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SafeMoon Unsafe? Blockchain Security Firm Says 2 Million Investors At Risk Due To Critical Vulnerabilities

Blockchain audit and consulting firm HashEx c.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzingaMay 25th, 2021

Ready to invest in Bitcoin? Here are 4 steps to get started

Here's everything you need to know about how to invest in bitcoin, from choosing an exchange and crypto wallet, to picking the right trading strategy. There are a variety of ways to invest in bitcoin, even if you aren't a professional day trader or regularly play the currency markets. Alyssa Powell/Insider Table of Contents: Masthead Sticky Bitcoin investing involves choosing an exchange, verifying your identity, and withdrawing to a wallet. Investing in bitcoin is risky since it's a volatile and speculative asset. Experts recommend using a buy-and-hold strategy when buying bitcoin, in order to average out rises and falls. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. More than a decade into its existence, Bitcoin doesn't seem to be going away. The cryptocurrency has attracted good and bad headlines as it's worked its way through multiple peaks over the years, and despite a reputation for volatility, it continues to attract new investors with its promise of market-beating returns.Here's what to know about investing in Bitcoin.What to know about Bitcoin Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency. This means it's a form of electronic money that secures and validates transactions via the use of cryptography. In Bitcoin's case, people and organizations known as "miners" use computing hardware to calculate a code - known as a "hash" - that encrypts the data contained in transactions. This data is collected into "blocks," which are linked together in a blockchain that cannot, in theory, be changed once written.On an economic level, Bitcoin's creator - the pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto - created it in 2008 as a form of "sound money," akin to digital gold."What makes Bitcoin so special is that it has a finite supply of 21 million coins, with only a couple million left to be mined," explains Edward Moya, chief market strategist at OANDA's MarketPulse. "Simple supply and demand for Bitcoin is the main reason why prices have skyrocketed over the past year."Despite having a fixed maximum supply, Bitcoin has shown remarkable volatility throughout most of its life with major fluctuations in its price.Such swings make Bitcoin a highly speculative asset, one that should be considered only by traders willing to stomach a fair amount of risk. That said, at least some analysts suspect that its volatility will gradually decline over time, as its market grows and reduces its destabilizing reliance on leverage.Step 1: Choose a crypto exchange For most people, the best place to buy Bitcoin is on a crypto exchange. These are online platforms dedicated to facilitating trades in cryptocurrency, usually by offering trading pairs (e.g., USD to Bitcoin) and usually by matching buyers with sellers.In the US, the leading crypto exchange by volume and customer base is Coinbase. That said, other reputable - and regulated - crypto-exchanges include Kraken, Gemini, eToro, and Crypto.com.More inexperienced traders may wish to try a more general trading platform such as Robinhood. These have the benefit of being more user-friendly than the average crypto exchange, although their major downside is that many don't let users withdraw their bitcoin.Quick tip: New investors should check the fees charged by exchanges, since these can vary quite widely. They should also check for the minimum account balance required by their chosen platform, since certain exchanges impose a minimum. Others also set minimums for account deposits via bank transfer.Step 2: Choose a payment methodExchanges also vary in terms of the payment methods they support. Most major platforms do offer the option of linking your bank account for wire and ACH transfers, as well as the option of linking a debit card. Some also let you pay via PayPal, with Coinbase also supporting Apple Pay.Quick tip: Most bank transfer deposit options incur no fees. Nonetheless, certain special services (e.g., FedWire via Silvergate or Synapse) may require a small charge (e.g., $1 or $5), while using PayPal to deposit money into your exchange incurs a 2.5% charge with Coinbase, for instance.Regardless of the option you choose, you will have to verify your identity when first signing up for an account and registering a payment method. In the US, you're usually required to submit a scan of a state-issued ID, such as a driver's license or identification card.Depending on where you are and on your chosen platform, you may also be required to provide scans of additional documentation (such as your passport), as well as being asked to submit a proof of address.Step 3: Place your order Once you're verified and have deposited cash into your account, you can then begin buying Bitcoin. This process varies according to the exchange you use, with some exchanges offering a process that simply involves clicking a Buy or Sell button and then specifying how much Bitcoin you want to buy (or sell).In general, most crypto exchanges offer at least three basic order types:Market order: the option to choose if you simply want to buy Bitcoin at its current price. This type of order is usually completed in a matter of seconds, depending on the time of day.Stop order: an order where you specify the price at which you will buy or sell Bitcoin. This type is good if you want to make sure you sell Bitcoin before it falls too sharply. This type of order can take some time to execute, depending on how quickly the market moves.Limit order: instructs the exchange to execute a buy or sell order at a specific price or better. In contrast to stop orders, limit orders are visible to the market and can take longer to fill.Again, executing any one of these options usually involves clicking a Buy, Trade, or New order button on an exchange's home screen. You'll then be able to choose from the above three (and more advanced) options, before clicking a Submit button or something equivalent.Quick tip: All exchanges will let you buy a fraction of a bitcoin (BTC). So while the price of 1 BTC may seem prohibitively expensive right now, you will be able to choose to buy 0.1 BTC, 0.01 BTC or whatever else you type into the exchange's interface.How to buy Bitcoin with PayPalPayPal has enabled its US-based customers to buy Bitcoin (and other cryptocurrencies) since October 2020. But before you can purchase Bitcoin, you'll have to agree to their terms and conditions and then set up a PayPal Balance account first. From the home screen, click the button that looks like a bar graph. Jasmine Suarez/Insider Click Bitcoin. PayPal also offers the option to buy Ethereum, Litecoin, and Bitcoin Cash. Jasmine Suarez/Insider Scroll down and select how much you'd like to purchase. Then click Buy. PayPal provides preset amounts of Bitcoin you can purchase. Jasmine Suarez/Insider Quick tip: When you press the Buy button for the first time, you'll have to prove your identity (if you haven't done so on PayPal already). This involves providing your name, physical address, date of birth, and taxpayer identification number, and may also include submitting a copy of your ID and showing proof of address.Step 4: Store your crypto in a safe place While bigger exchanges are becoming safer, hacks and fraud remain a big problem for the industry. This is why investors with significant sums in Bitcoin are advised to consider storing their cryptocurrency themselves."Experienced traders that are very good with cybersecurity might prefer to own their wallets, as this gives you the ability to move your cryptocurrencies whenever you want to and not be subject to an exchange. The saying 'Not your keys, not your coins' was popular last year, as many exchanges got hacked or shut down," says Moya.This means transferring your Bitcoin from the exchange you use to your own cryptocurrency wallet. Such wallets come in two forms:Cold wallets: also known as hardware wallets, these are small devices that store your Bitcoin address' private key, which is necessary to transfer Bitcoin out of the address. They do not connect to the internet and are therefore considered safer than online, software-based alternatives.Hot wallets: also known as software wallets, these are apps that can be used through your phone, desktop computer, or web browser. They also store the private key of your Bitcoin address, but because they do connect to the internet, they aren't considered quite as safe as hardware/cold wallets.Software wallets aren't quite as secure as hardware wallets, but the leading varieties do still offer a range of security features, such as two-factor authentication and compatibility with hardware wallets.Selling bitcoin While many traders turn to Bitcoin in the hope of making big money fast, pretty much every analyst advocates a long-term, buy-and-hold strategy. This is largely because holding for a longer period of time tends to average out gains and losses, providing a greater probability of a significant positive return by the time you sell your Bitcoin."In my opinion, it is better to buy and hold, perhaps allocating a small portion of your portfolio to cryptocurrencies, focusing on the ones typically held by institutional investors, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum at the moment," says Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou, an analyst at JPMorgan Chase & Co.Likewise, many analysts also recommend adopting a dollar-cost-averaging (DCA) strategy, largely because this is another way of averaging out peaks and troughs."The best strategy for newcomers would be to [trade] Bitcoin on the DCA approach [...] you'll just buy a tiny bit on a monthly or weekly basis, not looking at the price movements at all," says Michaël van de Poppe, the CEO and founder of cryptocurrency consultancy, Eight.However, Moya warns that even with a long-term hold strategy, new traders are generally advised to enter the world of Bitcoin investing with the mindset that they could lose most of their money. "A new investor should only apply a very low, single-digit percentage of their trading portfolio to cryptocurrencies. Despite the many bullish calls for Bitcoin or Ethereum, massive plunges have happened in minutes. New investors may want to consider buying and holding a basket of cryptocurrencies, with an approach of scaling into positions," he says.A longer-term approach is also beneficial from a tax perspective, since Bitcoin is classified as property in the US, and therefore liable to capital gains tax when sold. Quick tip: You'll have to pay capital gains tax if you sell bitcoin after holding it for more than one year. But if you hold for less than a year, your gains are taxed as ordinary income. Investors with an annual income of $40,000 or less pay no capital gains tax on Bitcoin profits, whereas those in the next bracket pay 15%.The financial takeawayBitcoin is an interesting and exciting technological innovation, representing a form of decentralized electronic money that doesn't require a central authority (such as the Federal Reserve) to operate. It's also exciting from an investment perspective, with its high annual returns (in most years) making it one of the best-performing assets of the past decade, even if its volatility means it has suffered more than a few dramatic falls.While investing in Bitcoin may seem complicated, starting off is as simple as picking a reputable exchange and setting up an account. Once you've verified your identity and deposited some money, you're then good to go, with most exchanges offering a range of order types in addition to the ability to simply buy Bitcoin.When you've acquired a significant sum of Bitcoin, most experts recommend withdrawing it to your own cold (i.e., hardware) wallet. They also recommend a buy-and-hold strategy, so that you can iron out market dips and also avoid having your profits taxed as ordinary income.A bitcoin IRA lets you profit from the cryptocurrency's potential gains in a tax-advantaged wayAltcoins are the alternative digital currencies to bitcoin - here's what they are and how they workWhat is Ethereum? What to know before investingWhat to know about non-fungible tokens (NFTs) - unique digital assets built on blockchain technologyRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

BlackBerry Reports Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2022 Results

Revenue exceeds expectations and Company adds deep cybersecurity industry experience to drive growth - Total company revenue of $175 million. - IoT revenue of $40 million. - Cyber Security revenue of $120 million. - Licensing & Other revenue of $15 million. - Positive operating cash flow of $12 million. - Non-GAAP loss per basic and diluted share of $0.06; GAAP loss per basic and diluted share of $0.25. A non-cash accounting adjustment to the fair value of the convertible debentures, as a result of market and trading conditions, accounts for approximately $0.12 of GAAP loss per share. WATERLOO, ON, Sept. 22, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- BlackBerry Limited (NYSE:BB, TSX:BB) today reported financial results for the three months ended August 31, 2021 (all figures in U.S. dollars and U.S. GAAP, except where otherwise indicated). "Revenue for all businesses beat expectations this quarter.  The Cyber Security business unit delivered robust sequential billings and revenue growth and the IoT business unit performed well in the face of global chip shortage pressures," said John Chen, Executive Chairman & CEO, BlackBerry. "We are already seeing benefits from establishing the two key business units and are delighted to appoint John Giamatteo as President of Cyber Security.  Giamatteo, who was previously President and Chief Revenue Officer at McAfee, adds leading industry expertise. In IoT, design activity for our QNX products remains very strong, demonstrating both our industry leadership position and secular trends, such as ECU consolidation. In Cyber Security we received strong third-party validation of the effectiveness of our AI-driven, prevention-first suite of products, illustrating progress made with recent product launches." Second Quarter Fiscal 2022 Financial Highlights Total company revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $175 million. Total company non-GAAP gross margin was 65% and GAAP gross margin was 64%. IoT revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $40 million, with gross margin of 83% and ARR of $89 million. Cyber Security revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $120 million, with gross margin of 59% and ARR of $364 million. Licensing and Other revenue for the second quarter of fiscal 2022 was $15 million as negotiations for the sale of a portion of the patent portfolio continue. Gross margin was 60%. Non-GAAP operating loss was $30 million. GAAP operating loss was $141 million, primarily due to a non-cash accounting adjustment to the fair value of the convertible debentures, resulting from market and trading conditions, of $67 million. Non-GAAP loss per share was $0.06 (basic and diluted). GAAP loss per share was $0.25 (basic and diluted). Total cash, cash equivalents, short-term and long-term investments were $772 million. Net cash generated from operating activities was $12 million. Business Highlights & Strategic Announcements BlackBerry has design wins with 24 of the world's leading 25 Electric Vehicle (EV) automakers. This has increased from 23 of the top 25 last quarter following an EV win with Daimler. BlackBerry IVY™ to deliver highly secure vehicle-based payments, leveraging direct access to vehicle sensor data and edge processing to create a "digital fingerprint". Delivered through a partnership with Car IQ. Nobo Technologies selects BlackBerry QNX® Neutrino® as foundation for new Digital Cockpit Controller for Great Wall Motors' Haval G6S SUV. Great Wall Motors is China's largest producer of SUV vehicles. sTraffic, Korea's leading solution developer for transportation infrastructure systems, selects QNX® OS for Safety as the foundation for their train traffic management system that includes unmanned train operations. BlackBerry launches BlackBerry® Jarvis 2.0® composition analysis tool. Delivered as a more user-friendly SaaS offering, Jarvis 2.0 empowers OEMs to validate and ensure the quality of their multi-tiered software bill of materials. BlackBerry awarded highest AAA rating by SE Labs in breach test of BlackBerry® Protect (EPP) and BlackBerry® Optics (EDR). The breach test adopted a range of real-world hacker tactics and BlackBerry's AI-driven products delivered complete prevention and detection with zero false positives. BlackBerry® UEM integrates with Microsoft 365, delivering BlackBerry's industry-leading security to Microsoft's productivity products. BlackBerry® AtHoc® critical event management platform used as foundation for autonomous flood risk and clean water monitoring solution. BlackBerry updates SecuSUITE capabilities to protect group phone calls and messages for governments and businesses from high risk eavesdropping. Appointment of New Cyber Security Business Unit PresidentBlackBerry has appointed John Giamatteo as President of the Cyber Security business unit.  With this strategic hire the company adds significant industry experience. Giamatteo will join the company on October 4th and report to Executive Chairman and CEO John Chen.  He will be responsible for business unit strategy, engineering, and go-to-market. Giamatteo brings to BlackBerry over 30 years of experience with technology companies. Most recently he served as President and Chief Revenue Officer of McAfee, where he was responsible for sales, marketing, and customer success.  During his time with McAfee, he delivered strong double-digit growth across its Enterprise, SMB and Consumer businesses as well as significant margin expansion across the portfolio.  Prior to that he served as Chief Operating Officer at AVG Technologies, a leading provider of Internet and mobile security. Giamatteo also held leadership positions with Solera Holdings, RealNetworks, Inc. and Nortel Network Corporation. "I'm excited to be joining BlackBerry and to be leading the Cyber Security business unit.  Never has the threat of cyberattacks been higher, nor more in the minds of management," said Giamatteo. "BlackBerry's AI-driven, prevention-first technology is well placed to scale to meet the constantly evolving cybersecurity needs of companies everywhere.  I'm very positive about the opportunities that we have as a company." Tom Eacobacci, BlackBerry's President and COO, has decided to pursue other opportunities and will leave the Company on October 29th.  BlackBerry thanks Tom for his hard work and contributions in his time at the Company. OutlookBlackBerry will provide fiscal year 2022 outlook in connection with the quarterly earnings announcement on its earnings conference call. The earnings call transcript will be made available on our website and on SEDAR. Use of Non-GAAP Financial MeasuresThe tables at the end of this press release include a reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures used by the company to comparable U.S. GAAP measures and an explanation of why the company uses them. Conference Call and WebcastA conference call and live webcast will be held today beginning at 5:30 p.m. ET, which can be accessed by dialing +1 (877) 682-6267 or by logging on at BlackBerry.com/Investors. A replay of the conference call will also be available at approximately 8:30 p.m. ET by dialing +1 (800) 585-8367 and entering Conference ID #6149337 and at the link above. About BlackBerryBlackBerry (NYSE:BB, TSX:BB) provides intelligent security software and services to enterprises and governments around the world. The company secures more than 500M endpoints including more than 195M vehicles.  Based in Waterloo, Ontario, the company leverages AI and machine learning to deliver innovative solutions in the areas of cybersecurity, safety and data privacy, and is a leader in the areas of endpoint security, endpoint management, encryption, and embedded systems.  BlackBerry's vision is clear - to secure a connected future you can trust. BlackBerry. Intelligent Security. Everywhere.  For more information, visit BlackBerry.com and follow @BlackBerry.   Investor Contact:BlackBerry Investor Relations+1 (519) 888-7465investor_relations@blackberry.com Media Contact:BlackBerry Media Relations+1 (519) 597-7273mediarelations@blackberry.com This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of certain securities laws, including under the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 and applicable Canadian securities laws, including statements regarding BlackBerry's plans, strategies and objectives including its expectations with respect to increasing and enhancing its product and service offerings.  The words "expect", "anticipate", "estimate", "may", "will", "should", "could", "intend", "believe", "target", "plan" and similar expressions are intended to identify these forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions made by BlackBerry in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends, current conditions and expected future developments, as well as other factors that BlackBerry believes are appropriate in the circumstances, including but not limited to, BlackBerry's expectations regarding its business, strategy, opportunities and prospects, the launch of new products and services, general economic conditions, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, competition, and BlackBerry's expectations regarding its financial performance.  Many factors could cause BlackBerry's actual results, performance or achievements to differ materially from those expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, risks related to the following factors: BlackBerry's ability to enhance, develop, introduce or monetize products and services for the enterprise market in a timely manner with competitive pricing, features and performance; BlackBerry's ability to maintain or expand its customer base for its software and services offerings to grow revenue or achieve sustained profitability; the intense competition faced by BlackBerry; the occurrence or perception of a breach of BlackBerry's network cybersecurity measures, or an inappropriate disclosure of confidential or personal information; the failure or perceived failure of BlackBerry's solutions to detect or prevent security vulnerabilities; the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic; BlackBerry's continuing ability to attract new personnel, retain existing key personnel and manage its staffing effectively; BlackBerry's dependence on its relationships with resellers and channel partners; litigation against BlackBerry; network disruptions or other business interruptions; BlackBerry's ability to foster an ecosystem of third-party application developers; BlackBerry's products and services being dependent upon interoperability with rapidly changing systems provided by third parties; BlackBerry's ability to obtain rights to use third-party software and its use of open source software; failure to protect BlackBerry's intellectual property and to earn expected revenues from intellectual property rights; BlackBerry being found to have infringed on the intellectual property rights of others;  the substantial asset risk faced by BlackBerry, including the potential for charges related to its long-lived assets and goodwill; BlackBerry's indebtedness; tax provision changes, the adoption of new tax legislation or exposure to additional tax liabilities; the use and management of user data and personal information; government regulations applicable to BlackBerry's products and services, including products containing encryption capabilities; the failure of BlackBerry's suppliers, subcontractors, channel partners and representatives to use acceptable ethical business practices or comply with applicable laws; regulations regarding health and safety, hazardous materials usage and conflict minerals; acquisitions, divestitures and other business initiatives; foreign operations, including fluctuations in foreign currencies; the fluctuation of BlackBerry's quarterly revenue and operating results; the volatility of the market price of BlackBerry's common shares; adverse economic, geopolitical and environmental conditions. These risk factors and others relating to BlackBerry are discussed in greater detail in BlackBerry's Annual Report on Form    10-K and the "Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements" section of BlackBerry's MD&A (copies of which filings may be obtained at www.sedar.com or www.sec.gov). All of these factors should be considered carefully, and readers should not place undue reliance on BlackBerry's forward-looking statements. Any statements that are forward-looking statements are intended to enable BlackBerry's shareholders to view the anticipated performance and prospects of BlackBerry from management's perspective at the time such statements are made, and they are subject to the risks that are inherent in all forward-looking statements, as described above, as well as difficulties in forecasting BlackBerry's financial results and performance for future periods, particularly over longer periods, given changes in technology and BlackBerry's business strategy, evolving industry standards, intense competition and short product life cycles that characterize the industries in which BlackBerry operates. BlackBerry has no intention and undertakes no obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by applicable law.   BlackBerry Limited Incorporated under the Laws of Ontario (United States dollars, in millions except share and per share amounts) (unaudited) Consolidated Statements of Operations  Three Months Ended Six Months Ended August 31, 2021 May 31, 2021 August 31,2020 August 31, 2021 August 31, 2020 Revenue $ 175 $ 174 $ 259 $ 349 $ 465 Cost of sales 63 60 60 123 123 Gross margin 112 114 199 226 342 Gross margin % 64.0 % 65.5 % 76.8 % 64.8 % 73.5 % Operating expenses Research and development 58 57 57 115 114 Selling, marketing and administration 83 73 79 156 169 Amortization 45 46 46 91 92 Impairment of goodwill — — — — 594 Impairment of long-lived assets — — 21 — 21 Debentures fair value adjustment 67 (4) 18 63 19 253 172 221 425 1,009 Operating loss (141) (58) (22) (199) (667) Investment loss, net (1) (2) (5) (3) (5) Loss before income taxes (142) (60) (27) (202) (672) Provision for (recovery of) income taxes 2 2 (4) 4 (13) Net loss $ (144) $ (62) $ (23) $ (206) $ (659) Loss per share Basic $ (0.25) $ (0.11) $ (0.04) $ (0.36) $ (1.18) Diluted $ (0.25) $ (0.11) $ (0.04) $ (0.36) $ (1.18) Weighted-average number of common shares outstanding (000s) Basic 568,082 567,358 558,882 567,724 558,365 Diluted 568,082 567,358 558,882 567,724 558,365 Total common shares outstanding (000s) 566,995 566,248 556,468 566,995 556,468   BlackBerry Limited Incorporated under the Laws of Ontario (United States dollars, in millions) (unaudited) Consolidated Balance Sheets As at August 31, 2021 February 28, 2021 Assets Current Cash and cash equivalents $ 291 $ 214 Short-term investments 416 525 Accounts receivable, net of allowance of $9 and $10, respectively 121 182 Other receivables 23 25 Income taxes receivable 9 10 Other current assets 50 50 910 1,006 Restricted cash equivalents and restricted short-term investments 27 28 Long-term investments 38 37 Other long-term assets 13 16 Operating lease right-of-use assets, net 57 63 Property, plant and equipment, net 44.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 22nd, 2021

Why the Fate of Troubled Property Developer Evergrande Group Is Posing a Huge Headache for China

One analyst calls it “the biggest test that China's financial system has faced in years” When Chinese home-buyer Zhiwei decided to purchase a luxury apartment at a development named Australia Villas back in 1997, it was billed as the apex of affluence. Located outside China’s southern megacity Guangzhou, the sprawling complex was to have 292 buildings, including a gymnasium, spa, cinemas, and a private school. Boutiques and restaurants would dot its 2,000 acres, sales staff said. Impressed, Zhiwei stumped up $21,000—a huge sum 24 years ago, when the average annual disposable income in China was less than $650. But things quickly went awry. The developer went bust in 2001 leaving most homes unfinished. Buyers with means swallowed the loss, but those without anywhere else to go, like Zhiwei, to go were forced to move into the concrete shells of their unfinished homes, living without gas, electricity and, in some cases, even windows. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “The whole area is thick with weeds, you can sometimes see snakes slithering on the sidewalk, and outdoors we are savaged by swarms of mosquitoes,” says Zhiwei, who asked to use a pseudonym for fear of jeopardizing ongoing negotiations with the developer and local government. “As the houses are unfinished, we can’t even get [approval] to sell them.” Read more: Why ‘Common Prosperity’ Is Alarming China’s Billionaires Two decades on, many people still live amid the vine-entangled, mildewed structures, planting vegetable gardens and rearing chickens on what were supposed to be ornamental lawns. More than 2,000 homeowners like Zhiwei are still waiting compensation. “After fighting for our rights for more than 20 years, many owners are getting old, and even the youngest have been retired for several years,” she says. And yet this cautionary tale has had no impact China’s gangbusters real estate market, which today remains the world’s biggest. In the year ending June 2020, about $1.4 trillion was invested in Chinese housing, even allowing for a fleeting dip due to the pandemic. That dwarfs the $900 billion invested in real estate at the peak of the U.S. property boom of the 2000s. Today, real estate makes up 29% China’s GDP. But alarm bells rang this week, with the news that the world’s most indebted real estate developer, Evergrande, is struggling to make loan payments on its more than $300 billion in liabilities—a sum roughly equivalent to the public debt of Portugal. On Tuesday the firm, based in the southern city of Shenzhen, said it was under “tremendous pressure” and warned there was no guarantee that it would be able “to meet its financial obligations.” That was crushing news for the roughly 1.5 million people who have put deposits on Evergrande homes that have yet to be built. NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images Police officers survey people gathering at the Evergrande headquarters in Shenzhen, China on Sept. 16, 2021, as the Chinese property giant said it was facing “unprecedented difficulties” but denied rumors that it was about to go under. What impact could Evergrande have on China’s financial system? Fearing a fate like Zhiwei’s, scores of furious protesters besieged Evergrande’s headquarters this week in a show of public discontent not usually tolerated under China’s strongman, President Xi Jinping. Some even shared photos online of the family graves of Evergrande founder Hui Ka Yan, located at his ancestral home in the central province of Henan, exhorting people to go and vandalize them. Analysts are concerned. “Evergrande’s collapse would be the biggest test that China’s financial system has faced in years,” Mark Williams, chief Asia economist at Capital Economics, wrote in a Sept. 9 briefing note. Not only would a collapse be catastrophic for investor confidence, it would also reflect poorly on the ruling Chinese Communist Party (CCP). Under President Xi Jinping, the CCP has sought to rein in excessive wealth, reduce market risks and lower income inequality through a new campaign for “common prosperity.” But Evergrande—one of China’s largest corporations—is a problem that has worsened under Xi’s watch. The burning question is whether he will allow Evergrande to fail, potentially unleashing ripples of financial turmoil and further protests. At the very least, “Financial issues at the group are likely to cause contagion effect in the banking sector,” Angus Lam, a senior economist at IHS Markit, tells TIME by email. Read more: What the Crackdown on China’s Big Tech Firms Is Really About Yue Yuejin, research director for the E-House China research institute, says that unless there is social unrest “simply bailing out the enterprise wholesale will not happen.” But “there may be possible interventions such as the introduction of strategic investors or active coordination of asset sales.” It’s precipitous fall for Evergrande, which until recently was China’s second largest developer with nearly 900 competed commercial, residential and infrastructure projects. It had grown extremely bloated, swelling to some 200,000 staff as it made a bizarre array of loss-making forays into bottled water, electric vehicles and other sectors. It also invested hundreds of millions of dollars in its own soccer team. Hui, who founded the firm in 1997, was listed as China’s third-richest man by Forbes last year, but his wealth has plummeted in recent months. Evergrande’s shares have nosedived 81% since the beginning of the year, with the current crisis prompted after a series of downgrades of its bonds. Investors are growing increasingly jittery that a collapse could spread to other property developers, revealing systemic vulnerabilities. Each year, China builds about 15 million new homes—over five times those in America and Europe combined—yet a quarter of the current stock already lies empty, with forests of unoccupied tower blocks ringing many second and third-tier cities. In 2021, Chinese developers were exposed to more than $100 billion in bond repayments, while 10% of outstanding bank loans to non-financial clients globally have been made in China’s property sector. According to court filings, 228 real estate firms went bust in China during the first half of 2020 alone. Liu Junfeng/VCG via Getty Images)YICHANG, CHINA – SEPTEMBER 14: The construction site of an Evergrande housing complex is pictured on September 14, 2021 in Yichang, Hubei Province, China. Is Evergrande’s collapse inevitable? The crisis does not stand to be anything like as bad as America’s 2008 sub-prime mortgage crisis. A key feature of China’s property market is that many buyers pay the full price upfront rather than relying on mortgages. Of course, buyers may now be much less likely to trust real estate firms with such large sums, but defaults shouldn’t lead to the snowballing effect that the U.S. experienced. There are also some positives when it comes to China’s housing market. Whereas affluent Chinese once wanted to invest overseas, they now see China as a safer bet than foreign nations still in the grip of the coronavirus. Demand for new homes in good locations is so high prospective buyers must enter lotteries for the right to purchase one, with odds at some sought-after developments as low as 1 in 60. Social attitudes also place a strong emphasis on home ownership, with 81% of Chinese believing that buying a home is a must before marriage. Read more: How China’s Digital Currency Could Challenge the Dollar But the next few days will be critical. Evergrande has quarterly debt interest payments due Monday and bond interest payments Thursday as well as various suppliers waiting. Instead of cash, a $34 million debt to a paint supplier is reportedly being repaid by apartments in housing complexes that won’t be finished until 2024. Such wheeling and dealing is hardly sustainable. Evergrande “always had a reputation for creative financing,” says Dinny McMahon, an analyst on China’s real estate market for the Trivium China analysis group. Many ordinary Chinese are now wondering if they will pay the price. Around 78% of the wealth of urban Chinese is in residential property, versus just 35% for Americans, who prefer to invest in financial instruments and pensions. Were Chinese home prices to drop significantly in the wake of the Evergrande affair, it would shrink the primary assets of the world’s largest middle class, sending shudders around the globe. Says McMahon: “Hedge funds a decade ago were telling me it’s only a matter of time before Evergrande topples over.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeSep 21st, 2021

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The "Spartacus COVID Letter" That"s Gone Viral

"Damn You To Hell, You Will Not Destroy America" - Here Is The 'Spartacus COVID Letter' That's Gone Viral Via The Automatic Earth blog, This is an anonymously posted document by someone who calls themselves Spartacus. Because it’s anonymous, I can’t contact them to ask for permission to publish. So I hesitated for a while, but it’s simply the best document I’ve seen on Covid, vaccines, etc. Whoever Spartacus is, they have a very elaborate knowledge in “the field”. If you want to know a lot more about the no. 1 issue in the world today, read it. And don’t worry if you don’t understand every single word, neither do I. But I learned a lot. The original PDF doc is here: Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter Hello, My name is Spartacus, and I’ve had enough. We have been forced to watch America and the Free World spin into inexorable decline due to a biowarfare attack. We, along with countless others, have been victimized and gaslit by propaganda and psychological warfare operations being conducted by an unelected, unaccountable Elite against the American people and our allies. Our mental and physical health have suffered immensely over the course of the past year and a half. We have felt the sting of isolation, lockdown, masking, quarantines, and other completely nonsensical acts of healthcare theater that have done absolutely nothing to protect the health or wellbeing of the public from the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Now, we are watching the medical establishment inject literal poison into millions of our fellow Americans without so much as a fight. We have been told that we will be fired and denied our livelihoods if we refuse to vaccinate. This was the last straw. We have spent thousands of hours analyzing leaked footage from Wuhan, scientific papers from primary sources, as well as the paper trails left by the medical establishment. What we have discovered would shock anyone to their core. First, we will summarize our findings, and then, we will explain them in detail. References will be placed at the end. Summary: COVID-19 is a blood and blood vessel disease. SARS-CoV-2 infects the lining of human blood vessels, causing them to leak into the lungs. Current treatment protocols (e.g. invasive ventilation) are actively harmful to patients, accelerating oxidative stress and causing severe VILI (ventilator-induced lung injuries). The continued use of ventilators in the absence of any proven medical benefit constitutes mass murder. Existing countermeasures are inadequate to slow the spread of what is an aerosolized and potentially wastewater-borne virus, and constitute a form of medical theater. Various non-vaccine interventions have been suppressed by both the media and the medical establishment in favor of vaccines and expensive patented drugs. The authorities have denied the usefulness of natural immunity against COVID-19, despite the fact that natural immunity confers protection against all of the virus’s proteins, and not just one. Vaccines will do more harm than good. The antigen that these vaccines are based on, SARS-CoV- 2 Spike, is a toxic protein. SARS-CoV-2 may have ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement; current antibodies may not neutralize future strains, but instead help them infect immune cells. Also, vaccinating during a pandemic with a leaky vaccine removes the evolutionary pressure for a virus to become less lethal. There is a vast and appalling criminal conspiracy that directly links both Anthony Fauci and Moderna to the Wuhan Institute of Virology. COVID-19 vaccine researchers are directly linked to scientists involved in brain-computer interface (“neural lace”) tech, one of whom was indicted for taking grant money from China. Independent researchers have discovered mysterious nanoparticles inside the vaccines that are not supposed to be present. The entire pandemic is being used as an excuse for a vast political and economic transformation of Western society that will enrich the already rich and turn the rest of us into serfs and untouchables. COVID-19 Pathophysiology and Treatments: COVID-19 is not a viral pneumonia. It is a viral vascular endotheliitis and attacks the lining of blood vessels, particularly the small pulmonary alveolar capillaries, leading to endothelial cell activation and sloughing, coagulopathy, sepsis, pulmonary edema, and ARDS-like symptoms. This is a disease of the blood and blood vessels. The circulatory system. Any pneumonia that it causes is secondary to that. In severe cases, this leads to sepsis, blood clots, and multiple organ failure, including hypoxic and inflammatory damage to various vital organs, such as the brain, heart, liver, pancreas, kidneys, and intestines. Some of the most common laboratory findings in COVID-19 are elevated D-dimer, elevated prothrombin time, elevated C-reactive protein, neutrophilia, lymphopenia, hypocalcemia, and hyperferritinemia, essentially matching a profile of coagulopathy and immune system hyperactivation/immune cell exhaustion. COVID-19 can present as almost anything, due to the wide tropism of SARS-CoV-2 for various tissues in the body’s vital organs. While its most common initial presentation is respiratory illness and flu-like symptoms, it can present as brain inflammation, gastrointestinal disease, or even heart attack or pulmonary embolism. COVID-19 is more severe in those with specific comorbidities, such as obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. This is because these conditions involve endothelial dysfunction, which renders the circulatory system more susceptible to infection and injury by this particular virus. The vast majority of COVID-19 cases are mild and do not cause significant disease. In known cases, there is something known as the 80/20 rule, where 80% of cases are mild and 20% are severe or critical. However, this ratio is only correct for known cases, not all infections. The number of actual infections is much, much higher. Consequently, the mortality and morbidity rate is lower. However, COVID-19 spreads very quickly, meaning that there are a significant number of severely-ill and critically-ill patients appearing in a short time frame. In those who have critical COVID-19-induced sepsis, hypoxia, coagulopathy, and ARDS, the most common treatments are intubation, injected corticosteroids, and blood thinners. This is not the correct treatment for COVID-19. In severe hypoxia, cellular metabolic shifts cause ATP to break down into hypoxanthine, which, upon the reintroduction of oxygen, causes xanthine oxidase to produce tons of highly damaging radicals that attack tissue. This is called ischemia-reperfusion injury, and it’s why the majority of people who go on a ventilator are dying. In the mitochondria, succinate buildup due to sepsis does the same exact thing; when oxygen is reintroduced, it makes superoxide radicals. Make no mistake, intubation will kill people who have COVID-19. The end-stage of COVID-19 is severe lipid peroxidation, where fats in the body start to “rust” due to damage by oxidative stress. This drives autoimmunity. Oxidized lipids appear as foreign objects to the immune system, which recognizes and forms antibodies against OSEs, or oxidation-specific epitopes. Also, oxidized lipids feed directly into pattern recognition receptors, triggering even more inflammation and summoning even more cells of the innate immune system that release even more destructive enzymes. This is similar to the pathophysiology of Lupus. COVID-19’s pathology is dominated by extreme oxidative stress and neutrophil respiratory burst, to the point where hemoglobin becomes incapable of carrying oxygen due to heme iron being stripped out of heme by hypochlorous acid. No amount of supplemental oxygen can oxygenate blood that chemically refuses to bind O2. The breakdown of the pathology is as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike binds to ACE2. Angiotensin Converting Enzyme 2 is an enzyme that is part of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system, or RAAS. The RAAS is a hormone control system that moderates fluid volume in the body and in the bloodstream (i.e. osmolarity) by controlling salt retention and excretion. This protein, ACE2, is ubiquitous in every part of the body that interfaces with the circulatory system, particularly in vascular endothelial cells and pericytes, brain astrocytes, renal tubules and podocytes, pancreatic islet cells, bile duct and intestinal epithelial cells, and the seminiferous ducts of the testis, all of which SARS-CoV-2 can infect, not just the lungs. SARS-CoV-2 infects a cell as follows: SARS-CoV-2 Spike undergoes a conformational change where the S1 trimers flip up and extend, locking onto ACE2 bound to the surface of a cell. TMPRSS2, or transmembrane protease serine 2, comes along and cuts off the heads of the Spike, exposing the S2 stalk-shaped subunit inside. The remainder of the Spike undergoes a conformational change that causes it to unfold like an extension ladder, embedding itself in the cell membrane. Then, it folds back upon itself, pulling the viral membrane and the cell membrane together. The two membranes fuse, with the virus’s proteins migrating out onto the surface of the cell. The SARS-CoV-2 nucleocapsid enters the cell, disgorging its genetic material and beginning the viral replication process, hijacking the cell’s own structures to produce more virus. SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins embedded in a cell can actually cause human cells to fuse together, forming syncytia/MGCs (multinuclear giant cells). They also have other pathogenic, harmful effects. SARS-CoV- 2’s viroporins, such as its Envelope protein, act as calcium ion channels, introducing calcium into infected cells. The virus suppresses the natural interferon response, resulting in delayed inflammation. SARS-CoV-2 N protein can also directly activate the NLRP3 inflammasome. Also, it suppresses the Nrf2 antioxidant pathway. The suppression of ACE2 by binding with Spike causes a buildup of bradykinin that would otherwise be broken down by ACE2. This constant calcium influx into the cells results in (or is accompanied by) noticeable hypocalcemia, or low blood calcium, especially in people with Vitamin D deficiencies and pre-existing endothelial dysfunction. Bradykinin upregulates cAMP, cGMP, COX, and Phospholipase C activity. This results in prostaglandin release and vastly increased intracellular calcium signaling, which promotes highly aggressive ROS release and ATP depletion. NADPH oxidase releases superoxide into the extracellular space. Superoxide radicals react with nitric oxide to form peroxynitrite. Peroxynitrite reacts with the tetrahydrobiopterin cofactor needed by endothelial nitric oxide synthase, destroying it and “uncoupling” the enzymes, causing nitric oxide synthase to synthesize more superoxide instead. This proceeds in a positive feedback loop until nitric oxide bioavailability in the circulatory system is depleted. Dissolved nitric oxide gas produced constantly by eNOS serves many important functions, but it is also antiviral against SARS-like coronaviruses, preventing the palmitoylation of the viral Spike protein and making it harder for it to bind to host receptors. The loss of NO allows the virus to begin replicating with impunity in the body. Those with endothelial dysfunction (i.e. hypertension, diabetes, obesity, old age, African-American race) have redox equilibrium issues to begin with, giving the virus an advantage. Due to the extreme cytokine release triggered by these processes, the body summons a great deal of neutrophils and monocyte-derived alveolar macrophages to the lungs. Cells of the innate immune system are the first-line defenders against pathogens. They work by engulfing invaders and trying to attack them with enzymes that produce powerful oxidants, like SOD and MPO. Superoxide dismutase takes superoxide and makes hydrogen peroxide, and myeloperoxidase takes hydrogen peroxide and chlorine ions and makes hypochlorous acid, which is many, many times more reactive than sodium hypochlorite bleach. Neutrophils have a nasty trick. They can also eject these enzymes into the extracellular space, where they will continuously spit out peroxide and bleach into the bloodstream. This is called neutrophil extracellular trap formation, or, when it becomes pathogenic and counterproductive, NETosis. In severe and critical COVID-19, there is actually rather severe NETosis. Hypochlorous acid building up in the bloodstream begins to bleach the iron out of heme and compete for O2 binding sites. Red blood cells lose the ability to transport oxygen, causing the sufferer to turn blue in the face. Unliganded iron, hydrogen peroxide, and superoxide in the bloodstream undergo the Haber- Weiss and Fenton reactions, producing extremely reactive hydroxyl radicals that violently strip electrons from surrounding fats and DNA, oxidizing them severely. This condition is not unknown to medical science. The actual name for all of this is acute sepsis. We know this is happening in COVID-19 because people who have died of the disease have noticeable ferroptosis signatures in their tissues, as well as various other oxidative stress markers such as nitrotyrosine, 4-HNE, and malondialdehyde. When you intubate someone with this condition, you are setting off a free radical bomb by supplying the cells with O2. It’s a catch-22, because we need oxygen to make Adenosine Triphosphate (that is, to live), but O2 is also the precursor of all these damaging radicals that lead to lipid peroxidation. The correct treatment for severe COVID-19 related sepsis is non-invasive ventilation, steroids, and antioxidant infusions. Most of the drugs repurposed for COVID-19 that show any benefit whatsoever in rescuing critically-ill COVID-19 patients are antioxidants. N-acetylcysteine, melatonin, fluvoxamine, budesonide, famotidine, cimetidine, and ranitidine are all antioxidants. Indomethacin prevents iron- driven oxidation of arachidonic acid to isoprostanes. There are powerful antioxidants such as apocynin that have not even been tested on COVID-19 patients yet which could defang neutrophils, prevent lipid peroxidation, restore endothelial health, and restore oxygenation to the tissues. Scientists who know anything about pulmonary neutrophilia, ARDS, and redox biology have known or surmised much of this since March 2020. In April 2020, Swiss scientists confirmed that COVID-19 was a vascular endotheliitis. By late 2020, experts had already concluded that COVID-19 causes a form of viral sepsis. They also know that sepsis can be effectively treated with antioxidants. None of this information is particularly new, and yet, for the most part, it has not been acted upon. Doctors continue to use damaging intubation techniques with high PEEP settings despite high lung compliance and poor oxygenation, killing an untold number of critically ill patients with medical malpractice. Because of the way they are constructed, Randomized Control Trials will never show any benefit for any antiviral against COVID-19. Not Remdesivir, not Kaletra, not HCQ, and not Ivermectin. The reason for this is simple; for the patients that they have recruited for these studies, such as Oxford’s ludicrous RECOVERY study, the intervention is too late to have any positive effect. The clinical course of COVID-19 is such that by the time most people seek medical attention for hypoxia, their viral load has already tapered off to almost nothing. If someone is about 10 days post-exposure and has already been symptomatic for five days, there is hardly any virus left in their bodies, only cellular damage and derangement that has initiated a hyperinflammatory response. It is from this group that the clinical trials for antivirals have recruited, pretty much exclusively. In these trials, they give antivirals to severely ill patients who have no virus in their bodies, only a delayed hyperinflammatory response, and then absurdly claim that antivirals have no utility in treating or preventing COVID-19. These clinical trials do not recruit people who are pre-symptomatic. They do not test pre-exposure or post-exposure prophylaxis. This is like using a defibrillator to shock only flatline, and then absurdly claiming that defibrillators have no medical utility whatsoever when the patients refuse to rise from the dead. The intervention is too late. These trials for antivirals show systematic, egregious selection bias. They are providing a treatment that is futile to the specific cohort they are enrolling. India went against the instructions of the WHO and mandated the prophylactic usage of Ivermectin. They have almost completely eradicated COVID-19. The Indian Bar Association of Mumbai has brought criminal charges against WHO Chief Scientist Dr. Soumya Swaminathan for recommending against the use of Ivermectin. Ivermectin is not “horse dewormer”. Yes, it is sold in veterinary paste form as a dewormer for animals. It has also been available in pill form for humans for decades, as an antiparasitic drug. The media have disingenuously claimed that because Ivermectin is an antiparasitic drug, it has no utility as an antivirus. This is incorrect. Ivermectin has utility as an antiviral. It blocks importin, preventing nuclear import, effectively inhibiting viral access to cell nuclei. Many drugs currently on the market have multiple modes of action. Ivermectin is one such drug. It is both antiparasitic and antiviral. In Bangladesh, Ivermectin costs $1.80 for an entire 5-day course. Remdesivir, which is toxic to the liver, costs $3,120 for a 5-day course of the drug. Billions of dollars of utterly useless Remdesivir were sold to our governments on the taxpayer’s dime, and it ended up being totally useless for treating hyperinflammatory COVID-19. The media has hardly even covered this at all. The opposition to the use of generic Ivermectin is not based in science. It is purely financially and politically-motivated. An effective non-vaccine intervention would jeopardize the rushed FDA approval of patented vaccines and medicines for which the pharmaceutical industry stands to rake in billions upon billions of dollars in sales on an ongoing basis. The majority of the public are scientifically illiterate and cannot grasp what any of this even means, thanks to a pathetic educational system that has miseducated them. You would be lucky to find 1 in 100 people who have even the faintest clue what any of this actually means. COVID-19 Transmission: COVID-19 is airborne. The WHO carried water for China by claiming that the virus was only droplet- borne. Our own CDC absurdly claimed that it was mostly transmitted by fomite-to-face contact, which, given its rapid spread from Wuhan to the rest of the world, would have been physically impossible. The ridiculous belief in fomite-to-face being a primary mode of transmission led to the use of surface disinfection protocols that wasted time, energy, productivity, and disinfectant. The 6-foot guidelines are absolutely useless. The minimum safe distance to protect oneself from an aerosolized virus is to be 15+ feet away from an infected person, no closer. Realistically, no public transit is safe. Surgical masks do not protect you from aerosols. The virus is too small and the filter media has too large of gaps to filter it out. They may catch respiratory droplets and keep the virus from being expelled by someone who is sick, but they do not filter a cloud of infectious aerosols if someone were to walk into said cloud. The minimum level of protection against this virus is quite literally a P100 respirator, a PAPR/CAPR, or a 40mm NATO CBRN respirator, ideally paired with a full-body tyvek or tychem suit, gloves, and booties, with all the holes and gaps taped. Live SARS-CoV-2 may potentially be detected in sewage outflows, and there may be oral-fecal transmission. During the SARS outbreak in 2003, in the Amoy Gardens incident, hundreds of people were infected by aerosolized fecal matter rising from floor drains in their apartments. COVID-19 Vaccine Dangers: The vaccines for COVID-19 are not sterilizing and do not prevent infection or transmission. They are “leaky” vaccines. This means they remove the evolutionary pressure on the virus to become less lethal. It also means that the vaccinated are perfect carriers. In other words, those who are vaccinated are a threat to the unvaccinated, not the other way around. All of the COVID-19 vaccines currently in use have undergone minimal testing, with highly accelerated clinical trials. Though they appear to limit severe illness, the long-term safety profile of these vaccines remains unknown. Some of these so-called “vaccines” utilize an untested new technology that has never been used in vaccines before. Traditional vaccines use weakened or killed virus to stimulate an immune response. The Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines do not. They are purported to consist of an intramuscular shot containing a suspension of lipid nanoparticles filled with messenger RNA. The way they generate an immune response is by fusing with cells in a vaccine recipient’s shoulder, undergoing endocytosis, releasing their mRNA cargo into those cells, and then utilizing the ribosomes in those cells to synthesize modified SARS-CoV-2 Spike proteins in-situ. These modified Spike proteins then migrate to the surface of the cell, where they are anchored in place by a transmembrane domain. The adaptive immune system detects the non-human viral protein being expressed by these cells, and then forms antibodies against that protein. This is purported to confer protection against the virus, by training the adaptive immune system to recognize and produce antibodies against the Spike on the actual virus. The J&J and AstraZeneca vaccines do something similar, but use an adenovirus vector for genetic material delivery instead of a lipid nanoparticle. These vaccines were produced or validated with the aid of fetal cell lines HEK-293 and PER.C6, which people with certain religious convictions may object strongly to. SARS-CoV-2 Spike is a highly pathogenic protein on its own. It is impossible to overstate the danger presented by introducing this protein into the human body. It is claimed by vaccine manufacturers that the vaccine remains in cells in the shoulder, and that SARS- CoV-2 Spike produced and expressed by these cells from the vaccine’s genetic material is harmless and inert, thanks to the insertion of prolines in the Spike sequence to stabilize it in the prefusion conformation, preventing the Spike from becoming active and fusing with other cells. However, a pharmacokinetic study from Japan showed that the lipid nanoparticles and mRNA from the Pfizer vaccine did not stay in the shoulder, and in fact bioaccumulated in many different organs, including the reproductive organs and adrenal glands, meaning that modified Spike is being expressed quite literally all over the place. These lipid nanoparticles may trigger anaphylaxis in an unlucky few, but far more concerning is the unregulated expression of Spike in various somatic cell lines far from the injection site and the unknown consequences of that. Messenger RNA is normally consumed right after it is produced in the body, being translated into a protein by a ribosome. COVID-19 vaccine mRNA is produced outside the body, long before a ribosome translates it. In the meantime, it could accumulate damage if inadequately preserved. When a ribosome attempts to translate a damaged strand of mRNA, it can become stalled. When this happens, the ribosome becomes useless for translating proteins because it now has a piece of mRNA stuck in it, like a lace card in an old punch card reader. The whole thing has to be cleaned up and new ribosomes synthesized to replace it. In cells with low ribosome turnover, like nerve cells, this can lead to reduced protein synthesis, cytopathic effects, and neuropathies. Certain proteins, including SARS-CoV-2 Spike, have proteolytic cleavage sites that are basically like little dotted lines that say “cut here”, which attract a living organism’s own proteases (essentially, molecular scissors) to cut them. There is a possibility that S1 may be proteolytically cleaved from S2, causing active S1 to float away into the bloodstream while leaving the S2 “stalk” embedded in the membrane of the cell that expressed the protein. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a Superantigenic region (SAg), which may promote extreme inflammation. Anti-Spike antibodies were found in one study to function as autoantibodies and attack the body’s own cells. Those who have been immunized with COVID-19 vaccines have developed blood clots, myocarditis, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, Bell’s Palsy, and multiple sclerosis flares, indicating that the vaccine promotes autoimmune reactions against healthy tissue. SARS-CoV-2 Spike does not only bind to ACE2. It was suspected to have regions that bind to basigin, integrins, neuropilin-1, and bacterial lipopolysaccharides as well. SARS-CoV-2 Spike, on its own, can potentially bind any of these things and act as a ligand for them, triggering unspecified and likely highly inflammatory cellular activity. SARS-CoV-2 Spike contains an unusual PRRA insert that forms a furin cleavage site. Furin is a ubiquitous human protease, making this an ideal property for the Spike to have, giving it a high degree of cell tropism. No wild-type SARS-like coronaviruses related to SARS-CoV-2 possess this feature, making it highly suspicious, and perhaps a sign of human tampering. SARS-CoV-2 Spike has a prion-like domain that enhances its infectiousness. The Spike S1 RBD may bind to heparin-binding proteins and promote amyloid aggregation. In humans, this could lead to Parkinson’s, Lewy Body Dementia, premature Alzheimer’s, or various other neurodegenerative diseases. This is very concerning because SARS-CoV-2 S1 is capable of injuring and penetrating the blood-brain barrier and entering the brain. It is also capable of increasing the permeability of the blood-brain barrier to other molecules. SARS-CoV-2, like other betacoronaviruses, may have Dengue-like ADE, or antibody-dependent enhancement of disease. For those who aren’t aware, some viruses, including betacoronaviruses, have a feature called ADE. There is also something called Original Antigenic Sin, which is the observation that the body prefers to produce antibodies based on previously-encountered strains of a virus over newly- encountered ones. In ADE, antibodies from a previous infection become non-neutralizing due to mutations in the virus’s proteins. These non-neutralizing antibodies then act as trojan horses, allowing live, active virus to be pulled into macrophages through their Fc receptor pathways, allowing the virus to infect immune cells that it would not have been able to infect before. This has been known to happen with Dengue Fever; when someone gets sick with Dengue, recovers, and then contracts a different strain, they can get very, very ill. If someone is vaccinated with mRNA based on the Spike from the initial Wuhan strain of SARS-CoV-2, and then they become infected with a future, mutated strain of the virus, they may become severely ill. In other words, it is possible for vaccines to sensitize someone to disease. There is a precedent for this in recent history. Sanofi’s Dengvaxia vaccine for Dengue failed because it caused immune sensitization in people whose immune systems were Dengue-naive. In mice immunized against SARS-CoV and challenged with the virus, a close relative of SARS-CoV-2, they developed immune sensitization, Th2 immunopathology, and eosinophil infiltration in their lungs. We have been told that SARS-CoV-2 mRNA vaccines cannot be integrated into the human genome, because messenger RNA cannot be turned back into DNA. This is false. There are elements in human cells called LINE-1 retrotransposons, which can indeed integrate mRNA into a human genome by endogenous reverse transcription. Because the mRNA used in the vaccines is stabilized, it hangs around in cells longer, increasing the chances for this to happen. If the gene for SARS-CoV-2 Spike is integrated into a portion of the genome that is not silent and actually expresses a protein, it is possible that people who take this vaccine may continuously express SARS-CoV-2 Spike from their somatic cells for the rest of their lives. By inoculating people with a vaccine that causes their bodies to produce Spike in-situ, they are being inoculated with a pathogenic protein. A toxin that may cause long-term inflammation, heart problems, and a raised risk of cancers. In the long-term, it may also potentially lead to premature neurodegenerative disease. Absolutely nobody should be compelled to take this vaccine under any circumstances, and in actual fact, the vaccination campaign must be stopped immediately. COVID-19 Criminal Conspiracy: The vaccine and the virus were made by the same people. In 2014, there was a moratorium on SARS gain-of-function research that lasted until 2017. This research was not halted. Instead, it was outsourced, with the federal grants being laundered through NGOs. Ralph Baric is a virologist and SARS expert at UNC Chapel Hill in North Carolina. This is who Anthony Fauci was referring to when he insisted, before Congress, that if any gain-of-function research was being conducted, it was being conducted in North Carolina. This was a lie. Anthony Fauci lied before Congress. A felony. Ralph Baric and Shi Zhengli are colleagues and have co-written papers together. Ralph Baric mentored Shi Zhengli in his gain-of-function manipulation techniques, particularly serial passage, which results in a virus that appears as if it originated naturally. In other words, deniable bioweapons. Serial passage in humanized hACE2 mice may have produced something like SARS-CoV-2. The funding for the gain-of-function research being conducted at the Wuhan Institute of Virology came from Peter Daszak. Peter Daszak runs an NGO called EcoHealth Alliance. EcoHealth Alliance received millions of dollars in grant money from the National Institutes of Health/National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (that is, Anthony Fauci), the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (part of the US Department of Defense), and the United States Agency for International Development. NIH/NIAID contributed a few million dollars, and DTRA and USAID each contributed tens of millions of dollars towards this research. Altogether, it was over a hundred million dollars. EcoHealth Alliance subcontracted these grants to the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a lab in China with a very questionable safety record and poorly trained staff, so that they could conduct gain-of-function research, not in their fancy P4 lab, but in a level-2 lab where technicians wore nothing more sophisticated than perhaps a hairnet, latex gloves, and a surgical mask, instead of the bubble suits used when working with dangerous viruses. Chinese scientists in Wuhan reported being routinely bitten and urinated on by laboratory animals. Why anyone would outsource this dangerous and delicate work to the People’s Republic of China, a country infamous for industrial accidents and massive explosions that have claimed hundreds of lives, is completely beyond me, unless the aim was to start a pandemic on purpose. In November of 2019, three technicians at the Wuhan Institute of Virology developed symptoms consistent with a flu-like illness. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, and Ralph Baric knew at once what had happened, because back channels exist between this laboratory and our scientists and officials. December 12th, 2019, Ralph Baric signed a Material Transfer Agreement (essentially, an NDA) to receive Coronavirus mRNA vaccine-related materials co-owned by Moderna and NIH. It wasn’t until a whole month later, on January 11th, 2020, that China allegedly sent us the sequence to what would become known as SARS-CoV-2. Moderna claims, rather absurdly, that they developed a working vaccine from this sequence in under 48 hours. Stephane Bancel, the current CEO of Moderna, was formerly the CEO of bioMerieux, a French multinational corporation specializing in medical diagnostic tech, founded by one Alain Merieux. Alain Merieux was one of the individuals who was instrumental in the construction of the Wuhan Institute of Virology’s P4 lab. The sequence given as the closest relative to SARS-CoV-2, RaTG13, is not a real virus. It is a forgery. It was made by entering a gene sequence by hand into a database, to create a cover story for the existence of SARS-CoV-2, which is very likely a gain-of-function chimera produced at the Wuhan Institute of Virology and was either leaked by accident or intentionally released. The animal reservoir of SARS-CoV-2 has never been found. This is not a conspiracy “theory”. It is an actual criminal conspiracy, in which people connected to the development of Moderna’s mRNA-1273 are directly connected to the Wuhan Institute of Virology and their gain-of-function research by very few degrees of separation, if any. The paper trail is well- established. The lab-leak theory has been suppressed because pulling that thread leads one to inevitably conclude that there is enough circumstantial evidence to link Moderna, the NIH, the WIV, and both the vaccine and the virus’s creation together. In a sane country, this would have immediately led to the world’s biggest RICO and mass murder case. Anthony Fauci, Peter Daszak, Ralph Baric, Shi Zhengli, and Stephane Bancel, and their accomplices, would have been indicted and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Instead, billions of our tax dollars were awarded to the perpetrators. The FBI raided Allure Medical in Shelby Township north of Detroit for billing insurance for “fraudulent COVID-19 cures”. The treatment they were using? Intravenous Vitamin C. An antioxidant. Which, as described above, is an entirely valid treatment for COVID-19-induced sepsis, and indeed, is now part of the MATH+ protocol advanced by Dr. Paul E. Marik. The FDA banned ranitidine (Zantac) due to supposed NDMA (N-nitrosodimethylamine) contamination. Ranitidine is not only an H2 blocker used as antacid, but also has a powerful antioxidant effect, scavenging hydroxyl radicals. This gives it utility in treating COVID-19. The FDA also attempted to take N-acetylcysteine, a harmless amino acid supplement and antioxidant, off the shelves, compelling Amazon to remove it from their online storefront. This leaves us with a chilling question: did the FDA knowingly suppress antioxidants useful for treating COVID-19 sepsis as part of a criminal conspiracy against the American public? The establishment is cooperating with, and facilitating, the worst criminals in human history, and are actively suppressing non-vaccine treatments and therapies in order to compel us to inject these criminals’ products into our bodies. This is absolutely unacceptable. COVID-19 Vaccine Development and Links to Transhumanism: This section deals with some more speculative aspects of the pandemic and the medical and scientific establishment’s reaction to it, as well as the disturbing links between scientists involved in vaccine research and scientists whose work involved merging nanotechnology with living cells. On June 9th, 2020, Charles Lieber, a Harvard nanotechnology researcher with decades of experience, was indicted by the DOJ for fraud. Charles Lieber received millions of dollars in grant money from the US Department of Defense, specifically the military think tanks DARPA, AFOSR, and ONR, as well as NIH and MITRE. His specialty is the use of silicon nanowires in lieu of patch clamp electrodes to monitor and modulate intracellular activity, something he has been working on at Harvard for the past twenty years. He was claimed to have been working on silicon nanowire batteries in China, but none of his colleagues can recall him ever having worked on battery technology in his life; all of his research deals with bionanotechnology, or the blending of nanotech with living cells. The indictment was over his collaboration with the Wuhan University of Technology. He had double- dipped, against the terms of his DOD grants, and taken money from the PRC’s Thousand Talents plan, a program which the Chinese government uses to bribe Western scientists into sharing proprietary R&D information that can be exploited by the PLA for strategic advantage. Charles Lieber’s own papers describe the use of silicon nanowires for brain-computer interfaces, or “neural lace” technology. His papers describe how neurons can endocytose whole silicon nanowires or parts of them, monitoring and even modulating neuronal activity. Charles Lieber was a colleague of Robert Langer. Together, along with Daniel S. Kohane, they worked on a paper describing artificial tissue scaffolds that could be implanted in a human heart to monitor its activity remotely. Robert Langer, an MIT alumnus and expert in nanotech drug delivery, is one of the co-founders of Moderna. His net worth is now $5.1 billion USD thanks to Moderna’s mRNA-1273 vaccine sales. Both Charles Lieber and Robert Langer’s bibliographies describe, essentially, techniques for human enhancement, i.e. transhumanism. Klaus Schwab, the founder of the World Economic Forum and the architect behind the so-called “Great Reset”, has long spoken of the “blending of biology and machinery” in his books. Since these revelations, it has come to the attention of independent researchers that the COVID-19 vaccines may contain reduced graphene oxide nanoparticles. Japanese researchers have also found unexplained contaminants in COVID-19 vaccines. Graphene oxide is an anxiolytic. It has been shown to reduce the anxiety of laboratory mice when injected into their brains. Indeed, given SARS-CoV-2 Spike’s propensity to compromise the blood-brain barrier and increase its permeability, it is the perfect protein for preparing brain tissue for extravasation of nanoparticles from the bloodstream and into the brain. Graphene is also highly conductive and, in some circumstances, paramagnetic. In 2013, under the Obama administration, DARPA launched the BRAIN Initiative; BRAIN is an acronym for Brain Research Through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies®. This program involves the development of brain-computer interface technologies for the military, particularly non-invasive, injectable systems that cause minimal damage to brain tissue when removed. Supposedly, this technology would be used for healing wounded soldiers with traumatic brain injuries, the direct brain control of prosthetic limbs, and even new abilities such as controlling drones with one’s mind. Various methods have been proposed for achieving this, including optogenetics, magnetogenetics, ultrasound, implanted electrodes, and transcranial electromagnetic stimulation. In all instances, the goal is to obtain read or read-write capability over neurons, either by stimulating and probing them, or by rendering them especially sensitive to stimulation and probing. However, the notion of the widespread use of BCI technology, such as Elon Musk’s Neuralink device, raises many concerns over privacy and personal autonomy. Reading from neurons is problematic enough on its own. Wireless brain-computer interfaces may interact with current or future wireless GSM infrastructure, creating neurological data security concerns. A hacker or other malicious actor may compromise such networks to obtain people’s brain data, and then exploit it for nefarious purposes. However, a device capable of writing to human neurons, not just reading from them, presents another, even more serious set of ethical concerns. A BCI that is capable of altering the contents of one’s mind for innocuous purposes, such as projecting a heads-up display onto their brain’s visual center or sending audio into one’s auditory cortex, would also theoretically be capable of altering mood and personality, or perhaps even subjugating someone’s very will, rendering them utterly obedient to authority. This technology would be a tyrant’s wet dream. Imagine soldiers who would shoot their own countrymen without hesitation, or helpless serfs who are satisfied to live in literal dog kennels. BCIs could be used to unscrupulously alter perceptions of basic things such as emotions and values, changing people’s thresholds of satiety, happiness, anger, disgust, and so forth. This is not inconsequential. Someone’s entire regime of behaviors could be altered by a BCI, including such things as suppressing their appetite or desire for virtually anything on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs. Anything is possible when you have direct access to someone’s brain and its contents. Someone who is obese could be made to feel disgust at the sight of food. Someone who is involuntarily celibate could have their libido disabled so they don’t even desire sex to begin with. Someone who is racist could be forced to feel delight over cohabiting with people of other races. Someone who is violent could be forced to be meek and submissive. These things might sound good to you if you are a tyrant, but to normal people, the idea of personal autonomy being overridden to such a degree is appalling. For the wealthy, neural laces would be an unequaled boon, giving them the opportunity to enhance their intelligence with neuroprosthetics (i.e. an “exocortex”), and to deliver irresistible commands directly into the minds of their BCI-augmented servants, even physically or sexually abusive commands that they would normally refuse. If the vaccine is a method to surreptitiously introduce an injectable BCI into millions of people without their knowledge or consent, then what we are witnessing is the rise of a tyrannical regime unlike anything ever seen before on the face of this planet, one that fully intends to strip every man, woman, and child of our free will. Our flaws are what make us human. A utopia arrived at by removing people’s free will is not a utopia at all. It is a monomaniacal nightmare. Furthermore, the people who rule over us are Dark Triad types who cannot be trusted with such power. Imagine being beaten and sexually assaulted by a wealthy and powerful psychopath and being forced to smile and laugh over it because your neural lace gives you no choice but to obey your master. The Elites are forging ahead with this technology without giving people any room to question the social or ethical ramifications, or to establish regulatory frameworks that ensure that our personal agency and autonomy will not be overridden by these devices. They do this because they secretly dream of a future where they can treat you worse than an animal and you cannot even fight back. If this evil plan is allowed to continue, it will spell the end of humanity as we know it. Conclusions: The current pandemic was produced and perpetuated by the establishment, through the use of a virus engineered in a PLA-connected Chinese biowarfare laboratory, with the aid of American taxpayer dollars and French expertise. This research was conducted under the absolutely ridiculous euphemism of “gain-of-function” research, which is supposedly carried out in order to determine which viruses have the highest potential for zoonotic spillover and preemptively vaccinate or guard against them. Gain-of-function/gain-of-threat research, a.k.a. “Dual-Use Research of Concern”, or DURC, is bioweapon research by another, friendlier-sounding name, simply to avoid the taboo of calling it what it actually is. It has always been bioweapon research. The people who are conducting this research fully understand that they are taking wild pathogens that are not infectious in humans and making them more infectious, often taking grants from military think tanks encouraging them to do so. These virologists conducting this type of research are enemies of their fellow man, like pyromaniac firefighters. GOF research has never protected anyone from any pandemic. In fact, it has now started one, meaning its utility for preventing pandemics is actually negative. It should have been banned globally, and the lunatics performing it should have been put in straitjackets long ago. Either through a leak or an intentional release from the Wuhan Institute of Virology, a deadly SARS strain is now endemic across the globe, after the WHO and CDC and public officials first downplayed the risks, and then intentionally incited a panic and lockdowns that jeopardized people’s health and their livelihoods. This was then used by the utterly depraved and psychopathic aristocratic class who rule over us as an excuse to coerce people into accepting an injected poison which may be a depopulation agent, a mind control/pacification agent in the form of injectable “smart dust”, or both in one. They believe they can get away with this by weaponizing the social stigma of vaccine refusal. They are incorrect. Their motives are clear and obvious to anyone who has been paying attention. These megalomaniacs have raided the pension funds of the free world. Wall Street is insolvent and has had an ongoing liquidity crisis since the end of 2019. The aim now is to exert total, full-spectrum physical, mental, and financial control over humanity before we realize just how badly we’ve been extorted by these maniacs. The pandemic and its response served multiple purposes for the Elite: Concealing a depression brought on by the usurious plunder of our economies conducted by rentier-capitalists and absentee owners who produce absolutely nothing of any value to society whatsoever. Instead of us having a very predictable Occupy Wall Street Part II, the Elites and their stooges got to stand up on television and paint themselves as wise and all-powerful saviors instead of the marauding cabal of despicable land pirates that they are. Destroying small businesses and eroding the middle class. Transferring trillions of dollars of wealth from the American public and into the pockets of billionaires and special interests. Engaging in insider trading, buying stock in biotech companies and shorting brick-and-mortar businesses and travel companies, with the aim of collapsing face-to-face commerce and tourism and replacing it with e-commerce and servitization. Creating a casus belli for war with China, encouraging us to attack them, wasting American lives and treasure and driving us to the brink of nuclear armageddon. Establishing technological and biosecurity frameworks for population control and technocratic- socialist “smart cities” where everyone’s movements are despotically tracked, all in anticipation of widespread automation, joblessness, and food shortages, by using the false guise of a vaccine to compel cooperation. Any one of these things would constitute a vicious rape of Western society. Taken together, they beggar belief; they are a complete inversion of our most treasured values. What is the purpose of all of this? One can only speculate as to the perpetrators’ motives, however, we have some theories. The Elites are trying to pull up the ladder, erase upward mobility for large segments of the population, cull political opponents and other “undesirables”, and put the remainder of humanity on a tight leash, rationing our access to certain goods and services that they have deemed “high-impact”, such as automobile use, tourism, meat consumption, and so on. Naturally, they will continue to have their own luxuries, as part of a strict caste system akin to feudalism. Why are they doing this? Simple. The Elites are Neo-Malthusians and believe that we are overpopulated and that resource depletion will collapse civilization in a matter of a few short decades. They are not necessarily incorrect in this belief. We are overpopulated, and we are consuming too many resources. However, orchestrating such a gruesome and murderous power grab in response to a looming crisis demonstrates that they have nothing but the utmost contempt for their fellow man. To those who are participating in this disgusting farce without any understanding of what they are doing, we have one word for you. Stop. You are causing irreparable harm to your country and to your fellow citizens. To those who may be reading this warning and have full knowledge and understanding of what they are doing and how it will unjustly harm millions of innocent people, we have a few more words. Damn you to hell. You will not destroy America and the Free World, and you will not have your New World Order. We will make certain of that. *  *  * This PDF document contains 14 pages, followed by another 17 pages of references. For those, please visit the original PDF file at Covid19 – The Spartacus Letter. *  *  * We try to run the Automatic Earth on donations. Since ad revenue has collapsed, you are now not just a reader, but an integral part of the process that builds this site. Thank you for your support. Support the Automatic Earth in virustime. Donate with Paypal, Bitcoin and Patreon. Tyler Durden Mon, 09/27/2021 - 00:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt3 hr. 29 min. ago

What to know about futures contracts - and the 5 reasons why investors trade them

Futures are contracts that allow buyers and sellers to agree on the price and delivery of an asset. These contracts can help lock-in prices and mitigate unexpected costs. Companies also use futures contracts to hedge and mitigate the risk of unexpected changes in prices. Thomas Barwick/Getty Images Futures are financial contracts that investors can use to speculate on the direction that certain assets will move. Futures contracts can derive their value from several different asset types like commodities, currencies, stock indexes, and agricultural items. Investing in the futures market is considered highly speculative because of their low margin requirements and volatility. Visit Insider's Investing Reference library for more stories. Much of the investing landscape is based on how an investor feels about the economic landscape and the ways in which that investor can profit or protect themselves. If you believe in a company's ability to succeed, perhaps you might buy the stock or a call option.If you're pessimistic about a company's outlook, you may consider put options. A futures contract is another financial tool that traders can use to speculate on the price swings of assets like oil, gold and other commodities.But what exactly are futures, how do they work, and what sets them apart from options?What are futures?Futures are contracts where the buyer agrees to buy a commodity or financial instrument a particular the quantity, price, and date at a later point in time - and the seller agrees to sell or deliver the asset. Futures are derivatives, which means that their value is derived from an underlying asset. For example, a futures contract on crude oil will be heavily influenced by the price fluctuations of the oil market. Futures contracts can be critical for businesses that depend on certain input goods to operate. The airline industry is well-known for this, because of the fluctuating prices for jet fuel, and uses futures contracts to lock in prices and protect against unexpected costs. While futures contracts based on commodities like corn, oil, and wheat are the most common, there are several other asset types that a futures contract can derive its value from. Here's a short list: Commodity futures: Commodities are tangible assets, agricultural products, and natural resources used in commerce and trade. A short list of futures in this category would include soybeans, corn, wheat, crude oil, and natural gas.Precious metal futures: Gold and silver are the most common metals that fall into this category. Investors who purchase futures contracts on gold or silver are usually looking to hedge against global financial uncertainty, inflation, or geopolitical events. Stock index futures: Futures contracts can also derive their value from an index like the S&P 500, Nasdaq, Russell 2000, or Dow Jones. Investors use stock index futures to capitalize on anticipated movements in an index and can be sensitive to events like data releases, such as the US jobs report or statements by the Federal Reserve. Currency futures: These types of futures contracts can be based on the exchange rates between countries. Some of the most popular currency futures contracts include the Canadian dollar, British Pound, Japanese Yen, and Euro. US Treasury futures: The interest rates on Treasury bonds have a significant impact on a large part of the financial markets. US Treasury Futures allow investors to speculate on the potential changes in interest rates. Quick tip: Treasury futures are not available for every type of treasury bond. Only 2-, 5-, 10-, and 30-year bonds are used for futures contracts. Understanding how futures workThere are five key parts to every futures contract, also known as standard contract specifications. Trading hours: Unlike the US stock market, which is open from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. ET, futures trade almost 24 hours a day, six days a week, starting on Sunday at 6 p.m. ET. The closing time varies between 5 p.m. and 6:45 p.m. ET on Friday, depending on the type of contract you're trading. Contract size: Each type of contract has a predetermined size. One contract of gold will always equal 1,000 troy ounces - a unit of measure used for weighing precious metals - while one contract of S&P 500 futures will be $50 times the S&P 500 index. (So, for example, if the S&P 500 is trading at 2,300, the value of the contract would be $115,000 [$50 x 2,300]).Contract value: The contract value is the current price of the contract. If gold is trading at $1,500 per ounce today, then the contract value would be $150,000. Tick size: This is the smallest denomination that a contract can fluctuate and varies depending on the type of contract. Delivery method: Futures contracts can be financially settled or physically settled. From the investor's perspective, these are usually financially settled, whereas businesses may choose physically settled contracts. Quick tip: Some brokerages do not allow for physically settled futures contracts and will close the contract on your behalf if you do not do it manually. This protects the investor from receiving large quantities of unwanted items. Futures contracts can be purchased on margin, meaning that an investor only needs to put in a small amount of money to control a much larger sum in the market. The minimum amount of money required to enter into a futures contract is known as the initial margin requirement.These requirements are set by the futures exchange and are subject to change. Generally, the margin requirement for futures contracts is between 3-12%. This means, depending on the price of the contract, an investor could spend $5,000 of their own cash to control a $100,000 investment, which represents only 5%.This amount of leverage can present serious risks if the investment does not go as planned and in some cases could cause an investor to lose more than the initial amount invested. Quick tip: Micro E-mini index futures began trading in 2019. This allows investors to enter into futures contracts on a stock index at a much lower price point. These micro futures are 1/10th the size of the standard index futures. 5 reasons investors trade futures Diversifying: Adding futures to your investment portfolio can help you gain exposure to different types of asset classes that aren't as widely available in the stock, bond, and options markets. Speculating: Investors who have an appetite for speculation may see significant gains (or losses) much quicker than in other markets. Hedging: Companies use futures contracts to mitigate the risk of unexpected changes in price. "This works particularly well for anyone that needs to control input prices for a product," says Dominique Henderson, Certified Financial Planner and owner of DJH Capital Management. If prices are rapidly increasing for a commodity, a futures contract can lock in current prices and help preserve profits. Earning tax benefits: Some futures trades can qualify for preferential tax rates using the 60/40 rule: 60% of the profits will receive long-term capital gains treatment, and the remaining 40% will be treated with short-term capital gains. This is a unique structure compared to short- and long-term gains with stocks. Short selling: Short selling is the process of profiting from downward movements in the market. For stocks, short selling usually has higher margin requirements than long positions. But with futures, the margin requirement is the same for both long positions and short positions. This means that the investor can risk less of their cash on-hand for short selling positions with futures than with stocks. Pros and cons of futures As with any investment vehicle, there are pros and cons that you should be aware of. These are some of the major advantages and disadvantages.ProsConsMay qualify for special tax treatment Generally low margin requirements Longer investing hours compared to the stock marketHighly leveraged, meaning the investor could lose more than their initial investment Highly speculative with the potential for significant losses Increased complexityFutures vs. optionsFutures and stock options have many similarities - both are contracts between two parties and can allow an investor to hedge and protect their portfolio - but there are some key differences that you should be aware of. FuturesStock optionsBuyer has the obligation to purchase, while the seller has the obligation to sell the underlying assetCannot be purchased on individual stocks, only certain stock indexesCan lock in the prices for physical goods and financial instrumentsBuyer has the right, not the obligation, to buy or sell shares at the specified price Can be purchased on nearly any individual stock or ETF Options can only lock in prices for financial instruments, not physical goodsThe financial takeawayInvesting with futures can be a way to diversify your portfolio in ways that the more traditional stock and bond investor can't. This additional exposure comes with a few trade offs which include higher rates of volatility, longer trading hours, and special tax advantages."Futures tend to be a more complex or advanced financial instrument," adds Henderson. While the potential for large profits may be tempting, carefully consider the risks before entering into futures trading. It may also be wise to consult a Certified Financial Planner to ensure that a negative move in the futures market does not threaten your overall financial security.How to hedge against inflation with investments that keep pace with rising pricesWhat is OTC? A beginner's guide to over-the-counter markets, and the risks and rewards of investing outside the major stock exchangesAlternative investments are exotic assets that can diversify your portfolioTrading and investing are two approaches to playing the stock market that bring their own benefits and risksRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

4 Value Picks From the Top-Ranked Life Insurance Industry

Given the Life Insurance industry prospects, undervalued stocks like LNC, ATH, RGA and BHF have the potential of generating better returns than other players. The Zacks Life Insurance industry is housed within the top 21% of the 255 Zacks industries. The industry players are poised to benefit from product redesigning and repricing along with increased automation. It currently carries a Zack Industry Rank #54. The industry’s earnings estimates for the current year have been revised 16.2% upward in a year’s time.The industry that suffered last year due to the pandemic has been gaining pace. The industry has gained 8.8% year to date compared with the Finance sector’s increase of 43.2% and the Zacks S&P 500 composite’s 35.1% rally.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchIncreased vaccinations, improving employment and an encouraging economic growth outlook instill confidence in the industry. Economic growth as reflected by GDP increased at an annualized rate of 6.5% for the second quarter.Life insurers are sensitive to interest rates. They invest the premium earned to meet the contractually guaranteed obligations of policyholders. A low rate weighs on income from investment. Thus, insurers are directing their funds into alternative investments like private equity, hedge funds and real estate to navigate the challenges. The rate is expected to remain low until 2023, as indicated in the latest FOMC meeting.The industry players are also refraining from selling long-duration term life insurance. The players are opportunistically moving away from guaranteed savings products toward protection products of unit-linked savings products.The increased adoption of technologies like blockchain, artificial intelligence, advanced analytics, telematics, cloud computing, and robotic process automation aid in seamless underwriting and claims processing, in turn improving operational efficiency.Per a report by IBISWorld, the $886.7-billion U.S. Life Insurance & Annuities Market represents 4.2% growth in 2021. The players are well poised to capitalize on the opportunity, banking on their core strengths. Sales should benefit from increasing demand for protection products.  The industry is currently undervalued compared with the Zacks S&P 500 composite as well as the Zacks Finance sector. The price-to-book (P/B) ratio, the best multiple for valuing insurers because of their unpredictable financial results, is 1.2, lower than the Zacks S&P 500 composite’s 6.9 and the sector’s 3.3. Such a market positioning hints at more room for upside in the coming quarters.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchImage Source: Zacks Investment ResearchValue PicksGiven the industry prospects, let’s look at a few stocks that are currently undervalued and have the potential of generating better returns. Our proprietary Value Score makes the daunting task easier.The Value Score helps find attractive value stocks. These value stocks have a long history of showing superior returns. Back-tested results have shown that stocks with a solid Value Score and favorable Zacks Rank generate better returns.With the help of the Zacks Stock Screener, we have selected five life insurance stocks with a favorable Value Score of A or B. Each of these stocks carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.These stocks have also witnessed positive estimate revisions in the past 60 days, reflecting analysts’ confidence in the companies’ operational efficiency. Shares of each of these life insurers have outperformed the industry in a year’s time and are cheaper than the industry average.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchBased in Philadelphia, PA, Lincoln National Corporation LNC is a diversified life insurance and investment management company. This diversified life insurance and investment management company is poised to grow on the back of strong performance of the Life Insurance segment. The company has been making changes in its sales mix to emphasize on sales, without a long-term guarantee to improve profitability. Improved economic backdrop and an expanding set of retirement solutions products should drive the Retirement business. The company is prudently managing costs to preserve margins.Shares of the company have gained 120.3% over a year. The stock is currently trading at a 0.6 price to book multiple.Bermuda-based Athene Holding ATH is a provider of insurance and reinsurance retirement products across the United States and Bermuda, and is poised for long-term growth driven by continued focus on organic channels along with a strong relationship with Apollo. The portfolio of capital-efficient products and the addition of reinsurance partners are likely to offer improved retirement solutions. The company expects healthy organic growth to continue in 2021. It also estimates total organic inflows to likely meet or exceed $30 billion in 2021.Strategic buyouts and block reinsurance transactions with several companies should fuel inorganic growth.Shares of the company have gained 105.7% over a year. The stock is currently trading at a 0.61 price to book multiple.Chesterfield, MO-based Reinsurance Group of America RGA is a global provider of traditional life and health reinsurance as well as financial solutions, and is poised to benefit from the changing life reinsurance pricing environment, expanding business in the pension risk transfer market along with disciplined capital management.Significant value embedded in the in-force business is estimated to generate predictable long-term earnings. Reinsurance Group expects longevity insurance to see long-term growth in the Canadian market as it is projected to see steady demand.Shares of the company have gained 19.2% over a year. The stock is currently trading at a 0.56 price to book multiple.Charlotte, NC-based Brighthouse Financial BHF boasts one of the largest providers of annuity and life insurance products in the United States, and is poised to grow on a compelling suite of life and annuity products, individual insurance, and focus on transitioning the business mix to less capital-intensive products.The company remains focused on ramping up new sales of life insurance products and expanding the distribution network, aiming to become a premier player in the industry. It targets total annual annuity sales of more than $8.5 billion and $250 million of total life sales in 2021. Though the company’s Fixed Rate Annuity sales are anticipated to be lower, it projects growth in Shield and Variable Annuities in 2021.Given solid execution of strategies to drive profitability, enhanced financial strength and flexibility, the company targets to pay back $1.5 billion of capital to shareholders by 2021-end.Shares of the company have gained 67.8% over a year. The stock is currently trading at a 0.23 price to book multiple. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Lincoln National Corporation (LNC): Free Stock Analysis Report Reinsurance Group of America, Incorporated (RGA): Free Stock Analysis Report Athene Holding Ltd. (ATH): Free Stock Analysis Report Brighthouse Financial, Inc. (BHF): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

“The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China

“The Housing Market Is Almost Frozen" - An Even Bigger Problem Emerges For China With Wall Street's fascination with risk associated with Evergrande's default fading fast, and the sellside pumping out charts such as this one showing that the contagion in China junk bond market is unlikely to spillover globally... ... the smartest men in the room are once again missing the forest for the trees because as we explained in detail over the weekend, and again reminded earlier this week... Remember: for China this is not about Evergrande, it's about preserving confidence in the property sector — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 ... for Beijing the real risk is not whether foreign creditors are impacted - in fact Evergrande's willingness to default on offshore bondholders while preserving operational cash flow and continuing to build homes shows just how much China "cares" about Blackrock's P&L - but how an Evergrande crisis could impact China's massive, $60 trillion, property sector, something which CCB International, the Chinese investment bank, touched on in a recent research note in which it said that Evergrande "contagion risk has spread from financing to land sales, property sales, project deliveries and home prices." And indeed, as the FT reports this morning, some very ominous cracks in China's property market - which according to Goldman is the largest asset class globally - are starting to emerge. In a letter to the Shaoxing municipal government in eastern Zhejiang province, the local office of developer Sunac China appealed for “policy assistance” as it was struggling through what it called a "turning point in China’s real estate industry." "We have never experienced such a radical change in the external environment," Sunac’s Shaoxing office said, pointing to a 60% year-on-year fall in home sales over the summer. "The market is almost frozen," it added in the letter, which was first reported by the Financial Times. “The radical change in policy and environment has seriously disrupted our business and made it very difficult to maintain normal operations.” The sudden, sharp collapse in China's property market is shown in the charts below which reveal that the amount of actual land transactions was not only well below the land supply in recent weeks, an unprecedented divergence, but that volumes were 65% below year-ago levels as potential buyers are suddenly terrified of investing in real estate as the Evergrande fate remains in limbo, with some worried that some of the 65 million empty apartments could hit the market and lead to a crash in property values. While the plunge in transactions is demand-induced, there are also concerns that an Evergrande insolvency and eventual collapse could lead to a supply crunch. As reported earlier, in July a Chinese city halted sales at two Evergrande projects alleging the troubled developer misappropriated funds by only depositing a portion of the proceeds from housing sales into the escrow accounts, according to a local government statement.  To ensure Evergrande doesn’t divert these funds, the housing bureau in Nansha district created an escrow account under its own name this month to take in proceeds from Evergrande homebuyers, cutting off the developer’s direct access to the money. A lack of funds has already led to a construction halt on some unfinished housing properties, sparking social unrest among buyers. In Guangzhou, buyers surrounded a local housing bureau earlier this month to demand Evergrande restart construction. As we discussed over the weekend, one of the most troubling downstream consequences from chaos in the property sector would be social unrest, and as we noted, maintaining social order has always been a key priority for the Communist Party, which has no tolerance for protests of any kind. In Guangzhou, homebuyers surrounded a local housing bureau last week to demand Evergrande restart stalled construction. Disgruntled retail investors have gathered at the companys Shenzhen headquarters for at least three straight days this week, and videos of protests against the developer in other parts of China have been shared widely online. Without a social safety net and with limited places to put their money, Chinese savers have for years been encouraged to buy homes whose prices were only ever supposed to go up (similar to the US before 2007 when even idiots like Ben Bernanke said that the US housing market never goes down). Today, buying a house (or two) is a cultural touchstone. And while housing affordability has become a hot topic in the West, many Chinese are more likely to protest falling home prices than spiking ones. Which brings us to a must read report from Goldman's Kinger Lau published overnight and focusing entirely on China's property sector - instead of just Evergrande - where it addresses a glaring dilemma: Beijing's desire to regulate and deleverage the housing sector even as it keeps property prices rising, a dynamic we summarized concisely earlier this week inside a tweet: Markets used to focus on China's "impossible trinity" but it's time to shift to China's "impossible dilemma": you can't have deleveraging/tightening/"3 red lines" AND rising home prices at the same time. China wants both, will have to pick one — zerohedge (@zerohedge) September 22, 2021 In his must read report (available for professional subscribers in the usual place) Goldman's Lau explains that what is going on with Evergrande, and in fact the turmoil gripping China's broader property sector is largely self-inflicted as "regulatory actions in China Internet have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on the tech sector since mid-Feb, but in the past two weeks, investor focus has shifted to the US$60tn China property market which is linked to ~20% of Chinese GDP and represents 62% of household wealth." Specifically, Goldman notes that more than 400 new property regulations (shown in the appendix) that are largely tightening in nature have been announced ytd to restrain housing market activity, spanning supply, demand, funding, leverage, to price control measures. It is these measures that have contributed to a 14% year-on-year fall in property sales and $90 billion of market-cap losses among developer stocks in 3Q alone. In his attempt to summarize the critical linkages between China's all-important property sector and the broader economy (something we first tried to do back in 2017 in "Why The Fate Of The World Economy Is In The Hands Of China's Housing Bubble"), Goldman first focuses on the immediate catalyst behind the current crisis, which according to the bank has to do with the unprecedented regulatory tightening "in the largest asset class globally." Or, as Goldman puts it succinctly, "Property is everywhere in China" Some explanatory notes on the chart above: The regulatory cycle keeps evolving: The ongoing regulatory tightening cycle, which is unprecedented in terms of its duration, intensity, scope, and velocity (of new regulation announcement) as suggested by our POE regulation proxy, has so far provoked significant concerns among investors in and have resulted in more than US$1tn market cap loss on China Tech. From Tech to Social Sector, and then to Property: According to Centaline, more than 400 new property regulations have been unveiled ytd across the central and local governments to address the issues of rising property prices and imbalanced supply/demand in certain areas, over-reliance on property for economic growth and fiscal revenues, and potential speculation in the real estate market where 22% of property could be vacant and ~60% of recent-year purchases were driven by investment demand. Property market tightening isn’t a new feature in the Chinese policy cycle over the past decade, but the severity of the measures, the scope of tightening, and the determination of policy implementation (e.g. the 3 Red Lines) are arguably unprecedented. China property is big: Almost two years ago, Goldman took a deep dive into the US$40tn Chinese residential housing market and analyzed its impacts on macro and asset markets. Since then, the market has grown to US$60tn in notional value including inventory, likely the largest asset class in the world on current prices. It has also registered Rmb26tn (US$4tn) of home sales with more than 3bn sqm of GFA being sold, almost 3x the size of HK SAR. Additionally, it is well-documented that Chinese households have a strong investment and allocation bias towards real assets for different economic and cultural reasons—as of Aug 2021, property accounted for around 62% of household assets in both the total and net terms, vs. 23% in the US and 36% in Japan, where stocks are the dominant household assets. Property is ubiquitous in China, fundamentally and financially: Goldman economists estimate that the housing sector contributes to around 20% of GDP via direct and indirect channels such as property FAI, property construction supply chain, consumption, and wealth effect. In the financial markets, 15% of aggregate market earnings (i.e. ~US$150bn out of US$1tn in 2020) could be exposed to ‘property demand’ in the extended housing construction-to-sale cycle which typically spans over three years, and that property-related loans (developer loans, mortgages, shadow banking)/ developer bonds represent 35%/23% of banks’ loan books/the outstanding balance of the offshore USD credit (IG + HY) market,respectively. And visually: While a full-blown property crisis would impact virtually every aspect of the Chinese economy, starting with capital markets, shadow banks, and social stability, the most immediate one for global investors is of course, the equity market. Here are Goldman's key observations on this topic: The regulation headwinds have resulted in a noticeable slowdown in property activities in recent months: nationwide property sales have fallen 14% yoy in3Q21 alongside stable prices in the primary market but large declines of transactions in the secondary market; property FAI and new starts have fallend rastically, although completion growth momentum has remained strong largely on favorable base effects. At the macro level, Goldman economists have laid out 3 scenarios to model the contagion impacts from reduced property impulse on macro growth. Overall, they see 2022 GDP growth hit ranging from 1.4% to 4.1% depending on the magnitude/severity of the property market slowdown and the tightening of financial conditions domestically, although their scenario analysis does not take into consideration potential monetary and fiscal policy easing in response to the property market declines. While listed developers only account for 4% of earnings in the aggregate listed universe, the housing market could be linked, directly and indirectly, to ~15% of corporate earnings, and every 10pp growth deceleration in housing activity could reduce profit growth of the housing market by ~2pp, all else equal. Broadly, Goldman lists five key transmission mechanisms along the extended property market food chain: Property developers and management companies (4% of equity market earnings): Developers’ earnings are highly sensitive to the property market fundamentals. However, given the time lag between transaction (pre-sales) and revenue recognition (accrual-based accounting), reported earnings usually lag sales by around 2 years, meaning that their current- and next-year earnings may not fully reflect the latest situation in the physical market. For property management companies, their near-term earnings profile is more sensitive to completions than sales but slowing property sales could dampen their future growth prospect. Financial institutions (54% of equity market earnings): Developer loans and mortgage loans account for 35% of commercial banks’ aggregate loan book. Goldman's banks analysts see the potential for mortgage NPLs to rise (at 0.3% now, 1% increase in mortgage NPL ratio translates into 18.7% drop in net profits per their bear case) although their risk exposures to property-related WMPs have fallen substantially since 2016. For insurers, Goldman's team believes the listed insurers’ exposure to the property sector is low, but the potential indirect wealth effect could pose a bigger fundamental challenge. While not directly linked to the housing market, equity brokers’ earnings cycles have been negatively correlated with property sales, likely reflecting the asset allocation decisions/flows from Chinese households between the two asset classes. Construction (2% of equity market earnings): From new property FAI start to completion, the construction cycle for commodity housing typically lasts 20-30 months in China. It drives demand for construction materials (China is the largest consumer of copper, iron ore and steel), although the focus of materials and their consumption intensity varies in different parts of the cycle. The process also directly impacts construction-related equipment, with excavators, heavy-duty trucks, bulldozers, cranes, and loaders all exhibiting reasonably high demand correlation with land sales. Consumption: (3% of equity market earnings): Whether property purchase is considered consumption (at least for first time buyer) remains an open-ended debate, but the housing market is undoubtedly a key demand driver for a wide range of consumption items, including white goods,consumer durables like furniture equipment, and certain electronic products(e.g. Audio devices and air conditioners). Goldman's study shows that housing completion usually leads the sales and earnings in these sectors by 6-9months. Wealth effect (1% of equity market earnings): At the micro level, capital appreciation (or depreciation) in the housing market could have short-term material impact on discretionary spending given the potential wealth creation from the US$60tn asset market, especially considering the relatively high investment ratios there. Industries that are sensitive to this channel encompass the Autos (luxury), Macau gaming, HK retailers and travel-related companies (before the pandemic), which tend to lag property sales by around two quarters, although these relationships may be also reflective of the broader macro dynamics including liquidity easing. A snapshot of the various top-down impact of the Chinese property cycle on corporate earnings is shown below: In sum, mapping Goldman' base case assumptions on GDP growth and property activities for 2022 onto corporate earnings via these channels,the bank lowers its 2022E EPS growth for MSCI China from 13% to 7%, but as the bank warns "the earnings downside (delta) could be much more significant (-28pp) if their bear cases prevail." And should more companies warn that "the market is almost frozen" as a result of the Evergrande crisis, the bear case is virtually assured. We conclude with Goldman's observations on the contagion risks which according to the bank - and contrary to the market - "are building", even if systemic risks can still be avoided. While the restrictive policies have cooled the market, it has put highly-geared developers, notably Evergrande, in the spotlight as their deleveraging path becomes increasingly challenging. On one hand, Goldman agrees with us, and says that on a standalone basis, Evergrande should not be a serious systemic threat given that its total liability of Rmb1.9tn accounts for 0.6% of China’s outstanding TSF, its bank loans of Rmb572bn represent 0.3% of systemwide loan book, and its market share in nationwide commodity housing sales stood at 4% by 1H21. However, the real risks emerges in the context of the slowing property market: indeed, as in other systemic/crisis episodes, investors are concerned about specific weak links which could spread to the broader system via fundamental and financial channels in the case of disorderly default, and therefore the financial condition tightening risk could be much more significant than the Rmb1.9tn liability would suggest, according to Goldman. How much risk is priced in? This is a popular question from investors but also a difficult one to answer given the fluidity of the situation. However, the following analyses lead Goldman to believe that the market may have priced in some degrees of degradation in macro/corporate fundamentals and possibly policy response from the authorities (i.e. a “muddle-through” scenario), but not a harsh scenario that is systemic and global in nature Episodic analysis: Historical physical property market downturns were short-lived and shallow, but if we focus on episodes where developer equities traded at depressed valuations to proxy for property-related concerns (eg.2H11, early 2015, and late 2018), prevailing NAV discounts of listed developers(-60%) are roughly in-line with those difficult times. At the index level, MSCI China bottomed at around 10-11x fwd P/E and 10% ERP in those periods, vs. 13xand 9% at present respectively. Fair PE targets: The MSCI China index is currently trading on 13x fP/E, having already de-rated from 19.6x at the peak in mid-Feb. Applying Goldman's three scenarios to its top-down macro PE model, the bank estimates that the index fair PE could fall to 12.5x in the base case, and 11.0x in their most bearish case. Correlation analysis: Intra- and inter-sector, and cross-asset correlations with regard to Chinese stocks or developer equities have all risen in the past weeks, albeit from a low base. However, compared with previous cases where concerns related to China regulations or trade relations had spooked global markets (e.g. 2015 FX reform, 2018 US-China trade war), the absolute correlation levels are more benign at present, suggesting a global contagious impact is not fully priced in. In light of all this, the good news is that in Goldman's view systemic risks could still be avoided considering: broad liquidity and risk-appetite indicators such as 7d repo, the onshore funding stress index, as well as the A-share market performance/ turnover suggest that the imminent "minsky moment" remains a narrative but far from a reality; the effective leverage (LTV) for the housing market is low, around 40% to 50% per our Banks team’s estimate; the institutional setup in China where the government has strong control over its banking system makes a market-driven collapse less likely to happen than would otherwise be the case; Losses will be realized by stakeholders associated with highly-geared developers, but the liabilities are relatively transparent and are less widely socialized in the financial markets than in previous global financial crises; the potential economic, social, and financial impacts have been well publicized and discussed, and it appears that the authorities are assessing the situation and starting to take actions; and, economists believe there is potential for the authorities to ease policy to prevent a disorderly default of Evergrande from developing into a crisis leading up to the Sixth Plenum in November. Ultimately, timing will be key to a happy ending: Given the outsized market value of China property, and its intricate linkages to the real economy and the financial markets, deleveraging the property market and improving financial stability - two contradictory concepts - could raise systemic concern if policy actions are pursued too aggressively, or without clear coordination among regulators and communication with the market. Importantly, as market concerns over tail risk and spillovers start to build, there is increasing focus on the narrowing window for policymakers to provide the necessary circuit breakers to ring-fence the (collateral) damages and stop the downward spirals. A key risk from continued delayed action would be a bigger snowball effect and more damage on markets and investor (already strained) confidence in Chinese assets. As such, Goldman expects the market to focus on potential actions that could be pursued, such as a combination of debt restructuring (bank loans, WMP, credits), conditional government involvement in working capital bridges and unfinished property projects, and a coordinated plan to divest and cash in assets. Finally, as promised earlier, here is a summary of the key loosing (green) and tightening (red) policies in China's property market.   Tyler Durden Fri, 09/24/2021 - 13:00.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 24th, 2021

Unizen’s James Taylor: “CeFi and DeFi Need to Co-exist and Evolve”

It has been three months since James Taylor left his role as global head of electronic foreign exchange sales at BNY Mellon. The former JP Morgan and Barclays Capital has joined Unizen as chief business development officer, with the first aim of reinforcing the compliance and regulatory aspects of the CeDeFi ecosystem. Q2 2021 hedge […] It has been three months since James Taylor left his role as global head of electronic foreign exchange sales at BNY Mellon. The former JP Morgan and Barclays Capital has joined Unizen as chief business development officer, with the first aim of reinforcing the compliance and regulatory aspects of the CeDeFi ecosystem. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Taylor comes from the traditional finance industry, and has landed at Unizen at a critical stage in which the company is furiously working on innovating the UX environment for crypto traders and developers. We talked to James about his move and what Unizen is working on in the crypto space, while looking to use CeFi to bridge the gaps while delivering “compliant liquidity” to the end-user. It's been three months since you joined Unizen. How has it been? What did you find when joining the company? The time has flown by! The pace of innovation and development in the crypto industry is really quite staggering and it’s really exciting to be a part of it. I was already interested in the space and there are similarities between traditional finance and crypto but it wasn’t until I joined Unizen that I realized how much I didn’t know! So I’ve been busy. I spend a large part of my time talking to and getting to know the team, asking “dumb” questions, and learning. Also, a lot of focus and effort has been on the compliance and regulatory side which is very high on our agenda and an area that I was able to help with from day one. You come from traditional finance and have broken your way into crypto. Was it a revealing transition? It was only ever going to be a unique and special opportunity to move me from traditional finance to crypto, and Unizen was precisely that. One big reason was the team, which is top-notch in terms of talent and diverse experience, but more importantly, it operates with high moral standards and ethics. Throughout my career, although I was working at some of the biggest and most successful global investment banks, the areas I worked in were essentially new and very much like startup businesses –we were redefining the way that fixed-income products would be traded. So the combination of working with a brilliant team and the ability to be a part of building out something special again in the crypto space is why I'm here. Unizen is working on a CeDeFi crypto solution. What can you share about this? The Unizen team and community have identified multiple challenges that face investors in the crypto space including KYC, security, liquidity, and high network fees –we are looking to fix actual problems that exist in the space at present, rather than those in a hypothetical future. Unizen is an ecosystem that unifies centralized and decentralized products and services –CeDeFi. It is a cohesive workspace that integrates UIs and aggregates data. Regular DeFi falls short of compliance requirements that are needed by most investment firms and asset managers. We are looking to use CeFi to bridge the gaps while still respecting and protecting the essential DeFi elements, delivering “compliant liquidity” to the end-user –liquidity that they are permitted to interact with, according to their specific regulatory, legal, or fiduciary obligations. What are the advantages of Unizen’s hybridization for traders? The main advantages of hybridization are simplicity, security, and locating the best liquidity and pricing available. The first modules are exchanges, but over time there will be other essential products and services added. However, Unizen is not just for traders. Both experienced traders and occasional investors will have a much simpler and straightforward experience, and loyal community members who hold and/or stake ZCX tokens will receive various perks such as reduced trading fees, regular airdrops of project tokens, access to pre-sales, and more. How could a DeFi system be scaled? The short and simple answer here is “cross-chain interoperability.” Most DeFi is currently siloed, something that is very limiting. Interoperability is crucial in any software or ecosystem, as it simply won’t work to its full potential if it can’t work with other software or networks. Should the future be DeFi, how do you see Altcoin performing versus bitcoin? CeFi and DeFi need to co-exist and evolve –likely the future will be CeDeFi. Regarding bitcoin versus altcoin, the former is primarily a store of value, when compared to Ethereum, whose smart contracts allow the development of DeFi apps. I think we will see BTC “Dominance” move to less than 30% as we move to a multipolar blockchain. According to many, we could see ETH move to around $35,000, and there absolutely will be other projects coming in the future that jostle and take top 10 spots in terms of market capitalization. What’s next for Unizen and how do you envision the future of CeDeFi? The current crypto market is small relative to the institutional capital that is sitting on the sidelines. Institutions will go “all in” in the coming years, once institutional-grade products and compliant liquidity are available. This is why we are pushing CeDeFi as a solution, and the CeDeFi Alliance of companies will partner and build to create the required infrastructure. Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 12:07 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

Civilized founders pushed out

Welcome to Insider Cannabis, where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar cannabis boom. As the legal cannabis market grows in the US, there are many ways for investors to gain exposure to the industry. Bloomberg Creative/Getty Images Welcome to Insider Cannabis, our weekly newsletter where we're bringing you an inside look at the deals, trends, and personalities driving the multibillion-dollar global cannabis boom.Sign up here to get it in your inbox every week.Hello everyone,In some respects, the fight over how to legalize cannabis is a microcosm of larger social debates, pitting social justice activists against more free-market-oriented folks. Take the debate this week over the SAFE Banking Act. The cannabis banking bill passed the House for the fifth time last night. This go-around, language from the bill - which would open up the banking system to cannabis companies and allow consumers to pay with credit cards - was shoehorned into the National Defense Authorization Act.The NDAA usually passes the Senate without much fanfare. But Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Sen. Ron Wyden, and Sen. Cory Booker have their own more comprehensive cannabis bill, The Cannabis Opportunity and Administration Act. Booker has said that he opposes adding cannabis banking protections to the Senate's version of the NDAA ahead of broader criminal justice reforms.It remains to be seen whether SAFE will be included in the Senate's version of the NDAA. Many cannabis activists say that the SAFE Act would only help banks and large cannabis companies make more money in the industry. They'd rather see full-scale legalization or at least record expungement and other criminal and social justice measures passed first.But supporters of the SAFE Act say it's a necessary tool to help protect and grow small businesses since many social equity license holders are unable to get loans or open lines of credit to start their businesses, and that dealing in all cash is a safety risk. In other news, Amazon doubled down on its support for cannabis legalization and said it was lobbying the federal government for legalization. Aurora Cannabis closed a major facility and cut around 8% of its workforce. The company delayed its earnings until next week. Tilray closed its Nanaimo, British Columbia facility as well. California will be adding a cannabis competition to its state fair, where farmers will show off their best buds. I'll be moderating a panel about the New York cannabis opportunity at the Prohibition Partners x Business of Cannabis conference in New York City on Wednesday, September 29. I'm looking forward to seeing many of you in person, and let me know if you'll be around. - Jeremy Berke (@jfberke)If you like what you read, share this newsletter with your colleagues, friends, boss, spouse, strangers on the internet, or whomever else would like a weekly dose of cannabis news. Here's what we wrote about this week:Investors are pushing out the founders of troubled cannabis startup Civilized. We got ahold of the full memo.Investors are pushing Civilized founders Derek and Terri Riedle out of the company, according to a memo circulated among investors on Monday and obtained by Insider. The investors say the founders, Derek and Terri Riedle, saddled the company with debt.A startup accelerator that's worked with J&J and L'Oréal is getting into psychedelics as the industry goes mainstreamA new accelerator program is targeting early-stage ancillary startups focused on psychedelics, in the latest sign that psychedelics are entering the mainstream and that funding dollars are trailing closely behind. The House just passed cannabis reforms as part of a defense bill. Here's what would change for businesses and their customers.The US House of Representatives has passed the Secure and Fair Enforcement Banking Act, or SAFE Banking Act, yet again.Lawmakers tucked the cannabis banking bill into the National Defense Authorization Act that passed lower chamber on Thursday. It's not clear whether the Senate will include cannabis reforms in its version of the defense package once the upper chamber takes it up. Executive movesNew York Governor Kathy Hochul on Wednesday announced two more appointees - Reuben R. McDaniel, III and Jessica Garcia - to the board of the Office of Cannabis Management, the regulatory body responsible for building out the adult-use cannabis industry in the state. Deals, launches, and IPOsCannabis tech company Dispense said on Tuesday that it had raised a $2 million seed round led by NextView Ventures and Poseidon Asset Management.Michigan-based cannabis company SKYMINT said on Tuesday that it raised $78 million and acquired 3Fifteen Cannabis. Investors in the round include Tropics LP, an affiliate of Sundial Growers' JV SunStream Bancorp Inc., and Merida Capital Holdings.Christine De La Rosa, the CEO of The People's Ecosystem, is raising a $50 million fund to invest in BIPOC and women-led cannabis businesses. Psychedelics company Delic Holdings Corp said on Monday it would acquire Ketamine Wellness Centers Inc, increasing its footprint to 12 clinic locations across the US, in a $5 million cash-and-stock deal. Crain Communications is acquiring cannabis financial media site Green Market Report. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Marijuana activists hold up a 51-foot inflatable joint during a rally at the U.S. Capitol to call on Congress pass cannabis reform legislation on Tuesday, Oct. 8, 2019. Photo by Caroline Brehman/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images Policy movesThe House of Representatives on Thursday passed the SAFE Banking Act, a cannabis banking bill, as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. It's not clear whether the Senate will include cannabis reforms in its version of the defense package once the upper chamber takes it up. Italy is expected to hold a referendum on legalizing cannabis early next year after organizers gathered the 500,000 signatures within a week, reports Reuters. Research and dataA new report from the nonprofit Economic Policy Institute found that unionized cannabis workers could make $8,690 more per year than non-unionized peers. Psychedelics company Atai Life Sciences said on Tuesday that its platform company DemeRx has started its early-stage clinical trials of ibogaine to treat opioid use disorder.Cannabis data firm BDSA says in a report that cannabis sales will hit $31 billion this year, a 41% increase over last year. By 2026, BDSA expects cannabis sales to exceed $62 billion. EarningsMedMen reported its Q4 and FY21 results on Thursday. The company reported $42 million in revenue and a net loss of $46 million in Q4. For the full year, the company reported $145 million in revenue and a net loss of $157.6 million. What we're reading Why Amazon wants to make sure everyone knows it's totally cool with smoking pot now (Insider)Lawyers, race and money: Illinois' messy weed experiment (Politico)'Millions of pounds' of legal marijuana diverted to underground market, California lawsuit alleges (MJ Biz Daily)Getting high before exercise is the secret to sticking with a fitness routine, some athletes say (Insider)Illegal marijuana farms take West's water in 'blatant theft' (Associated Press)Marijuana banking sponsor discusses path through Senate after House approves reform for fifth time (Marijuana Moment)Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 24th, 2021

Azuro CEO: “Blockchain Can Bring Full Transparency To Online Betting”

In 2012, Paruyr Shahbazyan founded Bookmaker Ratings with $50 dollars and since then the company has helped return more than $12 million to players in its mediation activities. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Today, with Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol, co-founder and CEO Paruyr Shahbazyan is looking to give bettors a trustless […] In 2012, Paruyr Shahbazyan founded Bookmaker Ratings with $50 dollars and since then the company has helped return more than $12 million to players in its mediation activities. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Today, with Azuro, a decentralized betting protocol, co-founder and CEO Paruyr Shahbazyan is looking to give bettors a trustless alternative to betting in an industry imbued with cryptocurrency payments and that is increasingly reliant on blockchain. We spoke with him about crypto, blockchain, and Azuro’s testnet, which was launched in late August. With this project, the betting entrepreneur intends to familiarize bettors with the protocol using tokens and not real money. How has crypto changed the online betting industry? Firstly, there’s many high-volume players, also known as “VIPs” who have switched to use crypto as a payment method, be it so that they can bet at sites which are not available in their country, or for another reason. This is something that has happened already and a growing trend. In this case, crypto is simply used as a payment method, which is a very basic use case. However, looking beyond crypto as a payment method, blockchain –and particularly smart contracts– can deliver trustless betting, eliminate intermediaries and bring full transparency to betting. This is not prominent yet, but totally possible and very exciting. Azuro has launched its testnet. What is the purpose of the platform and what are the main changes? Azuro is a global decentralized betting protocol, utilizing smart-contracts to bring full transparency to the betting process while delivering a classic betting experience with plentiful markets and liquidity. The core goal is to give bettors a trustless alternative to betting, which is on par with the experience they can get with traditional bookmakers. As we do that, we remove the issues with trust and transparency between players and operators prevalent today. Blockchain technology allows for decentralization and the democratization of the betting business. Azuro breaks down the role of a bookmaker into several smaller roles openly available for anyone to benefit from: liquidity provision, front-end management, data provision and decentralized governance. This means more value is shared with more participants in the ecosystem. Plus, we have a commitment to social responsibility from the very beginning that is unique to our project. We launched our testnet on August 27th, where users can interact with the protocol, using test tokens, and placing bets. They also compete for rewards but without risking any real money. So, it’s pretty cool. From a $50 website template purchase in 2012 to what your current business “Bookmaker Ratings” is today... What have been the keys to achieving 1.2 million visits per month on your websites? The business focused on a simple thing: the lack of trust between players and bookmakers. So, we were objective in our bookmaker ratings and did whatever we could to help players mainly by acting as an intermediary and resolving disputes between the two sides. Through this, we managed to have more than $12 million returned to players over the years, which ensured we gained people’s trust. This was all possible because we were driven by a deep understanding of the players' problems –I was a professional bettor for many years myself. In comparison, my competitors in 2012 knew how to make strong websites, but did not know much about the needs and problems of the players. Of course, I also had a professional team with me, which is definitely a factor for the success. Tell us about your future projects, and how do you envision the online betting business amid NFT speculation and bitcoin volatility. The volatility of cryptocurrencies does not affect the betting industry because betting is perhaps the only niche in crypto that absolutely does not care about the bitcoin price. Same for NFTs, I don't see much connection apart from the fact that these hype-waves bring a lot of people to try the technology. And trustless betting –say, with stablecoins– will allow more and more people to grasp the great opportunities blockchain technology gives them, like freedom, security, and transparency. More people will interact with decentralized protocols. And given the fact that those in crypto today are mostly risk-prone users, naturally, the proportion of people who will be willing to bet with crypto and on the blockchain will increase exponentially. Updated on Sep 24, 2021, 11:53 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 24th, 2021

Global Steel August Production Slips as China Deepens Curbs

Crude steel production from China tumbled 13.2% year over year to 83.2 Mt in August as Beijing stepped up measures to curb production to clean up the environment. Global crude steel production dropped in August on a slump in output from top producer China to a 17-month low on government’s actions to control production to reduce carbon emissions.  Production rose across other major steel-producing countries for the reported month with the United States and Japan racking up the biggest gains.According to the latest World Steel Association (“WSA”) report, crude steel production for 64 reporting nations fell 1.4% year over year to 156.8 million tons (Mt) in August. A decline in Asia and Oceania offset higher production across other regions in the reported month.China Output Tumbles As Beijing Ramps Up Green PushCrude steel production from China fell for the third straight month in August as Beijing stepped up measures to cut production to clean up the environment in a bid to reach its carbon neutrality goal by 2060. Per the WSA, production in China, which accounts for more than half of the global steel output, slumped 13.2% year over year to 83.2 Mt in August. Output is also down from 86.8 Mt in July. Despite the decline, production is still up 5.3% year over year to 733 Mt in the first eight months of 2021.China is looking to keep 2021 steel output within last year’s record levels. The production curbs are aimed at reducing air pollution and controlling costs of raw materials including iron ore. China has been pushing steel mills in the country since early July to implement output and capacity curbs to comply with the norms to cut carbon emissions. The steel sector is among the biggest sources of carbon emissions in China, accounting for roughly 15% of national carbon emissions. China has set a national goal to achieve peak carbon emissions for the steel sector by 2025.In the Hebei province, Tangshan — the top steelmaking city in China — is reportedly planning to cut its crude steel production by 12.37 Mt in 2021 and looks to be on track to meet the target. China's second-largest steel-producing province, Jiangsu, has also ramped up output cuts this month. Other major steelmaking provinces such as Shandong and Liaoning have also started to scale down production.China’s steel output clocked 1.06 billion tons in 2020 following a production ramp-up on a strong rebound in domestic demand, driven by government investment in property and infrastructure. Output from the country hit a record high of 99.5 Mt in May 2021 on the back of firm domestic demand and healthy profit margins at mills, before retreating to 93.9 Mt in June.Production curbs are expected to keep China’s steel output levels under check in the coming months. Output is also likely to be capped by an expected softening of steel demand in the country, partly resulting from a slowdown in the construction sector. Beijing’s actions to take the heat out of its property market this year partly through credit tightening measures bodes ill for the country's steel industry.The debt crisis at one of China top property developers, Evergrande, also increases the risk of a financial contagion in the country’s property sector. This may lead to a slump in construction activities and a slowdown in the launch of new properties in China, thereby hurting steel demand and triggering more production cuts. The potential collapse of Evergrande, which is saddled with more than $300 billion in debt, may pop China’s property bubble and could have a ripple effect on the rest of the world. Real estate accounts for roughly 40% of China's steel consumption. A boom in the property sector played a major role in driving China's steel production last year.How Other Major Producers Fared in August?Among the other major Asian producers, India — the second-largest producer — saw an 8.2% rise in production to 9.9 Mt in August. Steel demand is picking up in India on a revival in economic activities with the lifting of lockdowns and restrictions imposed by state governments to blunt the rapid spread of the virus amid the deadly second wave. Government’s infrastructure push and focus on accelerating the rural economy augur well for steel demand in the country.Production in Japan climbed 22.9% to 7.9 Mt in the reported month. Output rose for the sixth straight month as steel makers in the country are seeing a rebound in industrial demand from the pandemic-led lows. Crude steel output in South Korea also rose 6.2% to 6.1 Mt. Consolidated output went down 7.3% to 112.7 Mt in Asia and Oceania reflecting the decline in China.In North America, crude steel production jumped 26.8% to 7.5 Mt in the United States in August. Shutdowns across major steel-consuming sectors due to the pandemic put a crimp on steel demand, forcing U.S. steel mills to curtail production and idle operations with capacity utilization slumping to a multi-year lows during the first half of 2020.However, demand has rebounded with the resumption of operations, leading to an uptick in capacity utilization and domestic steel production. U.S. capacity utilization rate broke above the important 80% level in May 2021 for the first time since the start of the pandemic in March 2020, and remains close to the 85% level amid strong domestic demand. Overall production in North America went up 24.4% to roughly 10.2 Mt.  In the Europe Union (EU), production from Germany, the biggest producer in the region, rose 6.7% to 3 Mt. Total output was up 27.1% in the EU to around 11.6 Mt. Steel prices in the region have come under pressure since August following a rally over the past several months to record highs as the ongoing semiconductor shortage is hurting demand from car manufacturers. Reduced consumption in the automotive sector due to the chip crunch is expected to weigh on European steel prices over the near term.  Production in the Middle East rose 10.9% to 3.6 Mt in August. Iran, the top producer in the region, saw an 8.7% rise to 2.5 Mt. Africa logged a 38.2% surge to 1.3 Mt.Among other notable producers, output from Turkey increased 7.1% to 3.5 Mt. Production from Brazil, the largest producer in South America, went up 14.1% to 3.1 Mt in August.Steel Industry Rides on Price Rally, Demand StrengthThe steel industry is currently enjoying a bull run after bearing the brunt of the pandemic last year, thanks to a strong revival in domestic demand and skyrocketing steel prices.Coronavirus hurt demand for steel across major end-use markets for much of the first half of last year. However, industry has staged an impressive comeback on strong pent-up demand and zooming steel prices. Steel demand is on an upswing with the resumption of operations across major sectors such as automotive, construction and machinery following easing of lockdowns and restrictions across the word. Demand remains robust across construction and manufacturing sectors.Steel prices also continue to race ahead, buoyed by strong underlying supply and demand fundamentals. U.S. steel prices are on an upswing on strong end-market demand, tight supply and low steel supply-chain inventories.The benchmark hot-rolled coil (“HRC”) prices plunged to a pandemic-led multi-year low of roughly $440 per short ton in August 2020. However, HRC prices started to recover from September 2020 and are shooting higher since then on U.S. steel mills’ price hike actions, tight supply conditions and solid demand. Prices are currently hovering near the $2,000 per short ton level. HRC prices have shot up more than four-fold from the August 2020 low. The imbalance between supply and demand has largely contributed to the strong run-up in steel prices. Higher prices are likely to act as a catalyst and drive margins of steel companies through the remainder of 2021.Steel Stocks Worth ConsideringA few stocks currently worth a look in the steel space are ArcelorMittal MT, Nucor Corporation NUE, United States Steel Corporation X, Steel Dynamics, Inc. STLD and Ternium S.A. TX, each sporting a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.ArcelorMittal has expected earnings growth rate of 1,776.6% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s current-year earnings has been revised 21.1% upward over the last 60 days.Nucor has expected earnings growth rate of 534.4% for the current year. The consensus estimate for the current year has been revised 27.6% upward over the last 60 days.U.S. Steel has expected earnings growth rate of 381.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the current year has been revised 18.9% upward over the last 60 days.Steel Dynamics has expected earnings growth rate of 431% for the current year. The consensus estimate for the current year has been revised 18.3% upward over the last 60 days.Ternium has expected earnings growth rate of 460.6% for the current year. The consensus estimate for the current year has been revised 25.5% upward over the last 60 days. Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Steel Dynamics, Inc. (STLD): Free Stock Analysis Report ArcelorMittal (MT): Free Stock Analysis Report United States Steel Corporation (X): Free Stock Analysis Report Nucor Corporation (NUE): Free Stock Analysis Report Ternium S.A. (TX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 24th, 2021

Mack-Cali selling waterfront trophy for $380M

Mack-Cali is in contract to sell a trophy office tower on the Hudson River waterfront for $380 million, according to sources close to the deal. Mark Meisner’s Nanuet-based Birch Group is the buyer of 101 Hudson Street, a 1.2 million square-foot class A office tower in Jersey City which Mack-Cali... The post Mack-Cali selling waterfront trophy for $380M appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Mack-Cali is in contract to sell a trophy office tower on the Hudson River waterfront for $380 million, according to sources close to the deal. Mark Meisner’s Nanuet-based Birch Group is the buyer of 101 Hudson Street, a 1.2 million square-foot class A office tower in Jersey City which Mack-Cali bought for $329 million in 2004. The REIT remortgaged the tower with a 10-year, $250 million loan in 2016, money that was used repay outstanding secured and unsecured debt as the company worked to streamline its suburban office portfolio to focus on its prime waterfront assets. Last year, AIG inked a deal to take a reported 230,000 s/f of space in the building, previously known as the Goldman Sachs tower. Mack-Cali declined to comment on the sale and no word yet from the Birch Group. Cushman & Wakefield confirmed its Adam Spies, Andy Merin, David Bernhaut, Kevin Donner, Gary Gabriel and Frank DiTommaso arranged the sale, but declined further comment. The sale stands out among two years of suburban office disposition at Mack-Cali. This year alone, the company has sold $549 million of suburban office buildings and newly appointed CEO Mahbod Nia has been focused on boosting the share price and rewarding investors who’ve stuck with the firm through a takeover battle and a pandemic. During the 2Q earning call he said, “We remain highly focused on our strategic objectives of simplifying the business and streamlining the balance sheet, as illustrated by the disposal of virtually all of our remaining suburban assets during the quarter, substantially in line with our pre-pandemic valuation expectations.” A Colony Capital and Northstar (NRE) alum, Nia was credited with helping NRE get its business in order ahead of a sale to AXA Investment Managers that netted a 16 percent IRR. During a summer NAREIT meeting, Nia spoke about expanding Mack-Cali’s lucrative multifamily platform beyond its core in New Jersey. He told investors during the earning call, “That comment was more centered around concentration risk and whether to the extent that we do gravitate more toward becoming a multifamily REIT, whether we should be more concentrated in our current markets or look to new markets. “We’re at the point where we’re really evaluating potential options for us in the future, but no conclusive decisions have been made at this point.” The Waterfront office portfolio – which included 101 Hudson – was 75.4 percent leased, up from 74.2 percent as of March 31, 2021, reflecting 75,500 s/f of leases signed during the quarter, including 51,600 s/f of new leases. The office portfolio also enjoyed a 2.5 percent increase in NOI from the previous year. Analysts have given the efforts a gold star. Although BTIG’s Thomas Catherwood just lowered his share price target from $30 to $26, Mack-Cali is still considered a buy. As of September, its share price was 16.65 – way below the 56 it enjoyed in its heyday during the 2000s but a major improvement on its most recent 52-week low of 10.35. Catherwood attributed the price target change to the company’s shorter hold period for its remaining office assets. He said investors could lose sight of positive near-term potential as dispositions, incremental short-term debt, COVID-impacted apartment rental rates, and recent office lease expirations result in lower earnings. The sale of 101 Hudson is likely to help Mack-Cali pay down a $400 million loan and credit facility it arranged with JPMorgan Chase Bank in May 2021. David J. Smetana, chief financial officer, said during the earning call that the company was also looking at disposal of excess land adding, “hotels probably are not part of our long-term kind of operating core portfolio. So those in total should be able to take care of the remaining line balance.” The post Mack-Cali selling waterfront trophy for $380M appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklySep 23rd, 2021

Progress Announces Third Quarter 2021 Financial Results

Q3 Revenue and EPS Significantly Ahead of GuidanceFull Year 2021 Guidance Raised Again BEDFORD, Mass., Sept. 23, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Progress (NASDAQ:PRGS), the leading provider of products to develop, deploy and manage high-impact business applications, today announced financial results for its fiscal third quarter ended August 31, 2021. Third Quarter 2021 Highlights: Revenue of $147.4 million increased 34% year-over-year on an actual currency basis, and 33% on a constant currency basis. Non-GAAP revenue of $152.6 million increased 38% on an actual currency basis, and 36% on a constant currency basis. Annualized Recurring Revenue (ARR) of $444 million increased 25% year-over-year on a constant currency basis. Operating margin was 31% and Non-GAAP operating margin was 47%. Diluted earnings per share was $0.70 compared to $0.53 in the same quarter last year, an increase of 32%.  Non-GAAP diluted earnings per share was $1.18 compared to $0.78 in the same quarter last year, an increase of 51%. "We're very pleased to announce Q3 results that significantly beat our previous guidance for revenue and earnings, and we're raising 2021 guidance for the third time this year," said Yogesh Gupta, CEO at Progress. "We also announced the signing of a definitive agreement to acquire Kemp, a leader in the Application Experience (‘AX') space. Kemp meets all our acquisition criteria, fits perfectly with our total growth strategy, and brings a very talented team to Progress." Additional financial highlights included(1):   Three Months Ended   GAAP   Non-GAAP (In thousands, except percentages and per share amounts) August 31,2021   August 31,2020   %Change   August 31,2021   August 31,2020   %Change Revenue $ 147,417     $ 109,699     34 %   $ 152,597     $ 110,882     38 % Income from operations $ 46,046     $ 33,193     39 %   $ 71,163     $ 47,117     51 % Operating margin 31 %   30 %   100 bps   47 %   42 %   500 bps Net income $ 30,976     $ 23,977     29 %   $ 52,577     $ 35,605     48 % Diluted earnings per share $ 0.70     $ 0.53     32 %   $ 1.18     $ 0.78     51 % Cash from operations (GAAP) /Adjusted free cash flow (Non-GAAP) $ 35,224     $ 31,112     13 %   $ 35,022     $ 30,101     16 % (1)See Legal Notice Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Information Other fiscal third quarter 2021 metrics and recent results included: Cash, cash equivalents and short-term investments were $383.7 million at the end of the quarter. DSO was 54 days compared to 49 days in the fiscal third quarter of 2020 and 44 days in the fiscal second quarter of 2021. On September 21, 2021, our Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.175 per share of common stock that will be paid on December 15, 2021 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on December 1, 2021. On September 23, 2021, we announced a definitive agreement to acquire Kemp Technologies, a leader in the Application Experience space, for $258 million in cash. Anthony Folger, CFO, said: "Q3 results were outstanding across every metric and our confidence in our business is reflected in the increased outlook for 2021. In addition to our strong financial results and outlook, we continued to execute our total growth strategy while remaining disciplined with the acquisition of Kemp, a deal that positions us exceptionally well for 2022 and beyond." 2021 Business Outlook Progress provides the following guidance for the fiscal year ending November 30, 2021 and the fiscal fourth quarter ending November 30, 2021:   Updated FY 2021 Guidance(September 23, 2021)   Prior FY 2021 Guidance(June 24, 2021) (In millions, except percentages and per share amounts) GAAP   Non-GAAP   GAAP   Non-GAAP Revenue $520 - $524   $548 - $552   $503 - $509   $529 - $535 Diluted earnings per share $1.56 - $1.58   $3.68 - $3.70   $1.51 - $1.55   $3.46 - $3.50 Operating margin 21%   40%   21%   39% Cash from operations (GAAP) /Adjusted free cash flow (Non-GAAP) $168 - $172   $168 - $172   $160 - $164   $158 - $162 Effective tax rate 20% - 21%   20% - 21%   20% - 21%   20% - 21%   Q4 2021 Guidance (In millions, except per share amounts) GAAP   Non-GAAP Revenue $129 - $133   $134 - $138 Diluted earnings per share $0.13 - $0.15   $0.73 - $0.75 Based on current exchange rates, the expected positive currency translation impact on Progress' fiscal year 2021 business outlook compared to 2020 exchange rates is approximately $6.8 million on GAAP and non-GAAP revenue, and approximately $0.04 on GAAP and non-GAAP diluted earnings per share. The expected positive currency translation impact on Progress' fiscal Q4 2021 business outlook compared to 2020 exchange rates on GAAP and non-GAAP revenue is approximately $0.6 million. The expected positive impact on GAAP and non-GAAP diluted Q4 2021 earnings per share is $0.01. To the extent that there are changes in exchange rates versus the current environment, this may have an impact on Progress' business outlook. Conference Call Progress will hold a conference call to review its financial results for the fiscal third quarter of 2021 at 5:00 p.m. ET on Thursday, September 23, 2021. The call can be accessed on the investor relations section of the company's website, located at www.progress.com. Additionally, you can listen to the call by telephone by dialing 800-773-2954 or +1 847-413-3731, passcode 50220857. The conference call will include comments followed by questions and answers. An archived version of the conference call and supporting materials will be available on the Progress website within the investor relations section after the live conference call. Legal Notice Regarding Non-GAAP Financial Information Progress provides non-GAAP financial information as additional information for investors. These non-GAAP measures are not in accordance with, or an alternative to, generally accepted accounting principles in the United States ("GAAP"). Progress believes that the non-GAAP results described in this release are useful for an understanding of its ongoing operations and provide additional detail and an alternative method of assessing its operating results.  A reconciliation of non-GAAP adjustments to the company's GAAP financial results is included in the tables below and is available on the Progress website at www.progress.com within the investor relations section. Additional information regarding the company's non-GAAP financial information is contained in the company's Current Report on Form 8-K furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with this press release, which is also available on the Progress website within the investor relations section. Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements This press release contains statements that are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended. Progress has identified some of these forward-looking statements with words like "believe," "may," "could," "would," "might," "should," "expect," "intend," "plan," "target," "anticipate" and "continue," the negative of these words, other terms of similar meaning or the use of future dates. Forward-looking statements in this press release include, but are not limited to, statements regarding Progress' business outlook and financial guidance. There are a number of factors that could cause actual results or future events to differ materially from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements, including, without limitation: (1) Economic, geopolitical and market conditions can adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition, including our revenue growth and profitability, which in turn could adversely affect our stock price. (2) We may fail to achieve our financial forecasts due to such factors as delays or size reductions in transactions, fewer large transactions in a particular quarter, fluctuations in currency exchange rates, or a decline in our renewal rates for contracts. (3) Our ability to successfully manage transitions to new business models and markets, including an increased emphasis on a cloud and subscription strategy, may not be successful. (4) If we are unable to develop new or sufficiently differentiated products and services, or to enhance and improve our existing products and services in a timely manner to meet market demand, partners and customers may not purchase new software licenses or subscriptions or purchase or renew support contracts. (5) We depend upon our extensive partner channel and we may not be successful in retaining or expanding our relationships with channel partners. (6) Our international sales and operations subject us to additional risks that can adversely affect our operating results, including risks relating to foreign currency gains and losses. (7) If the security measures for our software, services, other offerings or our internal information technology infrastructure are compromised or subject to a successful cyber-attack, or if our software offerings contain significant coding or configuration errors, we may experience reputational harm, legal claims and financial exposure. (8) We have made acquisitions, and may make acquisitions in the future, and those acquisitions may not be successful, may involve unanticipated costs or other integration issues or may disrupt our existing operations. (9) Delay or failure to realize the expected synergies and benefits of the Kemp acquisition could negatively impact our future results of operations and financial condition; (10) The continuing impact of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak on our employees, customers, partners, and the global financial markets could adversely affect our business, results of operations and financial condition. For further information regarding risks and uncertainties associated with Progress' business, please refer to Progress' filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its Annual Report on Form 10-K for the fiscal year ended November 30, 2020. Progress undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. About Progress Progress (NASDAQ:PRGS) provides the best products to develop, deploy and manage high-impact business applications. Our comprehensive product stack is designed to make technology teams more productive and we have a deep commitment to the developer community, both open source and commercial alike. With Progress, organizations can accelerate the creation and delivery of strategic business applications, automate the process by which apps are configured, deployed and scaled, and make critical data and content more accessible and secure—leading to competitive differentiation and business success. Over 1,700 independent software vendors, 100,000 enterprise customers, and three million developers rely on Progress to power their applications. Learn about Progress at www.progress.com or +1-800-477-6473. Progress and Progress Software are trademarks or registered trademarks of Progress Software Corporation and/or its subsidiaries or affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Any other names contained herein may be trademarks of their respective owners. Investor Contact:   Press Contact: Michael Micciche   Erica McShane Progress Software   Progress Software +1 781 850 8450   +1 781 280 4000 Investor-Relations@progress.com   PR@progress.com CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS(Unaudited)   Three Months Ended   Nine Months Ended (In thousands, except per share data) August 31,2021   August 31,2020   %Change   August 31,2021   August 31,2020   %Change Revenue:                       Software licenses $ 51,930     $ 27,514     89 %   $ 115,354     $ 77,806     48 % Maintenance and services 95,487     82,185     16 %   275,831     241,959     14 % Total revenue 147,417     109,699     34 %   391,185     319,765     22 % Costs of revenue:                       Cost of software licenses 1,574     1,103     43 %   3,763     3,302     14 % Cost of maintenance and services 14,895     11,971     24 %   42,887     35,607     20 % Amortization of acquired intangibles 3,599     1,664     116 %   10,719     4,974     116 % Total costs of revenue 20,068     14,738     36 %   57,369     43,883     31 % Gross profit 127,349     94,961     34 %   333,816     275,882     21 % Operating expenses:                       Sales and marketing 29,737     22,186     34 %   88,468     68,100     30 % Product development 25,616     20,676     24 %   76,579     64,117     19 % General and administrative 16,451     13,514     22 %   46,335     38,702     20 % Amortization of acquired intangibles 7,978     4,176     91 %   22,836     12,484     83 % Restructuring expenses 40     91     (56 )%   1,133     1,826     (38 )% Acquisition-related expenses 1,481     1,125     32 %   2,721     1,439     89 % Total operating expenses 81,303     61,768     32 %   238,072     186,668     28 % Income from operations 46,046     33,193     39 %   95,744     89,214     7 % Other expense, net (6,539 )   (2,962 )   (121 )%   (14,409 )   (9,206 )   (57 )% Income before income taxes 39,507     30,231     31 %   81,335     80,008     2 % Provision for income taxes 8,531     6,254     36 %   17,841     17,947     (1 )% Net income $ 30,976     $ 23,977     29 %   $ 63,494     $ 62,061     2 %                         Earnings per share:                       Basic $ 0.71     $ 0.53     34 %   $ 1.45     $ 1.38     5 % Diluted $ 0.70     $ 0.53     32 %   $ 1.43     $ 1.37     4 % Weighted average shares outstanding:                       Basic 43,762     45,036     (3 )%   43,896.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaSep 23rd, 2021

Cathie Wood bought the dip in DraftKings after $20 billion Entain buyout news sent shares tumbling

Despite Wood's bullishness, on Thursday research firm Hedgeye said DraftKings was one of the best short ideas on the market. Cathie Wood is the CEO and chief investment officer of ARK Invest, which runs three of the highest-returning stock ETFs of the last three years. Ark Invest; Insider Cathie Wood's ARK Invest bought a $40 million stake in DraftKings on Wednesday after the stock tumbled 8.2%. Compared to pre-dip Monday prices, ARK investors saved $3.3 million on the trade. But on Thursday, investment research firm Hedgeye said DraftKings was one of the best short ideas on the market. Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell. Cathie Wood's ARK Invest bought an additional $40 million stake in DraftKings on Wednesday after news of a buyout bid for UK sports bettor Entain sent shares tumbling 8.2%.Two ARK-managed ETFs bought a combined 759,819 shares in the sports betting company a day after the dip. At Wednesday closing prices, the buy was worth just under $40 million. Compared to pre-dip Monday prices, ARK investors saved $3.3 million on the trade.Wood's ARKK Innovation ETF now has 10.6 million DraftKings shares and her ARKW Next-Generation Internet Fund has 3.6 million shares.On Tuesday, CNBC reported that DraftKings had approached Entain with a $20 billion cash-and-stock buyout offer, months after the UK company had rejected a similar $11 billion offer from MGM Resorts. The news propelled Entain shares up 18% but crushed DraftKings stock, which fell more than 8%. DraftKings has been one of Wood's go-to stock picks in 2021, with her funds buying dips and sometimes giving the stock a boost with its buy announcements.But the company has attracted interest from short-sellers since its public debut via SPAC in 2020, including one short-seller alleging exposure to black-market operations stemming from the SPAC. The company has denied the allegations.On Thursday, investment research firm Hedgeye said DraftKings was one of the best short ideas on the market, citing its "lofty" valuation, aggressive competition, and a tough industry. Hedgeye analysts warned that the stock could be facing a 20%-25% downside risk.But general Wall Street sentiment seems more sanguine. Of the 25 analysts covering DraftKings listed on FactSet, 17 called the stock "buy" or "overweight," with the other 8 saying "hold." None were as bearish as the short-sellers.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderSep 23rd, 2021

JPMorgan: Institutional Investors Are Piling Into Ethereum, Leaving Bitcoin

JPMorgan: Institutional Investors Are Piling Into Ethereum, Leaving Bitcoin It's not the first time that a major bank has expressed preference for ethereum over bitcoin: back in May, when Goldman published its initiating coverage on the crypto sector (available for professional subs in the usual place), the bank was surprisingly dismissive toward bitcoin which it saw as an electricity-draining Proof-of-Work, one trick pony... ... while praising ethereum (which is well on its way to becoming a much more efficient Proof-of-Stake in its Ethereum 2.0 metamorphosis) which it summarized as having the potential to one day become the "amazon of information" to wit: It’s all about information As the value of the coin is dependent on the value of the trustworthy information, blockchain technology has gravitated toward those industries where trust is most essential—finance, law and medicine. For the Bitcoin blockchain, this information is the record of every balance sheet in the network, and the transactions between them—originally the role of banks. In the case of a smart contract—a piece of code that executes according to a pre-set rule—on Ethereum, both the terms of that contract (the code) and the state of the contract (executed or not) are the information validated on the Ethereum blockchain. As a result, the counterparty in the contract cannot claim a transfer of funds without the network forming a consensus that the contract was indeed executed. In our view the most valuable crypto assets will be those that help verify the most critical information in the economy. Over time, the decentralized nature of the network will diminish concerns about storing personal data on the blockchain. One’s digital profile could contain personal data including asset ownership, medical history and even IP rights. Since this information is immutable—it cannot be changed without consensus—the trusted information can then be tokenized and traded. A blockchain platform like Ethereum could potentially become a large market for vendors of trusted information, like Amazon is for consumer goods today. Ether beats bitcoin as a store of value Given the importance of real uses in determining store of value, ether has high chance of overtaking bitcoin as the dominant digital store of value. The Ethereum ecosystem supports smart contracts and provides developers a way to create new applications on its platform. Most decentralized finance (DeFi) applications are being built on the Ethereum network, and most non-fungible tokens (NFTs) issued today are purchased using ether. The greater number of transactions in ether versus bitcoin reflects this dominance. As cryptocurrency use in DeFi and NFTs becomes more widespread, ether will build its own first-mover advantage in applied crypto technology. Ethereum can also be used to store almost any information securely and privately on a decentralized ledger. And this information can be tokenized and traded. This means that the Ethereum platform has the potential to become a large market for trusted information. We are seeing glimpses of that today with the sale of digital art and collectibles online through the use of NFTs. But this is a tiny peek at its actual practical uses. For example, individuals can store and sell their medical data through Ethereum to pharma research companies. A digital profile on Ethereum could contain personal data including asset ownership, medical history and even IP rights. Ethereum also has the benefit of running on a decentralized global server base rather than a centralized one like Amazon or Microsoft, possibly providing a solution to concerns about sharing personal data. We bring this up because overnight the assault on bitcoin - while praising bitcoin - was repeated by that "other" big bank, JPMorgan, which concluded that institutional investors are showing "a strong preference for ethereum versus bitcoin". It made this determination by looking at both the relative futures spread to spot for the two cryptos, as well as the relative institutional open interest in bitcoin vs ethereum. Starting with bitcoin, JPM's Nick Panigirtzoglou writes that this month’s correction in crypto markets saw bitcoin futures shifting into backwardation after spending August in contango. The charts below show the 21-day rolling average of the 2nd CME Bitcoin futures spread over spot since the beginning of 2018. According to JPM, bitcoin's backwardation "is a setback for bitcoin and a reflection of weak demand by institutional investors that tend to use regulated CME futures contracts to gain exposure to bitcoin." Why is this notable? Because as JPM explains, in a normal environment when demand for Bitcoin futures is not particularly weak, Bitcoin futures trade at a positive spread over spot, i.e. the futures curve is in contango. The typically high (above 5% annualized) futures to spot spread is a function of the high “risk-free” rate or opportunity cost implicit in crypto markets. Lending USD in crypto markets typically attracts annual interest rates of 5-10%, and this high “risk-free” rate is a common component in the futures vs. spot arbitrage trade across both bitcoin and ethereum futures. This high “risk-free” rate or opportunity cost is also likely a reflection of how “crypto-rich” and “cashpoor” crypto markets still are. Adding to this elevated “risk-free” rate storage costs of around 2% per annum, as well as similarly high transaction costs given the fragmentation in crypto markets, one can easily see why futures to spot spreads of as high as 10% per annum could be justified in a normal market environment in bitcoin or ethereum futures. But when demand is particularly weak and price expectations turn bearish, the futures curve shifts into backwardation. This was the case between last May and July as shown in Figure 11 above for CME Bitcoin futures. As a result, JPMorgan believes that the return to backwardation in September is a negative signal pointing to weak demand for bitcoin by institutional investors. In contrast, the largest US bank points to the ethereum futures chart which remains in contango and if anything this contango steepened in September towards a 7% annualized pace (on a 21-day rolling average basis). This, as Panigirtzoglou summarizes, "points to much healthier demand for ethereum vs. bitcoin by institutional investors." The strong divergence in demand is also evident in JPM's futures position proxy shown below; it has been rising for ethereum and declining for bitcoin steadily since August. Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 14:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

ETFs to Bet On as Fed Turns Hawkish, Signals Tapering

The Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell kept the interest rates near zero at 0-0.25% but signaled bond-buying tapering ahead followed by interest rate hikes as early as next year. In the FOMC meeting that concluded on Sep 22, the Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell kept the interest rates near zero at 0-0.25% but signaled bond-buying tapering ahead followed by interest rate hikes as early as next year.The central bank is expected to begin scaling back the monthly bond purchases as soon as November and complete the process by mid-2022. This is because it expects the Delta variant of the coronavirus, which has dented economic activity in the recent months, to have a short-lived effect on the recovery. Per the officials, the economy will likely make “substantial further progress” by the end of the year, a threshold needed for the central bank to begin slowing the pace of asset purchases (read: Buy the Dip With These Top-Ranked ETFs).Fed Chair Jerome Powell reiterated that he believes the U.S. economy has already surpassed the central bank's goals for inflation, and said a "reasonably good" September jobs report would indicate that the Fed's employment goals to begin tapering had been satisfied as well. Notably, the central bank has been buying $120 billion per month of Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities since the start of the COVID-19 crisis.The policy statement also revealed that nine of 18 Fed policymakers foresee a liftoff in interest rates next year, compared to seven policymakers in June. The median dot also projects three to four total rate hikes by the end of 2023. Through the end of 2024, the median FOMC member sees six to seven total rate hikes.Given this, investors should continue to focus on areas/sectors that will benefit the most from the Fed’s tightening policy. Here, we have detailed four of these and their ETFs below:FinancialsA rising interest rate scenario is highly profitable for the financial sector. This is because the steepening yield curve would bolster profits for banks, insurance companies, and discount brokerage firms. A broad way to play this trend is with Financial Select Sector SPDR Fund XLF, which has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 (Strong Buy) with a Medium risk outlook.This is the most popular financial ETF in the space with AUM of $40 billion and an average daily volume of about 43 million shares. The fund follows the Financial Select Sector Index, holding 65 stocks in its basket. It is heavily concentrated on the top two firms, making up for double-digits share each while other firms hold no more than 7.2% share. In terms of industrial exposure, banks take the top spot at 37.5% while capital markets, insurance, and diversified financial services make up for double-digit exposure each. The fund charges 12 bps in annual fees and is up 27.5% in the year-to-date timeframe (read: 401(k) Balances at All-Time Highs: 6 ETFs to Buy).Consumer DiscretionaryConsumer discretionary stocks also seem good bets. This is because a tight policy is seemingly the result of a pickup in economic growth supported by solid job growth, wage growth and increased lending activity that result in higher spending power. One exciting pick in this space can be Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF VCR, which has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 with a Medium risk outlook (read: ETF Areas to Gain From the Upcoming Holiday Shopping Season).This fund follows the MSCI U.S. Investable Market Consumer Discretionary 25/50 Index and holds 296 stocks in its basket. It has heavy concentration on the top firm – Amazon AMZN – at 23.5% share while the other firms hold no more than 10% of the assets. The product has managed $6.7 billion in its asset base and charges 10 bps in annual fees. In terms of industrial exposure, Internet & direct marketing, retail takes the largest share at 27.6% while automobile manufacturers, restaurants, and home improvement retail round of the next three spots. The ETF trades in average daily volume of 59,000 shares and has gained 15.8% in the same timeframe.TechnologyIn a tight policy era, technology seems one of the safest sectors as most of the companies are sitting on a huge cash pile. The cash reserves will ensure that these companies are not plagued by any financial trouble even in a rising interest rate environment. While there are several ETFs to bet on, First Trust NASDAQ-100-Technology Sector Index Fund QTEC could be an intriguing option. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #1 with a High risk outlook.    This ETF tracks the NASDAQ-100 Technology Sector Index, holding 41 stocks in its basket with almost equal allocation. From an industry look, software and semiconductors dominate the list with 34.9% and 32.7% share, respectively, while production technology equipment and consumer digital services make up for the next two spots. QTEC is a large cap centric fund with AUM of $3.9 billion and average daily volume of around 66,000 shares. It charges 57 bps in annual fees and gained 19.6% so far this year.DollarTightening policy and higher rates would attract more capital to the country from foreign investors, thereby boosting the U.S. dollar against the basket of other currencies. Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish Fund UUP offers exposure to a dollar against a basket of six world currencies. This is done by tracking the Deutsche Bank Long USD Currency Portfolio Index - Excess Return plus the interest income from the fund’s holdings of U.S. Treasury securities. In terms of holdings, UUP allocates nearly 57.6% in euro and 25.5% collectively in the Japanese yen and British pound. The fund has so far managed an asset base of $487.9 million and sees an average daily volume of around 697,000 shares. It charges 76 bps in annual fees and has gained 3.5% so far this year. The fund has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Medium risk outlook (read: U.S. Dollar to Gain Ahead? ETFs to Gain/Lose).  More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Amazon.com, Inc. (AMZN): Free Stock Analysis Report Financial Select Sector SPDR ETF (XLF): ETF Research Reports Invesco DB US Dollar Index Bullish ETF (UUP): ETF Research Reports Vanguard Consumer Discretionary ETF (VCR): ETF Research Reports First Trust NASDAQ100Technology Sector ETF (QTEC): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Wells Fargo (WFC) Asset Cap to Stay Intact Till Issues Persist

Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said that Wells Fargo's (WFC) $1.95-bilion asset cap will stay in place until the company makes efforts to comprehensively correct its problems. Wells Fargo & Company’s WFC looming $1.95-billion asset cap is likely to stay put “until the firm has comprehensively fixed its problems,” Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell said in the September FOMC press conference when asked about Senator Warren’s letter last week that urged the Fed to break up the Wall Street biggie.Jerome Powell noted that the Fed is closely keeping an eye on the remedial efforts by Wells Fargo to mend its "widespread and pervasive" problems. The central bank continues to hold the company accountable for its deficiencies and will take stringent necessary actions if it fails to undertake corrective steps. Hence, the unprecedented asset cap placed on the bank in 2018 will continue to hinder its growth.Legal hassles escalated for Wells Fargo on Sep 9 when the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency (“OCC”) assessed a $250-million civil money penalty on the company on the grounds of “unsafe or unsound practices” related to the home-lending loss mitigation program. With the failure of the program, which required the bank to repay customers who were charged excessive or improper fees, the company has violated the terms of the 2018 consent order that condemned its risk management systems.In addition to the hefty fine, the company has been slapped with an enforcement action, with the OCC issuing a cease and desist order to curb the bank’s future activities until ongoing mortgage servicing concerns are appropriately dealt with.However, in the following week, U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren addressed a letter to the Fed, urging the central bank to revoke Well Fargo’s license as a financial holding company.The senator stated that the latest $250-million fine against the bank shows it to be an "irredeemable repeat offender". Hence, the company’s core traditional banking activities should be separated from its other financial services and Wall Street operations. This will ensure that the bank’s customers stay protected until its transition is completed.Nonetheless, since legal hassles have been snowballing on the company, it has undertaken numerous initiatives and achieved regulatory milestones. Specifically, Wells Fargo has bifurcated three business groups into five and created four Enterprise Functions to propel greater oversight and transparency. It also launched an enterprise-wide risk and control self-assessment program to evaluate operational risks and controls as well as design appropriate mitigating controls.The company’s 2016 consent order, which was issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in relation to the bank’s retail sales practices, was terminated last week.Moreover, this January, the OCC terminated a 2015 consent order related to the Wall Street giant’s Bank Secrecy Act/Anti-Money Laundering compliance program. In May 2020, the OCC upgraded the company’s Community Reinvestment Act rating to "outstanding".Further, shares of this Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company have outperformed its industry over the past six months, gaining 24% compared with the industry’s rally of 7%. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Image Source: Zacks Investment Research Several finance companies continue to encounter legal hassles and are charged with huge sums of money for business malpractices.Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group’s MUFG U.S. banking unit, MUFG Union Bank NA, has been recently slapped with a cease-and-desist order by the OCC over its unsound technological practices.Credit Acceptance Corporation CACC announced the settlement of a lawsuit with the Massachusetts Attorney General and agreed to pay $27.2 million. In August 2020, AG Maura Healey filed a lawsuit in Suffolk County Superior Court, claiming that the company violated state consumer protection, and debt collection laws and regulations.Charles Schwab SCHW had been slapped with a class-action lawsuit over violations of its fiduciary duty by placing its interest before the protection of its clients through the bank’s robo-adviser Schwab Intelligent Portfolios’ cash sweep program. The case, filed in the U.S. District Court in Northern California, also accused the company of breach of contract and the violation of state laws. More Stock News: This Is Bigger than the iPhone! It could become the mother of all technological revolutions. Apple sold a mere 1 billion iPhones in 10 years but a new breakthrough is expected to generate more than 77 billion devices by 2025, creating a $1.3 trillion market. Zacks has just released a Special Report that spotlights this fast-emerging phenomenon and 4 tickers for taking advantage of it. If you don't buy now, you may kick yourself in 2022.Click here for the 4 trades >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Wells Fargo & Company (WFC): Free Stock Analysis Report The Charles Schwab Corporation (SCHW): Free Stock Analysis Report Credit Acceptance Corporation (CACC): Free Stock Analysis Report Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group, Inc. (MUFG): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 23rd, 2021

Three Themes Coalescing – Crescat Capital

Crescat Capital’s commentary for the month of September 2021, discussing the three themes coalescing. Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Investors: Three Themes Coalescing With unsustainable imbalances in the global economy and financial markets today, we see unprecedented opportunities to grow and protect capital in both the near and long term. Crescat […] Crescat Capital’s commentary for the month of September 2021, discussing the three themes coalescing. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q2 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Investors: Three Themes Coalescing With unsustainable imbalances in the global economy and financial markets today, we see unprecedented opportunities to grow and protect capital in both the near and long term. Crescat is focused on investment strategies that offer uncommon value and appreciation potential. We believe that all of Crescat’s strategies offer an incredible entry point today based on the firm’s three core macro themes: China credit collapse Record overvalued US equity market top Flight to safety into deeply undervalued gold, silver, and precious metals miners We have researched and written extensively about these themes over the last several years in our investor letters. In our strong view, these are the three biggest macro imbalances and investing opportunities in the world today. The three themes are coalescing at this very moment before the world’s eyes in a likely financial market collision and Great Rotation. We believe our portfolios will be the beneficiary. Our positioning is contrary to many common investment portfolios in the world today. We think too many are over-weighted in extremely overvalued US growth stocks and FAAMG. Most are unprepared for a China monetary collapse or a US stock market downturn. We think too few are positioned for the inevitable stagflation that our models suggest is ahead. As value investors, we are comfortable accepting a reasonable amount of risk to realize the strong returns that are possible from our macro themes and valuation models. Our investment principles and models give us the confidence that the intrinsic value of our portfolios is significantly greater than the current market price at any given time. The combination of already substantial rising inflation in the US along with a China credit collapse, just as the Fed is attempting to taper, is the catalyst for all three of our themes to begin unfolding now. We are headed for a major shake-up in the world’s financial markets at a time of both historic global debt-to-GDP imbalances and record central bank money printing. A Value Approach Our stance is bold. It is highly analytical, valuation-based, and macro driven. As such we are willing to withstand a moderate amount of volatility as markets undergo a re-pricing to realize the ultimate capital appreciation that is attainable from our views. The confidence in our value-based investment process is what gives us the conviction to withstand higher volatility than the average fund manager. Our investment process uses equity and macro models to ensure that the intrinsic value of our portfolios, through discounted cash flow and relative-value methodologies, is always substantially greater than where the market is pricing them today. It is important that Crescat clients embrace a similar value-oriented and long-term mindset to have the confidence that short-term setbacks in Crescat’s strategies are not a permanent loss of capital. The market price of Crescat’s activist long precious metals holdings has fallen in August and September month to date, affecting the long side of all the firm’s strategies. We think this is a mere short-term pullback that presents an incredible buying opportunity. We have the utmost confidence that these positions can deliver extraordinary long-term gains over the next three to five years based on our valuation approach. We have an extensive model to value these holdings based on conservative assumptions. We believe our portfolio of 90+ activist precious metals companies is worth 11 times where the market is valuing them today. That is at the current gold price. They are worth even more than that in a significantly rising new gold and silver bull market that our macro models are forecasting. Pullbacks are a necessary part of the path to delivering substantial long-term returns that more than compensate for the risk. It is the macro imbalances that allow us to enter long positions cheaply and short positions dearly to ultimately deliver outsized appreciation. As value investors, we believe short-term setbacks in Crescat’s strategies offer great opportunities for both new and existing investors to deploy capital. We are firmly positioned in a diversified deep-value portfolio of the most viable new gold and silver deposits on the planet. We own these companies early in what is likely to be a long-term industry cycle for precious metals mining after a decade long bear market. Our companies hold over 300 million target gold equivalent ounces. While the world has largely shunned gold mining stocks since their last major bull market that ended in 2011, in the past year and a half, we have been busy doing private placements to fund the world’s most viable new exploration projects, thereby acquiring gold and silver for literally pennies on the dollar ahead of what we believe will be a new M&A cycle for the mining industry. We very strongly believe that the recent selloff in precious metals, due to Fed taper concerns, is way overdone and that our strategies are poised for a major turn back up in the near term. Our gold and silver holdings have improved over the last two days, and hopefully, it is the turn already. Buy the Dip in Precious Metals The pullback in Crescat’s performance over the past two months, including September month to date, has been almost entirely attributable to our long precious metals positions across all strategies. It is important to understand that these positions were also big winners for us in the prior year through July 2021. The Crescat Precious Metals Fund, our newest fund that is solely focused on this theme, delivered a 235% net return through July in a moderately down gold and silver market. That was the first 12-month period of this fund. Imagine what we should be able to do in a bull market for precious metals. Our precious metals stocks are ultra-deep value positions with incredible appreciation potential still ahead thanks to the expertise of Quinton Hennigh, PhD, Crescat’s Geologic and Technical Director, and his 30+ years of experience in the gold mining exploration industry. The last two months’ sell-off in gold and silver should mark the recent bottom or very close to it. March 2020 was what we believe was the primary bottom of what was a 10-year bear market for junior gold mining stocks. The majors have left exploration to the juniors, so these are the companies that control the world’s next big high-grade gold deposits after a decade of underinvestment in exploration and development. The fact that gold along with our mining portfolios have been catching a safe-haven bid in the market in the last two days as the China Evergrande collapse has caught the world’s attention is phenomenal! This is exactly how a safe-haven currency and the best new gold and silver deposits on the planet should act as a renewed, sober financial order of the world that should emerge as China and the US stock market go into a structural downturn if not outright meltdown. China’s "Mises Moment" The massive US$300 billion China Evergrande collapse feeds into the much bigger $52 trillion Chinese banking system. The latter in our analysis is a phony financial accounting that we can only liken to the largest Ponzi scheme in financial world history. Wall Street came out in force today trying to calm its clients by saying that Evergrande is not China’s Lehman moment. We agree, it is not. It is much bigger than that. The scale of China’s credit bubble is unimaginable. It is 4.5 times the banking bubble in the US ahead of the Global Financial Crisis in absolute as well as relative to GDP terms! US banks were only a US$11 trillion asset bubble at the time when the US GDP was at about the same level as China today. It is not even a Minsky moment. We think China is about to face what we would call a “Mises moment”. China’s unsustainable world-record credit expansion has simply gone on far too long already to where they have only one alternative to reconcile it. All paths lead to a massive currency devaluation. Ludwig von Mises, one of the venerated founders of the Austrian economics school, describes it like this: “There is no means of avoiding the final collapse of a boom brought about by credit expansion. The alternative is only whether the crisis should come sooner as the result of voluntary abandonment of further credit expansion, or later as a final and total catastrophe of the currency system involved.” We think most of the financial world is not prepared at all for a China currency collapse. In our global macro fund, we are positioned for a substantial China yuan devaluation and possible de-pegging of the Hong Kong dollar. The latter is an extremely cheap put option. The yuan collapse is inevitable in our view. We have been writing about it for years and believe it is highly prudent to be positioned now. We hold an asymmetric trade with capped downside and large uncapped upside where we are long the dollar and short China’s two primary currencies, the yuan and Hong Kong dollar, through USDCNH and USDHKD call options with tier-1 US bank counterparties. US Stock Market Top In our analysis, China’s financial woes will absolutely be contagious with the US and the world. It is already happening. There is a strong chance that the US equity market has already topped out as of Sep 2 on both the S&P 500 large cap index and the Wilshire 5000 total market index. This has been arguably the most speculative US stock market in history with the highest valuation multiples to underlying fundamentals. In our strong view, there is much downside ahead for broad US stocks. We are determined to capitalize on the equity downturn with overvalued US short positions based on our equity models in our global macro and long/short funds. US stock and credit market’s historic valuations are compliments of rampant speculation underwritten by the Federal Reserve. These asset bubbles are ripe for bursting. The catalyst is the dual combination of rising inflation in the US and a credit crisis in China. We think most investment managers, including hedge funds, are afraid to short stocks and will be caught wrongfooted. Our macro and equity models give us the conviction to be short today. Our firm has an excellent track record of protecting capital during market downturns via our short positions. See our performance reports which show Crescat’s negative and low “downside capture ratio” versus the market in our global macro and long/short hedge funds respectively compared to the S&P 500 and other hedge funds over the long history of these two strategies. Crescat Global Macro’s negative downside capture ratio since inception means that on average it has made money historically when both the market and the hedge fund benchmark has been down. In fact, both funds were up substantially in March 2020, the month of the Covid crash. Gold Wins Whether Safe-Haven Flight or Inflation Hedge On China’s woes, gold should be getting the monetary metal safe-haven bid even though ultimately it is the inflation protection buying on the back of a fiat currency war that makes gold the most attractive to us. When the Fed acts with new measures to counter the strong dollar vs. yuan that would otherwise crimp the US economy, that is when precious metals should go ballistic. We need to be positioned for all of that now, and we are. The Fed is expected to announce the taper tomorrow. A fully committed taper announcement would likely only further catalyze China’s credit collapse and the US equity downturn in our opinion. That is a possibility, but we think a soft taper announcement with a lot of hedging language given China and the potential contagion effects is a more likely event. It still should not stop the US equity market downturn, and it will do nothing to help China. If it is a hard taper, it is just game-on even more so for our equity short positions and China yuan puts. Regarding precious metals, the odds are that gold has already fully priced in the taper based on its pullback over the last two months. If the Fed gives us the “soft taper”, it should allow gold to catch a huge bid and be off to the races. Current Inflation Spike Already Rivals Stagflationary 1973 and 1980 The US Consumer Price Index has risen from 0.3% annualized to 5.3% over just the last 15 months. The last two times we saw this big of a rise over this short of a time were in 1973 and 1980, the two most notorious episodes of stagflation and rising gold prices in US history. Just like in the 1970s, policy makers are trying to tell us not to worry because inflation is “transitory”. But just as then, there is a host of “non-transitory” drivers that include an incipient wage-price spiral, the lag-effect of rents to already substantially higher housing prices, global supply chain shocks from Western trade disintegration with China, and highly probable ongoing deficit spending and debt monetization in the US as far as the eye can see. The big difference between today and the 1970s stagflation is that the Fed has not done anything to fight rising inflationary pressures but instead has done everything to aid and abet them. For instance, from 1972 to 1973, the Fed had already raised its funds rate from 3.5% to 10.8%. And, from 1976 to 1980, it raised the rate from 4.7% to 17.6%. In contrast today, the Fed has kept the funds rate at 0% for the last 16 months and engaged in $4.3 trillion of quantitative easing over the last 18 months monetizing 88% of $4.9 trillion in new debt taken on by the US Treasury over the same time. Fed officials must be looking at this data and internally freaking out. That is why they are probably seriously considering tapering. Stagflation When monetary policy becomes truly extreme, like it was when the US abandoned the gold standard, for instance, we can get both inflation and a stock market crash at the same time. 1973-74 was the prime example. Gold stocks went up 5x in just two years while the S&P 500 was down 50%. At the same time, the popular but overvalued Nifty Fifty large cap growth stocks went down substantially more. Only those alive during the 1970s with money invested in the stock market truly know how shocking and substantial such a crisis can be. It could have been devasting or glorious depending on how one was invested. Gold Launches as Tech Busts Even in less extreme monetary policy situations, gold stocks can go up while widely-held overvalued equities collapse. Late 2000 through 2002 was a perfect example. Then large cap growth and tech stocks were being decimated at the same time as gold stocks began what would ultimately become a ten-year bull market albeit with a significant selloff in late 2008. These two examples are the types of markets for both gold and broad US stocks that we envision over the next two years. Gold Stocks In The Great Depression The Great Depression is yet another example of how gold and gold stocks can perform versus stocks at large in the most serious of financial times. Homestake Mining was the largest precious metals miner of the time. Fed Policy Error Fed watchers are rightly concerned about a forthcoming policy error, but the truth is that the accumulation of global economic and market imbalances and inflationary pressures after many years of taking the path of least resistance with quantitative easing and low interest rate policy has already been the gigantic policy mistake. These misjudgments are not isolated to domestic affairs but have aided and abetted massive credit bubbles in other countries too, particularly China. We believe it is only a matter of time before investors begin stampeding out of S&P 500 index funds and FAAMG stocks and into tangible assets. We think this is the time to get ahead of the curve. As Warren Buffett’s mentor, the legendary Ben Graham, said: “In the short run, the market is a voting machine that requires only money, not intelligence or emotional stability, but in the long run it’s a weighing machine.” We think a little bit of intelligence and a lot of emotional stability could go a long way right now in selling hyper-overvalued stocks at large and buying deeply undervalued gold stocks. We strongly believe the opportunity to put money to work on the recent pullback in Crescat’s strategies is phenomenal today. Performance Download PDF Version Sincerely, Kevin C. Smith, CFA Member & Chief Investment Officer Tavi Costa Member & Portfolio Manager For more information including how to invest, please contact: Marek Iwahashi Client Service Associate miwahashi@crescat.net 303-271-9997 Cassie Fischer Client Service Associate cfischer@crescat.net (303) 350-4000 Linda Carleu Smith, CPA Member & COO lsmith@crescat.net (303) 228-7371 © 2021 Crescat Capital LLC Updated on Sep 22, 2021, 11:28 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//mixi.media/data/js/95481.js"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkSep 23rd, 2021

Labor Shortages Hit FedEx Q1 Earnings: ETFs in Focus

FedEx lagged earnings estimates but beat on revenues. It cut its financial outlook for the fiscal year 2022 due to labor shortages. After the closing bell on Sep 22, transport bellwether FedEx FDX delivered mixed first-quarter fiscal 2022 results. The courier company lagged earnings estimates but beat on revenues. It cut its financial outlook for the fiscal year 2022 due to labor shortages.Earnings per share came in at $4.37, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.96 and were below the year-ago earnings of $4.87. Revenues grew 14% year over year to $22 billion and edged past the estimated $21.8 billion. Increased labor costs took a toll on the company’s profitability. Staffing problems resulted in a $450 million year-over-year increase in costs during the quarter due to higher wage rates and overtime, increased spending on third-party transportation services and shipping hiccups.For fiscal 2022, the company lowered its adjusted earnings per share forecast to the range of  $19.75-$21.00 from $20.50-$21.50. The low end of the guidance is below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $21.27 (see: all the Industrials ETFs here).Driven by fears of labor shortages and the resultant rise in cost, FDX shares fell as much as 4.6% in after-market hours. FedEx currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) and an impressive VGM Score of A.ETFs to WatchThis has put ETFs with a higher allocation to FedEx in the spotlight. Below we have highlighted some of the funds:iShares U.S. Transportation ETF IYTThe ETF tracks the S&P Transportation Select Industry FMC Capped Index, giving investors exposure to a small basket of 49 securities. Of these, FedEx occupies the seventh position with 4.4% of the assets. Within the transportation sector, railroads, and air freight and logistics take the top two spots with 32.1% and 28.7% share, respectively, while trucking (21.3%) and airlines (16.1%) round off the next two. The fund has accumulated $1.5 billion in AUM while it sees a good trading volume of around 204,000 shares a day. It charges 41 bps in fees per year and has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 (Buy) with a High risk outlook (read: ETF Areas to Gain From the Upcoming Holiday Shopping Season).First Trust Nasdaq Transportation ETF FTXRThis fund offers exposure to the 29 most-liquid U.S. transportation securities based on volatility, value and growth by tracking the Nasdaq US Smart Transportation Index. FedEx holds 3.9% share in the basket. Trucking, railroads, airlines, automobiles, and transport services occupy the top spots in the basket. FTXR has amassed $1.1 billion in its asset base and charges 60 bps in annual fees. The average trading volume is moderate at 81,000 shares. The fund has a Zacks ETF Rank #2.SPDR S&P Transportation ETF XTN  This fund follows the S&P Transportation Select Industry Index and uses almost an equal-weight methodology for each security. Holding 49 stocks with an AUM of $485.3 million, FedEx accounts for 2.1% share in the basket. The product is heavily exposed to trucking, which represents more than one-third of the portfolio while airlines, and air freight & logistics make up 25.7% and 20% share, respectively. The fund charges 35 bps in fees per year from investors and trades in a volume of about 61,000 shares a day, on average. It has a Zacks ETF Rank #2 with a Hugh risk outlook (read: Buy These 7 Amazing ETFs Trading at Low P/E Ratios).Emles Home ETF LIVThis fund provides investors access to high quality companies that potentially stand to benefit from the structural shift toward home-based lifestyle by tracking the Emles Home Lifestyle Index. It holds 31 stocks in its basket with FedEx occupying 2% share. The product has accumulated $3.5 million in its asset since its inception last October and trades in an average daily volume of under 1,000 shares. It charges 49 bps in annual fees. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>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 FedEx Corporation (FDX): Free Stock Analysis Report iShares U.S. Transportation ETF (IYT): ETF Research Reports SPDR S&P Transportation ETF (XTN): ETF Research Reports First Trust NASDAQ Transportation ETF (FTXR): ETF Research Reports Emles Home ETF (LIV): ETF Research Reports To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksSep 22nd, 2021

Futures Bounce On Evergrande Reprieve With Fed Looming

Futures Bounce On Evergrande Reprieve With Fed Looming Despite today's looming hawkish FOMC meeting in which Powell is widely expected to unveil that tapering is set to begin as soon as November and where the Fed's dot plot may signal one rate hike in 2022, futures climbed as investor concerns over China's Evergrande eased after the property developer negotiated a domestic bond payment deal. Commodities rallied while the dollar was steady. Contracts on the S&P 500 and Nasdaq 100 flipped from losses to gains as China’s central bank boosted liquidity when it injected a gross 120BN in yuan, the most since January... ... and investors mulled a vaguely-worded statement from the troubled developer about an interest payment.  S&P 500 E-minis were up 23.0 points, or 0.53%, at 7:30 a.m. ET. Dow E-minis were up 199 points, or 0.60%, and Nasdaq 100 E-minis were up 44.00 points, or 0.29%. Among individual stocks, Fedex fell 5.8% after the delivery company cut its profit outlook on higher costs and stalled growth in shipments. Morgan Stanley says it sees the company’s 1Q issues getting “tougher from here.” Commodity-linked oil and metal stocks led gains in premarket trade, while a slight rise in Treasury yields supported major banks. However, most sectors were nursing steep losses in recent sessions. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers: Adobe (ADBE US) down 3.1% after 3Q update disappointed the high expectations of investors, though the broader picture still looks solid, Morgan Stanley said in a note Freeport McMoRan (FCX US), Cleveland- Cliffs (CLF US), Alcoa (AA US) and U.S. Steel (X US) up 2%-3% premarket, following the path of global peers as iron ore prices in China rallied Aethlon Medical (AEMD US) and Exela Technologies (XELAU US) advance along with other retail traders’ favorites in the U.S. premarket session. Aethlon jumps 21%; Exela up 8.3% Other so-called meme stocks also rise: ContextLogic +1%; Clover Health +0.9%; Naked Brand +0.9%; AMC +0.5% ReWalk Robotics slumps 18% in U.S. premarket trading, a day after nearly doubling in value Stitch Fix (SFIX US) rises 15.7% in light volume after the personal styling company’s 4Q profit and sales blew past analysts’ expectations Hyatt Hotels (H US) seen opening lower after the company launches a seven-million-share stock offering Summit Therapeutics (SMMT US) shares fell as much as 17% in Tuesday extended trading after it said the FDA doesn’t agree with the change to the primary endpoint that has been implemented in the ongoing Phase III Ri-CoDIFy studies when combining the studies Marin Software (MRIN US) surged more than 75% Tuesday postmarket after signing a new revenue-sharing agreement with Google to develop its enterprise technology platforms and software products The S&P 500 had fallen for 10 of the past 12 sessions since hitting a record high, as fears of an Evergrande default exacerbated seasonally weak trends and saw investors pull out of stocks trading at lofty valuations. The Nasdaq fell the least among its peers in recent sessions, as investors pivoted back into big technology names that had proven resilient through the pandemic. Focus now turns to the Fed's decision, due at 2 p.m. ET where officials are expected to signal a start to scaling down monthly bond purchases (see our preview here).  The Fed meeting comes after a period of market volatility stoked by Evergrande’s woes. China’s wider property-sector curbs are also feeding into concerns about a slowdown in the economic recovery from the pandemic. “Chair Jerome Powell could hint at the tapering approaching shortly,” said Sébastien Barbé, a strategist at Credit Agricole CIB. “However, given the current uncertainty factors (China property market, Covid, pace of global slowdown), the Fed should remain cautious when it comes to withdrawing liquidity support.” Meanwhile, confirming what Ray Dalio said that the taper will just bring more QE, Governing Council member Madis Muller said the  European Central Bank may boost its regular asset purchases once the pandemic-era emergency stimulus comes to an end. “Dovish signals could unwind some of the greenback’s gains while offering relief to stock markets,” Han Tan, chief market analyst at Exinity Group, wrote in emailed comments. A “hawkish shift would jolt markets, potentially pushing Treasury yields and the dollar past the upper bound of recent ranges, while gold and equities would sell off hunting down the next levels of support.” China avoided a major selloff as trading resumed following a holiday, after the country’s central bank boosted its injection of short-term cash into the financial system. MSCI’s Asia-Pacific index declined for a third day, dragged lower by Japan. Stocks were also higher in Europe. Basic resources - which bounced from a seven month low - and energy were among the leading gainers in the Stoxx Europe 600 index as commodity prices steadied after Beijing moved to contain fears of a spiraling debt crisis. Entain Plc rose more than 7%, extending Tuesday’s gain as it confirmed it received a takeover proposal from DraftKings Inc. Peer Flutter Entertainment Plc climbed after settling a legal dispute.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Entain shares jump as much as 11% after DraftKings Inc. offered to acquire the U.K. gambling company for about $22.4 billion. Vivendi rises as much as 3.1% in Paris, after Tuesday’s spinoff of Universal Music Group. Legrand climbs as much as 2.1% after Exane BNP Paribas upgrades to outperform and raises PT to a Street-high of EU135. Orpea shares falls as much as 2.9%, after delivering 1H results that Jefferies (buy) says were a “touch” below consensus. Bechtle slides as much as 5.1% after Metzler downgrades to hold from buy, saying persistent supply chain problems seem to be weighing on growth. Sopra Steria drops as much as 4.1% after Stifel initiates coverage with a sell, citing caution on company’s M&A strategy Despite the Evergrande announcement, Asian stocks headed for their longest losing streak in more than a month amid continued China-related concerns, with traders also eying policy decisions from major central banks. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index dropped as much as 0.7% in its third day of declines, with TSMC and Keyence the biggest drags. China’s CSI 300 tumbled as much as 1.9% as the local market reopened following a two-day holiday. However, the gauge came off lows after an Evergrande unit said it will make a bond interest payment and as China’s central bank boosted liquidity.  Taiwan’s equity benchmark led losses in Asia on Wednesday, dragged by TSMC after a two-day holiday, while markets in Hong Kong and South Korea were closed. Key stock gauges in Australia, Indonesia and Vietnam rose “A liquidity injection from the People’s Bank of China accompanied the Evergrande announcement, which only served to bolster sentiment further,” according to DailyFX’s Thomas Westwater and Daniel Dubrovsky. “For now, it appears that market-wide contagion risk linked to a potential Evergrande collapse is off the table.” Japanese equities fell for a second day amid global concern over China’s real-estate sector, as the Bank of Japan held its key stimulus tools in place while flagging pressures on the economy. Electronics makers were the biggest drag on the Topix, which declined 1%. Daikin and Fanuc were the largest contributors to a 0.7% loss in the Nikkei 225. The BOJ had been expected to maintain its policy levers ahead of next week’s key ruling party election. Traders are keenly awaiting the Federal Reserve’s decision due later for clues on the U.S. central banks plan for tapering stimulus. “Markets for some time have been convinced that the BOJ has reached the end of the line on normalization and will remain in a holding pattern on policy until at least April 2023 when Governor Kuroda is scheduled to leave,” UOB economist Alvin Liew wrote in a note. “Attention for the BOJ will now likely shift to dealing with the long-term climate change issues.” In the despotic lockdown regime that is Australia, the S&P/ASX 200 index rose 0.3% to close at 7,296.90, reversing an early decline in a rally led by mining and energy stocks. Banks closed lower for the fourth day in a row. Champion Iron was among the top performers after it was upgraded at Citi. IAG was among the worst performers after an earthquake caused damage to buildings in Melbourne. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index rose 0.3% to 13,215.80 In FX, commodity currencies rallied as concerns about China Evergrande Group’s debt troubles eased as China’s central bank boosted liquidity and investors reviewed a statement from the troubled developer about an interest payment. Overnight implied volatility on the pound climbed to the highest since March ahead of Bank of England’s meeting on Thursday. The British pound weakened after Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng warnedthat people should prepare for longer-term high energy prices amid a natural-gas shortage that sent power costs soaring. Several U.K. power firms have stopped taking in new clients as small energy suppliers struggle to meet their previous commitments to sell supplies at lower prices. Overnight volatility in the euro rises above 10% for the first time since July ahead of the Federal Reserve’s monetary policy decision announcement. The Aussie jumped as much as 0.5% as iron-ore prices rebounded. Spot surged through option-related selling at 0.7240 before topping out near 0.7265 strikes expiring Wednesday, according to Asia- based FX traders.  Elsewhere, the yen weakened and commodity-linked currencies such as the Australian dollar pushed higher. In rates, the dollar weakened against most of its Group-of-10 peers. Treasury futures were under modest pressure in early U.S. trading, leaving yields cheaper by ~1.5bp from belly to long-end of the curve. The 10-year yield was at ~1.336% steepening the 2s10s curve by ~1bp as the front-end was little changed. Improved risk appetite weighed; with stock futures have recovering much of Tuesday’s losses as Evergrande concerns subside. Focal point for Wednesday’s session is FOMC rate decision at 2pm ET.   FOMC is expected to suggest it will start scaling back asset purchases later this year, while its quarterly summary of economic projections reveals policy makers’ expectations for the fed funds target in coming years in the dot-plot update; eurodollar positions have emerged recently that anticipate a hawkish shift Bitcoin dropped briefly below $40,000 for the first time since August amid rising criticism from regulators, before rallying as the mood in global markets improved. In commodities, Iron ore halted its collapse and metals steadied. Oil advanced for a second day. Bitcoin slid below $40,000 for the first time since early August before rebounding back above $42,000.   To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise on the data side, we’ll get US existing home sales for August, and the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area in September. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.4% to 4,362.25 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.5% to 461.19 MXAP down 0.7% to 199.29 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 638.39 Nikkei down 0.7% to 29,639.40 Topix down 1.0% to 2,043.55 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 24,221.54 Shanghai Composite up 0.4% to 3,628.49 Sensex little changed at 59,046.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.3% to 7,296.94 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,140.51 Brent Futures up 1.5% to $75.47/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,775.15 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 93.26 German 10Y yield rose 0.6 bps to -0.319% Euro little changed at $1.1725 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg What would it take to knock the U.S. recovery off course and send Federal Reserve policy makers back to the drawing board? Not much — and there are plenty of candidates to deliver the blow The European Central Bank will discuss boosting its regular asset purchases once the pandemic-era emergency stimulus comes to an end, but any such increase is uncertain, Governing Council member Madis Muller said Investors seeking hints about how Beijing plans to deal with China Evergrande Group’s debt crisis are training their cross hairs on the central bank’s liquidity management A quick look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mixed as caution lingered ahead of upcoming risk events including the FOMC, with participants also digesting the latest Evergrande developments and China’s return to the market from the Mid-Autumn Festival. ASX 200 (+0.3%) was positive with the index led higher by the energy sector after a rebound in oil prices and as tech also outperformed, but with gains capped by weakness in the largest-weighted financials sector including Westpac which was forced to scrap the sale of its Pacific businesses after failing to secure regulatory approval. Nikkei 225 (-0.7%) was subdued amid the lack of fireworks from the BoJ announcement to keep policy settings unchanged and ahead of the upcoming holiday closure with the index only briefly supported by favourable currency outflows. Shanghai Comp. (+0.4%) was initially pressured on return from the long-weekend and with Hong Kong markets closed, but pared losses with risk appetite supported by news that Evergrande’s main unit Hengda Real Estate will make coupon payments due tomorrow, although other sources noted this is referring to the onshore bond payments valued around USD 36mln and that there was no mention of the offshore bond payments valued at USD 83.5mln which are also due tomorrow. Meanwhile, the PBoC facilitated liquidity through a CNY 120bln injection and provided no surprises in keeping its 1-year and 5-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged for the 17th consecutive month at 3.85% and 4.65%, respectively. Finally, 10yr JGBs were flat amid the absence of any major surprises from the BoJ policy announcement and following the choppy trade in T-notes which were briefly pressured in a knee-jerk reaction to the news that Evergrande’s unit will satisfy its coupon obligations tomorrow, but then faded most of the losses as cautiousness prevailed. Top Asian News Gold Steady as Traders Await Outcome of Fed Policy Meeting Evergrande Filing on Yuan Bond Interest Leaves Analysts Guessing Singapore Category E COE Price Rises to Highest Since April 2014 Asian Stocks Fall for Third Day as Focus Turns to Central Banks European equities (Stoxx 600 +0.5%) trade on a firmer footing in the wake of an encouraging APAC handover. Focus overnight was on the return of Chinese participants from the Mid-Autumn Festival and news that Evergrande’s main unit, Hengda Real Estate will make coupon payments due tomorrow; however, we await indication as to whether they will meet Thursday’s offshore payment deadline as well. Furthermore, the PBoC facilitated liquidity through a CNY 120bln injection whilst keeping its 1-year and 5-year Loan Prime Rates unchanged (as expected). Note, despite gaining yesterday and today, thus far, the Stoxx 600 is still lower to the tune of 0.7% on the week. Stateside, futures are also trading on a firmer footing ahead of today’s FOMC policy announcement, at which, market participants will be eyeing any clues for when the taper will begin and digesting the latest dot plot forecasts. Furthermore, the US House voted to pass the bill to fund the government through to December 3rd and suspend the debt limit to end-2022, although this will likely be blocked by Senate Republicans. Back to Europe, sectors are mostly firmer with outperformance in Basic Resources and Oil & Gas amid upside in the metals and energy complex. Elsewhere, Travel & Leisure is faring well amid further upside in Entain (+6.1%) with the Co. noting it rejected an earlier approach from DraftKings at GBP 25/shr with the new offer standing at GBP 28/shr. Additionally for the sector, Flutter Entertainment (+4.1%) are trading higher after settling the legal dispute between the Co. and Commonwealth of Kentucky. Elsewhere, in terms of deal flow, Iliad announced that it is to acquire UPC Poland for around USD 1.8bln. Top European News Energy Cost Spike Gets on EU Ministers’ Green Deal Agenda Travel Startup HomeToGo Gains in Frankfurt Debut After SPAC Deal London Stock Exchange to Shut Down CurveGlobal Exchange EU Banks Expected to Add Capital for Climate Risk, EBA Says In FX, trade remains volatile as this week’s deluge of global Central Bank policy meetings continues to unfold amidst fluctuations in broad risk sentiment from relatively pronounced aversion at various stages to a measured and cautious pick-up in appetite more recently. Hence, the tide is currently turning in favour of activity, cyclical and commodity currencies, albeit tentatively in the run up to the Fed, with the Kiwi and Aussie trying to regroup on the 0.7000 handle and 0.7350 axis against their US counterpart, and the latter also striving to shrug off negative domestic impulses like a further decline below zero in Westpac’s leading index and an earthquake near Melbourne. Next up for Nzd/Usd and Aud/Usd, beyond the FOMC, trade data and preliminary PMIs respectively. DXY/CHF/EUR/CAD - Notwithstanding the overall improvement in market tone noted above, or another major change in mood and direction, the Dollar index appears to have found a base just ahead of 93.000 and ceiling a similar distance away from 93.500, as it meanders inside those extremes awaiting US existing home sales that are scheduled for release before the main Fed events (policy statement, SEP and post-meeting press conference from chair Powell). Indeed, the Franc, Euro and Loonie have all recoiled into tighter bands vs the Greenback, between 0.9250-26, 1.1739-17 and 1.2831-1.2770, but with the former still retaining an underlying bid more evident in the Eur/Chf cross that is consolidating under 1.0850 and will undoubtedly be acknowledged by the SNB tomorrow. Meanwhile, Eur/Usd has hardly reacted to latest ECB commentary from Muller underpinning that the APP is likely to be boosted once the PEPP envelope is closed, though Usd/Cad is eyeing a firm rebound in oil prices in conjunction with hefty option expiry interest at the 1.2750 strike (1.8 bn) that may prevent the headline pair from revisiting w-t-d lows not far beneath the half round number. GBP/JPY - The major laggards, as Sterling slips slightly further beneath 1.3650 against the Buck to a fresh weekly low and Eur/Gbp rebounds from circa 0.8574 to top 0.8600 on FOMC day and T-1 to super BoE Thursday. Elsewhere, the Yen has lost momentum after peaking around 109.12 and still not garnering sufficient impetus to test 109.00 via an unchanged BoJ in terms of all policy settings and guidance, as Governor Kuroda trotted out the no hesitation to loosen the reins if required line for the umpteenth time. However, Usd/Jpy is holding around 109.61 and some distance from 1.1 bn option expiries rolling off between 109.85-110.00 at the NY cut. SCANDI/EM - Brent’s revival to Usd 75.50+/brl from sub-Usd 73.50 only yesterday has given the Nok another fillip pending confirmation of a Norges Bank hike tomorrow, while the Zar has regained some poise with the aid of firmer than forecast SA headline and core CPI alongside a degree of retracement following Wednesday’s breakdown of talks on a pay deal for engineering workers that prompted the union to call a strike from early October. Similarly, the Cnh and Cny by default have regrouped amidst reports that the CCP is finalising details to restructure Evergrande into 3 separate entities under a plan that will see the Chinese Government take control. In commodities, WTI and Brent are firmer this morning though once again fresh newsflow for the complex has been relatively slim and largely consisting of gas-related commentary; as such, the benchmarks are taking their cue from the broader risk tone (see equity section). The improvement in sentiment today has brought WTI and Brent back in proximity to being unchanged on the week so far as a whole; however, the complex will be dictated directly by the EIA weekly inventory first and then indirectly, but perhaps more pertinently, by today’s FOMC. On the weekly inventories, last nights private release was a larger than expected draw for the headline and distillate components, though the Cushing draw was beneath expectations; for today, consensus is a headline draw pf 2.44mln. Moving to metals where the return of China has seen a resurgence for base metals with LME copper posting upside of nearly 3.0%, for instance. Albeit there is no fresh newsflow for the complex as such, so it remains to be seen how lasting this resurgence will be. Finally, spot gold and silver are firmer but with the magnitude once again favouring silver over the yellow metal. US Event Calendar 10am: Aug. Existing Home Sales MoM, est. -1.7%, prior 2.0% 2pm: Sept. FOMC Rate Decision (Lower Boun, est. 0%, prior 0% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap All eyes firmly on China this morning as it reopens following a 2-day holiday. As expected the indices there have opened lower but the scale of the declines are being softened by the PBoC increasing its short term cash injections into the economy. They’ve added a net CNY 90bn into the system. On Evergrande, we’ve also seen some positive headlines as the property developers’ main unit Hengda Real Estate Group has said that it will make coupon payment for an onshore bond tomorrow. However, the exchange filing said that the interest payment “has been resolved via negotiations with bondholders off the clearing house”. This is all a bit vague and doesn’t mention the dollar bond at this stage. Meanwhile, Bloomberg has reported that Chinese authorities have begun to lay the groundwork for a potential restructuring that could be one of the country’s biggest, assembling accounting and legal experts to examine the finances of the group. All this follows news from Bloomberg yesterday that Evergrande missed interest payments that had been due on Monday to at least two banks. In terms of markets the CSI (-1.11%), Shanghai Comp (-0.29%) and Shenzhen Comp (-0.53%) are all lower but have pared back deeper losses from the open. We did a flash poll in the CoTD yesterday (link here) and after over 700 responses in a couple of hours we found only 8% who we thought Evergrande would still be impacting financial markets significantly in a month’s time. 24% thought it would be slightly impacting. The other 68% thought limited or no impact. So the world is relatively relaxed about contagion risk for now. The bigger risk might be the knock on impact of weaker Chinese growth. So that’s one to watch even if you’re sanguine on the systemic threat. Craig Nicol in my credit team did a good note yesterday (link here) looking at the contagion risk to the broader HY market. I thought he summed it up nicely as to why we all need to care one way or another in saying that “Evergrande is the largest corporate, in the largest sector, of the second largest economy in the world”. For context AT&T is the largest corporate borrower in the US market and VW the largest in Europe. Turning back to other Asian markets now and the Nikkei (-0.65%) is down but the Hang Seng (+0.51%) and Asx (+0.58%) are up. South Korean markets continue to remain closed for a holiday. Elsewhere, yields on 10y USTs are trading flattish while futures on the S&P 500 are up +0.10% and those on the Stoxx 50 are up +0.21%. Crude oil prices are also up c.+1% this morning. In other news, the Bank of Japan policy announcement overnight was a non-event as the central bank maintained its yield curve target while keeping the policy rate and asset purchases plan unchanged. The central bank also unveiled more details of its green lending program and said that it would immediately start accepting applications and would begin making the loans in December. The relatively calm Asian session follows a stabilisation in markets yesterday following their rout on Monday as investors looked forward to the outcome of the Fed’s meeting later today. That said, it was hardly a resounding performance, with the S&P 500 unable to hold on to its intraday gains and ending just worse than unchanged after the -1.70% decline the previous day as investors remained vigilant as to the array of risks that continue to pile up on the horizon. One of these is in US politics and legislators seem no closer to resolving the various issues surrounding a potential government shutdown at the end of the month, along with a potential debt ceiling crisis in October, which is another flashing alert on the dashboard for investors that’s further contributing to weaker sentiment right now. Looking ahead now, today’s main highlight will be the latest Federal Reserve decision along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference, with the policy decision out at 19:00 London time. Markets have been on edge for any clues about when the Fed might begin to taper asset purchases, but concern about tapering actually being announced at this meeting has dissipated over recent weeks, particularly after the most recent nonfarm payrolls in August came in at just +235k, and the monthly CPI print also came in beneath consensus expectations for the first time since November. In terms of what to expect, our US economists write in their preview (link here) that they see the statement adopting Chair Powell’s language that a reduction in the pace of asset purchases is appropriate “this year”, so long as the economy remains on track. They see Powell maintaining optionality about the exact timing of that announcement, but they think that the message will effectively be that the bar to pushing the announcement beyond November is relatively high in the absence of any material downside surprises. This meeting also sees the release of the FOMC’s latest economic projections and the dot plot, where they expect there’ll be an upward drift in the dots that raises the number of rate hikes in 2023 to 3, followed by another 3 increases in 2024. Back to yesterday, and as mentioned US equity markets fell for a second straight day after being unable to hold on to earlier gains, with the S&P 500 slightly lower (-0.08%). High-growth industries outperformed with biotech (+0.38%) and semiconductors (+0.18%) leading the NASDAQ (+0.22%) slightly higher, however the Dow Jones (-0.15%) also struggled. Europe saw a much stronger performance though as much of the US decline came after Europe had closed. The STOXX 600 gained +1.00% to erase most of Monday’s losses, with almost every sector in the index ending the day in positive territory. With risk sentiment improving for much of the day yesterday, US Treasuries sold off slightly and by the close of trade yields on 10yr Treasuries were up +1.2bps to 1.3226%, thanks to a +1.8bps increase in real yields. However, sovereign bonds in Europe told a different story as yields on 10yr bunds (-0.3bps), OATs (-0.3bps) and BTPs (-1.9bps) moved lower. Other safe havens including gold (+0.59%) and silver (+1.02%) also benefited, but this wasn’t reflected across commodities more broadly, with Bloomberg’s Commodity Spot Index (-0.30%) losing ground for a 4th consecutive session. Democratic Party leaders plan to vote on the Senate-approved $500bn bipartisan infrastructure bill next Monday, even with no resolution to the $3.5tr budget reconciliation measure that encompasses the remainder of the Biden Administration’s economic agenda. Democrats continue to work on the reconciliation measure but have turned their attention to the debt ceiling and government funding bills.Congress has fewer than two weeks before the current budget expires – on Oct 1 – to fund the government and raise the debt ceiling. Republicans yesterday noted that the Democrats could raise the ceiling on their own through the reconciliation process, with many saying that they would not be offering their support to any funding bill. Democrats continue to push for a bipartisan bill to raise the debt ceiling, pointing to their votes during the Trump administration. If Democrats are forced to tie the debt ceiling and funding bills to budget reconciliation, it could limit how much of the $3.5 trillion bill survives the last minute negotiations between progressives and moderates. More to come over the next 10 days. Staying on the US, there was an important announcement in President Biden’s speech at the UN General Assembly, as he said that he would work with Congress to double US funding to poorer nations to deal with climate change. That comes as UK Prime Minister Johnson (with the UK hosting the COP26 summit in less than 6 weeks’ time) has been lobbying other world leaders to find the $100bn per year that developed economies pledged by 2020 to support developing countries as they reduce their emissions and deal with climate change. In Germany, there are just 4 days to go now until the federal election, and a Forsa poll out yesterday showed a slight narrowing in the race, with the centre-left SPD remaining on 25%, but the CDU/CSU gained a point on last week to 22%, which puts them within the +/- 2.5 point margin of error. That narrowing has been seen in Politico’s Poll of Polls as well, with the race having tightened from a 5-point SPD lead over the CDU/CSU last week to a 3-point one now. Turning to the pandemic, Johnson & Johnson reported that their booster shot given 8 weeks after the first offered 100% protection against severe disease, 94% protection against symptomatic Covid in the US, and 75% against symptomatic Covid globally. Speaking of boosters, Bloomberg reported that the FDA was expected to decide as soon as today on a recommendation for Pfizer’s booster vaccine. That follows an FDA advisory panel rejecting a booster for all adults last Friday, restricting the recommendation to those over-65 and other high-risk categories. Staying with the US and vaccines, President Biden announced that the US was ordering 500mn doses of the Pfizer vaccine to be exported to the rest of the world. On the data front, there were some strong US housing releases for August, with housing starts up by an annualised 1.615m (vs. 1.55m expected), and building permits up by 1.728m (vs. 1.6m expected). Separately, the OECD released their Interim Economic Outlook, which saw them upgrade their inflation expectations for the G20 this year to +3.7% (up +0.2ppts from May) and for 2022 to +3.9% (up +0.5ppts from May). Their global growth forecast saw little change at +5.7% in 2021 (down a tenth) and +4.5% for 2022 (up a tenth). To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Federal Reserve decision and Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. Otherwise on the data side, we’ll get US existing home sales for August, and the European Commission’s advance consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area in September. Tyler Durden Wed, 09/22/2021 - 08:05.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeSep 22nd, 2021