The Importance Of Dune, Part 2: The Jihad

The Importance Of Dune, Part 2: The Jihad Authored by Tom Luongo via Gold, Goats, 'n Guns blog, Read Part 1 here In 2020 I wrote a pair of editorials for the Gold Goats ‘n Guns Newsletter in sympathy to the movie’s original release for last December. This one appeared in November after the (s)election of Joe Biden as U.S. president. I’ve written a lot about the ideas contained in this essay but I felt it appropriate to revisit it now that we’re in the window of seeing our story play out on the big screen, where art still has the possibility of moving us to action. The Jihad “We Fremen have a saying: God created Arrakis to train the faithful. One cannot go against the word of God.” — FRANK HERBERT In my last editorial I talked about why Frank Herbert’s Dune was even more relevant today than when it was published in 1965.  As we approached the election, after re-reading Dune, I made it into Herbert’s sequel, Dune Messiah. And having not read it in thirty years I was amazed at how good it was.  The whole book is about a moment in time that Paul, who can see into the future, cannot see beyond.  The 2020 election felt exactly that way to me. That moment was a singularity, a point we pass through without knowing what lies on the other side.  The parallels were simply too deep for me to ignore.  The trope Herbert used in Dune Messiah has been copied a hundred times since then, but its metaphoric power remains the same. A moment like that turns everything on its head when it happens.  It shattered Paul’s life and ushered in the next period of chaos far deadlier than the last. Dune left us knowing that with the victory over the entrenched, sclerotic power structure of the great houses there would be a religious jihad by the Fremen which would sweep across the galaxy like a plague of killer locusts. That jihad occurred and Paul was powerless to stop it. And, like Paul, this is what I fear is coming. The results of the election confirm for me that what comes next will be a terrible thing.  The Davos Crowd think they have won the war, that they have been successful in defeating the insurgent Trump and his Deplorable sand rats.  They think there are only a few of us vocally leading a loose contingent of conspiracy theorists on the fringe of society who can be easily controlled and marginalized. This was the mistake the establishment made in Dune, thinking the Fremen numbered in the thousands.  In reality, they numbered in the tens of millions and were viciously angry, self-sufficient and disciplined; ready to remake the world and shut off the source of the power, the spice. When Dune was written the spice was a metaphor for oil.  Today information is the currency of the realm, and Davos thinks that by controlling all information flow they can control everything else. But they don’t control the information anymore, even if it looks that way. Because by cheating and creating false value throughout the society, by degrading the quality of the information, they have raised the value of producing real things with real labor to the point of it being existential to their power. And when you marginalize the tens of millions of people who produce the goods which sustain their false reality, when you remove their ability to speak their mind and make their voices heard, when you insult them, berate them, hector them and beat them then you will bear the consequences when the sleeper awakens, in Herbert’s words. This isn’t a threat or an open invitation to violence.  This is an observation of what always comes next.  These people know that they have been lied to, their children spiritually separated from them.  The election was a cruel joke meant to rub our noses in their complete power over us.  You can see it every day on Twitter. What comes next will be nothing short of a Fremen-esque jihad by the 70+ million people who voted for Donald Trump.  If his allies prove the systematic thievery of the election, it will fuel what is now a simmering anger to a violent boiling rage with a near-religious frenzy. They will be fully justified. I get that anger.  I feel it building in me.  Paul saw this coming in Dune and failed in his attempt to control it.  And I can see it coming today. Their Jihad will be joined by the people who didn’t want to win by cheating.  There are millions of them, too.  They voted against Trump but don’t view their neighbors as enemies. The alternative to it is worse, acquiescence and vassalage to a corrupt system.  And that’s why today it’s clear to me this only ends in violence.  The elites had a choice.  They chose poorly. They have their own religious zealots, suffused with the righteous anger at a corrupt system but blaming it on the wrong people, their neighbors.  The people have a choice, stand their ground or be ground into paste.  This is why I feel the only option for Davos when faced with the coming jihad against them will be to unleash a response to it orders of magnitude deadlier than COVID-19.  That’s a moment I, frankly, don’t want to see beyond. *  *  * I think it’s quite clear now that we’re in the middle of that next response. The ‘Jihad’ of angry Trump voters hasn’t quite materialized yet, but it has in other parts of the world. The descent into random violence with brutal Harkonnen police and embedded Sardaukar mercenaries putting down protests in Melbourne, Australia is not only deeply disturbing but, sadly, wholly predictable. The Fremen were trained by Arrakis through privation and extreme thrift imposed on them by the desert to find meaning and beauty in the simplest things. We’re not there yet. But by now brutally imposing vaccination mandates through a terror campaign people have woken up quickly. Because they already saw the problem if they didn’t want to believe it would ever come to this. The sleeper will awaken here in the U.S. The more they take away from us the more it will feed the burning inside. Davos’ Sardaukar are sustained through blood sacrifice and dehumanization, the Harkonnens through good ol’ payola. They serve this system not because they believe in it but because they are fed by it. Australians will begin imposing costs on them that outweigh their comfort and they will collapse. It’s already happening in France. It will happen in Germany this fall. And when the U.S. joins the jihad that’s when the violence gets real. Fat, roid-freaks running around beating old women and unarmed men with gang tactics will turn into massacres, but not for us, for them. They have told us they are no longer negotiating with us. Become subservient or be destroyed. Their call isn’t a bluff but it ultimately is. We have reached that moment today where the choice is clear. Get hard, get in shape, get tough-mined and become #ungovernable or be extinguished. You are not alone. Moments like this take generations to build to. Welcome to Arrakis. *  *  * Join my Patreon if you can see The Jihad forming BTC: 3GSkAe8PhENyMWQb7orjtnJK9VX8mMf7Zf BCH: qq9pvwq26d8fjfk0f6k5mmnn09vzkmeh3sffxd6ryt DCR: DsV2x4kJ4gWCPSpHmS4czbLz2fJNqms78oE LTC: MWWdCHbMmn1yuyMSZX55ENJnQo8DXCFg5k DASH: XjWQKXJuxYzaNV6WMC4zhuQ43uBw8mN4Va WAVES: 3PF58yzAghxPJad5rM44ZpH5fUZJug4kBSa ETH: 0x1dd2e6cddb02e3839700b33e9dd45859344c9edc DGB: SXygreEdaAWESbgW6mG15dgfH6qVUE5FSE Tyler Durden Sun, 09/26/2021 - 20:00.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytSep 26th, 2021

Inside the World of Black Bitcoin, Where Crypto Is About Making More Than Just Money

“We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world” At the Black Blockchain Summit, there is almost no conversation about making money that does not carry with it the possibility of liberation. This is not simply a gathering for those who would like to ride whatever bumps and shocks, gains and losses come with cryptocurrency. It is a space for discussing the relationship between money and man, the powers that be and what they have done with power. Online and in person, on the campus of Howard University in Washington, D.C., an estimated 1,500 mostly Black people have gathered to talk about crypto—decentralized digital money backed not by governments but by blockchain technology, a secure means of recording transactions—as a way to make money while disrupting centuries-long patterns of oppression. [time-brightcove not-tgx=”true”] “What we really need to be doing is to now utilize the technology behind blockchain to enhance the quality of life for our people,” says Christopher Mapondera, a Zimbabwean American and the first official speaker. As a white-haired engineer with the air of a lecturing statesman, Mapondera’s conviction feels very on-brand at a conference themed “Reparations and Revolutions.” Along with summit organizer Sinclair Skinner, Mapondera co-founded BillMari, a service that aims to make it easier to transmit cryptocurrency to wherever the sons and daughters of Africa have been scattered. So, not exactly your stereotypical “Bitcoin bro.” Contrary to the image associated with cryptocurrency since it entered mainstream awareness, almost no one at the summit is a fleece-vest-wearing finance guy or an Elon Musk type with a grudge against regulators. What they are is a cross section of the world of Black crypto traders, educators, marketers and market makers—a world that seemingly mushroomed during the pandemic, rallying around the idea that this is the boon that Black America needs. In fact, surveys indicate that people of color are investing in cryptocurrency in ways that outpace or equal other groups—something that can’t be said about most financial products. About 44% of those who own crypto are people of color, according to a June survey by the University of Chicago’s National Opinion Research Center. In April, a Harris Poll reported that while just 16% of U.S. adults overall own cryptocurrency, 18% of Black Americans have gotten in on it. (For Latino Americans, the figure is 20%.) The actor Hill Harper of The Good Doctor, a Harvard Law School friend of former President Barack Obama, is a pitchman for Black Wall Street, a digital wallet and crypto trading service developed with Najah Roberts, a Black crypto expert. And this summer, when the popular money-transfer service Cash App added the option to purchase Bitcoin, its choice to explain the move was the MC Megan Thee Stallion. “With my knowledge and your hustle, you’ll have your own empire in no time,” she says in an ad titled “Bitcoin for Hotties.” Read more: Americans Have Learned to Talk About Racial Inequality. But They’ve Done Little to Solve It But, as even Megan Thee Stallion acknowledges in that ad, pinning one’s economic hopes on crypto is inherently risky. Many economic experts have described crypto as little better than a bubble, mere fool’s gold. The rapid pace of innovation—it’s been little more than a decade since Bitcoin was created by the enigmatic, pseudonymous Satoshi Nakamoto—has left consumers with few protections. Whether the potential is worth those risks is the stuff of constant, and some would say, infernal debate. Jared Soares for TIMECleve Mesidor, who founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain What looms in the backdrop is clear. In the U.S., the median white family’s wealth—reflecting not just assets minus debt, but also the ability to weather a financial setback—sat around $188,200, per the Federal Reserve’s most recent measure in 2019. That’s about eight times the median wealth of Black families. (For Latino families, it’s five times greater; the wealth of Asian, Pacific Island and other families sits between that of white and Latino families, according to the report.) Other estimates paint an even grimmer picture. If trends continue, the median Black household will have zero wealth by 2053. The summit attendees seem certain that crypto represents keys to a car bound for somewhere better. “Our digital selves are more important in some ways than our real-world selves,” Tony Perkins, a Black MIT-trained computer scientist, says during a summit session on “Enabling Black Land and Asset Ownership Using Blockchain.” The possibilities he rattles off—including fractional ownership of space stations—will, to many, sound fantastical. To others, they sound like hope. “We can operate on an even playing field in the digital world,” he says. The next night, when in-person attendees gather at Barcode, a Black-owned downtown D.C. establishment, for drinks and conversation, there’s a small rush on black T-shirts with white lettering: SATOSHI, they proclaim, IS BLACK. That’s an intriguing idea when your ancestors’ bodies form much of the foundation of U.S. prosperity. At the nation’s beginnings, land theft from Native Americans seeded the agricultural operations where enslaved Africans would labor and die, making others rich. By 1860, the cotton-friendly ground of Mississippi was so productive that it was home to more millionaires than anywhere else in the country. Government-supported pathways to wealth, from homesteading to homeownership, have been reliably accessible to white Americans only. So Black Bitcoiners’ embrace of decentralized currencies—and a degree of doubt about government regulators, as well as those who have done well in the traditional system—makes sense. Skinner, the conference organizer, believes there’s racial subtext in the caution from the financial mainstream regarding Bitcoin—a pervasive idea that Black people just don’t understand finance. “I’m skeptical of all of those [warnings], based on the history,” Skinner, who is Black American, says. Even a drop in the value of Bitcoin this year, which later went back up, has not made him reticent. “They have petrol shortages in England right now. They’ll blame the weather or Brexit, but they’ll never have to say they’re dumb. Something don’t work in Detroit or some city with a Black mayor, we get a collective shame on us.” Read more: America’s Interstate Slave Trade Once Trafficked Nearly 30,000 People a Year—And Reshaped the Country’s Economy The first time I speak to Skinner, the summit is still two weeks away. I’d asked him to talk through some of the logistics, but our conversation ranges from what gives money value to the impact of ride-share services on cabbies refusing Black passengers. Tech often promises to solve social problems, he says. The Internet was supposed to democratize all sorts of things. In many cases, it defaulted to old patterns. (As Black crypto policy expert Cleve Mesidor put it to me, “The Internet was supposed to be decentralized, and today it’s owned by four white men.”) But with the right people involved from the start of the next wave of change—crypto—the possibilities are endless, Skinner says. Skinner, a Howard grad and engineer by training, first turned to crypto when he and Mapondera were trying to find ways to do ethanol business in Zimbabwe. Traditional international transactions were slow or came with exorbitant fees. In Africa, consumers pay some of the world’s highest remittance, cell phone and Internet data fees in the world, a damaging continuation of centuries-long wealth transfers off the continent to others, Skinner says. Hearing about cryptocurrency, he was intrigued—particularly having seen, during the recession, the same banking industry that had profited from slavery getting bailed out as hundreds of thousands of people of color lost their homes. So in 2013, he invested “probably less than $3,000,” mostly in Bitcoin. Encouraged by his friend Brian Armstrong, CEO of Coinbase, one of the largest platforms for trading crypto, he grew his stake. In 2014, when Skinner went to a crypto conference in Amsterdam, only about eight Black people were there, five of them caterers, but he felt he had come home ideologically. He saw he didn’t need a Rockefeller inheritance to change the world. “I don’t have to build a bank where they literally used my ancestors to build the capital,” says Skinner, who today runs a site called I Love Black People, which operates like a global anti-racist Yelp. “I can unseat that thing by not trying to be like them.” Eventually, he and Mapondera founded BillMari and became the first crypto company to partner with the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe to lower fees on remittances, the flow of money from immigrants overseas back home to less-developed nations—an economy valued by the World Bank and its offshoot KNOMAD at $702 billion in 2020. (Some of the duo’s business plans later evaporated, after Zimbabwe’s central bank revoked approval for some cryptocurrency activities.) Skinner’s feelings about the economic overlords make it a bit surprising that he can attract people like Charlene Fadirepo, a banker by trade and former government regulator, to speak at the summit. On the first day, she offers attendees a report on why 2021 was a “breakout year for Bitcoin,” pointing out that major banks have begun helping high-net-worth clients invest in it, and that some corporations have bought crypto with their cash on hand, holding it as an asset. Fadirepo, who worked in the Fed’s inspector general’s office monitoring Federal Reserve banks and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, is not a person who hates central banks or regulation. A Black American, she believes strongly in both, and in their importance for protecting investors and improving the economic position of Black people. Today she operates Guidefi, a financial education and advising company geared toward helping Black women connect with traditional financial advisers. It just launched, for a fee, direct education in cryptocurrency. Crypto is a relatively new part of Fadirepo’s life. She and her Nigerian-American doctor husband earn good salaries and follow all the responsible middle-class financial advice. But the pandemic showed her they still didn’t have what some of his white colleagues did: the freedom to walk away from high-risk work. As the stock market shuddered and storefronts shuttered, she decided a sea change was coming. A family member had mentioned Bitcoin at a funeral in 2017, but it sounded risky. Now, her research kept bringing her back to it. Last year, she and her husband bought $6,000 worth. No investment has ever generated the kinds of returns for them that Bitcoin has. “It has transformed people’s relationship with money,” she says. “Folks are just more intentional … and honestly feeling like they had access to a world that was previously walled off.” Read more: El Salvador Is Betting on Bitcoin to Rebrand the Country — and Strengthen the President’s Grip She knows frauds exists. In May, a federal watchdog revealed that since October 2020, nearly 7,000 people have reported losses of more than $80 million on crypto scams—12 times more scam reports than the same period the previous year. The median individual loss: $1,900. For Fadirepo, it’s worrying. That’s part of why she helps moderate recurring free learning and discussion options like the Black Bitcoin Billionaires chat room on Clubhouse, which has grown from about 2,000 to 130,000 club members this year. Jared Soares for TIMECharlene Fadirepo, a banker and former government regulator, near the National Museum of African American History and Culture There’s a reason Black investors might prefer their own spaces for that kind of education. Fadirepo says it’s not unheard-of in general crypto spaces—theoretically open to all, but not so much in practice—to hear that relying on the U.S. dollar is slavery. “To me, a descendant of enslaved people in America, that was painful,” she says. “There’s a lot of talk about sovereignty, freedom from the U.S. dollar, freedom from inflation, inflation is slavery, blah blah blah. The historical context has been sucked out of these conversations about traditional financial systems. I don’t know how I can talk about banking without also talking about history.” Back in January, I found myself in a convenience store in a low-income and predominantly Black neighborhood in Dallas, an area still living the impact of segregation decades after its official end. I was there to report on efforts to register Black residents for COVID-19 shots after an Internet-only sign-up system—and wealthier people gaming the system—created an early racial disparity in vaccinations. I stepped away to buy a bottle of water. Inside the store, a Black man wondered aloud where the lottery machine had gone. He’d come to spend his usual $2 on tickets and had found a Bitcoin machine sitting in its place. A second Black man standing nearby, surveying chip options, explained that Bitcoin was a form of money, an investment right there for the same $2. After just a few questions, the first man put his money in the machine and walked away with a receipt describing the fraction of one bitcoin he now owned. Read more: When a Texas County Tried to Ensure Racial Equity in COVID-19 Vaccinations, It Didn’t Go as Planned I was both worried and intrigued. What kind of arrangement had prompted the store’s owner to replace the lottery machine? That month, a single bitcoin reached the $40,000 mark. “That’s very revealing, if someone chooses to put a cryptocurrency machine in the same place where a lottery [machine] was,” says Jeffrey Frankel, a Harvard economist, when I tell him that story. Frankel has described cryptocurrencies as similar to gambling, more often than not attracting those who can least afford to lose, whether they are in El Salvador or Texas. Frankel ranks among the economists who have been critical of El Salvador’s decision to begin recognizing Bitcoin last month as an official currency, in part because of the reality that few in the county have access to the internet, as well as the cryptocurrency’s price instability and its lack of backing by hard assets, he says. At the same time that critics have pointed to the shambolic Bitcoin rollout in El Salvador, Bitcoin has become a major economic force in Nigeria, one of the world’s larger players in cryptocurrency trading. In fact, some have argued that it has helped people in that country weather food inflation. But, to Frankel, crypto does not contain promise for lasting economic transformation. To him, disdain for experts drives interest in cryptocurrency in much the same way it can fuel vaccine hesitancy. Frankel can see the potential to reduce remittance costs, and he does not doubt that some people have made money. Still, he’s concerned that the low cost and click-here ease of buying crypto may draw people to far riskier crypto assets, he says. Then he tells me he’d put the word assets here in a hard set of air quotes. And Frankel, who is white, is not alone. Darrick Hamilton, an economist at the New School who is Black, says Bitcoin should be seen in the same framework as other low-cost, high-risk, big-payoff options. “In the end, it’s a casino,” he says. To people with less wealth, it can feel like one of the few moneymaking methods open to them, but it’s not a source of group uplift. “Like any speculation, those that can arbitrage the market will be fine,” he says. “There’s a whole lot of people that benefited right before the Great Recession, but if they didn’t get out soon enough, they lost their shirts too.” To buyers like Jiri Sampson, a Black cryptocurrency investor who works in real estate and lives outside Washington, D.C., that perspective doesn’t register as quite right. The U.S.-born son of Guyanese immigrants wasn’t thinking about exploitation when he invested his first $20 in cryptocurrency in 2017. But the groundwork was there. Sampson homeschools his kids, due in part to his lack of faith that public schools equip Black children with the skills to determine their own fates. He is drawn to the capacity of this technology to create greater agency for Black people worldwide. The blockchain, for example, could be a way to establish ownership for people who don’t hold standard documents—an important issue in Guyana and many other parts of the world, where individuals who have lived on the land for generations are vulnerable to having their property co-opted if they lack formal deeds. Sampson even pitched a project using the blockchain and GPS technology to establish digital ownership records to the Guyanese government, which did not bite. “I don’t want to downplay the volatility of Bitcoin,” Sampson says. But that’s only a significant concern, he believes, if one intends to sell quickly. To him, Bitcoin represents a “harder” asset than the dollar, which he compares to a ship with a hole in it. Bitcoin has a limited supply, while the Fed can decide to print more dollars anytime. That, to Sampson, makes some cryptocurrencies, namely Bitcoin, good to buy and hold, to pass along wealth from one generation to another. Economists and crypto buyers aren’t the only ones paying attention. Congress, the Securities and Exchange Commission, and the Federal Reserve have indicated that they will move toward official assessments or regulation soon. At least 10 federal agencies are interested in or already regulating crypto in some way, and there’s now a Congressional Blockchain Caucus. Representatives from the Federal Reserve and the SEC declined to comment, but SEC Chairman Gary Gensler assured a Senate subcommittee in September that his agency is working to develop regulation that will apply to cryptocurrency markets and trading activity. Enter Cleve Mesidor, of the quip about the Internet being owned by four white men. When we meet during the summit, she introduces herself: “Cleve Mesidor, I’m in crypto.” She’s the first person I’ve ever heard describe herself that way, but not that long ago, “influencer” wasn’t a career either. A former Obama appointee who worked inside the Commerce Department on issues related to entrepreneurship and economic development, Mesidor learned about cryptocurrency during that time. But she didn’t get involved in it personally until 2013, when she purchased $200 in Bitcoin. After leaving government, she founded the National Policy Network of Women of Color in Blockchain, and is now the public policy adviser for the industry group the Blockchain Association. There are more men than women in Black crypto spaces, she tells me, but the gender imbalance tends to be less pronounced than in white-dominated crypto communities. Mesidor, who immigrated to the U.S. from Haiti and uses her crypto investments to fund her professional “wanderlust,” has also lived crypto’s downsides. She’s been hacked and the victim of an attempted ransomware attack. But she still believes cryptocurrency and related technology can solve real-world problems, and she’s trying, she says, to make sure that necessary consumer protections are not structured in a way that chokes the life out of small businesses or investors. “D.C. is like Vegas; the house always wins,” says Mesidor, whose independently published book is called The Clevolution: My Quest for Justice in Politics & Crypto. “The crypto community doesn’t get that.” Passion, she says, is not enough. The community needs to be involved in the regulatory discussions that first intensified after the price of a bitcoin went to $20,000 in 2017. A few days after the summit, when Mesidor and I spoke by phone, Bitcoin had climbed to nearly $60,000. At Barcode, the Washington lounge, Isaiah Jackson is holding court. A man with a toothpaste-commercial smile, he’s the author of the independently published Bitcoin & Black America, has appeared on CNBC and is half of the streaming show The Gentleman of Crypto, which bills itself as the one of the longest-running cryptocurrency shows on the Internet. When he was building websites as a sideline, he convinced a large black church in Charlotte, N.C., to, for a time, accept Bitcoin donations. He helped establish Black Bitcoin Billionaires on Clubhouse and, like Fadirepo, helps moderate some of its rooms and events. He’s also a former teacher, descended from a line of teachers, and is using those skills to develop (for a fee) online education for those who want to become crypto investors. Now, there’s a small group standing near him, talking, but mostly listening. Jackson was living in North Carolina when one of his roommates, a white man who worked for a money-management firm, told him he had just heard a presentation about crypto and thought he might want to suggest it to his wealthy parents. The concept blew Jackson’s mind. He soon started his own research. “Being in the Black community and seeing the actions of banks, with redlining and other things, it just appealed to me,” Jackson tells me. “You free the money, you free everything else.” Read more: Beyond Tulsa: The Historic Legacies and Overlooked Stories of America’s ‘Black Wall Streets’ He took his $400 savings and bought two bitcoins in October 2013. That December, the price of a single bitcoin topped $1,100. He started thinking about what kind of new car he’d buy. And he stuck with it, even seeing prices fluctuate and scams proliferate. When the Gentlemen of Bitcoin started putting together seminars, one of the early venues was at a college fair connected to an annual HBCU basketball tournament attended by thousands of mostly Black people. Bitcoin eventually became more than an investment. He believed there was great value in spreading the word. But that was then. “I’m done convincing people. There’s no point battling going back and forth,” he says. “Even if they don’t realize it, what [investors] are doing if they are keeping their bitcoin long term, they are moving money out of the current system into another one. And that is basically the best form of peaceful protest.”   —With reporting by Leslie Dickstein and Simmone Shah.....»»

Category: topSource: time10 hr. 31 min. ago

ADTRAN (ADTN) Gains on Strong Collaborations, Tech Innovation

ADTRAN (ADTN) is likely to be a promising investment option on the back of its growing partnerships with several telcos supported by an array of innovative solutions. At a time when telcos are inundated with requests to provide crucial connectivity services to support businesses amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the need for an efficient network services provider holds utmost importance. One such company is ADTRAN, Inc. ADTN, which is gaining significant momentum in the global market, thanks to its diverse portfolio of innovative networking solutions, accretive collaborations and back-to-back network deployments.The Huntsville, AL-based network service provider’s end-to-end solutions simplify the deployment of fiber-based broadband services and provide a better customer experience with differentiated product offerings. ADTRAN operates in two business segments — Network Solutions, and Services and Support. Network Solutions includes hardware and software products. The Services and Support unit include consulting and network implementation, among other services.Growing Partner Ecosystem Bodes WellIncreasing network deployments are the reason behind ADTRAN’s thriving community of partners. Few days back, it had partnered with Sonic, an Internet Service Provider (ISP), to enhance the latter’s network infrastructure with the deployment of Total Access 5000 10G fiber access platform and Combo PON technology. The deployment has helped the ISP to augment its fiber network in the highly-competitive region of Oakland, CA and expand its market share, while supporting the latest broadband technologies.ADTRAN also secured multiple partnerships with service providers to deploy its highly-scalable fiber access network in the rural regions of the U.K. It has collaborated with Alncom, Wildanet, and Netomnia. The alliances helped in bridging the digital divide on the back of a cost-effective fiber-to-the-home network, thereby delivering exceptional broadband experiences to customers based in the underserved areas of the European country.In a landmark move, ADTRAN had inked a definitive agreement to acquire ADVA Optical Networking SE in an all-stock deal. The transaction aims to leverage ADTRAN’s expertise in fiber access, fiber extension and subscriber connectivity solutions with ADVA’s global leadership in metro wavelength division multiplexing, data center interconnect, business ethernet and network synchronization solutions to create a comprehensive portfolio of fiber networking products.The transaction is expected to be completed in mid-2022, subject to the fulfillment of mandatory closing conditions and other regulatory approvals. The combined company is likely to be renamed ADTRAN Holdings Inc. with its global headquarters in Huntsville, AL, and European headquarters in Munich, Germany. The development is pursuant to an exchange offer of all the outstanding shares of ADVA. Post the completion of the deal, ADTRAN shareholders will own approximately 54% of the combined company with the remainder being owned by ADVA shareholders. The combined entity is expected to generate $52 million in pre-tax annual cost synergies within the first two years of operation, driven by supply chain efficiencies and optimization of resources.ADTRAN had announced its membership in a Germany-based fiber optic consortium — BUGLAS. The company has been a prominent broadband equipment developer in Germany for a long time. As part of the collaboration, ADTRAN is primarily focused on establishing a streamlined connectivity infrastructure with a superior fiber broadband delivery. It is also supporting alternative networks in the European country to address the accretive demands of high-speed bandwidth driven by sustainable broadband access technology.Innovation is the KeyADTRAN’s products and services provide solutions that support fiber- and copper-based infrastructures as well as a growing number of wireless and coax-based solutions. The company’s solutions lower the overall cost to deploy advanced services across a wide range of applications. It has a major role to play when it comes to eliminating digital disparity by deploying high-speed connectivity in rural areas.A few months back, it had unveiled Total Access 5004 Micro-Cabinet. The avant-garde fiber access platform enables rural, last-mile subscriber reach deployments and drives time-to-market for broadband services delivery. To enhance end-to-end broadband access solutions with advanced software capabilities, ADTRAN extended its avant-garde Mosaic One platform by launching three intelligent applications.Dubbed Mosaic One Promote, Mosaic One Care and Mosaic One Operate, these offerings are best known for service optimization with the widest gigabit broadband coverage. It monetizes networks by facilitating service providers to unlock new revenue streams and enhance competitiveness to deliver an improved broadband experience.The company is focused on being a top global supplier of access infrastructure and related value-added solutions from the Cloud Edge to the Subscriber Edge through a broad portfolio of flexible hardware and software network solutions. These products enable customers to transition to the fully converged, scalable, highly automated, cloud-controlled voice, data, Internet and video network of the future. Moreover, ADTRAN expects solid traction in its domestic markets for ultra-broadband and fiber-to-the-home solutions. The company also anticipates a pickup in capital spending in Tier-1, Tier-2 and the regional service provider market segments.Wrapping UpDriven by such focused endeavors, ADTRAN is well poised to optimize its customer, regional and product diversity momentum. The company expects to gain from high customer engagements across its portfolio of software-defined access, 10G solutions and products. Its network implementation services provide speed and scale to build fiber and fixed wireless networks. This enables service providers to reach more customers and expand their competitive edge. Also, back-to-back technological collaborations and its strategy to diversify across regions and markets are commendable.Some prominent players in the broader industry are Viasat, Inc. VSAT, Clearfield, Inc. CLFD, and Wireless Telecom Group, Inc. WTT.Viasat delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 373.3%, on average.Clearfield pulled off a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 49%, on average.Wireless Telecom delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 27.5%, on average. Infrastructure Stock Boom to Sweep America A massive push to rebuild the crumbling U.S. infrastructure will soon be underway. It’s bipartisan, urgent, and inevitable. Trillions will be spent. Fortunes will be made. The only question is “Will you get into the right stocks early when their growth potential is greatest?” Zacks has released a Special Report to help you do just that, and today it’s free. Discover 7 special companies that look to gain the most from construction and repair to roads, bridges, and buildings, plus cargo hauling and energy transformation on an almost unimaginable scale.Download FREE: How to Profit from Trillions on Spending for Infrastructure >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report ADTRAN, Inc. (ADTN): Free Stock Analysis Report Viasat Inc. (VSAT): Free Stock Analysis Report Clearfield, Inc. (CLFD): Free Stock Analysis Report Wireless Telecom Group, Inc. (WTT): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacks18 hr. 16 min. ago

NATO"s Plans To Hack Your Brain

NATO's Plans To Hack Your Brain Authored by Ben Norton via, Western governments in the NATO military alliance are developing tactics of “cognitive warfare,” using the supposed threats of China and Russia to justify waging a “battle for your brain” in the “human domain,” to “make everyone a weapon.” NATO is developing new forms of warfare to wage a “battle for the brain,” as the military alliance put it. The US-led NATO military cartel has tested novel modes of hybrid warfare against its self-declared adversaries, including economic warfare, cyber warfare, information warfare, and psychological warfare. Now, NATO is spinning out an entirely new kind of combat it has branded cognitive warfare. Described as the “weaponization of brain sciences,” the new method involves “hacking the individual” by exploiting “the vulnerabilities of the human brain” in order to implement more sophisticated “social engineering.” Until recently, NATO had divided war into five different operational domains: air, land, sea, space, and cyber. But with its development of cognitive warfare strategies, the military alliance is discussing a new, sixth level: the “human domain.” A 2020 NATO-sponsored study of this new form of warfare clearly explained, “While actions taken in the five domains are executed in order to have an effect on the human domain, cognitive warfare’s objective is to make everyone a weapon.” “The brain will be the battlefield of the 21st century,” the report stressed. “Humans are the contested domain,” and “future conflicts will likely occur amongst the people digitally first and physically thereafter in proximity to hubs of political and economic power.” The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare While the NATO-backed study insisted that much of its research on cognitive warfare is designed for defensive purposes, it also conceded that the military alliance is developing offensive tactics, stating, “The human is very often the main vulnerability and it should be acknowledged in order to protect NATO’s human capital but also to be able to benefit from our adversaries’s vulnerabilities.” In a chilling disclosure, the report said explicitly that “the objective of Cognitive Warfare is to harm societies and not only the military.” With entire civilian populations in NATO’s crosshairs, the report emphasized that Western militaries must work more closely with academia to weaponize social sciences and human sciences and help the alliance develop its cognitive warfare capacities. The study described this phenomenon as “the militarization of brain science.” But it appears clear that NATO’s development of cognitive warfare will lead to a militarization of all aspects of human society and psychology, from the most intimate of social relationships to the mind itself. Such all-encompassing militarization of society is reflected in the paranoid tone of the NATO-sponsored report, which warned of “an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” The study makes it clear that those “competitors” purportedly exploiting the consciousness of Western dissidents are China and Russia. In other words, this document shows that figures in the NATO military cartel increasingly see their own domestic population as a threat, fearing civilians to be potential Chinese or Russian sleeper cells, dastardly “fifth columns” that challenge the stability of “Western liberal democracies.” NATO’s development of novel forms of hybrid warfare come at a time when member states’ military campaigns are targeting domestic populations on an unprecedented level. The Ottawa Citizen reported this September that the Canadian military’s Joint Operations Command took advantage of the Covid-19 pandemic to wage an information war against its own domestic population, testing out propaganda tactics on Canadian civilians. Internal NATO-sponsored reports suggest that this disclosure is just scratching the surface of a wave of new unconventional warfare techniques that Western militaries are employing around the world. Canada hosts ‘NATO Innovation Challenge’ on cognitive warfare Twice each year, NATO holds a “pitch-style event” that it brand as an “Innovation Challenge.” These campaigns – one hosted in the Spring and the other in the Fall, by alternating member states – call on private companies, organizations, and researchers to help develop new tactics and technologies for the military alliance. The shark tank-like challenges reflect the predominant influence of neoliberal ideology within NATO, as participants mobilize the free market, public-private partnerships, and the promise of cash prizes to advance the agenda of the military-industrial complex. NATO’s Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge is hosted by Canada, and is titled “The invisible threat: Tools for countering cognitive warfare.” “Cognitive warfare seeks to change not only what people think, but also how they act,” the Canadian government wrote in its official statement on the challenge. “Attacks against the cognitive domain involve the integration of cyber, disinformation/misinformation, psychological, and social-engineering capabilities.” Ottawa’s press release continued: “Cognitive warfare positions the mind as a battle space and contested domain. Its objective is to sow dissonance, instigate conflicting narratives, polarize opinion, and radicalize groups. Cognitive warfare can motivate people to act in ways that can disrupt or fragment an otherwise cohesive society.” NATO-backed Canadian military officials discuss cognitive warfare in panel event An advocacy group called the NATO Association of Canada has mobilized to support this Innovation Challenge, working closely with military contractors to attract the private sector to invest in further research on behalf of NATO – and its own bottom line. While the NATO Association of Canada (NAOC) is technically an independent NGO, its mission is to promote NATO, and the organization boasts on its website, “The NAOC has strong ties with the Government of Canada including Global Affairs Canada and the Department of National Defence.” As part of its efforts to promote Canada’s NATO Innovation Challenge, the NAOC held a panel discussion on cognitive warfare on October 5. The researcher who wrote the definitive 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare, François du Cluzel, participated in the event, alongside NATO-backed Canadian military officers. The October 5 panel on cognitive warfare, hosted by the NATO Association of Canada The panel was overseen by Robert Baines, president of the NATO Association of Canada. It was moderated by Garrick Ngai, a marketing executive in the weapons industry who serves as an adviser to the Canadian Department of National Defense and vice president and director of the NAOC. Baines opened the event noting that participants would discuss “cognitive warfare and new domain of competition, where state and non-state actors aim to influence what people think and how they act.” The NAOC president also happily noted the lucrative “opportunities for Canadian companies” that this NATO Innovation Challenge promised. NATO researcher describes cognitive warfare as ‘ways of harming the brain’ The October 5 panel kicked off with François du Cluzel, a former French military officer who in 2013 helped to create the NATO Innovation Hub (iHub), which he has since then managed from its base in Norfolk, Virginia. Although the iHub insists on its website, for legal reasons, that the “opinions expressed on this platform don’t constitute NATO or any other organization points of view,” the organization is sponsored by the Allied Command Transformation (ACT), described as “one of two Strategic Commands at the head of NATO’s military command structure.” The Innovation Hub, therefore, acts as a kind of in-house NATO research center or think tank. Its research is not necessarily official NATO policy, but it is directly supported and overseen by NATO. In 2020, NATO’s Supreme Allied Commander Transformation (SACT) tasked du Cluzel, as manager of the iHub, to conduct a six-month study on cognitive warfare. Du Cluzel summarized his research in the panel this October. He initiated his remarks noting that cognitive warfare “right now is one of the hottest topics for NATO,” and “has become a recurring term in military terminology in recent years.” Although French, Du Cluzel emphasized that cognitive warfare strategy “is being currently developed by my command here in Norfolk, USA.” The NATO Innovation Hub manager spoke with a PowerPoint presentation, and opened with a provocative slide that described cognitive warfare as “A Battle for the Brain.” “Cognitive warfare is a new concept that starts in the information sphere, that is a kind of hybrid warfare,” du Cluzel said. “It starts with hyper-connectivity. Everyone has a cell phone,” he continued. “It starts with information because information is, if I may say, the fuel of cognitive warfare. But it goes way beyond solely information, which is a standalone operation – information warfare is a standalone operation.” Cognitive warfare overlaps with Big Tech corporations and mass surveillance, because “it’s all about leveraging the big data,” du Cluzel explained. “We produce data everywhere we go. Every minute, every second we go, we go online. And this is extremely easy to leverage those data in order to better know you and use that knowledge to change the way you think.” Naturally, the NATO researcher claimed foreign “adversaries” are the supposed aggressors employing cognitive warfare. But at the same time, he made it clear that the Western military alliance is developing its own tactics. Du Cluzel defined cognitive warfare as the “art of using technologies to alter the cognition of human targets.” Those technologies, he noted, incorporate the fields of NBIC – nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science. All together, “it makes a kind of very dangerous cocktail that can further manipulate the brain,” he said. Du Cluzel went on to explain that the exotic new method of attack “goes well beyond” information warfare or psychological operations (psyops). “Cognitive warfare is not only a fight against what we think, but it’s rather a fight against the way we think, if we can change the way people think,” he said. “It’s much more powerful and it goes way beyond the information [warfare] and psyops.” De Cluzel continued: “It’s crucial to understand that it’s a game on our cognition, on the way our brain processes information and turns it into knowledge, rather than solely a game on information or on psychological aspects of our brains. It’s not only an action against what we think, but also an action against the way we think, the way we process information and turn it into knowledge.” “In other words, cognitive warfare is not just another word, another name for information warfare. It is a war on our individual processor, our brain.” The NATO researcher stressed that “this is extremely important for us in the military,” because “it has the potential, by developing new weapons and ways of harming the brain, it has the potential to engage neuroscience and technology in many, many different approaches to influence human ecology… because you all know that it’s very easy to turn a civilian technology into a military one.” As for who the targets of cognitive warfare could be, du Cluzel revealed that anyone and everyone is on the table. “Cognitive warfare has universal reach, from starting with the individual to states and multinational organizations,” he said. “Its field of action is global and aim to seize control of the human being, civilian as well as military.” And the private sector has a financial interest in advancing cognitive warfare research, he noted: “The massive worldwide investments made in neurosciences suggests that the cognitive domain will probably one of the battlefields of the future.” The development of cognitive warfare totally transforms military conflict as we know it, du Cluzel said, adding “a third major combat dimension to the modern battlefield: to the physical and informational dimension is now added a cognitive dimension.” This “creates a new space of competition beyond what is called the five domains of operations – or land, sea, air, cyber, and space domains. Warfare in the cognitive arena mobilizes a wider range of battle spaces than solely the physical and information dimensions can do.” In short, humans themselves are the new contested domain in this novel mode of hybrid warfare, alongside land, sea, air, cyber, and outer space. NATO’s cognitive warfare study warns of “embedded fifth column” The study that NATO Innovation Hub manager François du Cluzel conducted, from June to November 2020, was sponsored by the military cartel’s Allied Command Transformation, and published as a 45-page report in January 2021 (PDF). The chilling document shows how contemporary warfare has reached a kind of dystopian stage, once imaginable only in science fiction. “The nature of warfare has changed,” the report emphasized. “The majority of current conflicts remain below the threshold of the traditionally accepted definition of warfare, but new forms of warfare have emerged such as Cognitive Warfare (CW), while the human mind is now being considered as a new domain of war.” For NATO, research on cognitive warfare is not just defensive; it is very much offensive as well. “Developing capabilities to harm the cognitive abilities of opponents will be a necessity,” du Cluzel’s report stated clearly. “In other words, NATO will need to get the ability to safeguard her decision making process and disrupt the adversary’s one.” And anyone could be a target of these cognitive warfare operations: “Any user of modern information technologies is a potential target. It targets the whole of a nation’s human capital,” the report ominously added. “As well as the potential execution of a cognitive war to complement to a military conflict, it can also be conducted alone, without any link to an engagement of the armed forces,” the study went on. “Moreover, cognitive warfare is potentially endless since there can be no peace treaty or surrender for this type of conflict.” Just as this new mode of battle has no geographic borders, it also has no time limit: “This battlefield is global via the internet. With no beginning and no end, this conquest knows no respite, punctuated by notifications from our smartphones, anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.” The NATO-sponsored study noted that “some NATO Nations have already acknowledged that neuroscientific techniques and technologies have high potential for operational use in a variety of security, defense and intelligence enterprises.” It spoke of breakthroughs in “neuroscientific methods and technologies” (neuroS/T), and said “uses of research findings and products to directly facilitate the performance of combatants, the integration of human machine interfaces to optimise combat capabilities of semi autonomous vehicles (e.g., drones), and development of biological and chemical weapons (i.e., neuroweapons).” The Pentagon is among the primary institutions advancing this novel research, as the report highlighted: “Although a number of nations have pursued, and are currently pursuing neuroscientific research and development for military purposes, perhaps the most proactive efforts in this regard have been conducted by the United States Department of Defense; with most notable and rapidly maturing research and development conducted by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and Intelligence Advanced Research Projects Activity (IARPA).” Military uses of neuroS/T research, the study indicated, include intelligence gathering, training, “optimising performance and resilience in combat and military support personnel,” and of course “direct weaponisation of neuroscience and neurotechnology.” This weaponization of neuroS/T can and will be fatal, the NATO-sponsored study was clear to point out. The research can “be utilised to mitigate aggression and foster cognitions and emotions of affiliation or passivity; induce morbidity, disability or suffering; and ‘neutralise’ potential opponents or incur mortality” – in other words, to maim and kill people. The 2020 NATO-sponsored study on cognitive warfare The report quoted US Major General Robert H. Scales, who summarized NATO’s new combat philosophy: “Victory will be defined more in terms of capturing the psycho-cultural rather than the geographical high ground.” And as NATO develops tactics of cognitive warfare to “capture the psycho-cultural,” it is also increasingly weaponizing various scientific fields. The study spoke of “the crucible of data sciences and human sciences,” and stressed that “the combination of Social Sciences and System Engineering will be key in helping military analysts to improve the production of intelligence.” “If kinetic power cannot defeat the enemy,” it said, “psychology and related behavioural and social sciences stand to fill the void.” “Leveraging social sciences will be central to the development of the Human Domain Plan of Operations,” the report went on. “It will support the combat operations by providing potential courses of action for the whole surrounding Human Environment including enemy forces, but also determining key human elements such as the Cognitive center of gravity, the desired behaviour as the end state.” All academic disciplines will be implicated in cognitive warfare, not just the hard sciences. “Within the military, expertise on anthropology, ethnography, history, psychology among other areas will be more than ever required to cooperate with the military,” the NATO-sponsored study stated. The report nears its conclusion with an eerie quote: “Today’s progresses in nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology and cognitive science (NBIC), boosted by the seemingly unstoppable march of a triumphant troika made of Artificial Intelligence, Big Data and civilisational ‘digital addiction’ have created a much more ominous prospect: an embedded fifth column, where everyone, unbeknownst to him or her, is behaving according to the plans of one of our competitors.” “The modern concept of war is not about weapons but about influence,” it posited. “Victory in the long run will remain solely dependent on the ability to influence, affect, change or impact the cognitive domain.” The NATO-sponsored study then closed with a final paragraph that makes it clear beyond doubt that the Western military alliance’s ultimate goal is not only physical control of the planet, but also control over people’s minds: “Cognitive warfare may well be the missing element that allows the transition from military victory on the battlefield to lasting political success. The human domain might well be the decisive domain, wherein multi-domain operations achieve the commander’s effect. The five first domains can give tactical and operational victories; only the human domain can achieve the final and full victory.” Canadian Special Operations officer emphasizes importance of cognitive warfare When François du Cluzel, the NATO researcher who conducted the study on cognitive warfare, concluded his remarks in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada panel, he was followed by Andy Bonvie, a commanding officer at the Canadian Special Operations Training Centre. With more than 30 years of experience with the Canadian Armed Forces, Bonvie spoke of how Western militaries are making use of research by du Cluzel and others, and incorporating novel cognitive warfare techniques into their combat activities. “Cognitive warfare is a new type of hybrid warfare for us,” Bonvie said. “And it means that we need to look at the traditional thresholds of conflict and how the things that are being done are really below those thresholds of conflict, cognitive attacks, and non-kinetic forms and non-combative threats to us. We need to understand these attacks better and adjust their actions and our training accordingly to be able to operate in these different environments.” Although he portrayed NATO’s actions as “defensive,” claiming “adversaries” were using cognitive warfare against them, Bonvie was unambiguous about the fact that Western militaries are developing these tecniques themselves, to maintain a “tactical advantage.” “We cannot lose the tactical advantage for our troops that we’re placing forward as it spans not only tactically, but strategically,” he said. “Some of those different capabilities that we have that we enjoy all of a sudden could be pivoted to be used against us. So we have to better understand how quickly our adversaries adapt to things, and then be able to predict where they’re going in the future, to help us be and maintain the tactical advantage for our troops moving forward.” ‘Cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date’ Marie-Pierre Raymond, a retired Canadian lieutenant colonel who currently serves as a “defence scientist and innovation portfolio manager” for the Canadian Armed Forces’ Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security Program, also joined the October 5 panel. “Long gone are the days when war was fought to acquire more land,” Raymond said. “Now the new objective is to change the adversaries’ ideologies, which makes the brain the center of gravity of the human. And it makes the human the contested domain, and the mind becomes the battlefield.” “When we speak about hybrid threats, cognitive warfare is the most advanced form of manipulation seen to date,” she added, noting that it aims to influence individuals’ decision-making and “to influence a group of a group of individuals on their behavior, with the aim of gaining a tactical or strategic advantage.” Raymond noted that cognitive warfare also heavily overlaps with artificial intelligence, big data, and social media, and reflects “the rapid evolution of neurosciences as a tool of war.” Raymond is helping to oversee the NATO Fall 2021 Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defence, which delegated management responsibilities to the military’s Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) Program, where she works. In highly technical jargon, Raymond indicated that the cognitive warfare program is not solely defensive, but also offensive: “This challenge is calling for a solution that will support NATO’s nascent human domain and jump-start the development of a cognition ecosystem within the alliance, and that will support the development of new applications, new systems, new tools and concepts leading to concrete action in the cognitive domain.” She emphasized that this “will require sustained cooperation between allies, innovators, and researchers to enable our troops to fight and win in the cognitive domain. This is what we are hoping to emerge from this call to innovators and researchers.” To inspire corporate interest in the NATO Innovation Challenge, Raymond enticed, “Applicants will receive national and international exposure and cash prizes for the best solution.” She then added tantalizingly, “This could also benefit the applicants by potentially providing them access to a market of 30 nations.” Canadian military officer calls on corporations to invest in NATO’s cognitive warfare research The other institution that is managing the Fall 2021 NATO Innovation Challenge on behalf of Canada’s Department of National Defense is the Special Operations Forces Command (CANSOFCOM). A Canadian military officer who works with CANSOFCOM, Shekhar Gothi, was the final panelist in the October 5 NATO Association of Canada event. Gothi serves as CANSOFCOM’s “innovation officer” for Southern Ontario. He concluded the event appealing for corporate investment in NATO’s cognitive warfare research. The bi-annual Innovation Challenge is “part of the NATO battle rhythm,” Gothi declared enthusiastically. He noted that, in the spring of 2021, Portugal held a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on warfare in outer space. In spring 2020, the Netherlands hosted a NATO Innovation Challenge focused on Covid-19. Gothi reassured corporate investors that NATO will bend over backward to defend their bottom lines: “I can assure everyone that the NATO innovation challenge indicates that all innovators will maintain complete control of their intellectual property. So NATO won’t take control of that. Neither will Canada. Innovators will maintain their control over their IP.” The comment was a fitting conclusion to the panel, affirming that NATO and its allies in the military-industrial complex not only seek to dominate the world and the humans that inhabit it with unsettling cognitive warfare techniques, but to also ensure that corporations and their shareholders continue to profit from these imperial endeavors. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 03:30.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

Taliban Is In Turkey For Talks After Warning US & EU That Sanctions Will Cause New Refugee Wave To Hit West

Taliban Is In Turkey For Talks After Warning US & EU That Sanctions Will Cause New Refugee Wave To Hit West The Taliban has warned US and European envoys during ongoing talks in Doha that continued sanctions and US-led political pressure could unleash new refugee waves on Europe.  "Afghanistan's new Taliban government has warned US and European envoys that continued attempts to pressure them through sanctions will undermine security and could trigger a wave of economic refugees," the AFP wrote of the statement. Later in the week, the Taliban carried the same message to Turkey, which would find itself on the front lines of any migrant surge out of central Asia. A Taliban delegation is in Ankara for talks on Thursday, via TRT World Taliban official and acting foreign minister Amir Khan Muttaqi told his Western counterparts that "weakening the Afghan government is not in the interest of anyone because its negative effects will directly affect the world in (the) security sector and economic migration from the country." Perhaps both a warning and a threat, and reminiscent of the 2015 migrant crisis driven in large part by the destabilizing war in Syria, Muttaqi added the following demand: "We urge world countries to end existing sanctions and let banks operate normally so that charity groups, organizations and the government can pay salaries to their staff with their own reserves and international financial assistance." As for any recent "concessions" by Washington, the Biden administration days ago announced the US would resume humanitarian aid "to the Afghan people" - but on the condition of Taliban cooperation, including allowing foreign nationals free movement to exit the country. The US has still resisted any level of formal political recognition of Taliban rule over the country, however. Aid, investment, and security were top of the list of concerns as the Taliban met with top Turkish officials in Ankara Thursday. Given Turkey has long been the number one regional "bridge" between Asia and Europe for migrant and refugee traffic, the question of Afghan refugees is of prime importance for Turkey's government.  Taliban delegation meets in Ankara with Turkish Foreign Minister Cavusoglu. — Ali Özkök (@Ozkok_A) October 14, 2021 Turkey is expected to feel the shock first of any coming refugee wave out of Afghanistan, given it's already long been for years a "jumping-off point" for Afghans making the arduous trip to Europe. The past decade alone has seen some 600,000 Afghans settle in Turkey - all the while a mass wave of Syrian refugees exited there as well, many which are still along Turkey's southern border (over 3 million). Turkey is reportedly now constructing a nearly 300km wall along the Iranian border to physically block the exodus coming from central Asia, according to prior reporting in the AFP. During a press conference after the Turkish FM-Taliban meeting, Foreign Minister Cavusoglu said that while the Turkish side reiterated a desire for Taliban reforms in human rights and areas like girls' education and women's employment, Turkey's foremost concern remains stability. We do not put forward preconditions like many European countries do, we always say everything should be inclusive, every relevant party from [Afghanistan] should be included to ensure peace and stability is established – Turkey’s FM Cavusoglu — TRT World Now (@TRTWorldNow) October 14, 2021 The question of security, which Turkey has offered assistance on when it comes to protecting Kabul's international airport, is no doubt directly linked to Turkey as well as European fears of a new migrant crisis at their gates. In statements to the press, Cavusoglu appeared to take an indirect swipe at US policy toward the Taliban, saying it won't press for "preconditions" of "inclusivity" like the US and UE, but desires a secure Afghan environment above all. Tyler Durden Fri, 10/15/2021 - 02:45.....»»

Category: smallbizSource: nytOct 15th, 2021

AIMA And ITN – Holding Strong: Alternative Investments In A Volatile Market

The Alternative Investment Management Association premieres a new programme in partnership with ITN Productions – Holding Strong: Alternative Investments in a Volatile Market Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Holding Strong: Raising Awareness Of Alternative Investments The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) and ITN Productions are collaborating to raise awareness of alternative investments […] The Alternative Investment Management Association premieres a new programme in partnership with ITN Productions – Holding Strong: Alternative Investments in a Volatile Market if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Holding Strong: Raising Awareness Of Alternative Investments The Alternative Investment Management Association (AIMA) and ITN Productions are collaborating to raise awareness of alternative investments and the latest sector innovations that are benefitting investors, markets and supporting the global economic recovery. In the face of unprecedented global disruption arising from the Coronavirus pandemic, assets under management for the alternative investment industry continues to break new records with funds under management standing at US$15 trillion globally; approximately 15% of the world’s asset management industry. Hedge funds are the face of alternative investments in public markets. The 12 months after the initial period of COVID-fuelled market disruption saw the industry report solid returns with leading hedge fund indices up over 32%[1]. Strong performance has continued into this year with the industry up 13% as of the end of August [2]. This performance has not gone unnoticed by investors who are reinforcing their interest in alternative investments, investing in both public and private markets as they seek diversification away from low-interest rate bonds and high-value equities. Anchored by ITN productions, ‘Holding Strong – Alternative Investments in a Volatile Market’ shows how the alternatives investment industry is growing in influence, highlighting its increasing value to investors, markets and the global economy. ITN presenter Belle Donati is joined by Jack Inglis CEO of AIMA, the global representative for the alternative investment industry, to discuss how the alternative investment industry benefits investors and supports the global economy, where he sees the industry heading as well as AIMA’s quest to educate the broader industry on the importance of alternative investments. Produced in a news-style format featuring interviews with industry leaders, the programme features a series of sponsored editorial profiles filmed on location with AIMA’s global members and partners, including some of the most prominent names across the alternatives investment sector. [The full, hour-long programme was premiered as part of the AIMA Global Investor Forum on 13 October 2021. The interview with AIMA’s CEO, an educational animation, and the editorial profiles can all be viewed separately and on-demand at] The Programme's Themes Among the many themes this programme explores includes the rise of responsible investing, which is examined from several angles. Apex Group quantifies how the ESG market continues to mature and become more defined, while abrdn explains how it’s investing responsibly in real assets to deliver positive outcomes that benefit its clients, society and the wider world. Taking a global viewpoint, Reed Smith examines how the pandemic has accelerated the global focus on sustainability, and Esmo Asset Management highlights the complexities of apply ESG in emerging markets where each country and region is uniquely vulnerable to E, S and G factors. Complementing these discussions, haysmacintye addresses how the industry is fostering diversity and inclusion to attract the next generation of talent. Elsewhere, Man Group CEO Luke Ellis talks about the group’s growth and resilience during what he described as a “challenging environment” in 2020. We find out where this resilience comes from and how it is manifesting across the industry. In a similar vein, Citco offers an insight into the technologies that are driving the alternative investment industry forward, making it more transparent and accessible, while Securis Investment Partners details the latest innovations in the insurance-linked securities market in recent years. Jack Inglis, CEO of AIMA, said: “The alternative investment industry has doubled in size over the past 10 years with most projections stating it will grow further in size and influence. The benefits of investing in alternatives are increasingly clear across the world, providing investors with much-needed diversity in their investment options, benefitting them and the global economy. We’re delighted to be able to work with ITN productions to highlight the benefits of the alternative investment industry and showcase its crucial role in protecting savers and financing the economy Tom Kehoe, global head of research and communications at AIMA, added: “It has been a real pleasure to work with ITN productions on this programme. AIMA is the global representative of the alternatives investment industry, and I am very pleased that we are been a part of this coproduction to share real-life examples as to how the industry continues to grow in influence making a positive impact at a local and global level. Many thanks to all the programme’s participants who shared their stories with us.” Nina Harrison-Bell, head of ITN Productions Industry News, said: “We’re delighted to be producing a programme that raises awareness of alternative investments, de-mystifies the myth that alternative investments are exclusive to the mega-rich and recognises the sector’s role in aiding economic recovery.” To view the full programme click here. Updated on Oct 14, 2021, 1:34 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 14th, 2021

Report paints bright picture for construction spending, even better if Biden infrastructure bill passes

Following the steep drops in building activity across New York City in 2020, the next three years are expected to see a resurgence in spending and job creation as the industry continues to advocate for increased public investment. The New York Building Congress’ New York City Construction Outlook 2021-2023 released today forecasts spending... The post Report paints bright picture for construction spending, even better if Biden infrastructure bill passes appeared first on Real Estate Weekly. Following the steep drops in building activity across New York City in 2020, the next three years are expected to see a resurgence in spending and job creation as the industry continues to advocate for increased public investment. The New York Building Congress’ New York City Construction Outlook 2021-2023 released today forecasts spending to increase to $60.6 billion in 2021, up 26 percent from 2020, when non-essential construction was shut down for 11 weeks. The report was released today at the annual Building Congress Construction Industry Breakfast, at which Governor Hochul delivered the keynote address. GOV. CATHY HOCHUL “Each year I travel to every county in New York State, and I see how infrastructure is not just an abstract concept but an integral part of every New Yorker’s life,” said Governor Hochul. “As Governor, I will pursue an ambitious agenda that brings our infrastructure into the 21st century – because it’s in our DNA as New Yorkers to dream big and tackle the impossible. We can’t get that done without strong public-private sector partnerships like with the New York Building Congress, and I look forward to continue working together to build New York’s future.” “Despite the economic impact that COVID-19 has had on New York City since the start of the pandemic, the building industry proves its strength time and time again, as spending and job creation continue on an upward trend from 2020,” said Carlo A. Scissura, President & CEO of the New York Building Congress. “With a long road to economic recovery ahead, the ever-present threats of climate change and infrastructure that’s crumbling, we need meaningful, immediate support from Washington. Investments in the infrastructure are investments in a stable and vibrant city, state and nation.” “Over the last year and a half, the building industry once again demonstrated its dedication to New York City and the amazing people who live here,” said Elizabeth Velez, Chair of the New York Building Congress and President of Velez Organization. “The Construction Outlook report released by the New York Building Congress today shows our industry is ready to lead the way out of the economic crisis brought about by this awful pandemic. In the process, I know we will continue to diversify our own ranks, innovate to meet 21st-Century demands and realities and build a fairer city that works for everyone.” CHERYL McKISSACK DANIEL “No matter what you throw at New York City, we are able to withstand it and come back stronger,” said Cheryl McKissack Daniel, Chair of the New York Building Foundation and President & CEO of McKissack & McKissack. “The New York City Construction Outlook 2021-2023 report is further proof of the building industry’s strength in times of crisis. This should underscore why we need more investment in our infrastructure, as it is one of the best ways to improve our society.” “The essential role of the construction industry to the health and vitality of our communities could not be more clear than in this Construction Outlook report,” said the City of New York’s Senior Advisor for Recovery Lorraine Grillo. “The anticipated robust growth and trajectory for investments in construction jobs, new construction, and our public infrastructure reaffirm the importance of the work by resilient New Yorkers represented by the New York Building Congress in realizing a recovery for all of us.” “It’s clear that confidence in New York City’s construction and real estate industries remains high, and for good reason,” said Gary LaBarbera, President of the Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York. “Time and again, it’s been major infrastructure and public works projects that have stimulated economic activity that leads to recovery, and as always, our members are ready to get to work to build back New York stronger and more resilient than ever. It’s critical that we sustain this upward trend in construction activity with the successful passage of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Framework, which will invest in New York’s future and create tens of thousands of middle-class careers with benefits in the process.” “Real estate and construction represent 10 percent of the city’s GDP and is the fastest way of creating the jobs to rebuild the city’s economy,” said Louis J. Coletti, President and CEO of the Building Trades Employers Association. “As New York builds and rebuilds over the coming years, AIA New York will work with its partners in the building industry to advocate for higher standards of design excellence for public and private projects,” said Benjamin Prosky, Executive Director American Institute of Architects New York (AIANY) Center For Architecture. ”From ambitious designs that enhance public infrastructure to increasing quality affordable housing, modernizing schools, and fostering advancements in energy efficient technology, architects recognize that this is a pivotal  moment for the design, construction, and development community to shape an NYC that is beautiful, efficient and equitable for all.” The data and projections in this report were generated without the once-in-a-generation federal infrastructure bill that is being discussed in the House of Representatives, which would have a massive economic impact on New York City and the entire country. If the $1.2 trillion plan was to pass, it would expedite construction of the Gateway Program– a long-delayed but nationally crucial infrastructure project that could potentially generate $19 billion in economic activity. The Construction Outlook report provides a three-year analysis and forecast of construction spending and employment in New York, while also providing deeper insight into the factors that could shape the industry and the city’s economy in the coming years. The New York Building Congress for the first time also adjusted its projections for inflation, giving a fuller picture of how spending compares historically. The latest report forecasts the second-highest spending period in real dollars, and the fourth highest when adjusted for inflation. Key insights from the report include: ●      Construction Employment to Increase: The industry will likely add 135,000 new jobs to the economy in 2021, but employment will remain at the lowest point since 2014. Employment will likely continue on an upward trend in the coming years, with 140,200 jobs in 2022 and 157,100 jobs in 2023. ●      Overall Spending: Construction spending is expected to total $174.1 billion between 2021 and 2023. Compared to the pre-COVID-19 period of 2017 to 2019, when building was at a high point, spending is forecasted to decrease by just $1.5 billion. When adjusted for inflation, however, the drop is a significantly higher $38.2 billion.   ●      Government Spending: Government spending is up from 2020 – when $21.3 billion was invested by New York City, New York State and major agencies – but will decline in the forecasted period from $23.1 billion in 2021 to $22.2 billion in 2022 and then to $21.1 billion in 2023. While government spending is expected to be higher over this period when compared to 2017 to 2019, public investments is lower now than during the height of the Great Recession when adjusted for inflation. This decline is especially significant given the need for government spending to spur economic recovery. ●      Residential Construction Spending: The Building Congress forecasts $13.6 billion in residential construction spending this year, up 21 percent from 2020. Over three years, spending is expected to total $36.6 billion, which is down 33 percent from 2017 to 2019.   ●      Non-Residential Construction Spending: Non-residential construction spending, which includes office space, education, healthcare, public buildings, sports & entertainment venues and hotels, is projected to total $23.7 billion in 2021, dip to $22.2 billion in 2022 and rise to $25 billion in 2023. ●      Public Transit Spending: The MTA will spend 33 percent more on construction projects over the next three years than the pre-COVID period from 2017 to 2019. When adjusted for inflation, however, this is a more modest increase of 7 percent. The post Report paints bright picture for construction spending, even better if Biden infrastructure bill passes appeared first on Real Estate Weekly......»»

Category: realestateSource: realestateweeklyOct 14th, 2021

A company in Iceland"s official "4-day work week" trial had to increase its hours again after initially cutting them too much

A manager at Reykjavik Service Centre told Bloomberg that cutting hours meant staff were more satisfied than before. Reykjavik, Iceland NurPhoto / Contributor Getty Images A company in Iceland's four-day work week trial initially cut hours too much, a manager told Bloomberg. Social workers at the company were reluctant to increase their hours back when asked, per the report. But the trial was overall positive and left workers more satisfied, Sólveig Reynisdóttir said. A manager who took part in Iceland's "four-day work week" trial said her company had to increase workers' hours after initially cutting them by too much. Sólveig Reynisdóttir, an employee at Reykjavik Service Centre, told Bloomberg that the social-service provider had been experimenting with reduced hours since first starting on the trial in 2015. It initially shortened every other work week by five hours, to 35 hours total - but then had to add back two more hours, to 37 hours, she said.It has since cut one hour, meaning every other work week is four hours shorter, Reynisdóttir said. Staff receive the same pay as they did before.Staff were initially reluctant to increase their hours back to 37, from 35, even though this was less than they'd worked pretrial, per the report.But the trial was still a success, Reynisdóttir said. Having a shorter week had made workers' lives easier, she said."The employees are more satisfied which is of great importance for me as a manager," she said.Bloomberg spoke to four participants in the national trials about their experiences. In two trials, which took place separately between 2015 and 2021, civil servants, public sector workers, and carers, among others, reduced their work week by between three and five hours without taking a pay cut.A think tank has said the trial could be a "crucial blueprint" for future four-day work week trials due to its overwhelming success.The exact hours differed between organizations. Some cut an hour every day. Saga Stephensen, a project manager for preschools who was also included in the Bloomberg report, took a whole day off every other Friday. When the impact of the trail was analyzed by the future of work think tank Autonomy, it found that worker wellbeing improved. Being able to spend more time with family or having more time to visit the doctor were some of the benefits workers reported. There have been growing calls for the introduction of a four-day work week, or for reduced hours overall, in recent years. Proponents say that enabling workers to reduce their hours without losing pay will improve conditions at all levels of the labour force. Critics describe it as a fad, and something that remains out of reach for many workers. Iceland is not the only country to experiment with the concept. Spain and Scotland have both announced plans to fund trials. Workers in New Zealand and Japan have also experimented with a reduced work week. In the US, Democrat Rep. Mark Takano introduced a bill to lower the threshold at which workers qualify for overtime. He said this will enable low income carers to cut their hours from 40 to 32. Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 14th, 2021

Gold Jumps Despite Hawkish FOMC Minutes

The September FOMC minutes were rather hawkish, but gold prices rose yesterday. Did higher inflation finally push the yellow metal up? Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Hawkish FOMC Minutes Yesterday (October 13, 2021), the FOMC published minutes from its last meeting in September. For me, the publication is rather hawkish, as it […] The September FOMC minutes were rather hawkish, but gold prices rose yesterday. Did higher inflation finally push the yellow metal up? if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Hawkish FOMC Minutes Yesterday (October 13, 2021), the FOMC published minutes from its last meeting in September. For me, the publication is rather hawkish, as it signaled that the Fed could begin tapering its asset purchases as soon as mid-November or mid-December. Participants noted that if a decision to begin tapering purchases occurred at the next meeting, the process of tapering could commence with the monthly purchase calendars beginning in either mid-November or mid-December. This is because the FOMC members decided that the “substantial further progress” toward the Committee’s price-stability and maximum-employment goals has almost been met: Many participants noted that although the economic recovery had slowed recently and the August increase in payrolls had fallen short of expectations, the labor market had continued to show improvement since the Committee’s previous meeting. A number of participants assessed that the standard of substantial further progress toward the goal of maximum employment had not yet been attained but that, if the economy proceeded roughly as they anticipated, it may soon be reached. On the basis of the cumulative performance of the labor market since December 2020, a number of other participants indicated that they believed that the test of “substantial further progress” toward maximum employment had been met. The disappointing September nonfarm payrolls triggered some doubts about whether the Fed could announce tapering as soon as in November, but the recent comments from Atlanta Fed President Raphael Bostic and Fed Vice Chair Richard Clarida dispelled these doubts. The former official said: “I think that the progress has been made, and the sooner we get moving on that the better,” while the latter declared “I myself believe that the 'substantial further progress' standard has more than been met with regard to our price-stability mandate and has all but been met with regard to our employment mandate”. These remarks cement the expectations that the Fed’s tapering will start soon this year. The Pace Of Tapering The Fed officials also discussed the pace of tapering, which they wouldn’t do if they weren’t convinced that the time was right to go ahead: Participants also expressed their views on how slowing in the pace of purchases might proceed. In particular, participants commented on an illustrative path, developed by the staff and reflecting participants' discussions at the Committee's July meeting, that gave the speed and composition associated with a tapering of asset purchases (…) The path featured monthly reductions in the pace of asset purchases, by $10 billion in the case of Treasury securities and $5 billion in the case of agency mortgage-backed securities (MBS). Participants generally commented that the illustrative path provided a straightforward and appropriate template that policymakers might follow, and a couple of participants observed that giving advance notice to the general public of a plan along these lines may reduce the risk of an adverse market reaction to a moderation in asset purchases. Given that the Fed continues to purchase Treasury securities by at least $80 billion per month and MBS by at least $40 billion per month, the signaled path of tapering implies that the quantitative easing is going to start in November 2021 and end in June 2022. Such a timeline pleases the Fed, as it will enable it to hike the federal funds rate if inflation turns out to be more persistent than initially thought: No decision to proceed with a moderation of asset purchases was made at the meeting, but participants generally assessed that, provided that the economic recovery remained broadly on track, a gradual tapering process that concluded around the middle of next year would likely be appropriate. Worries About Inflation Indeed, the FOMC members showed stronger worries about inflation, dropping references to the transitory character of inflation, and acknowledging that there were some upside risks: Most participants saw inflation risks as weighted to the upside because of concerns that supply disruptions and labor shortages might last longer and might have larger or more persistent effects on prices and wages than they currently assumed. Oh, really, inflation could last longer than you repeated for months?! You were wrong once again, what a surprise! What’s more, the committee also expressed concerns about the impact of easy monetary policy on elevated asset prices and financial stability: In addition, some participants mentioned the risks associated with high asset valuations in the United States and abroad, and a number of participants commented on the importance of resolving the issues involving the federal government budget and debt ceiling in a timely manner (…) Several participants expressed concern that the high degree of accommodation being provided by monetary policy, including through continued asset purchases, could increase risks to financial stability. Indeed, it’s high time for reducing the monetary stimulus, given the scale of irrational exuberance in the financial markets (investors are now so desperate to seek yields that they even buy non-existent sculptures)! Implications for Gold What do the recent FOMC minutes imply for the gold market? Well, the publication is rather hawkish, so it should be negative for gold prices. At least in theory. But the price of gold increased yesterday, approaching almost $1,800. What happened? The detailed analysis of yesterday’s price movement displayed on the chart below shows that the FOMC minutes didn’t affect the gold market in any meaningful manner. This is probably because this year’s tapering has already been reflected in gold prices. The yellow metal reacted significantly, but to something different: the September CPI report. Inflation rose slightly last month from 5.3% to 5.4% year-over-year, according to the BLS (so, no, inflation is not going away, just as I was warning investors for months). The price of gold declined initially, only to gain later. It seems that, at first, investors decided that higher inflation equals higher interest rates and a more hawkish Fed, so they decided to push gold down (just as they used to in response to higher inflationary readings earlier this year). However, after a while, traders changed their minds. So, although it’s too early to conclude this with certainty, it’s possible that the markets finally started to fear inflation, its persistence, and its impact on economic growth. If this is the case, we could see more safe-haven inflows into gold. Nonetheless, investors shouldn’t expect too much from one trading day, even though yesterday’s gold reaction gives some hope that the yellow metal will ultimately behave as an inflation-hedge and benefit from elevated inflation. We will see – gold has to jump above $1,800 first. If you enjoyed today’s free gold report, we invite you to check out our premium services. We provide much more detailed fundamental analyses of the gold market in our monthly Gold Market Overview reports and we provide daily Gold & Silver Trading Alerts with clear buy and sell signals. In order to enjoy our gold analyses in their full scope, we invite you to subscribe today. If you’re not ready to subscribe yet though and are not on our gold mailing list yet, we urge you to sign up. It’s free and if you don’t like it, you can easily unsubscribe. Sign up today! Arkadiusz Sieron, PhD Sunshine Profits: Effective Investment through Diligence & Care Updated on Oct 14, 2021, 10:57 am (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 14th, 2021

Rowan Street 3Q21 Commentary: Sells Alibaba And Tencent

Rowan Street commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Partners and Friends, Rowan Street Performance Update Rowan Street was down -13% in Q3, causing our fund to decline -9.2% (net) year-to-date as of September 30. This decline is normal and is to be expected, especially […] Rowan Street commentary for the third quarter ended September 2021. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Charlie Munger 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); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more Dear Partners and Friends, Rowan Street Performance Update Rowan Street was down -13% in Q3, causing our fund to decline -9.2% (net) year-to-date as of September 30. This decline is normal and is to be expected, especially after a solid performance year we had in 2020, where our fund outperformed the market by 30% net of fees. We would like to remind all our partners, especially the ones who have recently joined our partnership, that the sole focus of the fund is to compound our partners’ capital at double-digit rates of return over a long-term holding period. Since December 2017 (start of our fully invested period), the fund has delivered 68.8% return (net of fees) or 15% per annum. Although 3 ¾ years is still a relatively short period of time to judge whether we are successful in achieving our long-term double digit return goal (anything longer than 5 years would be a more desirable barometer), thus far we have been on target. Looking at a longer time period of 6 ½ years since we founded Rowan Street, which includes the initial period of 2 ¾ years when we held 75% of our portfolio in cash while we carefully developed and tested our investment strategy and internal processes and invested only our personal capital as well as friends and family, we have delivered 93.4% cumulative net return or 11% per annum. When we report our 7, 8, 9 & 10 year performance numbers, the benchmark of our success will always be — are we compounding our investors’ capital at double-digit returns over the long run? If the answer is yes, then we are doing our job and that is the only thing that truly matters. In contrast to the majority of Wall Street funds out there, our focus will NEVER be on beating or keeping up with the market in any given quarter or a year, or on minimizing short-term volatility in the fund. We believe volatility is not the real risk. Volatility is part of the course of investing. In fact, there is NO wealth creation without volatility! It is simply the “price of admission” that the market demands us to pay, yet there is so much effort on Wall Street that is dedicated towards minimizing volatility. These efforts are catered towards nurturing clients’ emotional well-being while creating an illusion of safety, but almost always come at a huge cost of reducing clients’ long-term returns. We are very fortunate to have limited partners in the fund that allow us to focus on the long-term compounding of their family’s capital instead of being distracted from our main goal in order to nurture their emotional well-being. This is a huge advantage for us! At Rowan Street, the #1 fundamental principle of everything we do is we have a mindset of a business owner — this is how we approach all our investments. When you start looking at the world through the lens of a business owner, you start paying less and less attention to the stock tickers that bounce up and down every day and realize that most of the time these daily stock price gyrations have very little to do with the long term intrinsic value of the business. Over the long run, however, stock prices accurately reflect the fundamentals of businesses. For example, when you purchase a house or a commercial property or buy into a small business, you do not get a quote on it every single moment or every single day. You are in it for the long run, and you make your investment decision based on the earnings that your property or business can generate over the next 5-10 years in relation to the capital that you have to put up up-front. This is exactly how we structure the portfolio of our fund and how we judge the performance of our businesses, in which we are minority owners. Spotify Let’s look at one of our investments, Spotify Technology SA (NYSE:SPOT), as an example. We encourage you to review our investment thesis on Spotify that we published in our Q2 2020 Letter and in H1 2021 Letter. The company went public in April of 2018 and since the stock has delivered the following calendar year returns: 2018: -24% (since IPO date) 2019: +32% 2020: +110% 2021: -26% (as of this writing) As you can see, performance of an individual stock can be very lumpy from year to year. Spotify was the biggest contributor to our funds’ performance in 2020 and it's the second biggest detractor thus far in 2021. Do these short-term stock price gyrations matter to us? Absolutely not! Focusing on this and judging our investment based on how it performs in any given year would be akin to attempting to win a football game while keeping our eyes on the scoreboard. This is why at Rowan Street, our eyes will always be focused on the “playing field”. If we continue to do that, the score will take care of itself over time! What does it look like on the “playing field” for Spotify? As you can see from the tables below, Spotify’s intrinsic value has increased quite a bit since its IPO date. Revenues have increased by 75% (or ~20% p.a.), gross profits have increased 64% (~18% p.a.). We believe that management has done a terrific job thus far in reinvesting these gross profits into building the world’s leading audio platform and constantly innovating ( and out-innovating its competitors) to deliver for both artists and fans. The result of their investments could be seen in the growth of Monthly Active Users (MAU) as well as their Premium Subscribers. The former has grown at 2.3x and the latter at 2.1x over the past 3 years, and we estimate that it’s feasible for Spotify to grow to ~1 billion users over the next 5 years. If the management continues executing the way they have been in the past, we have a pretty good chance of attaining our double-digit return from owning Spotify’s stock over the next 5 years. Exit From Our Chinese Positions As you know, we have owned stock in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd (NYSE:BABA) and Tencent Holdings ADR (OTCMKTS:TCEHY) since 2018. We know both companies very well and have spent countless hours studying their operations over the past 3 years. We have published our detailed write-up on Alibaba in our Q3 letter last year. At one point, in the first half of 2020, we were sitting on substantial gains in both positions (2x on Tencent), and our China exposure had grown to around 25% at the time. We started actively trimming these in Q1 and completely exited both positions in Q2 (please see our rationale below). All-in-all, we ended up netting a small gain in dollar terms. However, both Alibaba and Tencent detracted ~5% from our performance in 2021. We believe the number one mistake that we as investors can make is to be unwilling to admit that we are wrong. Sometimes being willing to change our mind in the face of new evidence, selling when necessary, is one of the most important skills that we as investors can have. So what new evidence changed our mind? As you know, capital allocation and reinvestment of capital is one of the most important foundational pillars that we spend a lot of time on and watch very closely. Recent Chinese government crackdown and CCP’s ”common prosperity“ policies, which you are all well aware of as they have been widely covered this year, have a direct impact on the future capital allocation policies of both Alibaba and Tencent. When management of the companies that we are owners of do NOT have full control of the capital allocation, that goes against all our foundational principles as investors and stewards of your capital. At that point, we place a lot less importance on the size of revenues and cash flows that the company generates and how attractive their valuations may be (it's very apparent to just about everyone how statistically cheap the stock of Alibaba and Tencent currently are). The only logical decision here, once one of our foundational principles is violated, is to sell and to reinvest the proceeds into our high conviction ideas that fit our investment criteria and that have a high probability of compounding our fund’s capital at double-digits (p.a.) in the next 5-10 years, which is exactly what we have done over the past several months. General Thoughts on China Fred Liu, a fellow fund manager, recently gave a very good overview of China's latest crack-down and provided a basic framework through which to analyze the latest developments: “The difference in Chinese policies vs. many western governments, is that China prioritizes the labor and tech components of the equation more so than capital… While labor is made up of the domestic population itself and technology is used to amplify this output, capital is face-less (or at least belonging most to those who have benefited from the country’s rise and accumulated the capital in the process, and thus have a “national duty” to help & repay their fellow citizens / country who helped them achieve success).” “Capital is meant as a tool to enhance & accelerate society’s goals, not as an end-goal itself. Versus many Western markets, where it seems that the betterment of shareholders (and putting more money into their pockets) is often then the end goal itself. If the well-being of capital must be sacrificed to ensure a better long-term direction of society then in the Chinese government’s eyes, it's a worthy trade-off.” “In this case, the Capital wasn’t being productive anyways, so there’s no loss if the government impairs it (and sends a message to discourage future investment in these fields). Capital (and investors) will be rewarded when capital is needed to fuel to achieve the broader goals of societal and economic advancement in a harmonious and equitable manner. But when capital investment in certain sectors is at odds with these goals, don’t be surprised when it's impaired.” Fred makes some very good points and we would completely agree with this view. However, the entire ideology of a command economy with its 5-year plans is at odds with our own ideology in the Western world where free markets (or Adam Smith’s invisible hand) determines whether Capital is productive or not and how it should be allocated. In his very famous book The Wealth of Nations, Adam Smith wrote: “But the annual revenue of every society is always precisely equal to the exchangeable value of the whole annual produce of its industry, or rather is precisely the same thing with that exchangeable value. As every individual, therefore, endeavors as much as he can both to employ his capital in the support of domestic industry, and so to direct that industry that its produce may be of the greatest value, every individual necessarily labours to render the annual revenue of the society as great as he can. He generally, indeed, neither intends to promote the public interest, nor knows how much he is promoting it. By preferring the support of domestic to that of foreign industry, he intends only his own security; and by directing that industry in such a manner as its produce may be of the greatest value, he intends only his own gain, and he is in this, as in many other cases, led by an invisible hand to promote an end which was no part of his intention. Nor is it always the worse for the society that it was not part of it. By pursuing his own interest he frequently promotes that of the society more effectively than when he really intends to promote it. I have never known much good done by those who were affected to trade for the public good. It is an affectation, indeed, not very common among merchants, and very few words need be employed in dissuading them from it.” Using the invisible hand metaphor, Smith was trying to present how an individual exchanging money in his own self-interest unintentionally impacts the economy as a whole. In other words, there is something that binds self-interest, along with public interest, so that individuals who pursue their own interests will inevitably benefit society as a whole. This very ideology is the foundation of our capitalistic system that has worked so incredibly well for America over the past 245 years. Fishing In Our Own Pond The real question to ask ourselves as investors: Is this our game to play? We would not invest in an individual company whose set of values, principles and ideologies is at odds with our own. The company‘s future prospects may prove to be very bright (as Alibaba’s and Tencent’s are very likely to be), but it would be extremely difficult-to-impossible for us to maintain a strong conviction in companies (and sleep well at night) that operate on a soil of a system, which at the very core, is contradictory to our own values. Simply put, we came to the conclusion that this is NOT our game to play! Continuing to invest in Chinese companies that are “outside of our circle of competence” makes little sense for Rowan Street considering we have an amazing “pond to fish” here in the United States. Some of the best innovators, entrepreneurs and some of the best companies in the world are still being founded and built here. When it comes to breaking down the top 100 companies of the world, according to this interesting chart below by Visual Capitalist, the United States still commands the largest slice of the pie. And even though China has the second largest and rapidly growing slice of the pie, at the risk of sounding redundant, we have concluded that we have ZERO edge in that part of the world no matter how attractive their future may appear with their high GDP growth, huge size of the population, rise of the middle class and incredible pace of innovation (arguably even higher than in the USA). We believe that domestically we have much better odds of winning, and that’s where we will focus on from now on. We want to thank you for your partnership. Joe and I have our entire net worths invested alongside you — we strongly believe in eating our own cooking. We look forward to reporting to you again at the end of 2021. Best regards, Alex and Joe Updated on Oct 13, 2021, 4:58 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 14th, 2021

The daughter of the Russian journalist who won the Nobel Peace Prize told us why the big win is really an honor for their dad"s "dead colleagues"

Finley Muratova is the daughter of journalist and Nobel laureate Dmitry Muratov. They spoke to Insider about their dad's historic win and why they've decided to be a reporter as well. Finley Muratova, pictured here at age 10 taking a selfie with their father's camera. Photo courtesy of Finley Muratova The daughter of Dmitry Muratov, one of the winners of this year's Nobel Peace Prize, is studying to be a journalist at New York University. Finley Muratova, 21, sees the honor as a win for the Russian newspaper their father leads, as well as for the journalists killed protecting the freedom of the press. Among those was investigative reporter Anna Politkovskaya, who was murdered in 2006. Muratova knew her as a child, and they said she's inspired their career. Russian journalist Dmitry Muratov phoned his daughter Finley Muratova last Friday after he'd won the Nobel Peace Prize - but because Muratova is a college student in New York, the call reached them at 6 a.m while they were still in bed."I got scared that something bad must have happened," Muratova, 21, told Insider. "And then he told me the news, and I was quite dumbfounded in a good way."Muratova is used to feeling dread when family calls from Russia. Their dad may be one of the biggest names in the world of reporting after co-winning the Peace Prize with Filipina journalist Maria Ressa, but he also leads a newsroom in a country where watchdog groups say 23 journalists have been killed in the last 10 years.This harsh reality has been part of Muratova's life since they were a child, when their dad would share tales from the life of a slain reporter instead of bedtime stories. And now as a journalist in training completing their last year of school at New York University, Muratova said that the sacrifices made by champions of free speech are what drove them to follow in their father's footsteps."I just always knew that I wanted to be a journalist, because of my dad and because of the people that I grew up around," they said in a Zoom interview with Insider. Dmitry Muratov, editor-in-chief of the Russian newspaper Novaya Gazeta, talks to the media. Sergei Bobylev/TASS via Reuters As a child, Muratova would run down the hallways of Novaya Gazeta, the Russian newspaper that Muratov co-founded in 1993 (he currently serves as its editor-in-chief). The Nobel Committee described the outlet as "the most independent newspaper in Russia today, with a fundamentally critical attitude towards power."One of its most influential staffers was Anna Politkovskaya, an internationally renowned investigative reporter who spoke out against human-rights abuses. She was shot and killed in her Moscow apartment building in 2006."When Anna was murdered, life changed a lot," said Muratova, who was 6 years old at the time. "I don't think it was ever particularly safe for my father or his colleagues. But it felt like life changed a lot - for me at least."Though Muratova doesn't remember their childhood interactions with Politkovskaya, they said the slain reporter has been a major influence in their career as a burgeoning reporter. Muratova has written about Politkovskaya for The Nation, and they've translated the subtitles in a documentary released by Novaya Gazeta on Oct. 6, a day before the statute of limitations on the murder's investigation was set to expire. (The Nobel Committee announced the Peace Prize on Oct. 8.)"I think that for a solid while, I felt like I was losing hope in journalism or human-rights defenses, or in goodness, for that matter," Muratova said. "And the way she never gave up was something that always made me feel like there has to be a reason to not give up. And I think that that's why writing about her was the path I took."In their own work as a journalist in the U.S., Muratova reports on Title IX cases and investigates the ways that the Department of Education has failed survivors of sexual violence.Title IX is a federal civil rights law that prohibits sexual discrimination, including sexual harassment and campus violence, at educational institutions that receive federal funding.Muratova said they found their current calling when NYU rehired a professor it had previously suspended after finding she had sexually harassed a student. Muratova, who describes themselves as someone who rarely gets angry, was furious.As a writer for Washington Square News, the independent student-run newspaper at NYU, Muratova wrote an opinion piece that revealed that they had been sexually assaulted as a teenager.Going public with their experience was not Muratova's original intent for the piece, but the admission allowed others to reach out to them directly."I started receiving a cascade of emails from people who went for Title IX at NYU [and felt] let down by the school, either by incompetence or by the school's self-preservation instinct," Muratova said. "My father taught me the sheer importance of being humane and available to people who might need me."The show of support pushed them to dig deeper into the issue, and it's just one of many topics they hope to continue covering after graduating this coming spring."I hope I can do justice to the people who choose to trust me with their stories," Muratova said. "I hope I have a strong enough moral compass that I can keep holding on to that hope no matter where I go."For now, Muratova is taking time to reflect on their dad's historic win, which they're quick to emphasize is really a win for the newsroom he runs. (Muratov has pledged to donate the Nobel's cash winnings to charities and special causes, including a prize named after Politkovskaya.)Both Muratova and their dad have said the Nobel is a symbolic honor for murdered reporters like Politkovskaya."It's an award handed to his dead colleagues. And I know that he said that, but I also solemnly believe that I don't think it's just his by any means," Muratova said. "I hope that it shows the international community that there's a need to pay attention to what's happening to the free media in Russia. So for now, I would say fingers crossed that it brings attention to the issue. And then we'll see where we move from there."Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: dealsSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Untapped Potential: Far Too Little Freight On US Waterways, Experts Say

Untapped Potential: Far Too Little Freight On US Waterways, Experts Say By Nio Mahoney of FreightWaves, Much of the U.S. waterway system’s enormous potential for commercial transport is going to waste for lack of use or funding, according to marine and trade experts. While most people are familiar with the importance of roads in transporting freight across the U.S., many have no idea that the more than 25,000 miles of navigable waterways — including rivers, canals and coastal routes — are just as vital. “We have one of the world’s greatest waterway networks, but we are barely using it,” Joseph Linck, a Brownsville, Texas-based international trade and energy consultant, told FreightWaves. There are about 25,000 miles of navigable waterways — including rivers, canals and coastal routes — across the United States. Pictured is the Houston Ship Channel, which intersects with the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway. Linck is founder and CEO of Globalstone LC and was the director of the Port of Brownsville in Texas from 1988-90. He’s currently working with a large investment bank that wants to start putting ocean shipping containers in hopper barges using inland waterways to offer the first long-haul container-on-barge service in the U.S.   The Intracoastal Waterway (ICW) is a 3,000-mile inland waterway running from Boston south along the Atlantic seaboard and around the southern tip of Florida, then following the Gulf of Mexico to Brownsville. “Using the waterway, it’s a solution to the U.S. truck driver shortage, because one barge takes away 70-something trucks off the road and can move freight for less than half the price,” Linck said. The U.S. waterway system consists of over 12,000 miles of inland waterways and 13,000 miles of coastal channels, 360 commercial ports, and 237 lock and dam chambers.  The carrying capacity of barges far outpaces tractor trailers and railcars. One barge carrying 1,750 pounds of dry cargo is equal to 70 tractor trailer trucks. (Infographic: FreightWaves) The typical 15-barge tow is capable of hauling cargo totaling 22,500 tons, 767,500 bushels or 6.8 million gallons. That compares to six locomotives and 216 railcars, or 1,050 large tractor trailers. Barges can move a ton of cargo 647 miles on a single gallon of fuel, and 514 miles on diesel fuel. That compares to 477 miles by rail and 145 miles by truck, according to a 2017 study by the Center for Ports and Waterways at the Texas A&M Transportation Institute.   The Texas A&M study was commissioned by the National Waterways Foundation, a Washington D.C.-based nonprofit that addresses public policy issues related to the U.S.’ inland waterways system. The waterway transportation system has long contributed to the competitiveness of American agriculture by transporting grain domestically and for export, National Grain and Feed Association (NGFA) officials said in an email to FreightWaves. Corn and soybeans are the most handled agricultural commodities in the Gulf Coast region waterways, along with wheat, distiller’s dried grains with solubles and soybean meal. “Nearly 70% of U.S. agriculture exports (137.7 million metric tons valued at $108.2 billion) were waterborne in 2019. These exports provide 20% of U.S. farm income,” NGFA said. “In the same year, the U.S. exported nearly 30% of its grain. Of this quantity, more than 50% was inspected through Mississippi River, about 30% was inspected through Pacific Northwest ports, and 5% through Texas Gulf ports.” Paul Dittman, president of the Gulf Intracoastal Canal Association (GICA), said the waterway system is one of the safest and most efficient modes of transportation in the U.S. “Every barge movement on our inland waterways within the Gulf Coast or any other inland waterway reduces significant amounts of truck traffic,” Dittman said. GICA is a New Orleans-based nonprofit consisting of over 200 member companies primarily along the Gulf Coast. Its aim is to facilitate safe, reliable and efficient Gulf Coast waterways. “The Intracoastal Waterway is the third-busiest inland waterway in the U.S. after the  Mississippi and Ohio rivers,” Dittman said. “The differences on the Mississippi and Ohio River, you’re looking at about 70% dry bulk, 30% bulk liquid, whereas on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway it’s just the opposite.”  Dittman said the ICW also provides the critical link between the U.S. petrochemical centers in Texas and Louisiana with the rest of the inland waterway system, as well as the entire Gulf Coast from St. Mark’s, Florida, to Brownsville, a distance of over 1,100 miles. “For these reasons, the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is often referred to as the silent giant,” Dittman said.   Petroleum products, chemicals, agricultural products, manufactured goods, coal and grains are the top commodities transported by U.S. waterways, according to the Army Corps of Engineers. One of the biggest challenges for U.S. waterways is that historically, necessary upkeep such as dredging and infrastructure maintenance has been underfunded. “Some of the limiting factors that we deal with include aging Army Corp of Engineers infrastructure, which can be problematic if they malfunction,” Dittman said. One of the potential constraints to waterway transportation is the escalating volume of traffic at aging locks, the part of the waterway system that controls pool depths to make a channel deep enough for vessels to use. Dittman said the Inner Harbor Navigation Canal Lock (IHNC) in New Orleans provides the only access to the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway east of New Orleans, creating a single point of failure if the lock is not available for navigation. The IHNC was built in 1923. GICA is working closely with the federal government to begin the replacement of the IHNC, but this project will take several years to complete once initiated.  “It’s effectively 100 years old and is in need of replacement. We’re diligently working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the local community to replace this aging piece of infrastructure with a new and larger lock,” Dittman said.  Some ongoing waterway projects that GICA provided input on include the $169 million Belle Chasse Bridge and Tunnel Replacement Project in Belle Chase, Louisiana, and two new bridges in Texas at South Padre Island and over the San Jacinto River along the Gulf Coast. Like GICA, grain industry officials have been asking Congress for years to upgrade aging locks and dams on inland waterways. NGFA officials and partnering waterways stakeholders said they are urging Congress to include funding for the Navigation and Ecosystem Sustainability Program (NESP) in final appropriations packages.  NESP is an Army Corps of Engineers program dedicated to navigation improvements and ecological restoration for the Upper Mississippi River – Illinois Waterway. “Congress first authorized NESP in 2007, but the program has not received any construction funding. Meanwhile, the vast majority of locks on the Upper Mississippi River and Illinois Waterway (UMR-IWW), built in the 1930s and 1940s with 600-foot chambers, have long-surpassed their design life,” NGFA said. NESP would expand the navigation capacity along the UMR-IWW through the construction of seven new 1,200-foot locks and dams. New and modernized NESP locks would allow a 15-barge tow to pass through in just one lockage, increasing efficiency and boosting U.S. competitiveness. “Building new locks on the UMR-IWW would spur job creation and help ensure that the U.S. remains competitive as a world grain exporter. For example, the U.S. is no longer the world’s top soybean exporter and key competitors continue to lower their transportation costs by investing in infrastructure,” NGFA said. “Research from the Department of Agriculture suggests that unless significant improvements are made to farm-to-port infrastructure, U.S. world market share could decline an additional 3-6 percentage points, resulting in $1.5 billion to $3 billion in lost export sales.” One infrastructure project that has received support is construction funding for a new 1,200-foot lock and dam (Lock and Dam 25) on the Upper Mississippi River, which has been included in both House of Representative and Senate versions of the FY 2022 Energy and Water Appropriations bills. “This funding has broad bipartisan support from lawmakers up and down the Mississippi River and NGFA is hopeful it will be included in a final agreement on FY 2022 spending,” NGFA said. While maritime experts work to replace aging locks and bridges along the waterway, the U.S. faces a $47 billion funding gap in infrastructure waterway needs over the next 17 years for navigation-related waterside improvements, according to an assessment issued in January by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). “The inland waterways funding gap is almost entirely for lock and dam infrastructure, which is largely antiquated and prone to failure,” according to the 170-page “Failure to Act: Ports and Inland Waterways — Anchoring the U.S. Economy.” The ASCE also graded 17 categories of infrastructure in March. The grades ranged from a B for rail to a D-minus for transit to a D-plus for inland waterways. “We risk significant economic losses, higher costs to consumers, businesses and manufacturers — and our quality of life — if we don’t act urgently,” Thomas Smith, ASCE executive director, said in a statement. Another issue facing the U.S. waterway system is declining demand for coal, which has historically been a big commodity on waterways but has been on a long downward swing as the U.S. slowly decreases its dependence on fossil fuels. The Energy Information Administration reports U.S. coal shipments by waterways declined 20% in 2020 from 2019. In 2019, more than $134 billion worth of cargo transited America’s inland waterways, equating to about 515 million tons, according to Waterways Council Inc. Linck said the Intracoastal Waterway helped the Port of Brownsville get back to profitability in the late 1980s. “We initiated new cargo steel and also Midwestern grain by river barge,” Linck said. “We started at the Port of Pittsburgh on the Ohio River and brought those barges down, all the way down to the Mississippi and down the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway from New Orleans to Brownsville.” Linck said it’s possible the U.S. waterway system also has an image problem with modern-day logistics professionals. While moving commodities by inland waterways can be more fuel-efficient and less costly, it takes more long-range planning. “We need to reeducate all our traffic managers, give them a little more power, get these MBA bean-counting managers off their just-in-time inventory control. They can’t plan right, so they send everything on a truck. They just throw money out there and they get it where it needs to go, basically,” Linck said. Tyler Durden Wed, 10/13/2021 - 14:20.....»»

Category: blogSource: zerohedgeOct 13th, 2021

The Virginia governor"s race is shaping up as a test of the state"s Democratic strength and Biden

A GOP candidate who is uniting the business class and pro-Trump voters, along with Biden's sagging poll numbers, have put the leans-blue state in play. Virginia Democratic gubernatorial nominee and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe, left, and Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin participate in a debate at Northern Virginia Community College, in Alexandria, Va., on September 28, 2021. AP Photo/Cliff Owen Former Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe once wrestled a 280-pound alligator to secure a $15,000 campaign donation for President Jimmy Carter's 1980 reelection campaign. In 2009, the former Democratic National Committee Chairman ran unsuccessfully for his party's gubernatorial nomination, but came back to win the nomination - and the governorship - four years later. During his time in the Executive Mansion from 2014 to 2018, McAuliffe faced a solidly-conservative GOP legislature that was resistant to many of his legislative proposals. However, as the longtime Democratic power broker seeks to win his old job back in the November general election, he faces a test unlike any that he's encountered in the past - with his race serving as a barometer of the current political alignment of the Old Dominion.Democrats have been ascendant in the state for over a decade now - with key wins that included former President Barack Obama's 2008 and 2012 victories, Ralph Northam's 2017 gubernatorial victory against former Republican National Committee Chairman Ed Gillespie, the party taking full control of the state legislature after the 2019 elections, and now-President Joe Biden's double-digit triumph against then-President Donald Trump last fall.Republicans - who in recent years have nominated a string of candidates that struggled with the ever-growing suburban vote - have not won a statewide race in Virginia since 2009. But this year, GOP delegates nominated Glenn Youngkin, a former private equity executive and first-time political candidate who has so far been able to speak to conservative issues in way that has united the party's business class and its dominant Trump wing. The Republican approach, along with Biden's slumping numbers in the state, have made the Virginia election a real race in the closing weeks of the campaign.Despite the state's recent Democratic-leaning orientation, Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Civic Leadership at Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Va., told Insider that there still remains a strong GOP base of reliable supporters. "Republicans consistently turn out a million or a little over a million voters consistently, even when they've lost massively," he said.With the dominant Democratic Party facing an energized GOP, what do the dynamics of the electorate reveal about Virginia's political identity? A voter heads to cast his ballot during the US presidential primary in Henrico County, Va., on March 1, 2016. AP Photo/Steve Helber The importance of the suburban vote can't be overstatedFrom the 1970s through the 1990s, Republican presidential victories in Virginia were powered by the state's fast-growing suburban areas in northern Virginia, the Richmond metropolitan area, and Hampton Roads, which form the core of the vote-rich "Golden Crescent." However, from the late 2000s through the last decade, many suburban localities, including populous Loudoun, Prince William, and Henrico counties, began to support Democrats on the presidential level. This shift, which was already ongoing as the GOP became more ideologically conservative, was exacerbated by Trump's deep unpopularity in these suburbs, which are filled with college-educated moderates and independent voters who have become more receptive to Democratic messaging. Minority voters, notably Black, Latino, and Asian residents, are also increasingly becoming a part of the suburban electoral calculus.In northern Virginia, where McAuliffe and Youngkin both reside, Democrats have had striking success in recent election cycles. In 2019, northern Virginia boasted a population of 2.8 million residents and the region's votes made up 32% of the total statewide count in last year's presidential election, according to The Washington Post. The party handily carried the region by 32% in the 2017 gubernatorial election won by Northam, who is term-limited and ineligible to run for reelection. By running for a second, nonconsecutive term in office, McAuliffe is hoping to pull off a rare feat in Virginia - the last governor elected to two terms was Mills Godwin, who served in office from 1966 to 1970 as a Democrat and from 1974 to 1978 as a Republican.A recent poll released by the Wason Center on Oct. 8 showed McAuliffe ahead of Youngkin 49%-45% with likely voters - the survey had a margin of error of 4.2%. In the same poll, Youngkin led among independents by a 50%-41% margin.J. Miles Coleman, the associate editor of Sabato's Crystal Ball at the University of Virginia Center for Politics, which currently classifies the race as "leans Democratic," told Insider that Youngkin has a compelling personal story as a native Virginian who earned a basketball scholarship to play at Rice University and went on to earn an MBA at Harvard before eventually amassing a fortune of over $300 million at the helm of the Carlyle Group. "The Republicans have a fairly attractive candidate in Youngkin," he said. "He's not hated as much Trump is here, that's for sure. He kind of has an uplifting life story, and I think he's probably better positioned to appeal to some of those suburban voters who used to be Republicans but now vote for Democrats. He has tried to touch on some themes of law and order with a softer edge than Ed Gillespie ... at this time four years ago we were talking about MS-13," a reference to the violent street gang. Virginia Republican gubernatorial nominee Glenn Youngkin speaks with members of the press alongside his wife Suzanne, left, after voting early in Fairfax, Va., on September 23, 2021. AP Photo/Patrick Semansky McAuliffe has been unable to cast Youngkin as unacceptable to swing votersRepublicans are bullish on their support among some of the very same independents who have backed Democrats like Northam and Biden, along with lawmakers like Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine. McAuliffe has consistently sought to tie Youngkin to Trump, as well as raise concerns about access to abortion in the wake of the implementation of a highly restrictive Texas law that effectively bans the procedure after the sixth week of pregnancy. The former governor has also chided Youngkin for opposing COVID-19 vaccine mandates in an appeal to independents who back such measures. Youngkin, who has been vaccinated, disagrees with the mandates and said last month that getting inoculated is a personal decision.The former governor has also criticized Youngkin for invoking critical race theory, which examines how America's history of racism continues to reverberate through laws and policies that exist today; it is a discipline that is generally not taught in K-12 schools, but Youngkin has pledged "ban" it on his first day in office.McAuliffe, who is known for being a disciplined campaigner, has had a tough time linking Youngkin to the former president in the minds of many swing voters. Kidd, the Wason director, told Insider that even if Youngkin comes up short in his campaign, he could provide a roadmap for the Virginia GOP as they seek an escape from the political wilderness. "Glenn Youngkin may not win, but Republicans may have found a way to thread the needle between Trumpism and economic conservatism, which they have struggled to do," he said. "Youngkin seems to be walking a tightrope pretty effectively in some ways. He embraces Trump just enough, but not too much, and he distances himself from Trump just enough, but not too much." Former state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli addresses a rally sponsored by Catholic Vote and Fight for Schools in Leesburg, Va., on October 2, 2021. AP Photo/Cliff Owen The conservative vote in the state remains influentialDespite Democrats currently holding all major statewide offices in Virginia, the GOP still holds 45 out of 100 seats in the House of Delegates and 19 out of 40 seats in the Senate. This year, every House seat is up for grabs, with Democrats angling to retain the majority that they clawed back in 2019. In addition to partisan gerrymandering, a major reason why Democrats struggled to regain control of many suburban-based House districts in the last decade prior to Trump's election was low turnout.In 2009, the last year that Democrats lost a gubernatorial election in Virginia, Republicans were eager to elect former state Attorney General Bob McDonnell and he won in a 59%-41% landslide over state Sen. R. Creigh Deeds. Overall turnout that year was 40.4%, according to the Virginia Department of Elections. In 2013, when McAuliffe was elected governor, turnout hit 43%, which provided the lift he needed to defeat then-GOP state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli by a 48%-45% margin. In 2017, Northam beat Gillespie by a 54%-45% spread, with a 47.6% turnout rate fueled by Democratic dissatisfaction with the Trump administration.Kidd told Insider that inconsistent Democratic turnout has been a lingering issue for the party. "Democrats flex all over the place with their numbers," he said. "They either turn out 1.4 or 1.5 million voters, or they turn out 800,000. Democratic losses since Obama's election in 2008 have been because they don't show up, and close wins have happened because they don't show up. In 2014, Mark Warner pulled it out [US Senate race] by the skin of his teeth, and it's because Democrats were sort of chagrined about the state of everything going on in the country."While Republicans have faltered in northern Virginia in recent cycles, they still have a solid base of support in many exurban communities in the state, especially in the Richmond area and Hampton Roads, and they continue to dominate in the rural countryside, which includes Southwest Virginia. Virginia Democratic gubernatorial candidate and former Gov. Terry McAuliffe listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a campaign event for McAuliffe at Lubber Run Park in Arlington, Va., on July 23, 2021. AP Photo/Andrew Harnik The election is inextricably linked to Washington, DCLast fall, Biden captured Virginia and its 13 electoral votes, winning the state by 10 points (54%-44%) in a year where Democrats were especially mobilized against Trump. However, months after the president took office, unexpected turbulence with the administration's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, along with the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and a stalled domestic agenda in Congress have removed much of the luster from his numbers.In the Washington Post-Schar poll, Biden's approval rating in Virginia sat at 46%, with 51% disapproving. During a virtual meeting with supporters last week, CNN reported that McAuliffe mentioned Biden's sagging approval figure in the state. "We are facing a lot of headwinds from Washington, as you know," he said on the call. "The President is unpopular today unfortunately here in Virginia, so we have got to plow through." While the former governor brushed off the comments, the legislative inaction prompted him to state that the $3.5 trillion price tag for the Democratic-led infrastructure bill was "too high."During a Tuesday interview with The Associated Press, McAuliffe called on Democratic lawmakers in Washington, DC, to "do your job" and do "whatever it takes" to pass substantive legislation. "They got to get their work done," he told the news agency. "People are counting on them."In a state filled with federal workers and military veterans, residents are very much attuned to what emanates from the nation's capital, and McAuliffe clearly wants to see results, Coleman told Insider. "From his perspective, he just wants something passed," he said. "He wants to at least have the perception that Biden is able to pass his priorities. I think you'll see some Democrats across the country kind of trim their sails like him and say, 'We just want something that we can show the voters and say that this was what we've done.'"Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 13th, 2021

Is 2021 Shaping Up to be Another Banner Year for Dealership M&As?

There has been a flurry of deal making in the auto retail space of late. Kerrigan Advisers predicts that 2021 would mark the biggest year for dealership M&A activities in decades. A wave of consolidation is sweeping across the auto retail industry. While vehicle purchases by consumers took a hit last year amid pandemic woes, buy-sell agreements among dealerships remained brisk. Per Kerrigan Advisors, a number of acquisitions in the auto retail space hit 289 last year, up 24% from 2019 levels, and marked the highest count in years.The momentum continues this year, with dealership transactions up 27% year over year to 144 in first-half 2021, per Kerrigan. The dealership consulting firm expects a surge in deal making across the industry in the second half. Kerrigan predicts 350 total transactions this year. That would set a new record, and make 2021 the biggest and most memorable year for dealership merger & acquisition (M&A) activities in decades.Key Deals So Far in 2021A flurry of megadeals was witnessed in the auto retail industry, particularly in the last month. On Sep 13, Group 1 Automotive GPI announced that it has inked an agreement to acquire Prime Automotive Group for about $880 million. Per the deal, which is expected to close by late November 2021, Group 1 will be purchasing 30 dealership locations and three collision centers throughout New England and the Mid-Atlantic region. The company has been a success in the North-Eastern United States for many years, and this opportunity will enable it to take advantage of the existing cost structure and further diversify its U.S. foothold. The acquisition will increase the company’s global dealership count to 220. Year to date, Group 1 has completed $570 million of acquired revenues, and the proposed transaction is expected to take its total acquired revenues to at least $2.4 billion.Ten days later, Sonic Automotive SAH announced its decision to buy RFJ Auto Partners in a deal worth $700 million. The acquisition seeks to catapult Sonic into the top-five biggest dealership groups (in terms of revenues) in the United States. RFJ Auto's portfolio of 33 dealerships across seven states generated $2.8 billion in revenues in 2020. The acquisition of RFJ Auto will add six new states (Idaho, Indiana, Missouri, Montana, New Mexico, and Washington) as well as five brands (Chrysler, Dodge, Jeep, Ram, and Mazda) to Sonic’s foothold and portfolio. Importantly, the deal is expected to add $3.2 billion to Sonic’s annual revenues. On Sep 29, Asbury Automotive Group ABG agreed to buy Larry H. Miller Dealerships, the eighth largest dealership in the United States, and Total Care Auto (TCA) in a $3.2-billion deal that is expected to close later this year. The Larry H. Miller Dealership acquisition seeks to add nearly $5.7 billion in expected annualized revenues, giving the company an edge to execute its five-year plan of generating $20 billion in annual revenues by 2025. Asbury claims to become the fourth-largest U.S. new vehicle retailer (in terms of revenues) after the deal closure. The acquired assets include 54 new and seven used vehicle dealerships as well as 11 collision centers. The buyout of TCA, a leading provider of service contracts and other vehicle protection products, will also enhance Asbury’s prospects.In April, Lithia Motors LAD — which has been on a long-standing buyout binge — announced the acquisition of Troy-based The Suburban Collection, which included 56 franchises, representing one of the biggest acquisitions by the auto retailer. The deal strengthened Lithia’s position in the North Central region and is expected to add $2.4 billion in the firm’s annualized revenues. Given Lithia’s spree of big and small deals this year, its total annualized revenues acquired in 2021 summed $6.2 billion.In April, AutoNation AN also announced a deal to purchase 11 stores and a collision center from Peacock Automotive Group. The deal marked the first franchised dealership buyout since 2018 and will add $380 million in annual revenues. The acquisition has expanded AutoNation's footprint from coast to coast to more than 325 locations. What’s Behind This M&A Frenzy?The process of buying cars has undergone a digital transformation, with online sales getting ever so popular, thanks to the pandemic. Auto dealers are ramping up their digital capabilities to make deals with customers and arrange for home deliveries of vehicles. The race to invest vast sums in the e-commerce platform has gathered steam and companies that won’t be making the necessary efforts to step up their online game will be left behind. Retailers are thus vying for a wider reach and greater scale amid the changing operating dynamics of the industry.In light of this scenario, big retailers that are flush with cash are seeking to scoop up smaller rivals in a hope that an increase in scale would help them lead digital transformation and boost competitive advantage. Dealers not only need to operate service departments with expensive and sophisticated equipment but are also supposed to have dual systems to service electric as well as conventional vehicles. As such, capital requirements have increased and the relatively smaller companies would rather accept the takeover proposal than spend huge sums of money to reorient their business model. It’s not just the big businesses taking over the smaller ones. Even Larry Miller chose to be acquired, realizing the importance of scale and synergies, and that it would be better poised to reach new heights as part of a bigger organization than its own.The dealership business is largely fragmented and dominated by small, individually-held operations. Per Kerrigan, the top 50 largest dealerships (in terms of new vehicle sales) in the United States accounted for just 16% of the nation’s total new vehicle sales last year. Some dealers are of the view that the only way to survive long term is to get bigger. Then of course, there are commercial, financial and operating synergy gains from such deals. In addition, a highly competitive auto retail market is resulting in lesser-known and smaller dealer groups exiting the industry.One of the dealership consulting firms Haig Partners sees Lithia’s deep focus on acquisitions as one of the catalysts for increased deal making across the industry. As we know, the company announced a five-year plan in July 2020 to generate $50 billion in revenues and $50 in earnings per share, primarily through acquisitions. Quoting Alan Haig, the president of Haig, “I think the CEOs of other public retailers said whoa that strategy makes a lot of sense.”  Also, increasing dealership profitability and better access to capital have further boosted M&A activities since late 2020.Merger Mania is Unlikely to Slow DownAsbury’s CEO Hult eyes more consolidation in the industry. The company remains committed to strategic buyouts that align with its customer-centric working model. Lithia has already been on an acquisition tear, in sync with its five-year plans. Sonic’s CEO Davi Smith also expects M&A activities to continue picking up. Certainly, a new era of dealership consolidation is underway. Erin Kerrigan, the MD of Kerrigan, is of the opinion, “that this is just the beginning of mega-transactions being announced over the next 12 months, assuming that the financial markets continue to support the financing of these kinds of acquisitions.” Zacks Names "Single Best Pick to Double" From thousands of stocks, 5 Zacks experts each have chosen their favorite to skyrocket +100% or more in months to come. From those 5, Director of Research Sheraz Mian hand-picks one to have the most explosive upside of all. You know this company from its past glory days, but few would expect that it's poised for a monster turnaround. 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Category: topSource: zacksOct 13th, 2021

News From Shell & ExxonMobil Dominate Oil & Gas Stock Roundup

Apart from Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) and ExxonMobil (XOM) there was news from Suncor Energy (SU), Penn Virginia (PVAC) and Repsol (REPYY) during the week. It was a week wherein oil prices hit the highest in seven years but natural gas futures pulled back after topping $6 for the first time since 2014.On the news front, European supermajor Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.A) issued an update on its upcoming Q3 earnings, while American biggie ExxonMobil XOM boosted its estimate of discovered recoverable resources from the Stabroek block offshore Guyana.Overall, it was a mixed week for the sector. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude futures gained 4.6% to close at $79.35 per barrel, while natural gas prices fell 1% to end at $5.565 per million British thermal units (MMBtu). In particular, the oil market managed to maintain their forward momentum from the previous six weeks.Coming back to the week ended Oct 8, oil prices rose despite a bearish report from the Energy Information Administration ("EIA") that showed a build in crude and gasoline inventories. Instead, energy investors chose to concentrate on the market’s robust fundamentals and a supportive macro backdrop.Crude supplies recently fell to their lowest levels since October 2018, with U.S. commercial stockpiles down more than 16% since mid-March. There is also a marked improvement in fuel demand on the back of rebounding road and airline travel.Meanwhile, natural gas finished down following a higher-than-expected increase in supplies and the prospect of less weather-related consumption.Recap of the Week’s Most-Important Stories1.  Royal Dutch Shell expects a negative impact to its third-quarter earnings and cash flows, following disruptions in U.S. Gulf of Mexico production after Hurricane Ida swept through the region. The company lost about $400 million in income when the storm forced it to shut down several Gulf facilities for days and weeks. On a positive note, the European supermajor expects the prevailing strong commodity price environment to significantly boost its ‘Integrated Gas’ results.Shell released a preliminary report for the July-September period wherein the Anglo-Dutch biggie informed that the performance of the firm’s trading division, which was instrumental in helping the supermajor partly cushion the impact of the coronavirus-induced oil price slump, is likely to be sequentially higher for the Integrated Gas division and “similar” to the Oil Products business.According to the latest update, Shell’s upstream production fell by 6.4% on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter of 2021 at the midpoint of the guidance. Taking into account the storm-related outage of 90 oil-equivalent per day (MBOE/d), the supermajor is estimating its output in the range of 2,025 to 2,100 MBOE/d compared to 2,203 MBOE/d a year ago. (Shell Braces for Hurricane-Hit Q3 Amid Soaring Prices)2.   ExxonMobil announced that its estimate of discovered recoverable resources from the Stabroek Block has been raised. The block is located off the coast of Guyana.The energy giant has increased the estimate to approximately 10 billion oil-equivalent barrels. The company has included a new discovery at the Cataback-1 well in its updated resource estimate. Thus, the total key discoveries in the prolific offshore resource are now at more than 20, said the leading integrated energy player. With the drilling of the Cataback-1 well by the drillship Noble Tom Madden in 5,928 feet of water, the well encountered 243 feet of net pay in high-quality hydrocarbon bearing sandstone reservoirs.ExxonMobil said that the Guyanese economy is continuously being aided by the recent major discoveries and projects that are in progress. In the Stabroek Block, spreading across 6.6 million acres, ExxonMobil has a 45% interest along with operatorship. The remaining 30% and 25% stakes are in possession of Hess (HES) and CNOOC Petroleum Guyana Limited. (ExxonMobil Revises Stabroek Resource Estimate Upward)3   Suncor Energy SU recently announced that it took over as the operator of the Syncrude Joint Venture, a significant move toward increasing productivity and competitiveness across all its operations in the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo.The Calgary, Alberta based energy behemoth's optimism surrounding the Syncrude asset is reflected in its operatorship, which has the full backing of the Syncrude joint-venture owners and was first announced in the fourth quarter of 2020. It is part of a long-term strategy to improve the Syncrude asset's service quality, efficiency and profitability.Suncor purchased Canadian Oil Sands' stake in 2016 and has ever since been engaged with the other owners to identify methods for its improvement. Through acquisitions, the energy player has increased its shareholding in Syncrude from 12% to 58.74% since 2016. (Suncor Assumes Control of the Syncrude Joint Venture)4.   Penn Virginia PVAC completed its previously announced all-stock merger deal with Lonestar Resources US Inc. The company aims to officially rebrand itself as Ranger Oil Corporation, which will be in effect from Oct 18, 2021. The merged entity will begin trading under the ticker symbol of ROCC. The official rebranding is expected to complete by the end of 2021.Per the terms of the deal, Penn Virginia shareholders will now own 87% of the merged entity, while Lonestar shareholders will own the rest. The transaction strengthens Penn Virginia’s position as a leading Eagle Ford operator and will provide additional scale and synergies.The resources of both companies will create a consolidated asset position, which spreads about 140,000 net acres placed in the core of the Eagle Ford shale in South Texas. It is expected to have a production capacity of 40,000 barrels of oil equivalent per day. (Penn Virginia, Lonestar Complete All-Stock Merger Deal)5.  Repsol SA REPYY announced ambitious carbon-reduction targets, which will accelerate its clean-energy transition toward a net-zero emission future.Due to mounting pressure from investors to reduce emissions, energy companies have established various targets to increase renewable capacity and improve energy efficiency. Repsol was one of the early movers in this regard and possibly the first energy company to announce its non-binding plan to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The Spanish firm has now set targets to accelerate its transformation plan.Repsol boosted its 2030 renewable energy target by 60%. The company previously aimed for 5.2 gigawatt (GW) of renewables by 2025 and 12.7GW by 2030.  It currently plans to reach an installed capacity of 20 GW by 2030 and a target of 6 GW by 2025. (Repsol Lays Out Enhanced Renewable Energy Targets)Price PerformanceThe following table shows the price movement of some major oil and gas players over the past week and during the last six months.Company    Last Week    Last 6 MonthsXOM                +2.1%              +11.3%CVX                 +3.6%             +2.7%COP                +6.9%              +39.6%OXY                 +8%                  +32.1%SLB                 +4.3%              +15.9%RIG                  +2.6%              +14.1%VLO                 +6.8%               +6.8%MPC                +2.5%               +20.2%The Energy Select Sector SPDR — a popular way to track energy companies — was up 5.1% last week. The best performer was Houston-TX based upstream biggie Occidental Petroleum OXY whose stock climbed 8%.Over the past six months, the sector tracker has increased 13.9%. Upstream biggie ConocoPhillips COP was the major gainer during the period, experiencing a 39.6% price appreciation.What’s Next in the Energy World?As the global oil consumption outlook strengthens amid tightening fundamentals, market participants will be closely tracking the regular releases to watch for signs that could further validate the upward momentum. In this context, the U.S. government’s statistics on oil and natural gas — one of the few solid indicators that come out regularly — will be on energy traders' radar. Data on rig count from the oilfield service firm Baker Hughes, which is a pointer to trends in U.S. crude production, is closely followed too. News related to coronavirus vaccine approval/rollout/distribution will be of utmost importance. Finally, the closely watched monthly reports from three key agencies (EIA, OPEC and the IEA) complete the releases this week.  Time to Invest in Legal Marijuana If you’re looking for big gains, there couldn’t be a better time to get in on a young industry primed to skyrocket from $17.7 billion back in 2019 to an expected $73.6 billion by 2027. After a clean sweep of 6 election referendums in 5 states, pot is now legal in 36 states plus D.C. Federal legalization is expected soon and that could be a still greater bonanza for investors. Even before the latest wave of legalization, Zacks Investment Research has recommended pot stocks that have shot up as high as +285.9%. You’re invited to check out Zacks’ Marijuana Moneymakers: An Investor’s Guide. It features a timely Watch List of pot stocks and ETFs with exceptional growth potential.Today, Download Marijuana Moneymakers FREE >>Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM): Free Stock Analysis Report ConocoPhillips (COP): Free Stock Analysis Report Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDS.A): Free Stock Analysis Report Occidental Petroleum Corporation (OXY): Free Stock Analysis Report Suncor Energy Inc. (SU): Free Stock Analysis Report Repsol SA (REPYY): Free Stock Analysis Report Penn Virginia Corporation (PVAC): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on click here. Zacks Investment Research.....»»

Category: topSource: zacksOct 12th, 2021

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising

Futures Rebound From Overnight Slide As Oil Keeps Rising US equity-index futures erased earlier declines, rebounding from a loss of as much as 0.8% helped by the start of the European session and easing mounting concerns about stagflation from rising energy prices, signs of widening regulatory scrutiny by China, and the upcoming third-quarter earnings which is expected to post a sharply slower pace of growth and beats than recent record quarters. At 730am ET, Dow e-minis were up 5 points, or 0.1%, S&P 500 e-minis were up 7.25 points, or 0.16%, and Nasdaq 100 e-minis were up 46.75points, or 0.31%. Oiil rose 0.3% to $83.86/bbl while the dollar dipped and 10Y yield drifted back under 1.60%. Gains in tech stocks kept Nasdaq futures afloat on Tuesday, while energy names rose as Brent resumed gains, trading around $84/bbl on expectations that a power crisis from Asia to Europe will lift demand and tighten global balances. Higher oil prices and supply chain disruptions have set off alarm bells for businesses and consumers ahead of the third-quarter reporting season that kicks off on Wednesday with JPMorgan results.  "We believe that market participants could stay concerned over high energy prices translating into further acceleration in inflation, and thereby faster tightening by major central banks," said Charalambos Pissouros, head of research at JFD Group. In the pre-market, Tesla rose 0.7% after data showed the electric vehicle maker sold 56,006 China-made vehicles in September, the highest since it started production in Shanghai about two years ago. Oil firms including Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp gained 0.1% and 0.3%, respectively, as Brent crude hit a near-three year high on energy crunch fears. Here are the notable movers: China’s Internet sector is one of the “most undervalued” in Morningstar’s coverage, says Ivan Su, an analyst, adding that Tencent (TCEHY US) and Netease (NTES US) are top picks MGM Resorts (MGM US) rises 2% in U.S. premarket trading after stock was upgraded to outperform from neutral and price target more than doubled to a Street-high $68 at Credit Suisse Quanterix (QTRX US) jumped 20% in Monday postmarket trading after the digital-health company announced that its Simoa phospho-Tau 181 blood test has been granted breakthrough device designation by the U.S. FDA as an aid in diagnostic evaluation of Alzheimer’s disease Relay Therapeutics (RLAY US) fell 7% in Monday postmarket trading after launching a $350 million share sale via Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Cowen, Guggenheim Securities Westwater Resources (WWR US) rose as much as 26% in Monday postmarket trading after its board of directors approved construction of the first phase of a production facility in Alabama for battery ready graphite products TechnipFMC (FTI US) in focus after co. was awarded a substantial long-term charter and services contract by Petrobras for the pipelay support vessel Coral do Atlântico Fastenal, which was one of the first companies to report Q3 earnings, saw its shares fall 2.4% in premarket trading on Tuesday, after the industrial distributor said the Covid-related boost was fading. The company said growth in the quarter was slightly limited by either slower expansion or contraction in sales of certain products related to the pandemic, when compared to the previous year quarter. While there was an uptick in sales of certain Covid-related supplies, the unit price of many products was down significantly, the company said in a statement.  Third-quarter sales and profit were in line with the average analyst estimate "While investors want to believe the narrative that stock markets can continue to move higher, this belief is bumping up against the reality of how the continued rise in energy prices, as well as supply-chain pressures, are likely to impact company profit margins,” said Michael Hewson, chief market analyst at CMC Markets in London. In Europe, losses led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks, pulling the Stoxx Europe 600 Index down 0.1%. Metals miner Rio Tinto was among the worst performers, dropping 2.7%. European equities climbed off the lows having lost over 1% in early trade. Euro Stoxx 600 was down -0.35% after dropping as much as 1.3% initially, led by basic resources companies and carmakers outweighed gains for utilities and tech stocks. The DAX is off 0.3%, FTSE 100 underperforms in a quiet morning for news flow. Miners, banks and autos are the weakest sectors after China reported a sharp drop in auto sales; utilities, tech and real estate post modest gains. European tech stocks slide, with the Stoxx Tech Index dropping as much as 1.4% in third straight decline, as another broker downgrades TeamViewer, while Prosus and chip stocks come under pressure. TeamViewer shares fall as much as 5.1% after Deutsche Bank downgrades the remote software maker to hold from buy following recent guidance cut. Asian stocks fell, halting a three-day rally as uncertainty over earnings deepened amid elevated inflation, higher bond yields and the risk of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index slid as much as 1.2%, led by technology and communication shares. Alibaba plunged 3.9% following a rally over the past week, while Samsung Electronics tumbled to a 10-month low after at least five brokers slashed their price targets, as China’s power crisis is seen worsening supply-chain disruptions. “Given the run-up in tech so far, it’s not difficult for investors to harvest profits first before figuring out if techs can maintain their growth when yields rise,” said Justin Tang, head of Asian research at United First Partners. Shares in Hong Kong and the mainland were among the worst performers after Chinese authorities kicked off an inspection of the nation’s financial regulators and biggest state-run banks in an effort to root out corruption. The MSCI Asia Pacific Index is down 12% from a February peak, with a global energy crunch lifting input prices and the debt crisis at China Evergrande Group weighing on the financial sector. Investors are waiting to see how this impacts earnings, according to Jun Rong Yeap, a market strategist at IG Asia.  “Increasing concerns on inflation potentially being more persistent have started to show up,” he said. “This comes along with the global risk-off mood overnight, as investors look for greater clarity from the earnings season on how margins are holding up, along with the corporate economic outlook.” Japan’s Topix index also fell, halting a two-day rally, amid concerns about a global energy crunch and the possibility of a widening Chinese crackdown on private industry. The Topix fell 0.7% to 1,982.68 at the 3 p.m. close in Tokyo, while the Nikkei 225 declined 0.9% to 28,230.61. SoftBank Group Corp. contributed the most to the Topix’s drop, decreasing 2.4%. Out of 2,181 shares in the index, 373 rose and 1,743 fell, while 65 were unchanged. “Market conditions were improving yesterday, but pushing for higher prices got tough when the Nikkei 225 approached its key moving averages,” said Masahiro Ichikawa, chief market strategist at Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management.  The Nikkei’s 75-day moving average is about 28,500 and the 200-day moving average is about 28,700, so some investors were taking profits, he said. Japan’s spot power price increased to the highest level in nine months, as the global energy crisis intensifies competition for generation fuel before the winter heating season. In FX, the Bloomberg Dollar Spot Index reversed an overnight gain as the greenback slipped against all of its Group-of-10 peers. Risk sensitive Scandinavian currencies led gains, followed by the New Zealand and Australian dollars. The pound was little changed while speculators ramped up wagers on sterling’s decline at the fastest rate in more than two years, Commodity Futures Trading Commission data show, further breaking the link between anticipated rate increases and currency gains. The yen steadied after three days of declines. The Turkish lira extended its slide to a record low after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hinted at a possible military offensive into neighboring Syria. Fixed-income was quiet by recent standards: Treasury futures were off lows of the day, improving as S&P 500 futures pare losses during European morning, and as cash trading resumed after Monday’s holiday. The 10Y yield dipped from 1.61% to 1.59% after hitting 1.65% based on futures pricing on Monday, but the big mover was on the front end, where 2-year yields climbed as much as 4bps to 0.35% the highest level since March 2020 reflecting increased expectations for Fed rate hikes, as Treasury cash trading resumed globally. Two coupon auctions during U.S. session -- of 3-and 10-year notes -- may weigh on Treasuries however.  Treasury and gilt curves bull-flatten with gilts outperforming at the back end. Bunds have a bull-steepening bias but ranges are narrow. Peripheral spreads tighten a touch with long-end Italy outperforming peers. In commodities, Crude futures drift higher in muted trade. WTI is up 0.25% near $80.70, Brent trades just shy of a $84-handle. Spot gold remains range-bound near $1,760/oz. Base metals are mixed with LME lead and nickel holding small gains, copper and aluminum in the red. Looking at the day ahead, central bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September which came in at 99.1, below last month's 100.1. The IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook. Market Snapshot S&P 500 futures little changed at 4,351.50 STOXX Europe 600 down 0.6% to 454.90 MXAP down 0.9% to 194.41 MXAPJ down 1.0% to 635.42 Nikkei down 0.9% to 28,230.61 Topix down 0.7% to 1,982.68 Hang Seng Index down 1.4% to 24,962.59 Shanghai Composite down 1.2% to 3,546.94 Sensex little changed at 60,149.85 Australia S&P/ASX 200 down 0.3% to 7,280.73 Kospi down 1.4% to 2,916.38 German 10Y yield fell 6 bps to -0.113% Euro up 0.1% to $1.1565 Brent Futures up 0.4% to $84.01/bbl Gold spot up 0.2% to $1,757.84 U.S. Dollar Index little changed at 94.29 Top Overnight Headlines from Bloomberg The EU drew record demand for its debut green bond, in the sector’s biggest-ever offering. The bloc registered more than 135 billion euros ($156 billion) in orders Tuesday for a sale of 12 billion euros of securities maturing in 2037 Investors are dumping negative-yielding debt at the fastest pace since February as concerns about inflation and reduced central bank stimulus propel global interest rates higher French President Emmanuel Macron unveiled a 30-billion-euro ($35 billion) plan to create the high-tech champions of the future and reverse years of industrial decline in the euro area’s second-largest economy British companies pushed the number of workers on payrolls above pre-coronavirus levels last month, an indication of strength in the labor market that may embolden the Bank of England to raise interest rates. As the Biden administration and governments around the world celebrate another advance toward an historic global tax accord, an obscure legal question in the U.S. threatens to tear it apart Chinese property developers are suffering credit rating downgrades at the fastest pace in five years, as a recent slump in new-home sales adds to concerns about the sector’s debt woes German investor confidence declined for a fifth month in October, adding to evidence that global supply bottlenecks and a surge in inflation are weighing on the recovery in Europe’s largest economy Social Democrat Olaf Scholz’s bid to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor is running into its first test as tensions emerge in talks to bridge policy differences with the Greens and pro-business Free Democrats A more detailed breakdown of global markets from Newsquawk Asian equity markets traded mostly lower following the indecisive mood stateside where the major indices gave back initial gains to finish negative amid lingering inflation and global slowdown concerns, with sentiment overnight also hampered by tighter Beijing scrutiny and with US equity futures extending on losses in which the Emini S&P retreated beneath its 100DMA. ASX 200 (-0.3%) was subdued as weakness in energy, tech and financials led the declines in Australia and with participants also digesting mixed NAB business survey data. Nikkei 225 (-0.9%) was on the backfoot after the Japan Center for Economic Research noted that GDP contracted 0.9% M/M in August and with retailers pressured after soft September sales updates from Lawson and Seven & I Holdings, while the KOSPI (-1.4%) was the laggard on return from holiday with chipmakers Samsung Electronics and SK Hynix subdued as they face new international taxation rules following the recent global minimum tax deal. Hang Seng (-1.4%) and Shanghai Comp. (-1.3%) adhered to the downbeat picture following a continued liquidity drain by the PBoC and with Beijing scrutinising Chinese financial institutions’ ties with private firms, while default concerns lingered after Evergrande missed yesterday’s payments and with Modern Land China seeking a debt extension on a USD 250mln bond to avoid any potential default. Finally, 10yr JGBs eked minimal gains amid the weakness in stocks but with demand for bonds limited after the recent subdued trade in T-note futures owing to yesterday’s cash bond market closure and following softer results across all metrics in the 30yr JGB auction. Top Asian News Alibaba Stock Revival Halted on Concerns of Rising Bond Yields Iron Ore Rally Pauses as China Steel Curbs Cloud Demand Outlook China’s Star Board Sees Rough Start to Fourth Quarter: ECM Watch Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ European bourses kicked the day off choppy but have since drifted higher (Euro Stoxx 50 -0.4%; Stoxx 600 Unch) as the region remains on standby for the next catalyst, and as US earnings season officially kicks off tomorrow – not to mention the US and Chinese inflation metrics and FOMC minutes. US equity futures have also nursed earlier losses and reside in relatively flat territory at the time of writing, with broad-based performance seen in the ES (Unch), NQ (+0.2%), RTY (-0.2%), YM (Unch). From a technical standpoint, some of the Dec contracts are now hovering around their respective 100 DMAs at 4,346 for the ES, 14,744 for the NQ, whilst the RTY sees its 200 DMA at 2,215, and the YM topped its 21 DMA at 34,321. Back to Europe, cash markets see broad-based downside with the SMI (-0.1%) slightly more cushioned amid gains in heavyweight Nestle (+0.6%). Sectors kicked off the day with a defensive bias but have since seen a slight reconfiguration, with Real Estate now the top performer alongside Food & Beverages, Tech and Healthcare. On the flip side, Basic Resources holds its position as the laggard following yesterday's marked outperformance and despite base metals (ex-iron) holding onto yesterday's gains. Autos also reside at the bottom of the bunch despite constructive commentary from China's Auto Industry Body CAAM, who suggested the chip supply shortage eased in China in September and expected Q4 to improve, whilst sources suggested Toyota aims to make up some lost production as supplies rebound. In terms of individual movers, GSK (+2.3%) shares spiked higher amid reports that its USD 54bln consumer unit has reportedly attracted buyout interest, according to sources, in turn lifting the FTSE 100 Dec future by 14 points in the immediacy. Elsewhere, easyJet (-1.9%) gave up its earlier gains after refraining on guidance, and despite an overall constructive trading update whereby the Co. sees positive momentum carried into FY22, with H1 bookings double those in the same period last year. Co. expects to fly up to 70% of FY19 planned capacity in FY22. In terms of commentary, the session saw the Germany ZEW release, which saw sentiment among experts deteriorate, citing the persisting supply bottlenecks for raw materials and intermediate products. The release also noted that 49.1% of expects still expect inflation to rise further in the next six months. Heading into earnings season, experts also expect profits to go down, particularly in export-tilted sectors such a car making, chemicals and pharmaceuticals. State-side, sources suggested that EU antitrust regulators are reportedly likely to open an investigation into Nvidia's (+0.6% Pre-Mkt) USD 54bln bid from Arm as concessions were not deemed sufficient. Top European News Soybeans Near 10-Month Low as Supply Outlook Expected to Improve EasyJet Boosts Capacity as Travel Rebound Gathers Pace Currency Traders Are Betting the BOE Is About to Make a Mistake Citi Lists Top Global Stock Picks for ‘Disruptive Innovations’ In FX, the Buck has reclaimed a bit more lost ground in consolidatory trade rather than any real sign of a change in fundamentals following Monday’s semi US market holiday for Columbus Day and ahead of another fairly light data slate comprising NFIB business optimism and JOLTS. However, supply awaits the return of cash Treasuries in the form of Usd 58 bn 3 year and Usd 38 bn 10 year notes and Fed commentary picks up pace on the eve of FOMC minutes with no less than five officials scheduled to speak. Meanwhile, broad risk sentiment has taken a knock in wake of a late swoon on Wall Street to give the Greenback and underlying bid and nudge the index up to fresh post-NFP highs within a 94.226-433 band. NZD/AUD - A slight change in fortunes down under as the Kiwi derives some comfort from the fact that the Aud/Nzd has not breached 1.0600 to the upside and Nzd/Usd maintaining 0.6950+ status irrespective of mixed NZ electric card sales data, while the Aussie takes on board contrasting NAB business conditions and confidence readings in advance of consumer sentiment, with Aud/Usd rotating either side of 0.7350. EUR/CAD/GBP/CHF/JPY - All rangy and marginally mixed against their US counterpart, as the Euro straddles 1.1560, the Loonie meanders between 1.2499-62 with less fuel from flat-lining crude and the Pound tries to keep sight of 1.3600 amidst corrective moves in Eur/Gbp following a rebound through 0.8500 after somewhat inconclusive UK labour and earnings data, but hardly a wince from the single currency even though Germany’s ZEW survey missed consensus and the institute delivered a downbeat assessment of the outlook for the coming 6 months. Elsewhere, the Franc continues to hold within rough 0.9250-90 extremes and the Yen is striving to nurse outsize losses between 113.00-50 parameters, with some attention to 1 bn option expiries from 113.20-25 for the NY cut. Note also, decent expiry interest in Eur/Usd and Usd/Cad today, but not as close to current spot levels (at the 1.1615 strike in 1.4 bn and between 1.2490-1.2505 in 1.1 bn respectively). SCANDI/EM - The Nok and Sek have bounced from lows vs the Eur, and the latter perhaps taking heed of a decline in Sweden’s registered jobless rate, but the Cnh and Cny remain off recent highs against the backdrop of more Chinese regulatory rigour, this time targeting state banks and financial institutions with connections to big private sector entities and the Try has thrown in the towel in terms of its fight to fend off approaches towards 9.0000 vs the Usd. The final straw for the Lira appeared to be geopolitical, as Turkish President Erdogan said they will take the necessary steps in Syria and are determined to eliminate threats, adding that Turkey has lost its patience on the attacks coming from Syrian Kurdish YPG controlled areas. Furthermore, he stated there is a Tal Rifaat pocket controlled by YPG below Afrin and that an operation could target that area which is under Russian protection. However, Usd/Try is off a new ATH circa 9.0370 as oil comes off the boil and ip came in above forecast. In commodities, WTI and Brent front-month futures are choppy and trade on either side of the flat mark in what is seemingly some consolidation and amid a distinct lack of catalysts to firmly dictate price action. The complex saw downticks heading into the European cash open in tandem with the overall market sentiment at the time, albeit the crude complex has since recovered off worst levels. News flow for the complex has also remained minimal as eyes now turn to any potential intervention by major economies in a bid to stem the pass-through of energy prices to consumers heading into winter. On that note, UK nat gas futures have been stable on the day but still north of GBP 2/Thm. Looking ahead, the weekly Private Inventory data has been pushed back to tomorrow on account of yesterday's Columbus Day holiday. Tomorrow will also see the release of the OPEC MOMR and EIA STEO. Focus on the former will be on any updates to its demand forecast, whilst commentary surrounding US shale could be interesting as it'll give an insight into OPEC's thinking on the threat of Shale under President Biden's "build back better" plan. Brent Dec trades on either side of USD 84/bbl (vs prev. 83.13-84.14 range) whilst WTI trades just under USD 81/bbl after earlier testing USD 80/bbl to the downside (USD 80-80.91/bbl range). Over to metals, spot gold and silver hold onto modest gains with not much to in the way of interesting price action, with the former within its overnight range above USD 1,750/oz and the latter still north of USD 22.50/oz after failing to breach the level to the downside in European hours thus far. In terms of base metals, LME copper is holding onto most of yesterday's gains, but the USD 9,500/t mark seems to be formidable resistance. Finally, Dalian and Singapore iron ore futures retreated after a four-day rally, with traders citing China's steel production regaining focus. US Event Calendar 6am: Sept. SMALL BUSINESS OPTIMISM 99.1,  est. 99.5, prior 100.1 10am: Aug. JOLTs Job Openings, est. 11m, prior 10.9m 11:15am: Fed’s Clarida Speaks at IIF Annual Meeting 12:30pm: Fed’s Bostic Speaks on Inflation at Peterson Institute 6pm: Fed’s Barkin Interviewed for an NPR Podcast DB's Jim Reid concludes the overnight wrap It’s my wife’s birthday today and the big treat is James Bond tomorrow night. However, I was really struggling to work out what to buy her. After 11.5 years together, I ran out of original ideas at about year three and have then scrambled round every year in an attempt to be innovative. Previous innovations have seen mixed success with the best example being the nearly-to-scale oil portrait I got commissioned of both of us from our wedding day. She had no idea and hated it at the closed eyes big reveal. It now hangs proudly in our entrance hall though. Today I’ve bought her a lower key gamble. Some of you might know that there is a US website called Cameo that you can pay famous people to record a video message for someone for a hefty fee. Well, all her childhood heroes on it were seemingly too expensive or not there. Then I saw that the most famous gymnast of all time, Nadia Comăneci, was available for a reasonable price. My wife idolised her as a kid (I think). So after this goes to press, I’m going to wake my wife up with a personalised video message from Nadia wishing her a happy birthday, saying she’s my perfect ten, and praising her for encouraging our three children to do gymnastics and telling her to keep strong while I try to get them to play golf instead. I’m not sure if this is a totally naff gift or inspired. When I purchased it I thought the latter but now I’m worried it’s the former! My guess is she says it’s naff, appreciates the gesture, but calls me out for the lack of chocolates. Maybe in this day and age a barrel of oil or a tank of petrol would have been the most valuable birthday present. With investor anticipation continuing to build ahead of tomorrow’s CPI release from the US, yesterday saw yet another round of commodity price rises that’s making it increasingly difficult for central banks to argue that inflation is in fact proving transitory. You don’t have to be too old to remember that back in the summer, those making the transitory argument cited goods like lumber as an example of how prices would begin to fall back again as the economy reopened. But not only have commodity aggregates continued to hit fresh highs since then, but lumber (+5.49%) itself followed up last week’s gains to hit its highest level in 3 months. Looking at those moves yesterday, it was a pretty broad-based advance across the commodity sphere, with big rises among energy and metals prices in particular. Oil saw fresh advances, with WTI (+1.47%) closing above $80/bbl for the first time since 2014, whilst Brent Crude (+1.53%) closed above $83/bbl for the first time since 2018. Meanwhile, Chinese coal futures (+8.00%) hit a record after the flooding in Shanxi province that we mentioned in yesterday’s edition, which has closed 60 of the 682 mines there, and this morning they’re already up another +6.41%. So far this year, the region has produced 30% of China’s coal supply, which gives you an idea as to its importance. And when it came to metals, aluminium prices (+3.30%) on the London Metal Exchange rose to their highest level since the global financial crisis, whilst Iron Ore futures in Singapore jumped +7.01% on Monday, and copper was also up +2.13%. The one respite on the inflation front was a further decline in natural gas prices, however, with the benchmark European future down -2.73%; thus bringing its declines to over -47% since the intraday high that was hit only last Wednesday. With commodity prices seeing another spike and inflation concerns resurfacing, this proved bad news for sovereign bonds as investors moved to price in a more hawkish central bank reaction. Yields in Europe rose across the continent, with those on 10yr bunds up +3.0bps to 0.12%, their highest level since May. The rise was driven by both higher inflation breakevens and real rates, and leaves bund yields just shy of their recent post-pandemic closing peak of -0.10% from mid-May. If they manage to surpass that point, that’ll leave them closer to positive territory than at any point since Q2 2019 when they last turned negative again. It was a similar story elsewhere, with 10yr yields on OATs (+2.6bps), BTPs (+3.9bps) and gilts (+3.1bps) likewise reaching their highest level in months. The sell-off occurred as money markets moved to price in further rate hikes from central banks, with investors now expecting a full 25 basis point hike from the Fed by the end of Q3 2022. It seems like another era, but at the start of this year before the Georgia Senate race, investors weren’t even pricing in a full hike by the end of 2023, whereas they’re now pricing in almost 4. So we’ve come a long way over 2021, though pre-Georgia the consensus CPI forecast on Bloomberg was just 2.0%, whereas it now stands at 4.3%, so it does fit with the story of much stronger-than-expected inflation inducing a hawkish response. Yesterday’s repricing came alongside a pretty minimal -0.15% move in the Euro versus the dollar, but that was because Europe was also seeing a similar rates repricing. Meanwhile, the UK saw its own ramping up of rate hike expectations, with investors pricing in at least an initial 15bps hike to 0.25% happening by the December meeting in just two months’ time. Overnight in Asia, stocks are trading in the red with the KOSPI (-1.46%), Shanghai Composite (-1.21%), Hang Seng (-1.20%), the Nikkei (-0.93%) and CSI (-0.82%) all trading lower on inflation concerns due to high energy costs and aggravated by a Wall Street Journal story that Chinese President Xi Jinping is increasing scrutiny of state-run banks and big financial institutions with inspections. Furthermore, there were signs of a worsening in the Evergrande debt situation, with the firm missing coupon payments on a 9.5% note due in 2022 and a 10% bond due in 2023. And there were fresh indications of a worsening situation more broadly, with Sinic Holdings Group Co. saying it doesn’t expect to pay the principal or interest on a $250m bond due on October 18. Separately in Japan, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said on Monday that he will raise pay for public workers and boost tax breaks to firms that boost wages to try and improve the country’s wealth distribution. Back to yesterday, and the commodity rally similarly weighed on thin-volume equity markets, though it took some time as the S&P 500 had initially climbed around +0.5% before paring back those gains to close down -0.69%. Before the late US sell-off, European indices were subdued, but the STOXX 600 still rose +0.05%, thanks to an outperformance from the energy sector (+1.49%), and the STOXX Banks Index (+0.13%) hit a fresh two-year high as the sector was supported by a further rise in yields. On the central bank theme, we heard from the ECB’s chief economist, Philip Lane, at a conference yesterday, where he said that “a one-off shift in the level of wages as part of the adjustment to a transitory unexpected increase in the price level does not imply a trend shift in the path of underlying inflation.” So clearly making a distinction between a more persistent pattern of wage inflation, which comes as the ECB’s recent forward guidance commits them to not hiking rates “until it sees inflation reaching two per cent well ahead of the end of its projection horizon and durably for the rest of the projection horizon”, as well as having confidence that “realised progress in underlying inflation is sufficiently advanced to be consistent with inflation stabilising at two per cent over the medium term”. Turning to the political scene, Brexit is likely to be in the headlines again today as the UK’s Brexit negotiator David Frost gives a speech in Lisbon where he’s expected to warn that the EU’s proposals on the Northern Ireland Protocol are insufficient. That comes ahead of a new set of proposals that are set to come from the EU tomorrow, with the two sides disagreeing on the extent of border controls required on trade from Northern Ireland with the rest of the UK. Those controls were put in place as part of the Brexit deal to prevent a hard border being put up between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland, whilst also preserving the integrity of the EU’s single market. But the UK’s demands for adjustments have been met with opposition by the EU, and speculation has risen that the UK could trigger Article 16, which allows either side to take unilateral safeguard measures, if the protocol’s application “leads to serious economic, societal or environmental difficulties that are liable to persist, or to diversion of trade”. On the data front, there wasn’t much data to speak of with the US holiday, but Italy’s industrial production contracted by -0.2% in August, in line with expectations. To the day ahead now, andcentral bank speakers include the Fed’s Vice Chair Clarida,Bostic and Barkin, as well as theECB’s President Lagarde, Makhlouf, Knot, Villeroy, Lane and Elderson. Data highlights from the US include the JOLTS job openings for August, and the NFIB’s small business optimism index for September. In Europe, there’s also UK unemployment for August and the German ZEW Survey for October. Lastly, the IMF will be releasing their latest World Economic Outlook.     Tyler Durden Tue, 10/12/2021 - 07:56.....»»

Category: personnelSource: nytOct 12th, 2021

ERA Real Estate Launches the ‘Hera Society’ to Advance Women Leadership

ERA® Real Estate recently announced the launch of the “Hera Society,” a new group within ERA® Real Estate with a mission to strengthen both the individual and collective impact women real estate leaders have on the network, in the industry and in the communities they serve. The Hera Society celebrated the launch with an inaugural […] The post ERA Real Estate Launches the ‘Hera Society’ to Advance Women Leadership appeared first on RISMedia. ERA® Real Estate recently announced the launch of the “Hera Society,” a new group within ERA® Real Estate with a mission to strengthen both the individual and collective impact women real estate leaders have on the network, in the industry and in the communities they serve. The Hera Society celebrated the launch with an inaugural event during Ignite 2021, ERA’s exclusive conference for affiliated broker/owners and managers. Despite the strong history of women professionals in the real estate industry, there remain important opportunities to accelerate the advancement of women as brokerage owners and industry leaders. As a result, the ERA brand identified the need to create a dedicated platform to offer resources, ideas and mentorship opportunities to drive the success of affiliated women leaders now and in the future. Inspired by the name of the Greek goddess of women and families, the “Hera Society” will serve to help its members navigate the unique challenges to their professional growth, including financial fitness, leadership development and inclusion. “ERA has been a pillar of the industry for nearly 50 years. It is a network of collaborative leaders who have supported one another’s growth and success since the brand’s founding—a natural extension of ERA’s culture is to advance women’s leadership strategies within the ERA brand and the industry,” said Sherry Chris, president and CEO, ERA® Real Estate, in a statement. “Building upon our strong foundation of exceptional women leaders within ERA and the support of Realogy through the What Moves Her platform, the Hera Society is well positioned to offer members unique leadership development opportunities, content and new areas of impact.” The Hera Society will feature several components to fuel engagement with its members, including: – ERA Event Integration: Hera Society’s first virtual event will be held in December, with future in-person and virtual events held throughout the year at events including Fuel, ERA’s global conference and Ignite, ERA’s broker/owner and managers conference. – Leadership Workshops: Interactive workshops, held both virtually and in-person, will serve as forums for best practice sharing, business planning and mentorship. – Communications Channels: In addition to featuring content and highlighting leaders across the ERA brand’s social media channels, the Hera Society’s members will have exclusive access to a real-time communications platform to further encourage best practices and idea sharing beyond the leadership workshops. “ERA® Real Estate is a family. We support one another to grow and succeed, both personally and professionally. We realized the importance of harnessing the power within the ERA family to learn, build relationships and be inspired by each other’s stories and journeys,” said Lee Ann Roughton, national vice president, Franchise Performance, ERA® Real Estate, in a statement. “The formation of the Hera Society demonstrates ERA’s commitment to fostering an environment where our affiliates can come together to discuss new ways to better leverage each other’s strengths and insights to grow and succeed. Our members will take the knowledge and inspiration from our time together to overcome barriers and raise everyone up around us.” “As a new franchise owner within ERA, I’m elated to be a part of the founding of the Hera Society. I’m looking forward to being a part of this illustrious, talented and dedicated women leaders of ERA,” said Erica Texada, broker/owner, ERA Brawn Sterling Real Estate, in a statement. “The Hera Society will contribute to bridge gender gaps and drive women’s empowerment within and through the brand. I’m looking forward to the Hera Society bringing women together for uplift, collaboration, and fun and to make an impact in the real estate space that is positive and meaningful for all women.” “I love the mission of the Hera Society,” said Tania Moore, qualifying broker, Wilkinson ERA Real Estate, in a statement. “I’m inspired by the opportunity for women to unite, empower each other and positively impact the communities where we live, work and play.” For more information, please visit The post ERA Real Estate Launches the ‘Hera Society’ to Advance Women Leadership appeared first on RISMedia......»»

Category: realestateSource: rismediaOct 12th, 2021

New Aerosol Ammunition To Protect Russian Battle Tanks From US Javelin Missiles

New Aerosol Ammunition To Protect Russian Battle Tanks From US Javelin Missiles Submitted by South Front, The Russian army has adopted a new aerosol ammunition designed to protect armored vehicles from high-precision weapons. The 3VD35 protective aerosol ammunition was developed by the Central Scientific Research Institute of Precision Engineering (TsNIITochmash), which is part of Rostec. Its caliber is 76 mm, with length of 290 mm and weight of 1.8 kg. Temperature range of the ammunition is from -50ºC to +50ºC. The main purpose of the new device is to protect Russian armored vehicles from strikes into the most vulnerable upper hemisphere, which has a smaller armor thickness and is generally not covered by dynamic or anti-cumulative protection. When a threat arises, the 3VD35 protective ammunition is fired in the direction of the enemy’s attack and creates an aerosol screen that “fools” the enemy’s precision-guided munitions guidance systems. In a way, it makes the armored vehicle (a battle tank, for example) invisible to the guided projectile, knocks it off the target due to the presence of light and heat-reflecting particles. The product is designed to protect equipment from high-precision weapons with laser, optical and thermal guidance systems. It “covers” the equipment both from high-precision aircraft weapons, barrage ammunition, and from third-generation anti-tank missile systems. When such protective ammunition is installed on a battle tank or other armored vehicle, the developers claim that it would become essentially invulnerable to high-precision and very expensive homing missiles, such as the US Javelin and AGM-114 Hellfire. Apparently, there is also interest from foreign buyers, so it could either be directly exported, or an export variant could be presented soon. The importance of the armored vehicles’ protection rises with the creation of new types of various guided missiles. Recently, the Chinese edition Sohu published photographs of Chinese soldiers with a new anti-tank guided missile launcher. It is believed that the ATGM in the photographs belongs to the third generation. The new weapon can attack armored vehicles in their upper hemisphere making it incredibly dangerous. If China is developing such a weapon, there is cause to consider that some of Russia’s competitors are also doing the same. In the past, the United States expressed doubts about the ability of Russian tanks to withstand the FGM-148 Javelin ATGM. The National Interest claimed in a report that the protection systems of the Russian T-72B3, T-80BVM, T-90M and T-14 battle tanks are insufficient to protect against the FGM-148 ATGM. The United Kingdom is also concerned with the matter, as it is developing a full-fledged active defense system for armored vehicles. Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 22:20.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

Stop-Loss Orders: An Insurance for Forex Traders That Money Can’t Buy

What is the biggest worry of almost every trader, regardless of his experience or achievements? No doubt, it is the risk of losing a heavy sum of money or even all the money. It is no secret that Forex trading is a somewhat risky earning method. Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more In […] What is the biggest worry of almost every trader, regardless of his experience or achievements? No doubt, it is the risk of losing a heavy sum of money or even all the money. It is no secret that Forex trading is a somewhat risky earning method. if (typeof jQuery == 'undefined') { document.write(''); } .first{clear:both;margin-left:0}.one-third{width:31.034482758621%;float:left;margin-left:3.448275862069%}.two-thirds{width:65.51724137931%;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element input{border:0;border-radius:0;padding:8px}form.ebook-styles .af-element{width:220px;float:left}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer{width:115px;float:left;margin-left: 6px;}form.ebook-styles .af-element.buttonContainer input.submit{width:115px;padding:10px 6px 8px;text-transform:uppercase;border-radius:0;border:0;font-size:15px}form.ebook-styles input.submit{width:115px}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy{width:100%;font-size:12px;margin:10px auto 0}form.ebook-styles .af-element.privacyPolicy p{font-size:11px;margin-bottom:0}form.ebook-styles .af-body input.text{height:40px;padding:2px 10px !important} form.ebook-styles .error, form.ebook-styles #error { color:#d00; } form.ebook-styles .formfields h1, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-logo, form.ebook-styles .formfields #mg-footer { display: none; } form.ebook-styles .formfields { font-size: 12px; } form.ebook-styles .formfields p { margin: 4px 0; } Get The Full Walter Schloss Series in PDF Get the entire 10-part series on Walter Schloss in PDF. Save it to your desktop, read it on your tablet, or email to your colleagues. (function($) {window.fnames = new Array(); window.ftypes = new Array();fnames[0]='EMAIL';ftypes[0]='email';}(jQuery));var $mcj = jQuery.noConflict(true); Q3 2021 hedge fund letters, conferences and more In practice, this fear of tough losses is the key reason why many people hesitate whether they should try such trading at all. But what if we tell you that there is a method to prevent (or at least minimize) losses? Have you heard of stop-loss orders? Read on to learn more about them. The Basic Facts You Should Know About Stop-Loss Orders A stop-loss order is an order, which is set to be sold or bought automatically when the price of a particular asset reaches the limit specified. As a result, traders can use this instrument to protect their funds from unexpected and significant price fluctuations. In concept, this tool was developed and introduced to help traders avoid tough losses. Many participants of the Forex market treat it as a kind of insurance. It provides traders with a feeling of safety and reduces nervous tension. Besides, many experts claim it is a great preventive measure for those who tend to make decisions based on emotions. It is hard for many beginners (and advanced traders) to stick to the strategy chosen and resolve upon selling assets at due time. Instead, they may postpone that hoping that the price will go upward and lose money in the end. In such cases, transactions, which are performed automatically, are the easiest solution. Also, it is a valuable solution for those who do not have much time to constantly monitor prices, statistics, and forecasts or those who plan to go away for a vacation and want their money safeguarded. Stop Loss: The Possible Strategies A well thought-out stop loss and take profit strategy helps the trader to control profits and losses. One of the positive effects of order additions is to keep emotional factors out of trading as much as possible. Subliminally, emotions such as greed and fear influence trading behavior and especially the willingness to take risks. If a trader is faced with falling prices or possible profits, decisions are sometimes made in an emergency that would be rejected with careful consideration, but pass in the "heat of the moment". Not always for the benefit of the trader. Sensible order additions such as stop loss and take profit help to outsmart the “weaker self” and to ensure that the opened positions are actually closed according to the theoretically worked out limits. No ifs and buts. In addition, the trader can use a stop loss and take profit strategy to protect himself against sudden price falls, for example in swing trades - a necessary measure in view of the speed with which global markets react to unpredictable events today. Stop Loss And Take Profit Strategy: Where Do You Put The Stop? The question of the best possible stop loss drives both beginners and old hands, because of course it is annoying if a stop loss is set too tight and a trade closes that immediately recovers and then books rising prices. However, if you set your stop loss too low, you have to bear the risk of undesirably high losses before the trade can close if the price plunges. There is just as little generally valid recommendation for behavior as there is no precise forecast of the development of the markets. In order to get a feel for the handling of stop loss, traders have to deal with the possibilities of chart analysis and of course follow market events carefully. What Problems Can Appear With Stop Losses? There are two situations in which stop losses will not be executed, whether they are guaranteed or not: 1) With volatility: when there is a substantial increase in volatility, stops are in great danger of not being executed. These strong spikes in volatility usually occur with important news, both positive and negative, with unforeseen events and events. Many brokers have a warning note on their websites in which they say that they are exempt from all responsibility if an order is not executed due to increases in volatility. So forget about claiming. 2) With gaps or gaps: let's say they are areas on the chart in which no trading has taken place so that between one candle and the next, there is a blank space on the chart. Although the reasons are usually important news, the leak of rumors, corporate operations, and low liquidity should be added for specific markets. What Do Experts and Experienced Traders Say about this Method? On the Web, you can find hundreds of articles and reviews about stop-loss orders. In general, there are two key positions. On the one hand, most experts believe that this tool is a must-use for every trader. But, at the same time, others claim that it is ineffective for risk prevention. More to the point, some professionals think that it is even harmful as it provokes traders to make deals at disadvantageous terms. When there are so many opposite thoughts and declarations, it is rather hard for a trader to formulate his own opinion, especially if he is new to the sphere of Forex trading. Conclusion We should get it into our heads that it is useless to have a perfect investment methodology that usually generates good entry and exit signals if we do not have correct risk management through stop losses and protection stops. So you know that the tricky thing is not knowing how to enter the market but how to exit. Thus, the person who wants to be a good investor, a good trader must have a series of basic and essential pillars in their operations, and one of them is risk management through the correct use of stop losses. Its importance lies in the fact that stop-loss prevents us from losing all our capital and continuing trading. Updated on Oct 11, 2021, 5:07 pm (function() { var sc = document.createElement("script"); sc.type = "text/javascript"; sc.async = true;sc.src = "//"; sc.charset = "utf-8";var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(sc, s); }()); window._F20 = window._F20 || []; _F20.push({container: 'F20WidgetContainer', placement: '', count: 3}); _F20.push({finish: true});.....»»

Category: blogSource: valuewalkOct 11th, 2021

COVID-19: The Weaponization Of Fear & The Loss Of Freedom

COVID-19: The Weaponization Of Fear & The Loss Of Freedom Authored by John Mac Ghlionn via The Epoch Times, Many U.S. citizens wonder if life will ever return to normal. Are masks here to stay? On TV, news channels are busy spreading fear. Meanwhile, some of the most widely read publications in the United States are warning about the next phase of the pandemic. To live in the United States is to live in a permanent state of fear. This, as many readers know, is by design. A more fearful nation is a more passive one—easier to manipulate and easier to control. In the United States, according to Dr. Anthony Fauci, it’s far “too soon” to tell if Christmas gatherings will be allowed. Considering Christmas is more than two months away, one is forgiven for raising their eyebrows and asking: “What are you talking about, Dr. Fauci?” What is the point of vaccines and booster shots if we cannot be with our loved ones? Haven’t we sacrificed enough over the past 18 to 20 months? Today, across the country, fear dominates the narrative. As someone currently completing a doctorate in psychology, I am intimately familiar with the mechanics of emotional salience. As a key attentional mechanism that contributes to our survival, fear is currently being weaponized for nefarious purposes. When it comes to the mechanics of government-induced fear, the economist Robert Higgs is perhaps the most knowledgeable man in America. After reading a fantastic article by City Journal’s John Tierney, I picked up a copy of  “Crisis and Leviathan: Critical Episodes in the Growth of American Government,” a book written by Robert Higgs, an economic historian who has been warning about the dangers of government creep for more than 30 years. In “Crisis and Leviathan,” published back in 1987, Higgs discussed a phenomenon known as the “ratchet effect.” Just like a tradesman uses a ratchet to allow effective, one-directional motion, governments often use emergencies to “ratchet” up their responses. By introducing more programs and more oversight boards, such “ratcheting” comes with significant costs—including freedoms we once took for granted. The loss of freedom brings a loss of privacy, and with these losses comes a loss of what it means to be human. Clearly inspired by Higgs, the U.S. government, aided by mainstream media outlets, has weaponized fear to full effect. Aided by behavioral experts and masters of spin, a number of highly influential people have exploited this deeply wired reaction to further erode human agency. Now, to be clear, fear is a highly complex emotion. Context is everything. If you find yourself being chased by a bear, fear is natural. To feel joy in that situation would likely result in your swift and all too painful demise. However, in modern society, our predisposition toward fear is largely maladaptive. Your chances of being chased by a bear are minimal. In fact, your chances of dying from unnatural causes have never been lower. The world has never been safer. With COVID-19, though, we are constantly fed the life or death narrative. The message from the government and MSM is clear: “If you enjoy living, then listen to those in power. If instead you enjoy dying, then, by all means, do your own thing.” Don Lemon, CNN’s anchor and part-time preacher, has spoken about leaving the unvaccinated behind. Again, to be clear, I am not advocating against vaccines, but every adult should be free to make their own decisions. They shouldn’t be coerced or fed false, fear-filled narratives. Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and top infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauci testify before the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 20, 2021. (J. Scott Applewhite/Pool/Getty Images) A Culture of Fear We are bombarded with news stories 24 hours a day, 7 days a week—many of these are of the tragic variety. Not surprisingly, as we are hardwired to sense danger, the human mind provides fertile ground for the planting of fears. However, fears, like plants, can also be uprooted. Sadly, our ability to uproot is being compromised by those in positions of genuine power. Because of this, to paraphrase James F. Byrnes, the now deceased politician and judge, too many people now find themselves obsessed by the idea of security. By failing to acknowledge opportunity (also known as freedom), “they seem to be more afraid of life than death.” Fear works best when an element of truth gets exaggerated to epic proportions. With COVID-19, we know the virus exists; we also know that far too many people around the world, including at least 709,000 Americans, have died. But—and this is of vital importance—if you happen to be reasonably young and reasonably healthy, your chances of dying from the virus are minimal. One of the major reasons COVID-19 has had such a devastating impact in the United States has a lot to do with one, simple fact: 40 percent of the country’s adults are obese. Instead of fear mongering, Dr. Fauci should be advising people to get fitter. This is one of the surest ways to avoid succumbing to the illness. Why does this get excluded from the conversation, either intentionally or otherwise? Because it’s much better to keep control of the masses—including the younger, healthier citizens—if tens of millions live in a perpetual state of fear. An individual has a far greater chance of being killed in a traffic accident or from the flu than they have of dying from COVID-19. Obviously, no one wants to get the flu or experience a traffic accident. Nevertheless, we don’t live our lives in constant fear of both. That’s because our salience biases, also known as perceptual salience, predispose us to focus on novel threats. What’s more novel than a novel coronavirus? Fear is a prison largely of our own making. Let’s free ourselves. I will finish with a quote from Frank Herbert, author of “Dune”: “I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” Tyler Durden Mon, 10/11/2021 - 17:00.....»»

Category: worldSource: nytOct 11th, 2021

Why small businesses are essential to US national security

The decline of small-business suppliers in the defense marketplace puts the US at risk of losing key domestic capabilities. Boeing and Raytheon employees install of an APY-10 radar antenna on P-8A Poseidon aircraft in November 2009. Boeing The US Defense Department relies on American businesses for everything from spare parts to major weapons platforms. Small businessess are an essential part of that industrial base, and their innovations often filter through to everyday life. Farooq A. Mitha is the director of small-business programs at the Department of Defense. Small businesses are the engine of our economy, the heartbeat of our communities, and the source of our global economic strength. We often hear this from our nation's leaders, but what we do not often hear is the importance of small businesses to our national security.Since the middle of the 20th century, the Department of Defense (DoD) has relied on contributions from small businesses to make significant advances in our defense capabilities. These contracts with small businesses enable citizens to benefit from technological advances in their everyday lives.Companies we all know, such as Qualcomm and Symantec, and technologies like GPS and modern-day LASIK surgery were developed from defense or other federal agency contracts. In fact, even Moderna's mRNA technology used in its COVID-19 vaccine was funded with a grant from the Defense Advanced Research Project Agency, known as DARPA, to research mRNA therapeutics in 2013.Federal law requires government agencies award a minimum of 23% of all contracts annually to small businesses, and DoD awards its proportional share. Last year, DoD's awards to small companies amounted to over $80 billion, with 45% of those dollars going to disadvantaged and women-owned businesses, and those are just prime contracts. General Dynamics employees work on an Abrams tank gun turret at the Lima Army Tank Plant, in Lima, Ohio, April 23, 2012. REUTERS/Matt Sullivan While there are tens of thousands of small businesses with DoD prime contracts, there are almost an equal number of small businesses supporting the defense mission as sub-tier suppliers to large companies that produce major platforms and systems for DoD. These companies are innovators developing cutting-edge technologies, manufacturers producing critical parts and components, and service providers that bring some of the nation's best talent to our workforce.However, over the past decade we have seen some alarming trends. The number of small-business suppliers in the federal marketplace - specifically in the defense marketplace - have declined. If this decline continues at the current pace, our nation is at risk of losing key domestic capabilities.Further, small businesses continue to struggle with bureaucratic red-tape, including competing in an environment where larger businesses are generally favored. Small businesses face disproportionate barriers to entering that marketplace.At a time when our nation faces unprecedented competition from adversaries, supply-chain vulnerabilities from climate change and the global pandemic, and a wealth of talent from underserved communities going untapped, these trends must be reversed.That's why President Joe Biden in his first months in office signed several executive orders focusing on increasing equity in our federal procurements, increasing the resiliency and diversity of our domestic supply chains, and promoting competition in the American economy. Small businesses are at the nexus of all of these efforts.To support these presidential priorities, we in DoD took immediate action.First, we wanted to hear directly from small businesses to better understand the challenges they face and work to address them. To that end, we recently posted a notice on the Federal Register asking companies to let us know what barriers to entry they are facing. Workers assemble F-35s at Lockheed Martin's factory in Fort Worth, Texas, October 13, 2011. REUTERS/Lockheed Martin/Randy A. Crites We are streamlining entry points in the defense marketplace for small businesses by making my office's website,, a single entry point for small businesses who want to learn how to do business with DoD and which small-business programs are available.We are also helping companies become ready to do business with DoD by increasing the connectivity between our Procurement Technical Assistance Centers, which support companies pursuing and performing on DoD contracts, with our acquisition workforce and by providing cyber-security resources to small businesses through Project Spectrum.We know there are companies in the commercial marketplace that have never done business with us. We know these companies have advanced technologies and capabilities we need to support our mission in areas like additive manufacturing, robotics, and artificial intelligence. To engage these companies, we have efforts such as the Defense Innovation Unit and others that are using flexible, commercial-style contracts to do businesses with these innovative commercial firms.There is more work to be done to strengthen and ensure a vibrant small-business industrial base. This requires DoD work closely with the private sector, and we are up to the challenge.Small businesses do more with more, and their innovations, agility, and diversity are pivotal, not only to DoD but to national security. Small businesses remain vital for our nation to address the myriad of global challenges we face today.Farooq A. Mitha serves in the Biden administration as the Director of Small Business Programs at the Department of Defense.Read the original article on Business Insider.....»»

Category: topSource: businessinsiderOct 11th, 2021