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Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkJan 14th, 2022

Reddit Allows Hate Speech to Flourish in Its Global Forums, Moderators Say

Reddit moderators around the world say that racism, xenophobia, homophobia, sexism, misinformation and personal threats are running rampant on the site When Reddit moderator asantos3 clicked on a thread inside the group r/Portugueses in December and found it full of racist comments, he wasn’t exactly surprised. The group is often home to nationalist and nativist rhetoric, and in this instance, users here were responding angrily to a new law that allowed increased freedom of movement between Portuguese-speaking countries including African nations like Mozambique and Angola. “Wonderful, more stupid Blacks to rob me in the street,” read one comment in Portuguese, which received 19 likes. “This Africanization of Portugal can only lead the country to a third-world backwardness,” read another. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] So, asantos3, who moderates the much larger and more mainstream group r/Portugal, quickly sent a report to Reddit staffers with a link to the thread. Within minutes, he received an automated response: “After investigating, we’ve found that the reported content doesn’t violate Reddit’s Content Policy.” The response was disappointing but predictable for asantos3, who has served as a volunteer content moderator for six years. As part of his duties, he deletes comments that contain racism, homophobia, sexism and other policy violations, and sends reports to Reddit about hate speech coming from smaller satellite groups like r/Portugeses. Asantos3 spoke on the condition that he would be identified only by his Reddit handle. He says his duties have led to him being doxxed—with personal details including his Instagram and LinkedIn profiles posted online— and threatened. And asantos3 says that the company itself has repeatedly ignored reports of harassment from him and other moderators. “We mostly stopped reporting stuff, because we don’t have feedback,” he says. “We have no idea if they read our reports, or if there are even Portuguese-speaking people in the company.” Reddit’s problem is a global one, say current and former moderators. Indian subreddits like r/chodi and r/DesiMeta include Islamophobic posts and calls for the genocide of Muslims. In subreddits about China like r/sino and r/genzedong, users attack Uyghurs and promote violence against them. And members of r/Portugueses regularly traffic in anti-Black, anti-Roma and anti-immigrant sentiment. READ MORE: The Subreddit /r/Collapse Has Become the Doomscrolling Capital of the Internet. Can Its Users Break Free? “Anything outside the anglosphere is pretty much ignored, to be honest,” 11th Dimension, a former moderator of r/Portugal who stepped down from his role due to burnout, says. “It’s hard to convey to the company what’s racist and what’s not when the admins are so far from the details and the cultural differences.” TIME spoke to 19 Reddit moderators around the world who shared similar stories and concerns about the San-Francisco-based company’s reluctance to control hate-speech in its non-English language forums. Nearly all of the moderators agreed to speak on the condition that their real names would not be published because they say they have received death threats and other attacks online for their work. This all-volunteer corps of moderators, of which there are at least tens of thousands, is only growing in importance for the company. Reddit announced in December that it intends to make an initial public offering of stock in 2022. The company was recently valued at $10 billion, is one of the 25 most visited websites in the world according to multiple trackers and has made its international expansion a key aspect of its post-IPO growth strategy. But some of its most devoted users—its unpaid moderators—argue that while the company aims to be the “front page of the internet,” it has not invested in the infrastructure to combat vile content that is rife on many of its non-English language pages. Reddit has acknowledged that its expansion to international markets makes policing its platform more difficult, and some moderators said the company has taken steps in recent months to correct the longstanding problems. “When we begin to open in non-English speaking countries, moderation does get more complex,” a Reddit spokesperson said in a statement to TIME. “We are investing now to build and hire for non-English capabilities and add support for more languages.” READ MORE: Facebook Let an Islamophobic Conspiracy Theory Flourish in India Despite Employees’ Warnings These problems are not unique to Reddit. Facebook, Twitter and YouTube have each struggled to contain hate speech and misinformation as they pushed into new markets around the world. Facebook groups and posts, for example, have been linked to real-world violence in India, the Philippines, Myanmar and other countries even as the platform spends billions of dollars a year on safety and security. This year, other Silicon Valley companies will be watching closely as Reddit embarks on a precarious balancing act: to gain legitimacy and generate revenue while retaining its freewheeling, decentralized structure. Can the company preserve free speech while protecting its users? And will its model of running a lean operation with few paid staffers allow it to adapt to the responsibilities of hosting growing, diverse communities around the world? More from TIME Many moderators and analysts are skeptical. “Reddit has very little incentive to do anything about problems [in subreddits] because they see them as a self-governing problem,” Adrienne Massanari, an associate professor at American University who has been studying Reddit for years and wrote a book on its communities, says. “They’re creating a very successful business model in pushing work to moderators and users, who have to be exposed to horrific stuff.” Using dog whistles to get around the rules Zach Gibson—Getty ImagesReddit Inc. co-founder and CEO Steve Huffman looks on during a hearing with the House Communications and Technology and House Commerce Subcommittees on Oct. 16, 2019 in Washington, DC. The hearing investigated measures to foster a healthier internet and protect consumers. Reddit, founded in 2005, is essentially a messaging board, but it could be compared to a high school extracurriculars fair. The site comprises hundreds of self-contained forums arranged by varied interests, from sports to makeup to art to pets. While many of these subreddits are innocuous, it’s no secret that Reddit has long been a haven for unseemly behavior. Reddit CEO, Steve Huffman, even explicitly stated in 2018 that racism was not against Reddit’s rules, elaborating that “on Reddit there will be people with beliefs different from your own, sometimes extremely so.” However, over the two years—following intense criticism rained down on the company over its hate speech and harassment policies, including in the wake of the murder of George Floyd—the company backed away from its original hands-off ethos and has been hard at work to clean up its communities and clamp down on noxious, racist behavior. Toxic communities like r/The_Donald have been banned; AI-powered tools aimed at curbing hate speech and abuse have been rolled out; backchannels between moderators and company employees have been established. READ MORE: Reddit Places a ‘Quarantine’ on The_Donald, Its Largest Community of Trump Supporters But many non-English moderators say that cleanup has not extended to the pages they monitor. R/India is one of the largest national subreddits, with 693,000 members. There, users will typically find a fairly tame mix of news links, memes and local photos. That’s partly down to the hard work of unpaid moderators to remove Islamophic content. A group of five r/India moderators, speaking to TIME over a Zoom call, say they can spend several hours a day actively responding to queries, removing hate speech and banning rogue accounts. (Old moderators approve the applications of new ones; the primary draws of the gig, according to moderators, are community-building and the ability to help shape a discourse.) One moderator for r/India has served in his role since 2011, when there was a more laissez-faire approach. Moderators soon realized that a hands-off moderation style “wasn’t working because it allowed the worst people to dominate the conversations,” he says. “There would be lots of people just saying things like ‘Muslims need to die.’” When moderators began to block these users, some would simply return with a new account and taunt them, creating an endless game of whack-a-mole. Moderators say they saw other users instead start or join offshoot groups that allowed more controversial posts. The largest of those r/India offshoots currently is r/Chodi, which was created in 2019 and has 90,000 members who create hundreds of posts a day. R/Chodi—which translates as a crude slang in Hindi—contains ample examples of far-right Hindu nationalism that often spills over into hate speech and sectarian bigotry. Dozens of posts a week denigrate Islam, often depicting Muslims as ignorant, violent or incestuous. “Poorer, dumber, breeding like rats. They’ve got it all,” one post says about Muslims in India, which is still online. “India needs to eliminate them before they rise up,” read another, which has since been deleted. (R/Chodi’s increased popularity has coincided with a steep rise in religious hate crimes in India.) As r/Chodi has faced criticism from communities like r/AgainstHateSpeech, the group’s own moderators have made efforts to halt the most overt examples of hate speech, including creating a list of banned words. But r/Chodi posters have simply turned to code words and increasingly slippery rhetoric, to get around the moderators and Reddit’s AI-driven natural language processing techniques, according to r/India moderators. Muslims are referred to using coded language such as “Abduls,” “Mull@s,” “K2as,” or, derisively, “Peace loving” people. Christians are referred to as “Xtians”; while Pakistan is called “Porkistan.” Reddit said in a statement that automation and machine learning “help moderators remove 99% of reported hateful content.” But, studies have shown that AI is far less powerful when working outside the language it was designed in. The moderators who spoke with TIME say they have tried to flag these alternative slurs to the Reddit administrators, paid employees who are largely based in the U.S., but have been mostly ignored. “I have tried to report these comments 20 or 30 times, easily,” a second r/India moderator says. “I’ve tried to collate these slurs and send them the translations, but it was never even replied to.” In a statement responding to the moderator’s claim, Reddit wrote that “harassment, bullying, and threats of violence or content that promotes hate based on identity or vulnerability” are prohibited on the platform and that they “review and work with communities that may engage in such behavior, including the subreddit in question.” Extremists around the world use code words in a way similar to the users of r/Chodi. The user DubTeeDub—who moderates r/AgainstHateSubreddits and wrote a widely shared open letter last year excoriating racism on the platform and demanding change—says that Reddit’s administrators have failed to keep up with racists’ constantly evolving dog whistles, such as Neo-Nazis putting Jewish names in triple parentheses to signal their identity. “It’s very clearly a white supremacist symbol, but the admins will just say, ‘that seems fine to me,’ and they’ll ignore it,” DubTeeDub, says. But the moderators of r/India feel that Reddit is not only allowing hate speech to spread on r/Chodi and other similar groups, but actively pushing users toward the group. They have found posts from r/Chodi within r/India itself, algorithmically suggested as “posts you may like” and giving the subreddit a veneer of tacit official approval. “These are very hateful subs, and we don’t want our subscribers going there,” a second r/India moderator says. “They can discover them on their own, but that should not be happening from inside our sub.” Reddit’s volunteer moderators face threats The fraught interplay between r/India and r/Chodi is emblematic of cat-and-mouse games playing out in subreddits in other parts of the world, especially as far-right political groups amass power in many countries and gain legions of followers. In Portugal, r/Portugueses (6,900 members) is filled with anti-Roma and anti-Semitic rhetoric, homophobia, and racist depictions of Africans. “How is it possible for someone to want to see a place like this full of Africans, Brazilians, Indians and I don’t know what else?” posted one commenter alongside an idyllic illustration of a Portuguese town. A screenshot from the Reddit community r/Portugueses, which often includes anti-Black, anti-Roma and anti-immigrant sentiment. “How is it possible for someone to want to see a place like this full of Africans, Brazilians, Indians, and I don’t know what else?,” the caption reads in Portuguese. Concerned moderators have attempted to report these posts and, in turn, become targets of abuse. One of the most common tactics is for zealous users to band together and report moderators for invented reasons in an effort to get them suspended or banned by unsuspecting admins. DubTeeDub says these types of tactics have led to his suspension at least seven times. But the attacks often turn much more personal and vicious, as trolls dig up moderators’ personal information. Asantos3, the r/Portugal moderator, says he’s been stalked across LinkedIn and Instagram. One user offered Bitcoin to anyone who could find out his address. “It’s so weird, but some of these actions are so common that we kind of ignore them now,” he says. In Brazil, a São Paulo-based student and r/Brasil moderator who gave his name as Tet said he was threatened and doxxed when he and other moderators tried to crack down on the hate speech on r/Brasilivre (176,000 members), on which users post transphobia, anti-Black racism and homophobic slurs. “Stay smart because we’re watching you. Don’t think I’m the only one,” wrote one commenter in Portuguese. “I will find each one of you and kill you slowly.” Another user posted Tet’s address and personal Facebook account, writing, “Just let the hate flow and f— with them… bring trouble to their lives.” Neither of those posters have active accounts anymore, and Tet has since stopped moderating the subreddit partly due to burnout. Perhaps it’s not surprising that there’s a high level of fatigue among moderators, who are often forced to see the worst aspects of Reddit on a daily basis. One r/India moderator tells TIME that women are especially vulnerable to harassment. “I know female mods are regularly hounded, targeted, not given space: it’s not a place to identify as a woman,” he says. How Reddit can move forward Many other social media platforms are struggling to balance free speech ideals with the aggressive spread of hate speech and misinformation on their platforms. This fall, documents released by the whistleblower Frances Haugen showed that Facebook deprioritized efforts to curtail misinformation. In July, Black soccer players for England’s national team received torrents of racist abuse on Facebook and Twitter following the Euro 2021 Championship final, provoking British Prime Minister Boris Johnson to demand “the urgent need for action” from social media companies. In India, Facebook allowed Hindu extremists to operate openly on its platform for months, despite being banned by the platform. Facebook, in response to criticism, has pledged to bolster its safety team and resources: it has 40,000 employees working on safety and security alone. Reddit, similarly, is pledging to ramp up its efforts, although its team is skeletal in comparison. Over the last year, the company has expanded its workforce from 700 to 1,300. A Reddit spokesperson said that the company opened offices in Canada, the U.K., Australia and Germany, and would “continue to expand to other countries” in an effort to get closer to their global communities. Reddit created a Mod Council to receive feedback from moderators last year. It is also testing a new feature to give users more advanced blocking capabilities to limit the mobilizing power of extremists, harassers and bigots. In October 2021, the company posted a statement laying out statistics about its efforts toward “internationalizing safety,” and wrote, “The data largely shows that our content moderation is scaling and that international communities show healthy levels of reporting and moderation.” Many Reddit moderators feel the site’s system of using volunteer moderators is less healthy than the company suggests. “There are a lot of people who just move on,” Jonathan Deans, a Scotland-based moderator of r/worldnews, says. “They’re like, ‘I’m sick of doing this. We just remove hateful comments all day, and what do we get out of it? Not really anything.” Massanari, the American University professor, argues that Reddit’s problems will continue to worsen without a concerted internal effort. “Reddit’s defense has been, ‘If you ignore these spaces, they’ll go away,’” she says. “But the scholars and experts who have researched extremism and hate speech for years have clearly said that the more you allow that stuff to continue, you get more and more extreme versions of it.” “We take safety extremely seriously and are committed to continuously enhancing our policies and processes to ensure the safety of users and moderators on our platform,” Reddit said in a statement. “We are seeing some improvements in the prevalence of hateful content as a result of our efforts, and we will continue to invest in our safety capabilities as well as moderator tools and resources.” Ellen Pao, the former interim chief executive of Reddit and current CEO of Project Include, agrees that the company’s unpaid moderation model has severe limits. When she led the company in between 2014 and 2015, Pao made it a priority to take down revenge porn and unauthorized nude photos and to ban toxic communities like the fat-shaming community r/fatpeoplehate, which spurred a huge backlash from many of Reddit’s most active users. Pao says that Silicon Valley has historically sidelined efforts like these in favor of their bottom lines. “You have these platforms that were founded by white men, who do not experience the same levels of toxicity, harassment and harm themselves, so they don’t see or understand these problems and let them fester,” she says. “It’s something they’ve been able to ignore for a long time.” Pao says that hiring more people whose jobs involve confronting these issues is the first step. “If you really care about your users, and if you really want to prevent harassment and harm, then why wouldn’t you take on those roles yourself?” she says. Back in Portugal, the moderator asantos3 is still spending his free time trying to clean up Portuguese-language subreddits. After receiving the automated message about the racist thread, he sent a frustrated note with more details to the Reddit’s staff administrators. This time, an admin wrote back—a rare occurrence in itself. But the note only reinforced the gap between him and the company: “I think some things may be getting lost in the translations here but am happy to take another look,” the admin wrote. “It would also help if you were able to explain a bit more directly how the linked article promotes hate.” Asantos3 responded with some details, and reported a few more comments in the thread, which asserted that the influx of Portuguese-speaking Africans would lead to “population replacement and genocide,” “kidnap and rape,” and “violent possessive monkey rage.” But he received the same automated brush-off and never heard back from a human. The whole thread, as of publication, is still online. “I’m feeling frustrated,” he said. “I guess it doesn’t matter at all.”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeJan 13th, 2022

Stocks, Futures, Oil Tumble On Omicron Lockdowns, Manchin Shockwave

Stocks, Futures, Oil Tumble On Omicron Lockdowns, Manchin Shockwave Global stocks and US equity futures are sharply lower to start the otherwise very quiet holiday week, dragged lower by Manchin's shock decision to kill Biden's economic agenda (which Goldman said would cut US Q1 GDP from 3% to 2%), accelerating government measures to counter the fast-spreading omicron variant and fears over the growth outlook amid a tightening Fed. US equity futures tumbled almost 100 points from their Friday close (and more than 200 points from Thursday's all time high before paring some losses buoyed by optimism from news that Moderna’s booster vaccine increases antibodies 37-fold against omicron. Treasury yields also pared a sharp drop as low as 1.35% and the dollar held a jump from Friday, while crude oil slid on worries that mobility curbs to tackle the strain will hurt demand. As of 730am S&P 500 futures were down down 1.1%, Nasdaq 100 -1.3%, and Dow -1.0%. Global stocks have retreated from record highs in recent weeks amid concerns about Covid-19 hurting the economic recovery and as central banks pivot toward fighting inflation. Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said a faster wind-down of the central bank’s bond-buying program puts it in a position to start lifting interest rates as early as March. “In our view, markets can look through omicron concerns, and the gradual pace of monetary tightening won’t bring the equity rally to an end,” UBS Global Wealth Management wrote in a note. “Overall, the latest news does not change our outlook for equities.” Luke Hickmore, investment director at Standard Life Investments, also recommended buying the dip. “The prospects for growth will improve rapidly from here,” he said. “The market will likely see a recovery in the new year when liquidity returns.” In the weekend's biggest news, senator Joe Manchin blindsided the White House on Sunday by rejecting Biden’s $1.75 trillion tax-and-spending package, prompting a sharply critical statement from the White House which called Manchin’s decision a “sudden and inexplicable reversal.”  Biden and top Democrats must now regroup to see if a scaled-back version remains possible with little more than 10 months before midterm elections that will decide control of Congress. As noted late last night, Goldman Sachs Group Inc. cut its forecast for U.S. economic growth for next year after Manchin’s move (more below). On Monday, Chuck Schumer said the Senate will still vote “very early” in 2022 on Biden’s economic agenda, although it was unclear just what the new plan will look like now that Build Back Better is dead. Not helping matters were the latest development in the Omicron front where the biggest European countries are introducing more curbs, with U.K. officials keeping open the possiblity of stronger measures before Christmas and the Netherlands returning to lockdown, even as Biden’s chief medical advisor said further U.S. lockdowns are unlikely. In some "good" news, said a third dose of its Covid-19 vaccine saw a 37-fold increase in neutralizing antibodies against omicron. Ironically. While investors remain on edge over the outlook for economic activity, there remains little evidence that the new variant causes illness as severe as the delta variant, especially among those already vaccinated. “The main reason behind the market sell off today is the rejection of Biden’s $2 trillion tax-and-spending package, which will lead to a reduction in U.S. economic growth forecasts,” said Michel Keusch, a portfolio manager at Bellevue Asset Management. “With trading volumes getting thinner and thinner into the year end, this is the catalyst creating some short-term nervousness.”  Then there are tightening concerns: the Federal Reserve’s decision to increase the pace of tapering last week is also adding to investor nerves about the outlook for 2022. And now, without either fiscal or monetary support, economists see a policy-induced slowdown in the economy where Goldman on Sunday cut its real GDP forecast for 2022: 2% in Q1 (vs. 3% prior), 3% in Q2 (vs. 3.5% prior), and 2.75% in Q3 (vs. 3% prior). One place which is convinced the Fed will not meet its targets it the bond market where traders of eurodollar futures price rates much lower than FOMC targets for the end of 2023 and 2024. Finally, as Bloomberg notes, there is also the issue of divergent global monetary policy to contend with, as the People’s Bank of China stepped up easing overnight with the first rate cut in 20 months. Looking at the premarket, travel stocks fell the most with United Airlines down 3.4% leading declines among major U.S. carriers, while a 4% slide in Royal Caribbean Cruises led the fall among cruise operators. Energy and industrial bellwethers also declined, with Chevron, 3M and Caterpillar falling over 2% each. Major U.S. tech and internet stocks slumped hitting shares in most highly valued names, as well as in cyclicals. Apple fell as much as 2.1% premarket while fellow large- cap tech names also drop, with Facebook-owner Meta Platforms down 1.9%, Alphabet -1.2%, Amazon.com -1.7%, Twitter -2.1%, Microsoft -1.6%. Here are some of the other big U.S. movers today: Major U.S. tech and internet stocks drop in premarket trading as risk appetite sours globally amid worries over further pandemic- related restrictions, hitting shares in most highly valued names, as well as in cyclicals. Shares in U.S. renewables firms drop in premarket after U.S. Senator Joe Manchin’s surprise rejection of President Joe Biden’s $2 trillion package. Moderna (MRNA US) rises 6% in U.S. premarket after the company said that a booster dose of its Covid-19 vaccine increased antibody levels against the omicron variant. Society Pass (SOPA US) surges 22% in premarket after the loyalty platform operator said in a statement it has been added to the Russell 2000 Index. Boston Beer (SAM US) upgraded to hold at Jefferies following pullback of more than 60% in the shares related to “massive” reset in expectations for hard seltzers, removing the only negative rating on the stock. Shares up 0.3% on low volume in premarket. "After battling endless headwinds in recent weeks, markets have finally been knocked over as the rapid spread of Omicron finally reaches panic mode," Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, wrote in a client note. Europe's Stoxx 600 also stumbled, now down about 1.4% after falling as much as 2.6%, weighed down the most by travel and insurance. All sectors are in red. FTSE 100 recovers slightly as energy gets a leg up, but is still off by 1.2%. Dax -2%. Germany’s new coalition government picked Joachim Nagel, a Bank for International Settlements official, as the central bank’s next president. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks were set for the biggest drop since March, as the spread of the omicron variant and a surprising setback to U.S. President Joe Biden’s economic agenda forced traders to take bets off the table. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index sank as much as 2%, headed for its lowest close since November 2020, with tech and consumer shares the biggest drags. Relatively thin trading ahead of the year-end exacerbated declines in the region, as investors grapple with fresh outbreaks of Covid-19 and monetary policy tightening globally. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down about 15% from a peak in February, compared with an 18% gain in the S&P 500. “Omicron’s spread over the festive holidays and Manchin” are driving the risk-off mood, said Wai Ho Leong, strategist at Modular Asset Management (Singapore). “But most of all, it is the lack of liquidity in all markets.” India was the worst performer around the region, with its benchmark index poised to enter a correction amid the spread of the omicron variant. Chinese stocks also dropped despite a cut to bank borrowing costs for the first time in 20 months In FX, the dollar reversed gains and was little changed. The pound fell in line with other risk- sensitive currencies as global market sentiment soured; gilts advanced. Hedging the major currencies over the next month comes at a similar cost, yet the pound turns expensive further out as it holds a higher beta on monetary policy divergence. The Australian and New Zealand dollars followed a broader move lower in commodity FX amid a slide in oil and stocks. The yen advanced with Japanese government bonds. The lira tumbled to another record low after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan pledged to continue cutting interest rates. In rates, Treasury yields fell by ~3bp in 5-year sector, steepening 5s30s spread by 3bp on the day as long-end yields were little changed; 10-year yields 1bp lower around 1.39%, outperforming bunds and gilts. Treasuries drifted higher Monday as global stocks extended losses. Gains were led by front- and belly of the curve, while eurodollars advanced and the amount of Federal Reserve rate-hike premium for 2024 and 2024 eased. Long-end lagged the move ahead of a 20-year bond auction Tuesday.  Bund and gilt curves are mixed. Italy lags in the peripheral complex, widening ~2bps to Germany. In commodities, Brent crude extends dropped to trade down as much as 5.3%, trading as low as $69.60/bbl before paring some losses, with Brent down 3% to $71 per barrel, and WTI -4% to around the $68-handle. Spot gold drifts below the $1,800-handle. Base metals complex under pressure; LME aluminum and nickel decline the most.  There is nothing on the economic calendar today except that Nov. Leading Index, which is estimated to print at  0.9%. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 1.6% to 4,535.75 MXAP down 1.8% to 187.95 MXAPJ down 1.8% to 607.98 Nikkei down 2.1% to 27,937.81 Topix down 2.2% to 1,941.33 Hang Seng Index down 1.9% to 22,744.86 Shanghai Composite down 1.1% to 3,593.60 Sensex down 2.0% to 55,848.23 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,292.16 Kospi down 1.8% to 2,963.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 2.2% to 463.29 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.40% Euro up 0.2% to $1.1259 Brent Futures down 3.9% to $70.67/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,800.19 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.61 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg President Joe Biden faces the unexpected task of quickly rewriting his policy agenda in a crucial election year after a key Senate Democrat abruptly rejected his signature $1.75 trillion economic plan Germany’s new coalition government picked Joachim Nagel, a former Bundesbank senior official, as the central bank’s next chief, according to a person with knowledge of the matter The ECB will not raise interest rates in 2022 if inflation behaves as expected, governing council member Pablo Hernandez de Cos told Expansion newspaper in an interview Europe’s biggest countries are introducing more curbs to fight a surge in Covid-19 infections, from another lockdown in the Netherlands to stricter travel restrictions at the height of the holiday period Chinese property stocks tumbled close to a fresh five-year low after a series of asset sales underscored concern that equity investors will bear the brunt of losses as developers offload projects to repay debt Chinese banks lowered borrowing costs for the first time in 20 months, foreshadowing more monetary support to an economy showing strain from a property slump, weak private consumption and sporadic virus outbreaks A more detail look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities traded mostly lower following the volatile session on Wall Street on Friday, which saw the Dow Jones, S&P 500 and the Nasdaq all posting varying degrees of losses, whilst the Russell 2000 outperformed with decent gains. Overnight, US equity futures opened with a mild upside bias, albeit the optimism faded in early trade as risk aversion materialised, with the ES Mar 2022 contract falling below its 50 DMA (4,596) whilst the NQ and RTY saw losses of over 1% apiece. Sentiment was hit by the slew of concerning COVID headlines over the weekend, whilst Friday saw further hawkish rhetoric from Fed officials - with Fed’s Waller suggesting the whole point of accelerating the bond taper was to make the March Fed meeting a live meeting for the first hike, and under his base case March is very likely for lift-off, although it could be pushed back to May. The ASX 200 (-0.3%) was pressured by some large-cap miners and banks, whilst the Nikkei 225 (-2.1%) and KOSPI (-1.8%) conformed to the downbeat tone, with upside in the former also capped by recent JPY strength. The Hang Seng (-1.9%) and Shanghai Comp (-1.1%) initially saw shallower losses after the PBoC opted to cut the 1yr Loan Prime Rate by 5bps, whilst the 5yr rate was maintained, although the property sector faced more woes after S&P downgraded Evergrande to Selective Default, whilst Kaisa shares slumped after trade resumed following a two-week hiatus, with the Co. in discussions regarding a debt restructuring plan. The Hang Seng dipped below 23,000 for the first time since May 2020. Elsewhere, US 10yr futures continued edging higher as APAC risk aversion supported the haven, whilst Goldman Sachs also cut its US real GDP Growth forecasts on the Build Back Better blockade. Top Asian News Coal India Defends Quality Level of Shipments After Complaints Hong Kong Eyes New Security Law After Electing Loyalist Council Asian Stocks Drop to Lowest in 13 Months on Virus Woes, Manchin Best Way for China to Lower Market Rates is to Sell Yuan: Nomura European bourses commenced the week on the backfoot, continuing the broad pressure seen in APAC trade, as focus is firmly fixed on the Omicron variant. The downside in APAC hours was also a feature of the choppy trade in the US on Friday, and amid non-COVID catalysts such as US Senator Manchin presenting a stumbling block to BBB which effectively ends the chances it can be passed this year, while hawkish central banks is also a theme traders are cognizant of for next year. Euro Stoxx 50 -1.4%, benchmarks are lower across the board as further COVID-19 restrictions are imposed/touted; thus far, the most stringent has seen the Netherlands return to lockdowns, while the likes of the UK and Germany are mulling measures. Vaccine producer Moderna (+5.5% in premarket trade) released preliminary booster data vs Omicron, which saw a modest paring of the risk-off conditions; the vaccine boosts neutralising antibody levels by 37-fold vs pre-boost levels. All sectors remain in the red however, with underperformance in those most exposed to COVID restrictions, such as Travel & Leisure, Oil & Gas and Autos. Individual movers were predominantly dictated by the broader price action; however, THG (+12.5%) is the morning’s outperformer following reports that a notable short on the name has removed its position. Meanwhile, US futures are softer across the board (ES -1.3%) ahead of a very sparse docket where focus will, as it is in European hours, centre around the fiscal narrative and COVID. On the latter, President Biden is due to speak on the situation on Tuesday, calling for individuals to get vaccinated. Top European News Johnson Appoints Truss to Key Brexit Role After Torrid Week Germany Picks Bundesbank Veteran Nagel as Central Bank Chief Czech Billionaire Family Faces Final Showdown Over Bank Merger Flashpoints That May Heal or Deepen the Lira’s Pain in 2022 In FX, the Dollar is mixed across the board, but retaining an upward bias overall amidst greater gains vs high beta, activity and cyclical currencies compared to losses against safer havens as broad risk sentiment sours on a number of factors, but mainly COVID-19. Hence, the index is holding quite firmly above 96.500 within a 96.504-680 range even though US Treasury yields are soft and the curve is marginally flatter, with traction or the Greenback coming via hawkish comments in wake of last week’s FOMC from Fed’s Waller who would not object to lifting rates as soon as tapering is done next March. Ahead, a very sparse Monday agenda only comprises November’s leading index. JPY/EUR/CHF/XAU - As noted above, risk-off positioning due to the ongoing spread of Omicron has prompted demand for the Yen, the Euro, with added momentum from bullish Eur/Gbp cross flows, plus the Franc and Gold to lesser extents. Usd/Jpy is tethered around 113.50 in response, though unhindered by imposing option expiries in contrast to last Friday and the headline pair capped by technical resistance in the form of 21 and 50 DMAs that come in at 113.77 and 113.83 respectively today. Meanwhile, Eur/Usd is back above 1.1250 amidst mixed ECB vibes as de Cos underscores guidance for no hikes in 2022, but sources say that GC hawks wanted explicit recognition of upside inflation risks and were shouted down by chief economist Lane. However, Eur/Gbp has bounced even more firmly from sub-0.8500 lows on what looks like a combination of early year end demand or RHS orders and Pound underperformance on pandemic, political and Brexit-related factors. Elsewhere, Usd/Chf is hovering mostly sub-0.9250 and Eur/Chf is pivoting 1.0400 with latest weekly Swiss sight deposits showing no sign of intervention and Gold is rotating around Usd 1800/oz after a false upside breach of Usd 1810, but not quite enough follow-through buying to scale another upside target circa Usd 1815. GBP/AUD/NZD/CAD - The major fall guys, as Sterling loses 1.3200+ status yet again on all the aforementioned negatives, and also feels some contagion from weakness in Brent, while the Aussie is straddling 0.7100, the Kiwi is trying to keep its head above 0.6700 and the Loonie contain declines through 1.2900 alongside the latest retracement in WTI. In commodities, WTI and Brent are also risk-off, moving in tandem with the equity action, on the COVID-19 narrative and implementation/prospect of further restrictions hitting the demand-side of the equation. WTI relinquishes USD 67.00/bbl and Brent gave up the USD 70.00/bbl level. In fitting the broader market move, some easing of the initial downside was seen post-Moderna’s update. Elsewhere, in crude specifics, Libya’s NOC confirmed reports that the Petroleum Facilities Guard was blocking several fields in the region; some suggest production of oil has dropped to 950k BPD due to losses of production at El Sharara field (estimated at 280k BPD). Elsewhere, OPEC+ compliance has reportedly increased marginally in November, in-fitting with the assessments in earlier sourced reports. In metals, spot gold and silver are contained on the session with little evidence of risk-off making its self-known at this point in time, with the yellow metal pivoting USD 1800/oz. Elsewhere, copper is impacted on the risk tone but offset somewhat by Chile’s President-elect Boric saying he will oppose the Dominga copper-iron mine project. US Event Calendar 10am: Nov. Leading Index, est. 0.9%, prior 0.9% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap As we arrive at the final week before Christmas, there’s plenty of newsflow from the weekend for markets to digest this morning. In particular, there was the announcement from the US that Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia wouldn’t be able to support the Build Back Better Bill, which has been the subject of intense negotiations over recent weeks and marks a significant blow for President Biden’s economic agenda. Meanwhile on the Covid front, there was a further ratcheting up of concerns about the Omicron variant, with the Netherlands becoming the latest European country to go back into lockdown as of yesterday, as cases continue to spread elsewhere. But otherwise, the events calendar is looking fairly quiet for now in this holiday-shortened week, with just a few lower-tier data releases and the occasional central bank speaker. We’ll start with Omicron, since that remains one of the biggest issues for markets right now and has significantly clouded the outlook moving into year-end. In a nutshell, the news over the weekend from Europe has only pointed in the direction of further restrictions across multiple countries, with the Netherlands being the most severe as a full lockdown was announced by the Prime Minister on Saturday that leaves just supermarkets and essential shops open, with even schools shut. When it comes to socialising, people will not be allowed to receive more than 2 visitors aged 13 and over per day, although over 24-26 December, New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day, this will be raised to 4 people. Elsewhere in Europe there was a similar pattern towards tougher measures, with the Irish PM announcing on Friday evening that there would be an 8pm closing time for bars, restaurants and theatres, among others, which would last from today until January 30. Over in Spain, Prime Minister Sánchez said in a televised address yesterday that he’d be meeting with regional leaders virtually on Wednesday to look at measures for the weeks ahead. In Italy, it’s been widely reported that the government is looking at further measures to contain the spread as well, and they’re set to meet on Thursday to discuss these, whilst here in the UK, Health Secretary Javid was not ruling out further restrictions this side of Christmas. Separately in the US, President Biden is set to deliver a speech tomorrow about Covid and the steps that the administration will be taking, with Press Secretary Jen Psaki tweeting that Biden would also be “issuing a stark warning of what the winter will look like for Americans that choose to remain unvaccinated.” For those after a bit more optimism ahead of Christmas, then a couple of DB research notes out on Friday about the new variant will definitely be of interest. The first by FX Strategist Shreyas Gopal (link here) looks at London, which is the epicentre of Omicron infections in the UK, and tracks cases there against those in the South African province of Gauteng a couple of weeks back. The good news is that if the relationship is similar, then that does suggest a peak in cases soon. The other note comes from our head of rates research Francis Yared (link here) who shows that although deaths are starting to increase in South Africa, they’re currently on a much lower trajectory relative to cases compared to previous waves. An important question for markets is whether these patterns from South Africa can be extrapolated over to the advanced economies, which have much higher vaccination rates on the one hand, but also much older populations on the other, so there are factors that could push in either direction. Keep an eye out on these leading indicators from South Africa, as well as London, since they’ll have implications for what could occur in the coming weeks elsewhere. Away from Covid, the other main piece of news over the weekend came from the US, where the moderate Democratic senator Joe Manchin said that he couldn’t support the Build Back Better package that forms a key part of President Biden’s economic agenda, with much of his proposals on social programs and climate change. The news broke in an interview from Manchin on Fox News Sunday, when Manchin said “I can’t get there” when it comes to supporting the package, and follows direct negotiations that he’d been having with the president. Manchin’s support is crucial for the bill’s passage, since the Senate is split 50-50 between the Democrats and Republicans, with the Democrats having control only by virtue of Vice President Harris’ casting vote. So with zero Republican support for the package, that required every single Democratic senator on board with the proposals, giving Manchin enormous influence. A statement from White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki in response to Manchin did not sound impressed, saying that his comments “are at odds with his discussions this week with the President, with White House staff, and with his own public utterances.” It went on to say that “we will continue to press him to see if he will reverse his position yet again, to honor his prior commitments and be true to his word.” Nevertheless, Manchin’s own written statement wasn’t using the language of compromise, saying that his “Democratic colleagues in Washington are determined to dramatically reshape our society in a way that leaves our country even more vulnerable to the threats we face.” So the implication from Manchin is that Build Back Better won’t be happening this side of the mid-terms in its current form, and would require a fundamental rethink and meaningful slimming down were it to have any chance of passing. Those twin factors of further Omicron restrictions and Manchin’s announcement have weighed heavily on Asian equities overnight, with the Nikkei (-2.17%), KOSPI (-1.66%), Hang Seng (-1.44%), CSI (-0.98%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.75%) all moving lower. In India, the benchmark NIFTY is also down 10% from its peak in October, putting the index in correction territory. However, we did get a policy easing in China, with banks lowering the 1yr prime rate by -5bps to 3.8%. That move came alongside separate remarks from Bank of Japan Governor Kuroda, who said it was too early to think about policy normalisation, and that discussion should take place once inflation is closer to the 2% target. European and US equities are set to follow Asia lower later on, with futures on both the S&P 500 (-0.97%) and the DAX (-1.63%) both pointing lower this morning. And oil prices been struggling overnight as well in light of the recent virus news, with Brent Crude down -3.02% to $71.30/bbl at time of writing. Recapping last week now, and the main events were the array of central bank meetings ahead of the holidays. In the US, the Fed doubled the pace of their tapering as expected, which would bring net asset purchases to an end in mid-March, and the median dot now expects three rate hikes in 2022. By the close on Friday, Fed funds futures were pricing in a 55% chance of an initial hike by the March meeting, and an 87% chance of one by the May meeting. The ECB was then up next, and started a wind down of net PEPP purchases that are also set to finish in March next year. The ECB is cushioning the landing though, having moved to increase APP purchases until October next year after PEPP ends, following which they’ll maintain a pace of €20bn a month until shortly before liftoff. The ECB maintained some policy optionality through flexibility on PEPP reinvestments, which our Europe economists read as a commitment to smoothing the transmission of monetary policy. In the UK, the BoE hiked Bank Rate by +15bps to 0.25%. The MPC noted the decision was finely balanced due to Covid uncertainty, but the vote was still 8-1 in favour of a hike. Over in Japan, the BoJ rounded out the major DM central bank meetings, keeping rates unchanged and announcing a slow reduction in corporate debt holdings. At the same time, they extended a special covid loans program targeted at small and medium-sized firms to September 2022. When all was said and done, many sovereign bond yields actually ended the week lower, even with the hawkish pivot from the various central banks. 10yr yields on Treasuries (-8.2bps) and bunds (-3.1bps) both declined, although those on gilts did post a small +1.7bps gain over the week. Meanwhile growing Covid pessimism served to dampen risk appetite and send global equity indices lower last week. By Friday the S&P 500 (-1.94%) had fallen for the 3rd week out of the last 4, hampered by an underperformance from tech stocks that saw the NASDAQ (-2.95%) and the FANG+ index (-4.53%) both lose significant ground. Over in Europe the moves were smaller, albeit still lower, and the STOXX 600 ended the week -0.35%.   Tyler Durden Mon, 12/20/2021 - 08:02.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 20th, 2021

Futures Rebound Ahead Of Critical CPI Print

Futures Rebound Ahead Of Critical CPI Print US futures rebounded on Friday from Thursday's selloff as traders waited with bated breath for an inflation report that could strengthen the case for an aggressive policy tightening by the Federal Reserve, while Oracle Corp jumped on an upbeat third-quarter outlook. At 730 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were up 109 points, or 0.30%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 16.25 points, or 0.35%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 53.50 points, or 0.4%. Europe’s Stoxx 600 Index pared an earlier decline, while a Bloomberg gauge of Asian airlines fell. In China, Evergrande chairman Hui Ka Yan sold just over a 2% stake in the company, in the same week the property developer was officially labeled a defaulter for the first time. The dollar, Treasury yields and oil advanced. Shares of Oracle gained 11.2% in premarket trading after posting forecast-beating results for the second quarter, helped by higher technology spending from businesses looking to support hybrid work.  Broadcom Inc rose 7.0% as the semiconductor firm sees first-quarter revenue above Wall Street expectations and announced a $10 billion share buyback plan. So far this week, the Nasdaq and the S&P advanced over 2.8% each and the Dow rallied 3.4%. The S&P is now down 1.6% from its all-time peak. The S&P 500 dropped 5.2% from a record high hit on Nov. 22 as investors digested Jerome Powell's renomination as the Fed's chair, his hawkish commentary to tackle. Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate on Thursday passed and sent to President Joe Biden the first of two bills needed to raise the federal government's $28.9 trillion debt limit and avert an unprecedented default. In other news, the U.S. government moved a step closer to prosecuting Julian Assange on espionage charges, after London judges accepted that the WikiLeaks chief can be safely sent to America. With headline CPI expected to print at 6.8% Y/Y this morning - in what would be its highest level since 1982 - with whisper numbers are high as the low 8% after Biden said that this month's number won't show the drop in gasoline prices (which is certainly transitory now that oil price are on track for the biggest weekly gain since August), it is very likely that the CPI number will miss and we will see a major relief rally. On the other hand, any upside surprise on the reading will likely bolster the case for a faster tapering of bond purchases and bring forward expectations for interest rate hikes ahead of the U.S. central bank's policy meeting next week. “Various FOMC participants, including Chair Powell, have signaled a hawkish shift in their policy stance, catalyzed by increasing discomfort with elevated inflation against a backdrop of robust growth and ongoing strengthening in labor markets conditions,” Morgan Stanley economists and strategists including Ellen Zentner, wrote in a note Thursday. “We revise our Fed call and now expect the FOMC to begin raising rates in Sept. 2022 -- two quarters earlier than our prior forecast.” Discussing today's key event, the CPI print, DB's Jim Reid writes that "our US economists are anticipating that headline CPI will rise to +6.9%, which would be the fastest annual pace since 1982. And they see core inflation heading up to +5.1%, which would be the highest since 1990. Bear in mind as well that this is the last big release ahead of next Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision, where our economists are expecting they’ll double the pace of tapering. Chair Powell himself reinforced those expectations in recent testimony, stopping just shy of unilaterally announcing the faster taper. Crucially, he noted this CPI print and the evolution of the virus were potential roadblocks to a faster taper next week. That said, the bar is extremely high for today’s data print to alter their course, especially with the Covid outlook having not deteriorated markedly since his testimony. By the close last night, Fed funds futures were fully pricing in a rate hike by the June meeting, alongside more than 70% chance of one by the May meeting." A reminder that last month saw another bumper print, with the monthly price gain actually at its fastest pace since July 2008, which sent the annual gain up to its highest since 1990, at +6.2%. It also marked the 6th time in the last 8 months that the monthly headline print had been above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg, and in another blow for team transitory, the drivers of inflation were increasingly broad-based, rather than just in a few categories affected by the pandemic. It may have been the death knell for team transitory, with Chair Powell taking pains to retire the term in the aforementioned testimony before Congress. In Europe, stocks fell slightly as a rise in coronavirus infections, with the Stoxx 600 dropping 0.3%, weighed down the most by tech, health care and utilities. DAX -0.2%, and FTSE 100 little changed, both off worst levels. Meanwhile, an epidemiologist has said that the omicron strain may be spreading faster in England than in South Africa, with U.K. cases possibly exceeding 60,000 a day by Christmas. Banks in the U.K. have already started telling staff to work from home in response to the government’s guidance.  Daimler AG’s trucks division gained in its first trading day as the storied German manufacturer completed a historic spinoff to better face sweeping changes in the auto industry. Polish retailer LPP rose to a record. Asian stocks fell on worries over the global spread of the omicron virus strain and after China Evergrande and Kaisa Group officially defaulted on their dollar debt. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index lost as much as 0.9%, with healthcare, technology and consumer discretionary sectors being the worst performers. Benchmarks slid in China and Hong Kong after Fitch Ratings cut Evergrande and Kaisa to “restricted default,” with the Hang Seng Index being the region’s biggest loser. Investors remain concerned that the omicron virus strain may crimp the economic rebound. South Korea brought forward the timing for Covid-19 booster shots to just three months after the second dose, as one of Asia’s most-vaccinated countries grapples with its worst ever virus surge. The Kospi snapped a seven-day winning run. Meanwhile, the U.S. appears to be headed for a holiday crisis as virus cases and hospital admissions climb, while London firms started telling thousands of staff to work from home. “In Europe, restrictions are being put in place, not just in the U.K. but also in other countries, due to the spread of the omicron variant, spurring worry over the impact on the economy,” said Nobuhiko Kuramochi, a market strategist at Mizuho Securities. “If work-from-home practices are prolonged, consumption will become lackluster, delaying any recovery.” Still, the Asian benchmark is up 1.2% from Dec. 3, poised for its best weekly advance in about two months. That’s owing to gains earlier in the week after China’s move to boost liquidity helped restore investor confidence. Traders are now turning focus to U.S. inflation data due later in the day for clues on the pace of anticipated tapering. China’s central bank took further steps to limit the yuan’s strength -- setting the weakest reference rate relative to estimates compiled by Bloomberg since 2018 -- a day after policy makers raised the foreign currency reserve requirement ratio for banks a second time this year. In rates, the Treasury curve bear flattened with 5s30s printing sub-60bps ahead of today’s November CPI data. Bunds and gilts are quiet; Italy leads a broader tightening of peripheral spreads. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index rises 0.2%, building on modest strength during the Asian session. AUD leads G-10 peers; NZD and SEK are weakest, although ranges are narrow. Demand for euro downside exposure waned this week as investors now focus on the upcoming decisions by the Federal Reserve and the European Central Bank. China’s central bank took further steps to limit the yuan’s strength In commodities, brent crude is slightly higher on the day, hovering around the $74-level, while WTI climbs 0.6% to $71-a-barrel. Base metals are mixed. LME aluminum and copper rise, while zinc and lead declines. Spot gold drops $4 to $1,771/oz. Looking at the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for November. In addition, there’s the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for December, UK GDP for October and Italian industrial production for October. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, along with the ECB’s Weidmann, Villeroy, Panetta and Elderson. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.2% to 4,677.75 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.4% to 474.88 MXAP down 0.8% to 193.90 MXAPJ down 0.8% to 632.63 Nikkei down 1.0% to 28,437.77 Topix down 0.8% to 1,975.48 Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 23,995.72 Shanghai Composite down 0.2% to 3,666.35 Sensex little changed at 58,799.05 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,353.51 Kospi down 0.6% to 3,010.23 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $74.69/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,770.81 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 96.32 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.34% Euro down 0.1% to $1.1281 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Already fighting economic fires on a number of fronts, China is rushing to clamp down on speculation in its strengthening currency before it gets out of control The arrival of the omicron variant has triggered a global rush for booster shots, but questions remain over whether it is the right strategy against omicron The Biden administration aims to sign what could prove a “very powerful” economic framework agreement with Asian nations -- focusing on areas including coordination on supply chains, export controls and standards for artificial intelligence -- next year, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said A mouse bite is at the center of an investigation into a possible new Covid-19 outbreak in Taiwan, after a worker at a high-security laboratory was confirmed as the island’s first local case in more than a month A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were on the back foot as the region took its cue from the weak performance in the US, where the major indices reversed recent upside in the run-up to today’s US CPI metric. The ASX 200 (-0.4%) was led lower by the underperformance in energy and tech after a retreat in oil prices and similar weakness of their counterpart sectors in US. The Nikkei 225 (-1.0%) remained lacklustre as it succumbed to the recent inflows into the currency, although the downside was stemmed as participants digested a record increase in wholesale prices. The Hang Seng (-1.0%) and Shanghai Comp. (-0.2%) were hindered by several headwinds including lower-than-expected lending and aggregate financing data, as well as China’s latest internet crackdown in which it removed 106 apps from app stores. However, losses were contained by a softer currency after China’s efforts to curb RMB strength including the PBoC’s 200bps FX RRR hike yesterday and its overnight weakening of the reference rate by the widest margin against estimates on record. Finally, 10yr JGBs were quiet after the mixed performance in US fixed income markets and with the risk-averse mood counterbalanced by the lack of BoJ purchases in the market today, although later saw a bout of selling on a breakdown of support at the key 152.00 level. Top Asian News Evergrande’s Hui Forced to Sell Part of Stake in Defaulted Firm Hui Has 277.8m Evergrande Shares Sold Under Enforced Disposal Asia Stocks Fall on Renewed Concerns Over Evergrande and Omicron Gold Heads for Worst Weekly Run Since 2019 Before Inflation Data Cash bourses in Europe kicked off the session with modest losses across the board, but the region has been clambering off worst levels since (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.3%; Stoxx 600 -0.3%) as traders gear up for the US CPI release (full preview available on the Newsquawk headline feed). US equity futures meanwhile post modest broad-based gains across the ES (+0.3%), NQ (+0.3%), RTY (+0.4) and YM (+0.2%). Back to Europe, cash markets see broad but contained downside. Sectors are mixed with no overarching theme or bias. Tech resides at the foot of the bunch with heavyweight SAP (-0.2%) failing to garner impetus from Oracle’s (+11% pre-market) blockbuster earnings after beating expectations on the top and bottom lines and announcing a new USD 10bln stock-repurchase authorisation. The upside meanwhile sees some of the more inflation-related sectors, including Oil & Gas, auto, Goods, Foods, and Beverages. In terms of individual movers, Bayer (+1.8%) is firmer after the Co. won a second consecutive trial in California regarding its Roundup weed killer. Daimler (-15%) sits at the foot of the Stoxx 600 after spinning off its Daimler Trucks unit (+4%) - considered to be a market listing rather than a full initial public offering. Top European News Heathrow Offers Bleak Outlook as Omicron Halts Long-Haul Rebound HSBC, JPMorgan, Deutsche Bank Tell London Staff to Stay Home SocGen CEO Takes Over Compliance After $2.6 Billion Fines Santander AM Names Utrera as Head of Equities as Montero Exits In FX, not a lot of deviation from recent ranges, but the Greenback is grinding higher ahead of US inflation data and Treasuries are bear-steepening to suggest hedging or positioning for an upside surprise following pointers from President Biden and NEC Director Deese to that effect (both advising that recent declines in prices, including energy, will not be reflected in November’s metrics). The index is back above the 96.000 level that has been very pivotal so far this week and hovering near the upper end of a 96.429-157 range, while the benchmark 10 year T-note yield is holding above 1.50% after a so-so long bond auction to wrap up the latest refunding remit. NZD/JPY/GBP - It’s marginal, but the Kiwi, Yen and Pound are lagging behind in the G10 stakes, with Nzd/Usd back below 0.6800 and perhaps taking note of a marked slowdown in the manufacturing PMI to 50.6 in November from 54.3, while Usd/Jpy is straddling 113.50 and eyeing DMAs either side of the half round number and Cable remains choppy around 1.3200 in wake of UK GDP, ip and output all missing consensus. AUD/CAD/EUR/CHF - All a tad more narrowly divergent vs the Buck, and the Aussie managing to keep tabs on 0.7150 after outperformance post-RBA on mainly external and technical impulses. Elsewhere, the Loonie has limited losses through 1.2700 with some assistance from hawkish sounding commentary from BoC Deputy Governor Gravelle rather than choppy crude prices as WTI swings around Usd 71/brl. To recap, he said that concerns over inflation are heightened on the upside much more than usual and the BoC is likely to react a little bit more readily to the upside risk given that inflation is already above the control range. Elsewhere, the Euro continues to fade on advances beyond 1.1300 and hit resistance at or near the 21 DMA and the Franc is more attuned to yields than risk sentiment at present, like the Yen, though is outpacing the Euro, as Eur/Chf veers towards 1.0400 again and Usd/Chf sits closer to 0.9250 vs 0.9200. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures have been edging higher in early European trade following a choppy APAC session and in the run-up today’s main event, the US inflation data. Currently, WTI Jan trades just under USD 71.50/bbl (vs low USD 70.32/bbl) while Brent Feb resides north of USD 74.50/bbl (vs low USD 73.80/bbl), with news flow also on the lighter side ahead of the tier 1 data. In terms of other macro events, sources suggested Iran is willing to work from the basis of texts created in June on nuclear discussions, which will now be put to the test in upcoming days, via a European diplomatic source. This would mark somewhat of a shift from reports last week which suggested that Iran took a tougher stance than it had back in June. Western diplomats last week suggested that Tehran ramped up their conditions, which resulted in talks stalling last Friday. Aside from that, relevant news flow has been light for the complex. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver are drifting lower in tandem gains in the Dollar – spot gold has dipped under USD 1,770/oz, with the current YTD low at 1,676/oz. LME copper holds its head above USD 9,500/t but within a tight range amid the overall indecisive mood across the markets. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Nov. CPI YoY, est. 6.8%, prior 6.2%; MoM, est. 0.7%, prior 0.9% 8:30am: Nov. CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 4.9%, prior 4.6%; MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.6% 8:30am: Nov. Real Avg Hourly Earning YoY, prior -1.2%, revised -1.3% Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -1.6% 10am: Dec. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 5.0%, prior 4.9%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 3.0% Sentiment, est. 68.0, prior 67.4 Expectations, est. 62.5, prior 63.5 Current Conditions, est. 73.5, prior 73.6 DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I’m sure if anyone had said to you at the start of 2021 that US CPI would end the year around 7% YoY then there may have been some sleepless nights about how to position your portfolio. The reality is that as inflation has risen, the market has managed to go through denial, transitory, elongated transitory, and now the retirement of transitory, all without much fuss. I’ve said this before but I doubt there is anyone in the world that predicted we’d end the year at near 7% whilst at the same time having 10yr UST yields still at around 1.5%. Today our US economists are anticipating that headline CPI will rise to +6.9%, which would be the fastest annual pace since 1982. And they see core inflation heading up to +5.1%, which would be the highest since 1990. Bear in mind as well that this is the last big release ahead of next Wednesday’s Federal Reserve decision, where our economists are expecting they’ll double the pace of tapering. Chair Powell himself reinforced those expectations in recent testimony, stopping just shy of unilaterally announcing the faster taper. Crucially, he noted this CPI print and the evolution of the virus were potential roadblocks to a faster taper next week. That said, the bar is extremely high for today’s data print to alter their course, especially with the Covid outlook having not deteriorated markedly since his testimony. By the close last night, Fed funds futures were fully pricing in a rate hike by the June meeting, alongside more than 70% chance of one by the May meeting. A reminder that last month saw another bumper print, with the monthly price gain actually at its fastest pace since July 2008, which sent the annual gain up to its highest since 1990, at +6.2%. It also marked the 6th time in the last 8 months that the monthly headline print had been above the consensus estimate on Bloomberg, and in another blow for team transitory, the drivers of inflation were increasingly broad-based, rather than just in a few categories affected by the pandemic. It may have been the death knell for team transitory, with Chair Powell taking pains to retire the term in the aforementioned testimony before Congress. Ahead of this, markets were in slightly subdued mood yesterday as the reality of the new Omicron restrictions in various places soured the mood. Even as the news on Omicron’s severity has remained positive, concern is still elevated that this good news on severity could be outweighed by a rise in transmissibility, which ultimately would lead to a higher absolute number of both infections and hospitalisations. Even if it doesn’t, it seems restrictions are mounting while we wait and see. In response, US equities and oil prices fell back for the first time this week, as did 10yr Treasury yields. The S&P 500 (-0.72%) and the STOXX 600 (-0.08%) fell, whilst the VIX index of volatility ticked back up +1.73pts to move above the 20 mark again. Tech stocks underperformed in a reversal of the previous session, with the NASDAQ down -1.71%, and the small-cap Russell 2000 seeing a hefty -2.27% decline, as it moved lower throughout the day. Other risk assets saw similar declines too, with Brent crude (-1.85%) and WTI (-1.96%) oil prices both paring back their gains of the week so far. The move out of risk benefited safe havens, with sovereign bond yields moving lower across the curve, with those on 10yr Treasuries down -2.2bps to 1.50%. Those moves were echoed in Europe, where yields on 10yr bunds (-4.3bps), OATs (-4.5bps) and BTPs (-2.9bps) fell back as well. That came against the backdrop of a Reuters report saying ECB governors would discuss a temporary increase in the Asset Purchase Programme at their meeting next week, albeit one that would still leave bond purchases significantly beneath their current levels once the Pandemic Emergency Purchase Programme ends in March. Bitcoin fell -5.21% to $47,997 and is now more than -29% below its all-time highs reached a month ago. Marion Laboure from my team published a piece analysing the interaction between Bitcoin and the environment given its huge energy consumption. You can find the piece here. Ahead of today’s US CPI, there was another round of robust labour market data, with the US weekly initial jobless claims down to 184k (vs. 220k expected) in the week through December 4, marking their lowest level since 1969. The 4-week moving average was also down to a fresh post-pandemic low of 218.75k, having fallen for 9 consecutive weeks now. So with the labour market becoming increasingly tight and price pressures continuing to remain strong, it’s no surprise that markets have moved over the last year from pricing no hikes at all in 2022 to almost 3. Overnight in Asia, equities are all trading in the red with the Shanghai Composite (-0.32%), Hang Seng (-0.50%), Nikkei (-0.58%), CSI (-0.62%) and KOSPI (-0.67%) tracking the weaker US close last night after a three day rally. This comes after Chinese real-estate firms Evergrande Group and Kaisa Group were downgraded to restricted default by Fitch Ratings. Elsewhere in Japan, November's PPI reading came in at the highest level since 1980 at +9.0% year-on-year against +8.5% consensus due largely to rising energy prices. Our Japan economist expects CPI rising above 1% next year to be one of the ten key events to watch in 2022. You can read more here. Staying on Japan, the ruling party today will unveil a set of tax policy measures aimed at incentivising businesses to raise wages as Prime Minister Fumio Kishida aims to deliver on campaigning promises. Futures are pointing to a slightly more positive start in the US with S&P 500 futures (+0.10%) trading higher but with DAX futures (-0.24%) catching down to the weaker US close. Out of DC, the Senate approved a one-time procedural measure that will allow them to raise the debt ceiling with a simple majority vote, ostensibly in the coming days, and hopefully for a longer period than the last six-week suspension. Yields on potentially at-risk Treasury bills are at similar levels to neighboring maturities. In terms of the latest on the pandemic, yesterday didn’t see any news of major significance, with the indicators mainly confirming what we already knew. In particular, the EU’s ECDC continued to say that among the 402 confirmed Omicron cases in the EU/EEA, all the cases with known severity were either asymptomatic or mild, with no deaths reported. So positive news for now, although it’ll be very important to keep an eye with what happens with hospitalisations in South Africa, which are continuing to rise, and the country also reported another 22,391 cases yesterday, which is once again the highest number since the Omicron variant was first reported. Separately, the US FDA moved yesterday to expand the eligibility of the Pfizer-BioNTech booster to 16 and 17 year olds. To the day ahead now, and the main data highlight will be the aforementioned US CPI reading for November. In addition, there’s the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for December, UK GDP for October and Italian industrial production for October. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde, along with the ECB’s Weidmann, Villeroy, Panetta and Elderson. Tyler Durden Fri, 12/10/2021 - 07:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeDec 10th, 2021

November Payrolls Preview: Strong Enough To Justify The Accelerated Taper?

November Payrolls Preview: Strong Enough To Justify The Accelerated Taper? With Powell's Fed having telegraphed it will accelerate the taper at this month's meeting so it can start presumably start hiking as soon as June of 2022, the November payrolls report may be moot although traders will be looking for barbell signs: will it be strong enough to validate an accelerated taper, or could it come so far below expectations that the Fed will be forced to delay its taper-boosting plans. Looking at the expectations, Newsquawk reminds us that analysts look for 550k nonfarm payrolls to be added to the US economy in November, similar to October's 531k; the jobless rate is seen falling by one-tenth of a percent to 4.5%. While as noted above the Fed appears almost certain to announce a quickening in the pace of QE tapering, analysts will be carefully watching measures of labor market slack to gauge the progress towards the Fed's 'three tests' for rate hikes: i) Participation was unchanged in October, ii) employment-population ticked up by 0.1ppts, while iii) the U6 measure of underemployment fell 0.2ppts. With the inflation tests met, the labor market data will form a key part of the Fed's arguments for rate hikes, and any significant  improvement in these metrics may see markets further price in tighter rates next year. Meanwhile, labor market gauges have generally been constructive in November: the rate of initial jobless claims going into the November survey period improved relative to the October window; ADP's gauge of payrolls was in line with expectations, though the pace eased vs October; business surveys saw employment sub-indices improve and are alluding to a very tight labor market, while today's Challenger job cuts fell to the lowest since 1993. Here is a summary of expectations: Nonfarm payrolls are expected to print 550k in November vs 531k in October (private payrolls expected at 530k vs 604k prior, manufacturing payrolls expected at 45k vs prior 60k); the 3-month average nonfarm payrolls trend rate eased to 442k in October (vs 629k in September), the 6-month average rose to 666k (from 622k) and the 12-month average eased to 481k (from 494k). The unemployment rate is seen declining by 0.1ppts in November to 4.5%; Labor market participation was unchanged at 61.6% in October (vs 63.6% in February 2020), U6 underemployment declined by 0.2ppts to 8.3% (vs 7.0% in February 2020), and the employment-population ratio rose 0.1ppts to 58.8% (vs pre-pandemic 61.1%). Average hourly earnings are seen rising 0.4% M/M, with the annual measure expected to rise by 0.1ppts to 4.0% Y/Y, Average workweek hours are likely to be unchanged at 34.7hrs. POLICY FOCUS: Fed Chair Powell this week delivered hawkish testimony to lawmakers, where he stated that the economy had continued to strengthen, the labor market had continued to improve, and he sees inflation moving down significantly over the next year. He added that it was appropriate to consider wrapping up the tapering of asset purchases a few months sooner, which participants will discuss at the December FOMC. Powell telegraphing the debate in advance may have taken some of the sting out of incoming economic data -- the rationale being that the Fed is set to accelerate the taper barring any significant deterioration in labor market and inflation data before the December 15th confab -- but Powell still suggested that there was a three-part test for raising rates (economy at maximum employment, inflation at 2%, inflation on track to moderately exceed 2% for some time); Fed officials have attempted to break the link between tapering and eventual rate hikes, but forward-looking markets will be assessing incoming data within the context of the three tests, and will price expectations of the Fed rate hike trajectory accordingly. The inflation test has been met, but Powell said there was still ground to cover to reach maximum employment, though he has previously said that could be achieved by the middle of next year; this week's labor market data, therefore, remains a key part of the eventual rate hike debate. SLACK: Taking an aggregate of the headline since March 2020, there are still some 4.44mln nonfarm payrolls to be recouped to get back to pre-pandemic levels. Goldman Sachs explains that it has been childcare constraints and elevated fiscal transfers which have likely weighed on participation, but these factors should have only a small effect going forward, but it may still take some time for some people to feel comfortable in returning to work, leaving some potential for longer-lasting drags. "We continue to expect that the labor force participation rate will increase in the nearterm, but we have nudged down our participation rate forecast to 1ppt below trend at end-2021 (61.9%) and 0.5ppts below trend at end-2022 (62.1%)," the bank says, "but because jobs are abundant and residual weakness in participation in mid-2022 will likely be due to changes in fiscal policy, wealth, and worker preferences, we expect that the FOMC will judge any participation shortfall that remains at that point to be structural or voluntary and will update their maximum employment goal accordingly." JOBLESS CLAIMS: In the week that traditionally coincides with the BLS survey window for the jobs report, initial jobless claims were little changed at 270k from the prior week's 269k; but since the October jobs report survey window, claims have eased from 351k. Continuing claims, meanwhile, printed 2.049mln in the survey week, down from 2.11mln in the prior week, and lower than the 2.81mln in the October survey period. Pantheon Macroeconomics said that the trend in initial jobless claims remains firmly downward, but the read may not be clear in the holiday season: "Unfortunately the numbers will be volatile over the holidays, as usual, and the next clean read on the data will be in mid-January," and by then, "we think claims will be close to the lows seen in the pre-COVID cycle, about 210K." ADP: The ADP's national employment gauge saw 534k job additions to the US economy in November, more or less in line with the 525k forecast; the prior was revised down trivially by 1k to 570k. ADP's economists noted that the labor market recovery continued to "power through" its challenges last month. "Job gains have eclipsed 15 million since the recovery began, though 5 million jobs short of pre-pandemic levels," ADP said, "service providers, which are more vulnerable to the pandemic, have dominated job gains this year." On the pandemic, ADP's economists said it was too early to tell if the Omicron variant could potentially slow the jobs recovery in coming months. BUSINESS SURVEYS: Within the ISM manufacturing report, the employment index rose by 1.3 points to 53.3, remaining in expansion for a third month, with the report noting some indications that the ability to hire is improving, though this is being partially offset by the challenges of turnover and backfilling. "Survey panellists’ companies are still struggling to meet labour-management plans, but there were modest signs of progress," ISM said, "an increasing share of comments noted improvements regarding employment," where "an overwhelming majority of panellists indicate their companies are hiring or attempting to hire." 51% of those surveyed were expressing difficulties in filling positions, with the situation becoming more acute in the month. Meanwhile, the services ISM is released after this month's jobs data, but using the IHS Markit flash November PMIs as a proxy, similar themes have been seen. IHS Markit said that pressure on capacity persisted amid labour shortages, with backlogs of work rising at the second-fastest pace on record. "Firms sought to expand their workforce numbers, but employment growth was held back by challenges finding suitablecandidates." JOB CUTS: Challenger's November report said that announced job cuts had dropped to 14,875 from the 22,822 in October, the lowest monthly total since May 1993. Year-to-date, employers have announced plans to cut 302,918 jobs from their payrolls, the lowest January-November total on record, and vs 2,227,725 vs the same period in 2020. Challenger said that "with the Omicron variant emerging and the unknowns that come with its spread, coupled with the ongoing difficulty hiring and retaining workers, it’s no surprise job cuts are at record lows," adding that "employers are spread thin, planning best- and worst-case scenarios in terms of COVID, while also contending with staff shortages and high demand." Speaking of Goldman, the bank is more optimistic than consensus and estimates nonfarm payrolls rose 575k in November, above the 531k gain in October and higher than the bank's initial forecast of +550k (which is in line with consensus). The bank expects no change in government payrolls, and thus private payrolls will also rise +575k in November (vs. consensus +525k).  According to the bank, the summer expiration of federal unemployment insurance benefits in some states boosted job-finding rates there, and the programs expired in the remaining states on September 5th. Over 4.6mn people have dropped off the unemployment benefit rolls since early September, and we assume 300-400k found new jobs during the November payroll month. Goldman also believes upward revisions to prior-month nonfarm payrolls are fairly likely in tomorrow’s report. The chart below reveals a trend of increasingly large upward revisions over the course of the year, with prior-month job growth revised up on net in each of the last six reports (including +235k with last month’s release). There are two potential explanations, both of which could potentially lead to upward revisions in tomorrow’s report as well. First, some reopening establishments may respond to the BLS survey with a lag (e.g. 1-2 months after reopening). This would result in positive revisions to the not-seasonally-adjusted data that occurred in May, July, August, and September (dark blue bars below). Second, the seasonal factors may be overfitting to the advance releases, mistakenly attributing some of the strong job creation to an evolution of seasonality (light blue lines below). ARGUING FOR A STRONGER REPORT: End of federal enhanced unemployment benefits. The expiration of federal benefits in some states boosted job-finding rates over the summer, and all remaining such programs expired on September 5. The 239k pickup in job growth in October relative to September is consistent with a boost from improved labor supply, and with 4.6 mn individuals no longer receiving benefits versus in early September, this tailwind is expected to continue in tomorrow’s report and beyond. Public health. The Delta wave coincided with a late-summer slowdown in job growth, with leisure and hospitality employment growth slowing sharply in September and October (see Exhibit 1). With covid infection rates falling since September, restaurant seatings on OpenTable have rebounded,and economists expect strong gains in leisure and hospitality and in other services. Job availability. The Conference Board labor differential—the difference between nthe percent of respondents saying jobs are plentiful and those saying jobs are hard to get—increased to a record-high of 46.9. JOLTS job openings decreased by 191kin September to 10.4mn but remained significantly higher than the pre-pandemic record. Jobless claims. Initial jobless claims fell during the November payroll month, averaging 257k per week vs. 320k in October. Continuing claims in regular state programs decreased 283k from survey week to survey week. Education seasonality. Education payrolls weighed on the previous two reports, declining 170k cumulatively in September and October (public and private). This reflects some janitors and support staff declining to return for the fall school year. While schools will eventually fill these open positions, the start-of-year catalyst for a large rise in education jobs has passed, and we are assuming only second derivative improvement in tomorrow’s report, such as a flat reading or a modest gain (mom sa). Employer surveys. The employment components of business surveys generally increased in November. Goldman's services survey employment tracker increased 0.5pt to 55.1 and its manufacturing survey employment tracker increased 0.7pt to 59.6. The Goldman Sachs Analyst Index (GSAI) increased 4.3pt to 77.2 in November, and the employment component rose 1.6pt to a record-high of 75.6. Job cuts. Announced layoffs reported by Challenger, Gray & Christmas declined by 10% month-over-month in November after increasing by 18% in October (SA by GS),and remain near their three-decade low. ARGUING FOR A WEAKER REPORT: Supply constraints in retail. Labor supply constraints may have weighed on pre-holiday hiring in the retail industry, for which the BLS seasonal factors anticipate net hiring of around 350k. If so, retail payroll could fall on a seasonally adjusted basis. Vaccine mandates. The vaccine mandates announced by the Biden administration nin September apply to roughly 25mn unvaccinated workers, and may have weighed on November job growth in healthcare and government. While the federal deadline for compliance is generally not until early January and faces an uncertain future in the court system, early adoption in some states may have reduced job growth at the margin in tomorrow’s report. NEUTRAL FACTORS Big Data. High-frequency data on the labor market were mixed. Three of the four measures available this month indicate another sizeable gain. However, the Homebase data that directionally flagged the September payroll missindicates an outright decline ADP. Private sector employment in the ADP report increased by 534k in November, in line with consensus expectations for a 525k gain and consistent with strong growth in the ADP panel. Tyler Durden Thu, 12/02/2021 - 21:40.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytDec 3rd, 2021

What Hospitals Can Teach the Business World About Attracting and Retaining Experienced Workers

It's all about experience, flexibility and wellness Many companies were surprised by the “Great Resignation” of 2021, which led a record 4.3 million U.S. employees to quit in August alone, whether they were struggling with burnout, their jobs were no longer meeting their needs, or for other reasons. However, a flood of pink slips is old news to those in the health care industry, which has been plagued by job shortages since before the pandemic. The situation was exacerbated as doctors, nurses and others battled COVID-19; health care executives say many of their most experienced nurses have accelerated their retirements or cut back their hours since the outbreak began. Industry leaders fear more may follow; polls suggest 30 to 50% of health care workers may reduce their working hours or quit entirely as the pandemic drags on. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] However, this crisis has led many health care execs and HR leaders to get creative in an effort to retain and recruit workers—especially older workers, who may bring decades of experience to their jobs. As industries across the corporate landscape grapple with workforce shortages, they may be wise to take their cues from those in the health world. TIME asked a handful of health care leaders about how they’ve hired and retained older, experienced workers. While specific programs and priorities varied across hospitals, certain themes came up again and again: recruiting for experience, flexibility and wellness. Experience One of the big problems with the nursing shortage isn’t just a dearth of nurses, executives say—it’s that it’s especially difficult to find experienced nurses who can work in hospitals’ most complex roles, like operating room positions. That’s why executives are going above and beyond not only to encourage workers to stick around, but to recruit experienced nurses anywhere they can find them. “An experienced nurse, to me, is gold,” says Claire Zangerle, chief nurse executive for the Pennsylvania-based Allegheny Health Network. Zangerle created a program called “RetuRN to Practice,” an initiative to recruit former, often older nurses and, in partnership with the University of Delaware, get them back up to speed, in part by teaching them the latest practices. As many as 70 nurses who joined the program are now working in the Allegheny system. In New York, Northwell Health is also recruiting retired and experienced workers; a main focus is on equity for people of all ages, says senior vice president and chief human resources officer Maxine Carrington. “You want a workforce that reflects the population, and so we have people working at Northwell of all ages,” she says. Northwell is researching and enacting changes both large and small along these lines. In January, for instance, it will launch a “blind resumé” program, wherein ages and other identifying data will be scrubbed from prospective employees’ documents. The company also plans to launch an alumni program that encourages retirees to return as teachers and mentors, and to expand its “Returnship” program—which is initially targeting female caregivers—to better enable retirees to brush up on their skills and get back to work. Flexibility Among the executives who spoke with TIME for this story, many agreed that, to attract and retain experienced workers, flexibility is a must. Both Zangerle and Carrington said that it’s been essential to incorporate flexible options for workers who are nearing retirement age, or who are returning from retirement. Flexibility hasn’t always been a given in the health care industry. Zangerle notes that nurses typically work 12 hour days, three days a week—which can be physically and mentally draining, especially as workers grow older. And as employees approach retirement, their priorities sometimes shift from work to other interests, such as spending time with loved ones, traveling or volunteering, says Carrington. As Zangerle enacted the RetuRN to Practice program, she says, she learned that nurses’ schedules were a barrier keeping some people out of work. Allegheny has since begun offering more flexible options, including shorter or weekend shifts. Older nurses are also encouraged to shift to positions that might be less physically demanding, but still draw upon their skills—such as moving from the operating room to become an educator. While offering flexible schedules can be a management challenge, says Zangerle, doing so is helping her make sure she has enough workers on any given day. “As long as we fill the hole, then we’re good to go,” she says. “The pandemic has really pushed us to say, ‘We will tell you our needs, and you tell us what you can do,'” Northwell, meanwhile, is offering more alternatives to quitting or retiring, such as per diem and part-time options. It also runs a staffing agency and offers home health care opportunities, so workers can choose the kind of work that suits their needs. The pandemic also prompted a reconsideration of another popular tool: working from home, including via telemedicine. Shibu Varghese, senior vice president and chief diversity officer for MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, said the health care industry has been slow to adopt remote work because the culture revolves around being in a shared physical environment, and leaders were concerned productivity would drop. But in fact, Varghese said, MD Anderson’s staff has been especially productive even at home, and many enjoy the flexibility of remote life. “The wellness aspect of it—where we are allowing for employees to balance their personal life and professional life together—has really allowed a lot of employees to stay with it and work through the pandemic,” he said. Wellness Many hospitals are also trying a direct approach to reduce burnout, a psychological factor thought to be driving many nurses out of the field. In part, that’s involved more focus on wellness, or making sure that workers’ basic needs are being met. For instance, after an Allegheny Health survey revealed that 45% of its nurses skipped meals and weren’t drinking enough water, managers created meal break calendars to ensure workers had coverage, cafeteria hours were extended and hydration stations and healthy vending machines were installed. Missed meals then dropped from 45% in 2019 to 10% in 2021. At the Miriam Hospital in Providence, Rhode Island, administrators worked with psychologists at Brown University to ensure that nurses’ needs are being met, says chief nursing officer Anne Schmidt. The hospital has also devised wellness programs offering everything from reiki to food carts to mediation rooms. One goal, says Schmidt, is to build a culture where nurses feel comfortable seeking out help. “Resilience doesn’t come in a bottle,” says Schmidt. “It’s really: how do we normalize self-care?”.....»»

Category: topSource: timeNov 22nd, 2021

Futures Slide Dragged Lower By Amazon And Apple

Futures Slide Dragged Lower By Amazon And Apple US equity futures fell along with European and Asian stocks on Friday after tech giants Amazon and Apple and Starbucks sank in premarket trading after their earnings missed expectations, signaling a possible drop of around $180 billion in combined market value when the U.S. reopens, while dizzying bond-market gyrations sparked by surprise central bank announcements amid concerns over inflation and monetary tightening left investors scrambling to guess what happens next. A failure by Biden and the Democrats to pass their massive Build Back Better stimulus package added to the bearish sentiment. At 7:15 a.m. ET, Dow e-minis were down 45 points, or 0.12%, S&P 500 e-minis were down 22 points, or 0.5%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were down 138 points, or 0.88%. 10Y yields rose 3bps to 1.61%; the dollar rose while bitcoin was flat at $61,000. “Disappointment on Apple and Amazon results will likely weigh on the market sentiment,” said Ipek Ozkardeskaya, senior analyst at Swissquote. “And there is little to improve the mood, as Joe Biden is still struggling to pass his mega spending bill, the Covid delta-plus cases are surging and the U.S. growth fell short of expectations in the latest read.” There was some relief out of China, where some Evergrande Group bondholders were said to receive an overdue interest payment shortly before the expiry of a grace period, buying more time for the debt-stricken property developer as it tries to raise cash through asset sales. Separately, Joe Biden was dealt a setback on Thursday as the House of Representatives abandoned plans for a vote on an infrastructure bill with progressives seeking more time to consider his call for a separate $1.75 trillion plan for social initiatives. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Apple slides 3.6% in U.S. premarket trading after the iPhone maker reported disappointing fourth-quarter results and warned about the impact of chip shortages, rekindling worries about the key holiday quarter Amazon slumps 5% in premarket trading after its forecast for holiday sales fell short of analysts’ estimates, signaling the pandemic’s boost to online shopping continues to fade Meta Materials up 2.9% in premarket trading after soaring as much as 32% Thursday postmarket as investors mistook it for Facebook Inc. following the Internet giant’s rebrand Western Digital shares drop 10% in premarket trading after its earnings forecast missed estimates U.S. Steel surges 8% in premarket trading as investors cheer a stock buyback and a hike in dividends Starbucks shares decline as much as 4.9% in U.S. premarket trading as the $20b in new payouts to shareholders failed to offset quarterly results that fell short of expectations B. Riley Financial gained in Thursday late trading after announcing a $4 dividend, composed of a $3 special one-time payout and a doubling of its regular quarterly dividend to $1 DaVita Inc.fell 6.7% in after-hours trading after cutting the top end of its forecast for 2021 adjusted earnings per share from continuing operations Plantronics tumbled 12% postmarket after the headset maker reported second- quarter revenue that missed its own guidance, as well as analyst estimates A10 Networks shares rose 7.5% in extended trading on Thursday after the computer networking products company said it is confident in accelerating growth beyond the previous targets of 6-8% Tailwind Two shares rose 4.9% Thursday postmarket after Terran Orbital Corp., a builder of small satellites, said it is merging with the SPAC and plans to go public in the first quarter of 2022 Focus now turns to the latest readings on U.S. consumer spending and the Federal Reserve’s preferred inflation gauge, the core PCE price index, due at 8:30 a.m. ET, for clues on the health of the economy ahead of the central bank’s policy meeting next week. “(The data) will carry rather more weight with markets. High prints may see the Fed taper trade priced into the end of the week, with stocks lower, especially above the one-two punch from Apple and Amazon,” said Jeffrey Halley, senior market analyst, Asia Pacific, OANDA. “Some actual concrete progress on the U.S. spending bills instead of empty rhetoric could give a pleasant boost to markets in the end of the week as well.” In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index extends losses to hit session low, with most sectors declining, as data showing accelerating euro-area inflation stoked concern of faster rate hikes. The Index was -0.8% as of 11:28 am in London, trims best monthly gain since March Real estate, technology sectors are worst performers, while insurance and energy outperform. BBVA jumped 6.1% in Madrid after it announced the start of a planned stock buyback and reported earnings that beat estimates. Asian equities headed for their third day of declines as disappointing results weighed on big technology stocks, and financials fell as bond-yield curves continued to flatten. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 0.6%, with TSMC, Tencent, AIA and Ping An among the biggest drags. The regional benchmark was set for a weekly loss of 1.1%, its worst in four weeks. The U.S. Treasury yield curve inverted between 20 and 30 years on Thursday, a sign that investors expect central-bank policy tightening to lead to slower economic growth and inflation. Meanwhile, Apple and Amazon.com slid in late trading after reporting weak sales, hurt by the global supply-chain crisis.  “U.S. stock futures and South Korean stocks fell following the drop in Apple,” said Hiroshi Namioka, chief strategist at T&D Asset Management Co. “Investor sentiment deteriorated on concerns about the impact of supply constraints on stocks beyond firms related to Apple.” Benchmarks in Hong Kong, the Philippines, India and Australia were also among the worst performers. The biggest gains were in Indonesia, China and New Zealand In rates, the 10-year US Treasury yield climbed to 1.61% before easing 1 basis point. The curve between 20- and 30-years has inverted for the first time since the U.S. government reintroduced a two-decade maturity in 2020 as inflation pressures and the prospect of interest-rate hikes are whipsawing bond markets. Treasury futures remain near lows of the day into early U.S. session, after trading heavy during Asia session, when Australian bond yields surged as the central bank’s decision not to defend its yield target on Friday fueled bets that policy makers may soon scrap the program. In Treasury futures, multiple block trades shortly after 6am ET were consistent with a curve-steepening wager. Yields were cheaper by 2bp-3bp across the curve, keeping spreads broadly within 1bp of Thursday’s close; 10-year yields around 1.605% are around 1bp richer vs bunds and gilts. Aussie 10-year yields closed 21.8bp cheaper vs U.S. amid speculation that policy makers may soon scrap the yield-curve control program. In the US, 2s10s and 5s30s curves remain flatter on week after reaching most compressed levels in months on Thursday; month-end flows may support long-end Friday, with Bloomberg Treasury index set to extend by an estimated 0.08yr in 4pm rebalancing European bonds extended Thursday’s retreat as data on Eurozone economic growth and inflation topped analysts’ estimates, reinforcing conviction that interest-rate increases are on the horizon after European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde offered only mild pushback against traders’ bets on a hike as soon as October next year. The euro slipped after jumping 0.7% on Thursday, but remains on track for a third week of gains. “In the very near term, because many global central banks are just dipping their feet into taper, not even into quantitative tightening, the aggregate liquidity could remain very supportive,” Vishnu Varathan, head of economics and strategy at Mizuho Bank Ltd. in Singapore, said on Bloomberg Television. “Although I think you get very much more discriminatory moves and much more selective moves in the equity markets.” In FX, the U.S. dollar ticked up from a one-month low and crude oil fluctuated and the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index advanced as much as 0.2% as the greenback rose versus all its Group-of-10 peers apart from the Swiss franc; the Kiwi and Scandinavian currencies were the worst performers. The euro pared about half of Thursday’s advance against the dollar and European bond yields rose. Italian bonds led peripheral underperformance vs. euro-area peers and ECB policy-tightening bets gained momentum as markets continued to digest Lagarde’s lack of reassurance in her comments on Thursday. The pound inched lower in the European session. Gilts’ aggressive flattening moves in previous sessions paused as yield increases were most pronounced in the long end. Australian bond yields surged as the central bank’s decision not to defend its yield target on Friday fueled bets that policy makers may soon scrap the program. The currency hovered under its 200-day moving average. In commodities, Brent and WTI both rose about 0.3%. Spot gold flat on the day, trades just below $1,800/oz. Base metals fall on the LME, with zinc, nickel and aluminum declining the most. Ethereum finally hit a new all-time-high, rising briefly above $4400. Chinese coal futures extended a dramatic decline as China’s government said there’s further room for prices to fall, ratcheting up interventions in the market aimed at easing an energy crisis. Looking at today's data we get preliminary September industrial production, preliminary Q3 GDP from Euro Area, Germany, France and Italy, preliminary October CPI from Euro Area, France and Italy, UK September mortgage approvals, Canada August GDP, US September personal spending, personal income, October MNI Chicago PMI and final October University of Michigan consumer sentiment index are due. In corporate earnings, ExxonMobil, Chevron, AbbVie, Charter Communications, Daimler, BNP Paribas, Aon and NatWest Group are among companies reporting. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.4% to 4,567.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.5% to 472.83 German 10Y yield up 3.3 bps to -0.103% Euro down 0.2% to $1.1663 Brent Futures up 0.2% to $84.49/bbl Gold spot down 0.3% to $1,793.54 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.14% to 93.48 MXAP down 0.5% to 197.77 MXAPJ down 0.7% to 649.27 Nikkei up 0.3% to 28,892.69 Topix little changed at 2,001.18 Hang Seng Index down 0.7% to 25,377.24 Shanghai Composite up 0.8% to 3,547.34 Sensex down 0.9% to 59,417.39 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.4% to 7,323.74 Kospi down 1.3% to 2,970.68 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg The returns on carry trades are roaring back in the currency markets of the world’s major developed countries, thanks to surging commodity prices, low volatility and the growing ranks of central banks that are tightening monetary policy U.K. households are under increasing financial stress just as the Bank of England contemplates weaning the nation off near-zero interest rates, according to debt-collection firm Lowell China’s junk dollar bonds had their steepest two-month decline in a decade as stress builds in the battered real estate sector and defaults mount to a record France and Italy drove economic growth in the 19-nation euro area in the third quarter following the suspension of most Covid-19 curbs. A surge in consumer spending propelled French output to 3% in the three months through September, exceeding all but one estimate in a Bloomberg survey. Italy reported an expansion of 2.6% that was bolstered by industry and services As the prospect of interest-rate hikes whipsaws bond markets, bears can be forgiven for betting the recent 10-year Treasury selloff will resume in earnest given the inflationary pressures building everywhere. But with a key section of the U.S. yield curve inverting on growth fears, the likes of AXA Investment Managers to HSBC Holdings Plc can find a receptive audience to make a case that the 40-year bull market is alive and well A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac equities initially traded lower but later painted a mixed picture as the tailwinds from Wall Street dissipated. The S&P 500 and Nasdaq closed at record highs, whilst the DJIA and R2K posted solid gains. Aftermarket earnings saw reports from Apple (-3.5% AM) and Amazon (-4.7% AM), who both fell over 5% at one point, in turn hitting the NQ, with both firms citing supply chain issues. US equity futures overnight resumed trade modestly firmer but then drifted lower as APAC sentiment seeped into the Western futures. The ASX 200 (-1.5%) was dragged lower by its Telecoms and Financials sectors, whilst the KOSPI (-1.3%) conformed to the risk tone. The Nikkei 225 (+0.3%) was initially hampered with some of the export-heavy sectors towards the bottom of the bunch, although later recovered as the JPY eased, and with Japan also looking ahead to the lower house election on Sunday. The Shanghai Comp (+0.8%) saw its opening losses cushioned after another daily net CNY 100bln injection by the PBoC, for a net weekly injection of CNY 680bln – the largest in 21 months. Hang Seng (-0.7%) failed to recover amid post-earnings losses from BYD, Ping An Insurance, and Petrochina, whilst Alibaba and Tencent are also in the red. Finally, the RBA once again refrained from defending the April 2024 yield, with the bond extending its rise to 0.77% vs the RBA's 0.10% target range. Top Asian News Taiwan Growth Slows in Third Quarter Despite Record Exports Asia Stocks Set for Third Day of Losses as Tech, Financials Fall Taiwan 3Q GDP Expands 3.80% Y/Y; Survey Est. 4.3% Malaysia Unveils Biggest Budget to Spur Post-Lockdown Recovery European bourses commenced the session on the back foot, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.9%, though performance throughout the morning has been choppy with indices having been unchanged and lower by as much as 1.0% on the session thus far. The morning’s busy docket hasn’t changed the dial too much, with the action perhaps more a factor of participant’s digesting the US/APAC leads and earnings updates. APAC was subdued with pressure Stateside most pronounced in the NQ (-0.8%) after earnings from Apple (AMZN) and Amazon (AAPL), which both fell around 5.0% in after hours trading, with attention being placed on supply chain issues impacting performance. In Europe, all sectors started in the red, though banking names have picked up given the ongoing drive higher in yields offsetting poorly received updates from the likes of NatWest (-4.5%); attention is on the company’s money laundering provisions of some GBP 300mln. Elsewhere, real estate names are hampered amid reports that UK banks/building societies are to begin increasing mortgage rate given inflation. Auto’s are towards the top of the pile driven by updates from Daimler (+1.7%) and the CFO remarking that market demand is high, could expect an increase in 2022 passenger car sales. Finally, the energy sector is in-focus amid OPEC+ JTC sourced reports (see commodities) and as we have a number of key names due to report stateside, including Exxon (XOM) following Chevron beating on top and bottom lines, +2.1% pre-market. Top European News NatWest Shares Fall as Margin Pressures Overshadow Profit Surge Agnellis Agree to Sell PartnerRe to Covea for $9 Billion Euro-Area Economy Bolstered by France, Italy Growth: GDP Update Telenet Falls as HSBC Cuts to Hold on ‘Drastic’ Strategy In FX, the Dollar has regained some poise following yesterday’s sell-off, largely on the back of a post-ECB rebound in the Euro that knocked the index down to a new w-t-d base and gave other Greenback rivals a lift indirectly. However, the index remains toppy towards the bottom of 94.024-93.277 extremes within a narrow 93.592-320 range, wary about residual or final rebalancing flows that a German bank model suggests is more prominent vs the Pound and Yen. From a tech perspective, the 50 DMA could be pivotal and comes in at 93.415 today after the DXY tested, but respected the 100 DMA circa 94.000 on several occasions, while fundamental drivers may come via a raft of data and survey releases, including PCE price metrics and the Chicago PMI. Aside from all this, yields remain elevated and curves are re-steepening irrespective of a downturn in broad risk sentiment, or perhaps in response to the ongoing bond rout, with safe-haven benefits for the Buck. NZD/AUD - Yet another change in fortunes for the Kiwi and Aussie, as the Antipodean cross rebounds amidst several positive factors for the latter, like much stronger than forecast final retail sales and a pick-up in ppi, while ramp higher in 3 year cash continues unchecked. Hence, Aud/Nzd is eyeing 1.0500 again and Aud/Usd is consolidating near 0.7550, but Nzd/Usd has slipped back below 0.7200. EUR - Some consolidation and a partial loss of the aforementioned ECB-inspired recovery momentum has pushed the Euro back down, with Eur/Usd now testing support and underlying bids around 1.1650 even though flash Eurozone inflation came in well above expectations and most preliminary Q3 GDP prints beat consensus (Germany the exception). Nevertheless, the headline pair looks less inclined to be drawn to the latest option expiries close to 1.1600 (1.5 bn in a band ending at 1.1590) and adjacent to similar size between the half round number and 1.1660 (1.4 bn to be precise). CHF/CAD/GBP/JPY - The Franc is marginally outpacing the Buck and extending its outperformance against the Euro to the brink of 0.9100 and not much further away from 1.0600 respectively in wake of an upbeat Swiss KOF leading indicator, but the SNB could be on edge amidst a sharp ratchet up in implied interest rates via the 3 month strip. Elsewhere, the Loonie is idling either side of 1.2350 vs its US peer in line with crude prices ahead of Canadian monthly GDP and ppi that might provide tangible justification for the BoC’s hawkish shift on QE and rate guidance, Sterling continues encounter resistance circa 1.3800 and 0.8450 against the Euro awaiting developments on the UK-French fishing row front rather than reacting to stronger than forecast BoE mortgage lending and approvals. Similarly, the Yen has taken a raft of Japanese data in stride as it straddles 113.50 in lock-step with its US counterpart and UST/JGB yield differentials In commodities, WTI and Brent are essentially unchanged on the session, and reside towards the mid-point of the week’s range thus far. Newsflow has been limited and we look to energy giant earnings later for further impetus; though, the benchmarks did come under modest pressure on JTC source reports ahead of next week’s OPEC+ gathering. Namely, sources said that the JTC had trimmed its 2021 oil demand forecast to 5.7mln BPD (prev. 5.8mln BPD), though explained that the downward revision was ‘nothing to worry about’ and was due to updated data and rounding effects. Elsewhere, spot gold and silver have been contained within narrow ranges in the European morning with spot gold not experiencing a meaningful move away from the USD 1800/oz handle. Base metals are a touch softer from the contained performance seen in APAC hours where attention was more on thermal coal, following China’s State Planner said there is room for continued adjustments of coal prices; initial investigation results show coal production costs are significantly below current coal spot prices. In wake of this, thermal coal futures once again hit 10% limit down. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Sept. Personal Income, est. -0.3%, prior 0.2%; Personal Spending, est. 0.6%, prior 0.8% 8:30am: Sept. PCE Deflator YoY, est. 4.4%, prior 4.3%; PCE Deflator MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 0.4% 8:30am: Sept. PCE Core Deflator YoY, est. 3.7%, prior 3.6%; Core Deflator MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.3% 9:45am: Oct. MNI Chicago PMI, est. 63.5, prior 64.7 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 71.4, prior 71.4; Current Conditions, est. 77.9, prior 77.9; Expectations, est. 67.2, prior 67.2 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.8% 10am: Oct. U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.8%, prior 4.8% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap The last 36-48 hours has seen a silent rate tantrum that has caused some remarkable volatility at the front end. Silent as equities don’t care for now as US bourses again hit fresh record highs again last night before weak results from Amazon after the bell slightly dented the mood. Although there wasn’t much new in the ECB meeting, the event seemed to calm markets down (even if purely coincidental timing wise) after a pretty stressful Asian and London morning session. To give you a flavour of this 2yr Canadian yields opened (lunchtime London) another +12 bps higher (around +38bps in less than 24 hours) before rallying 25bps over the next 3 hours and then steadying to close -6.5bps on the session, ‘only’ +13.5bps above where they were before Wednesday’s shock BoC news. As another gauge, US 2s10s which on Wednesday morning was at +120bps, rallied another 6bps in Asia and London morning to a low of under +98bps. We closed back at +108.7bps though after a big re-steepening. As we highlighted in yesterday’s CoTD (link here) there was seemingly a big positioning shock that the Canadian and then Aussie news from 24 hours ago encouraged. The latest from the Australian market is that after a +29.7bps move yesterday, 2yr yields have climbed by another +27bps this morning and now sit at 0.8% having been at 0.15% on Wednesday. Remarkable moves and this could set the stage for another frantic London session. The yield on 10yr (+26bps) also jumped as the RBA once again didn’t defend its yield target this morning, contrary to market expectations, leading to speculation that it may be abandoned altogether as early as at the meeting next Tuesday. So this is setting the stage for a seismic event for global markets as there is a huge gap between the 0.1% target and 0.8% where the April 24 note is now trading. Overall government bonds have been all over the place over the last couple of days and the resteepening in the US meant that 10yr yields rose +3.9bps yesterday after rallying early in the session. We’re up another +2.3bps this morning. 20yrs inverted versus 30yrs yesterday for the first time since the issue was re-introduced last year, and this curve finished the session at -2.4bps. On the inflation compensation front, 10yr breakevens narrowed for the second day on the bounce, declining -8.4bps to 2.59% which means that real yields actually rose +12.0bps - their biggest climb since immediately after the June FOMC. European yields rose as 10yr bunds (+4.3bps), OATs (+4.6bps) and BTPs (+10.7bps) and Gilts (+2.3bps) all marched higher, while 2yr yields were +2.5bps, +0.8bps, +9.4bps, and +8.9bps higher respectively. So a mixed bag of curve moves after the BoC/Australia/ECB developments. As in the US, 10yr breakevens narrowed across Europe as well; German, French, Italian, and UK breakevens declined -6.8bps, -4.9bps, -6.0bps, and -1.9bps, respectively. The ECB meeting was the main macro event of the day. Our Europe team offers a more thorough breakdown here, but the three main takeaways are: 1) the ECB recognised that inflation is going to be higher for longer, dropping that it is ‘largely temporary’ from its statement; 2) President Lagarde offered some (but not total) pushback on market pricing, remarking liftoff in 2022 or anytime soon thereafter was inconsistent with the ECB’s forecast and forward guidance; and 3) President Lagarde gave the firmest guidance yet that PEPP would finish in March. Her press conference came hours after Spain reported a +2.0% jump in October inflation versus +1.2% expected, while the German CPI (+0.5%), released just shortly before the press conference, also beat forecasts (+0.5% vs +0.4%). US data was mixed, with a miss in advance Q3 GDP, which came at +2.0% versus +2.6% expected as well as surprising a slowdown in pending home sales (-2.3% vs +0.5% expected), boosted the narrative of slower growth. Meanwhile initial jobless claims (281k versus 288k expected) saw a fresh post pandemic low and personal consumption decelerated slower than expected (+0.9%), coming in at +1.6%. In terms of equities, another string of positive earnings surprises lifted stocks, with the Nasdaq and S&P 500 reaching their record highs by the close. Every sector in the two indices, plus the DJIA finished in the green, with the Nasdaq up +1.39%, the S&P 500 +0.98% higher and the DJIA closing up +0.68%. Strong results from Ford and Caterpillar also added to the bullish outlook. Ford reported that demand was strong and that the semiconductor shortages were easing, prompting them to revise higher profit estimates for the year. Caterpillar also noted end-user demand was strong, and expects it to be strong through next year, but supply chain difficulties will limit their ability to fill orders. After the close, earnings from Amazon and Apple weighed on sentiment. Amazon missed on revenue and earnings, and noted the near-term outlook wasn’t great, due to labour shortages and supply chain woes. Apple was also hit by supply chain issues, which caused them to miss revenue estimates. S&P futures are trading lower by -0.3% ahead of the open this morning. In total, of the 52 S&P companies that reported yesterday, 44 beat on earnings while 34 beat revenue estimates. The dynamic was less optimistic on the other side of the Atlantic, where the STOXX 600 (+0.24%) rose moderately, as it was pulled down by a steep drop in energy (-1.85%) after Royal Dutch Shell missed on earnings as well as faced calls to break up its business from an activist hedge fund. Country-wise, we saw the CAC 40 (+0.75%) and the IBEX 35 (+0.60%) outperforming the DAX (-0.06%) and the FTSE 100 (-0.05%). In Asia, equities are mixed after the late earnings misses in the US and disappointing regional economic data. The Nikkei 225 (+0.29%) and the Shanghai composite (+0.16%) are higher, while the KOSPI (-0.62%) and the Hang Seng (-0.47%) is down. In data releases, industrial production in Japan (-5.4% vs -2.7% expected) and South Korea (-1.8% vs +2.0% expected) declined, heavily missing consensus. Tokyo CPI (+0.1%) was also below projections (+0.4%). Meanwhile, China’s National Development and Reform Commission communicated that coal prices can continue to decrease further, extending the decline in coal futures (-8.68%), as the country faces an acute energy crisis. Elsewhere the dollar is trading higher this morning (+0.05%), while gold (-0.15%) retreated from its gains during yesterday’s European session. In energy markets, oil futures are mixed, as WTI (-0.08%) is marginally lower and Brent (+0.23%) is advancing. Natural gas prices, however, continued to decline yesterday, falling in the US (-1.71%) and Europe (-11.75%). President Biden addressed the nation to sell the public (and, ostensibly, his own party) on a $1.75 trillion social and climate spending framework after prolonged negotiations. Along with the big outlays, the proposal includes revenue raising measures via higher tax surcharges on those making more than $10 million, a 15% minimum corporate tax rate, a 1% excise tax on stock buybacks, and funding to improve IRS enforcement of the current tax code. If Congressional Democrats can agree on the new social bill, it should also enable a vote on the separate $550 billion bi-partisan infrastructure plan. Nothing was tabled for a vote yesterday as progressive Democrats were waiting to see the detailed proposal of the social spending bill before giving the bi-partisan infrastructure bill their imprimatur. Nevertheless, it appears that out of the flurry of headlines, yesterday saw some progress in DC negotiations. In today’s data releases, Japan September jobless rate, preliminary September industrial production, preliminary Q3 GDP from Euro Area, Germany, France and Italy, preliminary October CPI from Euro Area, France and Italy, UK September mortgage approvals, Canada August GDP, US September personal spending, personal income, October MNI Chicago PMI and final October University of Michigan consumer sentiment index are due. In corporate earnings, ExxonMobil, Chevron, AbbVie, Charter Communications, Daimler, BNP Paribas, Aon and NatWest Group are among companies reporting. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/29/2021 - 07:47.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 29th, 2021

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

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

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 27th, 2021

Pelosi Vows To Avert Shutdown As Dems Reportedly Cave To "Republican Blockade"

Pelosi Vows To Avert Shutdown As Dems Reportedly Cave To "Republican Blockade" Yesterday, when we laid out the dynamics behind Biden's game of debt limit chicken, we quoted Rabobank which explained why the stand-off between Democrats and Republicans ahead of the debt ceiling Drop Dead Date (the date when all emergency funding measures are exhausted and which falls some time in late October) is so precarious: unlike previous occasions, neither side has to back down due to political or ideological purposes. In fact the side that is seen as conceding first  will likely be punished by its electorate; it's also why Goldman has repeatedly warned that the odds of a catastrophic outcome are especially high. Worse, the closer we get to the Drop Dead Date without a deal, the more likely a freefall outcome becomes as the two sides dig in with the only hope then becoming a deal after the fact. However, today a ray of hope emerged when Bloomberg reported that Nancy Pelosi signaled Democrats will avert a government shutdown by passing a stopgap spending bill without a debt ceiling increase in it, amid Republican opposition to linking the two measures. “Whatever it is, we will have a CR that passes both houses by September 30," Pelosi said at a press briefing Thursday, referring to the continuing resolution that will be needed to fund the federal government at the start of the new fiscal year on Oct. 1. The House passed a stopgap spending measure this week that would keep the government open until Dec. 3 and suspend the debt ceiling until Dec. 16, 2022, but that measure is dead in the Senate where it needs 60 votes to move ahead and Republicans are expected block it in. At a news conference that included Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, Pelosi said that the conversation on the debt limit would continue. Schumer separately announced that Democrats have a “framework” for a deal to pay for President Joe Biden’s economic plan, though neither he nor Pelosi provided any details. Adding to the confusion, due to the irregularity of Treasury revenues and outlayws, it is not yet clear when the US Treasury could be on the brink of a default, adding uncertainty to how quickly Congress has to act. Yellen has said the government will probably exhaust its ability to avoid breaching the limit at some point in October, which is in line with Goldman's estimate of D-Date falling around October 27. Meanwhile, confirming that Senate republicans won't touch the debt limit vote, top senate republican Mitch McConnell said Democrats have plenty of time to use a partisan approach to raise the debt ceiling without Republican votes.  He also said that it would take Democrats “about a week or a little more” to use the budget reconciliation procedure to raise the debt limit (reconciliation bills bypass the filibuster, removing the need for GOP votes in the 50-50 Senate, but have required procedures that take time to go through). Senate Democrats have so far resisted deploying that tactic, saying that the effort should be bipartisan as Democrats realize that raising the debt ceiling on their own could hurt the Democrats in the midterm elections in 2022, so they prefer sharing the blame with the Republicans by forcing them to support a suspension of the debt limit. In . “This may inconvenient for them, but it is totally possible,” McConnell said. “This Democratic government must not manufacture an avoidable crisis.” For once he was actually right: as Rabobank explained, "the Democrats have the power to raise the debt ceiling and adopt a spending patch, through budget reconciliation, without any Republican vote. Therefore it will be difficult to blame a government shutdown or even a default on the Republicans. The mainstream media may try to do so anyway, but conservative media – which are relevant to Republican voters – will explain the realities to their audience. Therefore, there is no electoral need for the Republicans to blink. If they have the stomach for it, they can win this game and force the Democrats to “own” their spending spree. What’s more, if the Democrats fail to stick together under pressure, Biden’s ambitious legislative agenda could dissolve in October." McConnell’s comments challenge House Budget Committee Chairman John Yarmuth, who said Wednesday that Democrats probably do not have enough time to raise the U.S. debt ceiling on their own using the fast-track budget process before the default date. Actually they do - here is a calendar of fiscal policy deadlines courtesy of Rabo: An impartial budget expert agreed with McConnell’s view of the timetable: “They could do it in less than two weeks,” said former Senate Budget Committee staff director Bill Hoagland, now with the Bipartisan Policy Center. “It would be tight but I believe they could do it.” To be sure, not all Democrats are opposed to using the partisan path to raising the debt limit. House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal said in an interview with CNN he’d be open to using reconciliation. “If we had to do it, I would do that,” Neal said, according to CNN. “I mean that the idea that America would default on debt is so far removed from everything I’ve ever entertained or thought of since I’ve been here.” Other Democrats on Thursday suggested the same: “I don’t draw lines in the sand. I want to get this done,” Maryland Senator Benjamin Cardin said. Virginia Senator Tim Kaine said Democratic leadership is exploring alternatives for the debt limit. “I’m not going to let the government default,” Kaine said, adding that Democrats have voted under Republican presidents to suspend the debt ceiling. “But if they’re not going to be responsible, we still will be,” he added. Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama, the top Republican on the Appropriations Committee, said he expects “at the end of the day” the Senate will pass a stopgap government funding bill that doesn’t have a debt limit increase on it and that Democrats will move the debt-limit increase through reconciliation. Yet not everyone is confident that a debt ceiling deal will be reached on time, starting first and foremost with the market, where today's 4-week and 8-week Bill auctions showed a dramatic preference for the latter at the expense of the former, which mature right around the Drop Dead Date and may suffer repayment complications if the US is in technical default. As shown below, the discount rate on the 4-Week Bills came 1.5bps higher than the 8-Week Bill, the widest differential since the March 2020 covid crisis. Additionally, there was a collapse in Indirect demand for 4-week bills, with Indirects taking down just 21.3% while taking home a much higher 67.3% of the eight-week offering, the most since June 17. Finally, one reason why Pelosi may be less than credible is because earlier today, WaPo reported that the White House budget office (OMB) told federal agencies on Thursday to begin preparations for the first shutdown of the U.S. government since the pandemic began. While administration officials stressed the request is in line with traditional procedures seven days ahead of a shutdown and not a commentary on the likelihood of a congressional deal, the market did not seem to accept that explanation. Both Democrats and Republicans have made clear they intend to fund the government before its funding expires on Sept. 30, but time is running out and lawmakers are aiming to resolve an enormous set of tasks to in a matter of weeks. More importantly, WaPo confirmed Bloomberg's report reporting that privately Democrats also began to acknowledge they are unlikely to prevail in the face of what the Washington Post called, a Republican blockade: "Democrats have started discussing the mechanics of how to sidestep Republicans as soon as next week, according to lawmakers and aides, as they maintain they will not allow the government to shut down in a pandemic or the country to default for the first time in history." In a sign of the early scramble to avoid a shutdown, the Senate’s two top appropriators — Chairman Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.) and top Republican Richard C. Shelby (Ala.) — are set to huddle at a meeting later Thursday to discuss issues potentially including a short-term agreement to keep the government funded. Such a measure could be moved independently of an increase in the debt ceiling, since Republicans including McConnell have an expressed an openness to supporting such a solution. Meanwhile Bill Hoagland, a senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center and former Republican staff director for the Senate Budget Committee, pointed out that parts of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health would be closed as part of the government shutdown. Hoagland said a very brief shutdown may occur but said he doubted it would go on for “any length of time.” “This would be the first shutdown during a declaration of national emergency,” Hoagland said. “In the midst of an ongoing pandemic and non-resolved issues related to the delta virus, to have a shutdown of some of the major federal agencies would add unbelievable complications to our ability to recover.” Tyler Durden Thu, 09/23/2021 - 18:40.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 23rd, 2021

Florida lawmakers advanced a bill that would allow parents to sue schools if staff speak to students about gender identity or sexuality

Known as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, the legislation says it protects a parent's "right to make decisions" on "the upbringing and control of their children." The US flag and an LGBTQ pride flag on the front facade of the US Embassy in Moscow.Valery Sharifulin/Getty Images A Florida House committee passed a bill designed to prevent the discussion of gender identity in schools. The Parental Rights in Education bill says it protects a parent's "fundamental right to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children." Advocates for the LGBTQ slammed the bill and said it would be harmful to LGBTQ youth. Florida lawmakers earlier this week passed a bill designed to prevent the discussion of gender identity and sexuality in the classroom. The Parental Rights in Education bill, voted on largely along party lines by Florida House committee members on Thursday, "is about defending the most awesome responsibility a person can have: being a parent," said Florida state Rep. Joe Harding, who introduced the bill, according to a report from Florida Politics. The legislation, which advocates call a "Don't Say Gay" bill, says parents can take legal action against a school district if Florida teachers speak about LGBTQ topics like identity and sexuality that do not fall under "age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate" guidelines for students. The bill says it protects a parent's "fundamental right to make decisions regarding the upbringing and control of their children."Advocates for the LGBTQ community slammed the bill, saying it would create additional barriers for LGBTQ students.  The Trevor Project, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing suicide among LGBTQ youth, said in a report published in August that schools can play a significant role in supporting LGBT youth. Students who learned about LGBTQ issues or people in the classroom had "23% lower odds" of reporting a suicide attempt in the last year, according to the report."This bill will erase young LGBTQ students across Florida, forcing many back into the closet by policing their identity and silencing important discussions about the issues they face," said Sam Ames, director of advocacy and government affairs at the Trevor Project. "LGBTQ students deserve their history and experiences to be reflected in their education, just like their peers.""This will kill kids," said Chasten Buttigieg, LGBTQ rights advocate and the husband of transportation secretary Pete Buttigieg.—Chasten Buttigieg (@Chasten) January 20, 2022 "You are purposefully making your state a harder place for LGBTQ kids to survive in," said Buttigieg, calling out Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 22nd, 2022

1936 Cord 810 Westchester

Time and again, I keep coming back to these beautiful cars. (See this 1936 810 Cabriolet, 1937 812 Super-Charged Beverly, 1937 812 Super-Charged Westchester, and this 1937 812). If I had room in my garage, or even better, my own barn filled with collectibles, I would definitely find a spot for one of these. Gordon Buehrig’s design was both… Read More The post 1936 Cord 810 Westchester appeared first on The Big Picture. Time and again, I keep coming back to these beautiful cars. (See this 1936 810 Cabriolet, 1937 812 Super-Charged Beverly, 1937 812 Super-Charged Westchester, and this 1937 812). If I had room in my garage, or even better, my own barn filled with collectibles, I would definitely find a spot for one of these. Gordon Buehrig’s design was both innovative and lovely. The Cord 810 was the first American car with front-wheel drive, independent front suspension, pop-up headlights, a non-traditional radiator grille, and other innovations. But the shape, lines, and visual impact the car made on people who saw it was special. In the middle of the Great Financial Crisis, I recommended using the disruption to “counter-cyclically” spend on distressed assets at 50% off of their recent values. When the 2020 pandemic began, I repeated that advice: If there is something you have been considering, but had run away in price, use the crash to make a purchase at a deep discount. I followed my own advice and picked up a cheap toy in April 2020. But that meant other opportunities would pass by. This lovely Cord was one of those missed opportunities: It sold at Bring A Trailer for $61,000 — an excellent example priced as if it was only a fair one. It is an advantage to have some dry powder when we head into selloffs of any kind.   Source: Bring A Trailer The post 1936 Cord 810 Westchester appeared first on The Big Picture......»»

Category: blogSource: TheBigPictureJan 21st, 2022

Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation

It is not the flashiest or most dynamic part of the real estate industry. The concept of a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, goes back more than 100 years when local boards would meet in a dusty office and exchange paper copies of listings. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger volumes accessible by members of […] The post Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation appeared first on RISMedia. It is not the flashiest or most dynamic part of the real estate industry. The concept of a Multiple Listing Service, or MLS, goes back more than 100 years when local boards would meet in a dusty office and exchange paper copies of listings. Eventually, these were consolidated into larger volumes accessible by members of local or regional associations, before the dawn of the internet blurred regional lines and gave broad access to listing data for both consumers and real estate professionals. Today, the MLS landscape retains vestiges of that fractured, paper-driven local data sharing. But as technology has improved, regulations have tightened and consumers have found other avenues to access home listing data, the traditional MLS needed to evolve. Exactly what this means, though, varies widely, and companies across the country are taking very different approaches to consolidation, expansion and tech investments—all of which could upend the traditional methods real estate data is shared and accessed. “The real benefit is modernization, and giving the consumer something they expect in the year 2022,” says Michael Barbaro, President of SmartMLS in Connecticut Like many regions, Connecticut was once divided into dozens of individual MLS organizations, which eventually consolidated into two larger companies with overlapping and sometimes arbitrary boundaries. Barbaro describes all-too familiar scenarios with agents paying multiple fees and signing into different systems, and consumers receiving clunky, redundant and inconsistent listing data. But in 2017, following a blitz of meetings, surveys and compromises, SmartMLS became the state’s main—though still not sole—MLS service, consolidating the two previous systems and staff to serve over 90% of the state. This merger was the subject of a glowing case study report by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), which lauded Barbaro’s ability to foster relationships and come up with innovative solutions (having co-CEOs for the new company and realigning fee structures, among other things). Almost five years later, Barbaro says this process—which took a lot of work but only about six months to put together—has allowed the combined MLS to better serve both real estate professionals and consumers while also investing in the technology that will be needed to keep SmartMLS from falling behind. “We are looking to change the game of real estate,” Barbaro says. “I’ve been encouraged by the fact that MLSs are starting to see the writing on the wall.” But in the enormous, diverse landscape of the U.S., how applicable is the experience of one small Northeast state? How realistic is it to expect big metros and tiny villages, huge national brokerages and small local teams to use the same platforms and data? Not too unrealistic, according to Jon Coile, vice president of MLS & Industry Relations for HomeServices of America and former chair of BrightMLS, a large, multi-regional MLS in the Washington D.C. and Philadelphia area. Coile is currently helping lead NAR policy studies focused on the MLS industry, which has considered state-wide standards to help eliminate some of the obvious issues with the current landscape. “I have a state license, I can sell anywhere in the state,” he says. “But in states where they don’t share data, I might have to and belong to 15 or 20 MLSs to get access to the data. Meanwhile the consumer, they just go to one website—Zillow or Redfin or whatever—and they can access everything. So, the consumer knows more about real estate than I know as a REALTOR®, and that makes no sense.” Data-sharing, with some number of MLS companies creating a separate database that contains all their listing data and standardizes platforms or entries is not a new concept, and seems like common sense in the face of Zillow. Some have still resisted—Barbaro says there are a couple MLSs in small, affluent Connecticut towns that are holding onto their independence. Brian Donnellan is the CEO of BrightMLS. He made it clear that the data-sharing approach is both “extremely effective” and widely beneficial to consumers, real estate professionals and the MLSs themselves. “By providing both more access to listings on the buying side, and more exposure on the seller side, consumers have more choice among a wider range of listings,” Donnellan says. “The shift toward working from home for many buyers and sellers has opened up a larger area of possibilities for many consumers.  More options presented in a simple and straightforward way helps agents and brokers serve consumers more efficiently.” One solution to the regionalization problem is to disregard these local boundaries entirely. Dawn Pfaff runs My State MLS, which offers a national platform that attempts to create flexibility and an expansive, unrestricted listing landscape—including auctions and manufactured homes. “The biggest advantage to My State MLS, is that you can list anywhere you are licensed,” Pfaff says. “We believe that cooperation is essential, and we agree to cooperate with everyone who is also licensed in the same state.” Joe Rand is the CEO of another national initiative called the Broker Public Portal (BPP), which powers consumer portal HomeSnap.The idea is to create a set of standards behind a Zillow-type national portal that is more agent-focused and doesn’t monetize leads, instead creating a more level playing field that will still provide the national MLS experience for consumers. “I just don’t see how MLS systems can be cordoned off the way they used to be,” Rand says.  “Smart MLSs realize they can’t shield themselves from the outside world. As brokerages get bigger, they’re increasingly frustrated by having to deal with multiple MLS systems that don’t collaborate with each other. Given that MLSs themselves espouse cooperation among brokers, it makes sense that they should also be cooperative with each other. “ Ruth Hackney is the CEO of the REALTORS® Association of Southwest Wisconsin, and former CEO of the Montana Regional MLS. She says Wisconsin has had state-wide data sharing for more than a decade now, with the platform owned by the three largest MLSs in the state while smaller companies maintain some independence. Those relationships have been defined by convivial discussion and consideration of each other—something that not every state or region can claim. “Wisconsin is a very friendly place. Nobody wants to hurt anyone’s feelings or make anyone upset, so when we go forward, we want to make sure we’re going forward together,” she said. Because everyone is essentially happy with the current system, Hackney says there is no strong impetus for further consolidation right now. But at the same time, having larger, more formal partnerships and centralized resources is becoming vital to the success of any MLS. Tech Savvy New York City is an almost incomparably unique geographic and political area, and therefore unique as far as real estate as well. The Real Estate Board of New York, or REBNY, is independent of NAR unlike most local associations, having essentially seceded from the national body in 1994 in a dispute over membership fees. REBNY owns its own listing database which technically is not called an MLS, instead christened “RLS,” or “Residential Listing Service.” Other associations around and in the city—which are affiliated with NAR—continue to compete for territory and offer their own MLSs. In this much more cutthroat environment, (REBNY Board of Governors member Fredrick W. Peters described the history of MLS in the city as “warring fiefdoms”) the priority is to provide a better product. Because MLS companies are tech companies at heart, that means having the best technology. Ninve James is the senior vice president of the RLS serving 12,000 agents and $45 billion in listings. Set to launch in the second quarter of 2022, James touts “Citysnap,” a proprietary consumer-facing website and app exclusive to the RLS built by HomeSnap. “I know it’s something the industry has been looking to have for a while,” she says. For real estate professionals, leads are routed directly to the listing agent or broker at no cost, James says, and there are no listing fees. It is also meant to ensure all listings comply with the complex advertising and fair housing laws in the city. Creating that product, which is molded to the unique NYC landscape, along with migrating the RLS to national software and data standards, is the “big thing” for the organization, James says, and Citysnap is an “all hands on deck” project. Though REBNY, as the oldest and most established real estate association in the country’s largest metro, has a huge head start on the competition, James makes it clear that they will not be sitting back. “It’s going to provide much needed data transparency for New Yorkers, which is a huge win for our city’s real estate industry and consumers,” she says. Donnellan highlights BrightMLS’s hub for showing service, which became an especially important tech integration in the “incredibly busy market” of the last year or so. “It’s about speed—what’s coming on the market, what’s available at any given moment, etc. Agents and brokers need to be able to present the fullest, most complete representation of the market to their clients as quickly as possible,” he says. Not everyone in the MLS world has reacted in a timely manner to innovations and opportunities, according to Barbaro, particularly around technology. Companies and products that are pushing the industry forward are being bought out at “ridiculous valuations,” and he argues there is no reason that MLS companies can’t begin investing in these products themselves rather than relying on vendors. “I’ve been talking about this for years, I don’t understand why we don’t own the technology, why we don’t develop the technology,” he says. “We use them, we’re a captive audience. Now we’re finally starting to see come out there.” Barbaro points to one of the largest MLSs in the country, California Regional MLS, which recently invested $15 million in a venture capital fund to take a more direct hand in its own tech future. My State MLS also owns their own tech, and Pfaff says their clients can feel confident knowing their membership fees are being invested directly into improving software and data technology. But even small MLSs can band together, he adds, and take control of their technology future, with Barbaro saying there are numerous cases of half a dozen or so small companies getting together to buy a product or invest in a technology, to the benefit of all. “I think that the most important tech advancements are all about integration of tools by smart tech providers,” Rand says. “People want technology to be seamless, which you can’t achieve if you’re not ethically sharing data across platforms to better service agents and consumers.” In Wisconsin, Hackney says the three largest MLS companies own the software that powers the state-wide shared database. She describes tech advancement as “staff-driven” and mostly starting with leadership in the larger organizations, with any big decision or change inclusive of all the members who share and use it. “We just sit down and start to brainstorm,” Hackney says. “We’re just constantly kind of keeping our eye out—is an MLS already doing something and it’s working? Then how can we adopt that and make it work for our unique system?” The Devil in the Details It is not these big-picture questions that are hampering growth and cooperation in the MLS industry today, according to Barbaro. Nearly everyone has now woken up to the fact that consumers are turning to Zillow and Redfin for listings, and that technology can and must make the MLS experience simpler and more straightforward for real estate professionals. What makes things difficult is every little structural and bureaucratic line that has been drawn. That can be everything from what data fields to use to staffing responsibilities, and can take an enormous amount of effort and time to find consensus among dozens of organizations with their own histories and structure. Barbaro says the case study on SmartMLS did not allow any specific discussions about staff ahead of the merger and created a new streamlined fee structure and had the state association offset costs of legal fees and meeting expenses. A lot of real estate professionals are happy with their MLS staff and service, Barbaro suggests, and even though there were obvious improvements to be made in Connecticut they still wanted to hang on to staff “People are like, ‘I get good service,’ and I thought that was interesting. Most people really care about that, and there is an amount of that,” he says. All these things were worked out, though, in a relatively short time through a lot of conversations and listening to people’s concerns, according to Barbaro—with the NAR case study saying his role was “highly praised” as he “created a partnership atmosphere” through the delicate process. Though REBNY is not in the same situation as far as mergers or consolidation, James says that the RLS also must work hard to listen to their stakeholders, who are made up of a particularly vibrant and diverse real estate community. “We’re in constant communication,” James says. “We have multiple committees across the city that basically get updates and meet on a constant cadence to make sure that we send out communications and stay in touch with our constituents.” Understanding how New York City functions—whether that means adding data fields for things like which buildings have doormen and elevators, or mapping distance to parks and transportation—will be vital to the success of any system in the city, and James says the RLS is building that through feedback. “When you look at Citysnap it will cater to what’s expected in New York City,” she says. Coile says that the Real Estate Standards Organization, or RESO has come up with what he calls a “data dictionary” that can actually translate those regional differences automatically and eliminate the sticking points for MLSs. For example, checking the same box would result in a property being designated “waterfront” in one region or “shorefront” in another depending on the preference. “All the computer knows is that field F42 is on or off,” he says. “There could be 10 different words in there.” Fees and pricing will always be an issue and will definitely need to be worked out, though Coile says that consolidation almost always results in lower costs for technology as companies can get a lower price per agent if they serve hundreds or thousands instead of dozens. Pfaff touts My State MLS for not having any fines or board membership requirements, which is another way to attract more business, and says that they also offer webinars on things like digital marketing to help add value to the service. Membership to a single, national MLS also makes sense in more rural areas where properties are spread out, she says. Even though BrightMLS exists in a limited geographic region, Donnellan agrees that eliminating “digital boundaries” that are often arbitrary and mean nothing to the consumer will be the future of the industry. “We…have the opportunity to continue to lead the way on further market transparency for the benefit of consumers,” he says. “Ultimately, this clear open market is in the best interest of all. Transparency and a complete most accurate picture of the market puts them in a position to help their clients succeed.” MLSs are businesses, and at the end of the day if they are not serving the best interests of clients and consumers, they are not going to survive, and no amount of history or pushback from the old guard will change that. Hackney says that she experienced some of the difficulties in getting different organizations to work together in her previous role in Montana, which was in the process of merging MLSs at the time. Now in the very convivial landscape of Wisconsin, she says she still holds on to that lesson: that an MLS is first and foremost a tool for clients and consumers. While everyone does their utmost to avoid disruption and maintain staffing, there still has to be a willingness—especially at the top—to accept the inevitability of change. “The goal is to create efficiencies, and as staff it’s our job to serve the best interests of the member,” she says. “When you have a really strong MLS executive, those people are going to see the benefit of it, they’re going to be willing to make compromises.” Jesse Williams is an associate online editor at RISMedia. Email him with your real estate news ideas jesse@rismedia.com The post Fractured MLS Landscape Begins Embracing Tech, Consolidation appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaJan 21st, 2022

The Great Omicron Sickout: Millions Of Unwell Americans Causing "Hellacious" Worker Shortages

The Great Omicron Sickout: Millions Of Unwell Americans Causing "Hellacious" Worker Shortages Record spikes in Covid-19 Omicron cases across the country are causing a nationwide worker "sickout," as businesses from airlines to grocery stores are suffering from disruptions, even though the new variant is markedly far less severe - yet far more transmissible - than prior strains. According to Delta Airlines CEO Ed Bastian, the past few weeks have been "hellacious," adding that around 10% of his workforce, or 8,000 of his employees, have contracted the virus in the past month. The shortages contributed to over 2,200 canceled Delta flights since December 24. Although a precise count of the number of employees who are out sick or quarantining is hard to come by, about 5 million Americans could be isolating due to COVID-19 at the peak of Omicron, according to Andrew Hunter, senior U.S. economist at Capital Economics. That could reflect about 2% of the nation's workforce forced to stay home due to illness, he added. Some employers report taking a harder hit. Stew Leonard Jr., chief executive of supermarket chain Stew Leonard's, said about 8% of his staff was out sick or quarantining last week. That affects what shoppers find on store shelves. -CBS News "That's the highest we've ever had," said Leonard Jr. "What we are doing is the same as every other business — you have to limit your product line." "Like I talked with my bakery director, and she said, 'I make a great crumb cake, and I also make a great apple crumb cake, but when I'm short on people I'm not able to make the apple crumb cake.' You'll get crumb cake, just not the apple crumb cake." As we noted earlier this month, Omicron poses a major risk to Fed confidence about reaching maximum employment relatively soon. It's even more obvious now that the CDC's revised December quarantine guidance from 10 days to 5 days (as long as symptoms aren't getting worse) was likely to grapple with Omicron's impending wave of sick-outs. TD's Priya Misra predicted the pain - writing that the near certainty of the first rate hike in March is "very aggressive," adding that "the spike in infections should have a modest negative impact on the economy, and signs of slowing Q1 growth could be enough for the market to push out the start of the hiking cycle. This should help pull 2y yields lower in the near-term." And as BofA chief economis Ethan Harris pointed out, "the challenge with Omicron is the dramatically higher case load, adding that a quick back of the envelope calculation illustrates the kind of labor shortages this could trigger. Suppose that every infected person on average causes themselves and two other people to quarantine for five days. That means at the peak of omicron wave 30mn (= 2mn * 3 * 5) could be quarantined per day. Of course, many of these people either don’t work or can work from home. Roughly half of the population work and among them, according to a Gallup poll, about 30% always work in person. This suggests that 4.2 million (= 30 mil * 0.5 * 0.3) in-person workers per day will be absent due to quarantining. This number could be too high or too low, but a multi-million number seems very likely. As we wrote at the time: "These calculations underscore not only that the US labor market problem is about to get much, much worse, but that the well-advertised worker shortages in the airline industry are not an isolated problem. Generally speaking these absences will not show up in official estimates of labor supply—if you are home sick, you are still employed. Nonetheless, they add (temporarily) to the record 11 million job openings." At present, Covid cases are averaging nearly 1 million per day nationally based on a seven-day moving average reported by CBS News - the highest number since the pandemic began. The number is undoubtedly higher, of course, as milder Omicron symptoms combined with a shortage of testing means that cases are potentially vastly understated. That said, deaths have continued to remain remarkably low. Last week, one CEO of a consumer packaged goods company said that they were cutting production lines by 20% to adjust to the high numbers of absent workers, according to Consumer Brands Association spokeswoman, Andrea Woods, citing an off-the-record call. About 75% of consumer packaged goods companies in a recent survey said they had experienced an increase in absenteeism due to positive COVID-19 tests or exposure to someone with the virus, Woods added. -CBS News "We are still dealing with a massive driver shortage — 80,000 and counting — with one truck available for every 16 loads. Omicron only intensifies that problem," said Woods. "Absenteeism in warehouses is resulting in late shipments, and retailers don't have the employee base to restock shelves." That said, Omicron worker shortages may be over as quickly as they began... Jan. 13. Lower again pic.twitter.com/HngIA1SUfT — tae kim (@firstadopter) January 15, 2022 Tyler Durden Sat, 01/15/2022 - 12:00.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 15th, 2022

Futures Slide After Disappointing JPMorgan Earnings, Tech Rout Worsens

Futures Slide After Disappointing JPMorgan Earnings, Tech Rout Worsens After trading flat for much of the overnight session, S&P futures slumped to session lows shortly after JPM reported earnings that disappointed the market (see our full write up here) and were last trading down 30 points or 0.64%, with Dow futures down 0.3% and Nasdaq futures taking on even more water as the "sell tech" trade was back with a bang. Treasury yields rose 3bps to 1.74% and the dollar reversed an overnight loss. The VIX jumped above 20 and was last seen around 21. The Nasdaq 100 fell to the lowest in almost three months yesterday as tech came under pressure after Fed Governor Lael Brainard said officials could boost rates as early as March. It looks like the selling will continue today. “Market sentiment has been shaken by concerns over the prospect of imminent Fed tightening along with record global Covid-19 infection rates, but we don’t expect either of these factors to end the equity rally,” said UBS Wealth Management CIO Mark Haefele in a note. “The fourth-quarter U.S. earnings season, which started this week, could turn investor attention back to strong fundamentals.” JPMorgan shares dropped in premarket trading after revenues and EPS beat thanks to a $1.8 billion reserve release while FICC trading revenue missed expectations even as its dealmakers posted their best quarter ever and Chief Executive Officer Jamie Dimon gave an upbeat assessment of prospects for growth. Wells Fargo advanced after reporting higher-than-estimated revenue. BlackRock Inc. became the first public asset manager to hit $10 trillion in assets, propelled by a surge in fourth-quarter flows into its exchange-traded funds. Here are some of the other notable pre-movers today: U.S.-listed casino stocks with operations in Macau rise after the announcement of much-anticipated changes to the local casino law aimed at tightening government oversight on the world’s largest gaming market. Las Vegas Sands (LVS US) +6.6%; Melco Resorts (MLCO US) +5.5%; Wynn Resorts (WYNN US) +5.6%. Apple (AAPL US) shares are up in U.S. premarket trading after Piper Sandler raises its target for the stock, saying that Apple’s set-up for 2022 is favorable. Broker adds that the tech giant’s venture into health-care and automotive markets are the next catalysts to drive the stock to a $4 trillion market cap and beyond. NextPlay Technologies (NXTP US) shares jump 19% in U.S. premarket trading after giving an update for fiscal 3Q 2022 late yesterday. Domino’s Pizza (DPZ US) is cut to equal-weight from overweight at Morgan Stanley, while Chipotle is upgraded to overweight from equal-weight amid a “mixed” view on restaurant stocks into 2022. Amicus Therapeutics (FOLD US) advanced in postmarket trading after being upgraded to outperform from market perform at SVB Leerink, which cited the potential of a treatment for Pompe disease, should it be approved. Spirit Realty dropped 4% postmarket after launching a share sale via Morgan Stanley and BofA Securities. European equities traded poorly and followed the drop in Asia, with most sectors trading lower, weighed down once again by a soft tech sector. Euro Stoxx 50 is down 0.8%, most major indexes dropped over 1% before rising off the lows. Oil & gas is the best Stoxx 600 performer with crude trading well. European technology stocks as well as pandemic winners are leading declines after a U.S. selloff in tech shares resumed Thursday as Federal Reserve officials signaled their intention to combat inflation aggressively.  European chipmakers are down in early trading Friday: ASM International -3.5% at 9.17 a.m. CET, Infineon -0.9%, ASML -2.9%, STMicroelectronics -2.3%. Meanwhile, energy and automakers outperformed. Utilities were also in focus as French nuclear energy producer Electricite de France SA (EDF) plunged by a record as the French government confirmed plans to force it to sell more power at a steep discount to protect households from surging wholesale electricity prices, a move that could cost the state-controlled utility 7.7 billion euros ($8.8 billion) at Thursday’s market prices. There was some good news: a majority of strategists still see the rally in European equities continuing this year. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index will rise about 5.2% to 511 index points by the end of 2022 from Wednesday’s close, according to the average of 19 forecasts in a Bloomberg survey. Equity funds once more led inflows among asset classes in the week through Jan. 12, as investors reduced cash holdings, according to BofA and EPFR Global data. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks slid as investors offloaded technology shares on growing speculation the Federal Reserve will raise interest rates in March.  The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell as much as 1.3% before paring losses to 0.7% in afternoon trading. Alibaba, Keyence and Sony Group were among the largest contributors to the benchmark’s slide. The Hang Seng Tech Index, which tracks China’s biggest tech firms, closed down 0.5%. Electronics makers also dragged down indexes in Japan and South Korea, with benchmarks in both nations leading the region’s drop. China’s CSI 300 Index closed at its lowest since November 2020. Asian stocks have been whipsawed this year by remarks from Fed officials as investors try to gauge the timing and scope of the anticipated interest rate hikes. The renewed weakness on Friday was triggered by comments from Fed Governor Lael Brainard, who said officials could boost rates as early as March to ensure that price pressures are brought under control. “This kind of hawkishness and a rush for rate hikes is, of course, a minus for share prices,” said Ayako Sera, a market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Bank in Tokyo. If the Fed were to increase rates in March, “investors will want to make sure the economy remains strong despite the monetary tightening before making their move,” Sera added.  With Friday’s moves, Asia’s benchmark is set to pare its weekly gain to about 1.6%, which would still be its best weekly performance since October.    In Japan, sentiment worsened as Tokyo raised its Covid alert to the second-highest of four levels as virus cases surged. South Korea’s Kospi was also weighed down as the central bank increased its policy rate for the third time in just five months In rates, Treasuries pared declines with stock index futures under pressure as U.S. day begins. Yields beyond the 2-year reached session highs inside Thursday’s ranges amid a global government bond selloff. Treasury yields are cheaper by 3bp to 4bp across the curve with 10- year yields around 1.7274%, fading a bigger loss earlier and slightly underperforming bunds and gilts. Asia session featured speculation about tighter global monetary policy. IG dollar issuance slate empty so far and expected to remain light ahead of U.S. holiday weekend with markets closed Monday; four names priced $3.8b Thursday. In FX, the Bloomberg dollar spot is little changed around worst levels for the week, while NOK, JPY and CAD top the G-10 scoreboard. The yen advanced, and is set for its largest weekly advance in more than a year as speculation about a shift in the Bank of Japan’s policy spurred a further unwinding of dollar longs. The five-year Japanese government bond yield climbed to a six-year high. The volatility term structure in dollar-yen shifted higher Friday and inverted. The euro was little changed around $1.1460 and European sovereign bond yields rose, with the core underperforming the periphery. Norway’s krone and the Canadian dollar advanced as oil prices rose, with Brent trading above $85 per barrel, while the Australian and New Zealand dollars were the worst performers. The pound extended its longest winning streak in nearly two months as the U.K. economy surpassed its pre-pandemic size in November for the first time. Sweden’s krona inched down, shrugging off data showing that the nation’s inflation rate rose to the highest level in 28 years In commodities, crude futures rally with WTI recovering to Wednesday’s best levels near $83 and Brent putting in fresh highs near $85.40. Spot gold is little changed a brief retest of the week’s highs, trading near $1,823/oz. Base metals are mixed: LME nickel adds about 2% extending its recent surge; copper holds a narrow range in the red Looking at the day ahead now, data releases include US retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for December, along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for January and the UK’s GDP for November. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and New York Fed President Williams. Lastly, earnings releases include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and BlackRock. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,667.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.5% to 483.71 MXAP down 0.8% to 195.28 MXAPJ down 0.5% to 639.13 Nikkei down 1.3% to 28,124.28 Topix down 1.4% to 1,977.66 Hang Seng Index down 0.2% to 24,383.32 Shanghai Composite down 1.0% to 3,521.26 Sensex up 0.1% to 61,320.31 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 1.1% to 7,393.86 Kospi down 1.4% to 2,921.92 German 10Y yield little changed at -0.08% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1467 Brent Futures up 0.8% to $85.16/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,823.97 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.73 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Federal Reserve Governor Christopher Waller said that three interest-rate increases this year was a “good baseline” but there may be fewer or even as many as five moves, depending on inflation The U.K. and the European Union agreed to intensify post-Brexit negotiations over Northern Ireland, as Foreign Secretary Liz Truss led the British side for the first time in a meeting at her official country residence Germany’s economy contracted by as much as 1% in the final quarter of 2021 as the emergence of the coronavirus’s omicron strain added to drags on output from supply snarls and the fastest inflation in three decades Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund, the world’s largest, may mull investing in Chinese government bonds if the market situation improves, GPIF President Masataka Miyazono says at a press conference in Tokyo Ukraine said a cyberattack brought down the websites of several government agencies for hours. Authorities didn’t immediately comment on the source of the outage, which comes as tensions with Russia surge over its troop buildup near the border Russia won’t wait “endlessly” for a security deal with NATO and progress depends on the U.S., Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Friday, keeping up pressure after a week of high-level talks with the West failed to yield noticeable progress Turkey’s newly appointed finance chief said the country’s inflation will peak months earlier and at a level far lower than predicted by top Wall Street banks The global pressures driving inflation higher represent a “major change in trends” and will keep price growth high for the foreseeable future, Bank of Russia Governor Elvira Nabiullina said North Korea appears to have fired two ballistic missiles into waters off its east coast-- in what could be its third rocket-volley test in less than 10 days -- hours after issuing a fresh warning to the Biden administration A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asian equity markets weakened amid headwinds from the US where all major indices declined led by losses in tech and consumer discretionary amid a slew of hawkish Fed speak, while mixed Chinese trade data added to the cautiousness in the region. ASX 200 (-1.1%) traded lower as tech and consumer stocks mirrored the underperformance of stateside peers and with nearly all industries on the back foot aside from utilities and gold miners. Nikkei 225 (-1.3%) briefly gave up the 28k level amid a firmer currency and source reports that BoJ policy makers are said to debate how soon they can begin signalling a rate hike. In terms of the notable movers, Fast Retailing was the biggest gainer after it reported a record Q1 net, followed by Seven & I Holdings which also benefitted post-earnings, while Hitachi Construction was at the other end of the spectrum after news that parent Hitachi will offload half its majority stake. KOSPI (-1.4%) eventually underperformed after the Bank of Korea hiked rates by 25bps for a third time in the current tightening cycle to 1.25%, as expected. BoK also noted that CPI is to stay in the 3% range for a while and BoK Governor Lee made it clear that rates will continue to be adjusted which has fuelled speculation of similar action at next month’s meeting. Hang Seng (-0.2%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.0%) were also pressured with participants digesting the latest trade figures which showed weaker than expected Imports although Exports topped estimates. Nonetheless, the downside was somewhat limited amid ongoing expectations for PBoC easing to support the economy as the Fed moves closer towards a rate lift off and with some encouragement after Evergrande averted its first onshore debt default whereby bondholders approved a six-month postponement of bond redemption and coupon payments. Finally, 10yr JGBs retreated beneath the 151.00 level following the source report that suggested debate within the BoJ on how soon a rate increase can be signalled which could occur ahead of the 2% price target, while this coincided with an increase in the 5yr yield to a 6-year high and a weaker than previous 20yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Chinese Developer R&F Downgraded to Restricted Default by Fitch Macau Cuts Casino License Tenure, Caps Float as Controls Tighten Inflation Irks Asia as Japan Yields Hit Six-Year High, BOK Hikes China Builders’ Dollar Bonds Slump Further; Logan, KWG Lead The major cash equity indices in Europe remain subdued but off worst levels (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%; Stoxx 600 -0.6%) as the downbeat APAC mood reverberated into the region amid a slew of hawkish Fed speak, while the mixed Chinese trade data added to the concerns of a slowdown ahead of next week’s GDP metrics. Newsflow had overall been quiet during the European session ahead of the start of US earnings season, but geopolitical tensions remain hot on the radar after North Korea fired its third missile of the year (albeit landing outside Japan’s EEZ), whilst Russia closed all communication channels with the EU and exerted some time-pressure on Washington with regards to Moscow’s security demands. Back to trade, a divergence is seen between Europe and the US as the former catches up to the late accelerated sell-off on Wall Street yesterday; US equity futures have been consolidating with mild broad-based gains seen across the ES (+0.2%), YM (+0.2%), NQ (+0.2%) whilst the RTY (Unch) narrowly lags. Delving into Europe, the UK’s FTSE 100 (-0.1%) is cushioned by gains across its Oil & Gas and Financial sectors as crude oil prices and yields clamber off intraday lows, whilst the SMI (-0.3%) sees some losses countered by its heavyweight healthcare sector. Sectors in Europe are mostly in the red with a slight defensive tilt, although Oil & Gas stands as the top gainer and the only sector in the green. The downside meanwhile sees Tech following a similar sectorial underperformance seen on Wall Street and APAC overnight. In terms of individual movers, DAX-heavyweight SAP (-0.3%) conforms to the losses across tech after initially rising as a result of upgraded guidance and the announcement of a share buyback programme of up to EUR 1bln. The most notable mover of the day has been EDF (-17.5%) as the Co. withdrew guidance after noting the impact of new French price cap measures is forecast to be around EUR 8.4bln on FY22 EBITDA. Top European News EDF Slumps by Most on Record on Hit From Price Cap U.K. Economy Surpasses Pre-Pandemic Size With November Surge German Recovery Lags Rest of Europe on Supply Snarls, Inflation HSBC Markets Chief Georges Elhedery To Take Six-Month Sabbatical In FX, another lower low off a lower high does not bode well for the index and Buck more broadly, but some technicians will be encouraged by the fact that chart supports in the form of a Fib retracement and 100 DMA have only been breached briefly. Meanwhile, Friday may provide the Greenback with a prop via pre-weekend position squaring and US data could lend a hand if upbeat or better than expected at the very least. For now, the DXY is restrained between 94.887-626 confines, with the upside capped by a major trendline that falls just below 95.000 around 94.980, and the Dollar also hampered by pressure emanating outside the basket from the likes of the Yuan, crude oil and other commodities. CAD/JPY/GBP - The Loonie has reclaimed 1.2500+ status in line with a rebound in WTI towards Usd 83/brl, but still faces stiff trendline resistance vs its US counterpart at 1.2451 and probably conscious that several multi-billion option expiries roll off either side of the 1.2500 level today. Conversely, the Yen has cleared the psychological 114.00 hurdle with some fundamental impetus coming from hawkish BoJ source reports contending that policy-setters are contemplating how soon the Bank can telegraph a rate hike that is likely to be delivered prior to inflation reaching its 2% target. Elsewhere, Sterling remains elevated above 1.3700, though unable to scale 1.3750 even with tailwinds from stronger than forecast UK GDP and IP or a narrower than feared trade gap amidst ongoing political uncertainty. CHF/EUR/NZD/AUD - All narrowly divergent and contained against their US rival, with the Franc straddling 0.9100 and Euro holding within a 1.1483-51 range and immersed in hefty option expiry interest spanning 1.1395 to 1.1485 (see 7.01GMT post on the Headline Feed for details). On the flip-side, the Aussie and Kiwi have both lost a bit more momentum after probing 0.7300 and approaching 0.6900 respectively yesterday, and Aud/Usd appears to have shrugged off robust housing finance data in the run up to China’s trade balance revealing sub-consensus imports. SCANDI/EM - Firmer than anticipated Swedish CPI and CPIF metrics have not offered the Sek much support, as the stripped down core ex-energy print was in line and bang on the Riksbank’s own projection. However, the Huf has been underpinned by hot Hungarian inflation and the Cnh/Cny in wake of the aforementioned Chinese trade data showing a record surplus for December and 2021 overall. In Turkey, the Try is flattish following the latest CBRT survey that predicts a weaker year-end Lira from current levels, but above record lows and still well above target CPI, while in Russia the Rub is benefiting from Brent’s rise above Usd 85.50/brl (in keeping with the Nok) against the backdrop of geopolitical and diplomatic strains as the country’s Foreign Minister declares that all lines of communication with the EU have ended. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures have been on an upward trajectory since the Wall Street close, with the former now above USD 83/bbl (vs 81.58/bbl low) and the latter north of USD 85.50/bbl (vs 83.99/bbl low) in European hours. Overall market sentiment has been a non-committal one amid a lack of fresh macro catalysts, however, geopolitical updates have been abundant: namely with Russia’s punchy rhetoric surrounding its security demand from NATO and Washington, whilst North Korea fired what is said to be ballistic missiles which landed just outside Japan’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ). On the demand side of the equation, eyes remain on China’s economic and COVID situations, with the import figures indicating China's annual crude oil imports drop for the first time in 20 years, whilst the nation grounded further flights between the US due to its zero-COVID policy. On the supply side, reports suggested that China will release oil stockpiles in the run-up to the Lunar New Year (dubbed as the largest human migration). The release is part of a coordinated plan with the US and other major consumers, according to the reports, which cited sources suggesting China will likely ramp up its releases if prices top USD 85/bbl. Turning to metals, spot gold is trading sideways and prices waned after again hitting the resistance zone around USD 1,830/oz flagged earlier this week. LME copper meanwhile remains under USD 10,000/t – subdued by the sharp slowdown in Chinese imports suggesting weaker demand, albeit annual imports of copper concentrate hit a historic high in 2021. The trade data also indicated a fall in iron ore imports as a factor of the steel production curbs imposed last year to tackle pollution and high iron ore prices. US Event Calendar 8:30am: Dec. Import Price Index YoY, est. 10.8%, prior 11.7%; MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.7% Export Price Index YoY, est. 16.0%, prior 18.2%; MoM, est. 0.3%, prior 1.0% 8:30am: Dec. Retail Sales Advance MoM, est. -0.1%, prior 0.3% Dec. Retail Sales Ex Auto MoM, est. 0.1%, prior 0.3% Dec. Retail Sales Ex Auto and Gas, est. -0.2%, prior 0.2% Dec. Retail Sales Control Group, est. 0%, prior -0.1% 9:15am: Dec. Industrial Production MoM, est. 0.2%, prior 0.5% Capacity Utilization, est. 77.0%, prior 76.8% Manufacturing (SIC) Production, est. 0.3%, prior 0.7% 10am: Nov. Business Inventories, est. 1.3%, prior 1.2% 10am: Jan. U. of Mich. Sentiment, est. 70.0, prior 70.6; Expectations, est. 67.0, prior 68.3; Current Conditions, est. 73.8, prior 74.2 U. of Mich. 1 Yr Inflation, est. 4.8%, prior 4.8%; 5-10 Yr Inflation, prior 2.9% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap There was no rest for markets either yesterday as the tech sell-off resumed in earnest, which came as fed funds futures moved to price in a 93% chance of a March rate hike, the highest closing probability to date. At the same time, however, the US dollar continued to weaken and has now put in its worst 3-day performance in over a year, having shed -1.25% in that time. And all this is coming just as earnings season is about to ramp up, with a number of US financials scheduled to report today ahead of an array of companies over the next few weeks. Starting with sovereign bonds, yields on 10yr Treasuries fell a further -3.9bps yesterday, their biggest decline since mid-December, to their lowest closing level in a week, at 1.704%, with most of the price action again happening during the New York afternoon. Lower inflation breakevens helped drive the decline, with the 10yr breakeven down -3.4bps after the producer price inflation data for December came in softer than expected. Indeed, the monthly gain of +0.2% (vs. +0.4% expected) was the slowest since November 2020, and in turn that left the year-on-year measure at +9.7% (vs. +9.8% expected), which is actually a modest decline from the upwardly revised +9.8% in November. As with the previous day’s CPI reading though, there was a more inflationary interpretation for those after one, as the core PPI measure came in at a monthly +0.5% as expected, leaving the year-on-year change at an above-expected +8.3% (vs. +8.0% expected). So something for everyone but no massive surprises either way. The latest inflation data came as numerous Fed speakers continued to match the recent hawkish tone, which helped strengthen investor conviction in the odds of a March hike as mentioned at the top. Philadelphia Fed President Harker said at an event that “My forecast is that we would have a 25 basis-point increase in March, barring any changes in the data”, and that he had 3 hikes pencilled in but “could be convinced of a fourth if inflation is not getting under control.” Separately, we heard from Governor Brainard, who appeared before the Senate Banking Committee as part of her nomination hearing to become Fed Vice Chair. She signalled that she would be open to a March hike as well, saying that they would be in a position to hike “as soon as asset purchases are terminated”, which they’re currently on course to do in March. Even President Evans, one of the most dovish members of Fed leadership, said a March rate hike and multiple hikes this year were a possibility. As it happens, today is the last we’ll hear from various Fed speakers for a while, as tomorrow they’ll be entering their blackout period ahead of the next FOMC announcement later in the month. Staying on the Fed, Bloomberg reported overnight that President Biden has picked three nominees for the vacant slots. They include Sarah Bloom Raskin, previously Deputy Secretary of the Treasury, who’s reportedly going to be nominated to become the Vice Chair of supervision, as well as Lisa Cook and Philip Jefferson, who’d become governors. Cook is an economics professor at Michigan State University, and Jefferson is an economics professor at Davidson College in North Carolina. All 3 would require Senate confirmation, and bear in mind those choices haven’t been officially confirmed as of yet. Over on the equity side, the main story was a further tech sell-off that sent both the NASDAQ (-2.51%) and the FANG+ index (-3.72%) lower for the first time this week, and taking the former to a 3-month low. That weakness dragged the S&P 500 (-1.5%) lower, though despite the stark headline numbers, it was only just over half of the shares in the index that were in the red on the day. Meanwhile in Europe, the STOXX 600 (-0.03%) also saw a modest decline, though the STOXX Banks (+1.10%) hit a fresh 3-year high after advancing for the 8th time in the last 9 sessions. Sovereign bond yields echoed the declines in the US too, with those on 10yr bunds (-3.1bps), OATs (-3.3bps) and BTPs (-4.6bps) all moving lower. Following that tech-driven fall overnight on Wall Street on the back of those hawkish comments, Asian stock markets are trading lower this morning. Japan's Nikkei (-1.42%) extended the previous session’s losses while briefly falling over -2%, as the Japanese Yen found a renewed bid amid the risk-off mood. Additionally, the Kospi (-1.37%) widened its losses, after the BOK lifted borrowing costs by 25bps to 1.25% amidst rising concerns about inflationary pressure. That takes the benchmark rate back to pre-pandemic levels after the central bank's 25bps rate increase in August and November last year. Meanwhile, the Korean government unveiled a supplementary budget worth 14 trillion won in size to continue providing support to the economy. Elsewhere, the Hang Seng index (-0.86%), CSI (-0.60%) and Shanghai Composite (-0.53%) have all moved lower as well. Data released in China showed that exports went up +20.9% y/y in December (vs +20.0% market expectations) albeit imports in December rose +19.5% y/y less than +28.5% as anticipated. That meant that they posted a trade surplus of $94.46bn last month, above the consensus forecast for a $74.50bn surplus. Looking ahead, futures on both the S&P 500 (-0.19%) and DAX (-0.79%) are pointing to further losses later on. Elsewhere in markets, yesterday saw another surge in European natural gas futures (+13.71%), albeit still at levels which are less than half of the peaks seen in mid-December. The latest moves came as Russia’s deputy foreign minister Sergei Ryabkov said that talks with the US had reached a “dead end”, amidst strong tensions between the two sides with Russia rejecting any further expansion of NATO as well as calls to pull back its forces from near Ukraine’s border. In response, the Russian ruble weakened -2.31% against the US dollar yesterday, whilst the MOEX stock index (-4.05%) suffered its worst daily performance since April 2020. Turning to the Covid-19 pandemic, the decline in UK cases continued to accelerate yesterday, with the number of cases over the past week now down -24% relative to the previous 7-day period. Looking at England specifically, the total number of Covid-19 patients in hospital is now down for a 3rd day running, and in London the total number in hospital is down to its lowest level since New Year’s Eve. To the day ahead now, and data releases include US retail sales, industrial production and capacity utilisation for December, along with the University of Michigan’s preliminary consumer sentiment index for January and the UK’s GDP for November. Central bank speakers include ECB President Lagarde and New York Fed President Williams. Lastly, earnings releases include Citigroup, JPMorgan Chase, Wells Fargo and BlackRock. Tyler Durden Fri, 01/14/2022 - 08:13.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytJan 14th, 2022

Subway Australia could transport its sandwich ingredients by plane if the supply chain crisis keeps getting worse

A Subway exec said using planes to transport food would be a "last resort" as supply chain workers call off sick with the coronavirus. Like restaurants and retail chains in the US, Australian businesses are being hit by product shortages as staff across the supply chain call in sick with the coronavirus.Grace Dean/Insider Subway Australia says it's mulling transporting ingredients by plane rather than by truck. Supply-chain workers are calling off sick with COVID-19, meaning some businesses can't get stock. A Subway exec told News.au.com using planes would be a "last resort." Subway Australia says it could resort to transporting sandwich ingredients by plane, rather than by truck, if the supply chain crisis keep getting worse.Like restaurants and retail chains in the US, Australian businesses are being hit by product shortages as staff across the supply chain call in sick with the coronavirus.Scott Buckman, Subway's acting country director for Australia, told The Australian Financial Review that the sandwich chain was considering using planes to transport ingredients."We're keeping that open as a real option," Scott Buckman, Subway's acting country director for Australia, told The Australian Financial Review. "It's not an ideal solution, it's not something we have jumped to do yet, but it's a thing we are considering.""If we find there is a supply issue in one state and excess supply in another state, a solution would be to get the excess on a plane and fly it over there to address that," Buckman said.Buckman told News.au.com that Subway was considering air freight as a "last resort.""It's not something we ultimately would like to do," he told the site. "We're very focused on our franchisees and making sure that we keep cost changes to a minimum."Other companies chartered their own flights to deliver supplies amid chaos at ports during the pandemic, causing air freight charter prices to soar.Buckman added that Subway was monitoring orders and stock allocations "really closely" and working to spread supplies evenly across the country."We're fairly confident we've got it mostly covered and that we're going to be able to continue to deliver to our restaurants and ultimately deliver to our customers," he said.Buckman told the site that Subway was working to keep stores open, but that the chain wasn't sure how long the issues would last for.KFC Australia has also been hit by product shortages as some delivery and chicken supplier staff isolate with the coronavirus, causing the chain to take some items off the menu.Cases in Australia are surging amid the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant, which studies suggest is more transmissible than previous variants like Delta. The country has reported almost 1.2 million confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic – and around two-thirds of these were reported within just the first two weeks of January 2022, per data from the country's department of health.As well as limiting its access to supplies, rising coronavirus cases across Australia mean that more Subway workers themselves have been getting ill, causing some stores to cut their opening hours or close completely, News.au.com reported. In the US, airlines have canceled flights, transport providers have cut back on the number of subway services, and Starbucks has closed some dining rooms as more staff call in sick.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

Starbucks is closing all its dining rooms in Cleveland as COVID-19 cases rise

Stores including Nike, Walmart, and Macy's have been cutting their opening hours as staff call out sick with the coronavirus. The decision was based on local COVID-19 factors, a spokesperson said.Photo by Noam Galai/Getty Images Starbucks is closing all its dining rooms in Cleveland, a company spokesperson told Cleveland.com. The spokesperson said the decision was based on local COVID-19 factors. Other restaurants and stores have been cutting their opening hours as staff call out sick. Starbucks is closing all its dining rooms in Cleveland, Ohio as the number of COVID-19 cases rise.Stores in the area will only serve to-go orders from Wednesday, January 12, a company spokesperson told Cleveland.com.Customers can still order in store, on the Starbucks app, and at the drive-thru, but won't be able to consume their sandwiches and drinks in the lobby, the spokesperson said.The spokesperson said the decision was based on local COVID-19 factors."As we have since the beginning of the pandemic, local leaders can, and do, scale operations based on partner availability and local COVID-19 factors," the spokesperson told Cleveland.com.Starbucks did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment made outside of normal working hours.Other restaurants and stores have been cutting their opening hours and limiting services because of rising COVID-19 cases. Nike, Walmart, and Macy's are among the companies reducing hours as more staff call off sick with the virus.Airlines and transport providers have also cut back on their services, canceling flights and cutting back on the number of subway services.Coronavirus cases are soaring across the US. Ohio's seven-day moving average of new cases hit a record high of 22,000 on Saturday, though this has since fallen to 19,000, data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows. In comparison, at the height of last winter's peak, the state's seven-day moving average reached 12,529.The rise in cases comes amid the spread of the Omicron coronavirus variant. Studies suggest that the variant is more transmissible than previous variants like Delta, though some data suggests that its symptoms appear milder.Growing staff sickness isn't the only staffing headache that retailers and restaurants are facing.Employers say they're still struggling to find enough workers amid record quit rates, forcing some restaurants to slash opening hours, scale back their menus, ditch on-site dining, and hike up prices. Americans have been leaving their jobs to find better wages, benefits, and working hours, return to education, switch industries, or take early retirement.Starbucks CEO Kevin Johnson said at the company's earnings call in October that some stores had cut back on evening hours because of a lack of staff.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 13th, 2022

"It"s Been Bad Since Christmas" - Subway Service Slows Dramatically As Worker Shortages Cause Mass Delays

"It's Been Bad Since Christmas" - Subway Service Slows Dramatically As Worker Shortages Cause Mass Delays One day after New York's Gov. Kathy Hochul delivered her state of the state address - her first major address since taking over from her former boss Gov. Andrew Cuomo this past summer - the NYT and the rest of the media gallery praised her performance. But despite her alluring promises about ending "unproductive" rivalries between the elected leaders of NYC and the Empire State. Unfortunately, she still has one major, economy-wrecking problem to solve, and it's this: on any day this week, some 1,300 people out of a work force of 6.3K (roughly 1/5th) have been absent from work from the MTA due the ongoing crush of omicron case. The soaring jump in absenteeism, which the transportation authority attributes to the virus, has meant a lack of workers to keep up with the regular train schedules, leading officials to suspend service this week on three of the system’s 22 subway lines and reduce schedules on many others, leading to longer wait times. NYC's shortage of workers has made it the most critically underserved public transit system in the country, the NYT reports. "I feel like it’s been bad since Christmas," Jennifer Hall, 41, said Wednesday morning as she waited with her son for a D train in the Bronx. The news comes as New York State confirmed 85K new cases on Thursday, a new daily record for the Empire State. Source: NYT The surge in worker absences comes as the transportation authority has already been contending with a smaller work force after a rush of retirements and a pandemic-related hiring freeze was lifted last February. Unlike other public workers, MTA employees are not restricted by the vaccine mandate (although if they aren't vaccinated they must submit to a test every week). The MTA's troubles are hardly unique; they're part of a wider issue of staffing shortages that has lead to thousands of flights being cancelled, along with train delays across the country. In particular, sick calls have soared in recent weeks: "We have seen increased sick calls, more than we have seen in the past," said Craig Cipriano, the interim president of the division of the transportation authority. The number swelled through the end of the year, with unplanned absences currently more than three times higher than their typical levels before the pandemic. The number of subway riders in NYC has fluctuated dramatically, often following the COVID case numbers in an inverse pattern. Unsurprisingly, this has forced the MTA to make some exceptions to its virus-related worker absences. Subway ridership this week stood at about 40 percent of prepandemic numbers, transit officials said. That is a drop from levels that climbed above 50 percent in November, but still represents millions of passengers. For now, at least, the MTA's leaders expect the worker shortages to get better, not worse. Still, Mr. Cipriano said there was reason to believe that the suspensions and delays caused by virus-related worker absences would soon ease, though he would not specify when. Already this week, he said, the absentee numbers showed signs they may be reversing. Transit employees who test positive for the virus get up to two weeks of sick leave beyond their standard sick time, which is 12 days per year. In the transit authority’s guidance to employees, which mirrors recent guidance from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, it suggests that vaccinated workers who test positive for Covid-19 must isolate for at least five days and can return to work only if they have been without a fever for three days, have no runny nose and a “minimal cough." Unvaccinated workers who have tested positive or been exposed to the virus must isolate for 10 days before returning to work. Transit officials have said that about 80 percent of its roughly 67,000 employees were vaccinated, and that they were unlikely to impose a stricter vaccine requirement out of concern that it might further disrupt service at a time when the system can scarcely afford it. Fortunately, Cipriano and the rest of the MTA leadership don't expect to halt round-the-clock service any time soon. At the very least, they feel they would be able to run fewer trains per hour before they're stuck with having to dial back service, forcing passengers who keep odd hours to pay for cab fare after leaving work late at night or early in the morning. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 18:40.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytJan 6th, 2022

January 6: A Legacy Of Troubling Questions

January 6: A Legacy Of Troubling Questions Authored by Joseph Hannemann via The Epoch Times, The hardened-steel baton made the most disturbing sound as it bounced off Victoria White’s skull. It varied between a hollow click and a deeper snap, depending on where on her head the metal weapon made contact. “Please don’t beat her!” a man in the crowd yelled. It was chaos in the West Terrace tunnel entrance of the U.S. Capitol on the afternoon of Jan. 6, 2021. Outside, thousands who had attended President Donald Trump’s “Save America” rally milled about the terrace, while groups of rioters battled police near the tunnel. An almost demonic cacophony emanated from under the tunnel arch. “I didn’t even touch you,” a woman cried. “I need help! I need help,” a man shouted. “Stand up, dammit!” intoned a police officer in riot gear. “Get out!” boomed another. Then a blood-curdling scream, followed by the ear-splitting sound of an emergency siren. Victoria White appears prone or near-collapse in several parts of a five-minute video. (Screen Captures/Joseph McBride) After repeatedly striking White in the head, the officer in white holstered his baton. Then he made a fist with his bare left hand and punched White in the face. “Oh, no-no-no! Please! Please don’t beat her!” someone shouted, to no effect. After three full-force knuckle shots to White’s head, the officer in white paused. Then he went in for two more blows. He grabbed the hair at the back of her head and pulled it hard. White looked dazed and confused. She wore a blank stare. Another officer reached in with his baton in an apparent attempt to prevent more blows. The officer in white grabbed his colleague’s arm and shoved it back at him. The almost unbelievable violence meted out on the unarmed, 5-foot-4-inch White provides a stark contrast to the often-preached narrative that Jan. 6 was strictly an insurrection carried out by mobs of Trump supporters wanting to overthrow the government. White was a victim of brutality. Her lawyer is preparing a civil suit. Hers is one of the hidden stories of Jan. 6, exposed only after a federal judge ordered that three hours of surveillance video held by the U.S. Department of Justice be released to White’s attorney. Political Divide Widens The voluminous media coverage in the weeks leading up to the one-year anniversary of Jan. 6 demonstrates the substantial and growing divide between Americans of differing political stripes. The prevailing narrative is that supporters of Trump, whipped into a frenzy by his Jan. 6 speech at the Ellipse, descended on the U.S. Capitol in a violent attempt to upend democracy. A large crowd of Trump supporters—estimates ranged from 30,000 on the low end to 2 million on the high end—crowded the Ellipse to hear the president rail against the 2020 presidential election. Trump contended, along with millions of supporters, that widespread election fraud in key states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona, and Wisconsin had robbed him of a second term and placed Democrat Joe Biden in an illegitimate presidency. The speech started approximately an hour later than scheduled. Well before Trump concluded his remarks, a group of protesters breached a lightly guarded barrier on the Capitol’s pedestrian walkway. They quickly headed for the Capitol building. By the time the throngs of rally-goers made the long walk to the Capitol grounds, the perimeter fencing and security signs indicating the site was restricted had been methodically removed. As tens of thousands of protesters surrounded the Capitol, pockets of violence broke out. Windows were broken, and protesters climbed inside, just after 2 p.m. At other entrances, protesters found doors propped open and proceeded inside like tourists. The circumstances of the worst violence are hotly contested, but the results were real. Trump supporter Ashli Babbitt, 35, was shot and killed by a Capitol Police officer as she attempted to enter the Speaker’s Lobby. White and others were beaten by police in or near the West Terrace tunnel, attorneys say. Aaron Babbitt with his wife, Ashli, who was killed at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. “She loved life,” he said. (Courtesy of Aaron Babbitt) Some 140 police were injured during battles with rioters. Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick died on Jan. 7, 2021, although his death was eventually determined to be from natural causes. Capitol Police Officer Howard Liebengood and Washington Metropolitan Police Officer Jeffrey Smith—both of whom were on duty at the Capitol—took their own lives in the weeks after Jan. 6. President Joe Biden described Jan. 6 as the “worst attack on our democracy since the Civil War.” The Associated Press asserted it was “the most sustained attack on the seat of American democracy since the War of 1812.” Steven Sund, former U.S. Capitol Police chief, called it “a coordinated violent attack on the United States Capitol by thousands of well-equipped armed insurrectionists.” Many Americans don’t see those words as hyperbole, insisting Trump-fueled mobs fully intended to disrupt the U.S. Congress and overthrow the federal government. Across the political chasm are those who reject that dominant narrative, and assert that while Jan. 6 was many things, it was no insurrection. They view that characterization as a convenient way to suppress the truth. The real Jan. 6 story, they believe, remains hidden on some 14,000 hours of surveillance video from around the Capitol grounds. Portions of that video will undoubtedly be unsealed as some of the more than 725 people arrested for alleged Jan. 6-related crimes go on trial. Whatever the chaos of that infamous day is called, one thing seems clear. The full Jan. 6 story hasn’t been told. One year later, the legacy of Jan. 6 is a trail of troubling questions—the answers to which could rock American politics and deepen the divide between its citizens. Is There Evidence of Treason or Sedition? In response to the violence at the Capitol, the FBI launched one of the most sweeping investigations in its history. Agents pored over cell phone video, social media postings, surveillance video, and police bodycam footage to identify those who were at the Capitol that day. The FBI opened a national tip line and posted videos and photographs of protesters. Tips came from many sources, including neighbors and family members who turned in their relatives. Of the more than 725 people arrested over the past year, no one was charged with treason or sedition. At least 225 defendants were charged with assaulting, resisting, or impeding police, including 75 who allegedly used a deadly or dangerous weapon, or caused serious bodily injury to an officer. Two men climb over other protesters and lunge at police officers guarding the entrance to the West Terrace tunnel at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. (Screen Capture via The Epoch Times) The most common charge issued by federal prosecutors—involving 640 individuals—was for entering or remaining in a restricted federal building or grounds. About 40 percent of all those arrested were charged with impeding or attempting to impede an official proceeding—the certification of the Electoral College votes from the 2020 presidential election. Of the 165 people who have pleaded guilty to date, nearly 90 percent of the cases involved misdemeanors. The rest were felonies. Are There Any Investigative Conclusions? House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) appointed a select committee to investigate the Jan. 6 breach and subsequent violence. That group’s work is ongoing. Preliminary findings could be made public by summer. Republican House members are conducting their own probe, but complain that Democrats refuse to cooperate or share records with their GOP colleagues. The Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, and the Committee on Rules and Administration, issued a report on the Capitol breach that cited a range of intelligence and law enforcement failures that enabled the violence. Among the findings in the Senate report was that neither the FBI nor the Department of Homeland Security issued formal intelligence bulletins about the potential for violence at the Capitol on Jan. 6. The FBI’s Norfolk field office sent out a situational information report late on Jan. 5, warning of individuals traveling to Washington for “war” at the Capitol, but the agency overall didn’t view as credible online posts calling for violence. Capitol Police didn’t have a department-wide operational plan or staffing plan for the Jan. 6 joint session of Congress, the report said. It faulted a lack of training in civil disturbances and a failure to provide basic protective equipment to rank-and-file officers. Who Incited the Capitol Breach and Violence? Independent media and online sleuths sounded alarms about the presence of unindicted individuals among those who first breached the Capitol at about 12:50 p.m. These men played a central role in the breach, encouraged protesters to go to the Capitol, and directed people into the building. Yet they haven’t been arrested, indicted, or identified by the FBI as among the wanted. Who were they? A man—now known to be Ray Epps of Queen Creek, Arizona—was captured on video on Jan. 5, 2021, attempting to recruit Trump supporters to assault the Capitol the next day. “Tomorrow, we need to go into the Capitol,” Epps says, as seen in a video clip. “Into the Capitol!” A man near him says, “What?” and others are heard shouting, “No!” Then the crowd breaks into a chant: “Fed! Fed! Fed! Fed!”—accusing Epps of being a federal agent. Ray Epps seen on Jan. 5, 2021, trying to recruit men to attack the Capitol. They accuse him of being a federal agent. (CapitolPunishmentTheMovie.com/Bark at the Hole Productions) Epps gets into verbal sparring with some of the Trump supporters. “You’re counterproductive to our cause,” one young man shouts. Epps shouts back, staying on message: “It doesn’t matter. … That’s not what we’re here for. … You’re getting off the subject. … We’re here for another reason.” Another video shows Epps saying, “Tomorrow—I don’t even like to say it because I’ll be arrested,” prompting a man nearby to reply, “Then let’s not say it.” Epps responds: “I’ll say it. We need to go into the Capitol!” A young man in the crowd, wearing an American flag neck gaiter, replies, “I didn’t see that coming!” On Jan. 6, as crowds milled about the Washington Monument in long lines to get in to watch Trump’s speech, Epps could be heard shouting through a megaphone: “As soon as our president is done speaking, we are going to the Capitol, where our problems are. It’s that direction. Please spread the word!” Epps is seen again in video footage taken at the metal barricades outside the Capitol at 12:50 p.m., as a small crowd chants, “USA! USA!” He whispers something in the ear of a man wearing a backward Make America Great Again cap. A few seconds later, the young man helps push over the barricade as Epps steps back to watch. This first breach of the security perimeter was 20 minutes before Trump finished his speech. Epps is then seen sprinting with the crowd up the steps toward the Capitol. A few days after the Jan. 6 violence, the FBI placed a photo of Epps on a “Seeking Information” poster, asking for the public’s help in identifying those who breached the Capitol. He could be seen in Photograph No. 16. That photo has since been scrubbed from the FBI website. Ray Epps is shown at lower left on an early FBI wanted poster, but his photo has since been scrubbed from the FBI website. (FBI.gov/Wayback Machine) On the current list of 1,559 photographs of people the FBI wants to identify, there is no longer a No. 16. The list skips from Photograph No. 15 to Photograph No. 17. Epps hasn’t been arrested or charged. John Guandolo, a former FBI agent and counter-terrorism expert who was on the Capitol grounds on Jan. 6, said he saw FBI agents dressed as protesters. “For a good portion of the day, I was with law enforcement, FBI, etcetera,” Guandolo said in an interview for the documentary “Capitol Punishment.” “Guys would walk by, and we’d look at each other and be like, ‘Two more right there. Here comes another. There’s another one.’ They were everywhere.” Revolver, an alternative news outlet, identified others around the Capitol grounds who were active participants in the breach but whose photos weren’t included on the FBI’s wanted list. One man, wearing a grey Bulwark jacket, knit cap, and sunglasses, is seen on video rolling up the green plastic fencing around the security perimeter. He pulls up the stakes and removes the “Area Closed” signs. A man in a blue cap with a blue bullhorn is seen in multiple videos atop the media tower erected for the inauguration. Dubbed “Scaffold Commander” by online researchers, he barks out directives and encouragement for 90 minutes. “Don’t just stand there! Keep moving!” “Move forward! Help somebody over the wall!” Once the crowd filled in around the Capitol, Scaffold Commander switched gears. “We’re in! Come on! We gotta fill up the Capitol! Come now, we need help!” Revolver’s video investigation said that whether or not Epps and Scaffold Commander knew each other, their words and actions worked well together. “So we have Scaffold Commander directing the body of the crowd from the tower above, and Ray Epps directing the vanguard front-liners at the police line below,” the Dec. 18 story read. “Yet neither one of them has been prosecuted, nor is either presently ‘wanted’ by the FBI.” Revolver founder Darren Beattie took to Twitter to ask Epps to expose who his handlers were. “But now, it is time to think for yourself, Ray. Forget about your boat and your ranch and your grill. If you make the right move and tell the truth, you change everything,” Beattie wrote on Dec. 29. Neither Epps, the FBI, nor federal prosecutors have commented on Epps’s actions that day, on whether he worked for the FBI, or on why he hasn’t been indicted. Epps told an Arizona Republic reporter on Jan. 12, 2021, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” Rep. Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) asked Attorney General Merrick Garland on Oct. 21 to dispel concerns about the Epps videos, but Garland wouldn’t comment. I just played this video for AG Merrick Garland. He refused to comment on how many agents or assets of the federal government were present in the crowd on Jan 5th and 6th and how many entered the Capitol. pic.twitter.com/lvd9n4mMHK — Thomas Massie (@RepThomasMassie) October 21, 2021 “You’ve said this was one of the most sweeping investigations in history,” Massie said during a public hearing. “Have you seen that video, those frames from that video?” Garland began talking about a standing practice of not commenting on investigative specifics, before Massie interrupted him: “How many agents or assets of the federal government were present on January 6th, whether they agitated to go into the Capitol, and if any of them did?” Garland’s reply: “I’m not going to comment on an investigation that’s ongoing.” What Is the Significance of Unindicted Actors? Attorneys who represent Jan. 6 defendants say if Epps or other participants were FBI informants or agents, then it blows a hole in the idea that Trump supporters were solely responsible for violence at the Capitol. Participation by government actors could legally invalidate conspiracy charges, they say. Attorney Jonathon Moseley, who represents Jan. 6 defendant Kelly Meggs of Dunnellon, Florida, a member of the Oath Keepers, issued subpoenas to Epps, Oath Keepers founder Stewart Rhodes, and other men who played visible roles on Jan. 6. As Meggs’s April trial on conspiracy charges approaches, Moseley wants to know why Epps was at the Trump rally and Capitol, and whether he was working for the government. Moseley said Epps was seen at the first breach of a police line at the pedestrian walkway, about 200 yards from the Capitol building. Video shows Epps as he appears to rush the makeshift barricade erected by police, “then stops short,” Moseley said. Ray Epps at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, shortly before pepper gas is shot into the crowd. “Been a long time,” he says after coughing. “Aah, I love it!” (Screen Capture/Rumble) “It’s like he’s head-faking people to rush with him, but then he never touches it,” he said. “A police officer falls—I think it may be a woman—and his immediate instinct is to go help her, and he thinks better of it and steps back. It really looks like he’s undercover.” Moseley said the involvement of government-paid actors in facilitating or inciting the breach of the Capitol complex would create reasonable doubt in just about any of the Jan. 6 cases. “There are legal consultants who keep emphasizing that, legally, you can’t conspire with the government. So if he’s working directly or indirectly for the government, then people are innocent of the conspiracy,” Moseley said. “It’s a legal rule. If there are 10 people conspiring and one of them is with the government, not only could it be entrapment, but it also may invalidate a conspiracy.” That type of legal issue has been raised in a Michigan case in which a group of men stand accused in federal court of a plot to kidnap Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat. Defense attorneys recently filed a motion to dismiss the case, contending that government agents and informants concocted the kidnapping plan and pushed to convince the defendants to participate. Are Jan. 6 Detainees Political Prisoners? Third-world banana republics are notorious for terrible prison conditions and brutal treatment of the accused and convicted alike. Some lawyers, family members, and defendants believe the District of Columbia operates a jail that would be at home in any of those countries. The jail is sometimes called “DC-GITMO,” after the U.S.-run terrorist detention camp in Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The poor accommodations at the D.C. jail have long been the subject of discussion in the nation’s capital. The Washington Post said conditions there were “deplorable,” an ironic descriptor, considering who the jail’s primary occupants are these days. The issue got national attention in 2021 because of repeated allegations of brutal, abusive treatment of men accused of Jan. 6 crimes. A 28-page report issued in late 2021 by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) said treatment of Jan. 6 detainees was “inhumane.” (Document Cover/Marjorie Taylor Greene) “American citizens are being tortured right now within five miles of the White House,” said Joseph McBride, a New York attorney who represents a half-dozen Jan. 6 defendants. “America does not punish its citizens pre-trial,” McBride wrote on Twitter. “Authoritarian regimes do.” McBride said his clients have suffered treatment that should never happen in America, all because they supported Trump by being at the U.S. Capitol on that fateful day. During incarceration, they’ve suffered—among other things—severe beatings by guards; the denial of medical attention, including medications for chemotherapy; and refusal of food, McBride said. Christopher Quaglin, charged with assaulting police officers during the riot, suffers from celiac disease, but the jail feeds him only food with gluten, McBride said. He has been refused medical treatment. “Yes, we are extremely concerned that he will die,” McBride wrote on Twitter on Dec. 27. Ted Hull, the superintendent of Northern Neck Regional Jail, where Quaglin is housed, said McBride’s assertions are wrong. Christopher Quaglin with his wife, Moria, who fears her husband could die without medical attention in federal custody. (Courtesy Quaglin Family) “Regardless of Mr. McBride’s fictitious assertions,” Hull told The Epoch Times, “inmate Quaglin is and has been receiving the appropriate dietitian-designed diet consistent with his specific dietary requirements and the appropriate level of medical services consistent with his diagnosis.” Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) toured the D.C. jail with Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) in November, then issued a 28-page report titled “Unusually Cruel.” The report said the conditions for the Jan. 6 detainees were “inhumane.” Couy Griffin, the founder of Cowboys for Trump who attended the Jan. 6 Trump rally and was on the Capitol grounds, never went inside the Capitol building. He was charged with entering and remaining in a restricted building, and disorderly and disruptive conduct in a restricted building. He was arrested and jailed, but eventually released while awaiting trial. “I spent the next nine days in that cell in total solitary confinement. No shower, no phone, no attorney,” Griffin said in the film “Capitol Punishment.” The guards, he said, often chanted “F Trump! F Trump!” and called him an “[expletive] white cracker.” He complained about his treatment to the deputy warden, who he said told him, “The only job these guards have is to keep your chest moving up and down.” Richard Barnett of Gravette, Arkansas, faced seven charges for his alleged actions on Jan. 6, including sitting in the office chair of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, captured in a now-iconic news photograph. One day during his four-month detention, Barnett experienced tightness in his chest and arm pain. He called for help, but the guard who responded only mocked and laughed at him. Barnett then called out to a female staff member, who said she would get help. “Richard [lay] there for a significant period of time—certainly enough for him to die,” read McBride’s report on jail conditions, which he sent to Amnesty International. After being given a medical checkup and returned to his cell, Barnett fell asleep. A guard began pounding on the glass door to his cell, jolting him awake so quickly he stood up and then fainted, hitting his head on the sink. Now bleeding from a head wound, Barnett screamed for an hour before help came, the report said. One day, Barnett’s cell door opened, and some nine officers entered, cuffing his wrists and shackling his legs. Guards violently shook him back and forth, lifted him off his feet by the shackles, and slammed him headfirst into the concrete floor, according to McBride’s report, a copy of which was also sent to the American Civil Liberties Union. The U.S. Marshals Service conducted a surprise inspection of the D.C. jail facilities in October and interviewed 300 detainees. Conditions at the jail “do not meet the minimum standards of confinement,” the Marshals report said. As a result, the Marshals Service removed all of its detainees and transferred them to facilities in the federal Bureau of Prisons. This didn’t include the Jan. 6 detainees. Emery Nelson, spokesperson for the Bureau of Prisons, said the agency doesn’t comment on “anecdotal allegations” or provide information about individual inmates. “The Bureau of Prisons (BOP) is committed to accommodating the needs of federal offenders and ensuring the safety and security of all inmates in our population, our staff, and the public,” Nelson said. “The BOP takes seriously our duty to protect the individuals entrusted in our care.” Who Died at the Capitol on Jan. 6? One person was killed at the hands of U.S. Capitol Police, and police action might have contributed to the death of two others, but the four other deaths related to Jan. 6 were either from natural causes or suicides. Ashli Babbitt was shot in the left shoulder and killed as she crawled through a broken window at the entry to the Speaker’s Lobby. Ashli’s husband, Aaron Babbitt, said a careful examination of video footage from the hallway indicates Ashli was upset with rioters who smashed glass in the double doors. He thinks she panicked and sought escape through the window, only to be shot by Lt. Michael Byrd as a result. She was unarmed and presented no threat to anyone, Aaron Babbitt said. Capitol Police Lt. Michael Byrd aims his Glock 22 at the window where Ashli Babbitt was about to appear. (CapitolPunishmentTheMovie/Bark at the Hole Productions) Rosanne Boyland, 34, of Georgia, died in or near the West Terrace tunnel at the Capitol. McBride says surveillance video shows Boyland was beaten by a police officer as she lay on the ground. The D.C. medical examiner ruled the death accidental: intoxication from a prescription medication. Kevin Greeson, 51, of Georgia, died on the Capitol grounds of a heart attack brought on by cardiovascular disease, the medical examiner ruled. Benjamin Phillips, 50, of Pennsylvania, died of atherosclerosis, heart disease characterized by fatty plaques that build up in the arteries, the medical examiner ruled. Of the three police officers who died in the weeks following Jan. 6, Sicknick died from natural causes, and Liebengood and Smith died from suicide. Did Democrats Weaponize Jan. 6? Rep. Rodney Davis (R-Ill.), ranking member of the Committee on House Administration, accused House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and House Democrats of “weaponizing events of January 6th against their political adversaries.” Davis sent a letter to Pelosi on Jan. 3, 2022, complaining that House Democrats repeatedly obstructed attempts by Republican lawmakers to investigate security vulnerabilities at the U.S. Capitol before and during Jan. 6 violence. The obstruction came through denial of House records and ignoring repeated requests for documents, Davis wrote. “Unfortunately, over the past twelve months, House Democrats have been more interested in exploiting the events of January 6th for political purposes than in conducting basic oversight of the security vulnerabilities exposed that day,” Davis wrote. Specifically, lawmakers want to know about a request that former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund said he made to then-House Sergeant-at-Arms Paul Irving prior to Jan. 6 for “the assistance of the National Guard,” Davis wrote. Sund reported that Irving was “concerned about the ‘optics’ of a National Guard presence at the Capitol.” During violence on Jan. 6, when Sund asked about getting authorization for the National Guard, Irving responded that he “needed to run it up the chain of command,” the letter said. Former U.S. Capitol Police Chief Steven Sund testifies at a Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs and Senate Rules and Administration committees joint hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington on Feb. 23, 2021. (Erin Scott/Pool/AFP via Getty Images) In February 2021 testimony before the U.S. Senate, Irving denied Sund’s claims. Republican lawmakers then requested access to Irving’s communications to substantiate that denial. Davis said he wrote to House General Counsel Douglas Letter to request those records, but Letter never replied. “Both the Sergeant at Arms and the chief administration officer failed to produce any documents to Republicans pursuant to our requests,” Davis wrote, “suggesting that these House officers may be providing documents only to Democrats on a partisan basis.” Davis said Republicans want to know why Sund’s Jan. 4, 2021, request for National Guard support on Jan. 6 was denied, and whether Pelosi or her staff ordered the refusal. They also want to know what conversations occurred during Capitol violence on Jan. 6, when Sund again asked for National Guard help. Finally, they want to know why the select committee on Jan. 6, appointed by Pelosi, won’t examine the speaker’s role “in ensuring the proper House security preparations,” the letter said. When asked whether the speaker had responded to Davis, Henry Connelly, Pelosi’s communications director, referred The Epoch Times to a statement issued by House Administration Committee Chair Zoe Lofgren (D-Calif.). “The Ranking Member’s letter is pure revisionist fiction. The Chief Administrative Officer and House Sergeant at Arms have already notified Ranking Member Davis they are complying with preservation requests and will fully cooperate with various law enforcement investigations and bonafide congressional inquiries,” Lofgren said in the statement. From the inception of the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol, Republican leadership discounted its work because Pelosi rejected two of the five Republicans chosen by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for the probe. McCarthy then withdrew his picks. Pelosi appointed Reps. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) and Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.) to serve on the nine-member panel. The select committee could issue at least an interim report by mid-2022 and a final report in the fall, committee sources told several media outlets. Committee chairman Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) said in December that there was no set schedule for public hearings to release the group’s findings. The Epoch Times asked the Department of Justice for comment on the presence of federal agents on Jan. 6, but didn’t receive a reply by press time. The Epoch Times contacted Epps through his business for comment, but didn’t receive a reply by press time. Tyler Durden Thu, 01/06/2022 - 16:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeJan 6th, 2022

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels sailings on 8 ships as far out as April amid Omicron surge

The cruise operator, headquartered in Miami, Florida, said in a statement the cancelations were due to "ongoing travel restrictions." Norwegian Cruise Lines is canceling sailings on eight ships.Richard Tribou/Orlando Sentinel/Tribune News Service via Getty Images Norwegian Cruise Line said cancelations of sailings on eight ships are due to "ongoing travel restrictions." Earlier this week, a voyage on the Norwegian Pearl was cut just after one day due to a crew outbreak. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended against cruise travel. Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled sailings on eight of its 17 cruise ships amid a surge in the Omicron variant of the coronavirus.The cruise operator, headquartered in Miami, Florida, said in a statement the cancelations were due to "ongoing travel restrictions."On Wednesday, the company canceled its Norwegian Getaway cruise, scheduled to depart from Miami, the same day it was expected to set sail. Several other canceled cruises were to embark in April. Affected guests will receive full refunds and credits for future cruises.The cancelations are on the back of the cruise line cutting short a voyage on the Norwegian Pearl on January 3 after one day due at sea due to "COVID related circumstances." There was a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew, the Miami Herald reported.Norwegian Cruise Line requires all guests and crew to be vaccinated, the company said in its cancelation notice. Guests must also be tested before embarkation.Norwegian Cruise Line did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Last week, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended all travelers avoid cruising regardless of vaccinated status. It said the chances of passengers getting COVID-19 on a cruise ship are "very high," regardless of vaccination status. The CDC is also investigating over 90 cruise ships operated by companies including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and Disney following a series of COVID-19 outbreaks. There were more than 5,000 coronavirus cases reported on cruise ships in the last two weeks of December — 31 times the number reported in the first two weeks of the month, the CDC told Insider's Brittany Chang in a statement.As a result of the Omicron wave, some cruise lines, including Norwegian, Carnival, and Royal Caribbean, have instituted mask mandates requiring passengers and staff to mask up while in public unless eating or drinking, or in uncrowded open-air areas of the vessel.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 6th, 2022

Go, Team, Go: How Sports Can Shape Real Estate

Everyone knows someone (or is someone) that makes sports fandom a defining passion. From everyday choices like clothing to enormously important life events like weddings, these individuals dedicate tremendous energy, time and money to their favorite team, school or competition. But when it comes to the biggest financial decision of their lives, how much do […] The post Go, Team, Go: How Sports Can Shape Real Estate appeared first on RISMedia. Everyone knows someone (or is someone) that makes sports fandom a defining passion. From everyday choices like clothing to enormously important life events like weddings, these individuals dedicate tremendous energy, time and money to their favorite team, school or competition. But when it comes to the biggest financial decision of their lives, how much do sports factor in? Can the die-hard fans of a franchise or school redefine a real estate market? How do real estate professionals incorporate these incredible passions into their own lives and businesses? Like everything in the industry, the specifics depend on where you live. But in each disparate city, centered around stadiums or spread through historic neighborhoods bedecked in local colors, sports often draw new lines across the real estate landscape. Whether it is Main Street traditions stretching back 100 years or access to game-day celebrations, catering to sports fans has inexorably shaped how real estate functions—at least in some markets. Green Bay, Wisconsin, was originally occupied by the indigenous Menominee tribe, eventually colonized and settled by French farmers and fur traders. But the town of just over 100,000, sitting on the edge of Lake Michigan in the frigid northern midwest, is not as much known today for this history, its industry or geography. Since 1919, Green Bay has been the home of the Packers, now members of the National Football League (though the team actually came into being before the league). Considered a sort of holy city of football, the Packers lay claim to some of the most significant moments, players and developments in the sport, from hosting the 1967 “Ice Bowl” (with gametime temperatures at around -45 degrees Fahrenheit) to the iconic tradition of the “Lambeau Leap” (which sees players leaping into the arms of fans following a score). Ben Malcore, a broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Green Bay, is a lifetime fan of the Packers—truly and literally. His parents put him on the waiting list for season tickets at birth. Two decades later, Malcore received his tickets and has never looked back. “You see a lot of either former Wisconsinites or even people who are out of the county who are just sort of die-hard Packer fans investing in real estate in and around the stadium,” he says. Green Bay is particularly unique not just due to its history, but also due to its size and location. About 120 miles from the nearest metro in Milwaukee, the city does not check any of the boxes of a major sports market, and without the kind of amenities available and accessibility inherent to big coastal metros, the Packers themselves provide an anchor both practically and through the team’s culture in Green Bay. Everything from fancy outlet stores to hotels to tech companies have invested in the otherwise small-town market of Green Bay because of the Packers, Malcore says, including big tech companies like Microsoft. At the same time, average residents benefit from the presence of the Packers as well. Those with property near the stadium have put their kids through college by renting out their lawns as premium game-day parking. “Folks put out a sign—’Twenty bucks, restroom available, easy in, easy out.’ And you’re on the road to a small business,” Malcore laughs. “Oh, it’s crazy.” It is barely an exaggeration to say that Green Bay is owned by the iconic football team. The Packers in fact, developed their own condo district right next to the stadium, selling what Malcore described as “an integrated Packer experience” in 2,200 to 2,800-square-foot townhomes (priced from around $700,000 to $1 million). Malcore himself sold a couple of these homes—one to a former professional hockey player who wanted “to live Green Back Packers every day.” With a condo, residents get VIP access to various Packer amenities, including a winter tubing park, a Packers-themed football field, an ice-skating rink and invitations to ownership meetings (the Packers are unique in North American sports franchises in being a publicly traded, non-profit company rather than an individually owned or corporate entity). Green Bay is not the only place where real estate is defined by a team, or teams. Another much larger mid-Atlantic city in western Pennsylvania has seen its blue-collar, hard-bitten history and culture coalesce around sports fandoms. Pittsburgh has been Mark Handlovitch’s home his whole life, working on a horse farm when he was young before getting into real estate. When asked about the local sports fandoms, he quickly devolves into a passionate and far-reaching soliloquy, rattling off the names of neighborhoods where local stars grew up, telling stories of encounters with current or former players and describing tailgate scenes with the detail and depth of a renaissance painter. “These small steel towns, that’s where it really evolved from—it wasn’t the flashy ritzy neighborhoods. In Pittsburgh, it came from the deeply rooted steel towns and the steelworkers and the miners who went to work every day. And the roots are still there,” says Handlovitch. A great example of this is the city’s hockey franchise, the Pittsburgh Penguins. The team did not have the respect of Pittsburgh residents automatically, nearly forced to fold after a decade of mediocrity in the 1970s and early 1980s. But when a man named Mario Lemieux—a 6’4,’’ 240-pound son of a construction worker—joined the team in the mid-80s and began dominating the ice with a combination of deft skill and toughness (famously playing in a game the same day he received radiation treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma), Pittsburgh fans showed up. And they kept showing up too, becoming one of the most die-hard fan bases in the National Hockey League. Photo courtesy of Mark Handlovitch But the NFL’s Steelers (Handlovitch asks the name be spelled “Stielers” to reflect the local pronunciation) remain the city’s biggest draw. Knowing where to be on fall and winter game days (and pre-game days) is essential, he says. People often want to live on these routes—including a river shuttle service that operates even on sub-freezing winter weekends—if only for the spectacle of parades of black and gold (the team colors all three major Pittsburgh sports franchises). “You talk about tailgating—tailgating is everywhere here. It’s not just around the stadium,” he says. Movers and Shakers There is perhaps no one more dialed into both sports and real estate than Doug Walker of John L. Scott Real Estate in Seattle. For more than four decades, Walker managed the visiting clubhouse for the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, traveling almost weekly to stadiums from Florida to Michigan (including working three Super Bowls) while simultaneously working as a real estate broker. Recently retired from the sports side of his work, Walker says understanding the intersection of both fandoms and the practical machinations of the sports world has been foundational to his real estate business. “A lot of what I do real estate-wise came from me being in professional locker rooms,” he says. Everyone from players and coaches to team support staff are constantly moving in the sports industry, and Walker says the connections he made working for the Seahawks created an incredibly powerful network of people looking for someone to help them buy or sell a house. “When you know somebody—their equipment manager has a friend who is moving to Seattle, they would call me up,” he says. “That network has been really a good source of referral business for us over the years. It’s kind of a fraternity—you have coaches that are always moving cities, and players and staff and friends.” That level of knowledge and connection is obviously unique, and not every real estate agent can get a part-time gig with a professional sports team. But integrating into the sports landscape, as Walker has, can help grow a real estate business in a plethora of ways. Adam Davis is an associate broker for RE/MAX Select in Portland, Oregon—a city that isn’t necessarily known for its sports fandoms. The NBA’s Trail Blazers, the MLS’ Timbers and the NWSL’s Thorns all maintain extremely passionate fan bases, and the college rivalry (known as the “Civil War”) between the University of Oregon and Oregon State remains red-hot in the area, he says. But Davis adds that a lot of his sports-related connections come from transplants moving to Portland who want to bring and share their disparate team loyalties in a new city. Photo courtesy of Kevin Dyer “Being a sports fan myself—either you’re in Portland so there are no sports to care about other than the Blazers and the Timbers, or you’re a sports fan in general,” he says. “So just being able to keep tabs on other teams gives me a little bit of an insight and a conversation to have with people who are coming from out of town.” Like in many cities, certain bars, restaurants and neighborhoods have organically developed to cater to fans of specific teams or schools, according to Davis. As a fan of the NFL’s Minnesota Vikings himself, navigating the local scene of national sports loyalties is both difficult and important for his business. “I can recommend even down to the neighborhood where they can live in proximity to sports venues where they can watch their favorite games,” he says. “I can say, ‘If you wanna go watch a game, don’t go to this bar, because it’s not going to be a friendly audience.’” Hometown Heroes Maybe the most important part of sports to a real estate professional is personal and straightforward, and has nothing to do with estimating property values or calculating commute times on game days. In an industry where authenticity is everything, there is almost nothing as local and loved as sports, and someone who can bring their passions to that arena will always have a way to connect with his or her community. “It’s incomparable to me. It’s a giant party of like-minded individuals,” says Malcore of the Packers fandom. Handlovich says that in Pittsburgh, he can talk with nearly anyone about specific neighborhoods, towns and high schools where local sports heroes lived or grew up. He speaks excitedly about encountering local legends, and lists a handful of sports stars who actually made their names playing for other teams (Joe Namath, Mike Ditka) but grew up in Pittsburgh. He recalls specific moments—when Houston Oilers star Earl Campbell took an earth-shattering tackle from the Steelers Donnie Shell in 1978. The feeling of stocking up on game day food, drinks and snacks in the city’s famous Strip District—a concourse lined with historic and local businesses historically home to all the wholesale food peddlers—is something Hadlovich can describe in vivid detail to a Pittsburgh newcomer, or empathize with to others like him who grew up there. “Even the visitors come down go into the Strip District because the culture down there is amazing,” he says. “It’s the old stores, the old names on them that have been around for generations.” In Seattle, where stadium location and city layout isn’t as conducive to tailgating as some other cities, Walker says that the Seahawks, Major League Baseball’s Mariners and the NHL’s Kraken connect people across the region in a way that almost no other belief, habit or passion can. “The fan base here is huge, and the suburbs and the bars and restaurants are always really crowded,” he says. “Each community has their own venues…it’s a common denominator.” For those in real estate, all of this has tremendous value in building a brand and creating trust and lasting relationships with people. Walker says his local reputation as someone who worked for the Seahawks has directly resulted in people approaching him for the real estate needs, and “sports celebration venues” like garages and ADUs remain common. Davis says that one of the most fulfilling parts of his profession is connecting people with what they love and value in new living situations. Often buyers are resigned to losing some of the experiences they enjoyed in home-town fandoms when they move, or are afraid of feeling isolated from the overall sports landscape. Helping them hold onto those feelings can make all the difference, according to Davis. “Just learning that there are active sports fans here, it is a visible relief for people here, because it’s such an enjoyable pastime for them that they weren’t expecting to hold onto,” he says. Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jwilliams@rismedia.com. The post Go, Team, Go: How Sports Can Shape Real Estate appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaJan 5th, 2022

A guide to the most important primary elections of the 2022 midterms, which will test Trump"s influence over the GOP

The 2022 primaries, starting in March, will test former President Trump's power over the GOP and could reshape both parties' bases in Congress. The U.S Capitol is visible at sunset as a man plays fetch with a dog in Washington, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021AP Photo/Andrew Harnik Critical primary elections for the 2022 midterms are kicking off in March.  Primaries will hold greater importance in 2022 with fewer competitive districts in Congress. The 2022 primaries will also test Trump's influence over the GOP and shape both parties' futures.  The 2022 midterm elections are just 10 months away, and primaries for key congressional and statewide races will be more crucial and decisive than ever for both political parties. The 2022 primaries will test the power of former President Donald Trump's endorsement — and his status as the leader of the Republican Party. This year's primaries could substantially reshape the composition of Congress and each party's bases. And the unprecedented effort to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election will loom large in 2022's elections, which will determine who runs and oversees future elections. In Congress, Republicans have their sights set on winning back the US Senate, currently evenly split between 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans, by flipping Democratic-held seats in Arizona and Georgia and holding control of competitive open seats in North Carolina and Pennsylvania. Republicans are well-positioned to win back the House of Representatives, where Democrats hold just a slim three-vote majority, due to President Joe Biden's poor approval ratings and the historical norm of the president's party losing seats in midterm elections. But not all majorities are created equal. On the GOP side, more Trump-style conservatives could replace moderate and establishment Republicans, especially in the US Senate, where five such Republicans are retiring.  And Democrats could see more young candidates and candidates of color, who are underrepresented in both chambers of Congress, replace retiring members. In this June 5, 2021, file photo, former President Donald Trump, right, announces his endorsement of North Carolina Rep. Ted Budd, left, for the 2022 North Carolina U.S. Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Richard BurrChris Seward/APAs of January 5, 36 House members and counting are retiring, setting off a nationwide reshuffling that will play out during the primary season. Over two-thirds of already-announced retirements are from the Democratic side of the aisle, a possible indication of how Democrats view their prospects of holding the House majority. Complicating matters further, the national House primary calendar is still in flux due to the ongoing process of states drawing new congressional lines following the 2020 Census, which was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Long-term trends of negative polarization, partisan self-sorting, and a decline in voters who split their tickets between parties are being exacerbated by states shoring up incumbents at the expense of competitiveness in redistricting. This means the 2022 elections are likely to see a historically low number of competitive House districts in general elections, making primaries even more important. Many states have yet to complete their congressional redistricting, and some key states that have finalized maps, like Ohio and North Carolina, are facing lawsuits over congressional and state legislative lines that could delay their filings periods and primary dates. North Carolina has already pushed back its primaries, and Pennsylvania could be next, delays that also affect marquee Senate and gubernatorial contests.Here are the most important and most competitive primaries happening over the next nine months as currently scheduled: Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, left, next to his wife and Texas State Sen. Angela Paxton, speaks to anti-abortion activists at a rally outside the Supreme Court, Monday, Nov. 1, 2021.AP Photo/Jacquelyn MartinMarch: The 2022 primary cycle is set to kick off in Texas on March 1. Embattled Republican Attorney General Ken Paxton is facing multiple high-profile primary challenges from Rep. Louie Gohmert, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and former State Supreme Court Justice Eva Guzman. Gov. Greg Abbott will also face primary challengers including former state Sen. Don Huffines, who has been endorsed by several Trumpworld figures, and Allen West, the former state party chairman. Democrat Beto O'Rourke is likely to secure the Democratic nomination for the governorship in Texas, which hasn't elected a Democrat to statewide office in three decades. Texas also gained two House seats in post-2020 Census reapportionment and has three members of its delegation retiring, setting up competitive primaries in some House districts. Texas will hold runoff elections in May for any contests where no candidate earns a majority of the vote outright. May: On May 3, Ohio is holding a hotly-contested Republican primary for US Senate to replace longtime retiring GOP Sen. Rob Portman. The candidates include former state party chair Jane Timken, former State Treasurer Josh Mandel, state Sen. Mike Dolan, venture capitalist and author JD Vance, and businessmen Mike Gibbons and Bernie Moreno. Rep. Tim Ryan and former Consumer Financial Protection Bureau adviser Morgan Harper are the two main contenders for the Democratic nomination. Gov. Mike DeWine is facing primary challenges from former Rep. Jim Renacci and Joe Blystone, who are appealing to Trump's supporters.May 10 will see the first confirmed House primary between two incumbents with Trump-endorsed Rep. Alex Mooney facing off against Rep. David McKinley for West Virginia's 1st Congressional District. The two Republicans were drawn into the same district as a result of the state losing a congressional seat after the 2020 Census. May 17 is set to see primaries for high-stakes statewide races in the swing states of Pennsylvania and North Carolina (if either state's primaries don't get delayed).In Pennsylvania, competitive Republican and Democratic primaries will determine the nominees for the open US Senate seat being vacated by retiring Republican Sen. Pat Toomey. Physician and television personality Mehmet Oz, hedgefund executive David McCormick, former US Ambassador Carla Sands, and real estate developer Dave Bartos are competing for the GOP nomination.Rep. Conor Lamb, Lieutenant Governor John Fetterman, State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, and Montgomery County Commissioner and physician Val Arkoosh are the lead contenders vying for the Democratic nomination for Senate to flip the seat. State Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta, left, and Rep. Conor Lamb, right, are two of the Democrats seeking to flip control of a key US Senate seat in PennsylvaniaAP Photo/Marc Levy, AP Photo/Dave DermerNorth Carolina is holding primaries for an open US Senate seat held by retiring GOP Sen. Richard Burr. The Republican field includes Trump-endorsed Rep. Ted Budd, Rep. Mark Walker, and former Gov. Pat McCrory while Cheri Beasley, former Chief Justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court, appears poised to secure the Democratic nomination. North Carolina, home to some of the most contentious partisan and legal battles over redistricting in recent history, is back in court defending its congressional maps after GOP lawmakers drew an aggressive Republican gerrymander, a case with significant implications for the state's House primaries. On May 19, Idaho's Lieutenant Governor Janice McGeachin is waging a Trump-backed primary challenge against incumbent GOP Gov. Brad Little.On May 24, Trump-backed congressman Mo Brooks and former Senate chief of staff Katie Britt are the leading candidates in the GOP primary for the Alabama US Senate seat vacated by retiring Sen. Richard Shelby.While Brooks has Trump's support (for now, at least), Britt has received the backing of Shelby, her former boss, and quietly gotten financial support from several members of the Senate Republican caucus. Lynda Blanchard, former US Ambassador to Slovenia under the Trump administration, was also initially in the running for Senate but dropped out of that race and is now mounting a primary challenge to incumbent GOP Gov. Kay Ivey.Georgia gubernatorial Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams speaks during an interview with The Associated Press on Thursday, Dec. 16, 2021, in Decatur, GaBrynn Anderson/APAlso on May 24, a series of blockbuster primaries in Georgia will set the battle lines for November's elections in the key battleground state which after years as a reliable GOP stronghold, voted for Biden in 2020 and handed control of the Senate to Democrats in 2021.Former NFL star Herschel Walker, endorsed by Trump, is the frontrunner in the GOP primary to take on Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock, who was elected in a 2021 special runoff election, for a full term. Two top Republicans who endured Trump's wrath for defending the integrity of the 2020 election in Georgia are now contending against Trump-backed primary challengers.Gov. Brian Kemp will face primary challengers from former US Senator David Perdue, who has been endorsed by Trump, and state Rep. Vernon Jones. Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger is facing a Trump-endorsed primary challenge from GOP Rep. Jody Hice, one of the congressmen who led the charge to object to counting electoral votes on January 6. Stacey Abrams is the strong frontrunner in the Democratic primary for a potential rematch against Kemp. In the House, two Democratic incumbents, Rep. Lucy McBath and Rep. Carolyn Bourdeaux, will also face off in the primary for the new 7th District. North Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama all hold runoff elections later in the summer for races in which no one candidate earns a plurality or a majority of the vote outright. In this Sunday, Oct. 10, 2021, photo Republican Adam Laxalt, flanked by pictures of Presidents Abraham Lincoln and Ronald Reagan, talks to a supporter at the Douglas County Republican Party Headquarters on the final day of his Senate campaign's statewide tour in Gardnerville, NevAP Photo/Sam MentzJune:The battleground state of Nevada will hold primaries for races including its competitive Senate contest, on June 14, where former Attorney General Adam Laxalt is the frontrunner to run against Democratic Sen. Catherine Cortez-Masto.South Carolina is holding House primaries on June 14 in which GOP Reps. Nancy Mace and Tom Rice, who vocally criticized Trump over the January 6 insurrection, could both face Trump-backed primary challengers.California, Illinois, and New York, key Democratic strongholds which all lost one House seat each in post-2020 reapportionment, are also holding their House primaries in June. California's independent redistricting commission drew a Democratic-friendly map that, along with four House retirements, avoided pitting incumbents against each other but sets the stage for some competitive primaries on June 14.On June 28, Illinois, where state lawmakers drew an aggressive Democratic gerrymander, will see two member-on-member primaries: one between Democratic Reps. Sean Casten and Marie Newmanin the Chicago suburbs and downstate between two Republicans, Trump-endorsed Rep. Mary Miller, and Rep. Rodney Davis.New York's congressional lines aren't close to being finalized yet. But further up the ballot, Gov. Kathy Hochul, who ascended to the office in August 2021, is seeking the nomination for a full term against challengers including Rep. Tom Suozzi, New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, and likely New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio.In this Dec. 14, 2020, file photo, Arizona Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, a Democratic candidate for governor, addresses the members of Arizona's Electoral College in Phoenix.AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin, Pool, FileAugust:August will be a significant test of Trump's ability to punish high-profile members of Congress who voted to impeach and convict him for inciting the January 6 insurrection, and to shape competitive Republican primaries. And two more Trump-backed candidates are running for key election administration positions in the presidential swing states of Arizona and Michigan.The month starts on August 2 with competitive primaries in Arizona, Missouri, Michigan, and Washington.  In Arizona, Trump-endorsed candidate and former TV anchor Kari Lake is seeking the GOP nomination to replace Gov. Doug Ducey, who is term-limited, against State Treasurer Kimberly Yee, state Regent Karrin Taylor Robson, former Rep. Matt Salmon, and businessman Steve Gaynor. Secretary of State Katie Hobbs, who gained a national profile for defending the 2020 election results and rebuffing the partisan review of the 2020 election results in Arizona, is seeking the Democratic nomination for governor along with former state Rep. Aaron Lieberman. A crowded field of candidates, including Attorney General Mark Brnovich, Thiel Foundation president Blake Masters, and businessman Jim Lamon, are competing for the GOP nomination for US Senate to take on Democratic Sen. Mark Kelly. Trump-endorsed state Rep. Mark Finchem, who has echoed Trump's lies that the 2020 election was stolen, is competing for the Republican nomination for secretary of state against fellow state Rep. Shawnna Bolick and State Sen. Michelle Ugenti-Rita. Former Maricopa Recorder Adrian Fontes and Arizona's House Minority Leader Reginald Bolling are running in the Democratic primary for the top election job. Former Gov. Eric Greitens, left, and Attorney General Eric Schmitt, right, are the leading candidates for the GOP nomination for US Senate in MissouriAP Photo/Jeff RobersonIn Missouri, a crowded field of Republicans, including former Gov. Eric Greitens, Attorney General Eric Schmitt, Reps. Vicky Hartzler and Billy Long, and personal injury lawyer Mark McCloskey, are competing for the nomination for US Senate to replace retiring GOP Sen. Roy Blunt in the now solidly-Republican state. Trump has not yet endorsed candidates in either the Arizona or Missouri Senate primaries. In the key swing state of Michigan, Republicans will select nominees to run against Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, Attorney General Dana Nessel, and Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson. Trump-endorsed Kristina Karamo is seeking to challenge Benson for the state's top election post.Due to redistricting, Democratic Reps. Haley Stevens and Andy Levin will face off in the primary for Michigan's new 11th Congressional District. Rep. Peter Meijer, one of the Republicans who voted to impeach Trump over January 6, is also set to face a Trump-backed primary challenger.Two Washington State House Republicans who voted to impeach Trump, Rep. Dan Newhouse and Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, who has a Trump-endorsed primary challenger, are also seeking reelection on August 2.On August 9, voters in battleground Wisconsin will select a Democratic nominee for Senate to run for the seat currently held by GOP Sen. Ron Johnson, who hasn't yet confirmed whether he's running for election, and a Republican nominee to take on Democratic Gov. Tony Evers. Rep. Liz Cheney speaks with U.S. Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino Gonell after a House select committee hearing on the Jan. 6 attack on Capitol Hill. Cheney is facing a primary challenger endorsed by Trump.Jim Bourg/Pool via AP, FileOn August 16, two of Trump's most high-profile Republican foes in Congress will face primary challenges. Sen. Lisa Murkowski will face off against Trump-endorsed primary challenger Kelly Tshibaka under Alaska's first-ever top-four primary election system. And Rep. Liz Cheney, the Republican vice-chair of the House Select Committee probing the January 6 insurrection, will face Trump-backed Harriet Hageman in Wyoming's at-large House seat. Florida rounds out the month with its August 23 primaries. Democrats will decide on a nominee to take on GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis between Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried, Rep. Charlie Crist, and State Sen. Annette Taddeo. Voters will also pick a Democratic nominee to take on Sen. Marco Rubio out of a field currently led by Rep. Val Demings.September: New England will finish out the primary cycle. Republicans, who have struggled to recruit a candidate to run against vulnerable Democratic Sen. Maggie Hassan in New Hampshire, will select a nominee on September 13. And in the House, a crowded field of GOP candidates including Gail Huff Brown, former TV anchor and wife of former Sen. Scott Brown, former State Department spokesman Matt Mowers, and former Trump White House spokeswoman Karoline Leavitt are competing to take on Rep. Chris Pappas. Massachusetts will select nominees to replace outgoing GOP Gov. Charlie Baker, whose decision not to run for a third term creates a prime pickup opportunity for Democrats. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderJan 5th, 2022