Advertisements


Sacramento Region Innovation Awards: Cordico"s app helps first responders ask for help

First responders are tough people, surrounded by others like them, and that makes it difficult for them to stand up and say they need help, said David Black, founder and president of Cordico Inc......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 25th, 2021

Futures Flat Ahead Of Taper Accelerating Payrolls

Futures Flat Ahead Of Taper Accelerating Payrolls U.S. equity futures are flat, rebounding from an overnight slide following news that 5 "mild" Omicron cases were found in New York, and European stocks wavered at the end of a volatile week as traders waited for the latest jobs data to assess the likely pace of Federal Reserve tightening and accelerated tapering. Emini S&P futures traded in a narrow range, and were up 2 points or 0.04%, Nasdaq futures were flat,while Dow Jones futures were up 8 points. The dollar edged higher, along with the euro after ECB President Christine Lagarde said inflation will decline in 2022. Crude advanced after OPEC+ left the door open to changing the plan to raise output at short notice. S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 contracts fluctuated after dip-buyers Thursday fueled the S&P 500’s best climb since mid-October, a sign that some of the worst fears about the omicron virus strain are dissipating. That said, concerns about omicron are overshadowing economic news for now with “a lot of noise and very little meaningful information,” said Geir Lode, head of global equities at Federated Hermes in London. “The prospect of a faster monetary policy tightening could -- and should probably -- lead to a clear market reaction,” he said. “It is also another argument for why we assume value stocks outperform growth stocks. At the moment, however, investors’ attention is elsewhere.” In the latest U.S. data, jobless claims remained low, suggesting additional progress in the labor market. Traders are awaiting today's big event - the November payrolls numbers, which could shape expectations for the pace of Fed policy tightening (full preview here). Bloomberg Economics expects a strong report, while the median estimate in a Bloomberg survey of economists predicts an increase of 550,000. “Assuming the omicron news remains less end-of-the-world, a print above 550,000 jobs should see the faster Fed-taper trade reassert itself,” Jeffrey Halley, a senior market analyst at Oanda, wrote in a note. “That may nip the equity rally in the bud, while the dollar and U.S. yields could resume rising.” In premarket trading, Didi Global Inc. jumped more than 14% in U.S. premarket trading before reversing all gains, after the Chinese ride-hailing giant said it began preparations to withdraw from U.S. stock exchanges. U.S. antitrust officials sued to block chipmaker Nvidia’s proposed $40 billion takeover of Arm, saying the deal would hobble innovation and competition. Elon Musk’s offloading of Tesla Inc. shares surpassed the $10 billion mark as he sold stock in the electric-car maker for the fourth consecutive week. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: DocuSign (DOCU US) plunges 32% in premarket trading as the e-signature company’s quarterly revenue forecast missed analysts’ estimates. JPMorgan and Piper Sandler cut ratings. Marvell Technology (MRVL US) shares rise 18% in premarket after the semiconductor company’s fourth-quarter forecast beat analyst estimates; Morgan Stanley notes “an exceptional quarter” with surprising outperformance from enterprise networking, strength in 5G and in cloud. Asana (ASAN US) shares slump 14% in premarket trading after results, with KeyBanc cutting the software firm’s price target on a reset in the stock’s valuation. Piper Sandler said that slight deceleration in revenue and billings growth could disappoint some investors. Zillow Group (ZG US) shares rise 8.8% in premarket after the online real-estate company announced a $750 million share repurchase program and said it has made “significant progress” on Zillow Offers inventory wind- down. Stitch Fix (SFIX US) jumped in premarket after Morgan Stanley raised its rating to equal-weight from underweight. Smartsheet (SMAR US) rose in postmarket trading after the software company boosted its revenue forecast for the full year; the guidance beat the average analyst estimate. National Beverage Corp. (FIZZ US) gained in postmarket trading after the drinks company announced a special dividend of $3 a share. Ollie’s Bargain (OLLI US) plunged 21% in U.S. premarket trading on Friday, after the company’s quarterly results and forecast disappointed, hurt by supply-chain troubles. Smith & Wesson Brands (SWBI US) stock fell 15% in postmarket trading after adjusted earnings per share for the second quarter missed the average analyst estimate. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index slipped as much as 0.2% before turning green with mining companies and carmakers underperforming and energy and utility stocks rising. Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB fell as much as 26% after private-equity firm Advent International and Singapore wealth fund GIC abandoned their $7.6 billion bid to buy the drugmaker. Volatility across assets remains elevated, reflecting the Fed’s shift toward tighter monetary settings and uncertainty about how the omicron outbreak will affect global reopening. The hope is that vaccines will remain effective or can be adjusted to cope. New York state identified at least five cases of omicron, which is continuing its worldwide spread, while the latest research shows the risk of reinfection with the new variant is three times higher than for others. “The environment in markets is changing,” Steven Wieting, chief investment strategist at Citigroup Private Bank, said on Bloomberg Television. “Monetary policy, fiscal policy are all losing steam. It doesn’t mean a down market. But it’s not going to be like the rebound, the sharp recovery that we had for almost every asset in the past year.” Earlier in the session, Asian stocks held gains from the past two days as travel and consumer shares rallied after their U.S. peers rebounded and a report said Merck & Co. is seeking to obtain approval of its Covid-19 pill in Japan. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was little changed after climbing as much as 0.3%, with Japan among the region’s best performers. South Korea’s benchmark had its biggest three-day advance since February, boosted by financial shares. Still, Asian stocks headed for a weekly loss as U.S. regulators moved a step closer to boot Chinese firms off American stock exchanges. The Hang Seng Tech Index slid as much as 2.7% to a new all time low, as Tencent Holdings and Alibaba Group Holding fell after Didi Global Inc. began preparations to withdraw its U.S. listing.  “While the risks of delisting have already been brought up previously, a step closer towards a final mandate seems to serve as a reminder for the regulatory risks in Chinese stocks,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. Asian stocks remain stuck near a one-year low, as the delisting issue damped sentiment already hurt by omicron and the Fed’s hawkish pivot. A U.S. payrolls report later today could give further clues on the pace of tightening Japanese equities rose, paring their weekly loss, helped by gains in economically sensitive names. Electronics makers reversed an early loss to become the biggest boost to the Topix, which gained 1.6%. Automakers and banks also gained, while reopening plays tracked a rebound in U.S. peers. Daikin and Recruit were the largest contributors to a 1% gain in the Nikkei 225, which erased a morning decline of as much as 0.6%. The Topix still dropped 1.4% on the week, extending the previous week’s 2.9% slide, amid concerns over the omicron coronavirus variant. Despite some profit-taking in tech stocks in the morning session, “the medium and long-term outlooks for these names continue to be really good,” said Norihiro Fujito, chief investment strategist at Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities. “The spread of the omicron variant doesn’t mean an across-the-board selloff for Japanese stocks.” India’s benchmark equity index recorded a weekly advance, partly recovering from a sharp sell-off triggered by uncertainty around the new Covid variant, with investors focusing on the central bank’s monetary policy meeting from Monday.  The S&P BSE Sensex fell 1.3% to 57,696.46, but gained 1% for the week after declining for two weeks. The NSE Nifty 50 Index dropped 1.2%, the biggest one-day decline since Nov. 26. All but three of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a gauge of energy companies. “The focus seems to be shifting from premium Indian equities to relatively cheaper markets,” Shrikant Chouhan, head of retail equity search at Kotak Securities said in a note. The cautious mood in India was heightened by the “unenthusiastic” response to the IPO of Paytm, which was also the biggest public share sale in the country, and a resurgence of Covid concerns across Europe, he added.  Investors also focused on the country’s economic outlook, which is showing signs of improvement. Major data releases this week -- from economic expansion to tax collection -- showed robust growth. “Strong domestic indicators are playing a key role in driving the market amid negative global cues,” said Mohit Nigam, a fund manager with Hem Securities. But any further spread of the omicron strain in India may cap local equity gains, he said. Two cases of the new variant have been detected so far in the country. The market’s attention will shift to the Reserve Bank of India’s policy announcement on Dec. 8, after a three-day meeting from Monday. The panel is expected to leave record low interest rates unchanged as inflation remains within its target range. The economy faces new risks from the omicron variant after expanding 8.4% in the three months through September. Reliance Industries contributed the most to the Sensex’s decline, falling 3%. Out of 30 shares in the index, 26 fell and 4 gained. Australia stocks posted a fourth week of losses amid the Omicron threat even as the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.2% to close at 7,241.20, boosted by banks and miners. That trimmed the benchmark’s loss for the week to 0.5%, its fourth-straight weekly decline.  Corporate Travel was among the top performers, rising for a second session. TPG Telecom led the laggards, tumbling after media reports that founder David Teoh entered into an agreement to sell about 53.1 million shares in a block trade.  In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index was little changed at 12,676.50. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced and the greenback was higher against all of its Group-of-10 peers, with risk-sensitive Scandinavian and Antipodean currencies the worst performers. Turkish lira swings back to gain against the USD after central bank intervention for the 2nd time in 3 days. The pound weakened and gilt yields fell after Bank of England policy maker Michael Saunders urged caution on monetary tightening due to the potential effects of the omicron variant on the economy. The euro fell below $1.13 and some traders are starting to use option plays to express the view that the currency may extend its drop in coming month, yet recover in the latter part of 2022. The Aussie dropped for a fourth day amid concern U.S. payroll data due Friday may add to divergence between RBA and Fed monetary policy. Australia’s sale of 2024 bonds saw yields drop below those in the secondary market by the most on record. The yen weakened for a second day as the prospects for a faster pace of Fed tapering fans speculation of portfolio outflows from Japan. In rates, Treasury yields ticked lower, erasing some of Tuesday jump after Fed officials laid out the case for a faster removal of policy support amid high inflation.  Treasurys followed gilts during European morning, when Bank of England’s Saunders said the omicron variant is a key consideration for the December MPC decision which in turn lowered odds of a December BOE rate hike. Treasury yields are richer by up to 1.5bp across 10-year sector which trades around 1.43%; gilts outperform by ~1bp as BOE rate- hike premium for the December meeting was pared following Saunders comments. Shorter-term Treasury yields inched up, and the 2-year yield touched the highest in a week Friday’s U.S. session features a raft of data headed by the November jobs report due 8:30am ET where the median estimate is 550k while Bloomberg whisper number is 564k; October NFP change was 531k Crude futures extend Asia’s modest gains advanced after OPEC+ proceeded with an output hike but left room for quick adjustments due to a cloudy outlook, making shorting difficult. WTI added on ~2.5% to trade near $68.20, roughly near the middle of the week’s range. Brent recovers near $71.50. Spot gold fades a small push higher to trade near $1,770/oz. Most base metals are well supported with LME aluminum and zinc outperforming.  Looking at the day ahead, and the aforementioned US jobs report for November will be the highlight. Other data releases include the services and composite PMIs for November from around the world, Euro Area retail sales for October, and in addition from the US, there’s October’s factory orders and the November ISM services index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde and chief economist Lane, the Fed’s Bullard and the BoE’s Saunders. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,574.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.2% to 466.43 MXAP little changed at 192.06 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 625.64 Nikkei up 1.0% to 28,029.57 Topix up 1.6% to 1,957.86 Hang Seng Index little changed at 23,766.69 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,607.43 Sensex down 1.3% to 57,692.90 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,241.17 Kospi up 0.8% to 2,968.33 Brent Futures up 3.3% to $71.97/bbl Gold spot down 0.1% to $1,767.28 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 96.29 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1286 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg “I see an inflation profile which looks like a hump” and “we know how painful it is,” ECB President Christine Lagarde says at event Friday. She also said that “when the conditions of our forward guidance are satisfied, we won’t be hesitant to act” and that an interest rate increase in 2022 is very unlikely The betting window is open in the fixed-income market as hedge funds and other traders hunt for mispriced risk heading into 2022 -- whether it’s predictions for accelerating inflation or rising interest rates The U.K. Municipal Bonds Agency aims to sell the first ethical bonds on behalf of local governments early next year. The body, set up to help U.K. councils access capital markets, is looking to issue a couple of sustainable bonds in the first quarter of 2022, according to officials advising on the sales. It expects to follow that with a pooled ethical bond to raise money for a group of different local authorities Low- income countries indebted to Chinese commercial and policy banks could buy specially-created Chinese government bonds and then use these as collateral to support the sale of new yuan debt, Zhou Chengjun, head of the People’s Bank of China’s finance research institute, wrote in an article published in the ChinaBond Magazine Chinese tech shares briefly touched their record lows in Hong Kong, as Didi Global Inc.’s announcement to start U.S. delisting and rising scrutiny on mainland firms traded there dealt a further blow to already soured sentiment The yuan is set to weaken for the first time in three years in 2022, as capital inflows are expected to slow amid a shrinking yield gap between China and the U.S., a Bloomberg survey shows Turkish inflation accelerated for a sixth month in November to the highest level in three years, driven by a slump in the lira that continues to cloud consumer price outlook A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities eventually traded mostly higher following the cyclical-led rebound in the US, but with the mood in the region tentative as Omicron uncertainty lingered after further cases of the new variant were reported stateside and with the latest NFP data drawing near. ASX 200 (+0.2%) lacked direction as resilience in cyclicals was offset by underperformance in defensives and amid ongoing COVID-19 concerns which prompted the Western Australian government to widen its state border closure to include South Australia. Nikkei 225 (+1.0%) was initially subdued amid recent currency inflows and with SoftBank among the worst performers amid several negative headlines including the FTC suing to block the Nvidia acquisition of Arm from SoftBank, while the Japanese conglomerate also suffered from its exposure in “super app” Grab which tumbled 20% in its New York debut and with Didi to start delisting from the NYSE in favour of a Hong Kong listing, although the index eventually recovered losses in latter half of trade. Hang Seng (-0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.9%) were varied with US-listed Chinese companies pressured as the US SEC moved closer to delisting Chinese ADRs for failing to comply with disclosure requirements, while the mood across developers was also glum with Kaisa shares at a record low after its bond exchange offer to avert a default was rejected by bondholders and China Aoyuan Property Group slumped by double-digit percentages following its warning of an inability to repay USD 651.2mln of debt due to a liquidity crunch. Furthermore, participants digested the latest Caixin Services and Composite PMI data which slowed from the prior month, but both remained in expansion territory and with reports that advisors are to recommend lowering China’s economic growth target to 5.0%-5.5% or above 5%, fanning hopes for looser policy. Finally, 10yr JGBs gained and made another incursion above 152.00 with prices supported amid the cautious mood in Japan and with the BoJ also present in the market today for a total of JPY 1.05tln of JGBs heavily concentrated in 1yr-5yr maturities. Top Asian News Astra Said to Sink Advent’s $7.6 Billion Buyout of Biotech Sobi BOJ Is Said to See Omicron as Potential Reason to Keep Covid Aid Kaisa Swap Rejected, Developer Bonds Slide: Evergrande Update Permira Is Said to Near Deal for U.K. Blood Plasma Lab BPL The positivity seen heading into the European open dissipated as the session went underway, with the region seeing more of a mixed configuration in cash markets (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.1%; Stoxx 600 Unch) – with no clear drivers in the run-up to the US jobs report. The release will be carefully watching measures of labour market slack to gauge the progress towards the Fed's 'three tests' for rate hikes, whilst the Fed appears almost certain to announce a quickening in the pace of asset purchase tapering at its December meeting (Full NFP preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). The recent downside in Europe also seeps into the US futures, with the RTY (-0.2%), NQ (-0.2%) and ES (-0.3%) posting broad-based losses as things stand. Sectors have shifted from the earlier firm cyclical layout to one of a more defensive nature, with Healthcare, Food & Beverages, and Personal & Household Goods making their way up the ranks. Travel & Leisure still sits in the green but largely owed to sector heavyweight Evolution (+6.3%) as the group is to acquire its own shares in Nasdaq Stockholm. Oil & Gas sits as the current winner as crude markets claw back a bulk of this week's losses. On the flip side, Basic Resources are hit as iron ore tumbled overnight. In terms of individual movers, Dassault Aviation (+8.0%) shares soared after France signed a deal with the UAE worth some EUR 17bln. Allianz (+1.0%) stays in the green after entering a reinsurance agreement with Resolution Life and affiliates of Sixth Street for its US fixed index annuity portfolio, with the transaction to unlock USD 4.1bln in value. Top European News U.K. Nov. Composite PMI 57.6 vs Flash Reading 57.7 The Chance of a BOE Rate Hike This Month Has Fallen: BofA’s Wood AP Moller Holding Agrees to Buy Diagnostics Company Unilabs Permira Is Said to Near Deal for U.K. Blood Plasma Lab BPL In FX, it’s debatable whether this month’s US jobs data will carry as much weight as normal given that Fed rhetoric in the run up to the pre-FOMC blackout period has effectively signalled a faster pace of tapering and the likelihood of more hawkishly aligned dot plots. However, the latest BLS report could be influential in terms of shaping the tightening path once QE has been withdrawn, as markets continue to monitor unfolding COVID-19 developments with the main focus on vaccine efficacy against the new Omicron variant. In the meantime, Buck bulls have resurfaced to lift the index more firmly back above 96.000 and towards loftier levels seen earlier this week within a 96.075-324 range, eyeing Monday’s 96.448 peak ahead of the semi-psychological 96.500 mark and then the w-t-d best at 96.647 set the day after. Back to Friday’s agenda, Fed’s Bullard is due to speak and the services ISM rounds off the week. AUD/NZD - The high betas are bearing the brunt of Greenback gains, but also bearish technical forces as the Aussie and Kiwi both lose sight of key chart and simple round number levels that were keeping them afloat or declines relatively contained at least. Aud/Usd is now probing 0.7050 and a Fib retracement just above, while Nzd/Usd is hovering around 0.6775 as the Aud/Nzd cross holds in the low 1.0400 zone. JPY/CAD/CHF/GBP/EUR - All softer vs their US counterpart, with the Yen looking towards 113.50 for support with added protection from option expiry interest up to 113.60 in 1.1 bn, while the Loonie is relying on WTI to maintain recovery momentum before Canada and the US go head-to-head in the employment stakes. Usd/Cad is meandering in the low 1.2800 area as the crude benchmark regains Usd 68+/brl status from a sub-Usd 66.50 base and even deeper trough below Usd 62.50 in knee-jerk response to OPEC+ sticking to its output plan yesterday. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to straddle 0.9200, Sterling has retreated from 1.3300+ terrain again post-fractionally softer than forecast final UK services and composite PMIs, whilst a less hawkish speech from BoE hawk Saunders took Cable to a session low of 1.3255 and a 15bps Dec hike pricing fell from 51% to 26%. The Euro has also reversed from recent highs beyond 1.1300 amidst rather mixed Eurozone readings and pretty routine ECB rhetoric from President Lagarde plus GC members Knot, de Cos and de Guindos. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures continue to nurse losses seen earlier this week, with the post-OPEC downside completely erased alongside some more. To recap, oil contracts were under pressure from compounding COVID headlines at the start of the week and in the run-up to OPEC+ whereby ministers opted to keep production plans despite the Omicron variant and the recent SPR releases. Delving deeper into these themes, desks suggest that a dominant Omicron variant could actually be positive if the strain turns out to be milder than some of its predecessors – with the jury still out but initial reports from India and South Africa suggesting so. Regarding OPEC+, some oil traders suggest the move to maintain plans was more of a political strategy as opposed to an attempt to balance markets, with journalists also suggesting that tensions with the US have simmered down and the prospect of further SPR releases have significantly declined. Further, it's also worth bearing in mind that due to maintenance and underinvestment, the real output hike from OPEC+ producers will likely be under the 400k BPD. In terms of Iranian developments, updates have been less constructive, with sources suggesting that Iran is holding a tougher stance than during the June talks. Negotiations will break today and resume next week. Crude contracts are modestly lower on the week and well-off worst levels, with Brent Feb now back around USD 71.50/bbl (65.72-77.02 weekly range), while WTI Jan resides around USD north of USD 68/bbl (62.43-72.93/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold and silver vary, with the former finding some overnight support around USD 1,766/oz as risk sentiment erred lower, whilst the cluster of DMAs remain around the USD 1,790-91/oz region. In terms of base metals, LME copper is flat on either side of USD 9,500/t. Overnight, Dalian iron ore futures fell amid a decline in mill demand, whilst China's steel hub Tangshan city is to launch a second-level pollution alert from December 3-10th, the local government said – providing further headwinds for iron demand. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Nov. Change in Nonfarm Payrolls, est. 550,000, prior 531,000 Nov. Change in Private Payrolls, est. 525,000, prior 604,000 Nov. Change in Manufact. Payrolls, est. 45,000, prior 60,000 8:30am: Nov. Unemployment Rate, est. 4.5%, prior 4.6% Nov. Underemployment Rate, prior 8.3% Nov. Labor Force Participation Rate, est. 61.7%, prior 61.6% 8:30am: Nov. Average Hourly Earnings YoY, est. 5.0%, prior 4.9% Nov. Average Hourly Earnings MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.4% Nov. Average Weekly Hours All Emplo, est. 34.7, prior 34.7 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 56.5 Nov. Markit US Services PMI, est. 57.0, prior 57.0 10am: Oct. Factory Orders, est. 0.5%, prior 0.2% Oct. Factory Orders Ex Trans, est. 0.6%, prior 0.7% Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. -0.5%, prior -0.5% Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.3% Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, prior 0.6% 10am: Nov. ISM Services Index, est. 65.0, prior 66.7 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I got great news yesterday. It was the school Xmas Fayre last weekend and at one stall we had to guess the weight of the school duck that lives in their pond. I spent a long time analysing it outside and was trying to mentally compare it to the weights of my various dumbbells at home. I learnt yesterday that I’d won. My prize? A rubber duck for the bath. In more trivial news I also learnt I was voted no.1 analyst in four categories of the Global Institutional Investor Fixed Income Analyst awards for 2021. So many thanks for all who voted. It is very much appreciated. However in terms of physical mementoes of my achievements yesterday, all I actually have to show for it is a brown rubber duck. Guessing the weight of a duck is a walk in the park at the moment compared to predicting markets. Indeed it’s been a wild week. If you’ve managed to time all the various swings you can surely only have done it via a time machine. If you have done so without one though I will happily hand over my prized rubber duck. By the close of trade, the S&P 500 (+1.42%) had begun to recover following its worst 2-day performance in over a year. The VIX index of volatility ticked back down beneath the 30 mark again, but finished above 25 for the fourth day in five for the first time since December of last year. Meanwhile Oil plunged and then soared on OPEC+ news and curves continued to flatten as 2yr yields got back close to their pre-Omicron levels after a near 20bps round journey over the last week. I’m glad I’m a research analyst not a day trader, and that’s before we get to today’s payrolls print. We’ll start with Omicron, where yesterday predictably saw a number of new countries report confirmed cases for the first time, as well as a second case in the United States during market hours, this one with roots in New York City, which reported more than 11,300 new cases yesterday, the highest daily count since January. After the market closed, an additional five cases were identified in New York, which sent futures over -0.5% lower at the time. They are back to flat as we type possibly helped by a late deal and vote in Congress to fund the US government through to February 18th and avert a shutdown at midnight tonight. Back to the virus and governments continued to ramp up their defence measures, with Germany yesterday announcing a range of fresh restrictions as they grapple with the latest wave, including a requirement that you must either be vaccinated or have recovered from Covid in order to get into restaurants or non-essential stores. There’s also set to be a parliamentary vote on mandatory vaccinations, and incoming Chancellor Scholz said that he expected it to pass. In the US, President Biden announced new measures to fight the impending winter wave and spreading Omicron variant, including tighter testing guidelines for international visitors, wider availability of at home tests, whilst accelerating efforts to get the rest of the world vaccinated. Over in South Africa, the daily case count rose further yesterday, with 11,535 reported, up from 8,561 the previous day and 4,373 the day before that. So definitely one to keep an eye on as we look for clues about what this could mean for the world more broadly. That said, we’re still yet to get the all-important information on how much less or more deadly this might be, as well as how effective vaccines still are and the extent to which it is more transmissible relative to other variants. Back to markets, and the revival in risk appetite led to a fresh selloff in US Treasuries, with the 2yr yield up +6.7bps, and the 10yr yield up +3.7bps. Nevertheless, as mentioned at the top, the latest round of curve flattening has sent the 2s10s slope to its flattest since before the Georgia Senate seat runoff gave Democrats control of Congress. It’s now at just +82.0bps, whilst the 5s30s slope is now at flattest since March 2020, at +55.0bps. So a warning sign for those who believe in the yield curve as a recessionary indicator, albeit with some way to go before that flashes red. In Europe there was also a modest curve flattening, but yields moved lower across the board, with those on 10yr bunds (-2.6bps), OATs (-3.2bps) and BTPs (-5.6bps) all down by the close. Over in equities, there was a decent rebound in the US following the recent selloff, with the S&P 500 (+1.42%) posting a solid gain. It was a very broad-based advance, with over 90% of the index’s members moving higher for the first time since mid-October. Every S&P sector increased, which was enough to compensate for the noticeable lag in mega-cap shares, with the FANG index gaining just +0.15%. The STOXX 600 decreased -1.15%, though that reflected the fact Europe closed ahead of the big reversal in sentiment the previous session. Aside from Omicron, one of the other biggest stories yesterday was the decision by the OPEC+ group to continue with their production hike, which will add a further +400k barrels/day to global supply in January. The news initially sent oil prices sharply lower, with Brent crude falling to an intraday low beneath $66/bbl, before recovering to end the day back at $69.67/bl in light of the group saying that they could adjust their plans “pending further developments of the pandemic”, with the ability to “make immediate adjustments if required”. Even with the bounceback yesterday however, oil has been one of the worst-performing assets over recent weeks, with Brent hitting an intraday high of $86.7/bbl in late-October, followed by a November that marked its worst monthly performance since the pandemic began. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher with the KOSPI (+0.86%), Shanghai Composite (+0.58%), CSI (+0.35%) and the Nikkei (+0.29%) up but with the Hang Seng (-0.74%) under pressure amid the ongoing regulatory clampdown in technology from China as Didi prepares to delist on US markets. Looking forward now, the main highlight on today’s calendar is the US jobs report for November, which comes less than two weeks’ away from the Fed’s meeting where they’ll decide on the pace of tapering. In terms of what to expect, our US economists are looking for nonfarm payrolls to grow by +600k, which would be the fastest pace of job growth since July, and that in turn would take the unemployment rate down to a post-pandemic low of 4.4%. Ahead of that, we had another decent weekly claims report (albeit that took place after the jobs report survey period), with the number for the week through November 26 coming in at a stronger-than-expected 222k (vs. 240k expected). The previous week’s number was also revised down -5k, sending the 4-week moving average down to its own post-pandemic low of 238.75k. Looking at yesterday’s other data releases, the Euro Area unemployment rate fell to a post-pandemic low of 7.3% in October, in line with expectations. However producer price inflation shot up even faster than anticipated to +21.9% (vs. 19.0% expected). To the day ahead now, and the aforementioned US jobs report for November will be the highlight. Other data releases include the services and composite PMIs for November from around the world, Euro Area retail sales for October, and in addition from the US, there’s October’s factory orders and the November ISM services index. From central banks, we’ll hear from ECB President Lagarde and chief economist Lane, the Fed’s Bullard and the BoE’s Saunders. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 07:55.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021

Real Estate Webmasters Helps Usher RISMedia Into Next Era of Information With New Website

New SEO- and User-Friendly Site Improves Deliverability of RISMedia’s High-Quality Content In what’s been nothing short of a break-out year for Real Estate Webmasters (REW), the web design, branding and SEO powerhouse whose Renaissance website platform helps brokers compete with the Zillows and Compasses of the world, the firm also delivered a highly custom, transformational […] The post Real Estate Webmasters Helps Usher RISMedia Into Next Era of Information With New Website appeared first on RISMedia. New SEO- and User-Friendly Site Improves Deliverability of RISMedia’s High-Quality Content In what’s been nothing short of a break-out year for Real Estate Webmasters (REW), the web design, branding and SEO powerhouse whose Renaissance website platform helps brokers compete with the Zillows and Compasses of the world, the firm also delivered a highly custom, transformational rebrand of RISMedia, as well as a complete overhaul and relaunch of the firm’s real estate news and events website, RISMedia.com. RISMedia unveiled its new, modern brand design and tagline, “Integrity In Real Estate,” in March, and launched its new website and technology platform last month. Real Estate Webmasters refreshed the brand with a modernized and more flexible look and feel, and the website with a clean, accessible and easily navigable layout. In addition to lightning-fast speed and a fresh mobile look, REW and RISMedia embraced more video on the revamped site, as well as less intrusive advertisements. “Being selected by RISMedia to do their rebrand and then be offered the chance to completely rebuild their web platforms has truly been the highlight of my career,” says Real Estate Webmasters CEO Morgan Carey. “RISMedia is the most trusted source of news in the real estate industry and Real Estate magazine is read by the most influential leaders in the space. To have ‘Designed by Real Estate Webmasters’ on this new platform sends a message to the industry that we truly are the firm to hire for highly custom enterprise projects.” A Transformational Year The two teams met online often and worked closely together, initially to take a deeper dive into RISMedia’s 41-year history in the real estate space, their goals and vision for the future, as well as what their technical and content management needs are as a media company now and into the future. Then, over the four-month-long build, the teams continued to collaborate to bring RISMedia’s vision to life. According to RISMedia Founder, CEO and Publisher John Featherston, now was the right time to invest in these significant company upgrades. “We recognized that over the past two years we needed to reinvent the infrastructure that makes RISMedia work,” Featherston explains. “We found in Morgan Carey and his talented team the best partner, with expertise in all the elements necessary to create a state-of-the-art platform that will ensure that RISMedia will serve its customers more efficiently and effectively—in a way they expect, and in a way that will allow us to grow. Information is our currency, and delivering that effectively is just as important as creating it.” Building a Site for the Future According to Carey, with RISMedia’s history and goals now in sight, when it came time to turn from the rebrand to the website build, “admittedly this was much easier for us,” given his company’s expertise in SEO, site design and engineering. “We have 20 years of experience building SEO-friendly, traffic-generating web platforms that are fully responsive and look amazing,” says Carey. “Our specialty is high-end, custom platforms specific to real estate, and so for us, once the rebrand was done, we knew exactly what to do to make RISMedia.com the best it could be.” A big part of that was designing for a media company that has been in the space for a long time, specifically, working with the firm’s legacy content. RISMedia has many different content types and as an early internet adopter, has decades of pages of content, posts, awards, backlinks and file structures, the teams explained. “All of these things contribute to RISMedia.com’s SEO and must be handled with care and precision,” Carey explains. “Luckily REW was founded on SEO consulting, which is a core tenet of everything we do. Real Estate Webmasters provided full audit services and worked hand-in-hand with RISMedia’s content team to not only protect their most valuable asset, but also ensure that they were set up to grow their organic traffic and SEO results over time.” What Else Can RISMedia Website Visitors Now Expect? In addition to the modern, clean design and user-friendly experience, Carey says RISMedia readers will love the fully responsive, mobile experience, more video and how easy the site is to navigate. “As most brokers know, video is the new preferred medium for the next generation of consumers and one of the most effective ways to build authority and connect with your audience,” says Carey. “This is such a great example of how RISMedia embraces change. John Featherston has been doing this for more than 40 years, yet he was the first to agree that video needed to be a part of this project—and in true John fashion, not only did he support the idea, he led from the front. You can see him featured heavily in the video content sections.” Ultimately, the history and experience in the industry and the entrepreneurial spirit of these two companies combined to create just the right synergies needed for a phenomenal end result. “Real Estate Webmasters did an incredible job with the rebranding of RISMedia,” says Kelli McKenna, RISMedia senior vice president of Creative Services and Marketing. “They really took the time to understand who we are and what our future goals are, and translated that into a fresh, modern design that begins with our logo and tagline and carries through across the new website design. That isn’t easy to do for an established brand with over 41 years in the real estate industry. We had such a fun, positive experience working collaboratively with the Real Estate Webmasters team. They truly knocked our rebrand and website redesign out of the park.” What’s Next for These Two Companies? In addition to the rebrand and website, RISMedia has made other significant investments this year, including a series of executive appointments and strategic hires, designed to further strengthen RISMedia’s editorial, creative, technology and customer service teams as the company plans its continued expansion throughout 2022. For Real Estate Webmasters, 2021 has been a break-out year, Carey says, especially in the enterprise space (300-plus agent brokerages). In addition to launching the new RISMedia site in Q4, they are launching several other, very large, custom enterprise projects as well. “We’re starting to see brokerages at the highest level invest in lead generation for their agents and we’re excited to share that we have recently been signed by one of the top 10 brokerages (worldwide) to provide the new Renaissance platform, REW CRM and lead generation services to their agents,” says Carey. “We’re honored to be participating in their story, and look forward to helping support their goals of continued exponential growth.” As for the RISMedia/Real Estate Webmasters relationship, next year, readers can expect the innovation at RISMedia to continue as the two companies have agreed to a multi-year, multi-million-dollar contract extension that has Real Estate Webmasters playing a critical role in other innovative projects at RISMedia, and also driving massive traffic to RISMedia advertisers and Power Brokers, says Carey. “For the Power Brokers, our SEO team has some exciting opportunities to help them benefit from the authority of RISMedia.com to both boost their online reputation and even help their own brokerage websites rank,” he explains. “Stay tuned!” For more information, visit www.realestatewebmasters.com. Beth McGuire is RISMedia’s vice president of Online Editorial. Email her your story ideas at beth@rismedia.com. The post Real Estate Webmasters Helps Usher RISMedia Into Next Era of Information With New Website appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaNov 24th, 2021

Transcript: Edwin Conway

   The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS:… Read More The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture.    The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Edwin Conway, BlackRock Alternative Investors, is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here. ~~~ BARRY RITHOLTZ, HOST, MASTERS IN BUSINESS: This week on the podcast, man, I have an extra special guest. Edwin Conway runs all of alternatives for BlackRocks. His title is Global Head of Alternative Investors and he covers everything from structured credit to real estate hedge funds to you name it. The group runs over $300 billion and he has been a driving force into making this a substantial portion of Blackrock’s $9 trillion in total assets. The opportunity set that exists for alternatives even for a firm like Blackrock that specializes in public markets is potentially huge and Blackrock wants a big piece of it. I found this conversation to be absolutely fascinating and I think you will also. So with no further ado, my conversation with Blackrock’s Head of Alternatives, Edwin Conway. MALE VOICEOVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My extra special guest this week is Edwin Conway. He is the Global Head of Blackrock’s Alternative Investors which runs about $300 billion in assets. He is a team of over 1,100 professionals to help him manage those assets. Blackrock’s Global alternatives include businesses that cover real estate infrastructure, hedge funds private equity, and credit. He is a senior managing director for BlackRock. Edwin Conway, welcome to Bloomberg. EDWIN CONWAY, GLOBAL HEAD OF ALTERNATIVE INVESTORS, BLACKROCK: Barry, thank you for having me. RITHOLTZ: So, you’ve been in the financial services industry for a long time. You were at Credit Suisse and Blackstone and now you’re at BlackRock. Tell us what the process was like breaking into the industry? CONWAY: It’s an interesting on, Barry. I grew up in a very small town in the middle of Ireland. And the breakthrough to the industry was one of more coincident as opposed to purpose. I enjoyed the game of rugby for many years and through an introduction while at the University, in University College Dublin in Ireland, had a chance to play rugby at a quite a – quite a decent level and get to know people that were across the industry. It was really through and internship and the suggestion, I’ve given my focus on business and financing things that the financial services sector may be a great place to traverse and get to know. And literally through rugby connections, been part of a good school, I had an opportunity to really understand what the service sector, in many respects, could provide to clients and became absolutely intrigued with it. And what – was it my primary ambition in life to be in the financial services sector? I can definitively say no, but through the circumstance of a game that I love to play and be part of, I was introduced to, through an internship, and actually fell in love with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And alternative investments at Blackrock almost seems like a contradiction in terms. Most of us tend to think of Blackrock as the giant $9 trillion public markets firm best known for ETFs and indices. Alternatives seems to be one of the fastest-growing groups within the firm. This was $50 billion just a few years ago, it’s now over 300 billion. How has this become such a fast-growing part of BlackRock? CONWAY: When you look at the various facets which you introduced at the start, Barry, we’ve actually been an alternatives – will be of 30 years now. Now, the scale, as you know, which you can operate on the beta side of business, far surpasses that on the alpha side. For us, throughout the years, this was very much about how can we deliver investment excellence to our clients and performance? Therefore, going an opportunity somewhere else to explore an alpha opportunity in alternatives. And I think being so connected to our clients understanding, that this pivots was absolutely taking place at only 30 years ago but in a very pronounced way today, you know, we continue to invest in this business to support those ambitions. They’re clearly seeing this as the world of going through a tremendous amount of transformation and with some of the challenges, quite frankly, in the traditional asset classes, being able to leverage at BlackRock, the Blackrock muscle to really explore these alpha opportunities across the various alternative asset classes that in our mind wasn’t imperative. And the imperative, really, is from the firm’s perspective and if you look at our purpose, it’s to serve the client. So the need was coming from them. The necessity to have alternatives and their whole portfolio was very – was very much growing in prominence. And it’s taken us 30 years to build this journey and I think, Barry, quite frankly, we’re far from being done. As you look at the industry, the demand is going to continue to grow. So, I think you could expect to see from us a continued investment in the space because we don’t believe you can live without alternatives in today’s world. RITHOLTZ: That’s really – that’s really interesting. So let’s dive a little deeper into the product strategy for alternatives which you are responsible for at BlackRock. Our audiences is filled with potential investors. Tell them a little bit about what that strategy is. CONWAY: So we’re – I think as you mentioned, we’re in excess of 300 billion today and when we started this business, it was less about building a moat around private equity or real estate. I think Larry Fink’s and Rob Kapito’s vision was how do we build a platform to allow us to be relevant to our clients across the various alternative asset classes but also within the – within the confines of what they are permitted to do on a year-by-year basis. So, to always be relevant irrespective of where they are in their journey from respect of liabilities, demand for liquidity, demand for returns, so we took a different approach. I think, Barry, to most, it was around how do we scale into the business across, like you said, real estate equity and debt, infrastructure equity and debt. I mean, we think of that as the real assets platform of our business. Then you take our private equity capabilities both in primary investing, secondary et cetera, and then you have private credits and a very significant hedge fund platforms. So we think all of these have a real role and depending on clients liquidities and risk appetite, our goal was, to over the years, really build in to this to allow ourselves for this challenging needs that our clients have. I think as an industry, right, and over the many years alternatives have been in existence, this is been about return enhancement initially. I think, fundamentally, the changes around the receptivity to the role of alternatives in a client’s portfolio has really changed. So, we’ve watched it, Barry, from this is we’re in the pursuit of a very total return or absolute return type of an objective to now resilience in our portfolio, yield an income. And so things that probably weren’t perceived as valuable in the past because the traditional asset classes were playing a more profound role, alternatives have stepped up in – in many respects in the need to provide more than just total return. So, we’re taking the approach of how do you have a more holistic approach to this? How do we really build a global multi-alternatives capability and try to partner and I think that’s the important work for us. Try to partner with our clients in a way that we can deliver that outperformance but delivered in a way that probably our clients haven’t been used to in this industry before. Because unfortunately, as we know, it has had its challenges with regard to secrecy, transparency, and so many other aspects. We need to help the industry mature. And really that was our ambition. Put our client’s needs first, build around that and really be relevant in all aspects of what we’re doing or trying to accomplish on behalf of the people that they support and represent. RITHOLTZ: So, we’ll talk a little bit about transparency and secrecy and those sorts of things later. But right now, I have to ask what I guess is kind of an obvious question. This growth that you’ve achieved within Blackrock for nonpublic asset allocation within a portfolio, what is this coming at expense of? Are these dollars that are being moved from public assets into private assets or you just competing with other private investors? CONWAY: It’s really both. What – what you are seeing from our clients – if I take a step back, today, the institutional client community and you think about the – the retirement conundrum we’re all facing around the world. It’s such an awful challenge when you think how ill-prepared people are for that eventual stepping back from the workplace and then you know longevity is your friend, but can also be a very, very difficult thing to obviously live with if you’re not prepared for retirement. The typical pension plan today are allocating about 25 percent to 28 percent in alternatives. Predominantly private market. What they’re telling us is that’s increasing quite substantially going forward. But you know, the funding for that alpha pursue for that diversification and that yield is coming from fixed-income assets. It’s coming from equity assets. So there’s a real rebalancing that’s been taking place over the past number of years. And quite frankly, the evolution, and I think the innovation that’s taken place particularly in the past 10 years, alternatives has been really profound. So the days where you just invest in any global funds still exist. But now you can concentrate your efforts on sector exposure, industry exposures, geographic exposures, and I think the – the menu of things our clients can now have access to has just been so greatly enhanced at and the benefit is that but I think in some – in some respects, Barry, the next question is with all of those choices, how do you build the right portfolio for our client’s needs knowing that each one of our client’s needs are different? So, I would say it absolutely coming from the public side. We’re very thankful. Those that had a multiyear journey with us in the public side are now allocating capital to is now the private side to because I do think the – the industry given that change, given that it evolution and given the complexity of these private assets, our clients are looking to, quite frankly, do more with fewer managers because of the complexion of the industry and complexity that comes with it. RITHOLTZ: Quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): And attention RIA’s. Are your clients asking for crypto? At interactive brokers, advisers can now offer crypto to their clients and you could trade stocks, options, futures currencies, bonds and more from the same platform. Commissions on crypto are just 12-18 basis points with no hidden spreads or markups and there are no ticket charges, custody fees, minimums platform or reporting fees. Learn more at IBKR.com/RIA crypto. RITHOLTZ: And I – it’s pretty easy to see why large institutions might be rotating away from things like treasuries or tips because there’s just no yield there. Are you seeing inflows coming in from the public equity side also? The markets put together a pretty good string of years. CONWAY: Yes. It absolutely has. And many respects, I think, we’ve had a multiyear where there was big questions around the alpha that can be generated, for example, from active equities? The question was active or passive? I think what we’ve all realized is that at times when volatility introduces itself which is frequent even independent of what’s been done from a fiscal and monetary standpoint, that these Alpha speaking strategies on the traditional side still make a lot of sense. And so, as we think about what – what’s happening here, the transition of assets from both passive and active strategies to alternative, it – it’s really to create better balance. It’s not that there’s – there’s a lack of relevance anymore in the public side. It’s just quite frankly the growth of the private asset base has grown so substantially. I moved, Barry, to the U.S. in 1998. And it’s interesting, when you look back at 1998 to today, you start to recognize the equity markets and what was available to invest in. The number of investable opportunities has shrunk by 40 plus percent which that compression is extraordinarily high. But yet you’ve seen, obviously, the equity markets grow in stature and significance and prominence but you’re having more concentration risk with some of the big public entities. The converse is true, though on the – on the private side. There’s this explosion of enterprise and innovation, employment creation, and then I believe opportunities has been real. So, I look at the public side, the investable universe is measured in the thousands and the private side is measured in the millions. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And I think part of the – part of the part of the thing our clients are not struggling with but what we’re really recognizing with – with enterprises staying private for longer, if not forever, and with his growth of the opportunities that open debt and equity in the private market side, you really can’t forgo this opportunity. It has to be part of your going forward concerns and asset allocation. And I think this is why we’re seeing that transformation. And it’s not because equities on fixed income just aren’t relevant anymore. They’re very relevant but they’re relevant now in a total portfolio or a whole portfolio context beside alternatives. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s discuss this opportunity set of alternatives where you guys at Blackrock scene demand what sectors and from what sorts of clients? Is this demand increasing? CONWAY: We’re very fortunate, Barry. Today, there isn’t a single piece of our business within – within Blackrock alternatives that isn’t growing. And quite frankly too, it’s really up to us to deliver on the investment objectives that are set forth for those clients. I think in the back of strong absolute and relative performance, thankfully, our clients look to us to – to help them as – as they think about what they’re doing and as they’re exploring more in the alternatives areas. So, as you know, certainly, the private equity and real estate allocations are quite mature in many of our client’s portfolios but they’ve been around for many decades. I think that the areas where we’re seeing – that’s called an outside demand and opportunity set, just but virtue of the small allocations on a relative basis that exist today is really around infrastructure, Barry, and its around private credits. So, to caveat that, I think all of the areas are certainly growing, and thankfully, for us that’s true. We’re looking at clients who we believe are underinvested, we believe they’re underinvested in those asset classes infrastructure both debt and equity and in private credit. And as you think about why that is, the attributes that they bring to our client is really important and in a world where your correlation and understanding those correlations is important that these are definitely diversifying assets. In a world where you’re seeing trillions of dollars, quite frankly, you’re providing little to no or even there’s negative yield. Those short falls are real and people need yield than need income. These assets tend to provide that. So the diversification, it comes from these assets. The yield can come from these assets and because of the immaturity of the asset classes, independence of the capital is flowing in, we still consider them relatively white space. You’re not crowded out. There’s much room for development in the market and with our client’s portfolios. And to us, that’s exciting because it presents opportunities. So, at the highest level, they’re the areas where I believe are most underdeveloped in our clients. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk about both of those areas. We’ll talk about structured credit in a few minutes. I think everybody kind of understands what – what that is. What – when you see infrastructure as a sector, how does that show up as an investment are – and obviously, I have infrastructure on the brink because we’re recording this not too long after the giant infrastructure bill has been passed, tell us a little bit about what alternative investments in infrastructure looks like? CONWAY: Yes. It’s really in its infancy and what the underlying investments look like. I think traditionally, you would consider it as – and part of the bill that has just been announced, roads, bridges, airports. Some of these hard assets, some of the core infrastructure investments that have been around for actually some time. The interesting thing is the industry has evolved so much and put the need for infrastructure. It’s so great across both developed and emerging economies. It’s become something that if done the right way, the attributes we just spoke of can really have a very strong effect on our client’s portfolios. So, beyond the core that we just mentioned, well, we’ve seen a tremendous demand as a result of this energy transition. You’re really seeing a spike in activity and the necessity transition industry to cleaner technologies, a movement, not away completely from fossil fuel but integrating new types of clean energy. And as a result, you’ve seen a lot of demand on a global basis for wind and solar. And quite frankly, that’s why even us at BlackRock, albeit, 10-12 years ago, we really established a capability there to help with that transition to think about how do we use these technologies, solar panels, wind farms, to generate clean forms of energy for utilities where in some cases they’re mandated to procure this type of this type of – this type of power. And when you think about pre-contracting with utilities for long duration, that to me spells, Barry, good risk mitigation and management and ability to get access to clean forms of energy that throw off yield that can be very complementary to your traditional asset classes but for very long periods of time. And so, the benefits for us of these – these assets is that they are long in duration, they are yield enhancing, they’re definitely diversifying. And so, for us, where – we’ve got about, let’s call this 280 assets around the world that we’re managing that literally generate this – this clean electricity. I think to give the relevance of how much, I believe today, it’s enough to power the country of Spain. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: And that’s really that’s really changing. So you’re seeing governments – so from a policy standpoint, you’re seeing governments really embracing new forms of energy, transitioning out of bunker fuels, for example, you know, burning diesels which really spew omissions into the – into the into the environment. But it’s really around modernizing for the future. So, developed and emerging economies alike, want to retain capital. They want to attract new capital and by having the proper infrastructure to support industry, it’s a really, really important thing. Now, on the back of that too, one things we’ve learned from COVID is that the necessity to really bring e-commerce into how you conduct your business is so important and I think from the theme of digitalization within infrastructure to is a huge part. So, it’s not just the energy transition that you’re seeing, it’s not just roads and bridges, but by allowing businesses to connect to a global consumer, allowing children be educated from home, allowing experiences that expand geographies and boundaries in a digital form is so important not just for commerce but in so many other aspects. And so, you think about cable, fiber optics, if you think about all the other things even outside of power, that enable us to conduct commerce to educate, there are many examples where, Barry, you can build resilience into your portfolio because that need is not measured in years. Actually, the shortfall of capital is measured in the trillions so which means this is – this is a multi-decade opportunity set from our vantage point and one of which our clients should really avail of. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. And I mentioned in passing, structured credit, tell us a little bit about what that opportunity looks like. I think of this as a space that is too big for local banks but too small for Wall Street to finance. Is that an oversimplification? What is going on in that space. CONWAY: I probably couldn’t have set it better, Barry. It’s – if we go back to just the even the investable universe, in the tens of thousands of companies, just if we take North America that are private, that have great leadership that really have strategic vision under – at the – in some cases, at the start of their growth lifecycles are even if they maintain, they have a very credible and viable business for the future they still need capital. And you’re absolutely right. With the retreat of the banks from the space to various regulations that have come after the global financial crisis, you’re seeing the asset managers in many respects working behalf of our clients both wealth and institutional becoming the new lenders of choice. And – and when we – when we think about that opportunity set, that is really understanding the client’s desire for risk or something maybe in a lower risk side from middle-market lending or midmarket enterprises where you can support that organization through its growth cycle all the way to some higher-yielding, obviously, with more risk assets on the opportunistic or even the special situations side. But it – it expands many things. And going back of the commentary around the evolution of the space, private credit today and what you can do has changed so profoundly, it expands the liquidity spectrum, it expands the risk spectrum. And the great news is, with the number of companies both here and abroad, the opportunities that is – it’s being enriched every single day. And were certainly seeing, particularly going back to the question are some of these assets coming from the traditional side, the public side. When we think of private credit, you are seeing private credit now been incorporated in fixed-income allocations. This is a – it’s a yelling asset. This is – these are debt instruments, these are structures that we’re creating. We’re trying to flexible and dynamic with these clients. But it really is an area where we think – it really is still at its – at its infancy relevant to where it can potentially be. RITHOLTZ: That’s really quite – quite interesting. (UNKNOWN): It’s Rob Riggle. I’m hosting Season 2 of the iHeart radio podcast, Veterans You Should Know. You may know me as the comedic actor from my work in the Hangover, Stepbrothers or 21 Jump Street. But before Hollywood, I was a United States Marine Corps officer for 23 years. For this Veterans Day, I’ll be sitting down with those who proudly served in the Armed Forces to hear about the lessons they’ve learned, the obstacles they’ve overcome, and the life-changing impact of their service. Through this four-part series, we’ll hear the inspiring journeys of these veterans and how they took those values during their time of service and apply them to transition out of the military and into civilian life. Listen to Veterans You Should Know on the iHeart radio app, Apple Podcast or wherever you get your podcast. RITHOLTZ: Let’s stick with that concept of money rotating away from fixed income. I have to imagine clients are starved for yields. So what are the popular substitutes for this? Is it primarily structured credit? Is it real estate? How do you respond to an institution that says, hey, I’m not getting any sort of realistic coupon on my bonds, I need a substitute? CONWAY: Yes. It’s all of those in many respects. And I think to the role, even around now a time where people have questions around inflation, how do substitute this yield efficiency or certainly make up for that shortfall, how do you think about a world where increasingly seeing inflation, not of the transitory thing it feels certainly quasi-permanent. These are a lot of questions we’re getting. And certainly, real estate is an is important part of how they think about inflation protection, how client think about yield, but quite frankly too, we’ve – we’ve gone through something none of us really had thought about a global pandemic. And as I think about real estate, just how you allocate to the sector, what was very heavily influenced with retail assets, high street, our shopping behaviors and habits have changed. We all occupied offices for obviously many, many years pre the pandemic. The shape of how we operate and how we do that has changed. So, I think some of the underlying investment – investments have changed where you’ve seen heavily weighted towards office space to leisure, travel in the past. Actually, now using a rotation in some respects out of those, just given some of the uncertainties around what the future holds as we come – come through a really difficult time. But the great thing about this sector is between senior living, between student housing, between logistics and so many other parts, there are ways in real estate to capture where there’s – where there’s demand. So still a robust opportunity set and it – and we do think it can absolutely be yield enhancing. We mentioned infrastructure. Even if you think about – and we mention OECD and non-OECD, emerging and developed, when I think about Asia, in particular, just as a subset of the world in which we’re living in, that is a $2.6 trillion alternative market today growing at a 15 percent CAGR. And quite frankly, the old-growth is driven by the large economic growth in the region. So, even from a regional perspective, if we pivot, it houses 57 percent of the world’s population and yet delivers 47 percent of the world’s economic growth. So, think of that and then with regard to infrastructure and goes back to that, this is truly a global phenomenon. So if we just even take that sector, Barry, you’ll realize that the way to maintain that type of growth, to attract capital, to keep capital, it really requires an investment of significant amount of money to be able to sustain that. And when you have 42 million people in a APAC migrating to cities in the year going back to digitalization, that’s an important thing. So, when I say we’re so much at the infancy in infrastructure, I really mean it. It can be water, it can be sewer systems, it can be digital, it can be roads, there’s so much to this. And then even down to the regional perspective, it’s a – it’s a need that doesn’t just exist in the U.S. So, for these assets, this tend to be long in duration. There’s both equity and debt. And on the debt side, quite frankly, very few outside of our insurance clients and their general account are taking advantage of the debt opportunity. And – and as we both know, to finance these projects that are becoming more plentiful every single day, across the world, including like, I said, in APAC in scale, there’s an opportunity in both sides. And I think that’s where the acid mix change happen. It’s recognizing that the attributes of these assets can have a role, the attributes of these assets can potentially replace some of these traditional assets and I think you’re going to see it grow. So, infrastructure to us, it’s really equity and debt. And then on the credit side, like I mentioned, again, too, it’s a very, very big and growing market. And certainly, the biggest area today from our vantage point is middle-market lending from a scale opportunity standpoint. So, we think much more to come in all of those spaces. RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. And let’s just stay with the concept of public versus private. That line is kind of getting blurred and the secondary markets is liquidity coming to, for lack of a better phrase, pre-public equities, tells little bit about that space. Is that an area that is ripe for growth for BlackRock? CONWAY: Yes. We absolutely think it is and you’re absolutely correct. The secondary market is – has grown quite substantial. If you even look at just the private equity secondary market and what will transact this year, I think it will be potentially in excess of 100 billion. And that’s what were clear, not to mention what will be visible and what will be analyzed. And that speaks to me what’s really happening and the innovation that we mentioned earlier. It’s no longer about just primary exposure. It’s secondary exposure. When we see all sort of interest and co-investment opportunities as well, I think the available sources of alpha and the flexibility you can now have, albeit if directed and advised, I believe the right way, Barry, can be very helpful and in the portfolio. So, your pre-IPO, it is a big part of actually what we do and we think about growth equity. There is – it’s a significant amount of capital following that space. Now, from our vantage point, as one of the largest investors in the public equity market and now obviously one of the largest investors and they in the private side, the bridge between – between private to public – there’s a real need. IPOs are not going away. And I think smart, informed capital to help with this journey, this journey is really – is really a necessity and a need. RITHOLTZ: So let’s talk a little bit about this recent restructuring. You are first named Global Head of Blackrock Alternative Investors in April 2019, the entire alternatives business was restructured, tell us a little bit about how that restructuring is going? CONWAY: Continues to go really well, Barry. When you look at the flow of acid from our clients, I think, hopefully, that’s speaks to the performance we’ve been generating. I joined the firm, as you know, albeit, 11 years ago and being very close to the alternative franchise as a critical thing for me and running the institutional platform. To me, when you watched this migration of asset towards alternatives, it was obviously very evident for decades now that this is a critical leg of the stool as our clients are thinking about their portfolios. We’re continuing to innovate. We’re continuing to invest, and thankfully, we’re continuing to deliver strong performance. We’re growing at about high double digits on an annual basis but we’re trying to purposeful too around where that growth is coming from. I think the reality is when you look at the competitive universe, I think the last number I saw, it was about 38,000 alternative asset managers out there today, obviously, coming from hedge funds all the way to private credits and private equity. So, competition is real and I do think the outcomes for our clients are starting to really grow. Unfortunately, some – in some cases, obviously, very good, and in some cases, actually not great. So our focus, Barry, is really much on how can we deliver performance, how can we be a partner? And I think we been rewarded with a trust and the faith our clients have in us because they’re seeing something different, I think, from us. Now, the scale of the business that you mentioned earlier really gives us tentacles into the market that I believe allows us to access what I think is the new alpha which is in many respects, given the heft of competition sourcing and originating new investments is certainly harder but for us, sitting in or having alternative team, sitting in 50 offices around the world, really investing in the markets because that – the market they grew up with and have relationships within, I think this network value that we have is something that’s quite special. And I think in the world that’s becoming increasingly competitive, we’re going to continue to use and harness that network value to pursue opportunities. And thankfully, as a result of the partnership we’ve been pursuing with her clients, like, we’ve – we’re certainly looking for opportunities and investments in our funds. But because of the brand, I think because of the successes, opportunities seeks us as much as we seek opportunity and that has been something that we look at an ongoing basis and feel very privileged to actually have that inbound flow as well. RITHOLTZ: Really quite interesting. There was a quote of yours I found while doing some prep for this conversation that I have to have you expand on. Quote, “The relationship between Blackrock’s alternative capabilities and wealth firms marked a large opportunity for growth in the coming years.” This was back in 2019. So, the first part of the question is, was your expectations correct? Did you – did you see the sort of growth you were hoping for? And more broadly, how large of an opportunity is alternatives, not just for BlackRock but for the entire investment industry? CONWAY: Yes. It’s been very much an institutional opportunity set up until now. And there’s so much to be done, still, to really democratize alternatives and we certainly joke around making alternatives less alternative. Actually, even the nomenclature we use and how we describe it doesn’t kind of make sense anymore. It’s such a core – an important allocation to our clients, Barry, that just calling it alternative seems wrong. Just about the institutional clients. It ranges, I think, as I mentioned on our – some of our more conservative clients which would be pension plans which really have liquidity needs on a monthly basis because of the liabilities they have to think about. At about 25 plus percent in private markets, to endowments, foundations, family offices, going to 50 percent plus. So, it’s a really important part and has been for now many years the institutional client ph communities outcomes. I think the thing that we, as an industry, have to change is alternatives has to be for the many, not for the few. And quite frankly, it’s been for the few. And as we talked about some of the attributes and the important attributes of these asset classes to think that those who have been less fortunate in their careers can’t access, things they can enrich their future retirement outcomes, to me, is a failing. And we have to address that. That comes from regulation changes, it comes from structuring of new products, it comes from education and it comes from this knowledge transmission where clients in the wealth segment can understand the role of alternatives and the context of what can do as they invest in equities and fixed income too. And we think that’s a big shortfall. So, the journey today, just to give you a sense, as we look at her clients in Europe on the wealth side, on average, as you look from what we would call the credited investors all the way through to more ultra-high-net worth individuals, their allocation to alternatives, we believe, stands at around two to three percent of their total portfolio. In the U.S., we believe it stands at three to five. So, most of those intermediaries, we speak to our partners who were more supporting and serving the wealth channel. They have certainly an ambition to help their clients grow that to 20 percent and potentially beyond that. So, when I look at that gap of let’s call it two to three to 20 percent in a market that just given the explosion in wealth around the world, I think the last numbers I saw, this is a $65 trillion market. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: That speaks to the shortfall relative to the ambition. And how’s it been going? We have a number of things and capabilities we’ve set up to allow for this market to experience, hopefully, private equity, hedge funds, credit, and an infrastructure in ways they haven’t in the past. We’ve done this in the U.S., we’re doing it now in Europe, but I will say, Barry, this is still very much at the start of the journey. Wealth is a really important part of our future given our business, quite, frankly is 90 plus percent institutional today, but we’re looking to change that by, hopefully, democratizing these asset classes and making it so much more accessible in that of the past. RITHOLTZ: So, we hinted at this before but I’m going to ask the question outright, how significant is interest rates to client’s risk appetites, how much of the current low rate environment are driving people to move chunks of their assets from fixed income to alternatives? CONWAY: It’s really significant, Barry. I think the transition of these portfolios is quite profound, So you – and I think the unfortunate thing in some respects as this transition happens that you’re introducing new variables and new risks. The reason I say it’s unfortunate and that I think as an industry, this goes back to the education around the assets you own, understanding the role, understanding the various outcomes. I think it’s so incredibly important and that this the time where complete transparency is needed. And quite frankly, we’re investing capital that’s not ours. As an industry, we’re investing our client’s assets and they need to know exactly the underlying investments. And in good and bad times, how would those assets behave? So certainly, interest rates are driving a flow of capital away from these traditional assets, fixed-income, and absolutely in towards real estate, infrastructure, private creditors, et cetera, in the pursuit of this – this yield. But I do – I do think one of the things that’s critically important for the institutional channel, not just the wealth which are newer entrants is this transmission of education, of data because that’s how I think you build a better balanced portfolio and that’s a – that’s a real conundrum, I think, that the industry is facing and certainly your clients too. RITHOLTZ: Quite interesting. So let’s talk a little bit about the differences between investing in the private side versus the public markets, the most obvious one has to be the illiquidity. When you buy stocks or bonds, you get a print every microsecond, every tick, but most of these investments are only marked quarterly or annually, what does this illiquidity do when you’re interacting with clients? How do you – how do you discuss this with them in and how do perceive some of the challenges of illiquid investments? CONWAY: Over the – over the past number of decades, I think our clients have largely held too much liquidity in their portfolios. Like, so what we are finding is the ability to take on illiquidity risk. And obviously, in pursuit of that premium above, the traditional markets, I mean, I think the sentiment they are is it an absolute right one. That transition towards private market exposure, we think is an important one just given the return objectives, the majority of our clients’ need but then also again, most importantly now, with geo policy, with uncertainty, with interest rate uncertainty, inflation uncertainty, I mean, the – going back to the resilience point, the characteristics now by introducing these assets into the mix is important. And I think that’s – that point is maybe what I’ll expand on. As were talking to clients, using the Aladdin systems, and as you know, we bought eFront technologies, albeit a couple of years ago, by allowing, I think, great data and technology to help our clients understand these assets and the context of how they should own them relative to other liquidity needs, their risk tolerances, and the return expectations are really trying to use tech and data to provide a better understanding and comprehension of the outcomes. And as we continue to introduce these concepts and these approaches, by the way, that there is, as you know, so used to in the traditional side, it – it gives them more comfort around what they should and can expect. And that, to me, is a really important part of what we’re doing. So, we’ve released recently new technology to the wealth sector because, quite frankly, we mentioned it before, the 60-40 portfolio is a thing of the past. And that introduction of about 20 percent into alternatives, we applaud our partners who are – who are suggesting that to their clients. We think it’s something they have to do. What we’re doing to support that is really bringing thought leadership, education, but also portfolio construction techniques and data to bear in that conversation. And this goes back to – it’s no longer an alternative, right? This is a core allocation so the comprehension of what it is you own, the behavior of the asset in good and bad times is so necessary. And that’s become a very big thing with regard to our activities, Barry, because your clients are looking to understand better when you’re talking about assets that are very complex in their nature. RITHOLTZ: So, 60-40 is now 50-30-20, something along those lines? CONWAY: Yes. RITHOLTZ: Really, really intriguing. So, what are clients really looking for these days? We talked about yield. Are they also looking for downside protection on the equity side or inflation hedges you hinted at? How broad are the demands of clients in the alternative space? CONWAY: Yes. It ranges the gamut. And even – we didn’t speak to even hedge funds, we’ve had differing levels of interest in the hedge fund world for years and I, quite frankly, think some degree of disappointment too, Barry, with regard to the alpha, the returns that were produced relevant to the cost. RITHOLTZ: It’s a tough space to say the very least exactly. CONWAY: Exactly right. But when you start to see volatility introducing itself, you can really see where skill plays a critical factor. So, we are absolutely seeing, in the hedge fund, a resurgence of interest and demand by virtue of those who really have honed in on their scale, who have demonstrated an up-and-down markets and ability to protect and preserve capital, but importantly, in a low uncorrelated way build attractive risk-adjusted returns. We’re starting to see more activity there again too. I think with an alternatives, you’ve really seen a predominant demand coming from privates. These private markets, like a set of growths so extraordinarily fast and the opportunities that is rich, the reality too on the public side which is where our hedge funds operate, they continue to, in large part, do a really good job. The issue with our industry now with these 38,000 managers is how do you distill all the information? How do you think about your needs as a client and pick a manager who can deliver the outcomes? And just to give you a sense, the difference now between a top-performing private equity manager, a top quartile versus the bottom quartile, the difference can be measured in tens of percent. RITHOLTZ: Wow. CONWAY: Whereas if you look at the public equity side, for example, a large cap manager, top quartile versus bottom quartile is measured in hundreds of basis points. So, there is definitely a world that has started where the outcomes our clients will experience can be great as they pursue yield, as they pursue diversification, inflation protection, et cetera. I think the caveat that I would say is outcomes can vary greatly. So manager underwriting and the importance of it now, I think, really is this something to pay attention to because if you do have that bottom performing at the bottom quartile manager, it will affect your outcomes, obviously. And that’s what we collectively have to face. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s talk a little bit about real estate. There are a couple of different areas of investment on the private side. Rent to own was a very large one and we’ve seen some lesser by the flip algo-driven approaches. Tell us what Blackrock is doing in the real estate space and how many different approaches are you bringing to bear on this? CONWAY: Yes, we think it’s both equity and debt. Again, no different to the infrastructure side, these projects need to be financed. But on the – as you think about the sectors in which you can avail of the opportunity, you’ve no doubt heard a lot and I mentioned earlier this demand for logistics facilities. The explosion of shopping online and having, until we obviously have the supply chain disruption, an ability to have nearly immediate satisfaction because the delivery of the good to your home has become so readily available. It’s a very different consumer experience. So the explosion and the need for logistics facilities to support this type of behavior of the consumer is really an area that will continue to be of great interest too. And then you think about the transformation of business and you think about the aging world. Unfortunately, you can look at various economies where our populations are decreasing. And quite frankly, we’re getting older. And so, were you’re thinking of the context of that senior living facilities, it becomes a really important part, not just as part of the healthcare solution that come with it, but also from living as well. So, single-family, multifamily, opportunities continue to be something that the world looks at because there is really the shortfall of available properties for people to live in. And as the communities evolve to support the growing age of the population, tremendous opportunity there too. But we won’t give up on office space. It really isn’t going away. Now, if you even think about our younger generation here in BlackRock, they love being in New York, they love being in London, they love being in Hong Kong. So, the shape and the footprint may change slightly. But the necessity to be in the major financial centers, it still exists. But how we weighed the risks has definitely changed, certainly, for the – for the short-term and medium-term future. But real estate continues to be, Barry, a critical part of how we express our thought around the investment opportunity set. But clients largely do this themselves too. The direct investing from the clients is quite significant because they too see this as still as a rich investment ground, albeit, one that has changed quite a bit as a result of COVID. RITHOLTZ: Well, I’m fascinated by the real estate issue especially having seen some massive construction take place in cities pre-pandemic, look over in Manhattan at Hudson Yards and look at what’s taking place in London, not just the center of London but all – but all around it and I’m forced to admit the future is going to look somewhat different than the past with some hybrid combination of collaborative work in the office and remote work from home when it’s convenient, that sort of suggests that we now have an excess of capacity in office space. Do you see it that way or is this just something that we’re going to grow into and just the nature of working in offices is changing but offices are not going away? CONWAY: Yes. I do think there’s – it’s a very valid point and that in certain cities, you will see access, in others we just don’t, Barry. And quite frankly, as a firm, too, as you know, we have adopted flexibility with our teams that were very fortunate. The technologies in which we created at BlackRock has just become such an amazing enabler, not just to help us as we mention manage the portfolios, help us a better portfolio construction, understand risks, but also to communicate with our clients. I think we’ve all witnessed and experienced a way to have connectivity that allows them to believe that commerce can exist beyond the boundaries of one building. However, I do look at our property portfolios and even the things that we’re doing. Rent collections still being extraordinarily high, occupancy now getting back up to pre-pandemic levels, not in all cities, but in many of the major ones that have reopened. And certainly, the demand for people to just socialize, that the demand for human connectivity is really high. It’s palpable, right? We see it here too. The smiles on people’s faces, they’re back in the office, conversing together, innovating together. When people were feeling unsafe, unquestionably, I think the question marks around the role of office space was really brought to bear. But as were coming through this, as you’ve seen vaccine rates change, as you’ve seen the infection rates fall, as you’ve seen confidence grow, the return to work is really happening and return to work to office work is really happening, albeit, now with degrees of flexibility. So, going back to the – I do believe in certain areas. You’re seeing a surplus. But in many areas you’re absolutely seeing a deficit and the reason I say that, Barry, is we are seeing occupancy in certain building at such a high level. And frankly, the demand for more space being so high, it’s uneven and this goes back to then where do you invest our client’s capital, making sense of those trends, predicting where you will see resilience versus stress and building that into the portfolio of consequences as you – as you better risk manage and mitigate. RITHOLTZ: Very interesting. And so, we are seeing this transition across a lot of different segments of investing, are you seeing any products that were or – or investing styles that was once thought of as primarily institutional that are sort of working their way towards the retail side of things? Meaning going from institutional to accredited to mom-and-pop investors? CONWAY: Well, certainly, in the past, private equity was really an asset class for institutional investors. And I think that’s – that has changed in a very profound way. I mentioned earlier are the regulation has become a more adaptive, but we also have heard, in many respects, in providing this access. And I think the perception of owning and be part of this illiquid investment opportunity set was hard to stomach because many didn’t understand the attributes and what it could bring and I think we’ve been trying to solve for that and what you’re seeing now with – with regulators, understanding that the difference between if we take it quite simply as DD versus DC, the differences between the options you as a participant in a retirement plan are so vastly different that – and I think there’s a broad recognition now that there needs to be more equity with regard to what happens there. And private equity been a really established part of the alternatives marketplace was once, I think, really believed to be an institutional asset class, but albeit now has become much more accessible to wealth. We’ve seen it by structuring activities in Europe working with the regulators. Now, we’re able to provide private equity exposure to clients across the continent and really getting access to what was historically very much an institutional asset class. And I do think the receptivity is extraordinarily high just throughout people’s careers, they have seen wealth been created as a result of engineering a great outcome with great management teams integrate business. And I do believe the receptivity towards private equity is high as an example. In the U.S., too, working with the various intermediaries and being able to wrap now private equity in a ’40 Act fund, for example, is possible. And by being able to deliver that to the many as opposed to the few, we think has been a very good success story. And I think, obviously, appreciated by our clients as well. So, I would look at that were seeing across private equity as well as private credit and quite frankly infrastructure accuracy. You’re seeing now regulation that’s becoming more appreciative of these asset classes, you’re seeing a more – a greater level of openness and willingness to allow for these assets to be part of many people’s experiences across their investment portfolio. And now, with innovation around structures, as an industry, were able to wrap these investments in a way that our clients can really access them. So, think across the board, it probably speaks the innovation that’s happening but I do think that accessibility has changed in a very significant way. But you’ve really seen it happen in private equity first and now that’s expanding across these various other asset classes. RITHOLTZ: Quite intriguing. I know I only have you for a relatively limited period of time, so let’s jump to our favorite questions that we ask all of our guests. Starting with tell us what you’ve been streaming these days. Give us your favorite Netflix or Amazon Prime shows. CONWAY: That is an interesting question, Barry. I don’t a hell of a lot of TV, I got to tell you. I am – I keep busy with three wonderful children and a beautiful wife and between the sports activities. When I do watch TV, I have to tell you I’m addicted to sports and having – I may have mentioned earlier, growing up playing rugby which is not the most common sport in the U.S., I stream nonstop the Six Nations that happens in Europe where Ireland is one of those six nations that compete against each other on an annual basis. Right now, they’re playing a lot of sites that are touring for the southern hemisphere. And to me, the free times I have is either enjoying golf or really enjoying rugby because I think it’s an extraordinary sport. Obviously, very physical, but very enjoyable to watch. And that, that truly is my passion outside of family. RITHOLTZ: Interesting stuff. Tell us a bit about your mentors, who helped to shape your early career? CONWAY: Well, it even goes back to some of the aspects of sports. Playing on a team and being on a field where you’re working together, there’s a strategy involved with that. Now, I used to really appreciate how we approach playing in the All-Ireland League. How we thought about our opponents, how we thought about the structure, how we thought about each individual with on the rugby field and the team having a role. They’re all different but your role. And actually, even starting from an early age, Barry, thinking about, I don’t know, it’s sports but how to build a great team with those various skills, perspective, that can be a really, really powerful combination when done well. And certainly, from an early age, that allowed me to appreciate that – actually, in the work environment, it’s not too different. You surround yourself with just really great people that have high integrity that are empathetic and have a degree of humility that when working together, good things can happen. And I will say, it really started at sports. But I think of today and even in BlackRock, how Larry Fink thinks about the world and I think Larry, truly, is a visionary. And then Rob Kapito who really helps lead the charge across our various businesses. Speaking and conversing with them on a daily basis, getting their perspectives, trying to get inside your head and thinking about the world from their vantage point. To me, it’s a huge thing about my ongoing personal career and development and I really enjoy those moments because I think what you recognize is independent of how much you think you know, there’s so much more to know. And this journey is an ever evolving one where you have to appreciate that you’ll never know everything and you need to be a student every single day. So, I’d probably cite those, Barry, as certainly the two most important mentors in my life today, professionally and personally quite frankly. RITHOLTZ: Really. Very interesting. Let’s talk about what you’re reading these days. Tell us about some of your favorite books and what you’re reading currently? CONWAY: Barry, what I love to read, I love to read history, believe it or not. From a very small country that seems to have exported many, many people, love to understand the history of Ireland. So, there’s so many books. And having three children that have been born in the U.S. and my wife is a New Yorker, trying to help them understand some of their history and what made them what they are. I love delving into Irish history and how the country had moments of greatness and moments of tremendous struggle. Outside of that, I really don’t enjoy science fiction or any of these books. I love reading, you name any paper and any magazine on a daily basis. Unfortunately, I wake at about 4:30, 5 o’clock every day. I spent my first two hours of the day just consuming as much information as possible. I enjoy it. But it’s all – it’s really investment-related magazines, not books. It’s every paper that you could possibly imagine, Barry, and I just – I have a great appreciation for certainly trying to be a student of the world because that’s what we’re operating in an I find it just a very interesting avenue to get an appreciation to for the, not just the opportunities, but the challenges we’re collectively facing as a society but also as a business. RITHOLTZ: I’m with you on that mass consumption of investing-related news. It sounds like you and I have the same a morning routine. Let’s talk about of what sort of advice you would give to a recent college graduate who was interested in a career of alternative investments? CONWAY: Well, the industry has – it’s just gone through such extraordinary growth and the difference, when I’ve started versus today, the career opportunity set has changed so much. And I think I try to remind anyone of our analysts who come into each one of our annual classes, right, as we bring in the new recruits. I think about how talented they are for us, Barry, and how privileged we all are to be in this industry and work for the clients that we do. It’s just such an honor to do that. But I kind of – I try to remind them of that. At the end of the day, whether you’re supporting an institution, that institution is the face of many people in the background and alternatives has really now become such an important part of their experience and we talked about earlier just this challenge of retirement, if we do a good job, these institutions that support the many, they can have, hopefully, a retirement that involves dignity and they can have an ability to do things they so wanted to do as they work so hard over their lives. Getting that that personal connection and allowing for those newbies to understand that that’s the effect that you can have, an alternatives whether it’s private equity, real estate, infrastructure, private credit, hedge funds, all of these now, with the scale at which they’re operating at can allow for a great career. But my advice to them is always don’t forget your career is supporting other people. And that comes directly to how we intersect with wealth channel, it comes indirectly as a result of the institutions. And it’s such a privilege to do that. I didn’t envision when I grew up, as I mentioned, my first job, milking cows and back in a small town in the middle of Ireland that I would be one day leading an alternatives business within BlackRock. I see that as a great privilege. So, for those who are joining afresh, hopefully, try to remind them that it is for all of us and show up with empathy, dignity, compassion, and do the best you can, and hopefully, these people be sure will serve them well. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what you know about the world of alternative investing today you wish you knew 25 years or so ago when you were first getting started? CONWAY: I think if we had invested much more heavily as an industry in technology, we would not be in the position we are today. And I say that, Barry, from a number of aspects. I mentioned in this shortfall of information our clients are dealing with today. They’re making choices to divest from one asset class to invest in another. To do that and do that effectively, they need great transparency, they needed real-time in many respects, it can’t be just a quarterly line basis. And if we had been better prepared as an industry to provide the technology and the data to help our clients really appreciate what it is they own, how we’re managing the assets on their behalf, I think they would be so much better served. I think we’re very fortunate at this firm to have built a business on the back of technology for albeit 30 plus years and were investing over $1 billion a year in technology as I’m sure you know. But we need to see more of that in the industry. So, the client experience is so important, stop, let’s demystify alternatives. It’s not that alternative. Let’s provide education and data and it’s become so large relative to other asset classes, the need to support, to educate, and transmit information, not data, information, so our client understand it, is at a paramount now. And I think it certainly as an industry, things have to change there. If I knew how big the growth would have been and how prominent these asset classes were becoming, I would oppose so much harder on that front 30 years ago. RITHOLTZ: Thank you, Edwin, for being so generous with your time. We’ve been speaking with Edwin Conway. He is the head of Blackrock Investor Alternatives Group. If you enjoy this conversation, please check out all of our prior discussions. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever you get your podcast at. We love your comments, feedback and suggestions. Write to us at MIB podcast@Bloomberg.net. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. Check out my weekly column at Bloomberg.com/opinion. Follow me on Twitter, @ritholtz. I would be remiss if I did not thank the crack team that helps put these conversations together each week. Mohammed ph is my audio engineer. Paris Wald is my producer, Michael Batnick is my head of research, Atika Valbrun is our project manager. I’m Barry Ritholtz, you’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Edwin Conway appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureNov 22nd, 2021

Medtronic"s (MDT) PillCam SB3 System Gets 510 (k) Clearance

Medtronic's (MDT) PillCam SB3 System provides a convenient option for a contactless procedure and helps ensure that patients can access care promptly. Medtronic plc MDT recently announced the receipt of the FDA 510 (k) clearance for its PillCam Small Bowel 3 @HOME (SB3) system for remote endoscopy procedures. The latest approval for PillCam further allows patients to get gastrointestinal care in the comfort of their homes.It is worth mentioning that PillCam Small Bowel 3 @HOME is only approved for remote use in the United States.The recent approval will fortify Medtronic’s gastrointestinal business, which is part of the company’s Medical Surgical Portfolio.More on PillCam SB3 SystemPillCam SB3 @HOME offers a telehealth option for direct visualization and monitoring of the small bowel to help detect lesions in a better way which is otherwise not detected by upper and lower endoscopy.The PillCam SB3 @HOME program merges Medtronic's PillCam technology with Amazon logistics -- a combination designed to ensure both timely and accurate results for patients from the comfort of their homes.The PillCam SB3 system is intended to deliver images of the mucosa and provides advanced features, such as adaptive frame rate technology. The advanced features support image acquisition that is well suited to each patient's motility as well as the tools needed to record those images and enable the clinician to interpret study results. The system’s advanced technology helps providers read and interpret study results efficiently.Significance of the PillCam SB3 SystemPer Medtronic’s management, the COVID-19 pandemic necessitated more remote innovation, and the company’s capabilities have exceeded expectations to offer better quality care to patients without the risk of COVID-19 infection and without adding to the burden on the medical staff.  PillCam SB3 @HOME provides a convenient option for a contactless procedure and helps ensure that patients access care in a timely manner.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchThe PillCam SB3 system enables patients to remain in the comfort and safety of their homes while offering healthcare providers access to high-quality images needed to make a diagnosis efficiently.Recent DevelopmentsIn October 2021, Medtronic announced the receipt of CE Mark approval for its Hugo robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) system, authorizing the sale of the system in Europe. With the CE Mark approval, multiple hospitals across Europe are set to be the first to install Hugo RAS system and expand the benefits of robotic-assisted surgery to their patients.In the same month, Medtronic announced that the first clinical procedure was performed with the Hugo robotic-assisted surgery (RAS) system in the Asia-Pacific region. The robotic prostatectomy was performed at Apollo Hospitals in Chennai, India.Industry ProspectsPer a report by Allied Market Research, the global endoscopy devices market size was valued at $31.78 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $43.82 billion by 2027, at a CAGR of 4.1%.Technological advancements in endoscopes that can be used for early detection of diseases and the rise in the incidence of diseases requiring endoscopy devices are driving the market.Price PerformanceShares of the company have gained 6.7% in a year’s time against the industry’s fall of 0.3%.Zacks Rank and Key PicksMedtronic currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).A few better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. TMO, Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, or LabCorp LH and Medpace Holdings, Inc. MEDP.Thermo Fisher Scientific, carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) of $5.76, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 23.3%. Revenues of $9.33 billion outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 12%.Thermo Fisher has an estimated long-term growth rate of 14%. TMO surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 9.02%.LabCorp reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $6.82, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 42.9%. Revenues of $4.06 billion outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.4%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.LabCorp has an estimated long-term growth rate of 10.6%. LH surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 25.7%.Medpace reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $1.29, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 20.6%. Revenues of $295.57 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.2%. It currently carries a Zacks Rank #1.Medpace has an estimated long-term growth rate of 16.4%. MEDP company surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 11.9%. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LH): Free Stock Analysis Report Medtronic PLC (MDT): Free Stock Analysis Report Thermo Fisher Scientific Inc. (TMO): Free Stock Analysis Report Medpace Holdings, Inc. (MEDP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 16th, 2021

HeadHunter Group PLC Announces Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results

MOSCOW, Nov. 15, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- HeadHunter Group PLC (NASDAQ:HHR, MOEX: HHRU)) announced today its financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2021. As used below, references to "we," "our," "us" or the "Company" or similar terms shall mean HeadHunter Group PLC. Third Quarter 2021 Financial and Operational Highlights (in millions of RUB(1) and USD(2)) Three months ended September 30, 2021 Three months ended September 30, 2020 Change(3) Three months ended September 30, 2021 RUB RUB   USD(4) Revenue 4,690    2,308   103.2 % 64.5 Russia Segments(6) Revenue 4,332   2,165   100.1 % 59.5 Net Income 1,769   585   202.2 % 24.3 Net Income Margin, % 37.7 % 25.4 % 12.3 ppts     Adjusted EBITDA(5)(7) 2,833   1,306   116.8 % 38.9 Adjusted EBITDA Margin, %(5)(7) 60.4 % 56.6 % 3.8 ppts     Adjusted Net Income(5)(7) 2,051   891   130.3 % 28.2 Adjusted Net Income Margin, %(5)(7) 43.7 % 38.6 % 5.1 ppts     (1) "RUB" or "₽" denote Russian Ruble throughout this release.(2) "USD" or "$" denote U.S. Dollar throughout this release.(3) Percentage movements and certain other figures in this release may not recalculate exactly due to rounding. This is because percentages and/or figures contained herein are calculated based on actual numbers and not the rounded numbers presented.(4) Dollar translations throughout this release are included solely for the convenience of the reader and were calculated at the exchange rate quoted by the Central Bank of Russia as of September 30, 2021 (RUB 72.7608 to USD 1).(5) Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITDA Margin, Adjusted Net Income and Adjusted Net Income Margin are non-IFRS measures. See "Use of Non-IFRS Financial Measures" elsewhere in this release for a description of these measures and a reconciliation from the nearest IFRS measures.(6) Includes our "Russia (hh.ru)" and "Russia (Zarplata.ru)" operating segments revenue.(7) Beginning from the first quarter of 2021, we modified the presentation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income, our non-IFRS measures, to exclude the impact of foreign exchange gains and losses. Prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to this presentation. Please see "Modification of the presentation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income" and "Use of Non-IFRS Financial Measures" elsewhere in this release.  Revenue is up 103.2%, primarily due to the continuing high demand for candidates driving up the number of paying customers and average consumption, monetization improvements, and consolidation of acquired subsidiaries. Net income is up 202.2%, Adjusted EBITDA is up 116.8% and Adjusted EBITDA Margin is up 3.8 ppts year-on-year from 56.6% to 60.4%, mainly due to the increase in revenue. (in millions of RUB and USD) As ofSeptember 30, 2021 As of December 31, 2020 Change As ofSeptember 30, 2021 RUB RUB   USD Net Working Capital(1) (5,091 ) (3,849 ) 32.3 % (70.0 ) Net Debt(1) 2,330   4,909   (52.5 )% 32.0   Net Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Ratio(1) (2) 0.3x   1.2x       (1) Net Working Capital, Net Debt and Net Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Ratio are non-IFRS financial measures.  See "Use of Non-IFRS Financial Measures" elsewhere in this release for calculation of these measures(2) For the purposes of calculation of this ratio as of September 30, 2021, Adjusted EBITDA is calculated on the last twelve months basis.        Net Working Capital as of September 30, 2021 decreased by ₽1,242 million, or 32.3%, compared to December 31, 2020, primarily due to an increase in sales and corresponding increase in customer prepayments. Net Debt decreased by ₽2,579 million, or 52.5%, primarily due to cash generated from operating activities, partly offset by the payment in July 2021 of a dividend for the year ended December 31, 2020 (see "Cash Flows"). Net Debt to Adjusted EBITDA Ratio decreased from 1.2x to 0.3x, due to the decrease in Net Debt and the increase in Adjusted EBITDA. Mikhail Zhukov, Chief Executive Officer of HeadHunter Group PLC: "We're very pleased to announce a quarter of remarkably strong financial results. In Q3, we managed to double our revenue compared to previous year thanks to the accelerated offline-to-online transition. Our platform customer base expanded to nearly 450 thousand clients in this year to date. Most importantly, we remain focused on continuous product innovation. In Q3, we enhanced our client proposition via new embedded chat functionality, a fully re-worked mobile app for employers and a streamlined experience for blue collar use cases. In the adjacent areas such as recruitment automation, employer branding, and more recently, contingent labor market, we made great progress through tight collaboration with Skillaz, DreamJob and YouDo." Acquisition of Zarplata.ru and Skillaz In December 2020, we acquired 100% ownership interest in LLC "Zarplata.ru" ("Zarplata.ru"), a job classified platform with a strong footprint in certain Russian regions, such as Siberia and Ural. From January 1, 2021, our statement of income and comprehensive income includes results of Zarplata.ru. This affects year-on-year comparisons of our revenue, operating expenses and other metrics in 2021. For the purposes of analysis of our key performance indicators, such as the number of paying customers and the average revenue per customer ("ARPC"), we combine our "Russia (hh.ru)" and "Russia (Zarplata.ru)" (collectively "Russia segments") revenue, as we believe that our combined ARPC and combined number of paying customers allows us to assess better our results and position on Russian online recruitment market, in which both of these segments operate. As of March 31, 2021, we obtained control over LLC "Skillaz" ("Skillaz"), a Russian HR technology company that automates and enhances recruitment processes by delivering sophisticated and flexible software as a service ("SaaS") solutions, as our call option to acquire a further 40.01% ownership interest in Skillaz (in addition to our 25.01% stake already acquired) became beneficial. On May 26, 2021, we exercised the option and acquired the 40.01% stake, and on June 28, 2021, we acquired an additional 9.97% stake, thus increasing our total ownership interest in Skillaz to 74.99%. From April 1, 2021, our statement of income and comprehensive income includes results of Skillaz. This affects year-on-year comparisons of our revenue and operating expenses in 2021. For the purposes of the analysis of our key performance indicators, such as the number of paying customers and ARPC, we included Skillaz in our "Other segments." 2021 RSU Plan On July 30, 2021, we established a new HeadHunter Group PLC 2021 Restricted Stock Units Plan (the "2021 RSU Plan") to provide a more straight-forward, predictable and competitive long-term incentives to our key talent. Prior to this, our management incentive programs included the 2016 Unit Option Plan (the "2016 Plan"), which is focused mostly on our top management level, as well as the 2018 Unit Option Plan (the "2018 Plan"). There are no awards remaining for granting under the 2016 Plan and awards outstanding under the 2016 Plan have vesting dates through May 2023. In connection with the establishment of the 2021 RSU Plan, our Board of Directors determined that certain awards previously granted under the 2018 Plan shall be replaced with awards under the 2021 RSU Plan. Under the 2021 RSU Plan, the Company shall issue restricted stock units ("RSUs") carrying the right to receive either ordinary shares or ADSs representing such ordinary shares. The maximum number of shares provided under the 2021 RSU Plan is 6% of the fully diluted aggregate number of ordinary shares issued and outstanding from time to time. Awards under the 2021 RSU Plan are expected to be granted in tranches during the four-year period expiring August 1, 2025. Each grant will be subject to approval by our Board of Directors upon the recommendation of our management and the Compensation Committee, based on certain selection criteria. RSUs granted under the 2021 RSU Plan vest over four-year period commencing on the grant date, with the first vesting occurring on the first anniversary of the grant date. The 2021 RSU Plan will reward, among others, our key talents in development, product, sales and marketing teams. We plan to fund the 2021 RSU Plan through a combination of a buy-back program, which was recently approved by our shareholders and that we announced on September 30, 2021, and new share issuance and allotment. In the third quarter of 2021, we granted 251,921 RSUs, and recorded an expense of ₽81 million in operating costs and expenses (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) in our statement of income and comprehensive income. Share Buyback Program On September 30, 2021 we announced a share buyback program under which we may repurchase up to an aggregate of RUB 3 billion (or its equivalent in US dollars) of its ordinary shares represented by American Depositary Shares listed on the Nasdaq Global Select Market over a period beginning on October 11, 2021 and continuing until the earlier of the completion of the repurchase or August 10, 2022, when the authority of the Company's board of directors (the "Board") to repurchase shares will expire (the "Buyback Program").The primary purpose of the Buyback Program is to fund the Company's long-term incentive programs. Accordingly, we have instructed our broker to repurchase our ADRs in an autonomous repurchase program in daily installments over the 9-months period commencing October 2021. As at November 8, 2021, the most recent date of broker's report obtainable prior to the date of this release, we have repurchased 52,147 ADRs. Modification of the presentation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income Beginning from the first quarter of 2021, we modified the presentation of Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted Net Income, our non-IFRS measures, to exclude the impact of foreign exchange gains and losses as the nature of such gains and losses is not operational. We believe this revised presentation will provide a better understanding of our operating performance and a more meaningful comparison of our results between periods. Prior period amounts have been reclassified to conform to this presentation. These changes have no impact on any of the previously reported IFRS results for any periods presented. The following tables present the effects of the changes on the presentation of non-IFRS measures as reflected in the Company's previous reports: (in millions of RUB) For the three months ended September 30, 2020   Non-IFRS Prior Presentation Net foreign exchange loss and related income tax effect Non-IFRS Revised Presentation Adjusted EBITDA 1,296   10   1,306   Adjusted EBITDA Margin, % 56.1 % 0.5 % 56.6 % Adjusted Net Income 856   35   891   Adjusted Net Income Margin, % 37.1 % 1.5 % 38.6 % (in millions of RUB) For the nine months ended September 30, 2020   Non-IFRS Prior Presentation Net foreign exchange gain and related income tax effect Non-IFRS Revised Presentation Adjusted EBITDA 3,027   (85 ) 2,942   Adjusted EBITDA Margin, % 51.9 % (1.5 )% 50.4 % Adjusted Net Income 1,881   (51 ) 1,830   Adjusted Net Income Margin, % 32.3 % (0.9 )% 31.4 % (in millions of RUB) For the year ended December 31, 2020   Non-IFRS Prior Presentation Net foreign exchange gain and related income tax effect Non-IFRS Revised Presentation Adjusted EBITDA 4,187   (83 ) 4,104     Adjusted EBITDA Margin, % 50.6 % (1.1 )% 49.5 % Adjusted Net Income 2,733   (50 ) 2,683     Adjusted Net Income Margin, % 33.0 % (0.6 )% 32.4 % Impact of COVID-19 on Our Operations and Financial Position The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected our financial results mostly via decrease in business activity in Russia, especially as a result of measures taken by authorities to curb the spread of COVID-19, such as shelter-in-place orders, the implementation of non-working days and businesses closures. A decrease in business activity may result in a decrease in a number of job postings advertised by our customers and the number of CV database subscriptions purchased or renewed, leading to a decrease in our revenue. The most severe restrictions in Russia were in place from March 30, 2020 to May 11, 2020, when a nation-wide period of non-working days was introduced, and shelter-in-place orders were in effect in Moscow. This affected our revenue in the end of the first quarter of 2020 and in the second quarter of 2020. A gradual recovery of business activities followed in the third and fourth quarters of 2020, resulting in a recovery in our KPIs. No such restrictions were introduced in the third quarter of 2021. Accordingly, we have seen no measurable impact of COVID-19 on our financial results for the third quarter of 2021 and our financial position as of September 30, 2021. However, as a result of the increased number of new cases of COVID-19, the Russian government announced a new period of non-working days from October 28 to November 7, 2021, which in some regions of Russian started earlier, and in some regions has been extended. We expect that these measures will, to some extent depending on the duration of the non-working days period and its impact on business activities, affect our revenue and net income in the fourth quarter of 2021. Our financial position, results and liquidity may be affected in the future by any further adverse developments related to COVID-19. Operating Segments For management purposes, we are organized into operating segments based on the geography of our operations or other subdivisions as presented in internal reporting to our chief operating decision-maker ("CODM"). Our operating segments include "Russia (hh.ru)", "Russia (Zarplata.ru)", "Belarus", "Kazakhstan", "Skillaz" and other segments. As each segment, other than "Russia (hh.ru)" individually comprises less than 10% of our revenue, for reporting purposes we combine all segments other than "Russia (hh.ru)" into the "Other segments" category. Customers We sell our services predominantly to businesses that are looking for job seekers to fill vacancies inside their organizations. We refer to such businesses as "customers." In Russia, we divide our customers into (i) Key Accounts and (ii) Small and Medium Accounts, based on their annual revenue and employee headcount. We define "Key Accounts" as customers who, according to the Spark-Interfax database, have an annual revenue of ₽2 billion or more or a headcount of 250 or more employees and have not marked themselves as recruiting agencies on their page on our website. We define "Small and Medium Accounts" as customers who, according to the Spark-Interfax database, have both an annual revenue of less than ₽2 billion and a headcount of less than 250 employees and have not marked themselves as recruiting agencies on their page on our website. Our website allows several legal entities and/or natural persons to be registered, each with a unique identification number, under a single account page (e.g., a group of companies). Each legal entity registered under a single account is defined as a separate customer and is included in the number of paying customers metric. Natural persons registered under a single account are assumed to be employees of the legal entities of that account and thus, are not considered separate customers and are not included in the number of paying customers metric. However, in a specific reporting period, if only natural persons used our services under such account, they are collectively included in the number of paying customers as one customer. Seasonality Revenue We generally do not experience seasonal fluctuations in demand for our services and, prior to COVID-19, our revenue remained relatively stable throughout each quarter. However, our customers are predominately businesses and, therefore, use our services mostly on business days. As a result, our quarterly revenue is affected by the number of business days in a quarter, with the exception of our services that represent "stand-ready" performance obligations, such as subscriptions to access our curriculum vitae ("CV") database, which are satisfied over the period of subscription, including weekends and holidays. Public holidays in Russia predominantly fall during the first quarter of each year, which results in lower business activity in that quarter. Accordingly, our first quarter revenue is typically slightly lower than in the other quarters. For example, our first quarter revenue in our "Russia (hh.ru)" segment in 2019 was 21.6% (in 2020, this metric was not indicative due to COVID-19). The number of business days in a quarter may also be affected by calendar layout in a specific year. In addition, the Government of Russia decides on an annual basis how public holidays that occur on weekends will be reallocated to business days throughout the year as a requirement of the Labor Code of Russia. As a result, the number of business days in a quarter may be different in each year (while the total number of business days in a year usually remains the same). Therefore, the comparability of our quarterly results, including with respect to our revenue growth rate, may be affected by this variance. In addition, when a calendar layout in a specific year provides for several consecutive holidays or a small number of business days between holidays or holidays adjacent to weekends, HR managers of our customers may take short vacations, further contributing to the decrease in business activities in these periods. The following table illustrates the number of business days by quarter for the years 2019 to 2021. In 2021, compared to 2020, there is one business day less in the first quarter and in the total year, two business days more in the second quarter, and two business days less in the fourth quarter, meaning that a negative calendar effect is expected in each of the first and fourth quarter, and a positive effect is expected in the second quarter:   Number of business days As % of total business days per year   2021 2020 2019 2021   2020   2019   First quarter 56 57 57 22.7 % 23.0 % 23.1 % Second quarter 62 60 59 25.1 % 24.2 % 23.9 % Third quarter 66 66 66 26.7 % 26.6 % 26.7 % Fourth quarter 63 65 65 25.5 % 26.2 % 26.3 % Year 247 248 247 100.0 % 100.0 % 100.0 % There was no calendar effect in the third quarter of 2021, as the number of business days was the same as the number of business days in the third quarter of 2020. Operating costs and expenses (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) Our operating costs and expenses (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) consist primarily of personnel and marketing expenses. Personnel and marketing expenses, in total, accounted for 78.6% and 76.3% of our total operating costs and expenses (exclusive of depreciation and amortization) for the years ended December 31, 2020 and December 31, 2019, respectively. Most of our marketing and personnel expenses are fixed and not directly tied to our revenue. Marketing expenses are more volatile in terms of allocation to quarters and are affected by our decisions on how we realize our strategy in a particular year, which can differ from year to year. Therefore, total marketing expenses as a percentage of revenue for a particular quarter may not be fully representative of the whole year. Personnel expenses are relatively stable over the year. However, they are also affected by other dynamics, such as our hiring decisions. Some costs and expenses, such as share-based compensation or foreign exchange gains or losses, can be significantly concentrated in a particular quarter. As an example, the third quarter segment external expenses in our "Russia (hh.ru)" segment in 2019 and 2020 were 26.4% and 23.9%, respectively, of total "Russia (hh.ru)" segment external expenses for the year. Net income and Adjusted EBITDA Even though our revenue remains relatively stable throughout each quarter, seasonal revenue fluctuations, as described above, affect our net income. As a result of revenue seasonality, our profitability in the first quarter is usually lower than in other quarters and for the full year, because our expenses as a percentage of revenue are usually higher in the first quarter due to lower revenue. Our profitability is also affected by our decisions on timing of expenses, as described above. Contract liabilities Our contract liabilities are mostly affected by the annual subscriptions' renewal cycle in our Key Accounts customer segment. A substantial number of our Key Accounts renew their subscriptions in the first quarter but prepay us in the fourth quarter of a previous year, as per our normal payment terms. As a result, we receive substantial prepayments from our customers in the fourth quarter which causes a consequential increase in our contract liabilities at the end of that quarter. For example, our contract liabilities as of March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31, 2020 were ₽2,584 million, ₽2,355 million, ₽2,323 million, and ₽2,785 million, respectively. Net cash generated from operating activities Our net cash generated from operating activities is affected by seasonal fluctuations in business activity as explained in "Revenue" and by substantial prepayments from our customers (see "Contract liabilities"), as well as by our decisions in regard to timing of expenses (see "Operating costs and expenses (exclusive of depreciation and amortization)"), and to a lesser extent by payment terms provided to us by our largest suppliers, such as TV advertising agencies and others. Net Working Capital Our Net Working Capital is primarily affected by changes in our contract liabilities. As our contract liabilities have usually been highest in the fourth quarter, our Net Working Capital has usually been lowest in the fourth quarter. For example, our Net Working Capital as of March 31, June 30, September 30, and December 31, 2020 was ₽(3,130) million, ₽(2,865) million, ₽(3,111) million, and ₽(3,849) million, respectively. Third Quarter 2021 Results Our revenue was ₽4,690 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021 compared to ₽2,308 million for the three months ended September 30, 2020. Revenue for the three months ended September 30, 2021 increased by ₽2,382 million, or 103.2%, while the compound average growth rate(*) ("CAGR") from 2019 to 2021 in the third quarter of 2021 was 48.0%, reflecting acceleration of growth compared to historical averages and to the 43.4% CAGR for the second quarter of 2021. Increased demand for candidates, which started in the second quarter of 2021 and continued into the third quarter, resulted in the year-on-year increase of the number of paying customers in our Small and Medium Accounts by 46.1%, and in our Key Accounts – by 15.3% in the third quarter of 2021, as well as the year-on-year increase of ARPC in our Small and Medium Accounts by 40.9%, mostly due to the increase in average consumption. ARPC in our Key Accounts segment increased by 71.0% in the third quarter of 2021 on a year-over-year basis, driven by the new monetization model for CV database access effective from August 2020, and the increase in average consumption. Revenue has also increased as a result of consolidation of acquired subsidiaries. The following table breaks down revenue by product for the periods indicated:   For the three months ended September 30,   Change   CAGR   (in thousands of RUB)  2021 2020 2019   2021/2020 2021/2019   2019-2021   Bundled Subscriptions  1,163,263 616,501 584,492   88.7 % 99.0 %   41.1 % CV Database Access  979,379 504,233 493,409   94.2 % 98.5 %   40.9 % Job Postings  2,043,813 973,618 879,272   109.9 % 132.4 %   52.5 % Other value-added services  503,949 213,849 185,149   135.7 % 172.2 %   65.0 % Total revenue 4,690,404 2,308,201 2,142,322   103.2 % 118.9 %   48.0 %   For the nine months ended September 30,   Change   CAGR   (in thousands of RUB)  2021 2020 2019   2021/2020 2021/2019   2019-2021   Bundled Subscriptions 2,951,593 1,718,711 1,642,467   71.7 % 79.7 %   34.1 % CV Database Access 2,375,278 1,321,800 1,312,798   79.7 % 80.9 %   34.5 % Job Postings 4,988,432 2,260,150 2,290,258   120.7 % 117.8 %   47.6 % Other value-added services 1,127,399 531,784 476,860   112.0 % 136.4 %   53.8 % Total revenue 11,442,702 5,832,445 5,722,383   96.2 % 100.0 %   41.4 % (*) Given low base effect on the back of COVID-19 restrictions in the second quarter of 2020 and (to a much lower extent) in the third quarter of 2020, in addition to year-on-year growth to 2020, we present growth to 2019 and CAGR over two years 2019-2021. We believe that these metrics are useful to assess revenue growth in 2021. Please note that when commenting on change drivers throughout this release, we are commenting on year-over-year growth to 2020. We calculate two-year 2019-2021 CAGR as ((S1/S0)½-1)*100%, where S0 and S1 are values for 2019 and 2021, respectively. The following tables set forth our revenue, number of paying customers and ARPC, broken down by type of customer and region, for the periods indicated:   For the three months ended September 30, Change CAGR   2021 2020 2019 2021/2020 2021/2019 2019-2021 Revenue (in thousands of RUB)               Key Accounts in Russia             Moscow and St. Petersburg 1,136,693 564,798 515,281 101.3 % 120.6 % 48.5 % Other regions of Russia 398,662 214,301 178,432 86.0 % 123.4 % 49.5 % Sub-total 1,535,355 779,099 693,713 97.1 % 121.3 % 48.8 % Small and Medium Accounts in Russia             Moscow and St. Petersburg 1,441,995 735,865 731,744 96.0 % 97.1 % 40.4 % Other regions of Russia 1,182,467 539,058 461,141 119.4 % 156.4 % 60.1 % Sub-total 2,624,462 1,274,923 1,192,884 105.9 % 120.0 % 48.3 % Foreign customers of Russia segment 25,674 14,283 6,097 79.8 % 321.1 % 105.2 % Other customers in Russia 146,629 96,949 91,774 51.2 % 59.8 % 26.4 % Total for "Russia"  operating segments 4,332,120 2,165,254 1,984,469 100.1 % 118.3 % 47.8 % Other segments 358,284 142,947 157,853 150.6 % 127.0 % 50.7 % Total revenue 4,690,404 2,308,201 2,142,322 103.2 % 118.9 % 48.0 %               Number of paying customers             Key Accounts             Moscow and St. Petersburg 5,320 4,716 4,517 12.8 % 17.8 % 8.5 % Other regions of Russia 6,136 5,222 4,570 17.5 % 34.3 % 15.9 % Key Accounts, total 11,456 9,938 9,087 15.3 % 26.1 % 12.3 % Small and Medium Accounts             Moscow and St. Petersburg 95,607 72,313 68,376 32.2 % 39.8 % 18.2 % Other regions of Russia 158,007 101,253 85,525 56.1 % 84.7 % 35.9 % Small and Medium  Accounts, total 253,614 173,566 153,901 46.1 % 64.8 % 28.4 % Foreign customers of Russia segments 1,221 700 493 74.4 % 147.7 % 57.4 % Total for "Russia" operating segments 266,291 184,204 163,481 44.6 % 62.9 % 27.6 % Other segments, total 17,068 11,237 14,013 51.9 % 21.8 % 10.4 % Total number of paying customers 283,359 195,441 177,494 45.0 % 59.6 % 26.4 %               ARPC (in RUB)             Key Accounts             Moscow and St. Petersburg 213,664 119,762 114,076 78.4 % 87.3 % 36.9 % Other regions of Russia 64,971 41,038 39,044 58.3 % 66.4 % 29.0 % Key Accounts, total 134,022 78,396 76,341 71.0 % 75.6 % 32.5 % Small and Medium Accounts             Moscow and St. Petersburg 15,083 10,176 10,702 48.2 % 40.9 % 18.7 % Other regions of Russia 7,484 5,324 5,392 40.6 % 38.8 % 17.8 % Small and Medium Accounts, total 10,348 7,345 7,751 40.9 % 33.5 % 15.5 % Other segments, total 20,992 12,721 11,265 65.0 % 86.3 % 36.5 % In the third quarter of 2021, compared to the third quarter of 2020: In our Key Accounts customer segment, revenue has increased by 97.1%, or by 48.8% on a two-year CAGR basis, primarily due to the increase in ARPC.   ARPC in our Key Accounts customer segment has increased by 71.0%, or by 32.5% on a two-year CAGR basis. This was driven by the increase in average consumption and by our monetization improvements. Additional revenue received from top-up contacts within new limited model in subscription products became the key driver of growth in the APRC in this customer group in the third quarter of 2021. Other drivers were increase in average consumption, driven mostly by competition for candidates, as well as annual price inflation and gradual reduction in discounts. Average consumption was driven mostly by competition for candidates, as the number of jobs advertised has increased more rapidly than the number of job seekers in active search, which may be a temporary effect depending on future development of job seeker and employer activity.  The number of paying customers in our Key Accounts customer segment has increased by 15.3%, or by 12.3% on a two-year CAGR basis as a result of new customer acquisitions and the addition of customers of our "Russia (Zarplata.ru)" operating segment .  In our Small and Medium Accounts customer segment, revenue has increased by 105.9%, or by 48.3% on a two-year CAGR basis, primarily due to the increase in the number of paying customers and the increase in ARPC.  The number of paying customers in our Small and Medium Accounts customer segment has increased by 46.1%, or by 28.4% on a two-year CAGR basis. This was driven by economic recovery, simplifications in customer onboarding requirements that we introduced in 2020, increased adoption of online services on the back of COVID-19, and the addition of customers of our "Russia (Zarplata.ru)" operating segment.   ARPC in our Small and Medium Accounts customer segment has increased by 40.9%, or by 15.5% on a two-year CAGR basis. This was driven primarily by the increase in average postings consumption driven by competition for candidates, which may be a temporary effect depending on future development of job seeker and employer activity. The following tables sets forth our revenue, number of paying customers and ARPC, broken down by type of customer and region, for the periods indicated:   For the nine months ended September 30, Growth CAGR   2021 2020 2019 2021/2020 2021/2019 2019-2021 Revenue (in thousands of RUB)               Key Accounts in Russia             Moscow and St. Petersburg 2,655,180 1,493,220 1,443,978 77.8 % 83.9 % 35.6 % Other regions of Russia 988,460 578,475 464,018 70.9 % 113.0 % 46.0 % Sub-total 3,643,640 2,071,695 1,907,996.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 15th, 2021

Hyzon Motors, Inc. Announces Third Quarter 2021 Financial and Operational Results with Significant Milestones Achieved and Building Momentum Across Asia, Europe and North America

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Nov. 12, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Recent Business Highlights Received the first two purchase orders, for 62 trucks in total, pursuant to terms of the previously announced MOU to supply Shanghai Hydrogen Hongyun Automotive Announced a new strategic partnership with TC Energy, formerly TransCanada Corporation, for a broad, multi-year collaboration intended to leverage TRP's energy infrastructure across North America to accelerate the hydrogen supply and infrastructure build-out in the United States and Canada; the agreement covers planned co-investment by Hyzon and TC Energy in hydrogen production hubs and collaborative hydrogen demand creation Announced a joint demonstration project with Zhangjiagang Haili Terminal Co., Ltd., a subsidiary of Fortune Global 500 company Sha Steel Group, the 4th largest steel company and the largest private steel enterprise in the world Signed a non-binding MoU with ITOCHU to jointly develop hydrogen supply chain strategies, as well as model customer projects for the deployment of Hyzon fuel cell electric vehicles and fuel cell technology in the mining sector Hyzon channel partner Hiringa in New Zealand announced an equity investment from Mitsui & Co in their refueling network, in addition to funding from the New Zealand Government Two Australian Federal Government agencies, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and Australian Renewable Energy Agency, announced funding support for the deployment of Hyzon ultra-heavy trucks for customer Ark Energy in Queensland, Australia Third Quarter Highlights Reported a robust cash balance of $498 million as of September 30, 2021 Delivered Hyzon vehicles and recorded first vehicle revenues during the quarter as anticipated, despite the challenging supply chain environment Advanced Hyzon's core technology which is expected to expand the Company's competitive advantages and achieve significant cost savings in vehicle assembly through our continued investments in innovation Continued the buildout of the Hyzon management team with the appointments of Jiajia Wu as Chief Accounting Officer and Patrick Griffin as President of Vehicle Operations Business Outlook Hyzon reaffirms its forecast for 85 vehicles shipped before December 31, 2021, and expects to have Hyzon vehicles on the road in Asia, Australia, Europe and North America by the end of the year U.S. manufacturing facilities are well underway, and both the Rochester, NY and Bolingbrook, IL facilities are now anticipated to be in full production by the end of the first half of 2022 Hyzon is well positioned to capitalize on the impending uptake in zero emission commercial vehicle solutions in light of recent developments surrounding the COP 26 Climate Summit, and through US federal and state policy developments pursuing carbon abatement Hyzon Motors, Inc. (NASDAQ:HYZN) ("Hyzon" or the "Company"), a leading global supplier of zero-emission fuel cell electric heavy vehicles, today announced third quarter 2021 financial and operational results. "During the third quarter we continued to execute on our long-term strategy and build momentum across our entire platform," said Mr. Craig Knight, Chief Executive Officer of Hyzon. "The Hyzon strategy remains unchanged: we are squarely focused on being at the forefront of the rapidly expanding hydrogen mobility industry. This means delivering our vehicles to customers across the globe, while simultaneously expanding access to cost efficient, green hydrogen for our customers.  We have laid out our path to optimize our performance through ongoing R&D, strategic investment and partnerships in the highest value segments across Vehicle, Fuel and Service.  Continued execution of that path is expected to allow us to expand margin across all segments of the value chain over time while, in parallel, we expand our high caliber team and place our commercial vehicles with leading global customers today.  "This strategy helped Hyzon continue our sequential improvement in both financial and operational results," Mr. Knight continued.  "During the third quarter of 2021, the Company generated revenue of $1 million and continues to mobilize its teams across Europe, Asia and North America to capture the increasing momentum for hydrogen in the commercial vehicle market.  As this momentum continues – Hyzon trucks are expected to be on the road in four continents by the end of the year, with two vehicles delivered during the third quarter 2021.  With the well-reported supply chain disruptions around the world, no industry is immune, and we have experienced operational challenges, delaying our backlog conversion.  However, our global footprint has allowed us to leverage our strategic partnerships and to meet customer demands for zero emission heavy commercial vehicles despite these challenges. "In addition, the Company is well positioned, from a liquidity standpoint, to execute our plan, with $498.0 million in cash on the balance sheet as of the quarter end, and we are committed to maintaining substantial capital allocation to research, development, and technology investments. This commitment is further evidenced by newly filed patent applications to advance our core technologies, which is expected to achieve significant future cost savings in assembling zero emission vehicles, and further expand our competitive advantages.  I am extremely proud of our team's dedication and execution towards 'Zero Emissions with Zero Compromise' as we deliver real solutions today. All of our efforts have enabled our customers to validate our longstanding thesis – that hydrogen is the ideal fuel for use in heavy duty, high-utilization commercial applications," Mr. Knight concluded. Expansion of Hydrogen Supply and Hub Strategy "The rapidly growing interest in, and commitment to, hydrogen adoption in the commercial mobility segment has provided tailwinds for our efforts to expand the hydrogen supply network and decarbonize the commercial vehicle industry alongside our strategic partners," said Parker Meeks, Chief Strategy Officer.  "Hyzon is not only committed to providing zero-emission mobility solutions to the commercial market but also is actively engaged in building and fostering a clean hydrogen supply ecosystem with leading partners from feedstocks through production, dispensing and financing.  This is further underpinned by our recent announcement with TC Energy to collaborate on development, construction, operation, and ownership of hydrogen production facilities across North America. The collaboration has the goal of hydrogen delivery to fuel cell heavy duty vehicles as soon as 2022, producing up to 20 tonnes of hydrogen per day at each hub. "Previous announcements of Hyzon's partnerships with TotalEnergies, ReCarbon and Raven SR, and other leading partners, also supports buildout of the complete hydrogen production and refueling ecosystem in each major region of our operations, ideally complementing our back-to-base model and near-term fleet deployments.  We are excited about our future-focused customers driving forward with their decarbonization plans, and we see the ability to deliver and scale below-diesel-parity clean hydrogen close to fleet operations in the very near term as clearly differentiating Hyzon in terms of cost, carbon intensity, and speed to market," concluded Mr. Meeks. Third Quarter 2021 Financial and Operational Results For the third quarter ending September 30, 2021, the Company reported total operating expenses of $50.6 million and net income attributable to Hyzon of $32.4 million, resulting in diluted earnings per share of $0.13. Net income included non-cash gains from the change in fair value of earnout liability of $73.6 million and private placement warrant liability of $7.6 million. Third quarter operating expenses were comprised of $4.8 million in research and development and $44.8 million in selling, general and administrative expenses. Selling, general and administrative expenses were primarily made up of $26.7 million in stock-based compensation, $13.4 million of which was triggered by a key executive retirement arrangement, with an additional $13.1 million related to earnout equity awards pursuant to the Business Combination. Also included were salary and related expenses of $3.3 million, and approximately $11.0 million in expenses related to buildout of the Company's corporate infrastructure, along with legal and accounting costs associated with the Business Combination. For the prior year third quarter ending September 30, 2020, the Company reported a net loss of $0.6 million, resulting in earnings per share of nil. For the nine months ended September 30, 2021, the Company reported total operating expenses of $63.6 million and net income attributable to Hyzon of $14.8 million resulting in diluted earnings per share of $0.07. Net income included non-cash gains from the change in fair value of earnout liability of $73.6 million and private placement warrant liability of $7.6 million. For the prior year period January 21, 2020 (Inception) through September 30, 2020, the Company reported a net loss attributable to Hyzon of $0.9 million, resulting in diluted loss per share of $0.01. As of September 30, 2021, the Company had $498.0 million in cash. At the end of the third quarter, the Company had 247,500,505 shares of common stock outstanding. Non-GAAP Financial Measures The Company reported EBITDA of $31.7 million and $18.9 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, respectively. The Company reported Adjusted EBITDA of $(15.2) million and $(27.1) million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021, respectively. Adjusted EBITDA adjustments are primarily driven by (a) non-cash items from change in fair value of earnout liability of $73.6 million and private placement warrant liability of $7.6 million, for a total of $81.2 million; (b) charges from an executive transition arrangement of $13.9 million and Business Combination transaction expenses of $6.5 million and (c) non-cash items from stock-based compensation of $13.8 million and $14.7 million for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2021. Conference Call Information The Hyzon management team will host a conference call to discuss its third quarter 2021 financial results on Friday, November 12, 2021, at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time. The call can be accessed via a live webcast accessible on the Events & Presentations page in the Investor Relations section of Hyzon's website at www.hyzonmotors.com. An archive of the webcast will be available for a period of time shortly after the call on the Investor Relations section of Hyzon's website as well. About Hyzon Motors Inc. Hyzon is a global leader in fuel cell electric mobility, with US operations in the Rochester, Chicago and Detroit areas, and international operations in the Netherlands, China, Singapore,.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 12th, 2021

50 unique subscription boxes and services that keep on giving month after month

The best subscription services provide unique discoveries and make life easier. We rounded up 50 subscriptions to gift to friends and family. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more. Earthlove delivers eco-conscious books and sustainably-sourced, ethically-made artisanal products. Earthlove There's a subscription for every interest you can think of, from books to fashion to pets. You don't even need to wrap them yourself, since they're sent directly to your recipient. We discovered 50 of the best subscription boxes, from flavored water to stationary. Although you typically order them for yourself, subscription boxes are also an excellent gift choice because there's one for pretty much every interest and hobby you can think of. It's easy to purchase online and send, too - no pesky gift-wrapping necessary. The best subscription services provide unique discovery opportunities, curate high-quality brands, and automate everyday routines to make life easier. But if you're worried about choosing the right subscription, most sites offer gift cards. Then, they can apply it towards a plan of their choice and personalize the subscription to their own wants and needs. So, even if the actual subscription box doesn't ship in time for the occasion (though no one needs an occasion to celebrate these days), your recipient will still receive notification that it's on its way, so they know you didn't forget about them. Check out 50 great subscription gifts below: Murray's Cheese: an assortment of gourmet cheese to try Murray's cheese Classic Cheese of the Month Club, from $63Whether you're a certified cheese lover or a newcomer, this gourmet collection fits any cheese preference. This cheese subscription gift provides up to four delectable cheese options to snack on each month. Calm: a sleep and meditation app Calm Calm Subscription, from $69.99Help them to unwind by gifting a subscription to Calm, a soothing solution to their stress. Calm is known for helping its app user maintain mindfulness, achieve better sleep, and reduce anxiety. The Criterion Channel: A streaming service for classic and contemporary films the criterion channel The Criterion Channel subscription, $10.99/monthThe Criterion Channel offers a refreshing selection of films to discover, even for the cinephile who believes they've seen everything. The streaming service features a diverse library of hidden gems from classics, independent films, to international discoveries. Scentbird: a monthly perfume and cologne subscription box Scentbird Gift a Scentbird subscription, from $44/3-monthsLet them unwrap the gift they really want – infinite new designer scents and none of the smelly sample strips. They can avoid the commitment to just one bottle and instead find their signature smell. Each month they will get a 30-day supply of the fragrance they want.  Menlo Club: a wardrobe revamp for the person who doesn't have time to shop Menlo Club Give a Menlo Club membership, $153/3-monthsMenlo Club is an affordable men's clothing subscription that will supplement their existing wardrobe with fresh pieces. The membership gives them the opportunity to take a style quiz and receive two to three items from Menlo Club's brands based on their personal style. Senior reporter Amir Ismael tested it out and found it's the easiest way to dress nicely without overspending or going to the store.Read our full Menlo review here. My Garden Box: bonsai and terrariums that satisfy green thumbs My Garden Box My Garden Box, from $35.50/month plus $12.99 shippingTurn their home into their own personal plant nursery with this monthly gardening and crafting package. Each month, they'll get everything from a planter, soil, and living plants, plus gardening tips. Loot Crate: a curated bundle of fan collectibles Loot Crate Loot Crate, from $9.99/monthWhether they are a gamer, anime fan, or pop culture aficionado, there's an exclusive crate for them. Each box is filled with multiple fan collectibles and apparel. Find the box that best aligns with your giftee's interests and get it delivered directly to their door.  Curlbox: products for those with curly hair Curlbox Gift a Curlbox subscription, $25/month Curlbox is the perfect gift for your curly haired family member or friend, with monthly boxes that share four or more hair product samples. It's a first come, first served system, but they could receive products from notable brands like Flawless by Gabrielle Union or Carol's Daughter. Rowan: hypoallergenic earrings for tweens Rowan Gift a Rowan subscription, $25/monthWhile this subscription box is geared towards tweens, the gold vermeil and sterling silver options can really appeal to just about any earring lover. The great thing about this subscription is that the earrings are all hypoallergenic in case the receiver has sensitive ears. Mindfulness cards, stickers, and sometimes surprise accessories also come in the box. Cloth & Paper: stationary and planners for the organization enthusiast Cloth and Paper Gift a Cloth & Paper subscription, $18-$240/1 month-6 monthsThe one who can't stop planning, jotting down notes, and sending cards will appreciate Cloth & Paper's subscriptions. There's a box filled with writing utensils, a box for planning and stationary, and one that merges the two. From brush pens and fineliners to sticky notes and postcards, they'll be planning nonstop.  Hygge Box: Danish coziness in a box Hygge Box Gift a Hygge Box subscription, $36-$49/monthHygge is the Danish concept of coziness, and this subscription brings just that to the table, featuring items like candles, fairy lights, tea, and snacks. The deluxe box also includes home decor, accessories, wellness products, and other full-size treats. They'll be celebrating the comfort and joy in the ordinary when you give this subscription.  Earthlove: earth-friendly home, kitchen, and beauty products Earthbox Gift an Earthlove subscription, $59.95/monthEarthlove delivers eco-conscious books and sustainably-sourced, ethically-made artisanal products. The company is all about the lifestyle and experience, providing a booklet with self-care tips and mindful stories, as well. By gifting this seasonal subscription box, you'll also be supporting a handpicked organization that nurtures the planet.  Winc: full-sized bottles of wine to enjoy Winc/Instagram Gift a Winc gift card, $60-$150Winc is a California-based company that both creates its own wine and curates bottles from top vineyards. It sends three full bottles of wine based on their "Palate Profile," so they'll get something that suits their particular taste. Its community rating system also points them to new names to try. Read our full review of Winc here.  Goldbelly: their favorite food delivered to their door Goldbelly Gift a Goldbelly Subscription, $45-$749You can choose from subscriptions to their favorite food like pizza and BBQ, their favorite cities like NY and New Orleans, or let the editors at Goldbelly curate the month's best sellers for a surprise box. Read our full review of Goldbelly here. Trunk Club: An at-home take on personal styling Trunk Club Gift a Trunk Club Gift Card, choose your amountTrunk Club is Nordstrom's personal styling service. It helps to simplify the often overwhelming online shopping experiencing by curating subscription boxes full of clothing based on personal styles and budgets. They'll only keep what they want to buy, and they can send the rest back. The gift card can be applied to both Trunk Club and all of Nordstrom's site. Read our full review of Trunk Club's masculine styles here. Nest: Beautiful, fragrant candles Nest Nest Candle Subscription, $40/3 monthsNest is known for its unique and innovative fragrances like Black Tulip and Wisteria Blue. The brand's monthly candle subscription delivers a new, expertly chosen scent to the recipient every month, each of which comes in a sleek glass vessel with up to 60 hours of burn time.  BarkBox: toys and treats for their best animal friend Barkbox Gift a BarkBox subscription, from $35/monthThe best way to please a dog owner is to gift not to them, but to their dog. Bark Box's adorable toys and all-natural treats are the highlight of the month for more than two million dogs nationwide. Read our full review of BarkBox here. Date night in box: a custom-curated date night sent right to their door Date night in a box Gift a Date Night in a Box Subscription, from $41.99/monthIf you're shopping for a couple that you know, this will take the stress out of planning date night. Each box is themed and comes with activities, ambiance for the night, and of course, snacks or recipes to make.  Adult and Craft: all that you need to make your Pinterest project dreams come true Cratejoy Gift an Adult and Craft Subscription from Cratejoy, from $31/monthCrafting lovers, rejoice because this box provides you with all you need to make your Pinterest dream projects come true. The box provides you with enough supplies to create the projects which range anywhere from photo transfer to woodworking. Disney Plus: entertainment options for every mood and interest Disney Plus Gift a Disney+ subscription, $79.99/yearThe popular new streaming subscription features unlimited, ad-free access to thousands of movies and series (including original, exclusive programming), and the ability to stream on up to four devices simultaneously and add up to seven profiles. If you know someone who still hasn't subscribed, you can help them tune into all the Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars content they've been craving. Read our full review of Disney+ here. Birchbox: beauty and grooming samples tailored to their style and needs Birchbox Gift a Birchbox subscription, $45/3 monthsThe grooming, skincare, and beauty industries couldn't be more packed with products for all types of needs and concerns. Birchbox digs through the clutter for them and picks out five samples each month that they should use. At $15 a month, the value of the service is unparalleled. Read our full review of Birchbox here. Harry's: razors and accessories needed for a close and comfortable shave Harry's Gift a Harry's custom shave plan here, starting at $5 one time payment with a $15 refill every 5 monthsThe gift of a clean, smooth shave is more cherished than you might think. Harry's full line of shaving products work together seamlessly, and you can customize this combination of blades, creams, foaming gels, and post-shave balms to send to your recipient. Read our full review of Harry's here. HelloFresh: convenient, easy-to-cook, and delicious meal kits HelloFresh Gift a HelloFresh subscription, from $70HelloFresh is one of our top meal kit subscription choices because of its tasty dishes, creative features like "Dinner-to-Lunch" recipes, and accompanying wine club. There are plans and menus to suit all types of cooks and family sizes, from vegetarian couples to omnivore families of four. If HelloFresh doesn't look like it'll suit your recipient, check out the gift options from one of these services. Read our full review of HelloFresh here. Atlas Coffee Club: the ability to travel the world, one cup of coffee at a time Atlas Coffee Club Gift an Atlas Coffee Club subscription, from $50/3 monthsMore than one area of the globe boasts amazing coffee, and around-the-world subscription Atlas Coffee Club is out to prove that by sending coffee from a different region every month. Each order includes tailored brewing recommendations and a postcard with information about the country's coffee-growing methods so they'll fully appreciate the flavor and history of each cup. Read our full review of Atlas Coffee Club here. Book of the Month: the perfect gift for people who appreciate the feel of a physical book Book of the Month/Instagram Gift a Book of the Month subscription, $49.99/3 monthsThis national book club is still going strong after more than 90 years. Every month, the bookworm in your life can choose a hardcover from five new titles and settle into a story that, more often than not, goes on to gain national attention and win major literary awards. Read our full review of Book of the Month here. Cairn: outdoor products to get them prepared and excited to explore Cairn/Instagram Gift a Cairn subscription, from $34.99/monthA group of outdoor enthusiasts came together to start Cairn, a subscription box of up to six products to gear anyone up for hikes, camping, and other outdoor activities. Whether they are just starting a new outdoor hobby or have conquered trails across the country, they'll be inspired by the food, gear, and apparel in the box to stop wasting time and get outside. Read our full review of Cairn here. KitNipBox: toys and treats for their other best animal friend KitNipBox Gift a KitNipBox subscription, from $19.99/monthOf course, cats also deserve to be spoiled. The toys will entertain them for hours and the treats will keep their bellies full through lazy afternoon naps. KitNipBox supports more than 100 animal welfare organizations by donating a portion of proceeds and products every month. Read our full review of KitNipBox here. FabFitFun: the seasonal subscription box filled with the best full-sized products FabFitFun/Instagram Gift a FabFitFun gift card, $25-$300Curating eight to 10 full-sized, premium products across beauty, wellness, and fitness for only $49.99, FabFitFun sounds almost too good to be true. Members can customize their boxes and add on other products, enjoy exclusive offers and discounts from brand partners, and access workouts through FabFitFunTV. Read our full review of Fab Fit Fun here. KiwiCo: activity-filled boxes that make kids forget they're even learning Kiwi Co. Gift a Kiwi Crate subscription, $65/3 monthsThis kids' subscription is divided into eight different types of "crates" based on the age group. The Panda Crate (0-24 years old), for example, helps develop their imagination and fine motor skills; the Kiwi Crate (5-8 years old) blends crafts, science, and engineering into hands-on projects; and the Atlas Crate (6-11 years old) explores nature and art. Read our full review of Kiwi Co Panda Crate here. Stance: socks worn by NBA players, skateboarders, and musicians alike Stance/Instagram Gift a Stance subscription, $57/3 monthsAs a kid, no one was ever excited to receive socks, but it's a different story for adults — especially when the socks are as stylish and comfortable as Stance's. With celebrity investors like Will Smith, Dwayne Wade, Nas, and Jay-Z, Stance definitely has an aura of cool that translates into its socks. Read our full review of Stance here. Hint: delicious, healthy waters that kick their soda habit Hint/Facebook Gift the Hint Flavor of the Month Bundle Subscription, from $16.99/monthFans of this flavored water stock it in their pantries by the caseful. The calorie-, sugar-, and GMO-free water comes in refreshing flavors like watermelon and strawberry-kiwi, which they can rotate through with this drink subscription. Anyone who's bored with regular water but wants to stay hydrated and healthy will look forward to each month's delivery. Read our full review of Hint Water here. Causebox: products for the socially and environmentally conscious Julia Guerra/Insider Gift a Alltrue membership, $199.80/yearCausebox curates ethically made, vegan, and charitable products from the top socially conscious brands in beauty, fashion, wellness, home, and art. Each quarterly box has a retail value of more than $250 but only costs $49.95 and has the added benefit of doing good — for artisans, the environment, and your body. Read our full review of Alltrue here. The Sill: low-maintenance plants for budding green thumbs The Sill Gift The Sill's Plants for Beginners Subscription, $60/monthEven those with terrible histories of tending to plants can build a thriving garden with The Sill. Each month, the houseplant subscription delivers a hand-potted plant in a gorgeous earthenware planter in one of four colors of their choosing. Read our full review of The Sill here. Rent the Runway: designer clothing rentals for less Rent the Runway Gift a Rent the Runway membership, $69/monthRent the Runway's innovative model means they no longer have to waste money on clothes they'll wear once or twice. Another clothing subscription to consider is competing rental service Stitch Fix, which caters to personal styles and budgets. Read our full review of Rent the Runway here. Mouth: gourmet treats from makers you've never heard of Mouth Gift a Mouth subscription, from $47.75/monthGourmet PopTarts, single-origin chocolate, and unusual chips made in small batches by independent American makers fill the boxes from this elevated snack company. There are seven different subscriptions to choose from, including a Best of Mouth tasting sampler and the hyper-specific Pickles assortment. Vinyl Me, Please: exclusive vinyl records to build their collection Vinyl Me, Please/Instagram Gift a Vinyl Me, Please membership, $119/3 monthsAdding to their vinyl collection isn't difficult when they can choose one exclusive LP each month from a collection of Essentials, Classics, and Rap and Hip Hop. The three-month gift membership includes one bonus record, while the six- and 12-month ones include two bonus records.Read our full review of Vinyl Me, Please here. ArtSnacks: supplies for artists of all levels ArtSnacks Gift an ArtSnacks subscription, from $24/monthPart of the fun of being an artist is trying out new products and techniques. ArtSnacks' collection of four to five premium, limited-edition art products (brushes, pens, paint, paper) encourages artists to incorporate supplies and techniques they might not use otherwise. They can join in on the #artsnackschallenge by using only that month's products to create and share a work of art.  Goby: the first electric toothbrush they'll be excited to receive Goby/Instagram Gift a Goby gift card, $50-$100The gift of good oral care is both thoughtful and useful. The Goby electric toothbrush is vigorously thorough, with the ability to be switched between sensitive and standard modes. Choose the eye-catching monochrome or metallic style, and throw in the brush head subscription so they always have an effective brush head. Read our full review of Goby here. Next Big Idea Club: the best nonfiction books, as recommended by bestselling authors Next Big Idea Club/Facebook Gift a Next Big Idea Club Hardcover Book subscription, from $249/yearThe book selections from Next Big Idea Club are curated by some of the biggest names in business and psychology non-fiction. Your recipient will read only the books that really matter, receive course materials that delve deeper into the content, access exclusive interviews, and discuss learnings with fellow members. Read our full review of Next Big Idea here. Frank And Oak: stylish yet composed closet basics Frank & Oak/Instagram Gift a Frank And Oak Style Plan gift card, $25-$500Canadian clothing startup Frank And Oak offers Style Plans for both men and women who are looking to build the foundation of their closet with long-lasting, versatile basics. The box contains items like simple crew necks and button-downs they can't go wrong with, plus they're all ethically sourced and sustainably made. Read our full review of Frank and Oak here. Carnivore Club: cured meats to snack on Carnivore Club/Instagram Gift a Carnivore Club gift card, $25-$100Hopefully they'll invite you to the picnic after they receive a box of delicious, handcrafted cured meats from Carnivore Club. The local salami, prosciutto, pancetta, and other cured meats taste far better than the kind they get from the grocery store. The price ranges from $29.99 per box, and each contains four to six meats.  The Bouqs Co.: flower bouquets every week or every month, just because Bouqs Co. Gift a Bouqs Co. subscription, $40-$65/monthWe would never turn down a regular shipment of beautiful flowers to adorn our desks or tabletops. With a subscription, you can save 30% on bouquets, enjoy free delivery, and set customizable dates for your lucky recipient.  Daily Harvest: the easiest way to eat and drink healthy Daily Harvest Gift a Daily Harvest gift card, $50-$200From breakfast to dinner, Daily Harvest is the purveyor of all things healthy. Its pre-portioned smoothies, harvest bowls, lattes, soups, parfaits, and overnight oats are far from rabbit food and will actually fill them up with the nutrients to attack the day. Read our full review of Daily Harvest here. Bokksu: authentic snacks from Japanese makers Bokksu Gift a Bokksu subscription, from $39.95/monthExperience the creative snack culture of Japan through Bokksu, the subscription where they won't know which one to tear open first. Think: Kit Kat flavors they can't find in the US, shiitake mushroom chips, kabocha bread, and citrus shortbread cookies. The themed boxes contain 20 to 24 snacks and a tea pairing. Read our full review of Bokksu Club here. Universal Yums: snacks from a different country each month Universal Yums Gift a Universal Yums subscription, from $25/monthAnother delicious snack box option from Universal Yums, this one spotlights treats from a different country each month. Each box contains at 10-12 unique snacks, plus a guidebook with trivia and games from the country. Past boxes have featured snacks from Spain, Greece, Indonesia, and Israel. Read our full review of Universal Yums here. Facetory: the best Korean sheet masks Facetory/Facebook Gift a Facetory subscription, from $19.90/monthSoothing sheet masks are essential to an at-home spa day. Facetory sends high-quality Korean sheet masks for half their retail price. Made from unique ingredients like banana milk, yogurt, marine collagen, and 24 karat gold extract, they address a range of skin concerns and simply feel great on their skin. Read our full review of Facetory here. Breo Box: high-end and boutique brand name products Breo Box/Facebook Gift a Breo Box subscription, from $159/seasonPast boxes from Breo Box have included TRX fitness accessories, smart home devices and smartwatches, and Bluetooth headphones. The high-end products aren't geared toward any gender — as long as they appreciate quality everyday essentials, fitness and health gear, and tech, they'll love Breo Box. Read our full review of Breo Box here. Stitch Fix: an inclusive and personalized styling experience Stich Fix Gift a Stitch Fix gift card, $20-$1,000Stitch Fix offers the most styling options for different ages and body types: men, women, kids, plus size, maternity, and petite. The average price for men's and women's items is $55, but they can set their own budget to receive clothes they're comfortable with, and you can give a gift card in amounts up to $1,000. Read our full review of Stitch Fix here. Tippsy: premium Japanese sake from top breweries Tippsy Gift a Tippsy subscription, from $93/boxWhile you have plenty of wine clubs to choose from, other types of alcohol are quietly waiting in the background for their moment to shine. Sake is one example — it's harder and more expensive to find, and it lacks the mainstream education afforded to beer and wine. Tippsy sources its sake directly from the best Japanese breweries for a more affordable price and teaches your recipient everything they need to know to become a sake expert. Read our full review of Tippsy here. Candy Club: curated treats to satisfy a sweet tooth Candy Club Gift a Candy Club subscription, $29.99/monthGiftees with a hankering for something sweet will appreciate receiving a Fun Box with six 6-ounce candy cups. The brand partners with smaller artisans as well as famed candy shops for a curated selection of delicious treats every month based on a personalized flavor profile.  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 10th, 2021

Technicolor: Third Quarter 2021 Results

PRESS RELEASE Technicolor: Third Quarter 2021 Results Significant demand for original content and high-performance broadband products but continuing supply constraints resulting from the pandemic Technicolor on track to meet its 2021 and 2022 guidance Paris (France), November 04, 2021 – Technicolor (PARIS:TCH, OTCQX:TCLRY) is today announcing its results for the third quarter of 2021. Richard Moat, Chief Executive Officer of Technicolor, stated: "Technicolor benefited from strong and growing demand across all activities during the third quarter of 2021. Results are robust, and demonstrate significant profitability improvement, reflecting our disciplined operational focus. Demand for creative VFX artistry and technology continues to improve across media and entertainment, boosted by the increasing desire for original content. Live action production is ramping up as expected, with almost all of our 2021 Visual Effects and Animation pipeline committed, and more than 75% of our 2022 pipeline. Revenue and profitability in DVD Services was ahead of expectations, driven by higher-than-anticipated strength in back catalog, and ongoing growth in supply chain activity. In Connected Home, despite very strong demand in North America and in Eurasia, revenue has been impacted by component shortages, leading to sales being pushed into 2022. However, our customers are now committing on volumes and have agreed on pass through contracts to secure components supply. Based on business activity for the first nine months and the continued successful optimization of its businesses, the Group is confirming its outlook for 2021 and 2022." Technicolor delivered a positive third quarter 2021, and a significant improvement in profitability, despite supply constraint challenges affecting both Connecting Home and Technicolor Creative Studios. For the first nine months of the year, Technicolor reported: Revenues of €2,050 million, a (4.4)% decrease at constant exchange rate, negatively impacted by key component shortages, which prevented the business from fully servicing its growing demand and despite a strong recovery in Visual Effects and Animation; Adjusted EBITDA of €176 million, up 71.3% at constant rate, reflecting operational and financial improvements, mainly in Technicolor Creative Studios; Adjusted EBITA of €46 million, representing a robust €111 million year-on-year improvement at current exchange rate; Free cash flow (before financial results and tax) from continuing operations of €(206) million, representing a €72 million year-on-year improvement at current exchange rate. All Technicolor activities are benefiting from sustained market demand Technicolor Creative Studios has an almost full committed revenue pipeline for Film & Episodic Visual Effects and Animation & Games for the remainder of 2021. The division continued to be awarded multiple new projects and, as a result, around 75% of its 2022 pipeline is also committed. Adjusted EBITDA and Adjusted EBITA are also benefiting from the positive impact of operating efficiencies. Connected Home revenues were down (13.1)% year-on-year at constant exchange rate as a result of unprecedented logistics challenges and key component shortages, which have slowed delivery capacity. At the same time, there has been very strong worldwide market demand, with customers committing on volumes until the end of 2022 and agreeing on pass through contracts to secure component supply. This situation is expected to continue well into 2022. DVD Services revenues are driven by continued higher than expected back catalog sales and ongoing growth in non-disc related supply chain activity. Profitability improvement has benefited from the acceleration of cost saving actions, and higher activity in freight and logistics despite continued labor and material cost pressures. The Group is on track to achieve the c. €115 million cost savings planned for calendar year 2021, with €75 million cost savings realized in the first 9 months. The target of delivering a cumulative €325 million in savings by the end of 2022 is confirmed. Based on business activity for the first 9 months, the Group is reiterating the outlook presented in its FY 2020 results press release issued on March 11, 2021. Third quarter 2021 results and forward outlook – key highlights   Third Quarter YTD September     In € million  2021  2020  Atcurrentrate  Atconstantrate  2021  2020  Atcurrentrate  Atconstantrate      Revenues from continuing operations 690 798 (13.4)% (14.6)% 2,050 2,230 (8.1)% (4.4)%   Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations 76 53 +42.8% +41.4% 176 106 +66.6% +71.3%   As a % of revenues 11.0% 6.7%     8.6% 4.7%       Adjusted EBITA from continuing operations 31 2 na na 46 (65) na na   Free Cash Flow from continuing before Tax & Financial 3 (35) na na (206) (278) +26.0% +22.1%   End of September 2021 year-to-date Group key indicators for continuing operations: Revenues of €2,050 million were down (4.4)% at constant rate compared to the prior year, reflecting: A strong performance in Technicolor Creative Studios, up c.18% at constant rate, driven by (i) demand for VFX technology, and (ii) a continued strong performance in Advertising and Animation & Games; A (13)% decrease in Connected Home sales mainly due to supply constraints and transportation delays, but revenue growth in DVD Services. Adjusted EBITDA of €176 million was up 71.3% at constant rate. This reflects operational improvements particularly in Technicolor Creative Studios and DVD Services. The Adjusted EBITDA margin for the Group expanded from 4.7% to 8.6%, with Technicolor Creative Studios and DVD Services reporting a significant margin improvement compared to end of September 2020 year-to-date. Adjusted EBITA of €46 million represents a €111 million year-on-year improvement at current rate. This resulted from the EBITDA increase and the positive impact of efficiency measures, in particular lower D&A, following lower equipment spend for Technicolor Creative Studios and lower IP depreciation for DVD Services. Restructuring costs amounted to €(31) million at current rate, including €(15) million year-to-date in DVD Services driven by footprint rationalization. The change in working capital of €(240) million reflects Connected Home payment terms normalization that occurred in first half 2021. The key component shortage has, however, created a risk of unfinished goods inventory build-up that the group is addressing through active cooperation with its clients and suppliers. Free cash flow1 (before financial results and tax) from continuing operations of €(206) million represents a €72 million year-on-year improvement at current rate, driven mainly by profitability improvement in Technicolor Creative Studios, and the ongoing implementation of our cost transformation program. Free cash flow1 in the third quarter alone was €3m, representing a €38m improvement at current rate compared to third quarter 2020's free cash flow of €(35) million. Net debt at nominal value amounts to €1,258 million, and IFRS net debt amounts to €1,183 million. The difference mainly relates to the mark-to-market debt valuation, and will be reversed through non-cash interest charges over the life of the debt. Outlook Demand for Technicolor's products and services, in particular Connected Home broadband boxes and Technicolor Creative Studios VFX technology, is expected to continue to grow significantly throughout the remainder of the year and into 2022. Connected Home will continue to be impacted by key component delivery and pricing challenges in the fourth quarter and in 2022. Nonetheless, efficiency measures, progressive improvements in delivery and constant discussions with both suppliers and customers should help compensate these negative factors. After achieving €171 million of cost savings in 2020, the Group will continue to drive efficiency, and is maintaining its target of a total of €325 million in run rate cost savings by the end of 2022, with €115 million coming in 2021. Technicolor confirms its operating guidance for Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted EBITA and FCF in 2021 and 2022. As communicated in the first quarter results, 2021 guidance and updated 2022 guidance are as follows: In 2021: Revenues from continuing operations broadly stable versus 2020; Adjusted EBITDA of around €270 million; Adjusted EBITA of around €60 million; Continuing FCF before financial results and tax at around breakeven; Net debt to Adjusted EBITDA covenant ratio below 4x level at year end. In 2022: Adjusted EBITDA of €385 million; Adjusted EBITA of €180 million; Continuing FCF before financial results and tax at around €230 million.  Continuing Operations – post IFRS 16         € million, FYE Dec post IFRS-16   2020    2021e 2022e        Adjusted EBITDA from continuing operations 167  270  385   Adjusted EBITA from continuing operations  (56)   60  180    Continuing FCF before financial results and tax  (124)   c.0 230    The 2021 and 2022 objectives are calculated assuming constant exchange rates. In 2022, the cumulative impact of foreign exchange fluctuations and change in Group perimeter as a result of the sale of Post Production will be €(40) million on Adjusted EBITDA and €(23) million on Adjusted EBITA. As of the end of the third quarter 2021, IFRS16 impacts Technicolor's KPIs as follows: Adjusted EBITDA improved by €38 million and decreased by €15 million vs. the impact in the first 9 months of 2020; Adjusted EBITA improved by €10 million and increased by €2 million vs. the impact in the first 9 months of 2020; FCF before financial results and tax improved by €50 million, but decreased by €(7) million vs. the impact in the first 9 months of 2020; Capital leases (principal repayment and interest) cash out totaled c. €10 million and decreased by €11 million vs. the impact in the first 9 months of 2020. Segment Review – Third quarter 2021 Results Highlights   Third Quarter Change QoQ YTD September Change YoY Technicolor Creative Studios* 2021  2020  At current rate  At constant rate  2021  2020  At current rate  At constant rate  In € million Revenues 157 111 +41.2% +37.9% 452 390 +15.9% +17.9% Adj. EBITDA 33 (2) na na 74 0 na na As a % of revenues +21.3% (1.5)%     +16.4% +0.1%     Adj. EBITA 16 (24) na na 22 (75) na na As a % of revenues +10.1% (21.1)%     +4.8% (19.2)%     (*) including Post Production Technicolor Creative Studios revenues amounted to €157 million in the third quarter of 2021, up 37.9% at constant rate and 41.2% at current rate quarter-on-quarter. The division is benefiting from a surge in demand for original content in the Film & Episodic VFX and Animation & Games service lines, combined with an outstanding performance from the Advertising service line. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to €33 million, up €35 million quarter-on-quarter at constant rate, and Adjusted EBITA was €16 million, up €40 million year-on-year, as a result of higher margin volume growth in conjunction with permanent cost reduction measures. Business Highlights Film & Episodic Visual Effects: Revenues in the third quarter more than doubled year-on-year, as the business continued to recover from pandemic-related impacts. During the quarter, VFX teams worked on over 20 theatrical films, including The Lion King prequel (Disney), The Little Mermaid (Disney), Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City (Constantin Film / Sony), Sonic the Hedgehog 2 (Paramount), and Transformers: Rise of the Beasts (Paramount); and Over 35 Episodic and/or Streaming projects, including Chip 'n' Dale: Rescue Rangers (Disney+), Foundation (Skydance/Apple TV+), Hawkeye (Marvel/Disney+) Vikings: Valhalla (MGM/Netflix), and The Wheel of Time (Amazon/Sony). In September, MPC and Mikros announced an alliance of their episodic and film divisions. Mikros, a French company with over 35 years in the VFX industry, has been a Technicolor brand since 2015. The combined studios will operate under the MPC Episodic brand and will continue to service the French entertainment industry. After the end of the quarter, MPC Film received an HPA Award nomination for Outstanding Visual Effects - Theatrical Feature for its work on Legendary's Godzilla vs. Kong. Advertising: Double-digit growth as momentum continues to build, particularly with repeat direct-to-brand business with major advertisers. During the third quarter, Technicolor's Advertising businesses delivered approximately 660 commercials, while winning several prestigious industry awards such as: Seven Creative Circle Awards, including The Mill winning Gold for Most Creative Post Production Company; Four Kinsale Shark Awards, including MPC taking Gold for Best CGI/Visual Effects for its contribution to Burberry ‘Festive'; and MPC winning Gold for VFX for their work on Vasen ‘Professional Makes Greatness' at Shots Awards Asia Pacific. Notable projects delivered in the quarter include LEGO's latest global ‘Rebuild the World' campaign (MPC), Nike's latest ‘Play New' campaign featuring Megan The Stallion (The Mill), and Pentakill: Lost Chapter: An Interactive Album Experience - a metaverse concert for Riot Games (The Mill). Technicolor Creative Studios announced in September the launch of a global network of Creative Hubs, hosting The Mill and MPC brands in co-located studios, beginning in London and New York City. In conjunction with this announcement, Technicolor Creative Studioshave appointed Josh Mandel and Mark Benson, CEOs of The Mill and MPC respectively, to co-lead the Advertising offering globally. Animation & Games: Significant double-digit growth year-on-year driven by strong volume across all business units. Feature: Mikros is in production on Paramount's The Tiger's Apprentice and GCI Film's Ozi, while beginning to ramp-up production on four additional feature films. Episodic: During the quarter, Mikros completed work on Disney Junior's brand-new Halloween special, Mickey's Tale of Two Witches, and continues to work on multiple episodic series, including ALVINNN!!! and the Chipmunks (M6), The Croods: Family Tree (DreamWorks/Hulu/Peacock), Gus – the Itsy Bitsy Knight (TF1), Kamp Koral: SpongeBob's Under Years (Nickelodeon/Paramount+), Mickey Mouse Funhouse (Disney), Mira, Royal Detective (Wild Canary/Disney), Rugrats (Nickelodeon/Paramount+) and Star Trek: Prodigy (Nickelodeon/Paramount+). Games: Technicolor Games contributed to recent AAA releases like NBA 2K22 (2K), FIFA 22 (EA), and NHL 22 (EA). In October, the Division announced the appointment of Jeaneane Falkler as the President of Technicolor Games, a newly created position to lead growth in the games sector. Covid-19 situation update Abiding by evolving local and national government regulations and in consultation with local business leadership, Technicolor Creative Studios continues to adjust capacity limits, on-premise protocols, and remote work policies and support on a local basis to ensure the safety of our talent, clients and others. The pandemic continues to affect both immigration and travel, negatively impacting the industry's ability to attract talent to locations where the demand for talent exceeds local supply. Furthermore, immigration policy changes in Canada and in the U.K. & Europe as a result of Brexit are also having an adverse impact on the acquisition of talent. To support its strong backlog, Technicolor Creative Studios continues to invest in its Academies across multiple locations as a strategy to generate new talent pipelines into the business as well as the industry as a whole. ###   Third Quarter Change QoQ YTD September Change YoY Connected Home 2021  2020  At current rate  At constant rate  2021  2020  At current rate  At constant rate  In € million Revenues 330 488 (32.4)% (33.9)% 1,100 1,327 (17.1)% (13.1)% Adj. EBITDA 17 31 (45.5)% (50.9)% 73 85 (13.6)% (11.0)% As a % of revenues +5.1% +6.3%     +6.7% +6.4%     Adj. EBITA 1 15 (90.7)% na 31 35 (12.9)% (13.0)% As a % of revenues +0.4% +3.0%     +2.8% +2.7%     Connected Home revenues totaled €330 million in the third quarter 2021, down c. 34% quarter-on-quarter at constant rate. However, the worldwide semiconductor/key component crisis, combined with supply chain dislocation, has further deteriorated during the third quarter, creating renewed challenges for the Connected Home business: Continued difficulties in obtaining components, delaying production to final customers; Challenges with logistics from Asia, extending delivery times to our customers; Cost increases across multiple categories of components and logistics. The division has intensified its collaboration with clients and suppliers to maximize deliveries, and to mitigate potential profitability and working capital impacts. New wins and product launches are driven by better user experience in the home with Wi-Fi 6, while innovation is coming with new technologies in the field of sound and far-field voice. Public announcements for the quarter were: The next-generation Wi-Fi 6-enabled Super Wi-Fi boosters with Alexa built-in as part of the latest Vodafone UK Pro Broadband offering; The deployment of SKY Connect, a next generation set-top box (STB) based on Android TV and integrating Google Assistant far-field voice technology for Sky Brazil; The deployment of next-generation Android TV set-top boxes for TIM, enabling Italian consumers to access premium broadcast and OTT Services; The U+tv Soundbar Black, a high-end, multi-service home-entertainment platform developed in partnership with HARMAN's Embedded Audio group and LGU Plus, with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos sound experience. Adjusted EBITDA amounted to €17 million in the third quarter 2021, or 5.1% of revenue, down €(16) million at constant rate due the sales shortfall and higher component prices, partially offset by reductions in OPEX. Year-to-date Adjusted EBITDA was €73 million, down €(9) million. Adjusted EBITA in the third quarter of €1 million decreased by €(15) million compared to the prior year at constant rate. Business highlights Americas North America: Revenues were down due to supply constraints and transportation delays despite continued increased demand from cable operators. The division aims to continue to secure new wins and grow share in Tier II and Tier III customer groups in both Broadband and Android TV. The latter has been a strong growth area during 2021. Latin America: Demand is up across the region due to key wins in Wifi 6 on both DOCSIS and Fiber, but revenues were down in Q3 due to global supply constraints. Eurasia Europe, Middle East & Africa: DOCSIS and Fiber demand and supply remained strong whilst sales of legacy technologies like DSL reduced sequentially. Video demand remained stable whilst highly constrained by IC components supply. DOCSIS 3.1. revenues continued growing strongly in the region; among new projects launched there was the Wi-Fi 6 DOCSIS product with Vodafone. Asia Pacific: Demand remained strong for BB and Video, though highly constrained by SOCs and ICs. The division continues to focus on selective investments in key customers, platform-based products and partnerships optimizing fixed costs that will lead to improved margins over the year.  Revenue Breakdown for Connected Home   Third Quarter YTD September In € million 2021 2020 % Change* 2021 2020 % Change* Total revenues 330 488 (33.9)% 1,100 1,327 (13.1)% By region Americas: 212 327 (36.9)% 729 902 (15.3)%   -        North America 185 282 (36.2)% 633 745 (11.5)%   -        Latin America 27 45 (41.0)% 96 157 (33.2)%     Eurasia: 118 161 (27.8)% 371 425 (8.2)% -        Europe, Middle East and Africa 63 92 (33.2)% 218 246 (6.3)% -        Asia-Pacific 55 69 (20.6)% 153 179 (11.0)% By product Video 137 187 (28.2)% 415 505 (14.0)%   Broadband 193 302 (37.4)% 685 822 (12.5)% (*) Change at constant rate ###   Third Quarter Change QoQ YTD September Change YoY DVD Services 2021  2020  At current rate  At constant rate  2021  2020  At current rate  At constant rate  In € million Revenues 198 193 +2.5% +3.6% 481 495 (2.9)% +1.2% Adj. EBITDA 29.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaNov 4th, 2021

How EDP Renewables North America became examples of innovation in Houston, named a Top Workplace

EDP Renewables North America (EDPR NA), a global leader in renewables and the fourth-largest wind energy producer in the U.S., has been named to the Top Workplaces list five distinct times. The awards program recognizes the most sought-out businesses from more than 14,000 employers in the Houston region. The list is based solely on employee feedback gathered through a third-party survey and measures 15 drivers of engaged cultures critical to any company’s success, including organizational health,….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsNov 1st, 2021

​​Take a look inside Deutsche Bank"s brand-new NYC office - trading floors with sweeping Central Park views and amenities like a pool table and a bar

Deutsche Bank employees were called back to the office on September 27. The bank plans to bring in 500 people a week to its new Manhattan headquarters until spring. Deutsche Bank's office next to Columbus Circle features a terrace that overlooks Central Park. Crystal Cox/Insider Deutsche Bank opened its new NYC office in September and started calling people back to the office. The space has three trading floors with park views, each of which can hold more than 500 traders. By spring, all 5,000 NYC staffers will relocate to Deutsche Bank Center, formerly home to CNN. Deutsche Bank just opened a US headquarters next to New York City's Columbus Circle. That means staffers returning to the office - some for the first time since the pandemic started - are being welcomed back by a slew of new amenities, from a pool table to panoramic views of Central Park. Here's a sneak peek of Insider's exclusive tour of the space, formerly known as the Time Warner Center. Deutsche Bank's new lobby on 58th Street in midtown Manhattan. Crystal Cox/Insider Deutsche Bank had been downtown at 60 Wall St. since 2001 after its previous office was damaged during the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The bank announced plans to move uptown in May 2018.The 1 million-square-foot space was under construction during much of the pandemic as most of the bank's NYC staff worked remotely.The building, formerly known as the Time Warner Center, was renamed Deutsche Bank Center in May. Deutsche Bank's new offices were previously home to the cable network CNN, which relocated to Hudson Yards in 2019. Deutsche Bank's office is now across from Columbus Circle in the same building as Jazz at Lincoln Center. The 10th-floor common area has floor-to-ceiling windows that offer a sweeping view of Central Park. A view of Central Park and Columbus Circle from the 10th floor. Crystal Cox/Insider Deutsche Bank occupies 22 floors across Deutsche Bank Center's two towers. The building is also home to a mall, a Whole Foods, the Mandarin Oriental hotel, Jazz at Lincoln Center, and condominiums in both towers.The first employees started coming to the office on September 27, and there are about 1,000 employees regularly commuting to work. By the middle of the first quarter of 2022, all 5,000 New York employees will relocate to Deutsche Bank Center. Deutsche Bank has built three trading floors, two of which can each hold 540 traders, and one of which can house more than 500 traders. One of the trading floors was Anderson Cooper's television studio. One of Deutsche Bank's three new trading floors. Crystal Cox/Insider Deutsche Bank now has three trading floors spread across five stories. Two of Deutsche Bank's trading floors are two stories tall because they were once home to CNN's television studios for stars like Cooper.The bank kept the layout — including the mezzanine that once housed CNN executive offices overlooking the studios — but otherwise retrofitted the space with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking Central Park. It's an upgrade from Deutsche Bank traders' previous digs in the basement of 60 Wall St. Each trading desk has been outfitted with state-of-the-art equipment. And, yes, the plants are real. The west side of this trading floor is decorated with plants meant to mirror Central Park, which is just steps away. Crystal Cox/Insider Each trading desk has a 43-inch monitor and other high-end technology. Nearby are conference rooms, private offices, a coffee bar, a kitchen, grab-and-go snack areas, lactation rooms, and collaborative-work areas.The trading floors are still under construction, so Deutsche Bank's traders continue to work out of 60 Wall St. The bank's investment-banking division, which includes the traders, was the only Deutsche Bank unit to return to the firm's old offices at the beginning of September.There's not an official date for when the traders will move into the new office.  Offices on the trading floor are designed for both in-person and hybrid work. A private office on one of Deutsche Bank's trading floors. Crystal Cox/Insider Each trading-floor office has a desk, a computer, and a phone for solo work. But the spaces are modular and can be rearranged as conference rooms for small meetings. The computer monitors swing back to provide remote employees a clear view of everyone in the office, and the layout of the room helps everyone attending in-person meetings see the remote employees on-screen.The offices were designed with hybrid work — and meetings — in mind and are meant to be an equalizer for employees working from home. Deutsche Bank's office was designed with a lot of common areas to promote collaborative work. There are also plenty of coffee and snack stations to help keep energy levels up. An espresso bar on one of the trading floor's mezzanines. Crystal Cox/Insider In addition to this refill station on one of Deutsche Bank's trading floors, the ninth and 10th floors house the bank's main reception area, as well as many common spaces, including a staff lounge, a cafeteria, an IT hub, and a seminar room.There's also a coffee bar right next to the elevator on the 10th floor where employees can grab a brew from Joe Coffee Co., a local roaster in New York, on their way into work each morning.The space was designed by the architecture firm Gensler. The Deutsche Bank Center also features an on-site health center that handles COVID-19 testing and general health services, as well as a multifaith room. In addition to more casual coworking spaces, the office includes some fancier meeting areas for client-facing events and award presentations. A conference table on the 10th floor. Crystal Cox/Insider Deutsche Bank designed its office to be a place staff enjoy coming to after a year and a half of remote work. As such, the space has plenty of casual meeting areas, workspaces, and common rooms meant to bring people together and out of their own offices.There are also traditional conference rooms, a large seminar and event room, and more formal gathering areas to host clients and present firm awards. A ninth-floor terrace creates additional workstations against the backdrop of Central Park. The black building in the background is the Trump International Hotel & Tower New York. Deutsche Bank's ninth-floor terrace overlooks Central Park and the skyline of Manhattan's Upper East Side. Crystal Cox/Insider Gensler also worked with Deutsche Bank on the ninth-floor terrace, along with architects from NBW, which worked with the building's landlord. The terrace spans the building's two towers and can hold up to 600 people. The abundant outdoor space allows staff to catch some rays while eating lunch or working with their laptops. The picnic tables will stay on Deutsche Bank's terrace year-round. Crystal Cox/Insider Deutsche Bank will rotate furniture like picnic tables, cushioned chairs, and tables as the seasons change. The terrace will stay open year-round so staff can work or take a break outside without leaving the building. Right near the terrace insider is the staff lounge, which includes amenities like this bar. The bar in Deutsche Bank's staff lounge. Crystal Cox/Insider The bank's staff lounge is designed for employees to enjoy themselves. It has round tables and chairs for informal meetings, as well as a bar and games.Executives are encouraged to bring their meals to the staff lounge and mingle with junior bankers and other employees. Christiana Riley, the CEO of Deutsche Bank Americas, recently held a "coffee and croissants" chat in the space to get to know some employees in an informal setting. In what appears to be a page taken from Silicon Valley's playbook, there's also a pool table and table-tennis setup overlooking the terrace and Central Park. The pool table is just one of many games available in the staff lounge. Crystal Cox/Insider The pool table is new, but the table-tennis setup was popular at 60 Wall St. and moved uptown. Deutsche Bank's innovation-lab team, which works with fintechs to develop the bank's digital-banking strategy, has become known around the new office for taking advantage of the pool table during breaks. In the cafeteria, staffers can pay for their meals on a touch screen after grabbing what they need from multiple food stations. Deutsche Bank staff grab their food from the market and then pay via the kiosk before heading back to work. Crystal Cox/Insider Deutsche Bank's cafeteria is set up like a market. Employees can grab food from multiple stations and then pay at one of the kiosks set up at the front of the room. There's a deli station to build sandwiches, a chef's table featuring a rotating hot dish, a pizza bar, and two grab-and-go stations with salads and other food. In the corner of the cafeteria, a wood-fired pizza oven can dish out hot meals to hungry bankers quickly. The wood-fired oven is part of Deutsche Bank's pizza bar. Crystal Cox/Insider After picking up a meal, staffers can eat either in the big common room or at high-top tables around the cafeteria in front of floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook Central Park and midtown Manhattan. The bank worked with an in-house curator to display pieces of art from Deutsche Bank's collection throughout the office. "Self Portrait as my father Brian Wearing" by Gillian Wearing is displayed near the entrance of Deutsche Bank's staff lounge. Crystal Cox/Insider Deutsche Bank has one of the largest corporate art collections, and the firm's international art curator, Mary Findlay, worked with the architects to create spaces around the building that best fit each piece of art.Many of the pieces in Deutsche Bank's collection are from up-and-coming artists like Idris Khan and Annie Morris, who got engaged in Columbus Circle and have art displayed in the lobby, which was designed by the architecture firm SOM in coordination with the building's landlord.Instead of traditional placards, there are QR codes on the side of each art piece for viewers to scan with their smartphones and learn more about the collection. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 21st, 2021

Enphase (ENPH) Launches Battery Storage Systems in Belgium

Enphase Energy (ENPH) strengthens its presence in Europe by launching Encharge Battery Storage Systems in Belgium. Enphase Energy, Inc. ENPH recently announced the launch of its Encharge battery storage systems in Belgium, thus further expanding its footprint in the European residential solar market. Prior to the current move, the company had made successful launches of IQ 7 in Belgium and Netherlands in 2020 in an effort to capitalize on the growing European solar market. Apart from the IQ7 family of microinverters, Encharge battery storage system comes withan all-in-one solution that aids in optimizing energy usage while reducing energy bills for customers, thereby making energy monitoring and maintenance easy.Significance of Encharge Battery Storage SystemThe Encharge battery storage system offers storage configurations ranging from 3.5 kilowatt-hour (kWh) to an aggregate 42 kWh, and the ability to upgrade through the lifetime of the system. The company delivers a safe solar-plus-storage solution designed to not expose installers or homeowners to high-voltage DC. The batteries feature Lithium Iron Phosphate (LFP) battery chemistry, which provides a long cycle life and safe operation through excellent thermal stability. The company’s Enphase Envoy communications gateway connects Enphase systems to the Enphase Enlighten mobile app, which aids in providing homeowners insights into their system. Further, the Encharge batteries are backed by a 10-year warranty with the provision of over-the-air software upgrades. Such features and provision for upgrades of software are expected to boost Enphase Energy’s demand for Encharge batteries going forward, thereby bolstering its top-line prospects.Enphase Energy’s Growth Prospects in BelgiumThe solar market in Belgium has been gaining tremendous momentum primarily attributable to the region’s decarbonization commitments. Evidently, according to a report of SolarPower Europe, 2020 turned out to be the strongest year for Belgium in terms of solar capacity installation. The region recorded a solar capacity addition of 1Gigawatt (GW) in 2020. Looking ahead, per a report from Belgian National Energy and Climate Plan (NECP), Belgium is projected to have a total solar capacity of 8 GW by 2030. No doubt, such targets reflect ample growth opportunities for prominent solar battery makers like Enphase Energy, as storage batteries constitute an integral part of the solar market. Hence, the company’s latest move is a prudent one.Global Boom in Battery Storage Market The growing importance of a carbon-neutral environment has been boosting the solar market’s prospects of late. In this context, the battery storage system has been gaining significant popularity as it is directly correlated with the penetration of renewable energy and offers low cost features. Case in point, per a report from Markets and Markets firm, the battery storage system market is projected to reach $12.1 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 32.8%. Considering the boom in the battery solar market, other battery storage makers like SolarEdge Technologies SEDG, SunRun RUN and Canadian Solar CSIQ have also started to foray into the lucrative battery solar market. SolarEdge Techlogies’s StorEdge battery storage system helps meet energy demands with less or cheaper electricity. SunRun’s Brightbox solar battery storage system comes with top-notch innovation in lithium-ion battery technology. Canadian Solar is developing one of the largest battery storage project pipelines in the world. As reported in August 2021, the company has 3 megawatt-hour (MWh) in operation, 1.5 gigawatt-hour (GWh) under construction, 0.8 GWh in backlog and 17 GWh in early/mid stage.Price MovementIn the past one year, shares of Enphase Energy have gained 41.5%, compared with the industry’s growth of 3.8%. Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankEnphase Energy currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Zacks' Top Picks to Cash in on Artificial Intelligence In 2021, this world-changing technology is projected to generate $327.5 billion in revenue. Now Shark Tank star and billionaire investor Mark Cuban says AI will create "the world's first trillionaires." Zacks' urgent special report reveals 3 AI picks investors need to know about today.See 3 Artificial Intelligence Stocks With Extreme Upside Potential>>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Canadian Solar Inc. (CSIQ): Free Stock Analysis Report Enphase Energy, Inc. (ENPH): Free Stock Analysis Report SolarEdge Technologies, Inc. (SEDG): Free Stock Analysis Report Sunrun Inc. (RUN): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 19th, 2021

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown

Futures Fade Rally With Congress Set To Avert Government Shutdown US equity futures faded an overnight rally on the last day of September as lingering global-growth risks underscored by China's official manufacturing PMI contracted for the first time since Feb 2020 as widely expected offset a debt-ceiling deal in Washington and central-bank assurances about transitory inflation. The deal to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from the minds of investors, amid China risks and concerns over Federal Reserve tapering. Comments from Fed Chair Powell and ECB head Christine Lagarde about inflation being transitory rather than permanent also helped sentiment, even if nobody actually believes them any more.In China, authorities told bankers to help local governments support the property market and homebuyers, signaling concern at the economic fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande As of 7:15am ET, S&P futures were up 18 points ot 0.44%, trimming an earlier gain of 0.9%. Dow eminis were up 135 or 0.4% and Nasdaq futs rose 0.43%. 10Y TSY yields were higher, rising as high as 1.54% and last seen at 1.5289%; the US Dollar erased earlier losses and was unchanged. All the three major indexes are set for a monthly drop, with the benchmark S&P 500 on track to break its seven-month winning streak as worries about persistent inflation, the fallout from China Evergrande’s potential default and political wrangling over the debt ceiling rattled sentiment. The index was, however, on course to mark its sixth straight quarterly gain, albeit its smallest, since March 2020’s drop. The rate-sensitive FAANG stocks have lost about $415 billion in value this month after the Federal Reserve’s hawkish shift on monetary policy sparked a rally in Treasury yields and prompted investors to move into energy, banks and small-cap sectors that stand to benefit the most from an economic revival. Among individual stocks, oil-and-gas companies APA Corp. and Devon Energy Corp. led premarket gains among S&P 500 members. Virgin Galactic shares surged 9.7% in premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave the company a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space. Perrigo climbed 14% after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland.  U.S.-listed Macau casino operators may get a boost Thursday after Macau Chief Executive Ho Iat Seng said the region will strive to resume quarantine-free travel to Zhuhai by Oct. 1, the start of the Golden Week holiday, if the Covid-19 situation in Macau is stable. Here are some of the other biggest U.S. movers today: Retail investor favorites Farmmi (FAMI US) and Camber Energy (CEI US) both rise in U.S. premarket trading, continuing their strong recent runs on high volumes Virgin Galactic (SPCE US) shares rise 8.9% in U.S. premarket trading after the U.S. aviation regulator gave co. a green-light to resume flights to the brink of space Perrigo (PRGO US) rises 15% in U.S. premarket trading after reporting a settlement in a tax dispute with Ireland. The stock was raised to buy from hold at Jefferies over the “very favorable” resolution Landec (LNDC US) shares fell 17% in Wednesday postmarket trading after fiscal 1Q revenue and adjusted loss per share miss consensus estimates Affimed (AFMD US) rises 4.3% in Wednesday postmarket trading after Stifel analyst Bradley Canino initiates at a buy with a $12 price target, implying the stock may more than double over the next year Herman Miller (MLHR US) up ~2.8% in Wednesday postmarket trading after the office furnishings maker posts fiscal 1Q net sales that beat the consensus estimate Orion Group Holdings (ORN US) shares surged as much as 43% in Wednesday extended trading after the company disclosed two contract awards for its Marine segment totaling nearly $200m Kaival Brands (KAVL US) fell 18% Wednesday postmarket after offering shares, warrants via Maxim An agreement among U.S. lawmakers to extend government funding removes one uncertainty from a litany of risks investors are contenting with, ranging from China’s growth slowdown to Federal Reserve tapering. “Republicans and Democrats showed some compromise by averting a government shutdown,” Sebastien Galy, a senior macro strategist at Nordea Investment Funds. “By removing what felt like a significant risk for a retail audience, it helps sentiment in the equity market.” Still, president Joe Biden’s agenda remains at risk of being derailed by divisions among his own Democrats, as moderates voiced anger on Wednesday at the idea of delaying a $1 trillion infrastructure bill ahead of a critical vote to avert a government shutdown. The big overnight economic news came from China whose September NBS manufacturing PMI fell to 49.6 from 50.1 in August, the first contraction since Feb 2020, likely due to the production cuts caused by energy constraints. Both the output sub-index and the new orders sub-index in the NBS manufacturing PMI survey decreased in September. The NBS non-manufacturing PMI rebounded to 53.2 in September from 47.5 in August on a recovery of services activities as COVID restrictions eased. However, the numbers may not capture full impact of energy restrictions as the NBS survey was taken around 22nd-25th of the month: expect far worse number in the months ahead unless China manages to contain its energy crisis. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index advanced 0.3%, trimming a monthly loss but fading an earlier gain of 0.9%, led by gains in basic resources companies as iron ore climbed, with the CAC and FTSE 100 outperforming at the margin. Technology stocks, battered earlier this week, also extended their rebound.  Miners, oil & gas and media are the strongest sectors; utility and industrial names lag. European natural gas and power markets hit fresh record highs as supply constraints persist. Perrigo jumped 13.8% after the drugmaker agreed to settle with Irish tax authorities over a 2018 issue by paying $1.90 billion in taxes Asian stocks were poised to cap their first quarterly loss since March 2020 as Chinese technology names fell and as investors remained wary over a recent rise in U.S. Treasury yields.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is set to end the September quarter with a loss of more than 5%, snapping a winning streak of five straight quarters. A combination of higher yields, Beijing’s corporate crackdown and worry over slowing economic growth in Asia’s biggest economy have hurt sentiment, bringing the market down following a brief rally in late August.  The Asian benchmark rose less than 0.1% after posting its worst single-day drop in six weeks on Wednesday. Consumer discretionary and communication services groups fell, while financials advanced. The Hang Seng Tech Index ended 1.3% lower as Beijing announced new curbs on the sector, while higher yields hurt sentiment toward growth stocks.  “Because there’s growing worry over U.S. inflation, we need to keep an eye on the potential risks, globally,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management. “Also, there’s the Evergrande issue. The market is in a wait-and-see mode now, with a focus on whether the group will be able to make future interest rate payments.”  Benchmarks in Thailand and Malaysia were the biggest losers, while Indonesia and Australia outperformed. Japan’s Topix and the Nikkei 225 Stock Average slipped for a fourth day as investors weighed Fumio Kishida’s election victory as the new ruling party leader. Global stocks are poised to end the quarter with a small loss, after a five-quarter rally, as investors braced for the Fed to wind down its stimulus. They also remain concerned about slowing growth and elevated inflation, supply-chain bottlenecks, an energy crunch and regulatory risks emanating from China. A majority of participants in a Citigroup survey said a 20% pullback in stocks is more likely than a 20% rally. In rates, Treasuries were slightly cheaper across the curve, off session lows as stock futures pare gains. 10-year TSY yields were around 1.53%, cheaper by 1.2bp on the day vs 2.3bp for U.K. 10-year; MPC-dated OIS rates price in ~65bps of BOE hikes by December 2022. Gilts lead the selloff, with U.K. curve bear-steepening as BOE rate-hike expectations continue to ramp up. Host of Fed speakers are in focus during U.S. session, while month-end extension may serve to underpin long-end of the curve.   A gauge of the dollar’s strength headed for its first drop in five days as Treasury yields steadied after a recent rise, and amid quarter-end flows. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index fell as the dollar steady or weaker against most of its Group-of-10 peers. The euro hovered around $1.16 and the pound was steady while Gilts inched lower, underperforming Bunds and Treasuries. Money markets now see around 65 basis points of tightening by the BOE’s December 2022 meeting, according to sterling overnight index swaps. That means they’re betting the key rate will rise to 0.75% next year from 0.1% currently. The Australian dollar led gains after it rose off its lowest level since August 23 amid exporter month-end demand and as iron ore buyers locked in purchases ahead of a week-long holiday in China. Norway’s krone was the worst G-10 performer and slipped a fifth day versus the dollar, its longest loosing streak in a year. In commodities, oil surrendered gains, still heading for a monthly gain amid tighter supplies. West Texas Intermediate futures briefly recaptured the level above $75 per barrel, before trading at $74.71. APA and Devon rose at least 1.8% in early New York trading. European gas prices meanwhile hit a new all time high. Looking at the day ahead, one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,379.00 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.6% to 457.59 MXAP little changed at 196.85 MXAPJ up 0.3% to 635.71 Nikkei down 0.3% to 29,452.66 Topix down 0.4% to 2,030.16 Hang Seng Index down 0.4% to 24,575.64 Shanghai Composite up 0.9% to 3,568.17 Sensex down 0.3% to 59,239.76 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.9% to 7,332.16 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,068.82 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $78.98/bbl Gold spot up 0.4% to $1,732.86 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.27 German 10Y yield fell 0.5 bps to -0.212% Euro little changed at $1.1607 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg U.K. gross domestic product rose 5.5% in the second quarter instead of the 4.8% earlier estimated, official figures published Thursday show. The data, which reflected the reopening of stores and the hospitality industry, mean the economy was still 3.3% smaller than it was before the pandemic struck. China has urged financial institutions to help local governments stabilize the rapidly cooling housing market and ease mortgages for some home buyers, another signal that authorities are worried about fallout from the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group. The U.S. currency’s surge is helping the Chinese yuan record its largest gain in eight months on a trade-weighted basis in September. It adds to headwinds for the world’s second- largest economy already slowing due to a resurgence in Covid cases, a power crisis and regulatory curbs. The Swiss National Bank bought foreign exchange worth 5.44 billion francs ($5.8 billion) in the second quarter, part of its long-running policy to alleviate appreciation pressure on the franc   A few members of the Riksbank’s executive board discussed a rate path that could indicate a rate rise at the end of the forecast period, Sweden’s central bank says in minutes from its Sept. 20 meeting French inflation accelerated in September as households in the euro area’s second-largest economy faced a jump in the costs of energy and services. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded somewhat varied with the region indecisive at quarter-end and as participants digested a slew of data releases including mixed Chinese PMI figures. ASX 200 (+1.7%) was underpinned by broad strength across its industries including the top-weighted financials sector and with the large cap miners lifted as iron ore futures surge by double-digit percentages, while the surprise expansion in Building Approvals also helped markets overlook the 51% spike in daily new infections for Victoria state. Nikkei 225 (+0.1%) was subdued for most of the session after disappointing Industrial Production and Retail Sales data which prompted the government to cut its assessment of industrial output which it stated was stalling. The government also warned that factory output could decline for a third consecutive month in September and that October has large downside risk due to uncertainty from auto manufacturing cuts. However, Nikkei 225 then recovered with the index marginally supported by currency flows. Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) diverged heading into the National Day holidays and week-long closure for the mainland with tech names in Hong Kong pressured by ongoing regulatory concerns as China is to tighten regulation of algorithms related to internet information services. Nonetheless, mainland bourses were kept afloat after a further liquidity injection by the PBoC ahead of the Golden Week celebrations and as markets took the latest PMI figures in their strides whereby the official headline Manufacturing PMI disappointed to print its first contraction since February 2020, although Non-Manufacturing PMI and Composite PMI returned to expansionary territory and Caixin Manufacturing PMI topped estimates to print at the 50-benchmark level. Top Asian News S&P Points to Progress as Bondholders Wait: Evergrande Update Bank Linked to Kazakh Leader Buys Kcell Stake After Share Slump Goldman Sachs Names Andy Tai Head of IBD Southeast Asia: Memo What Japan’s Middle-of-the-Road New Leader Means for Markets The upside momentum seen across US and European equity futures overnight stalled, with European cash also drifting from the best seen at the open (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.4%). This follows somewhat mixed APAC handover, and as newsflow remains light on month and quarter-end. US equity futures are firmer across the board, but again off best levels, although the RTY (+0.8%) outperforms the ES (+0.4%), YM (+0.4%) and NQ (+0.5%). Back to Europe, the periphery lags vs core markets, whilst the DAX 40 (-0.3%) underperforms within the core market. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the green but do not portray a particular risk bias. Basic Resources top the chart with aid from overnight action in some base metals, particularly iron, in turn aiding the large iron miners BHP (+2.2%), Rio Tinto (+3.4%) and Anglo American (+2.9%). The bottom of the sectors meanwhile consists of Travel & Leisure, Autos & Parts and Industrial Goods & Services, with the former potentially feeling some headwinds from China’s travel restrictions during its upcoming National Day holiday. In terms of M&A, French press reported that CAC-listed Carrefour (-1.3%) is reportedly looking at options for sector consolidation, and talks are said to have taken place with the chain stores Auchan, with peer Casino (Unch) also initially seeing a leg higher in sympathy amid the prospect of sector consolidation. That being said, Carrefour has now reversed its earlier upside with no particular catalyst for the reversal. It is, however, worth keeping in mind that regulatory/competition hurdles cannot be ruled out – as a reminder, earlier this year, France blocked the takeover of Carrefour by Canada’s Alimentation Couche-Tard. In the case of a successful deal, Carrefour will likely be the acquirer as the largest supermarket in France. Sticking with M&A, Eutelsat (+14%) was bolstered at the open amid source reports that French billionaire Patrick Drahi is said to have made an unsolicited takeover offer of EUR 12.10/shr for Eutelsat (vs EUR 10.35 close on Wednesday), whilst the FT reported that this offer was rejected. Top European News European Banks Dangle $26 Billion in Payouts as ECB Cap Ends U.K. Economy Emerged From Lockdown Stronger Than Expected In a First, Uber Joins Drivers in Strike Against Brussels Rules EU, U.S. Seek to Avert Chip-Subsidy Race, Float Supply Links In FX, The non-US Dollars are taking advantage of the Greenback’s loss of momentum, and the Aussie in particular given an unexpected boost from building approvals completely confounding expectations for a fall, while a spike in iron ore prices overnight provided additional incentive amidst somewhat mixed external impulses via Chinese PMIs. Hence, Aud/Usd is leading the chasing pack and back up around 0.7200, Usd/Cad is retreating through 1.2750 and away from decent option expiry interest at 1.2755 and between 1.2750-40 (in 1.3 bn and 1 bn respectively) with some assistance from the latest bounce in crude benchmarks and Nzd/Usd is still trying to tag along, but capped into 0.6900 as the Aud/Nzd cross continues to grind higher and hamper the Kiwi. DXY/GBP/JPY/EUR/CHF - It’s far too early to call time on the Buck’s impressive rally and revival from recent lows, but it has stalled following a midweek extension that propelled the index to the brink of 94.500, at 94.435. The DXY subsequently slipped back to 94.233 and is now meandering around 94.300 having topped out at 94.401 awaiting residual rebalancing flows for the final day of September, Q3 and the half fy that Citi is still classifying as Dollar positive, albeit with tweaks to sd hedges for certain Usd/major pairings. Also ahead, the last US data and survey releases for the month including final Q2 GDP, IJC and Chicago PMI before another raft of Fed speakers. Meanwhile, Sterling has gleaned some much needed support from upward revisions to Q2 UK GDP, a much narrower than forecast current account deficit and upbeat Lloyds business barometer rather than sub-consensus Nationwide house prices to bounce from the low 1.3600 area vs the Greenback and unwind more of its underperformance against the Euro within a 0.8643-12 range. However, the latter is keeping tabs on 1.1600 vs its US peer in wake of firmer German state CPI prints and with the aforementioned Citi model flagging a sub-1 standard deviation for Eur/Usd in contrast to Usd/Jpy that has been elevated to 1.85 from a prelim 1.12. Nevertheless, the Yen is deriving some traction from the calmer yield backdrop rather than disappointing Japanese data in the form of ip and retail sales to contain losses under 112.00, and the Franc is trying to do the same around 0.9350. SCANDI/EM - The tables have been turning and fortunes changing for the Nok and Sek, but the former has now given up all and more its post-Norges Bank hike gains and more as Brent consolidates beneath Usd 80/brl and the foreign currency purchases have been set at the same level for October as the current month. Conversely, the latter has taken heed of a hawkish hue to the latest set of Riksbank minutes and the fact that a few Board members discussed a rate path that could indicate a rise at the end of the forecast period. Elsewhere, the Zar looks underpinned by marginally firmer than anticipated SA ppi and private sector credit, while the Mxn is treading cautiously ahead of Banxico and a widely touted 25 bp hike. In commodities, WTI and Brent futures are choppy but trade with modest gains heading into the US open and in the run-up to Monday’s OPEC+ meeting. The European session thus far has been quiet from a news flow standpoint, but the contracts saw some fleeting upside after breaking above overnight ranges, albeit the momentum did not last long. Eyes turn to OPEC+ commentary heading into the meeting, which is expected to be another smooth affair, according to Argus sources. As a reminder, the group is expected to stick to its plan to raise output by 400k BPD despite outside pressure to further open the taps in a bid to control prices. Elsewhere, as a mild proxy for Chinese demand, China’s Sinopec noted that all LNG receiving terminals are to be operated at full capacity. WTI trades on either side of USD 75/bbl (vs low USD 74.54/bbl), while its Brent counterpart remains north of USD 78/bbl (vs low USD 77.66/bbl). Turning to metals, spot gold and silver continue to consolidate after yesterday’s Dollar induced losses, with the former finding some support around the USD 1,725/oz mark and the latter establishing a floor around USD 21.50/oz. Over to base metals, Dalian iron ore futures rose to three-week highs amid pre-holiday Chinese demand and after Fortescue Metals Group halted mining operations at a Pilbara project. Conversely, LME copper is on a softer footing as the Buck holds onto recent gains. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 2Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q GDP Price Index, est. 6.1%, prior 6.1% 8:30am: 2Q Personal Consumption, est. 11.9%, prior 11.9% 8:30am: Sept. Continuing Claims, est. 2.79m, prior 2.85m 8:30am: 2Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 6.6%, prior 6.6% 8:30am: Sept. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 330,000, prior 351,000 9:45am: Sept. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 65.0, prior 66.8 Central Bank speakers 10am: Fed’s Williams Discusses the Fed’s Pandemic Response 10am: Powell and Yellen Appear Before House Finance Panel 11am: Fed’s Bostic Discusses Economic Mobility 11:30am: Fed’s Harker Discusses Sustainable Assets and Financial... 12:30pm: Fed’s Evans Discusses Economic Outlook 1:05pm: Fed’s Bullard Makes Opening Remarks at Book Launch 2:30pm: Fed’s Daly Speaks at Women and Leadership Event Government Calendar 10am ET: Treasury Secretary Yellen, Fed Chair Powell appear at a House Financial Services Committee hearing on the Treasury, Fed’s pandemic response 10:30am ET: Senate begins voting process for continuing resolution that extends U.S. government funding to December 3 10:30am ET: Senate Commerce subcommittee holds hearing on Facebook, Instagram’s influence on kids with Antigone Davis, Director, Global Head of Safety, Facebook 10:45am ET: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi holds weekly press briefing DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’ll be getting my stitches out of my knee today and will have a chance to grill the surgeon who I think told me I’ll probably soon need a knee replacement. I say think as it was all a bit of a medicated blur post the operation 2 weeks ago. These have been a painfully slow 2 weeks of no weight bearing with another 4 to go and perhaps all to no avail. As you can imagine I’ve done no housework, can’t fend much for myself, or been able to control the kids much over this period. I’m not sure if having bad knees are grounds for divorce but I’m going to further put it to the test over the next month. In sickness and in health I plea. Like me, markets are hobbling into the end of Q3 today even if they’ve seen some signs of stabilising over the last 24 hours following their latest selloff, with equities bouncing back a bit and sovereign bond yields taking a breather from their recent relentless climb. It did feel that we hit yield levels on Tuesday that started to hurt risk enough that some flight to quality money recycled back into bonds. So the next leg higher in yields (which I think will happen) might be met with more risk off resistance, and counter rallies. The latest moves came amidst relatively dovish and supportive comments from central bank governors at the ECB’s forum yesterday, but sentiment was dampened somewhat as uncertainty abounds over a potential US government shutdown and breaching of the debt ceiling, after both houses of Congress could not agree on a plan to extend government funding. Overnight, there have been signs of progress on the shutdown question, with Majority Leader Schumer saying that senators had reached agreement on a stopgap funding measure that will fund the government through December 3, with the Senate set to vote on the measure this morning.However, we’re still no closer to resolving the debt ceiling issue (where the latest estimates from the Treasury Department point to October 18 as the deadline), and tensions within the Democratic party between moderates and progressives are threatening to sink both the $550bn bipartisan infrastructure bill and the $3.5tn reconciliation package, which together contain much of President Biden’s economic agenda. We could see some developments on that soon however, as Speaker Pelosi said yesterday that the House was set to vote on the infrastructure bill today. Assuming the vote goes ahead later, this will be very interesting since a number of progressive Democrats have said that they don’t want to pass the infrastructure bill without the reconciliation bill (which contains the administration’s other priorities on social programs). This is because they fear that with the infrastructure bill passed (which moderates are keen on), the moderates could then scale back the spending in the reconciliation bill, and by holding out on passing the infrastructure bill, this gives them leverage on reconciliation. House Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Schumer were in the Oval Office with President Biden yesterday, and a White House statement said that Biden spoke on the phone with lawmakers and engagement would continue into today. So an important day for Biden’s agenda. Against this backdrop, risk assets made a tentative recovery yesterday, with the S&P 500 up +0.16% and Europe’s STOXX 600 up +0.59%. However, unless we get a big surge in either index today, both indices remain on track for their worst monthly performances so far this year, even if they’re still in positive territory for Q3 as a whole. Looking elsewhere, tech stocks had appeared set to pare back some of the previous day’s losses, but a late fade left the NASDAQ down -0.24% and the FANG+ index down a greater -0.72%. Much of the tech weakness was driven by falling semiconductor shares (-1.53%), as producers have offered investors poor revenue guidance on the heels of the ongoing supply chain issues that are driving chip shortages globally. Outside of tech, US equities broadly did better yesterday with 17 of 24 industry groups gaining, led by utilities (+1.30%), biotech (+1.05%) and food & beverages (+1.00%). Similarly, while they initially staged a recovery, small caps in the Russell 2000 (-0.20%) continued to struggle. One asset that remained on trend was the US dollar. The greenback continued its climb yesterday, with the dollar index increasing +0.61% to close at its highest level in over a year, exceeding its closing high from last November. Over in sovereign bond markets, the partial rebound saw yields on 10yr Treasuries down -2.1bps at 1.517%, marking their first move lower in a week. And there was much the same pattern in Europe as well, where yields on 10yr bunds (-1.4bps), OATs (-1.3bps) and BTPs (-3.1bps) all moved lower as well. One continued underperformer were UK gilts (+0.3bps), and yesterday we saw the spread between 10yr gilt and bund yields widen to its biggest gap in over 2 years, at 120bps. Staying on the UK, the pound (-0.81%) continued to slump yesterday, hitting its lowest level against the dollar since last December, which comes as the country has continued to face major issues over its energy supply. Yesterday actually saw natural gas prices take another leg higher in both the UK (+10.09%) and Europe (+10.24%), and the UK regulator said that three smaller suppliers (who supply fewer than 1% of domestic customers between them) had gone out of business. This energy/inflation/BoE conundrum is confusing the life out of Sterling 10 year breakevens. They rose +18bps from Monday morning to Tuesday lunchtime but then entirely reversed the move into last night’s close. This is an exaggerated version of how the world’s financial markets are puzzling over whether breakevens should go up because of energy or go down because of the demand destruction and central bank response. Central bankers were in no mood to panic yesterday though as we saw Fed Chair Powell, ECB President Lagarde, BoE Governor Bailey and BoJ Governor Kuroda all appear on a policy panel at the ECB’s forum on central banking. There was much to discuss but the central bank heads all maintained that this current inflation spike will relent with Powell saying that it was “really a consequence of supply constraints meeting very strong demand, and that is all associated with the reopening of the economy -- which is a process that will have a beginning, a middle and an end.” ECB President Lagarde shared that sentiment, adding that “we certainly have no reason to believe that these price increases that we are seeing now will not be largely transitory going forward.” Overnight in Asia, equities have seen a mixed performance, with the Nikkei (-0.40%), and the Hang Seng (-1.08%) both losing ground, whereas the Kospi (+0.41%) and the Shanghai Composite (+0.30%) have posted gains. The moves came amidst weak September PMI data from China, which showed the manufacturing PMI fall to 49.6 (vs. 50.0 expected), marking its lowest level since the height of the Covid crisis in February 2020. The non-manufacturing PMI held up better however, at a stronger 53.2 (vs. 49.8 expected), although new orders were beneath 50 for a 4th consecutive month. Elsewhere, futures on the S&P 500 (+0.50%) and those on European indices are pointing to a higher start later on, as markets continue to stabilise after their slump earlier in the week. Staying on Asia, shortly after we went to press yesterday, former Japanese foreign minister Fumio Kishida was elected as leader of the governing Liberal Democratic Party, and is set to become the country’s next Prime Minister. The Japanese Diet will hold a vote on Monday to elect Kishida as the new PM, after which he’ll announce a new cabinet, and attention will very soon turn to the upcoming general election, which is due to take place by the end of November. Our Chief Japan economist has written more on Kishida’s victory and his economic policy (link here), but he notes that on fiscal policy, Kishida’s plans to redistribute income echo the shift towards a greater role for government in the US and elsewhere. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, though Spain’s CPI reading for September rose to an above-expected +4.0% (vs. 3.5% expected), so it will be interesting to see if something similar happens with today’s releases from Germany, France and Italy, ahead of the Euro Area release tomorrow. Otherwise, UK mortgage approvals came in at 74.5k in August (vs. 73.0k expected), and the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area rose to 117.8 in September (vs. 117.0 expected). To the day ahead now, and one of the highlights will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance at the House Financial Services Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. Other central bank speakers include the Fed’s Williams, Bostic, Harker, Evans, Bullard and Daly, as well as the ECB’s Centeno, Visco and Hernandez de Cos. On the data side, today’s highlights include German, French and Italian CPI for September, while in the US there’s the weekly initial jobless claims, the third estimate of Q2 GDP and the MNI Chicago PMI for September. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/30/2021 - 07:49.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 30th, 2021

BioNexus KC sees big potential in biologics for KC region

BioNexus KC has been focused on some big initiatives, including launching a fund to support early-stage life sciences entrepreneurs and helping the Kansas City region imagine the possibilities in the biologics realm. The Kansas City Business Journal caught up Dennis Ridenour, CEO of BioNexus KC, a nonprofit centered on developing the region as a hub of biomedical innovation. BioNexus KC and other entities such as BioKansas are collaborating to unlock the region’s potential in the biologics….....»»

Category: topSource: bizjournalsDec 3rd, 2021

Emerging Tech: AI and 5G Will Be Game Changers for Real Estate

Technology is playing an increasingly important role in real estate, supplementing agent and broker efforts to build relationships and provide value to homebuyers, sellers and investors. While the last decade has seen significant tech growth, industry experts addressed the future of its applications in real estate at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) annual REALTOR® […] The post Emerging Tech: AI and 5G Will Be Game Changers for Real Estate appeared first on RISMedia. Technology is playing an increasingly important role in real estate, supplementing agent and broker efforts to build relationships and provide value to homebuyers, sellers and investors. While the last decade has seen significant tech growth, industry experts addressed the future of its applications in real estate at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) annual REALTOR® Conference & Expo, this year held in person at the San Diego Convention Center in California from Nov. 12-15. The consensus? There are myriad opportunities as the world becomes 5G-enabled, artificial intelligence continues evolving and businesses embrace streamlined tech ecosystems. The session—Emerging Tech and Strategic Trends You Must Know—featured panelists Dan Weisman, NAR’s director of Emerging Technology; Jeb Griffin, NAR’s director of Strategy and Innovation; and Dave Conroy, NAR’s director of Emerging Technology. Weisman told the audience that $25 billion is being invested in proptech annually across the globe, with $10 billion of that in the U.S. alone. “There are no signs of real estate tech investments slowing down,” Weisman said. “We expect technology to continue to play a critical role in the growth of the industry.” Right now, the role of technology in real estate has largely been consolidation—streamlining several processes into one platform that saves time and incentivizes productivity. “We’re starting to see larger companies come in and invest, purchase or bring into their ecosystem platforms to leverage that technology on behalf of other products,” said Griffin. This technology spans across multiple uses for CRMs, marketing, document management, lead generation, e-signature, title and more, he said. The key is focusing on technology that brings time savings, improves business efficiency, and helps you do more business, said Griffin, adding that the space has a few main players who are standing out right now in terms of tech consolidation: CoStar, Homes.com, Apartments.com and Homesnap, among others. “Consolidation will continue to benefit the agent, brokerage and brands by reducing costs and lowering the barrier to entry while driving innovation,” said Griffin. “We will also see an improvement in efficiency as consolidation will allow agents to work within products, services and technology that will all be able to talk to each other.” This year, said Conroy, the industry focused heavily on the internet of things (IoT), as well as big data, blockchain and drones. As far as emerging technology, however, Conroy emphasized we should be focusing on two things: 5G and artificial intelligence. “Artificial intelligence has the potential to make agents more productive and close more business, and 5G has the potential to change how people choose where and how to live,” he said. AI is already used across the industry, performing the heavy lifting behind the scenes for essential real estate processes like property valuations, contact management, remodel estimates and more. But there’s room for even more growth in the space, according to Conroy. “AI is outpacing other technologies tenfold,” he said. “Over the course of two or three years, we will delve into machine learning, predictive analytics and computer vision.” On the edge of innovation are tech platforms that use AI to identify consumers who are on the fringe of mortgage and homeownership readiness, said Conroy. And if these technologies combine with the speed of 5G, the opportunities will be endless, helping to bridge the tech gap in rural areas where coverage is currently slim to non-existent. Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to lizd@rismedia.com. The post Emerging Tech: AI and 5G Will Be Game Changers for Real Estate appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaDec 3rd, 2021

How Migrant Surge At The Border Fuels Massive American OD"s From Tiny Grains of This Killer Drug

How Migrant Surge At The Border Fuels Massive American OD's From Tiny Grains of This Killer Drug By Vince Bielski, published originally in RealClearInvestigations.com On a September afternoon, Allyssia Solorio wondered why her energetic young brother hadn’t emerged from his bedroom in their Sacramento, Calif., home. When she opened his door, she saw 23-year-old Mikael leaning back on his bed with his legs dangling over the side. She rushed to her brother and shook him, but to no avail. He was dead. A counterfeit pharmaceutical pill laced with illicit fentanyl had killed him. Mikael Tirado was one of an estimated 93,331 overdose fatalities in the United States last year – an all-time high. Nearly five times the murder rate, the deadly overdose toll was primarily caused by fentanyl, a highly lethal synthetic opioid. It’s manufactured mostly by Mexican cartels with ingredients imported from China, and then smuggled over the southwestern U.S. border. Fentanyl has been arriving in larger quantities each year since at least 2016. The cartels are taking advantage of law enforcement weaknesses and policy failures to smuggle record amounts of the lethal drug into the United States, according to interviews with half a dozen current and former drug and immigration agents. While a lack of screening technology to find contraband at ports of entry and an inept U.S-Mexico campaign to cripple the cartels are longstanding issues, there’s also a new one: the flood of migrants across the border that the Biden administration has done little to stop. Former law enforcement officials say the cartels are orchestrating the surge, overwhelming the capacity of agents to pursue drug smugglers. They can freely enter Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California carrying fentanyl while agents are diverted to the time-consuming duty of apprehending and processing migrants. Frustrated border agents and their union have been calling on Congress to send reinforcements. But help is not on the way. The administration’s upcoming budget request doesn’t include funding for more Customs and Border Protection agents. In September, tensions boiled over after President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris lashed out at agents on horseback in response to videos showing them blocking Haitians crossing the border. Harris compared the incident to the mistreatment of slaves, an inflammatory accusation that the union strongly denied, saying no migrants were hit or hurt. The administration is pivoting away from law enforcement and embracing a public health approach to the fentanyl crisis. It has proposed spending $11.2 billion – a huge increase over last year – to expand substance abuse prevention, treatment and recovery services. Fewer addicts would mean fewer deaths from fentanyl. But curbing opioid addiction is very challenging. The vast majority of substance abusers avoid treatment, according to researchers, and only about one-third of those receiving long-term medical care fully recover. These success stories, however, will be offset if the supply of fentanyl continues to boom and fuel more addiction. “Drug treatment is very important, but you can’t treat someone in the morgue who just died from fentanyl poisoning. It’s too late,” says Derek Maltz, the former director of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s special operations division, which primarily targets cartels. “We have to vigorously attack the production labs in Mexico and increase border security on our side.” Cartels have turned to fentanyl because the super-potent powder is cheap to produce, making it more profitable than heroin, says Eric Triana, an assistant special agent in charge at the DEA division in New York. Two of Mexico’s most powerful crime groups – the Sinaloa and Jalisco New Generation cartels – manufacture the synthetic drug in rustic clandestine labs. In the U.S., the powder is mixed with heroin to stretch supplies. To boost sales, cartels have more recently increased production of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. They are made with fentanyl but labeled to look exactly like legitimate medications such as Percocet, Vicodin and Xanax. Cartels are increasing production of counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Above, a seized pill press. Flickr/DEA The fake pills, which are promoted and sold on social media platforms as real pharmaceuticals, are priced to sell at a discounted rate of about $20 each. They have brought the dangers of fentanyl to mainstream America, with victims belonging to every age, class and racial group. Nationwide, DEA agents seized an unprecedented 9.5 million fake pills -- some portion of that total in every U.S. state in the first nine months of 2021, or more than the last two years combined. That prompted the agency to issue a rare public safety alert in September. Fentanyl’s potency – at 50 times the strength of heroin – is what makes it so deadly. Two milligrams, which can fit on the tip of a pencil, can kill. But cartels don’t take precautions to make sure the pills aren’t lethal. DEA analysis found that 40% of the seized pills had a potentially deadly dose. “I saw the devastation that heroin brought to Baltimore as a young police officer,” Triana says. “But fentanyl is a more potent deadly threat. It’s frightening.” Crime groups have gained complete control of the Mexican side of the 1,950-mile border, directing the flow of both migrants and drugs. The Gulf Cartel runs the region around Brownsville, Texas, and moving west to California, the Cartel of the Northeast, Juarez Cartel and the Sinaloa Cartel have staked out turf, says Victor Avila, a former supervisory special agent with Immigration and Customs Enforcement who specialized in human and narcotics trafficking. Diversion Game at the Border They operate openly as if they were the Mexican military. Jalisco New Generation Cartel, which has recently expanded operations, even slaps a “CJNG” logo in big letters on its military-style trucks and uniforms as part of a show of force. The Jalisco cartel increasingly operates like a military force. (Above, a purported convoy.)  Twitter/@jaeson_jones The surge of migrants that began in 2019 and accelerated after Biden took office has been a boon to these violent enterprises. The migrants are coming from Eastern Europe and Africa as well as Central and South America, lured partly by the administration’s policy that allows unaccompanied children and families to stay in the states while they apply for asylum, according to border agents who have interviewed them. In addition to paying cartels between about $2,000 and $9,000 each to cross, migrants are also used as decoys in drug smuggling operations. Equipped with encrypted communications and satellite technologies, crime organizations are precisely orchestrating the timing and location of the border crossings of large migrant groups as part of a diversion tactic, several officers say. Dozens of agents are forced to leave their posts guarding many miles of the border and at checkpoints on roads to assist with apprehensions of the groups. The cartels work with spotters in the Halcon network to identify these wide security gaps along the border and send drug smugglers on foot through them undetected. A Call for More Agents “The illegal alien flows are so big that the Border Patrol has to leave hundreds of miles of border unprotected,” says Avila. “This absolutely means more fentanyl has been entering the country in the last few years.” The smugglers make their way across tough terrain to one of hundreds of stash houses located near roads in the border region. The drugs are then placed in cars and driven through often unguarded checkpoints and across the country. Rather than pursue these smugglers, many Border Patrol agents are handling the crush of migrants entering the U.S. They apprehended more than 1.7 million this fiscal year, or six times the 2017 number. (That doesn’t include the hundreds of thousands who got away, according to Border Patrol estimates.) Agents deport most of the single adults. But they have to assist in transporting, processing, housing and feeding the unaccompanied children and families who are placed in border patrol facilities for weeks before they are released into the U.S. to pursue asylum claims. In the busiest border areas, such as Texas’ Rio Grande Valley and Del Rio, as many as 30% of agents are pulled from the frontlines to deal with the migrant overflow, says Brandon Judd, president of the National Border Patrol Council. Texas is trying to fill the security void by deploying hundreds of state troopers and the National Guard in Operation Lonestar, a $1.8 billion effort. They have seized 127 pounds of fentanyl this year through early September. The Trump administration was able to tamp down the number of migrants crossing the border by forcing them to remain in Mexico while they applied for asylum. Biden ended that program, calling it inhumane, and the administration is now fighting a court order to reinstate it. Judd says as long as Biden’s asylum policy is in place, the Border Patrol, which has about 14,000 field agents covering both coasts and both land borders, needs thousands more to help secure the Southwest flank. Pleas to congressional leaders for help, made by Judd’s union and former Border Patrol chiefs, have gone unheeded.   “If you are not going to change the policy, then give me more manpower to stop the drugs,” Judd says. “But Democrats control Congress, and while some of them are fairly good on border security, it isn’t a priority for a majority of them.” So far this year, CBP has redeployed 400 agents from the northern and coastal areas to the southern border – not nearly enough to fill the gaps, Judd says. In a statement to RealClearInvestigations, a CBP spokesperson said the agency continues to evaluate the need for more agents and pointed to drug busts as evidence of strong enforcement. Border and customs agents seized 10,000 pounds of fentanyl this fiscal year, according to agency data. That’s five times the catch in 2018. But agents say more seizures actually indicates that more of the deadly drug is entering the country since they have only been capturing an estimated 10% to 15% of the total. Most of the fentanyl is pouring over the Southwest border at the U.S. ports of entry, particularly in California, a favorite route for smugglers. The challenge for customs agents at the controlled inspection ports in four states is very different than the cat-and-mouse pursuits of the Border Patrol: How to find illegal contraband in vehicles without slowing trade with Mexico worth hundreds of billions of dollars each year. The San Ysidro port in California between San Diego and Tijuana is the busiest land border crossing in the Western Hemisphere. The 70,000 vehicle passengers headed north every day through the port have to wait in long lines of traffic for an hour, on average. Nearby, the thousands of commercial trucks that go through the Otay Mesa port daily have even longer waits. Legal trade and travel occupy patrols at ports of entry like San Ysidro (above), which smugglers exploit. AP Photo/Gregory Bull Customs agents are in a fix. They are under pressure to efficiently clear trucks from Mexico carrying fruits, vegetables, electronics and other goods for entry into the U.S. But that priority to avoid costly commercial delays is in constant conflict with the need to stop and search the vehicles for illicit goods. More often than not, smugglers get waved through without a search. “Transnational criminal organizations take advantage of the chaos and clutter at the ports of entry that are dealing with so much legitimate trade and travel,” says Victor Manjarrez, a former Border Patrol supervisor and now a security expert at the University of Texas at El Paso. Cartels have the confidence to go big at the border. In August, a Mexican tractor-trailer driver attempted to cross at Otay Mesa with 2.8 tons of methamphetamine and fentanyl hidden among plastic household goods. Agents scanned the cargo using an X-ray-like machine and saw what they described as “anomalies” inside the trailer. Then a canine team sniffed out narcotics worth $13 million. It was the largest ever meth bust along the border. Customs agents would arrest more smugglers if they were equipped with basic scanning technology used in the huge Otay Mesa seizure. It helps them quickly make better decisions about which vehicles to inspect manually, a process that can take hours. CBP says it has been deploying more large-scale scanners at ports of entry in the last two years. Remarkably, only 15% of trucks were scanned at Southwest ports of entry in 2019, according to a CBP report. And less than half of them received any formal inspection because customs agents have to move too rapidly through the snarl of waiting traffic, says Manjarrez. Many of the 328 U.S. ports also need to be expanded and modernized to reduce wait times to allow for more inspections. The Biden administration is asking Congress for $660 million for upgrades, or enough to improve only a handful of the old ports. Otay Mesa’s $144 million expansion plan alone would absorb almost a quarter of this new funding. “It’s really only a down payment for what is needed,” Manjarrez says. ‘Hugs, Not Bullets’ in Mexico More agents and technology would “absolutely make a bigger dent” in the flow of fentanyl over the border, Manjarrez says, but not stop it. Agents say Mexico also has to begin targeting the hundreds of cartel production labs to further cut the supply. “Destroying the labs has to be a top priority because, without them, the cartels can’t continue to kill our kids,” says Maltz, the former DEA organized crime specialist. But President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador ended Mexico’s military campaign against cartel leaders two years ago. Soldiers captured and killed many kingpins, but the crackdown also unleashed a reign of violence that Lopez Obrador pledged to blunt. The populist president is pushing his “hugs, not bullets” agenda to reduce poverty in the hope that it will eventually curb the appeal of drug smuggling. Meanwhile, the cartels, facing little government resistance, have continued to expand their hold on territory and corrupt lawmakers, according to Vanda Felbab-Brown, a scholar focusing on nonstate armed actors at the Brookings Institution. The clout of the cartels was made clear in 2020 when U.S. agents arrested a former Mexican defense secretary for taking bribes to protect the ultraviolent H-2 Cartel. Outraged officials pressured the U.S. to return Salvador Cienfuegos Zepeda to Mexico where prosecutors promptly exonerated him. The more lasting damage to drug enforcement came when Mexico passed a law in response to Cienfuegos’ arrest. Maltz says it froze DEA’s operations in Mexico by requiring agents to pass sensitive intelligence through a central foreign affairs office that they believe is corrupt.   “The cartels control Mexico. All of it,” says Avila, the former ICE agent who survived gunshot wounds in an ambush with a cartel. “They are running a parallel government.” The U.S. Plays Nice With the U.S. drug enforcement imperiled, Felbab-Brown has called on the Biden administration to “get tough” with Mexico. In January she urged the administration to use financial support as leverage to compel Mexico to target mid-level cartel operatives and their corrupt government protectors to avoid the bloodshed that comes with taking down bosses. But the State Department is taking a conciliatory position, essentially backing Lopez Obrador’s economic development strategy in an agreement between the two countries announced in early October. The Biden administration has been conciliatory toward Mexico, but not its own mounted agents. AP Photo/Felix Marquez At a joint press conference, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the countries had relied too much on security forces to try to weaken the cartels. Over the past decade the U.S. has spent $3 billion to arm and train the Mexican military and police as part of the Merida Initiative. During that time, drug trafficking into the U.S. increased. A new agreement will replace Merida, making job creation in poor communities and drug treatment and prevention top priorities, Blinken said. The countries did agree to pursue the cartels, particularly by curtailing the illegal supply of U.S. arms into Mexico and money laundering activities. But the prosecution of cartel members isn’t the priority. Mexico Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said the success of the agreement won’t be measured by how many drug lords go to jail.   The administration’s strategy has plenty of backers in the criminal justice and public health professions. “I'm sympathetic to the argument that Mexico is on the border with the largest consumer of fentanyl and cocaine in the world,” says Bryce Pardo, a drug policy specialist at Rand Corp. “We could do more to reduce our insatiable appetite for drugs.” In the meantime, more fentanyl smuggled into the U.S. means more deaths. Triana, the DEA special agent, estimates that the number of overdose fatalities this year will either be on par with or exceed 2020’s. Allyssia Solorio, the sister of the Sacramento man who died from fentanyl, has become an activist to raise awareness of the dangers of the illicit drug. The former postal worker says law enforcement must play a larger role. “President Biden can do a lot more to shut down the smuggling of fentanyl over the Mexican border,” she says. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 23:20.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 3rd, 2021

An Airbus A340 aircraft just landed on Antarctica for the first time ever — see the history of aviation on the 7th continent

In 1956, the US Navy managed to accomplish what many had thought was impossible — landing an aircraft on the Antarctic ice. The first Airbus A340 to land on Antarctica.Hi Fly An Airbus A340 made history in November when it became the first jet of its type to land on Antarctica. The South Pole has a long history of aviation that has contributed to the exploration of the continent. A number of airliners, military planes, turboprops, and luxury jets have landed on the polar tundra since 1956. Airlines operate regularly scheduled service to nearly every corner of the globe across six continents, connecting people to remote islands, deserts, and tundras. However, the 7th continent has proven difficult to reach, though a number of aircraft have successfully made the trek.Winter kayaking in Antarctica.Song_about_summer/ShutterstockAntarctica is the world's least populated continent and is typically home to about 4,400 people in the summer and only 1,000 in the winter. The inhabitants are settled on the continent's many research stations and tourist camps, which are regularly supplied by chartered cargo jets.Port Lockroy research station in Antarctica.Willem Tims/ShutterstockSource: World Population ReviewOn November 2, 2021, the first-ever Airbus A340 aircraft made the journey down to the White Continent, marking a historical feat. The plane flew from Cape Town, South Africa, and flew 2,500 nautical miles (2,877 miles) to Antarctica in five and a half hours.The first Airbus A340 to land on Antarctica.Hi FlySource: Hi FlyThe jet, which was operated by Portugal-based Hi Fly and chartered by luxury campsite Wolf's Fang, carried supplies for the latter's upscale adventure camp located on the South Pole. The plane carried enough fuel to make the journey to Antarctica and back.The first Airbus A340 to land on Antarctica.Hi FlySource: White Desert, Hi FlyAccording to Carlos Mirpuri, Hi Fly's vice president and the Captain of the historic flight, the 3,000-meter (9843-foot) glacial runway had special grooving to help the jet brake easier, though landing the heavy bird was not a problem. However, the reflective blue ice created a glare during landing.The first Airbus A340 to land on Antarctica.Hi FlySource: Hi Fly"The reflection is tremendous, and proper eyewear helps you adjust your eyes between the outside view and the instrumentation. The non-flying pilot has an important role in making the usual plus extra callouts, especially in the late stages of the approach," Mirpuri said.The first Airbus A340 to land on Antarctica.Hi FlySource: Hi FlyDespite the glare, the landing was smooth. "We flew a textbook approach to an uneventful landing, and aircraft performed exactly as planned, Mirpuri said. "When we reached taxi speed I could hear a round of applause from the cabin. We were joyful. After all, we were writing history."The first Airbus A340 to land on Antarctica.Hi FlyHi Fly's historic flight was just the latest addition to the long history of aviation in Antarctica. In 1928, Australian military pilot George Hubert Wilkins flew a Lockheed vega 1 monoplane from Deception Island in the South Shetland Islands over Antarctica in the first recorded flight to the 7th continent.Australian polar explorer Sir George Hubert Wilkins.Hulton Archive/Stringer/Getty ImagesSource: BBCWilkins was accompanied by co-pilot Carl Ben Eielson and the two spent four and a half hours crossing 1,000 miles of the previously unchartered Antarctic area, dropping a flag and document to claim the land for King George V of the United Kingdom.Document written by Sir Hubert Wilkins outlining claim for Australia at Walkabout Rocks.Daleen Koch via the Australian Antarctic DivisionSource: BBC"For the first time in history, new land was being discovered in the air," Wilkins wrote about the journey.Sir George Hubert Wilkins' Lockheed Vega.George Rayner via the Australian Antarctic DivisionSource: BBCWilliam Randolph Hearst, the American newspaper publishing millionaire, funded the project. Flights like these were how worldwide researchers and scientists learned about Antarctica's topography.Expeditioners reading Sir Hubert Wilkins’ proclamation at Wilkins Cairn.Scott Beardsley via the Australian Antarctic DivisionSource: BBCWhen Australia claimed the title of the first explorers to fly over Antarctica, an American navy man and aviator set out to best his feat. In January 1929, Richard Byrd's "million-dollar expedition" set out for the South Pole carrying three aircraft and setting up the first "Little America" naval base.Richard Byrd visits Little America in 1933.Bettmann/Getty ImagesSource: BBCHowever, Byrd did not fly during his first expedition to Antarctica, worrying his Ford Trimotor plane was too heavy and unreliable. Nevertheless, with determination to beat his rival Wilkins, he set out on November 28, 1929, for the South Pole.Richard Byrd posing next to the plane he used on his expedition to the South Pole.Keystone-France/Contributor/Getty ImagesSource: BBCByrd successfully flew across the Ross Ice Shelf and narrowly climbed above the Liv Glacier to the High Polar Plateau during his journey. He dropped a US flag onto the Antarctic tundra, and his achievements far-outmatched Wilkins. After his success, he vowed to return to the polar region.Richard Byrd in the cockpit of the second aircraft he flew over Antarctica.Bettmann/Getty ImagesSource: BBCAfter a few follow-up expeditions in the 1930s, Admiral Byrd launched Operation Highjump in 1946, sending 13 ships and 33 aircraft to the White Continent for exploration, research, mapping, American territorial sovereignty, and naval preparedness for Antarctic warfare.Dr. Paul A. Siple and Rear Admiral Byrd during Operation Highjump.Bettmann/Getty ImagesSource: BBCIt was the largest expedition in history to the continent, though no planes landed on the ice.Admiral Richard Byrd at his accommodation in Little America during Operation Highjump.ullstein picture Dtl. via Getty ImagesSource: BBCWhile the exploration of the polar wasteland started with "mapping wars," which led to the need for control over the territory, eventually the focus turned to scientific research.Antarctic expeditioners.George Rinhart/Corbis via Getty ImagesSource: BBCIn 1955, the US Navy launched Operation Deep Freeze to assist the National Science Foundation in its participation in the International Geophysical Year. IGY was a 67-country collaborative scientific project that lasted from July 1, 1957, to December 31, 1958, and studied topics like Antarctic weather, marine life, and glacial systems.The USS Arneb, the flagship of the Operation Deep Freeze task force.Bettmann/Getty ImagesSource: BBC, National GuardAs part of its preparations, the US Navy managed to accomplish what many had thought was impossible — landing an aircraft on the Antarctic ice. In October 1956, an R4D-5 Douglas Skytrain touched down on the South Pole for the first time ever.The R4D-5 Skytrain is parked at the South Pole behind the American flag after landing at the South Pole in 1956.US NavySource: BBCAfter the historic landing, a new era of science took off with nearly 70 nations participating in the IGY between 1957 and 1958. After the strong year, the Treaty of Antarctica was signed in which 12 countries committed to peace, science, and research on the continent, though there are 54 parties today.Flags of the original 12 signatory nations of the Antarctic Treaty.Bettmann/Getty ImagesSource: BBC"Aviation helped to confirm the ice-covered nature of Antarctica, which arguably contributed to a willingness to compromise in the Antarctic Treaty because there was little immediate prospect for economic gain," Adrian Howkins, a reader in environmental history at the University of Bristol, said.Australian DHC-2 Beaver flying over Mt Henderson in 1959.Australian Antarctic DivisionSource: BBCA number of aircraft have visited the White Continent since the first landing in 1956, like British Antarctic Survey's fleet of De Havilland Canada Twin Otters and Dash-7s started science flights to the frozen south in 1994.A British Antarctic Survey aircraft in Antarctica.British Antarctic SurveySource: British Antarctic SurveyMeanwhile, the US Navy launched later versions of Operation Deep Freeze, sending to Antarctica a USAF C-124 Globemaster...US Air Force C-124 Globemaster on Antarctica.US NavySource: National Naval Aviation MuseumA Lockheed P-2 Neptune...US Navy P2V Neptune in Antarctica.US NavySource: National Naval Aviation MuseumA De Havilland U-1 Otter...U-1 Otter emerges from the maw of a C-124.US NavySource: National Naval Aviation MuseumAn R5D Skymaster...US Navy workhorse, an R5D Skymaster.US NavySource: National Naval Aviation MuseumAn R4D Skytrain...US Navy R4D Skytrain on Antarctica.US NavySource: National Naval Aviation MuseumAnd a pontooned helicopter.US Navy pontooned helicopter.US NavySource: National Naval Aviation MuseumOther military aircraft have also landed on the continent, including the Royal New Zealand Air Force's Boeing 757, which first landed in 2009 and continues to operate supply flights each year.Royal Air New Zealand Boeing 757 jet on Antarctica.Colin Harnish/ShutterstockSource: Simple FlyingAlthough there is no regularly scheduled service to Antarctica, a handful of airlines have touched down on the polar wasteland, including Swiss airline PrivatAir which flew the first Boeing 737 to the continent in 2012.PrivatAir Boeing 737 on Antarctica.PrivatAirSource: South Pole StationMeanwhile, Icelandair's sister carrier Loftleider Icelandic Airlines was the first airline to land a commercial flight on Antarctica in 2015.The first-ever landing of a commercial Boeing 757 passenger airliner by Loftleidir Icelandic.Antarctic Logistics and ExpeditionsSource: Antarctic Logistics and ExpeditionsThe company ferried 60 tourists on a Boeing 757 to Union Glacier on behalf of Antarctic Logistics & Expeditions ALE. The purpose of both PrivatAir and Loftleider's journeys was to see if airliners could successfully transport people and cargo to Antarctica.The first-ever landing of a commercial Boeing 757 passenger airliner by Loftleidir Icelandic.Antarctic Logistics and ExpeditionsSource: Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions, South Pole StationBetween 2019 and 2020, Titan Airways flew two aircraft to the southern-most continent. The first was a Boeing 767 to Russia's Antarctic station, Novolazarevskaya, which landed several times on a 3,000-meter (9,843-foot) runway made of blue ice...Titan Airways' Boeing 767 on Antarctica.Titan AirwaysSource: Simple FlyingAnd an all-business Boeing 757 carrying World Marathon Challenge participants. The landing gear was modified with extended legs to absorb the shock of the ice.Inside Titan Airways' Boeing 757.Titan AirwaysSource: Simple FlyingIn February 2021, Icelandair made the trek with a Boeing 767 to pick up a group of Norwegian scientists from the Troll airfield in Antarctica. The flight involved a lot of planning due to the treacherous conditions on the continent and required six pilots, 13 crew, and one flight engineer to man the journey.Icelandair Boeing 767 in Antarctica.IcelandairSource: IcelandairTo land on Antarctica, aircraft navigate to one of 50 icy runways designated on the icy tundra, though none are actual airports. Two notable ones are the Phoenix Runway and Williams Field's skiway.LC-130s on Williams Field skiway in Antarctica.National Scientific FoundationSource: National Science FoundationIn addition to airline and military operations, there are several countries and organizations that fly planes to the South Pole for tourism or scientific research.Scientists collect meteorites from a glacial moraine at the base of Mt. Ward, Antarctica.NASAAustralia's Antarctic Division ferries expeditioners and equipment from the country to Antarctica. It flies an Airbus A319...Australian Antarctic Division A319 passenger flight.Australian Antarctic DivisionSource: Australian Antarctic DivisionAnd Royal Australian Air Force C-17As.Australian Royal Air Force C17-A Globemaster.Australian Antarctic DivisionSource: Australian Antarctic DivisionThe National Science Foundation, founded in 1959, also regularly operates polar-modified LC-130 Hercules, Twin Otters and Baslers, helicopters, and the US Air Force's C-17 between Antarctica and two main gateways, including Christchurch, New Zealand, and Puntas Arenas, Chile. The operation is part of the US Antarctic Program.Three year-round US research stations in Antarctica that are part of the program.National Scientific FoundationSource: National Science FoundationThe LC-130 Hercules was introduced into the military's Antarctic program in 1960 and has specially made ski-equipped landing gear for landing on the ice.LC-130 airplanes near McMurdo Station.National Science FoundationSource: National Science FoundationThe De Havilland Twin Otter and Basler turboprops are used for domestic flights within Antarctica. They can carry cargo and land on either ice or snow.Twin Otter on Antarctica.National Science FoundationSource: National Science FoundationFour helicopters are used in Antarctica, including two AS-350-B2 "A-Stars" and two Bell 212s.NSF Helicopter.National Science FoundationSource: National Science FoundationMeanwhile, a C-17 carries the bulk of passengers and cargo between Christchurch, New Zealand, and McMurdo Station each summer. The giant jet can carry approximately 121,254 pounds.US Air Force C-17 on Antarctica.National Science FoundationSource: National Science FoundationCanada-based Kenn Borek Air flies Twin Otters in support of US Antarctic Program science and in 2016 flew a rescue mission to the seventh continent to evacuate two people at the Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station who were in need of medical help.Kenn Borek rescue mission aircraft.National Science FoundationSource: National Science FoundationA number of tour operators also fly to the South Pole, like Ice Trek, which flies an Ilyushin-76 from Punta Arenas, Chile, to Union Glacier, Antarctica.Icetrek's Ilyushin-76 on Antarctica.IcetrekSource: IcetrekAnd White Desert, the operator of the luxury campsite on the tundra, which operates a Gulfstream 550 between Cape Town and Antarctica. According to the company, the plane makes the journey in five hours flying at .85 Mach.White Desert Gulfstream 550.White DesertSource: White DesertAntarctica's history of aviation is just beginning as airlines and countries continue to push the boundaries of the southern tundra in the name of science and exploration.Royal NZ Air Force aircraft on Antarctica.Colin Harnish/ShutterstockRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 1st, 2021

Satyajit Das Exposes Fintech"s "Flim-Flam" Innovation Games

Satyajit Das Exposes Fintech's "Flim-Flam" Innovation Games Authored by Satyajit Das via NakedCapitalism.com, Investment in fin-tech (the untidy agglomeration of finance and technology) has reached a record $91.5 billion, double that of 2020. In the last quarter, there were over 40 fintech unicorns (start-ups valued at over $1 billion). The sector now attracts around 20% of all venture capital. But its looks remarkably like a repeat of the late 1990s, when investors made ill-fated bets on online finance.  Fintech consists of traditional banking products conveniently packaged up and delivered via an Internet platform or App. Examples include payments (online payment firms like Square or Stripe); lending (supply chain finance (the late Greensill Capital); peer-to-peer lending; buy-now-pay-later (BNPL) or point-of-sale (POS) financing, such as Afterpay, Affirm, Klarna); and deposit taking (online banking start-ups). Investors include armoured cash carrier chasing venture capitalists and asset managers, armed with other people’s money. The usual suspects are augmented by financial institutions fearful of digital threats to their businesses. Then, there are former senior bank executives eager to displace their former employers, find profitable homes for their large paydays and continue ‘God’s work’. The Fintech recipe is simple: ...take a function, ...digitise it, ...toss in a little jargon – ‘financial engineering’, ‘technological disruption’. ...season generously with mystique; ...add some high profile spruikers or fawning media endorsements. ...Stir and then serve. The rules of the game are straightforward. First, disguise the true function. Exploiting disclosure loopholes,supply chain finance helps businesses treat borrowings as accounts payable on the balance sheet rather than debt, improving liquidity and reducing leverage.  Unfortunately, it leaves investors and creditors bearing bigger losses when the business finally collapse, as happened with Spain’s Abengoa in 2015, Carillion in 2018and NMC Health in 2020. BNPL is nothing more than unsecured personal finance. Second, mask the true economics. For example, in supply chain financing and BNPL, the seller of goods or services receives the sales price less a discount immediately from the financier who is paid back in deferred instalments by the buyer. A 4% discount, a typical BNPL charge to the seller, paid back over two-months translates into usurious funding costs of over 26% per annum. It helps to obscure how the cost is borne. In the case of BNPL, the retailer not the purchaser appears to bear the financing cost -the discount. But if they want to maintain margins, business must put up overall prices, penalising cash buyers who effectively subsidise BNPL users. Third, find an attractive demographic. Supply chain finance and peer-to-peer lending targets weaker borrowers. BNPL is aimed at younger, less financially literate clientele, attuned to a world of free everything. Appeals to ‘democratising capital’ can’t hurt. Fourth, find a lightly regulated lacunae of finance. Pressure to embrace innovation and facilitate the flow of credit has led to the concept of a ‘regulatory sandbox’, where fintech firms can test ‘innovative’ concepts without stringent rules. For example, specialist supply chain financiers and BNPL firms effectively lend money without being subject to the rules applicable to regulated banks. Fifth, increase risk to boost profitability, such as making risky loans, or ignore earnings altogether – few fintech’s are actually profitable. BNPL does not make money or lacks a clear pathway to profitability, onceinterchange, network fees, issuer processing fee, credit losses and funding are considered. Sixth, ensure that the real risks remain unknown unknown. Supply chain finance is short term and inappropriate for funding long-term assets, such as plant and equipment, as GFG Alliance (Greensill’s most prominent customer) discovered. A highly concentrated loan portfoliowith large exposures to a few clients is not generally recommended ‘best practice’ banking. It is irregular for financial institutions to entertain large transactions with related parties. In Greensill’s case, it appears to have extended substantial credit to shareholders. It also allegedly funded non-existent future or expected receivables.  Fintech lenders frequently undertake soft credit checks and minimal authentication. Former FSA chief Lord Adair Turner argued that the losses which will emerge from peer-to-peer lending will make the worst bankers look like lending geniuses. Seventh, solicit investors paranoid about digital disruption whose phones are generally smarter than they are. The reasons for mental dysfunction don’t matter but look for: search for high returns and growth, befuddlement about rapidly changing technology, wealth and confidence gained from previous successes or shame at missing out on a ‘ten-bagger’ (10 times increase on investment), faith in unending state underwriting of asset prices and, of course, TINA (there is no alternative). Branding as ‘fin-tech’ beguiles investors, allowing new businesses to attract capital at high valuations. Greensill’s genius was to persuade everyone that it had changed the business of traditional, staid, low margin, short-term secured lending against invoices and accounts receivable into something revolutionary. Softbank reportedly invested US$1.5 billion in Greensill, now presumably lost. Eighth, raise a lot of cash and spend it to build market share. Improving banking technology is passé. Most fintech systems consist of an app or user interface sitting on top of clunky, antiquated systems, held together by duct tape. The focus is accelerating customer acquisition which businesses with a wider array of products might be able to monetise. The hope is to find this buyer before you run out cash. The thing is that fintech could lower banking costs (the cost of transferring funds across borders is punitive) and provide basic, low cost financial services to a large part of the world lacking such access. Some emerging market fintechs do provide genuinely valuable mobile phone banking, micro-loans and simple trade finance for low income individuals and small businesses are. Unfortunately, they are the minority. There are other issues. The growth of these businesses promotes a burgeoning shadow banking system whose problems can leach into financial markets, requiring tax-payer funded bailouts.  Greensill resulted in the failure of three small banks and investor losses of around US$3 billion. Exempting proper controls and compliance with regulations designed to maintain financial stability in the name of invention, a willingness to ‘break things’ and ‘fix them later’ is patently dangerous. Worryingly for investors, the Fintech model may have peaked. For example, the Reserve Bank of Australia, in a decision likely to be adopted globally, will allow merchants to pass on the costs of BNPL services to customers. With surveys showing that most users would not use the service if there is a cost, a more even competitive field of play and increased competition from banks and credit card providers, Fintech’s future is dimming. The world needs real innovation but John Kenneth Galbraith was sceptical about the financial variety, seeing them as merely variants on old designs, novel only in the brief and defective memory of the financial world. Fintech illustrates how, given time, everything old is new again and everything new turns out to be a re-run. *  *  * Das is a well-recognized derivatives expert who wrote one of the discipline’s important early textbooks as well as popular works, notably Traders, Guns and Money and Extreme Money: Masters of the Universe and the Cult of Risk. His latest books include A Banquet of Consequences – Reloaded (March 2021) and Fortune’s Fool: Australia’s Choices (forthcoming March 2022) Tyler Durden Wed, 12/01/2021 - 18:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 1st, 2021

Amcor (AMCR) Unveils a New Healthcare Packaging Plant

Amcor's (AMCR) new healthcare packaging facility supports customers' increasing demand for healthcare packaging in Asia Pacific. Amcor Plc AMCR recently unveiled its greenfield healthcare packaging facility in Tuas, Singapore, to meet customers’ increasing demand for healthcare packaging across the region.The new facility contains cleanroom manufacturing environments, capability in three-, seven- and nine-layer co-extrusion blown film and state-of-the-art flexographic printing. It will support growth in Asia Pacific healthcare packaging market as it is expected to grow at a rate of more than 8% through 2026.Amcor is starting an innovation center for healthcare films in the Singapore plant to drive improvement in co-extrusion blown film technology. The new facility’s global product platform and enhanced innovation capabilities will help Amcor to offer new technologies, innovations and compelling products to efficiently serve its Asia Pacific customers. Tuas facility will not only help to expand its product offerings but also enhance its capacity to support current and future customer growth.Amcor is committed to making all its packaging to be recyclable by 2025 in order to fulfill customers’ increasing demand for more sustainable products. In line with that, the company’s new facility uses water-based printing technology with zero solvent emissions. Its multilayer blown films can produce products, which are easy to recycle and its multilayer film technology allows new product innovation with a lower carbon footprint.Amcor’s peer companies like Sonoco Products Company SON, Packaging Corporation of America PKG and Sealed Air SEE are also offering sustainable packaging to consumers.Sonoco, in collaboration with Tellus, declared the receipt of a prequalified label — Check Locally — for recyclability from How2Recycle for the Natrellis line of food packaging. Natrellis technology fulfills consumers’ increasing preference for more sustainable options for high-quality refrigerated and chilled foods.Packaging Corporation’s 89% of all corrugated products were recovered and directed into the recycling stream in 2020. The company’s Sustainable Forestry Initiative certified mills are focused on introducing new harvested fiber to maintain sustainable fiber supply.Sealed Air plans to design 100% recyclable or reusable packaging solutions by 2025. So far, 50% of its solutions are already being designed for recyclability. Consumers’ growing awareness and consequent increase in demand for sustainably packaged products is a major growth scope for these companies.Amcor continues to invest in growth and expand capacity in higher-growth segments like healthcare, protein and premium coffee or hot fill beverage containers and barrier films. Emerging markets will continue to be a key driver of organic growth. The company has more than $3 billion in annual sales from 27 profitable emerging market businesses. To meet ever-evolving consumer needs through innovation and stay ahead of the curve, the company invests around $100 million annually in R&D.Amcor has begun the construction of a new greenfield plant in China to add capacity to its business in a high-growth market. The new state-of-the-art plant will be the largest in Amcor's China network and will commence operations by the end of calendar 2022 to support a range of global and local customers, primarily in the food and personal care segments.Amcor currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Price PerformanceIn the past year, Amcor’s shares have gained 2.7% compared with the industry’s growth of 11.3%.Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 Sonoco Products Company (SON): Free Stock Analysis Report Sealed Air Corporation (SEE): Free Stock Analysis Report Packaging Corporation of America (PKG): Free Stock Analysis Report Amcor PLC (AMCR): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 1st, 2021

Walgreens (WBA) Buys Remaining Stake in German Wholesale Business

Walgreens' (WBA) recent acquisition of the remaining ownership stake helps the company to further solidify its position as a leading pharmaceutical wholesaler in Germany. Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. WBA recently inked an agreement with McKesson Corporation MCK to acquire the remaining 30% interest of their GEHE Pharma Handel (GEHE) and Alliance Healthcare Deutschland (AHD) joint venture (JV). The agreement is subject to standard regulatory approval by the relevant local authorities.Following the deal's closure, Walgreens will become the 100% owner of the combined GEHE and Alliance Healthcare businesses in Germany. The financial terms of the deal were kept under wraps.The recent investment is likely to fortify Walgreens’ International Pharmaceutical business.More on the NewsIn November 2020, Walgreens and McKesson entered into an agreement to build a joint venture combining their respective pharmaceutical wholesale businesses in Germany, AHD and GEHE. Under the terms of the agreement, Walgreens holds a 70% controlling equity interest in the JV and McKesson holds the remaining 30% interest.The recent announcement of Walgreens acquiring the remaining interest in the joint venture came on the heels of McKesson’s announcement in July 2021 of the sale of certain European businesses and its decision to exit the European region completely to reinvest in strategic growth opportunities elsewhere.Strategic EffortsPer Walgreens’ management, the acquisition of full ownership interest allows Walgreens to further bolster its position as a leading pharmaceutical wholesaler in Germany.  With the formation and development of the joint venture, Walgreens is optimistic about further boosting its innovative services to manufacturers and pharmacists in Germany.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchGoing by the November 2020 agreement, in the face of future challenges in the healthcare sector, the new company is focused on boosting the pharmacist's position as a healthcare professional, creating innovative added-value services and substantially improving digitalization and operational excellence.Industry ProspectsPer a report by Grand View Research, the Germany pharmaceuticals market size was valued at $41.4 billion in 2019 and is expected to see a CAGR of 6.0% by 2027. Increasing patent applications focused on developing novel drug delivery systems, new drugs, and formulations are factors driving the market.Considering the market opportunities, Walgreens’ recent acquisition is well thought-off.Recent DevelopmentsIn October 2021, Walgreens announced the expansion of its Mental Health First Aid training for more than 27,000 Walgreens pharmacists, while Boots is introducing new services focused on helping to meet the growing need in communities across Europe and the U.K.In September 2021, Walgreens, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Walgreen Co., announced the acquisition of majority investment in Shields -- an industry leader in integrated, health system-owned specialty pharmacy care.Price PerformanceShares of the company have gained 12.5% in a year compared with the industry’s rise of 25.5%.Zacks Rank and Key PicksWalgreens currently carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell).A couple of better-ranked stocks from the broader medical space are Medpace Holdings, Inc. MEDP and Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings, or LabCorp LH.Medpace reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $1.29, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 20.6%. MEDP’s revenues of $295.57 million beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 1.2%. Medpace currently carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).Medpace has an estimated long-term growth rate of 16.4%. MEDP surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 11.9%.LabCorp reported third-quarter 2021 adjusted EPS of $6.82, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 42.9%. Revenues of $4.06 billion outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 13.4%. LabCorp currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.LabCorp has an estimated long-term growth rate of 10.6%. LH surpassed estimates in the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 25.7%. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 Laboratory Corporation of America Holdings (LH): Free Stock Analysis Report McKesson Corporation (MCK): Free Stock Analysis Report Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA): Free Stock Analysis Report Medpace Holdings, Inc. (MEDP): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 1st, 2021

Papa John"s (PZZA) Shares Gain 44% YTD: More Upside Left?

Papa John's (PZZA) continues to focus on unit expansion to develop and maintain a strong franchise system. Also, emphasis on digital initiatives bodes well. Papa John’s International, Inc. PZZA is poised to benefit from digital efforts, robust comps growth, expansion initiatives and menu innovation. Also, focus on the loyalty program and third-party delivery aggregators have been driving sales in the last few quarters.So far this year, shares of Papa John’s have gained 43.7% compared with the industry’s 7.3% growth. The price performance was backed by a solid earnings surprise history. Papa John’s earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate in three of the trailing four quarters. Earnings estimates for 2021 and 2022 have moved up 6.7% and 4.3%, respectively, in the past 60 days. This positive trend signifies bullish analysts’ sentiments and justifies the company’s Zacks Rank #2 (Buy), indicating robust fundamentals and the expectation of outperformance in the near term. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.Major Growth DriversDigitization Efforts: Papa John’s is investing heavily in technology-driven initiatives like digital ordering to boost sales. The company’s online and digital marketing activities have increased significantly in the past several years in response to higher utilization of online and mobile web technology. In fact, Papa John’s is committed toward providing better customer experience with enhancements to digital ordering process. The company’s loyalty program continues to witness a rise in digital transactions during third-quarter fiscal 2021. Higher transaction sizes and better targeting of offers and promotions have been benefitting the company.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchSolid Comps Growth: Papa John’s continues to impress investors with robust comparable sales growth. The company recorded positive comparable sales growth in third-quarter fiscal 2021, which marks the eighth straight quarter of comps growth. It benefited from initiatives related to menu innovation, operational efficiencies and cost-saving efforts. Also, solid contributions were reported from third-party delivery aggregators.In the fiscal third quarter, total comparable sales rose 7.3% year over year compared with 23% growth reported in the prior-year quarter. At North America franchised restaurants, comps rose 6.8% compared with 25.6% growth in the year-ago quarter. Comps in North America restaurants increased 6.9% compared with 23.8% growth in the year-ago quarter. Comps in the region benefited from solid customer acquisition from the successful launch of Epic Stuffed Crust, Shaq-a-Roni and Parmesan-Crusted Papadias. Comps at international restaurants were up 8.3% year over year compared with 20.7% growth in the prior-year quarter.Emphasis on Expansion: Papa John’s is committed to develop and maintain a strong franchise system. The company is striving to eliminate barriers for expansion in existing international markets and identify new market opportunities. In August 2021, the company expanded its partnership with Drake Food Service International to open more than 220 Papa John’s restaurants by 2025. This includes more than 170 stores across Latin America, Spain and Portugal. Drake Food Service plans to open 50 new restaurants in the U.K. over the next four years. The company already purchased 60 Papa John’s restaurants in London, making it the brand’s largest franchisee in the country. Under the terms of this expanded partnership, Drake Food Service will operate more than 560 Papa John’s restaurants by 2025. Apart from this, the company signed a new deal with Sun Holdings (in September 2021) to open 100 new locations in Texas and the south by 2029.Focus on Menu Innovation: Additionally, the company continues to focus on product introduction to drive growth. Notably, menu innovations like Epic Stuffed Crust and toasted handheld Papadias continue to witness solid popularity among customers, thereby boosting the top line. Backed by better brand positioning, the new products have driven higher ticket and traffic across dayparts without cannibalizing core premium products as well as complicating operations at other stores. During the fiscal third quarter, the company initiated a new BaconMania promotion that comprises bacon servings across three different product platforms - Pizza, Papadias and Jalapeno Popper Rolls side. With primary results in the positive trajectory, the company anticipates the initiative to drive traffic and new customers in each menu platform, thereby enhancing the top line in the long term.Other Key Restaurant PicksDave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. PLAY, which has been benefiting from reopening initiatives, ramped up vaccinations and excellent operational execution, sports a Zacks Rank #1. The company anticipates sustaining the momentum in the days ahead, backed by its strategic initiatives that include a new menu, optimized marketing and technology investments.Dave & Buster's has reported better-than-expected earnings in each of the trailing four quarters, the average surprise being 201.8%. The company’s fiscal 2022 earnings is likely to witness growth of 147.7%. PLAY stock has gained 25.5% in the past year.Darden Restaurants, Inc. DRI currently carries a Zacks Rank #2. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 15.3%, on average. Shares of the company have gained 25.8% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Darden Restaurants’ current financial year sales and earnings per share (EPS) suggests an improvement of 32.5% and 76.8%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels.Kura Sushi USA, Inc. KRUS carries a Zacks Rank #2. The company has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 15.6%, on average. Shares of the company have soared 267.4% in the past year.The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Kura Sushi’s current financial year sales and EPS suggests growth of 108% and 85.7%, respectively, from the year-ago period’s levels. Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. Fresh from a successful repositioning and flush with A-list celeb endorsements, it could rival or surpass other recent Zacks' Stocks Set to Double like Boston Beer Company which shot up +143.0% in a little more than 9 months and Nvidia which boomed +175.9% in one year.Free: See Our Top Stock and 4 Runners Up >>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 Darden Restaurants, Inc. (DRI): Free Stock Analysis Report Papa John's International, Inc. (PZZA): Free Stock Analysis Report Dave & Buster's Entertainment, Inc. (PLAY): Free Stock Analysis Report Kura Sushi USA, Inc. (KRUS): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 1st, 2021