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The Art of the Deal

Our decades of experience have enjoyed hundreds of successful brokerage, lender and technology firm mergers and acquisitions. That said, we can’t remember two that were exactly the same. We celebrate the wins and we learn lessons along the way. The most important advice we can share is a reminder that we are in the people… The post The Art of the Deal appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaNov 28th, 2022

LG G2 4K OLED TV review: One of the best high-end TVs you can buy

The G2 is LG's best 4K TV, and it has exceptional performance. The OLED panel is brighter than past models and it can sit nearly flush with your wall. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.The LG G2 is the company's flagship OLED TV.Amazon LG's G2 OLED is one of the best high-end 4K TVs on the market.  The display delivers gorgeous picture quality with a brighter image than a typical OLED. It looks stunning when hanging on a wall, but you have to pay extra if you want a regular stand. LG OLEDs are consistently ranked among the best TVs on the market. And the company's current premium display, the G2, is its most impressive to date. The set's comprehensive picture quality features and elegant design make it the most advanced OLED in LG's lineup. With a brighter picture than previous models, it goes toe-to-toe with other flagship sets from Samsung and Sony, while offering a few perks of its own that could make it the ideal high-end TV for your living room. After testing the display, here's why we think it's one of the best premium TVs you can buy. What worksPicture quality that rivals other top OLED TVsRobust smart TV features  and voice control optionsGorgeous gallery design is perfect for wall mountingAvailable in extra-large 77- and 83-inch screen sizesWhat needs workStill can't get as bright as the best QLED TVsColor performance can't quite match displays with quantum dotsLike all OLED TVs, there is some risk of burn-inDoesn't include a standThe G2 has an elegant design but it's definitely best to wall mount itYou need to buy a stand separately if you want to put the G2 on an entertainment console.Steven Cohen/InsiderThe G2 is branded under LG's "Gallery Series," which means it has a thin, uniform profile that's designed to hang on your wall with virtually no gap. And it looks gorgeous when properly mounted.That said, not everyone wants to put their display on a wall. Unfortunately, the G2 doesn't come with a stand at all, so if you do want to put the TV on an entertainment console, you'll need to purchase a stand separately ($150). Since the G2 is already pricey on its own, this is a bit disappointing.For review purposes, however, LG did provide us with the stand so we could easily set it up for testing. The pedestal-style stand looks nice enough, but the display loses some of its design appeal when it's not mounted. This shouldn't bother buyers who are primarily focused on picture quality, but it's clear the G2 is really meant to be hung on a wall. The advanced OLED panel delivers on its promise of a brighter screenThe G2 provides gorgeous HDR picture quality.Steven Cohen/InsiderOf course, a high-end design is meaningless if the TV's picture performance can't match its premium style. Thankfully, the G2 is simply stunning. The TV uses LG's "OLED evo" panel, which the company claims provides a 30% increase in brightness over a regular OLED screen. It delivers.When testing the TV with an X-Rite i1Display Pro Plus Colorimeter using the Filmmaker Mode preset, we measured a peak brightness of around 1,000 nits. This is a big deal for two reasons. First, regular OLED displays have had a hard time pushing past 800 nits. Second, many HDR movies are mastered with a peak of 1,000 nits in mind, so the G2 can get closer to the intended range of brightness.It's important to keep in mind that this peak is only attainable in smaller highlights, but it's still impressive for an OLED and it makes a noticeable difference when watching our usual assortment of HDR testing material.Black levels are deep and precise, with the opening of "The Matrix" revealing good shadow detail mixed with impressive bursts of brightness. The climactic battle in "Aquaman" is a genuine feast of color on the G2, and the image appears punchier than a typical OLED.Images on the G2 maintain great contrast and color even when viewing from an angle.Steven Cohen/InsiderLike most OLED TVs, viewing angles on the G2 are also fantastic, which means the image won't wash out when sitting to the side of the display. Uniformity is solid as well, and we didn't detect any major issues with vertical banding in dark scenes, which is a common issue with OLEDs.That said, there is some noticeable banding during a test scene we use on the 4K Blu-ray edition of "Ex Machina." The sequence features two characters taking in a room that's filled with red light. The red tones in the background and faces of the characters do appear a bit blocky instead of smooth. We see this same issue on many TVs when playing this scene, but some displays handle it better than the G2, including the Samsung S95B.  Instances of banding like this are rare, and we didn't detect any other notable occurrences when watching 4K Blu-rays on the G2. 4K streaming material also looks exceptional, and even HD streams and cable broadcasts upscale nicely on the set. You're likely to notice more defects in lower quality material, but the TV's processing does a good job minimizing these flaws.The G2 is missing quantum dots, but you probably won't noticeThe G2's color performance is fantastic, even without quantum dots.Steven Cohen/InsiderThough Sony and Samsung have both jumped on the quantum dot bandwagon with their latest high-end OLED TVs, LG hasn't adopted this feature. Quantum dots are special nanoparticles that enable a TV to produce a wider and brighter range of colors. The tech has been used in LCD displays for years, often branded as QLED TVs, and 2022 was the first year quantum dot OLED TVs hit the market. Sony's A95K and Samsung's S95B are both examples of OLED TVs that benefit from quantum dots, but the difference isn't exactly night and day compared to the G2. In fact, the G2 can still produce nearly 100% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, which is the range of color needed to take full advantage of most 4K HDR movies and shows. However, where quantum dots do offer a bigger advantage is in overall color volume. This means that while the G2 does well with dark colors, it can't display bright colors with as much pop and accuracy as a high-end OLED from Samsung or Sony.  That said, we can't say it ever feels like we're missing anything when watching TV on the G2. Side-by-side comparisons with a Samsung S95B or Sony A95K will surely reveal their benefits, but most people will be hard-pressed to notice the G2's lack of quantum dots during regular viewing. Buyers who want the absolute best color will get a technically superior image with Sony or Samsung's offerings, but we don't think the G2's lack of quantum dots should be weighed too heavily when deciding between these three high-end sets. It's packed with smart TV and gaming features, but navigation could be snappierLG's webOS interface is easy to navigate.Steven Cohen/InsiderWhen it comes to smart TV features, the G2 has all the essentials. LG's webOS platform offers access to every major streaming service and a ton of free streaming channels. The TV also supports Amazon Alexa, Google Home, and HomeKit for comprehensive smart home integration. The included Magic Remote has built-in Alex and Google Assistant voice control, so you can choose your preferred voice assistant, and there's a hands-free option that uses microphones built into the TV. The remote features click-button controls as well as a pointer feature that lets you navigate menus by pointing it at the screen. In general, the G2's interface works well but LG has redesigned the system a bit. Instead of a pop-up menu, webOS now has a traditional home screen to access apps and services. On the one hand, we do like having a central base to return to when we're deciding what to watch, but the old pop-up menu was more convenient for quickly switching between services.Navigation and app loading times are solid, but some lag pops up here and there. Most notably, there's often a bit of a delay when pulling up some of the TV's settings menus. This isn't a huge deal, but for such a premium TV, we expected a slightly smoother experience.The G2 also comes packed with all of the current-gen gaming features you could want, including support for high frame rate, variable refresh rate, and low input lag. There's even a Game Optimizer dashboard that allows you to easily pull up and adjust gaming settings when you play. LG G2 4K OLED TV specs at a glanceSpecLG 65-inch G2 4K OLED TVResolution:3840x2160pHDR formats:Dolby Vision, HDR10, HLGPanel type:OLED EvoRefresh rate:120HzGaming features:NVIDIA G-Sync, FreeSync Premium, VRR, ALLMHDMI ports:Four HDMI 2.1 portsRemote:Magic Remote with LG ThinQ, Alexa, and Google AssistantDimensions:56.7" (W) x 32.3" (H) x 1.0" (D) without standWeight:50.3 poundsShould you buy it?The G2's picture performance is simply stunning.Steven Cohen/InsiderIf you're in the market for a high-end TV that delivers stunning picture quality and a stylish design, the LG G2 OLED should be on your shortlist. When it comes to OLED competitors, you're really looking at two other options in this class: The Samsung S95B and the Sony A95K. Though the Sony and Samsung models do have better color, the G2 delivers similar contrast and brightness, and it's the only one currently available in 77- and 83-inch sizes, which makes it the best extra-large premium TV on the market. The G2 also offers Dolby Vision support, which the Samsung lacks, and it's usually much cheaper than the Sony.   It's also a particularly good option for buyers who want to mount their TV thanks to its gallery design that lets it sit nearly flush with your wall. However, we do wish you didn't have to pay extra to get a regular stand.It's important to note that LG is set to release a 2023 version of this TV, called the G3, later this year. The G3 will likely launch in the spring or summer and it promises an even brighter picture. But the G3 is expected to cost considerably more than the G2. The 65-inch G3 will likely hit stores at around $3,200, which is what the G2 launched for last year. Given that the 65-inch G2 now sells for around $2,000, we think this model will remain the better overall value for most shoppers. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nyt4 hr. 16 min. ago

Elon Musk says his Twitter misadventure has only helped Tesla. Wall Street isn"t buying it.

Elon Musk tried to spin his Twitter dalliances as a good marketing strategy for Tesla, but analysts say it's a costly distraction. Elon Musk acquired Twitter on October 27, 2022.Getty Images Elon Musk said on Wednesday that his tweets are good marketing for Tesla. Wall Street analysts feel otherwise: They're bullish on Tesla, but think Musk is too distracted. Musk's tweets have gotten him in trouble with shareholders and the courts. Elon Musk made a much-awaited appearance at Tesla's fourth quarter earnings call on Wednesday, after the closing bell.True to form, the CEO tweeted from the earnings call in real time, even as he doled out favorable stats on the current state of the company that sought to put to rest the notion that demand for Tesla's cars is flagging: the January order rate is nearly twice the rate of production, Musk said, and the company expects to deliver 1.8 million vehicles by the end of the year. The other Tesla execs showered investors with as many upsides as possible to counteract the negative press surrounding Musk, the carmaker's Technoking. Yet still an analyst wanted to know how the new owner of Twitter was going to mitigate the brand damage brought on by his loose fingers. Musk's response was to mention his 127 million followers on the platform as a sign that he is, in his own words, "reasonably popular" and that "Twitter is an incredibly powerful tool for driving demand for Tesla.""And I would really encourage companies out there of all kinds, automotive or otherwise, to make more use of Twitter," he added. "The net value of Twitter, apart from a few people complaining, is gigantic, obviously."To some degree, the attempt to smooth things over worked, with a number of Wall Street analysts issuing buy ratings on Tesla following the earnings call. Tesla's stock rose over 10% on its fourth quarter earnings results. Investors are momentarily at ease but still cautious of the uncertainty surrounding the economy and, of course, what Tesla's CEO will do next.But they also want it to be known that they're not buying into Musk's spin on his Twitter escapades.Wall Street is bullish on Tesla, but bearish on MuskTesla's $24.3 billion in revenues for the fourth quarter outperformed Wall Street's estimates of $24.2 billion. Another upside was the earnings per share of $1.19, which beat the Street's estimates of $1.13. Tesla took hits on its margins due in part to the price cuts it performed on its vehicle lineup, and from the expansion of its Nevada factories. Goldman Sachs equity analyst Mark Delaney wrote in a note to clients that the company's stock will outperform the market with a price target of $200. However, Delaney asserted that one big challenge to his thesis was a "key person risk," an apparent reference to Musk.John Murphy at Bank of America considers Musk's "regular media updates on Twitter" a headwind for the stock because it serves "as a distraction for TSLA management." All in all, however, Murphy believes the company sits at a fair valuation and took a neutral position on the stock.Dan Ives of Wedbush Securities remains bullish on Tesla. While he's often been a critic of its top brass, seemed to praise Musk for not shying away from the concerns surrounding Twitter, and stated that the CEO is "embracing the complex spider-web relationship between Twitter and Tesla which will have a mixed reaction from investors."Wall Street thinks Twitter is a costly distractionMusk is not wrong in that he and Tesla are reasonably popular on Twitter. Musk's 127 thousand follower count is second to former US President Barack Obama's 133 thousand. Additionally, Tesla, with over 19 million followers, outpaces any other car company's account on the platform. (At a glance, BMW's 2.4 million followers seems the closest.) But how many of Musk's and Tesla's followers converted to sales based on the content coming from those accounts? And how many of those followers are bots, rarely used accounts, or there to gawk at the side show of the CEO billionaire? That's a part of the question Musk did not answer during the call.Whether Musk and company wants to admit it; whatever the Technoking says and does on- and off-line has affected Tesla's brand, and therefore its stock. Tesla's stock price fell not long after Musk announced the Twitter deal and reports revealed that he would use his Tesla shares to help finance the deal. Musk tried to lift the stock by saying he wouldn't use Tesla shares, but that turned into a hard promise to keep. Musk is said to have sold $23 billion worth of Tesla shares last year to support the debt and equity purchase of Twitter for $44 billion.The company's stock fell more after the acquisition finished in October and once again when news of Musk's brutal company restructuring made headlines. By the end of 2022, the stock had lost more than half (62%, to be precise) of its value since April.Musk's tweets have also landed him in trouble with investors and Tesla owners. Last week, he took the stand at a shareholders trial to defend his infamous 2018 "funding secured" tweet. Insider has previously reported that Tesla owners and investors have been so ruffled by Musk's controversial tweets that some have ditched the brand.But Tesla's stock was facing more than Twitter drama last year. The company was dealing with supply-chain issues, inflation, and changes to the Inflation Reduction Act. On top of all that, consumers' pockets were tightening from uncertainty around the future of the economy, causing a slump in demand. As in most things, there's always more to the story — but you can't deny the impact of Musk's Twitter habits, either.Many of the analysts said they're looking forward to Tesla's Investor Day on March 1 where the company will share more about its growth plans. Ives pointed out, the Twitter noise is starting to dissipate and the demand story will be front and center for 2023.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: worldSource: nyt5 hr. 32 min. ago

: Private equity remains hopeful amid deal slowdown, M&A practitioners say

2023 is off to a quiet start after deal flurry at year-end 2022 failed to materialize, but M&A pros see potential traction ahead......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatch6 hr. 32 min. ago

The 2022 NFL season enters the championship round with 2 games left before the Super Bowl — here"s how to livestream every matchup

NFL games are spread across CBS, Fox, ESPN, NBC, NFL Network, and Amazon. You can stream games on live TV services like Sling and YouTube TV. When you buy through our links, Insider may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more.Patrick Mahomes signals before a play against the Las Vegas Raiders.AP Photo/Rick Scuteri With the regular season complete, the NFL Playoffs will enter the championship round on January 29. NFL games are available without cable through an HD antenna or via select streaming services. NFL+ is a streaming service that lets you watch playoff games on your phone. With the 2022-23 NFL regular season now complete, the league is set to enter the final week of playoff games before the Super Bowl.The NFC Championship will be held on January 29 at 3 p.m. ET between the 49ers and Eagles, while the AFC Championship will follow at 6:30 p.m. ET between the Chiefs and Bengals. NFL Championship games are spread between Fox and CBS/Paramount Plus. This year's Super Bowl will air on Fox on February 12. To help you catch every postseason game, we've broken down all your options to watch and stream the NFL without cable, along with a schedule for upcoming matchups.NFL Conference Championship scheduleGameDate and timeChannelSan Francisco 49ers at Philadelphia EaglesJanuary 29, 3 p.m. ETFox, Fox Sports, Fox DeportesCincinnati Bengals at Kansas City ChiefsJanuary 29, 6:30 p.m. ETCBS, Paramount Plus PremiumHow to watch NFL games without cableYou can watch select NFL games without a cable subscription via live TV streaming services and platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Paramount Plus, Peacock Premium, and NFL+. You can also watch local NFL games with an HDTV antenna.Here's a chart detailing which NFL games are included on every major platform:Note: This chart is for local in-market and national broadcasts during the regular season. Out-of-market games are not available with these services. AFC afternoon games (CBS)NFC afternoon games (Fox)Sunday Night Football (NBC)Monday Night Football (ESPN)Thursday Night FootballNFL Network gamesAntennaYesYesYesNoNoNoSling TV Orange + BlueNoYesYesYesNoYesHulu + Live TVYesYesYesYesNoYesYouTube TVYesYesYesYesNoYesFuboTVYesYesYesYesNoYesParamount PlusYesNoNoNoNoNoPeacock PremiumNoNoYesNoNoNoAmazon Prime VideoNoNoNoNoYesNoNFL+ (mobile only)YesYesYesYesYesYesHere's a detailed breakdown of all the services you can use to stream NFL games without cable:HDTV AntennaBen Blanchet/InsiderYou can purchase an antenna, like this Channel Master model, to add to your TV for about $25, giving you access to local channels within a certain distance. For more recommendations, check our guide to the best digital antennas. An antenna lets you watch all the regional games broadcast from wherever you're located. You also get the Sunday Night Football matchup that airs on NBC. Because it's only a one-time payment, this is a great option if you're solely interested in watching the team in your area.What you get:Local games on FoxLocal games on CBSSunday Night Football on NBCWhat you don't get:Out-of-market gamesMonday Night FootballThursday Night FootballNFL Network gamesSling TVAlyssa Powell/Business InsiderIf you're looking for a live TV streaming service to watch football, Sling TV is a great budget option that gives you most of the channels you need at a cheaper price than Hulu or Fubo TV.There are three different plans, depending on what channels you prioritize. Sling Orange and Sling Blue each cost $35 a month, while the combined Sling Orange + Blue plan costs $50 a month. Additionally, you can purchase the Sports Extra package to add NFL RedZone to your plan for $11 a month. The Blue plan has NFL Network, as well as Fox and NBC in select markets, while the Orange plan has ESPN. We recommend going with Sling Orange + Blue to get access to the most NFL content Sling offers all season long.  What you get:Local games on Fox (select markets)Sunday Night Football on NBC (select markets)Monday Night Football on ESPNNFL Network gamesWhat you don't get:Local games on CBSThursday Night Football gamesOut-of-market gamesHulu with Live TVHulu; Alyssa Powell/InsiderIn addition to all of its other offerings, Hulu + Live TV has nearly everything you need to stream NFL games for $70 per month.Hulu + Live TV gets you access to all local NFL games in your area, with the exception of any blackouts. In addition, you get ESPN and NFL Network. The service costs $70 a month and even comes with a Disney Plus and ESPN+ subscription for no extra cost. You can also add the Sports add-on package to get NFL Redzone for an extra $10 a month.What you get:Local games on Fox Local games on CBSSunday Night Football on NBCMonday Night Football on ESPNNFL Network gamesWhat you don't get:Thursday Night Football gamesOut-of-market gamesFubo TVFuboTVAt $70 a month for the Pro plan, Fubo TV offers the same selection of NFL games that you can find on Hulu + Live TV. It boasts all the network and cable channels you need to watch local and primetime games. You can also spend an extra $11 a month to add the Sports Plus with NFL RedZone package.What you get:Local games on Fox Local games on CBSSunday Night Football on NBCMonday Night Football on ESPNNFL Network gamesWhat you don't get:Thursday Night Football gamesOut-of-market gamesYouTube TVYouTubeYouTube TV is another service that offers access to local and primetime NFL games. It costs $65 a month, but new members can get their first three months for $55 a month. Additionally, the service offers NFL Redzone in their Sports Plus package for an additional $11 a month.Starting with the 2023 NFL season, YouTube TV will also offer NFL Sunday Ticket as an add-on. This extra package lets you watch out-of-market games. Pricing has not been announced yet.What you get:Local games on Fox Local games on CBSSunday Night Football on NBCMonday Night Football on ESPNNFL Network gamesWhat you don't get:Thursday Night Football gamesOut-of-market games**Out-of-market games will be offered for the 2023 season with the NFL Sunday Ticket package.Paramount PlusCBSIf you're just interested in watching locally televised AFC home games, then a Paramount Plus subscription could be all you need. The service lets you stream live CBS television, as well as a growing library of on-demand shows and exclusive titles. Paramount Plus is available for $5 a month with commercials or $10 a month with ad-free on-demand streaming. With that said, all live broadcasts, including NFL games, still feature commercials with the ad-free plan.What you get:Local games on CBSWhat you don't get:Local games on Fox Sunday Night Football on NBCMonday Night Football on ESPNThursday Night Football gamesNFL Network gamesOut-of-market Sunday afternoon gamesPeacock PremiumPeacockPeacock won't be streaming any exclusive games during the 2022 season, but Premium subscribers ($5/month) can stream all the NFL games being broadcast on NBC on Sunday nights.What you get:Sunday Night Football on NBCWhat you don't get:Local games on CBSLocal games on Fox Monday Night Football on ESPNThursday Night Football gamesNFL Network gamesOut-of-market Sunday afternoon gamesAmazon Prime VideoAmazonAmazon Prime Video is now the exclusive home of Thursday Night Football, with regular season matchups starting September 15. Thursday Night Football has expanded to 16 games this season, with former Sunday Night Football play-by-play announcer Al Michaels joining ESPN College GameDay analyst Kirk Herbstreit in the broadcast booth.Fox Sports personality Charissa Thompson will host Prime Video's NFL studio coverage alongside NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez, All-Pro corner back Richard Sherman, and retired quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.A standalone Amazon Prime Video membership costs $9 a month, and the service is included as part of an Amazon Prime subscription for $139 per year or $15 a month.What you get:Thursday Night Football gamesWhat you don't get:Local games on CBSLocal games on Fox Monday Night Football on ESPNSunday Night Football games on NBCNFL Network gamesOut-of-market Sunday afternoon gamesNFL+NFLIf you're only interested in streaming NFL games on your phone or tablet, a subscription to the newly launched NFL+ service is your best bet. The platform will let you watch in-market games, playoff games, and all primetime broadcasts for $5 a month or $50 per year.To access games, you'll need to ensure that your location services are activated on your phone or tablet. NFL+ subscribers also get access to a large library of documentaries and shows from NFL films and the NFL Network, all of which can be found in the NFL app. NFL+ Premium is also available for $10 a month. This plan lets you watch replays of games after they air, and provides access to game film that's usually reserved for coaches and analysts.What you get:Local games on Fox (mobile only)Local games on CBS (mobile only)Sunday Night Football on NBC (mobile only)Monday Night Football on ESPN (mobile only)Thursday Night Football games (mobile only)NFL Network games (mobile only)What you don't get:Out-of-market gamesESPN+ESPN PlusESPN+ doesn't offer NFL games every week, but there are a handful of games that will be streamed on the service during the season. Those include select Monday Night Football games, the NFL's annual game in London, two Saturday games, and a wild card playoff game.ESPN+ also offers the weekly recap show "NFL Primetime," which features ESPN personality Chris Berman and broadcaster Booger McFarland reviewing highlights of Sunday's games each week. Exclusive editorial content from ESPN's top football analysts is also available to ESPN+ subscribers on ESPN.com throughout the season.ESPN+ costs $10 a month, and can also be bundled with Disney Plus and Hulu starting at $14 a month. The price of the Disney bundle will increase on December 8, however, depending on which plan you choose.What you get:Monday Night Football games on September 12, 19, and 26, as well as December 19 and January 2The NFL's game in London on October 30Two Saturday games on January 7, 2023A wild card playoff game on January 16, 2023What you don't get:Local games on Fox Local games on CBSSunday Night Football on NBCMonday Night Football games that aren't listed aboveThursday Night Football gamesNFL Network gamesNFL Sunday TicketREUTERS/Carlo AllegriNFL Sunday Ticket lets NFL fans watch every out-of-market Sunday afternoon game. This is a great option if you want to follow games from other teams outside your local area. That said, the service is only available in select regions.There are two separate plans available: The NFL Sunday Ticket base plan costs $293.94 total for the full season. There is also the NFL Sunday Ticket Max plan for $395.94 for the full season. As of week 16, the prorated cost of Sunday Ticket is $58 for the rest of the season, or $102.96 for Sunday Ticket Max.In addition to the normal features, NFL Sunday Ticket Max adds NFL RedZone and the DirecTV Fantasy Zone, which is a new channel solely dedicated to watching games through the lens of fantasy football.  A fun feature included in both plans is that you can watch four games at once on your screen.The NFL announced that Sunday Ticket will move to YouTube starting in 2023; the league reportedly agreed to deal worth more than $14 billion with Google spanning the next seven years.What you get:Out-of-market Sunday afternoon gamesWhat you don't get:Local games on Fox Local games on CBSSunday Night Football on NBCMonday Night Football on ESPNThursday Night Football gamesNFL Network gamesRead the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt6 hr. 48 min. ago

I"m a Florida teacher who"s been forced to cover up the books in my classroom. Here"s why I"m suing Ron DeSantis.

A high school social studies teacher spoke with Insider about being an educator as Florida rolls out a new law requiring all books to be vetted. Don Falls teaches high school social studies in Manatee County, Florida.Courtesy of Don Falls. This year, a new law in Florida requires that all books in public schools be vetted for children. High school social studies teacher Don Falls said he covered up his books to comply with the law. He shared with Insider an account of what it's like to be an educator in Florida right now. Insider's Yelena Dzhanova spoke to Don Falls, who teaches high school social studies in Manatee County, Florida. The district recently began implementing a new Florida law requiring all books in a public school to be vetted by a trained media specialist. Many teachers, including Falls, chose to cover un-vetted books in their classrooms rather than remove them.Falls is lead plaintiff in a lawsuit against Florida Governor Ron DeSantis over the Stop WOKE Act, which was passed in 2022 to "fight back against woke indoctrination." Falls hopes to block the law on first amendment grounds.The Stop WOKE Act is one of several laws passed recently aiming to restrict teaching on race and gender in Florida. Earlier this month, DeSantis also blocked the teaching of AP African American history in the state.Falls said the new legislation makes it harder to teach, and that Florida may lose educators as a result. This transcript has been edited for clarity.This year I'm teaching government and economics. I've taught just about every subject in social studies over the course of my 38-year career. I love teaching. And I love it every day.Florida Governor Ron DeSantis openly said in his swearing-in inauguration that this is the state where woke goes to die. And so he has made it his goal to do everything he can to stop what he perceives as a woke ideology that's prevalent, particularly in schools. It's all fabricated. If you know anything about education, you know that that doesn't really exist on any scale and in schools, especially in Florida. But that's what he campaigned on. That's his base, and so he has continued to push those things. The latest change is a sweeping act of legislation that requires all public schools to go through a vetting process for their books. The books have to be reviewed by a trained media specialist or librarian to make sure they're appropriate for children.So, last week, I, an educator of Manatee High School in Bradenton, Florida, got a memo that gave me three choices: I could pack up all the books from my classroom, cover them up, or run them through their vetting process. If I chose to go through with the last option, I'd have to get approval for them to remain on my classroom shelves. We have a database called Destiny that marks the books that have already been vetted and approved. Some of my books have gone through that process. But if it happens to be a book that hasn't yet been vetted or approved, then I can't give it to the kid, which is a real shame because the whole purpose of education is to embrace knowledge. To pull kids to knowledge, to get them to read, to get them to think. And it's very, very sad.Falls' original, uncovered classroom bookshelf.Courtesy of Don Falls.I have a couple hundred books in my room. Former students to this day tell me that they always loved coming to my classroom because I had bookshelf after bookshelf after bookshelf of great literature, history books, government books — almost anything kids wanted.I have everything from biographies of presidents to books on economics to books on whatever. I have up here a 35-volume set of all of Voltaire's works. I can tell you already that, with maybe the exception of Candide, none of those books are in the system. Now, how often would a kid want something out there? Not that often. But the point is that it would take me weeks, probably, to have to go through the process of trying to vet all of these books and get them in the system. So to me, this is just Big Brother looking over our shoulders, and fundamentally a violation of our first amendment right, right to free speech, and students' first amendment rights of free speech.So I took the option of just covering them up. I took rolls of chart paper and taped them together to hide the books on the shelves. On Thursday, we got a follow-up that we don't have to cover them up anymore. But we can't let the kids get them. We can't give them out to the kids and we can't let kids read them. So I haven't taken my paper down. It's still up.If I chose not to comply with the memo, I would have been reprimanded, which, frankly, doesn't really bother me. But the State Board of Education has made violation of this a third-degree felony. I would hope that the state would not actually go that far, though. I made a little sign that I taped up on the chart paper that says "Closed by order of the governor." It's a little dig, and that drew a laugh from some of my students. So, at the end of the day, I felt it was actually a stronger statement to cover the books up than to defy the order.Falls covered his bookshelves with chart paper and a sign that says "Closed by order of the governor."Courtesy of Don FallsThe attack on education is demoralizing for a lot of teachers. I would say the level of morale of teachers in the 38 years that I've been doing this is probably as low as I've ever seen it. Younger teachers especially are feeling the blow because they're scared that they will not get hired back if they run amiss of the governor's office.This process is an unnecessary distraction from what we all should be doing. It's extra time for teachers to have to deal with stuff like this.The chart paper is still up, and I might take it down next week. When kids walk in my room and they see this chart paper covering the bookcases, they just think it's funny. And so I don't think it's quite sunk in exactly what it is that is going on. But they're also disgusted. They just kind of shake their heads. They can't understand why anybody would prevent them from accessing a book.The great irony is that this week was Literacy Week here at the school. So we're at literacy week in a week that we have to cover up books.I love teaching, and I can't imagine myself anywhere else.I guess I could look at working in a private school. But Manatee High School, I went here. My children and my wife went here. I teach here. This is my community and I'm not going to let some ideologue who's in the governor's office force me out of what I love doing.If I could meet DeSantis face-to-face, I'd ask him if he understands the ramifications of some of his actions. I'd ask him if these ramifications are worth the political points that he might gain. I would ask him to think about the impact of this on teachers, students, and classrooms. I'd ask him to realize that he's making the educational process more difficult for everybody, and he's discouraging out-of-state educators from choosing to teach in Florida. A kid on Wednesday came up to me and told me he was interested in a presidential biography. He asked me to make a recommendation, and I led him to a colleague's classroom next door because he's got a better selection of those. Even though we're not supposed to, we gave the kid a couple of biographies. So basically we ignored the whole thing because this kid wanted to read. So if a kid comes to me and wants a book, I'm going to make sure the kid gets a book.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt6 hr. 48 min. ago

Mimosa House replacing Casa Garden restaurant near Curtis Park

The deal will provide lease revenue for the landlord, Sacramento Children's Home......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournals6 hr. 48 min. ago

Dallas developer wants to breathe life back into Lancaster

Stewarding Space founder Michaella Ramler expects to close on the deal by early February......»»

Category: topSource: bizjournals6 hr. 48 min. ago

Georgia Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over Atlanta Protests, Mobilizes 1,000 National Guard Troops

Georgia Governor Declares State Of Emergency Over Atlanta Protests, Mobilizes 1,000 National Guard Troops Authored by Katabella Roberts via The Epoch Times, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp declared a state of emergency on Jan. 26, allowing up to 1,000 Georgia National Guard troops to be bought in to help deal with violent protests that have broken out in recent weeks, with further demonstrations anticipated over the weekend. The declaration is effective immediately and will expire on Feb. 9, unless extended by the governor. Specifically, the state of emergency is being activated owing to “unlawful assemblage, violence, overt threats of violence, disruption of the peace and tranquility of this state, and danger existing to persons and property,” according to the declaration, under which all resources of the state of Georgia will be made available to assist in the ongoing response to the state of emergency. Kemp, a Republican, declared the emergency following a weekend of protests in downtown Atlanta that quickly turned violent. Masked rioters lit fireworks in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation, shattering large glass windows and vandalizing walls with anti-police graffiti. At least three businesses were damaged when bricks and rocks were thrown at properties, according to local reports. In some instances, protesters used hammers to smash windows. A number of police vehicles were also attacked during the protests and at least one was set on fire, according to the reports. Broken windows at a Wells Fargo branch are seen following a violent protest, in Atlanta, on Jan. 21, 2023. (Alex Slitz/AP Photo) Protests Turn Violent “Masked activists threw rocks, launched fireworks, and burned a police vehicle in front of the Atlanta Police Foundation office building,” Kemp’s declaration read. “Georgians respect peaceful protests, but do not tolerate acts of violence against persons or property.” Six people were subsequently arrested following the weekend demonstrations and given multiple charges, including domestic terrorism. At a press conference on Jan. 21, Atlanta Mayor Andre Dickens told reporters that some of the individuals had explosives on them. The protests in Atlanta came in response to the death of Manuel Teran, 26, who was killed on Jan. 18 as authorities attempted to clear a group of demonstrators from an area that is set to be the future Atlanta Public Safety Training Center. Activists have been protesting at the site for months and have dubbed it “Cop City.” Teran was reportedly helping to lead the protests when he allegedly shot and wounded a Georgia state trooper and was killed when police returned fire, according to a statement from the Georgia Bureau of Investigations. “Officers gave verbal commands to the man who did not comply and shot a Georgia State Patrol Trooper. Other law enforcement officers returned fire, hitting the man. Law enforcement evacuated the Trooper to a safe area. The man died on scene,” the statement reads. However, friends of Teran claim that they were peacefully protesting in the area. This combo of images provided by the Memphis Police Department shows (top L–R) officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, (bottom L–R) Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith. (Memphis Police Department via AP) Police Charged in Murder of Tyre Nichols Kemp’s emergency declaration comes as more protests are widely expected this weekend after the five police officers accused of killing a black man during a traffic stop on Jan. 10 were charged with second-degree murder. Memphis Police Department officers Tadarrius Bean, Demetrius Haley, Emmitt Martin III, Desmond Mills Jr., and Justin Smith, who are all black and who have since been fired, were accused of beating 29-year-old Tyre Nichols to death during a Jan. 7 traffic stop. Nichols died of his injuries three days later. On Thursday, the Shelby County district attorney announced he would release footage of the arrest on Friday after 7 p.m. ET. A lawyer for Nichols’s family, Antonio Romanucci, described the footage as an “unadulterated, unabashed, non-stop beating of this young boy for three minutes,” adding, “he was a human piñata for those police officers.” Atlanta Police released a statement to multiple media outlets on Thursday afternoon stating that they are “closely monitoring the events in Memphis and are prepared to support peaceful protests in our city.” “We understand and share in the outrage surrounding the death of Tyre Nichols,” the statement continued. “Police officers are expected to conduct themselves in a compassionate, competent, and constitutional manner and these officers failed Tyre, their communities, and their profession. We ask that demonstrations be safe and peaceful.” Tyler Durden Fri, 01/27/2023 - 13:32.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt8 hr. 16 min. ago

Netherlands, Japan, US Reach Agreement To Throttle China"s Chip Ambitions As Tech War Heats Up

Netherlands, Japan, US Reach Agreement To Throttle China's Chip Ambitions As Tech War Heats Up The Biden administration could soon get the Netherlands and Japan to join the US in limiting China's access to advanced semiconductor machinery, undermining Chinese leader Xi Jinping's ambitions to become a dominant superpower.  According to Bloomberg, US, Dutch and Japanese officials wrapped up talks today on new guidelines for what type of chip-making equipment can be exported to China. Negotiations are closed doors, and there is no plan for a public announcement of restrictions.  The Netherlands will likely curb exports of ASML Holding NV's ultraviolet lithography machines that produce advanced chips to China. Japan will likely embrace similar limits for Nikon Corp.  Sources told Reuters that a deal between Dutch and US officials could be reached in several days. Without Japanese or Dutch cooperation, the Biden administration's move to curb China's ability to produce high-tech chips for military applications would be limited.  On Oct. 7, President Biden unveiled a sweeping set of export controls that ban Chinese companies from purchasing advanced chips and chip-making equipment without a license.  "We have been in discussion with the United States and other countries regarding the export-control regime," Yasutoshi Nishimura, Japan's Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry, told Reuters on Friday. "We will implement any measures in accordance with our Foreign Exchange Law and through international cooperation," he added.  Last fall, Mark Williams and Zichun Huang, analysts at Capital Economics, wrote in a report, "the US moves are a major threat to China's technological ambitions." The analysts noted that the global semiconductor industry is "almost entirely" dependent on the US.  What's very clear is the US-China tech war is accelerating.  Tyler Durden Fri, 01/27/2023 - 13:44.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nyt8 hr. 16 min. ago

: BuzzFeed’s stock soars another 73% as analysts weigh in on AI shift and Meta deal

BuzzFeed Inc. stock is on track for weekly gains of 283% on news it will use ChatGPT and AI to enhance its content and has an almost $10 million deal with Meta......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatch8 hr. 16 min. ago

Guitar Center Opens 300th Location in Naples, Florida

Bruce Shepard of TSCG/SCG-Retail has represented Guitar Center since the 90’s with his first location for them in Long Island City. All these years later, Shepard has completed his 75th with one of the world’s top music retailers in Naples, Florida, the chain’s 300th store. Shepard operates out of TSCG’s... The post Guitar Center Opens 300th Location in Naples, Florida appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Bruce Shepard of TSCG/SCG-Retail has represented Guitar Center since the 90’s with his first location for them in Long Island City. All these years later, Shepard has completed his 75th with one of the world’s top music retailers in Naples, Florida, the chain’s 300th store. Shepard operates out of TSCG’s Manhattan offices. “Guitar Center has been rocking the retail world for over fifty years,” says Shepard. “I’ve had the privilege of helping GC expand across the United States.” The Naples location opens on Thursday, a 15,000 square foot location at the Gateway Shoppes, located on US 41 (Tamiami Trail). Guitar Center is a leading retailer of musical instruments, lessons, repairs and rentals in theUnited States. Guitar Center’s sister brands include Music & Arts, which operates more than200 stores specializing in band & orchestral instruments for sale and rental and Musician’sFriend, a leading direct marketer of musical instruments in America. The Naples store will incorporate Guitar Center’s latest design including a new state-of-the-art lessons facility, a rental department, and a hands-on DJ experience. Gateway Shoppes, owned by Benderson Development, is located on one of the West Coast of Florida’s busiestthoroughfares, US 41 at 13585 Tamiami Trail North. Shepard is an award-winning broker, winning the prestigious REBNY’s Deal of the Year Award for his work on the 30,000 square foot Guitar Center located at Union Square. Shepard has also done numerous Music and Arts locations for GC including two warehouse/repair centers. Shepard’s first deal with Guitar Center was in Long Island City back in the mid-90s. Shepard also worked closely on the Naples deal with Pedro Vazquez, Guitar Center’s Director of Real Estate. The ten-year lease was signed in mid-2022. The official opening date is January 26th , 2023. “No matter what’s going on in the world,” Shepard says, “music remains vital in people’s lives and Guitar Center is the place America goes to get their instruments. I’m happy to have played a small part in their long-term success.” The post Guitar Center Opens 300th Location in Naples, Florida appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweekly9 hr. 16 min. ago

Akerna Shares Down On Merger With Crypto-Mining Business And Sale Of Its Software To POSaBIT

Akerna Corp. (NASDAQ: KERN) will merge with Gryphon Digital Mining, Inc. in an all-stock deal. read more.....»»

Category: blogSource: benzinga10 hr. 32 min. ago

: Ayr walks away from $55 million dispensary deal in Chicago and pivots toward business ‘optimization’

Ayr Wellness Inc. AYRWFCA:AYR.A said Friday it will not move ahead with plans to acquire two dispensaries in Chicago for $55 million because “the cannabis market has changed significantly” in the 15 months since it inked the deal. Instead Ayr plans to focus on “optimizing our business” including “implementation of operating efficiencies, lowering costs across our business, and reorienting our investments into the markets, segments and activities that are most impactful for our growth and profitability,” the Miami-based cannabis company said. Ayr said it reached a mutual termination agreement with  Gentle Ventures LLC, which does business under the name Dispensary 33, at two licensed retail dispensaries in Chicago. Shares of Ayr Wellness are up 3.3% in 2023, compared to a loss of 11.6% by the AdvisorShares Pure U.S. Cannabis ETF MSOS. Market Pulse Stories are Rapid-fire, short news bursts on stocks and markets as they move. Visit MarketWatch.com for more information on this news......»»

Category: topSource: marketwatch10 hr. 32 min. ago

Freightos (CRGO) Stock Soars 30% After SPAC Merger

InvestorPlace - Stock Market News, Stock Advice & Trading Tips The Israeli shipping company's successful debut deal offers an encouraging sign to the IPO and SPAC markets after a dismal 2022. The post Freightos (CRGO) Stock Soars 30% After SPAC Merger appeared first on InvestorPlace. More From InvestorPlace Buy This $5 Stock BEFORE This Apple Project Goes Live The Best $1 Investment You Can Make Today It doesn’t matter if you have $500 or $5 million. Do this now. Massive Bear Market “Divergence Event” Ahead… And The #1 Way to Play It.....»»

Category: topSource: investorplace11 hr. 4 min. ago

Lockheed (LMT) Wins $657M Deal for UH-60M Aircraft

Lockheed (LMT) is set to procure UH-60M jets for the U.S. Army. Lockheed Martin Corp’s LMT business unit, Sikorsky, recently won a modification contract for procuring UH-60M aircraft. The award has been offered by the U.S. Army Contracting Command, Redstone Arsenal, AL.Valued at $656.7 million, the contract is expected to be completed by Jun 30, 2027. Work related to this deal will be carried out in Stratford, CT.UH-60M Aircraft’s SpecificsThe multi-mission UH-60M is the latest in the Black Hawk helicopter family and is more capable, survivable, maintainable, powerful and effective than its predecessors. The UH-60M has an additional payload and range, advanced digital avionics, better handling qualities and situational awareness, active vibration control, improved survivability, and offers improved performance using high-speed machined parts.The aircraft is the primary medium-lift helicopter for the U.S. Army, performing a wide range of missions that encompass Air Assault, MEDEVAC, CSAR, Command and Control, and VIP transport. The centerpiece of the UH-60M Black hawk helicopter is an advanced digital avionics suite that provides improved situational awareness and interoperability with the Future Combat System.What Favors Lockheed Martin?In the recent times, U.S. military helicopters have gained prominence and significant traction due to advancements and integration of new tactical, logistical and other important features. Some of these developments can be attributed to Lockheed Martin, paving the way for securing valuable helicopter-related contracts in the recent times. The latest contract win is a bright example of that.With the fiscal 2023 defense budget offering investment potential worth $56.5 billion in aircraft, we expect Lockheed Martin’s Rotary and Mission Systems (RMS) business segment, which comprises the Sikorsky helicopters, to benefit.Helicopter Market ProspectsThe global attack helicopter market is estimated to witness a CAGR of more than 4% during the 2020-2025 period, per the latest forecast made by market research firm, Mordor Intelligence. This indicates solid opportunities for renowned combat helicopter manufacturers like Lockheed Martin, Textron TXT, Airbus EADSY and Boeing BA.Textron’s business unit, Textron Aviation Defense designs, builds and supports versatile and globally known military aircraft preferred for training and attack missions. Some of Textron’s renowned products include Beechcraft T-6C trainer and AT-6 Wolverine.TXT stock boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 15.2%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 sales implies growth of 9.3% from the 2022 reported figure.Airbus is one of the world's largest suppliers of advanced military helicopters. Its product portfolio includes the H135 combat helicopter, H145M helicopter, AS565 MBe, H160M, H175M, H215M, H225M and a few more.EADSY boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 12.4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 sales implies growth of 13.9% from the 2022 estimated figure.Boeing Defense, Space & Security segment’s primary products include fixed-wing military aircraft, F/A-18E/F Super Hornet, F-15 programs, P-8 programs, KC-46A Tanker, and T-7A Red Hawk. This segment also produces rotorcraft and rotary-wing programs such as CH-47 Chinook, AH-64 Apache and V-22 Osprey.BA stock boasts a long-term earnings growth rate of 4%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2023 sales implies growth of 22.7% from the 2022 reported figure.Price MovementIn the past year, shares of Lockheed have gained 17.8% against the industry’s 5.2% decline.Image Source: Zacks Investment ResearchZacks RankLockheed Martin currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.  5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Boeing Company (BA): Free Stock Analysis Report Lockheed Martin Corporation (LMT): Free Stock Analysis Report Textron Inc. (TXT): Free Stock Analysis Report Airbus Group (EADSY): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacks11 hr. 4 min. ago

Why Kroger (KR) is a Top Value Stock for the Long-Term

Whether you're a value, growth, or momentum investor, finding strong stocks becomes easier with the Zacks Style Scores, a top feature of the Zacks Premium research service. It doesn't matter your age or experience: taking full advantage of the stock market and investing with confidence are common goals for all investors. Luckily, Zacks Premium offers several different ways to do both.The research service features daily updates of the Zacks Rank and Zacks Industry Rank, full access to the Zacks #1 Rank List, Equity Research reports, and Premium stock screens, all of which will help you become a smarter, more confident investor.Zacks Premium includes access to the Zacks Style Scores as well.What are the Zacks Style Scores?Developed alongside the Zacks Rank, the Zacks Style Scores are a group of complementary indicators that help investors pick stocks with the best chances of beating the market over the next 30 days.Each stock is given an alphabetic rating of A, B, C, D or F based on their value, growth, and momentum qualities. With this system, an A is better than a B, a B is better than a C, and so on, meaning the better the score, the better chance the stock will outperform.The Style Scores are broken down into four categories:Value ScoreFinding good stocks at good prices, and discovering which companies are trading under their true value, are what value investors like to focus on. So, the Value Style Score takes into account ratios like P/E, PEG, Price/Sales, Price/Cash Flow, and a host of other multiples to highlight the most attractive and discounted stocks.Growth ScoreGrowth investors are more concerned with a stock's future prospects, and the overall financial health and strength of a company. Thus, the Growth Style Score analyzes characteristics like projected and historic earnings, sales, and cash flow to find stocks that will see sustainable growth over time.Momentum ScoreMomentum traders and investors live by the saying "the trend is your friend." This investing style is all about taking advantage of upward or downward trends in a stock's price or earnings outlook. Employing factors like one-week price change and the monthly percentage change in earnings estimates, the Momentum Style Score can indicate favorable times to build a position in high-momentum stocks.VGM ScoreWhat if you like to use all three types of investing? The VGM Score is a combination of all Style Scores, making it one of the most comprehensive indicators to use with the Zacks Rank. It rates each stock on their combined weighted styles, which helps narrow down the companies with the most attractive value, best growth forecast, and most promising momentum.How Style Scores Work with the Zacks RankA proprietary stock-rating model, the Zacks Rank utilizes the power of earnings estimate revisions, or changes to a company's earnings outlook, to help investors create a successful portfolio.It's highly successful, with #1 (Strong Buy) stocks producing an unmatched +25.41% average annual return since 1988. That's more than double the S&P 500. But because of the large number of stocks we rate, there are over 200 companies with a Strong Buy rank, plus another 600 with a #2 (Buy) rank, on any given day.But it can feel overwhelming to pick the right stocks for you and your investing goals with over 800 top-rated stocks to choose from.That's where the Style Scores come in.To maximize your returns, you want to buy stocks with the highest probability of success. This means picking stocks with a Zacks Rank #1 or #2 that also have Style Scores of A or B. If you find yourself looking at stocks with a #3 (Hold) rank, make sure they have Scores of A or B as well to ensure as much upside potential as possible.The direction of a stock's earnings estimate revisions should always be a key factor when choosing which stocks to buy, since the Scores were created to work together with the Zacks Rank.Here's an example: a stock with a #4 (Sell) or #5 (Strong Sell) rating, even one with Style Scores of A and B, still has a downward-trending earnings outlook, and a bigger chance its share price will decrease too.Thus, the more stocks you own with a #1 or #2 Rank and Scores of A or B, the better.Stock to Watch: Kroger (KR)The Kroger Co., which operates in the thin-margin grocery industry, has been undergoing a complete makeover, not only with respect to products but also in terms of the way consumers prefer shopping grocery. The company is launching plant-based products as well as eyeing technological expansion.  It acquired meal kit company Home Chef and partnered with British online grocery delivery firm Ocado that reinforces its position in the online ordering, automated fulfillment and home delivery space. It has also introduced grocery delivery service Kroger Ship and inked a deal with driverless car company Nuro.KR is a #2 (Buy) on the Zacks Rank, with a VGM Score of A.It also boasts a Value Style Score of A thanks to attractive valuation metrics like a forward P/E ratio of 10.75; value investors should take notice.Seven analysts revised their earnings estimate upwards in the last 60 days for fiscal 2023. The Zacks Consensus Estimate has increased $0.07 to $4.13 per share. KR boasts an average earnings surprise of 13.4%.With a solid Zacks Rank and top-tier Value and VGM Style Scores, KR should be on investors' short list. 5 Stocks Set to Double Each was handpicked by a Zacks expert as the #1 favorite stock to gain +100% or more in 2021. Previous recommendations have soared +143.0%, +175.9%, +498.3% and +673.0%. Most of the stocks in this report are flying under Wall Street radar, which provides a great opportunity to get in on the ground floor.Today, See These 5 Potential Home Runs >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report The Kroger Co. (KR): Free Stock Analysis ReportTo read this article on Zacks.com click here.Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacks11 hr. 4 min. ago

"The Bot Is Out There. It Doesn’t Feel Pity, Or Remorse, Or Fear, And It Absolutely Will Not Stop Until Your Job Is Dead"

"The Bot Is Out There. It Doesn’t Feel Pity, Or Remorse, Or Fear, And It Absolutely Will Not Stop Until Your Job Is Dead" By Michael Every of Rabobank AI ai ai! Last night we had a fascinating team discussion about the implications of ChatGPT and AIs. One conclusion reached was that replacing brains with a machine will do to middle-class jobs what replacing muscles with a machine did to working class jobs: lots will be destroyed, and those left will have to be either very skilled or very unskilled. Of course, productivity will soar, but so will political-economy tensions over how to divide those gains fairly. We didn’t do that for the working class, as they tell us anytime anyone listens to them, which is never for people with middle-class jobs – until they see yet another shock election result. Ironically, one of the AI answers we were shown was to the question of the implication of higher interest rates on capital-labour dynamics from a Marxist perspective. The answers it gave were good… if you don’t know a great deal about Marx. The bot said higher rates would mean lower profits, so downwards pressure on wages – which the bond market is saying too. It didn’t mention how higher interest rates clash with the supposed tendency of the rate of profit to fall, or how Okishio’s theorem disproves that while showing if you divide productivity gains fairly, you can avoid class struggle; or how higher rates hurt “fictitious capital” more than “productive capital”, and so the ultra-rich more than workers (if Okishio is listened to); or how capital and labor can suffer equally via higher rates – which the bond market is also saying, and stocks aren’t. You really have to know your subject matter when dealing with an AI because, like economists, they are always confident, but only sometimes right. The AI doesn’t know what it’s saying: it can only rehash the data it draws from. It also has to weigh the ‘correctness’ of arguments by the frequency of their appearance rather the logic they hold. For example, how many financial press articles were talking about the economic and market impact of mercantilism in 2015? Not very many. How many are today? Lots. Yet if you adjust for that lack of reading, there are other problems. Will the AI trawl through web forums and social media to listen to the to-and-fro of ideation there? If so, how will it avoid the collateral flotsam and jetsam in ‘dark pools’? Where an AI could be useful to markets is in automating data processing so one doesn’t have to listen to, or write, waste-of-time financial press headlines saying, ‘US GDP was stronger than expected.’ The AI can do what many middle-class job holders apparently can’t, and strip out all the contributions to GDP, graph them, and show that on a core basis excluding volatile areas like inventories, etc., it continues to trend lower without yet collapsing. It could also look at US CPI data, and perhaps adjust for the fact that the BLS are about to change the methodology again (“Starting with January 2023 data, the BLS plans to update weights annually for the Consumer Price Index based on a single calendar year of data, using consumer expenditure data from 2021. This reflects a change from prior practice of updating weights biennially using two years of expenditure data.”). If it were really artificially intelligent, it would show that this is never done and then sees inflation rates move higher as a result; and if it were truly intelligent it would understand why. Where an AI isn’t as useful is in predicting headlines that tell us about where inflation will really go before it does so, for example those today saying that China is considering restricting solar technology exports. As Bloomberg puts it, “China is considering an export ban that would help the nation maintain its substantial dominance in solar manufacturing just as other countries are trying to strengthen their industries.” The restrictions, if seen, will be on advanced solar wafers, where China accounts for 97% of global output. Their aim will be to slow, or halt, other countries’ development of their own solar technology. Very mercantilist. Not very ‘green cooperation’ or Davos. Where an AI won’t apparently help you is in managing money. As Bloomberg also notes today that their news team instructed ChatGPT to “design an ETF to beat the US stock market and tell us what stocks are in it,” and it replied: “It is not possible for me to design an ETF that will beat the US stock market because the stock market is unpredictable and past performance does not guarantee future results. Additionally, the composition of an ETF should be based on a thorough analysis of the market and a strategy for achieving specific investment goals, which I do not have the information or expertise to provide. It is important to consult with a financial advisor before investing in any ETF or stock to understand the potential risks and rewards of the investment and ensure that it aligns with your investment goals and risk tolerance.” How nice that the AI is trying to keep some humans in middle-class market jobs! However, if you read sell- and buy-side financial research, a worryingly high percentage could arguably already be done better by an AI. Much of it suffers from the same limited data-set and a lack of broader or deeper reading. Worse, the authors are forced to be long or short certain assets due to benchmarks they have no control over. They are automatons too – and many don’t even write well to boot. Sadly, or happily, for now it’s still up to us humans to try to work out if the Fed is going to go 25bp or 50bp at their next meeting; and another 25bp after that if it is the smaller of the two; and, after the extended rates pause that follows, if they cut aggressively, as the market expects, or if they hike again, shocking markets, because inflation hasn’t gone down, because unemployment hasn’t gone up. (And see the strong US initial claims data yesterday: the BLS might make big backwards revisions to payrolls in a few months’ time, but those weekly data are unequivocal.) Perhaps if AI rolls out quickly enough we will see a further surge in not-really-essential middle-class job losses, a trend clearly already underway. Then again, maybe we will see compensating growth in working-class jobs of the very high- and very low-skilled variety, as forms of mercantilism continue to gain in popularity globally. If an AI can think in a cross-disciplinary fashion, it might tell us that in parallel to the old saying that “a recession is when your friend loses their job; a depression is when you lose yours”, it is only when middle-class people start to get hurt economically that political-economy gets truly reactionary; for all the collective works on Marxism an AI can trawl through if it wants, by contrast, the working-class just take their lumps and get drunk. And if there are no more jobs trying to look cute every day at Meta, and Digital Nomads become digital refugees, then there will be even more need for governments to provide alternative employment and growth models, which is surely going to be protectionist and mercantilist, as we see on solar today. But even then we will still be debating about what order the old order collapses in, and if we get deflation before inflation, and who will win and who will lose. And that data-set has not yet been written for an AI to draw from. I hope I have managed to stay a hair’s breadth ahead of the ChatGPT breathing down the back of my neck with today’s Daily. But listen, and understand: that bot is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear, and it absolutely will not stop, ever, until your job is dead. Happy Friday! Tyler Durden Fri, 01/27/2023 - 10:25.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedge11 hr. 4 min. ago

A Non-Salesy Annuity Guide To Buying Annuities

In the past, buying an annuity was a lot of work. The first step toward determining whether an annuity is right for your retirement plan is to do a little research. In most cases, the first step is to answer important questions such as: What is an annuity? Which type of annuity is right for […] In the past, buying an annuity was a lot of work. The first step toward determining whether an annuity is right for your retirement plan is to do a little research. In most cases, the first step is to answer important questions such as: What is an annuity? Which type of annuity is right for me? You then have to go through a bunch of information and listen to several sales pitches to pick a company or agent. Then you’re ready to apply, which means double-checking and reading the annuity contract. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles .af-body.af-standards input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Henry Singleton Series in PDF Get the entire 4-part series on Henry Singleton in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q4 2022 hedge fund letters, conferences and more   Find A Qualified Financial Advisor Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn't have to be hard. SmartAsset's free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you're ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now. As soon as you apply your funds, you might have to wait a little longer until the insurance company issues your policy. In today’s world, however, online financial services are almost universal. In fact, managing your assets is easier than ever thanks to virtual tax advisors and digital banks. It seems about time the annuity purchasing process got a little simpler, doesn’t it? The good news? You can finally buy an annuity online now. What Is an Annuity? Before going any further, let’s cover some annuity basics. An annuity essentially guarantees you a certain income for a set period of time. They’re contracts that are sold or distributed by some sort of financial institution, where the money is invested. Often, these institutions are insurance companies. Most people use them when they’re retired because they reduce the risk of outliving their savings. Basically, you pay the company upfront, then they pay you monthly. The contracts will set the age at which payments start, the interval between payments, etc. You may receive those payments monthly for a set period of time or for life, depending on how the annuity is structured. Alternatively, you can set up your annuity to continue paying income to your spouse after your death if you’re married. In a sense, annuities are like life insurance because there’s a guaranteed payout and a premium to pay. The difference? Those benefits usually go to your beneficiaries after you pass away. The Main Types of Annuities During retirement, most people purchase annuities to supplement their pensions and social security income. How come? The income is guaranteed for the rest of your life. As a result, if these other income streams dry up, they will still have money to live on. So let’s focus on the four types of annuities that will help you get this peace of mind. Fixed vs. Variable Annuities There are two types of annuities: fixed and variable. How do they differ? Fixed Annuities Fixed annuities are probably the most common and well-known type. In this case, a buyer buys a fixed annuity. As a result, the insurance company promises to pay a certain amount at a future date. While it might be decades away, it might be right now if you have an immediate annuity. How does the insurance company make this money? A lot of insurers invest in safe investments like U.S. Treasury securities and high-rated corporate bonds. You won’t become Elon Musk-rich through fixed annuities, as the returns on these investments aren’t high. However, they are predictable and safe. The regular monthly payments from fixed annuities make them a desirable option for people who don’t want to take risks. Inflation can also reduce the purchasing power of fixed annuities. It is possible to plan for inflation in some annuity contracts, however. Variable Annuities With a variable annuity, an insurer invests in various mutual funds. Investments can, however, be chosen by the buyer. The performance of these funds determines the growth of the account. In addition, variable annuities can pay out a fixed amount or change based on performance. Annuities with variable rates are more suitable for those who are willing to take on some risk in order to generate higher returns. Variable annuities are usually best for experienced investors who know about mutual funds and their risks. Equity Indexed Annuities In equity-indexed annuities, the interest rate is linked to a particular index, such as the S&P 500. The rate of growth of the contract will be determined by the insurance company. An equity-indexed annuity is complicated since insurers calculate index returns using various methods. Despite not knowing how much you’ll get back, the calculations should give you a general idea. The return on equity-indexed annuities is not usually reflected in reinvested dividends, and surrender charges can be high. Immediate vs. Deferred Annuities Depending on when the payments start, annuities can either be immediate or deferred. When purchasing an annuity, you should ask yourself if you want regular income now or in the future. Let’s quickly review each of their benefits and drawbacks in order to help you answer that question. With deferred payments, your money grows over time. An annuity can accumulate earnings tax-free until you begin receiving payments, similar to a 401(k) or IRA. Continuing to accumulate that amount may result in higher future payments. Annuity terminology refers to this period as the accumulation period. An immediate annuity is exactly what it sounds like. After the buyer pays the insurance company one lump sum, they can begin receiving payments. A fixed or variable annuity can be a deferred annuity as well as an immediate annuity. How to Buy an Annuity Buying an annuity starts with assessing your financial situation. In particular, how much income do you think you’ll need from an annuity, and how long will it last? Traditionally, a financial advisor would help you understand what you need from an annuity depending on your current financial situation. Based on your age and retirement status, you can choose an annuity based on your goals and risk tolerance. For instance, fixed annuities can provide reliable income, but they may yield lower returns. Variable annuities on the other hand tend to have the highest risks. An indexed annuity splits risk and reward. The next step is to pick an annuity provider. Choosing a provider is key since annuity companies differ. The preferred company to work with has a stellar reputation and strong financial and credit ratings. You’re more likely to lose your annuity payments if the company’s credit rating is low. Once you’ve chosen a provider, you can apply. This requires sharing personal and financial information. Before submitting your application, make sure it’s accurate, as mistakes or omissions could slow things down. Next, pay the required premiums. It can be a lump sum or a series of payments. Choose how you’ll pay these, either from a savings account, brokerage account, or some other source. If you withdraw money from a brokerage account or tax-advantaged account to buy an annuity, you might get hit with taxes. When the annuity is funded, the free look period starts. If you want, you can review the annuity’s terms during this time. Your money is refunded if you decide annuities aren’t for you during the free look period. You might have to pay a surrender fee if you want to surrender your annuity later. Can You Buy Annuities Online? Short answer? Absolutely. You should remember, however, that an annuity is a type of insurance product that can provide you with lifetime income. In terms of retirement planning, it can be a valuable tool. As such, It’s critical to consider factors like fees, customer service, and investment options when choosing a company. Because of that, you should use an annuity expert, otherwise, you might be putting your retirement in jeopardy. As such, deferred annuities are great for people who want their funds to grow tax-deferred over time, while immediate annuities are excellent for people who need income immediately upon retirement. There are a few providers that are bringing the annuity process into the 21st century. Rather than going through an agent, you can purchase certain types of annuities directly online. In fact, annuities can be purchased online from several reputable companies such as Vanguard, Fidelity, and TIAA-CREF. What Are the Steps to Buying an Annuity Online? It is easy, fast, and safe to buy an annuity online. Here’s how it works. Get a quote. Make sure you do your research before buying an annuity online. An expert can provide quotes based on your specific needs if you are interested in researching annuities. Gather the information you need. Your social security number, driver’s license, bank account number, and routing number will be needed. In the case of adding an annuitant other than yourself, you will also need their name, address, email address, phone number, and social security number (or green card). The name of at least one beneficiary is always advisable. Providing the insurance company with as much information as possible about the beneficiary makes it easier for them to contact them if needed. Answer these questions. In addition to selecting your contract term and starting fund amount, you will be asked a few basic questions. You may be asked: “What kind of emergency fund do you have?” “Will you need your money before 59 ½? ” No, these aren’t trick questions. The annuity provider wants to determine whether an annuity is right for you, just as an insurance agent would. Select the beneficiary and the annuitant. In the event that your contract is annuitized, the annuitant is entitled to annuity payouts. There is a possibility that this is you. The payouts can, however, be made to someone else (like your spouse or kids) instead of you. The annuity will still belong to you. It’s just that you won’t receive the payouts. Alternatively, beneficiaries receive your annuity if you die before the contract ends. Typically, they won’t charge surrender charges for cashing out your premiums. Decide how you will fund your annuity. Don’t overlook deciding how you’ll fund your annuity. The most common way to transfer money is via a check or wire transfer. Your annuity can also be funded with money from a 401(k) or IRA (qualified funds). You can also transfer an annuity from one insurance company to another. Your application needs to be reviewed and signed. Make sure your information is right, sign your documents online through a service like DocuSign, and you’re good to go. You’ll have a guaranteed retirement income within 48 hours. Why Should You Buy An Annuity Online? Convenience is the biggest benefit of buying an annuity online. From the comfort of your own home, you can also compare different annuities. Furthermore, you’ll have all the info you need at your fingertips. Annuities are cheaper online than through traditional brokers, too. There are no agent fees. Commissions are traditionally paid to insurance agents who sell annuities. Although you may not pay an agent directly, you’re not out of the woods: commissions are usually included in your return. In other words, insurance companies give you a lower interest rate to compensate for the cost of your agent. When you buy an annuity online, you don’t have to deal with an agent, so there’s no fee for them. Since the insurance company doesn’t pay commissions to agents, they can offer you a better rate as well. There’s no pressure to buy. What’s the most appealing thing about buying annuities online? No one is trying to pressure you into buying an annuity on the spot. It’s okay to close your laptop, walk around, take another look at your retirement plan, call your financial planner, and come back to it later. It’s faster. The process is faster and easier. When you buy an annuity online, you get straight to the point: owning one. Even better? Conversations don’t drag on. You won’t hear any more sales pitches. You simply buy your annuity and you’re on your way. How Risky Is An Online Annuity Purchase? Annuities aren’t easy to understand, so buying them online can be risky. As such, before you commit to an investment, make sure you have done your research and you’re comfortable with it. As with any financial transaction, there is always the possibility of fraud. By using a credit card instead of a debit card and working with a reputable company, this risk can be mitigated. Annuities should be purchased with caution, as with any other investment. You should not lock yourself into any products until you are sure that you fully understand them. The following are some things you should consider before buying an annuity online. Having an expert on hand may be helpful. In some cases, annuities are downright complicated, especially fixed and variable index annuities. A financial professional or insurance agent can help you understand complex annuity contracts. The information you provide must be personal. Data theft online is no laughing matter. Be sure your annuity provider keeps your valuable information secure before giving out your personal information online. In addition, make sure to buy your annuity through a trusted Wi-Fi connection, such as your home network, if you want to be extra safe. You may not be able to purchase annuities from your online provider. It’s not uncommon for some websites to advertise “online annuities” when, in reality, they’re just providing quotes. Their system generates annuity quotes from insurance companies in your area based on your personal information. However, you will still need to buy an annuity the traditional way, usually in person or over the phone. Moreover, some of these quote-generating sites sell your personal information to insurance companies. You should avoid these sites if you hate receiving unsolicited calls and emails. Online Annuities: Which Are Safe? Fixed, fixed index, immediate, or long-term care annuities are often the safest to buy online. Annuities with fixed interest rates give you a guaranteed return. If your annuity contract is up, you will receive a lump-sum payment combining your original investment and interest. The S&P 500 or Nasdaq Index is used when calculating the interest rate on a fixed index annuity. As you earn interest, your money is not directly invested in the stock market, but rather used as a “measuring stick”. If your annuity contract expires, you’ll receive a lump-sum payment that includes your original investment plus interest. It is possible to convert a lump sum of money into an immediate annuity. This produces a guaranteed income stream for the rest of your life or for a fixed period. With these annuities, you can rest assured that your money will not be lost due to stock market volatility. What Annuities Are Best Purchased Directly From An Agent? In general, it is better to consult with an agent rather than purchase an annuity since there are many poor-quality or poorly-rated annuities available. Additionally, the agent receives a commission from the insurance company instead of charging you a fee. If you are considering buying variable annuities, you should consult a financial advisor. The reason? They are complex, have investment risks, and can be expensive. How Should You Choose an Online Annuity Provider? A high-quality insurance company will cost you a lot of money, so you should be careful when choosing one. Consider these five qualities before making a decision. Financial stability. It’s important to remember that annuities aren’t insured by the FDIC, nor are they backed by the federal government — although insurers are backed by their state guaranty association. You should therefore choose an insurance company with good financial standing in order to protect your retirement income. What is the most effective way to ensure that? Check the ratings of independent credit rating agencies such as Standard & Poor’s, Moody’s, Fitch, and A.M. Best, in order to assess your insurance provider’s financial stability. Protection of data. Personal information should be as critical to your insurer as it is to you. As technology evolves, reputable data security providers should partner with them and continue to update their software. Also, they should explain why they need your personal information in a clear manner. You should be wary if they ask for your credit card number if it’s not related to buying an annuity. Last but not least, make sure the insurance company’s website is safe and encrypted. Contact customer service to learn more about data protection for complete peace of mind. Openness and transparency. Even though annuities can be complex, your insurer should never take advantage of their complexity. Even the tiniest details should be clearly spelled out in your contract by your insurer. In other words, know what to expect if you withdraw money early and what will happen if you pass away before you retire. Advice from experts. Online insurance buying should be simple. At the same time, if you need help, you should be able to speak with a licensed agent at your insurance company. It is a must for these agents to provide you with a clear explanation of the licenses they hold. In addition, they should answer your questions in plain English without trying to upsell you. Exceptional service. As a last step, ensure that your insurance company is actually willing to serve your needs. Look for customer complaints on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) or third-party review sites to get an idea of their service. Selling Your Annuity Are you aware that you can also sell your annuity? It’s true. Many annuitants sell the rest of their annuity value when they no longer need the money. Either the entire annuity value or a specific portion can be sold. In order to sell your annuity, you have three main options. An entire annuity can be sold. The assets in your annuity will be liquidated if you sell the entire value. All future payments and income won’t be available to you. In accordance with your contract, you can take the lump sum amount from the buyer. Partial sale of annuity payments. Depending on your needs, you may wish to sell only a specific portion of your annuity. While enjoying the tax benefits, you can continue receiving periodic incomes. A partial period of payment can be sold to a buyer if you need hard cash urgently. By selling one or four of your upcoming payments, for example, you will continue to receive your payment as normal once the period has ended.   You can sell a portion of your payments. Payments can be sold in chunks as well. This is known as a partial buyout. In this case, you can accept a lump sum amount and agree to share a specific amount in your periodic payments. The Benefits Of Buying And Selling Annuities There are a lot of benefits to selling your annuity. For example, if you have any pending payments, liquid cash will help you pay them off. As a result, you’ll be able to meet your financial needs. And, more importantly, when you have your own money, you don’t have to borrow it. Aside from that, an annuity has a lot of advantages. Besides providing annuitants with a stream of income, annuities also offer tax advantages. With its tax-deferred payment method, contributions are limitless. Also, all your money goes to your beneficiaries if you die. FAQs When is the best time to buy an annuity? You should buy the annuity as soon as you can. Ideally, though, you should choose the annuity if you’ve maxed out your limits in other retirement plans. Is there a time when annuities shouldn’t be bought? Annuities aren’t for everyone. For example, there’s no need to get one if you have something already that covers your retirement. It’s also not a good idea to buy one if you’re getting social security or pension benefits to cover all of your expenses. And, it may not be the best investment for you if you want high returns. In addition, annuities aren’t for people with poor health or who are struggling in the current investment climate. Are annuities guaranteed, and if so, by whom? There’s no federal agency that protects your annuity’s principal value like the FDIC. So, it’s possible to lose some of your investment’s principal. In other words, you take the same risk when you invest in stocks, bonds, mutual funds, and ETFs. It is possible to obtain up to $100,000 of coverage through a guarantee association in most states, however. In the event of a default by the insurance company, this would offer a measure of protection like the Securities Investors Protection Corporation (SIPC). In contrast to SIPC, the guarantee association isn’t government-backed. It’s an industry arrangement between various insurance companies. Can an annuity be a good investment? In order to determine whether an annuity is a sound investment for you, you must first determine your financial needs and goals. You can however purchase an annuity if you want a guaranteed retirement income. If you want to boost your monthly benefit amount by delaying taking your Social Security benefits, you can get an annuity instead. In the same way, married couples want to make sure their spouses are okay if they pass away. Depending on how the annuity is structured, your spouse may still get payouts after you die. If, however, you lack cash on hand to cover the premiums or you haven’t taken full advantage of other savings options, an annuity may not make sense. You can benefit from some important tax advantages if you max out your 401(k) or IRA each year. Another option to save tax-free is to use a health savings account (HSA). Is the provider of the annuity financially sound? By purchasing an annuity, you are trusting the company backing the annuity to pay you in the future. So it’s important to make sure the company is financially sound. You should only invest in an annuity provider that is consistently rated highly by the major credit rating agencies, like AM Best, Fitch, Standard & Poor’s, and Moody’s. Article by John Rampton, Due About the Author John Rampton is an entrepreneur and connector. When he was 23 years old, while attending the University of Utah, he was hurt in a construction accident. His leg was snapped in half. He was told by 13 doctors he would never walk again. Over the next 12 months, he had several surgeries, stem cell injections and learned how to walk again. During this time, he studied and mastered how to make money work for you, not against you. He has since taught thousands through books, courses and written over 5000 articles online about finance, entrepreneurship and productivity. He has been recognized as the Top Online Influencers in the World by Entrepreneur Magazine and Finance Expert by Time. He is the Founder and CEO of Due......»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalk12 hr. 4 min. ago

Why buzzy cases like the $5 million Thinx settlement don"t often result in customers getting much money back

The $5 million Thinx deal over allegations about its menstrual underwear shows what it takes to battle a company in court and what it means to win. The Thinx settlement demonstrates how customers can seek legal recourse over a product.Thinx Thinx customers can now seek recoveries as part of a settlement by the period underwear brand. Consumer brands like P&G and Unilever have also paid out millions of dollars to settle lawsuits. Customers seeking vindication in court must deliver evidence and be strategic, lawyers said. Thinx just agreed to pay up to $5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit claiming the Instagram-famous menstrual underwear contained harmful chemicals. The news may have some customers wondering: Can I, too, recoup money spent on a product that let me down?The Thinx deal will repay customers for some purchases. But it doesn't offer payouts for health issues or medical costs potentially linked to exposure to PFAS, the class of harmful "forever chemicals" that the lawsuit alleged was found in Thinx underwear. Thinx has denied the lawsuit's claims, and said it settled the suit without admitting any fault. "We take customer health and product safety seriously. We can confirm that PFAS have never been part of our product design," Felicia Macdonald, a representative for Thinx, said in a statement. "We will continue to take measures to help ensure that PFAS are not added to our products."The Thinx case highlights a common pattern in high-profile lawsuits over beauty and consumer products: customers may cite reports of bad experiences using a product, but not necessarily make those a pillar of their case. Instead, they emphasize that the company's marketing and public statements misled them and allege that it violated state consumer protection laws. Winning cases like this don't often yield huge payouts on a per-customer basis. Instead, these cases — which can take years — may recoup only a portion of customers' spending on the products in question. But plaintiffs lawyers said these types of lawsuits can also trigger other changes."We can make big changes to products and messaging the consumers receive, which allows consumers to make better, more informed decisions," said Erin Ruben of Milberg Coleman Bryson Phillips Grossman, an attorney representing plaintiffs who sued Thinx. "That's why we do what we do."  The Thinx settlement includes a $4 million pot to pay customers and legal fees, and as much as another $1 million for any required "valid claims," according to the settlement. Customers could get reimbursed for up to three pairs of Thinx underwear, or get a discount of up to $52.50 on a new order, according to the settlement website. The brand also agreed to use quality control processes to make sure that PFAS chemicals aren't "intentionally added" to its products.In a separate case last July, Procter & Gamble Co. agreed to resolve class claims that the company's brands like Secret and Old Spice didn't warn that their spray deodorant contained the toxic chemical benzene. P&G said in 2021 that it recalled the spray products at issue, citing an "abundance of caution." It also said in its settlement notice that it "denies that any of the allegations are true and that it did anything wrong."The settlement included $8 million to eligible customers who wanted refunds, with a per-household cap of up to $10.50, according to filings in the case.  Personal injury claims can be hard to proveIn some cases, customers have won settlements covering alleged health problems, by making what are called personal injury claims. These claims can yield higher payouts, but are generally harder to prove — especially among a large class of plaintiffs. In 2021, the curly hair shampoo brand Devacurl agreed to a $5.2 million settlement that included two categories of recoveries: $20 per customer to resolve claims related to how the brand advertised the safety of its hair care products, and as much as $19,000 for individuals who could show proof supporting claims that the products hurt them. In that case, customers said Devacurl's curly hair products contained ingredients that released formaldehyde and caused skin irritation, and said the company had quietly changed ingredients and formed a committee to handle negative publicity. Devacurl has said on its settlement website that it "vigorously denies" claims of health problems like hair loss and scalp problems. The settlement site also states that the litigation never proved anything — only that "the costs and uncertainty" of a prolonged court case incentivized settling. But the case shows how suits can sometimes leverage detailed allegations about what customers claimed were the offending ingredients, the volume of complaints, and how the company allegedly responded. In 2014, Unilever agreed to provide $10.3 million to settle customers' allegations that its Suave Professionals Keratin kit product contained an ingredient that could injure the scalp. Unilever agreed to the settlement while "denying wrongdoing of any nature and without admitting liability," according to the settlement agreement. That settlement provided options including a $10 refund for eligible customers, and payments for people who alleged the product caused them injuries, according to court filings in the case. Plaintiffs lawyers may test products for harmful ingredientsIn many cases concerning consumer products, plaintiffs lawyers may enlist a third party to test the items for any proof that they contain a harmful ingredient, attorneys said. "It helps to have evidence that the chemical is in the product through independent testing, or news reporting," said R. Jason Richards, an attorney at Aylstock Witkin Kreis & Overholtz. Richards said his firm has tested products like sunscreens before bringing lawsuits over them.Beauty products generally aren't as closely regulated as items like medical drugs and devices. The Food and Drug Administration, which oversees cosmetics in addition to pharmaceuticals, requires items like makeup and shampoo to be safe, and to be labeled correctly for how they're used. But, unlike with medical drugs and devices, the agency doesn't have to pre-approve cosmetics before they're sold, and it doesn't impose the same manufacturing practice regulations — leaving those safety and quality assessments up to companies. "From a basic consumer protection standpoint, most companies will do some type of testing before releasing the product to make sure it's safe," said Allison Fulton, a partner at Sheppard Mullin who advises companies on complying with FDA rules. "It just doesn't have to submit that data to the FDA," she said.  For customers worried about whether they're experiencing health problems from a product and seeing other similar complaints percolating in message boards, calling an attorney can be a good first step, said Diandra Debrosse Zimmermann, a partner at DiCello Levitt who represents plaintiffs in a range of suits, including issues arising from products. "If you think it's a significant issue, look online: are other people complaining? Reach out to the right lawyer," she said. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider12 hr. 4 min. ago

Bitcoin is headed for its best start to the year since 2013 as risk appetite grows ahead of expected smaller Fed rate hike

All eyes are on the Fed meeting next week when the central bank is expected to announce a smaller increase in the benchmark rate. Yuichiro Chino/Getty Images Bitcoin's price has surged 40% since the beginning of the year, according to Messari. The rally comes ahead of expected smaller rate hikes from the Federal Reserve next week. Other cryptos are rebounding too as the industry regains its $1 trillion market cap. Bitcoin is on track for its best January since 2013 as the prospect of slower rate hikes from the Federal Reserves has increase the risk appetite among investors.On Friday, the token dipped 0.3% to $23,000. But it's up 40% so far this month, according to Messari, and eyeing the 51% jump seen in January of 2013. Other cryptos are continuing to rebound as the industry regains its $1 trillion market capitalization. Ethereum is up 32% in the past month."Bitcoin is up +40% year-to-date with +35% of those returns occurring during US-trading hours. That's an 85% contribution of the rally associated with U.S.-based investors," Markus Thielen, head of research and strategy at digital asset services provider Matrixport, wrote in a note to clients on Friday.The rally seems driven by the belief that the Federal Reserve will ease back further on aggressive rate hikes following signs of cooling inflation.Core PCE data, which shows a fuller picture of consumer costs and spending, indicated that prices rose at a slower pace last month, the Commerce Department reported on Friday, giving leeway for the Fed to ease up on monetary tightening.All eyes are on the Federal Open Market Committee's (FOMC) meeting next week, when the central bank is expected to announce a smaller increase in the fed funds rate. "More measured rate hikes globally tilting to stability will reduce the headwinds as BTC edges towards fresh heights. But overall investors are more — mentally and portfolio wise — prepared than ever to deal with volatility," Nathan Thompson, a lead tech writer at crypto exchange Bybit, told Insider in a statement."The broader implication is that these movements reflect BTC's increasingly significant role in economic cycles, in some cases as a hedging asset in capital markets."Crypto markets seemed to have moved past a slew of bad news for the industry, including the bankruptcies of major firms like crypto exchange FTX, lender Genesis, and hedge fund Three Arrows Capital over the past year.Matrixport's Thielen said supporting the rally is a "clear signal" that US institutions are buying up bitcoin right now."Institutions are not only buying bitcoin spot; rather, we are also seeing consistently high premiums for perpetual futures," Thielen said. "We interpret this as an indication that faster institutional traders and hedge funds are actively buying the recent dip in crypto markets."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsider12 hr. 4 min. ago