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Selling your home? Don’t forget to stage your bathroom.

TOWN SQUARE | Stay away from any ornate fixtures and wallpaper. The idea is to create a clean canvas and leave the imagination of what’s possible to buyers......»»

Category: topSource: washpostNov 25th, 2021

Your dream company, role, and salary are now negotiable — here are 3 steps to make them a reality

Around the world, employees are rethinking what they want at work — and thanks to COVID, they have more leverage. There's no better time to take stock of what's important to you, imagine a new future, and strategize in how to get there.Eclipse Images/Getty Images Thanks to a tight labor market, companies are more flexible in meeting employees' needs.  To take advantage, first look back at the past few years and take stock of your work preferences. Then decide what your ideal future job looks like and find out which company's values match yours. Forty-one percent of the global workforce is likely to consider quitting their job this year, with 46 percent contemplating a "major pivot or career transition," reports Microsoft. Meanwhile, half of American workers are considering a career change, reports CNBC  — while in September, a record-breaking 4.4 million Americans — 3% of the workforce — actually quit their jobs. The so-called "Great Resignation" shows no signs of stopping.What's going on?"We're in a moment in time that has staying power," said Ellen Taaffe, a clinical assistant professor of management and organizations and director of Women's Leadership Program at Kellogg.COVID has had a huge impact on most of our daily lives. The pandemic has emphasized that life is short, and also that, for better or for worse, things once viewed as nonnegotiable or intractable — from in-person work and school to busy social calendars — now appear more up for debate.In short, employees are looking at the options available to them with new eyes. And, because companies have retooled everything from strategy to operations, they're still evolving. Which means even more opportunities for employees. "You can stay and redesign, reinvent both yourself and your company, or you can create what you want somewhere else. COVID has accelerated all of this."Moreover, Taaffe says, thanks to the tight labor market, firms may be more receptive to giving employees what they seek. This makes now a great moment to consider a pivot, whether that is to a new function within your company, or to a new company or industry."I think there's no better time to take stock of what's important to you, to imagine a new future, and to strategize in how to get there," she said.She explains how to get started.Take stockTo figure out your next move forward, you first need to look backwards. Before you delve into your search for a new role, set aside time to consider: What have you learned about yourself in the last two years?Get concrete and specific, Taaffe advises. Make a list of answers for each question. Write them down.For example, if you're still working from home, what have you realized about your preferences? It could be that you're more productive, love not having a commute, or are more collaborative with colleagues across geographies. Or maybe you found out that you prefer face-to-face sales calls because developing new leads is harder on Zoom. Perhaps you miss travel."A lot depends on where you are in your life stage," Taaffe said. "Some people value flexibility where others may crave social interaction."For example, a recent survey reports that more than half of employees would like to work from home for three or more days per week, but that working parents with young children are more likely to prefer fully remote work.You should also take stock of what you have learned about your industry and company. The pandemic drastically changed working conditions in industries such as healthcare and education. And many industries — like hospitality, travel, and retail — are trying to reinvent themselves altogether.Within your company, look at its trajectory. For example, if the pandemic forced a wave of layoffs or a mass exodus, take note. Perhaps new business units are expanding headcount and can't hire fast enough. How might you fit in?"Consider the impact COVID has had on your company's business model and which changes are temporary or likely to continue into the future. Assess how that may or may not affect future performance, your function, company leadership and resources, and the longer-term outlook for both growth and a satisfying work environment," said Taaffe. "Do your responses to these questions tell you that it may be time to pivot?"Imagine the futureAs companies figure out how to adapt and retain talent, now is a good time to brainstorm what is important to you. So be bold and imagine your ideal future job. Get actionable."What do you want to do, drop, delegate, decline, or dare to do?" Taaffe asked.Employees who have worked in a company for a while and are a known entity with social capital are especially well-positioned to negotiate new or expanded roles within their organizations."Companies are losing talented individuals, and they're worried about it," Taaffe said . "So if you take stock in the company and think, "We have a chance to grow, I'm still developing here, and I can make a difference," you should consider staying."But of course, just because you want something doesn't mean you'll get it. Whether your current company won't make the necessary changes or whether they simply can't, it may be time to look elsewhere. "You owe it to yourself to look and to understand your options," said Taaffe.And don't rule out opportunities or working arrangements that were a no-go in prior years."The power dynamic has changed. Employees have more leverage now," Taaffe said. "Companies are changing so much that they might be more open to something they rejected before."As you explore opportunities, you will need to translate your wants and needs in ways that are beneficial to the company that is considering you. As companies' value propositions for employees evolve, you should position your priorities as part of their solution, she says."Be prepared to explain, 'Here's what I'm really good at, this is what I want to do that can add value, and here's how we can shape it,'" she said. "For example, if you are interviewing to lead a major initiative, now is the time to negotiate for how you want to lead it. This could mean focusing on your strengths: your strategy, your ability to achieve cross-functional alignment, and your skill at communicating to senior management. Then let them know that leading the initiative well requires a strong project manager. Then ask for what you need to succeed."Find where you want to beFinally, it's time to investigate if a company's values match yours.Taaffe notes that even prior to the pandemic, the Me Too and BLM movements cast a spotlight on the dissonance between what companies say they value and their actions. The pandemic has only increased the pressure on companies to walk the talk on key issues like racial and gender equality or climate change. Employees, especially underrepresented minorities, Generation Z, and Millennials, are fed up with companies whose ethics do not carry through to daily operations.So interested employees should seize this moment to find a role or organization that is consistent with the impact they want to have on the world. "Ask yourself whether the values you have match the values of this company," Taaffe said. "How do they show up in behaviors and not simply signs in the lobby?"While you are zeroing in on the type of work you want to be doing — and the right company to do it — don't forget to prioritize your own well-being. In the wake of the pandemic, employee mental-health issues are escalating. With lots of employees feeling anxious, isolated, or burnt out — or grieving lost loved ones — it is important to consider whether employee mental health and well-being is a priority at these companies. What do they offer for support?And while it is good to inquire about the benefits package, it helps to realize that a company's stance on mental health extends beyond benefits. "Find out whether the company recognizes what people have been through," Taaffe recommended.Just as many companies put policies in place for physical safety — from COVID protocols to fire drills — employees also want psychological safety, Taaffe says. Leaders can best create this by being authentic, humble, and inclusive themselves and expecting this as the norm across their company. This allows employees to feel safe, take risks, and think in more innovative ways."A silver lining of the pandemic is that we got a bigger window into our colleagues," Taaffe said, "whether that was seeing their make-shift office at the kitchen table, their kids or pets, or the anxiety and uncertainty we all feel about the future. We learned that it's okay to not be okay."Part of taking stock is asking whether this cultural shift holds true in a company.Taaffe recommends that, as you meet people through the interview process, ask the same questions to each person about the culture, the leadership, and their outlook on work-from-home, hybrid, or in-office expectations. Then consider the refrains you may hear in those responses — especially those that reveal more than a robotic company message."Listen for vulnerability and transparency as they talk about the challenges the company has been through over the last two years," she said. "No company had all of the answers, especially in the pandemic. If they respond like they do, you know you aren't talking to a learning organization where it is safe to say, 'I don't know.'"She suggests asking about how the company handled failures or mistakes. Does the organization debrief on what worked and what insights it can apply next time? What happens to those who were involved with a failed initiative or product launch?"You can tell that psychological safety is strong when employees can bring their whole selves to work," Taaffe said. "If the company combines diversity of styles and approaches with consistency of their values and work ethic, you may have found the right place for you to thrive."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 16th, 2021

4 Retail Stocks That Will Continue to Shine in 2022

LOVE, ETD, WSM and TPX are 4 growth stocks within the home furnishings industry that are worth buying today. To talk about retail stocks in general doesn’t make a whole lot of sense because there’s just so many categories in there. And whether it’s the department stores, or the convenience stores, or the ones selling electronic goods like computer hardware, or apparel, or shoes, or home furnishings or auto – there’s just so much to choose from – each one has its own dynamics, including demand, supply, operational challenges (or strengths), logistics, pricing, etc.So perhaps it makes much more sense to pick a single category and see what’s going on in there. And that’s what I’m attempting to do here. For the purpose, I’ve picked the Retail - Home Furnishings industry, which is in the top 11% of Zacks-classified industries. Clearly, Zacks analysis shows that there are positive factors driving the entire industry that are beneficial for all the players. All we have to do is pick some buy-ranked stocks from here and we’re set.But first let’s dig into the positive factors driving the industry. And why do I think that the strength will continue in 2022.Home furnishings are almost always dependent on three major factors: employment, economic growth and the condition of the housing market. And it isn’t hard to see why.When people are gainfully employed, they tend to spend more on themselves (which includes their homes). That’s because for most people, their biggest asset is their home. Plus, it’s only when you have savings and ongoing income that you think about setting up home at all.  Second, it’s only the steadily employed folks that tend to look for better accommodation, whether new or existing. And in both cases, they generally do up that new accommodation to their satisfaction. The current situation is that it’s mainly the lower wage employees that suffered from the pandemic and they too were stimulus-driven. On the other hand, the need to stay home for work, school and everything else meant that people needed to do some work on their homes. So employment is indeed an important factor.And you don’t have optimum employment levels without economic growth. Post pandemic economic growth has been phenomenal, and not just because of pent-up demand for things that couldn’t be done during the pandemic. The economy was actually on pretty solid footing when the pandemic hit and it suddenly screeched to a halt. When things opened up, they just kept opening up. Even with subsequent mutations of the virus, people are generally less concerned because of vaccine availability and efficacy and because we’re getting into the endemic stage. The Conference Board forecasts that U.S. Real GDP growth will be 5.5% this year, after a good fourth quarter. The IMF expects U.S. real GDP growth of 6.0%, including the impact of supply chain disruptions. For 2022, the IMF expects 5.2% growth. Both rates are at least double the growth rates in the preceding five years (except 2020 when real GDP dropped).And finally, the most obvious point is the housing market. When more houses exchange hands, whether they are old or new, people will spend money doing them up. The housing market has been dogged by supply chain concerns same as almost every other market. But things are expected to improve next year, as the inventory situation improves with more constructions completed despite raw material cost inflation and labor shortage. Additionally, more home owners are listing their properties today than they were in the beginning of the year and this should normalize in 2022. With more inventory available, prices will automatically come down and people who had postponed their purchases because of the price situation will re-enter the market.So let’s jump to the stocks.Lovesac LOVEThe Lovesac Company retails offers alternative furniture, sectionals, bean bags, bean bag chairs as well as other accessories such as blankets, footsacs and throw pillows.In the year ending Jan 2022, Lovesac is expected to grow revenue and earnings by 48.9% and 40.6%, respectively. The following year, it is expected to grow 27.3% and 42.0%, respectively. In the last seven days, estimates for 2022 and 2023 are up 39 cents (40.6%) and  70 cents (57.9%), respectively.Loavesac shares carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and have a Growth Score of A.Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. ETDEthan Allen is a leading interior design company and manufacturer and retailer of quality home furnishings. It offers free interior design services to customers and sells a full range of furniture products and decorative accessories through ethanallen.com and a network of the Design Centers in the United States and abroad.In the year ending Jun 2022, analysts expect Ethan Allen to grow its revenue by 9.8% and earnings by 30.8%. In 2023, both numbers are currently expected to decline slightly. Needless to say, if the estimate revisions trend is good, it’s an indication that there will ultimately be growth and not a decline. The estimate revisions trend is positive, with the 2022 earnings estimate up 43 cents (16.1%) and the 2023 estimate up 20 cents (7.1%) in the last 60 days.Ethan Allen shares carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and have a Growth Score of A.Williams-Sonoma WSMWilliams-Sonomais a multi-channel specialty retailer of premium quality home products.In the year ending Jan 2022, analysts expect Williams-Sonoma to grow its revenue by 22.2% and earnings by 57.2%. In 2023, revenue is currently expected to increase slightly while earnings decline. But the estimate revisions trend will say how 2023 will actually shape up to be. And the estimate revisions trend is decidedly positive, with the 2022 earnings estimate up 64 cents (4.7%) and the 2023 estimate up 91 cents (7.0%) in the last 30 days.Williams-Sonoma shares carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and have a Growth Score of A.Tempur Sealy International TPXTempur Sealy is known as a developer, manufacturer and marketer of bedding products like mattresses, adjustable bases, pillows and other sleep and relaxation products primarily in North America but also internationally.In 2021, Tempur Sealy’s revenue is expected to grow 36.7% while its earnings grow 71.2%. This is expected to be followed by 11.7% revenue growth and 17.1% earnings growth in the following year. The 2021 estimate is up 4 cents and the 2022 estimate is up 18 cents in the last 60 days.Tempur Sealy shares carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) and have a Growth Score of A.3-Month Price PerformanceImage Source: Zacks Investment Research 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Tempur Sealy International, Inc. (TPX): Free Stock Analysis Report WilliamsSonoma, Inc. (WSM): Free Stock Analysis Report The Lovesac Company (LOVE): Free Stock Analysis Report Ethan Allen Interiors Inc. (ETD): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 15th, 2021

Transcript: Maureen Farrell

     The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Maureen Farrell on the Cult of We is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   RITHOLTZ: This… Read More The post Transcript: Maureen Farrell appeared first on The Big Picture.      The transcript from this week’s, MiB: Maureen Farrell on the Cult of We is below. You can stream and download our full conversation, including the podcast extras on iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, Google, Bloomberg, and Acast. All of our earlier podcasts on your favorite pod hosts can be found here.   ~~~   RITHOLTZ: This week on the podcast, I have a special guest. Her name is Maureen Farrell, and she is the co-author of the book, “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.” I read this book a couple of weeks ago and just plowed through it. It’s a lot of fun. Everything you think about WeWork is actually even crazier, and more insane, and more delusional than you would’ve guessed. All the venture capitalists and — and big investors not really doing the appropriate due diligence, relying on each other, and nobody really looking at the numbers, which kind of revealed that this was a giant money-losing, fast-growing startup that really was a real estate play pretending to be a tech play. You know, tech gets one sort of multiple, real estate gets a much lower multiple, and Neumann was able to convince a lot of people that this was a tech startup and, therefore, worthy of, you know, $1 billion and then multibillion-dollar valuation. It’s fascinating the — it’s deeply, deeply reported. There is just an incredible series of vignettes, and stories, and reveals that they’re just shocking what Neumann and company were able to — to fob off on their investors. Everything from ridiculous self-dealing to crazy valuations, to lackluster due diligence, and then just the craziest most egregious golden parachute in the history of corporate America. I found the book to be just fascinating and as well as my conversation with Maureen. So, with no further ado, my conversation with Maureen Farrell, co-author of “The Cult of We.” VOICE-OVER: This is Masters in Business with Barry Ritholtz on Bloomberg Radio. RITHOLTZ: My special guest this week is Maureen Farrell. She is the co-author of a new book, “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.” The book has been nominated for a Financial Times/McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award. Previously, she worked at the Wall Street Journal since 2013. Currently, she is a reporter, investigative reporter for The New York Times. Maureen Farrell, welcome to Bloomberg. FARRELL: Thank you so much for having me. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s start a little bit with your background and history. You — you covered capital markets and IPOs at the Wall Street Journal. What led you and your co-author Eliot Brown to this story because this was really a venture capital and a startup story for most of the 2010s, right? FARRELL: Exactly. And for me, personally, I was covering the IPO market and — and capital markets the sort of explosion of private capital. So, I was looking at WeWork from both angles, basically, you know, in the small cohort of the most interesting companies that were going to go public, along with Uber, Airbnb, Lyft. And it was also part of this group that had raised more capital than anyone ever before. I was looking at SoftBank and its vision fund a lot. And then — I mean, take within this cohort, there were some pretty interesting companies, but I mean, just along the way kept on hearing, you know, Adam Neumann stood out. That’s like a little bit of a different entrepreneur that the — the stories you would just hear over time just became more and more interesting a little and vain. RITHOLTZ: So when did you decide, hey, this is more than just a recurring series of — of articles? When did you say this is a book? We have to write a book about this? FARRELL: So, we were — around August 2019, by then we were writing more and more about the company as it was clear that it was, you know, made it known that it was going to go public. Suddenly, it’s S-1, the — the regulatory documents you file publicly to go public were out there, and they were completely bonkers. They sort of captivated, I think, the imagination of the business reading public. But then over the next few weeks, WeWork was on its way to finally doing this IPO. And my co-author Eliot and I who had been cover — he had covering the company long before me. He’s a real estate. He had been covering them since 2013, then he was out in San Francisco covering venture capital. And it just became the most insane story either one of us had ever reported, like day by day there’s a playbook for IPOs. And they — you know, things are different, but they sort of follow a formula and nothing was making sense. And it just was getting more and more insane until this IPO was eventually called off. And Adam Neumann, the founder and CEO was pushed out of the company for all sorts of crazy things that were given to. RITHOLTZ: So, we’re going to — we’re going to spend a lot of time talking about that. But you hinted at something I — I have to mention. Your co-author covered real estate. Hey, I was told WeWork was a tech startup, and an A.I. company, and everything else but a real estate arbitrage play. How did they manage to convince so many people that they weren’t a Regis. The CEO of Regis very famously said, “How was what they do any different than what we do?” FARRELL: Well, they tried to convince Eliot Brown, my co-author, of the same thing. He — he had heard about Adam Neumann and his company. He started seeing the valuation. Back then I think it was $1 billion, $1.5 billion, and he was … RITHOLTZ: Right. When that became a unicorn, suddenly it was like, “Wait, this is just a real estate play.” FARRELL: Exactly. And he was covering other commercial real estate companies like Regis. And he had followed them and he was like, “Wait, they only have a couple of locations even still at that point.” So, he went in to meet Adam Neumann for the first time, and he’s got great stories. But as part of it, Adam was like really horrified. He was, you know, very nice, his charming self, but also saying, “Hey, you’re a real estate reporter … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … for the Wall Street Journal. You’re the last person who should be covering this company. Do you have someone who covers like community companies?” RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: And Eliot said, “No, and I’ll be following you from here on out.” RITHOLTZ: We’ll — we’ll talk about community-adjusted EBITDA a little later also. But — but let’s talk about the genesis of this because Neumann and his partner McKelvey had a — a legit business Greendesk, the — was the predecessor to WeWork. It was sold. I don’t know what the dollar amount was. Was that ever disclosed? FARRELL: Ah. RITHOLTZ: But — but it was not — nothing. It was real. And the two of them rolled that money plus a third partner who is also — Joel Schreiber is a real estate developer in New York, not coincidently. And in 2010, they launched WeWork with the first site in SoHo. So why is this real estate assign long-term leases and sell shorter-term leases at a significant markup? How is this not possibly a real estate concern? How? What was — what was the argument they were making to people that, “Hey, we’re a tech company and we deserve tech company valuations.” FARRELL: Sure. So exactly as you said, they have this Brooklyn business that was the genesis of WeWork. It was — it had a lot of that business, and it was what they took to make WeWork. It has a lot of innovation to it in terms of architecturally the aesthetic of it. I mean, we probably all have been to WeWork. They’re just — they’re beautiful buildings. RITHOLTZ: Funky, fun … FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: … open … FARRELL: Light coming through … RITHOLTZ: … with a beer tap and lots of glass. FARRELL: … we had light streaming through the windows. You put — you pack people very close together. So, something they started in Brooklyn, it took off, but then their — the landlord there didn’t want to grow it, so they — they split up, they moved on. Adam and his — his co-founder Miguel McKelvey. And from the very beginning, the idea was something so much bigger. They say they created — they like sketched out something and it was like essentially WeWorld. It would be, you know, schools, and apartments, and this whole universe of we. But basically, as you said, I mean, throughout for the most part, it was this like arbitrage building, arbitrage company in terms of getting long-term leases and splitting it up. RITHOLTZ: All right. So, by 2014, they have a pretty substantial investor list, J.P. Morgan Chase, T. Rowe Price, Wellington, Goldman, Harvard Endowment, Benchmark Capital, Mort Zuckerman. Was this still a rational investment in 2014 or when did things kind of go off the rails? FARRELL: By then it still seemed like the valuation was really getting ahead of itself, and it was very much predicated on this idea that you said being a tech company. And I mean, at Adam Neumann’s genius was in marketing and fund raising. And what he had the ability to do really each step of the way and it’s — it’s masterful was sort of take — take the zeitgeist, like the big business idea of the moment that was captivating investors and put that on top of WeWork. So, he’s very into — a little bit before this like sort of acquainting it to Facebook. You know, Facebook was the social network. This is like a social network in person. RITHOLTZ: In real life, right. FARRELL: In — yeah, real life social network. And he didn’t manage to kind of convince people bit by bit. I mean, it’s interesting, Benchmark, you know, as you know, is like one of the top … RITHOLTZ: Legit — right, top shelf V.C., absolutely. FARRELL: Yeah, that’s been some — behind some of the biggest tech companies. RITHOLTZ: Bill Gurley, Uber, go down the list of just incredible … FARRELL: Snap. RITHOLTZ: … yeah, amazing. FARRELL: eBay. Yeah, they’ve had — through — for decades, they’ve been behind some of the biggest companies. So, they were willing to take a gamble on them, and then they saw red flags, but just decided to jump in anyway. But for Benchmark, I mean, we see and they ultimately — they get in at such a low valuation, it’s … RITHOLTZ: Doesn’t matter. FARRELL: … exactly like — you know, they want their homeruns. And I mean, it’s still — they still ultimately got out at a pretty good — really incredible return, but it’s … RITHOLTZ: Right, $600 million to $10 billion, something like that, something (inaudible). FARRELL: Yeah, something like that. RITHOLTZ: So — so just to clarify because I — I’m — I’m going to be trashing WeWork for the next hour, but this wasn’t a Theranos situation or a Bernie Madoff, this is not an issue of fraud or anything illegal or unlawful. Fees just were insane valuations. Somebody did a great job selling investors on the potential for WeWork, and it didn’t work out. FARRELL: I’m glad you brought that up because a lot of people do ask about the differences and the parallels between Elizabeth Holmes and Adam Neumann. And I — I mean, I almost think the story, in some ways, is more interesting. I mean, the Theranos story is, obviously, the craziest and — and horrifying in so many ways. But with Adam Neumann, on the margins, there are questions about, you know, some of them (inaudible). RITHOLTZ: They’re self-dealing and there’s some — a lot of avarice. And he just cashed out way, way early, so you could criticize his behavior. But, you know, you end up with the VCs and the outside investors either looking the other way or turning a blind eye. It’s not like the stuff wasn’t disclosed or anything, he was very out front. No, I need — I need a private jet because we’re opening up WeWorks in China and in 100 other countries, and I have to join around the world. FARRELL: Yeah, and maybe you (inaudible) thing. RITHOLTZ: Now, you need a $65 million (inaudible) is a different question. But, you know, there — they didn’t hide this. They were like proud of it. FARRELL: No, and I think it is every step of the way, you see. I mean, the investors and these were some of the most sophisticated investors in the world and some of the — you know, they are thought of as the smartest investors. They saw the numbers that WeWork was putting forth and they were real, real numbers. They also saw their projections and the projections were mythical, and they never quite reached them. But you could see, if you are going to invest in any round of WeWork, you could see what their prior projections were, how they failed to hit them. But instead, the thing that we saw time and time again to this point was, very often, Adam Neumann would meet the head of an investment company, whether it’s Benchmark or SoftBank or T. Rowe Price, like the — the main decision-maker totally captivate this person. You know, it’s usually a man. The man would become kind of smitten with Adam and all his ideas and what he was going to do, totally believing it. The underlings would look at the numbers, raise all these red flags, point them out. And then the decision-maker would say … RITHOLTZ: Do it anyway. FARRELL: … yeah, he’s amazing. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) RITHOLTZ: So I want to talk about the rapid rise of WeWork and their — their really fast growth path, but I have to ask, what sort of access did you have to the main characters in the book? Were people forthcoming? I have to imagine there were some people who had grudges and were happy to speak. What — what about the — some of the original founders, Adam and his wife Rebekah? Who — who did you have access to? FARRELL: Sure. So, you know, in the interest of privacy, I can’t get into specifics. But what I will say, the interesting thing was, I mean, when we really got access for hours and hours to the vast majority of players at every step of the way in this book. And the — one of the funny things was, I mean, the pandemic really started right as Eliot and I took book leave. We started a book leave in late February 2020. And we had both planned to sort of be and all around the world, meeting people in person. Eliot had moved to New York to meet a lot of the players in person. Obviously, the world shut down and, you know, was kind of nervous about what that would mean in terms of conversations. And the funny thing was I think people are home, bored, feeling pretty reflective. So, there are a number of people that said … RITHOLTZ: What the hell. FARRELL: … I didn’t know if I wanted to talk to you and … RITHOLTZ: But what the hell. FARRELL: … these — some of these people I probably had like 10 conversations … RITHOLTZ: Really? FARRELL: … for hours with. RITHOLTZ: And — and there are 40 something pages of endnotes. It’s — I’m not suggesting that this isn’t deeply researched because a lot of these conversations that you report on like you’re fly on the wall. Clearly, it can only be one of two or three people. So, it looks like you had a ton of access to a lot of senior people and I guess, we’ll just leave it at that. So — so let’s talk about that early rise in the beginning. They were really ramping up very rapidly. I mean, you could see how somebody interested in investing in a potential unicorn in 2012, ’13, ’14 coming out of the financial crisis. Hey, the idea of all these startups just leaving a little bit of space and not a long-term lease, it looks very attractive. It looks like, hey, you could put WeWorks wherever there’s a tech community, and they should do really well there. FARRELL: Yeah, there — and it was — the marketing was — it was very viral at that point. It was, you know, people would tell their friends about it, and they would fill up very rapidly. And they were building more and more. I mean — and this is one of the — you know, as part of the genius of Adam Neumann was, you know, he was telling people from day one they were really struggling to even secure the lease on the first building. And he was like, oh, we’re going to be global, we’re going to be international. He would set these goals of how many buildings they would open and people internally, and even investors, would say, “Oh, this is impossible.” RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: And he would — and he would hit that. He kept on sort of defying gravity, defying disbelief or questions. So, the growth was incredible and they were filling them up. We could talk about, you know, the lack of the cost of doing so. RITHOLTZ: Right. They — they were paying double to — to real estate agents when everybody else was paying. They were going to competitors and saying, “We’re going to reach out to your tenants, and we’re going to offer them free rent for a year.” I mean, they were really sharp elbowed and very aggressive. FARRELL: Especially as time went on. We did find that there is one year we got all their financials. We — you know, we got our hands on a vast trove of documents, but there was one year — I think it was 2011 — that they, I think, made $2 million in profit. RITHOLTZ: Wow. FARRELL: We were — we were kind of shocked to see that. We don’t think they had ever made a profit. And then from there, they did not, and the billions and billions just added up in terms of losses. RITHOLTZ: So — so the rapid rise, we — we mentioned, they peaked in 2019 at more than $47 billion. Neumann recently did a interview with your fellow Times correspondent Adam (sic) Ross Sorkin, and he was somewhat contrite. He — he had admitted that all the venture money and all the high valuations had — went to his head, quote, “You lose focus on really the core of the business and why the business is meant to be that way. It had a corrosive effect on my thinking.” That’s kind of a surprising admission from him. FARRELL: It was. Yeah, I mean, his mea culpa is very interesting. And I mean, one of the things that people said along the way was, you know, the — the higher the valuation, the more out of touch she became. I mean, he — he had a narcissist. And I don’t know what you want to call it, but … RITHOLTZ: Socio-pathological narcissistic personality disorder? I’m just — I’m not a psychologist, I’m just guessing, or a really successful salesman/CEO. There’s like a thin line between the two sometimes, it seems. FARRELL: And some of it — I mean, it seems insane. It was like, oh, he thought of himself in this like same — like with along with world leaders, but world leaders were really sort of … RITHOLTZ: Tailing him. FARRELL: … really wanted to meet him. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. FARRELL: Yeah. And he was like — we have a scene in the book that he was debating whether or not he was going to cancel on Theresa May because he had promised his wife that he would teach a class on entrepreneurship to their new school, so it was like a few of their kids and a few of their kids’ friends were in the school. RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: And they’re about five years old, five or six. And he had promised — and his wife … RITHOLTZ: Prime Minister, a five-year-old, that’s it. So, when you talk about losing touch with reality, some of the M&A that the startup did. Wavegarden or wave machine was a — like a surf wave machine, meetup.com, Conductor, they ended up dumping these for a fraction of what they paid for them. But what’s the thought process we’re going to become a technology conglomerate? I don’t — I don’t really follow the thinking other than will it be fun to have a wave machine at our buildings, like what’s the rationale there? FARRELL: OK. So, there were — there were two parts to that, and part of it was like it was the world was Adam Neumann’s playground, and he loves surfing, and he thought that — you know, that he found out this company has wave-making mission. They would make waves. So, him and his team went to Spain to surf on them and test them out, but he could basically convince his board, in general … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … who had to approve these that anything made sense, whether it’s the jet, the wave pool company or friends of his. I mean, Laird Hamilton, the famous surfer … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … was a friend of his. They invested like in his coffee creamer company. But then the second — so it was so many unseen investments that I really didn’t necessarily make any sense. But then on the other side, one of the things that we thought was interesting, he had this deal with Masa who — Masayoshi Son. He’s the CEO of SoftBank, became WeWork’s biggest investor, biggest enabler, you might say. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. FARRELL: And one of the — they were going to do this huge deal that would have actually kept WeWork private forever. It never came to pass, and that’s why it was sort of the beginning of the end when this deal fell apart. But as part of it, a lot of the deal is predicated on growing revenue. So, Adam also became obsessed with acquisitions like whatever they could possibly do to add more revenue to the company. I mean, he was talking about buying Sweet Cream, and he had like got pretty far along in the salad company … RITHOLTZ: Yeah, amazing. FARRELL: … in conversations with them. So, it was this idea of like let’s just throw in anything, we have money, and let’s just grow our top line. Who cares about anything else? RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about Rebekah Neumann. She was Adam Neumann’s wife. What — what what’s her role in WeWork? How important was she? FARRELL: Her role is just so fascinating throughout. So, I mean, he — he met her right as he was starting Greendesk. And I think she just sort of opened his eyes. She’d grown up very wealthy. She’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s cousin. She had always ties to Hollywood. She gave him a loan early on, a high interest loan, I think even after they were married that we report about in the book. But as time went on, she — she really want a career in Hollywood, decides to — at one point, she — she was trying to be an actress and she tells someone that she’s done with Hollywood. She’s producing babies now. They’ve gone on to have six kids. But she sort of always kind of dabbled in the company, and they retroactively made her a co-founder. RITHOLTZ: Right, she wasn’t there from day one. It was only later she got pretty active. FARRELL: Yeah, she told people like giving tours early on that she help pick out the coffee in the — in the early WeWorks. But — so she became more active, but she was sort of jumped in and out. And it was by the — one of the things that she had a big focus on their kids were growing up, she didn’t really like their choices of private or public schools, so she decided to start — she helmed sort of the education initiative that’s something … RITHOLTZ: And she was deeply qualified for this because she — she was a certified yoga instructor, right? FARRELL: Yeah, she had been. RITHOLTZ: And — and I know she went to Cornell, which is certainly a good school. What bona fide does she bring to technology, real estate, education, like I’m trying to figure it out. And in the book, you don’t really go into any details that she’s qualified to do any of these things. FARRELL: I mean, especially with — with education, it’s like she didn’t — she want this — essentially she wanted a school for her children, and she wanted very specific things in that school. And once again, they decided that that would be the next like frontier for WeWork. They’re always adding different things. But no one really — then they let them do this. They started this school in New York in the headquarters, and they were going to teach the next-generation of entrepreneurs. And … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … I mean, they — one of the things — I mean, it was the education arm more than — as much or more than other parts of it is just so tragic because they had a lot of money. She’s — she, like Adam, can just speak like — speak so — like eloquently and with this vision. So, she attracted all these very talented teachers. She sort of wooed them from the schools that they were in before and told them that they were going to start this, you know, new enterprise and change education forever. And it’s just really devolved so quickly. It became very like kind of petty. I mean, if you pull so they have PTSD from her like obsession with like the rugs like … RITHOLTZ: Right, just … FARRELL: … it was a Montessori-type school. And yeah, she obsessed over like the color of white of the rugs and made them like send back 20 rugs. RITHOLTZ: What was the most shocking thing you found out about him or her or both? FARRELL: So, one — one of these was — I mean, there is a lot of the — their personal lives, as we said, whether it was a school or other — other things where their kids are educated in, just the way in which the personal entanglements, you know, small and huge levels, but I’ll give two examples. I mean, one of the things that people said in the school, so within the WeWork headquarters was a whole … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … floor and it’s beautiful if you see pictures of it, like it just this – like really incredible school. RITHOLTZ: Money was no object. FARRELL: Yeah. And they had Bjarke Ingels, this famous architect designed the school. And — but they basically, on Friday nights, would have dinners with their friends there. And according to many people would — the team would come in Monday morning … RITHOLTZ: It’d be a disaster. FARRELL: … it will be a complete … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … disaster. So, it was like really on so many levels like everything was their personal … RITHOLTZ: So, entitled. FARRELL: Yeah. And the second thing that really shocked us was she was very — she had a lot of kind of like phobias around like health and wellness. And she says — I mean, she had a — a real tragedy in her family. Her brother died from cancer, and so she was always — she’s very focused on and she said it as much in podcasts and things. But she was very fixated on 5G. And she’s worried about vaccines for their kids. And — but the 5G of like what that could do for — you know, these signals. She wouldn’t let them have printers on the floor, like any printers on — wireless printers on the floor of the school. But there is a — they bought this … RITHOLTZ: Can you — can you even by 5G printers today? What — what was the … FARRELL: Oh, no, it’s a wireless. RITHOLTZ: … yeah, just Wi-Fi? FARRELL: Yeah, the wireless like freaked her out, so the teachers of that are like run up and downstairs to just print everything. It seems ridiculous. But the 5G towers, there was one, either being built or built right near there, across the Beam Park. RITHOLTZ: (Inaudible) City Park. FARRELL: Yeah, right nearby. So, she was so obsessed with it. She didn’t want to move in there. They had bought like six apartments in this building that she — the CFO — this is around the time they’re preparing for the IPO. I used to work at Time Warner Cable, who is the CFO of Time Warner Cable. So, she said, “Can you, Artie Minson, help us get rid of the 5G tower and have it moved?” And basically, he deputized another aide who used to work for Cuomo and worked for Governor Christie, the — both former governors. And they — like that was something they — they actually worked on. So, the — yeah, that interplay was just kind of insane. RITHOLTZ: Seems rational. There was a Vanity Fair article, “How Rebekah Neumann Put the Woo-Woo in WeWork,” and — and what you’re describing very much is — is along the lines of that. I’ve seen Neumann described as a visionary, as a crackpot, as — as a grifter, but he thinks he’s going to become the world’s first trillionaire, and — and WeWork the first $10 trillion company. Is — is any realistic scenario where that happens or is he just completely delusional? FARRELL: I mean, it seems insane and like he seems completely delusional, but he had a lot of people going along with him, including the man with one of the biggest checkbooks in the world who is Masayoshi Son, the CEO and Founder of SoftBank, who had just — I mean, the timing of the story, it’s like there’s so many things that happened at the first enrollment. RITHOLTZ: Saudi Arabia wanting to diversify, giving a ton of money. You — you call Son the enabler-in-chief. He — he put more than $10 billion of capital showered on — on to WeWork. How much do you blame Son for all of this mayhem at least in the last couple of years of WeWork’s run as a private company? FARRELL: It seems like he was the main — you know, the main person kind of pushing all of this. And when you talk to a lot of people around Adam, they just said they were just such a dicey match like that Adam was crazy to begin with. Everyone thought that. You know, it can go both ways, but … RITHOLTZ: Yeah, but people drank the Kool-Aid. It — it reminded me — you don’t mention Steve Jobs in the book, but very much the reality distortion field that Jobs was famous for, I very much got the sense Neumann was creating something like that. How did he get everybody to drink the Kool-Aid? Was he just that charismatic and that good of a salesman? FARRELL: I think so. And it was just he could talk about things and make you feel like the reality was there, this reality of distortion field. He was — he was masterful in that. Yet the thing that he did was he always found new pots of money … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … all over the world. I mean, it was the time — it was the time when the private capital markets were getting deeper and deeper, the Fidelitys and the T. Rowe that like normally kind of sober mutual funds … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … were jumping into startups. And they — they were — we call one of the chapters FOMO. It was like the … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … fun FOMO. They were fearful of missing out on the next big thing. So that we’re sort of in this climate where there is an appetite to go after, to just take a chance for the chance of getting the next like maybe not trillion-dollar company, maybe no one but him and Masa believe that, the next big thing. RITHOLTZ: But the next 100X — right. And that’s really — you know, it’s always interesting when you see these stayed, old mutual fund companies that have literally no experience in venture capital or tech startups, but happy to plow into it because they — they — they want to be part of it. And maybe that’s how we end up with community-adjusted EBITDA. Can — can you explain to us what that phrase means? I don’t even know what else to call it. FARRELL: Sure. So WeWork was losing every — every step of the way. They were growing revenue more than doubling it. You know, they’re expanding all around the world. And with that, they were losing just as much, if not more every single year than they were taking in. So, they had this brilliant idea, really a lot stemming from the CFO and Adam Neumann love the CFO’s creation. His name is Artie Minson, the CFO. And it was this idea that you essentially strip out a lot of the costs of kind of creating all the — building out all the WeWorks and, you know, marketing and opening up new buildings. You strip it out, and then you’re suddenly a profitable company. It’s like the magic. RITHOLTZ: Wait, let me — let me make sure I understand this. So, if you eliminate the cost of generating that profit, you suddenly become profitable. How come nobody else thought of this sooner? It seems like a genius idea. FARRELL: Oh. RITHOLTZ: Just don’t — it’s profits, expenses. It’s fantastic. FARRELL: And the — the conviction with which certain people inside, especially on the finance team, believe this. I mean, they were saying throughout that like, oh, we will be a profitable company if we — the idea was if we just stop growing, we could be profitable right now. We take in more per building. (COMMERCIAL BREAK) FARRELL: Then we spend on it. But, you know, that never was the case. RITHOLTZ: So, let’s stick with the delusion concept. We talked about WeGrow, and we talked about WeLive a little bit, crazy stuff. What made this guy think he can help colonize Mars? Right, you’re laughing. You wrote it yourself, and it’s still funny. FARRELL: It is still … RITHOLTZ: By the way, I found a lot of the book very amusing, like very dry, like you guys didn’t try and crack jokes. But clearly, a lot of the stuff was just so insane. You read it, you start to laugh out loud. FARRELL: I’m — I’m glad to hear that because I think that we would joke that like every day. I mean, we’re in different places writing it. We are on calls constantly, and we would call each other. And it was often multiple times a day we would call each other and say, “You will never ever believe what I just heard.” And we would crack up, and we — we had a lot of fun writing it because it’s just — it was — the truth of the story was like more insane than … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … anything we could have made up ever. RITHOLTZ: That’s the joke that, you know, the difference between truth and — and fiction is fiction has to make sense, and truth is under no such obligation. So, let’s talk about Neumann colonizing Mars. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: I mean, was that a serious thing or was he just, you know, on one of his insane (inaudible) and everybody comes along? FARRELL: There — there — speaking of fine lines, I mean, he just — I think he — he started to believe more and more of like these delusions. And so, I think he really did, and yeah, he got this — he secured a meeting with Elon Musk, and he – Elon Musk — he always — Adam was always late to every meeting, would make people wait for hours, like even like the bankers in the IPO would just sit around. There’ll be rooms of like dozens of people waiting for Adam, and he’d show up like two hours late. But Elon Musk made him wait for this meeting. They sat and sat and sat, and then he told Elon Musk that getting — that he thought — like building a community on Mars is what he would do and he would help him with. And he said, you know, “Getting — getting to Mars is the easy part. Building a community is the hard part.” RITHOLTZ: Right. Because, you know, it’s very hard to get those beer taps to work in a … FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: … low-gravity, zero atmosphere environment. It’s a challenge, only WeWork could accomplish that. FARRELL: The – the fruit water. RITHOLTZ: Right. So — so I want to talk about the IPO, but before I get to that, I — I have to ask about the corporate offsites, the summer camp, which were described as three-day global summits of drinking and drug consumption. It was like a Woodstock event, not like a corporate retreat. How did these come about? FARRELL: So, Adam would say that he never — he grew up in Israel and he moved to the U.S. He lived for a little while the U.S., but move later in life. So, you said he never got to go to American summer camp, so he was going to recreate summer — American summer camp literally. They started at his wife’s family’s had a summer camp in upstate New York. That’s where they started. They just got bigger and bigger, eventually going to England and taking over this like huge like field — this huge estate there and bringing every single member of the company flying them from all over the world. RITHOLTZ: And there were thousands of employees? FARRELL: Thousands upon thousands, and the cost was unbelievable of every piece of it. I mean, every year, they just got bigger and bigger. I mean, the flew at the height of his fame not that he’s far off of it, but Lin-Manuel Miranda like, at the height of Hamilton, they flew him on a private jet. He — he performed on stage. The Roots came, and — and they would pay these people like … RITHOLTZ: Million dollars, right. FARRELL: … a million dollars, yeah. So, the money is no object. RITHOLTZ: That’s a good gig for an afternoon. FARRELL: Yeah, exactly. And they were — you know, especially at the beginning, it was like a younger group of people, in general. And — I mean, these — these were crazy. There’s tons of alcohol sanctioned by the company, handed out by the company. Drugs were in — you know, in supply not handed out by the company, but they were everywhere and … RITHOLTZ: And he talks about drugs. He says, “Well, we — it’s not really drugs, just, you know … FARRELL: He — so yeah, I think it — it got to a point and it was also mandatory to come to these events. So, I mean, the — they were … RITHOLTZ: And they were like meetings where there are shots, everybody has to do shots. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: This — this wasn’t just at these retreats, like hard partying was pretty common throughout the company or anywhere Neumann seemed to have touched. When — when he was there, everybody was expected to step-up and — and party hard. FARRELL: Including the investors. I mean, you’d walk into the office at 10 A.M., according to so many different people. And he’d insist on taking tequila shots with you in the morning in his office. And … RITHOLTZ: You didn’t have a shot before this? You — don’t you … FARRELL: Right. RITHOLTZ: … isn’t that — isn’t how every meeting begins? FARRELL: The breakfast … RITHOLTZ: Right? FARRELL: … of champions. RITHOLTZ: That’s — that’s right. So — so I got the sense from the book that they always seemed to be on the edge of running out of money, and they would always find another source, but it was all leading towards the IPO, but the S-1 one filing, the disclosures that go with an IPO filing, that seemed to be that they’re undoing the — the public just — investing public just torn apart. FARRELL: Exactly. I mean, the interesting piece of that, as you said, it was there’s always a new pool of capital like just when he thought that he was going to have to go public. And the board — and the board — I mean, one of the things we found time and time again was the board would say, you know, he’s really like crazy, things are getting out of hand. But like we won’t say no to him, but eventually he’s going to have to go public. This was back in like 2016-2017. RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: We thought he was going to run out of money, the only place to go because they’re burning so much cash with the public markets. And the public markets will take care of it, which — that kind of floored us each step of the way. But yes, as you said, he — he — he knew how to captivate on — in one-on-one or bigger meetings to convince you of this future to tell you we always describe him kind of as a magician and think of him like this, like don’t look here, look here, like the sleight of hand. He could — then this S-1 came out. It was a regulatory document. You have to follow rules. RITHOLTZ: There’s no sleight of hand in S-1 filing. FARRELL: No, like you have to see. And people suddenly saw the — the broad public the revenue, the losses of a lot, not even all of these, you know, the questionable corporate governance, I mean, the — the … RITHOLTZ: The self-dealing. FARRELL: … the self-dealing, only pieces of that were even in it because the jet wasn’t in the S-1. They didn’t have to disclose it. The — and the interesting thing about this, I think there’s always like this distinction that people try to make between like, oh, the smart money and the dumb money. And it’s like the smart money is like the Fidelitys and the T. Rowes, and the SoftBanks. And then the dumb money, you know, it’s like — or the, you know, the average retail investor. And so, it’s just so interesting that like he — he captivated the — the quote-unquote, “smart money.” And then the minute this was all made public, everything was there, the world saw it and just said like what is — like this is insane. RITHOLTZ: I’m nursing a pet theory that it was Twitter that demolished him because people just had a — I remember the day of this filing, Twitter just blew up with — like a — a million people are taking an S-1 apart sentence by sentence and the most outrageous things bubbled up to the top of Twitter. And it was very clear that they were dead in the water. There was going to be no IPO, and the dreams of these crazy valuations seemed to crash and burn with the — the IPO filing, which — which kind of raises a question about, you know, how was all of this corporate governance so amiss. All the self-dealings that were allowed, so my — my favorite one was he personally trademarked the word We and then charged the company $6 million to use it. Again, he — he’s given these sort of crazy disclosure explanations. Hey, I’m only allowed to say this. But it seems he bought a bunch of buildings in order to flip them to WeWork at a profit. I don’t understand how the board — we mentioned Theranos — here’s the parallel. How did the board tolerate just the most egregious, avarice, lack of interest in the company and only enrichment of oneself? How does the board of directors tolerate that? FARRELL: I know that was — I think, if anything, from this whole story that just floored us was exactly that this board, I mean, it was a — it was a real like heavy-hitting board of directors. They’re not — and all financial people as opposed to Theranos, you know, it was like people who didn’t really know … RITHOLTZ: Politics and generals, and … FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: … secretaries of states, right? It was a — and a lot of elderly men who were smitten with her. I mean, like men in — what was Kissinger on the board? He was 90 something. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: So — so with this though, the other thing that’s shocking is, you know, most founders of a successful company, they live a — a reasonably comfortable lifestyle, but the thought process is, hey, one day we’ll go public and my gravy train will come in, and I’ll have a — a high, you know, eight, nine, 10-figure net worth. Early in this time line, he was paying himself cashing out stock worth tens of millions, in some cases, hundreds of millions of dollars way, way early in — in — the company was five years old and he was worth a couple 100 million liquid, and god knows how much on paper. Again, how — how does the board allow that to take place? FARRELL: Yeah, that was — and a board, investors kind of signing off on this were jumping into it, I mean, seeing that he’s going to sell a lot of stock each round. I mean, now there does seem to be a shift and it’s kind of a scary one that this is like more private companies, the founders are selling more and more. But back then, you didn’t really see this very much. And one of the things I find very interesting is he was very much following the Travis Kalanick that — for Uber CEO’s playbook, and literally like following it that like going after the same investors, going around the world. Travis had raised more money than anyone before. Travis, every step of the way, made a huge point of, “I’m all-in. I’m never selling any stock” … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … until he was kicked out of the company basically. So, Adam followed his playbook, but each step of the way was — said he took money out and was like prepare about it. RITHOLTZ: I mean, he was very wealthy for a — a scrappy startup founder, 14, 15, 16. You would think, hey, he’s — maybe he’s making a decent living, but not hundreds of millions of dollars, it’s kind of amazing. FARRELL: Or like having many, many, many houses. RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: And they were like he didn’t hide the way in which he was living, having houses all over the world, jet setting all over the world. You know, and, in fact, he almost like, you know, wanted everyone to know that was part of his like a lure. RITHOLTZ: So, when the IPO filing in 2019, when — when that blows up, it seems to have a real impact on Silicon Valley for a while. Suddenly, high-spending, fast-growing, profitless companies looked bad, and now we’re back to we want profit growth and revenue, but that really didn’t last all that long, did it? FARRELL: No, it was unbelievable. I mean, we also — Eliot and I joked that we rewrote the epilogue like five times because, at first, we wrote it saying like this is the fallout. RITHOLTZ: Oh, look at the impact, right. FARRELL: Yeah, and it was — I mean, Masayoshi Son had his own mea culpa like, you know, I believe in Adam, I shouldn’t have, I made mistakes. But also, I want my companies to be profitable now … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … like I’m going to invest in these companies or the companies have invested already, they should be profitable. IPO investors, public market investors were totally spooled by money-losing companies. Then — you know, then came the pandemic, then came the Fed pumping money into the system. And then, you know, now, in some ways, it’s like, wow, WeWork always like made — generated revenue and losses. It’s like now today we have Rivian … RITHOLTZ: Right, Rivian and … FARRELL: … pre-revenue … RITHOLTZ: … Lucid and, you know, it’s all potential. Maybe it works out, maybe Amazon buys 100,000 trucks from them, but that’s kind of — that’s a possibility. And, you know, more — more than just the Fed, you had the CARES Act, you had a ton of money flow into the system, but it doesn’t necessarily flow to venture-funded outfits, it’s just a lot of cash sloshing around. Is that — is that a fair statement? FARRELL: Oh, completely. RITHOLTZ: So how quickly were the lessons of WeWork forgotten? FARRELL: Incredibly quickly. I mean, it felt like it had — it like it changed everything for a few months. I mean, the other part of it was Masayoshi Son had — had raised a $100 billion fund, biggest fund ever to invest in tech companies. He was literally about to close his second fund. It was … RITHOLTZ: $108 billion, right? FARRELL: Yeah, another $100 billion fund to just go and like pour into companies. RITHOLTZ: More, right. FARRELL: And then I mean, we’ve heard from all these people who are out meeting sovereign wealth funds, Saudi Arabia, and they were just like every meeting, it was like what about WeWork. And, you know, one of the things we’ve heard was he was pushing for it to just go public, you know, or to — or not to — to not go public because he didn’t want to take the mark. He didn’t want to make … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … all of this public. And we have a scene in the book about this that Masa tries to tell him to call off the IPO and tried to force his hand, and Adam is kind of like … RITHOLTZ: Confuses. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: Right. It’s — it’s — it’s really quite — it’s really quite astounding that we end up with — what did he burn through, $20 billion, $30 billion? FARRELL: More than $10 billion, I think. RITHOLTZ: Wow. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: That — that’s a lot of cash. FARRELL: Towards him essentially. RITHOLTZ: So — so here’s the curveball question to ask you. So, you’re now a business reporter at the Times. WeWork obviously isn’t the only company led by an eccentric leader. What are you reporting on now? What’s the next potential WeWork out there? FARRELL: You know, I’m — I’m just getting started. This is just a couple of weeks in, but — so it’s — I don’t quite know what the next WeWork is. I almost feel like there’s a lot of mini WeWorks out there, whether it’s — you know, the company is in the SPAC market. Some of these unicorns, I mean, there’s so many — so many red flags around these companies like I was saying before like if founders taking money out very early and, you know, investors are not really caring and just wanting to get into them, getting these massive packages — pay packages, compensation. So, I think there’s — there’s so many different places to look. I don’t get the sense that there’s one company now that’s sort of — of size of Adam Neumann. I think there are just a lot of many ones. I mean, he was a pretty like captivating and just insane in so many — larger than life in so many ways. But I have no doubt we’re going to find one of them fairly soon. There’ll be more. RITHOLTZ: And — and what do you think the future holds for Adam Neumann himself? He — we — we have to talk about the golden parachute, so not only does SoftBank refinance a couple hundred million dollars in loans that he has outstanding, they give him $183 million package and essentially purchased $1 billion of his stock, so he leaves WeWork as a billionaire. FARRELL: Yeah, it was — I mean, it was just an incredible thing. And I mean, then he got this pay package that they agreed to as part of the bailout. I mean, WeWork, once the IPO was called off, was on the verge of bankruptcy. They were going to run out of money in a couple of months so they had to do this very quickly. They were laid off thousands upon thousands of people. But basically, as part of the negotiations to get Adam Neumann to give up his super voting shares, these potent shares that would have let him continue to keep control of the company to do that, they struck this pay package. And I mean, it’s kind of interesting when we talk about the power founders right now that it wasn’t a wakeup call for Silicon Valley to be more wary of giving this power to founders, like when you saw the price tag that Adam Neumann extracted the cost of pushing out a founder who’s kind of a disastrous founder at some point. RITHOLTZ: Yeah. I — I remember reading that and thinking Son played it terribly. He could’ve said, “Hey, listen, I got $100 billion worth of other investments. If I take a $10 billion write-down, it’ll hurt, but I still have plenty of other money. If this goes belly up, you’re broke, you’re a disaster except I’ll give you $50 million or else you’re just impoverished. Good luck finding the lawsuits for the rest of your life.” That would have been the play, but he didn’t — I guess, it was the other second fund he didn’t want to put at risk. Why — why didn’t he hardball Neumann because I thought Son had all the leverage in that negotiation? FARRELL: That was one of the — like the enduring mysteries, I think, of this whole story because all the things you said are right, plus Adam had taken out so much money in terms. He had so much lent against his stock at $47 billion. I mean … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … J.P. Morgan, UBS, Credit Suisse, they have lent him hundreds of millions of dollars, and he would have gotten to default. He like didn’t necessarily have the liquidity to pay back everything … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … he had borrowed. So, it was — I mean, it’s kind of amazing in terms of his negotiating skills that Masa and SoftBank. It was led by Marcelo Claure who’s now the WeWork Executive Chairman. They blinked first. RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: They gave Adam a lot. And I totally agree with you, one of the things I’ve heard it was just like the interest of time. They just wanted it done $10 billion or whatever. It doesn’t mean that much. They want to just keep on moving, keep on … RITHOLTZ: Right. FARRELL: … spending, not distract too much and just get this done, but it’s crazy. I mean, the … RITHOLTZ: So … FARRELL: … the time value of money … RITHOLTZ: … could be the greatest golden parachute in the history of corporate America. I mean, I — I’m hard pressed to think of anybody who, on the way out of a — a failing company, and it was a failing company at that moment, squeeze more money out of — out of their board. FARRELL: And just to say, I mean, Andrew Ross Sorkin at — in this first big interview with Adam that he gave was — I mean, Adam defended it in different ways. I mean, Andrew very much pushed him on like why that was okay and … RITHOLTZ: Very aggressively. FARRELL: Yeah. RITHOLTZ: That was early November. And he was sort of contrite and, you know, a little shifty, but for the most part surprisingly transparent. I was — when I was prepping for this, I watched this and, you know, you could see how he constructs that, you know, reality distortion field. But there was definitely more humility than we have seen previously. I don’t want to say humble, but just closer on that spectrum. Clearly, he wants to have a future in — in business, and he needs to offer a few mea culpas of his own. FARRELL: It does feel like this is the first step on the come back toward … RITHOLTZ: Yeah. FARRELL: … Adam Neumann. RITHOLTZ: I think that’s going to be a pretty big uphill battle. That’s going to be quite the Kilimanjaro to — to — to mount given what a debacle … FARRELL: The interesting thing just so in terms of his next step is I — I agree with you, there’s an uphill battle in terms of maybe getting people to — to give him money, but he now has a lot of money and from … RITHOLTZ: Family office, yeah. FARRELL: Exactly. Anecdotally, it sounds like a lot of people are very happy to take his money. So, to begin, that’s, you know, he’s seeding a lot of things that you — who knows where they’re going to go. RITHOLTZ: Interesting. So, I only have you for a limited amount of time. Let me jump to our favorite questions we ask all of our guests starting with, you spend a lot of time researching and writing during the lockdown. Did you have any time to stream anything on Netflix or Amazon Prime? FARRELL: There — I mean, there’s still a lot of like downtime. I — I probably watched not much. You know, there — there was downtime, and I did have a few shows that were … RITHOLTZ: Give us one or two favorites. FARRELL: … Little Fires Everywhere. I really liked Never Have I Ever. RITHOLTZ: I just started watching the last week, it’s quite charming. FARRELL: Yeah, it’s really good. RITHOLTZ: Anything Mindy Kaling does is quite amusing. FARRELL: She is amazing. Schitt’s Creek, we got through the whole — that was with my favorite pandemic. RITHOLTZ: So, the — the funny thing about that is the first episode, too, were like – it’s like — it’s like succession. You don’t like any of these people. The difference being in Schitt’s Creek, you quickly start to warm up to them and they start to reveal their own path to rehabilitation of — of themselves. FARRELL: It just gets better like ever — and then it’s so devastating at the end. RITHOLTZ: So, it was really great, right? That – that was one of my favorites. Let’s talk about your mentors, who helped shape your career as a business journalist. FARRELL: I guess, my earliest mentor as a journalist, in general, was in college, I’d always thought about journalism, and I got an internship with then, I think, a septuagenarian journalist. He — his name was Gabe Pressman. I grew up in New York. He was an NBC … RITHOLTZ: Sure. FARRELL: … journalist. This is sort of the political head honcho of local journalism. I worked for him for a summer. He was in his, I think, late 70s. And he was just the most energetic, passionate journalist I’ve ever met. He was still like chasing after mayors, grilling them. It was — with the Senate race it was Hillary in the Senate race. And it was like the most fun summer I’ve ever had and seeing his energy. And — and he — he passed away a few years ago, but literally, he started blogging into his 90s. And he would joke. He would say, “You know, my wife really wants me to like take a step back and work and teach at Columbia Journalism School,” where he had gone. And he was like, “I’m just not ready like, at some point, like scale back, and he never really did. So, he — I would say he was my first mentor. Just seeing like that, it is the most fun job in the world. He just was seeing that day in and day out. RITHOLTZ: Let’s talk about books. What are some of your favorites and — and what are you reading right now? FARRELL: Sure. I’ll start, you know, I always wish I read more fiction, but it’s like I always get pulled in, especially the business, genre. RITHOLTZ: Sure. FARRELL: So right at this minute, I’m reading “Trillions” by Robbin Wigglesworth. It’s really good. It’s about like index funds, sort of I’m learning a lot from it, the rise of Vanguard. RITHOLTZ: He was my guest last week just so you know … FARRELL: Oh, awesome. RITHOLTZ: … or two weeks ago. FARRELL: I’m midway through, but I’m, yeah, learning … RITHOLTZ: Really interesting. FARRELL: … a ton from it. I just read Anderson Cooper’s book about the Vanderbilts. It’s — I thought it was really great and it’s so interesting. You know, he talks — it starts like the Gilded Age. And you just see so many like eerie and kind of parallels between our age right now and just like the level of like wealth creation and what it leads to. So, I really enjoyed that. I read — this is a little bit dated, but “Say Nothing” by Patrick Radden Keefe. It’s about the troubles in Northern Ireland. It is — I mean, it’s — it’s very sad, but I — and it’s pretty long, and I just could not put it down. It’s … RITHOLTZ: Really? FARRELL: … so great. Yeah, I can’t recommend that one highly enough. RITHOLTZ: Quite, quite interesting. What sort of advice would you give to a recent college grad who was interested in a career in either journalism or — or business? FARRELL: In terms of journalism, I would just say jump in. I mean, it’s such a — as opposed to business, I felt like when I graduated from college, you know, so many people had jobs that they were going to make, you know, a decent amount of money. And with the journalism, you just have to find your way in and a lot of its internships. And it just — the path is hard. There’s no straight line. So, I would just say for journalism, it really helps to just jump into the first job you can get. Work really hard in it. And you just always have to keep — there’s no straight line, but jump and learn from it, meet people, find your mentors everywhere you go, and just keep going. You learn so much on the job. I went to Journalism School at Columbia. It was a super fun year, but it’s like within two days of working as a journalist, you just learn so much you can never learn in school. RITHOLTZ: And our final question, what do you know about the world of IPOs, capital market, business journalism today that you didn’t know 15, 20 years ago when you were first starting out? FARRELL: Okay. What I think have learned and probably the most in writing this book is you think people are rational players, and you think that titans of business are supposed to behave in sort of a rational way, and that these, you know, these checkmarks, these — like a T. Rowe Price or something or Fidelity that they’re going to do a certain amount of work looking at things. And I think the level of irrationality in business of just relationships of people, sort of not necessarily making rational decisions and just going with their gut and going with the people they like, I think, are cool like that that overrides a lot of things. I think it’s just so much less rational than you think it would be. And sometimes the things that are on their face seem really crazy and insane, maybe are. RITHOLTZ: Quite, quite fascinating. We have been speaking with Maureen Farrell. She is the co-author of “The Cult of We: WeWork, Adam Neumann, and the Great Startup Delusion.” If you enjoyed this conversation, well, be sure to check out any of our previous 400 interviews. You can find those at iTunes, Spotify, wherever your podcasts from. We love your comments, feedback, and suggestions. Write to us at mibpodcast@bloomberg.net. Follow me on Twitter @ritholtz. You can sign up for my daily reads at ritholtz.com. I would be remiss if I did not thank the team that helps put together these conversations each week. Charlie Vollmer is my Audio Engineer. Atika Valbrun is our Project Manager. Michael Batnick is my Director of Research. Paris Wald is my Producer. I’m Barry Ritholtz. You’ve been listening to Masters in Business on Bloomberg Radio.   ~~~   The post Transcript: Maureen Farrell appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureDec 15th, 2021

The 20 best bridal shower gifts, from a fun instant camera to a cooking class for two

Celebrate their upcoming nuptials with these thoughtful and unique bridal shower gifts, including a personalized charcuterie board and luxe cookware. Prices are accurate at the time of publication.When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Gorkem Yorulmaz/Getty Images A bridal shower is a party to celebrate the bride before the couple's wedding. Bridal shower gifts are usually small but meaningful tokens for the couple's new life together. From home goods to wedding accessories, check out these 20 thoughtful bridal shower gifts. Still looking for a gift? Check out our list of the All-Time Best products we've ever tested. Getting married is an exciting time not only for the couple, but also for their friends and family. A bridal shower is typically held to celebrate the momentous occasion coming up and, although it's held in the bride's honor, bridal shower gifts are meant to help shepherd the lovebirds into their new life stage. That means wedding keepsakes, charismatic home items, and experience gifts that will bond the couple all successfully highlight their marital status. When it comes to bridal shower gifts, thrill the bride and the groom (or the other bride) with something neither will forget.Here are the 20 best bridal shower gifts:A set of mix-and-match dinnerwareFood52Casafina Modern Classic Ceramic Dinnerware & Serveware, available at Food52, from $52The classic wedding gift of dishware offers a fresh start to their next life chapter with new dinnerware that's beautifully crafted and a necessary home good. Mix and match these charming pastel dishes for a picturesque meal.An instant film camera to capture every momentBest BuyFujifilm Instax Mini 11, available at Best Buy, $69.99This Fujifilm camera instantly captures exciting wedding moments and splendid memories, both before and after. The Instax Mini 11 comes with an automatic exposure function and a selfie mode that shows off any great angle.A geometric print throw blanket to keep warmBrooklinenBrooklinen x Pendleton Paths Blanket, available at Brooklinen, $330.65 This striking blanket may be a more costly bridal shower gift, but this collab from two iconic brands makes an impact. This Brooklinen and Pendelton throw features warm, vibrant geometric prints inspired by traditional hand-sewn quilts and cityscapes.A pair of ultra-soft shearling slippersTkeesInes Shearling, available at Tkees, $150The Ines Shearling slippers are as pretty as they are comfortable, making them the perfect pair for getting ready on the big day. These are the go-to soft slides for the big day that she can slip on with ease. You can find our best slippers review here.A romantic silk slip for nights at homeFree PeopleNext Step Slip, available at Free People, $59.95This lovely lingerie is irresistible thanks to the way it romantically frames a silhouette. Her wedding night can't go wrong with this silky slip. You can find our best lingerie review here.A digital picture frame to remember each momentAura FramesCarver Digital Frame, available at Aura Frames, $159Rather than a simple photo frame, update the gift to a digital photo frame that continually displays each treasured memory with its unlimited storage. This innovative frame presents a slideshow of landscape photos and pairs two portraits side-by-side.A luxe dutch oven for home cooksLe CreusetRound Dutch Oven, available at Le Creuset, from $230A Le Creuset dutch oven is the cream of the crop when it comes to wedding gifts — it's an unbeatable, high-quality kitchen appliance coveted by home cooks everywhere and just exudes elegance. Available in various dreamy colors, this popular dutch oven is great for slow cooking, braising, baking, and more. You can find our best dutch oven review here.A journal to write down their love storyUncommon GoodsThe Story of Us, available at Uncommon Goods, $35Starting with the day they met, the bride can write down their entire love story with this thoughtful gift. The fill-in journal includes prompts and photo corners to keep your special memories together alive forever.A milk frother for Sunday breakfast at homeAmazonAphse Milk Foamer, available at Amazon, $15.99This powerful milk frother whips up a creamy base or topping for your coffee that makes it taste more delicious with a professional finish. A fitness tracker to maintain a healthy lifestyleBest BuyFitbit Versa 3 Health & Fitness Smartwatch, available at Best Buy, $179.95The Fitbit Versa 3 makes sure she's accomplishing her pre-wedding fitness goals and feeling her best self in the most productive way possible. The smartwatch features fitness tracking components, Amazon Alexa voice control, and a touch display for notifications and apps. You can find our best Fitbit trackers review here.A virtual pasta cooking class for twoNonna LiveVirtual Pasta Making Experience with Nonna, available at Nonna Live, $49Surprise the happy couple with an entertaining bonding activity like a virtual cooking class taught by Italian nonnas (that's a grandma, y'all). They can learn from scratch how to make delicious homemade pasta and have an unforgettable experience. Modern recipes for the recently married coupleBarnes & Noble"The Newlywed Table: A Cookbook to Start Your Life Together" by Maria Zizka, available at Barnes & Noble, $29.95With forever to spend together, this newlywed cookbook features over 100 recipes of both classic and modern dishes that teach any couple to function as a team in the kitchen. The couple can put in the work together to make modern recipes filled with love. Festive candles to set the moodHomesick CandlesJust Married and Let's Toast Candles, available at Homesick Candles, $34This adorable keepsake candle emblazoned with "Just Married" on the front already feels celebratory, and as an added bonus, the smell features crisp notes of champagne. A rustic cake standAnthropologieGlenna Cake Stand, available at Anthropologie, from $58If anyone in the couple loves baking, they'll appreciate this stand's vintage charm. Plus, it can act as a keepsake to pass to their own children. A coffee machine to brew any beverageAmazonNinja Hot and Cold Brew System, available at Amazon, $159.99A high-quality coffee maker is something that will help the couple get through late-night wedding planning, early morning venue prospects, and every day of the rest of their lives. We love this versatile coffee maker as it brews various brew sizes along with specialty and classic drinks. You can find our best coffee makers review here.An elegant smartwatch that looks timelessFossilHybrid Smartwatch Carlie Rose Gold, available at Fossil, $175The bride probably already has an abundance of wedding day jewelry, but this watch is different. The Fossil hybrid smartwatch has an elegant design that can track your activities, display notifications, and more. You can find our best smart jewelry review here.A personalized glassware pairUncommon GoodsPersonalized Tree Trunk Glassware Duo, available at Uncommon Goods, $85These personalized, hand-engraved glasses show that opposites do attract with a wine and pilsner glassware duo. Also available in separate wine and pilsner duos, these glasses mark their romance with their initials and iconic date. A smart indoor herb gardenAmazonClick and Grow Smart Herb Garden, available at Amazon, $96.95Instead of an outdoor garden, the lovebirds can grow their own fresh herbs and vegetables indoors. Grow anything you like with over 50 pre-seeded plant pods from thyme to wild strawberries.A monogram charcuterie boardUncommon GoodsMonogram Cheese and Crackers Serving Board, available at Uncommon Goods, $85This monogram charcuterie board is not to be overlooked as a bridal shower gift. It's as elegant as it is unique for a signature dining piece. A gold cake serving set with a personalized touchThings RememberedChampagne Gold Cake Serving Set, available at Things Remembered, $42 What better way to celebrate their love in a sweet way than with this stunning cake serving set. The gold set can be engraved with a name, date, or short message for the lovebirds. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 13th, 2021

Saudi Arabia Faces Accusations of ‘Sportswashing.’ For Young Saudis, It’s a Chance to Enjoy New Freedoms

Standing in a luxury spectator stand on Saturday night, Abdullah Sarhan stared down at the newest track on the Formula 1 series, as the world’s top race-car drivers roared past in a blur, during this past weekend’s Grand Prix event. His amazement was not the race itself. It was where it was happening: His home… Standing in a luxury spectator stand on Saturday night, Abdullah Sarhan stared down at the newest track on the Formula 1 series, as the world’s top race-car drivers roared past in a blur, during this past weekend’s Grand Prix event. His amazement was not the race itself. It was where it was happening: His home town of Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. “For years, if we wanted to see something like this, we had to travel,” said Sarhan, a 29-year-old with long curly hair, wearing jeans and T-shirt, who works for his family’s hotel company in the Red Sea coastal city. “Now it’s happening five minutes from my house.” [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] The sense of the world opening up has—at least for many Saudis—injected a palpable excitement and a giddy sense of newness. In numerous interviews with TIME in the kingdom over the past week, young Saudis—nearly 70% of Saudi Arabia’s 34.8 million is younger than 35—said that their lives had markedly changed during the past three years, and that they were thrilled they could finally cut loose, after decades of cultural isolation and suffocating religiosity. To anyone visiting Saudi Arabia after a long absence, as TIME’s correspondent did last week after four years, the change is evident. Rules forbidding women to travel without a male relative’s permission, to work in public-facing jobs, to leave their heads uncovered—and most famously, to drive—have been scrapped in the past three years. Religious police, who until 2018 detained women for violating dress codes, have vanished from the streets. Now, women with long flowing hair, some tinted pink or blue, fill the crowds at mass events like last weekend’s Formula 1 on Jeddah’s seafront. Even the women’s bathroom sign at the race featured a silhouette of a long-haired woman with bright lipstick. At its first-ever Grand Prix, the kingdom celebrated with fireworks and crowds including top royals and government officials filling the venue to capacity.The race marked a milestone for Saudi Arabia, aligning the kingdom with top-level international competition and, by implication, cementing its perceived acceptability on the world stage. It is that second prospect that has drawn fire from human rights groups in recent weeks, in the run-up to the Grand Prix. They accuse the titular Saudi ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman, or MBS as he is universally known, of “sportswashing,” using Saudi Arabia’s vast oil wealth to buy its way into the biggest sporting events, and so gloss over mounting human-rights violations. The country reportedly spent about $900 million to secure 10-year hosting rights for Formula 1 and in November, its Olympic Committee announced it would spend $694 million creating about 90 sports federations, training athletes from scratch to be world champions, much as China did decades ago. Lars Baron/Getty ImagesJEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – DECEMBER 05: Fans show their support from the stands during the F1 Grand Prix of Saudi Arabia at Jeddah Corniche Circuit on December 05, 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. All this is part of a carefully crafted strategy, micromanaged by MBS, who was given effective power by his father, King Salman, in 2017, when he was just 31. Named “Vision 2030,” MBS’s plan is geared toward ending almost 90 years of near-total dependence on vast oil reserves. By diversifying the economy and opening up to foreign investment and tourism with attractions such as big sporting events, the goal is to provide jobs for the new, wired generation. But human rights activists and others detect another, unstated goal too: Keeping that generation compliant, and even content, under an autocratic monarchy, despite little prospect of Western-style democracy. Few areas crystallize that social contract quite so starkly as professional sports. The vast sums that the Saudis are investing are fueling an unstoppable momentum, on which efforts to raise awareness of sportswashing or force boycotts have had little impact. In October, the government’s Public Investment Fund, of which MBS is chairman, snapped up Newcastle United soccer club for $409 million, giving it a toehold into the U.K.’s powerful Premier League. Even before then, Saudi Arabia had spent about $1.5 billion in recent years on investments in a wide range of professional sports, from boxing to chess, according to a March report by the British human rights group Grant Liberty. Earlier this month, Human Rights Watch called the Saudi government’s giant sports investments, including in golf and soccer, “well-funded efforts to whitewash its image, despite a significant increase in repression over the last few years.” The claim of sportswashing has little resonance among many Saudis, who believe that they finally have opportunities long enjoyed by the rest of the world. “The country was closed off from the world,” Reema Juffali, 29, Saudi Arabia’s first female professional race-car driver, told TIME on Sunday, on the side of the race track. “Now it is changing, and they should support us wanting to.” Human-rights observers strongly disagree, seeing in events like Formula 1 the endorsement of a repressive regime. They point to the country’s arrest of critics, the execution of nonviolent offenders, the heavy air bombardment of Houthi rebels in Yemen, and the use of flogging as punishment for homosexuality, which remains a crime in Saudi Arabia. Most shocking of all was the horrific killing and dismemberment in October, 2018 of Washington Post columnist Jamal Khashoggi, of which MBS has denied he had prior knowledge. A CIA report last February concluded that MBS, with his “absolute control” over Saudi intelligence services, very likely approved the operation. Yet three years on, foreign investors—many flying into Jeddah to attend the Formula 1 event—are back in force. On Saturday, as the qualifying races got underway, French President Emmanuel Macron wrapped up a tour of the Gulf region with a visit toJeddah accompanied by a large contingent of French businesses. While Macron met with MBS, the French companies including BNP Paribas, Sanofi and EDF Renewables, signed 27 deals with Saudi companies. Macron was one of the first Western leaders to meet the Crown Prince since Khashoggi’s killing. U.S. President Joe Biden has refused to do so. All that made last weekend’s Formula 1 race an important moment in Saudi Arabia’s rehabilitation, in spite of criticism by observers like Human Rights Watch. “Everyone is entitled to their opinion,” says Juffali, the female racing driver. ”But I think people have to come here and see it for themselves.” While countless Saudis have embraced the flashy sporting events with huge enthusiasm, there is little sign that they are considering the moral questions or whether sports are being used as a political tool. “I’ve spent a lot of time in the [Persian] Gulf, and I’ve never once heard anyone talk about sportswashing,” says Simon Chadwick, director of the Center for Eurasian Sport at the Emlyon Business School in Paris. “If you sit in Qatar, you sit in Saudi Arabia, it is nation building, it is soft power,” he says. “Sportswashing is in the eye of the beholder.” Saudi Arabia is not the only rich authoritarian state to spend lavishly on sports, or to face accusations of sportswashing because of it. The mammoth multibillion-dollar global sports industry, which has benefited from the perception of being an apolitical crowd-pleaser, is increasingly becoming entangled in issues of human rights, corruption, and personal agency. On Monday, U.S. officials announced they would not send a diplomatic delegation to the Beijing winter Olympic Games in February. That is in response to China’s brutal repression of the Uighur Muslims in the western province of Xinjiang, and its crackdown on protesters in Hong Kong. Great Britain, Canada and Australia also announced diplomatic boycotts of the Beijing Olympics. There are calls to boycott the 2022 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament next November in Qatar in protest against the wealthy Gulf state’s human rights record, following the deaths of dozens of migrant construction workers. Qatar, like Saudi Arabia, also outlaws homosexuality. The country has spent about $200 billion creating a vast infrastructure for the tournament, and it is reportedly paying about $500 million for the Premier League’s broadcast rights in the Middle East and North Africa—again drawing fury from human-rights observers. As the controversy raged over the Jeddah car races, the world’s top race-car driver Lewis Hamilton wore a rainbow Pride crash helmet in Jeddah to support gay rights, which he first donned the previous week at the Qatar Formula 1 race; Hamilton won the Saudi Grand Prix in a chaotic final race on Sunday night, putting him one step closer to winning a record eight Formula 1 titles. Cristiano Barni/ATPImages—Getty ImagesJEDDAH, SAUDI ARABIA – DECEMBER 05: Lewis Hamilton (GBR) Mercedes AMG F1 Team, Mercedes-AMG F1 W12 E Performance in the final stage of the race during the Grand Prix Formula One of Saudi Arabia on December 05, 2021 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. Yet even as more countries face accusations of sportswashing it is clear that for many citizens, the issue is often complex. In Saudi Arabia, for example MBS has maintained an authoritarian regime while allowing Saudis a markedly more relaxed personal lifestyle than they have enjoyed for decades—a two-pronged strategy that has helped toto consolidate his power. The explosion of professional sports is closely interwoven with aspects of youth culture, giving Saudis the sense that, although they cannot elect their leaders or march in protests like their contemporaries in the U.S. or Europe, they can now enjoy the same culture as them. In a country where live music had been banned for decades until 2018, thousands of young Saudis partied until 2.30 a.m. at Formula 1 on Saturday and Sunday at blowout post-race concerts by Justin Bieber, and DJ megastars David Guetta and Tiësto. During breaks between races, giant monitors along the track screened other music, with women gyrating behind DJs in skintight, hot-pink sequined bodysuits. Until 2018, movie theaters were also banned in Saudi Arabia, deemed to violate Islamic strictures. Now, there are multiplexes across Riyadh and Jeddah packing theaters with movies like The House of Gucci. In the capital Riyadh, more than two million people have visited a giant entertainment zone called Riyadh Season over its six-week run, where they can catch nightly music or dance performances, go rock-climbing, or whizz down the world’s longest slide. Wang Haizhou/Xinhua—Getty ImagesPhoto taken on Nov. 6, 2021 shows a view of the winter wonderland in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. Riyadh winter wonderland is one of the entertainment zones of Riyadh Season 2021, which will continue until March 2022, with the aim of attracting a diverse audience with more than 7,000 events. “Everything is different,” says Salma Sultan, 37, describing her life over the past three years. A Riyadh mother of a six-year-old, separated from her husband, she learned to drive after the ban on women driving was lifted in 2018, and now supplements her civil-service pay by driving for a ride-share company on her off-hours. “I am finally independent,” she says. While the revamped regime has enabled Sultan to make a modest living for herself, at the much higher end of the economic spectrum, it has also allowed the generously-funded new Saudi sports industry to flourish. Outside Riyadh, a permanent Formula 1 racetrack is being built within the sprawling Qiddiya entertainment and sports city, which is being built by the amusement-park giant Six Flags. There is a separate Formula E track for electric race cars, in Riyadh’s restored historic area of Diriyah, with a race scheduled for February. Sports organizations play a role in the dynamics that are playing out in countries like Saudi Arabia, say some observers who have tracked the industry for years. Bidding wars for sports clubs and hosting deals for events like the Olympics, Formula 1, and the FIFA soccer World Cup have increasingly attracted—and been won by—rich, state-dominated countries, like Russia, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. Paris Saint-Germain, one of Europe’s wealthiest soccer clubs, is able to pay its superstar players Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Neymar small fortunes partly because it is owned by Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund. Formula 1, often associated with glamor and celebrity-studded crowds, attracts dizzying sums and its Paris-based international federation, known as the FIA, has signed increasingly large hosting contracts. “The sport faces some huge challenges if it wants to preserve its reputation and not be known as a money-grabbing plutocracy,” wrote a Formula 1 analyst last year, when Saudi Arabia negotiated its hosting contract. From the stands high above the race track in Jeddah last weekend, racing fan Sarhan did not see a plutocracy. What he saw was young Saudis like himself being able to enjoy themselves in a way they weren’t able to before 2018. Looking around the Formula 1 luxury stand, at young people laughing and sipping sodas, he dismissed the idea of sportswashing and embraced what he sees as new freedoms. “You would never see this before,” he said. The crown prince’s ambitious plans for the kingdom indicate that young Saudis like Sarhan will see more evenings like it. —With reporting by Sean Gregory.....»»

Category: topSource: timeDec 12th, 2021

Futures Jump In Volatile Session Dragged By Latest Twists In Omicron Saga

Futures Jump In Volatile Session Dragged By Latest Twists In Omicron Saga Much of the overnight session was a snooze fest with stocks drifting first higher then lower after surging on Tuesday, as the narrative meandered from "omicron fears ease" optimism to "vaccines won't work" pessimism, before futures took a sudden leg lower, dropping into the red just after 530am ET, following news that UK's Boris Johnson would introduce new restrictions in England to curb Omicron spread, sparking fears that Omicron is more dangerous that expected (and than futures reflected). However, this episode of pessimism proved short-lived because just an hour later, the WSJ confirmed that Omicron is really just a pitch for covid booster shots when it reported that even though the covid vaccine loses significant effectiveness against Omicron in an early study, this is miraculously reversed with a booster shot as three doses of the vaccine were able to neutralize the variant in an initial laboratory study, and the companies said two doses may still protect against severe disease. Futures quickly shot up on the news, spiking above the gamma "all clear" level of 4,700 in a move best summarized with the following chart. And so, after going nowhere, S&P futures climbed for a third day, last seen 12 points, or 0.3% higher, just around 4,700 after rising the most since March on Tuesday. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index rose following the biggest jump in more than a year. In addition to the omicron soap opera, which as we noted yesterday turns out was just one staged covid booster shot advertisement (because Pfizer and Moderna can always do with a bigger yacth), sentiment was also lifted by Chinese authorities' reversal to "easing mode" and aggressive efforts to limit the fallout from property market woes which lifted risk assets in Asia even as key debt deadlines at China Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. passed without any sign of payment. "Clearly in the very short term uncertainty has risen over the Omicron virus... but overall at this stage we do not believe it will derail the macro picture in the medium-term," said Jeremy Gatto, multi-asset portfolio manager at Unigestion. Treasury yields were little changed after rising across the curve Tuesday. The VIX spiked first on the FT news, then dropped back into the red, while the dollar was flat and crude rose after turning red. Besides macro, micro was also in play and here are some other notable premarket movers Apple (AAPL US) ticks 1% higher in premarket trading following a Nikkei report that the tech giant told suppliers to speed up iPhone output for Nov.-Jan, citing people it didn’t identify. Amazon.com (AMZN US) shares in focus after an Amazon Web Services outage is wreaking havoc on the e-commerce giant’s delivery operation Stitch Fix (SFIX US) tumbles 25% in U.S. premarket trading after a 2Q forecast miss that analysts called “surprising,” while customer additions also disappointed Pfizer (PFE US) shares drop 2% in U.S. premarket trading after an early study showed that the company’s vaccine provides less immunity to the omicron variant Dare Bioscience (DARE US) soars 41% in premarket trading after Xaciato gets FDA approval for treating bacterial vaginosis EPAM Systems (EPAM US) soars 8% in premarket after S&P Dow Jones Indices said co. will replace Kansas City Southern in the S&P 500 effective prior to the opening of trading on Dec. 14 Goodyear Tire & Rubber (GT US) upgraded to buy from hold and target boosted to Street-high $32 from $29 at Deutsche Bank with the company seen as a major beneficiary from the shift to electric vehicles. Shares up 4.3% in premarket trading NXP Semiconductor (NXPI US) shares slide 2.2% in U.S. premarket trading after the chipmaker got a new sell rating at UBS Dave & Buster’s (PLAY US) gained 3.5% postmarket after the dining and entertainment company reported EPS that beat the average analyst estimate and authorized a $100 million share buyback program "Every day that passes without a wave of severe cases driven by Omicron is offering more hope that this won't be the curveball to throw the recovery off course," wrote Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid in a note to clients. In Europe, the Stoxx Europe 600 Index initially drifted both higher and lower then bounced 0.3% on the favorable Pfizer and BioNTech news one day after posting its bigger surge in a year. European benchmark index earlier rose as much as 2%, dropped 2.1%. Health care sub-index leads gains, rising 1.2%, followed by travel stocks. The Stoxx 600 closed 2.5% higher on Tuesday, biggest gain since November 2020 Earlier in the session, Asia stocks also rose for a second day as concerns about the omicron variant and China’s economic slowdown eased. The MSCI AsiaPacific Index climbed as much as 0.9% after capping its biggest one-day gain in more than three months on Tuesday. Technology and health-care shares provided the biggest boosts. Benchmarks in New Zealand and India -- where the central bank held rates at a record low -- were among the day’s best performers. “The biggest point appealing to investors is that the Omicron variant doesn’t seem to be too fatal,” which is encouraging to those who had been going short to close out their positions, said Tomoichiro Kubota, a senior market analyst at Matsui Securities in Tokyo. “Worry that the Chinese economy will lose its growth momentum has subsided quite a bit.” Thus far, Omicron cases haven’t overwhelmed hospitals while vaccine developments indicate some promise in dealing with the variant. While vaccines like the one made by Pfizer and BioNTech SE may be less powerful against the new strain, protection can be fortified with boosters. The two-day rally in the Asian stock benchmark marks a sharp turnaround following weeks of declines since mid-November. Stocks in China also climbed for a second day. The nation’s central bank said Monday it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost and helping restore investor confidence In FX, news on the Omicron variant rippled through G-10 currencies after a report the Pfizer vaccine could neutralize the Omicron variant boosted risk appetite. The pound underperformed other Group-of-10 peers, extending declines after reports that the U.K. government is poised to introduce new Covid-19 restrictions.  A gauge of the dollar’s strength fluctuated as Treasuries pare gains and stocks rally after a report that said Pfizer and BioNTech claim three vaccine doses neutralize the omicron variant. EUR/USD rose 0.1% to 1.1277; USD/NOK falls as much as 0.8% to 8.9459, lowest since Nov. 25 Sterling fell against the euro and the dollar, as traders pare bets on the path of Bank of England rate hikes following reports that the U.K. could introduce fresh Covid-19 restrictions such as working from home and vaccine passports for large venues. Money markets pare rate hike bets, with just six basis points of interest rate hikes priced in for the BOE meeting next week. GBP/USD falls as much as 0.6% to 1.3163, testing the key level of 1.3165, the 38.2% Fibonacci retracement of gains since March 2020. EUR/GBP gains as much as 0.7% to 0.85695, the highest since Nov. 11. “The market will probably see this as more U.K. specific and therefore an issue for the pound at least in the short term,” said Stuart Bennett, FX strategist at Santander. In rates, Treasuries were mixed with markets reacting in a risk-on manner to the Dow Jones report that Pfizer and BioNTech claim three vaccine doses neutralize the omicron variant. Yields remain richer by less than 1bp across long-end of the curve while front-end trades cheaper on the day, flattening curve spreads. Session’s focal points include $36b 10-year note reopening at 1pm ET, following Tuesday’s strong 3-year note auction. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.475%, near flat on the day; gilts outperform slightly after Financial Times report that further Covid restrictions will be announced imminently to curb the variant’s spread. U.S. 2-year yields were cheaper by 1bp on the day, rose to new 2021 high following Pfizer vaccine report; 2s10s spread erased a flattening move In commodities, crude futures turned red, WTI falling 0.8%, popping back below $72. Spot gold holds Asia’s modest gains, adding $8 to trade near $1,792/oz. Looking at the day ahead, and Olaf Scholz is expected to become German Chancellor in a Bundestag vote today. From central banks, the Bank of Canada will be deciding on rates, and we’ll also hear from ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Schnabel. Finally, data releases include the JOLTS job openings from the US for October. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,693.75 STOXX Europe 600 little changed at 480.55 MXAP up 0.7% to 194.84 MXAPJ up 0.6% to 632.78 Nikkei up 1.4% to 28,860.62 Topix up 0.6% to 2,002.24 Hang Seng Index little changed at 23,996.87 Shanghai Composite up 1.2% to 3,637.57 Sensex up 1.8% to 58,654.25 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 1.3% to 7,405.45 Kospi up 0.3% to 3,001.80 Brent Futures down 0.5% to $75.04/bbl Gold spot up 0.3% to $1,790.33 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 96.20 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.38% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1286 Brent Futures down 0.5% to $75.04/bbl Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The omicron variant of Covid-19 must inflict significant damage on the euro-area economy for European Central Bank Governing Council member Martins Kazaks to back additional stimulus “The current phase of higher inflation could last longer than expected only some months ago,” ECB vice president Luis de Guindos says at event The earliest studies on omicron are in and the glimpse they’re providing is cautiously optimistic: while vaccines like the one made by Pfizer Inc. and BioNTech SE may be less powerful against the new variant, protection can be fortified with boosters U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson is set to announce new Covid-19 restrictions in England, known as “Plan B,” to stop the spread of the Omicron variant, the Financial Times reported, citing three senior Whitehall officials familiar with the matter. French economic activity will continue to rise in December, despite another wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and fresh uncertainty over the omicron variant, according the Bank of France The Kingdom of Denmark will sell a sovereign green bond for the first time next month to help the Nordic nation meet one of the world’s most ambitious climate targets Tom Hayes, the former UBS Group AG and Citigroup Inc. trader who became the face of the sprawling Libor scandal, has lost his bid to appeal his U.K. criminal conviction Poland is poised for a hefty increase in interest rates after a spike in inflation to a two- decade high convinced central bankers that spiraling price growth isn’t transitory. Of 32 economists surveyed by Bloomberg, 20 expect a 50 basis-point hike to 1.75% today and 10 see the rate rising to 2%. The other two expect a 25 basis-point increase Australia is weighing plans for a central bank-issued digital currency alongside the regulation of the crypto market as it seeks to overhaul how the nation’s consumers and businesses pay for goods and services Bank of Japan Deputy Governor Masayoshi Amamiya dropped a strong hint that big firms are in less need of funding support, a comment that will likely fuel speculation the BOJ will scale back its pandemic buying of corporate bonds and commercial paper A detailed summary of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded positively as the region took impetus from the global risk momentum following the tech-led rally in the US, where Apple shares rose to a record high and amid increased optimism that Omicron could be less dangerous than prior variants. This was after early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID and NIH's Fauci also suggested that Omicron was 'almost certainly' not more severe than Delta, although there were some slight headwinds in late Wall Street trade after a small study pointed to reduced vaccine efficacy against the new variant. The ASX 200 (+1.3%) was underpinned in which tech led the broad gains across sectors as it found inspiration from the outperformance of big tech stateside, and with energy bolstered by the recent rebound in underlying oil prices. The Nikkei 225 (+1.4%) conformed to the upbeat mood although further advances were capped after USD/JPY eased off the prior day’s highs and following a wider-than-expected contraction to the economy with the final annualised Q3 GDP at -3.6% vs exp. -3.1%. The Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+1.2%) were less decisive and initially lagged behind their peers as sentiment was mired by default concerns due to the failure by Evergrande to pay bondholders in the lapsed 30-day grace period on two USD-denominated bond payments and with Kaisa Group in a trading halt after missing the deadline for USD 400mln in offshore debt which didn’t bode well for its affiliates. Furthermore, China Aoyuan Property Group received over USD 650mln in repayment demands and warned it may not be able to meet debt obligations, while a subdued Hong Kong debut for Weibo shares which declined around 6% from the offer price added to the glum mood for Hong Kong’s blue-chip tech stocks, as did reports that China is to tighten rules for tech companies seeking foreign funding. Finally, 10yr JGBs languished after spillover selling from T-notes and due to the heightened global risk appetite, but with downside stemmed by support at the key psychological 152.00 level and amid the presence of the BoJ in the market today for over JPY 1.0tln of JGBs. Top Asian News China Clean Car Sales Spike as Consumers Embrace Electric Gold Edges Higher as Traders Weigh Vaccine Efficacy, Geopolitics Paint Maker Avia Avian Falls in Debut After $763 Million IPO Tokyo Prepares to Introduce Same-Sex Partnerships Next Year Equities in Europe shifted to a lower configuration after a mixed open (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%; Stoxx 600 -0.1%) as sentiment was dented by rumours of tightening COVID measures in the UK. Markets have been awaiting the next catalyst to latch onto for direction amidst a lack of fresh fundamentals. US equity futures have also been dented but to a lesser extent, with the YM (-0.1%) and ES (Unch) straddling behind the NQ (+0.2%) and RTY (+0.2%). Sources in recent trade suggested an 85% chance of the UK implementing COVID Plan B, according to Times' Dunn; reports indicate such restrictions could be implemented on Thursday, with the potential for an announcement today. In terms of the timings, the UK cabinet is penciled in for 15:45GMT and presser for 17:30GMT on Plan B, according to BBC's Goodall. Note, this will not be a formal lockdown but more so work-from-home guidance, vaccine passports for nightlife and numerical restrictions on indoor/outdoor gatherings. APAC closed in the green across the board following the tech-led rally in the US. The upside overnight was attributed to a continuation of market optimism after early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID, albeit after a small study pointed to reduced vaccine efficacy against the new variant. Participants will be closely watching any updates from the vaccine-makers, with the BioNTech CEO stating the drugmaker has data coming Wednesday or Thursday related to the new COVID-19 variant, thus markets will be eyeing a potential update this week ahead of the Pfizer investor call next Friday. Back to European, the UK’s FTSE 100 (Unch) and the Swiss SMI (+0.8%) are largely buoyed by their defensive stocks, with sectors seeing a defensive formation, albeit to a slightly lesser extent vs the open. Healthcare retains its top spot closely followed by Food & Beverages, although Personal & Household Goods and Telecoms have moved down the ranks. On the flip side, Retail, Banks and Travel & Leisure trade at the bottom of the bunch, whilst Tech nursed some earlier losses after opening as the lagging sector. In terms of individual movers, Nestle (+1.8%) is bolstered after announcing a CHF 20bln share repurchase programme alongside a stake reduction in L'Oreal (+1.0%) to 20.1% from 23.3% - worth some EUR 9bln. L’Oreal has shrugged off the stake sale and conforms to the firm sectoral performance across the Personal & Household Goods. Meanwhile, chip names are under pressure after Nikkei sources reported that Apple (+0.8% pre-market) was forced to scale back the total output target for 2021, with iPhone and iPad assembly halted for several days due to supply chain constraints and restrictions on the use of power in China, multiple sources told Nikkei. STMicroelectronics (-1.7%) and Infineon (-5.0%) are among the losers, with the latter also weighed on by a broker downgrade at JPM. Top European News ECB’s Kazaks Sets High Bar for Omicron-Driven Extra Stimulus Biden Is Left Guessing Over Putin’s Ultimate Aim in Ukraine Byju’s Buys Austria’s GeoGebra to Bolster Online Math Courses Scholz Elected by Parliament to Take Charge as German Chancellor In FX, the Dollar index continues to hold above 96.000, but bounces have become less pronounced and the range so far today is distinctly narrower (96.285-130) in fitting with the generally restrained trade in pairings within the basket and beyond, bar a few exceptions. Price action suggests a relatively muted midweek session unless a major game-changer arrives and Wednesday’s agenda does not bode that well in terms of catalysts aside from JOLTS and the BoC policy meeting before the second leg of this week’s refunding in the form of Usd 36 bn 10 year notes. AUD/EUR - Notwithstanding the largely contained currency moves noted above, the Aussie is maintaining bullish momentum on specific factors including strength in iron ore prices and encouraging Chinese data plus PBoC easing that should have a positive knock-on effect for one of its main trading partners even though diplomatic relations between the two nations are increasingly strained. Aud/Usd has also cleared a couple of technical hurdles on the way up to circa 0.7143 and Aud/Nzd is firmer on the 1.0500 handle ahead of the RBA’s latest chart pack release and a speech by Governor Lowe. Elsewhere, the Euro has regained composure after its sub-1.1250 tumble on Tuesday vs the Buck and dip through 0.8500 against the Pound, but still faces psychological resistance at 1.1300 and the 21 DMA that comes in at 1.1317 today, while Eur/Gbp needs to breach the 100 DMA (0.8513) convincingly or close above to confirm a change in direction for the cross from a chart perspective. CHF/CAD/JPY/GBP/NZD - All sitting tight in relation to their US counterpart, with the Franc paring some declines between 0.9255-30 parameters and the Loonie straddling 1.2650 in the run up to the aforementioned BoC that is widely seen as a non-event given no new MPR or press conference, not to mention the actual changes in QE and rate guidance last time. Nevertheless, implied volatility is quite high via a 63 pip breakeven for Usd/Cad. Meanwhile, Sterling lost grip of the 1.3200 handle amidst swirling speculation about the UK reverting to plan B and more Tory MPs calling for PM Johnson to resign, the Yen is rotating around 113.50 eyeing broad risk sentiment and US Treasury yields in context of spreads to JGBs, and the Kiwi is lagging after touching 0.6800 awaiting independent impetus from NZ manufacturing sales for Q3. SCANDI/EM - The Nok extended its advantage/outperformance against the Sek as Brent rebounded towards Usd 76/brl in early trade and Riksbank’s Jansson retained reservations about flagging a repo rate hike at the end of the forecast horizon, while the Mxn and Rub also initially derived some support from oil with the latter also taking on board latest hawkish talk from the CBR. However, the Cny and Cnh are outpacing their rivals again with some assistance from a firmer PBoC midpoint fix to hit multi-year peaks vs the Usd and probe 6.3500 ahead of option expiry interest at 6.3000 and a Fib retracement at 6.2946, in stark contrast to the Try that is unwinding recent recovery gains with no help from the latest blast from Turkish President Erdogan - see 10.00GMT post in the Headline Feed for more. Conversely, the Czk has taken heed of CNB’s Holub underscoring tightening signals and expectations for the next rate convene and the Pln and Brl are anticipating hikes from the NBP and BCB. In commodities, crude futures have been hit on the prospect of imminent COVID-related measures in the UK, albeit the measures do not involve lockdowns. Brent and WTI front month futures slipped from European highs to breach APAC lows. The former dipped below USD 74.50/bbl from a USD 76.00/bbl European peak while its WTI counterpart tested USD 71.00/bbl from USD 72.50/bbl at best. Overnight the benchmarks traded on either side the USD 75/bbl mark and just under USD 72/bbl after the weekly Private Inventories printed a larger-than-expected draw (-3.6mln vs exp. -3.1mln), albeit the internals were less bullish. Yesterday also saw the release of the EIA STEO, cut its 2021 world oil demand growth forecast by an insignificant 10k BPD but raised the 2022 metric by 200k BPD – with the IEA and OPEC monthly reports poised to be released next week. On the vaccine front, a small preliminary study of 12 people showed a 40x reduction in neutralization capacity of the Pfizer vaccine against Omicron, but early hospitalisation data from South Africa showed the new variant could result in less severe COVID. BioNTech CEO said they have data coming in on Wednesday or Thursday related to the new Omicron variant. The geopolitical space is also worth keeping on the radar, with US President Biden yesterday warning Russian President Putin that gas exports via Nord Stream 2 will be targeted and more troops will be deployed if he orders an invasion of Ukraine. Further, reports suggested, an Indian army helicopter crashed in Tamil Nadu, with Chief of Defence staff reportedly on board, according to Sputnik. Note, Tamil Nadu is located towards the south of the country and away from conflict zones. Elsewhere spot gold was supported by the overnight pullback in the Dollar, but the recent risk aversion took the yellow metal above the 100 DMA around USD 1,790/oz, with nearby upside levels including the 200 DMA (1,792/oz) and the 50 DMA (1,794/oz). Copper prices meanwhile consolidated within a tight range, with LME copper holding onto a USD 9,500/t handle (just about). Dalian iron ore extended on gains in a continuation of the upside seen in recent trade. US Event Calendar 7am: Dec. MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -7.2% 10am: Oct. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 10.5m, prior 10.4m DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that we are currently conducting our special 2022 survey. We ask about rates, equities, bond yields and the path of covid in 2022, amongst other things, and also return to a festive question we asked in 2019, namely your favourite ever Christmas songs. The link is here and it’ll be open until tomorrow. All help filling in very much appreciated. My optimism for life has been shattered this morning. Not from the markets or the virus but just as I woke this morning England cricketers finally surrendered and collapsed in a heap on the first day of the Ashes - one the oldest international rivalries in sport. It was all I could do not to turn round and go back to bed. However out of duty I’m soldering on. After the twins nativity play went without incident yesterday, this morning it’s Maisie’s turn. Given she’s in a wheelchair at the moment she can’t get on stage so they’ve given her a solo singing spot at the start. I’m going so I can bring a bucket for all my wife’s tears as she sings!! If I shed a tear I’ll pretend it’s because of the cricket. The global market rebound continued to gather strength yesterday as investors became increasingly optimistic that the Omicron variant wouldn’t prove as bad as initially feared. To be honest, it was more the absence of bad news rather than any concrete good news helping to drive sentiment. Late in the US session we did see some headlines suggesting that the Pfizer vaccine may provide some defence against Omicron but also that the new variant does evade some of the immunity produced by this vaccine. This report of the small study (12 people!!) from South Africa lacked substance but you could take positives and negatives from it. More information is clearly needed. For the markets though, every day that passes without a wave of severe cases driven by Omicron is offering more hope that this won’t be the curveball to throw the recovery off course. Indeed, to get a sense of the scale of the market rebound, both the S&P 500 and the STOXX 600 in Europe have now clocked in their strongest 2-day performances of 2021 so far, with the indices up by +3.27% and +3.76% respectively since the start of the week. Meanwhile, the VIX fell below 25 for the first time in a week. On the day, the S&P 500 (+2.07%) put in its strongest daily performance since March, whilst the STOXX 600 (+2.45%) saw its strongest daily performance since the news that the Pfizer vaccine was successful in trials back in November 2020. Once again the gains were incredibly broad-based, albeit with cyclical sectors leading the way. The Nasdaq (+3.03%) outperformed the S&P 500 for the first time in a week as tech shares led the rally. Small cap stocks also had a strong day, with the Russell 2000 up +2.28%, on the back of Omicron optimism. This recovery in risk assets was also seen in the bounceback in oil prices, with Brent crude (+3.23%) and WTI (+3.68%) now both up by more than $5.5/bbl since the start of the week, which puts them well on the way to ending a run of 6 consecutive weekly declines. For further evidence of this increased optimism, we can also look at the way that investors have been dialling back up their estimates of future rate hikes from the Fed, with yesterday seeing another push in this direction. Before the Omicron news hit, Fed fund futures were fully pricing in an initial hike by the June meeting, but by the close on the Monday after Thanksgiving they’d moved down those odds to just 61% in June, with an initial hike not fully priced until September. Fast forward just over a week however, and we’re now not only back to pricing in a June hike, but the odds of a May hike are standing at +78.8%, which is actually higher than the +66.1% chance priced before the Omicron news hit. A reminder that we’re just a week away now from the Fed’s next decision, where it’s hotly anticipated they could accelerate the pace at which they’ll taper their asset purchases. With investors bringing forward their bets on monetary tightening, front-end US Treasury yields were hitting post-pandemic highs yesterday, with the 2yr Treasury yield up +5.8bps to 0.69%, a level we haven’t seen since March 2020. Longer-dated yield increases weren’t as large, with the 10yr yield up +3.9bps to 1.47%, and the 5s30s curve flattened another -1.8bps to 54.4bps, just above the post-pandemic low of 53.7bps. Over in Europe there was similarly a rise in most countries’ bond yields, with those on 10yr bunds (+1.4bps), OATs (+1.0bps) and BTPs (+4.4bps) all moving higher, though incidentally, the 5s30s curve in Germany was also down -2.2bps to its own post-pandemic low of 50.0bps. One pretty big news story that markets have been relatively unperturbed by so far is the rising tensions between the US and Russia over Ukraine. Yesterday saw a video call between US President Biden and Russian President Putin. The US readout from the call did not offer much in the way of concrete details, but if you’re looking for any optimistic news, it said that both sides tasked their teams with following up. Setting the background for the call, there were reports immediately beforehand that the US was considering evacuating their citizens and posturing to stop Nord Stream 2 if Russia invaded Ukraine. The Ruble appreciated +0.42% against the dollar, and is now only slightly weaker versus the dollar on the week. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly higher led by the Nikkei (+1.49%), CSI (+1.11%), Shanghai Composite (+0.86%) and the KOSPI (+0.78%) as markets respond positively to the Pfizer study mentioned at the top. The Hang Seng (-0.12%) is lagging though. In Japan, the final Q3 GDP contracted -3.6% quarter on quarter annualised against consensus expectations of -3.1% on lower consumer spending than initially estimated. In India, the RBI left the key policy rate unchanged for the ninth consecutive meeting today while underscoring increasing headwinds from the Omicron variant. Futures markets indicate a positive start in the US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.41%) and DAX (+0.12%) futures trading in the green. Back on the pandemic, despite the relative benign news on Omicron, rising global case counts mean that the direction of travel is still towards tougher restrictions across a range of countries. In fact here in the UK, we saw the 7-day average of reported cases move above 48,000 for the first time since January. In terms of fresh restrictions, yesterday saw Canada announce that they’d be extending their vaccine mandate, which will now require employees in all federally regulated workplaces to be vaccinated, including road transportation, telecommunications and banking. In Sweden, the government is preparing a bill that would see Covid passes introduced for gyms and restaurants, while Poland put further measures in place, including remote schooling from December 20 until January 9, while vaccines would become mandatory for health workers, teachers and uniformed services from March 1. One move to ease restrictions came in Austria, where it was confirmed shops would be reopening on Monday, albeit only for those vaccinated, while restaurants and hotels would reopen the following week. If you see our daily charts you’ll see that cases in Austria have dropped sharply since the peaks a couple of weeks ago, albeit still high internationally. In DC, Congressional leaders apparently agreed to a deal that would ultimately lead to the debt ceiling being increased, after some procedural chicanery. Senate Majority Leader McConnell voiced support for the measure, which is a good sign for its ultimate prospects of passing, but it still needs at least 10 Republican votes in the Senate to pass. McConnell indicated the votes would be there when the Senate ultimately takes it up, which is reportedly set to happen this week. The House passed the measure last night. Yields on Treasury bills maturing in December fell following the headlines. Looking ahead, today will mark the end of an era in Germany, as Olaf Scholz is set to become Chancellor in a Bundestag vote later on, marking an end to Chancellor Merkel’s 16-year tenure. That vote will simply be a formality given the three parties of the incoming coalition (the centre-left SPD, the Greens and the liberal FDP) have a comfortable majority between them, and the new cabinet will feature 7 SPD ministers, 5 Green ministers, and 4 from the FDP. Among the positions will include Green co-leader Robert Habeck as Vice Chancellor, Green co-leader Annalena Baerbock as foreign minister, and FDP leader Christian Lindner as finance minister. Running through yesterday’s data, the US trade deficit narrowed to $67.1bn in October (vs. $66.8bn expected), marking its smallest level since April. Meanwhile in the Euro Area, the latest Q3 growth estimate was left unchanged at +2.2%, but both Q1 and Q2’s growth was revised up a tenth. Over in Germany, industrial production grew by a stronger-than-expected +2.8% in October (vs. +1.0% expected), with the previous month’s contraction also revised to show a smaller -0.5% decline. In addition, the expectations component of the December ZEW survey fell by less than expected to 29.9 (vs. 25.4 expected), but the current situation measure fell to a 6-month low of -7.4 (vs. 5.7 expected). To the day ahead now, and Olaf Scholz is expected to become German Chancellor in a Bundestag vote today. From central banks, the Bank of Canada will be deciding on rates, and we’ll also hear from ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Schnabel. Finally, data releases include the JOLTS job openings from the US for October. Tyler Durden Wed, 12/08/2021 - 07:58.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 8th, 2021

Revolutionizing Home Renovation in an Ultra-Competitive California Market

California real estate firm reels in a ‘refined’ relationship with Curbio The stars must align with a highly viable market and a very willing firm that’s poised to co-brand services to lure a potential vendor into opening a brand-new office in one of California’s most competitive regions. That’s exactly how things developed recently between Curbio […] The post Revolutionizing Home Renovation in an Ultra-Competitive California Market appeared first on RISMedia. California real estate firm reels in a ‘refined’ relationship with Curbio The stars must align with a highly viable market and a very willing firm that’s poised to co-brand services to lure a potential vendor into opening a brand-new office in one of California’s most competitive regions. That’s exactly how things developed recently between Curbio and Willis Allen Real Estate, as the La Jolla, California-based firm’s extensive search for a perfect home improvement partner concluded with a highly successful collaboration. Curbio is a leading home improvement company for REALTORS® and their clients. Offering a fast, effortless process to repair and update homes before they go on the market or under contract, Curbio also defers payment for any work until closing. Under this recent partnership with Willis Allen Real Estate, programs with built-in financing are also being offered to buyers. Hoping to provide their agents a competitive advantage and their clients a means to make improvements before (or after) their home is sold without necessarily having to reach into their pockets upfront to get that work accomplished, the team at Willis Allen Real Estate began sorting through vendors. “We wanted a service where the agents didn’t have to act as a general contractor and be incredibly involved, because they should be out selling real estate rather than managing projects,” says Jane Granados, COO and managing broker. “When we reached out to Curbio, they seemed to understand what our needs were and really checked a lot of the boxes.” “But Curbio wasn’t serving our market at the time, so we kept going back and asking, and about a year ago, they said they would come to San Diego for us and set up shop,” says Granados. Curbio enhanced the partnership by permitting Willis Allen Real Estate to co-brand services under the firm’s “Refine” label so that all their clients could take advantage of staging, home improvement projects and/or renovations. Willis Allen Real Estate then worked closely with Curbio to fashion all related marketing for the newly branded line of services. “As a luxury brokerage, we know that virtually every property can use some improvements,” says Kate MacIver, Willis Allen Real Estate’s director of Risk Management & Education. “One of the big advantages for us is that with Curbio, there’s no project minimum.” One recent project that came under the Refine program ended up netting the seller an added profit of $290,000 on the home’s list price of $1,250,000—with total renovations costing a fractional $34,349. “That included exterior painting, new flooring, some window additions, trim replacements, bathroom refreshes as well as some new appliances and kitchen work,” says Granados. “For closed transactions involving Curbio, there’s been a measurable increase in net profit for the seller across the board,” notes MacIver. “Clients are ecstatic because the people and contractors they’re working with under Refine are all very responsive, materials are first class and the agents know they have an edge over the competition because they can offer these services.” If there were any drawbacks, Granados says it’s convincing sellers in a white-hot market to take the additional time required to permit the Curbio contracting team to get the improvement work done. “If a seller isn’t interested in the opportunity, Curbio has done a great job of creating opportunities for buyers to use their services as well—and they’re offering financing for them,” says Granados. “Now our agents can have Curbio come in during escrow and talk to buyers about getting a quote and making the property their very own after closing.” For more information, please visit curbio.com. John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia. The post Revolutionizing Home Renovation in an Ultra-Competitive California Market appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaDec 8th, 2021

Top 5 Growth Stocks for December as Omicron Threats Ease

We have narrowed our search to five large-cap growth stocks that have solid upside left for the rest of 2021. These are: TSLA, DVN, WSM, PSX and POOL. Wall Street started this week with a strong rebound, eliminating most of the losses suffered the previous week due to the resurgence of a new variant of coronavirus – Omicron. On Dec 5, White House chief medical advisor Dr. Anthony Fauci said that early data of Omicron is “encouraging” and less severe than expected.Consequently, U.S. stocks markets jumped with a broad-based rally. At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in growth stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank. We have selected five such stocks from sectors that benefit from the reopening of the economy. These are — Tesla Inc. TSLA, Devon Energy Corp. DVN, Williams-Sonoma Inc. WSM, Phillips 66 PSX and Pool Corp. POOL.Wall Street ReboundsOn Dec 4, the South African Medical Research Council reported that the early data of Omicron suggests that the strain is likely to be less severe than its previous variant – Delta – and could cause milder infection. Given the small amount of data, it is not possible to conclude whether Omicron poses a greater risk of death or not.On Dec 5, Dr. Fauci said that preliminary data of Omicron is “a bit encouraging” regarding its severity. According to Fauci “although it’s too early to make any definitive statements about it, thus far it does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.”Following the news, the three major stock indexes — the Dow, the S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite — rallied 1.9%, 1.2% and 0.9%, respectively. The small-cap-centric benchmark — the Russell 2000 — jumped 2.1%. Notably, small-cap stocks suffered the most due to the resurgence of Omicron.Positive CatalystsThe fundamentals of the U.S. economy are robust. Both consumer spending and business spending remain strong despite mounting inflation and supply-chain disruptions. Manufacturing and services PMIs have stayed elevated.In its latest projection on Dec 1, the Atlanta Fed reported that the U.S. economy would grow by 9.7% in fourth-quarter 2021. U.S. GDP grew 6.4%, 6.7% and 2%, in the first, second and third quarters of this year, respectively.Total third-quarter earnings of the market's benchmark — the S&P 500 Index —jumped 40.3% from the same period last year on 17.3% higher revenues. Moreover, in fourth-quarter 2021, total earnings of the S&P 500 Index are expected to increase 19.1% year over year on 11.2% higher revenues.On Nov 15, President Joe Biden signed a bipartisan infrastructure bill of $550 billion in addition to the previously approved funds of $450 billion for five years. Total spending may go up to $1.2 trillion if the plan is extended to eight years.The infrastructure development project will be a major catalyst for the U.S. stock markets in 2022. Various segments of the economy such as basic materials, industrials, utilities and telecommunications will benefit immensely with more job creation for the economy.On Nov 19, the House of Representatives passed a massive $1.75 trillion social safety net and climate bill proposed by the Biden administration. The bill will now head toward the Senate.Moreover, the White House has put pressure on Congress to quickly pass legislation providing $52 billion to help computer chip manufacturers and ease a shortage of the components vital to many industries.Our Top PicksWe have narrowed our search to five large-cap (market capital > $10 billion) growth stocks that have solid upside left for the rest of 2021. These stocks have also witnessed positive earnings estimate revisions in the last 60 days. Each of our picks carries a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and has a Growth Score A. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our five picks in the past three months.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchTesla Inc. has acquired a substantial market share within the electric car segment. Increasing Model 3 delivery, which forms a significant chunk of TSLA’s overall deliveries, is aiding its top line. Along with Model 3, Model Y is contributing to its revenues.In addition to increasing automotive revenues, Tesla’s energy generation and storage revenues boost its earnings prospects. The automaker said that its overall deliveries surged 20% in the third quarter from its previous record in the second quarter, marking the sixth consecutive quarter-on-quarter gain.Tesla has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 1% over the last 30 days.Devon Energy Corp. aims for strong oil production from the Delaware Basin holdings. Devon Energy’s presence in Delaware has expanded due to its all-stock merger deal with WPX Energy. DVN is using new technology in its production process to lower expenses.Devon Energy’s divestiture of its Canadian and Barnett Shale gas assets will allow it to focus on its five high-quality oil-rich U.S. basins assets. DVN’s stable free cash flow generation allows it to pay dividend and buy back shares. Devon Energy has ample liquidity to meet near-term debt obligations.Devon Energy has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 4.9% over the last 30 days.Phillips 66 is a leading player in each of its operations like refining, chemicals and midstream in terms of size, efficiency and strength. The company is a leader in the midstream business, which generates stable fee-based revenues. Phillips 66, is well-positioned for making massive profits from higher demand for distillate fuels.Contributions from the olefins and polyolefins business, backed by high demand, continue to drive PSX’s chemicals segment. Phillips 66’s move of expanding its footprint in the battery supply chain through its NOVONIX investment is praiseworthy.Phillips 66 has an expected earnings growth rate of more than 100% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved more than 100% over the last 60 days.Williams-Sonoma Inc. is a multi-channel specialty retailer of premium quality home products. WSM continues to enhance the e-commerce channel, optimize the supply chain and undertake cost-control measures to drive growth. Williams-Sonoma is focused on enhancing customer experience through technology innovation and operational improvement.In order to drive brand awareness and increase customer engagement and cross-selling opportunities, WSM shifted its advertising spend toward social media campaigns and in cross-brand initiatives. Cross-brand initiatives such as The Key, Design Crew Room Planner and The One Registry are expected to be incremental growth drivers for all its brands going forward.Williams-Sonoma has an expected earnings growth rate of 57.2% for the current year (ending January 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.1% over the last 7 days.Pool Corp. is the world's largest wholesale distributor of swimming pool supplies, equipment and related products. In addition, it is a leading regional wholesale distributor of irrigation and landscape products. POOL is benefitting from the solid performance of its base business, large market presence and strategic expansions through acquisitions.POOL is also benefitting from solid demand across heaters, pumps, filters, lighting, automation and pool remodeling. POOL remains optimistic on the back of products (such as automation and the connected pool), the continuation of the de-urbanization trends and the strengthening of the southern migration.POOL has an expected earnings growth rate of 80.2% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 7.5% over the last 60 days. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Devon Energy Corporation (DVN): Free Stock Analysis Report Pool Corporation (POOL): Free Stock Analysis Report WilliamsSonoma, Inc. (WSM): Free Stock Analysis Report Tesla, Inc. (TSLA): Free Stock Analysis Report Phillips 66 (PSX): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksDec 7th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease

Futures Rebound From Friday Rout As Omicron Fears Ease S&P futures and European stocks rebounded from Friday’s selloff while Asian shares fell, as investors took comfort in reports from South Africa which said initial data doesn’t show a surge of hospitalizations as a result of the omicron variant, a view repeated by Anthony Fauci on Sunday. Meanwhile, fears about a tighter Fed were put on the backburner. Also overnight, China’s central bank announced it will cut the RRR by 50bps releasing 1.2tn CNY in liquidity, a move that had been widely expected. The cut comes as insolvent Chinese property developer Evergrande was said to be planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring plan. US equity futures rose 0.3%, fading earlier gains, and were last trading at 4,550. Nasdaq futures pared losses early in the U.S. morning, trading down 0.4%. Oil rose after Saudi Arabia boosted the prices of its crude, signaling confidence in the demand outlook, which helped lift European energy shares. The 10-year Treasury yield advanced to 1.40%, while the dollar was little changed and the yen weakened. “A wind of relief may blow the current risk-off trading stance away this week,” said Pierre Veyret, a technical analyst at U.K. brokerage ActivTrades. “Concerns related to the omicron variant may ease after South African experts didn’t register any surge in deaths or hospitalization.” As Bloromberg notes, the mood across markets was calmer on Monday after last week’s big swings in technology companies and a crash in Bitcoin over the weekend. Investors pointed to good news from South Africa that showed hospitals haven’t been overwhelmed by the latest wave of Covid cases. Initial data from South Africa are “a bit encouraging regarding the severity,” Anthony Fauci, U.S. President Joe Biden’s chief medical adviser, said on Sunday. At the same time, he cautioned that it’s too early to be definitive. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Alibaba’s (BABA US) U.S.-listed shares rise 1.9% in premarket after a 8.2% drop Friday prompted by the delisting plans of Didi Global. Alibaba said earlier it is replacing its CFO and reshuffling the heads of its commerce businesses Rivian (RIVN US) has the capabilities to compete with Tesla and take a considerable share of the electric vehicle market, Wall Street analysts said as they started coverage with overwhelmingly positive ratings. Shares rose 2.2% initially in U.S. premarket trading, but later wiped out gains to drop 0.9% Stocks tied to former President Donald Trump jump in U.S. premarket trading after his media company agreed to a $1 billion investment from a SPAC Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks tumble amid volatile trading in Bitcoin, another indication of the risk aversion sweeping across financial markets Laureate Education (LAUR US) approved the payment of a special cash distribution of $0.58 per share. Shares rose 2.8% in postmarket Friday AbCellera Biologics (ABCL US) gained 6.2% postmarket Friday after the company confirmed that its Lilly-partnered monoclonal antibody bamlanivimab, together with etesevimab, received an expanded emergency use authorization from the FDA as the first antibody therapy in Covid-19 patients under 12 European equities drifted lower after a firm open. Euro Stoxx 50 faded initial gains of as much as 0.9% to trade up 0.3%. Other cash indexes follow suit, but nonetheless remain in the green. FTSE MIB sees the largest drop from session highs. Oil & gas is the strongest sector, underpinned after Saudi Arabia raised the prices of its crude. Tech, autos and financial services lag. Companies that benefited from increased demand during pandemic-related lockdowns are underperforming in Europe on Monday as investors assess whether the omicron Covid variant will force governments into further social restrictions. Firms in focus include meal-kit firm HelloFresh (-2.3%) and online food delivery platforms Delivery Hero (-5.4%), Just Eat Takeaway (-5.6%) and Deliveroo (-8.5%). Remote access software firm TeamViewer (-3.7%) and Swedish mobile messaging company Sinch (-3.0%), gaming firm Evolution (-4.2%). Online pharmacies Zur Rose (-5.1%), Shop Apotheke (-3.5%). Online grocer Ocado (-2.2%), online apparel retailer Zalando (-1.5%). In Asia, the losses were more severe as investors remained wary over the outlook for U.S. monetary policy and the spread of the omicron variant.  The Hang Seng Tech Index closed at the lowest level since its inception. SoftBank Group Corp. fell as much as 9% in Tokyo trading as the value of its portfolio came under more pressure. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.9%, hovering above its lowest finish in about a year. Consumer discretionary firms and software technology names contributed the most to the decline, while the financial sector outperformed.  Hong Kong’s equity benchmark was among the region’s worst performers amid the selloff in tech shares. The market also slumped after the omicron variant spread among two fully vaccinated travelers across the hallway of a quarantine hotel in the city, unnerving health authorities. “People are waiting for new information on the omicron variant,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management in Tokyo. “We’re at a point where it’s difficult to buy stocks.” Separately, China’s central bank announced after the country’s stock markets closed that it will cut the amount of cash most banks must keep in reserve from Dec. 15, providing a liquidity boost to economic growth.  Futures on the Nasdaq 100 gained further in Asia late trading. The underlying gauge slumped 1.7% on Friday, after data showed U.S. job growth had its smallest gain this year and the unemployment rate fell more than forecast. Investors seem to be focusing more on the improved jobless rate, as it could back the case for an acceleration in tapering, Ichikawa said.  Asian equities have been trending lower since mid-November amid a selloff in Chinese technology giants, concern over U.S. monetary policy and the spread of omicron. The risk-off sentiment pushed shares to a one-year low last week.  Overnight, the PBoC cut the RRR by 50bps (as expected) effective 15th Dec; will release CNY 1.2tln in liquidity; RRR cut to guide banks for SMEs and will use part of funds from RRR cut to repay MLF. Will not resort to flood-like stimulus; will reduce capital costs for financial institutions by around CNY 15bln per annum. The news follows earlier reports via China Securities Daily which noted that China could reduce RRR as soon as this month, citing a brokerage firm. However, a separate Chinese press report noted that recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean that there will be a policy change and an Economics Daily commentary piece suggested that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic and could lead to misunderstandings after speculation was stoked for a RRR cut from last week's comments by Premier Li. Elsewhere, Indian stocks plunged in line with peers across Asia as investors remained uncertain about the emerging risks from the omicron variant in a busy week of monetary policy meetings.   The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 1.7% to 56,747.14, in Mumbai, dropping to its lowest level in over three months, with all 30 shares ending lower. The NSE Nifty 50 Index also declined by a similar magnitude. Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both indexes and declined 2.3%.  All 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. declined, led by a measure of software exporters.  “If not for the new omicron variant, economic recovery was on a very strong footing,” Mohit Nigam, head of portfolio management services at Hem Securities Ltd. said in a note. “But if this virus quickly spreads in India, then we might experience some volatility for the coming few weeks unless development is seen on the vaccine side.” Major countries worldwide have detected omicron cases, even as the severity of the variant still remains unclear. Reserve Bank of Australia is scheduled to announce its rate decision on Tuesday, while the Indian central bank will release it on Dec. 8. the hawkish comments by U.S. Fed chair Jerome Powell on tackling rising inflation also weighed on the market Japanese equities declined, following U.S. peers lower, as investors considered prospects for inflation, the Federal Reserve’s hawkish tilt and the omicron virus strain. Telecommunications and services providers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 0.5%. SoftBank Group and Daiichi Sankyo were the largest contributors to a 0.4% loss in the Nikkei 225. The Mothers index slid 3.8% amid the broader decline in growth stocks. A sharp selloff in large technology names dragged U.S. stocks lower Friday. U.S. job growth registered its smallest gain this year in November while the unemployment rate fell by more than forecast to 4.2%. There were some good aspects in the U.S. jobs data, said Shoji Hirakawa, chief global strategist at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute. “We’re in this contradictory situation where there’s concern over an early rate hike given the economic recovery, while at the same time there’s worry over how the omicron variant may slow the current recovery.” Australian stocks ended flat as staples jumped. The S&P/ASX 200 index closed little changed at 7,245.10, swinging between gains and losses during the session as consumer staples rose and tech stocks fell. Metcash was the top performer after saying its 1H underlying profit grew 13% y/y. Nearmap was among the worst performers after S&P Dow Jones Indices said the stock will be removed from the benchmark as a result of its quarterly review. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.6% to 12,597.81. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index gave up a modest advance as the European session got underway; the greenback traded mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers with commodity currencies among the leaders and havens among the laggards. JPY and CHF are the weakest in G-10, SEK outperforms after hawkish comments in the Riksbank’s minutes. USD/CNH drifts back to flat after a fairly well telegraphed RRR cut materialized early in the London session.  The euro fell to a day low of $1.1275 before paring. The pound strengthened against the euro and dollar, following stocks higher. Bank of England deputy governor Ben Broadbent due to speak. Market participants will be watching for his take on the impact of the omicron variant following the cautious tone of Michael Saunders’ speech on Friday. Treasury yields gapped higher at the start of the day and futures remain near lows into early U.S. session, leaving yields cheaper by 4bp to 5bp across the curve. Treasury 10-year yields around 1.395%, cheaper by 5bp vs. Friday’s close while the 2s10s curve steepens almost 2bps with front-end slightly outperforming; bunds trade 4bp richer vs. Treasuries in 10-year sector. November's mixed U.S. jobs report did little to shake market expectations of more aggressive tightening by the Federal Reserve. Italian bonds outperformed euro-area peers after Fitch upgraded the sovereign by one notch to BBB, maintaining a stable outlook. In commodities, crude futures drift around best levels during London hours. WTI rises over 1.5%, trading either side of $68; Brent stalls near $72. Spot gold trends lower in quiet trade, near $1,780/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME copper outperforms, holding in the green with lead; nickel and aluminum drop more than 1%. There is nothing on today's economic calendar. Focus this week includes U.S. auctions and CPI data, while Fed speakers enter blackout ahead of next week’s FOMC. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.7% to 4,567.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.8% to 466.39 MXAP down 0.9% to 189.95 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 617.01 Nikkei down 0.4% to 27,927.37 Topix down 0.5% to 1,947.54 Hang Seng Index down 1.8% to 23,349.38 Shanghai Composite down 0.5% to 3,589.31 Sensex down 1.5% to 56,835.37 Australia S&P/ASX 200 little changed at 7,245.07 Kospi up 0.2% to 2,973.25 Brent Futures up 2.9% to $71.89/bbl Gold spot down 0.2% to $1,780.09 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.15% to 96.26 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.37% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1290 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Speculators were caught offside in both bonds and stocks last week, increasing their bets against U.S. Treasuries and buying more equity exposure right before a bout of volatility caused the exact opposite moves Inflation pressure in Europe is still likely to be temporary, Eurogroup President Paschal Donohoe said Monday, even if it is taking longer than expected for it to slow China Evergrande Group’s stock tumbled close to a record low amid signs a long-awaited debt restructuring may be at hand, while Kaisa Group Holdings Ltd. faces a potential default this week in major tests of China’s ability to limit fallout from the embattled property sector China Evergrande Group is planning to include all its offshore public bonds and private debt obligations in a restructuring that may rank among the nation’s biggest ever, people familiar with the matter said China tech shares tumbled on Monday, with a key gauge closing at its lowest level since launch last year as concerns mount over how much more pain Beijing is willing to inflict on the sector The U.S. is poised to announce a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Winter Olympics, CNN reported, a move that would create a new point of contention between the world’s two largest economies SNB Vice President Fritz Zurbruegg to retire at the end of July 2022, according to statement Bitcoin has markedly underperformed rivals like Ether with its weekend drop, which may underscore its increased connection with macro developments Austrians who reject mandatory coronavirus vaccinations face 600-euro ($677) fines, according to a draft law seen by the Kurier newspaper Some Riksbank board members expressed different nuances regarding the asset holdings and considered that it might become appropriate for the purchases to be tapered further next year,  the Swedish central bank says in minutes from its Nov. 24 meeting A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities began the week cautiously following last Friday's negative performance stateside whereby the Russell 2000 and Nasdaq closed lower by around 2% apiece, whilst the S&P 500 and Dow Jones saw shallower losses. The Asia-Pac region was also kept tentative amid China developer default concerns and conflicting views regarding speculation of a looming RRR cut by China's PBoC. The ASX 200 (+0.1%) was initially dragged lower by a resumption of the underperformance in the tech sector, and with several stocks pressured by the announcement of their removal from the local benchmark, although losses for the index were later reversed amid optimism after Queensland brought forward the easing of state border restrictions, alongside the resilience in the defensive sectors. The Nikkei 225 (-0.4%) suffered from the currency inflows late last week but finished off worse levels. The Hang Seng (-1.8%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.5%) were mixed with Hong Kong weighed by heavy tech selling and as default concerns added to the headwinds after Sunshine 100 Holdings defaulted on a USD 170mln bond payment, whilst Evergrande shares slumped in early trade after it received a demand for payments but noted there was no guarantee it will have the sufficient funds and with the grace period for two offshore bond payments set to expire today. Conversely, mainland China was kept afloat by hopes of a looming RRR cut after comments from Chinese Premier Li that China will cut RRR in a timely manner and a brokerage suggested this could occur before year-end. However, other reports noted the recent remarks by Chinese Premier Li on the reverse repo rate doesn't mean a policy change and that views of monetary policy moves are too simplistic which could lead to misunderstandings. Finally, 10yr JGBs were steady after having marginally extended above 152.00 and with prices helped by the lacklustre mood in Japanese stocks, while price action was tame amid the absence of BoJ purchases in the market today and attention was also on the Chinese 10yr yield which declined by more than 5bps amid speculation of a potentially looming RRR cut. Top Asian News SoftBank Slumps 9% Monday After Week of Bad Portfolio News Alibaba Shares Rise Premarket After Rout, Leadership Changes China PBOC Repeats Prudent Policy Stance With RRR Cut China Cuts Reserve Requirement Ratio as Economy Slows Bourses in Europe kicked off the new trading week higher across the board but have since drifted lower (Euro Stoxx 50 +0.1%; Stoxx 600 +0.3%) following a somewhat mixed lead from APAC. Sentiment across markets saw a fleeting boost after the Asia close as China’s central bank opted to cut the RRR by 50bps, as touted overnight and in turn releasing some CNY 1.2tln in liquidity. This saw US equity futures ticking to marginal fresh session highs, whilst the breakdown sees the RTY (+0.6%) outpacing vs the ES (Unch), YM (+0.3%) and NQ (-0.6%), with the US benchmarks eyeing this week’s US CPI as Fed speakers observe the blackout period ahead of next week’s FOMC policy decision – where policymakers are expected to discuss a quickening of the pace of QE taper. From a technical standpoint, the ESz1 and NQz1 see their 50 DMAs around 4,540 and 16,626 respectively. Back to trade, Euro-indices are off best levels with a broad-based performance. UK’s FTSE 100 (+0.8%) received a boost from base metals gaining impetus on the PBoC RRR cut, with the UK index now the outperformer, whilst gains in Oil & Gas and Banks provide further tailwinds. Sectors initially started with a clear cyclical bias but have since seen a reconfiguration whereby the defensives have made their way up the ranks. The aforementioned Oil & Gas, Banks and Basic Resources are currently the winners amid upward action in crude, yields and base metals respectively. Food & Beverages and Telecoms kicked off the session at the bottom of the bunch but now reside closer to the middle of the table. The downside meanwhile sees Travel & Tech – two sectors which were at the top of the leaderboard at the cash open – with the latter seeing more noise surrounding valuations and the former initially unreactive to UK tightening measures for those travelling into the UK. In terms of individual movers, AstraZeneca (+0.7%) is reportedly studying the listing of its new vaccine division. BT (+1.2%) holds onto gains as Discovery is reportedly in discussions regarding a partnership with BT Sport and is offering to create a JV, according to sources. Taylor Wimpey (Unch) gave up opening gains seen in wake of speculation regarding Elliott Management purchasing a small stake. Top European News Johnson Says U.K. Awaiting Advice on Omicron Risks Before Review Scholz Names Harvard Medical Expert to Oversee Pandemic Policy EU Inflation Still Seen as Temporary, Eurogroup’s Donohoe Says Saudi Crown Prince Starts Gulf Tour as Rivalries Melt Away In FX, the Buck has settled down somewhat after Friday’s relatively frenetic session when price action and market moves were hectic on the back of a rather mixed BLS report and stream of Omicron headlines, with the index holding a tight line above 96.000 ahead of a blank US agenda. The Greenback is gleaning some traction from the firmer tone in yields, especially at the front end of the curve, while also outperforming safer havens and funding currencies amidst a broad upturn in risk sentiment due to perceivably less worrying pandemic assessments of late and underpinned by the PBoC cutting 50 bp off its RRR, as widely touted and flagged by Chinese Premier Li, with effect from December 15 - see 9.00GMT post on the Headline Feed for details, analysis and the initial reaction. Back to the Dollar and index, high betas and cyclicals within the basket are doing better as the latter meanders between 96.137-379 and well inside its wide 95.944-96.451 pre-weekend extremes. AUD/GBP/CAD/NZD - A technical correction and better news on the home front regarding COVID-19 after Queensland announced an earlier date to ease border restrictions, combined to give the Aussie a lift, but Aud/Usd is tightening its grip on the 0.7000 handle with the aid of the PBoC’s timely and targeted easing in the run up to the RBA policy meeting tomorrow. Similarly, the Pound appears to have gleaned encouragement from retaining 1.3200+ status and fending off offers into 0.8550 vs the Euro rather than deriving impetus via a rise in the UK construction PMI, while the Loonie is retesting resistance around 1.2800 against the backdrop of recovering crude prices and eyeing the BoC on Wednesday to see if guidance turns more hawkish following a stellar Canadian LFS. Back down under, the Kiwi is straddling 0.6750 and 1.0400 against its Antipodean peer in wake of a pick up in ANZ’s commodity price index. CHF/JPY/EUR - Still no sign of SNB action, but the Franc has fallen anyway back below 0.9200 vs the Buck and under 1.0400 against the Euro, while the Yen is under 113.00 again and approaching 128.00 respectively, as the single currency continues to show resilience either side of 1.1300 vs its US counterpart and a Fib retracement level at 1.1290 irrespective of more poor data from Germany and a deterioration in the Eurozone Sentix index, but increases in the construction PMIs. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned revival in risk appetite, albeit fading, rather than Riksbank minutes highlighting diverse opinion, is boosting the Sek, and the Nok is also drawing some comfort from Brent arresting its decline ahead of Usd 70/brl, but the Cnh and Cny have been capped just over 6.3700 by the PBoC’s RRR reduction and ongoing default risk in China’s property sector. Elsewhere, the Try remains under pressure irrespective of Turkey’s Foreign Minister noting that domestic exports are rising and the economy is growing significantly, via Al Jazeera or claiming that the Lira is exposed to high inflation to a degree, but this is a temporary problem, while the Rub is treading cautiously before Russian President Putin and US President Biden make a video call on Tuesday at 15.00GMT. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are firmer on the day with the complex underpinned by Saudi Aramco upping its official selling prices (OSPs) to Asian and US customers, coupled with the lack of progress on the Iranian nuclear front. To elaborate on the former; Saudi Arabia set January Arab light crude oil OSP to Asia at Oman/Dubai average +USD 3.30/bbl which is an increase from this month’s premium of USD 2.70/bbl, while it set light crude OSP to North-West Europe at ICE Brent USD -1.30/bbl vs. this month’s discount of USD 0.30/bbl and set light crude OSP to the US at ASCI +USD 2.15/bbl vs this month’s premium of USD 1.75/bbl. Iranian nuclear talks meanwhile are reportedly set to resume over the coming weekend following deliberations, although the likelihood of a swift deal at this point in time seems minuscule. A modest and fleeting boost was offered to the complex by the PBoC cutting RRR in a bid to spur the economy. WTI Jan resides on either side of USD 68/bbl (vs low USD 66.72/bbl) whilst Brent Feb trades around USD 71.50/bbl (vs low 70.24/bbl). Over to metals, spot gold trades sideways with the cluster of DMAs capping gains – the 50, 200 and 100 DMAs for spot reside at USD 1,792/oz, USD 1,791.50/oz and USD 1,790/oz respectively. Base metals also saw a mild boost from the PBoC announcement – LME copper tested USD 9,500/t to the upside before waning off best levels. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’re really at a fascinating crossroads in markets at the moment. The market sentiment on the virus and the policymakers at the Fed are moving in opposite directions. The greatest impact of this last week was a dramatic 21.1bps flattening of the US 2s10s curve, split almost evenly between 2yr yields rising and 10yrs yields falling. As it stands, the Fed are increasingly likely to accelerate their taper next week with a market that is worried that it’s a policy error. I don’t think it is as I think the Fed is way behind the curve. However I appreciate that until we have more certainly on Omicron then it’s going to be tough to disprove the policy error thesis. The data so far on Omicron can be fitted to either a pessimistic or optimistic view. On the former, it seems to be capable of spreading fast and reinfecting numerous people who have already had covid. Younger people are also seeing a higher proportion of admissions which could be worrying around the world given lower vaccinations levels in this cohort. On the other hand, there is some evidence in South Africa that ICU usage is lower relative to previous waves at the same stage and that those in hospital are largely unvaccinated and again with some evidence that they are requiring less oxygen than in previous waves. It really does feel like Omicron could still go both ways. It seems that it could be both more transmittable but also less severe. How that impacts the world depends on the degree of both. It could be bad news but it could also actually accelerate the end of the pandemic which would be very good news. Lots of people more qualified than me to opine on this aren’t sure yet so we will have to wait for more news and data. I lean on the optimistic side here but that’s an armchair epidemiologist’s view. Anthony Fauci (chief medical advisor to Mr Biden) said to CNN last night that, “We really gotta be careful before we make any determinations that it is less severe or really doesn’t clause any severe illness comparable to Delta, but this far the signals are a bit encouraging….. It does not look like there’s a great degree of severity to it.” Anyway, the new variant has taken a hold of the back end of the curve these past 10 days. Meanwhile the front end is taking its guidance from inflation and the Fed. On cue, could this Friday see the first 7% US CPI print since 1982? With DB’s forecasts at 6.9% for the headline (+5.1% for core) we could get close to breaking such a landmark level. With the Fed on their media blackout period now, this is and Omicron are the last hurdles to cross before the FOMC conclusion on the 15th December where DB expect them to accelerate the taper and head for a March end. While higher energy prices are going to be a big issue this month, the recent falls in the price of oil may provide some hope on the inflation side for later in 2022. However primary rents and owners’ equivalent rents (OER), which is 40% of core CPI, is starting to turn and our models have long suggested a move above 4.5% in H1 2022. In fact if we shift-F9 the model for the most recent points we’re looking like heading towards a contribution of 5.5% now given the signals from the lead indicators. So even as YoY energy prices ease and maybe covid supply issues slowly fade, we still think inflation will stay elevated for some time. As such it was a long overdue move to retire the word transitory last week from the Fed’s lexicon. Another of our favourite measures to show that the Fed is way behind the curve at the moment is the quits rate that will be contained within Wednesday’s October JOLTS report. We think the labour market is very strong in the US at the moment with the monthly employment report lagging that strength. Having said that the latest report on Friday was reasonably strong behind the headline payroll disappointment. We’ll review that later. The rest of the week ahead is published in the day by day calendar at the end but the other key events are the RBA (Tuesday) and BoC (Wednesday) after the big market disruptions post their previous meetings, Chinese CPI and PPI (Thursday), final German CPI (Friday) and the US UoM consumer confidence (Friday). Also look out for Congressional newsflow on how the year-end debt ceiling issue will get resolved and also on any progress in the Senate on the “build back better” bill which they want to get through before year-end. Mr Manchin remains the main powerbroker. In terms of Asia as we start the week, stocks are trading mixed with the CSI (+0.62%), Shanghai Composite (+0.37%) and KOSPI (+0.11%) trading higher while the Nikkei (-0.50%) and Hang Seng (-0.91%) are lower. Chinese stock indices are climbing after optimism over a RRR rate cut after Premier Li Kequiang's comments last week that it could be cut in a timely manner to support the economy. In Japan SoftBank shares fell -9% and for a sixth straight day amid the Didi delisting and after the US FTC moved to block a key sale of a company in its portfolio. Elsewhere futures are pointing a positive opening in US and Europe with S&P 500 (+0.46%) and DAX (+1.00%) futures both trading well in the green. 10yr US Treasury yields are back up c.+4.2bps with 2yrs +2.6bps. Oil is also up c.2.2% Over the weekend Bitcoin fell around 20% from Friday night into Saturday. It’s rallied back a reasonable amount since (from $42,296 at the lows) and now stands at $48,981, all after being nearly $68,000 a month ago. Turning back to last week now, and the virus and hawkish Fed communications were the major themes. Despite so many unknowns (or perhaps because of it) markets were very responsive to each incremental Omicron headline last week, which drove equity volatility to around the highest levels of the year. The VIX closed the week at 30.7, shy of the year-to-date high of 37.21 reached in January and closed above 25 for 5 of the last 6 days. The S&P 500 declined -1.22% over the week (-0.84% Friday). The Stoxx 600 fell a more modest -0.28% last week, -0.57% on Friday. To be honest both felt like they fell more but we had some powerful rallies in between. The Nasdaq had a poorer week though, falling -c.2.6%, after a -1.9% decline on Friday. The other main theme was the pivot in Fed communications toward tighter policy. Testifying to Congress, Fed Chair Powell made a forceful case for accelerating the central bank’s asset purchase taper program, citing persistent elevated inflation and an improving labour market, amid otherwise strong demand in the economy, clearing the way for rate hikes thereafter. Investors priced in higher probability of earlier rate hikes, but still have the first full Fed hike in July 2022. 2yr treasury yields were sharply higher (+9.1bps on week, -2.3bps Friday) while 10yr yields declined (-12.0bps on week, -9.1bps Friday) on the prospect of a hard landing incurred from quick Fed tightening as well as the gloomy Covid outlook. The yield curve flattened -21.1bps (-6.8bps Friday) to 75.6bps, the flattest it has been since December 2020, or three stimulus bills ago if you like (four if you think build back better is priced in). German and UK debt replicated the flattening, with 2yr yields increasing +1.3bps (-0.7bps Friday) in Germany, and +0.3bps (-6.7bps) in UK this week, with respective 10yr yields declining -5.3bps (-1.9bps Friday) and -7.8bps (-6.4bps Friday). On the bright side, Congress passed a stopgap measure to keep the government funded through February, buying lawmakers time to agree to appropriations for the full fiscal year, avoiding a disruptive shutdown. Positive momentum out of DC prompted investors to increase the odds the debt ceiling will be resolved without issue, as well, with yields on Treasury bills maturing in December declining a few basis points following the news. US data Friday was strong. Despite the headline payroll increase missing the mark (+210k v expectations of +550k), the underlying data painted a healthy labour market picture, with the unemployment rate decreasing to 4.2%, and participation increasing to 61.8%. Meanwhile, the ISM services index set another record high. Oil prices initially fell after OPEC unexpectedly announced they would proceed with planned production increases at their January meeting. They rose agin though before succumbing to the Omicron risk off. Futures prices ended the week down again, with Brent futures -3.67% lower (+0.55% Friday) and WTI futures -2.57% on the week (-0.15% Friday). Tyler Durden Mon, 12/06/2021 - 07:51.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

Bitcoin: Welcome To The Big Leagues

Bitcoin: Welcome To The Big Leagues Submitted by bithedge If there was still anyone left shouting that Bitcoin is an uncorrelated asset they were put to rest in recent days. And what was once confined to obscure corners of the internet has obviously left them a long time ago, but it truly feels like this was the week that cranked things to 100... In moments of major stress Bitcoin has followed risk assets for years - hardly much of a 'digital gold' but crisis is crisis, and recall during the March 2020 puke that even the precious metal was dumped indiscriminately alongside bonds and everything else as confused traders and algos were either forced or scared into dumping it all for cash. There is a saying that in real volatility “all correlations go to 1.” What is more concerning is the strengthening connection between Bitcoin (and thus Ethereum, and thus altcoins) and greater financial assets when equities are 3% off all time highs. This speaks to either 1) a greater integration of Bitcoin into the wider risk-on/risk-off framework that both traders and computers are programmed to buy or sell out of depending on mostly whether or not rate hike expectations are up that day, 2) a market that is under increasing stress despite being just off all time highs and up 23% YTD, or 3) both… Of course nothing is really as simple as just risk-on or risk-off, and Bitcoin, on top of being long beta / long momentum, is a great beneficiary of inflation both realized and expected.  That’s certainly one of the reasons why it’s up 160% over the past year (at this point anyone with an internet connection knows that no doubt about it - this is the highest inflation the U.S. has seen in 50 years). Even Powell ditched ‘transitory’… AND a third factor in Bitcoin’s favor may be establishment distrust, which is obviously higher following two years of Americans being told their lives are now vastly different because the bat coronavirus that first emerged blocks away from an NIH-funded lab that studied bat coronaviruses actually was just an unfortunate development in a cave somewhere. BofA has dubbed it an “anarchy hedge” - record wealth inequality and soaring inflation seem to set the stage for taking out some insurance. So since the three things that drive bond yields higher are conveniently risk-on, higher inflation expectations, and higher credit risk, it’s no surprise that Bitcoin trades even tighter alongside the 10 year:  Which begs the question of why not just go short the 10 year in size and avoid the regulatory and custody risks that come with holding crypto? If this trend holds for another year, that’ll be a question many are hoping you don’t ask. But for the average person buying Bitcoin is easier than short selling bonds - and in a market where passive > active flows and retail is a prominent force that may be all it takes for the coin to remain in fashion.  Recent developments are undoubtedly a thorn in the side of the once-isolated crypto trading community, filled with many who after spending years mastering their specific market are now essentially in competition with firms backed by billions in capex and decades of experience. Because unless it’s also a coincidence that Tesla and Bitcoin have hit their high or low for the month on the same day 8 out of the last 15 months, it really appears that Bitcoin trades only as a composite of long ‘the next big thing’ FOMO and short U.S debt. There’s nothing wrong with that - the trade has done well. But it’s a slap in the face to the uncorrelated/digital gold/reserve asset narrative. And it’s a major blow to those who were looking for an ‘alternative’ investment. Increasing correlation with bonds and equities is the biggest threat to Bitcoin right now.  It’s possible and maybe even likely that this is temporary - but whatever needs to happen for Bitcoin to again decouple from greater markets hasn’t happened yet. In light of the past two weeks, can anybody seriously say right now that they think Bitcoin will end the year higher than where it is currently if the S&P 500 doesn't? But to be fair, long term hodlers really don’t have anything to worry about since if the world post-GFC is any guide, the current pullback in equities will bottom out soon and if it doesn’t - the Fed will just announce a pause in their tapering plans and at that point everyone should go even more all in because rest assured it will give way to new all time highs for the Nasdaq, home prices, inequality, and the newest member of the liquidity-firehose winners club, Bitcoin.  Tyler Durden Sun, 12/05/2021 - 21:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytDec 6th, 2021

What Do They Know? Insiders Are Dumping Stocks At The Fastest Pace In History

What Do They Know? Insiders Are Dumping Stocks At The Fastest Pace In History Authored by Michael Snyder via The Economic Collapse blog, Why are CEOs and corporate insiders selling their stocks at a far faster rate than we have ever seen before?  Do they know something that the rest of us do not?  If stock prices are going to continue soaring into the stratosphere like many in the mainstream media are suggesting, these insiders that are dumping stocks like there is no tomorrow will miss out on some absolutely enormous profits.  On the other hand, if a colossal market crash is coming in 2022, then 2021 was absolutely the perfect time to get out.  As I have said countless times before, you only make money in the stock market if you get out in time.  Could it be possible that many of the richest people in the world have picked the absolutely perfect moment to pull the trigger? According to CNBC, CEOs and corporate insiders have sold 69 billion dollars worth of stock so far this year.  That is a new all-time record, and it is a whopping 30 percent higher than last year… CEOs and corporate insiders have sold a record $69 billion in stock in 2021, as looming tax hikes and lofty share prices encourage many to take profits. From Satya Nadella at Microsoft to Jeff Bezos and Elon Musk, CEOs, founders and insiders have been cashing in their stock at the highest pace on record. As of Monday, sales by insiders are up 30% from 2020 to $69 billion, and up 79% versus a 10-year average, according to InsiderScore/Verity, which excludes sales by large institutional holders. [ZH: Jixa Analytics' Ashish Singal has aggregated all insider sales, calculating that they hit $385bn in 2021 - already well surpassing the prior record made way back in 2013] [ZH: On a monthly basis, for November, we have cross $50bn in aggregate sales for the first time!] Interestingly, this fire sale has come to a crescendo just as the U.S. economy has reached a critical turning point.  We are in the midst of the worst supply chain crisis in our history, inflation has reached levels that we haven’t seen since the 1970s, and the rising violence in our streets is depressing economic activity in many of our largest urban areas. Over the past two years, the federal government has borrowed and spent trillions of dollars that we could not afford to spend.  During that same period, the Federal Reserve has pumped trillions upon trillions of fresh dollars into the financial system.  They took these measures in a desperate attempt to resuscitate the economy, and we certainly did experience a “sugar high” for a little while. But now there are all sorts of signs that the economy is starting to slow down once again.  For example, sales on Black Friday were down 28.3 percent compared to 2019 levels… Traffic at retail stores on Black Friday dropped 28.3% compared with 2019 levels, as Americans shifted more of their spending online and kicked off their shopping earlier in the year, according to preliminary data from Sensormatic Solutions. The apologists in the mainstream media would have us believe that retail sales are down because online sales are booming. But that is not true. In fact, sales on Cyber Monday were down for the first time ever… Consumers logged online Monday and spent $10.7 billion, marking a 1.4% decrease from year-ago levels, according to data released Tuesday by Adobe Analytics. This year’s tally marks the first time that Adobe has tracked a slowdown in spending on major shopping days. The firm first began reporting on e-commerce in 2012, and it analyzes more than 1 trillion visits to retailers’ websites. This amazes me. Black Friday and Cyber Monday were both down despite the fact that our leaders have been pouring trillions and trillions of dollars on to the fire. Meanwhile, the latest manufacturing numbers were a disappointment, and analysts are blaming that on our ongoing supply chain crisis… Broad swathes of US manufacturing remain hamstrung by supply chain bottlenecks and difficulties filling staff vacancies. Although November brought some signs of supply chain problems easing slightly to the lowest recorded for six months, widespread shortages of inputs meant production growth was again severely constrained to the extent that the survey is so far consistent with manufacturing acting as a drag on the economy during the fourth quarter. Of course the mainstream media continues to try to put a positive spin on our economic woes. For example, CNN just published an article entitled “Why inflation can actually be good for everyday Americans and bad for rich people”. If what they are saying is true, why don’t we push inflation to the max? Let’s have every home cost at least a million dollars, let’s have a loaf of bread cost 20 bucks, and let’s make gasoline so expensive that it will make your eyes bleed when you see the prices at your local gas station. Won’t that be just great for hard working Americans everywhere? Needless to say, I am just being facetious. Inflation is destroying our standard of living, and more Americans are falling out of the middle class with each passing day. As if we didn’t already have enough on our plates, now Omicron has arrived in the United States… The United States’ first confirmed case of the Omicron coronavirus variant has been identified in California. In a White House news briefing, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said the case was in an individual who traveled from South Africa on November 22 and tested positive for Covid-19 on November 29. As I discussed the other day, there is absolutely no reason for all of the hysteria that we are currently witnessing.  At this stage, it does not appear that Omicron is any more dangerous than the other variants that are currently floating around. But that isn’t going to stop global leaders from doing even more damage to the world economy. We are already seeing more travel restrictions and more mandates, but there is not even a single confirmed case of anyone dying from Omicron yet. If politicians are going to get this irrational over Omicron, how are they going to respond when things start getting really crazy in the years ahead? You might want to start thinking about that. So much of the economic damage in the past couple of years has been self-inflicted, and a lot more self-inflicted pain is on the way. Meanwhile, CEOs and corporate insiders are selling off their stocks at a pace that is raising a lot of eyebrows. Just like you and I, can they feel what is coming? There are so many clouds on the horizon, and personally I have such a bad feeling about 2022. *  *  * It is finally here! Michael’s new book entitled “7 Year Apocalypse” is now available in paperback and for the Kindle on Amazon. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/03/2021 - 08:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 3rd, 2021

The rise of EFFY, a gay pro wrestler who overcame the odds — and slurs — to craft a lucrative personal brand

"People who would have screamed slurs were buying shirts," pro wrestler Taylor Gibson, who portrays EFFY, told Insider. He's made a career out of it. Independent wrestler Taylor Gibson, who goes by EFFY.Nick Karp Taylor Gibson is a professional wrestler who goes by EFFY, or the "Weapon of Sass Destruction." GIbson is known for his marketing and events, like EFFY's Big Gay Brunch, and having "Daddy" written across his butt in hot pink. Gibson hasn't signed with a major organization. He said that lets him control his character, who's anything but typical. EFFY is not your traditional professional wrestler. Not many in the scripted sport hold a public-relations degree and eight years of experience operating a shipping logistics company, nor have many come close to matching the charismatic, 229-pound, gay wrestler's digital-media savviness and its ensuing revenue. In 2020, despite the pandemic shutting down most live events, he reports earning a six-figure income off just his brand. EFFY — who's sometimes called the "Weapon of Sass Destruction," but whose real name is Taylor Gibson— finds himself among a new class of popular independent professional wrestlers: deliberately unsigned. Rather than ink a deal with leader World Wrestling Entertainment and its $4.3 billion market cap, or newcomer All Elite Wrestling and its $175 million TV deal signed with WarnerMedia in 2020, Gibson wants to control his destiny. Who is EFFY?Success in wrestling often boils down to connecting with the crowd. It requires charisma, entertaining in-ring prowess, and, today, the ability to keep fans hooked when the show isn't on. Gibson has found success doing just that. His online presence is filled with well-produced charismatic vignettes and posts that any social-media user could create at home, but none of it would matter without the ability to captivate in the ring. The job begins well before the opening bell. Entering to Elton John's "Goodbye Yellow Brick Road," decked in a spiked pink or purple leather jacket, the fishnet-clad wrestler regularly gets large crowds of straight men to chant what's written in hot pink across his butt: Daddy. Independent wrestler Taylor Gibson, who goes by EFFY.Nick KarpOnce in the ring, Gibson has received praise for matches with men, women, and nonbinary performers, as well as wrestling in traditional technical matches and extreme "deathmatches." For his efforts, Pro Wrestling Insider ranked him 95th on its list of the top 500 wrestlers for 2021. "I've always been a person who wants to poke people a little, but not in a bad way," he told Insider, saying the efforts help provoke perception-expanding private conversations at shows. Once, Gibson recalled a promoter saying he brought gay people to shows. "No," he said. "I bring in people who are learning how much fun it is to hang out with gay people."Becoming EFFYGibson's wrestling story began in 2012. Fresh out of college, he worked various jobs, including handling merchandise for touring bands like Hootie and the Blowfish. He also continued working on moving trucks, a position he had had since 16. Gibson enjoyed the physical labor as well as the connection made with customers while handling their valuables. In 2012, he took over a Two Men And A Truck franchise in Florida, managing a fleet of 13 trucks and 40 employees. Independent wrestler Taylor Gibson, who goes by EFFY.35.MMWrestling KevinAs his career grew, his struggles with his identity reached a breaking point. In 2013, he took a large dose of LSD, resulting in a five-day trip. During the experience, he recalled battling himself over career goals and dreams. Afterward, with a changed perspective, he felt compelled to pursue wrestling. But more importantly, he came out about his sexuality."This sounds crazy, but it was my motivation," he said. The business of EFFYAfter the revelation, Gibson added a year of two-hour drives and wrestling training to his work routine. He then began getting onto shows, relying on his PR degree to help boost the image of someone without a deep wrestling background. Once on shows, he didn't adhere to the old rules. He spoke up, something rookies are told not to do. Gibson said it rubbed some veterans the wrong way at first, but the energy translated into EFFY's in-ring persona. "It was a therapeutic way for me to get through who I was as a person," he said. The first few months were full of what wrestling continues to struggle with: prejudice, including slurs from some fans and disrespect from old-era thinking pros. While the culture is improving, Gibson isn't the ony person who's experienced that: In late September 2021, a transgender fan was said to have been attacked in the bathroom during popular California-based promotion Pro Wrestling Guerrilla's show. Independent wrestler Taylor Gibson, who goes by EFFY.Nick KarpDespite ongoing struggles across the industry, Gibson saw a change around his third or fourth month of work. "People who would have screamed slurs at me were buying shirts," Gibson said. "Dads who would have never wanted to talk to me, their kids only wanted EFFY stuff."In time, his social media presence grew, with recent tallies at 26,000 followers on Twitter, 17,500 on Instagram, and 7,600 on Twitch, a popular and sometimes lucrative streaming platform for its creators. Part of Gibson's Twitch appeal is the fan connection created through conversations, live watch-alongs, and glimpses into his personal life, often featuring boyfriend AJ and dog Cranberry. The following also led to the creation of more inclusive wrestling endeavors, including EFFY's Big Gay Brunch, a series of shows featuring LGBTQIA+ performers and allies. He launched the Wrestling is Gay merchandise line, with part of the proceeds benefitting Atlanta-area LGBTQ+ support organization Lost-n-Found Youth.The success continues to roll in. An hour after concluding our interview on September 24, 2021, Gibson defeated Matt Cardona to win the Internet Championship in Queens, New York. He dropped the title back to Cardona a few weeks later at their rematch in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Merchandising and the fan connectionMerchandising is a crucial component for Gibson's brand. He's expanded beyond shirts and photos, and is active on Cameo and other revenue-making streams. Independent wrestler Taylor Gibson, who goes by EFFY.35.MMWrestling KevinThe most standout of all may be the limited-edition Effy Award: a line of bronze busts featuring the wrestler in his spiked leather jacket. No qualifications other than having the available funds were required to "win" an award. The cheeky bit of unique wrestling merch also offered a certificate of authenticity, for an additional price. The statues were a hit, selling out soon after their release. Fans recorded acceptance speeches, touting the wins they'd given themselves, and took photos of their awards. Gibson streamed the results on Twitch. The campaign reflected his merchandising vision that thinks beyond revenue generation. He implores all brands, wrestling or otherwise, to consider how the product communicates with buyers and the excitement it produces.  Over the years, the connection formed and the resulting revenue showed Gibson that he could live off of his brand without signing with a major player. As one of the first to do so, Gibson urges others to follow suit by showing them how they can make money on their own — even when away from the ring. He believes that effort will further help propel and sustain the independent wrestling boom of the past five or so years.  With fan support and media distribution shifting, Gibson feels he can continue to make a positive impact on his own."I'm independent," he said. "I don't need permission from my boss. I don't need permission from the company."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderDec 2nd, 2021

Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout

Risk Cracks After Moderna CEO Comments Spark Global Stock Rout Ask a drug dealer if methadone helps cure a cocaine addition and - shockingly - you will hear that the answer is "hell no", after all an affirmative response would mean the fixer needs to get a real job. Just as shocking was the "admission" of Moderna CEO, Stéphane Bancel, who in the latest stop on his media whirlwind tour of the past 48 hours gave the FT an interview in which he predicted that existing vaccines will be much less effective at tackling Omicron than earlier strains of coronavirus and warned it would take months before pharmaceutical companies could manufacture new variant-specific jabs at scale. “There is no world, I think, where [the effectiveness] is the same level . . . we had with [the] Delta [variant],” Bancel told the Financial Times, claiming that the high number of Omicron mutations on the spike protein, which the virus uses to infect human cells, and the rapid spread of the variant in South Africa suggested that the current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year. Here, the self-serving CEO whose sell-mode was fully engaged - after all what else would the maker of a vaccine for covid say than "yes, the world will need more of my product" - completely ignored the earlier comments from Barry Schoub, chairman of South Afruca's Ministerial Advisory Committee on Vaccines, who over the weekend said that the large number of mutations found in the omicron variant appears to destabilize the virus, which might make it less “fit” than the dominant delta strain. As such, it would be a far less virulent strain... but of course that would also reduce the need for Moderna's mRNA therapy and so Bancel failed to mention it. What is grotesque is that the Moderna CEO’s comments on existing vaccines’ effectiveness against the omicron variant is “old news so should be a fade,” says Prashant Newnaha, a senior Asia-Pacific rates strategist at TD Securities in Singapore. Indeed as Bloomberg notes, Bancel reiterated comments made by Moderna’s Chief Medical Officer Paul Burton during the weekend. Alas, the last thing algos care about is nuance and/or reading between the lines, and so moments after Bancel's interview hit, markets hit risk off mode on Tuesday, and yesterday’s bounce in markets immediately reversed amid fresh worries about the efficacy of currently available vaccines with U.S. equity futures dropping along with stocks in Europe. Bonds gained as investors sought havens. After dropping as much as 1.2%, S&P futures pared losses to -0.7%, down 37 points just above 4,600. Dow Eminis were down 339 points or 1% and Nasdaq was down -0.8%. Adding to concerns is Fed Chair Jerome Powell who today will speak, alongside Janet Yellen, at the Senate Banking Committee in congressional oversight hearings related to pandemic stimulus. Last night Powell made a dovish pivot saying the new variant poses downside risks to employment and growth while adding to uncertainty about inflation. Powell's comments dragged yields lower and hit bank stocks overnight. “The market’s reaction to reports such as Moderna’s suggest the ball is still very much in the court of proving that this will not escalate,” said Patrick Bennett, head of macro strategy for Asia at Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce in Hong Kong. “Until that time, mode is to sell recoveries in risk and not to try and pick the extent of the selloff” U.S. airline and cruiseliner stocks dropped in premarket trading Tuesday, after vaccine maker Moderna’s top executives reiterated that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may require new vaccines. Most U.S. airline stocks were down: Alaska Air -5%, United -3.2%, American -3%, Spirit -2.7%, Delta -2.6%, JetBlue -2.6%, Southwest -1.7%. Here are some other notable movers today: U.S. banks decline in premarket trading following comments from Federal Reserve Chair Jerome Powell that may push back bets on when the central bank will raise rates. Citigroup (C US) -2.4%, JPMorgan (JPM US) -2.2%, Morgan Stanley (MS US) -2.6% Vaccine manufacturers mixed in U.S. premarket trading after rallying in recent days and following further comments from Moderna about treating the new omicron Covid-19 variant. Pfizer (PFE US) +1.6%, Novavax  (NVAS US) +1.3%, Moderna (MRNA US) -3.8% U.S. airline and cruiseliner stocks dropped in premarket trading Tuesday, after vaccine maker Moderna’s top executives reiterated that the omicron variant of the coronavirus may require new vaccines. Alaska Air (ALK US) -5%, United (UAL US) -3.2%, American (AAL US) -3% Krystal Biotech (KRYS US) jumped 4.3% in postmarket trading on Monday, extending gains after a 122% jump during the regular session. The company is offering $200m of shares via Goldman Sachs, BofA, Cowen, William Blair, according to a postmarket statement MEI Pharma (MEIP US) gained 8% postmarket after the cancer-treatment company said it will hold a webcast Tuesday to report on data from the ongoing Phase 2 Tidal study evaluating zandelisib in patients with relapsed or refractory follicular lymphoma Intuit (INTU US) declined 3.4% postmarket after holder Dan Kurzius, co-founder of Mailchimp, offered the stake via Goldman Sachs In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index fell to almost a seven-week low. Cyclical sectors including retail, travel and carmakers were among the biggest decliners, while energy stocks tumbled as crude oil headed for the worst monthly loss this year; every industry sector fell led by travel stocks. Earlier in the session, the Asia Pacific Index dropped 0.6% while the Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to finish at its weakest level since May 2016. Asian stocks erased early gains to head for a third day of losses on fresh concerns that existing Covid-19 vaccines will be less effective at tackling the omicron variant. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index extended its fall to nearly 1% after having risen as much as 0.8% earlier on Tuesday. The current crop of vaccines may need to be modified next year, Moderna Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said in an interview with the Financial Times, adding that it may take months before pharmaceutical firms can manufacture new variant-specific jabs at scale. U.S. futures also reversed gains. Property and consumer staples were the worst-performing sectors on the regional benchmark. Key gauges in Hong Kong and South Korea were the biggest losers in Asia, with the Kospi index erasing all of its gains for this year. The Hang Seng China Enterprises Index lost 1.5% to finish at its weakest level since May 2016. The fresh bout of selling offset early optimism spurred by data showing China’s factory sentiment improved in November. “With the slower vaccination rate and more limited health-care capacity in the region, uncertainty from the new omicron variant may seem to bring about higher economic risks for the region at a time where it is shifting towards further reopening,” said Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia Pte. Asia’s stock benchmark is now down 3.5% for the month, set for its worst performance since July, as nervousness remains over the U.S. Federal Reserve’s tapering schedule and the potential economic impact of the omicron variant. “Moderna is one of the primary mRNA vaccines out there, so the risk-off sentiment is justified,” said Kelvin Wong, an analyst at CMC Markets (Singapore) Pte. Liquidity is thinner going into the end of the year, so investors are “thinking it’s wise to take some money off the table,” he added Japanese equities fell, reversing an earlier gain to cap their third-straight daily loss, after a report cast doubt on hopes for a quick answer to the omicron variant of the coronavirus. Telecoms and electronics makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which dropped 1%, erasing an earlier gain of as much as 1.5%. Fast Retailing and SoftBank Group were the largest contributors to a 1.6% loss in the Nikkei 225. The yen strengthened about 0.4% against the dollar, reversing an earlier loss. Japanese stocks advanced earlier in the day, following U.S. peers higher as a relative sense of calm returned to global markets. Tokyo share gains reversed quickly in late afternoon trading after a Financial Times report that Moderna’s Chief Executive Officer Stephane Bancel said a new vaccine may be needed to fight omicron. “The report of Moderna CEO’s remarks has bolstered an overall movement toward taking off risk,” said SMBC Trust Bank analyst Masahiro Yamaguchi. “Market participants will probably be analyzing information on vaccines and the new virus variant for the next couple of weeks, so shares will likely continue to fluctuate on these headlines.” In FX, the dollar dropped alongside commodity-linked currencies while the yen and gold climbed and bitcoin surged as safe havens were bid. The yen swung to a gain after Moderna Inc.’s chief executive Stephane Bancel was quoted by the Financial Times saying existing vaccines may not be effective enough to tackle the omicron variant. Commodity-linked currencies including the Aussie, kiwi and Norwegian krone all declined, underperforming the dollar In rates, treasuries held gains after flight-to-quality rally extended during Asia session and European morning, when bunds and gilts also benefited from haven flows. Stocks fell after Moderna CEO predicted waning vaccine efficacy. Intermediates lead gains, with yields richer by nearly 6bp across 7-year sector; 10-year Treasuries are richer by 5.6bp at 1.443%, vs 2.5bp for German 10-year, 4.7bp for U.K. Long-end may draw support from potential for month-end buying; Bloomberg Treasury index rebalancing was projected to extend duration by 0.11yr as of Nov. 22. Expectations of month-end flows may support the market, and Fed Chair Powell is slated to testify to a Senate panel.       In commodities, crude futures are off their late-Asia lows but remain in the red. WTI trades close to $68.30, stalling near Friday’s lows; Brent is off over 2.5% near $71.50. Spot gold rises ~$11 near $1,796/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME zinc outperforms, rising as much as 1.6%.  To the day ahead now, and the main central bank highlight will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Villeroy and de Cos, and the BoE’s Mann. On the data side, we’ll get the flash November CPI reading for the Euro Area today, as well as the readings from France and Italy. In addition, there’s data on German unemployment for November, Canadian GDP for Q3, whilst in the US there’s the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure for November, the FHFA house price index for September, and the MNI Chicago PMI for November. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.2% to 4,595.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 1.4% to 460.47 MXAP down 0.5% to 190.51 MXAPJ down 0.6% to 620.60 Nikkei down 1.6% to 27,821.76 Topix down 1.0% to 1,928.35 Hang Seng Index down 1.6% to 23,475.26 Shanghai Composite little changed at 3,563.89 Sensex down 0.2% to 57,122.74 Australia S&P/ASX 200 up 0.2% to 7,255.97 Kospi down 2.4% to 2,839.01 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.36% Euro up 0.6% to $1.1362 Brent Futures down 3.0% to $71.26/bbl Brent Futures down 3.0% to $71.26/bbl Gold spot up 0.7% to $1,796.41 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.65% to 95.72 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Euro-area inflation surged to a record for the era of the single currency and exceeded all forecasts, adding to the European Central Bank’s challenge before a crucial meeting next month on the future of monetary stimulus. If the drop in government bond yields on Friday signaled how skittish markets were, fresh declines are leaving them looking no less nervous. One of Germany’s most prominent economists is urging the European Central Bank to be more transparent in outlining its exit from unprecedented monetary stimulus and argues that ruling out an end to negative interest rates next year may be a mistake. The Hong Kong dollar fell into the weak half of its trading band for the first time since December 2019 as the emergence of a new coronavirus variant hurt appetite for risk assets. A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equities traded mixed with early momentum seen following the rebound on Wall Street where risk assets recovered from Friday’s heavy selling pressure as liquidity conditions normalized post-Thanksgiving and after some of the Omicron fears abated given the mild nature in cases so far, while participants also digested a slew of data releases including better than expected Chinese Manufacturing PMI. However, markets were later spooked following comments from Moderna's CEO that existing vaccines will be much less effective against the Omicron variant. ASX 200 (+0.2%) was underpinned by early strength across its sectors aside from utilities and with gold miners also hampered by the recent lacklustre mood in the precious metal which failed to reclaim the USD 1800/oz level but remained in proximity for another attempt. In addition, disappointing Building Approvals and inline Net Exports Contribution data had little impact on sentiment ahead of tomorrow’s Q3 GDP release, although the index then faded most its gains after the comments from Moderna's CEO, while Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was initially lifted by the recent rebound in USD/JPY but then slumped amid the broad risk aversion late in the session. Hang Seng (-1.6%) and Shanghai Comp. (Unch) were varied in which the mainland was kept afloat for most the session after a surprise expansion in Chinese Manufacturing PMI and a mild liquidity injection by the PBoC, with a central bank-backed publication also suggesting that recent open market operations demonstrates an ample liquidity goal, although Hong Kong underperformed on tech and property losses and with casino names pressured again as shares in junket operator Suncity slumped 37% on reopen from a trading halt in its first opportunity to react to the arrest of its Chairman. Finally, 10yr JGBs were initially contained following early momentum in stocks and somewhat inconclusive 2yr JGB auction which showed better results from the prior, albeit at just a marginal improvement, but then was underpinned on a haven bid after fears of the Omicron variant later resurfaced. Top Asian News China’s Biggest Crypto Exchange Picks Singapore as Asia Base SoftBank-Backed Snapdeal Targets $250 Million IPO in 2022 Omicron Reaches Nations From U.K. to Japan in Widening Spread Slump in China Gas Shows Spreading Impact of Property Slowdown Major European bourses are on the backfoot (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.5%; Stoxx 600 -1.5%) as COVID fears again take the spotlight on month-end. APAC markets were firmer for a large part of the overnight session, but thereafter the risk-off trigger was attributed to comments from Moderna's CEO suggesting that existing vaccines will be much less effective against the Omicron COVID strain. On this, some caveats worth keeping in mind - the commentary on the potential need for a vaccine does come from a vaccine maker, who could benefit from further global inoculation, whilst data on the new variant remains sparse. Meanwhile, WSJ reported Regeneron's and Eli Lilly's COVID antiviral cocktails had lost efficacy vs the Omicron variant - however, the extent to which will need to be subject to further testing. Furthermore, producers appear to be confident that they will be able to adjust their products to accommodate the new variant, albeit the timeline for mass production will not be immediate. Nonetheless, the sullied sentiment has persisted throughout the European morning and has also seeped into US equity futures: the cyclically bias RTY (-1.7%) lags the ES (-1.0%) and YM (-1.3%), whilst the tech-laden NQ (-0.5%) is cushioned by the slump in yields. Back to Europe, broad-based losses are seen across the majors. Sectors tilt defensive but to a lesser extent than seen at the European cash open. Travel & Leisure, Oil & Gas, and Retail all sit at the bottom of the bunch amid the potential implications of the new COVID variant. Tech benefits from the yield play, which subsequently weighs on the Banking sector. The retail sector is also weighed on by Spanish giant Inditex (-4.3%) following a CEO reshuffle. In terms of other movers, Glencore (-0.9%) is softer after Activist investor Bluebell Capital Partners called on the Co. to spin off its coal business and divest non-core assets. In a letter seen by the FT, Glencore was also asked to improve corporate governance. In terms of equity commentary, analysts at JPM suggest investors should take a more nuanced view on reopening as the bank expects post-COVID normalisation to gradually asset itself over the course of 2022. The bank highlights hawkish central bank policy shifts as the main risk to their outlook. Thus, the analysts see European equities outperforming the US, whilst China is seen outpacing EMs. JPM targets S&P 500 at 5,050 (closed at 4,655.27 yesterday) by the end of 2022 with EPS at USD 240 – marking a 14% increase in annual EPS. Top European News Omicron Reaches Nations From U.K. to Japan in Widening Spread ECB Bosses Lack Full Diplomatic Immunity, EU’s Top Court Says Adler Keeps Investors Waiting for Answers on Fraud Claims European Gas Prices Surge Above 100 Euros With Eyes on Russia In FX, the Greenback may well have been grounded amidst rebalancing flows on the final trading day of November, as bank models are flagging a net sell signal, albeit relatively weak aside from vs the Yen per Cit’s index, but renewed Omicron concerns stoked by Moderna’s CEO casting considerable doubt about the efficacy of current vaccines against the new SA strain have pushed the Buck back down in any case. Indeed, the index has now retreated further from its 2021 apex set less than a week ago and through 96.000 to 95.662, with only the Loonie and Swedish Krona underperforming within the basket, and the Antipodean Dollars plus Norwegian Crown in wider G10 circles. Looking at individual pairings, Usd/Jpy has reversed from the high 113.00 area and breached a Fib just below the round number on the way down to circa 112.68 for a marginal new m-t-d low, while Eur/Usd is back above 1.1350 having scaled a Fib at 1.1290 and both have left decent option expiries some distance behind in the process (1.6 bn at 113.80 and 1.3 bn between 1.1250-55 respectively). Elsewhere, Usd/Chf is eyeing 0.9175 irrespective of a slightly weaker than forecast Swiss KoF indicator and Cable has bounced firmly from the low 1.3300 zone towards 1.3375 awaiting commentary from BoE’s Mann. NZD/AUD/CAD - As noted above, the tables have turned for the Kiwi, Aussie and Loonie along with risk sentiment in general, and Nzd/Usd is now pivoting 0.6800 with little help from a deterioration in NBNZ business confidence or a decline in the activity outlook. Similarly, Aud/Usd has been undermined by much weaker than forecast building approvals and a smaller than anticipated current account surplus, but mostly keeping hold of the 0.7100 handle ahead of Q3 GDP and Usd/Cad has shot up from around 1.2730 to top 1.2800 at one stage in advance of Canadian growth data for the prior quarter and month of September as oil recoils (WTI to an even deeper trough only cents off Usd 67/brl). Back down under, 1 bn option expiry interest at 1.0470 in Aud/Nzd could well come into play given that the cross is currently hovering near the base of a 1.0483-39 range. SCANDI/EM - The aforementioned downturn in risk appetite after Monday’s brief revival has hit the Sek and Nok hard, but the latter is also bearing the brunt of Brent’s latest collapse to the brink of Usd 70/brl at worst, while also taking on board that the Norges Bank plans to refrain from foreign currency selling through December having stopped midway through this month. The Rub is also feeling the adverse effect of weaker crude prices and ongoing geopolitical angst to the extent that hawkish CBR rhetoric alluding to aggressive tightening next month is hardly keeping it propped, but the Cnh and Cny continue to defy the odds or gravity in wake of a surprise pop back above 50.0 in China’s official manufacturing PMI. Conversely, the Zar is struggling to contain losses sub-16.0000 vs the Usd on SA virus-related factors even though Gold is approaching Usd 1800/oz again, while the Try is striving to stay within sight of 13.0000 following a slender miss in Turkish Q3 y/y GDP. In commodities, WTI and Brent front month futures are once again under pressure amid the aforementioned COVID jitters threatening the demand side of the equation, albeit the market remains in a state of uncertainty given how little is known about the new variant ahead of the OPEC+ confab. It is still unclear at this point in time which route OPEC+ members will opt for, but seemingly the feasible options on the table are 1) a pause in output hikes, 2) a smaller output hike, 3) maintaining current output hikes. Energy journalists have suggested the group will likely be influenced by oil price action, but nonetheless, the findings of the JTC and JMMC will be closely watched for the group's updated forecasts against the backdrop of COVID and the recently coordinated SPR releases from net oil consumers – a move which the US pledged to repeat if needed. Elsewhere, Iranian nuclear talks were reportedly somewhat constructive – according to the Russian delegate – with working groups set to meet today and tomorrow regarding the sanctions on Iran. This sentiment, however, was not reciprocated by Western sources (cited by WSJ), which suggested there was no clarity yet on whether the teams were ready for serious negotiations and serious concessions. WTI Jan resides around session lows near USD 67.50/bbl (vs high USD 71.22/bbl), while Brent Feb dipped under USD 71/bbl (vs high USD 84.56/bb). Over to metals, spot gold remains underpinned in European trade by the cluster of DMA's under USD 1,800/oz – including the 100 (USD 1,792/oz), 200 (USD 1,791/oz) and 50 (1,790/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper is modestly softer around the USD 9,500/t mark, whilst Dalian iron ore futures meanwhile rose over 6% overnight, with traders citing increasing Chinese demand. US Event Calendar 9am: 3Q House Price Purchase Index QoQ, prior 4.9% 9am: Sept. FHFA House Price Index MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 1.0% 9am: Sept. Case Shiller Composite-20 YoY, est. 19.30%, prior 19.66%; S&P/CS 20 City MoM SA, est. 1.20%, prior 1.17% 9:45am: Nov. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 67.0, prior 68.4 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Consumer Confidenc, est. 111.0, prior 113.8 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Present Situation, prior 147.4 10am: Nov. Conf. Board Expectations, prior 91.3 Central Banks 10am: Powell, Yellen Testify Before Senate Panel on CARES Act Relief 10:30am: Fed’s Williams gives remarks at NY Fed food- insecurity event 1pm: Fed’s Clarida Discusses Fed Independence DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Just as we go to print markets are reacting negatively to an interview with the Moderna CEO in the FT that has just landed where he said that with regards to Omicron, “There is no world, I think, where (the effectiveness) is the same level... we had with Delta…… I think it’s going to be a material drop (efficacy). I just don’t know how much because we need to wait for the data. But all the scientists I’ve talked to . . . are like ‘this is not going to be good’.”” This is not really new news relative to the last 3-4 days given what we know about the new mutation but the market is picking up on the explicit comments. In response S&P futures have gone from slightly up to down just over -0.5% and Treasury yields immediately dipped -4bps to 1.46%. The Nikkei has erased gains and is down around -1% and the Hang Seng is c.-1.8%. This is breaking news so check your screens after you read this. In China the official November PMI data came in stronger than expected with the Manufacturing PMI at 50.1 (49.7 consensus vs 49.2 previous) and the non-manufacturing PMI at 52.3 (51.5 consensus vs 52.4 previous). The negative headlines above as we go to print followed a market recovery yesterday as investors hoped that the Omicron variant wouldn’t prove as bad as initially feared. In reality, the evidence is still incredibly limited on this question, and nothing from the Moderna CEO overnight changes that. However the more positive sentiment was also evident from the results of our flash poll in yesterday’s EMR where we had 1569 responses so very many thanks. The poll showed that just 10% thought it would still be the biggest topic in financial markets by the end of the year, with 30% instead thinking it’ll largely be forgotten about. The other 60% thought it would still be an issue but only of moderate importance. So if that’s correct and our respondents are a fair reflection of broader market sentiment, then it points to some big downside risks ahead if we get notable bad news on the variant. For the record I would have been with the majority with tendencies towards the largely forgotten about answer. So I will be as off-side as much as most of you on the variant downside risk scenario. When I did a similar poll on Evergrande 2 and a half months ago, only 8% thought it would be significantly impacting markets a month later with 78% in aggregate thinking limited mention/impact, and 15% thinking it would have no impact. So broadly similar responses and back then the 15% were most correct although the next 78% weren’t far off. In terms of the latest developments yesterday, we’re still waiting to find out some of the key pieces of information about this new strain, including how effective vaccines still are, and about the extent of any increased risk of transmission, hospitalisation and death. Nevertheless, countries around the world are continuing to ramp up their own responses as they await this information. President Biden laid out the US strategy for tackling Omicron in a public address yesterday, underscoring the variant was a cause for concern rather than panic. He noted travel bans from certain jurisdictions would remain in place to buy authorities time to evaluate the variant, but did not anticipate that further travel bans or domestic lockdowns would be implemented, instead urging citizens to get vaccinated or a booster shot. Over in Europe, Bloomberg reported that EU leaders were discussing whether to have a virtual summit on Friday about the issue, and Poland moved to toughen up their own domestic restrictions, with a 50% capacity limit on restaurants, hotels, gyms and cinemas. In Germany, Chancellor Merkel and Vice Chancellor Scholz will be meeting with state premiers today, whilst the UK government’s vaccination committee recommended that every adult be eligible for a booster shot, rather than just the over-40s at present. Boosters have done a tremendous job in dramatically reducing cases in the elder cohort in the UK in recent weeks so one by product of Omicron is that it may accelerate protection in a wider age group everywhere. Assuming vaccines have some impact on Omicron this could be a positive development, especially if symptoms are less bad. Markets recovered somewhat yesterday, with the S&P 500 gaining +1.32% to recover a large portion of Friday’s loss. The index was driven by mega-cap tech names, with the Nasdaq up +1.88% and small cap stocks underperforming, with the Russell 2000 down -0.18%, so the market wasn’t completely pricing out omicron risks by any means. Nevertheless, Covid-specific names performed how you would expect given the improved sentiment; stay-at-home trades that outperformed Friday fell, including Zoom (-0.56%), Peloton (-4.35%), and HelloFresh (-0.8%), while Moderna (+11.80%) was the biggest winner following the weekend news that a reformulated vaccine could be available in early 2022. Elsewhere, Twitter (-2.74%) initially gained after it was announced CEO and co-founder Jack Dorsey would be stepping down, but trended lower throughout the rest of the day. The broader moves put the index back in positive territory for the month as we hit November’s last trading day today. Europe saw its own bounceback too, with the STOXX 600 up +0.69%. Over in rates, the partial unwind of Friday’s moves was even smaller, with yields on 10yr Treasuries moving up +2.6bps to 1.50%, driven predominantly by real rates, as inflation breakevens were a touch narrower across the curve. One part of the curve that didn’t retrace Friday’s move was the short end, where markets continued to push Fed rate hikes back ever so slightly, with the first full hike now being priced for September (though contracts as early as May still price some meaningful probability of Fed hikes). We may see some further movements today as well, with Fed Chair Powell set to appear before the Senate Banking Committee at 15:00 London time, where he may well be asked about whether the Fed plans to accelerate the tapering of their asset purchases although it’s hard to believe he’ll go too far with any guidance with the Omicron uncertainty. The Chair’s brief planned testimony was published on the Fed’s website last night. It struck a slightly more hawkish tone on inflation, noting that the Fed’s forecast was for elevated inflation to persist well into next year and recognition that high inflation imposes burdens on those least able to handle them. On omicron, the testimony predictably stated it posed risks that could slow the economy’s progress, but tellingly on the inflation front, it could intensify supply chain disruptions. The real fireworks will almost certainly come in the question and answer portion of the testimony. The bond moves were more muted in Europe though, with yields on 10yr bunds (+2.0bps), OATs (+1.0bps) and BTPs (+0.4bps) only seeing a modest increase. Crude oil prices also didn’t bounce back with as much rigor as equities. Brent gained +0.99% while WTI futures increased +2.64%. They are back down -1 to -1.5% this morning. Elsewhere in DC, Senator Joe Manchin noted that Democrats could raise the debt ceiling on their own through the reconciliation process, but indicated a preference for the increase not to be included in the build back better bill, for which his support still seems lukewarm. We’re approaching crucial deadlines on the debt ceiling and financing the federal government, so these headlines should become more commonplace over the coming days. There were some further developments on the inflation front yesterday as Germany reported that inflation had risen to +6.0% in November (vs. +5.5% expected) on the EU-harmonised measure, and up from +4.6% in October. The German national measure also rose to +5.2% (vs. +5.0% expected), which was the highest since 1992. Speaking of Germany, Bloomberg reported that the shortlist for the Bundesbank presidency had been narrowed down to 4 candidates, which included Isabel Schnabel of the ECB’s Executive Board, and Joachim Nagel, who’s currently the Deputy Head of the Banking Department at the Bank for International Settlements. Today we’ll likely get some further headlines on inflation as the flash estimate for the entire Euro Area comes out, as well as the numbers for France and Italy. There wasn’t much in the way of other data yesterday, though UK mortgage approvals fell to 67.2k in October (vs. 70.0k expected), which is their lowest level since June 2020. Separately, US pending home sales were up +7.5% in October (vs. +1.0% expected), whilst the Dallas Fed’s manufacturing activity index for November unexpectedly fell to 11.8 (vs. 15.0 expected). Finally, the European Commission’s economic sentiment indicator for the Euro Area dipped to 117.5 in November as expected, its weakest level in 6 months. To the day ahead now, and the main central bank highlight will be Fed Chair Powell’s appearance before the Senate Banking Committee, alongside Treasury Secretary Yellen. In addition, we’ll hear from Fed Vice Chair Clarida, the Fed’s Williams, the ECB’s Villeroy and de Cos, and the BoE’s Mann. On the data side, we’ll get the flash November CPI reading for the Euro Area today, as well as the readings from France and Italy. In addition, there’s data on German unemployment for November, Canadian GDP for Q3, whilst in the US there’s the Conference Board’s consumer confidence measure for November, the FHFA house price index for September, and the MNI Chicago PMI for November. Tyler Durden Tue, 11/30/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 30th, 2021

Black Friday on Global Bourses: 5 Picks to Protect Portfolio

We have selected five large-cap (market capital > $30 billion) technology stocks to invest. These are: GOOGL, VEEV, ANSS, MTD and CDNS. Nov 26 was a black Friday in reality across the global financial markets. In the United States, Black Friday is associated with massive consumer spending. However, on Nov 26, market participants were busy liquidating their long positions worldwide. This was courtesy of the resurgence of a new variant of coronavirus — B.1.1.529 — in South Africa. The World Health Organization (WHO) named it “omicron” and warned that it could be more transmissible than the previous variants.It seems that volatility may persist in early December. At this stage, it will be prudent to invest in large-cap technology stocks with a favorable Zacks Rank. Here are five of them — Alphabet Inc. GOOGL, Cadence Design Systems Inc. CDNS, Veeva Systems Inc. VEEV, Mettler-Toledo International Inc. MTD and ANSYS Inc. ANSS.   Panic Selling on Black FridayVery few cases with the omicron variant have been detected so far and medical scientists or virologists are clueless regarding the spread of the infection or the physical destructive power of the new variant of COVID-19.Currently, the medical science space is divided with contradictory opinions regarding omicron owing to lack of data. However, several countries including the United States have taken preventive measures like travel restrictions, wearing masks and giving more emphasis on vaccination.However, markets always react more on sentiments, tensions and panic rather than factual reality. Consequently, on Nov 26, the Dow recorded its worst single-day drop in 2021 and the biggest Black Friday selloff since 1931. The S&P 500 and the Nasdaq Composite posted the biggest Black Friday decline in history. Bourses including European Union, the U.K., Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea and emerging markets like Australia, India and Singapore tumbled 2.5% to 4%.  As investors shifted their funds from risky-asset like equities to safe-haven government bonds, the yield on the benchmark 10-Year U.S. Treasury Note plunged 16.2 basis points to 1.482%. Fearing lack of demand, the prices of the U.S. benchmark WTI crude oil and global benchmark Brent crude oil slid 13% and 11.5%, respectively.Near-Term PositivesMedical science is well advanced now to combat the mutating strings of coronavirus than it was a year ago. A section of medical experts has also said that omicron may not be as infectious as the Delta. The spread of omicron may create a short-term hurdle to global economic recovery but a pandemic-era lockdown is highly unlikely.Moreover, if omicron poses a genuine threat to U.S. economic recovery, the Fed may delay its bond-buy tapering process and the benchmark interest rate hike, and may continue its ultra-dovish monetary policies. In fact, over the past two months, an expected change in Fed’s monetary stance due to skyrocketing inflation was the primary source of volatility on Wall Street.Finally, fundamentals of the U.S. economy remain robust. Both consumer spending and business spending remain strong despite mounting inflation and supply-chain disruptions. Both manufacturing and services PMIs stayed elevated. The struggling labor market is showing a systematic recovery. The last reported weekly jobless claims data for the week ended Nov 20, came in at the lowest level since Nov 15, 1969.Our Top PicksAt this stage, analyzing the pros and cons of the resurgence of COVID-19 and panic selling in stock markets, investment in technology stocks will be a good strategy. The technology sector has a secular uptrend potential irrespective of any pandemic-led market downturn.We have selected five large-cap (market capital > $30 billion) technology stocks as these companies have well-established business models. These stocks have sloid growth potential for the rest of 2021 and have seen positive earnings estimate revisions in the last 60 days. Each of our picks carries either a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) or 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.The chart below shows the price performance of our five picks in the past month.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchAlphabet Inc. has been strongly emphasizing AI techniques and the home automation space, which should aid business growth over the long term. Solid momentum across search, advertising, cloud and YouTube businesses aided the results of Alphabet. Further, the growing proliferation of consumers’ online activities and rising advertiser spending remained as tailwinds.Alphabet's robust cloud division continues to be the key catalyst. Expanding data centers will continue to bolster its presence in the cloud space. Further, major updates in its search segment are enhancing the search results. Moreover, GOOGL’s mobile search is constantly gaining traction.Zacks Rank #1 Alphabet has an expected earnings growth rate of 84.8% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.4% over the last 7 days.Cadence Design Systems Inc. offers products and tools that help customers to design electronic products. Through the System Design Enablement strategy, CDNS offers software, hardware, services and reusable IC design blocks to electronic systems and semiconductor customers.Cadence’s performance is being driven by strength across segments like digital & signoff solutions and functional verification suite. CDNS is also gaining from higher investments in emerging trends like IoT and autonomous vehicle sub-systems along with strength in the semiconductor end-market. Frequent product launches are expected to help the company sustain top-line growth.Zacks Rank #2 Cadence Design Systems has an expected earnings growth rate of 16.1% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 2.5% over the last 30 days.Mettler-Toledo International Inc. is the world's largest manufacturer and marketer of weighing instruments for use in laboratory, industrial and food retailing applications. MTD focuses on the high value-added segments of the weighing instruments market by providing solutions for specific applications.Mettler-Toledo is also a leading provider of analytical instruments for use in life science, reaction engineering and real-time analytic systems used in drug and chemical compound development, and process analytics instruments used for in-line measurement in production processes. MTD’s portfolio strength, cost-cutting efforts, robust sales, marketing strategies, and margin and productivity initiatives are expected to continue aiding its performance.Zacks Rank #2 Mettler-Toledo has an expected earnings growth rate of 29.9% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 1.7% over the last 30 days.Veeva Systems Inc. offers cloud-based software applications and data solutions for the life sciences industry. Strength in Veeva Systems’ data business and Veeva OpenData raise optimism. The steady adoption of Veeva Systems’ products is also encouraging. Revenue uptick in Veeva Commercial Cloud with 21 new Veeva CRM customer wins and good traction with Veeva CRM add-ons look impressive.The expansion of both margins bodes well for VEEV. Veeva System’s focus on cloud-based software and a strong product suite buoy optimism. A strong liquidity position is an added plus for VEEV.  Zacks Rank #2 Veeva System has an expected earnings growth rate of 21.4% for the current year (ending January 2022). The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 0.3% over the last 60 days.ANSYS Inc. develops and globally markets engineering simulation software and services widely used by engineers, designers, researchers and students across a broad spectrum of industries and academia. ANSYS is also gaining from the robust adoption of its engineering simulation software in 3D printing and additive manufacturing applications.Solid recurring revenue growth and improving business conditions at small- and medium-sized customers acted as a tailwind. The sound acquisition strategy of ANSS bodes well for the long haul.Zacks Rank #2 ANSS has an expected earnings growth rate of 7.6% for the current year. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for current-year earnings improved 2.4% over the last 30 days. Investor Alert: Legal Marijuana Looking for big gains? Now is the time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $13.5 billion in 2021 to an expected $70.6 billion by 2028. 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 kick start an even greater bonanza for investors. Zacks Investment Research has recently closed pot stocks that have shot up as high as +147.0% You’re invited to immediately 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 Cadence Design Systems, Inc. (CDNS): Free Stock Analysis Report MettlerToledo International, Inc. (MTD): Free Stock Analysis Report ANSYS, Inc. (ANSS): Free Stock Analysis Report Veeva Systems Inc. (VEEV): Free Stock Analysis Report Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here......»»

Category: topSource: zacksNov 29th, 2021

Black Friday Turns Red On "Terrible News" - Global Markets Crater On "Nu Variant" Panic

Black Friday Turns Red On "Terrible News" - Global Markets Crater On "Nu Variant" Panic The Friday after thanksgiving is called black Friday because that's when retailers finally turn profitable for the year. Not so much for market, however, because this morning it's red as far as the eye can see. The culprit: the same one we discussed late last night - the emergence of a new coronavirus strain detected in South Africa, known as B.1.1.529, which reportedly carries an "extremely high number" of mutations and is “clearly very different” from previous incarnations, which may drive further waves of disease by evading the body’s defenses according to South African scientists, and soon, Anthony Fauci. British authorities think it is the most significant variant to date and have hurried to impose travel restrictions on southern Africa, as did Japan, the Czech Republic and Italy on Friday. The European Union also said it aimed to halt air travel from the region. "Markets have been quite complacent about the pandemic for a while, partly because economies have been able to withstand the impact of selective lockdown measures. But we can see from the new emergency brakes on air travel that there will be ramifications for the price of oil," said Chris Scicluna, head of economic research at Daiwa. As a result, what was initially just a 1% drop in US index futures, has since escalated to a plunge of as much as 2% with eminis dropping the most since September, at one point dropping below 4,600 after closing on Wednesday above 4,700 as a post-Thanksgiving selloff spread across global markets amid mounting concerns the new B.1.1.529 coronavirus variant - which today will be officially called by the Greek lettter Nu - could derail the global economic recovery.  Russell 2000 contracts sank as much as 5.4%. Technology shares may be caught in the net too as Nasdaq 100 futures slid. The VIX increased as much as 9.4 vols to 28, it's biggest jump since January. It was last seen up 7.4 points, or the biggest increase since February. Adding to the pain, there is nothing on today's macro calendar and the US market closes early which will reduce already dismal liquidity even more, exacerbating some of the moves throughout the session. Headlines are likely to center on various nations preventing travel from South Africa whilst potentially imposing more stringent COVID measures domestically, as well as which countries "find" the Nu variant. Amid the panicked flight to safety, 10Y TSY yields tumbled as traders slashed bets on monetary tightening by the Federal Reserve (just hours after Goldman predicted that the Fed would double the pace of its taper and hike 3 times in 2022, oops) ... ... as did oil amid fears new covid lockdowns will lead to a collapse in crude demand (they will also certainly force OPEC+ to put on pause their plans to keep hiking output by 400K every month). Paradoxically, even cryptos are tumbling, which is surprising since even the dumbest algos should realize by now that a new covid outbreak means more dovish central banks, no tightening, and if nothing else, more QE and more liquidity which is precisely what cryptos need to break out to new all time highs. Cruise ship operator Carnival slumped 9.1% in premarket trading and Boeing slid 5.8% as travel companies tumbled worldwide. Stay-at-home stocks such as Zoom Video rallied.  Didi Global shares fell after Chinese regulators reportedly asked the ride-hailing giant to delist from U.S. bourses. Here are some of the other big premarket movers: Airlines and other travel stocks slumped in premarket trading on growing concern about a new Covid-19 variant identified in southern Africa. The European Union is proposing to halt air travel from several countries in the area and the U.K. will temporarily ban flights from the region. United Airlines (UAL US) fell 8.9%, Delta Air (DAL US) -7.9%, American Airlines (AAL US) -6.7%; cruiseline-operator Carnival (CCL US) -12%; hotelier Marriott (MAR US) -6.1%; lodging company Airbnb (ABNB US) -6.9%. Stay-at-home stocks that benefit from higher demand in lockdowns rose in premarket, with Zoom Video (ZM US) gaining 8.5% and fitness equipment group Peloton (PTON US) +4.7%. Vaccine stocks surged in premarket, while Pfizer and BioNTech got an added boost after their coronavirus shot won European Union backing for expanded use in children. Moderna (MRNA US) rose 8.8%, Novavax (NVAX US) +6.2%, Pfizer (PFE US) +5.1%, BioNTech (BNTX US) +6.4%. Small biotech stocks gained in premarket as investors sought havens. Ocugen (OCGN US) added 22%, Vir Biotechnology (VIR US) +7.8%, Sorrento Therapeutics (SRNE US) +5%. Cryptocurrency-exposed stocks fell as Bitcoin dropped as investors dumped risk assets. Marathon Digital (MARA US) declined 9%, Riot Blockchain (RIOT US) -8.8%, Coinbase (COIN US) -4.6%. Didi Global (DIDI US) declined 6% in premarket after Chinese regulators were said to have asked the ride-hailing giant to delist from U.S. bourses. Selecta Biosciences (SELB US) dropped 13% in Wednesday’s postmarket ahead of Thursday’s Thanksgiving closure, after saying the U.S. FDA placed a clinical hold on a trial. Quotient Technology (QUOT US) gained 3.9% in Wednesday’s postmarket on news that a board member bought $150,000 of shares. What happens next will matter and so, all eyes are on the opening bell for the U.S. markets, set to return from the holiday for a shortened trading session. Tumbling futures and a soaring VIX signaled that the rout in Asia and Europe won’t spare New York equities, while lack of liquidity will only make the pain worse. The Japanese yen emerged as the main haven currency of the day, with the dollar languishing. “Every trader in New York will be rushing to the office now,” said Salm-Salm & Partner portfolio manager Frederik Hildner, adding that news of the new variant could mean the end of the inflation and tapering debate. The worsening pandemic poses a dilemma for central banks that are preparing to tighten monetary policy to curb elevated price pressures, according to Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “It’s terrible news,” Ipek Ozkardeskaya, a senior analyst at Swissquote, said in emailed comments. “The new Covid variant could hit the economic recovery, but this time, the central banks won’t have enough margin to act. They can’t fight inflation and boost growth at the same time. They have to choose.” “We now have a new Covid variant that’s ‘very’ different from the ones we knew so far, a rising inflation, and a market bubble,” she said.  “The only encouraging news is the easing oil prices, which could tame the inflationary pressures and give more time to the central banks before pulling back support.” In the meantime, the World Health Organization and scientists in South Africa were said to be working “at lightning speed” to ascertain how quickly the B.1.1.529 variant can spread and whether it’s resistant to vaccines. The new threat adds to the wall of worry investors are already contending with in the form of elevated inflation, monetary tightening and slowing growth. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index headed for the biggest drop in 13 months plunging 2.7%; travel and banking industries led the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down as much as 3.7%, the biggest intraday drop since June 2020. Airbus slumped 8.6% in Paris and British Airways owner IAG tumbled 12% in London, while food-delivery stocks gained.  Here are some of the biggest European movers today: Stay-at-home stocks and Covid testing firms such as TeamViewer and DiaSorin are among the biggest gainers as worries over a new Covid variant send the Stoxx 600 tumbling on lockdown fears TeamViewer and DiaSorin rise as much as 6% and 7%, respectively On the down side, travel and leisure stocks plunge, with the likes of IAG, Lufthansa and Carnival posting double- digit falls IAG drops as much as 21% Software AG shares rise as much as 9.5% after Bloomberg reported that the firm is exploring strategic options, including a potential sale, with Morgan Stanley saying the company’s biggest headwinds are behind it. Evolution gains as much as 4.6%, recouping part of Thursday’s 16% plunge, with Bank of America saying the share price’s “crazy time” amounts to a good buying opportunity. Skistar rises as much as 3.7%, bucking steep declines for travel and leisure stocks, after Handelsbanken upgraded the stock, saying bookings for the Scandinavian ski resort operator are “set to surge.” Telecom Italia climbs as much as 2.8% following a Bloomberg report that private equity firms KKR and CVC are considering teaming up on a bid for the company. ING Groep falls as much as 11% after Goldman Sachs analyst Jean-Francois Neuez cut his recommendation to neutral from buy. Getlink drops as much as 6% as French fishermen start protests aimed at stepping up pressure on the U.K. in a post-Brexit fishing dispute. Earlier in the session, MSCI's index of Asian shares outside Japan fell 2.2%, its sharpest drop since August. Casino and beverage shares were hammered in Hong Kong, while travel stocks dropped in Sydney and Tokyo. Japan's Nikkei skidded 2.5% and S&P 500 futures were last down 1.8%. Giles Coghlan, chief currency analyst at HYCM, a brokerage, said the closure of the U.S. market for the Thanksgiving holiday on Thursday had exacerbated moves. "We need to see how transmissible this variant is, is it able to evade the vaccines - this is crucial," Coghlan said. "I expect this story to drag on for a few days until scientists have a better understanding of it." Indian stocks plunged as the detection of a new coronavirus strain rattled investor sentiment globally, raising concerns over a likely setback to the nascent economic recovery.  The S&P BSE Sensex lost 2.9%, the most since mid-April, to 57,107.15 in Mumbai, taking its loss this week to 4.2%, the biggest weekly drop since January. The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined by a similar magnitude on Friday. Reliance Industries was the biggest drag on both measures and declined 3.2%.  “There is fear of this new variant spreading to other countries which might again derail the global economy,” said Hemang Jani, head of equity strategy at Motilal Oswal Financial Services Ltd.   Of the 30 shares in the Sensex index, 26 fell and 4 gained. All but one of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. retreated, led by a index of realty companies. The S&P BSE Healthcare index was the only sub-index to gain, surging 1.2%. While researchers are yet to determine whether the new virus variant is more transmissible or lethal than previous ones, authorities around the world have been quick to act. The European Union, U.K., Israel, and Singapore placed emergency curbs on passengers from South Africa and the surrounding region. Travel stocks were among the hardest hit. InterGlobe Aviation Ltd. fell 8.9%, Spicejet Ltd. slipped 6.7% and Indian Hotels Co. Ltd. plunged 11.2%, the most since March 2020.  “Nervousness on the new variant of coronavirus and expectations of the U.S. Fed increasing the pace of tapering have led to recent market weakness,” Amit Gupta, fund manager for portfolio management services at ICICI Securities Ltd. said. “This trend may take some time to recover as the WHO meeting on the new mutant variant impact and hospitalization rates in US and Europe will be watched by the market very closely.” Crude oil to emerging markets completed this picture of mayhem. In rates, fixed income was firmly bid as Treasuries extended their advance led by the belly of the curve, outperforming bunds, while money markets pared rate-hike bets amid fears that a new coronavirus strain may spread globally, slowing economic growth. Cash Treasuries outperformed, richening 12-14bps across the short end, with Thursday’s closure exacerbating the optics. As shown above, 10Y Treasury yields shed as much as 10 basis points while the Japanese yen jumped the most since investors’ March 2020 rush for safety. Yields across the curve are lower by more than 8bp at long end, 13bp-15bp out to the 7-year point, moves that if sustained would be the largest since at least March 2020 and in some cases since 2009. Short-term interest rate futures downgraded the odds of Fed rate increases. Gilts richened 10-11bps across the curve, outperforming bunds by 4-5bps. Peripheral and semi-core spreads widen. In FX, JPY and CHF top the G-10 scoreboard with havens typically bid. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier touching a fresh cycle high, and the greenback was mixed versus its Group-of-10 peers as the yen and the Swiss franc led gains while the Canadian dollar and Norwegian krone were the worst performers as commodity prices plunged. Traders pushed back the timing of a 25-basis-point rate increase by the Federal Reserve to July from June, with only one further hike expected for the remainder of 2022. It’s a similar story in the U.K. where the Bank of England is now expected to tighten policy in February instead of next month. Wagers that the ECB will raise its deposit rate by the end of next year have also been slashed, with only a six basis-point increase priced in, half of that seen earlier this week. The European Union is proposing to follow the U.K. in halting air travel from southern Africa after the new Covid-19 variant was identified there. The yen is at the epicenter of skyrocketing currency volatility as the new virus variant shakes markets. The cost of hedging against swings in the Japanese currency over the next week, which captures the release of the next U.S. payrolls report, is the most expensive in more than a year. In commodities, crude futures are hit hard. WTI drops over 7% before finding support near $73, Brent drops over 5% before recovering near $78. Spot gold grinds higher, adding $21 to trade near $1,809/oz. Base metals are sharply offered with much of the complex off as much as 3%. Looking at the otherwise quiet day ahead, data releases include French and Italian consumer confidence for November, as well as the Euro Area M3 money supply for October. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos, and the ECB’s Visco, Schnabel, Centeno, Panetta and Lane, and BoE chief economist Pill. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.9% to 4,607.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 2.8% to 468.04 MXAP down 1.8% to 193.33 MXAPJ down 2.2% to 628.97 Nikkei down 2.5% to 28,751.62 Topix down 2.0% to 1,984.98 Hang Seng Index down 2.7% to 24,080.52 Shanghai Composite down 0.6% to 3,564.09 Sensex down 2.7% to 57,234.83 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.7% to 7,279.35 Kospi down 1.5% to 2,936.44 Brent Futures down 5.8% to $77.46/bbl Gold spot up 0.9% to $1,805.13 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.33% to 96.46 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.31% Euro up 0.4% to $1.1259 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The European Union is proposing to halt air travel from southern Africa over growing concern about a new Covid-19 variant that’s spreading there, as the U.K. said it will also temporarily ban flights from the region Those close to the Kremlin say the Russian president doesn’t want to start another war in Ukraine. Still, he must show he’s ready to fight if necessary in order to stop what he sees as an existential security threat: the creeping expansion of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in a country that for centuries had been part of Russia Bitcoin tumbled 20% from record highs notched earlier this month as a new variant of the coronavirus spurred traders to dump risk assets across the globe Germany’s Greens tapped their two co- leaders to run the foreign ministry and take charge of an influential portfolio overseeing economy and climate protection in the country’s next government under Social Democrat Olaf Scholz A more detailed breakdown of global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets declined and US equity futures were also on the backfoot on reopen from the prior day’s Thanksgiving lull with markets spooked by new COVID variant concerns related to the B.1.1.529 variant in South Africa that was first detected in Botswana. The new variant showed a high number of mutations and was said to be the most evolved strain ever which spurred fears it could be worse than Delta and is prompting both the UK and Israel to halt flights from several African nations. ASX 200 (-1.7%) was negative with heavy losses in energy and broad underperformance in cyclicals leading the downturn across all sectors, while the much better than expected Australian Retail Sales data was largely ignored. Nikkei 225 (-2.5%) underperformed and gave up the 29k status as selling was exacerbated by detrimental currency inflows and with SoftBank shares among the worst hit on reports that China is said to have asked Didi to delist from US exchanges on security fears, which doesn't bode well for SoftBank given that its Vision Fund is the top shareholder in the Chinese ride hailing group with a stake of more than 20%. Hang Seng (-2.5%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.7%) conformed to the risk aversion with the mood not helped by ongoing geopolitical concerns after a Chinese Defense Ministry spokesperson noted they are ready to crush Taiwan independence bid "at any time”, while China also said it opposes US sanctions on its companies and will take all necessary measures to firmly defend the rights of Chinese companies. Beijing interference further contributed to the headwinds amid the request by China for Didi to delist from US which reports stated regulators could backtrack on and with Tencent subdued after some Chinese state-run companies restricted the use of Tencent's messaging app. Top Asian News Stocks in Asia Set for Worst Day Since March on Virus Woes Mizuho CEO Steps Down After Regulator Hit on System Issues Meituan 3Q Revenue Meets Estimates Japan’s Kishida Delivers $316 billion Extra Budget for Recovery European equities are trading markedly lower (Stoxx 600 -2.9%) with losses in the Stoxx 600 extending to 3.8% WTD. Sentiment throughout the week has been hampered by various lockdown measures imposed across the region with the latest leg lower accelerated by new COVID variant concerns related to the B.1.1.529 variant in South Africa. The new variant has shown a high number of mutations and is said to be the most evolved strain so far. This has spurred fears it could be worse than Delta and has prompted multiple nations to halt flights from several African nations.The handover from the overnight session was an equally downbeat one with the Nikkei 225 (-2.5%) dealt a hammer blow by the risk environment and unfavourable currency flows. Stateside, futures are lower across the board with the RTY the clear laggard with losses of 4.2% compared to the ES -1.8%, whilst the tech-heavy NQ is faring better than peers but ultimately still lower on the session to the tune of 1.6%. Note, early closures in the US and subsequent liquidity conditions could exacerbate some of the moves throughout the session. With the macro calendar light, focus for the session is likely to centre on various nations preventing travel from South Africa whilst potentially imposing more stringent COVID measures domestically. Any further clarity on the spread of the variant and its potential to evade vaccines will be of great interest to the market and likely be the main driving force of price action today. Sectors in Europe are lower across the board with the Stoxx 600 Banking (-5.1%) sector bottom of the pile amid the declines seen in global bond yields as markets scale back expectations of central bank tightening (e.g. pricing now assigns a 63% chance of a 15bps hike by the BoE next month vs. 93% a week ago). Oil & Gas names (-4.8%) are suffering on account of the declines in the crude space with WTI crude in freefall with losses of 6.7% given the potential impact of travel restrictions on demand. Travel restrictions on South Africa (from UK, Israel, EU et al) and the potential for further announcements has crushed the Travel & Leisure sector (-5.7%) with airline names dealt a hammer blow; IAG (-13.5%), easyJet (-11%), Deutsche Lufthansa (-12%), Air France (-9.5%). Elsewhere, there are a whole raft of other laggards which are very much in-fitting with the March 2020 playbook but there are simply too many to list for the purpose of this report. Defensives and Tech are faring better than peers but ultimately still lower on the session to the tune of 1% and 1.9% respectively. Finally, for anyone wanting some positivity from today’s session, the potential for further lockdowns has proved to be beneficial for the likes of HelloFresh (+3.2%), Ocado (+2.1%) and Delivery Hero (+1.9%). Top European News Airlines Skid on South Africa Travel Bans Tied to Variant German Coalition Proposes a Combustion-Car Ban Without Saying So Putin Pushes Confrontation With NATO as Hardliners Prevail Siemens Is Said to Kick Off Sale of Postal Logistics Business In FX, the index has been under pressure in the risk-averse environment amid a slump in yields and gains in its basket components – namely the JPY, CHF, EUR (see below) – and with liquidity also thinned by Thanksgiving. From a technical perspective, the index has declined from its 96.787 overnight high, through the 96.500 mark, to a low of 96.332 – with the weekly trough at 96.035. Ahead, the US calendar is once again light, with the US also poised for an early Thanksgiving closure; thus, impulses will likely be derived from the macro environment. JPY, CHF, EUR - Haven FX JPY and CHF are the clear outperformers as a function of risk-related inflows. USD/JPY has retreated from a 115.37 peak and fell through its 21 DMA (114.15) to a base around 113.66 - with the current weekly low around 113.64. USD/CHF retreated from 0.9360 to 0.9260 – with the 50 and 100 DMAs seen at 0.9234 and 0.9219, respectively, ahead of 0.9200. EUR/USD meanwhile gains on what is seemingly an unwind of the carry trade amid a spike in volatility. EUR/USD found support near 1.1200 before rebounding to a current 1.1288 peak. AUD, NZD, CAD, GBP - The non-US Dollar risk currencies bear the brunt of the latest market downturn, with losses across industrial commodities not helping. The Loonie has taken the spot as the biggest G10 loser as hefty COVID-induced losses in the oil complex keep the currency suppressed. USD/CAD trades towards the top of a current 1.2647-2774 range. AUD is also weighed on by softer base metal prices – AUD/USD fell from a 0.7200 overnight high to a current low at 0.7110. On that note, Westpac sees AUD/USD pushed down to 0.7000 by Jun 2022 (prev. 0.7700) amid rate differentials with the US; Westpac made significant changes to its FOMC policy forecast and now expect consecutive increases in the fed funds rate in Jun, Sept, and Dec 2022. NZD/USD is slightly more cushioned amid smaller exposure to commodities, and as the AUD/NZD cross takes aim at 1.0450 to the downside. GBP, meanwhile, was initially among the losers amid its high-beta status but thereafter nursed losses in a move that coincided with EUR/GBP rejecting an upside breach of its 21 DMA at 0.8475. EM - The ZAR is the standout laggard given the new South African COVID variant - B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant (expected to be named Nu) – which is said to be the most evolved strain so far and thus prompted several countries to halt travel to the country of origin. USD/ZAR currently trades within a 15.9375-16.3630 intraday band. Meanwhile, the downturn oil sees USD/RUB north of 75.00 and closer to 76.00 from a 74.2690 base. The Lira also feels some contagion despite the lower oil prices (Turkey being a large net oil importer) – USD/TRY is back on a 12.00 handle and within 11.92-1226 parameters at the time of writing. In commodities, the crude complex has been hit by compounding COVID fears which in turn triggered various travel restrictions and subsequently took its toll on global crude demand prospects. The new and more evolved South African variant prompted the UK, Singapore, and Israel to expand their travel red lists to include some African nations (Israel reported its first case of the new COVID-19 variant known as B.1.1.529). Japan also imposed tighter border restrictions. China’s Shanghai city see flights impacted by its own outbreak. Europe also tackles its surge in daily cases - German Green Party's Baerbock (incoming Foreign Minister) does not rule out a German lockdown, according to Spiegel. EU Commission President von der Leyen is also to propose activation of the emergency air brake, to halt travel from southern Africa due to the B.1.1.529 COVID-19 variant. Losses in oil have exacerbated - with WTI Jan and Brent Feb now under USD 74/bbl (vs high 78.65/bbl) and USD 77/bbl (vs high 80.42/bbl), -6.0% and -5.0% respectively. This comes ahead of the OPEC+ confab next week, whereby OPEC watchers have suggested that oil prices will be a large contributor to the final decision. It is difficult to see how OPEC+ will increase output to the levels the US et al. will be content with, with the latest COVID downturn building the case for a pause in planned output hikes. Elsewhere, haven demand sees spot gold extend on gains above USD 1,800/oz after topping the 100 DMA (1,792.95/oz), 200 DMA (1,791.38/oz), 50 DMA (1,790.13/oz) overnight. Base metals are softer across the board amid the risk aversion. LME copper posts losses of around 3% at the time of writing, as prices threaten a more convincing downside breach of USD 9,500/t. US Event Calendar Nothing major scheduled DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap Things have escalated on the covid front quite rapidly over the last 12 hours. Yesterday new covid variant B.1.1.529 was slowly starting to gather increasing attention but overnight it has begun to dominate markets and has caused a notable flight to quality with 10 year USTs -8bps lower. It was originally identified in Botswana and is starting to spread rapidly in Africa. The South African Health Minister has said it is "of serious concern". Almost 100 cases have already been identified in South Africa and the UK moved to put the country back (along with 5 other African nations) on a reinstated red travel list last night with others following this morning. The variant is said to be the most heavily mutated version yet and the WHO will meet today to decide if it is a variant of interest or a variant of concern. So a lot of eyes will be on how severe it is and whether it completely evades vaccines. At this stage very little is known. Mutations are often less severe so we shouldn’t jump to conclusions but there is clearly a lot of concern about this one. Also South Africa is one of the world leaders in sequencing so we are more likely to see this sort of news originate from there than many countries. Suffice to say at this stage no one in markets will have any idea which way this will go. Overnight in Asia all benchmarks are trading lower on the news with the Shanghai Composite (-0.50%), CSI (-0.64%), KOSPI (-1.27%), Hang Seng (-2.13%) and the Nikkei (-2.90%) all lower. Airlines and other travel stocks have obviously fallen heavily. Hong Kong has detected two confirmed cases of the new variant just as Hong Kong and China were considering quarantine-free travel. S&P 500 (-0.93%) and DAX (-1.82%) futures are also much weaker. Elsewhere, in Japan, CPI rose +0.5% year-on-year (+0.4% consensus and +0.1% previously), on the back of 16-month high fuel prices. With the US out on holiday for Thanksgiving, there wasn’t much going on yesterday after a very quiet day in markets. The variant news was only slowly creeping into the news flow so it hardly impacted trading. But in keeping with the theme of recent days, both inflation and the latest covid wave in Europe remained very much in the picture as jitters continue to increase that we could see further lockdowns as we move towards Christmas. Starting with the headline moves, European equities did actually show signs of stabilising yesterday, with the STOXX 600 up +0.42% thanks to a broad-based advance across the continent. In fact that’s actually the index’s best daily performance in over three weeks, although that’s not reflecting any particular strength, but instead the fact the index inched steadily but persistently towards a record high before selling off again a week ago. Other indices moved higher across the continent too, with the FTSE 100 (+0.33%), the CAC 40 (+0.48%) and the DAX (+0.25%) all posting similar advances. These will all likely reverse this morning. One piece of news we did get came from the ECB, who released the account of their monetary policy meeting for October. Something the minutes stressed was the importance that the Governing Council maintain optionality in their policy settings, with one part acknowledging the growing upside risks to inflation, but also saying “it was deemed important for the Governing Council to avoid an overreaction as well as unwarranted inaction, and to keep sufficient optionality in calibrating its monetary policy measures to address all inflation scenarios that might unfold.” Against this backdrop, 10yr bond yields moved lower across multiple countries, with those on bunds (-2.3ps), OATs (-2.3bps) and BTPs (-1.9bps) all declining. There was also a flattening in all 3 yield curves as well, with the 2s10s slope in Germany (-3.0bps), France (-3.7bps) and Italy (-2.8bps) shifting lower. And the moves also coincided with a continued widening in peripheral spreads, with both the Spanish and the Greek spreads over 10yr bund yields widening to their biggest levels in over a year. Of course, one of the biggest concerns in Europe right now remains the pandemic, and yesterday saw a number of fresh measures announced as policymakers seek to get a grip on the latest wave. In France, health minister Veran announced various measures, including the expansion of the booster rollout to all adults, and a reduction in the length of time between the initial vaccination and the booster shot to 5 months from 6. Meanwhile in the Czech Republic, the government declared a state of emergency and approved tighter social distancing measures, including the closure of restaurants and bars at 10pm. And in Finland, the government have said that bars and restaurants not using Covid certificates will not be able to serve alcohol after 5pm. All this came as the European Medicines Agency recommended that the Pfizer vaccine be approved for children aged 5-11, which follows the decision to approve the vaccine in the US. Their recommendation will now go to the European Commission for a final decision. There wasn’t much in the way of data at all yesterday, though German GDP growth in Q3 was revised down to show a +1.7% expansion (vs. +1.8% previous estimate). Looking at the details, private consumption was the only driver of growth (+6.2%), with government consumption (-2.2%), machinery and equipment (-3.7%) and construction (-2.3%) all declining over the quarter. To the day ahead now, and data releases include French and Italian consumer confidence for November, as well as the Euro Area M3 money supply for October. Otherwise, central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, Vice President de Guindos, and the ECB’s Visco, Schnabel, Centeno, Panetta and Lane, and BoE chief economist Pill. Tyler Durden Fri, 11/26/2021 - 08:12.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 26th, 2021

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump

Futures Slide As Dollar Jumps, Yields Rebound Ahead Of Massive Data Dump For the third day in a row, US equity futures have been weighed down by rising (real) rates even as traders moderated their expectations for monetary-policy tightening after New Zealand’s measured approach to rate hikes where the central banks hiked rates but not as much as some had expected. Traders also braced for an epic data dump in the US, which includes is an epic data dump which includes an update to Q3 GDP, advance trade balance, initial jobless claims, wholesale and retail inventories, durable goods, personal income and spending, UMich consumer sentiment, new home sales, and the FOMC Minutes The two-year U.S. yield shed two basis points. The dollar extended its rising streak against a basket of peers to a fourth day. At 730am, S&P 500 e-mini futures dropped 0.3%, just off session lows, while Nasdaq futures dropping 0.34%. In premarket trading, Nordstrom sank 27% after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. The company reported higher labor and fulfillment costs in the third quarter while sales remained stubbornly below pre-pandemic levels and profit missed analyst estimates. Telecom Italia SpA surged in Europe on enhanced takeover interest. Oil prices fluctuated as producers and major consuming nations headed for a confrontation. Other notable premarket movers: Gap (GPS US) sank 20% premarket after the clothing retailer reported quarterly results that missed estimates and cut its net sales forecast for the full year. Analysts lowered their price targets. Nordstrom (JWN US) tumbles 27% in premarket after the Seattle-based retailer posted third-quarter results featuring what Citi called a big earnings per share miss. Jefferies, meanwhile, downgrades the stock to hold from buy as transformation costs are rising. Guess (GES US) posted quarterly results which analysts say included impressive sales and margins, and showed the company navigating supply-chain issues successfully. The shares closed 9.2% higher in U.S. postmarket trading. HP (HPQ US) shares are up 8.4% in premarket after quarterly results. Analysts note strong demand and pricing in the personal computer market. Meme stocks were mixed in premarket after tumbling the most since June on Tuesday as investors bailed out of riskier assets. Anaplan (PLAN US) slides 18% in premarket as a narrower-than-expected quarterly loss wasn’t enough to stem a downward trend. Analysts slashed price targets. Autodesk (ADSK US) shares slump 14% in premarket after the building software maker narrowed its full-year outlook. Analysts are concerned that issues with supply chains and the pandemic could impact its targets for 2023. GoHealth (GOCO US) gained 8.4% in postmarket trading after the insurer’s CEO and chief strategy officer added to their holdings. As Bloomberg notes, investors are on the edge as they face a wall of worry from a resurgence of Covid-19 in Europe to signs of persistent consumer-price growth. Damping inflation is now center-stage for policy makers, with ultra-loose, pandemic-era stimulus set to be wound down. The slew of U.S. data as well as Federal Reserve minutes due today may provide the next catalysts for market moves. In Europe, the Stoxx 600 Index erased earlier gains of up to 0.4% to trade down -0.1%, with tech and travel and leisure leading declines. Miners gained 0.8%, tracking higher copper prices on easing concerns over Chinese demand, while travel stocks slid over 1% on prospects of harsher travel curbs: Italy and France are debating new measures to cope with Covid’s resurgence while Germany isn’t ruling out fresh curbs. Oil stocks rose 1.2%, set for their biggest jump in over a month, with crude prices inching higher as investors remained sceptical about the effectiveness of a U.S.-led release of oil from strategic reserves. Here are some of the most notable European equity movers: Mulberry shares surge as much as 24%, the most since March 12, after the U.K. luxury company swung to a 1H profit from a year earlier and reported an increase in sales. Telecom Italia shares rise as much as 10% following a Bloomberg report that KKR is considering to raise its offer for the company after top investor Vivendi said the bid was too low. However, the stock is still trading below the initial non-binding offer from KKR. Golden Ocean gains as much as 9.6%, most since Feb., after earnings. DNB says “Golden Ocean delivered solid Q3 results” and adds “Furthermore, guidance for Q4 should lift consensus estimates and solidify further dividend potential in our view.” Intertek shares gain as much as 6.7%, the most since May 2020, after the company issued a trading update. UBS says the company’s accelerating momentum and reiterated targets are “reassuring.” Aegon shares rise as much as 5.5% after Credit Suisse upgraded its recommendation to outperform from neutral and raised the PT to EU5.30 from EU4.00. IQE shares slump as much as 21% for the biggest intraday drop since March 2020, falling to their lowest level since June 2020 after the semiconductor company said it sees softening demand in 4Q. Genus shares fall as much 15% after the animal genetics firm lowered its FY22 earnings guidance, leading Peel Hunt and Liberum to cut estimates. European stocks are on course for weekly losses, as the return of COVID-19 curbs, rate hike and inflation concerns sparked fears of a weaker economic growth outlook. "There's a two-way pull between macro concerns and what's happening bottoms-up in terms of corporate profits," said Nick Nelson, head of European equity strategy at UBS, adding that while the third quarter has been one of the decade's best reporting seasons for Europe, macro concerns such as a rise in U.S. bond yields and COVID-19 cases have been holding stocks back. Earlier in the session, Asian equities declined, on track for a third-straight session of losses, as higher U.S. Treasury yields continued to weigh on technology stocks in the region. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.6%, with Japan stocks leading losses as traders returned from a holiday to access the prospect of tighter U.S. monetary policy to curb inflation. TSMC and Tencent were among the biggest drags on the regional gauge. READ: Samsung Plans $17 Billion Texas Chip Plant, Creating 2,000 Jobs The renomination of Jerome Powell as Federal Reserve chair earlier this week has sent U.S. 10-year Treasury yields to about levels near 1.65%, implying higher borrowing costs. That’s adding to concerns about weak earnings growth in Asia as well as ongoing supply-chain constraints. Investors will now turn their attention to U.S. gross domestic product data and FOMC minutes due out after Asian markets close Wednesday.  “A cautious tone may still seem to prevail for now,” Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia, said in a note. “Markets continue to shift their expectations towards a tighter Fed monetary policy.” New Zealand’s stock gauge added 0.6% after the central bank raised interest rates by 25 basis points, less than the 50 points that some economists had predicted. Singapore authorities, meanwhile, expect gross domestic product to expand 3% to 5% next year, a slower pace than this year as the country rebounds from the pandemic. Indian stocks fell ahead of the November monthly expiry on Thursday, led by technology companies. The S&P BSE Sensex slipped 0.6% to 58,340.99 in Mumbai to close at its lowest level in two months. The gauge gained 0.3% on Tuesday, snapping four sessions of selloff.   The NSE Nifty 50 Index declined 0.5% on Wednesday, reversing intraday gains of as much as 0.6%. Software exporter Infosys Ltd. was the biggest drag on both gauges and slipped more than 2%. Of the 30 shares in the Sensex, 21 dropped and nine rose.  Investors roll over positions ahead of the expiry of derivatives contracts on the last Thursday of every month. Fourteen of 19 sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. fell, led by a measure of IT companies. “The scheduled monthly expiry would keep the traders busy on Thursday,” Ajit Mishra, vice president research at Religare Broking Ltd. wrote in a note. “We suggest continuing with negative bias on the index while keeping a check on leveraged positions.” In Fx, the most notable movers was the drop in the kiwi: New Zealand’s currency ironically slid to the weakest in nearly two months and the nation’s bond rallied as the central bank’s 25 basis-point rate hike disappointed traders betting on a bigger increase. The central bank projected 2% benchmark borrowing costs by the end of 2022. The Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced a fourth consecutive day as the greenback gained versus all Group-of-10 peers apart from the yen, which reversed its losses after falling to the lowest since March 2017. The euro underperformed, nearing the $1.12 handle amid broad dollar strength even before data showing German business confidence took another hit in November and amid renewed fears that Germany may be considering a full lockdown and mandatory vaccines. RBNZ Governor Adrian Orr said policy makers considered a 50bps move before deciding on 25bps, and he sees the OCR climbing to around 2.5% by end-2023.  Elsewhere, Turkey’s lira stabilized after Tuesday’s plunge. MSCI’s gauge of emerging-market stocks edged lower for a sixth session.   In rates, Treasuries were richer by 1bp to 2bp across the curve, paced by European bonds ahead of a raft of U.S. data preceding Thursday’s market close. 10-year Treasury yields were richer by ~1bp on the day at around 1.655%, slightly trailing bunds; most curve spreads are within a basis point of Tuesday’s close with comparable shifts across tenors. During Asia session, Treasuries were supported by wider gains across Kiwi bonds after RBNZ hiked policy rates, but still erred on the dovish side. Bunds remain supported during European morning as haven demand stems from prospect of a nationwide German lockdown. Italian bonds snapped a two-day decline. In commodities, oil futures in New York swung between gains and losses following an announcement by the U.S. and other nations of a coordinated release of strategic reserves. Focus now turns to OPEC+ on how the group will respond to the moves. The alliance has already said that such releases were unjustified by market conditions and it may reconsider plans to add more supply at a meeting next week. Base metals are well bid with LME nickel adding over 2% to outperform peers. LME copper rises over 1% to best levels for the week. Crude futures fade a modest push higher fading after a brief push through Tuesday’s best levels. WTI trades flat, having briefly printed above $79; Brent prints highs of $83 before fading. Spot gold holds a narrow range close to $1,790/oz To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.1% to 4,683.50 STOXX Europe 600 up 0.3% to 480.66 MXAP down 0.5% to 196.76 MXAPJ down 0.1% to 643.18 Nikkei down 1.6% to 29,302.66 Topix down 1.2% to 2,019.12 Hang Seng Index up 0.1% to 24,685.50 Shanghai Composite up 0.1% to 3,592.70 Sensex down 0.3% to 58,499.84 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,399.44 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,994.29 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $82.63/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,791.37 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.57 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.22% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1231 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Olaf Scholz is set to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor after forging an unprecedented alliance that aims to revamp Europe’s largest economy by tackling climate change and promoting digital technologies The European Commission is set to announce the recommendations for the entire EU as soon as Thursday, Politico’s Playbook newsletter reported, citing three unidentified officials and diplomats Italy’s government is debating tough new measures to stem an increase in coronavirus cases, which could include restrictions on unvaccinated people and be approved as soon as Wednesday The ECB’s pandemic purchasing program may enter a “waiting room” rather than be abolished completely once net purchases are set to end in March, Governing Council member Robert Holzmann said at briefing in Vienna The U.K.’s biggest business lobby group has urged Prime Minister Boris Johnson to back down in its dispute with the European Union over Northern Ireland and not follow through with threats to suspend parts of the Brexit divorce deal Polish central bank Governor Adam Glapinski said further weakening of the zloty wouldn’t be consistent with the country’s economic fundamentals, helping lift the embattled currency from 12-year lows The supply crunch that’s helped drive inflation to multi- decade highs shows some signs of easing in the U.S. -- but it’s still getting worse in Europe. That’s the takeaway from the latest readings on Bloomberg Economics’ new set of supply indicators The unraveling of the Turkish lira threatens to erode Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s grasp on the economy and is already emboldening his political opponents. Small protests erupted in Istanbul and Ankara overnight, calling for an end to economic mismanagement that’s unleashed rapid inflation and triggered the currency’s longest losing streak in two decades A more detailed breakdown of global news courtesy of newsquawk Asia-Pac equity indices were mixed following the choppy performance of their US counterparts where energy rallied despite the SPR announcement and tech lagged as yields continued to gain, with the latest RBNZ rate hike, as well as looming FOMC Minutes and US data releases adding to the tentative mood. ASX 200 (-0.2%) was rangebound with the index subdued by losses in tech and gold miners which suffered from the rising yield environment, but with downside cushioned by strength in the largest weighted financials sector and with outperformance in energy after oil prices rallied in the aftermath of the widely anticipated SPR announcement. The strength in oil was attributed to several reasons including a “sell the rumour/buy the news” play and expectations of a response from OPEC+, while an administration official kept the prospect of an oil export ban on the table which is seen as bullish as it would remove US supply from the global market. Nikkei 225 (-1.6%) was the laggard on return from holiday amid flows into the local currency and with reports also suggesting the BoJ is considering tweaking its pandemic relief program. Hang Seng (+0.1%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.1%) swung between gains and losses with early indecision due to the broad tech weakness tech which was not helped by reports that Chinese cyberspace regulators and police summoned Alibaba (9988 HK) and Baidu’s (9888 HK) cloud unit for telecoms network fraud, although the losses for Chinese bourses were eventually reversed amid gains in the energy heavyweights and after a mild PBoC liquidity injection. Finally, 10yr JGBs opened lower on spillover selling from global peers but gradually pared some of the losses after rebounding from support at 151.50 and with the BoJ in the market for nearly JPY 1.5tln of JGBs with up to 10yr maturities. Top Asian News Shinsei Drops Poison Pill Against SBI in Japan Takeover Saga Morgan Stanley to Repay Hong Kong Staff $5,100 for Quarantine KKR, Equinix Among Suitors for $11 Billion Global Switch Japan to Issue $192 Billion in Debt for Stimulus: Nikkei European equities attempted to claw back some of the week’s losses (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.2%; Stoxx 600 -0.2%) at the open with Monday and Tuesday’s session dominated by ongoing COVID angst in the region. Lockdown measures were enough to see investors shrug off yesterday’s better-than-expected PMI metrics for the Eurozone with today’s slightly softer than hoped for German Ifo report having little sway on price action. Despite the upside seen at the open, optimism has faded throughout the session as speculation mounts over whether the announcement of the German coalition deal (set to be unveiled at 14:00GMT) could prompt further lockdown measures for the nation. Furthermore, reports note that the Italian government is debating potential restrictions on the unvaccinated; measures could be approved as soon as today. On a more positive footing French Finance Minister Le Maire says at the moment he does not see any need for further COVID-related restrictions in France. However, it remains to be seen how long this viewpoint can be sustained. Stateside, futures are a touch softer with losses across the majors of a relatively equal magnitude (ES -0.1%) in the final full session of the week ahead of the Thanksgiving Holiday. Given the shortened week, today sees a deluge of data from the US with releases including key personal income, spending and PCE data for October, a second look at Q3 GDP, final Michigan consumer sentiment data, as well as weekly jobless claims and energy inventory data. All of which is followed by the FOMC minutes from the November meeting. In a recent note, BNP Paribas stated it is of the view that equities will go on to provide the highest returns across asset classes in 2022 with the French bank targeting 5100 (currently 4690) for the S&P 500 by the end of next year. From a European perspective, BNP expects the Euro Stoxx 50 to close 2022 out at 4500 (currently 4300) with the market “too pessimistic” on margins; albeit the Bank concedes that the resurgence of COVID presents a risk to its view. Sectors in Europe are mostly constructive with Oil & Gas and Basic Resources underpinned by gains in the underlying commodities with the former continuing to garner support post-yesterday’s SPR announcement. The Travel & Leisure sector lags peers with the Travel element of the group hampered by reports that the European Commission is preparing new COVID travel recommendations for the whole of the EU. For Leisure names, Entain (-5.0%) and Flutter Entertainment (-3.0%) have been hit by news that over 160 UK MPs and peers are said to be demanding that online gambling limits are lowered. Finally, Telecom Italia (+9.7%) is the best performer in the Stoxx 600 after source reports suggesting that KKR is considering a higher bid for the Co. in an attempt to win over support from Vivendi.   Top European News Scholz Seals Coalition Deal to Become Next German Chancellor Italy Readies Curbs on the Unvaccinated as Covid Cases Rise Booking Agrees to Buy CVC’s Etraveli for About EU1.63b Orange CEO Convicted in $453 Million Arbitration Fraud Case In FX, the Dollar index has gained traction and continued its gains above 96.500+ status in early European hours before eclipsing resistance at 96.700 to a fresh YTD peak at 96.758, with US players also preparing to wind down for the long weekend. Before that, the Buck will be facing a plethora of Tier 1 US data, including Prelim GDP (Q3), weekly Jobless Claims, and monthly PCE in the run-up to the FOMC Minutes – which will be eyed for clues on what could warrant an adjustment of the pace of tapering (Full preview available in the Newsquawk Research Suite). On the downside, immediate support will likely be at yesterday’s 96.308 low before this week’s current 96.035 trough. In terms of early month-end FX flows (on account of the holiday-shortened week), Morgan Stanley’s model points towards USD weakness against most G10 peers. EUR, GBP - The single currency dipped a 16-month low just before the release of the German Ifo survey, which unsurprisingly voiced cautiousness against the backdrop of COVID and supply chain issues – with Ifo forecasting a growth stagnation this current quarter, whilst ING believe that today’s Ifo signals that “The risk of stagnation or even recession in the German economy at the turn of the year has clearly increased.” The currency came under further pressure in what coincided with reports that Germany is mulling a full COVID lockdown and mandatory vaccinations, although the piece failed to cite any sources nor officials and seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent remarks from the German Health Minister. EUR/USD fell through pivotal support at 1.1210 to a current low at 1.1206 ahead of 1.1200. Traders should also be cognizant of several chunky OpEx clips including EUR 1.3bln between 1.1195-1.1200. Ahead, the SPD, Greens and FDP set to unveil their coalition deal at 14:00GMT. ECB speak today include from the likes Schnabel after Panetta and Holzmann failed to spur action across EU assets. Elsewhere, the GBP/USD is flat intraday and saw little reaction to BoE Governor Bailey yesterday, suggesting he does not think the MPC will go back to a hard form of guidance and stated that it is not off the table that they give no guidance at all on rates. Bailey also stated that decisions are made meeting by meeting and that they have a very tight labour market. From a political standpoint, European Commission VP Sefcovic said EU-UK talks on Northern Ireland trade rules will probably drag into 2022. Cable remains within a 1.3353-89 range whilst EUR/GBP trades on either side of 0.8400. Looking ahead, BoE’s Tenreyro speaking at the Oxford Economics Society – with early-Nov commentary from the MPC member suggesting that monetary policy will have to bite if there are signs of second-round inflation effects, but policy cannot fix energy price spikes. NZD, AUD - The Kiwi stands as the G10 laggard following a dovish 25bps hike by the RBNZ, with the board citing optionality. Desks suggest that FX was clearly gearing for a hawkish surprise from the central bank, with markets pricing some 35% of a 50bps hike heading into the meeting given the inflation survey earlier this month. Money markets were also disappointed, with participants flagging that the 2yr swap fell over 15bps despite the RBNZ upping its 2023 OCR forecast to 2.3% (prev. 1.7%). NZD/USD fell further beneath the 0.7000 mark to a current 0.6957 low. AUD meanwhile sees its losses cushioned from another day of firm gains in iron ore, whilst cross-currency flows help the AUD/NZD test 1.0450 to the upside. Nonetheless, the cautious market mood keeps AUD/USD around the flat mark after the pair found support at 0.7200. JPY - The traditional haven outperforms as risk aversion creeps into the market. USD/JPY pivots the 115.00 market after hitting an overnight high of 115.23. Some desks suggest that offers are seen from 115.30 on Wednesday, with more around the 115.50 area, according to IFR citing Tokyo sources. In terms of notable OpEx, USD/JPY sees USD 1.7bln between 115.00-10. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan futures consolidate following yesterday’s gains post-SPR announcement. The release disappointed the oil bears given the widely telegraphed nature of the announcement coupled with relatively small contributions from members. Desks have also highlighted that the reserves will need to be replenished at some time in the future, and thus, analysts have passed the effects from the SPR release as temporary; although, cautioning that if the desired impact is not achieved, then further action can be taken – with a temporary export ban still on the table. Meanwhile, on the demand side, futures dipped after CNBC reported that Germany could head into a full lockdown, but the piece did not make a mention of officials nor sources but seemed to be more an extrapolation of recent comments from the Germany Health Minister, with an announcement on this matter potentially to come today. Further, tomorrow could see revised travel guidance for the whole of the EU, according to Politico sources, although "The biggest overall change will be a move away from a country-based approach and to a person-based one, which takes into account a citizen’s individual COVID status." Despite this month’s European COVID developments, JPMorgan sees global oil demand growing by another 3.5mln BPD next year to reach 99.8mln BPD (280k BPD above 2019 level); 2023 demand is expected to average around 101.5mln BPD (1.9mln BPD above pre-COVID levels) and suggested that global oil demand is on track to exceed 2019 levels by March 2022 and strengthen further. As a reminder, next week also sees the OPEC+ meeting whereby the group is expected to continue with plans of monthly output increases of 400k BPD, with a risk of a more dovish decision and/or commentary. WTI Jan trades around USD 78.50/bbl (vs high 79.23/bbl) and Brent Jan around USD 82.25/bbl (vs high 83.00/bbl). Elsewhere, spot gold is interestingly unfazed by the rampant Dollar as prices remain caged within a cluster of DMAs (100 around 1,793, 200 around 1,791 and 50 around 1,788). Copper prices are again on the grind higher with LME around USD 9,800/t at the time of writing – with participants citing underlying demand, particularly from China. US Event Calendar 8:30am: 3Q GDP Annualized QoQ, est. 2.2%, prior 2.0% 8:30am: 3Q GDP Price Index, est. 5.7%, prior 5.7% 8:30am: 3Q PCE Core QoQ, est. 4.5%, prior 4.5% 8:30am: 3Q Personal Consumption, est. 1.6%, prior 1.6% 8:30am: Oct. Durable Goods Orders, est. 0.2%, prior -0.3% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Orders Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 0.8%; - Less Transportation, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5% 8:30am: Oct. Cap Goods Ship Nondef Ex Air, est. 0.5%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Retail Inventories MoM, est. 0.3%, prior -0.2%; Wholesale Inventories MoM, est. 1.0%, prior 1.4% 8:30am: Oct. Advance Goods Trade Balance, est. - $95b, prior -$96.3b 8:30am: Nov. Initial Jobless Claims, est. 260,000, prior 268,000; Continuing Claims, est. 2.03m, prior 2.08m 9:45am: Nov. Langer Consumer Comfort, prior 50.7 10am: Oct. Personal Income, est. 0.2%, prior -1.0%; 10am: Oct. Personal Spending, est. 1.0%, prior 0.6% 10am: Oct. Real Personal Spending, est. 0.6%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. New Home Sales, est. 800,000, prior 800,000 10am: Oct. New Home Sales MoM, est. 0%, prior 14.0% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.3% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.4%, prior 0.2% 10am: Oct. PCE Deflator YoY, est. 5.1%, prior 4.4% 10am: Oct. PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 4.1%, prior 3.6% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 67.0, prior 66.8 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, prior 4.9% 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Current Conditions, prior 73.2 10am: Nov. U. of Mich. Expectations, prior 62.8 2pm: Nov. FOMC Meeting Minutes DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap We’ve had a number of requests to bring back our Covid tables in the EMR. At the moment I’m resisting as they take a considerable amount of time. While we work out an efficient form of articulating the current wave on a daily basis, in today’s EMR we show graphs of the daily rolling 7-day cases and fatalities per million in the population for the G7. We’ve also included Austria, given how topical that is, and also The Netherlands, given mounting problems there. These act as a useful reference point for some of the more stressed countries. The cases chart should be in the text below and the fatalities one visible when you click “view report”. Germany is probably the main one to watch in the G7 at the moment and overnight reported 66,884 new cases (a record) compared with 45,362 the day before. A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detailed IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. As we hit Thanksgiving Eve and a US data dump of a day given the holiday tomorrow, the big story over the last 2-3 business days has been real rates in the US. As recently as Friday, after the Austria lockdown news, 10yr real rates hit -1.2%. Yesterday they traded above -0.95% before closing at -0.97%, +4.0bps higher than the previous close. Our view in the 2022 credit strategy document is that credit is more tied to real rates than nominal rates and if the market attacks the Fed as we expect, then they should go up. However, note that I’ve also said I suspect they’ll stay negative for the rest of my career so while higher real yields are likely, I suspect that this is a trade rather than a structural long-term journey given likely long-term financial repression. Anyway, rising real yields, a fresh covid wave and belief over a less dovish Fed post the Powell reappointment saw a tough day for equities, especially in Europe, before the US managed to eke out a gain into the close. The S&P 500 (+0.17%) was up for the first time in 3 days, whilst Europe’s STOXX 600 (-1.28%) posted its worst daily performance in nearly 2 months. On a sector level, it was the same story in the US, where energy (+3.04%) shares benefitted from climbing oil prices and financials (+1.55%) gained on steeper and higher yields. Larger tech firms retreated on the higher discount rates, with the Nasdaq declining -0.50%. Meanwhile the VIX index of volatility was back above the 20-mark for the first time in over a month, coinciding with a broader tightening of financial conditions. However, we dipped back below 20 into the stronger close. Honing in on bonds now and there was a major selloff yesterday that hit a number of European countries in particular. By the close of trade, yields on 10yr bunds were up +8.1bps, which is their single-biggest daily increase in over a year, actually since the day we found out that the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine had proven successful in trials and was set to be rolled out. The move came about entirely due to higher real rates, with Germany 10yr inflation breakevens actually down -2.0bps on the day. Similar moves were seen elsewhere on the continent, with yields on 10yr OATs (+8.6bps) and BTPs (+10.5bps) seeing sharp rises of their own, which occurred in part on the back of stronger than expected flash PMI data raising the prospect of a quicker drawdown in monetary stimulus, not least with inflation still running some way ahead of the ECB’s target. For US Treasuries, yields were a touch more subdued, and the yield curve twist steepened. 2yr yields declined -1.8bp whilst every other maturity increased, and all tenors out to 7 years are at post-pandemic highs. The 5yr nominal yield increased +2.2bps to 1.34%. The 10yr was up +4.1bps to 1.67% due, as we discussed above, to real yields. 10yr breakevens were flat (+0.2bp) at 2.63%. The 10 year is 7.5bps off of 2021 closing highs and in the 430 plus business days since the pandemic started there have only been 14 days with a higher close than last nights. Elsewhere yesterday, we had an important piece of news on the energy front, as the US announced that it would be releasing 50m barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve, with the move occurring alongside similar decisions in China, India, Japan, South Korea and the UK. 32m of those 50m will be an exchange, whereby oil is released over the next few months that is then returned over the coming years, while another 18m are coming from an acceleration of an oil sale that Congress had already authorised. Oil prices rose following the release however, with Brent crude (+3.27%) and WTI (+2.28%) both seeing decent advances, in part because the contribution from other nations was smaller than many had anticipated, but also because the potential release from the SPR had been widely reported in advance, thus sending prices lower from their peak around a month ago. Even with the news, there’s no sign that inflationary pressures will be going away just yet, since much of what happens next will depend on the reaction of the OPEC+ group. If they move to cancel plans to increase production, then that could put upward pressure on prices again and help counter the impact of the move from the various energy consumers. And as we’ve been discussing, inflationary pressures have been widening for some time now, stretching beyond specific categories like energy and used cars to an array of other areas. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mostly in the red with the CSI (-0.03%), Hang Seng (-0.06%), Shanghai Composite (-0.10%), KOSPI (-0.48%) and the Nikkei (-1.35%) all lower. The Reserve Bank of New Zealand has raised interest rates for the second consecutive month and lifted the official cash rate 25bps to 0.75%. There was some who expected 50bps so bonds are rallying with 2yr and 10yrs -5.5bps and -7.5bps lower, respectively. The central bank were pretty hawkish in their comments though. US Treasuries are 2-4bps lower across the curve overnight as well. Staying on New Zealand, the country eased its travel restrictions by allowing fully vaccinated travellers (and other eligible travellers) from Australia without any isolation from Jan 17 and those from the rest of the world from February 14. Elsewhere, South Korea reported its highest ever daily new cases of 4,115 with 586 critical cases with the PM announcing the situation is "more serious than expected". Futures are indicating a slightly weaker start in the US and Europe with the S&P 500 (-0.24%) and DAX (-0.09%) lower. Over in Europe, there’s no sign of the pandemic letting up just yet, with French health minister Veran saying in parliament that “we are sadly well and truly in a fifth wave of the epidemic” as France announced 30,454 new cases yesterday. Austria has been the main country in the headlines recently as it moved into a nationwide lockdown, but the reality is that the trend lines have been moving higher across the continent, raising the prospect of fresh restrictions. In terms of yesterday’s developments, the Netherlands announced that social distancing would be reintroduced on a mandatory basis, and that people should stay 1.5m apart, and Poland saw the biggest daily increase in hospitalisations since April. Elsewhere, Slovakia’s PM said that he was considering following the steps adopted in Austria, and the outgoing Czech PM said that mandatory vaccines for the over-60s were being considered. In spite of the growing Covid wave across Europe, the flash PMIs released yesterday actually proved better than the consensus was expecting, and even saw something of an uptick from the October readings. The Euro Area composite PMI ended a run of 3 successive declines as it rose to 55.8 (vs. 53.0 expected), with both manufacturing (58.6) and services (56.6) rising relative to a month ago. And both the German (52.8) and the French (56.3) composite PMIs were also better than expected. On the other hand, the US had somewhat underwhelming readings, with the flash services PMI down to 57.0 (vs. 59.0 expected), as the composite PMI fell to 56.5. To the day ahead now, and there’s a significant amount of US data ahead of tomorrow’s Thanksgiving holiday. That includes the weekly initial jobless claims, the second estimate of Q3 GDP, October’s personal income and personal spending, new home sales, and the preliminary October readings for durable goods orders and core capital goods orders. Over in Germany, there’s also the Ifo’s business climate indicator for November. Finally on the central bank side, there’s the release of the FOMC’s November meeting minutes, and speakers include the ECB’s Panetta and Schnabel, and the BoE’s Tenreyro. Tyler Durden Wed, 11/24/2021 - 08:07.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 24th, 2021

Futures Under Water As Tech Selloff Spreads, Yields Spike, Lira Implodes

Futures Under Water As Tech Selloff Spreads, Yields Spike, Lira Implodes US equity futures continued their selloff for the second day as Treasury yields spiked to 1.66%, up almost 4bps on the day, and as the selloff in tech shares spread as traders trimmed bets for a dovish-for-longer Federal Reserve after the renomination of Jerome Powell as its chair. At 8:00am ET, S&P futures were down 2.75 points or -0.05%, with Dow futures flat and Nasdaq futures extended their selloff but were off worst levels, down 41.25 points or 0.25%, after Monday’s last-hour furious rout in technology stocks. As repeatedly covered here in recent weeks, the Turkish currency crisis deepened with the lira weakening past 13 per USD, a drop of more than 10% in one day.  Oil rebounded - as expected - after a panicking Joe Biden, terrified about what soaring gas prices mean for Dems midterm changes, announced that the US, together with several other countries such as China, India and Japan, would tap up to 50 million barrels in strategic reserves, a move which was fully priced in and will now serve to bottom tick the price of oil. In premarket trading, Zoom lost 9% in premarket trading on slowing growth. For some unknown reason, investors have been reducing expectations for a deeper dovish stance by the Fed after Powell was selected for a second term (as if Powell - the man who started purchases of corporate bonds - is somehow hawkish). The chair himself sought to strike a balance in his policy approach saying the central bank would use tools at its disposal to support the economy as well as to prevent inflation from becoming entrenched. “While investors no longer have to wonder about who will be leading the Federal Reserve for the next few years, the next big dilemma the central bank faces is how to normalize monetary policy without upsetting markets,” wrote Robert Schein, chief investment officer at Blanke Schein Wealth Management. Following Powell’s renomination, “the market has unwound hedges against a more ‘dovish’ personnel shift,” Chris Weston, head of research with Pepperstone Financial Pty Ltd., wrote in a note. Not helping was Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic who said Monday that the Fed may need to speed up the removal of monetary stimulus and allow for an earlier-than-planned increase in interest rates European stocks dropped with market focusing on potential Covid lockdowns and policy tightening over solid PMI data. Euro Stoxx 50 shed as much as 1.7% with tech, financial services and industrial names the hardest hit. Better-than-forecast PMI numbers out of Europe’s major economies prompted money markets to resume bets that the ECB will hike the deposit rate 10 basis points as soon as December 2022, versus 2023 on Monday. As Goldman notes, the Euro area composite flash PMI increased by 1.6pt to 55.8 in November — strongly ahead of consensus expectations — in a first gain since the post-July moderation. The area-wide gain was broad-based across countries, and sectors. Supply-side issues continued to be widely reported, with input and output price pressures climbing to all-time highs. In the UK, the November flash composite PMI came in broadly as expected, and while input costs rose to a new all-time high, pass-through into output prices appears lower than usual. Forward-looking expectations remain comfortably above historical averages across Europe, although today's data are unlikely to fully reflect the covid containment measures taken in a number of European countries over recent days. Key numbers (the responses were collected between 10 and 19 November (except in the UK, where the survey response window spanned 12-19 November). Euro Area Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 55.8, GS 53.6, consensus 53.0, last 54.2. Euro Area Manufacturing PMI (Nov, Flash): 58.6, GS 57.7, consensus 57.4, last 58.3. Euro Area Services PMI (Nov, Flash): 56.6, GS 53.9, consensus 53.5, last 54.6. Germany Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 52.8, GS 52.1, consensus 51.0, last 52.0. France Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 56.3, GS 54.4, consensus 53.9, last 54.7. UK Composite PMI (Nov, Flash): 57.7, GS 57.7, consensus 57.5, last 57.8. And visually: Earlier in the session, Asian stocks fell toward a three-week low as Jerome Powell’s renomination to head the Federal Reserve boosted U.S. yields, putting downward pressure on the region’s technology shares. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index declined as much as 0.5%, as the reappointment sent Treasury yields higher and buoyed the dollar amid concerns monetary stimulus will be withdrawn faster. Consumer discretionary and communication shares were the biggest drags on Asia’s benchmark, with Tencent and Alibaba slipping on worries over tighter regulations in China. “Powell’s renomination was generally expected by the market,” said Chetan Seth, an Asia-Pacific equity strategist at Nomura. The market’s reaction may be short-lived as traders turn their attention to the Fed’s meeting in December and Covid’s resurgence in Europe, he added. Asia shares have struggled to break higher as the jump in yields weighed on sentiment already damped by a lackluster earnings season and the risk of accelerating inflation. The region’s stock benchmark is down about 1% this year compared with a 16% advance in the MSCI AC World Index. Hong Kong and Taiwan were among the biggest decliners, while Australian and Indian shares bucked the downtrend, helped by miners and energy stocks. India’s benchmark stock index rose, snapping four sessions of declines, boosted by gains in Reliance Industries Ltd.   The S&P BSE Sensex climbed 0.3% to close at 58,664.33 in Mumbai, recovering after falling as much as 1.3% earlier in the session. The NSE Nifty 50 Index gained 0.5%. Of the 30 shares on the Sensex, 21 rose and 9 fell. All but one of the 19 sector sub-indexes compiled by BSE Ltd. advanced, led by a gauge of metal stocks.  Reliance Industries Ltd. gained 0.9%, after dropping the most in nearly 10 months on Monday following its decision to scrap a plan to sell a 20% stake in its oil-to-chemicals unit to Saudi Arabian Oil Co. Shares of One 97 Communications Ltd., the parent company for digital payments firm Paytm, climbed 9.9% after two days of relentless selling since its trading debut. In rates, Treasuries dropped, with the two-year rate jumping five basis points, helping to flatten the yield curve. Bunds and Treasuries bear steepened with German 10y yields ~5bps cheaper. Gilts bear flatten, cheapening 1.5bps across the short end. 10Y TSY yields rose as high as 1.67% before reversing some of the move. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed after earlier advancing to the highest level since September 2020 as markets moved to price in a full quarter-point rate hike by the June Fed meeting, with a good chance of two more by year-end; Treasury yields inched up across the curve apart from the front end. The Japanese yen briefly fell past 115 per dollar for the first time since 2017. The euro advanced after better-than-forecast PMI numbers out of Europe’s major economies prompted money markets to resume bets that the ECB will hike the deposit rate 10 basis points as soon as December 2022, versus 2023 on Monday. Sterling declined versus the dollar and the euro; traders are taking an increasingly negative view on the pound, betting that the decline that’s already left the currency near its lowest this year has further to run New Zealand’s dollar under-performed all G-10 peers as leveraged longs backing a 50 basis-point hike from the central bank were flushed out of the market; sales were mainly seen against the greenback and Aussie. The yuan approached its strongest level against trade partners’ currencies in a sign that traders see a low likelihood of aggressive official intervention. The Turkish lira (see above) crashed to a record low on Tuesday, soaring more than 10% and just shy of 14 vs the USD, a day after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan defended his pursuit of lower interest rates to boost economic growth and job creation. In commodities, crude futures rebounded sharply after Biden announced a coordinated, global SPR release which would see the US exchange up to 32mm barrels, or a negligible amount. Brent spiked back over $80 on the news after trading in the mid-$78s. Spot gold drops ~$8, pushing back below $1,800/oz. Base metals are well supported with LME nickel outperforming. Looking at the day ahead, the main data highlight will be the flash PMIs for November from around the world, and there’s also the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for November. Finally from central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the BoE’s Haskel, as well as ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Makhlouf. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.3% to 4,667.75 Brent Futures down 0.9% to $78.95/bbl Gold spot down 0.4% to $1,796.86 U.S. Dollar Index down 0.17% to 96.39     Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The volatility term structures in the major currencies show that next month’s meetings by monetary policy authorities are what matters most. Data galore out of the U.S. by Wednesday’s New York cut off means demand for one-day structures remains intact, yet it’s not enough to bring about term structure inversion as one-week implieds stay below recent cycle highs Lael Brainard, picked to be vice chair of the Federal Reserve, is expected to be a critical defender of its commitment to maximum employment across demographic groups at a time when other U.S. central bankers are more worried by inflation ECB Executive Board member Isabel Schnabel said there’s an increasing threat of inflation taking hold, as she played down the danger that resurgent coronavirus infections might impede the euro zone’s recovery Regarding latest pandemic restrictions, “when it comes to the impact, I would say that while it will surely have a moderating impact on economic activity, the impact on inflation will actually be more ambiguous because it might also reinforce some of the concerns we have around supply bottlenecks,” ECB Governing Council member Klaas Knot says in Bloomberg Television interview with Francine Lacqua European Union countries are pushing for an agreement on how long Covid-19 vaccinations protect people and how to manage booster shots as they try to counter the pandemic’s fourth wave and safeguard free travel Germany’s top health official reiterated a warning that the government can’t exclude any measures, including another lockdown, as it tries to check the latest wave of Covid-19 infections The State Council, China’s cabinet, released three documents in the past several days, outlining measures to help small and medium-sized enterprises weather the downturn: from encouraging local governments to roll out discounts for power usage to organizing internet companies to provide cloud and digital services to SMEs A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks traded mixed following a similar performance in the US where participants digested President Biden’s decision to nominate Fed Chair Powell for a second term and Fed’s Brainard for the Vice Chair role. This resulted in bear flattening for the US curve and underpinned the greenback, while the major indices were choppy but with late selling heading into the close in which the S&P 500 slipped beneath the 4,700 level and the Nasdaq underperformed as tech suffered the brunt of the higher yields. ASX 200 (+0.8%) was positive with sentiment encouraged after stronger PMI data and M&A developments including BHP’s signing of a binding agreement to merge its oil and gas portfolio with Woodside Petroleum to create a global top 10 independent energy company and the largest listed energy company in Australia, which spurred outperformance for the mining and energy related sectors. KOSPI (-0.5%) was lacklustre and retreated below the 3k level amid broad weakness in tech which was not helped by concerns that South Korea could take another aim at large tech through a platform bill and with the government said to be mulling strengthening social distancing measures. Hang Seng (-1.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (+0.2%) continued to diverge amid a neutral liquidity effort by the PBoC and with the Hong Kong benchmark conforming to the tech woes, while the mainland was kept afloat after the State Council pledged to strengthen assistance to smaller firms and with Global Times noting that China will likely adopt another RRR cut before year-end to cope with an economic slowdown. Finally, Japanese participants were absent from the market as they observed Labor Thanksgiving Day, while yields in Australia were higher as they tracked global counterparts and following a Treasury Indexed bond offering in the long-end. Top Asian News Tiger Global Leads $210 Million Round by India Proptech Unicorn China’s Slowdown Tests Central Bank Amid Debate Over Easing Kuaishou Defies China Crackdown as Revenue Climbs 33% Evergrande Shares Jump in Afternoon Trading as Group Units Rally Major bourses in Europe are lower across the board, but off worst levels (Euro Stoxx 50 -1.1%; Stoxx 600 -1.3%) following on from the mixed APAC performance, but with pandemic restrictions casting a shower over the region. US equity futures are mostly lower but to a lesser extent than European peers, with the YM (+0.1%) the relative outperformer vs the ES (-0.1%), NQ (-0.3%) and RTY (-0.8%). Back to Europe, the morning saw the release of Flash PMIs which failed to spur much action across market given the somewhat stale nature against the backdrop of a worsening COVID situation in Europe. Losses in the UK’s FTSE 100 (-0.1%) are more cushioned vs European counterparts, with heavyweight miners doing the heavy lifting, and as the basic resources sector outpaces and resides as the only sector in the green at the time of writing amid a surge in iron ore prices overnight. Sticking with sectors, there is no clear or overarching theme/bias. Tech resides at the foot of the pile, unaided by the intraday rise in yields. Travel and Leisure also reside towards the bottom of the bunch, but more a function of the “leisure” sub-sector as opposed to the “travel” component, with Evolution Gaming (-3.7%) and Flutter (-3.5%) on the back foot. In terms of individual movers, Thyssenkrupp (-7.0%) tumbles after the Co. announced a secondary offer by Cevian of 43mln shares. Meanwhile, Telecom Italia (-3%) is softer following yesterday’s run, whilst Vivendi (-0.5%) said the current KKR (KKR) offer does not reflect Telecom Italia's value and it has no intention of offloading its 24% stake. Top European News U.K. PMIs Show Record Inflation and ‘Green Light’ for BOE Hike Kremlin Says New U.S. Sanctions on Nord Stream 2 Are ‘Illegal’ ECB’s Knot Says New Lockdowns Won’t Delay Wind-Down of Stimulus Telefonica Drops, Berenberg Cuts on Spain Margin Problems In FX, the Buck had already eased off best levels to relieve some pressure from its rivals, but the Euro also derived encouragement from the fact that a key long term Fib held (just) at 1.1225 before getting a rather unexpected fundamental fillip in the form of stronger than forecast flash Eurozone PMIs plus hawkish-sounding comments from ECB’s Schnabel. Eur/Usd duly rebounded to 1.1275 and the Dollar index retreated to 96.308 from a fresh y-t-d peak of 96.603, while the Yen and Franc also took advantage to varying degrees against the backdrop of deteriorating risk sentiment and in thinner trading volumes for the former due to Japan’s Labor Day Thanksgiving holiday. Usd/Jpy recoiled from 115.15 to 114.49 at one stage and Usd/Chf to 0.9301 from 0.9335 before both pairs bounced with the Greenback and a rebound in US Treasury yields ahead of Markit’s preliminary PMIs and Usd 59 bn 7 year note supply. TRY - Simply no respite for the Lira via another marked pull-back in oil prices on heightened prospects of SPR taps, the aforementioned Buck breather or even a decent correction as Usd/Try extended its meteoric rise beyond 11.5000 and 12.0000 towards 12.5000 irrespective of an ally of Turkish President Erdogan urging a debate on CBRT independence. Instead, the run and capital flight continues as talks with the IMF make no progress and an EU court condemns the country for detaining 400+ judges after the coup, while the President rules out a snap election after recent calls for an earlier vote than the scheduled one in 2023 by the main opposition party. NZD/CAD/GBP/AUD - It remains to be seen whether the RBNZ maintains a 25 bp pace of OCR normalisation overnight, but weak NZ retail activity in Q3 may be a telling factor and is applying more downside pressure on the Kiwi across the board, as Nzd/Usd hovers under 0.6950 and the Aud/Nzd cross tests 1.0425 on relative Aussie strength or resilience gleaned from another spike in iron ore that is helping to keep Aud/Usd above 0.7200. Conversely, the latest downturn in crude is undermining the Loonie and the Pound hardly derived any traction from better than anticipated UK PMIs even though they should provide the BoE more justification to hike rates next month. Usd/Cad has now breached 1.2700 and only stopped a few pips short of 1.2750 before fading ahead of comments from BoC’s Beaudry, while Cable topped out just over 1.3400 awaiting BoE Governor Bailey, whilst Haskel reaffirmed his stance in the transitory inflation camp, although suggested that if the labour market remains tight the Bank Rate will have to rise. SCANDI/EM - Hardly a shock that Brent’s reversal has hit the Nok alongside broader risk-aversion that is also keeping the Sek defensive in advance of the Riksbank, but the Zar is coping well considering Gold’s loss of Usd 1800+/oz status and test of chart support at the 100 DMA only a couple of Bucks off the 200. Similarly, the Cnh and Cny are still resisting general Usd strength and other negatives, with help from China’s State Council pledging to strengthen assistance to smaller firms perhaps. In commodities, WTI and Brent Jan'22 futures remain under pressure with the former back under USD 76/bbl (vs USD 76.59/bbl high) and the latter around USD 79/bbl (vs USD 79.63/bbl high). The WTI contract is also narrowly lagging Brent by some USD 0.30/bbl at the time of writing. Participants are keeping their eyes peeled for reserve releases from the US, potentially in coordination with other nations including China, Japan, and India – with inflation concerns being the common denominator. The move also comes in reaction to OPEC+ flouting calls by large oil consumers, particularly the US, to further open the taps beyond the group’s planned 400k BPD/m hikes. A source cited by Politico caveated that a final decision is yet to be made, and US officials are hoping that the threat of an SPR release would persuade OPEC+ to double their quotas at the Dec 2nd meeting. As it stands, Energy Intel journalist Bakr noted that she has not heard anything from OPEC+ officials about changing production plans, but delegates yesterday suggested that plans may be tweaked. Click here for the full Newsquawk analysis piece. Aside from this, US President Biden is also poised to give a speech on the economy, whilst the weekly Private Inventories will also be released today. Elsewhere, spot gold and have been drifting lower in what is seemingly a function of technical, with the yellow metal dipping under USD 1,800/oz from a USD 1,812/oz current high, with a cluster of DMAs present to the downside including the 100 DMA (around USD 1,793/oz), 200 DMA (around USD 1,791/oz) and 50 DMA (around USD 1,789/oz). Turning to base metals, LME copper holds a positive bias with prices on either side of USD 9,750/t, whilst Dalian iron ore surged overnight - with reports suggesting that steel de-stockpiling accelerated last week, and analysts suggesting that the market is betting on steelmakers in December. US Event Calendar 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Composite PMI, prior 57.6 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Services PMI, est. 59.0, prior 58.7 9:45am: Nov. Markit US Manufacturing PMI, est. 59.1, prior 58.4 10am: Nov. Richmond Fed Index, est. 11, prior 12 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap A reminder that yesterday we published our 2022 credit strategy outlook. See here for the full report. Craig has also put out a more detailed HY 2022 strategy document here and Karthik a more detail IG equivalent here. Basically we think spreads will widen as much as 30-40bps in IG and 120-160bps in HY due to a response to a more dramatic appreciation of the Fed being well behind the curve. This sort of move is consistent with typical mid-cycle ranges through history. We do expect this to mostly retrace in H2 as markets recover from the shock and growth remains decent and liquidity still high. We also published the results of our ESG issuer and investor survey where around 530 responded. Please see the results here. Today is the start of a new adventure as I’m doing my first overseas business trip in 20 months. It took me a stressful 2 hours last night to find and fill in various forms, download various apps and figure out how on earth I travel in this new world. Hopefully I’ve got it all correct or I’ll be turned back at the Eurostar gates! The interesting thing about not travelling is that I’ve filled the time doing other work stuff so productivity will suffer. So if I can do a CoTD today it’ll be done on an iPhone whilst racing through the French countryside. Actually finishing this off very early in a long taxi ride on the way to the train reminds me of how car sick I get working on my iPhone! The delights of travel are all coming flooding back. After much anticipation over recent weeks, we finally heard yesterday that President Biden would be nominating Fed Chair Powell for another four-year term at the helm of the central bank. In some ways the decision had been widely expected, and Powell was the favourite in prediction markets all along over recent months. But the Fed’s staff trading issues and reports that Governor Brainard was also being considered had led many to downgrade Powell’s chances, so there was an element of uncertainty going into the decision, even if any policy differences between the two were fairly marginal. In the end however, Biden opted for continuity at the top, with Brainard tapped to become Vice Chair instead. Powell’s nomination will require senate confirmation once again, but this isn’t expected to be an issue, not least with Powell having been confirmed in an 84-13 vote last time around. Further, Senate Banking Committee Chair Brown, viewed as a progressive himself, noted last week there should be no issue confirming Powell despite rumblings from progressive lawmakers. More important to watch out for will be who Biden selects for the remaining positions on the Fed Board of Governors, where there are still 3 vacant seats left to fill, including the position of Vice Chair for Supervision. In a statement released by the White House, it said that Biden intended to make those “beginning in early December”, so even with Powell staying on, there’s actually a reasonable amount of scope for Biden to re-shape the Fed’s leadership. A potential hint about who may be considered, President Biden noted his next appointments will “bring new diversity to the Fed.” President Biden, flanked by Powell and Brainard, held a press conference following the announcement. He noted maintaining the Fed’s independence and leadership stability informed his decision, and that Chair Powell assured the President he would focus on fighting inflation. He was apparently also assured that the Chair would work to combat climate change, perhaps an olive branch to those in his party that wanted a more progressive nominee. Powell and Brainard both followed up with remarks of their own, but didn’t stray from the recent Fed party line. In response to the decision, investors moved to bring forward their timing of the initial rate hike from the Fed, with one now just about priced by the time of their June 2022 meeting, whilst the dollar index (+0.54%) strengthened to a fresh one-year high. This reflects the perception among many investors that Brainard was someone who’d have taken the Fed on a more dovish trajectory. Inflation breakevens fell across the curve as well in response. Indeed the 4-year breakeven, which roughly coincides with the term of the next Fed chair, was down -3.8bps after yesterday’s session, with the bulk of that dive coming immediately after the confirmation of Powell’s nomination. Nevertheless, that decline in breakevens was more than outweighed by a shift higher in real rates that sent nominal yields noticeably higher. By the close, yields on 2yr (+7.8bps) and 5yr (+9.5bps) Treasuries were at their highest levels since the pandemic began, and those on 10yr Treasuries were also up +7.7bps, ending the session at 1.62%. 2yr yields were a full 14.1bps higher than the intra-day lows on Friday after the Austria lockdown news. We had similar bond moves in Europe too, with yields on 10yr bunds (+4.0bps) moving higher throughout the session thanks to a shift in real rates. Another noticeable feature in the US was the latest round of curve flattening, with the 5s30s (-4.4bps) reaching its flattest level (+64.1bps) since the initial market panic over Covid-19 back in March 2020. The S&P 500 took a sharp turn heading into the New York close after trading in positive territory for most of the day, ultimately closing down -0.32%. Sector performance was mixed, energy (+1.81%) and financials (+1.43%) were notable outperformers on climbing oil prices and yields, while big tech companies across different sectors were hit by higher discount rates. The NASDAQ (-1.26%) ended the day lower, having pared back its initial gains that earlier put it on track to reach a record of its own. The other main piece of news yesterday came on the energy front, where it’s been reported that we could have an announcement as soon as today about a release of oil from the US Strategic Petroleum Reserve, potentially as part of a joint announcement with other nations. Oil prices were fairly resilient to the news, with Brent crude (+1.03%) and WTI (+0.85%) still moving higher, although both are down from their recent peaks as speculation of such a move has mounted. This could help put some downward pressure on inflation, but as recent releases have shown, price gains have been broadening out over the last couple of months to a wider swathe of categories, so it remains to be seen how helpful this will prove, and will obviously depend on how much is released along with how the OPEC+ group react. For their part, OPEC+ members noted that the moves from the US and its allies would force them to reconsider their production plans at their meeting next week. Looking ahead now, one of the main highlights today will come from the release of the flash PMIs for November, which will give us an initial indication of how the global economy has fared into the month. As mentioned yesterday, the Euro Area PMIs have been decelerating since the summer, so keep an eye out for how they’re being affected by the latest Covid wave. It’ll also be worth noting what’s happening to price pressures, particularly with inflation running at more than double the ECB’s target right now. Overnight in Asia stocks are trading mixed with Shanghai Composite (+0.43%), CSI (+0.20%), KOSPI (-0.44%) and Hang Seng (-1.01%) diverging, while the Nikkei is closed for Labor Thanksgiving. The flash manufacturing PMI release from Australia (58.5 vs 58.2 previous) came in close to last month while both the composite (55 vs 52.1 previous) and services (55 vs 51.8 previous) accelerated. In Japan the Yen slid past an important level of 115 against the Dollar for the first time in four years after Powell was confirmed. This marks an overall slide of 10% this year making it the worst performer amongst advanced economy currencies. S&P 500 (-0.01%) and DAX futures (-0.31%) are flat to down with Europe seemingly catching up with the weak U.S. close. Before this, in Europe yesterday, equities continued to be subdued, with the STOXX 600 down -0.13% after trading in a tight range, as the continent reacted to another surge in Covid-19 cases. The move by Austria back into lockdown has raised questions as to where might be next, and Bloomberg reported that Chancellor Merkel told CDU officials yesterday that the recent surge was worse than anything seen so far, and that additional restrictions would be required. So the direction of travel all appears to be one way for the time being in terms of European restrictions, and even a number of less-affected countries are still seeing cases move in an upward direction, including France, Italy and the UK. So a key one to watch that’ll have big implications for economies and markets too. Staying on Germany, there was some interesting news on a potential coalition yesterday, with Bloomberg obtaining a preliminary list of cabinet positions that said that FDP leader Christian Lindner would become finance minister, and Green co-leader Robert Habeck would become a “super minister” with responsibility for the economy, climate protection and the energy transition. The report also said that both would become Vice Chancellors, whilst the Greens’ Annalena Baerbock would become foreign minister. It’s worth noting that’s still a preliminary list, and the coalition agreement is yet to be finalised, but it has been widely suggested that the parties are looking to reach a conclusion to the talks this week, so we could hear some more info on this relatively soon. There wasn’t much in the way of data yesterday, though the European Commission’s advance November consumer confidence reading for the Euro Area fell back by more than expected to -6.8 (vs. -5.5 expected), which is the lowest it’s been since April. Over in the US, there was October data that was somewhat more positive however, with existing home sales rising to an annualised rate of 6.34m (vs. 6.20m expected), their highest level in 9 months. Furthermore, the Chicago Fed’s national activity index was up to 0.76 (vs. 0.10 expected). To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned flash PMIs for November from around the world, and there’s also the Richmond Fed manufacturing index for November. Finally from central banks, we’ll hear from BoE Governor Bailey, Deputy Governor Cunliffe and the BoE’s Haskel, as well as ECB Vice President de Guindos and the ECB’s Makhlouf. d Tyler Durden Tue, 11/23/2021 - 08:31.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeNov 23rd, 2021

Communicate More Value and Win More Business

“If you add more and better value than your competitors, you will get hired and attract more clients for life.” I will never forget Dave Johnson, my father, teaching me this while taking me out on sales calls when I was eight years old.  Every single step in the client experience that he made in […] The post Communicate More Value and Win More Business appeared first on RISMedia. “If you add more and better value than your competitors, you will get hired and attract more clients for life.” I will never forget Dave Johnson, my father, teaching me this while taking me out on sales calls when I was eight years old.  Every single step in the client experience that he made in his successful commercial printing company was designed to intentionally add more value to the client’s experience. He went on to tell me that adding differentiating value would create clients for life. I took this fantastic advice into my real estate sales business in the 90s and it absolutely made a huge difference in my early successes in creating relationships through offering value-added client services and I still believe in adding more value to create raving clients. So often in real estate sales, I see so many agents and teams losing buyer and seller opportunities because they fail to effectively communicate their value. Knowing your team’s unique value proposition—and even moreover, knowing how to communicate it—will result in higher conversions and more listings, sales and income. And further will result in more repeat and referral business, too. Follow these steps to increase the effectiveness of how you communicate your team’s unique value proposition and watch your conversions increase immediately while you deliver amazing value driven solutions for your potential clients. To quote Warren Buffett, “Price is what you pay; value is what you get.” What do your clients get from you? What type of experience do they have when working with you? Do they see actual value in the services you provide? How can you make sure that your clients know the value you bring to them? It is imperative that you show and exhibit real valuable advice, unmatched delivery of services throughout the entire buying or selling experience, and make sure you meet and exceed your clients’ expectations for quality. Write down all the amazing things you do for a buyer or seller client and know and communicate it to every client so that they know what to expect in working with you, but also so they refer everyone to you. Communicate your team’s services as different and unique. Not all real estate companies are the same and, as importantly, no two agents are the same. Your team offers unique ways to deliver real estate services to buyers and sellers. How do you articulate your differentiating service? How do you communicate the benefits of working with your team members over someone else? It is so important to tell people why working with you or your team members will be in their best financial interest. By letting people know how you will help them achieve their real estate objectives, you will be communicating your real value. By telling a potential seller that you add value to the process by helping them save time and money on the home repairs list, and that you can assist in helping them determine what needs to be updated before they go to Home Depot or before they call their contractor, you will help them literally save them time and money and that is the essence of adding value. Offer your exclusive home-buying guide or program. Offer a solutions-based, value-added answer to help people achieve their real estate goals. When you name your buyer program an “exclusive” homebuyer guide or program, you are saying that you have a program and that it is different and unique. What makes it exclusive? You make it exclusive because you are the only one that does what you do. Offer your exclusive marketing plan to sell their home. It is so important to know why your team’s marketing plan is better, offers more creative methods to attract more buyers and includes a proven plan for actually finding the buyer for their home. Anyone can put a sign up and put the listing in the MLS. That is not differentiating, that is what everyone else does. How do you sell homes differently? How do you create the most valuable marketing plan and make sure the potential seller knows your program? Offer solutions for finding your buyers their dream homes. Many clients want to move but are concerned with where they could buy in a low or lower than normal market conditions. Most agents tell their clients, “I am waiting for something to come up in the MLS.” Again, not differentiating you and zero “extra-wow” value. I coach agents to say, “I’m excited to work with you. I can find you a new home in the neighborhoods that you wish to live in.” I even tell people when they say, “Really, you can get us a home?” I say, “Yes! That’s the easy part.” This not only adds tremendous value to the home-buying experience, but it also helps build confidence in you and the home-buying and selling process for the prospective client. By communicating your value to clients, you will radically differentiate how you deliver amazing real estate counsel and services. Show your value and people will hire you and they will love the experience (value they get) and they will refer you to everyone. Just like my father, Dave, taught me at age eight, what he said still holds true today more than ever. Start adding more value and start increasing your conversion rate to win more clients, referrals and accelerate the results you are looking to attain.   Click here to receive our special promotion for Sherri’s Playbook of your first month free! Sherri Johnson is CEO and founder of Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting. With over 20 years of experience in real estate as an agent, broker, and executive, Johnson offers coaching, consulting and keynote speaking services nationwide. She is a national speaker for the Homes.com Secrets of Top Selling Agents tour and is the Official Real Estate Coach for McKissock Learning and Real Estate Express. Sherri has also been named a RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker in 2020 and 2021 as an Industry Influencer and Thought Leader. Visit www.sherrijohnson.com for more information. The post Communicate More Value and Win More Business appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaNov 23rd, 2021

I stayed in a 243-square-foot stateroom on Celebrity Cruise"s newest ship and it was more luxurious than a larger apartment — see what it was like

The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex was only 243 square feet, but it felt larger than most studio apartments that are double the size. The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/Insider I stayed in the Infinite Veranda stateroom on Celebrity Cruises' newest ship, the Celebrity Apex. The stateroom was only 243 square-feet, but the large wall of windows made the space feel large. A stay in the stateroom starts at $1,440 for 2022 sailings. I stayed two nights in the Infinite Veranda stateroom on Celebrity Cruises' latest ship, the Celebrity Apex.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderMaybe it's because I was staying alone, or maybe it's because I'm used to cramped New York City apartments …The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/Insider… but Celebrity's Edge class Infinite Veranda stateroom felt so spacious and plush, it made 243 square-feet seem larger than some studio apartments that are at least double the square footage.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderLet's take a look around the stateroom.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe Infinite Veranda is currently available on Celebrity's Edge series, which includes the cruise line's Apex and Edge ships.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe cruise line's upcoming Celebrity Beyond, which will debut in 2022, will also have the Infinite Veranda staterooms.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderMy stateroom included more than the basic amenities and furnishings: a bathroom, a bed, a living room, and a 42-square-foot veranda.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderLet's start with the furthest end of the room and work our way up to the entry door.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderUp first, the veranda, which is comprised of floor-to-ceiling windows that provided ample natural light during our sunny days out at sea.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis focal point wall of windows was the only source of natural light, and kept the stateroom from feeling small and cramped.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere was also a control pad by the veranda that allows guests to open the windows for some fresh sea breeze.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderIts blinds can also be controlled using another touchpad closer to the entrance of the room.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis second touchpad doubles as the stateroom's control center to adjust features like the lights and temperature, but all of these amenities could have also be changed through the Celebrity Cruises app.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut back to the veranda. Its two lounge chairs and small table created a sanctuary-like space, a peaceful getaway from the ship's crowds. If I didn't have a packed schedule, I would have loved to lounge here in the morning light with a cup of coffee.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderIn my stateroom, the living room served as a divider between the veranda and bed.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis leisure space had a couch, a long table, and a desk in front of a full-length mirror.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe long table had a lamp, few drawers, a mini refrigerator, and some premium snacks.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere was also a charging station with a variety of outlets hidden inside a white box, creating a more organized charging port without any tangled wires.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe desk wasn't giant, but it provided just enough space for a quick work-from-anywhere session.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderNext up, the "bedroom," which had a wall-mounted television and a comfortable king-sized bed.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe bed was lined with Celebrity's proprietary "exhale" bedding line, which includes a cashmere mattress and a soft bedding set.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderI often miss my own bed when I'm traveling, but this bed was so comfortable, I forgot about my own plush mattress and stack of pillows at home.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderMaybe it was the exhaustion from traveling, but every night, I fell asleep within five minutes of laying my head down on the plush pillows.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe closet was right next to the bed, and separated the living space from the bathroom.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere wasn't much room between the closet and the edge of the bed, but because I was traveling alone, this wasn't an issue.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderInside, there was an umbrella, a laundry bag, a safe, another full-length mirror, some hangers, and cotton bathrobes.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe closet was small, but definitely provided enough storage space for a short trip.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderNow, the bathroom, which was just around the corner.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderHonestly, I was expecting a small, cramped bathroom where I could touch both walls without fully extending my arms (I'm looking at you, tiny New York apartments).The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderInstead, I was pleasantly surprised to find a sink that was unnecessarily large, more shelves than I could have filled, and a modern shower.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe refillable shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash containers also quelled some of the eco-anxiety I often feel when I forget my personal products at home and have to rely on the small, disposable toiletries instead.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe bright bathroom's plain and polished color scheme kept the bathroom from feeling too cramped.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis sentiment carries over to the rest of the stateroom as well. Overall, it felt pretty large, despite having a small square footage.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderHowever, the stateroom's decorations were nothing to write home about: mine was simply decorated and accented. The decor neither wowed nor bothered me.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderI did, however, appreciate the nice ambient and accent lighting, which made the bedroom feel cozy at night.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderOn the plus side, the lack of eye-catching decor prevented the room from feeling too stuffy. And having housekeeping twice a day still made the stay feel luxurious.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderA stay in this stateroom aboard the Celebrity Apex currently starts at $1,440 for 2022 sailings, a spokesperson told Insider in an email statement. To compare, the most expensive Iconic Suite starts at about $15,000.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/Insider  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 21st, 2021

I stayed in a 243-square-feet stateroom on Celebrity Cruise"s newest ship and it was more luxurious than a larger apartment — see what it was like

The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex was only 243 square feet, but it felt larger than most studio apartments that are double the size. The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/Insider I stayed in the Infinite Veranda stateroom on Celebrity Cruises' newest ship, the Celebrity Apex. The stateroom was only 243 square-feet, but the large wall of windows made the space feel large. A stay in the stateroom starts at $1,440 for 2022 sailings. I stayed two nights in the Infinite Veranda stateroom on Celebrity Cruises' latest ship, the Celebrity Apex.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderMaybe it's because I was staying alone, or maybe it's because I'm used to cramped New York City apartments …The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/Insider… but Celebrity's Edge class Infinite Veranda stateroom felt so spacious and plush, it made 243 square-feet seem larger than some studio apartments that are at least double the square footage.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderLet's take a look around the stateroom.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe Infinite Veranda is currently available on Celebrity's Edge series, which includes the cruise line's Apex and Edge ships.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe cruise line's upcoming Celebrity Beyond, which will debut in 2022, will also have the Infinite Veranda staterooms.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderMy stateroom included more than the basic amenities and furnishings: a bathroom, a bed, a living room, and a 42-square-foot veranda.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderLet's start with the furthest end of the room and work our way up to the entry door.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderUp first, the veranda, which is comprised of floor-to-ceiling windows that provided ample natural light during our sunny days out at sea.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis focal point wall of windows was the only source of natural light, and kept the stateroom from feeling small and cramped.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere was also a control pad by the veranda that allows guests to open the windows for some fresh sea breeze.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderIts blinds can also be controlled using another touchpad closer to the entrance of the room.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis second touchpad doubles as the stateroom's control center to adjust features like the lights and temperature, but all of these amenities could have also be changed through the Celebrity Cruises app.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderBut back to the veranda. Its two lounge chairs and small table created a sanctuary-like space, a peaceful getaway from the ship's crowds. If I didn't have a packed schedule, I would have loved to lounge here in the morning light with a cup of coffee.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderIn my stateroom, the living room served as a divider between the veranda and bed.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis leisure space had a couch, a long table, and a desk in front of a full-length mirror.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe long table had a lamp, few drawers, a mini refrigerator, and some premium snacks.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere was also a charging station with a variety of outlets hidden inside a white box, creating a more organized charging port without any tangled wires.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe desk wasn't giant, but it provided just enough space for a quick work-from-anywhere session.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderNext up, the "bedroom," which had a wall-mounted television and a comfortable king-sized bed.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe bed was lined with Celebrity's proprietary "exhale" bedding line, which includes a cashmere mattress and a soft bedding set.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderI often miss my own bed when I'm traveling, but this bed was so comfortable, I forgot about my own plush mattress and stack of pillows at home.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderMaybe it was the exhaustion from traveling, but every night, I fell asleep within five minutes of laying my head down on the plush pillows.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe closet was right next to the bed, and separated the living space from the bathroom.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThere wasn't much room between the closet and the edge of the bed, but because I was traveling alone, this wasn't an issue.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderInside, there was an umbrella, a laundry bag, a safe, another full-length mirror, some hangers, and cotton bathrobes.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe closet was small, but definitely provided enough storage space for a short trip.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderNow, the bathroom, which was just around the corner.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderHonestly, I was expecting a small, cramped bathroom where I could touch both walls without fully extending my arms (I'm looking at you, tiny New York apartments).The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderInstead, I was pleasantly surprised to find a sink that was unnecessarily large, more shelves than I could have filled, and a modern shower.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe refillable shampoo, conditioner, lotion, and body wash containers also quelled some of the eco-anxiety I often feel when I forget my personal products at home and have to rely on the small, disposable toiletries instead.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThe bright bathroom's plain and polished color scheme kept the bathroom from feeling too cramped.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderThis sentiment carries over to the rest of the stateroom as well. Overall, it felt pretty large, despite having a small square footage.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderHowever, the stateroom's decorations were nothing to write home about: mine was simply decorated and accented. The decor neither wowed nor bothered me.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderI did, however, appreciate the nice ambient and accent lighting, which made the bedroom feel cozy at night.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderOn the plus side, the lack of eye-catching decor prevented the room from feeling too stuffy. And having housekeeping twice a day still made the stay feel luxurious.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/InsiderA stay in this stateroom aboard the Celebrity Apex currently starts at $1,440 for 2022 sailings, a spokesperson told Insider in an email statement. To compare, the most expensive Iconic Suite starts at about $15,000.The Infinite Veranda stateroom on the Celebrity Apex.Brittany Chang/Insider  Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderNov 21st, 2021