Subway suspension drags on for 3 lines as staff drifts back

About 6.3% of the system’s 67,000 workers are currently is out due to Covid, according to the MTA To view the full story, click the title link......»»

Category: blogSource: crainsnewyorkJan 14th, 2022

Futures Rise Ahead Of Biggest Fed Rate Hike Since The Dot Com Bubble Burst

Futures Rise Ahead Of Biggest Fed Rate Hike Since The Dot Com Bubble Burst May the 4th is here, and US futures are up slightly ahead of a key Federal Reserve meeting in which the Fed is widely expected to raise rates by 50bps, the biggest hike since the dot com bubble burst in May 2000, and to release plans for balance-sheet normalization; Chair Powell’s post-meeting press conference will provide guidance on potential for bigger rate hikes at subsequent meetings and policy makers’ assessment of the neutral rate. As DB's Jim Reid puts it, "if you're under 43, did 3 years at university and then joined financial markets then you won't have worked in an era of 50bps Fed rate hikes. This will very likely change tonight as the Fed are a near certainty to raise rates by 50bps. In fact it'll be the first time the Fed have hiked at consecutive meetings since 2006. So we enter a new era that won't be familiar to many." In any case, investors have already priced in the Fed’s largest hike since 2000 - in fact, OIS contracts currently price in around 160bp of additional hikes over the next three policy meetings -  and they will scrutinize Chair Jerome Powell’s speech for clues on the pace of future rate increases and balance-sheet reduction. Some traders are betting on an even larger 75 basis-point hike in June. As such, even though global financial conditions are already the tightest they have ever been (according to Goldman), S&P and Nasdaq futures are both up 0.5%, while 10-year yields drifts lower, having stalled again near 3% at the European open. "Powell’s words about how aggressively the Fed will tame inflation are likely to shape market sentiment for the next couple of weeks at least," said technical analyst Pierre Veyret at ActivTrades in London. Lyft tumbled 26% in premarket trading after the ride-hailing company’s second-quarter outlook disappointed Wall Street. Global bonds have slumped under a wave of monetary tightening, with German 10-year yields around 1% and the U.K.’s near 2%, while US 10Y yields are circling 3%. Adding to the tightening outlook, European Central Bank Executive Board Member Isabel Schnabel said it’s time for policy makers to take action to tame inflation, and that an interest-rate hike might come as early as July. Meanwhile, Iceland’s central bank delivered its biggest hike since the 2008 financial crisis and India’s raised its key interest rate in a surprise move Wednesday. “There is a difficult set up in general for risk assets” as valuations remain stretched despite a drop in equities, Kathryn Koch, chief investment officer for public markets equity at Goldman Sachs & Co., said on Bloomberg Television. She added that “some people think stagflation is a real risk.” In premarket trading, Didi Global was 6% lower and Chinese technology shares slumped as the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating the ride-hailing giant’s chaotic 2021 debut in New York.  Advanced Micro Devices jumped 5.7% in premarket trading after the chipmaker gave a strong sales forecast for the current quarter. Starbucks gained 6.6% after the coffee chain reported higher-than-expected U.S. sales, outweighing the negative impact of high inflation and Chinese lockdowns. Here are some of the biggest U.S. movers today: Lyft (LYFT) shares slump 27% premarket after the ride-hailing company’s second-quarter outlook disappointed Wall Street, highlighting investors’ willingness to dump growth stocks at the first hint of trouble Uber (UBER) slipped as Lyft’s results hit the more diversified peer. Uber said it rescheduled the release of its 1Q financial results and its quarterly conference to Wednesday morning from the afternoon, after rival Lyft gave a weaker-than-expected outlook Airbnb (ABNB) jumps 4.5% premarket after its second-quarter revenue forecast beat estimates, with the company seeing “substantial demand” after more than two years of Covid-19 restrictions Livent (LHTM) shares surge 23% premarket, with KeyBanc highlighting an increase in the lithium product maker’s 2022 Ebitda guidance Match Group (MTCH) slips 6.7% premarket as analysts say the miss in the dating-app company’s guidance takes some of the shine off its revenue beat Didi Global (DIDI) led a drop in U.S.-listed Chinese internet stocks after news of an SEC investigation into the ride-hailing company’s 2021 debut in New York added to investor concerns around the sector Skyworks Solutions (SKWS) shares drop 2.5% premarket after the semiconductor device company gave a forecast that was below the average analyst estimate Herbalife (HLF) sinks 17% premarket after slashing its full-year forecast and setting second-quarter adjusted earnings per share outlook below the average analyst estimate Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) rises as much as 7.5% in premarket trading, with analysts positive on the demand the chipmaker is seeing from data centers Akamai (AKAM) falls as much as 14% after analysts noted that a slowdown in internet traffic and the loss of revenue due to the war in Ukraine hit the company’s first-quarter results and full-year guidance JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon said in an interview Wednesday that the Fed should have moved quicker to raise rates as inflation hits the world economy. He said there was a 33% chance of the Federal Reserve’s actions leading to a soft landing for the U.S. economy and a third chance of a mild recession. “The Fed remains very focused on bringing inflation down, however, any further hawkish pivots will likely be tempered to some extent by the desire to achieve a soft landing,” Blerina Uruci, U.S. economist at T. Rowe Price Group Inc., wrote in a note. In Europe, declines for retailers and most other industry groups outweighed gains for energy, media and travel and leisure companies, pulling the Stoxx 600 Europe Index down 0.6%. The DAX outperforms, dropping 0.4%, Stoxx 600 lags, dropping 0.5%. Retailers, financial services and construction are the worst performing sectors. Here are the biggest European movers: Flutter Entertainment rises more than 6.9% its 1Q update matched broker expectations. Jefferies says a strong U.S. performance fuels confidence that a profitability “tipping point” is nearing. Kindred shares advance after its second-biggest shareholder, Corvex Management LP, said it believes Kindred’s board should evaluate strategic alternatives including a sale or merger. Fresenius SE shares rise as much as 4.2% on beating 1Q expectations. The beat was driven by the Kabi pharmaceutical division, which benefited from a positive FX impact, according to Jefferies. Siemens Healthineers rises after the German health care firm upgraded its earnings guidance. The beat was driven by a “strong performance” in its diagnostics division, Jefferies says. Stillfront shares rise as much as 10% after the Swedish video gaming group presented its latest earnings. Handelsbanken says the report provides good news, justifying some relief in the shares. Yara and K+S climb after the EU’s proposal to sanction the largest Belarus potash companies. Yara may see higher input prices but its market share may rise in wake of a ban, analysts note. Skanska falls as much as 12% after the construction group presented its latest earnings. The report was overall in-line, but construction margins were a weakness, Kepler Cheuvreux says. Earlier in the session, Asian stocks declined for a third straight day, with the Federal Reserve’s upcoming policy decision and a U.S. regulatory probe into Didi Global weighing on sentiment. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index fell by as much as 0.5%, with Chinese internet giants Tencent and Alibaba the biggest drags. The sector declined on news that the U.S. regulators are investigating Didi’s 2021 trading debut in New York. India’s stock measures fell the most in the region as the domestic central bank hiked a key policy rate in an unscheduled decision. Benchmarks in Hong Kong and Vietnam also fell as some markets returned from holidays, while Japan and China remained closed. All eyes are now on the Fed’s interest-rate decision on Wednesday, with policy makers expected to hike by 50 basis points, the biggest increase since 2000.   “We have two forces of gravity working on Asian equities -the rising interest rates and the lockdowns and weaker growth in China,” Herald van der Linde, head of Asia Pacific equity strategy at HSBC, told Bloomberg Television. The MSCI Asia gauge has dropped more than 13% this year as rising borrowing costs, China’s Covid-19 lockdowns and rising inflation hurt prospects for corporate profits. Shanghai’s exit from a five-week lockdown that has snarled global supply chains is being delayed by infections persistently appearing in the community. “The most important decision Asian equity investors have to make throughout this year may be duration, how to position themselves if inflation is going to peak,” van der Linde added. In rates, treasuries advanced, outperforming bunds and rising with stock futures, although price action remains subdued ahead of 2pm ET Fed policy decision. Intermediate sectors lead the advance, with yields richer by ~2bp in 5- to 10-year sectors, before Treasury’s quarterly refunding announcement at 8:30am. Yields little changed across 2-year sector, flattening 2s10s by ~1.5bp; 10-year at ~2.96% outperforms bunds and gilts by ~3.5bp. Dollar issuance slate empty so far; two borrowers priced $3.7b Tuesday taking weekly total past $8b as new-issue activity remains light; at least two borrowers stood down from announcing deals. Bund and gilt curves bear flatten. Euribor futures drop 7-8 ticks in red and green packs following comments from ECB’s Schnabel late Tuesday. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index was little changed and the dollar was steady to slightly weaker against most of its Group- of-10 peers. Treasuries were steady, with the 10-year yield nudging 3%. The euro hovered around $1.0520 and European bonds fell. The pound rose past the key $1.25 level and gilts fell in line with euro-area peers, as traders braced for the FOMC rate decision later Wednesday and eyed Thursday’s Bank of England meeting. Data from the British Retail Consortium showed shop price inflation accelerated to 2.7% from a year ago in April, the most since 2011. Australia’s dollar advanced against all its Group-of-10 peers and the nation’s sovereign bonds extended losses as retail sales rising to a record high boosted bets for central bank tightening. Retail sales surged 1.6% in March to A$33.6b, more than triple economists’ forecast for a 0.5% increase. Bitcoin is bid this morning, in contrast to the recent contained sessions, posting upside in excess of 3.0% on the session; albeit, yet to mount a test of the USD 40k mark. In commodities, oil rallies after the European Union proposed to ban Russian crude oil over the next six months; however, sources indicate that Hungary and Slovakia will receive an extend phase-our period in order to appease their known opposition. WTI drifts 3.2% higher with gains capped near $105 so far. Spot gold steady at $1,868/Oz. Most base metals trade in the green Looking at the day ahead, the main highlight will be the aforementioned Fed decision, along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. On the data side, we’ll also get the final services and composite PMIs from around the world, UK mortgage approvals and Euro Area retail sales for March, and US data for the March trade balance, the ISM services index for April, and the ADP’s report of private payrolls for April. Finally, earnings releases include CVS Health, Booking Holdings, Regeneron, Uber, Marriott International and Moderna. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures up 0.3% to 4,180.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.4% to 444.21 MXAP down 0.3% to 167.37 MXAPJ down 0.4% to 553.87 Nikkei down 0.1% to 26,818.53 Topix little changed at 1,898.35 Hang Seng Index down 1.1% to 20,869.52 Shanghai Composite up 2.4% to 3,047.06 Sensex down 1.2% to 56,318.69 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.2% to 7,304.68 Kospi down 0.1% to 2,677.57 German 10Y yield little changed at 1.00% Euro little changed at $1.0527 Brent Futures up 3.6% to $108.77/bbl Gold spot up 0.1% to $1,870.11 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 103.40 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg A lot is riding on how Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell parries a question he’ll surely be asked after Wednesday’s monetary policy decision: is a 75-basis-point rate hike in the cards at some stage? The negative-yielding bond is nearing extinction: there’s only 100 left in the world. That’s down from over 4,500 such securities last year in the Bloomberg Global Aggregate Negative Yielding Debt index, following a surge in yields as investors bet on imminent interest-rate hikes. The EU plans to ban Russian crude oil over the next six months and refined fuels by the end of the year as part of a sixth round of sanctions to increase pressure on Vladimir Putin over his invasion of Ukraine The ECB should consider raising interest rates as soon as July as inflation accelerates, ERR reported, citing Governing Council member Madis Muller North Korea launched what appeared to be a medium-range ballistic missile Wednesday, as Kim Jong Un ramps up his nuclear program ahead of U.S. President Joe Biden’s first visit to Seoul Iceland’s central bank delivered its biggest hike since the 2008 financial crisis to try to curb inflation and rein in Europe’s fastest house-price rally. The Monetary Policy Committee in Reykjavik lifted the seven-day term deposit rate by 100 basis points to 3.75%, accelerating tightening with its largest move yet since the pandemic. The increase was within the range of outcomes indicated by recent surveys of market participants A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks were cautious amid holiday closures and as markets braced for the incoming FOMC. ASX 200 was rangebound as strength in financials was offset by tech and consumer sector losses. Hang Seng underperformed amid a tech rout and after a wider than expected contraction in Hong Kong’s advanced Q1 GDP, while China’s COVID-19 woes persisted with Beijing tightening its restrictions. Top Asian News Hong Kong Plots Different Covid Path to Xi’s Zero Tolerance Beijing Shuts Metro Stations and Suspends Bus Routes Didi Leads Slump in U.S.-Listed Chinese Shares Amid SEC Probe Record India IPO Opens to Retail Amid Fickle Markets: ECM Watch European bourses, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.3%, are modestly softer after another subdued but limited APAC handover amid ongoing regional closures. US futures remain in tight pre-FOMC ranges, with participants also awaiting ISM Services and ADP. In Europe, sectors are mostly lower with the exception. US President Biden's administration is reportedly moving towards the imposition of human-rights related sanctions on Hikvision, according to FT sources; final decision has not been taken. Top European News Hungary Voices Objection to EU Sanctions Plan on Russian Oil U.K. Mortgage Approvals Fall to 70.7k in March Vs. Est. 70k European Energy Prices Jump as EU Proposes Banning Russian Oil Boohoo Plunges as Online Clothing Retailer’s Growth Wilts FX DXY anchored around 103.500 awaiting FOMC and Fed chair Powell for further guidance. Aussie gets retail therapy and hawkish RBA rate calls to consolidate gains made in wake of 25 bp hike; AUD/USD pivots 0.7100 and AUD/NZD 1.1050. Kiwi elevated following NZ labour data showing record low unemployment and strength in wages, NZD/USD tightens grip of 0.6400 handle and closer to half round number above. Loonie on a firmer footing ahead of Canadian trade as oil prices bounce, USD/CAD towards base of a broad 1.2850-00 range. Indian Rupee rallies after RBI lifts benchmark rate and reserve ratio at off-cycle policy meeting, former up 40 bp to 4.40% and latter +50 bp to 4.50%. Euro, Yen and Franc remain in close proximity of round and psychological numbers, circa 1.0500, 130.00 and 0.9800 respectively. RBI raises its key repo rate by 40bps to 4.4% in an off-cycle meeting; Also raises the cash reserve ratio by 50bps to 4.5%. Will retain accommodative policy stands but will remain focused on the withdrawal of accommodation. Fixed Income Bonds attempt to nurse some losses before FOMC and a busy agenda in the run up, including ADP, Quarterly Refunding details and the services ISM. Bunds back from a 152.44 low to 153.00+, Gilts edging towards 118.00 from 117.55 and 10 year T-note fractionally above par within a 118-17+/06 range. German Green issuance well received as cover climbs from prior sale and retention dips, albeit with the average yield sharply higher. Commodities WTI and Brent are bolstered amid the EU unveiling the sixth round of Russian sanctions, seeing a complete import ban on all Russian oil, benchmarks firmer by circa. USD 3.5/bbl However, sources indicate that Hungary and Slovakia will receive an extend phase-our period in order to appease their known opposition. US Energy Inventory Data (bbls): Crude -3.5mln (exp. -0.8mln), Gasoline -4.5mln (exp. -0.6mln), Distillate -4.5mln (exp. -1.3mln), Cushing +1.0mln. India is looking for Russian oil at under USD 70/bbl on a delivered basis in order to compensate for additional components incl. securing financing, via Bloomberg sources; adding, that India has purchased over 40mln/bbl of Russian crude since late-Feb. OPEC+ sees the 2022 surplus at 1.9mln, +600k BPD from the prior forecasts, according to the JTC report. Several OPEC+ officials expected the current oil pact to continue, according to Argus Media. US Event Calendar 07:00: April MBA Mortgage Applications, prior -8.3% 08:15: April ADP Employment Change, est. 382,000, prior 455,000 08:30: March Trade Balance, est. -$107.1b, prior -$89.2b 09:45: April S&P Global US Services PMI, est. 54.7, prior 54.7 09:45: April S&P Global US Composite PMI, est. 55.1, prior 55.1 10:00: April ISM Services Index, est. 58.5, prior 58.3 14:00: May Interest on Reserve Balances R, est. 0.90%, prior 0.40% 14:00: May FOMC Rate Decision; est. 0.75%, prior 0.25% DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap I feel like I aged 20 years after the first half of the Champions League semi-final last night. Luckily the second half was less stressful and Liverpool are through to the final. I don't think I got those 20 years back though. Talking of age, if you're under 43, did 3 years at university and then joined financial markets then you won't have worked in an era of 50bps Fed rate hikes. This will very likely change tonight as the Fed are a near certainty to raise rates by 50bps. In fact it'll be the first time the Fed have hiked at consecutive meetings since 2006. So we enter a new era that won't be familiar to many. In terms of what to expect later, our US economists are also calling for a 50bps hike in their preview (link here), which follows the comment from Chair Powell before the blackout period that “50 basis points will be on the table” at this meeting. Looking forward, they further see Powell affirming market pricing that further 50bp hikes are ahead, and our US economists believe this will be the first of 3 consecutive 50bp moves, which will eventually take the Fed funds to a peak of 3.6% in mid-2023. We’re also expecting an announcement that balance sheet rundown will begin in June, with terminal cap sizes of $60bn for Treasuries and $35bn for MBS, with both to be phased in over 3 months. See Tim’s preview on QT (link here) for more info on that as well. While the Fed might have already begun their hiking cycle 7 weeks ago now, the sense that they’re behind the curve has only grown over that time. For example, the latest inflation data from March showed CPI hitting a 40-year high of +8.5%, meaning that the Fed Funds rate was beneath -8% in real terms that month, which is lower than at any point during the 1970s. Meanwhile the labour market has continued to tighten as well, with unemployment at a post-pandemic low of 3.6% in March, and data out yesterday showed that the number of job openings hit a record high of 11.55m (vs. 11.2m expected) as well. That means the number of vacancies per unemployed worker stood at a record high of 1.94 in March, which speaks to the labour shortages present across numerous sectors at the minute. Ahead of the decision later on, the S&P 500 surrendered an intraday gain of more than +1% to finish the day +0.48% higher, in another New York afternoon turnaround. Energy (+2.87%) and financials (+1.26%) did most of the work keeping the index afloat after dipping its toes in the red late in the day, while only two sectors ultimately finished lower, staples (-0.24%) and discretionary (-0.29%). A sizable 35 S&P 500 companies reported earnings before the close, but there weren’t any standout results to drive an index-wide response. Indeed, the mega-cap FANG+ index only slightly underperformed the broader index at +0.11%. In Europe the STOXX 600 was up +0.53%, closing before the New York reversal. In line with the turnaround, overall volatility remained elevated, with the VIX index (-3.09pts) closing just below the 30 mark. Ahead of today’s FOMC decision US Treasuries continued their recent back-and-forth price action. The 10yr yield ended ever so slightly lower at -0.1bps. That masks continued rates volatility, however, with the 10yr as much as -8bps lower intraday after having moved above 3% in the previous session for the first time since 2018. The back-and-forth was matched by real yields, as 10yr real yields were as many as -11bps lower before closing down just -0.1bps, comfortably in positive territory for only the second day since March 2020 at 0.14%. The curve flattened as short-end rates moved higher, with 2yr yields gaining +5.1bps, after most tenors were lower earlier in the session. In Europe, yields on 10yr bunds moved above 1% in trading for the first time since 2015 shortly after the open. Yields did then swing lower, but subsequently recovered to be down just -0.2bps at 0.961%. However, bunds were one of the stronger-performing European sovereigns yesterday, and the spread of both Italian (+2.2bps) and Spanish (+1.1bps) 10yr yields over bunds widened to fresh post-Covid highs in both cases, at 191bps and 106bps respectively. Asian equity markets are mixed in a holiday thinned session ahead of the Fed’s key rate decision later. The Hang Seng (-0.90%) is trading in negative territory as a decline in Chinese listed tech stocks is weighing on sentiment. Elsewhere, the Kospi (-0.15%) and S&P/ASX 200 (-0.08%) are fractionally lower. Meanwhile, markets in Japan and mainland China are closed today for holidays. Oil prices are slightly higher amid rising prospects of an EU embargo of Russian crude oil. As I type, Brent and WTI futures are c.+1% up to trade at $106.09/bbl and $103.53/bbl respectively. Early morning data showed that Australia’s retail sales rose for the third consecutive month, advancing +1.6% m/m in March and going past market estimates for a + 0.5% gain. It followed a +1.8% rise in February. Looking at yesterday’s other data releases, US factory orders grew by a stronger-than-expected +2.2% in March (vs. +1.2% expected). And over in Europe, German unemployment fell be -13k in April (vs. -15k expected), whilst the Euro Area unemployment rate in March fell to 6.8%, which is the lowest since the single currency’s formation. Finally, Euro Area PPI in March soared to 36.8% (vs. 36.3% expected), which is also a record since the single currency’s formation. To the day ahead now, and the main highlight will be the aforementioned Fed decision, along with Chair Powell’s subsequent press conference. On the data side, we’ll also get the final services and composite PMIs from around the world, UK mortgage approvals and Euro Area retail sales for March, and US data for the March trade balance, the ISM services index for April, and the ADP’s report of private payrolls for April. Finally, earnings releases include CVS Health, Booking Holdings, Regeneron, Uber, Marriott International and Moderna. Tyler Durden Wed, 05/04/2022 - 07:50.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 4th, 2022

White House Has Not Studied How Forgiving Student Loans May Impact Inflation: Psaki

White House Has Not Studied How Forgiving Student Loans May Impact Inflation: Psaki Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times, The Biden administration is weighing up using income to determine eligibility as part of a potential plan to cancel hundreds of millions of dollars of federal student loan debt but has not yet analyzed how it would impact inflation, the White House said Monday. Biden promised during his 2020 presidential campaign that he would cancel $10,000 debt for each borrower. An analysis by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York says that doing so would translate to canceling $321 billion in federal student loans, or the entire balance for 11.8 million borrowers. Last week, the president floated that idea again, which would possibly be through executive action, although it is unclear if he has the legal authority to do so. During a White House press briefing on Monday, press secretary Jen Psaki was asked whether an income cap for any potential student relief program was being considered. “There is,” Psaki said. “And he has talked about that back to when he ran for president,” she noted. Psaki stressed that income caps would ensure that the relief is “targeted to those graduates who have the greatest need” but noted that the White House is not yet “at the point where we have a final proposal or a final executive action or anything along those lines.” Biden said on Thursday that he was considering canceling “some” outstanding federal student loan debt, but ruled out a proposal by some Democratic lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) to erase $50,000 in debt for each borrower. “I am not considering $50,000 in debt reduction, but I’m in the process of taking a hard look at whether there will be debt forgiveness, and I’ll have an answer in the next couple of weeks,” Biden said at a White House press conference. Prior to his comments, Schumer reportedly said that Biden was “getting closer” to a $50,000 blanket forgiveness for all borrowers, something that he and other Democrats, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Reps. Ayanna Pressley (D-Mass.) and Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), have advocated for. The Senate majority leader has called on Biden to use his executive power to cancel the thousands of dollars in loan debt and to ensure that the canceled debt won’t be treated as taxable income. However, critics fear such a program could further worsen inflation, currently at a 40-year high in the United States. Psaki was also asked on Monday whether or not the Biden administration has analyzed how much student loan forgiveness would impact already sky-high inflation. “I know there’s been outside analysis of that, but I don’t have any internal analysis at this point to preview for you,” she responded. Republican senators last week pushed for legislation aimed at preventing Biden from rolling out such a plan. Sponsored by Senate Minority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), alongside Sens. Richard Burr (R-N.C.), Mike Braun (R-Ind.), Bill Cassidy (R-La.), and Roger Marshall (R-Kan.), the legislation would bar Biden or the education secretary from canceling outstanding federal student loan balances without the approval of Congress. “Taxpayers and working families should not be responsible for continuing to bear the costs associated with this suspension of repayment,” Thune said in a statement. “This common-sense legislation would protect taxpayers and prevent President Biden from suspending federal student loan repayments in perpetuity. Any future suspension of federal student loan repayments should be left to Congress, not the Biden administration.” Tyler Durden Tue, 05/03/2022 - 12:45.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeMay 3rd, 2022

Pelosi said lawmakers should "just go to the beach and forget the whole thing" if voting rights legislation failed, book says

Pelosi clashed with the White House over what she saw as lack of urgency to pass the bill and even "trashed" a senior advisor, according to a new book. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks during her weekly news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, March 31, 2022.AP Photo/Mariam Zuhaib Pelosi said lawmakers should "go to the beach and forget the whole thing" if voting rights bills failed. A new book by two New York Times reporters details the failure of voting rights legislation.  Pelosi clashed with the White House over the urgency to pass sweeping democracy reform measures.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said democracy would be so endangered without new federal voting rights laws that lawmakers should "go to the beach and forget the whole thing" if Congress didn't pass a voting rights bill, according to a forthcoming book from two New York Times reporters.Spoiler: the bill failed, and Democrats never flocked to the beach.When Democrats took control of the US Senate in January 2021, one of Pelosi's top priorities was to pass H.R.1, also known as the "For the People Act," — Democrats' wide-ranging voting rights and democracy reform bill."If the measure did not pass, then Pelosi said she believed American democracy was doomed and lawmakers might as well 'go to the beach and forget the whole thing,'" wrote authors Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns in their forthcoming book "This Will Not Pass," which Insider obtained ahead of its May 3 release. The mammoth-sized legislative package included sweeping new voting rights measures that would standardize the US' state-by-state patchwork voting and election laws. It also featured reforms to tighten campaign finance regulations and fortify federal ethics rules. It seemed to have significant momentum in the aftermath of the January 6 attack on the US Capitol and outgoing President Donald Trump's continued denial of his 2020 presidential election loss.But not everyone shared Pelosi's urgency to pass the bill — and she quickly found herself clashing with key White House advisors over what she saw as a lack of urgency and commitment to the measure. Pelosi, the authors wrote, grew increasingly "frustrated" with the White House for not taking a more hands-on role in lobbying for the bill on Capitol Hill. In one meeting detailed in the book, Pelosi "trashed" senior White House advisor Anita Dunn — behind Dunn's back — for doubting the necessity of the legislation, the authors wrote. When White House chief of staff Ron Klain tried to defend Dunn, Pelosi called Klain's dedication to the bill into question, too, the book says. And "if Pelosi was incensed, Biden's advisers were equally annoyed by her attachment to the catch-all bill, especially some of the proposed campaign finance restrictions that they feared would hinder Democrats more than Republicans," the authors wrote.    The book did not specify which campaign finance reforms White House officials objected to in the bill.But the bill included major elements of the DISCLOSE Act, a bill that would crack down on nonprofit and social welfare organizations that aren't required to disclose their donors spending so-called "dark money" to influence elections. It also called for an overhaul of the bipartisan Federal Election Commission, whose commissioners often disagree on how to enforce federal campaign finance laws. Many Democrats have denounced the rise of "dark money" on the right. But Democrats are increasingly benefiting from "dark" and hard-to-trace campaign spending themselves. Liberal nonprofits are catching up to and, by some accounts, even exceeding "dark money" spending from conservative money in both federal and state-level elections.And Biden, who has so far declined to take executive actions that would dramatically reshape the FEC, was "somewhat ambivalent" about the legislation's priorities. "The president's main concern was not gerrymandering or campaign finance reform, but election subversion by foreign enemies or domestic saboteurs," the authors wrote. "Pelosi's cherished bill did nothing to address that threat." House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of California, joined by Texas lawmakers, speaks at a news conference on a voting rights bill on Capitol Hill in Washington on June 15, 2021.AP Photo/Andrew HarnikIt was Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer who had the far tougher hand in getting voting rights measures that drew near-nonexistent Republican support through an evenly-divided Senate under the current filibuster rules.  The authors described Schumer as "depleted" and "adrift" over the fate of voting rights as Republicans filibustered every bill he brought to the floor.The Senate leader was tasked simultaneously with fielding discontent from donors and anger from voting rights advocates over the lack of progress while lobbying moderate Democratic Sens. Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema to soften their long-held opposition to weakening the filibuster. Manchin helped draft and got behind the Freedom to Vote Act, a slimmed-down version of H.R. 1 that focused on voting rights — and named for the late congressman John Lewis that would restore and strengthen the Voting Rights Act of 1965. In January of 2022, Schumer brought both bills, combined into one package, to the floor — along with a plan to force a vote on filibuster reform.But Manchin and Sinema joined all 50 Senate Republicans in voting against a one-time change to the chamber's filibuster rules that would more easily allow Democrats to pass the measures along party lines, striking the fatal blow to Democrats' voting rights push. White House press secretary Jen Psaki, for her part, offered a far more optimistic spin on the state of American democracy than Pelosi's reported comment that lawmakers should "give up and go the beach" if voting rights and democracy reform protections didn't pass. "My advice to everyone out there who's frustrated, sad, angry, pissed off: feel those emotions, go to a kickboxing class, have a margarita, do whatever you need to do this weekend, and then wake up on Monday morning, we gotta keep fighting," Psaki said in an interview of ABC's "The View" after the defeat of the bills. Pelosi's office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 29th, 2022

ATCO Properties & Management welcomes Mount Sinai to 373 Park Avenue South

 ATCO Properties & Management announced today that it has finalized a 10-year, 17,464 square-foot lease with Mount Sinai to open a cardiology office at 373 Park Avenue South in the Flatiron District. The new lease encompasses the entire 11th and 12th floors of the boutique 12-story, 110,000 square-foot building, located on the southeast corner between... The post ATCO Properties & Management welcomes Mount Sinai to 373 Park Avenue South appeared first on Real Estate Weekly.  ATCO Properties & Management announced today that it has finalized a 10-year, 17,464 square-foot lease with Mount Sinai to open a cardiology office at 373 Park Avenue South in the Flatiron District. The new lease encompasses the entire 11th and 12th floors of the boutique 12-story, 110,000 square-foot building, located on the southeast corner between East 26th and 27th Streets. Mount Sinai is an integrated health care system that provides comprehensive medical care to local and global communities. Encompassing the Icahn School of Medicine and eight hospital campuses in the New York metropolitan area, as well as a large, regional ambulatory footprint, it is internationally known for its excellence in research, patient care, and education across a range of specialties. “We’re thrilled to be able to accommodate Mount Sinai’s needs for its new cardiology center and provide the neighborhood with another important health and wellness amenity,” said Kate Hemmerdinger Goodman, co-president of ATCO Properties & Management. “373 Park Avenue South’s combination of classic architecture, modern infrastructure and prime location will make for a welcoming, convenient and efficient medical environment for patients and staff alike.” Leonard Zimmerman at Hemsley Spear represented Mount Sinai in the transaction, while Kate Goodman represented building ownership in-house. Asking rent was $59 per square foot. Built in the early 1900s, 373 Park Avenue South benefits from a prime location near Madison Square Park, restaurants, and multiple subway lines. Major tenants at the property include Simplebet, LaunchSquad, Neuehouse. Advanced Focus, and Lifetime Brands Inc. Retail tenants include Mexican restaurant Dos Caminos. The building offers 8,732 square-foot floor plates. Available commercial space includes fully built out space on the 2nd and 6th floor with western views that allow for sunny exposures and low loss factors. Certain suites include exposed brick walls. For more information on ATCO, please contact 212-687-5154 or visit The post ATCO Properties & Management welcomes Mount Sinai to 373 Park Avenue South appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyApr 28th, 2022

A NASA helicopter took photos of wreckage from a rover that landed on Mars. It"s yet another example of how humans are polluting other worlds.

The 4-pound chopper, the first aircraft to take flight on another world, snapped pictures of the Perseverance rover's discarded landing gear. The parachute and cone-shaped backshell of the Perseverance rover, captured by NASA's Ingenuity helicopter, on April 19, 2022.NASA/JPL-Caltech A NASA helicopter captured photos of the gear that helped the Perseverance rover land on Mars in 2021. The images show debris, including a discarded parachute, on the floor of the planet's Jezero Crater. Space junk, left by humans in orbit or on other planets, is growing concern for space agencies.  NASA's Ingenuity helicopter captured a bird's-eye view of human-made space junk on another planet — the landing gear that helped it, and the Perseverance rover, get to the red planet.The 4-pound Ingenuity chopper, the first aircraft to take flight on another world, located and captured photos of the wreckage of a dust-covered, orange-and-white parachute and a backshell — or the protective cover, which stored the chute — from 26 feet in the air. The pictures, which NASA shared Wednesday, were taken on the one-year anniversary of Ingenuity's first foray into Martian skies on April 19, 2021.Tasked with searching for signs of ancient life, Perseverance landed on Mars on February 18, 2021, after a 300-million-mile journey that took seven months. NASA's Perseverance rover descends onto the Red Planet, on February 18, 2021.NASA/JPL-CaltechOfficials at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory said in a statement that the landing gear held up pretty well. The backshell acted as a heat shield to the SUV-sized Perseverance (and the helicopter tucked in its belly) throughout its lengthy trek from Earth. During its descent toward the Martian surface, the rover deployed a parachute to slow it down and stick the landing at Jezero Crater — home to what was once an ancient river delta.While the backshell ended up in pieces after a fiery plunge at about 78 miles per hour, its protective coating and the suspension lines connecting it to the parachute appear to be intact. Just one-third of the 70-foot-wide chute is visible in Ingenuity's images, but "the canopy shows no signs of damage from the supersonic airflow during inflation," the agency said in a statement, adding, "Several weeks of analysis will be needed for a more final verdict."Since both pieces of hardware worked as expected, researchers hope studying the components that allowed for a safe landing can help them plan for future space missions. "Perseverance had the best-documented Mars landing in history, with cameras showing everything from parachute inflation to touchdown," Ian Clark, a former Perseverance systems engineer who now leads the effort to haul Martian samples back to Earth at JPL in Southern California, said in a statement. "If they either reinforce that our systems worked as we think they worked or provide even one dataset of engineering information we can use for Mars Sample Return planning, it will be amazing. And if not, the pictures are still phenomenal and inspiring."The dilemma with high-flying trashThe Perseverance rover's backshell amid a field of debris, on April 19, 2022. NASA officials say the hardware held up well.NASA/JPL-CaltechSpace junk — artifacts left by humans in our orbit or on other celestial bodies, including defunct satellites, burned-up boosters, screwdrivers, parachutes, and other leftovers from human space exploration — is a growing concern for space agencies. As more satellites are regularly launched into space, Earth's orbit is getting more crowded. The problem worsens each year, as old satellites and other objects collide, generating thousands of bits of debris and starting a chain reaction of collisions. That satellite congestion circling Earth raises the risk of orbital collisions and imperils future space exploration."Protecting the expanding space environment is critical," a report from the NASA Office of the Inspector General concluded in January of last year. "The services billions of people rely on daily such as weather forecasting, telecommunications, and global positioning systems require a stable space environment."Still, restrictions protecting space from pollution are scant. "My concern and fear is that in 20 years it will be very dangerous to go to space because of the pollution," Ram Jakhu, associate professor and acting director of McGill University's Institute of Air and Space Law, told Wired last year."We've polluted the Earth left, right, and center. We will be doing the same thing in space. There has to be a wake-up call or things are going to be serious."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 28th, 2022

Robots are taking jobs flipping burgers and making smoothies as automation invades fast food — see how they work

Your next fast-food meal may be partially cooked by a robot as advanced technology is used to decrease the number of workers needed for food prep. Miso Robotics More fast food chains than ever are testing robots and AI to cut costs. Advanced technology can be used to decrease the number of workers needed for food preparation and service. Robots are being used to take orders, prepare food, and even deliver it to customers.  Some fast food and fast casual chains are integrating robots into their prep lines.A worker in a Chicago,Illinois McDonalds restaurant prepares a large order of the firm's famous french fries.Ralf-Finn Hestoft/Corbis/Getty ImagesA worker shortage and rising labor price are making hiring and retaining workers more expensive, so robots are a way to cut costs. Some are still in the works, while others are already serving food.Bloomberg/Inside Chipotle documentary White Castle has a robot cook, Flippy, from Miso Robotics.Flippy.Miso RoboticsSource: InsiderThe original model could place baskets in the fryer, shake baskets in oil, and monitor for appropriate cooking time to make chicken tenders and tater tots.Flippy.Miso RoboticsFlippy works by moving back and forth in the kitchen while attached to an overhead rail.The entire Flippy system.Miso RoboticsFlippy can take over some of the more dangerous kitchen tasks, like deep frying, behind a safety shield to protect staff from hot oil.Flippy handles several fryers at once.Miso RoboticsFlippy manages the fryer station, allowing back-of-house fast-food workers to focus on other tasks.Flippy.Miso RoboticsFlippy uses AI to identify the food in the bin, pick it up, distribute it in the fryer, and move into the holding area after cooking.Flippy's fryers.Miso RoboticsMiso also released Flippy Wings, which makes chicken wings using the same process.Flippy transferring wings.Miso RoboticsBuffalo Wild Wings has also tested Flippy Wings.Flippy WingsMiso RoboticsMiso's most recent robot is CookRight Coffee, being tested at Panera right now.Miso RoboticsThe system uses artificial intelligence to monitor coffee volume and temperature, so workers don't manually have to check those levels.Miso RoboticsThe AI technology allows Panera employees to brew a new pot of coffee at precisely the right time.Miso Robotics"We are thrilled that Panera shares in our vision to revamp the coffee monitoring process, and can't wait for CookRight Coffee to be installed at their restaurants to help customers and team members alike," Miso CEO Mike Bell said in a statement.Miso RoboticsChipotle is testing Chippy, an AI kitchen assistant that will help make its tortilla chips, in its California test kitchen.ChipotleSource: InsiderChipotle specifically programmed Chippy to have some inconsistency in results on purpose to mimic the technique of the humans who currently produce the chain's chips.ChipotleRobots are coming to the pizza side of the industry, too. Food tech company Picnic is selling a robot that can make up to 100 pizzas per hour.PicnicSource: PicnicSo far, Picnic has been deployed at T-Mobile Park in Seattle and Texas A&M University, and businesses can subscribe to the technology for around $2500 per month as of 2022.PicnicJamba worked with smoothie-making robot Blendid to create a robotic smoothie kiosk.Blendid and Jamba's new robot smoothie maker kiosk.BlendidSource: InsiderBlended makes smoothies using a robotic arm, blenders, and ingredient dispensers.Blendid and Jamba's new robot smoothie maker kiosk.BlendidThe system does all the tasks a human worker would typically do, from measuring out the correct ingredients to processing payments.A person picking up a Blendid and Jamba smoothie.BlendidWhen they're not in the kitchen, robots are also giving fast-food chains another way to reach customers through delivery.NuroLast year, Domino's announced a test with Nuro's autonomous, self-driving robots to deliver pizzas in Houston.Domino's/Nuro.Source: InsiderChipotle also invested in Nuro in 2021, though it did not disclose the exact amount.Nuro on a public road.NuroSource: InsiderAround the same time, Chick-fil-A began testing robot deliveries in California via Kiwibot.The newest Kiwibot.KiwibotSource: InsiderCustomers at three California locations had the option to select Kiwibot at checkout for short deliveries.Photo by Smith Collection/Gado/Getty ImagesRestaurants are an $800 billion industry with high turnover compared to other areas of the workforce, so there's potential for continued growth in automation, from delivery to frying foods and taking orders.Sunday Alamba / AP ImagesDo you have a story to share about a retail or restaurant chain? Email this reporter at the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 21st, 2022

Great Southern Bancorp, Inc. Reports Preliminary First Quarter Earnings of $1.30 Per Diluted Common Share

Significant Income and Expense Items: During the three months ended March 31, 2022, the Company recorded interest income of $415,000 related to net deferred fee income accretion on Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. This compared to $1.2 million of net fee income recorded in the three months ended March 31, 2021. Net fees are accreted over the loan term with remaining deferred fees recorded in interest income when the loans are paid off by the borrower or by the Small Business Administration (SBA) when the loans are forgiven. At March 31, 2022, remaining net deferred fees related to approximately $1.5 million of PPP loans totaled $88,000. In addition, for the three months ended March 31, 2022, the Company's recorded $500,000 of non-interest income due to a one-time bonus award from our debit card processor based on meeting certain volume thresholds. Total Loans:   Total loans, excluding mortgage loans held for sale, increased $103.7 million, or 2.5%, from $4.08 billion at December 31, 2021 to $4.18 billion at March 31, 2022. This increase was primarily in other residential (multi-family) loans, commercial real estate loans and one- to four-family residential loans, partially offset by a decrease in construction loans. Asset Quality: Non-performing assets and potential problem loans totaled $7.1 million at March 31, 2022, a decrease of $938,000 from $8.0 million at December 31, 2021. At March 31, 2022, non-performing assets were $5.2 million (0.10% of total assets), a decrease of $821,000 from $6.0 million (0.11% of total assets) at December 31, 2021. Net Interest Income: Net interest income for the first quarter of 2022 decreased $823,000 (or approximately 1.9%) to $43.3 million compared to $44.1 million for the first quarter of 2021. Net interest margin was 3.43% for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, compared to 3.41% for the first quarter of 2021. Capital: The capital position of the Company continues to be strong, significantly exceeding the thresholds established by regulators. On a preliminary basis, as of March 31, 2022, the Company's Tier 1 Leverage Ratio was 11.2%, Common Equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 12.0%, Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 12.5%, and Total Capital Ratio was 15.3%. In January 2022, the Company's Board of Directors authorized the purchase of up to one million shares of the Company's common stock. As of April 19, 2022, approximately 750,000 shares remained available in our stock repurchase authorization. SPRINGFIELD, Mo., April 20, 2022 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Great Southern Bancorp, Inc. (NASDAQ:GSBC), the holding company for Great Southern Bank, today reported that preliminary earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2022, were $1.30 per diluted common share ($17.0 million available to common shareholders) compared to $1.36 per diluted common share ($18.9 million available to common shareholders) for the three months ended March 31, 2021. For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, annualized return on average common equity was 11.14%, annualized return on average assets was 1.27%, and net interest margin was 3.43%, compared to 12.18%, 1.38% and 3.41%, respectively, for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. Great Southern President and CEO Joseph W. Turner commented, "First quarter earnings were solid. We recognize that there's continued economic and societal uncertainty ahead, but we will remain focused on our customers' needs and operate with a long-view mindset. "In the first quarter of 2022, we earned $17.0 million ($1.30 per diluted common share), compared to $18.9 million ($1.36 per diluted common share) for the same period in 2021. Earnings in the first quarter of 2022 versus the first quarter of 2021 included much lower net deferred fee income accretion from PPP loans and lower income from the sale of fixed rate mortgage loans. However, earnings performance ratios were strong, with an annualized return on average assets of 1.27% and annualized return on average equity of 11.14%. Our net interest margin of 3.43% improved from 3.41% and 3.37%, respectively, during the first quarter and fourth quarter of 2021. The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee continues to signal a fairly quick rise in interest rates in 2022, which should positively impact our net interest income. Also, late in the first quarter of 2022, we used some of our excess funds that were being held at the Federal Reserve Bank to purchase investment securities, which will generate additional interest income. We also used some of our excess funds being held at the Federal Reserve Bank to fund new loan originations. "During the first quarter, loan production and activity in our markets was quite vigorous, but repayment headwinds continue periodically. Total loans, excluding mortgage loans held for sale, increased about $104 million, or 2.5%. Increases in the multi-family, commercial real estate and one-to four-family residential loan categories primarily drove this growth. Our pipeline of loan commitments and the unfunded portion of loans grew by about $98 million from the end of 2021. Our new commercial loan production office in Phoenix opened midway through the quarter, and we are considering opening one or more additional LPO sites during 2022. Our business model for loan production offices includes hiring a local and seasoned commercial lender." Turner added, "Credit quality metrics remained excellent during the first quarter. At March 31, 2022, non-performing assets were $5.2 million, a decrease of $821,000 from the end of 2021. Non-performing assets to period-end assets were 0.10% at the end of the first quarter. "With our strong capital position and in our effort to enhance long-term stockholder value, the Company continued to repurchase shares of our common stock during the first quarter. Approximately 419,000 shares at an average price of $60.40 were repurchased. We currently have about 750,000 shares available in our stock repurchase authorization." Selected Financial Data: (In thousands, except per share data) Three Months EndedMarch 31,     2022       2021   Net interest income $ 43,266     $ 44,089   Provision (credit) for credit losses on loans and unfunded commitments   (193 )     (374 ) Non-interest income   9,176       9,736   Non-interest expense   31,268       30,321   Provision for income taxes   4,380       5,010   Net income and net income available to common shareholders $ 16,987     $ 18,868               Earnings per diluted common share $ 1.30     $ 1.36   NET INTEREST INCOME Net interest income for the first quarter of 2022 decreased $823,000 to $43.3 million, compared to $44.1 million for the first quarter of 2021.   Net interest margin was 3.43% in the first quarter of 2022, compared to 3.41% in the same period of 2021, an increase of two basis points. Net interest margin was 3.37% in the fourth quarter of 2021. In comparing the 2022 and 2021 first quarter periods, the average yield on loans decreased 16 basis points while the average rate on interest-bearing deposits declined 22 basis points. The average interest rate spread was 3.31% for the three months ended March 31, 2022, compared to 3.23% for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 3.25% for the three months ended December 31, 2021. Additionally, the Company's net interest income included accretion of net deferred fees related to PPP loans originated in 2020 and 2021. The amount of net deferred fees recognized in interest income was $416,000 in the three months ended March 31, 2022 compared to $1.2 million in the three months ended March 31, 2021 and $1.6 million in the three months ended December 31, 2021. At March 31, 2022, remaining net deferred fees related to PPP loans was $88,000. In October 2018, the Company entered into an interest rate swap transaction as part of its ongoing interest rate management strategies to hedge the risk of its floating rate loans. The notional amount of the swap was $400 million with a contractual termination date in October 2025. As previously disclosed by the Company, on March 2, 2020, the Company and its swap counterparty mutually agreed to terminate this swap, effective immediately. The Company received a payment of $45.9 million, including accrued but unpaid interest, from its swap counterparty as a result of this termination. This $45.9 million, less the accrued to date interest portion and net of deferred income taxes, is reflected in the Company's stockholders' equity as Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income and is being accreted to interest income on loans monthly through the original contractual termination date of October 6, 2025. The Company recorded interest income related to the swap of $2.0 million and $2.0 million in the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. The Company currently expects to have a sufficient amount of eligible variable rate loans to continue to accrete this interest income ratably in future periods. If this expectation changes and the amount of eligible variable rate loans decreases significantly, the Company may be required to recognize this interest income more rapidly. The Company entered into an interest rate swap transaction, with an effective date of March 1, 2022, as part of its ongoing interest rate management strategies to hedge the risk of its floating rate loans. The notional amount of the swap was $300 million with a contractual termination date of March 1, 2024. Under the terms of the swap, the Company receives a fixed rate of interest of 1.6725% and pays a floating rate of interest equal to one-month USD-LIBOR (or the equivalent replacement rate if USD-LIBOR rate is not available).  The floating rate resets monthly and net settlements of interest due to/from the counterparty also occur monthly.  The initial floating rate of interest was set at 0.2414%, with monthly adjustments to the floating rate occurring after that time.  To the extent that the fixed rate continues to exceed one-month USD-LIBOR, the Company will receive net interest settlements, which will be recorded as loan interest income.  If one-month USD-LIBOR exceeds the fixed rate of interest in future periods, the Company will be required to pay net settlements to the counterparty and will record those net payments as a reduction of interest income on loans.  The Company recorded loan interest income related to this swap transaction of $369,000 in the three months ended March 31, 2022. For additional information on net interest income components, see the "Average Balances, Interest Rates and Yields" tables in this release. NON-INTEREST INCOME For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, non-interest income decreased $560,000 to $9.2 million when compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021, primarily as a result of the following items: Net gains on loan sales: Net gains on loan sales decreased $1.6 million compared to the prior year quarter. The decrease was due to a decrease in originations of fixed-rate single-family mortgage loans during the 2022 period compared to the 2021 period. Fixed rate single-family mortgage loans originated are generally subsequently sold in the secondary market. These loan originations increased substantially when market interest rates decreased to historically low levels in 2020 and 2021. As a result of the significant volume of refinance activity in 2020 and 2021, and as market interest rates have moved higher in the first quarter of 2022, mortgage refinance volume has decreased and loan originations and related gains on sales of these loans have decreased substantially. Point-of-sale and ATM fees: Point-of-sale and ATM fees increased $606,000 compared to the prior year period. This increase was almost entirely due to increased customer debit card transactions in the 2022 period compared to the 2021 first quarter. In the latter half of 2021 and in the first quarter of 2022, debit card usage by customers rebounded and was back to normal levels, and in many cases, increased levels of activity. Other income: Other income increased $255,000 compared to the prior year quarter. In the 2022 period, the Company recorded a one-time bonus of $500,000 from its card processor as a result of achieving certain benchmarks related to debit card activity. NON-INTEREST EXPENSE For the quarter ended March 31, 2022, non-interest expense increased $947,000 to $31.3 million when compared to the quarter ended March 31, 2021, primarily as a result of the following item: Salaries and employee benefits: Salaries and employee benefits increased $960,000 from the prior year quarter. A significant amount of this increase related to normal annual merit increases in various lending and operations areas. In 2022, many of these increases were larger than in previous years due to the current employment environment. In addition, the new Phoenix loan office was opened in the first quarter of 2022. Lastly, certain loan origination compensation costs were deferred under accounting standards in the 2021 period that related primarily to the origination of PPP loans; therefore, more costs were deferred in the 2021 period versus the 2022 period. Other expense categories experienced smaller increases and decreases compared to the prior year quarter, including a $186,000 increase in travel and entertainment expenses as there was very little in-person activity in the 2021 period due to Covid-19 restrictions; a $120,000 increase in professional fees related to the swap transaction completed in 2022; a $131,000 decrease in amortization of deposit intangibles due to the completion of the amortization for the 2014 acquisitions; and a $105,000 decrease in expenses on other real estate owned and repossessions due to fewer foreclosed properties and repossessed autos in the 2022 quarter. The Company's efficiency ratio for the quarter ended March 31, 2022, was 59.62% compared to 56.33% for the same quarter in 2021. In the three-months ended March 31, 2022, the higher efficiency ratio was primarily due to an increase in non-interest expense. The Company's ratio of non-interest expense to average assets was 2.34% and 2.22% for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. Average assets for the three months ended March 31, 2022, decreased $121.8 million, or 2.2%, compared to the three months ended March 31, 2021, primarily due to a decrease in net loans receivable, partially offset by increases in investment securities and interest bearing cash equivalents. INCOME TAXES For the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, the Company's effective tax rate was 20.5% and 21.0%, respectively. These effective rates were at or below the statutory federal tax rate of 21%, due primarily to the utilization of certain investment tax credits and to tax-exempt investments and tax-exempt loans, which reduced the Company's effective tax rate. The Company's effective tax rate may fluctuate in future periods as it is impacted by the level and timing of the Company's utilization of tax credits, the level of tax-exempt investments and loans, the amount of taxable income in various state jurisdictions and the overall level of pre-tax income. State tax expense estimates evolved throughout 2021 as taxable income and apportionment between states were analyzed. The Company's effective income tax rate is currently generally expected to remain near the statutory federal tax rate due primarily to the factors noted above. The Company currently expects its effective tax rate (combined federal and state) will be approximately 20.5% to 21.5% in future periods. CAPITAL As of March 31, 2022, total stockholders' equity and common stockholders' equity were each $582.6 million (10.8% of total assets), equivalent to a book value of $45.65 per common share. Total stockholders' equity and common stockholders' equity at December 31, 2021, were each $616.8 million (11.3% of total assets), equivalent to a book value of $46.98 per common share. At March 31, 2022, the Company's tangible common equity to tangible assets ratio was 10.7%, compared to 11.2% at December 31, 2021. See "Non-GAAP Financial Measures." Included in stockholders' equity at March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, were unrealized gains (losses) (net of taxes) on the Company's available-for-sale investment securities totaling $(11.1 million) and $9.1 million, respectively. This change from a net unrealized gain to a net unrealized loss during the first quarter of 2022 primarily resulted from increasing market interest rates during the quarter, which decreased the fair value of investment securities. Also included in stockholders' equity at March 31, 2022, were unrealized gains (net of taxes) on the Company's held-to-maturity investment securities totaling $759,000. Approximately $227 million of investment securities which were previously included in available-for-sale were transferred to held-to-maturity during the first quarter of 2022. In addition, included in stockholders' equity at March 31, 2022, were realized gains (net of taxes) on the Company's terminated cash flow hedge (interest rate swap), totaling $22.1 million. This amount, plus associated deferred taxes, is expected to be accreted to interest income over the remaining term of the original interest rate swap contract, which was to end in October 2025. At March 31, 2022, the remaining pre-tax amount to be recorded in interest income was $28.6 million. The net effect on total stockholders' equity over time will be no impact as the reduction of this realized gain will be offset by an increase in retained earnings (as the interest income flows through pre-tax income). Also included in stockholders' equity at March 31, 2022, was an unrealized loss (net of taxes) on the Company's outstanding cash flow hedge (interest rate swap) totaling $3.1 million. Anticipated higher market interest rates have caused the fair value of this interest rate swap to decrease. On a preliminary basis, as of March 31, 2022, the Company's Tier 1 Leverage Ratio was 11.2%, Common Equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 12.0%, Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 12.5%, and Total Capital Ratio was 15.3%. On March 31, 2022, and on a preliminary basis, the Bank's Tier 1 Leverage Ratio was 12.0%, Common Equity Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 13.3%, Tier 1 Capital Ratio was 13.3%, and Total Capital Ratio was 14.6%.   In January 2022, the Company's Board of Directors authorized the purchase of up to one million shares of the Company's common stock. As of April 19, 2022, a total of approximately 750,000 shares were available in our stock repurchase authorization. During the three months ended March 31, 2022, the Company repurchased 419,215 shares of its common stock at an average price of $60.40 and declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.36 per common share, which, combined, reduced stockholders' equity by $29.9 million. LOANS Total net loans, excluding mortgage loans held for sale, increased $103.7 million, or 2.5%, from $4.08 billion at December 31, 2021 to $4.18 billion at March 31, 2022. This increase was primarily in other residential (multi-family) loans ($152 million increase), commercial real estate loans ($82 million increase), and one- to four-family residential real estate loans ($51 million increase). These increases were partially offset by a decrease in construction loans ($181 million decrease). The pipeline of loan commitments and the unfunded portion of construction loans remained strong in the first quarter of 2022. As construction projects were completed, the related loans were moved from the construction category to the appropriate permanent loan categories. For further information about the Company's loan portfolio, please see the quarterly loan portfolio presentation available on the Company's Investor Relations website under "Presentations." Loan commitments and the unfunded portion of loans at the dates indicated were as follows (in thousands):     March 31,2022   December 31, 2021   December 31, 2020   December 31, 2019 Closed non-construction loans with unused available lines                 Secured by real estate (one- to four-family) $ 185,101 $ 175,682 $ 164,480 $ 155,831 Secured by real estate (not one- to four-family)   —   23,752   22,273   19,512 Not secured by real estate - commercial business   89,252   91,786   77,411   83,782                   Closed construction loans with unused available lines                 Secured by real estate (one-to four-family)   75,214   74,501   42,162   48,213 Secured by real estate (not one-to four-family)   1,089,844   1,092,029   823,106   798,810                   Loan commitments not closed                 Secured by real estate (one-to four-family)   109,472   53,529   85,917   69,295 Secured by real estate (not one-to four-family)   212,264   146,826   45,860   92,434 Not secured by real estate - commercial business   8,223   12,920   699   —                     $ 1,769,370 $ 1,671,025 $ 1,261,908 $ 1,267,877 DEPLOYMENT OF CASH EQUIVALENTS During the three months ended March 31, 2022, the mix of the Company's assets shifted somewhat, with net increases in outstanding loan balances and investment securities. The Company used excess funds that were previously held on account at the Federal Reserve Bank to fund the increases in loans and investments. Investments increased $188 million and outstanding loans increased $104 million, while cash equivalents decreased $365 million. Total investment purchases in the first quarter of 2022 (75% of purchases occurred in March) were approximately $250 million, with those securities expected to yield approximately 2.80%.   PROVISION FOR CREDIT LOSSES AND ALLOWANCE FOR CREDIT LOSSES The Company adopted ASU 2016-13, Financial Instruments – Credit Losses (Topic 326): Measurement of Credit Losses on Financial Instruments, effective January 1, 2021. The CECL methodology replaces the incurred loss methodology with a lifetime "expected credit loss" measurement objective for loans, held-to-maturity debt securities and other receivables measured at amortized cost at the time the financial asset is originated or acquired. This standard requires the consideration of historical loss experience and current conditions adjusted for reasonable and supportable economic forecasts. Management estimates the allowance balance using relevant available information, from internal and external sources, relating to past events, current conditions, and reasonable and supportable forecasts. Historical credit loss experience provides the basis for the estimation of expected credit losses. Adjustments to historical loss information are made for differences in current loan-specific risk characteristics such as differences in underwriting standards, portfolio mix, delinquency level, or term as well as for changes in environmental conditions, such as changes in the national unemployment rate, commercial real estate price index, housing price index and national retail sales index. Worsening economic conditions from the COVID-19 pandemic or similar events, higher inflation or interest rates, or other factors may lead to increased losses in the portfolio and/or requirements for an increase in provision expense. Management maintains various controls in an attempt to identify and limit future losses, such as a watch list of problem loans and potential problem loans, documented loan administration policies and loan review staff to review the quality and anticipated collectability of the portfolio. Additional procedures provide for frequent management review of the loan portfolio based on loan size, loan type, delinquencies, financial analysis, on-going correspondence with borrowers and problem loan work-outs. Management determines which loans are collateral-dependent, evaluates risk of loss and makes additional provisions to expense, if necessary, to maintain the allowance at a satisfactory level. During the quarter ended March 31, 2022, the Company did not record a provision expense on its portfolio of outstanding loans, compared to a $300,000 provision expense recorded for the quarter ended March 31, 2021. Total net recoveries were $43,000 and $64,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and 2021, respectively. The negative provision for losses on unfunded commitments for the three months ended March 31, 2022 was $193,000, compared to a negative provision of $674,000 for the three months ended March 31, 2021. General market conditions and unique circumstances related to specific industries and individual projects contributed to the level of provisions and charge-offs. The Bank's allowance for credit losses as a percentage of total loans was 1.46% and 1.49% at March 31, 2022 and December 31, 2021, respectively. Management considers the allowance for credit losses adequate to cover losses inherent in the Bank's loan portfolio at March 31, 2022, based on recent reviews of the Bank's loan portfolio and current economic conditions. If challenging economic conditions were to last longer than anticipated or deteriorate further or management's assessment of the loan portfolio were to change, additional loan loss provisions could be required, thereby adversely affecting the Company's future results of operations and financial condition. ASSET QUALITY At March 31, 2022, non-performing assets were $5.2 million, a decrease of $821,000 from $6.0 million at December 31, 2021. Non-performing assets as a percentage of total assets were 0.10% at March 31, 2022 and 0.11% at December 31, 2021. As a result of changes in balances and composition of the loan portfolio, changes in economic and market conditions and other factors specific to a borrower's circumstances, the level of non-performing assets will fluctuate. Compared to December 31, 2021, non-performing loans decreased $454,000 to $5.0 million at March 31, 2022, and foreclosed and repossessed assets decreased $367,000 to $221,000 at March 31, 2022. Non-performing one- to four-family residential loans comprised $2.0 million, or 40.3%, of the total non-performing loans at March 31, 2022, a decrease of $212,000 from December 31, 2021. Non-performing commercial real estate loans comprised $1.8 million, or 35.7%, of the total non-performing loans at March 31, 2022, a decrease of $233,000 from December 31, 2021. Non-performing consumer loans comprised $724,000, or 14.6%, of the total non-performing loans at March 31, 2022, a decrease of $9,000 from December 31, 2021. Non-performing construction and land development loans comprised $468,000, or 9.4%, of the total non-performing loans at March 31, 2022, unchanged from December 31, 2021. Activity in the non-performing loans categories during the quarter ended March 31, 2022, was as follows:     BeginningBalance,January 1   Additionsto Non-Performing   Removedfrom Non-Performing   Transfersto PotentialProblemLoans   Transfers toForeclosedAssets andRepossessions   Charge-Offs   Payments   EndingBalance,March 31     (In thousands)                                   One- to four-family construction $ — $ — $ — $ —   $ — $ —   $ —   $ — Subdivision construction   —   —   —   —     —   —     —     — Land development   468   —   —   —     —   —     —     468 Commercial construction   —   —   —   —     —   —     —     — One- to four-family residential   2,216   —   —   (5 )   —   (36 )   (171 )   2,004 Other residential   —   —   —   —     —   —     —     — Commercial real estate   2,006   —   —   —     —   —     (233 )   1,773 Commercial business   —   —   —   —     —   —     —     — Consumer   733   32   —   (4 )   —   (7 )   (30 )   724 Total non-performing loans $ 5,423 $ 32 $ — $ (9 ) $ — $ (43 ) $ (434 ) $ 4,969                                   FDIC-assisted acquired loans included above $ 1,736 $ — $ — $ —   $ — $ —   $ (84 ) $ 1,652                                   At March 31, 2022, the non-performing one- to four-family residential category included 34 loans, none of which were added during the current quarter. The largest relationship in the category totaled $322,000, or 16.1% of the total category. The non-performing commercial real estate category includes two loans, neither of which were added during the current quarter. The largest relationship in the category, which totaled $1.5 million, or 86.1% of the total category, was transferred from potential problems during the fourth quarter of 2021, and is collateralized by a mixed use commercial retail building. The non-performing land development category consisted of one loan added during the first quarter of 2021, which totaled $468,000 and is collateralized by unimproved zoned vacant ground in southern Illinois. The non-performing consumer category included 30 loans, four of which were added during the current quarter. Compared to December 31, 2021, potential problem loans decreased $117,000 to $1.9 million at March 31, 2022. The decrease during the quarter was primarily due to $111,000 in payments, $14,000 in repossessions and $9,000 in loans charged off, partially offset by $17,000 in loans added to potential problem loans. Activity in the potential problem loans category during the quarter ended March 31, 2022, was as follows:     BeginningBalance,January 1   Additions toPotentialProblem   RemovedfromPotentialProblem   Transfersto Non-Performing   Transfers toForeclosedAssets andRepossessions   Charge-Offs   Payments   EndingBalance,March 31     (In thousands)                                   One- to four-family construction $ — $ — $ — $ — $ —   $ —   $ —   $ — Subdivision construction   15   —   —   —   —     —     (3 )   12 Land development   —   —   —   —   —     —     —     — Commercial construction   —   —   —   —   —     —     —     — One- to four-family residential   1,432   5   —   —   —     —     (55 )   1,382 Other residential   —   —   —   —   —     —     —     — Commercial real estate   210   —   —   —   —     —     (5 )   205 Commercial business   —   —   —   —   —     —     —     — Consumer   323   12   —   —   (14 )   (9 )   (48 )   264 Total potential problem loans $ 1,980 $ 17 $ — $ — $ (14 ) $ (9 ) $ (111 ) $ 1,863                                   FDIC-assisted acquired loans included above $ 1,004 $ —.....»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaApr 20th, 2022

Get Ready For The Next Supply Chain Shockwave

Get Ready For The Next Supply Chain Shockwave By Eric Kulisch of FreightWaves Concern is growing that the spread of COVID cases and city lockdowns in China will have massive downstream effects for global supply chains that could dwarf previous disruptions since the start of the pandemic. The Yangshan Container Terminal in Shanghai. Import cargo is piling up with shuttle trucks restricted from pick ups by a strict COVID lockdown. Last May, the huge Yantian container terminal at the Port of Shenzhen throttled down to 30% of normal productivity for a month to stamp out a handful of positive cases there. Hundreds of thousands of shipments that couldn’t enter the port accumulated in factories and warehouses, and many vessels skipped the port to avoid waiting seven days or more at anchor. It took weeks after the port reopened to clear the cargo backlog. The effects cascaded to the U.S. and Europe, resulting in port traffic jams, transit times triple the norm and missed retail deliveries for the holidays. The difference this time is that an entire metropolis — and highly interconnected global trade center — is essentially shut down. Not since the initial 2020 COVID-19 outbreak in Wuhan have lockdowns been this extensive in China. “It’s probably worse than Wuhan,” said Jon Monroe, an ocean shipping and supply chain expert who runs a consulting firm. “You’re going to have a lot of pent-up orders. It’s going to be an overwhelming movement of goods” that will drown shipping lines and ports once the lockdowns are lifted. Freight is piling up Twenty-five million people in Shanghai have been sequestered for 18 days. Chinese authorities this week slightly eased the restrictions, dividing the city into three categories based on previous screenings and risk levels. People can wander outside their apartment buildings but are encouraged to stay home in neighborhoods with no positive COVID-19 cases in the past two weeks. Those in high-risk areas must still shelter at home. Spanish financial services firm BBVA predicts Chinese authorities will stick to the “zero-COVID” strategy and lockdowns until at least June. Other China observers say it could take even longer to meet China’s infection standard. Shanghai is one of the largest manufacturing centers in China, with heavy concentrations of automotive and electronics suppliers. It is home to the largest container port in the world and a major airport that serves inbound and outbound air cargo. Exports produced in Shanghai account for 7.2% of China’s total volume and about 20% of China’s export container throughput moves through the port there, according to the BBVA report.  Most warehouses and plants are closed, nine out of 10 trucks are sidelined, the port and airport have limited function, shipping units are stranded in the wrong places, and freight is piling up.  More and more, the logistics impacts are rippling beyond the contagion epicenter. A chart from FreightWaves SONAR database shows a significant downturn in ocean export volume from Shanghai to the U.S. this month. Impacts spread beyond Shanghai Export containers that were already at the Port of Shanghai when the lockdown started are making it onto vessels, but most goods booked on outbound vessels are stranded at warehouses because shuttle trucks can’t make pickups or deliveries. Truckers require special permits, which are only good for 24 hours, as well as negative COVID tests to get in and out of the city or enter certain zones, according to logistics providers. Checking COVID certificates has led to huge traffic jams at the port. The French logistics provider Geodis reports that truck drivers in the Shanghai area are being forced to wait up to 40 hours at certain highway entrances. Trucking rates have soared because of the limited supply, and shippers are waiting three to five days for cargo to get picked up, according to San Francisco-based Flexport. Reduced manufacturing output, along with limited truck access to the port and airport, are causing a significant drop in air and ocean export volumes. Less demand is translating to lower freight rates. In response to the lack of labor and cargo, air carriers have announced widespread cancellations, and some ocean carriers are skipping Shanghai port calls. Several shipping lines have also begun offloading refrigerated containers at other ports along their voyage because the storage area with electric plugs is too crowded in Shanghai. Customers face extra port fees and delays routing the cargo to its intended destination. Maersk, the second-largest container vessel operator, said Thursday it has stopped accepting bookings to Shanghai for refrigerated cargo, some types of gas and flammable liquids. More omissions are expected and liner companies may temporarily idle vessels or cancel some outbound Asia sailings altogether, according to Crane Worldwide Logistics and other service providers. Asia-U.S. East Coast rates have fallen 7% since the outbreaks in March, said freight booking site Freightos, which also publishes an ocean rate index. “But even if the lockdown persists and demand drops significantly, ocean carriers will likely reduce capacity which could keep rates from plummeting, just as they were able to do in the first few months of the pandemic when ocean volumes fell significantly but transpacific rates declined by less than 15% and were about level year on year,” it said. The supply chain is backing up like water behind a dam. When water is released, the landscape gets flooded. At Shanghai Pudong airport, ground handling companies are operating with skeleton staff.  Shanghai Eastern Airlines Logistics, a cargo terminal operator, ceased bulk loading of containers after a positive COVID case, which will further slow cargo processing, said Dimerco, a Taiwan-based freight forwarder. Airlines report that Pactl, which operates three other cargo terminals, has suspended acceptance of dangerous goods and temperature-controlled cargo because the warehouse is full. Flexport said in a market update that 80% of commercial freighter services have been canceled and airlines are considering shifting operations to nearby airports. Qatar Airways announced that freighter flights will remain canceled until next Thursday, saying “the latest COVID-19 restrictions announced by local authorities limit our ability to operate flights in and out of Shanghai with sufficient cargo loads.” Freight forwarders have been rerouting cargo to alternative airports such as Zhengzhou, Xiamen, Shenzhen and Beijing, as well as the Port of Ningbo, but those facilities are beginning to feel congestion effects themselves. Rates to ship from those locations are increasing. Flights at Zhengzhou Xinzheng International Airport are reduced by 50%, according to Geodis. Most inbound cargo there is transit cargo to other cities, such as Shanghai — which is compounding backlogs because the cargo isn’t allowed to move to the final destination. That means logistics companies can only clear shipments that customers can pick up in Zhengzhou.  Dimerco advises that Zhengzhou airport is not accepting loose cargo – only palletized shipments – because of labor challenges. And it has just implemented a 14-day closed-loop program in which workers live on-site to minimize the potential for virus transmission, forcing the logistics provider to pivot again and reroute shipments to other airports, including back to Shanghai’s second airport – Hongqiao International. Everstream Analytics, which helps companies manage supply chain risk, predicts U.S. and Canadian automotive assembly plants will quickly face delays and disruptions because the lockdowns will affect shipping of parts such as seats, tires, engines, bodies and brakes. Ships delayed at port of Hong Kong and Yantian Shipping schedules in South China are being impacted by irregular feeder vessels and large barge services, creating delays for transoceanic vessels at the ports of Hong Kong and Yantian, according to a situational update from supply chain data platform project44. Both ports have been coping with disruptive COVID restrictions for months. Nearby manufacturing hubs in Vietnam and Cambodia are already suffering from a shortage of Chinese components for their manufacturing industries, project44 reported. And pharmaceutical companies in India, which source 70% of their active ingredients from China, are facing limited supplies. FreightWaves SONAR data from project44 shows import containers at Shanghai waiting about a week to be cleared. The dwell time has increased since a citywide lockdown went into effect in late March. Ocean shipping delays from the top three Chinese ports to Hamburg, Germany, and Amsterdam had already doubled to more than 12 days during the first quarter, before the Shanghai lockdown fully materialized, according to project44 data. Ocean freight expert Lars Jensen, CEO of Vespucci Maritime, summed up the situation on his LinkedIn page this way: “Until this situation is resolved — which appears next to impossible when matching the omicron variant with zero-tolerance — we should expect drops in export demand, port omissions and more blank sailings in the near term future as well as Shanghai-bound cargo increasingly being discharged elsewhere.” COVID lockdowns spread Meanwhile, COVID infections are spreading beyond Shanghai, according to news reports and logistics companies. The southern manufacturing hub of Guangzhou, for example, has started mass COVID testing, introduced travel restrictions and shifted schools to online learning — steps that often portend a wider lockdown. The city of Kunshan — an important production center for electronics near Shanghai — is closed down until April 19. Part of Taicang, another manufacturing area in Jiangsu province, is also locked down. A surge of new COVID cases is hitting the coastal cities of Dalian and Tianjin in the north, Ningbo in the east, and Xiamen and Dongguan in the south.  Ningbo officials ordered residents in two downtown districts to sequester at home, but so far the seaport is not affected. Nantong is on a partial lockdown until April 15. Port operations have been severely impacted, with logistics companies diverting shipments to Nanjing. Zhangiagang is also under partial lockdown until April 19, resulting in slower port operations and some factory closures.  Many shippers are exercising contingency plans and using alternative import/export gateways when possible, but road transport is increasingly difficult. The outbreaks have led to a virtual ban by authorities on truck drivers from high- and medium-risk areas transporting cargo to low-risk areas. That includes transporting cargo from Shanghai and Kunshan to the Port of Ningbo. No cargo will be accepted if drivers have been to medium- or high-risk areas within the last 14 days or the factory is located in medium- or high-risk areas, said UPS Supply Chain Solutions in a customer update.  As of Friday, Dalian, Tianjin, parts of Beijing, Shanghai, and Dongguan are all in high- and medium-risk areas. Dimerco said in a notice that traffic control for road transportation is getting more strict and it is difficult to secure trucks to bring freight to Shanghai or alternative ports. Lockdowns ease U.S. supply chain strains before flood of cargo The slowdown in China exports should provide temporary relief to congestion-plagued U.S. ports on both coasts, as well as in Europe, but logistics experts say the breather is likely to be followed by a tsunami of deferred cargo once the lockdowns are lifted. The cargo volume will far exceed the handling capability of the ports, with containers jamming up terminals faster than they can be transferred to inland transport and pushing vessels into long queues at sea. Delta Air LInes President Glen Hauenstein said on an earnings call Wednesday that once the Shanghai restrictions are lifted, the airline expects a boom in cargo bookings that more than offsets the current export lag. A mass quarantine that lasts until June could mean the drawdown of backlogged air and ocean freight pushes into the peak shipping season, as more volume enters the system.  “Even with air and ocean ports open, the length of the shutdown could make this iteration the most significant logistics disruption since the start of the pandemic,” Freightos said in its update. Tyler Durden Tue, 04/19/2022 - 16:50.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 19th, 2022

Big-name investor Sequoia says startup due diligence is hard as 4 of its Asian portfolio companies face allegations of fraud or misconduct

Sequoia Capital India said there's often "hardly a business" for investors to analyse before they write checks. Ankiti Bose, now-suspended CEO of Zilingo, on the Growth Summit at RISE 2018 in Hong Kong. Bose was suspended from Zilingo earlier in April amid a reported investigation into the firm's accounts.Seb Daly / RISE via Sportsfile VC firm Sequoia Capital India has spoken out about fraud allegations at multiple startups it's backed. The firm said it was difficult to conduct due diligence on early-stage businesses. On April 14, Sequoia-backed e-commerce startup Zilingo suspended its CEO amid a financial probe. Sequoia Capital India, a major investor in Southeast Asian startups, has said due diligence on early-stage startups is tough as four of its portfolio companies face fraud or misconduct allegations.In a blogpost not attributed to a particular author, the firm said: "Recently some portfolio founders have been under investigation for potential fraudulent practices or poor governance. These allegations are deeply disturbing."The post added: "It is easy to think of this issue as ascribed to poor due diligence. But let's remember that when investments are made at seed or early stage there is hardly a business to diligence. Even later stage investors can face negative surprises, post investment, if there is willful fraud and intent."Sequoia didn't name check any firms, but one of these negative surprises has been Zilingo, a Singapore-based fashion e-commerce startup first backed by Sequoia in 2015 and estimated to be worth $970 million. Zilingo earlier this month suspended its cofounder and CEO Ankiti Bose amid a financial probe into its accounting practices. A lawyer acting for Bose called her suspension "unfair" in a statement to Bloomberg.Sequoia and another backer, Temasek, raised their concerns with Zilingo's board. Sequoia's Shailendra Singh subsequently resigned as director of Zilingo's board, Bloomberg reported.Three other Sequoia-backed startups are also under scrutiny.In mid-March, Indian news media reported that EY India was investigating social e-commerce platform Trell for alleged financial irregularities. The same month, Zetwerk Manufacturing was reportedly raided by Indian tax officials over alleged tax evasion concerns. Also in March, financial platform BharatPe's cofounder Ashneer Grover was accused of misappropriating funds by the firm and quit as CEO. Sequoia in its post called for better "guardrails" for the startup ecosystem, such as agreeing new rules around corporate governance, and said startup "boards can only work with the information shared with them" to uncover wrongdoing.Sequoia's post highlights the risks of investing in early-stage startups, where venture capital firms plow cash into unproven companies, often trusting in a founder's vision more than the solidity of their business model.  The firm wrote that a startup's board "is not responsible to investigate on an ongoing basis" for potential bad behavior unless it's explicitly flagged up.But some regional investors shot back at suggestions that the wider ecosystem was at fault."Sequoia India, caught with their pants down with 4 portfolio companies. Decides to blames the 'eco-system,'" wrote Sam Gibb, managing partner of Singapore-based fintech investor Resolution Ventures, on Twitter. He said that bigger investors encourage a "growth-at-all-costs" mentality at startups, leading founders to step "over gray lines" to hit metrics."The interests of career VCs (where a bulk of remuneration is fixed) diverge from founders as status is more important to them than building lasting economic value," he wrote.Sequoia could not be reached over the phone for further comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 19th, 2022

Park Tower Group’s Prestgious Plaza District Tower enjoys leasing successes as daily occupancy back near pre-pandemic levels

Park Tower Group, prominent real-estate developer and manager, announced it has secured a series of lease extensions totaling 39,315 square feet at 535 Madison, which brings the 37-story office tower to 100 percent occupancy. Park Tower Group also reports that daily headcounts at the Plaza District building have topped 94%... The post Park Tower Group’s Prestgious Plaza District Tower enjoys leasing successes as daily occupancy back near pre-pandemic levels appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Park Tower Group, prominent real-estate developer and manager, announced it has secured a series of lease extensions totaling 39,315 square feet at 535 Madison, which brings the 37-story office tower to 100 percent occupancy. Park Tower Group also reports that daily headcounts at the Plaza District building have topped 94% percent. Park Tower Group’s agreements with Bain Capital NY LLC, FTV Management Company and Garda Capital Partners brings the 480,000 square-foot office tower to 100 percent leased, with just a single, 14,375-square-foot space across the 12th floor expected to become available in mid-2022. In addition to Park Tower Group’s leasing successes, 535 Madison regularly experiences more than twice the daily population percentages than the average for office buildings in the New York City metro region. Daily headcount at the tower first surpassed 50 percent in June 2021, when the regional average stood at 21 percent, according to Kastle Systems data. 535 Madison surpassed the 85 percent threshold for the first time on March 1, 2022 and has continued to remain above that level during the mid-weeks. That compares to 33 percent for the entire metropolitan area.   “With its inviting blend of collaborative spaces, modern technology, top-tier amenities, public art, and proximity to Grand Central, 535 Madison is a destination where people want to come to work,” said Marian Klein, President at Park Tower Group, whose headquarters are in the tower. “We have a tenant roster that understands the importance and benefits of bringing people together in a warm, welcoming environment.  As a result, the current energy and activity level at 535 Madison has largely returned to its historic level.” Through a unique partnership between Park Tower Group and Christie’s auction house 535 Madison is home to Christie’s Sculpture Garden – an exhibition space that showcases major artwork curated by Christie’s in the outdoor public plaza and indoor lobby. And during the pandemic, part of the plaza has also become home to Nerai, a haute Greek cuisine restaurant with indoor and outdoor seating that has become a popular gathering place for tenants in the building.     In 2017, Park Tower Group introduced a 6,000 square-foot amenity and fitness center for all of 535 Madison’s tenants. Thoughtfully laid out with modern furnishings, contemporary art and striking lighting features, it is a serene space intended as a convenient, healthy work-life balance. The fitness center is run by LivUnLtd and features premium equipment, including Life Fitness machines and Peloton bikes. Other amenities include zoom rooms and nap rooms/mothers’ rooms. And although the amenity center was popular pre-COVID, it is seeing an increase in users now. While many gyms still remained closed, Park Tower Group reopened the gym in the middle of the pandemic with thoughtful health and safety protocols. Defined by its pure sculptural form of glass and aluminum, 535 Madison is a signature work of art in the New York skyline. Located on the northeast corner of Madison Avenue and 54th Street, 535 Madison has been elegantly modernized by Deborah Berke of Deborah Berke Partners,  whose redesign of the grand entrance lobby and elevators blends seamlessly with Edward Larrabee Barnes’ original architecture. The Class A, boutique office property is situated close to a collection of high-end shopping, restaurants, hotels and entertainment, like The Polo Bar, The St. Regis New York and the Museum of Modern Art. The building is a short stroll to Central Park and six subway lines. A CBRE team of Brian Gell, Vice Chairman, and Laurence Briody, Executive Vice President, represented Park Tower Group in all three transactions. Additional details about each lease expansion follows: Bain Capital NY LLC signed a 14,765-square-foot, 11-year lease for the entire 30th floor. Bain doubles their space in the building, adding to its 14,765-square-foot space on the entire 29th floor. The investment firm was represented by Bryan Boisi and Connor Barnes of Cushman & Wakefield Boston. FTV Management Company, L.P. is expanding into 12,275-square-feet on the entire 33rd floor as part of a 13-year lease. FTV extended its 12,275-square-foot space on the entire 32nd floor by 8 years. The investment firm was represented by Howard Grufferman and Reid Longley of Colliers. Garda Capital Partners LP signed a 12,275-square-foot, 10-year lease the entire 34th floor, relocating and expanding from their previous space of 3,824 square foot space on part of the 21st floor. The asset management firm was represented by Brent Ozarowski and Kevin Sullivan of Newmark. The post Park Tower Group’s Prestgious Plaza District Tower enjoys leasing successes as daily occupancy back near pre-pandemic levels appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyApr 18th, 2022

Is The Woke Cultural Agenda Of Union Leaders Undermining Support For Organized Labor Groups?

Is The Woke Cultural Agenda Of Union Leaders Undermining Support For Organized Labor Groups? Authored by Batya Ungar-Sargon via Outside Voices, Doug Tansy is living the American Dream. A 44-year-old Native Alaskan, Tansy is an electrician living in Fairbanks in a house he and his wife Kristine own. Kristine has a social work degree, but for 13 years she stayed home to raise their five kids. It was something the couple could afford thanks to Tansy’s wages and benefits, secured by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. All of Tansy’s union friends have similar stories; those who chose not to have kids traveled the world on the money they earned.  Buena Park, CA, Monday, April 11, 2022 - Union organizer answers questions as Southern California grocery workers vote to approve a union contract at UFCW Local 324. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images) Tansy started an apprenticeship right out of high school, a decision he calls “one of the best things I ever did for myself.” His high school pushed everyone to go to college, which Tansy did, but to pay for his first year he took a summer job working construction. It provided an instructive contrast with his college courses. “College was certainly challenging, but it didn't excite me. Construction did. It grabbed me,” Tansy told me. “I was always told ‘find what your hands want to do, and when you do, do it with all your might.’ And I did.” Tansy now serves as the assistant business manager of the IBEW in Fairbanks and as president of the Fairbanks Central Labor Council, which is sort of like the local chapter of the AFL-CIO. “I consider myself a labor person and that simply means a lot of what we do is focus on the middle class,” Tansy explained. “Putting really great wages into our economy and helping people save up to get ahead, to pay off a house.” But the union is about more than just securing a middle-class life for working class Americans. Tansy calls it a fraternity. “If I ever have trouble, I can make one phone call and that's the only call I need to make,” he says. “They will take care of the rest of it and whatever I need will be coming.” And this support system traverses ideological and ethnic divisions. The IBEW in Fairbanks has Republicans, independents, Democrats, progressives, and everything in between. Debates can get testy, especially when social issues like abortion come up in the breakroom. Tansy has also on rare occasions experienced racism. And yet there is a deep bond connecting the members of the IBEW that crosses ideological lines. This bond is the result of a simple fact: that more unites members of the union than divides them, and that what unites them is sacred. “Having good wages, good benefits, good conditions, and being treated fairly and with dignity in retirement should not be only for Republicans or Democrats or red states or blue states,” Tansy explained. “To me, these are nonpartisan issues that should be for everybody. And that's how we reach our common ground.” Tansy’s story is not unique. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Americans who belong to unions in the U.S. make on average 17% more than their non-unionized brothers and sisters, with a median $1,144 in weekly earnings—compared to $958 for those not unionized. It’s not just wages, either. Unions offer apprenticeships and ongoing training, a debt-free career, a pension, and workplace safety and other protections. They give workers a seat at the table and a voice to balance out the power of the businesses they work for, no mean feat at a time when the majority of working-class Americans are living lives of precarity. Working-class wages decoupled from production and stagnated in the late 70s; it’s estimated that over $47 trillion of working- and middle-class wages have been sapped from the bottom 90% of earners and redistributed to the top 1% since then. So it’s no surprise that approval of labor unions is the highest it’s been since 1965: 68% of Americans told Gallup they approve of unions last year. And yet, despite this fact, Americans aren’t signing up to join unions at record rates. Just the opposite: fewer Americans than ever belong to unions, a scant 6% of Americans working in the private sector. Many believe they are a dying institution in the U.S. Some cast this as proof of yet another case of working-class conservatives choosing a cultural stand against their economic interests. William Sproule is the Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Eastern Atlantic States Regional Council of Carpenters and says his union is actively engaged in combating negative stereotypes about unions when recruiting. “In the South and other parts of the country, the Southeast, even some of the middle of the country, you say the word ‘union,’ people have been basically brainwashed to think that there are people like me who are some kind of fat-cat millionaires who are stealing money from their pension funds and all this other stuff, all these bad things they try to present about unions,” Sproule says. Of course, there are political reasons unions aren’t popular in some corners of the South. Labor has for a century been affiliated with the Democratic Party and remains so. Sproule views the Democrats as much better for organized labor, and though the Carpenters Union will endorse pro-labor Republicans, right now he says it’s important that the Democrats maintain control over government. “The predominant anti-union forces do seem to come from the Republican Party,” Sproule says, citing things like punishing, anti-union “Right to Work” laws. The Carpenters Union advised its members to vote for Joe Biden based on the policies President Trump pursued that were hostile to organized labor—things like deregulations at the National Labor Relations Board and appointments of pro-business judges, among other things.  Certain pro-labor positions are undoubtedly the province of the Left, from minimum wage campaigns, to support for the NLRB and the PRO Act, to even the expansion of social security benefits. Then there’s healthcare. When employers are responsible for employee healthcare, they have immense, unfair, and corrosive leverage over their workers. The push for universal healthcare is crucial for stabilizing the downward slide of many working-class families, and it is something only Democrats bring up, however sporadically. And yet, thanks to an emergent class chasm in America, the laboring class is increasingly made up of people who find more in common with the Republican Party. In 2020, Bloomberg News found that truckers, plumbers, machinists, painters, correctional officers, and maintenance employees were among the occupations most likely to donate to Trump (Biden got the lion’s share of writers and authors, editors, therapists, business analysts, HR department staff, and bankers).  Others have blamed the fear of corporate consolidation—and corporate retaliation—for a lack of interest in unionizing. The pressures of starting a union are immense, like trying to hold an election in a one-party state, David Rolf, Founding President of Seattle-based Local 775 of the Service Employees International Union and author of The Fight for Fifteen: The Right Wage for a Working America, explained. “Sort of like if you were running to become the mayor, but before you were allowed to be the mayor, you had to first fight to establish that there should be a mayor at all. And then once you establish that there should be a mayor, then you find that your opponent is the only one with access to the electorate for eight hours a day, and that they've had the voter list for years and you just get it six weeks before the election. Also they have unlimited resources.” Meanwhile, there are numerous stories of ugly union busting and retaliation at companies like Tesla and Amazon. But even in companies where union busting is minimal, many people don't want to go to work and have a permanently conflict-based and litigious relationship with their boss, Rolf explained. And there’s the fact that things like sectoral or regional bargaining are just not part of the American worker’s lexicon. But in addition to overcoming the immense challenges of starting a union from scratch while facing corporate union busting, there’s another, less discussed reason workers give for not flocking to unions at a time when they are most in need of what unions offer: a political and class divide separating the people leading unions from the rank and file. More and more, unions are led not by people like Doug Tansy, who sees his job as overcoming partisan divides, but by people enmeshed in a progressive culture that is increasingly at odds with the values of the people the unions purport to represent. And it’s resulted in the paradox of waning union membership despite the near record level of popular support for unions. Labor is definitely having a moment. Anywhere from 25,000 to 100,000 workers went on strike in October 2021. Workers at four Kellogg cereal plants ended an 11-week strike after announcing a deal had been made with the company. The first Starbucks voted to unionize a branch in Buffalo, New York, and has been followed subsequently by other branches across the nation, many of them voting unanimously. At the end of last year over 10,000 workers at John Deere ended a five-week strike after making substantial improvements to their working conditions. Those included a 20% increase in wages over the next six years as well as a return on cost-of-living adjustments and gains to their pension plan. Most recently, an Amazon warehouse in Staten Island became the first Amazon center to unionize, an effort that the corporation spent $4.3 million to combat. The COVID-19 pandemic created a much tighter labor market, which has given workers the upper hand in negotiations for the first time in decades. Expanded unemployment and stimulus checks gave many workers a cushion, some for the first time in their lives, which, combined with the absence of childcare for much of the pandemic and a shortage of workers due to illness or even death, created a real labor shortage. In some cases, that shortage has led to resignations. Over 4 million Americans quit their jobs in November, the majority of them low-wage. In other cases, it’s led to workers demanding better conditions in order to stay—and succeeding at getting them. Chris Laursen lives in Ottumwa, Iowa and has worked at John Deere as a painter for 19 years. He says the strike was a long time coming and sees in it evidence of the rebirth of the American labor movement. “The strikes like the one that we spearheaded showed working people that it is possible to take a stand and get a seat at the table and secure better wages and benefits for your families and yourselves,” Laursen says. “The cheap labor bubble’s busted. Gone are the days where you can bring in employees and not pay them anything.” Like in the IBEW, for John Deere workers, the union’s power is a non-partisan proposition. Ottumwa is the kind of factory town that went for Barack Obama in 2012 then for Trump in 2016. A 2018 rally for Bernie Sanders saw 800 people turn out—followed by one for Trump two weeks later which drew a crowd of 1,200. “Twenty years ago, if you were a Republican here, you were pretty much a closet case about it,” Laursen, who was a delegate for Bernie Sanders, says. “That's really not the case anymore.”  Key to the strike’s success was a laser-like focus on what united the striking workers over what divided them. “We didn't want to politicize the strike or have anything that could divide us, because we understood the importance of us staying together,” Laursen explained. “People who own all the stuff and the media, they want to divide the herd and get us fighting amongst each other. And it really is nonsense because we work in the same place, and our kids go to the same schools. We eat in the same restaurants. We have a lot more commonalities than we do differences.” The COVID labor market has been a boon for non-union workers, too. Latasha Exum is a health aid in a school in Cleveland. She’s in charge of evaluating children who need medical attention. Exum has been in the medical field for 10 years—she’s certified as a medical assistant—but she’s new to her current job and not sure she’ll stay (she loves children, but she worries about how much they spread germs in the age of COVID). And due to the current pressures of the job market, she’s certain that she would be able to find another one. She had no trouble finding this job and was even able to negotiate for a higher starting pay, although the supply chain crisis has made her job harder (thermometers and even band aids have been in short supply).  “Pay isn't everything as far as working conditions,” Exum explained. “Pay is one of the factors that some places are willing to wiggle and negotiate, but the conditions might not be the best.” The COVID economy hasn’t worked for everyone, though. Jenna Stocker is a former marine who worked retail at a pet store in Minneapolis throughout the pandemic. Her job was deemed essential, and she couldn’t afford to miss a paycheck, so while millions were able to work from home, she went to work every day. “I couldn’t afford to stay home and bake bread,” she said. “And those who did looked at us like we were lepers. Essential workers were looked down upon for having a job that allowed other people to stay home.” And she does mean lepers. “They didn’t want to touch us,” Stocker recalled. “When I would deliver dog food, they made me leave it outside. It was dehumanizing.” But it was also part of a larger trend Stocker has noticed, of feeling what she calls “morally wrong” for being poor or working class. There’s a smugness that’s imposed on the lower classes by those in the upper classes, and the class divide is only getting worse. Yet within the working class, divisions evaporate. “I work with a whole spectrum of people, including liberals and conservatives,” Stocker says. “It’s just not something that divides us. We have to work together. We have to make it work. Politics is not something we let divide us at work or in our friendships.” They simply don’t have that luxury. One of the things that the labor shortage has done is something the federal government failed to do: It normalized the idea of a $15 an hour wage. 80% of American workers now make at least $15 an hour—up from 60% in 2014. But that’s nothing close to a living wage for most American cities. Working-class wages have simply not kept up with production; all that extra GDP that’s come from increased production went instead to the top 1%. “Had you merely kept pace with the economy since the 1970s, a full-time, prime-age worker in America who in 2020 made $50,000 a year, that person would be making between $93,000 and a $103,000 a year without any growth in their personal income or share of GDP since the 1970s,” Rolf said. “Half of the income people should have expected to receive over that time was functionally stolen by a series of public policy and boardroom decisions that rewired the economy as upwardly sucking.” Jason Offutt is a 47-year-old from Parma, Ohio who paints lines on roads and in parking lots. He’s seen wage stagnation firsthand. Offutt took a summer job as a line painter when he was 16 and stayed with the company after he left school. He worked for a number of other companies after that, until he was finally able to buy a line-painting machine—it was a friend's, and it was in pieces—for $1,000. He put it back together by hand, and now he works for himself. “I just got tired of watching everybody else making money that I was busting my butt for,” Offutt told me. It took a while to become viable, but once Offutt got in the church directories, the jobs started to come regularly.  In the 30 years Offutt has been a line painter, he’s seen the security of working-class life collapse. “Inflation has gone up so much, even compared to when I started,” he told me. “I was making $16, $17 an hour back in my 20s and 30s, so that was pretty decent money back then, if you had one kid and didn't have too many responsibilities. But as you get older and your kids get older, your son's out working and he barely has enough to pay for his apartment, where I could work and pay for my apartment and car and still be ok. Now, if you’re working class, you've got to have two incomes, two and a half incomes, just to be an above-board person and enjoy your life. Back then, you could do great on just one income.” The percentage of American workers who have what might be called a secure job—who work at least 30 hours a week and earn $40,000 a year with health benefits and a predictable schedule—is less than one in three, and for people without a college degree, it’s just one in five. That’s what Oren Cass, executive director of American Compass and author of The Once and Future Worker, recently found in an extensive survey. “The economy has generally bifurcated into a labor market that has relatively better paying, secure jobs in what we would call knowledge industries, that have tended to see expansion and wage growth and so forth, and generally less secure jobs in shrinking or stagnating industries, that tend to be filled with people without college degrees,” says Cass. One of those people is Cyrus Tharpe, a 46-year-old hazmat truck driver from Phoenix. Tharpe has spent his entire life living below the state median household income everywhere he has lived, and he is deeply cynical about talk of a resurgent labor movement. “Everything is getting worse,” Tharpe tells me. Working class bodies are born to work until they are in too much pain to do so—and then die. “If you’re working class, you die in your early seventies. You know that and there's nothing you can do about it. This is the business model,” Tharpe says. Most of the successful strikes have been won by the tiny percentage of workers who are already unionized. But the 94% of workers in private sector jobs without union representation like himself are just out of luck; to them, attempting to unionize means an antagonistic relationship with management or retaliation from bosses or risking their jobs entirely, facing an influx of new workers flown in from elsewhere or a corporation shutting down the branch where they work. These are luxuries most American workers just can’t afford. Someone from the AFL-CIO in Arizona once reached out to Tharpe and asked if he was interested in forming a union. He said yes and asked for contact information for the lawyers who would back him up when his boss started pushing back. He never heard back from the union representative. It's exhilarating to see workers at places like Amazon and Starbucks unionize. But those jobs tend to be temporary ones—by design at a place like Amazon, which is infamous for paying people to quit. Meanwhile Starbucks workers are often younger and even college-educated. Though both are huge employers—Amazon is America’s second biggest—they also aren’t typical of working-class jobs. And there’s a question of scale, too. The efforts at the Amazon warehouse in Staten Island succeeded where others had failed in large part due to the eschewal of a national union in favor of the creation of a new one specific to the site—the Amazon Labor Union. Far from an endorsement, the success of the Staten Island Amazon warehouse is largely being viewed as a rebuke of organized labor. Moreover, there’s something of a Catch-22 to starting a union in the workplaces where people most need union protections and collective bargaining: It requires someone who paradoxically doesn’t really need the work, who will be ok if the corporate backlash is extreme and they lose their job. Gianna Reeve is a 20-year-old shift supervisor who has worked at a Starbucks in Buffalo for a year and a half. Reeve is a student at Buffalo University where she’s studying psychology, and she is active in the effort to unionize her branch, hoping to follow the lead of another Buffalo Starbucks, the first to unionize. For now, Reeve’s branch seems to have voted against unionizing, though the pro-union faction is contesting the results. Reeve came to Starbucks from Tim Hortons, which she says was grueling work. At Starbucks, employees—Starbucks calls them “partners”—seemed happy to come to work, and Reeve initially felt that they were respected by the company. But in mid-August, a coworker texted to ask if they could talk about something to do with work but “outside of work.” They met at another coffee shop that had recently unionized—a symbolic choice, it turned out—and Reeve’s coworker explained the unionization effort to her and asked if she was interested in helping out.  “I was like, yeah,” Reeve recalled. “I mean, of course, if it means better working conditions for people like my partners, then absolutely.” Reeve was thinking of the people she supervises, most of whom are older than her. She made a point of checking her privilege, pointing out the sad irony of union organizing. “I don't blame any of my partners for being scared or being against unionizing,” she told me. “I'm in a position where I'm able to say, yeah, you know what, let's do it either way. But it's a privilege. I don’t have kids. I don’t have a family I support,” she explained. “I don’t really have anything personally that tethers me. I know that I’m going to be financially and benefits-wise stable, no matter what, so it’s not really a threat they can put against me.” But it’s not just economic privilege. There is an emerging cultural disconnect between the people who most need unions and the people who sometimes run them. At the national level, union staff—especially on the political and public policy side of things—are very likely to be part of what one longtime union leader called the “revolving door of Democratic operatives in Washington.” They have often been guilty of subordinating core working-class interests to what he called “the permanent culture of progressive college-educated coastal elites.” And they are alienating the workers they're supposed to be representing—who are much more socially conservative. A YouGov/American Compass survey of 3,000 workers found that “excessive engagement in politics is the number one obstacle to a robust American labor movement.” “Among those who said they would vote against a union, the top reason cited was union political activity, followed by member dues,” the survey found. “These workers anticipate that unions will focus on politics rather than delivering concrete benefits in their workplaces, and don’t want to pay the cost.” Meanwhile, fear of retaliation was the least cited reason workers gave for why they haven’t unionized. The alliance of unions and Democratic politics often goes beyond labor issues, whether it’s the president of the AFL-CIO applauding a Netflix walkout over a Dave Chappelle special, or one of America's biggest unions endorsing Supreme Court packing, or unionization efforts drawing on slogans like Black Lives Matter to convince workers to vote yes. “When you survey workers, which is what we did, what you find is that this is the thing that they most hate about unions,” Cass told me. Jeff Salovich is a pipefitter foreman at the Minneapolis City Hall, which means he’s in charge of all the heating, air conditioning, and ventilation systems for local government offices, including those of the police chief, the fire chief, City Council, and the mayor. Salovich has been with the Local 539 since 2002, something he’s proud of. But he’s worried about the future of labor in America.  “I think unions are dying,” Salovich told me. And he blames what he calls “political theater.” “There's too many progressives in my mind that don't really understand unions. And although they're trying to represent unions, they're actually doing more harm to unions than they are good.” Though Salovich’s union has people from across the political spectrum, it leans conservative, and there is a divide forming between the blue-collar members and the top-down liberal culture that’s being imposed upon them. “A great majority of the people that I work with—other pipefitters and plumbers and mechanical trades—I would say at least 75% of the workers tend to lean more conservative and are more concerned about keeping their jobs instead of saying the right things or addressing people by pronouns and this and that, all the theatrics that are going on,” he said. “Whereas the people that are running things are being pressured by outside influences to succumb to that.”  For example, in the pipefitter trade, there’s a tool called a nipple that connects different pieces of pipe. But as part of what Salovich sees as progressive pressures on leadership, the word is now verboten, and if you're caught saying it, you'll get reprimanded by your boss. It’s a small example of a much larger trend, he explained. “I think there's that breaking point where people will start to leave if they feel like their dues money is going to political alliances that don't line up with their family's convictions,” he explained.  Many conservatives in the union just stay quiet, hoping this new tidal wave will blow over. But for some, even the good pay and benefits that the union provides isn’t worth it. So, they’re willing to give up their economic interests for cultural issues? “No,” Salovich explained. “Because my interests are not just limited to my paycheck. It's your life,” he said. “They don't understand that people just want to work. I'm coming from a mechanical side. As far as trade staff like painting and plumbing and carpentry and trades that people work with their hands, we don't want to have to be perfect in how we address people and how we talk or be afraid to talk or be who we are as people And the Left side, the progressives, are really pushing a lot of agendas that are not aligned with how we raise our families.” There are a lot of people willing to work for half as much as the unions are offering for peace of mind and a stress-free environment, and to not see their dues go to groups that fund Planned Parenthood. But the more progressive culture may also be contrary to their economic interests; after all, marriage has been correlated with significantly higher earnings, especially for men. They may not have the data at hand to support what they can observe in their communities, but working-class people resisting a politics that is indifferent at best and hostile at worst to traditional values like marriage are, it turns out, acting in their economic interests, too. Many union leaders are cognizant of this cultural divide, like Doug Tansy of Alaska. Tansy is a registered Democrat, but he actively works to combat the politicization of his union. “I purposely always try to get people that will check me,” he told me. “I definitely want that conservative voice at the table, debating with me and decision-making with me because, left to my own devices, I will go too far. I represent a very diverse membership and I use my conservative friends to help check me, to make me defend my ideas and to defend my choices, because I don't want to be one-sided.” But how many Tansys are there?  There’s a devastating irony to the fact that it was a bipartisan anti-worker consensus that resulted in stagnant wages and downward mobility for America’s working-class, and that it is now partisanship that is keeping a strong working class from fighting back.  Americans are often told how divided the nation is, how politically polarized, how we entombed in our own tightly sealed echo chambers. But this is not the reality for millions and millions of working-class Americans outside the few elites who make up our political and chattering classes. Political polarization is a luxury they cannot afford in a marketplace dominated by powerful, profit-maximizing corporations. With the blessing of free-market policies pushed by both political parties in the U.S., millions of good working-class jobs have been shipped overseas, jobs that once catapulted working-class Americans into the middle class and now do the same for the burgeoning middle class in China and elsewhere.  What would help America’s working class? A number of solutions came up with everyone I spoke to. Vocational training was the first. America is unique among wealthy countries in its refusal to invest in skilled trades, something that in countries like Germany and Switzerland has offset the drastic effects of offshoring manufacturing. Universal healthcare was another thing nearly everyone I spoke to agreed upon. Regional or sectoral bargaining was another option that came up, or just a larger culture of collective bargaining that isn’t tied to individual workplaces; it’s why across Northern Europe, corporations like Starbucks and Amazon are forced to deal with unions. And we need new federal labor laws that protect workers—not just businesses.  But none of these goals are achievable so long as organized labor is a political football and what one longtime union organizer and leader called a “subsidiary of the Left wing of the Democratic Party.” Rather than holding the benefits of organized labor hostage until Republican workers agree to fund groups that support Planned Parenthood, those who claim to want a strong labor movement would do better to meet workers where they are—which is increasingly on the social and political right. In other words, Americans who truly care about a stable and thriving working class, one that has access to the American Dream, would do well to learn what workers understand: that more unites us than divides us. In other words, politicians and pundits and journalists and influencers who seek to advance workers’ causes should stop trying to lead and should start following.  Batya Ungar-Sargon is the deputy opinion editor of Newsweek. She is the author of "Bad News: How Woke Media Is Undermining Democracy." *  *  * NOTE FROM GLENN GREENWALD: As is true with all of the Outside Voices freelance articles that we publish here, we edit and fact-check the content to ensure factual accuracy, but our publication of an article or op-ed does not necessarily mean we agree with all or even any of the views expressed by the writer, who is guaranteed editorial freedom here. The objective of our Outside Voices page is to provide a platform for high-quality reporting and analysis that is lacking within the gates of corporate journalism, and to ensure that well-informed, independent reporters and commentators have a platform to be heard. To support the independent journalism we are doing here, please obtain a gift subscription for others and/or share the article Tyler Durden Fri, 04/15/2022 - 19:15.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytApr 15th, 2022

Mayor Eric Adams" staff walks back his comments about metal detectors in the subway, says "he was talking about using innovative technology" instead

"You are right. We found a few ways that it could be used," Adams replied when a local TV host asked about installing metal detectors in the subway. New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D).AP Photo/Seth Wenig NYC Mayor Eric Adams' staff cleaned up remarks he made on metal detectors in the subway system. Adams told a local CBS anchor, "You are right," when asked if the city should consider using them. A spokesman later clarified Adams meant "using innovative technology to keep the subways safe." After New York City Mayor Eric Adams entertained the idea of installing metal detectors across the Big Apple's 472 subway stations, his staff went into clean-up mode.Subway safety was a major campaign issue for Adams in his victorious Democratic primary run, and Tuesday's fatal Sunset Park subway attack brought the issue front and center.Confined to Gracie Mansion after testing positive for COVID-19, Adams did not dismiss the idea when asked specifically about metal detectors in a local CBS interview.CBS New York anchor Maurice DuBois asked Adams if metal detectors could work in the subway in a similar way to those used at sporting events or offices, citing Yankee Stadium as an example."You are right," Adams replied. "We found a few ways that it could be used. We are going to make sure we do everything within legal means, but we are going to protect New Yorkers."Less than two hours later, Adams' communications director tweeted a clarification.—Maxwell Young (@maxwellcyoung) April 12, 2022Adams "was talking about using innovative technology to keep the subways safe," Maxwell Young, the City Hall communications chief, tweeted on Tuesday night. "He was (of course) not saying we should consider using airport style metal detectors. He's a frequent rider and obviously knows that's not practical."City Hall Press Secretary Fabien Levy added that the tech Adams was supposedly referring to wouldn't "delay individuals or cause any inconvenience; you just walk by something."—Fabien Levy (@Fabien_Levy) April 13, 2022The mayor's press office did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 13th, 2022

Sinking Feeling Hits European Shares, Deliveroo Hits Another Bump, Rolls Royce Dives On Downgrade

’That sinking feeling has now hit shares in Europe after falls on Wall Street amid concerns that inflationary pressures are still mounting and growing evidence that consumer confidence is suffering amid the cost of living squeeze. European Shares Take A Hit The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 have opened lower, but there were sharper falls […] ’That sinking feeling has now hit shares in Europe after falls on Wall Street amid concerns that inflationary pressures are still mounting and growing evidence that consumer confidence is suffering amid the cost of living squeeze. European Shares Take A Hit The FTSE 100 and FTSE 250 have opened lower, but there were sharper falls on the DAX in Germany and the CAC 40 in Paris. Worries are resurfacing about an escalation of the war in Ukraine, with reports of the use of chemical weapons by Russia being investigated. The increasingly entrenched conflict has already sent commodity prices soaring, and investors will be watching for the latest hot inflation reading in the US, which will help determine just how aggressive the Federal Reserve will in in raising rates. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q1 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more With the sanctions screw expected to be turned tighter on Russia, with the EU thought to be inching closer towards agreeing a Russian oil embargo, Brent crude has crept back up to above $100 a barrel, after yesterday’s losses. Supply concerns show little signs of evaporating despite the emergency release from stockpiles around the world and prices are set to stay elevated with OPEC warning that it will be nigh on impossible to replace 7 million barrels per day of crude and other products from Russia as many firms continue to shun its exports and if fresh sanctions are imposed. A KPMG-BRC retail snapshot showed a deteriorating picture for the UK’s high streets and shopping centres with purchases slowing, and although growth in total sales was registered, that was buoyed by price rises across the sector. There is recognition that the worst is yet to come for retailers, given inflation is still outrunning wages, despite the bigger pay checks offered by businesses desperate to attract staff in the big fight for talent. With the jobless rate at a 2 year low and vacancies at a record high of 1.28 million, companies may be forced to offer more generous packages to fill vital roles, putting pressure on bottom lines. There is a ‘savings’ grace for the economy for now, due to the piles of cash reserves some consumers were able to build up during the pandemic, and which are now a soft pillow to land on, but as people dip into this and keep spending even as household budgets tighten – his protective cushion will flatten as the year progresses. Delivero's Reliance On Discretionary Spending Deliveroo PLC (LON:ROO)’s tyre risks running flat as budgets are squeezed further, given the company is so highly reliant on discretionary spending.  On the face of it Deliveroo is still in a speedy growth phase with sales riding higher in the first three months of the year and gross transactional value up 11%, as it expanded its footprint and tied up more delivery deals with supermarkets. But there are already worrying signs that its customers are tightening belts with average spend per order falling 7% to £23.50, prompting a 3% share slide in early trade. Deliveroo is also facing fresh competition from a pack of instant delivery start-ups, with the likes of Getir offering cut price deals to lure in new grocery customers. With many supermarkets and restaurants  set to pass on the cost of higher commodity prices, more consumers may begin to trim budgets by starting with little luxuries like on fast food and on demand groceries and that still could prove a big bump in the road for companies like Deliveroo to navigate as it tries to carve out a dominant position in the delivery market. Rolls-Royce Gets A Downgrade Rolls-Royce Holding PLC (LON:RR) shares have been hit with fresh turbulence after a broker downgrade, falling by more than 5% on the open. The company hasn’t been helped by the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, with worries that it could dent confidence in the travelling public for long haul flights in particular and affect its business which is so highly reliant on the health of commercial air travel. A massive restructuring effort which is underway has set the stage for recovery and the company is restoring the balance sheet by paying down debt. It’s now a leaner organisation but with the aviation sector still struggling it's not going to be a smooth ride ahead.’’ Article by Susannah Streeter, senior investment and markets analyst, Hargreaves Lansdown About Hargreaves Lansdown Almost 1.7 million clients trust us with £141.2 billion (as at 31 December 2021), making us the UK’s number one platform for private investors. More than 98% of client activity is done through our digital channels and over 600,000 access our mobile app each month. Updated on Apr 12, 2022, 5:10 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 12th, 2022

US Futures On Edge Ahead Of "Extraordinarily Elevated" CPI Print

US Futures On Edge Ahead Of "Extraordinarily Elevated" CPI Print US index futures were flat on Tuesday, rebounding off overnight session lows as investors braced for red hot inflation data which the White House yesterday called "extraordinarily elevated" and which will likely boost the argument for aggressive monetary tightening - perhaps even a 75bps or intermeeting rate hike - despite a looming economic slowdown. Nasdaq futures were 0.2% higher, while S&P futures were flat after dropping as much as 0.5%. China’s Premier Li Keqiang issued a third warning about economic growth risks in less than a week but Chinese stocks bounced back over bets that policy makers will take measures to support the economy. The rate on 10-year Treasuries rose to the highest since 2018 as the global bond rout continued, rising for an 8th straight day as high as 2.83% before easing. The Bloomberg dollar index was set to extend its longest winning streak since 2020, rising for a ninth day. Both trends reflect expectations that the Fed will implement its fastest monetary tightening since 1994. The euro weakened. Oil staged a partial recovery after a tumble that saw crude erase most of the gains sparked by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. China’s virus outbreaks and mobility curbs, in pursuit of a controversial Covid-zero strategy, are imperiling demand. “What we’re faced with this year is stagflation,” Kathryn Rooney Vera, head of global macro research at Bulltick LLC, said on Bloomberg Television. “It’s a very complicated environment that the Fed has found itself in” and the market is pricing in potentially 50 basis points of hikes at each of the next two policy meetings, she added. Meanwhile, the Peterson Institute for International Economics expects a global recession by the end of the year due to Covid-related shutdowns in China and the Russia-Ukraine war In premarket trading, Apple was flat after Citi said that it was likely to announce an incremental stock buyback of $80b-$90b and raise its dividend by 5-10% when it reports 2Q results later this month, according to Citi. Hewlett Packard Enterprise fell 3.6% after Morgan Stanley downgraded the stock to underweight and lowered its industry view for telecom and networking equipment to cautious from in-line, citing demand data. Other notable premarket movers include: Cisco (CSCO US) drop as much as 2.1% in premarket after Citi cuts rating to sell from neutral, citing competition and more difficult year-over-year comparisons for quarters ahead. Biodesix (BDSX US) surges 79% premarket after its chairman, board members revealed they had bought shares in the biotechnology firm. Coinbase (COIN US) price target cut by Mizuho Securities for a second straight week, this time citing analysis which suggests the cryptocurrency exchange is losing market share to other platforms. Shares up 0.8% premarket. Aeglea BioTherapeutics (AGLE US) shared added data from the PEACE Phase 3 study of pegzilarginase for the treatment of arginase 1 deficiency, with shares gaining 31% premarket. Global growth optimism sank to a fresh all-time low, with recession fears surging in the world’s investment community, according to the latest monthly Bank of America survey of fund managers. The next major test for markets looms later Tuesday, when the U.S. is expected to unveil an inflation print for March of more than 8%, the highest since early 1982 (see our CPI preview here).  One of the more dangerous scenarios for markets “is that we have to raise rates at such a pace that it will clamp down on growth,” Kathryn Kaminski, chief research strategist at AlphaSimplex Group, said on Bloomberg Television. “That’s the scenario that most people are worried about.” “These concerns over inflation are likely to remain in focus over the next two days,” said Michael Hewson, chief analyst at CMC Markets in London. “Today’s CPI numbers look set to seal the deal on a 50 basis-point rate move at the Federal Reserve’s May meeting, a move that bond markets are already discounting with the prospect of more to come.” In Europe, stocks pared some losses as energy benefits from oil’s rally, while global yields slightly cool their ascent. Declines in the personal care and healthcare industries outweighed gains for energy and mining companies, with the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.5% and the Euro Stoxx 50 falling 0.9%. IBEX outperformed, dropping 0.3%, DAX lags, dropping 1.1%. Health care, banks and financial services are the worst performing sectors. Energy is the best performing sector of Stoxx 600. Banking stocks were among the biggest decliners in Europe as concern over the impact of war in Ukraine and the possibility of recession started to impact profit estimates. Deutsche Bank AG and Commerzbank AG led the drop after stake sales worth a combined 1.75 billion euros ($1.9 billion) in Germany’s two largest listed banks. Russian stocks fell for a third day. Dubai Electricity & Water Authority jumped in its trading debut after raising $6.1 billion in the world’s second-biggest initial public offering this year. In the U.K., living standards fell at the fastest pace in more than eight years in February as wages lagged further behind the rate of inflation. Earlier in the session, Asia’s stock benchmark pared much of its early drop on Tuesday, with Chinese shares bouncing back on speculation that policy makers will step in to support the economy. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index was down 0.6% as of 6:00 p.m. in Singapore after falling as much as 1%. The CSI 300 Index advanced by the most this month as traders bet that authorities may step up monetary-policy easing or relax some of the most severe Covid-19 restrictions. The broader risk-off sentiment remained, however, as lockdowns in China and higher U.S. interest rates dim the region’s growth prospects. Industrial firms were among the biggest drags on the MSCI measure, while chipmakers and electronic-hardware stocks followed U.S. tech peers lower as the 10-year Treasury yield climbed above 2.8%. “Investors globally are looking to hold defensive stocks and sell cyclical stocks that may be affected economically, and machinery-related stocks are one of the more economically sensitive ones,” said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. Key gauges in Japan, the Philippines and South Korea led equity declines. Chinese tech stocks edged higher after a volatile trading day, as investors tipped toward optimism after Beijing’s approval of new video game licenses. China’s Covid-Zero policy remains a concern for international investors and is expected to continue to weigh on Asian shares, with the regional benchmark trading at its lowest since March 16. Sri Lanka warned of an unprecedented default and halted payments on foreign debt, an extraordinary step taken to preserve its dwindling dollar stockpile for essential food and fuel imports. Japanese equities dropped, dragged by technology shares for a second day amid ongoing concerns over inflation and Federal Reserve monetary policy. Electronics and machinery makers were the biggest drags on the Topix, which fell 1.4%. Fast Retailing and Tokyo Electron were the largest contributors to a 1.8% loss in the Nikkei 225. The yen slightly extended losses to around 125.5 per dollar after weakening 0.8% Monday. “Earnings will start coming out now, and I think it will still take some time before the uncertainty clears up and people start to buy back,” said said Shogo Maekawa, a strategist at JPMorgan Asset Management. “Investors globally are looking to hold defensive stocks and sell cyclical stocks that may be affected economically, and machinery-related stocks are one of the more economically sensitive ones.” Australian stocks fell, led by the healthcare sector: the S&P/ASX 200 index fell 0.4% to close at 7,454.00, with the health sector falling most.  Imugene was the biggest decliner on the benchmark gauge. Mining company Regis rose for a fourth day to the highest since Oct. 25, leading gains in the materials sector. In New Zealand, the S&P/NZX 50 index fell 0.4% to 11,889.17 In rates, treasuries remained cheaper across the curve after paring declines that were led by bunds as ECB and BOE policy-tightening premium increased further. U.S. yields cheaper by up to 2bp across front-end of the curve which underperforms slightly; 10-year yields around 2.79%, higher by ~1bp, with German 10-year cheaper by an additional 1bp. Focal points for U.S. session include March CPI data -- with 5-year TIPS breakeven rate ~25bp off its March peak -- and $34b 10-year note reopening. Monday’s 3-year auction was solid; cycle concludes Wednesday with $20b 30-year bond reopening. Gilts and bunds extended their drop as the market set pre-CPI positioning. U.K.’s 10-year debt sale had a bid-to-cover ratio of 2.64. Germany’s 2-year notes sale ahead, while U.S. 10-year sale is due after inflation data later Tuesday. In FX, the greenback traded mixed against its Group-of-10 peers and the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index edged up 0.1%, advancing for a ninth consecutive session - its longest winning stretch since 2020 - as traders bet on the Federal Reserve hiking rates to counter heated price growth, with the Australian dollar outperforming while the Swiss franc lagged. Hedge funds faded the euro move below 1.0860, while trimming dollar-yen longs above 125.50, two Europe-based traders say. The euro neared $1.0850 before paring losses; the bund curve bear steepens Germany’s ZEW investor expectations fell to to -41.0 (estimate -48.5) in April from -39.3 in March The pound fell below 1.30 per dollar, while gilts inched lower, led by the long end of the curve. U.K. jobs data showed a strong labor market, although average earnings excluding bonuses adjusted for prices dropped the most since late 2013 year-on-year. U.K. retailers warned that inflation is curbing demand, recording a sharp slowdown in sales in March. The Australian and New Zealand dollars erased an Asia session loss against the U.S. dollar. Australian sovereign bonds followed Treasuries lower and in view of a bounce in crude oil and iron ore, the latter of which arrested a five-day slide. Australian business sentiment surged as firms passed on increasing costs to consumers, reflecting strong underlying demand that highlights both economic momentum and gathering inflationary pressures The yen weakened for an eighth day before U.S. CPI numbers that are expected to reinforce the economic and monetary policy divergence between America and Japan. Five-year bonds outperformed after a solid auction. The yen’s implied and historical volatility may not be in the driver’s seat for the Group-of-10, but traders are betting it’s the currency that can move the most over the next month Bitcoin is firmer and is holding onto the USD 40k mark after pronounced pressure in yesterday's session saw a breach of the level and a subsequent fall to a USD 39.21k overnight low. Bitcoin has dropped for seven days out of the past eight. In commodities, crude futures advanced with WTI trading within Monday’s range, adding 3.2% to around $97. Brent rises 3.4% above $101. Spot gold falls roughly $2 to trade around $1,950/oz. Base metals are mixed; LME tin falls 0.6% while LME nickel gains 1.5%. Looking at the day ahead, today brings the ever-important US CPI release. Consensus expects the monthly gain in headline CPI of +1.2% will push the year-on-year rate to +8.4%, the highest since 1981. However, many economists also think that March is the peak in the year-on-year rates for both headline and core. Elsewhere in the US, there’s the March NFIB small business optimism index. We’ll also get February UK unemployment and the April German ZEW survey. Finally, central bank speakers today include the Fed’s Brainard and Barkin. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures down 0.2% to 4,402.00 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.8% to 454.78 MXAP down 0.5% to 172.46 MXAPJ little changed at 573.96 Nikkei down 1.8% to 26,334.98 Topix down 1.4% to 1,863.63 Hang Seng Index up 0.5% to 21,319.13 Shanghai Composite up 1.5% to 3,213.33 Sensex down 0.7% to 58,579.23 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.4% to 7,453.98 Kospi down 1.0% to 2,666.76 German 10Y yield little changed at 0.86% Euro down 0.2% to $1.0862 Brent Futures up 2.2% to $100.65/bbl Gold spot up 0.0% to $1,954.10 U.S. Dollar Index up 0.24% to 100.17 Top Overnight News from Bloomberg Global growth optimism has sunk to an all-time low, with recession fears surging in the world’s investment community, according to the latest Bank of America Corp. fund manager survey Some Russian exporters face difficulties selling foreign currency proceeds in the market, newspaper Vedomosti reports, citing unidentified people close to the government, Bank of Russia and some exporters Global crude markets have swung from chaos to calm in just a few weeks as frenzied trading and a run- up in prices triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine gives way to a return to more normal conditions U.K. living standards fell at the fastest pace in more than eight years in February as wages lagged further behind the rate of inflation. Average earnings excluding bonuses rose 4.1% from a year earlier, the Office for National Statistics said Tuesday. Adjusted for prices over the same period, however, they dropped 1.3%, the most since late 2013 A more detailed look at global markets courtesy of Newsquawk Asia-Pac stocks followed suit to the losses across global counterparts amid higher yields and inflationary concerns. ASX 200 was dragged lower by weakness across defensives and tech but with losses in the broader market somewhat contained amid the improvement in NAB Business Confidence and Conditions. Nikkei 225 declined despite recent currency depreciation and the ruling LDP seeking to provide cash handouts. Hang Seng and Shanghai Comp were indecisive with early support in the former as gaming and internet stocks were boosted by China’s resumption of videogame approvals following a 9-month suspension. However, the gains for the Hong Kong benchmark were later pared and the mainland bourse was also cautious amid ongoing COVID woes. Top Asian News China Tech Stocks Slide as Risks Outweigh Game Approval Uplift Tencent Soars After China Ends Eight-Month Gaming Freeze Macau Premium Mass Operators to Outperform Peers: Citi Australia Minister To Make Rare Solomon Islands Trip, ABC says European bourses are subdued, Euro Stoxx 50 -0.7%, but off lows as participants await the US CPI metrics for fresh insight into the inflation narrative and for any read across to ongoing yield upside. The breakdown features relatively broad-based losses as the CAC 40 is in-line after Monday's election inspired outperformance while Banking names lag initially in a pullback from that session’s strength while Energy & Tech fare better. Stateside, futures are attempting to move into positive territory, ES Unch., but are yet to find a robust foothold. Top European News German Investor Mood Sours Further Amid War-Driven Inflation U.K. Workers See Biggest Fall in Living Standards in Eight Years U.K. Labor Market Missing Almost 600,000 People Since Covid Hit EasyJet Sees Summer Flight Capacity Approaching 2019 Levels Fixed Income Bonds bounce after sliding once more and setting fresh yield highs; 10 year T-note, Bunds and Gilts off new 119-10+, 154.27 and 118.42 cycle lows. UK and German debt may be gleaning some comfort from solid covers at Schatz and 2032 DMO auctions. Treasuries await US CPI and 10 year supply. FX: Greenback grinds higher before US CPI with White House officials upping the ante for a hot set of inflation data, DXY eclipses last Friday's peak within a firmer 100.230-99.923 range. Aussie resilient after increases in NAB business sentiment and conditions and Kiwi underpinned awaiting 25bp or 50bp from the RBNZ, overnight; AUD/USD bounces off 0.7400 and NZD/USD keeps grip of 0.6800 handle. Euro holds above recent low and 2022 trough with some traction from Germany’s ZEW survey showing not as bad as feared economic sentiment and current conditions, EUR/USD above 1.0850 vs 1.0836 last Friday and 1.0806 y-t-d base. Sterling treading water around 1.3000 after mixed UK jobs and earnings, Loonie looking for support via decent option expiry interest at 1.2650 or chart levels after dropping through 200 DMA before BoC on Wednesday. Yen and Franc yield to divergent dynamics; USD/JPY poised below 2015 peak and USD/CHF rebounds from low 0.9300 zone. Japanese Finance Minister Suzuki said FX stability is important but did not comment on FX levels, while he added they are watching closely with vigilance how FX moves could impact Japan's economy. Suzuki also noted that excess FX volatility and disorderly FX moves could have an adverse effect on Japan's economy, while they will respond to FX as appropriate while communicating with the US and other countries. Commodities: Crude benchmarks are continuing to regain composure after Monday's pressure, with WTI and Brent in proximity to highs of USD 97.72/bbl and USD 102.15/bbl respectively. European Commission official said the EU repeated its call during a meeting with OPEC for oil producers to look at whether they can increase deliveries, according to Reuters. US President Biden will on Tuesday lay out plans to extend the availability of higher biofuels-blended gasoline during the summer in a bit to control fuel costs, according to Reuters sources. Spot gold and silver are contained, particularly in the context of yesterday's price action, ahead of the key US events on the schedule. US Event Calendar 06:00: March SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM dropped to 93.2, est. 95.0, prior 95.7 08:30: March CPI YoY, est. 8.4%, prior 7.9%; CPI MoM, est. 1.2%, prior 0.8% 08:30: March CPI Ex Food and Energy YoY, est. 6.6%, prior 6.4%; CPI Ex Food and Energy MoM, est. 0.5%, prior 0.5% 08:30: March Real Avg Hourly Earning YoY, prior -2.6%, revised -2.5% 08:30: March Real Avg Weekly Earnings YoY, prior -2.3%, revised -2.2% 14:00: March Monthly Budget Statement, est. -$190b, prior -$659.6b       DB's Tim Wessel concludes the overnight wrap Yesterday was painted with a panoply of senior-level gatherings. The EU foreign ministers met in Luxembourg, where they weighed whether to sanction Russia’s energy sector. Those closer to Russia’s border were quicker to advocate for a ban on oil imports. The idea was not ruled out, with several EU countries seeking more time to transition energy supplies before signing up for an outright ban. This, as Russia posted its biggest current account surplus in nearly three decades on the back of strong energy export revenues. Germany is also ready to send weapons to Ukraine according to Chancellor Scholz. Austrian Chancellor Nehammer, meanwhile, became the first European head of state to meet with President Putin in person since his invasion. Nehammer expressed pessimism on peace prospects following the discussion. Farther afield, President Biden met with Indian Prime Minister Modi. Biden pledged to help India diversify its energy sources in an attempt to persuade India from increasing purchases of Russian energy exports. Finally, as we go to press this morning, the Pentagon is monitoring claims that Russia used a chemical agent in Mariupol. A number of news agencies have reported the accusation, but as of yet, none have been able to verify the original claim. If true, that would mark a much-feared escalation in tactics as Ukraine braces for a renewed assault on its territory in the east. After starting the week off on a weak foot, S&P 500 futures are down another -0.41% this morning. Back to yesterday, Treasury yields continued their blistering selloff and curve re-steepening. Chicago Fed President Evans, owner of an inimitable dovish CV, thought that a +50bp hike in May was not only possible, but likely. He went on to say that policy should get to neutral by December, a range he pegged between 2.25% and 2.5%, which implies at least two +50bp hikes this year. The implied probability of a +50bp hike in May edged to a cycle high of 91.2%, with the amount of anticipated 2022 policy rate tightening hitting its own high at +255bps. 10yr Treasury yields gained another +8.0bps to 2.78%, their highest levels since January 2019, with breakevens (+4.3bps) and real yields (+3.7bps) each contributing. 2s10s steepened another +9.6bps to +27.4bps, its highest level in a month. Much like how the Fed’s rhetoric has shaded ever more restrictive over the last few months, so too has their recent handicapping of a soft landing turned more pessimistic. Once a widely-accepted base case, yesterday Governor Waller was much more blunt, if not fatalistic, noting that interest rates are a “brute-force tool” and that there will be some “collateral damage” when they are used to slow inflation. US equities took some collateral damage yesterday, with the S&P 500 down -1.69% to start the week, with every sector in the red, bringing YTD performance down to -7.42%. Energy (-3.11%) led the declines on the fall in oil prices, with brent crude futures down -4.18% to close below $100 for the first time in a month. Mega-cap tech names underperformed, with FANG+ falling -3.03%, given the discount rate hit to valuations, capping off five straight days of declines that has brought the FANG+ -11.73% lower. The index is now down -17.69% on the year. It was a similar story in Europe, with year-end OIS rates increasing +5.4bps to +67.6bps, a cycle high, suggesting some probability that the deposit rate could end the year in positive territory. 10yr bund yields climbed +10.9bps to 0.82%, the highest level since 2015, while 10yr gilts gained +9.7bps to 1.85%, their highest since 2016. European stocks were a touch more resilient, with the STOXX 600 falling -0.59%. In Europe, markets were also reacting to the first round of the French election. French assets outperformed as President Macron’s lead over Marine Le Pen was slightly wider than the final polls had implied. In particular, the spread of French 10yr yields over bunds narrowed by -5.2bps, coming down from its 2-year high last Friday. Furthermore, the CAC 40 (+0.12%) outperformed all the other major European equity indices. The second round is set for later this month, and polls over the last 24 hours were a bit more favorable to Macron than the readings from late last week. Macron leads Le Pen by 55%-45% in Opinionway’s poll, and then 54.5%-45.5% in Odoxa’s. Ifop was somewhat narrower, at 52.5%-47.5%, but even that was wider than the 51%-49% margin they reported Sunday night. Harris had a 53-47% margin, also wider than its previous reading. For those after further information on the election, Marc de-Muizon from DB’s European economics team has published his takeaways following the first round (link here). The other major thematic story is the continued Covid spread in China, their strict lockdown response, and the downstream impacts on supply chains and markets. Asian equities are broadly in the red to start trading this morning, with tech shares also lagging on the increase in long-dated sovereign yields. The Nikkei (-1.44%) is leading losses, which comes as Japanese PPI rose to +9.5% in March, while the February figure was revised to a four-decade high of +9.7%. Oil prices have partially retraced yesterday’s big decline, with Brent futures rising +1.33% to $99.79/bbl. 10yr Treasury yields continue to forge a path higher, increasing +4.2bps to a three-year high of 2.82% this morning. The yield curve has shifted higher in parallel, with 2yr yields not far behind at +3.7bps. There wasn’t a massive amount of data yesterday, but we did get the monthly GDP reading for February from the UK. That showed the economy grew by just +0.1% that month (vs. +0.2% expected). Consumers increased their inflation expectations for the year ahead to +6.6%, while three-year inflation dropped to +3.7%, according to the New York Fed’s survey. To the day ahead, today brings the ever-important US CPI release. Our US econ and rates team put our their joint-preview, here. They’re expecting the monthly gain in headline CPI of +1.3% will push the year-on-year rate to +8.6%, the highest since 1981. However, they think that March is the peak in the year-on-year rates for both headline and core. Elsewhere in the US, there’s the March NFIB small business optimism index. We’ll also get February UK unemployment and the April German ZEW survey. Finally, central bank speakers today include the Fed’s Brainard and Barkin. Tyler Durden Tue, 04/12/2022 - 08:02.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeApr 12th, 2022

Rabo: Over Half Of France Just Voted For Extreme Alternatives To The Status Quo

Rabo: Over Half Of France Just Voted For Extreme Alternatives To The Status Quo By Michael Every of Rabobank Le Pen is Mightier Than The Sword(?) Markets may try an attempt at risk on today given the French elections saw President Macron win around 28% in the first round while far-right - and pro-Putin - Le Pen got around 24% and is also through to the head-to-head in two weeks. An even-further far right candidate got 7%, and the far-left candidate got 22%, while the centre-right got just 5%. Even if Macron wins, an advance risk-on rally will overlook that French society is deeply happy. Over half of it just voted for extreme alternatives to the status quo. Yet France is one of the world’s richest countries, with a nuclear power network to rely on, and a huge food surplus: if it is that angry, imagine the implications elsewhere. In poorer countries, things look far worse. Food prices hit a record high in March according to the FAO; one reports suggests Ukraine’s harvest could be down 50% this year, which could make things far worse; we see headlines like ‘Rising Food Costs Push Arab World's Vulnerable to Breaking Point’; and Lebanon, a buyer of Ukrainian wheat, is allegedly out of it completely: its last delivery was ruined by moisture - and it does not appear to have the spare FX reserves to buy more at a time of tight supply and soaring prices. Pakistan just saw the parliamentary ousting of pro-Chinese PM Khan, despite it being a nuclear power in a tense neighborhood; and the chaos in pro-China Sri Lanka, where the IMF are talking about a new loan rather than a new Marshall Plan; and that’s at a time when others are talking about a new global financial architecture – Russia on Saturday called on the BRICs economies to extend the use of national currencies and integrate their payment systems, for example. US President Biden is to talk to Indian PM Modi this week: certainly lots to discuss. Today’s Chinese CPI picked up slightly more than expected from 0.9% to a still-low 1.5% y/y (it’s amazing what price controls and a policy of deliberate over-supply can do), while PPI fell back from 8.8% to 8.3% y/y (again, it’s amazing what price controls and going all-in on cheap coal can do). So, food prices may not be a major issue right now in China - but food *supply* is. The market voices who extolled China’s Covid restrictions are eerily quiet now tens of millions are locked down and reportedly struggling to get hold of enough to eat, prompting the US to withdraw its diplomatic personnel from Shanghai. The former editor of the acerbic Global Times states it is “rude, undiplomatic, and unethical” for the US to comment on China’s Covid struggles. I don’t recall the reverse being true when it was the US floundering with the virus – it was the US system that was seen as failing. At least Covid has delayed a further China-US firestorm, as House Speaker Pelosi has postponed a visit Taiwan after testing positive. The same former editor says Pelosi is “playing with fire”: the Japanese press today says, ‘Taiwan conducts drills to prepare for possible Chinese attack on nuclear plant’, showing the kind of fire potentially being played with. Meanwhile, we are days away from a huge new front in east Ukraine, as Russia reportedly calls up 60,000 reservists to fight there. That really will be the largest battle in Europe since WW2. Yet the even larger one many in markets still refuse to see. Former-oligarch Khodorkovsky argues, “The US and its Western allies fail to understand that from Putin’s perspective, they are already at war with Russia.”; Russian intellectual Karaganov, in an interview, says, “We are at war with the West. The European security order is illegitimate.”: “We see that most of the [European security] institutions are, in our view, one-sided and illegitimate. They are threatening Russia and Eastern Europe. We wanted fair peace, but the greed and stupidity of the Americans and the short-sightedness of the Europeans revealed they didn’t want that. We have to correct their mistakes.… Americans and their NATO partners continue support of Ukraine by sending arms. If that continues, it is obvious that targets in Europe could or will be hit in order to stop lines of communications. Then the war could escalate. At this juncture it is becoming more and more plausible. I think the Joint chiefs of staff of US armed forces are of the same opinion as I am.” That is as Finland and Sweden are both being reported as being on the verge of NATO membership, making the European security order even less legitimate in Russia’s eyes; and Western weapons are flooding into Ukraine from some countries, if not from Germany, whose dog ate its geopolitical homework again. Someone is bluffing; or someone is going to get a shock. We won’t find out which until we escalate. So, trade as if Le Pen is mightier than the sword. Just consider how many daggers are being drawn behind you, and knives are falling: the dollar index DXY is just shy of 100 this morning, up over 8% over 12 months; and Aussie 10-year yields have flirted with 3%, perhaps flagging a warning to US Treasuries trading at 2.70%. Regardless, many in markets think they are mightier than the likes of Le Pen or any sword. Indeed, a recent op-ed in The New York Times argued “Ordinary People Don’t Think Like Economists. It’s a Problem.” I will confess I didn’t read it. I will also confess I wouldn’t read it even if it were free, let alone requiring a subscription – which logically makes me one of the ordinary people and not an economist. However, that op-ed title points to how we ended up in our current mess: presuming neoliberal economics was a panacea for the longer cycles of history, class struggle, and even of national character, rather than an amplifier of all of them. As an example, as Italy signs a new gas supply deal with Algeria, Germany is contemplating its Russian gas flows. Thinking like an economist, it sees voluntarily switching off the gas to hit the Russian economy is bad because it would mean a deep German recession. There are various figures bandied about, but some say GDP might fall as much as 6%. On the other hand, has Germany calculated the cost of buying Russian gas, for now, and de facto helping it win the war in Ukraine? I don’t mean the direct human cost, which social media is pointing out. I mean the future economic cost to Germany of having a victorious, entrenched, revanchist, irridentist Russia as a neighbour, and inspiring a new global alliance around it. You think that would cost less than 6% of GDP over time, and carry even larger tail risks? You must be an economist! Knives are also out for UK Chancellor and until-recently-presumed-next-PM Sunak, as another rich (net food importing) country sees economic pain and rising public discontent. Sunak is now revealed as holding a US Green Card(!), while his wife is a ‘non-dom’ not paying tax on her foreign income. How both of these facts were apparently unknown until last week is politically jaw-dropping. Then again, so is Sunak’s alleged resistance to the UK acting to ensure its long-term energy security by fast-tracking seven new nuclear power stations. He is reported as believing Russia will win the war soon and we will all go back to BAU, so why bother spending so much? He is *obviously* an economist. Tyler Durden Mon, 04/11/2022 - 09:40.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytApr 11th, 2022

These 6 Finance Skills Will Destroy Entrepreneurs if They Don’t Master Them

Learning about personal finance is one of the most important steps you can take as an entrepreneur. Although grit, perseverance, and hard work are all factors in your business’ success, money knowledge is perhaps the most important skill of all. In fact, these six personal finance skills will destroy entrepreneurs if you don’t master them. […] Learning about personal finance is one of the most important steps you can take as an entrepreneur. Although grit, perseverance, and hard work are all factors in your business’ success, money knowledge is perhaps the most important skill of all. In fact, these six personal finance skills will destroy entrepreneurs if you don’t master them. Keep reading if you want to avoid financial disaster while you build your company and create your legacy. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Budgeting and Tracking Business Expenses It’s important to treat your business as a business from the start, even if you don’t have any clients or income yet. Form an LLC, open a business bank account, and track your expenses. In the beginning, many entrepreneurs fail to keep business expenses separate from personal expenses. For example, they’ll use personal credit cards to pay for supplies or travel expenses. This can quickly lead to problems, especially if your business isn’t yet profitable. Consult an accountant or ask fellow business owners about the best ways to track your income and expenses. Make sure you develop a system that’s organized and updated regularly. Being organized, budgeting, and tracking from the beginning of your business will set you up for success and avoid accounting headaches down the road. Creating a Financial Business Plan Many entrepreneurs create a business plan with an emphasis on how they will market and grow their business. However, creating a business financial plan is equally as important. Without a plan, it’s easy to get off track and make decisions that aren’t in your best interest. A financial plan will give you a roadmap to follow and help keep you accountable. In your financial business plan, write down how much cash savings you prefer to have on hand in your business. Also, document what your ideal monthly and annual revenue goals are. Write down whether or not you’ll utilize debt, raise capital, or fund the start-up costs yourself. Doing this will help ensure you are making decisions that align with your long-term financial goals. Once you create a financial business plan, you can always go back and edit it as things change. However, setting ground rules about your finances and being able to refer to them is a helpful way to start your entrepreneurial journey. Understanding Your Credit Score Another key personal finance skill entrepreneurs need to master is understanding their credit score. This number will have a big impact on your ability to get loans and lines of credit. First, get a copy of your credit report and start monitoring it regularly. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus. When you pull your credit report, be sure to check it for errors. If you find any, dispute them with the appropriate bureau right away. Having accurate information on your credit report is important in maintaining good credit. To learn your actual score, you can use a service like Credit Sesame or Credit Karma to get a ballpark figure. There are also many apps as well as credit cards that will provide you with a score. Keep in mind, your score might vary depending on where you access it. Ultimately your goal should be to have about a 750 or above FICO score, which will qualify you for some of the best rates. Borrowing Responsibly Borrowing responsibly is another important aspect of personal finance as an entrepreneur. If you take on too much debt, it can quickly become overwhelming. Be careful about taking out loans and only do so if you are confident that you will be able to repay them. Sometimes securing a line of credit is preferable over a loan because loans are lump sum payments whereas you can access lines of credit when you need it. Of course, many entrepreneurs grow their businesses debt-free, but this can be challenging in many industries that require expensive equipment, leases, and staff. So, make the best choice for the type of business you want to grow, taking into consideration that you will have to make payments on any money you borrow. Having Multiple Streams Of Income Diversifying your income sources is a smart move for any business owner, but it’s especially important for entrepreneurs. If one stream of income dries up, you’ll still have others providing revenue to keep your business afloat. There are a few ways to diversify. You could start by offering additional products or services that complement your main business. You could also look into freelance work or consulting gigs. Or, you could start a side hustle. Another option to consider is collaborating with other entrepreneurs to reach more people. You can do joint products, webinars, events, and more. If you pursue that route, though, make sure you have a formal agreement about what each party will contribute. No matter what route you choose, having multiple streams of income is a smart move for any entrepreneur. Not only can it help you weather tough times, but it can also provide additional income to help grow your business. Investing in Your Business Investing money back into your business is one of the best things you can do for its long-term growth. This could include hiring new employees, expanding your product line, or investing in marketing and advertising. Whatever you do, make sure you are strategic about how you are spending your money. It’s important to have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your investment and how it will help your business grow. Otherwise, you could end up wasting money on something that doesn’t actually benefit your company. This is good information to include in your financial business plan. Decide what percentage of your profits you’ll utilize to put back into your company each month. That can provide a benchmark when you’re tempted to use the money for other things. These Finance Skills Will Destroy Entrepreneurs if They Don’t Master Them These are just a few personal finance skills that entrepreneurs need to master. If you can get a handle on your finances, you will be well on your way to success. Remember to keep learning, and don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. There are a lot of great resources out there when it comes to business finances, so take advantage of them and learn as much as you can. Every entrepreneur will have a different threshold for risk, come from different backgrounds, and have varying levels of support and financial opportunities. However, regardless of where you start, being organized with money and having a clear head when making financial decisions can help your business to grow and flourish. Article by Catherine Collins Alford, Due About the Author Catherine Collins Alford is a nationally recognized author of the book Mom's Got Money, an award-winning freelance writer, and the co-founder of Updated on Apr 7, 2022, 4:21 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkApr 8th, 2022

Trump worried about John Kelly monitoring his calls on the White House switchboard and told people to hang up and call him on his cell: report

While serving as Trump's chief of staff, John Kelly monitored the White House switchboard to see who was calling the former president, reports said. Then-President Donald Trump and John Kelly, the White house chief of staff.Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images President Trump started switching calls over to his cellphone while in office, people told CNN. He didn't like that John Kelly, the chief of staff, monitored the White House switchboard. Trump would "often tell people to hang up and call him back on his cellphone," CNN reported. Amid confusion over a seven-hour gap in the White House phone logs on the day of the January 6 insurrection, a new report from CNN sheds light on how President Donald Trump would move calls to his cellphone.Although White House officials are supposed to use secure lines of communication, Trump made a habit of rejecting the in-house phone system in favor of his cellphone, CNN reported, citing people familiar with Trump's phone behavior.John Kelly, Trump's chief of staff from July 2017 to January 2019, monitored the White House switchboard as part of his efforts to streamline communication and limit the number of outside voices trying to influence Trump's opinion.One of Kelly's goals was to get Trump to stop using his cell so much, but CNN's sources said his switchboard sleuthing had the opposite effect."Trump hated people knowing who he spoke to, including from the residence at night when they went through the switchboard," a former Trump official told CNN. So he would tell those who called him on a White House landline to hang up and call him back on his cellphone, CNN reported.In the context of the missing January 6 phone logs, his use of a cellphone may partially explain why calls corroborated by witnesses — such as one to Vice President Mike Pence from the Oval Office that morning — didn't show up. Trump used the switchboard while in the White House residence, but he rarely used it while in the Oval Office, CNN reported, citing people familiar with Trump's phone usage. He also had staffers place calls for him on various landlines and mobile phones, rather than going through the switchboard.Clashes over Trump's cellphone use were a feature of the early stages of his presidency, with a 2018 Politico report describing how he used a phone without any encryption or security features to hide his calls from foreign intelligence agencies.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 1st, 2022

21 DC power couples who have influenced politics together for years

Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and wife Ginni Thomas have helped thrust DC's high profile marriages into the spotlight. Supreme Court Associate Justice Clarence Thomas, right, and wife Virginia "Ginni" Thomas arrive for a State Dinner with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and President Donald Trump at the White House in 2019.AP Photo/Patrick Semansky In a town that runs on insider connections, a marriage between two power players can make careers. But it can also open them up to public criticism, should the appearance of conflict arise. Here 21 married couples who both wield political power and influence in DC and beyond. Clarence Thomas and Ginni ThomasAssociate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife and conservative activist Virginia Thomas arrive at the Heritage Foundation on October 21, 2021.Drew Angerer/Getty ImageSupreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and his wife, Ginni Thomas, have suddenly found their marriage under intense public scrutiny.Ginni Thomas, a conservative author and activist, is under fire from the left following revelations that she sent a series of text messages in late 2020 and early 2021 to then-White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, urging him to fight on behalf of Donald Trump's bid to remain president after losing the election.Ginni Thomas' actions have raised serious ethical questions about whether a spouse of a Supreme Court justice should be attempting to influence issues that could come before the court.While his wife's salvos lit up Washington circles, Clarence Thomas, the high court's most reliably conservative member, was hospitalized for days in March fighting an infection until doctors released him on March 25.Democrats are now calling for him to recuse himself from any cases involving the January 6 insurrection or Trump. A few are even calling for the impeachment of Thomas, one of the court's most reliably conservative votes.The Thomases' drama shows how — for better or for worse — they're one of Washington, DC's most prominent power couples.Antony Blinken and Evan RyanAntony Blinken, right, and Evan Ryan, left, backstage at Politicon in 2017.John Sciulli/Getty Images for PoliticonAntony Blinken, who serves as Biden's secretary of State, has his hands full at the moment as the US tries to stamp out a Russian invasion of Ukraine without the war escalating to the point of direct American involvement.His wife, Evan Ryan, also serves in a high-profile role in the Biden administration as the White House Cabinet Secretary. Ryan serves as a conduit between the White House and the president's cabinet, who lead the federal agencies and carry out Biden's policy agenda in their various departments.Mitch McConnell and Elaine ChaoSen. Mitch McConnell and Elaine Chao in 2014Win McNamee/Getty ImagesSenate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell and two-time cabinet secretary Elaine Chao have been married since 1993, making them one of DC's most established power couples.Chao, who immigrated from Taiwan when she was eight, has served under three presidents: Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Donald Trump. Bush appointed her secretary of labor, and she served in the post from 2001 to 2009.McConnell, of course, is the shrewd leader of the senate Republicans, who over the past three decades has found myriad ways to stymie Democratic initiatives through filibuster blockades and rule changes.They reached the height of their influence during the Trump administration, when the former president appointed Chao to run the Transportation Department and her husband oversaw a Republican majority in the Senate. Chao resigned from her position after the January 6, 2021, insurrection at the Capitol.Ted Cruz and Heidi CruzTed Cruz and Heidi Cruz in 2016.Jose More/VW Pics/Universal Images Group via Getty ImagesThe Cruzes met while working on George W. Bush's 2000 presidential campaign and married just a few months after their first date. The couple has been married since 2001 and has two daughters. Both Ted Cruz and Heidi Cruz held high-profile jobs in Washington, and have spent much of their marriage in separate states. Heidi Cruz, a managing director at Goldman Sachs in Houston, took a leave of absence from her job during the rough-and-tumble Republican 2016 presidential race to work on her husband's campaign. And she withstood personal attacks on her appearance from then-candidate Donald Trump.Sen. Ted Cruz, a Republican of Texas, at the time blasted Trump as a "pathological liar," saying "morality does not exist for him.""He went after Heidi directly and smeared my wife, attacked her — apparently she's not pretty enough for Donald Trump," Cruz said in May 2016. "I may be biased, but I think if he's making that allegation he's also legally blind."Cruz went on to become one of Trump's staunchest defenders during Trump's presidential administration, particularly toward the end. Mark Kelly and Gabrielle GiffordsMark Kelly leans his head on the shoulder of his wife and former Rep. Gabby Giffords as they attend a news conference asking Congress and the Senate to provide stricter gun control in the United States on March 6, 2013 in Tucson, Arizona.Joshua Lott/Getty ImagesIn the days after a gunman shot Rep. Gabrielle Giffords in the head in January 2011, it wasn't clear whether the Democratic congresswoman from Arizona would survive.She did. And in the years since, Giffords has dedicated herself to the work of her now-eponymous organization that, through its nonprofit and political action committee arms, advocates against gun violence and "supports elected officials who step up to fight the gun violence epidemic."As of February 28, Giffords PAC has more than $2.4 million cash on hand, according to its latest disclosure with the Federal Election Commission.While Giffords left Congress in 2012, her husband, Mark Kelly, joined in 2020, having won a special US Senate election to represent Arizona.The retired NASA astronaut is running for a full six-year term in the 2022 midterm election.Barack Obama and Michelle ObamaBarack and Michelle Obama.Jim Young/AFP/GettyBarack Obama may have been a two-term president who bagged a Nobel Peace Prize. But even though Michelle Obama hasn't been first lady since 2017, she's been the "most admired woman" in the world for three years running, according to research firm Gallup. Barack Obama can no longer compete: he had been Gallup's "most admired man" from 2008 to 2019 — until Donald Trump supplanted him.The Obamas are still very much DC denizens, having decided to stay within the capital city's limits after exiting the White House. Since leaving the White House, the Obamas have published best-selling autobiographies and worked together on a variety of charitable endeavors, many under the auspices of the Obama Foundation. Bill Clinton and Hillary ClintonHillary and Bill Clinton.Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesThe Clintons don't visit the nation's capital so often these days. And neither have run for elected office or served in a prominent governmental capacity since Hillary Clinton lost her bid for the White House in 2016.But ask anyone to name the nation's most powerful political couple, and the Clintons will still top many lists. After all, they've together served as a governor, senator, secretary of state, and president, and between them, they've run for the White House four times.Hillary Clinton remains active on the Democratic fundraising scene, having, for example, appeared in January at a pricey virtual gathering for Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio, who's running for the Senate. The Clinton Foundation is still very much a major platform for Bill Clinton, even if donations have waned. And some Republicans continue to delight in (and raise money off) making the couple a foil while suggesting Hillary Clinton will run for president again in 2024 — even as she says she won't. Kellyanne Conway and George ConwayKellyanne and George Conway rarely failed to make headlines during President Donald Trump's term in office.Matt Rourke/APGeorge Conway is a long-term Republican lawyer who played a key role in the Bill Clinton impeachment that stemmed from the Democratic president's illicit affair with a White House intern. In modern times, however, George Conway is more famous for being the husband of Kellyanne Conway, a Republican pollster who later served as the senior counselor to Donald Trump, a man she previously opposed. George Conway, on the other hand, became a leading voice of the anti-Trump movement, helping found the Lincoln Project, a social-media-savvy super PAC with a mission of taking down Trump.   Pete Buttigieg and Chasten ButtigiegPete Buttigieg, left, and his husband Chasten Buttigieg, right, stand onstage at a campaign stop on Monday, Jan. 13, 2020 in Iowa.AP Photo/Andrew HarnikSure, Pete Buttigieg is the former 2020 presidential candidate who became US secretary of Transportation, and many Democrats expect the 40-year-old to one day occupy the White House.But Chasten Buttigieg, his husband since 2018, has a major fan club in his own right. For starters, Chasten Buttigieg has more than 619,000 Twitter followers and a best-selling book. The Buttigieges are fast-becoming Washington's "it" couple, if they haven't already achieved that status. They aren't afraid to be seen around town, either, frequently showing up at various DC restaurants and bookshops.Jamie Raskin and Sarah Bloom RaskinSarah Bloom Raskin (left) and Rep. Jamie Raskin (right) wear masks on the front porch of their Maryland home in 2020.Drew Angerer/Getty ImagesJamie Raskin represents a swath of suburban Maryland just outside of DC. He gained a new level of prominence in 2021, after he led the Democratic prosecution for Donald Trump's second impeachment trial. He lead the proceedings all while grieving his son who had died by suicide just weeks earlier. The Senate ultimately acquitted Trump on charges that he instigated a deadly riot at the Capitol on January 6, 2021.Bloom Raskin is a former deputy Treasury secretary and was until recently Biden's nominee to serve as the Federal Reserve's chief Wall Street watchdog. Biden withdrew her nomination in March after Republicans, along with Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, refused to support her. Earlier this year, Jamie Raskin violated the Stop Trading on Congressional Knowledge Act's disclosure provisions in February by failing to properly report a massive stock holding and payout for Sarah Bloom Raskin.Andrea Mitchell and Alan GreenspanAndrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan.Brendan Hoffman/Getty ImagesA quarter-century after marrying — then-Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg officiated — Andrea Mitchell and Alan Greenspan remain unrivaled among DC couples bridging the media-government divide.Mitchell is NBC News' chief Washington correspondent and chief foreign affairs correspondent and anchor who also hosts her own early-afternoon show on MSNBC. She's been with NBC since 1978 and long ago established herself as one of the nation's most notable journalists — one with 1.9 million Twitter followers, to boot.Greenspan served five terms as chairman of the Federal Reserve in the United States, from 1987 to 2006 and is widely regarded as one of the most consequential financial figures in modern history.Now 96 years old, Greenspan is still working. In 2018, he co-wrote "Capitalism in America: A History," and he's continued to consult and make periodic personal and television appearances.Joel Kaplan and Laura Cox KaplanJoel Kaplan (right) speaks with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg as they make their way through Congress in 2019.Samuel Corum/Getty ImagesThe Kaplans have held some of the most plum lobbying gigs in Washington, DC. Laura Cox Kaplan spent 10 years leading the public policy practice at the accounting powerhouse PricewaterhouseCoopers, before starting a podcast and media company called She Said/She Said. Cox Kaplan got her start on Capitol Hill as a communications director for the Senate Republican Conference in 1999.Joel Kaplan is currently the head lobbyist for Meta, formerly known as Facebook, and has been at the forefront of the social media giant's battles with Congress. As CEO Mark Zuckerberg made repeated visits to Capitol Hill to defend his company, Kaplan was frequently pictured sitting just behind him. Kaplan got his start working in the George W. Bush White House as a deputy chief of staff, and his work for Facebook came under intense scrutiny after journalists revealed Facebook had altered its moderation policies to be more forgiving to Trump and conservative content, even if they violated the rules.Dina Powell McCormick and David McCormickDave McCormick, a Republican US Senate candidate from Pennsylvania, and his wife Dina Powell McCormick.Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty ImagesPowell McCormick served as Trump's deputy national security counsel during the early months of his administration and is now a partner in Goldman Sachs investment banking division. Earlier in her career, she served Republican administrations as an assistant secretary of state for educational and cultural affairs, among other positions.McCormick, meanwhile, is looking to serve on Capitol Hill as a US senator — he's a leading candidate for the Republican nomination in Pennsylvania. McCormick has served as the CEO of hedge fund Bridgewater Associates.Ro Khanna and Ritu KhannaRep. Rho Khanna and Ritu Khanna in 2017.Paul Morigi/WireImage for The Recording AcademyRep. Ro Khanna, a California Democrat, votes on big-ticket legislation by virtue of his elected office. But his wife, Ritu Khanna, is the one who brings home big money for the couple.Ritu Khanna, a former product marketing specialist for luxury item brand Bulgari, is also an heir to a family fortune built by her father, Monte Ahuja, the long-time leader of investment firm MURA Holdings and automotive company Transtar Industries. The Khanna's estimated wealth is well into the tens of millions of dollars, according to Ro Khanna's most recent annual personal financial disclosure, with most of that coming from Ritu Khanna's assets.Scott Peters and Lynn GorguzeRep. Scott Peters during a hearing on Capitol HillTom Williams/CQ Roll CallGorguze is president and CEO of Cameron Holdings, a private equity firm. Her business success has helped make Peters, a Democratic congressman from California, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, with a minimum net worth of nearly $40 million, according to an Insider analysis of federal lawmakers' personal financial disclosures.Catherine Russell and Tom DonilonCatherine Russell, director of UNICEFJörg Carstensen/picture alliance via Getty ImagesThese longtime Biden loyalists have seen their stars rise alongside their former boss. Both of them worked on Biden's unsuccessful 1988 presidential campaign, his first of three runs for the White House.Catherine Russell was appointed executive director of UNICEF in December, after serving as the director of the White House Office of Presidential Personnel. Tom Donilon, who was a national security advisor to Obama, is now the chairman of the BlackRock Investment Institute, a think tank within the powerful financial institution.  His brother, Mike Donilon, currently serves as a senior advisor to Biden.Anita Dunn and Bob BauerBob Bauer and Anita Dunn.Linda Davidson/Washington Post via Getty ImagesAnita Dunn has served in a variety of high-profile capacities as a Democratic Party communicator and operative.She served as Biden's White House senior advisor during the first several months of his administration and is now back at SKDK, her public affairs and political consulting firm for much of the past two decades.Bauer is one of DC's most notable Democratic lawyers who served a stint as Obama's White House counsel.Bauer played the role of Trump during mock debate sessions Biden conducted ahead of the 2020 presidential debates, and in 2021, he co-wrote the book "After Trump: Reconstructing the Presidency."He is now a professor and distinguished scholar-in-residence at the NYU School of Law.Susan Molinari and Bill PaxonSusan Molinari and Bill Paxon in 1994Maureen Keating/CQ Roll Call via Getty ImagesThese two former members of Congress have gone on to have powerful and lucrative careers as lobbyists since departing Capitol Hill. Molinari was Republican congresswoman from New York from 1990 to 1997, and was Google's top lobbyist in DC until she stepped aside in 2018. She made headlines in 2020 for endorsing Biden for president.Bill Paxon, a five-term Republican congressman from New York who served a stint as National Republican Congressional Committee chairman during the 1990s, was until 2017 a partner at the high profile lobbying firm Akin Gump. James Carville and Mary MatalinMary Matalin and James Carville speak onstage at the 2015 Angel Ball in New York City.Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for Gabrielle's Angel FoundationCarville and Matalin have long been Washington's oddest political couple — well before the Conways gave politics an even stranger pairing.Carville is a longtime Democratic strategist famous for helping get Bill Clinton elected in 1992. Matalin helped run the campaign of his rival, President George H.W. Bush.Matalin is now a Libertarian although she's well-known for her work as a Republican strategist and political analyst. The two, who have been married since 1993 and have two children, remain influential in US politics.Ivanka Trump and Jared KushnerIvanka Trump and Jared Kushner in 2018.BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty ImagesThe daughter and son-in-law of former President Donald Trump followed him to the White House in 2017. Though neither had had previous political or policy experience, they both landed cushy advisory roles in the Trump administration that did not require Senate confirmation.As advisor to the president, Ivanka Trump was known to show up during the president's interviews with reporters. Kushner was senior advisor and Trump's emissary on Middle East politics.Matt Gaetz and Ginger LuckeyRep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., with his wife, Ginger Luckey.Michael Ciaglo/Getty ImagesThe Gaetzes, who married in 2021, are one of Washington's most controversial couples, but they've built a following on the right and among fans of Trump. Matt Gaetz, 39, is a Florida congressman who is facing a federal sex trafficking investigation, after accusations emerged that he and his associates may have solicited minors for sex, and trafficked them across state lines. Gaetz has not been charged with a crime and has denied wrongdoing.Meanwhile, Ginger Luckey is a senior associate for sales transformation at tax and accounting firm KPMG US, and a MAGA social media star. The couple often appear together at political events and Mar-a-Lago, Trump's compound in Palm Beach, Florida.This article was originally published on March 26, 2022, and updated to reflect news developments about several couples listed.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 1st, 2022

Body armor is flying off US shelves as Americans rush to donate supplies to Ukraine and equip volunteer fighters and journalists

So many Americans are buying body armor to send to Ukraine that US retailers can't keep up. Since the Russian bombardment of Ukraine began on Feb. 24, body armor plates have been flying off shelves at 221B Tactical in New York City.Insider Body armor retailers from New York to Maine to Iowa say demand is through the roof. Ukrainian institutions, volunteer fighters, and journalists rushed to buy body armor since Russia's Feb 24 attack on Ukraine.  The Ukrainian American Coordinating Council, normally a cultural institution, is soliciting body armor donations.   Andrew Bennett is a union carpenter from Bayonne, New Jersey, who's taking time off to join the fight in Ukraine. Bennett, 45, has never served in the military or in law enforcement, and he has no direct ties to Ukraine, but says he was inspired by President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's retort to western leaders: "I don't need a ride. I need ammunition." In his suitcase: tourniquets, suture and hemostat kits, which he'll donate to the war effort, and two plates of body armor, which he'll wear himself.  Before his flight, Bennett tried on the plates, sliding them into the front and back pockets of an adjustable vest. The rig, designed to fend off large caliber bullets from high-powered military assault rifles, weighed about ten pounds and cost him a little over $800. More than that, the purchase made him realize the enormity of what potentially lay ahead. "This is life and death," he said. "It was a step closer to the reality of what I haven't been allowing myself to confront."Bennett bought his plates from 221B Tactical, which has a stockroom in a midtown Manhattan highrise, a few blocks east of Penn Station, that's stacked floor to ceiling with ballistic gear.The retailer's co-owner, Brad Pedell, says the demand spiked within days of the first military strikes on Feb 24. "Big time," he told Insider, adding "it's increased lead time. You're having to wait."  Just a few weeks ago, Pedell said orders for ballistic helmets might take three to four days to arrive. Now, the wait can be two to four weeks because manufacturers are swamped . One of Pedell's sources told him he'd sold out of helmets and couldn't offer them anymore. Pedell was shocked. "That wasn't a thought a month ago," he said.  To fill the gaps in his inventory, Pedell has had to find new manufacturers. "In the last month, it's changed my daily routine," he said. He's tapping old relationships and making new ones, all across the country. "You have to be well-connected." Body armor retailers from New York to Maine to Iowa are saying the same thing: demand is through the roof and they're racing to keep up. Manufacturers are even adding workers and, in some cases, machinery. The ballistic supply store is located in a Manhattan high rise a few blocks from Penn Station.Insider"It's just a matter of pumping it out," said Rob Hausman, CEO of Legacy Safety and Security in Davenport, Iowa, a company that manufactures, assembles and sells defensive gear. His sales are up "about 500 percent in the past month," and Hausman says he's tripled his staff to meet demand.  For other retailers, supply chains already strained by the pandemic have become more so. "It's put a lot of stress on the market with raw material," said Eric Stanton, owner of Armor Empire in Saco, Maine. Stanton sells armor and his business is connected to a global company that manufactures protective gear and textiles. "There's limited supply and costs have gone up due to the shortages," he said.'Everyone is trying to get it'Those looking for body armor⁠—a group that includes Ukrainian institutions in the US, volunteer fighters, journalists, and humanitarian workers⁠—are increasingly stressed by the wait times31-year old Bogdan Oleksyshyn of New Jersey is originally from Ternopil, a small city in western Ukraine. He bought protective gear to send to family and friends back home. "They need the equipment to not be basically naked on the battlefield," he said. Oleksyshyn, a software engineer, had no experience shopping for body armor. "Out of my context," he said. But he threw himself into the work and spent $35,000 dollars of his own money on 40 armor plates, 20 vests, and 20 helmets. He found the gear at the start of the conflict, but he's had to search harder and wider in recent days. "Everyone is looking and everything is out of stock," Oleksyshyn said. Brad Pedell, the co-owner of 221B Tactical, says the wait time for ballistic helmets has gone from days to weeks due to the spike in demand.InsiderHe can't bring himself to contemplate what will happen if retailers fail to replenish supplies. "I think we're not asking this question," he said. "It's not an option. It's basically human life."Pedell says customers like Oleksyshyn will be left scrambling for the foreseeable future. "Shortage?" he said, thinking about how to characterize the availability of body armor. "Not yet, but soon."Oleksyshyn is pooling money to finance another shipment, and while armor delays are an issue, so is exporting. Oleksyshyn can't send the body armor directly to Ukraine because he doesn't have an export license. Instead, he donates the armor to the Ukrainian American Coordinating Council, based in San Francisco, which got an export license from the U.S. Department of Commerce as soon as the bombing began. The 60-year old organization traditionally concerns itself largely with cultural affairs, but now has an armor donation button right on its home page.  UACC Secretary, 29-year old Mick Safron, says getting and shipping the armor hasn't been an easy process. "Prices have started to grow. Everyone [is] trying to get it," he explained. UACC doesn't purchase the gear outright, it solicits in-kind donations and sends those to Poland and then on to Ukraine. "We've been able to move more than 3,000 plates and more than 1,500 helmets," he said. Donations have come from "police departments, security companies, and regular people who want to help."There are two main types of armor plates: a heavy version made of steel and a more popular, lighter variation composed of layers of dense, tightly compressed ceramic and high-strength plastic. Before the war, retailers like Pedell, Hausman, and Stanton saw demand for protective gear spike after the police-killing of George Floyd and the demonstrations that followed. Pedell has found that buying picks up "during these times when people anticipate volatility." During quieter periods, his typical customers are people who work in security and law enforcement and those considered "preppers," patrons who anticipate disaster and stock up on gear in preparation. Now, he's selling to people heading for the front lines. Brad Pedell, the co-owner of 221B Tactical, displays the mesh vest that he helped design.InsiderPedell spent most of his career in the fashion industry. After a police officer he knew suggested he design a mesh vest to make the ballistics plate more comfortable on a hot day, they decided to open a tactical gear business together. On a recent morning, Pedell's phone rang. A Canadian Army veteran was calling from Prince Edward Island. He was readying to join the fight in Ukraine and wondered if Pedell could sell him body armor plates. "Beautiful country and people," he told Pedell. "What's going on just isn't right." "Good for you," Pedell said. "When are you leaving?" Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderApr 1st, 2022

ADAMA Reports Results of Fourth Quarter and Full Year of 2021

Strong Q4 performance, driven by significant price increases and continued volume growth, caps another record growth year for ADAMA and brings a marked improvement in cash flow generation Fourth Quarter 2021 Highlights Sales up 17% to an all-time quarterly record-high of $1,337 million (RMB: +13%), driven by 14% higher prices and 5% volume growth Adjusted EBITDA up by 23%, reaching $207 million (RMB: +19%) Reported net income up by 31% to $25 million (RMB: +26%); Adjusted net income of $54 million Operating cash flow up $277 million to $372 million; Free cash flow up $282 million to $190 million Full Year 2021 Highlights Sales up 17% to a record-high of $4,813 million (RMB: +9%), driven by 12% volume growth and 4% higher prices Adjusted EBITDA up 7%, reaching $671 million (RMB: +0%) Reported net income of $25 million; Adjusted net income of $139 million Operating cash flow up $418 million to $710 million; Free cash flow up $225 million to $75 million BEIJING and TEL AVIV, Israel, March 30, 2022 /PRNewswire/ -- ADAMA Ltd. (the "Company") (SZSE 000553), today reported its financial results for the fourth quarter and full year period ended December 31, 2021.  Commenting on the results,  Ignacio Dominguez, President and CEO of ADAMA, said, "2021 was an outstanding year of exceptional growth.  Nevertheless, it was a very difficult year with many challenges, including massive cost increases of raw materials and intermediates, as well as significantly higher shipping and logistics costs and container shortages. These factors were in addition to the ongoing and debilitating effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, including its intensification in December with the onset of the Omicron wave. It is in these times of challenge and uncertainty that the true strength of our business shines through, with not only strong sales growth, but also as we started to see in the fourth quarter, significant price increases to compensate for the higher cost environment. As we face yet another year of uncertainty, this time emanating from massive geopolitical volatility, we remain focused on supporting our people and our customers as they navigate through this difficult time. Indeed, I am deeply humbled by the great spirit and courage shown by our colleagues in Ukraine, as well as our other leaders across the region, who are supporting the team and their families in every way they can." Table 1. Financial Performance Summary USD (m) As Reported Adjustments Adjusted Q4 2021 Q4 2020 % Change Q4 2021 Q4 2020 Q4 2021 Q4 2020 % Change Revenues 1,337 1,141 +17% - - 1,337 1,141 +17% Gross profit 379 330 +15% 33 5 412 335 +23% % of sales 28.4% 28.9% 30.8% 29.4% Operating income (EBIT) 110 63 +73% 33 44 143 107 +33% % of sales 8.2% 5.5% 10.7% 9.4% Income before taxes 47 17 +183% 34 42 81 59 +37% % of sales 3.5% 1.4% 6.0% 5.2% Net income 25 19 +31% 29 33 54 52 +2% % of sales 1.9% 1.7% 4.0% 4.6% EPS - USD 0.0108 0.0083 +31% 0.0231 0.0225 +3% - RMB 0.0692 0.0547 +27% 0.1476 0.1489 -1% EBITDA 188 154 +22% 19 14 207 168 +23% % of sales 14.1% 13.5% 15.5% 14.7%   USD (m) As Reported Adjustments Adjusted FY 2021 FY 2020 % Change FY 2021 FY 2020 FY 2021 FY 2020 % Change Revenues 4,813 4,128 +17% - - 4,813 4,128 +17% Gross profit 1,311 1,173 +12% 101 50 1,412 1,223 +15% % of sales 27.2% 28.4% 29.3% 29.6% Operating income (EBIT) 291 251 +16% 134 143 425 394 +8% % of sales 6.0% 6.1% 8.8% 9.6% Income before taxes 85 83 +2% 134 142 219 225 -3% % of sales 1.8% 2.0% 4.6% 5.5% Net income 25 51 -52% 114 125 139 176 -21% % of sales 0.5% 1.2% 2.9% 4.3% EPS - USD 0.0106 0.0213 -50% 0.0596 0.0734 -19% - RMB 0.0676 0.1469 -54% 0.3843 0.5039 -24% EBITDA 593 592 78 36 671 628 +7% % of sales 12.3% 14.4% 13.9% 15.2% Notes: "As Reported" denotes the Company's financial statements according to the Accounting Standards for Business Enterprises and the implementation guidance, interpretations and other relevant provisions issued or revised subsequently by the Chinese Ministry of Finance (the "MoF) (collectively referred to as "ASBE"). Note that in the reported financial statements, as a result of recent changes in the ASBE guidelines [IAS 37], certain items in 2021 (specifically certain transportation costs and certain idleness charges) have been reclassified from Operating Expenses to COGS, while in this release such items have not been so reclassified in order to maintain comparability between the 2020 and 2021 financial periods. Please see the appendix to this release for further information. Relevant income statement items contained in this release are also presented on an "Adjusted" basis, which exclude items that are of a transitory or non-cash/non-operational nature that do not impact the ongoing performance of the business, and reflect the way the Company's management and the Board of Directors view the performance of the Company internally. The Company believes that excluding the effects of these items from its operating results allows management and investors to effectively compare the true underlying financial performance of its business from period to period and against its global peers. A detailed summary of these adjustments appears in the appendix below. The number of shares used to calculate both basic and diluted earnings per share in Q4 and FY 2020 is 2,334.5 million shares and 2,401.5 million shares, respectively. The number of shares used to calculate both basic and diluted earnings per share in Q4 and FY 2021 is 2,329.8 million shares, reflecting the repurchase and cancellation of 102.4 million shares from CNAC in July 2020 and repurchase and cancellation of 14.3 million B shares during the second half of 2020.  The general crop protection market environment During the fourth quarter of 2021, crop prices of most of the major commodity crops remained elevated, and even further increased, supporting strong crop protection demand in most regions. This demand was also further supported by higher planted area in South America as planting progressed there in the quarter. On the whole, farmers continue to benefit from the high global crop prices. However, this benefit is somewhat dampened by broad inflationary pressures they are experiencing across most of their input costs, including seeds, fertilizers, crop protection, fuel and machinery. During the quarter, availability of intermediates and active ingredients sourced from China improved somewhat as the "Dual Control" energy saving measures in the country were relaxed, and agrochemical production came back online. However, China agrochemical prices remained high and COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns continued to negatively impact agrochemical production and logistics. Global energy prices remained high during the fourth quarter of 2021. In addition, global freight and logistics costs remained significantly elevated during the quarter, and even further increased in December as COVID-19 continued to disrupt port activity, coupled with high stay-at-home demand brought on by the Omicron wave. Similarly, in-land logistics remained challenged as pandemic-related restrictions continued to create frictions in domestic supply lines. Taken together, these constraints have impacted both availability of shipping and transportation resources, as well as significantly increased their costs, a dynamic widely observed across all international trade-related industries. The Company continues to actively manage its procurement and supply chain activities in order to mitigate these higher procurement and logistics costs. It also endeavors to adjust its pricing wherever market conditions allow, to compensate for these increased costs, the results of which were apparent in Q4, and are continuing to be seen into the beginning of this year. As the world continues to watch in horror the unfolding tragic and traumatic events in Ukraine, the Company is doing everything possible to ensure the safety and security of its people, and stands strongly in support of its employees, partners and customers. Although the Company is continuing to support farmers in Ukraine, its business in the country is being impacted to a certain extent. At this stage, the Company anticipates that its overall results for the first quarter of 2022 will not be materially impacted, due to promising performance in other geographies. The Company is continuously reviewing the situation on the ground and assessing the potential risks involved, and will provide a further update in due course. At times like these, ADAMA is keenly aware of the important role it plays in helping farmers to continue to grow their crops, in order to ensure global food security. China Operations Update The Company's manufacturing site in Jingzhou, Hubei (ADAMA Sanonda) continues on its path of gradually ramping up production following the completion of the Relocation & Upgrade program at the site, progressively reducing the need for incurring additional procurement costs, and gradually reducing idleness charges as production and utilization levels steadily increase. As a result of the institution during 2021 of China's "Dual Control" energy restrictions as well as certain regulatory inspections conducted at some industrial parks, the Company's manufacturing facilities in Huai'An (ADAMA Anpon) and in Dafeng (ADAMA Huifeng), both in Jiangsu province, were suspended for a number of weeks in September and October 2021. As the restrictions were loosened in the following weeks, operations at these sites resumed, albeit initially at a more limited capacity, reaching normal operations by December. This temporary suspension caused an increase in idleness costs during the quarter. The energy restrictions and resulting widespread production suspensions contributed to a significant increase in procurement costs of raw materials and intermediates, on top of the already high costs seen in prior months in the face of strong underlying demand and relatively constrained supply. Although these industry-wide supply shortages have started to alleviate somewhat in recent weeks, the Company is expecting the high procurement costs seen in H2 2021 to continue to pose challenges for its margins in the coming months as these inventories progress through the Company's inventory cycle. The Company endeavors, wherever possible and supported by market conditions, to increase prices in order to mitigate the impact of the higher costs. In China, the Company is benefiting to some extent from the generally higher pricing environment in the sales of its raw materials and intermediates, where it is seeing robust demand, driving the strong performance in China in the fourth quarter. Financial Highlights Revenues in the fourth quarter grew by 17% (+13% in RMB terms) to $1,337 million, driven by a significant 14% increase in prices, a trend which started in the third quarter and accelerated into the fourth quarter. The markedly higher prices were complemented by continued volume growth (5%), including the contribution of newly acquired companies, and only slightly moderated by the adverse impact of exchange rate movements. In the quarter, ADAMA delivered significant growth in Latin America, both in Brazil and across much of the rest of the region. In Brazil, the Company benefited from the good soybean planting season, as well as the strong farmer demand which supported higher prices, factors which are also supporting growth throughout South and Central America. The Company continues to grow strongly in Asia Pacific, led by a significant increase in sales in the quarter in China, with sales of its raw materials and intermediates in the country benefiting from higher prices resulting from strong demand in a generally supply-constrained environment. In North America, the Company saw a pleasing performance in the fourth quarter, enjoying robust pre-season demand in both US and Canadian agricultural markets as farmers order early in light of continued industry-wide concerns around availability later in the season. Sales in the India, Middle-East & Africa region grew in the quarter, led by a strong performance in India driven by new product launches in the country, as well as South Africa, where the Company continues to benefit from favorable cropping conditions and new product launches. The fourth quarter saw sales in Europe only slightly higher than the same period last year, as growth across most of the region was largely offset by supply challenges, felt mainly in France and Germany. The continued robust growth in the quarter brought full year sales to a record-high of $4,813 million, an increase of 17% (+9% in RMB terms), driven by 12% volume growth alongside 4% higher prices, and further aided somewhat by stronger currencies. Gross Profit reported in the fourth quarter increased 15% to $379 million (gross margin of 28.4%) compared to $330 million (gross margin of 28.9%) in the same quarter last year, and was up 12% to $1,311 million (gross margin of 27.2%) in the full year period compared to $1,173 million (gross margin of 28.4%) last year. The Company recorded certain extraordinary charges within its reported cost of goods sold, totaling approximately $33 million in the fourth quarter (Q4 2020: $5 million) and $101 million in the full year period (FY 2020: $50 million). These charges were largely related to its continuing Relocation & Upgrade program, and include mainly (i) excess procurement costs, both in quantity and cost terms, incurred as the Company continued to fulfill demand for its products in order to protect its market position through replacement sourcing at significantly higher costs from third-party suppliers, and (ii) elevated idleness charges largely related to suspensions at the facilities being relocated and upgraded, as well as to the temporary suspension of the Jingzhou site in Q1 2020 at the outbreak of COVID-19 in Hubei Province. For further details on these extraordinary charges, please see the appendix to this release. Excluding the impact of the abovementioned extraordinary items, adjusted gross profit in the fourth quarter increased 23% to $412 million (30.8% of sales) compared to $335 million (gross margin of 29.4%) in the same quarter last year, and was up 15% to $1,412 million (gross margin of 29.3%) in the full year period compared to $1,223 million (gross margin of 29.6%) last year. In the quarter, the significantly higher gross profit and pleasing improvement in the adjusted gross margin were largely driven by the markedly higher prices, complemented by continued volume growth, which more than offset higher logistics, procurement and production costs as well as the effect of the strong RMB and ILS, the Company's main production currencies. In the full year period, the increased gross profit was driven by the higher prices, a trend which started in the third quarter and accelerated into the fourth quarter, alongside the strong volume increases seen in each of the four quarters of the year, as well as a net positive impact from portfolio mix, and generally favorable currency movements. These combined to more than offset higher logistics, procurement and production costs, which nevertheless resulted in a somewhat lower adjusted gross margin over the full year period. Operating expenses reported in the fourth quarter were $270 million (20.2% of sales) and $1,020 million (21.2% of sales) in the full year period, compared to $267 million (23.4% of sales) and $923 million (22.3% of sales) in the corresponding periods last year, respectively. The Company recorded certain non-operational, mostly non-cash, charges within its reported operating expenses, totaling approximately $1 million in the fourth quarter (Q4 2020: $39 million) and $33 million in the full year period (FY 2020: $93 million). These charges include mainly (i) $4 million in Q4 2021 (Q4 2020: $8 million) and $23 million in FY 2021 (FY 2020: $31 million) in non-cash amortization charges in respect of Transfer assets received from Syngenta related to the 2017 ChemChina-Syngenta acquisition, (ii) $6 million benefit in Q4 2021 (Q4 2020: $5 million) and $4 million benefit in FY 2021 (FY 2020: benefit of $12 million) in non-cash impacts related to incentive plans, and (iii) $2 million in Q4 2021 (Q4 2020: $3 million) and $13 million in FY 2021 (FY 2020: $11 million) in charges related mainly to the non-cash amortization of intangible assets created as part of the Purchase Price Allocation (PPA) on acquisitions, with no impact on the ongoing performance of the companies acquired, as well as other M&A-related costs. The higher aggregate amount of non-operational charges in Q4 and FY 2020 then also included $10 million and $45 million, respectively, in non-cash amortization charges related to the legacy PPA of the 2011 acquisition of Adama Agricultural Solutions, which have now largely finished, and $1 million and $11 million, respectively, in early retirement expenses. For further details on these non-operational charges, please see the appendix to this release. Excluding the impact of the abovementioned non-operational charges, adjusted operating expenses in the quarter and full year period were $269 million (20.1% of sales) and $986 million (20.5% of sales), compared to $228 million (20.0% of sales) and $829 million (20.1% of sales) in the corresponding periods last year, respectively. The higher operating expenses in the quarter and the full year period largely reflect the strong growth of the business and the additional operating expenses of the newly acquired companies, together with significantly higher global logistics and shipping costs. In addition, in the full year, alongside the many benefits the Company enjoys from the collaboration with other companies in the Syngenta Group, most notably in commercial cross-sales as well as in the areas of procurement and operations, ADAMA recorded certain related expenses. The Company also saw the impact on its operating expenses of generally stronger global currencies against the US dollar, as well that of the generally inflationary environment being seen globally in recent quarters. Operating income reported in the fourth quarter increased 73% to $110 million (8.2% of sales) compared to $63 million (5.5% of sales) in the same quarter last year, and was up 16% to $291 million (6.0% of sales) in the full year period compared to $251 million (6.1% of sales) last year. Excluding the impact of the abovementioned non-operational, mostly non-cash items, adjusted operating income in the fourth quarter increased 33% to $143 million (10.7% of sales) compared to $107 million (9.4% of sales) in the same quarter last year, and was up 8% to $425 million (8.8% of sales) in the full year period compared to $394 million (9.6% of sales) last year. EBITDA reported in the fourth quarter increased 22% to $188 million (14.1% of sales) compared to $154 million (13.5% of sales) in the same quarter last year, and reached $593 million (12.3% of sales) in the full year period, in line with the $592 million (14.4% of sales) recorded last year. Excluding the impact of the abovementioned non-operational, mostly non-cash items, adjusted EBITDA in the fourth quarter increased 23% to $207 million (15.5% of sales) compared to $168 million (14.7% of sales) in the same quarter last year, and was up 7% to $671 million (13.9% of sales) in the full year period compared to $628 million (15.2% of sales) last year. Financial expenses and investment income were $62 million in the fourth quarter and $206 million in the full year period, compared to $48 million and $169 million in the corresponding periods last year, respectively. The higher financial expenses in the quarter and the full year period were mainly driven by the net effect of the increase in the Israeli CPI on the ILS-denominated, CPI-linked bonds, and higher non-cash charges related to put options in respect of minority interests. In the fourth quarter, the Company also saw higher receivables securitization charges incurred in respect of the markedly higher sales recorded in Brazil. In the full year, the higher financial expenses also reflect increased hedging costs on the BRL, which were somewhat mitigated by the benefit from hedges in respect of the RMB. Taxes on income in the fourth quarter were $27 million and $79 million in the full year period, compared to $7 million and $49 million in the corresponding periods last year, respectively. The significantly higher tax expenses in the fourth quarter and over the full year period reflects the incurring of higher taxes by the Company's high-growth selling entities in end-markets. In the fourth quarter, the increase also reflects the largely non-cash impact on the value of non-monetary tax assets of the less significant strengthening of the BRL in the fourth quarter of 2021 when compared to the same quarter in 2020, which then resulted in higher tax income in Q4 2020. By contrast, over the full year period, the increased tax expenses seen in 2021 were partially mitigated by the relatively lower weakening of the BRL during 2021 as compared to its more significant weakening during 2020, which then resulted in relatively higher BRL-related tax expenses during 2020. Net income attributable to the shareholders of the Company reported in the fourth quarter was $25 million (1.9% of sales) and $25 million (0.5% of sales) in the full year period, compared to $19 million (1.7% of sales) and $51 million (1.2% of sales) in the corresponding periods last year, respectively. Excluding the impact of the abovementioned extraordinary and non-operational charges, adjusted net income in the fourth quarter was $54 million (4.0% of sales) and $139 million (2.9% of sales) in the full year period, compared to $52 million (4.6% of sales) and $176 million (4.3% of sales) in the corresponding periods last year, respectively. Trade working capital at December 31, 2021 was $2,210 million compared to $2,357 million at the same point last year. The marked reduction in working capital was due in large part to significantly higher trade payables, reflecting higher purchases made in the fourth quarter in advance of the continued growth expected in 2022, as well as a certain lengthening of credit terms received. In addition, the Company saw a reduction in its trade receivables, despite its strong growth in emerging markets where customer credit terms are generally longer, due largely to improved collections and increasing use of receivables securitization in Brazil. Against this, the Company is holding higher inventory levels, due mainly to a shift in geographic and portfolio sales mix, the anticipation of further volume growth in coming quarters in the face of uncertain supply conditions, the increase in procurement and production costs, as well as the inclusion of recent acquisitions. Notwithstanding the strong improvement in working capital levels seen during the fourth quarter, the Company expects working capital to increase during the first half of 2022 back to the higher levels customarily seen in the first half of the year, in support of the solid growth of the business. Cash Flow: Operating cash flow of $372 million was generated in the quarter and $710 million in the full year period, compared to $95 million and $292 million generated in the corresponding periods last year, respectively. The markedly stronger operating cash flow generated in both the fourth quarter and full year periods reflects the higher reported operating income achieved in both periods this year, alongside the abovementioned reduction in working capital during 2021 compared to its expansion during the same periods in 2020. Net cash used in investing activities was $136 million in the quarter and $525 million in the full year period, compared to $141 million and $341 million in the corresponding periods last year, respectively. The higher level of cash used in investing activities over the year largely reflects an increase in investments in fixed assets, mainly driven by the payments for the upgrading of manufacturing facilities in Israel and globally, as well as the payments for acquisitions. The aforementioned operating and investing cash flow dynamics drove a significant improvement in the Company's free cash flow generation, with free cash flow of $190 million being generated in the fourth quarter compared to a net free cash outflow of $93 million in the same quarter last year, while $75 million of ...Full story available on»»

Category: earningsSource: benzingaMar 30th, 2022