder than negative actions. Yuan depreciates as Covid cases mount in China and PBoC sets a weaker than expected onshore midpoint rate, USD/CNH probes 6.3800 at one stage. Swedish Crown strong in line with latest inflation data and hawkish Riksbank rate calls from Nordea and SEB, EUR/SEK tests Fib support circa 10.5252 In commodities, WTI and Brent continue to unwind geopolitical premia amid mixed Russia-Ukraine developments and the possibility of progress soon. Currently, benchmarks lie near fresh lows of USD 103.42/bbl and USD 107.59/bbl respectively, further impeded by IEA's Birol. Iraq set April Basrah medium OSP to Asia at Oman/Dubai + USD 3.50/bbl, OSP to Europe at Dated Brent - USD 3.05/bbl and OSP to North and South America. UK PM Johnson is seeking a mega oil deal with the Saudis and is pushing for solar and nuclear energy to cut reliance on foreign oil, while the UK is also considering keeping some coal-fired power stations operational, according to Express and The Times. IEA Chief Birol says responsible producers should increase oil output. French PM Castex said the government will offer EUR 0.15/litre rebate on petrol prices from April to counter high prices with the rebate on fuel to last four months and is expected to cost around EUR 2bln. Japanese PM Kishida will look at measures for high oil prices and raw material food prices whilst watching the situation carefully, according to the Japanese ruling party secretary general; subsequently, Japanese government is to increase the petrol subsidy to around JPY 24/litre and close to the ceiling of JPY 25/litre. Gazprom says it is continuing shipping gas to Europe via Ukraine, Monday's volume is broadly unchanged at 109.5mln cubic metres; does not intend holding spot gas sale sessions on its electronic sales platform this week. China is planning to boost its coal output by as much as it imports. Spot gold and silver are pressured unwinding safe-haven appeal in-fitting with other typical havens In Fixed income, the debt rout rages on on as futures take out near term technical supports and yields reach or breach psychological levels. Curves continue to steepen on resurgent risk sentiment rather than any read respite from sharp retracement in crude prices. USTs and Gilts anticipating tightening from the Fed and BoE later this week. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I've tried to keep the introductory paragraphs fairly sober in recent weeks as the challenging time for the world doesn't really need my flippancy. However I have to share with you this morning that 5 minutes before I started typing this I started walking again for the first time in 6 weeks. The crutches were left by the bed and my morning coffee made without hopping between the cupboard, the sink and the fridge, and then working out how to get my coffee back upstairs while on crutches. It's amazing how good normality felt. Fingers crossed this operation will buy me a few years before knee replacement. We will see. The newsflow didn't look good late on Friday as some earlier positive signs on the conflict talks petered out. In terms of developments there was mixed news last night though as on the positive side some progress seemed to be made on talks, but on the negative side the FT reported that US officials suggested that Russia have asked China for military and economic assistance since the invasion began. The article said that the officials didn't details China's response but this came just few hours after White House officials announced that a high-level delegation from the US would meet with a top Chinese official in Rome today. On the positive side however, Ukrainian negotiator and presidential adviser Mykhailo Podolyak tweeted and posted a video online saying, "Russia is already beginning to talk constructively... ... I think that we will achieve some results literally in a matter of days,". A Russian delegate echoed the sentiment and US Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman also highlighted that Russia was showing signs of willingness to engage in substantive negotiations. DM equity futures are making modest gains in Asia with contracts on the S&P 500 (+0.59%), Nasdaq (+0.35% and DAX (+0.59%) all trading higher. US Treasuries are seeing a pretty big move for an Asian session with the 5-yr yield (+6.3bps) moving above 2% for the first time since May 2019 whilst the 10-yr yield is up +5.3bps to 2.044%. Elsewhere Brent futures (-1.93%) are down to $110.50/bbl while WTI futures (-2.41%) are at $106.70/bbl. Asian equity markets are mostly trading lower though as we start the week following the broadly negative cues from Wall Street on Friday. The Hang Seng (-3.81%) is leading losses across the region with Chinese tech stocks again seeing major declines. Shares in mainland China are also weak with the Shanghai Composite (-1.30%) and CSI (-1.73%) both in negative territory after the southern Chinese tech hub Shenzhen was put under a citywide lockdown over the weekend to slow an outbreak of Covid-19. Elsewhere, the Kospi (-0.72%) is down but the Nikkei (+0.95%) is trading up this morning, reversing its previous session's losses. Coming back to the Covid news, the Chinese authorities have placed 17.5 million residents of Shenzhen under lockdown after the city reported 66 fresh Covid cases on Sunday while the nationwide official figure nearly doubled to 3,400. The lockdown and suspension of public transport will last until March 20 and will be accompanied by three rounds of mass testing of residents. At the same time, the surge in cases across China has also prompted the authorities to shut schools for students from kindergarten through middle schools next week in Shanghai. In the neighbouring Hong Kong, the health authorities reported 32,430 new Covid-cases on Sunday with city leader Carrie Lam highlighting that the outbreak has not past its peak yet despite recent number of daily cases “slightly levelling off”. Looking forward now, and as we all know it's a big central bank week with the Fed the obvious focal point mid-week. The BoE and the BoJ also hold meetings, along with some of their emerging markets counterparts. We'll also see CPI for Japan and Canada and a number of housing market statistics in the US and China. Earnings will include Volkswagen, FedEx and Enel, among others. Wednesday will also be a landmark day even outside of the Fed as this is the date that two Russian Eurobonds have coupon payments. These are small (c.$120bn out of c.$1.75bn of annual hard currency coupons) but will be hugely symbolic. Speaking to one of our EM strategists, Christian Wietoska, and one of our European economists, Peter Sidorov, over the weekend their view was that this would likely mark the start of the 30-day grace period that issuers have before a default is officially triggered. 30-days still gives time for there to be a negotiated end to the war and therefore this probably isn't yet the moment where we see where the full stresses in the financial system might reside. There has already been a huge mark to market loss already anyway with news coming through or write downs. However this is clearly an important story to watch. Onto the Fed now and the FOMC concludes on Wednesday, with the Fed expected to raise rates for the first time since December 2018. Markets are pricing in a +25bps hike, in line with the rhetoric from Chair Powell at his congressional testimonies a couple of weeks back. Before the invasion we thought a 50bps was likely this week and the problem is that by delaying such a move they may have to do more later. The market seems to agree to some degree as at Friday's close the market was pricing in 6.7 hikes this year, the most seen in this cycle and above the post invasion intra-day lows of 4.45. This morning we are at 6.92. A full preview from our US economists is available here. With regards to QT, they anticipate that the Fed will use this upcoming meeting to announce caps determining the maximum monthly runoff and, in May, announce QT that would begin in June. They think we will see $800bn of runoff this year and an additional $1.1tn drawdown in 2023, a cumulative reduction we think is roughly equal to between three and four rate increases (see "QT update: The sooner the better"). The fascinating thing for me is what this does to the yield curve if they are correct. For me nirvana for the Fed is getting to around neutral, somewhere with a 2 handle on Fed Funds and trying to ensure that 10yr yields rise enough to prevent inversion but not enough to lead to a tightening of financial conditions. So if in 12-18 months time 2 year yields are 2.25-2.5%, 10 year yields are 2.75-3% and inflation is coming back towards trend then the Fed have pulled off a masterstroke. If however, 2yr yields are above 2% and 10yr yields below this level, the inversion will likely bite. On the other hand, if the curve steepens up too much and longer end yields are notably above 3% the risk is that financial conditions tighten too much given the global debt load. So the Fed are trying to thread a needle and its possible inflation will give them an impossible task. Time will tell. Ahead of the Fed watch out for US PPI (Tuesday) and Retail Sales (Wednesday). They are highly unlikely to change the equation for this FOMC but will be important for the direction of the economy and inflation thereafter. We also get a plethora of US housing data to end the week with Thursday's housing starts and Friday's existing homes sales. These are going to be important for both activity and the rents component in CPI. Back to central banks and on Thursday, it will be the BoE's turn. Our UK economist previews the meeting here, and is expecting a +25bps hike to 0.75%, the pre-pandemic level. Their projected terminal rate is 1.75%. Finally, on Friday, the Bank of Japan will hold a meeting as well and a preview can be found here. The central bank is expected to hold the key rate steady but there is a chance of economic assessment being downgraded. The Bank of Russia's decision on the same day will be scrutinised for the response to risks to the economy from the ongoing geopolitical turmoil. Back to the week that was now. The war in Ukraine raged on, while negotiations continued to generate little tangible progress as leaders managed expectations down for any near-term resolution. However, there were various green shoots throughout the week when it appeared both Ukrainian and Russian officials left some room for compromise from their original positions. The glimmers of hope on the war front, along with a more hawkish-than-expected ECB sent sovereign bond yields higher on both sides of the Atlantic this week. Positive news about the supply of oil and gas sent futures lower on the week, despite the US and UK moving to restrict Russian imports. Oil and European natural gas prices fell -5.07% (+3.05% Friday) and -30.15% (+3.82% Friday) over the week, following a proclamation from President Putin that Russia would honor its energy export commitments, instead of unilaterally cutting off supply in retaliation to sanctions. For its part, the Iraqi oil minister noted OPEC would increase oil production were supply to reach scarcity levels. The other major story on the week was the ECB meeting, where the central bank signaled more focus on price stability than the potential downside impact to growth from the war. The governing council announced an accelerated tapering of its APP purchases, which would end in Q3, maintaining the option for increases to their policy benchmark rate sometime thereafter should the data merit. The ECB also updated their forecast for 2022 inflation to 5.1 percent and 2.1 percent for 2023. The tighter than expected policy stance gave rise to higher sovereign bond yields on both sides of the Atlantic, with 10yr bunds, OATs, gilts, and Treasuries rising +31.8bps (-2.5bps Friday), +28.9bps (-2.6bps Friday), +28.3bps (-3.2xbps Friday), and +26.1bps (+0.5bps Friday), respectively. For 10yr bunds that was the largest weekly gain since June 2015, 10yr gilts the largest weekly gain since September 2017, September 2019 for Treasuries, and March 2020 for OATs. Money markets ended the week pricing +40.5bps of ECB tightening this year, up from +24.1bps of tightening at last week’s close. European equities latched on to this week’s marginally more optimistic news, with the STOXX 600 finishing +2.23% (+0.95% Friday), the first weekly gain in a month. The DAX and CAC also finished the week +4.07% (+1.38% Friday) and +3.28% (+0.85% Friday) higher, respectively. US investors proved more pessimistic, with the S&P 500 retreating -2.88% (-1.30% Friday), with tech underperforming again, as the NASDAQ fell -3.53% (-2.18% Friday). The US indices took a leg lower Friday afternoon after Europe called it a week when Ukrainian leadership didn’t strike as optimistic a tone as Russian leaders surrounding the prospects of negotiations, as well as reports that Belarussian troops were about to join the invasion of Ukraine. University of Michigan consumer inflation expectations for the next year increased to 5.4 percent, above expectations of 5.1 percent on Friday. This followed the February US CPI data which showed headline and core measures increasing to their highest readings in four decades, which would have headlined just about any other week. In line with this, market-based measures of inflation expectations increased, with 10yr Treasury breakevens widening +27.3bps on the week. Tyler Durden Mon, 03/14/2022 - 08:15.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMar 14th, 2022